Misadventures in Maliciously Misattributed Medication
Standard Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT, as everyone well should know, and it is quite fortunate for the turtles that I do not, as it saves them a certain amount of discomfort.
Author's Notes: My first real foray into the TMNT fandom, this basically plays off the old plot of 'Leonardo gets drugged'. Have you noticed this? The boy is a drug magnet. If he walked through the pharmaceutical aisle, the bottles would fly at him. It's an old constant. Clearly, I had to write my own.
It became obvious that something was horrendously wrong when Leonardo went in for a swipe at one of the Foot with his katana. This would have been a perfectly reasonable and logical course of action if he hadn't been slashing aimlessly at the air a foot above the ninja's head, managing only in eventually slicing off his enemy's mask. After this, his right knee buckled unexpectedly and he fell into his hapless attacker, accidentally pushing the unlucky Foot ninja off the roof and coming close to falling himself. Something was clearly amiss. Possibly even awry. Leonardo was the Epitome of Ninjutsu Perfection, not to mention that he'd outgrown the clumsy stage at five.
Then there was the other tip-off of him simply sitting there at the edge of the roof as more enemies headed over to surround him.
Donatello made it to him first, knocking a would-be assailant aside with his staff before kneeling next to his downed brother. He blinked slowly at Donatello as though mildly, but pleasantly surprised to see him there. His eyes had a glazed, concussed look, bloodshot around the edges. Shivering, he focused on Donatello's face with an expression of utter confusion. "Hey," he said slowly, like he was working through a tremendous puzzle, "I think that ninja dropped something," he gestured at the shredded remains of the mask. "I should probably give it back, don't you think?"
Donatello raised an eye ridge at this unexpected development.
Raph chose that moment to appear. "Hey, what's wrong with Leo?"
"My immediate diagnosis…" Donatello plucked something from Leonardo's shoulder with a swift gesture, causing him to twitch slightly. His eyes remained focused on the space beyond Donatello's head, and he muttered something about a mosquito, showing just how badly he was out of it. The area where the dart had gone in was darkly bruised. "Some kind of drugged dart. I'll need to examine it at the lair to identify exactly what the drug was, or if it was poison. However, by the way he's acting, I'm running on the assumption that it was meant to slow him down."
"What d'you mean?" Raphael asked, confused, "How's he acting?"
At that moment, Leonardo focused intently on Donatello. "Have anyone ever told you how much of an enormous asshole you are?" he asked, as if making polite conversation.
Meanwhile, temporarily forgotten, Michelangelo was performing his honorable duty of distracting the remaining five ninja. He was doing this with bad grace, mainly because everyone had just jumped out of the fight without so much as a word and left him alone to get ambushed. This struck him as tremendously unfair. "Yeah, no one get up and speed to my aid or anything," he yelled sarcastically, "I'm totally fine! Not being ambushed by the Foot here, it's just a nightly picnic!" He caught a surreptitious movement out of the corner of his eye and used his nunchaku to block what he'd assumed was a kind of bullet. Something small and plastic clattered to the roof. "Hey, now that's just against ninja regulation 0326!"
He ducked, swinging his leg around in a controlled arc to knock his opponents off their feet. A few blows with his weapon in some strategic areas ensured that they wouldn't be getting up to attack him any time soon. Once they were down, he spun around to face the area where the dart had been fired from, and saw a thin, dark shape leap stealthily out of sight, some kind of weapon glinting before being hastily obscured. Not willing to stand around and act as target practice for an enemy who may or may not be firing at him from the shadows, he took off in the direction of his brothers.
Upon reaching the scene, it was quite obvious that all was not well in the OK Ninja Corral.
"My god," Leonardo was detailing, pointing his finger in Donatello's shocked face, "It's amazing, It never ceases to astound me how often you prove yourself to be a loose cannon with no self control or ability to restrain yourself or your temper. You're an asshole. An unmitigated asshole."
Donatello reached out and slowly redirected the finger toward Raphael, who stared at it dumbly.
Leonardo blinked and refocused on Raphael for a few minutes before carrying on with his rambling dialogue. "Oh, there you are. I was wondering why you were wearing Donny's bandana. That's weird. You shouldn't be wearing purple: it really doesn't go with your skin. I mean, Donny's kind of a different color and it sort of goes with him, but it would clash with you."
"…Yeah, thanks for that fashion tip, Leo." Raph replied, shoving aside all weirdness for the Bigger Picture. "What the hell happened?" he directed at Donatello, who was clearly the last bastion of sanity, "They inject him with Cosmo poison?"
"Well, whatever it is, you guys should know they have more," Michelangelo tossed the dart at Donatello, who caught it between thumb and forefinger, "So we should probably haul shell and get to cover, unless we all want to start spouting fun fashion trivia."
They all looked at Leonardo, who looked back at them with a certain amount of feverish confusion. "Mikey," he said, "Just when did you start being a formless blob?"
"Uh…just recently, dude." Michelangelo replied, attempting to go with the flow.
"Wow," he mouthed, in apparent astonishment, and looked around at some invisible audience like he was trying to gauge reaction from them. "Isn't that amazing?" he held up his hands to illustrate how truly phenomenal the whole thing was.
Raphael stifled laughter. "I say we keep him this way. Makes him a better conversationalist."
Donatello ignored the comment. He was muttering to himself about the symptoms as he helped Leonardo to his feet. "His pupils are dilated, eyes are bloodshot. He's shivering and his fingers are cold, and he's experiencing a sense of delirium."
"So what's that mean?" Michelangelo asked, looking nervously at Leonardo as if he would seize up in convulsions, up and have a heart attack, and die right there. He held onto his shoulder gingerly, like his touch would hurry some apocalyptic chain reaction.
"Right now it could be anything, but I'm thinking it's some kind of psychotropic. The side effects match up. Hopefully there's some kind of antidote, but he needs to get the poison out of his system."
Raphael narrowed his eyes. "Hold on a tic. Psychotropic?" he pronounced it slowly, dragging out the syllables. "I hearda that before in movies. You mean he's on a bad trip?" He said this last as if it was the most ridiculous idea ever thought of in the entire history of mankind, because it was Leo, poster-boy for wholesome and dutiful, and the thought of him tripping out like some hippie from the sixties was too bizarre to be real.
"That's it in a nutshell," Donatello confirmed, "Now could you stop mulling it over and maybe help here? He's listing to one side, and he's heavy enough to tip me over with him. We'd better head there by ground; I don't trust him jumping rooftops in this condition. Mikey, for the love of god, he's not going to actually explode!" he added as Michelangelo attempted to support Leonardo with his fingertips.
"Hey, where are we going?" Leonardo asked abruptly.
"Oh, y'know," Raphael said with heavy sarcasm, "We're just off to find a transmat so we can go to the Utrom home world so we can make it there for karaoke night. They're having this big dinner in the honor of, y'know, Adam Sandler…"
"So we gotta get there before that Krang guy hogs all the pizza. And we're kind of in a hurry because afterward we got a date with Dorothy and Toto 'cause we got to go help her find the Wizard of Oz. Business as usual. Hey!"
Raphael gave Leonardo a tug on the arm, trying to haul him up, then backed up a step when he shot straight up, rocking precariously on the balls of his feet, clearly intending to find the imaginary transmat right then and there. Of course, the quick transition from half-crouching to standing had its side effects, such as a dizzy surge that caused him to groan and lean heavily on Michelangelo's shoulder, despite muffled complaints as his younger brother almost overbalanced under his weight.
"Geez, guys, why didn't you tell me we had plans?" Leonardo complained as Michelangelo got into position to support his arm. Donatello rolled his eyes at the hopeless immaturity at work.
"Oh, it was a last minute thing, bro," Michelangelo said, making a flippant gesture with his free hand as they started moving toward the nearest fire escape, "You know how those Utroms are: quick to pop out mind-boggling technology, slow to hand out dinner invitations."
Leonardo nodded vaguely in recognition of the vagaries of the Utrom people. "Hey, do you think the Tinman's invited? I've always liked the Tinman."
"VIP, Leo. Got a balcony seat and everything," Raphael said, making it up on the fly as they tried to make Leonardo stop wobbling to the left so damn much. And why the left, anyway, he found himself thinking, since if anything he should be leaning all the way to the freakin' right. "But we gotta go now, okay, or we're really going to miss the speeches."
That comment was punctuated by a dart shooting out of the darkness to imbed itself firmly in Donatello's staff.
Time slowed as everyone stared at the tiny red feather tip quivering at the end of the dart.
"Is someone playing badminton?" Leonardo questioned.
"Yeah, the Wicked Ninja of the West," Michelangelo replied nervously, "Run!"
Their progress down the fire escape was the stuff of legend. It was nigh-epic. Speed-of-light travel only wished to rival the speed shown by the four turtles as they ninja-sped down the stairs, despite Leonardo's utter confusion and his strange impression that winter was coming to New York in the middle of July. Of course, the adrenaline-induced speed made the trip down the metal ladders and platforms of the fire escape extremely noisy, totally ruining any stealth points they could have made. Then Leonardo accidentally tripped Michelangelo near the end, causing them all to land in a groaning heap in some random New York alleyway and losing them all points for style.
Raphael cursed viciously. "This is fan-freakin-TASTIC," he raged, "The nearest sewer entrance is at least a block away!"
"The transmat is in the sewers?" Leonardo asked, still stuck on the concept of the Utrom banquet.
"Sure. Right next to that transdimensional portal to Narnia that Don fixed up in a wardrobe."
"Could we possibly have less sarcasm so as not to confuse him, please?" Donatello hissed, "Raph's joking, Leo. The transdimensional portal couldn't fit in a standard wardrobe anyway, unless it was a magical chalk drawn one like Master Splinter uses to…"
"Yeah, I can see how that's going to make him less confused," Raphael commented sarcastically. "Hey, Mikey, what's with the sudden silence? Not that I'm complaining or nothin'."
Michelangelo failed to respond mainly because he was busy looking through the barrel of a gun that was aimed at point blank range at his head. It was being wielded by a shabby figure of indeterminate sex who looked more like a walking heap of dirty laundry than an actual human being. The person had a wizened face, ratty cornrows, and eyes like a mad hamster's.
"Step away from the box," it said in a guttural tone.
There was a short pause in which everyone looked down to take notice of what looked to be a refrigerator box sealed with contact paper and covered in a curtain. After that, a variation of high-speed continental drift occurred. One minute, all of the turtles were at least half a foot away from Rabid Hamster Thing. The next minute, they had seemingly broken the laws of physics to travel the length of the alleyway.
The strange, alley-dwelling person kept the steady aim up. "Alright," it said, "You goddamn hallucinations have five seconds to clear out before I make sure I ain't never dreaming of you again."
"Hey, we're cool with that," said Michelangelo, backing away from the crazy person.
"Is it just me, or is he talking with a cowboy accent?" Raph muttered. "We would hafta find the only gunslinging homeless in New York."
"Actually, I think it's a Texan accent," Donatello said in a scholarly tone, "But that's a common misconception."
"FIVE!" yelled the Rabid Hamster Gunslinger of New York, and everyone strained their ninja agility to get out of the way as a bullet chipped cement off the ground they were standing on. At this point, their drug-wielding ninja friends chose that moment to arrive on the scene, and the merry chase ensued once more.
"Is it just me, or is the worst chase EVER?" Michelangelo griped as they high-tailed it down the sidewalks and into the comforting refuge of yet more alleyways.
After a near-collision with some random pedestrians and some close encounters of the dart kind, they managed to scrabble into the warm and inviting sanctuary of the New York sewer system. At that point, Leonardo seemed to have lost all touch with time, space, and depth perception, and he spent a good deal of the trip bumping heavily into his brothers and demanding to know why they were pushing him. This annoyed Raphael out of all proportion, and so they were all traveling in an orderly, military fashion with Michelangelo at the front of the line, Donatello hovering near Leonardo in the middle to keep him steady, and Raphael acting as a very surly, bruised caboose. The fact that Leo seemed to be constructing a vast theory centering on Raphael being a huge jerk wasn't helping his mood any.
"And then there was that time, y'know, with the scissors," Leonardo said, gesturing with a wide sweep of his hand that nearly connected with Donatello's face, "Master Splinter constantly warned us about running with scissors, but you were convinced to disprove any theory he had about getting hurt when you run with them, so you got Mikey to grab some and you guys ran the length of the old lair, swinging the scissors around like weapons. I mean, that was stupid. Really, really really…" he blinked slowly and calculated how many repetitions of 'really' were necessary, "Really kind of dumb. But not only that! No, not only are you so thickheaded you think your opinion is better than Master Splinter's…"
Donatello had the intense impression that he was standing right in front of a volcano.
"But you also show yourself to be an asshole yet again, because who was it that got in trouble for the scissors fiasco? Mikey. Because you up and hid in the kitchen when he bumped into that…thing, holds tools, made of cardboard…"
"Box," Donatello provided. Raphael glared at him.
"The box, and knocked over all the metal…the things, and made a lot of noise. So you up and ran to your room and left Mikey buried under a heap of old golfing trophies and hammers and…screwdrivers…and a scissor stuck in his knee! You are an asshole."
"Yeah, no offense, but you kinda are," Michelangelo said from the front.
Raphael ignored that remark in favor of forcibly controlling his blood pressure. He considered it incredibly unfair that Leonardo was allowed to create and uphold an insult tirade just because he'd been injected with some mind-affecting drug. At this point, he was totally in favor of knocking him out and letting Donny inject him with something at the lair.
"And then there was that time with the tricycle," Leonardo started, ignoring Raphael's groan, "When you were seven, and you started that lifelong obsession with bikes. Only you wanted a tricycle and you said you'd found one crashed in the sewers but you really didn't, you grabbed it from some bike rack in the residential section. And you knew it was some kid's trike and you totally stole it!"
"Holy crap," Michelangelo said, "Any candy you stole from kiddies, or was your crime spree over after the trike?"
"You stole that trike?" Donatello asked in utter disbelief.
"You know what, you guys totally bought it when I said I grabbed it outta the sewers. How does a kid crash anything in the sewers? Have you guys EVER seen a kid in the sewers?"
"I don't know. I thought you'd…taken it from the dump…or something," Donatello said, trying to take in the full impact of his brother stealing a child's tricycle, "Jeez, Raph!"
"There's so much I could go into, Raph," Leonardo careened heavily into Donatello as he spoke, somewhat damaging the solemnity of his denunciation, "Chronologically, numerically, alphabetically…spiritually…you're just an asshole. Why? I mean, at what point did this happen?"
"One day, Raph broke out of the shell," Michelangelo commented in a soft, thoughtful tone, convinced in his safety as head of the line and two bodies away from the object of his humor.
The aforementioned object seriously considered letting caution and brotherly affection go hang for a while and conducting a full-scale beatdown. It was one thing taking into consideration the fact that one of his brothers was drugged out of his mind and was spouting off crap without any ability to control himself; it was another thing entirely to take it from the two sober ones.
"If we're going to discuss this, I'd like to bring up the many times he's sabotaged my projects in the past, apparently for the simple humor in watching them explode in my face."
"Or when he broke my crayons when I was five," Michelangelo added.
"Keep away games with my computer parts."
"Hid my comic books and watched me go frantic about them for a week."
"Stranded me on the top bunk when I was three."
"Constantly leaving the lair for random personal reasons that often leave him in various stages of…of beat up!" Leonardo tacked on grimly, "And always with that whatsitcallit…bike. Why did you even make him a bike? Stuff keeps on happening with that bike. That's enabling, that's what it is," he addressed the general public of the sewers, gesturing as if he was talking to someone on the roof of the tunnels, "And then he gets mad at me for no reason because I told him to stay in and he goes against that because he has this crazy anti-sense thing working in his brain. You have no sense, Raph, and you're an asshole!"
"We need a support group for this," Michelangelo said, "Asshole Abuse Victims."
"You're gonna need a straw to eat your food from when we get to the lair!" Raphael said in a threatening tone from the back, nearly plowing through Donatello in his rage.
"Do you hear that?" Leonardo interrupted.
Everyone ignored him because this was nearing the eighteenth time such a question had come up. Donatello had already explained that the side effects of the yet-unknown hallucinogenic drug that had been used would include illusory sounds or images, some of which had made their appearance along the trip to the sewers. Leonardo had been hearing echoing noises; mad sucking noises, and on occasion would clap his hands over his head and exclaim that 'someone left the TV on too loud again', ignoring the fact that Donatello would have had to hook up every speaker they owned and blast the volume on all of them to have the television audible from where they were.
"It's kind of like a train," he added. "Maybe they got too crowded. It's crowded in here, right?"
"Oh, sure," Raphael looked around the empty, decrepit sewer tunnels, "Regular Happy Hour, this is."
"Maybe the subway lines broke and they redirected them."
"Right, Leo," Donatello said, keeping a straight face with enviable self-control, "Right through the sewers."
"Oh, yeah, that must be one of those little trains from Mister Roger's Neighborhood," Michelangelo said, trying to join in, "Off to take us to puppetland."
Leonardo turned and gave him as condescending a look he could manage through unfocused, bloodshot eyes, and said in the kind voice usually reserved for small children: "Don't be silly, Mikey. That's just a kid's show."
"Yeah, Mikey," Raphael mocked from the back of the line, "Didja hit your head on the way down here?"
There was sort of a sullen silence as Michelangelo pouted, Raphael brooded about his unfair treatment on the journey so far, Leonardo sank further into hazy delirium, and Donatello prayed to God that they'd make it back home without any further wackiness or more importantly, without Raphael deciding to throw a punch at either of his too-vocal brothers. Although, by the way Raph's eyes were calculating the distance between him and Leo, it looked as though his volatile older brother might just throw casualties to the breeze and take down everyone for the heck of it. This was not at all comforting.
"Did you hear that?" Leonardo asked again, looking at the ceiling as if it had loudspeakers attached to it, and Donatello heaved a sigh.
This was going to be one of those nights.
It was a door. It had been welded shut, but it was definitely recognizable as a door. It just wasn't, in fact, their door, and no amount of persuading was going to keep Leonardo, who was now breathing oddly and was covered in a fine sheen of cold sweat, to attempt from opening it with his bare hands like he was some kind of terrapin Hercules.
Michelangelo was muttering something about how it was steroids, definitely steroids in that dart, and Raphael fixed Donatello a look that spoke paragraphs about what was running through his mind. It was much more eloquent than his actual speech, actually. It said: 'Remember when I thought it would be a good idea to give Leo a tap to the temple with your bo and set him off into dreamland for the journey home, and how you thought that would be wrong somehow because of your convoluted crises of conscience? I bet that you're regretting that decision now, aren't you?' And so on and so forth, because Raph's Looks could get downright verbose.
"Leo, it's not our door," Donatello patiently repeated. His brother continued his impression of a deaf, senseless rock, and continued to beat at it with his fists.
"He could knock himself out eventually," Raphael said. He didn't sound too displeased with this unfortunate possibility.
After a short glare that told him that no joking would be tolerated, Donatello carried on trying to use logic, tact, and diplomacy against his brother's ongoing drug-induced idiocy. "It's not our door," he repeated, feeling like a record that was not only broken, but had been fused into permanent repetition, "Our door isn't welded to the wall. It's metal, but it's not that kind of metal. Ours is high-quality titanium alloy that was very hard to come by…"
"How did you get that?" Michelangelo interrupted.
"…And that door is only made of standard cast iron," Donatello said, ignoring the question.
"But why is it moving so much?" Leonardo muttered. The question seemed to be addressed to the room at large.
Everyone gazed at the door, which remained completely stationary.
"It's not moving. It can't move, see, because it's welded to the sewer wall. With welding torches," Donatello explained patiently, "That fused the metal of the door to the metal of the door frame, rendering it incapable of movement."
Raphael issued a sigh. "Speak English, Poindexter."
"Oh, gee. That door's really, really stuck there," he said in a deadpan voice, affecting a bad Brooklyn accent, "Like it's glued or somethin'." This earned him a smack on the back of the head, which he bore with the patience and understanding needed to deal with morons.
Leonardo turned and looked at them blankly. He appeared to be forming a cosmic and magnificent response, the quality and eloquence of which would strike them dumb with sheer fascinated appreciation. It took long enough to be an Oscar-worthy speech, a speech that would send Shakespeare into fits of adulation.
"The door," he said, "Is moving."
They waited patiently for the rest of it.
Leonardo made little gestures with his hands that could either symbolize the horrible deaths of many minnows as they hurtled through a rip in the space time continuum, or the movement of the totally stationary door.
"Well," started Donatello, but Leonardo turned around without listening and continued inspecting the impossible, frustrating door.
"Did you do something? Like…with your…things? And make the door move?" Leonardo asked muzzily, checking the iron door as if he would find a secret panel on its surface, "I mean, is this something for security? You should've told us or something. Yeah. Because the door's moving."
"Yeah, we somehow figured that out the seventh time you decided to tell us," Raphael muttered.
Suddenly, all the pieces of the psychological puzzle that was Leonardo's train of thought came rushing together. The solution was obvious. The entrance to the lair was simply malfunctioning. Yes, that was it. Some sort of mechanical dilemma had occurred, possibly involving broken gears or wires or some intricate…computer interface…engineering problem that went completely over his head. The door was obviously broken, leaving them stranded, isolated, out of their safe and comfortable lair, and locking Master Splinter in. Well, clearly, this would not do at all. He, as the Leader, must go forth and Do Something. Preferably something useful that would solve the problem they were currently facing.
Of course, drawing his swords seemed like the best idea he had at the time. It had always worked so well with problems in the past.
His brothers, aware that heavily drugged reptiles should never be allowed around sharp, pointy objects, backed up a few paces and hovered between the desire to disarm him before he hurt himself or anyone else around him, and the more instinctive need to duck.
Leonardo wobbled around with his swords as he tried to face the best direction to take out the stubborn and constantly-shifting door, then gave up and took a swing at the solid iron. The force of impact visibly jolted through the blade and up his arm, but he was not to be daunted by such a mere thing as utter failure. After all, he thought, with ninjitsu and wise-yet-unbearably-vague sayings, even mobile doors could be passed. Or something along those lines.
The next blow rang in his ears like the horrid pealing of a hundred church bells, and his suddenly-nerveless fingers dropped the katana. "Ouch," he said, after much consideration.
"Ouch, he says," Raphael groaned from their safe viewing distance. At the gong of the sword striking the heavy, iron door, everyone had hit the deck out of sheer auditory misery. "Well, so much for stealth and secrecy."
"If you move quick, you might be able to get his katana before he has another go at the wall," Michelangelo said, "I say we do rock scissors paper for it. I mean, he can't be that quick with all the…"
Leonardo swung around more quickly than someone as wasted as he was rightfully should, causing everyone to leap back in shock. "What happened with the…the stuff that's you know, it's electric. Makes things all technical. Sounds like…something ology. Ending with ology anyway. Biology, geo…oh, right. The mechanism. It's not working right at all! It's making the door impossible. Was this one of those bird man things? Those bird men had some weird stuff…and what are you doing?" he asked, addressing Donatello, who was reaching for the swords on the floor with the caution needed to defuse bombs.
"Er," he said slowly, wondering how fast he could possibly grab the katana, "I'm…checking the swords?"
"Yeah, to see if…you know, they're okay," Michelangelo added, "Like, if they got chipped or something when they hit the door. Or, uh, if there's some weird techno-goo on them or something…because the door's broke. They…uh…ran out of batteries."
"Batteries?" Leonardo asked. His brow scrunched up, because something seemed horribly off about that statement but he couldn't quite lay a finger on what was making it sound so strange.
"Batteries," Michelangelo affirmed. "Oh, hey, is that light blinking?" he asked desperately.
Leonardo turned to look at where Michelangelo was pointing. "Where?" Behind him, Donatello hastily scooped up the weaponry and Raphael gaped in utter disbelief as their older and presumably wiser brother fell for the oldest trick in the book. It struck him as yet another injustice to add to this evening's list: there was no way he'd ever fall for that again, and so he couldn't try it himself.
"I don't see anything."
"Oh, it's over there. Right by that…uh, pipe. I don't know, I think it's some kind of…"
"Maintenance light," Donatello supplied helpfully.
"Yeah, it means the door's broken! So, uh, we better go around the other way and get to the emergency door that Donny made specifically for times when the maintenance light comes on. Because if we don't, we'll be stuck here all night. And then Master Splinter will be, uh, angry, and he'll make us do ten thousand flips. Underwater. With weights on. On one leg, and reciting Paul Revere's Ride backwards…" he cut himself off as his other brothers made sharp motions for him to quit improvising, "So it's probably…"
"Is the air conditioning broken, too?"
"Huh? What? Oh…uh…yeah."
"Thought so. Bet it was Raph," he said, sounding absolutely sure about this, as he nearly stumbled against Michelangelo in his attempt to make his point, "Because…when someone's being an asshole facing near the West, the luck goes bad because of negative…chi…and it all goes into the AC and clogs the vents. And then it, whatsit, breaks and starts snowing because it's too cold."
This statement was met with the absolute silence of people struggling with the desire to fall on the floor in hysterics.
"I think…it probably doesn't, actually…" Donatello said quietly.
"It's really rude of you to clog up our AC with your jerk behavior, Raph," Michelangelo said, grinning like an idiot, "I mean, if you must be an asshole, at least face the South."
Raphael replied to that statement with his usual cordial grace and flair, and it would have been the start of an impromptu smackdown if a ninja hadn't fallen from the ceiling at that moment, brandishing a dart gun with sinister intent. The gun was shiny and black, because someone in the weapons division of Foot technology clearly had given thought to how a ninja dart gun should look. It, (because it was easier to think of the Foot as having no sex, since they never talked and god knew if they were even human under those black suits,) raised the dart and locked onto the nearest turtle. This happened to be Leonardo, who stared at the weapon as if trying to recognize an old friend.
"You've got to be kidding me"
All eyes turned toward Raphael, who was standing there in a haze of injured and righteous fury at the uncompromisable strangeness of the universe that evening. The ninja, for lack of anything else to do, shot a dart at him.
He snatched it out of the air, made more coordinated by his rage. "This is abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous, do you know that? Where do you people come from? Do they mass-manufacture you goons in Shredder's giant skyscraper? Are you guys handing out flyers every Friday for Make Our Lives Hell night? Is that it? Aren't there some important world leaders you have to take out, or poison to brew, or baby seals to club?"
The ninja, at home with its place in the universe and its daily schedules, readjusted the aim on the dart and fired again.
This time, it was sliced ferociously in half with a sai blade. "No. That got old the first time it happened," he said through gritted teeth. For good measure, he flung his other blade in a swift, fluid motion, and a second later the gun was nearly bisected by the weapon. It sparked and fizzled, and the ninja flung it to the ground and made as if to perform a feat of grace and agility and escape into the dark, murky shadows of the sewers, never to be seen again.
Fortunately, it tripped on Donatello's bo and sprawled on the floor.
When it looked up, Michelangelo was grinning wickedly and holding a full syringe of the drug from his dart gun. "Now, let's see how you like a taste of your own medicine," he said, sounding exactly like a mad scientist from a B-flick horror movie.
It was one of the weirdest things anyone had seen, and they lived in New York. The strange man in black pajamas stumbled into 7-11, looked at the vaguely ethnic guy who was busy manning the register, and knelt before the check out counter.
The guy, whose name badge read: "Hello! I am Paul!" looked down at him anxiously. "Yo, man. You want, like, an aspirin or Tylenol or something?"
And then the pajama guy started ranting about turtles, and how they had overcome him, and how he would return with more of Colonel Sander's tasty herbs and spices to combat their weaponry, and then all would fall under the command of the Shredder.
They sent him to the hospital in a nice little jacket, and wondered what kind of mastermind had a name like a souped-up food processor.
Then someone spilled slurpee all over the floor and it was business as usual.
When they walked into the lair, Leonardo made a drunken beeline for the couch, tipped over the edge, and sprawled in an ungainly heap near the end. He gazed blankly at the ceiling, not changing expression at all. Once in a while a long sort of rambling sentence would escape his mouth, and then he'd lose interest in whatever train of thought he was currently occupying and return to his ceiling-watching.
Donatello had headed directly for the mini-lab set up in 'his' side of the main room, and busily spent the next hour or so extracting the liquid from the syringe, running some very serious and elaborate tests on the liquid, looking intently at the read-outs on his computer screen, and running a few more tests just to make the certainty doubly sure. When he had collected all the information he thought he could feasibly gather on the drug, he gathered his non-affected brothers to him and formed an impromptu meeting around the computer screen.
Michelangelo and Raphael blinked at the long words and lists of side effects on the screen with the nervous distrust of the ignorant.
"This is clearly a chemically-altered concentration of the plant myristica fragrans," he reported with the solemnity due to that statement's import. "It's characterized by its symptoms, similar to anticholinergic intoxication: some of which are delirium, heavy perspiration, pupil dilation, and ataxia. Some of the side effects are quite visible by now, since the toxin has had enough time to reach its full effect. Other side effects involve convulsions, panic, and depression. Fortunately the dosage doesn't seem to be high enough to affect him in that manner."
All of this medicbabble soared gleefully over his brother's heads. Behind them, Leonardo pointed at the ceiling with slow deliberation and traced lines in the air.
Then Donatello lost the entire mood by translating into laymen's talk. "It's nutmeg," he said bluntly, "As in the spice."
Raphael gaped at him. "Ya sure?"
"Oh no, Raph," Donatello said smoothly, "All of my scientific tests and observations went horribly awry and I completely messed up the entire species of plant used for this drug. It's actually ginger. Yes, it's nutmeg!" he snapped.
Michelangelo quietly hummed 'Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah'. He managed to make it sound very threatening and full of menacing suspense.
"It's a natural deliriant; I'll have you know," he said defensively, "In concentrated or large amounts, it's a strong psychotropic. Well, obviously these people have tweaked it a bit, a little like they make designer drugs."
"Designer drug NUTMEG?" Raphael echoed, injecting all the disbelief he was capable of mustering into his tone.
"Well, if you put it that way, anything sounds unbelievable."
"Leo got poisoned by something out of the spice cabinet of the Keebler Elves, and you don't see anything wrong here? Bizarre? Weird? Completely friggin off?"
"I don't know," Michelangelo mused, "Those Keebler Elves always seemed kind of dark and sinister to me, with their beady little eyes and their giant baking ovens. No one with ovens that large could be baking only cookies, guys. Think about it."
"I prefer not to follow the same mental tunnels you do, Mikey, if it's all the same to you," Donatello said, "It might prove detrimental to my IQ, and I prefer it intact."
"You're just jealous of me because I'm hip to the pop culture underground, bro."
"Can we move back on topic, please?"
"No," Michelangelo said primly, "Because the Keebler Elves are a serious threat to our nation's wellbeing, not to mention our homeland security, and Leo getting high on nutmeg administered by a ninja dart gun that looks like the Cricket from Men in Black…"
"Hey, you're right," Raphael interrupted, sounding pleased at that revelation, "Knew I'd seen it somewhere."
"And sorry, it just doesn't seem as serious, y'know. On one hand, nutmeg poisoning. On the other hand, evil cookie-making elves with a dessert franchise and evil giant ovens. Evil. Giant ovens. And probably a hand in the whole Foot thing, and maybe one of those techno-flashers that make you forget stuff."
"Well, what're we gonna do about this whole Leo thing anyway?" Raphael asked, "Got a cure for bad 'meg trips? Does he need to go through rehab, or is he gonna start hanging out in tie-dyed tents and smoking the cat's catnip?"
"Oh, that is so not on," Michelangelo said gravely, "Klunk needs his catnip fix."
"Well, no, there isn't actually an antidote to this," Donatello said, hoping to be a wet, scratchy, wool blanket in a winter rainstorm on his brothers' fun, "I could inject a catalyzing agent to speed up the metabolization of the drug, but it only would make the drug go through his system more quickly. Presumably the elemicin in the nutmeg oil is converted to trimethoxy amphetamine, which…"
"Let's just pretend we're total average Joe retards, Donnie. To speed things up," Raphael said. "You're sayin' what now?"
"You know, I wonder what else in the spice rack makes someone go Looney Tunes?" Michelangelo wondered aloud, "Since he's already plastered, maybe we could, you know, run some tests on Leo. No, I'm joking," he added at Donatello's glare, "Shutting up for serious science time now."
"We can't actually actively flush the drug from his system with an antidote," Donatello said in resignation, mindful of the fact that his brothers were immature and would never take this seriously at all unless Leo was actually in pain, "So we're going to have to wait for it to leave his system. While this happens, he's going to continue being in an altered state of consciousness…"
"You mean he's gonna to be totally hopped up, don't you?" Raphael said.
"Trashed. Wasted. Burned out. Hanging with the greater forces. Tuning into the spirit world on the FM. Communing with the mushrooms. Tripping out," Michelangelo said.
"Yes, yes! For the purposes of this conversation, all of the above!"
"What is it with Leo and drugs?" Raphael asked the unfeeling cosmos, echoing the sentiments that anyone close to Leonardo had expressed at one point in their lives.
Michelangelo wrapped an arm around his brother's shoulder. "He's strangely attractive as a target, I guess. Don't think about it, Raph. Some people are chick magnets. Leo just attracts the weird sedative freaks."
At this point in the conversation, Splinter's shoji screen door slid open and he walked into the room, finished with his nightly soap opera tradition. They had been showing reruns of Days of Our Lives. Upon spotting his sons, engaged in what could pass as normal nighttime activity, he decided to innocently greet them and inquire about how their training session aboveground had gone.
The poor, misguided fool.
"Ah, my sons," he said benignly, nearing the living room area of the lair, "Were the events of this evening enjoyable?"
On the couch, Leonardo jerked bolt upright, the end of one of his bandanna ties flopping loosely over his face. He looked at Splinter with the watery, unfocused, bloodshot eyes of the deranged. His teeth chattered, he was shivering horribly, and he had an overall air of lunacy about him, as if at any minute, he'd snap and vomit all over someone without regards to morality or decency. Nevertheless, something deeper and more instinctive than mere conscious thought had been jumpstarted into motion. His programming emerged. Master Splinter had spoken, and was inquiring about training. Clearly this required some kind of response.
"Tonight, we tried the Pheonix…Dragon…Double Axle," he started tentatively, "On the rooftops. No…we tried that in an alley somewhere, we did something else on the roof. I think it wasn't a dragon, though. It was something else. With the leg…jabby…things."
"He's talking to him. Please tell me why he's available to talk to Master Splinter. Why didn't anyone take him to his room?" Donatello moaned under his breath.
"Because this is better than Prime Time?" Raph grinned.
Meanwhile, Leonardo stumbled clumsily through his explanation of why the Dragon Floating Through Wind Deforming Double Backed Cherry Blossom Wiggle practice had gone wrong. "And then the feet attacked us somewhere after the laundry hit Mikey in the head, or was…wait. And the Foot did attack somewhere…on the roof. Maybe at six. And I think I got shot with something, I feel a little funny. But then we went home and Raph. Raph was an asshole all the way home. He is an asshole, Master Splinter. Do you not understand what a big asshole he is? He is impossible!" he railed, ignoring the stunned expression on his mentor and the horrified expressions on his brothers behind him.
"He broke the AC, Master Splinter! He clogged it all up with bad feng shui and now it's all covered in ice and I can't get warm! He's always doing stuff like this! He broke the teakettle with his mind, you know! It's like he's doing this to get attention! And then he always argues with me, even when Karai tried to beat him like a soldier! WHY ALL THE ARGUING! We do it anyway! We end up doing it anyway, so what is the point? And what, what, what is up with his accent!"
"Oooh, he dissed the Bronx," muttered Michelangelo. Raphael steamed and plotted revenge, preferably a slow and painful one.
"We're not even from around there! And then he gets on his bike and goes on crazy solo missions and insane stuff! They are crazy and they're missions, and he does them freaking alone, because it's not a Raph mission if he's not Rambo! Why be a ninja anyway! He makes my head hurt! He is an asshole, I'm sorry, you tried hard, but he turned out an asshole in the end and he's one to stay, even if sometimes he's okay! And, AND! He never uses common sense! I hate it when people have no common sense! WHY?"
At this point in the conversation, Splinter was staring at him dumbly, caught up in the tidal wave of madness.
"And don't start me getted…or something…get me…straighted on self control! It's like the table game thing that…that dumb game Mikey plays on Friday nights online! With the dice, yeah, and the hit stats or something. He's like, he rolls a giant dice and it's like 'GO, Raph! Roll your Will Control Initiative!" He mimed rolling a die the size of his head, "OH, YOU FAIL! EAT ASSHOLE PENALTY FOR MINUS 100!"
At this point, Michelangelo had fallen to the floor with helpless spasms of riotous laughter; Donatello had tried vainly to keep any signs of amusement curbed, but was now cracking up as well, and Raphael was torn between his original amusement and the ever-growing desire to rip someone's head off. The decision had been made for him at the last line, and he took one purposeful step forward before Donatello grabbed his arm.
"Don't," he said, a little breathless after laughing so much, "Come on, he doesn't know what he's saying!"
"I'll say he doesn't!" Michelangelo gasped from his position on the ground, "There is no such thing! Oh, man, but I wish there was! We should hang a die around your neck for decision-making moments! And the asshole penalty? For minus 100? There is no way, no matter how many skill points you have, you could do anything BUT fail with that, in every aspect of your life! Holy crap, Raph, you just reek of failure! I can smell it from here, dude!"
Raphael, full of rage, but inhibited by the lawful presence of Master Splinter, looked for some unfeeling outlet for his anger. He punched the wall with bone-breaking force, which was unfortunate for his hand. "Ow! Stupid wall," he swore, yanking back his hand. Then, a rock fell on his head, loosed from the ceiling by his punch.
"Asshole penalty!" said Michelangelo from on the floor, and Raphael made the decision that it was time for Leonardo to say goodnight.
"And then," his target was saying, like a man speaking blasphemy, "He said I shouldn't listen to you anymore."
His arm was then grabbed by an irate Raphael, who had made it his mission as of that very moment to silence and otherwise suppress the drugged and clearly deranged babblings of his older brother. "Sorry, Master, but Leo ain't gonna be available for questioning until after he stops bein' high," he snarled, anger making his accent stronger. "Don? Explain to him about…you know…the whole dart thing."
Leonardo made a vague shoving motion and ended up pushing a hand in Raphael's face. "Go 'way, Raph…talking to sensei now. Go play with your bike. And stop making the floor melt."
"I pray for a quick recovery, Leo," said Raphael, "Because I really want to quote some of this stuff back to you."
"Hugh," answered Leonardo. It wasn't the name 'Hugh'; actually, it was more of a monosyllabic grunt, as if something had compressed his stomach against his lungs.
It struck him as an odd reply, so Raphael gave him a single confused look. That was really all he had time for, because in the next second Leonardo was braced against his chest vomiting all the contents of his stomach down the front of his shell.
"Oh, yeah," said Michelangelo, in the throes of nostalgia, "I forgot that happens. I mean, in every movie, the drunk chick always pukes over the boyfriend. That makes Leo the drunk chick, and Raph…"
"I," said Raphael, so marinated in outrage that it completely surpassed his ability to express anger properly and every word came out coated in ice, "Am covered in puke, and want to kick the hell out of something. I dare ya to finish that statement, Mikey. Double dog dare you."
Michelangelo did something amazing. He shut up.
"What a monumental assho-" Leonardo began, and then retched all over the floor. And, consequently, Raphael's feet.
Raphael glared at the room in general, daring them to comment. No one did. "Right," he snarled, and frog-marched his dazed, protesting older brother to his room, shoved him on the bed, and tossed a blanket over him. He stood there, glowering, like a giant gargoyle, as Donatello entered the room and injected something into Leonardo's arm. He spouted off another gob of medicbabble, something about how the chemical would be processed much faster with whatever kind of techno-serum he'd just stuck in him. After a long struggle with trying to get the patient to drink, Michelangelo held Leonardo's arms and Raphael gleefully held his legs as Donatello poured crushed sleeping pills mixed with chocolate milk down his throat: 'It won't affect the other drugs,' Don promised. Leo always struggled with help. Always.
"Nutmeg," Michelangelo muttered to himself as he left the room. "I'm making eggnog tomorrow."
"Hey, Raph?" Leonardo said from the bed as the sleeping pills started to kick in, illuminated by the light pouring in from the doorframe.
"What?" asked Raphael, expecting a corny and clichéd remark about how his brother loved him anyway despite his obvious faults. The set up was perfect for it, after all.
"You're a jerk."
Or not. He slammed the door.
"Yeah," said Michelangelo. "You actually kinda are."
"Undoubtedly," said Donatello.
"I know," said Raphael, and punched. From there, everything went downhill.
In the Foot headquarters, the resident gardener for the herbalistic poisoners section of the Foot was sought out and maimed for the failure of his produce's effectivity. On the whole, he figured that missing a hand was better than what happened to the squad responsible for capturing the turtles again. The tea brewed on his table, belladonna and tomato vines simmered in a small pot, and the night was still young.