aTitle: That Sere and Dying Place

Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)

Rating: PG

Word Count (fic portion): 1076

Notes: Done for LJ's ff100 challenge. Prompt # 51: Water.

Summary: Freakin' villains just aren't happy with good old fashioned beatings as forms of torture anymore.

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Mikey could remember a time when he had been a young turtle tot of about seven. Actually, he could remember a lot of times, but one in particular was popping up in the forefront of his mind and given the current circumstances, he could understand why.

He and Donnie had been playing in the ancient bathtub that Master Splinter had scrounged up in the junkyard and had managed to drag back to the lair. Having hot baths as opposed to cold ones in the (relatively) clean stream near the lair's park entrance, made becoming clean a more enjoyable experience. Individual baths were a no-go; the hot water heater wouldn't last for four refillings plus a brief shower for Splinter, no matter what magic Donnie tried to work with it, and Raph flat out refused to share the tub with Mikey (who was always covered in something gooey from the kitchens) or Donnie (who was always covered in something gooey from his explorations in the junk Splinter brought home from the dump). Leo had agreed with him, and so Donnie and Mikey were natural bath buddies. Splinter always kept the water level low, parental concern over drowning taking precedence over pleas for more so they could go swimming in hot water.

The first time they insisted they were old enough to wash themselves without a babysitter, Donnie had been able to fulfill an urge he'd had ever since he'd first seen the tub filling up. He let the water run as long as he could, and Mikey had clapped in amazement as the few elderly bath toys they possessed floated higher and higher. When it was filled to the brim, they looked at each other, climbed on to the bath ledge, and canon-balled in.

In the bowels of the government facility where he was being kept as a 'guest' of special agent Bishop, Mikey smiled dreamily over the memory. So much water. It had flowed over the lip of the tub, splashed up against the walls, soaking their towels and had made Splinter yell and lecture for two full hours while they mopped the entire mess up. At the time, he and Donnie had sworn never to do it again. At the moment, he was wishing for a live re-enactment.

He tugged half-heartedly at the chains binding him to the wall of sheet metal behind him. The cuffs around his wrists bit into his skin; his bruises protested the movement, and he went limp again. His throat was hot, dry; he'd practically lost the ability to produce saliva. Mikey pictured the overflowing bathtub again and silently mourned the loss of all that wasted water.

His head ached from the heat and the brightness of the lights along the ceiling, but that didn't stop him from lifting his head when the door across the small cell room opened. Bishop stood in the doorway, arms folded behind his back, a cruel smile curving his lips. From behind dark glasses, Mikey thought he could see a glint, a gleam like the flashes of light cartoon glasses always seemed to reflect.

"It's been just over two days, Michaelangelo," Bishop said. "I'm sure you must thirsty. Hungry too, I imagine. I can get you food, water. Wouldn't you like that?"

His voice was deceptively smooth, calm. Mikey would have rolled his eyes, but his head ached too much, and so he settled for sending out his best death glare. It wasn't on par with Raph's of course, but it was the best he could manage at the moment.

Bishop chuckled. "Oh, come now. Really, Michaelangelo, this is unnecessary. I can find out the information I need by myself eventually, but it would be so much easier – and faster – if you'd just tell me what I want."

Mikey wished the jerk would just stop saying his name. Michaelangelo, rolling each letter off his tongue – his still-capable-of-producing-saliva-tongue, the bastard – as though it were a particularly tasty morsel of food. It creeped him out. His hands were chained, and at an angle not particularly conducive to give Bishop the finger, so he resorted to sticking out his tongue. His lips cracked and fresh blood seeped through the dry leathery skin around his mouth, but it was worth it to see the vapid smile disappear from the agent's face.

Bishop nodded once, sharply. "Very well. I'll leave you to think about it a bit longer." He gazed upwards at the hot lights shining down on Mikey's head. "I'm certain eventually you'll tell me what I need to know. Whether you're aware of it or not."

His tongue was thick in his mouth and required a bit of effort to settle it back inside behind his teeth where it belonged. It kept getting stuck to his teeth, all dry and sticky. Mikey ignored Bishop as he left, dreaming instead of eternal water fountains and endless rows of Evian water bottles. Olympic-sized swimming pools. Green, snake-like garden hoses with their spigots permanently set on the 'on' position. Ten-foot ocean waves. He smiled again despite the pain it caused; in that last daydream, Bishop made an appearance, flailing in the cool green-blue water as Jaws came at him from behind. He highly doubted a shark would win against the biologically enhanced human, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Later when his brothers rescued him, as he'd known they eventually would, Raphael grabbed a rusty metal pail in the hallway and found water from who knows where. The taste was brackish, warm, bits of rusty metal flaking off the bucket and giving him an aftertaste of copper, but it was still the best thing he'd tasted since putting chocolate chips on Hawaiian pizza. It took the edge off, the little his brother allowed him to drink at a time, before they started their move out of the base; away from the heat and the sense of a long, lingering death he knew he was lucky to escape. His legs were rubbery and limp; cooked spaghetti strands held together with kneepads and sheer grit; he wondered briefly if maybe his brothers would be kind enough to throw him in the lake on their way home. Just for a quick dip.

Probably not. That was okay. He'd have to remember to ask Donnie to fill the tub to the brim for him when they got home instead.

End

...yeah. points above This is the result of me reading the sentence that makes up the title and getting an instant fic-bunny attack on my ankles. Feedback makes me both giddy and inspired.