A/N: This bout of insanity was inspired by Leo and Raph's little discussion in the NT episode "Fallen Angel", when Leo asks, "What is the deal with humans and clothes?" and Raph replies, "You ever seen a human in his skivvies? Trust me, it ain't a pretty sight." Hee hee hee... was I the only one amused by that?
Naked Man Prowls Sewers!
On the list of things that immediately put Raphael into a bad mood, waking up was near the top.
With a grunt that was halfway between a snore and a growl, Raph managed to push himself up into a sitting position on his hammock. He swung slightly for a moment with his feet hanging over the edge and his elbows on his knees, head down, eyes still closed, stubbornly resisting consciousness for as long as possible. At last he yawned, and became frustrated with feeling so sluggish. That meant it really was time to get up. He rubbed the sleep from his face with his forearm, and then blearily looked around for his mask… which was nowhere to be seen.
Raph frowned and grumbled something indecipherable. He could've sworn he'd pulled his mask off and dropped it on the floor right there next to his hammock. Where the heck was it? After a few more minutes of unproductive searching, Raph gave up. He was already wearing his other gear, which sometimes he didn't bother to remove before he went to bed, and so after picking up his sais from their shelf, he left his room.
He was on his way to the kitchen, and happened to be walking in between the couch and the TV, when his groggy mind registered something odd.
Something…white. Reluctantly, he turned his head.
There was a large white rabbit sitting on the couch.
Raph's first half-formed thought was that it was Michelangelo in a bunny costume. Or maybe just an oversized stuffed animal that Michelangelo had dragged home from a carnival or a dumpster or god-knows-where. But before Raph settled on either of those two possibilities, he remembered that someone he knew happened to be a large white rabbit, and that that particular someone had been visiting the lair for the past three or four days.
Raph stopped and stared vacantly in the rabbit's general direction for a minute, almost unwilling to focus his eyes. Something was bothering him about the picture he was seeing. The rabbit was one big white blur, an unnaturally bright, spotless, snowy-white blur in the middle of the earthy, dark colors of the lair.
Too white, Raph decided. His frown worsened. Why too white? Slowly, Raph figured out what was wrong.
"Usagi?" Raph grunted incredulously.
The rabbit looked up, an amiable smile lifting his whiskers.
"Ah, good morning Raphael," Usagi replied.
Raph half-shook his head, as if he still wasn't sure of what he was seeing. He blinked a few times at the rabbit, and a wave of incredulous anger rose to the surface of his mind. "…Are you sittin' on our couch… naked?" Raph demanded.
"Why yes, under the circumstances, I suppose I am," Usagi replied affably, either missing or misinterpreting Raph's tone of voice.
Raph clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. Surprised at this display of aggression, the samurai rabbit wasn't quite sure how to react.
"Grrr…. What the hell makes you think you have the right to do that?" Raph growled ferociously, his accent thickening to the point of unintelligibility. Usagi's mouth narrowed into a concerned frown.
"I… wasn't aware that I was doing anything wrong, Raphael-san," Usagi said carefully, making sure to drop his voice a little at the honorific.
"Well you are! Now get your furry rear end off my couch!"
Usagi got to his feet and stood passively with his hands at his sides, staring solemnly at his challenger. He was confused by Raph's anger and trying his best not to feel offended, but found himself unable to ignore the disgusted sneer on the turtle's unmasked face. Usagi was just about to demand an explanation when Leonardo stepped in from the dojo.
"Raph! Usagi! What's wrong?" Leo demanded, recognizing their squared-off stances as combative.
Raphael broke eye contact with the rabbit to look up at his brother. Something about Leo's appearance seemed a little bit off, but Raph didn't quite feel awake enough yet to figure out what it was. "I just found Mr. fluffy bunny here sitting butt-naked on the couch," Raph announced in an overly-loud voice.
Leo frowned, blinked, and stared hard at Raph. That was when Raph realized how sharply brown Leo's eyes looked. But of course Leo's eyes were brown, they'd always been brown. They just seemed more noticeably brown now, because Leo wasn't wearing his mask.
Mask. Dimly, Raph remembered that he hadn't been able to find his own mask that morning, but his groggy mind wasn't exactly willing to ponder the implications of the coincidence.
Leo glanced at Usagi, and then back at Raph. His frown took on a slightly different slant. "…I… don't really see the problem with that, Raph," Leo stated.
"What?" Raph asked, spreading his hands palms-out for emphasis. "What do you mean you don't see a problem with it? You seriously don't care if people just walk around our house completely nude?"
Leo scowled at his angry brother and folded his arms across his chest. "He's not any more naked than you or I," Leo pointed out.
"Yes, he is," Raph insisted. "Me and you are wearing shells."
Leo rolled his eyes, the effect greatly exaggerated by the absence of his mask. "Yeah, Raph, obviously. And if you hadn't noticed, Usagi is wearing fur."
"I noticed," Raph snarled. "But if you hadn't noticed, he usually wears clothes." He pointed at Usagi without looking at him. "And since he ain't wearing them now, that makes him naked."
"I agree with Raphael," Usagi spoke up, his expression grave. "I am naked. But I still do not see the problem."
Leonardo scowled at Raph. "That's because there shouldn't be a problem," he said, closing his mouth tightly at the end of his statement.
"Are you kidding me?" Raph looked towards the ceiling in exasperation, throwing his hands into the air. "I can't believe this! Are you telling me that as hardcore as you are about honor and old-fashioned morals you don't give two cents about modesty?"
Usagi's nose twitched.
"This has nothing to do with modesty," Leo argued, but Usagi stopped him by placing a hand on his arm.
"Actually, Leonardo-san, in my world it would be considered inappropriate of me to lounge around my friends' home unclothed," the samurai conceded gravely.
Raph glared down at him, somewhat placated but still not satisfied. "So what made you think it was okay to do it here?"
Usagi closed his eyes, ashamed. "Seeing that the four of you do not require clothing, I… I assumed it would be acceptable…"
"Hey dudes!" All three of them turned to look as Michelangelo skateboarded into the living room, interrupting Usagi's awkward explanation. Mikey stepped on the end of his board, flipping it up into his hand. "What's going on?" he asked, a wide smile on his face. Raph scowled at his younger brother, immediately noticing that his big blue eyes seemed even bigger and bluer than usual.
"That's what I'd like to know," Raph spoke up, putting one fist on his hip. "And just what the shell happened to all our masks?"
"They're being washed," Leo informed him.
"What? I wash my own stuff," Raph declared.
Leo narrowed his eyes. "Our washer's broken and so Donny took our laundry over to April's."
"Wonderful," Raph said sarcastically. "Now my mask's gonna smell like those flowery dryer sheets. Just perfect. And it wasn't even dirty!"
"Sounds like somebody got up on the wrong side of the hammock," Mikey teased.
"No, somebody got up and found out that his living room had turned into a nudist colony," Raph grumbled, deftly turning the conversation back to the original argument.
"Nudist colony?" Mikey repeated, a completely blank look on his face. He looked his brothers up and down, and then turned his gaze to Usagi.
"Oh! You mean 'cause Usagi's not wearing clothes?" He grinned wildly, Raph's expression telling him he was right. "Come on Raph, does that seriously bother you?"
"Yes, it does." Raph hunched his shoulders defensively. "And it should bother you too."
"Aw, how come?" Mikey asked brightly. "I mean, he looks fine just like that. It's not like he's indecently exposed or whatever. Actually, his fur's really… nice-looking! Looks really soft and fluffy-ish!" Mikey raised his hand and started moving in Usagi's direction, his smile bigger than ever. "In fact, I kind of want to pet him!"
"You what? No!" Raph admonished, slapping down Mikey's outstretched hand.
"ow!" Mikey suddenly looked like a kicked puppy. "Jeez Raph, what's your deal? Why do you care so much if Usagi's naked or not anyway?"
"I'll say it again," Raph declared. "It's because he usually wears clothes."
"So?" Michelangelo countered, his mouth still running a little ahead of his thought process. "Master Splinter usually wears clothes too, but it doesn't bother you to see him naked, does it?"
Raph made a face. Leo made a slightly less-appalled version of the same face.
Seeing those nearly identical expressions on his brothers' faces made Mikey stop and think for a minute. "Oh, right," he corrected himself sheepishly. "Guess that is a little weird. But not really, you know? I mean, usually there's a logical explanation for sensei not to have clothes on. It's not like he just goes strolling around in the buff for the heck of it."
"And neither should Usagi!" Raph said, an urgent sort of relief in his voice. "That's all I'm saying!"
Mikey frowned thoughtfully and pushed his way past Leo to sit down on the couch, one knuckle pressed to his bottom lip in contemplation. "Hmm," he said, staring intently at a spot on the floor in front of him. "You know, this brings up an interesting question: Why is it that Master Splinter wears clothes while we don't?"
"Ahem. I might be able to answer that," said a raspy and slightly amused voice behind them all. The rabbit and the three turtles spun to face none other than the wise old ninja master himself. Splinter had both paws resting on his walking stick and, to everyone's relief, he was wearing his usual attire.
"Sensei!" Mikey and Leo greeted him in stereo.
Splinter smiled. "I take it the subject of clothing has at last come to a debate?"
"Sort of," Leo explained uncomfortably.
Usagi faced Splinter and bowed low. "I'm afraid that I am the cause of the argument, Master Splinter," he reported. "I have dishonored myself as a guest in your home."
"Nonsense, Miyamoto Usagi," Splinter said lightly, whiskers bristling. "You've done nothing wrong. You did not presume to ask for spare clothing to wear when your own required laundering, and neither did my sons offer you any."
This was new information to Raphael, and suddenly the situation began to make sense. It wasn't like the rabbit's clothes were strewn all over the lair-- they were at April's with all of their masks and pillowcases and towels that had to be washed. Didn't really change the issue, but still would've been nice to know at the outset. Raph shot accusatory glares at Leo and Mikey and received helpless shrugs in response.
"Besides," Splinter continued, with a warmth in his voice that was almost an admiring chuckle, "Your fur is quite lovely. You should never be ashamed to wear it."
"Thank you," Usagi said with aristocratic grace.
"But Master Splinter," Raph said impatiently. "If there's really nothing wrong with strolling around in your fur, why do you wear clothes?"
"Ah yes, that's the question I wanted to answer." Splinter smiled at his sons. "You see, when I first learned to read, I discovered that fictional literature contains many, many examples of rats and mice who have the ability to speak and who live much as humans live. In most cases, those that can speak also wear clothes. I adopted that example for myself, but never thought to enforce it on my sons. I think, too, that in the back of my mind I was always anticipating the inevitable encounter with humans, and hoped that they would be more inclined to listen to me if I was clothed."
"Well, that sounds more than reasonable to me." Leo cocked his head in Raph's direction. "Satisfied, Raph?" he asked with just a hint of superiority.
But Raph was not satisfied. And to make matters worse, he was hungry. He knew that fundamentally, it was a stupid argument, but he certainly wasn't going to back down now that it had made him miss breakfast! "Let me just get this straight. None of you really care who wears clothes and who doesn't? And anybody who comes to visit is free to run around like we do, in nothing but the outer layer mother nature gave 'em?"
Leo frowned, trying to figure out where Raph was heading with this.
But Mikey grinned, leaning back on the couch and folding his hands behind his head. "Sounds good to me," he said cheerfully. "It's not like we can expect guests to follow rules that we don't follow ourselves!"
"Well put, Michelangelo." Splinter nodded proudly at his youngest son. "And I agree with you."
"Fine." Not missing a beat, Raph turned to Leo. "You got your shell cell on you?"
"Yes," Leo answered, a bit startled.
"Can I see it for a minute? I need to make a call."
"uh, sure." Leo handed over the phone. Raph flipped it open, pressed a few buttons, and held it to his ear.
"Hey Case, it's Raph. Yeah, sorry 'bout that. Yeah. Guess so. Hey, what time is it? Yeah we got clocks in the lair, jackass. Just tell me what time it is. Huh. Isn't the game on in like twenty minutes? Think you can make it over here in fifteen then? We'll just do it here. Mikey'll make us some nachos or something. All right man. See you in a few."
Raph snapped the phone closed and passed it back to Leo, who still had a puzzled half-frown on his face. Raph looked around and noticed that he was getting blank looks from the goofball and the rabbit, and an indifferent look from his sensei. But suddenly Splinter's brow furrowed. Perhaps he'd caught the worried vibe from Leonardo.
"So," Michelangelo piped up after a few seconds, dissolving the portentous silence, "…did somebody mention nachos? Do you want the kind with guacamole and bean dip, or the kind with jalapenos and cream cheese and stuff?"
Raph grinned for the first time that morning. "Make 'em with everything, Mikey. I'm starving."
On the list of things that immediately put Donatello into a good mood, spending a peaceful Sunday morning with April was certainly near the top.
He really had Mikey to thank for it, since it had been Michelangelo who had tagged him for laundry duty. It had just so happened that the washer down in the lair was broken and the dryer wasn't doing well either, and the last thing Donatello had wanted to do that morning was play Mr. Fix-it for household appliances.
April's adoring smile as she opened the door to Donny with his laundry bag proved that she suspected his secondary motive for not fixing the washer. In their comfortable, careful, closer-than-friends-but-not-too-close way, the two of them had spent a good three hours eating breakfast and talking together, and April had helped fold the laundry once it was dry.
Now, with a bag full of clean, folded towels and clothes that smelled faintly of flowery dryer sheets, Donny was almost back at the lair. He stopped just outside the hidden door, frowning. He thought he heard something—no, he definitely heard something—coming from the lair. And for the sound to make it through the brick walls, it would have to be a pretty loud something, whatever it was.
Donny opened the door, and blinked in confusion as a very pale peach-colored blur sprinted out of the lair and down the tunnel. Donny turned his head, his mouth falling open in shock as he realized that there was only one thing that sprinting blur could be:
Casey Jones, butt-naked.
"Whooo! Yeah! We're goin' streakin'!" Casey screamed exuberantly, disappearing around the corner of an intersection.
Raph stuck his head out the door. "Aw, crap," he muttered. "I was just kidding." He took a gulp from the beer can that was in his hand, and turned to Donny, who was literally dumbstruck by what had just happened. "Hey," Raph grunted at his brother. "Took you long enough."
Donny finally found his voice. "Shouldn't we… um, shouldn't we go get him?" he asked doubtfully.
"Who, Casey? Nah. He's fine." Raph was already retreating into the lair. "He'll come back. You gonna stand around with the door open?"
Don took a long look down the tunnel in the direction that Casey had gone, and then followed Raph inside and closed the door. Once safely in the lair, where nothing seemed out of the ordinary, a very concerned expression appeared on Donny's face. "Okay…" he said, taking a deep breath. "What in the world is going on?"
"I'll tell you what's going on," Leonardo said tersely, appearing from the kitchen with his arms crossed. "Raph brought Casey down here and got him drunk and convinced him to take his clothes off."
"What?" Don whirled to face Raph.
Raph shrugged. "If Leo's friends can run around naked, so can mine," he said, with supreme indifference.
"What are you talking about?" Donny asked, somewhat frantically.
Mikey looked up from the couch. "Yeah Raph, what are you talking about?" he asked, grinning. "Leo doesn't have 'friends'! He is way too boring for that!"
"I still don't understand why Casey's out there right now streaking through the sewers," Donny said, making it clear that he wasn't in the mood for Mikey's jokes.
"Oh, I can explain that," Michelangelo said brightly. "Raph said something about how Casey should've gone to college so he could've gone to all those parties where people run around naked, and Casey said he didn't need to go to college to do that, so Raph dared him to do it right here."
"…I see…," Donny said uneasily, looking up at Leo for direction.
Leo suddenly looked like he had an incredibly severe headache. "…We should probably go find him," he said, his voice low.
"And miss the rest of the game?" Raph crunched the now-empty beer can he was holding and tossed it into the trashcan across the room, and then settled onto the couch. "No way."
Usagi stepped out of the kitchen beside Leo and clasped a hand to his shoulder. "I will help you look for him," the samurai offered solemnly, and then his dark eyes met Donny's. "But first, I would like to get dressed."
Obligingly, Donny loosened the drawstring on the laundry bag.
"I want my mask back, while you're at it," Raph grumbled. Don refused to be riled and wordlessly handed out Usagi's clothes and his brothers' masks. "And," Raph continued, tying his mask around his head, "make sure you fix that washer sometime this year, all right?"
Don looked at Leo again, almost seeking permission to chastise Raph. The scowl on Leo's face made it clear that he was done playing big brother in this situation, and Donny was more than welcome to take his turn. With a sigh, Donny took up a strategic position between Raph and the TV.
"I'd rather fix you," Don said good-naturedly.
"Move," Raph ordered, annoyed.
"No. What were you thinking, encouraging Casey to get hammered down here? He's destructive enough when he's sober."
"I was just trying to prove a point, ok? Now you gonna get outta my face or what?" Not waiting for Donny to answer, Raph turned to Mikey. "Go get me another beer."
"Sure thing, honey, as soon as daddy's done with his lecture. Nyeh-heh!" Mikey laughed, sticking out his tongue.
"Thanks Mike," Donny said, smiling. "Now, about Casey--"
Suddenly someone was pounding on the door.
"Guys! Hey! Guys-- I don't remember how to open this thing!" declared the muffled and slightly slurred voice of Casey Jones through the wall.
"See? He came back," Raph said. "Didn't cause any trouble."
"Guys! I'm kinda in trouble out here!" Casey's voice pleaded.
"Shell," Leo said. He moved quickly to the door and opened it, keeping his face perfectly expressionless as the still-completely-naked Casey rushed through into the living room. The door closed again.
"Whoo!" Casey said, leaning over with this hands on his knees. "Kinda dizzy. Had to run—had t'outrun 'em! Got away though! Phewf!"
"Away from whom?" Donny asked.
"Cops! An' a… an' a reporter! Had a camera! Hah hah ha! Woah—oh man, gotta sit down." Casey stumbled over to the couch and plopped down next to Raph. Once Casey's naked rear end was actually touching the furniture, the corner of Leo's mouth turned down automatically. However, the corner of Raph's mouth, his eyes on Leo, automatically turned up.
"Did they follow you back here?" Don demanded, worried.
"Huh? Oh, uh, I don't think so. I ran pretty fast. I went streaking you know!"
"We know," Leo assured him icily. Casey threw his head back, howling with laughter.
"Guys, guys—it was awesome! You missed out on all the fun! Next time, next time—you gotta come with me! You gotta come with me! We'll go streaking! Whoo-hooo! What's yer bunny-friend's name again? Buster or somethin'? He can come too!"
"…I'll pass," Usagi said, now completely clothed.
"His name's Usagi, and he's not anyone's 'bunny friend', whatever that means," Leo said testily.
Mikey burst into giggles. "Bunny friend!" he repeated, as if it was funniest thing he'd ever heard. "Bunny-friend!"
Donny's shell cell rang, and he welcomed the distraction of answering it. "Oh hi April. Yes, I made it home…no, um, nothing unusual that I saw. Oh really—on the TV, you say? There's a naked maniac running around in the sewers?" Donny laughed, a little nervously. "Wow. Did they, uh, do they have a picture of him?"
The lair had become so utterly silent that everyone was able to hear April through the phone. "They haven't shown one yet," she informed them. "But they say they're going to. They got just one picture of him before he ran off—okay, they're showing the picture now."
Everyone in the lair was holding their breath.
April's laugh a moment later, usually such an appreciated sound, put no one at ease. "Oh my gosh," she said. "That almost looks like Casey."
An excruciating silence emanated from Don's shell cell.
"No--" said April's voice at last. "No. Don't tell me… he…"
Donny scrunched his eyes closed and slowly moved the cell half an arm's length away from his head, anticipating the explosion.
"WHERE IS HE?" April screamed through the phone.
"Uh oh," Casey muttered glumly.
"Is he there right now? In the lair?" April demanded. "Do NOT lie to me, Donny."
Donny swallowed. "Yes," he admitted.
"Ugh! I'm coming down there right now to kill him," she declared. "So don't you dare let him leave. He is dead, do you hear me, dead!"
"April!" Mikey exclaimed, rushing forward to grab the shell cell. "April, hang on—you really don't want to come over here today!"
"Michelangelo, so help me--"
"Naw, I'm serious! It's Leo and Raph—they've got this weird thing going on! They're making all our friends who visit the lair take their clothes off!"
"What? Are you saying Leo and Raph put Casey up to that?" April sounded incredibly skeptical.
"Well, it was mostly Ra- ow!" an exceptionally well-aimed TV remote had just bounced off Mikey's skull. "Anyway, April, I'm telling you, do not come down here. Okay? Here's Donny back. Love ya babe!" Mikey handed the cell back to his brother, smiling brilliantly.
Donny couldn't think of anything to say. Numbly, he held the shell cell to his ear.
"…Is Mikey on drugs?" April asked after an awkward moment.
Donny laughed, relieved. "You aren't the first person to ask that question, I'm afraid. But no, I don't think so. That was just his way to get Casey out of trouble. Temporarily, anyway."
Then it was April's turn to laugh. "I guess it worked. Now I have to ask… what are you guys doing down there? Did Leo and Raph really coerce Casey into streaking through the sewers?"
"…I'm really not sure how it all started, but, apparently the entire city has seen the unfortunate result."
"Ugh, that man… ugh! At least he didn't get arrested," April muttered. "But still, can you believe he did that? Is he ever going to grow up? They put his picture on television- and you know it's gonna be the headline of the newspaper tomorrow: Naked Man Prowls Sewers!"
Donny smiled. "Things just get weirder and weirder down here."
"Tell me about it." She sighed. "Well, I guess I'll let you go. Sounds like you probably have your hands full, being the only sane one and all."
"Yup. I still have to fix that washer, too."
"…or, you could just leave it broken," April suggested. Donny could hear her smile through the phone. "…It was really nice to see you this morning," she added sincerely.
Blushing, Donny looked up to see that Michelangelo, quite cleverly, had stuck the kitchen broom through his belt to serve as a bo and was showering kisses upon a particular month of the calendar on the wall.
Donny promptly turned his back. "It was nice to see you too, April," he said softly. "Okay, I will. See you later. Take care." He listened to the line go dead, and then flipped his shell cell closed and tucked it away. And, then, slowly, he clenched his fists. "…Miiiiikeeeey," he said, not turning around.
"Eeep!" with a flutter of calendar pages and the clatter of a broom dropped to the ground, Mikey sprinted for his room.
"Hey!" Raph hollered after him. "What about that beer?"
"Party's over," Leonardo decided, folding his arms. "Casey, put your clothes back on."
"Aww, Leo," Casey mumbled teasingly. "Don't me and Raph even get to cuddle for a while?"
Leo stared at him blankly for a minute, and then the side of his mouth twitched. "Actually, that sounds like a great idea. Cuddle all you want."
Raph suddenly sat up straighter. "What?"
But it was too late. Donny was on his way to hunt down Mikey, and Leo was already heading for the dojo with a puzzled-looking Usagi in tow.
"C'mere, Raphie," Casey said drunkenly, wrapping an arm around Raph's shoulders.
"Hey, back off-- you got that whole side of the couch--" Raph protested, shoving Casey's arm away.
"You startin' a fight?" Casey slurred, sounding hopeful. "Aww. You wanna wrestle or somethin'?"
"No!" Raph insisted, dodging out of a headlock. "Not til you put your freaking clothes back on!"
"But I thought we were goin' streaking," Casey said, genuinely confused.
"No more streaking," Raph said adamantly. "And no more sittin' around naked! Put your pants on at least, jeez! Frickin' nasty human beings…"
"Hey now, none of that… don't be a racist…"
"How 'bout you don't be a nudist!"
"Who, me? I ain't no nudist. This was your idea!" Casey snarled, his blue eyes narrowing dangerously.
"Yeah, well now my idea is for you to get dressed. So why don't you do it already!"
"I do what I want!" Casey roared. "You don't boss me around!"
"heh!" Raph snickered. "I bossed your pants off, case you forgot."
The fight was on. It would have been exactly the fight that Raph had been looking for since the moment he first woke up, except of course for the fact that his opponent really, really should have been wearing clothes. Eventually, after being slammed repeatedly against the ground and sustaining one or two bruised ribs, Casey came to his senses and put his shorts and his pants back on, and shortly thereafter, he collapsed happily on the couch, snoring blissfully away.
Raph, feeling somewhat defiled, but also a whole lot more cheerful, stayed up to watch the last ten minutes of the game and then stretched out in Mikey's old lawn chair for a victorious nap.
And the next day, when April's prediction about the newspaper headline came true, Mikey cut out the article and saved it. Nobody seemed ready to accept that such a ridiculous incident had actually occurred, but Mikey knew that someday it would make a really funny story.
A/N: ...yup, I've got no excuses for this one. I nearly died laughing at what happened to Casey and Raph in the FF episode "The Journal"... if you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Grin...