A/N Lol. There are no excuses for this. Only too much cake.

Rats Need Lovin' Too

It was just…wrong.

It was wrong on so many levels that the turtles had fallen into a complete silence, the four brothers seated in the living room, facing each other. Facing the kitchen. Facing the front door. Facing anywhere but there. They had been ordered to turn off the heavy metal music they had had playing loudly in the background. Now all they could do was wait…and try not to listen.

Eventually Michelangelo cleared his throat, eyes flicking up towards his father's door and then down again instantly. "Ahh, do we know how long they are going to be in there?" he asked, sounding ill. Donatello coughed uncomfortably and Raphael rolled his eyes. Leonardo just looked disturbed.

"Cause you know," Mike continued. "It's been a few hours, and no one has eaten yet. They might be hungry or…err…thirsty."

"Sweat'll do that to ya'," Raph grunted, breaking the unspoken agreement that no one was EVER going to bring up what was happening in their father's room right now. His brothers reacted in a similar fashion. Donatello made a gagging sound, Mike closed plugged his ears and started singing manically to himself, and Leonardo just looked even more disturbed.

"Raph, did you have to bring it up?" Leonardo sighed, rubbing his face wearily. "We don't even know exactly what's going on in there. It could be perfectly innocent--" His words were cut off by a particularly loud grunt, followed by giggling from their sensei's room. Raphael's eyes widened and then he took a very long chug on his beer.

"Sure, Fearless. Innocent."

"We don't know for certain…" Donatello tried to back up Leonardo, not for his brother's sake but for his own. "Those noises could mean a lot of things."

Something thumped. Then thumped again. Mike turned pale.

"I can't do this," he whimpered. "Leo, I have to go. Now, I have to go. This, this is wrong and I won't be able to scrape the images in by brain out for the rest of my life and I need to GO, dude!"

"We were ordered to remain here and protect the lair," Leonardo said through gritted teeth, but his eyes had that crazy look they got when even he was at his limit.

"Then at least the music…"

"Do you really want father to come out here a second time to tell us to turn it down?" Leo replied, making them all grimace at the memory. At least he had been wearing a robe, if not his normal clothing. In the middle of the day. With his door shut. With his companion still inside. As one the turtles shuddered.

"I think that we should maybe talk, you know?" Don suggested. "Take our minds off it." Another giggle in the background, followed by the deeper laughter of their sensei.

"Yes! Yes, talking!" Mike agreed instantly. "Loud verbose talking. Raph and Leo can yell at each other, really loudly."

"They're good at yelling," Don nodded emphatically. "So, why don't you two fight. Now. Please."

Leonardo and Raphael shared a look. They had been forbidden earlier to fight, after a particularly bad blowout involving Raph wanting to leave the lair and Leo not letting him. It was the second time that father had come out of his room, and his anger had cowed even the hotheaded turtle.

"Father says we cannot raise our voices to each other," Leonardo said flatly, closing his eyes and flinching at another loud thump. "We must talk about our feelings in a calm constructive manner, such as 'I feel' statements."

"Well, do that, then." Mike was desperate. "Anything!"

"Okay, I feel..." Raphael's eyes were narrowed as he glared balefully at Leonardo. The eldest turtle groaned.

"Raph…" he started wearily, but he was interrupted by Donatello shushing him.

"I feel," Raphael continued. "Like I'm going to hurl."

"That is not my fault, Raph!" Leo tried but this time Mike shushed him.

"I feel like if I don't leave this lair soon, I'm going to hurl all over my wonderful big brother who won't let me leave."

"And how does that make you feel, Raph?" Don pushed.

"It makes me feel angry, Donnie. Like Fearless here is going to get his face caved in." He cracked his knuckles deliberately. Leonardo glared back at Raphael.

"Good, it's working!" Mike said happily to Don. "Now Leo, how does that make you feel?"

"It makes me feel like informing Raph that none of this is my fault."

"No? And who introduced them, Leo? Who brought her down here to meet him? Who suggested that they get to know each other better!" Raph had half risen from his chair, and for once Leo shrank back, although not necessarily from his brother. Maybe more from himself.

"She seemed nice," Leo whispered lamely, closing his eyes tightly at another grunt, this time followed by a slapping sound. "Oh god…"

"That is not a nice lady," Raphael spat. "That is…is…is WRONG!"

"I'm sorry." Leonardo whimpering was more than they could handle, and Raphael backed down, flopping in his seat with his hands over his ears.

"Splinter that was incredible!" a female voice cooed in the background, and Mike screamed, tearing at his ears with his fingers.

"Make it stop make it stop make it stop," he begged, tears in his eyes. Raph's eyes widened again, then he downed the second half of his beer.




"Mother of…" Don breathed, then jerked as the front door slammed open. April's red head burst in, her face scared.

"Guys! We have a problem! In the sewers, there's something that's got Casey cornered. He's out of its reach, but not for long--" They were already out the door, past her and sprinting down the sewer tunnels before her sentence was through.

"Huh," April said. "Quick reaction time."

Splinter's door opened and the rat stepped through, stretching. "Ahh, that was a good workout," he murmured happily, then he noticed April. "Ahh child, would you be so good as to make me some tea? I'm growing weary. I fear I am not the rat that I once was."

April nodded, slightly confused, and Splinter disappeared back inside of his room. It took forty minutes for the turtles to rescue Casey, get some takeout, and get back to the lair. Long enough they figured. When they returned, they found April on the couch, knees to her chest, rocking wildly. Her eyes were huge as she looked at them in horror.

"Babe, you okay?" Casey asked worriedly. The turtles all groaned, shifting uncomfortably.

"He said…the television…too loud…" Then she shuddered and buried her face in her knees. Donatello wrapped a comforting arm around her shoulders and led her from the lair, the four turtles deciding that it was necessary for them all to escort her home when she was in this state. Casey however paused in the living room and listened. A huge smile grew on his face, and then he laughed. Hey, he figured. Even rats needed lovin' too.

"Did it work?" she asked, laughing as she once more slapped a piece of leather strap against her palm. The elderly rat poked his nose outside of his room. Silence. Peace and glorious silence.

"Yes, my dear. It worked perfectly."

"Good," she smiled, lightly squeezing Splinter's paw with her own arthritic fingers. "Now can you show me that third kata one more time?"

"Only if you call me incredible again."

"Splinter! That was almost dirty," she chuckled. A look, young and mischievous touched the rat's face as he brushed back a stray piece of white hair from her eyes. She blushed.

Splinter grinned like Michelangelo and led her through the kata.