Author's Notes: I know there are a few things out there like this, including the marvelous one currently coming from Donny's Boy, but I had a couple of these written and thought I'd post them together. This first one was written as a Christmas gift for the lovely kytyngurl2.


It was becoming hard for Mike to remember a time when Raph and Leo had been part of the family.

It was strange to see Raph up and moving and making cereal, and strange that it was strange. He was standing at the counter, pouring milk into a bowl and either unaware of his surroundings or pointedly ignoring Mike. Michelangelo could hear the cereal crackle as the milk hit it, the clink as the spoon shifted under the new weight, the glug of the milk leaving the jug…sounds of a living Raph getting breakfast. It wasn't supposed to be this rare, this cherished.

The air in Mike's lungs locked itself in, but his heart might have made enough noise for it as well. This was nice, seeing Raph making cereal—moving, alive, proof of at least one brother still in existence. Leo hadn't given even that for months now. Raph rarely gave more.

For all the time he spent with just Splinter and Don, he thought he would get used to it. There were times when Raph didn't cross his mind, but he always missed him keenly. Seeing him like this made him want to speak out, to take his attention by the horns and wrest a voice from him, proving further that Raph was alive.

Raph turned, and Mike ducked out of the kitchen.