Title: What You Never Had, 1/1

Author: Stormy1x2 (traveling_storm)

Warnings: Possible spoilers for the FF series

Words: 1700ish

Notes: Sequel to 'Follow the Leader.' I re-read my Dark Turtles fic and thought 'wow, I never did say what it was like for them to go back to a proper lair' and how they're getting on. So here's a glimpse. Prompt #59: Food.

Summary: Dark Mike is still note quite certain it's okay for him to be happy. Or alive, for that matter

What You Never Had

Dark Mike was still in awe over the fact that he had his own room. From the very moment he had emerged from the tube that he'd been created in, he had never had anything of his own, save for the weapons Darius had thrown at him with orders to 'learn to use them or else.' Meanie had the mattress he'd found and a battered old radio, and the Crazy One had been given shiny things like tubes and beakers. Darius had wanted to know just how like the Originals they were.

Even Leader had been given a television. He'd been told to watch the news for things that might prove of use to Darius. Sometimes he let Mike watch with him. Dark Mike had always secretly wanted to watch cartoons and sitcoms and other things he'd heard of or saw when they were allowed out of the lair. The time after their first battle with their Originals had been the first time he'd ever seen a music video on TV; that alone was worth the punishment they got later for losing their advantage – and ultimately their hostages.

But now, he had a room, and a bed with the blue blanket he'd stolen from the home of the Originals, and he had a television all to himself. It had been a week, and he kept admiring it, in all its shiny glory. He hadn't turned it on yet, though. He wanted to, but something kept him from doing it. He could see the remote, also nice and shiny with all its tempting buttons just crying out, 'Press me!' but he didn't touch it. He would. One day. Just not yet.

He could hear Leader in the finished and fully stocked kitchen. Dark Mike was not allowed in there without Leader's presence. He had crept in there late that first night, and had sat in front of the fridge, just staring at the magnificent bounty contained within. Leader had caught him gnawing on a piece of raw meat, still frozen, and had told him to cook it. Eager to obey, Mike had thrown the meat onto the new stove and pushed the button that turned it on.

…..Having never cooked before in his life – heck, having never been in a proper kitchen before (the grumpy robot at the home of the Originals had barred him and Leader from entering what he considered his territory), he really didn't think it was his fault for not knowing one needed a pan on which to cook the meat. He also didn't know how to adjust the flames to keep them from shooting up three feet high.

He also learned that smothering three foot flames with a twelve-inch, dry dishtowel did not, in fact, aid the situation. It did, however, make it worse. Leader had stormed in, swearing and snarling and Mike had retreated under the kitchen table, curled into a ball to await his punishment.

He had been astonished when his 'punishment' turned out to be a smack on the back of his head and an order to 'sit down' while the cleaning bot (another Cody present) fixed his attempts. He had been even more astonished when Leader took out a pan and a fresh piece of meat and cooked it for him. He had dumped it on a plastic plate (Cody had indeed fully stocked the kitchen, and it had been unanimously decided that plastic was more durable and liable to last much longer than ceramic or glass), shoved it at him, and then growled he was going to bed and that if Mike even thought about setting a claw into the cooking area – even going so far as to scratch his talons across the tiled floor, scoring the boundary where Mike could not cross – he would indeed regret it.

The steak had been delicious. Mike had never had anything so good before.

So he was kinda wondering when it was going to end. Mike shook his head at the memory of the First Meal – indeed, such a memorable occasion as to warrant capital letters in his head - and regarded his television set warily.

"You ever gonna turn the damn thing on?"

Dark Mike looked over his shoulder and let his tongue dangle out as he shook his head. "Not yet."

"You're an idiot." Leader stomped into his room and grabbed the remote. Mike watched, horrified, as he pressed the power button. The large screen flipped on and sound, people talking, began to fill the room. Mike screeched and launched himself at Leader, snatching the remote back and frantically pressing the buttons. The picture changed – a strange image of a large gray rabbit chewing noisily on a carrot filled the screen, and then the volume shot up as he obviously hit the wrong thing. "WHAT'S UP DOC?" screamed the rabbit, and Dark Mike whimpered, finally raising his arm to hurl the remote at the screen. Anything to shut the damn thing up.

Then it went black. Dark Leo was standing next to the television, pressing the power button on it, and giving him a wary look. "What the hell is your problem?"

Mike hissed at him – and then caught himself. His eyes filled with fear – he'd attacked his Leader. He'd threatened Leader! He couldn't help the familiar fear that started to rip through him and he dropped the remote, crouching on the ground, trying to make himself look small.

He heard Leader sigh. "Get up, idiot." He scrambled to obey, but couldn't stop himself from hunching over slightly – a leftover habit from the days of when he'd learned to make a smaller target of himself to avoid thrown projectiles (Crazy One) or to avoid heavy swings with blunt objects (Meanie). Leader hadn't hit him in a long time, since the days he'd come back the first time from living with the Originals, but it was really hard to stop his body from doing what had become automatic actions. "I'm not going to hit you."

"I know," Mike said quickly, shooting him a look. He did know. He did. "I just.... I don't want it on."

Leader stared at him, and then at the remote at Mike's feet. He looked back at Mike. "Turn it on."

Dark Mike shook his head.

"You're allowed."

"I know."

Leader was looking confused. Dark Mike wished he knew how to say what he wanted to explain, but he didn't quite understand himself. He just knew he couldn't do it yet. It would hurt. "What will hurt?"

Dark Mike blinked in surprise. He'd forgotten that sometimes his words weren't always in his head – he had to watch that. "What?"

"What will hurt?" Leader gestured at the TV. "It's a television. What's going through whatever it is between your ears that you're passing off as a brain?"

Mike stuck out his tongue, and didn't answer. He picked the remote off the floor and set it down on the table carefully, glad he hadn't actually broken either it or the big, shiny screen.

Leader watched him silently – and then his eyes widened. "You idiot."

That was unnecessary. Mike gave him a hurt look. "You call me that all the time," he complained.

"And I'm gonna keep calling you one until you prove to me otherwise," Leader snapped. "It won't hurt later. You know why?"

Mike shook his head, looking at his Leader curiously.

"Because you're allowed." Leader's words were gruff as always, but his eyes... his eyes. Mike watched, shocked, as Leader gave him a gentle look – well, gentle for him at any rate. Probably scare the daylights out of regular people, but Mike saw behind the scowl in a second. "No one's gonna take it away. This place, all of it, all of this – it's ours. And even if it gets broken, or stolen, or the place blows up – we can get another one." He reached into his belt and pulled out the laminated ID card they both carried now, that all citizens of earth carried showing they had a right to live there. To live. Mike automatically reached for his own card, fingering the plastic edge sticking out of his belt pocket. "They're gone. We're here. We have a right to this, like anyone else." Leader shoved the card back in his belt, and gave him a fierce look. "No one can take this away, okay? I wouldn't let them."

Dark Mike blinked, and blinked a second time. "You wouldn't?"

Leader rolled his eyes and growled. He stomped over and picked up the remote again, pushing it into Mike's hands, closing Mike's talons over it. "You are capable of kicking the ass of anyone who tries," he said grimly. "So am I. So watch the damn thing and stop being an even bigger idiot than you already are."

Mike watched Leader stomp back out of the room, slamming the door behind him. He looked down at the remote. The buttons twinkled at him in the light. He looked up, and stared at his reflection in the big screen. He pushed the button.

The rabbit was back. The loud rabbit. Dark Mike examined the remote, slowly this time, and found the volume. He turned it to a more comfortable level, and plopped himself on the floor, suddenly interested in the bald human in the brown and red clothes carrying a big gun, obviously hunting the rabbit. Well, Leader had told him to watch it, didn't he?

And Mike always followed his leader's orders.


I love Dark Mike. And Dark Leo. DLeo obviously likes being Big Brother, but he's still learning. :D