Summary: Leonardo is somewhat spoilt in his wish for entertainment when a run-in with the Purple Dragons leaves him temporarily incapacitated. Family schmoop.
A/N: Uh, this has been sitting on my harddrive for about three years heh. Figured it was high time to finish it!
Disclaimer: All I know is that I … don't own any of it.
Leo knows he's pouting. And sulking. And that such behaviour is probably not really all that becoming, especially when emanating from a typically competent individual who is often placed in charge of looking after his entire family. He's entirely capable of being a mature, dependable leader, and mature, dependable leaders most certainly do not pout.
But truth be told, he's a little beyond caring.
Mikey would be pouting, in his position. Mikey would be moaning and groaning and complaining and pleading, and he'd be downright annoying. Raph would curse and threaten, and try his damndest to escape up to the surface, Splinter's inevitable wrath be damned. Don would… Well, it's hard to tell with Don. He wouldn't be happy, though. He'd probably be planning a secret, sneaky escape back into his lab.
Leo, however, is stuck on the couch; a prisoner without his confiscated crutches, and trapped by his father's less-than-careful vigil. Splinter's attention is clearly divided. He's monitoring his sulking eldest, yes, but is also still watching his favourite soap opera. Regrettably, by extension, so too is Leonardo.
He glares down at his bandaged and plaster-casted leg, and the crutches that lean against Splinter's chair. Out of bounds. It's endlessly frustrating being so dependant, not to mention confined.
He's quickly finding out that his family has limited sympathy for him.
Raph just laughed in his face when approached with the idea of helping him sneak around their father. Probably as Raph has often been refused help during similar periods of injury or groundings, and was enjoying reciprocation to an unhealthy degree. Mikey, unfortunately, has turned into a mother hen, and was refusing to let Leo do anything by himself. A recent, simple request for help to the bathroom very nearly had embarrassing consequences, and Leo is now determined to reframe from asking his youngest brother for anything in the future. Splinter, while admittedly working with the best of intentions, has outright banned any form of training or exercise for the moment, and insists that he make any significant journey (more than two or three steps) under the supervision of a brother. Usually, he would have turned to Don in these circumstances; wonderful, brilliant, loyal Don, but of course Donatello has also managed to surprise him by more or less adopting Splinter's position. Leo chalks this up to the doctor in his brother, and a determination to help the leg heal quickly and efficiently.
But nonetheless, it's frustrating.
Just as he's contemplating an attempt to discreetly tug out the power cord, the soap rolls to a blessed end, and his father stretches, standing.
"There, that was not so terrible, I suspect," Splinter declares, not inviting an opinion either way. "I will relinquish the remote to you now, however. Is there a program you would like to watch?"
"No," he mutters. At Splinter's sharp look, he remembers himself, sitting up straight. "No thank you, Sensei," he amends quickly.
Television will just get in the way of his moping, after all.
Splinter raises a bushy brow at him, but nods, masking what could almost have passed for a smirk.
"Very well. I will return to my chamber for a time. Would you like to move elsewhere, or are you content here?"
"Here will do, Sensei," he says glumly, trying his hardest to instil each word with utter misery.
"As you wish. Call if you are in need of something, my son." He looks sternly down at him. "I am quite serious. If I return and discover you have injured yourself further, trying to move about unaided, I will happily extend your period of confinement."
Leo finds himself biting back a Raph-like outburst. He nods, guilty. "Hai, Sensei."
Splinter smiles now, hand falling affectionately to his shoulder as he passes. "Thank you for your patience, Leonardo. I understand that the situation is trying, but I think you will thank me in the long run."
Leo doubts it.
He sighs heavily, listening to his father as he makes his slow and steady way back to his chamber. The lair is far too quiet. Raphael tagged along with Donatello earlier on a supply run; no doubt keen to pick up some parts for his treasured bike. They've been spending a lot of time together lately, and Leo is hoping that Don hasn't caved in to his brother's plea for a 'huge, fast, rocketship style' engine that he 'needs' for said bike.
And Mikey is… He frowns. Mikey had been milling around earlier, muttering about Splinter's eternal soap opera and how it was cutting into his gaming time. No doubt the effort involved in unplugging the console and moving it to one of the other countless televisions Don had acquired over the years would just be monumental.
But that was all over an hour ago. Leo grimaces, thinking back through all the love triangles and mysterious deaths and sex crazed children. At least an hour.
Almost on cue, his Shell Cell begins to trill, loudly and incessantly from its place by his side. He glares at it, snatching the thing up and flipping it open to cut out the noise.
A breathless, quietly panicked sort of exhalation escapes the speakers the moment he opens it, and he feels his chest tighten.
"Mikey," he blurts, sitting bolt upright, stricken. "Mikey, is that you?"
"Y-yeah, Leo, I…"
"Mikey, what's the matter?" he demands. All woe for his own plight is disintegrating rapidly into fear. His little brother sounds like he's seen a ghost, or some axe wielding maniac from another neck of the sewers, and the sound of his ragged breathing is making Leo feel nauseous.
"Leo, I, uh… I need help."
Three words he never likes to hear from any of his brothers. Dread floods through him, making him cold all over. He looks at his crutches. He can't move.
"What happened, Mikey? Where are you?" His leg throbs beneath the cast, and he curses the prior foolishness which led to his breaking the damn limb in the first place. "Are you hurt? Is someone there? Something?"
"No, not really, I just-"
"Nothing's there? Mike, what's actually wrong?" He hears a muffled sigh, and frowns, confused. "Mikey? Are you hurt?"
"No, I'm just… I'm just stuckinthetraintracks."
Leo blinks. "You're what?"
Slowly, it begins to dawn upon him that his brother doesn't actually sound quite so frightened anymore. In fact, frustration has begun seeping through the façade of fear by now.
"Look, don't even start, okay bro? I was- All right, fine I was kinda pretending I was fighting some foot ninja, okay? I did a roundhouse kick, tripped over, and got my stupid foot caught in the stupid tracks. Clearly, not my finest hour, but the important thing is I'm stuck here, and I'm bored as all heck."
Leo pauses. He feels his heart begin to slow down from its racing frenzy. Tension begins to ease slowly from his neck and limbs, and he takes a deep breath. He lets his head fall back down into his cupped hand, covering his mouth, which he sets in an unsteady, trembling line. It's an almighty struggle.
He clears his throat. "I see."
"Leo, it's not funny."
"I didn't laugh."
"You didn't have to, I can just see you grinning your head off. Would you come help, please?"
"Oh sure, right away, Mikey. I'll just hobble up out of the lair and out to wherever you've gotten to, and I guess I'll lever you free with my crutches. I should be there by next month."
"Leeooo," Mikey whines, and Leo can hear him knocking against something in frustration; probably the ground. "I don't care how you do it, I just wanna get outta here."
"Ask Raph and Don; they should be heading back soon."
"Are you kidding?" Mikey sounds scandalised. "You want me to tell Raph I got myself stuck in the tracks? I think I'd rather stay here."
"Oh. Well, guess we'll see you when my leg heals, then," shrugs Leo, still biting his tongue with the effort taken not to dissolve into giggles. He prides himself in being a compassionate, understanding big brother when circumstance calls for it.
But this is making it difficult.
"Leo! Put Sensei on."
"Mikey, Master Splinter thinks this thing is the remote for the television."
"Leo! Dude, come on, what if a train comes?"
"Michelangelo, you are in the abandoned train tunnel," he says sternly. "The tunnel that is no longer used by trains. Or humans, or anything else for that matter."
"Yeah, except rats and bats and whatever else lives down here," moans Mikey. "I mean, hey, come on, who knows what else got mutated when we did? Leatherhead's down here somewhere, isn't he? Couldn't there be more things? Giant mutated cockroaches and spiders, evil mice… maybe even some giant ugly carnivorous ladybeetles!"
It is at this point that it all becomes too much.
He chokes out a strangled laugh, unable to hold back further when Mikey growls low into the handset.
"Leo! Quit it!"
"Mikey, I'm sorry," he manages, grinning widely. "I'm trying very hard, honest."
The fact of the matter is that Mikey has been a pain in the shell for the past few days. Generous offers of unsolicited assistance aside, he's been taking it upon himself to fill in Leo's temporarily vacant shoes, and driving the others out of their minds. He's also been utilising the break from Leo's tendency to call him out on his more outrageous pranks, and has been running amok, mostly unchallenged. Raphael has once or twice threatened him with grievous bodily harm, but Mikey quickly countered that by 'confiscating' several items from Raph's room, to return them once the threat of physical retribution had been removed.
Thus far, neither have been willing to reach a compromise.
Don has also suffered at the hands of Mikey, most notably with the destruction of a couple of stands of beakers and test tubes that had been filled with… Well, he thinks they were samples of bacterium and sewer water found near their lair. He's gathered that it was possibly a good three or four weeks of work down the drain, so to speak. Luckily for Mikey, Donatello was clearly gifted with far too generous a capacity for forgiveness.
But now, he's currently trapped in an abandoned sewer tunnel somewhere, with no attractive option of escape.
It's karma, obviously.
Not to mention the fact that Leo no longer feels at all embarrassed about breaking his leg after being tripped up in a fight with Purple Dragons.
"What are you giggling at, cripple?" rumbles a gruff voice suddenly. He glances around, making a hasty 'shush' motion with his finger. Raph and Don have materialised behind him, and are peering down at his Shell Cell curiously. A shrill shriek crackles its way through the speakers, startling the three of them.
"Okay, just a bat," pants Mikey belatedly, breathing heavily. "I don't think it's dangerous. But all the same, Leo, come on, help me out. I don't wanna be stuck here for eternity, just to become bat food."
Don and Raph exchange a dark smile, which really just adds to Leo's glee at the situation.
"Don't flatter yourself, Mikey," says Don, leaning over the back of the couch to speak into the Shell Cell. Leo holds it up helpfully. "The bats have some taste. All they'd get from you is secondary pizza grease."
"Don!" Mikey's voice shoots up a few octaves. "What are you doing there? How long have you been listening? Is Raph there?"
Don pauses, glancing between them. As one, Raph and Leo make frantic cutting motions. Don shrugs.
"No," he says slowly, shooting Raph a look. "Just me and Captain Peg Leg. Where are you? Did you get lost? I can come get you."
"No, I'm stuck in the train tracks. Thanks, Donnie. It's nice to know I still have one brother left," he sniffs. "You can't tell Raph, okay? This is just the kind of leverage he'd need to force me to give him his stuff back."
Leo tilts his head back to peer at his brother. Raph smirks, cracking his knuckles.
"Sure Mikey, I'll keep that in mind. Where are you?"
"You have to promise."
Don rolls his eyes, sighing. "I promise on pain of death that I will never speak of any of this to Raphael."
"Okay. Good. I'm in the abandoned train tunnel; the one near the manhole that comes out near the bank."
Don rubs his hands together, smiling crookedly, and Leo feels a wave of anticipation run through him. Don doesn't bother with extracting revenge very often, so Leo's more inclined to let him get away with it when he does. There's always the added bonus that Donatello is the least likely of all of them to plot a violent revenge, also.
"Okay, Mikey. There's just one little thing before I come looking for you."
"The mess in the lab is kind of ridiculous. And I've been trying to tighten up the security around here, and also you wanted me to fix your old gaming consoles…" He pauses, flexing his arms out before him. "I just thought, seeing as how you're directly involved in a lot of the work I'm doing at the moment, you might be open to volunteering some of your time to help out."
"But I… I mean… That's not…"
"Think it over as long as you want, Mikey. I mean, I have plenty of work to get started on. You can have a think over the conditions of rescue and just-"
"Fine, fine! Okay! I agree to the… conditions, whatever," Mikey blurts. "Please just come get me."
Don chuckles. "Okay, I'm on my way. Wow, Leo. Just how long have you been tormenting him?"
"Hours," comes the indignant squawk.
"More like a few minutes," reasons Leo.
Don smirks at him, and manages to be completely toneless in his reply of, "You're heartless, fearless leader." He pushes off the couch and heads for the door, though not before engaging Raph in a silent, gestured conversation that doubtless includes instructions for Raphael to hold his tongue.
"Oh, come on Mikey, you know I would have organised something eventually," Leo cuts in, smiling. "What did you really expect? I'm kind of laid up right now. I'm sure you've noticed."
"Yeah, well, you just see if I ever offer to help you to the bathroom again," Mikey mutters, and Leo pulls a face. "Listen, as penance for being mean, you gotta stay on the line and talk 'til Donnie gets here."
"How was I 'mean'?"
"Alright, alright. Just promise me one thing."
"You'll not be so distracted by my voice that you end up getting eaten by one of the giant carnivorous ladybeetles."
By the time Don stumbles across Mikey, his brother has managed to coax (guilt) Leo into reading aloud from one of his favourite comic books. Apparently to ward off the shadows and hungry bats. Mikey wails and clings to him for effect, but Don sees him clutching the Shell Cell close as he expands upon the horrors of being stuck in the tunnel, and he smirks a little, inwardly. Leo is going to be paying for this one for months to come.
He helps to slide the trapped foot free with minimal difficulty, and fishes out an old torch to inspect the damage; nothing but some minor bruising and a battered ego. But even that is already steadily on the mend.
He slings Mikey's arm over his shoulder and helps him limp back towards the lair, ever aware of the Shell Cell, crackling softly. He gracefully accepts Mikey's gushings and praise, and makes appropriate comments at the tales of terror and pain; knowing full well that their grounded party can hear every word.
They're almost home when Don finally catches sight of Raph; stalking quietly along behind them, apparently just 'returning' from his trip to the surface.
"Raph," he greets, only half-surprised to see him. "There you are."
Raph wades through the shallow water towards them, smiling, discreetly unpleasant.
"Sorry, Donnie; I got caught up," he deadpans, looking at Mikey and falling into step at his side. "Got talking to Casey, and just had to let him finish his story. Man, his cousin is a real bonehead."
"What happened?" Mikey elbows him, always keen to hear one of Casey's stories.
Raph smirks lazily. "It was gold, Mike, pure gold. The idiot was goofing off one day, and got his leg stuck in the train tracks behind their property."
"'course," Raph goes on, tone calm, cracking his knuckles. "That meant he was in prime position for ol' Case to extract a little revenge for his earlier… mistakes."
To Don, it seems that Mikey's gulp is strangely audible, and even reverberates around the narrow tunnel.
Leo yawns. He stretches his arms above his head, waiting for the satisfying pop. He reaches over and catches up the remote, uses it to shut off the television. He's seen enough reality TV to last him a lifetime.
And he still has a good couple of weeks of it to go, too.
He glances across to the large couch that has become his temporary bed. He sighs, far from eager at the prospect of spending another night on the lumpy, beaten up old item of furniture. He misses his futon. And his room. He's slept outdoors, on nothing but rocks and damp grass, but he figures that it's the added pain in his leg that's making him sulky.
Which is perfectly reasonable, in his opinion.
Snatching up his crutches, he levers himself to his feet. He grimaces; still too painful. He vows internally to never break a limb ever again.
A quiet mutter from the kitchen catches his attention, and he looks around, surprised. He watches Mikey move to sit down at the table, carting a large steaming mug, and a few large, dusty books. Obviously not one of his comics.
He considers calling out to him, but peers down at his crutches thoughtfully. Splinter has long since retired for the evening. Donnie is locked away in his lab, and Raph has gone out to hang with Casey. The coast is clear.
He smiles, and eases his weight onto the crutches, swinging his good leg forwards and falling into a slow, awkward and painful but steady hobble. He waits until he's practically in the kitchen, bathed by the warm yellow light, before speaking.
His brother jumps, whirling around to gape at him.
"How did you get here so quietly? I didn't even hear your crutches. Your crutches! What are you doing! Sensei would kill you," he admonishes, scurrying over and taking his arm. He leads him firmly over to the table and forces him into a seat, keeping up his well-practised reprimanding speech. Leo goes along with it, faintly surprised to be treated with the same care after the incident earlier.
"Don't even get me started on your eating habits," Mikey continues, one hand on his hip, frowning down at him. Leo blinks up at him, confused.
"Have you been listening at all? You haven't been drinking milk, at all, which Donnie says is vital for bones and all that, and personally I think you've been using this whole injury thing as an excuse to pig out on pizza and junk food. You're going to be the 500 tonne turtle when this is all over."
Leo chokes out a badly obscured laugh.
"Mikey," he grins, tugging his brother's hand and guiding him into his own seat. "Please, I'm really fine. It's not like I had to run a marathon to get here from the couch. And don't worry about my eating habits. What are you doing up?"
Mikey sighs at him, but slides a thick photo album across the table, flipping open the cover.
"I found these in the storage space Donnie set up. I haven't seen them in ages."
"Oh yeah. Wow. What were you doing in there?" he asks distractedly, tugging the book closer and peering down at the blurry, faded photo on the first page. Four cherub faced little turtle tots stare back at him, eyes wide and curious. One of Splinter's earlier forays with a camera, apparently.
"I was, uh, uncovering some things that I had… relocated there, earlier," he falters.
Leo glances up, smirking. "Oh. I see."
He hadn't been a witness to Raph's conversation with Mikey upon his return, but he had certainly noticed his hot-heated brother stomping up to his room later with an armful of his belongings, and a satisfied smirk on his face. Apparently justice had been upheld. Possibly violently.
"Thanks heaps for that, by the way," Mikey grumbles, fingers drumming along the sides of his mug. "Would it have killed you to have clued me in? I kinda dug my own grave, there."
"You know what they say, Mikey. What goes up must come down. Or… what goes missing must be re-discovered. Or what is stolen must be-"
"Yeah, bro, you lost me already. Or maybe I just don't care. That could be it."
"Your wit dazzles me," Leo chuckles. "Hey, look at this: Donnie's first attempt at enhancing the toaster."
"I'm glad he worked it out in the end," says Mikey, smiling fondly at the young, ash-covered face of their brother despite himself. "Burnt Electrical Wire scent doesn't do it for me."
"I'll say. Wow, look here." Leo blinks, turning the book on its side to let his brother inspect the next photo. "Raph curled up with Peter the Panda bear. Remember him?"
Mikey's grin widens, somewhat nastily.
"What a priceless memory," he muses, murmuring, eyeing the photo thoughtfully. "I bet Don could do something with it. Set it as a background on April's computer or something."
"Mikey, remember what you just said about digging your own grave?"
Mikey waves a hand dismissively. "Yeah, yeah, I won't. Not yet anyway. I'll save it for the next time Raph goes out drinking with Casey and doesn't invite me."
"Raph goes out drinking with Casey?"
Mikey looks up, eyes wide and innocent. "No. Never."
Leo sighs, and makes a note of the slip up. They flick through the book carefully in a comfortable silence, and Leo finds himself drifting into his own thoughts. He screws up his mouth, suddenly almost guilty.
"Hey, Mikey, you…" He hesitates, tracing a crude carving in the table beneath him. Raph's work, no doubt. "You weren't really worried earlier, were you? That I would let you just… You know I wouldn't let anything happen to you, right?"
It isn't a lie. Had he detected the faintest hint of any real fear in his brother's voice earlier, he would have crawled his way out of the lair and into the sewers to find him. The light in Mikey's eyes assures him that his brother is well aware of that fact, and loves and respects him for it.
Mikey's mouth, however, works on a different level to his mind.
"Leo, dude, I am scarred for life after that little incident today," he declares, trying and failing to suppress a smirk. "You are so in for a long month of the cold shoulder."
"We're having a conversation right now."
"I mean after your leg's healed. It'd be a bit unfair if I ignored you when you needed pain meds or something. Need any now?"
Leo shakes his head. "I'm good, thanks."
"Wanna go to bed?"
"No, I'm gonna sit up for a while," he declines, smiling. "I want to look through these albums. I'll grab Donnie when next I see him; he's bound to come up for air sooner or later."
"Okay," yawns Mikey, moving to his feet and stretching, cat-like. "I wouldn't count on it being any time soon though. The geek has a lot of work to redo, apparently."
"Good to see you're feeling badly about that," says Leo dryly.
"You bet I do, he's got me on freaking cleaning duty for the next month," he grumbles. Leo blinks at him, waiting for an explanation. "Oh yeah. That "conditions of rescue" thing he was talking about before. As penance for ruining his experiments, I get to shoulder the brunt of his chores for the next two weeks, as well as helping keep the lab clean and hygienic, or something. Remind me never to go anywhere near that place ever again, bro."
"I'm gonna go sleep off my traumatic incident," Mikey says, ignoring Leo's unimpressed look. "Don't do any back flips or anything, Splinter will tie you to the couch."
"I'll try to remember that, Mikey."
Leo tugs the photo album closer as his brother shuffles away, and flips through to the end. The photo at the end is one of his old favourites; the four of them, cuddled together on the floor, tiny faces pressed against the glass panel in a grungy old fish tank. Splinter had pieced it together one year, after Don had rescued a tiny fish, bobbing down a sewer tunnel in a plastic bag. It had been their pet for nearly a year. He thinks it was called Trucker, because Raph and Mikey had been obsessed with cars and trucks at the time.
He smiles ruefully, remembering the poor thing's passing. Splinter had held a quiet memorial for Trucker out in the sewers, with Mikey delivering an emotional farewell, and Donnie fretting that maybe he'd fed him too much for dinner the night before. Raph and Leo had been just as upset, but perhaps unwilling to show it; they'd bundled the other two up and curled up together to draw pictures and tell each other jokes until it didn't hurt anymore.
He's tugged suddenly out of his thoughts when an icy glass lands with a soft plunk at his side, and a green hand withdraws. He stares at it sleepily, turning to look at his brother with a slow grin. Mikey shrugs.
"Milk. For the bones."
"Thanks Mikey," he smiles. "I guess this means I'm still your brother, then?"
Mikey rolls his eyes, sighing exaggeratedly.
"Can't argue with genetics, man," he grumbles. "I'm stuck with the three of you."
"Sorry about that."
Mikey waves a hand dismissively. "S'okay. There are worse fates," he grins.