TMNT, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Splinter, and LeatherHead © Mirage Studios
story © Turtlefreak121
Chapter Ten: Good Day
Michelangelo had never defined what a good day was before the crisis with his brother began.
It was not really a term which any one person could define or any two people could agree on. Mike could predict good days, he would always slyly point one in the direction of Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, and National Free Comic Book Day. The classics, the ones that any wide-eyed, bushy tailed child could look forward to with such overcoming gusto.
He was by no means the only one in their family to still contain that hopeful, innocent child within: they all did. The biggest difference between Michelangelo and his brothers, was that Mike allowed it to be known, to be felt in his every action.
In the mind of a child the dark is a scary place where the evils of the world hide. They do not emerge into the light, they don't sit at your table and live beside you. It is all black and white.
All one has to do is be cautious about when the lights flicker.
Such delicate matters, like children, are hard to contain, though. Like a force of nature, the dark will always be there and be a most unruly and uncontrollable force once it is fully excited.
A good day, if Mike could have placed such a thing into comprehensible terms, was a day when everyone was clear from the danger of the darkness. Not a single doubt could exist in a single mind that the lights were about to go out.
Security, that was the ticket.
It had been a rather dark place in the Lair lately, but Mike could sense that it was the dawn of a new day. Nothing in his mind could have made him doubt that not only were Leonardo and Donatello going to visit LeatherHead, but LeatherHead would have a quick and simple cure for Donatello's mysterious ailment.
What could ever possibly cause Mike to doubt that they would find the solution so easily? After all, Raphael might have seethed the term "Turtle Luck" into existence out of spite for their situations, but Mike knew better.
Turtles lived long. They were lucky. Turtle Luck just meant that they would live to see a bad situation pass over like a bad hangover.
So, despite the fright he had felt only a few nights before, Mike did not blink twice as he sat down beside his brother for breakfast.
Donatello absently stared at him for a few moments as Mike eagerly grabbed the cereal box on Don's side of the table and took it for his own. Mike smiled at his brother pleasantly and poured his cereal into the bowl which Leonardo had set out earlier.
"Good mornin', Bro!" Mike beamed as he put down the box and then grabbed the milk carton.
Usually Donatello would sip coffee and give him a gentle nod before ignore in the barbaric posture Michelangelo would hold over his food. On this good day, however, Don sleepily blinked and then smiled.
"Morning to you, too."
"Aw, c'mon, Don," Mike responded with a smirk. "It's more than just morning. Today is a good morning. A GREAT morning!"
Donatello's expression fell and he began to look both confused and strangely concerned with Mike's enthusiasm. He looked around quietly before looking back to the orange clad brother. He bit his lip. "Why?"
"Because I feel like it's a good one," Mike responded before shoving a spoon into his mouth and grinning. "I bet if ya try real hard, Don, you'll feel that way, too!"
At that statement, Don blinked. He seemed to lean back and deeply ponder on his brother's declaration before giving a small laugh and nodding. "Yeah. I guess it is a good day. Nothing has happened yet to make it a bad one," he responded.
"Exactly," Mike responded just as Leonardo entered the kitchen.
"Okay, I think we're ready," Leo responded. "I just want to grab a quick bite. I almost forgot that I set out a bowl." The leader paused and looked from Donatello to Michelangelo. He smiled and nodded to his brother. "Hey, Mike. Don and I are going to LeatherHead's soon." It took a moment, but finally the turtle in blue's eyes fell upon the bowl of cereal the younger brother was enjoying. He sighed and shook his head. "I'm guessing that it was the one on the table."
"Maybe," Mike responded before eating another bite, slipping the spoon out between his tightly closed lips and causing a string of drool to extend between the two. "Want it?"
Leonardo looked dully at his brother before rolling his eyes and shaking his head. "No, it's alright. I lost my appetite. Come on, Don. Let's get started. LeatherHead said he's already started looking for the keys without us."
Mike watched as the mention of the key lit up Don's eyes like fire crackers. He stood up quickly and nodded. "Right, let's get out of here. I'm sure it's at LeatherHead's. I've been thinking about it a lot, Leo. It has to be at LeatherHead's. I just know it. There's no other explanation."
"I'm sure they are," Leonardo responded somberly before nodding again to Mike and leading Don out the door.
The moment was strangely surreal, like one of Splinter's soap operas. But it was going to be okay, Mike kept reminding himself.
That day, after all, was a good day.
Sometimes good days were also boring days, apparently.
He could count all the "major" events that happened before two-thirty that afternoon on just one of his three fingered hands. They also happened to not involve him directly, something that truly bothered the turtle to his core for one reason or another.
He laid on the couch in silent discontent when he heard a loud growl and a slew of cursing.
In the dullness of laying flat on his shell on the couch, Mike had almost forgotten that the Lair could be amiss of noise outside of the occasional movement from Splinter's quarters. As such, the sudden clamor of what others would possibly describe as a wild boar nearly caused Mike to leap off the couch. Fortunately, his body was too stiff from laying in uncomfortable positions to jump too far into the air.
He instead looked toward the upper level and inadvertently the bedrooms which resided there. Then he could hear a crash of something and its subsequent breaking before the hissing of a familiar cat.
"ASS!" Raphael's voice boomed before Klunk came flying out of Don's bedroom door.
To suppress his explosive laughter, Michelangelo had to bite on his lip and just watch as Raph came stomping out. He was mad which, thankfully, was for once not aimed at the turtle in orange himself. The red-clad turtle instead was flaring and huffing over the orange cat which, in true prankster form, was sitting on the ledge just down the hall, as if to taunt poor Raph.
Apparently deciding that chasing the feline would not be in his best interest, Raphael instead turned his vision on his orangey brother and pointed a thick, accusing finger at him.
"Get a leash on your cat and keep it outta Don's room, Piss Ant!" he growled at Michelangelo. "He just about broke the computer screen because he was chasing a stupid spider. A spider! Why can't you train it to go after something worthwhile? Like a cockroach?"
"What's it matter which one he goes after?" Michelangelo questioned curiously. "You piss your pants if you see either of them, so just be glad Klunk's going after any at all."
"What'd'ju jus' say ta me!" Raphael roared before making fists and gritting his teeth. "What'd'ju jus' say ta me!"
Grinning, finally having found something worthwhile to do, Michelangelo leaned back on the couch. "Oh, you heard me, Raph. What're you going to do about it?"
"I'll beat your ass is what I'm going to do about it!" Raphael responded with a roar before leaping off the ledge and landing just twenty feet from Mike.
While such a feat was expected from highly trained ninja, Michelangelo was not being very perceptive that day. He let out a shrill scream before throwing a pillow at Raph's face and leaping up, his left foot on the back of the couch and his right dug into the sitting cushion. Two more pillows were in his hands.
"Don't mess with a master of Pill-Fu!" Mike warned with a grin.
"You're just pissin' me off more, Mike!" Raph growled before lunging, knocking Mike off the couch and onto the floor.
Covering his face and screaming, "Not my beautiful face!" Michelangelo eagerly awaited the continuation of the fight until the familiar sound of Splinter's doors opening caused them both to stop and look to their aggravated father.
Splinter narrowed his eyes. "I have heard enough," he said before pointing toward the door. "I am in deep meditation. I will ask you to leave for an hour's time only once. If you do not accept and do not contain your bountiful energies, then I will punish you. This, my sons, is my promise."
The two remained quiet before looking to each other and getting up. It did not take a second look from Splinter to convince them both to step outside.
To both Michelangelo's great relief and surprise, the fight and clobbering did not transpire outside the Lair either.
Instead, the two brothers had silently come to the agreement to walk along with one another through the familiar tunnels of their never ending sewers. The maze continued in a consistent pattern block after block, but each turn brought them to what only they could see as a new and exciting place.
Each passage was filled with memories, like ...
"Remember when I wrecked Don's bike here?" Mike asked with a lighthearted laugh. "He never let me ride it again. Then again, I guess we should've figured I was better with four wheels as opposed to two."
"Nah, you suck at four, too, but it's less likely for you to knock them over into an over sized blender," Raph elaborated with a smirk, tracing his fingers over the scratches in the brick wall. "Geezes, Mike. How'd you even manage that?"
The orange turtle could only laugh at the memory of it before shrugging. "Hell if I know. It was fun, though. Y'know, until the whole near-death thing," he sighed and looked to the hardened look on Raph's face. "You're going to have to get over that."
The red masked brother turned and glared at his brother. "Get rid of what?" he asked sharply.
"The whole scowling thing. I know it goes with your 'Me Against the World' thing, but it's really starting to wear on everybody's nerves," Mike explained. He then shrugged. "Well, more than usual anyway. I think everyone's just taking it as your irritation with Don."
"I am irritated with him," Raph responded before looking off. "Sorta. It's just ... hard to explain. And I think I have permission to be pissed, Mike. He's just ... not himself anymore. And I just haven't been able to make anything of it just yet."
Mike rolled his eyes. "He just needs a little sympathy, Raph."
"I don't know what I'm sympathizing with," Raphael hissed. "And besides, you and everyone else seems to be aiding his sorry self enough with that. Maybe Don would get better if we just stopped acting like it was a big deal. Just acted like everything was fine and normal again."
"Ignore it?" Mike questioned before skeptically shaking his head. "I dunno, dude. I don't think it's something to be ignored."
Stopping, Raphael looked directly into Mike's eyes and suddenly Michelangelo felt a cold chill. It was suddenly deathly serious, no longer just two brothers venting. Mike swallowed and looked to his feet, sighing as he came to realize where they had subconsciously been walking.
"Why'd you take me here?" Raph demanded as he pointed to the signs of a tunnel collapse just around the corner. "This isn't funny, Mike."
"I didn't do it on purpose, you were walking the path, too!" Mike reminded him with extreme aggravation. "It's just kinda stuck in our heads, like instinctual to walk home."
Raphael shook his head angrily. "This isn't home anymore, it hasn't been for years," he reminded Michelangelo before turning and walking. "Any other time and I wouldn't care if we came here. But now-"
"Now it just makes you think of the mistake Don made," Mike frowned. "Raph, maybe Don did the same thing. Just ... wasn't thinking and got here. I mean, it's like I said, subconscious or something."
Raphael turned on his heels and shook his head. "You don't get it Mike. That would mean that Don isn't thinking."
Michelangelo frowned and shrugged. "What about it?"
"Don never stops thinking," Raph responded before turning back. "If he ain't thinkin', he ain't Donny. I'm goin' home."
He knew Raphael's aggravation was increasing as his words began to slur, but Mike had to continue the conversation. He quickly came up behind Raph and tapped on his shell. He continued to follow even when Raph ignored the tapping.
"Uh, earth to Raph, Master Splinter wanted us out of the Lair so he could meditate. He'll get angry at us if we go back," Mike reminded him.
"Hey, don't come back then," Raph snapped. "I'm not asking you to tag along. Besides, Splinter's done nothing but worry over Donny since this started. That's all anybody's done, take a note from me and just let Don sort through whatever's wrong on his own."
Mike frowned and allowed Raph to get a bit ahead of him before asking, "Then why was Raph in Donny's room earlier?"
Unlike the trip away from the Lair, the trip back home was silent and cold. Not even Mike attempted to break the silence until they were through the door.
Before either of them could see the others or before they could overhear a conversation, the mood already told them it was bad. Mike looked to Raph and Raph looked to him before they both neared the living room area where Splinter and Leonardo sat. Donatello was strangely absent from this equation, but they could sense that he was upstairs, perhaps in his room.
Mike blurted it out first as Leo and Splinter looked up to them.
"What is it? What did LeatherHead say?" Mike questioned.
Raphael's jaw was sternly shut and he simply stared at their father and older brother and their strangely reddened eyes.
Michelangelo waited a moment before biting his lip. He asked again. "What is it?"
Leonardo buried his face into his hands and tightly closed his eyes.