Instant Karma!

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Tale Four - Charm

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by: Akiko, Keeper of Sheep

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Casey looked up at his best friend from his position behind the dumpster. "Why," he hissed in a slightly-hysterical (but still manly) voice, "is it always us?"

Rolling his eyes, Raph pressed one hand tighter against the shallow cut on his shoulder. It wasn't bleeding as freely as it had been minutes ago, and there hadn't seemed to be any poison in the blade, so Raph counted himself pretty lucky.

No. Not lucky. He'd never use that word again.

"I mean, seriously, man," his human friend continued, "before you came along, it was muggers and gangsters and armed robbers. Now it's freakin' aliens and ninjas and killer robots. Can't you be normal for once?"

The red-clad turtle turned his gaze back to Casey incredulously. Dark eyes narrowed behind the hockey mask. "What?"

"You do know you're talking to a five-foot mutant ninja turtle, right?"

"Oh, shut up, you know what I mean."

"Yeah, well-" Raph's intense glare snapped back towards the alley. Faint footsteps were moving towards them, and they tensed, bracing themselves for a fight.

A small face, wreathed in coppery curls, peered at them around the corner of the dumpster. A wicked grin stretched across said face, and the figure pulled out another shuriken.

"Hello, boyo."

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Mikey looked up from his cartoons as Raph stormed into the lair. His eyes widened when he took in the road map of cuts and scrapes that crisscrossed his older brother's arms and legs. He was limping slightly, and favored his right wrist in a way that told Mikey it was probably broken.

"Don!"

As Mikey vaulted over the back of the couch and the remaining members of the Hamato family rushed in, Casey entered looking like he'd insulted the lineage of an industrial wood chipper.

"Geez, what happened to you guys?"

Raph growled, waving Donnie towards Casey and stalking towards the kitchen. He returned with a bright red cereal box bearing a picture of a cheery little man with a green bowler hat. He marched up to Mikey and waved it in his face. "This," the injured turtle snarled, jabbing a finger at the picture, "THIS is what happened, Mikey!"

Mikey blinked and took a few steps back. "Um...you ran into a cereal killer?"

Emitting a strangled scream that no one in the lair had ever heard from him before, Raph hurled the box across the room.

"LEPRECHAUNS, Mikey! Freakin' LEPRECHAUNS!"

Casey giggled in a noticeably punch-drunk manner.

Everyone's eyes swiveled between the battered box of breakfast food and the quivering mass of infuriated turtle. Everyone's feet wisely took them a few extra feet backwards. No one spoke for a moment as the Looney Tunes blared in the background.

"Um, Raph?" Donnie flinched when his older brother's enraged gaze jerked towards him. "You do know there's no such thing as leprechauns...right?"

"Oh, really, Einstein?" Reaching for a pouch tied to his belt, Raph carefully extracted three very sharp, very green objects. "Then explain why an Irish midget was throwin' these at us!"

Leo blinked at the rounded edges of what were, undeniably, three clover-shaped shuriken.

"Rainbows," Casey added, sounding desperate. "There were rainbows everywhere! Rainbows!"

Don eased Casey onto a chair and checked his pupils. "What happened to Casey?"

"I dunno, it coulda been the pot o' gold to the face or the purple horseshoe to the temple."

Mikey snickered, then caught the look on Raph's face and stopped. "Dude, seriously?"

Raph turned around and jerked his thumb at his shell. "Does this look like I'm kiddin', knucklehead?"

Two more shamrock shuriken were embedded into Raph's shell, along with a few stars. They were not, however, traditional throwing stars. They were bright yellow and twinkled ominously. Mikey choked on a giggle and sat down hard on the couch.

Leo, choosing to focus on the immediate problem, shoved his own hysteria aside. "What happened to the...the enemy?"

Because there was really no way to say "did you kill the leprechaun" with a straight face.

"We scrapped for a while before he pulled out a big red balloon and floated away muttering something about 'constantly in pursuit of me sacred talismans'. I was about to pop the thing with a kunai, but the little bastard caught Casey in the stomach with a ra...a ray gun," Raph finished, looking loathe to elaborate.

Donnie frowned. "Do you know what kind of ray it was," he asked anxiously, tugging at Casey's shirt to get a better look at the injury.

Raph grunted.

"Raph," Donnie pressed, not seeing any signs of burns or other tissue damage.

"It was...it was a rainbow ray gun."

There was utter silence. Only the sound of a KIA commercial dared slice through the void. There was a beat, then another, before Mikey snorted. The dam broke, and Raph watched with mounting fury as everyone in the room collapsed into laughter.

Had anyone been paying attention, they would have noted that the precise moment Splinter let out a chuckle was the same moment that Raphael snapped.

"IT'S NOT FUNNY," he thundered, flinging his arms out, momentarily forgetting the shuriken in his hand. Leo dove for cover as the weapons whizzed overhead and stuck halfway in the wall behind him. Oblivious, Raph continued. "Casey was right! It's always us! Why, WHY do we always get the weird shit?! Just one week, I'd like to go about my business without freakin' brain-things and time-travellers and...and bugs!"

He pulled out several more shuriken, and there was the inevitable shuffle as everyone moved towards cover. Raph, however, focused his attention on the deceptively innocent cardboard box, and the little man on the front that grinned at him. With a wail, Raph unleashed a whirlwind attack on the cereal box.

"Take that, you Irish bastard! And that! And that!"

In seconds, the box was destroyed, leaving a devastated corpse behind, bleeding its marshmallow-strewn lifeblood onto the floor.

Keeping one hand on the hilt of his katana, Leo edged out from behind the dining room table. "Okay, Raph, the evil part of this balanced breakfast is dead. You can calm-"

"No, Leo! No!" Raph whirled around and pointed a quivering finger at his leader, who was not ashamed to duck back behind the table. "I'm sick of always getting stuck with saving the world from the weird shit! I'm done! It's over! I'm not gonna do it anymore! No more aliens! No more dinosaurs! No more doomsday ray guns! No more nanobots, or androids, or ancient statues, or, or...or OOZE! Nothing that oozes! This lair is now officially a weirdness-free zone! No! More! Leprechauns!"

And, naturally, that was exactly the moment when Lucky the Leprechaun stated loudly and proudly: "They're always after me Lucky Charms!"

Raph blinked at the television. So did everyone else, from a much safer distance. Lucky grinned back.

A huge sigh escaped Raph, and he turned to Donnie. "I'm goin' to bed. Wake me up when you're ready to take the shuriken outta my shell."

Trudging up the stairs, Raph closed his door quietly. Down in the living room, everyone stared at the remains of the Lucky Charms box.

Mikey nudged at the demolished box with his foot and sighed sadly. "I guess this means we're out of cereal again."

"I'll get some more when I'm done with Casey and Raph," Donnie reassured him.

Leo nodded, pulling a dustpan and broom from the closet to clean up the gruesome scene. As he brushed the cereal up, he spied a little red balloon and picked it up, examining it contemplatively.

"Don?"

"Yeah?"

Leo tossed the little charm into the dustpan and grinned ruefully. "Get Frosted Flakes."

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END

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A/N - W00T! A new chapter done! And just in time for the holiday!

This didn't turn out like I thought it would. About halfway through my original draft, Raph just lost his mind. Sorry to all those out there who feel like I violated Raph in some way, but...everyone has their breaking point, and Raph's is apparently leprechauns.

I'd like to thank everyone who's reviewed so far! I wasn't expecting this to be very popular, but it's nice to know that I put smiles on some people's faces.

To WebMistressGina, thank-you for your review. I relieved to hear that it was better than you expected...er...what were you expecting? What really happened after Splinter left was Mikey initiating a food fight and regretting it, Leo getting an egg in the face, and Donnie constructing a makeshift food catapult. Raph was satisfied to upend his bowl of batter on Mikey's head and leave it at that. :)

To Pinguin1993, thank-you for reviewing all three chapters! I'm not German, but I know a little. Very little. I can say enough to get me into trouble with actual German-speakers. Leo's my favorite, too! Can you tell? And there's no need to hyperventilate, there's more coming.

To Haluwasa2, I'm glad you liked it! I hope you like the rest, as well.

To LadyBlue001, thanks for the kind words. I plan to continue until my broken little brain stops giving me ideas, and I hope you stick around for the ride.

To Angel362, thank-you very much - you give the story more credit than it's due, I'm sure!

To Dana, I'm glad you enjoyed it. More to come!

To Melody Winters, thanks for the applause. *bows* I do my best.

Next installment, I'm thinking soap operas. Cookies go to the one who can guess who it's about...*hinthint* It's not who you think...

As always, review, review, review! Because you're worth it!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (--)