After an argument about birthdays, I was inspired to write about it. It came out as a stream-of-consciousness/internal monologue that slowly morphed into a story.
The setting is mainly the 2003 tooniverse, however all of my fics are influenced by the 1990 movie. I can't help it; I grew up with it and love it. Raphael, especially is a blend between the two. I must also admit that no matter how hard I try, all of Raphael's dialogue in my head comes out in Rob Paulsen's voice… so some of the 80's toon sarcasm is in here as well.
Rated T for language. A lot of language.
As always reviews and constructive criticisms are loved. I make no claim to the TMNT characters or franchise and I had much fun writing this, I hope you enjoy reading it.
I hate birthdays.
Seriously, I don't get the human fascination with having a special day, all to one's self. I mean, if they would even listen to half the crap the say, they might realize what a bloated buncha selfish nitwits they are. Why do you need a special day? Master Splinter has been tellin' us since we were three that every day is special. Or at least you're supposed ta make it special. Or some bullshit.
The truth is, if you're normal. I mean if you're human, I don't get what you got to bitch and complain about. You can sit out in the sunshine any damn day you want, and go to whatever concert or party or sports event trips your trigger. You don't dig through the trash for your housewares and you don't live in a sewer. And you most certainly aren't cooped up with the same chump brothers every damn day. Well, maybe you are, but still.
But still, everyone's got ta have their special day. It's just what we do. Nevermind that there are plenty of other holidays to feel bad about not being able to celebrate properly, but we gotta have birthdays, too.
'Cept we don't really have birthdays. We were just turtles. Turtles that found some ooze and became different. Nobody kept a record of when turtles were born. So, we just picked them. Arbitrarily. I dunno if Master Splinter fished 'em out of a hat or threw darts at a calendar or what, but we got 'em tagged onto us like bad nametags or those stupid party hats that Mike makes us wear for New Years. More like when Mike tried to tie one on ta his stupid cat and the thing went running off, screeching. That's how birthdays are.
Even worse, everyone else seems to just love the damn things. Even my brothers. Mike adores his, but that just comes down to a matter of gifts and attention. Even if gifts only amount to cake and pizza, it's still cause for celebration. Whoopdie-freakin-do. Donnie likes his well enough because he gets the day off of all chores and get to… well… go do whatever he does. Commune with the internet or something. Who knows? Even Leo likes his. Maybe he just likes that we all try to be real nice to him. Yeah, even me. After this many years, I lost count of how many death glares I got from Master Splinter on the issue. Or pissed off Father glares. Same difference. I know the rules. Be nice to Leo on his birthday.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just hate my birthday.
'Oh, Raph, you're just sayin' that!' Mikey tells me this every year. Every damn year.
No, Mike. I am not just sayin' that.
Seriously. Just because Father picked some day to be my 'birthday' - my special day - doesn't mean that the criminals, the Purple Dragons, the Foot and all the other damn punks out there care. In fact they don't give a damn. So we end up going out, bustin' heads. Just like I like, right?
Yeah, right. I just love bustin' heads. Because beatin' the shit out of people is my favorite thing in the world.
Ya know? I would rather not have ta fight all the damn time. But that's just wishful thinking on my part. We all know that the criminals and the badguys aren't going away. They never go away and so we bust heads. And they come back and we bust heads again.
It's a damn dirty cycle.
And so you call attention to it. 'Every year on Raph's birthday something big goes down!' God, if I hear that one more time, I swear I'm gonna punch something. It's not like I ask for that. I don't sit down and write letters to Santa or the fucking Easter Bunny, wishing for a big stinkin' fight on my birthday. But it always seems to happen.
And when it doesn't everyone's gotta throw a party. I hate those, too. Way to throw the spotlight on someone and remind them how miserable life is. Whoo hoo. We picked a random day and decided to bring you pizza and sing a song that makes you want to punch people. Awesome. Let's do it again next year. Can I beat my face into a cheese grater yet?
I mean, if this really was a special day, you could do what you wanted, right? Not sit underground waiting for something horrible to attack, or sit around all cooped up and be forced to pretend you're having fun. Not listen to people say that you're lucky you get to do what you like best on your birthday when all you're doing is breakin' some kid's nose or getting hacked at by a Foot ninja. Fuck it. How many times do I have to tell people that I don't love beating people up?
Flip a coin, Raph. Heads you get another birthday full of fighting crime, tails you get Mikey's chocolate surprise and an excruciating evening of cajoling. It's a lose-lose situation.
Oh, I see you, Leo. I see that face. That's a 'quit yer bitching' face. I haven't even said anything and it's like he can read my mind. Damn psychic bastard. I am not that transparent. Mike wonders why I'm always so intent on stuffing this cereal into my beak. It's because I'm avoiding that stare. That 'I know what you're thinking' stare. Like hell you know what I'm thinking.
Oh and here comes Mr. Happy himself. Grinning. Perky. Aw fuck, he remembers. It's like red alert klaxons go off in my head screaming 'evade! Evade!' The only thing worse than Mike forgetting your birthday is Mike remembering your birthday.
Great. Now he's reminded Donnie and I'm screwed. Yep. The whispering and laughing starts. Right. This bowl is done, and we're leaving. Yes, Leo, we're leaving. Yes, Leo, I mean it, we're leaving. Leo? Fuck you very much. Now we're gone.
Silence is so damn soothing. They don't understand how wonderful it is to not have to hear them. I have too much in my head already and sometimes they just raise the din to a grating cacophony. Gotta get away from them.
Oh shit. Master Splinter's voice. Dammit, Leo, it's not like I mean to bite your head off, but leaving means leaving. If he didn't make such a damn drama out of everything… He's like a frikken drama queen. Heh. Drama queen. I like that. I should get him a crown for his birthday. Oh crap. Sorry Father. No, nothing was funny. Well, maybe it was but really, I didn't mean it. Yes. I do realize tomorrow is a special day for me (and I really wish people would stop reminding me.) and no, I didn't mean to snap at Leo but… At least Master Splinter seems to understand. Usually. Leo's still getting a crown. With glitter and pink rhinestones.
Yeah, so sometimes when things seem overwhelming a little exercise takes the edge off. Maybe a lot of exercise. At least I learned the breaking point of all the equipment several years ago. Besides, it's always nice to beat Leo into the training room. Every once in a while he comes in a spars. It's nice. Friendly. Brotherly competition. We should do it more often, but no. Today he's gonna sit like a rock and meditate. I always wonder how close to his beak I could get with my sai and still not have him notice. It's this temptation that has been nagging me for years now, and the only dam holding it back is that it's something Mikey would do. Shit, now I'm falling into that stereotype trap, but hell. It is something Mike would do. In fact, here he comes now. Yes, Mike, ever thought about trying to break Leo's concentration while he's meditating? Who am I kidding? Think about it. You attempt it on a daily basis and oh... Whipped cream. Very clever. I am not going to laugh at this. No. Not going to laugh. I am going to pretend I can not see. Aw, fuckit, this is too damn funny. Oh, no not that side, he can hear you…oh. You're screwed now. This is better than cable. You're lucky you can run fast.
Oh wait. Don't you dare. Two against one isn't fair and the words 'birthday boy' don't apply until tomorrow. I don't care what it tastes like, it's sticky and I just washed my shell. This is my warning, Mike. In fact this is my fucking death glare. If I could shoot lasers from my eyes you would be a dead turtle. Yes, you try it and I will punch you. Oh, I know you'll remember. I'll be sure to hide the entire stock of spreadable or throwable food products before tomorrow. Talk about saved by the bell. Innocent my ass. Whipped cream. Hm.
So yeah, by the end of training I have been promised a cake, a pizza and a bath in whipped cream. This is just awesome. It is so awesome I want to pee myself. Really. Yes, I love you too, Mike. I'll be sure to penny your door after you go to sleep. Can I go now? Not that I have anywhere to go, it's just that moving around helps me calm down. It's like I could be going somewhere, even if I'm not.
Mmm, sewer rats. They stink like, well… rats, but they're comforting in a way. They know me, I know them and I know when they're alarmed that I need to be ready for something bad. Today they're pretty chill. Just me and the rats. Making rounds. Why did I take rounds again? Did they want me out of the lair?
Oh shit. Do not tell me I fell for it. What the hell are they doing back there? Why am I suddenly paranoid? Oh yeah, maybe it was the all the bitching and then the rant I had last year when my birthday went to hell in a handbasket. Oh please don't drag April down here. And, well, Casey's OK. I'd rather go up than have him come down. Besides, up there is beer. Which doesn't taste good, but I admit is great for unwinding. And after a while it starts to taste good. I might even like it. In the same way I might even like coffee. Which also doesn't taste good. Who the hell thought up the idea of wildly popular beverages that taste like crap? I mean what kind of marketing strategy is 'drink this! It makes you feel weird and it tastes like crap!" That had to have been hard to get off the ground.
Which leaves the question: head back early or stay out late? If I shortcut back I can see what they're up to, or I could not give a shit and just keep away. I mean, I don't give a shit, really so it doesn't really matter.
But it wouldn't take long to look.
Seriously, I'll just end up heading out again anyways, so stopping back at the lair isn't a problem. Besides, I can pick up that book I'm supposed to bring back to Casey, just in case I head up there. Yeah, I'll do that.
Where is everyone? Leo's reading that stupid book Master Splinter wants him to read. Mike's fixing the door he busted two days ago, and Donnie's supervising while at the same time fixing the broken kitchen light. It's like an episode of 'This Old House,' without the house. Yeah, hey guys. No, nothing is up. Yeah, just grabbing something. No, didn't finish rounds. Yeah, gonna finish them now. Bye.
Well, that was uneventful. I don't know why I thought it would be. I should have just stayed away.
I never quite know how long I should wander. I mean when does it stop being purposeful and start becoming aimless. Maybe it's when you stop paying attention to the route and just start thinking the same thing over and over again. Like birthdays.
Dammit! Why am I still thinking about birthdays? There are no birthdays. The Birthday is a lie. And so is the cake. Or at least that's what Donnie tells me.
I should go topside. Which will get me in trouble. Even if nothing happens it seems to always get me in trouble. It's like trouble is magnetized to me. My ass has its own gravimetric pull for danger. The tides of evil come to kick it on a regular basis. So I shouldn't go topside. Which is exactly why I want to go.
That and air. You cannot understand the amazing feel of air. Even crappy city air, full of smog and tar is immeasurably better than stagnant sewer air. I mean when is the last time a gentle breeze blew through the sewers? If you said never you might be right. Rain is pretty amazing, too. It's a little slice of freedom, the idea that for a few seconds you don't have a roof over your head. Yep, I know what you're thinking. Everybody wants a roof over their head, nobody wants to be homeless. But you're also assuming you can go outside anytime you like. When it's the other way around your entire body craves the open air. My skin has an itch that only rain can wash away.
Topside? Home? Topside? Home? Shit, I hate indecision. I am not the indecisive one. But honestly, if I'm waffling the decision is already made. If I wanted to go topside, I'd already be topside. Something about the lair was nagging me. Aw, fuck. I thought I had stopped thinking about my birthday.
Alright, check on sadistic plotting brothers again. I should have an umbrella. No, I shouldn't. No amount of whipped cream defense it could grant would outweigh the ridicule I would get for carrying it around. Yep. Scratch that. No umbrella. It's a good thing I wander these tunnels all the time because sometimes I gotta marvel at myself how far away from the lair I can get. I suppose that's one thing I can say about sewers. I am amazed at how damn big they are. Not big enough and too big all at the same time. I should shut up before I start to sound like those stupid philosophy books Master Splinter made us read when we were younger.
Nonchalant. Yep, we're back. Nope, everything is normal. Nope, I didn't go topside. Fuckit, Leo, listen to the words I am saying. I. Did. Not. Go. Topside. You know, Leo, for a smart turtle you sure don't seem to understand English at times. Oh fine. Hey, look. Book! If I had gone topside, I would have given Casey the book! No, Mike it is not a comic book. Sheesh. Casey has real books. Besides, comics come in magazines. Are we all on the same wavelength now? Can I go to the kitchen without further interrogation? Thankyouverymuch. And they wonder why they piss me off?
There is something wrong here, I know it. I sense a decisive lack of cake. Which either means they will be cobbling something together last minute or they have already ferreted it away and are planning my doom. I don't even like cake. Well, I kinda like cake. It's the frosting I'm not too hot on. Maybe I just don't like birthday cake.
I gotta stop this. Maybe there's a movie on? Or maybe Donnie is watching Animal Planet. Oh that is so gross. Seriously, Donnie, how can you watch that? Yikes! I think Casey has movies hidden under the couch that have the same scenes in them. Really Don? Yeah, I made that comparison. Oh, Donnie, I did not ask for a lecture on our forbearers in the animal kingdom. You know, if you squint, Donnie's head sorta looks like a mushroom. He looks like a tiny lecturing mushroom. I bet green mushrooms are poisonous. Yep, they gotta be. Huh? Oh fuck, Donnie, I don't need a pop quiz. Well, whatever. Poisonous mushrooms for $500, Alex. Oh and you're staring at me like I have three heads? Piss off, Donnie. I'm not the one watching giraffe porn.
So no movie. No kitchen. No main room. This place is too damn small. Damn it Leo! No, I will not stop pacing! I just got back, can you leave me the fuck alone for ten flippin' seconds? You know what, you can snap at me as loud as you want, you know damn well I can yell louder. You wanna test it? You bring it Bro. Hot damn it! You can't get away from anyone and you can't relax! Shut up, Leo! Shut up! SHUT UP!
Aw, fuck. And just like that, every goes silent and we gotta see what's broken. My wits for one, and maybe my sanity, too. But that never gets counted. Pacing. He throws a fit over pacing. I think he just loves to push buttons. I'm putting buttons on his pink glitter crown, I swear. Oh, yeah. You're fine, stop whining. I can see you're fine. Yeah, I'm the bad guy for throwing a lamp at you. Fine. I'll be the bad guy. And yep. There's Father, just like clockwork. Screw it. I'm going to my room. I'm going there anyways, whether I listen to the lecture or not, so why waste the breath? I'm not listening to you anymore, Leo. I shouldn't have listened to you in the first place, and I didn't take my advice the first time. You know, after I slam this door I can't hear you, so I don't even know why you try.
Oh wait, I do. You just gotta get the last word in, don't ya? Wait for it. Wait for it. Heh. It's a Pyrrhic victory to cut Leo off just before he makes his point, and most likely immature to boot. But damn, it feels good every single time.
Too bad feeling good doesn't last long enough. Shit. Grounded. Stuck inside. Stuck with my thoughts, and tomorrow's my birthday.
I really hate birthdays.