Inspired by a dear friend who can actually make cake.

Mush? Chocolate concrete? A strange new concoction that defied the known laws of chemistry? Donatello frowned worriedly at the strange, brown goo in the bowl. Leo scowled at the dubious "cake batter" and started churning the mess with a spoon as if to punish its very existence.

"Leo, everything okay?"

Leo sighed, glaring at the large plastic bowl in the crook of his arm.

"No, Don, it's not."

Cautiously, Don edged his way into the kitchen, with a raised eye ridge. He had to fight the urge to drop his jaw at the sheer mess. Every bowl they had littered the counter, all of them coated and dripping with some some sort of brown substance.

Worriedly, Don eyed his brother and the kitchen that was now in complete chaos. The refrigerator door was flung open. The eggs, milk, butter, cans of cooking spray and bottles of cooking oil were scattered throughout the kitchen. And standing in the middle of the mess was an extremely irate Leo, holding a bowl full of the brown goo, and a spoon.

"What are you doing?" Don asked, staring at the kitchen.

Leo huffed in frustration, and grit his teeth. "I'm trying to make a cake! What does it look like I'm doing?"

Leo turned, jabbing the spoon at him as if it were a weapon.

Donny wisely declined to answer, only raising his palms in supplication as he backed away.

Clanking the spoon even harder against the bowl, Leo looked as if he were about to throw the whole thing at the wall in frustration.

"I don't get it! It's eggs and milk and cake mix! The directions are even printed on the box!"

Slamming the bowl to the counter, he snarled, "Look at this, Don! Does this resemble anything close to cake batter?"

Leo held the spoon aloft, as the slimy clumps dribbled back into the bowl with a disgusting plop.

Don hid the grimace. "I'm sure that it tastes fine, Leo. I don't see why you're so frustrated over this."

"It's cake, Don. CAKE. If I can't make a stupid cake, how else can I keep you guys safe?"

"Technically, Leo, you're still in the process of mixing the batter, not actually making the cake."

Leo gave him a withering glare.

Don inwardly cringed, sincerely wishing to God that Leo wouldn't be holding an emo angst fest right here in the kitchen. Only Leo could make the leap from mixing cake batter to questioning the very foundation of existence. Swallowing hard, Don bravely stepped forth, steeled every nerve, and scraped up every bit of intestinal fortutide he could possibly have.

"I'm sure it tastes wonderful, Leo." And to prove how truly kind and sympathetic, (and idiotic) Donny was, he bravely dipped the spoon into the goo. He had to wiggle the spoon with both hands, much in the way one would manuveer a toilet plunger. Grimacing, he wondered if he would need to go the lab and get his chisel to work a piece of the "cake batter" loose. Suddenly, the spoon dislodged itself with a disgusting squelching sound, and Don was left holding a dripping mass that resembled tar.

"You really think so?" Leo sounded so pathetically hopeful that Don had no choice but to lie. Shutting his eyes, Don shoved the spoon into his own mouth, feeling as honorable as those old movie heroes who fell on their own swords.

And when he actually tasted the goop, he nearly gagged. It was absolutely horrifying. Like a sick concoction of potting soil and rancid chocolate.

"Does it taste alright?" Leo asked eagerly, as Don forced himself to swallow it down. Scrambling to the sink, Don poured himself a glass of water to wash away some of the foul taste. Even after a glass, his mouth was coated with something chalky.

Eyes watering, Donny paused to say what was both truthful and tactful at the same time. "It's so unbelievable that it brings tears to my eyes, Leo. I've never tasted anything like that in my life."

It wasn't quite a lie. Leo grinned, deliriously relieved. "Oh, good. I was worried that I'd foul this up like everything else I've tried to cook."

Donny hid his grimace behind another long swallow of water. It was mind-boggling that Leonardo, who could master the most complicated kata after merely watching had such appalling cooking skills. Scrambled eggs would resemble melted yellow crayons. Even something as simple as toast was not out of Leo's supernatural ability to foul up the food. Whenever Leo used the toaster, the bread would be scorched black and hard enough to scour paint.

"Leo...you're not necessarily a bad cook. You just have a unique approach of attempting the culinary arts."

Leo sighed with satisfaction as he shoveled the goop into the waiting pan. The mess fell into the pan like concrete. Turning to fiddle with the oven's dials, Leo looked over to Don with a smile. "Would you mind getting down the frosting? It's in the cabinent behind you."

Dubiously, Don turned to the cabinent, and fished out the can with a creepily grinning elf. Holding it out to Leo, he asked, "Is this it?"

Leo nodded his thanks as he took the can. Prying the lid off, he scooped out glops of dark frosting, and slathered it over the wet batter. Donny bit his tongue to nearly bleeding. The batter hadn't been baked yet! All the frosting would just gloop on the batter and make something with the texture of slime. Or rock. No way to tell.

Donny said nothing as he watched Leo scoop out the last of the frosting. He put the emptied can in the garbage with a satisfied smile.

"Doesn't it look good?" Seeing Leo's beaming, clueless face made telling the truth even more eyed the concoction in the pan. It looked like something dredged from the bottom of a river, all brown and dripping. Donny forced his lips to curl. "Only you could come up with something like this, Leo."

"You can have the first slice." Leo said, cheerfully, as he put on the festive oven mits and shoved the pan into the oven.

Donny forced another smile. Only the Foot deserved to eat something that bad.

"Don, can you come and get me when the timer goes off, please?"

Don nodded. Leo gave him another smile and nearly skipped out of the kitchen. Don sighed, and squinted at the timer. Folding his arms over his plastron, he mentally calculated the pros and cons of simply letting the travesty be, verses Leo being humiliated. His mouth still tasted like he had licked an ashtray and chased it down with a huge glass of potting soil. His brothers had a good chance of choking on it. And, knowing Raph.. Don cringed at the picture of Raphael cracking a few skulls with the cake. Raphael would probably think that Leo was either punishing him, or poisoning him on purpose.

Suddenly, leaving the cake in the pan seemed the moral equivalant of firing a gun into a crowded room. There was just no possible good outcome.

Sighing, he turned to the oven, gathered his guts, and opened the door. Looking over his shoulder to see that Leo was still gone, he quickly shoved the oven mitts on, and snatched the pan from the oven, and set it down. His eyes burned from the tendrils of smoke wafting off the charred, blackened thing on the pan. It now looked like a brick. He poked it with a spoon. It was just as hard as a brick, as well. Incredible.

He would have to work quickly to spare Leo the humiliation of serving his family such a well-intentioned and disgusting thing. Maybe he should have saved some of the mess to either scrape paint from the wall or chuck at Raphael. Don scowled at himself. No, no. He didn't want his brother to have a concussion. And from cake no less.

Patiently, Donny searched the kitchen for another box of mix, ingredients, and eggs. Carefully, he rationed out the correct proportion of eggs, milk and then calculated how many times he would have to stir the batter to get the consistancy he wanted. He allowed himself a smug little smirk when the batter turned gold and poured perfectly into the pan. Dipping the tip of his spoon into the bueatiful batter, Don licked a bit up and sighed. If heaven were a cake mix, this was its flavor. The cake mix flowed perfectly into a smooth clump. Donny only had to glide the spatula over the batter until it was nearly level as a line. Perfect. It was absolutely perfect, just like the picture on the box.

Donny grimaced as he stared at the oven mitts Leo had left on the counter. They were weird, hideous things, with goggly eyes...like Muppets from hell, or something.
He shoved them into the drawer, feeling weirded out by their vacant stare. Gently, he set the pan of new cake batter in the oven, and turned the timer on. Soon, the stench of burnt goop and God knew what else was finally being replaced by the pleasant, homey smell of cake.

Unfortunately, his brief interlude of peace was interrupted by the loud bang of the door. Raphael announced his presence like an enraged bear lumbering from its cave. Don flinched from surprise to see Raphael actually awake at this time. His brother lived like one of those weird vampire characters from those books April was always reading. He only came out at night.

Raphael ignored Don as he shuffled, still half asleep over to the fridge, fished out a can of questionable liquid, without even troubling himself to open his eyes. Don warily backed away, careful not to disturb the beast as he lurched back to his cave. He waited until Raph slammed his door before he relaxed. All he needed to contend with was Raphael in a pissy mood.

He nearly jumped out of his shell when the oven timer chimed brightly. And he was further displeased when Leo chose that exact moment to re-enter the kitchen. Oh, man. Leo was approaching the oven like a game show contestant who had just won the sports car.

The frosting! Don had forgotten the frosting! Don rose from his crouch, shot between his brother and the stove.

"Leo, wait!" Leo stared at him.

"What's the matter, Don?"

Don swallowed hard. He hated lying to his brothers and he absolutely sucked at lying to Leo.

"The cake isn't finished baking." Don murmured apologetically.

"The timer went off. I don't want it burned."

Leo burning the cake would have been a wonderful improvement compared to the monstrosity he created.

"I went ahead and checked it for you, Leo. It just needs a bit longer, okay?"

Leo scowled at that. "But I put the timer on the maximum amount. If it stays in there too much longer, it will burn."

"Leo, the only way you are actually going to burn the cake is if you set it on fire. Apparently, you are woefully ignorant of the complex chemical changes and metamorphesis that ingredients must undergo to transform from batter to cake. And interrupting that process would be absolutely depraved. You wouldn't cut open a catapillar's cacoon before they emerge as a butterfly, would you?"

Leo stared at Donny, jaw slack, as if Donny had just suggested that he use his sacred katana to roast weenies.

"Of course I wouldn't! Why would I do something that cruel?"

"My point exactly, Leo. That's why you don't need to open the oven up just yet."

"Wait...what?" Leo's outrage melted into confusion as Don gently chuckled. It was an old, nasty trick of Don's to confuse the heck out of his brothers. It was the equivelant of throwing and intellectual smoke bomb and watching his poor brothers stumble to their own wrong conclusions.

"Thank you so much for being understanding, Leo. I appreciate you more than you know." Sure. Slather on the ooey, gooey sweetness. Don was almost tempted to hand Leo a spoon to lap it up.

Still confused, Leo gave Don a smile. "Uh...well, you're welcome." Don's cheer was as bright and overdone as a Lady Gaga video as he escorted his befuddled older sibling out of the kitchen, and into the dojo.

Leaving Leo to meditate on the mysteries of the universe, or whatever the heck he thought about, Don headed back to the kitchen. He halted when the stench of burnt cake hit him like a punch to the jaw. And his eyes were watering from the ashy smoke that bellowed from the oven, as if a dragon had taken refuge and started exhaling.

The cake! No! Don flew to the oven with a cry, shoving the Muppet from hell oven mitts over his hands and nearly gagging from the smoke. Numbly, Don pulled out the remains of the cake. It looked like it had been cremated. He set the blackened, scorched pan on the counter with a dull thud. It was at that moment that his dear brother Leo, both alarmed by Don's enraged shriek and the worrying cloud of smoke, chose to enter the kitchen.

Leo halted, and stared in disbelief.

Don, normally the most rational, mild-mannered sibling of all of them, was glaring at the cake-the same cake that Leo had lovingly baked for his family-and glaring at it as if he wanted to kill it. Complete with an ash covered face and Muppet oven mitts.

"Don, what in the heck are you doing to the cake?" Leo huffed as he stared down at the charred mess. "You ruined it! Look at it, it's too burnt to eat now!"

Don only exhaled. Shifted his glare from the cake to his brother, calmly took the brick-hard cake. in both oven-mitted hands, and proceeded to hurl the entire cake at the wall behind him. Leo flinched as the cake shattered, the shards skittering over the floor, on the counter, everywhere.

"It really is more like chocolate concrete after all." Don said, quietly.