Tonight Was Steak Night

Tonight was steak night. They didn't get to have such nice cuts of prime beef very often, and Mikey had spent some time broiling every piece to mouth-watering perfection.

It got everyone to the table on time for once, and they were all behaving as though they were civilized, such a rare and enjoyable thing for their sensei.

Until Raph got up to go get himself another beer. That's when Klunk swooped onto the table, grabbed his steak, and disappeared.

Raph saw the cat take his food and he let out a blood curdling roar. His sai was in his hand faster than anyone could think, and he launched it, also without thought.

Thank goodness Mikey was so quick. He saw the danger his cat was in and grabbed Raph's arm. He couldn't stop the sai, but he did knock it off target.

That's when Raph knocked him down with a well-aimed uppercut.

"Raphael!" Master Splinter shouted at his son as Raph drew his arm back for another strike.

Raph froze. His glare, however, was far from frozen.

Mikey put a hand up. "Dude, I'm sorry! Okay? But you can't kill the cat just 'cause he took your steak."

"That animal ought ta be locked up!" Raph fumed.

Mikey got to his feet slowly and warily. "It's not his fault. He kinda learned to be self-sufficient 'cause he was all alone until I rescued him. It's just instinct."

"Yeah, well it's my instinct ta wring his neck." Raph's fists were tight balls at his side.

Mikey walked over to the table and grabbed his plate, his steak still untouched. He picked up Raph's empty dish, replaced it with his own and turned to look at his brother.

"No harm, no foul. You can have mine."

With a little sad smile, Mikey walked into the kitchen.

No one said a word. Raph took a deep breath and exhaled. Damn, he suddenly felt like the world's biggest, fuckin' jerk.

Mikey had worked so hard to make this the perfect meal. He'd looked on Don's laptop for recipes so he could get the steak just right, and he even set the table properly, with a table cloth and everything.

Everything was kinda ruined now. Don was picking at his food, Leo and Master Splinter were sitting back in their chairs, looking at Raphael expectantly.

And his kid brother was probably in the kitchen crying. Not 'cause of the stupid steak either. Because he knew Raph was upset, and 'cause he loved Raph and he also loved that stupid cat.

Raph's mouth twisted up into a half smile. That kid was one of the nicest, most thoughtful folks he'd ever known and Raph did love him too. He sure as shell didn't mean to knock him down over a damn piece of meat.

Without a word, Raph picked up his plate and followed Mikey into the kitchen.

Sure enough, his little bro' was at the sink, sniffling and washing dirty dishes.

Raph set the plate on the counter and put a hand on Mikey's shoulder. Mikey turned a tear streaked face towards his older brother, and Raph pulled him into his arms.

Holding Mikey tightly, Raph whispered, "I'm sorry Mike. I didn't mean it, not any of it. An' I didn't mean ta knock ya down. I wouldn't have killed Klunk either, I promise."

"Thanks," Mikey told him softly.

Raph gave his brother a long, soft kiss before pulling back to indicate his plate.

"So how about ya' cut this thing in half, and we share it?"

Mikey's smile was huge and bright and pulled at Raph's heart.