... Yeah, it's been a long time. Okay, maybe not, but it feels like a long time to me.
This fic is set in the 2k12 series. I hope you all had a good Valentine's Day! I spent mine at home with my family and played video games and wrote this. It was pretty fun.
I'm enjoying the new toon so far. I planned on writing in this universe when the season was over but yeah that failed.
EDIT: I fixed a few bits that sounded awkward.
Michelangelo was up to something. Nothing unusual. Being up to something was Mikey's natural state. But this particularly instance of up-to-somethingness gnawed at the back of Raphael's mind as opposed to wafting over it like a bad smell. And bad smells acquainted themselves with him regularly.
Raph listened his brother's footsteps patter up and down the lair. Rolling his eyes when paper started rustling behind him, he pointed the remote at the television and increased the volume.
"When in heat, the lioness may mate with more than one male-"
Yelping, Raph juggled the remote before catching it and changing to a programme about pharaohs. His thumb ached from channel surfing. He had spent the past ten minutes lounging on the sofa, one arm extended forward and the other propping up his chin. All his attempts to locate something that didn't reflect the current day's date led to material that would only capture the attention of a person under ten... or a nerd.
A yawn escaped him as he admitted defeat and turned off the television. Maybe Leonardo would be up for some sparring. Or perhaps Donatello could numb his brain with some mumbo-jumbo. Anything to distract him. Raph pressed the palms of his hands against the sofa cushion beneath him.
That was when it rained red.
"What the-?" Raph batted the air above his head. Relaxed his face. Lowered his arms. Turned his hands over as he examined them for damage. "Glitter?" Realising the culprit's identity immediately, he snapped his head around and glowered. "Mikey..."
"Sorry, bro. I just wanted to show you how shiny this stuff is and I tripped. My bad." Mikey held out a pot of red glitter. Raph flinched before pushing it out of his face. "Isn't it pretty?" Mikey stared at it with eyes that sparkled almost as much.
"... Do I want to know why you have glitter?"
"I'm making Valentine's Day cards." Mikey jumped back and twirled away. Raph placed his arms onto the back of the sofa and observed. His brother had covered a table with newspaper. Jars and bottles and tubs and boxes and paper and an assortment of other arty things sat upon it. He must have received them from April because the chances of finding quality materials like that in the sewers were nil.
With a final spin, Mikey fell back onto a chair and swung his legs around. The pot of glitter thumped against the table.
Raph raised his brow. "What are you making Valentine's Day cards for?" He lifted one hand. "You don't have a girlfriend."
"I'm making them for our friends." Mikey picked up a gluestick and rubbed it against the bottom of a heart-shaped piece of card. "Do you want to see the one I'm making for April? It's not finished yet but seeing as you're my bro, I'll let you have a sneak peek."
Mikey scraped it off the table and positioned it next to his face. Pink paint dripped off and plopped against the newspaper.
"What do you think? Awesome or what?"
Raph squinted. "It looks like a fairy threw up on it."
"What looks like a fairy threw up on it?" Don emerged from the kitchen, mug in hand.
Leo followed him out two seconds after. He caught sight of the mess Mikey made and widened his eyes a smidgen, taking a few more steps before stopping. Don came to a halt several paces from Mikey, craning his neck to get a better view of the object in his brother's hands.
"Ignore Raph- he's just saying that because my Valentine's Day card blew his mind." Mikey clenched and unclenched his free hand, mouthing 'pow'. He wiggled his fingers before moving his other hand so Leo and Don could see his creation properly. "Great or what? April's gonna be so surprised."
Don jumped. "April?" He narrowed his eyes and leaned forward. "Why are you making April a valentine? She's not your girlfriend."
"Chillax, Bro." Mikey patted air. "I'm making one for all my friends." Balling his hand into a fist, he opened it one finger at a time. "Murakami, Leatherhead..." He paused, two fingers out. "Wow, I need more friends." He shook his head before putting his card onto the heart-shaped clean bit of newspaper. "Do you wanna make a valentine, Donnie?" He waggled his brow. "For Apriiiil?"
Don blushed. "I... It seems kind of juvenile, don't you think?"
"Come on. Who wouldn't want a one-of-a-kind specially made valentine?" Mikey grinned. "Pull up a chair and let your creative juices flow like one of Sensei's katas." He patted the chair beside him. His smile grew and leaked into his voice. "Girls dig creative guys. Don't you want to show April your sensitive side?"
Slightly pink in the face, Don spluttered incoherent words before accepting Mikey's invitation. Head bowed forward, he grabbed a piece of card and a pencil. Leo crossed his arms and looked away, his gaze flickering towards the table. Mikey smirked at him from over his shoulder so Leo suddenly gained interest in the wall next to him. When his brother returned his attention to his valentine, Leo fidgeted before edging over.
Sweeping his focus from Leo to the others, Raph noted there were four chairs situated around the table. Did Mikey honestly think he could talk all three of them into participating? Leo and Don might have been able to be coerced into it, but not him. He knew companies dragged out Valentine's Day every year even though the holiday had gone past its expiry date long ago. He had wised up to it. It was all just a big scam to manipulate people's feelings and earn money and torture people like him until they relented.
Which wasn't going to happen to him any time soon. No way.
"April is going to be so excited when she sees our cards." Mikey's tongue peeked out of his mouth as he rested the side of this head against the table, fingers almost breaking the tissue heart held just above his sticky card. He lowered his hand and raised his head. "How many do you think she's going to get? Her locker's going to be packed."
Don flinched. Mikey winced.
"But theirs are gonna be all lame and shop-bought. Ours will be way cooler." He draped an arm over Don's shoulders. "Trust me. A few pointers from moi," he prodded himself in the chest, "and April will be flinging herself at you."
"Yeah, right." The corners of Don's mouth quivered, face lighting up. As he retrieved a ruler from the centre of the table, Leo sat himself away from the other two. He browsed through the stack of coloured card before withdrawing a blue one.
"Are you sure you're not going to make one?" asked Mikey after a minute of shuffling and cutting.
Raph grimaced. "I'm sure."
"Okay," Mikey opened a tub of sequins and began plucking out red ones, "but it's going to look pretty bad if April gets one from us three and not you."
"... She won't care."
"If you say so." Mikey emptied half of the tub out and started grouping colours together. "But she'll remember. And whenever she remembers, she'll think... why? Why didn't Raph get me one while the others did?"
"You're trying to guilt trip me into making one, aren't you?"
Mikey looked up. "Is it working?"
"No." Raph huffed, climbing over the sofa before ambling to the table. He stood behind Mikey and Don. Mikey's valentine was a mess of hearts, glitter and glue. Reds and pinks dominated his vision. Don's head blocked his valentine from sight, but Raph had caught him using a compass while walking over. Other than drawing lines and circles, he hadn't done much else.
Raph plopped himself onto the last free chair. Sitting nearer to Mikey than to Leo, the latter looking too pleased about this activity to not be suspicious, Raph straightened his neck in an attempt to get a good view of his brother's card.
Leo's pupils twitched. He shielded his work with his left arm. "Do you mind?"
"Yeah." Raph curled his mouth. "I do. What's so secret about your card?"
"I just don't want you gawking at it." Keeping his arm still, Leo used his right one to dip his paintbrush into grey water. He swirled it around. "It's distracting and impolite."
Raph stared at him. "I'll see it sooner or later."
"Well then you can see it later."
"Dude," Mikey cut in before Raph could respond, "let the guy work in peace. You're giving out some seriously bad vibes."
Leo beamed. "Thanks, Mikey."
Raph shut his mouth. Forehead wrinkled, he chose a green piece of card. Rather than ask someone to pass him a pair of scissors, he stabbed it with his sai and ripped it into the shape of a beaten up heart.
As time went by, Raph noticed Leo turn his back on him and move almost unnoticeably further away. No question about it- he was up to something. Making a card for April wasn't that big of a deal. It wasn't even a romantic valentine.
Or was it?
Raph finished his fifteen minutes later. He dropped the pen he used to write inside it with a triumphant click and lolled back in his chair. Mikey noticed immediately and studied Raph's creation. He puffed out his cheeks and snorted.
"Okay." Raph scowled. "What's so funny?"
"You drew a monster on it. Are you trying to tell her she's ugly?"
"What?" Raph jerked forward. "No. It's April."
Mikey cocked his head to the side. "Why'd you make her so hairy? And fat?"
"I smudged it by accident."
"You got April's eyes completely wrong." Don pointed at the smaller blob. "They're supposed to be more of a dark azure than a royal blue."
Raph exhaled. "Thanks for the input, Brainiac. I'll remember it for next time." He stood up, knocking his chair back. "Welp. I'm done."
"Already? You could fix it up," Mikey said. "Make it prettier."
"A valentine is a valentine," Raph replied. "It's the thought that counts." He glanced over at Leo's, which wasn't being guarded for once. Looked like he'd gone for the boring rectangle shape. It lacked the rawness Raph felt his own one embodied. It looked almost as neat as Don's, with its neatly arranged border and colour coordinated stars and plain cream background-
Raph frowned. "Hey, I thought you used blue card."
"I-I did," said Leo. "But... I thought it didn't look nice so I started over."
"Can I see the original then?" Raph held out his hand, palm upwards.
"What? No." Leo hunched over his valentine. "It... was too corny."
"Aww," cooed Mikey.
Raph decided it wasn't worth the effort. "Whatever you say, Bro." Pharaohs suddenly appealed to him. He left his valentine on the table and strode towards the television. "Whatever you say."
Sneaking out of the lair proved easier than expected. April came over with a valentine for each of them, and she had been touched that they all made her one even if she struggled to keep a poker face when seeing Raph's. The rest of the afternoon involved eating chocolate, pizza, chocolate pizza and watching sappy made-for-tv movies. Mikey was hooked within minutes and Don contented himself with sitting next to April. Raph retreated to the dojo soon after and Leo slipped out with no one realising. Master Splinter would have encouraged him to stay and join in the fun, but the rat had retreated to his room and everyone knew better than to disturb him.
Leo arrived at the surface within minutes. Pushing the manhole aside, he swooped into a nearby alley and climbed up a fire escape. Evening had settled and a quick survey of the area confirmed no one else was present. A part of him thought that the citizens of New York knew about the weird happenings going on so they tended to stay indoors. He didn't blame them; his family had lived underground for as long as he could remember. And he couldn't complain, because it made staying hidden easier. The quietness was a bonus too.
Jumping up and onto the rooftop, he crossed to the other side and inspected his surroundings. Still alone... for now. Leo frowned. His family would notice his absence if he stayed out too long. He could claim he simply lost track of time during a run but dishonesty didn't sit right with him, even if people were none the wiser. Hopefully she wouldn't keep him waiting... assuming she ever arrived. Neither arranged a meeting. But they did have a tendency to cross paths, and Leo trusted she wouldn't let him down. Especially if he wasn't trying to hide from her.
There. Just as he anticipated. Only... he hadn't anticipated her finding him so soon, but Leo liked that about her. Her unpredictability. Even if it made things more awkward. And dangerous. Leo gulped. He could do this. He prepared.
"Hey," she said. "Enjoying the view?"
Leo turned around. "Yes! It's... It's nice." Nice. Nice. Way to go. "What about you, Karai?"
"Eh, it's all right... if you're into sunsets and what connotations it carries." She strutted over before placing her hands onto her hips. "But I don't think you came here to admire it. You looked like you were waiting for someone."
Was he that easy to read? "Well... actually..." Karai raised her eyebrows. Leo extracted the card from under his armpit and held it out. His hand shook. "I, uh," he turned his head away, "made-you-this."
He felt Karai yank it out of his grip. "You what?"
When Leo was sure she was looking at it, he peeked. No expression. Did that mean she didn't like it? She inspected the front. Three red hearts sat in the top left corner. In the centre was a drawing of her and Leo fighting, smiling as they battled. She admired the calligraphy above the picture briefly before flipping the card over and opening it.
"I know it's kind of lame." Leo rubbed the back of his head, grinning. It was either that or not hide how mortified he was. He couldn't meet her eyes. Maybe the quote inside had been a bit much, even if it was one of Captain Ryan's best lines. "But I thought... you know... since today is-"
Karai punched his arm. Leo stumbled sideways, almost losing his balance.
"Ow!" He rubbed his arm. She was stronger than she looked. "What was that f-?" Karai pressed her lips against his mouth. Leo blinked, barely registering what happened as she stepped back.
"See you around." She spun on her heel and waved one hand, walking away. Reaching the edge of the roof, Karai winked at him from over her shoulder before dropping off. Leo's first instinct was to chase after her but his mind caught up with his gut and slapped some sense into it.
Clearing his throat and hoping his cheeks would stop burning before he arrived at the lair, Leo smiled to himself and made for home.