Silence

I own nothing.

His new lair wasn't so bad. So it didn't have electricity and he had to use candles, no biggie. He enjoyed the ambiance. It was winter and he had no heat. Whatever. Cuddling under a blanket wasn't so bad. He had to admit he missed being able to cook warm food and watch television, but he would be damned if he ever walked through the door of that Hamato clan ever again. Stupid Splinter! Stupid turtles! Those other guys weren't his brothers anymore except for maybe Leo. No way! Brothers wouldn't have yelled at him and blamed him for something he didn't do. A real father and brothers would have had some faith in him. Screw them! Leo hadn't been there so he didn't count. His eyes grew heavy as he sighed and his breath blew out in the air like smoke.

"Maybe I'll take up smoking just to spite them," he thought as a shiver ran through his body, "Tomorrow I'll go scavenging. I'll fix my new place up and be happy on my own. I'll even change my name. Oh! I'll be Jet Li Turtle or…um…Bruce Kick-ya-shell. I like that one."

He chuckled to himself as his stomach growled. He hadn't been able to get much to eat due to the blizzard that trapped him in the sewers.

"I'll be fine," he decided, "Three days of not eating won't kill me."

The turtle grew more tired and drifted into a sleep that he realized wasn't good. Turtles didn't do well in cold.

"Am I dying?" he thought from deep inside of himself as a banging began to rattle the hidden doorway of his new home, "What?"

Bricks toppled and crumbled to the ground as a green and red blur fell into the room even as I remained motionless, curled against the far wall.

"Bros, I found him!" Raph hollered as he leaned over me and touched my face, "Donnie, get ya shell in here tha kid is ice cold and not registerin' that I'm even standin' in front of him!"

He vaguely realized that Leo and Donnie hurried into the room through the hole in his new door. All three turtles were dressed in warm outfits that their Father always made them wear in the winter. I hadn't thought to grab mine when I left.

"God, Mikey!" Donnie gasped as he stared into my eyes even though I couldn't really focus or move, "He's hypothermic! We've got to get him home!"

Leo looked around and appeared livid as he yanked a blanket out of the bag he was carrying and he and Raph swaddled me under a second layer before my oldest brother grabbed me up and began to run towards the lair as I swayed limply in his arms.

"Fearless, let me carry him," Raph insisted as he and Donnie caught up.

"I've got him," Leo gritted out angrily.

My oldest brother's voice was his livid voice. We usually never heard this voice unless it was directed at an enemy.

"I'm going to run ahead and get a warm bath ready," Donnie called as he pulled ahead, "We've got to get Mikey warmed up fast or his heart will stop."

Whatever. I didn't care anymore. Sleep sounded pretty darn good. Leo finally reached the lair and rushed right by Master Splinter without saying a word. It was disconcerting to feel as Leo and Donnie peeled the blankets and my gear from my body and lowered me into the warm water. It felt like this was happening to someone else and not me. My eyes stared ahead, but I sensed that Raph and Sensei were in the doorway.

"Why ain't he respondin'?" Raph growled from somewhere outside of what I could see.

"Your brother's body was beginning to shut down," Master Splinter answered as Leo and Donnie rubbed my arms and legs to try to get the circulation flowing again, "Why would he have stayed out in this weather so long?"

"You tell me," Leo hissed as he turned his head and glared behind him, "I run up topside for an hour to get the supplies from Casey and I come back to find that my baby brother had run away from home in the dead of winter! What the shell happened? He looked like he was in the process of setting up a new home in that damn room he found! He could have died!"

It felt good to hear the anger in Leo's voice. Take that, Meanies. My big brother still loves me.

"What happened?" Leo demanded again as quiet calm overtook his voice, "All you told me was that Mikey needed to cool off and now he's been missing for three days."

"Be calm, my son," Master Splinter urged as Leo's hands used a wash cloth to wipe warm water over my face and head, "There was a disagreement between us and Michelanelo and blame was placed. It was not until you returned that I realized that we had been mistaken."

I shuddered and Leo's head snapped back around to me, but I still couldn't move or respond. I felt as Donnie and Leo eased me out of the tub and I was dried and wrapped in several blankets before being placed in a bed. It was surprising to see that I was in Leo's room and continued to stare ahead as my family began to set up heat lamps around the bed.

"Explain the mistake," Leo gritted out as he and Raph placed hot water bottles at my feet and near my hands.

"Mikey's skateboard knocked inta one of Donnie's experiments," Raph explained, "A chemical got mixed by accident and caused an explosion that burned Sensei's favorite kamishimo and destroyed my magazine collection let alone the damage it did ta tha lair. We kinda blamed Mike for leavin' his board where he shouldn't."

"We didn't 'kinda' blame Mikey," Donnie denied as Raph sighed, "Once we got the fire out, Raph and I all but got physical with him in our anger. Master Splinter stepped in and when Mikey refused to take responsibility, Sensei told him that he was very disappointed in his lie telling."

The hurt of that day flared in me again. I hadn't done anything. I wasn't telling lies. I had placed my skateboard on a chest and I told them that.

"My son, it was not until you came home and informed us that you have moved everything off the wooden chest to get to the winter clothing that we realized that it had been you that had leaned Michelangelo's skateboard in the doorway of the lab," Master Splinter admitted looking contrite as he sat next to me on the bed, "I had hung my kamishimo in the doorway and it slipped from the hanger and started the skateboard to fall. The whole episode had been an accident and we had blamed Michelangelo without proof besides his history of being careless. The child had not been lying and I felt terrible for my assumptions."

"Kid ran out of here sayin' he didn't want ta be a part of a family that wouldn't believe him," Raph said as he leaned in the doorway, "Hurt ta hear him say he hated us."

I couldn't move, but I wanted to cry. All these years and my own family turns on me at the snap of a finger. Leo looked shocked before his gaze turned steely.

"Get out," I heard my older brother say as the rest of the family looked at him as if he was crazy, "Get out of my room. You have no right to be anywhere near my baby brother."

"Leo…" Donnie began before gasping when he was jerked up by an arm and literally thrown against Raph as they stumbled out the door.

"Get out!" Leo hollered as he turned raging eyes on our brothers before looking towards Master Splinter.

"My son, calm yourself," Sensei began before stepping back as Leo rounded on him.

"As you wish, Master," Leo hissed, "I am calmly asking you to get out of my room because I am very disappointed in how you turned on my baby brother. I will be taking care of Mikey while you three can go rot in your own stews for all I care! Get the shell out of my room!"

Master Splinter looked shocked but left the bedroom as Leo slammed and locked his door behind him. I could only watch as Leo grumbled and cursed as he paced in the room. Finally, he came back and sat beside me as he began to rub my hands briskly.

"Okay, Mikey," Leo instructed, "We're going to get you warmed up and then we are going to talk, okay? I'll be damned if you are going to live in that decrepit room you found so you and I are going to be figuring some stuff out together. Everything's okay now. I'm here, Baby Bro."

I still couldn't answer, but I was able to close my eyes and take a deep breath. Leo continued to work at getting me warm. I felt him open the door and heard him pause.

"Get out of my way," Leo snapped.

"Fearless, we want ta see our baby brother," I heard Raph growl back.

"You have no right to use that moniker on my brother," Leo snarled as I heard Donnie gasp, "I need to refill these hot water bottles. My brother is beginning to warm up and I intend on keeping it that way."

"Leo, what do you mean by 'my brother' in what you are saying?" Donnie asked as I heard a touch of tears in his voice, "Mikey is our brother too."

"You should have thought about that when you nearly turned violent on him three days ago," Leo calmly stated as the door shut and I heard him turn a key in the lock, "Keep out of my room. You two are not welcomed near my family."

My eyes snapped open as I hear Raph roar and Donnie yelling. Time passed and Leo returned and locked the door back behind him.

"There we go," Leo sighed as he replaced the hot water bottles and checked the temperature of my forehead, "Damn, you're starting to run a fever. I knew that you were going to end up getting sick after nearly freezing to death, Mike."

I blinked and Leo sat up to look me in the eyes before smiling at me and pulling me into his arms as he curled around me.

"Good you are coming back to yourself. Go to sleep, Mikey," my brother instructed me.

I fell asleep nestled against Leo. I don't know how long I slept, but when I woke I was uncomfortably warm and everything felt foggy. I felt a hand on my forehead and was able to shift to look up at my big brother.

"Hey, Sleepy," Leo whispered down to me, "How are you feeling?"

"Hot," I whined as my brother nodded and turned off a few of the heat lamps around the bed, "Head hurts."

Leo helped me sit up and I frowned at how clumsy my movements were. I obediently opened my mouth to allow my brother to slide an electronic thermometer under my tongue. When the thing beeped, Leo looked at the readings and cursed loudly.

"You are one sick, little turtle," my blue-masked brother groaned as I blinked at him, "You need to eat something so I can get some medicine in your system. When did you eat last?"

"That pizza you and I reheated for lunch," I croaked as my throat was sore.

Leo froze and looked at me startled.

"That was over four days ago!" he hissed as the concern rolled off of him in waves, "Stay here. I'll be right back. Oh, and Mikey?"

I looked up at him as he smiled kindly at me.

"Say nothing," Leo instructed, "Not one word to anyone. Silence."

I was confused, but nodded. I watched as he opened his door only to be greeted by Raph and Donnie standing there. The two looked over Leo's shoulder as I began to lightly cough which really, really hurt my throat.

"Mikey! Shell, you're running a fever," Donnie called as my eyes flicked up to his, "Leo, he looks really sick. Why didn't you come and get me?"

Leo shut his door and again the lock was turned, but my oldest bro said nothing.

"Fearless, did ya hear Don?" Raph demanded, but no answer came, "What, ya givin' us tha silent treatment?"

I heard the arguing voice ease away from the door. I most have dozed for a moment, but soon screaming could be heard from the outside. Leo entered with a tray as even Master Splinter's soft voice could be heard imploring my brother to say something and let them in to see me. I was a bit impressed when Leo shut the door in everyone's face without saying a word as he locked us inside.

"Okay, Mikey," my brother smiled out as he placed the tray on his side table and picked up a bowl of chicken soup, "I'm going to have to feed you since your hands are shaky right now. No whining."

I frowned and lifted a hand only to see the trembling. Damn. I hated feeling sick and weak, but the first spoonful was heavenly and Leo smiled as I ate every drop hungrily. I wasn't as thrilled with the medicated tea, but allowed Leo to help me sip it down in between a few coughing fits.

"I know you hate cough syrup, Mikey, but you are going to have to take some," Leo added as he shook the medicine bottle and poured out a helping.

"Ew!" I whined as the syrup dripped down my throat, "Yuck, Leo. Water! My kingdom for water."

Leo snorted at me as he handed me a glass of water and helped me sip at it. I did feel a little better with food on my stomach, but I still felt hot and achy.

"Leo, why won't you let anyone in?" I asked as I burrowed into his side.

"I'm mad at them," Leo admitted as he looked down at me, "You could have died out there, Mike. Do you know how close you came to going into hibernation and never waking up again, Bro?"

I shook my head as the information sank in. Whoa! Stupid move on my part.

"So what now?" I questioned as Leo smoothed his hand down my arm as I grew sleepy.

"You get better," Leo addressed as I nodded, "And you do everything I ask you to do without any questions. No matter how much you might want to speak to Sensei, Raph, or Donnie, you say nothing. Don't even look in their directions, okay?"

Again, I agreed, but I didn't understand Leo's reasoning to want to request this of me. My older brother smiled gently at me and I felt reassured so I fell into a deep sleep. I fought my sickness for a couple of days, but even with Leo's medicines and care, I was getting steadily worse. My fever must have gotten really bad at some point because I woke being placing back into a tub filled with tepid water late one night. I squeaked for a second before relaxing as soothing water was scooped and poured over my shoulders and arms.

"Leo, let me examine our baby brother," Donnie's voice floated to my ears as I leaned weakly against my older brother, "I saw what the thermometer read, Bro. Mikey's burning up!"

Leo kept silent and simply continued cooling my body down with cups of water.

"Come on, Fearless," Raph urged as I flicked my eyes up to see him hovering in the doorway of the bathroom, "We f'd up. We get it, but Mike's sick bad. Ya don't have tha medical knowledge Don's got. Let him see ta Mikey before tha kid gets worse."

Leo said nothing as he continued to try and bring my temperature down. I was nearly asleep when Leo placed a thermometer under my tongue and continued to support me. I watched as Leo checked the reading and nodded looking relieved before frowning when my coughing started.

"Leonardo, I have had quite enough of this attitude from you," Master Splinter nearly snapped as Leo dried me off and wrapped me in a fresh blanket, "You will cease this behavior at once and allow Donatello to examine Michelangelo. Do you hear me?"

Leo stood and walked calmly from the room as Sensei's voice continued to fuss until we were locked back in Leo's room. My brother was tucking me under the covers when he looked at me with a wink and held up his hand to countdown silently. Three.

"Open this door right now, Fearless!"

Two.

"So help me, I'm goin' ta rip ya a new one if ya don't open this door!"

One.

Crash! Bang!

I tilted my head to see Raph panting angrily in the broken doorway of Leo's room as my oldest brother placed a cool washcloth on my forehead. Donnie hurried into the room and hesitated as Leo looked calmly up at him before standing and allowing him to sit next to me.

"How are you feeling, Mikey?" Donnie asked even as I stayed silent and he "tsked" as he began to check me over.

"Hey, Mike," Raph greeted as he leaned over me while I heard Master Splinter giving Leo an earful, "Donnie, why ain't he answerin'?"

"I don't know. He isn't responding to me either," Donnie answered as he looked over the medicines that Leo had been forcing on me, "Raph, go into my lab and get me my stethoscope. I need to check Mikey's lungs."

"He looks like he's breathin' pretty well ta me," Raph observed as he tilted my head to look up at him, "Damn, he's hot!"

"Leo's been giving him the tea we usually have Mikey drink when he's got pneumonia," Donnie sighed before turning back to Raph, "Go get me what I asked for."

I couldn't help the coughing that shook me and calmed only when Leo came over and sat on the other side of me. It felt good when he replaced the wet cloth on my head with a fresh one from the bowl he had on his side table. Neither of us spoke as we looked up at one another.

"I am not done speaking with you, Leonardo," Master Splinter stated as he came up and felt my forehead, "You have been doing an excellent job caring for your brother, but you have got to allow Donatello to treat Michelangelo."

Leo ignored our Sensei and began to wipe my face and neck down with a wet cloth as I closed my eyes in bliss. I heard Master Splinter sigh and pull a chair up next to the bed. I jumped when Donnie touched me with the stethoscope and began to listen to my lungs as he asked me to breathe in and out slowly.

"Definitely pneumonia," Donatello hissed as he hooked the stethoscope around his neck and felt the glands in my neck, "It's mild and Leo has been treating it from the beginning it looks like, but Mikey's fever has me worried. How did you know what the diagnosis was, Leo?"

Leo didn't answer as Raph snarled in the background. My oldest brother bent and lifted me in his arms and walked out of the room without a sound as the rest of our family scrambled after him.

To be continued…