The Silent Partner

Lessons Learned

Leo was working extra hard to keep an eye on Michelangelo. The youngest turtle was fast and agile, and was also currently trying to escape from his eldest brother. Every time Leo turned his back, Mikey attempted to sneak off. They were heading for the dojo, where Leonardo would proceed to tell Master Splinter all about Mikey's prank. And honestly, Mikey would rather not be present to face Sensei's annoyance.

After Leo had rescued Mikey from Mona's wrath earlier, he'd taken quite a bit of time lecturing the youngest turtle about how pranks were a shameful misuse of resources and blah-dee-blah-blah-blah. And the punishment Leonardo had dished out was already enough. The last thing Mikey wanted was for Master Splinter to punish him as well.

The blue-masked turtle literally had to drag Mikey the last few feet into the dojo and toss his orange-masked sibling inside. "Sensei!" He called.

Within moments Master Splinter appeared at the door to his room. "Leonardo. Michelangelo." He greeted and they both bowed. After a short moment of silence the old rat asked, "Is something wrong?"

"Uh….nope, nope! Nothings wrong! It's all cool! Bye Sensei!" Mikey said hurriedly before making a run for it.

Leo tensed and was about to jump after the goofball, when Master Splinter beat him to it and grabbed Mikey by the carapace. "Michelangelo." He said sternly, chidingly. "What have you done?"

Mikey sighed in defeat. "I kinda…" His voice fell to a mere whisper. "…dipped Mona's hair in paint."

Master Splinter raised an eyebrow. "What was that? It sounded like you said you dipped Mona Lisa's hair in paint."

"He did, Sensei." Leo confirmed.

Their rat father's eyes narrowed and Mikey shuddered. "It was just a joke."

"Where is she? Did he upset her?" Splinter asked, turning to Leonardo probingly.

"He disturbed her Sensei, but she was mostly just angry. We're lucky Mikey's little joke didn't spike any painful memories." Leo answered.

The rat nodded solemnly. "Yes, my son. That is very fortunate." Splinter turned disapprovingly back to Michelangelo. "Michelangelo, you must remember that no matter how strong hearted Mona Lisa may seem, she is deeply scarred by the past. You cannot always treat her the way you treat your brothers. We are fortunate that this prank of yours did not truly harm her, otherwise it could have jeopardized the trust that she has placed in your brothers and yourself. Do you understand that, my son?"

Mikey was too ashamed to meet his father's gaze. "Hai Sensei."

Sensei nodded. "Good. Starting tomorrow you will have an extra hour of training for the next month."

"What?! But Sensei—!"

"Would you prefer I make it two?" Splinter asked, raising an eyebrow at his youngest son.

Mikey shut his mouth faster than Leonardo had ever seen before. He couldn't help but grin a little at the expression on Mikey's face. Leo chuckled and patted the youngest turtle's shoulder. "At least it's not as bad as the punishment I set up for you."

Mikey huffed in agreement and Sensei sent his eldest son a curious stare. "And what would that be, Leonardo?"

The eldest smirked and Michelangelo glared. "Don't even say it, Leo." Mikey growled threateningly.

But Leo's smirk only grew wider. "Joining us for our two hour meditation for the next few weeks."

Master Splinter smiled. "Indeed. That would be a more fitting punishment. So be it." The old rat began to head back to his room, leaving a gaping Michelangelo in his wake. But he stopped just as he reached the door to his chamber and turned back to his sons. "Where is Raphael? I would like to know if Mona Lisa is alright."

Mikey was still being melodramatic about his punishment and was now laying on the floor, groaning like a dying man in the desert. Leonardo ignored his little brother and his cheeks flushed with embarrassment as he considered how awkward it would be to explain to his father that Raphael was…

"Um…" Leo coughed a little. "He's uh…he's…"

Master Splinter raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"

"He's in the shower."

The old rat's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Shouldn't he be with Mona Lisa?"

Leo cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, refusing to meet his father's eyes. "Well…he is. They're…uhm…they're, um, both in the shower."

Splinter's expression was eerily emotionless and Leo hurried on.

"She—Don said that she needed help washing the paint out."

"Hm. I see." Splinter replied stiffly, his face still impassive.

Another groan came from down where Michelangelo lay on the floor accompanied by an, "I'm too young to die!"

Master Splinter rolled his eyes and turned his back to his sons. "You may go."

Michelangelo didn't need to be told twice. He sprung up off the ground and out the dojo door in three seconds flat. But Leonardo lingered. There was something in his father's voice that he didn't quite understand.


The old rat turned back to his eldest son with an impassive stare, but all Leo had to do was look at Splinter's posture to know the truth. The blue-masked turtle's eye-ridges crinkled. "You don't approve."

"What are you talking about Leonardo?"

Leo shook off his father's attempt to evade the issue. "You don't approve of Raphael's relationship with Mona."

Splinter sighed and refused to meet Leonardo's gaze. "My son, it is not that I do not approve. It is that I have fears." At Leonardo's somewhat mystified expression, the rat elaborated, "Love can be a very dangerous thing."

Dark blue eyes glinted in the dim light of the dojo as Leo placed a soft forest-green hand on his father's shoulder. "She won't hurt him, father."

"I know that, Leonardo. That is not my concern. The four of you are still so young. And you are still training. You cannot afford any distractions."

Leo could feel anger welling up in his heart at his father's words. "Distractions?! Is our training all that matters to you, Father? Is it more important than our happiness? Than Raph's happiness?"

Master Splinter paled visibly at Leonardo's words. His posture crumpled and he placed an affectionate hand on his eldest son's head. "Of course not, my child. Of course not. It is as I told Raphael, the only reason I disapprove is because I cannot help but feel that I am losing a son."

A soft frown settled on Leo's features as he regarded his father thoughtfully. Until finally, after a minute of silence, he whispered, "You aren't losing a son, father." Master Splinter looked deep into his son's striking blue eyes. "You're gaining a daughter."

The old rat's lips turned upward into a smile. "Yes. You are right, Leonardo. Of course you are right."

Leo stepped forward and wrapped his arms tightly around his father in a gentle hug, which the old rat was quick to reciprocate. Goodness knows his sons did not hug him as much as they used to.

Leo emerged into the main room a few minutes later to find Michelangelo seated on the couch now fully absorbed in a video game. He sent his youngest brother a questioning glance. "Raph and Mona come out yet?"

"Nope." Mikey answered curtly.

With a rather un-convincing nod Leo went over and poked his head in the lab. "Hey Donnie. Raph and Mona aren't out yet. Is that…strange?"

Don shrugged. "I don't know, Leo. It all depends on how long it takes to wash all that paint out."

"Okay. Cool. Just asking."

The smart turtle rolled his eyes and never took his eyes off the computer screen in front of him. "Relax Leo. They haven't fallen down the drain or anything. And even if they somehow did manage it, those two are big enough to take care of themselves. They don't need a chaperone."

An offended scoff escaped the eldest and he put his hands on his hips. "That is not why I was asking Don! Mikey still hasn't apologized to Mona yet and I just wanted to know how long I'd have to keep an eye on him, that's all!"

"Sure, Leo, sure." Don said sarcastically.

"Urgh!" Leo stepped back and slammed the door to the lab, but unfortunately he slammed it too hard and it bounced open again. Donnie's raucous laughter rang brightly through the room.

"What's going on, Leo? The door puttin' up a fight?" A voice deep with laughter and thick with sarcasm asked.

Leo whirled around to come face to face with his immediate younger brother. Never too far behind, a quick glance proved that their silent guest was trotting her way over to Michelangelo, a girl on a mission. All attention temporarily commandeered by the lizard mutant, Leonardo let Raph's comment slide without an answer.

Mona stomped over to Mikey angrily, steam practically coming out of her ears as she stood directly between him and the television. At first Mikey tried to look around, but then he realized exactly who was standing in front of him. He shot to his feet and shifted nervously. "Oh, uh, hey Mona!" he greeted innocently, but her glare didn't lessen. Mona's right hand shot out and smacked him good and hard right across the face. Mikey pulled a hand up to his stinging cheek slowly.

While everybody else's eyes were focused on Mona Lisa, Donatello emerged from his lab. He glanced at the lizard mutant, quickly determining her intentions, and ignored her retaliation against Michelangelo to glance over at Raphael.

Raph's skin was slightly mottled, meaning it must have been a very hot shower. His mask was tied loosely and haphazardly and he seemed to be in the middle of re-wrapping his hands. His neon green eyes were glowing dimly, his grin was relaxed and open. His cheeks were flushed as though he'd been blushing a lot.

Donatello's intelligent brown gaze finally settled on Raph's shell, which looked like it had been freshly scrubbed, and he grinned. Raphael didn't like having his shell scrubbed, or at least, he pretended he didn't. He actually loved having it scrubbed but he was just too proud to ask for help, so he always acted like he didn't want it. But whenever they offered Raph would always accept, begrudgingly, of course. But all three of them knew that Raph really did appreciate it.

Mona must have convinced him to let her do it. Don realized

Raphael suddenly caught Don's gaze and his eyes narrowed. "What are you looking at, Brainiac?"

Donatello smirked. "Nothing, just wondering how long it took her to convince you."

Raph's eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms over his chest. "Convince me to do what?"

The genius's dark brown eyes sparkled mischievously. "To let her scrub your shell."

Within seconds a similar smirk was dancing across Leonardo's features as he realized exactly what Donnie was getting at.

When Raph spoke, his tone was defensive. "So she scrubbed my shell, so what?"

Leo approached and draped an arm over Raphael's shoulders, earning him a growl from his red-masked sibling. "So…you actually let her." Leo explained, smirking again at Raphael's flustered expression.

Neon green eyes quickly narrowed at his eldest brother's expression. "Back off Leo. It doesn't concern you. By the way, what's being done about Mikey?" The hothead asked, rapidly changing the subject.

Leonardo could have gone on, but he decided to let Raph slide…this time. There would be plenty of opportunities to poke fun at Raph's secret soft side later. "He's being thoroughly punished."

Mikey groaned. "More like murdered at age seventeen!"

The blue-masked turtle sighed and rolled his eyes. Raphael raised an eye-ridge and Leonardo explained, "He has to join Sensei and me for meditations for the next few weeks."

Raph smirked. "Serves him right."

Mona stomped her foot and nodded her head in agreement. Raph's smirk quickly melted into a smile and for a few moments the two of them stared at each other, completely oblivious of the other three turtles in the room.

"Ah, young love. So romantic." Mikey murmured, making Raph and Mona jump a little at the rude awakening.

"Mikey!" Leo and Don chided simultaneously.

The youngest turtle just sighed and turned back to his game, blasting the volume as high as it could go.

Raphael put a hand on Don's shoulder and pointed towards the lab. Donatello shuddered a little. He knew that look. He'd seen it one or two times before on Raph's face, and even more often on Michelangelo's. That look spelled trouble with a capital T.

Leo caught the look as well, and while it didn't disturb him as much as it did Don, he couldn't help but shift nervously.

Mona Lisa noticed the change in the three older turtles' posture, and Raphael's face made her cant her head curiously and slowly follow them into the lab.

Once they were all inside, with the door tightly closed, Raph turned to face his brothers with an incredibly unnerving smirk. "Hey Donnie, you got any sleeping pills?"

Don's mouth became a thin line. "Of course. Why? Are you having trouble sleeping?"

Raph went right on talking, completely ignoring the question. "How many would one of us have to take to be in a really deep sleep?"

"How deep?" The brainiac replied automatically.

A vicious smile spread across Raph's face. "Deep enough to be moved around without knowing it."

"Four or five." Don answered. "Why?"

By this point both Leo and Mona were leaning forward with anticipation. Raph glanced at them both and grinned. "I was thinking it was time for a little bit of payback. And I think you'll all agree with me when I say that Mikey deserves it."

Leonardo's face was impassive, even though on the inside he was looking forward to it. He'd never actually gotten Mikey back for the fake snake the youngest had placed in his bed two months ago. "What exactly did you have in mind?" Leo asked, knowing that it would be his job to prevent Raph from going overboard.

The hothead smiled devilishly and began to explain his plans.

The next morning Michelangelo woke to a hard pounding in his head.

Ugh…that garlic and mushroom pizza must not be agreeing with me… He thought as he pushed himself out of bed.


Why was I just thinking of…

A strange feeling suddenly overcame the young turtle and he looked up slowly.


He literally jumped as he found himself staring at a ceiling filled with unicorns. Pink, purple, and white unicorns jumping about through fluffly pink clouds. And the walls! The walls had been painted pink! Bright pink! With the occasional unicorn as well, at least that he could see. It looked like whoever had done this had removed all of his posters, repainted the room and then put them back. Mikey's eyes narrowed.

I may have three brothers, but only one of them paints this good...

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPH!" The orange masked turtle yelled at the top of his lungs.

It didn't take long before said brother was standing in the doorway. "Mikey, what's all the yelling for? Geez."

"Look at the ceiling Raph." Mikey said with his arms crossed, his voice angry, but contained.

Raph did as asked and whistled. "Wow. Nice work, Mikey. Didn't know you liked this kinda stuff."

"Don't gimme that Raph! I know it was you!" Mikey said, poking his brother in the chest. All things considered, he probably should have stopped to realize he was poking Raph. The hothead lashed out and grabbed his finger in a vice-like grip, making him yelp.

"I don't know what the shell you're talking about Mikey! Now lets go, its time for breakfast." Raph said dismissively.

Michelangelo followed slowly, glaring at his older brother's carapace. He knew Raph was in on it somehow. He just knew it.

Breakfast passed quietly and Mikey was the first to jump up from the table and head for the door. He turned back to his brothers and father as none of them moved. "Well, what are we waiting for?!" He asked insistently, turning away and heading out of the room.

Splinter grinned at his sons' antics and rolled his eyes. Kids.

Leo, Donnie, Raph and Mona exchanged knowing glances. All four of them grinned from ear to ear, fighting the urge to laugh as Mikey turned his back to them yet again.

Mikey turned and glanced a them expectantly, noticing the way that they were all grinning and putting it down as their little 'victory' celebration for successfully repainting his room. With an aggravated sigh, he stomped off to the dojo in a very un-Mikey-like fashion.

Don sent his brothers a sideways glance as they all stood and began to exit the kitchen. "Think we should tell him?"

Leonardo smiled and shook his head. "No, let's enjoy it while we can."

They stifled their laughter as they watched Mikey head to the dojo.

For what Mikey didn't know, what he couldn't possibly know, was that his room wasn't the only thing that had been painted. For he couldn't see the hot-pink unicorn, wearing an orange mask, painted on his carapace. He had no clue that the back of his shell was currently sporting some of Raphael's finest brushwork. The bright mythical figure stood out against a background of bright blue sky and grey mountainous terrain, it's fluffy orange tail matching the mask on its face. Truly, the entirety of Michelangelo's carapace had been painted. And he didn't even realize it.

Nor did Mikey realize that there were some neatly printed block letters on the back of his head, just above his mask, that said: SLAP ME.

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