a/n: My entry for Sampsonknights' ABC contest. The word I got: Nincompoop.
Sorry if it's a bit long... I'm a little hazy on what consists of "drabble length."
Mikey jumped the turnstiles and landed on a pizza box, surfing down the steps of the lair on it. If he was expecting a warm welcome home after being out for two hours, he was direly mistaken. Six glaring eyes fixed on him. Leo was on his ass in a matter of seconds.
“Mikey, where have you been?! We were supposed to leave on patrol twenty minutes ago!”
“What? No, I’m right on time… my watch even says so!”
Raph blinked at him. “You have a watch?” he asked dubiously.
“I do now! Look!” Mikey confirmed, thrusting his left wrist toward his brothers, displaying the timepiece with pride. Leo, Don and Raph were left less than impressed; the crystal facing was cracked, and it was secured to Mikey’s wrist with half its original leather band and a zip-tie.
Don peered a bit closer at it. “Mikey, this thing is running backwards!”
“Wh—no, it’s n—” Mikey whined defensively, brows coming together piteously, but Don cut him off.
“—And you’re wearing it upside-down.”
Mikey raised the watch to his eye to verify Donnie’s claim. “Oh…” he said. “Back in the dumpster for you, stupid dumpster watch…” he grumbled at it, fumbling it off his wrist.
“You mean to tell me you’ve been dumpster-diving alone for the last two hours?!” Leo boomed at the younger turtle.
Mikey held his hands out calmingly. “Relax, brah… I wasn’t alone. I was with Stevie.”
The three older brothers cast weary, long-suffering eyes at him.
“Let me guess,” started Leo. “Stevie is a rat.”
“No,” Mikey grinned confidently.
“Pigeon,” Donnie guessed.
“No,” the youngest repeated.
“Is he a toad?” Raph grumbled.
Mikey’s smile faltered. “M… Maybe…”
The red-banded brother threw his head back with an agonized groan. “WHY do we put up with this?!”
“Raph…” Leo warned.
“I mean it, Leo! He’s a complete and utter nincompoop! He shouldn’t even be on the team!”
A hurt look crossed Mikey’s face, looking for a second as if he was going to pout, but then his expression hardened and he thrust his lower jaw out. “I am not a whatever it was you just said!”
“Case in point.” Raph gave a demonstrative wave of his arms at his younger brother without so much as a glance in his direction.
Leo sighed, rubbing his temple with two fingers. “Let’s just go… We’re wasting time.”
“Steranko, what the hoo-hah are we doin’ up here? It’s freakin’ cold out, dog!” The warthog-man paced back and forth across the rooftop, rubbing his arms to warm them. His rhinoceros companion stayed in one place, peering through the scope of a sniper rifle perched on the balustrade. He didn’t seem to feel the cold at all, or if he did, he wasn’t going to complain about it.
“Hunting, comrade Zeck,” the rhino replied lowly, concentrating on the rooftops below, scanning back and forth with the gun. “Turtle ninjas always come through the Chinatown.
“But why? We’re not on any assignment to get the turtles! Shredder didn’t send us here!” Zeck continued to pace. “Even he had more sense than to send us out on a night this cold!”
“It is Big Apple, not Siberia. Maybe next time you wear more than silly vest and Tron-suit,” Steranko mumbled, ignoring the offended look Zeck shot him. “Shredder… he is big on reward and punishment. He wants turtles. We bring him turtle, we get back in Shredder’s good graces. We get in good graces…”
Zeck snapped his fingers, catching on. “…then we’re first in line for the retromutagen! I like it, Ivan, baby! But… if you’re just gonna shoot ‘em, why d’ja need me?”
“Two reasons, comrade…” Steranko mumbled, not looking away from his scope. “One, you are partner. I go behind back, you lose trust. Team falls apart. And two, you have little heat sensor visor thingie. Turtle ninjas like shadows, but with this…” he tapped Zeck’s visor, “…shadow is nothing. There are two parts to hunting: shooting and tracking. Turtles have hard shells, might deflect bullets. Don’t want to shoot head… They are more valuable to Shredder alive, for information. Turtle captive alive, more favor for us. So… I shoot for leg. Then we track down wounded turtle and take him to Shredder. Da?”
“Daah,” Zeck agreed. “What if the others try to help him, though?”
Steranko finally took his eye away from the scope with a hearty laugh. “That is what machine gun is for!” he bellowed.
“I don’t sound like that!” Donnie complained as Leo and Mikey laughed. Leo and Don had gotten over their irritation at Mikey’s earlier transgressions, and he was entertaining them with impressions as they made their way to one of the manholes they used as their access out of the sewers. Raphael, however, hadn’t forgiven his younger brother’s incompetence, and was sulking at the back of the group.
“No, you’re right,” Mikey admitted, tapping a finger against his chin. “Needs to be higher and more nasal.”
“I’m not nasal!” Don said defensively, then looked to Leo. “Am I?”
“Little bit…” Leo conceded.
“It’s not like I can help it that my vocal pitch is higher than everyone else’s… I just—“ Don broke off his sentence, hearing his own voice coming from the youngest turtle.
“Science, science, science! Math, math, math! I use big words my brothers can’t understand and then get annoyed when I have to translate them!”
Leo tried to hold back a laugh and failed, sputtering at Mikey’s impression.
Don grinned. “Okay, yes, that’s pretty accurate…”
“I have to clean my laptop screen all the time, ‘cause I keep making out with the picture of April on the desktop!” Mikey continued, but now Don was blushing and glaring at him.
“Mikey!” he repeated in Don’s voice.
“MIKEY!!” Donnie shouted at him, anger blazing in his eyes.
Raph looked on with a scowl. Mikey’s spot-on impression of their nerdy brother and his jabs at Don were amusing, but Raph wasn’t about to let that show, bound and determined to remain annoyed at the nincompoop.
“Come on, Raph, lighten up!” Leo called back to him as Donnie chased the mocking little turtle around, swiping at him with his bo.
“Yeah, Raph!” Mikey called as he evaded Donnie’s weapon with a back-handspring. “Don’tcha wanna hear my impression of you?”
Raph growled to Leo. “No wonder he’s such an idiot… you guys let him get away with it all the time!”
Leo didn’t respond, but let out a long sigh. “Okay, guys, quit fooling around, and let’ head topside.”
Being out in the open air did little to improve Raphel’s mood. After patrolling for a short time, the leader called for a rest, and the four of them paused. Raph crossed his arms impatiently and moved to lean against the post of a billboard, which let out a sickening crunch as soon as he put weight on it. “…the shell?!”
His shock attracted the attention of the others.
“Hmph…” Donnie muttered as he picked at the splintering wood. “You’ve got to admire the irony of a billboard for an exterminator being infested with termites…”
Raph’s eyes widened slightly. “There’s not any on me, are there?” He ineffectually swiped at the back of his shell, the very thought that something might be crawling on him creeping him out.
Mikey’s voice came from behind him. “Oh my god, dude, they’re all over you! Get ‘em! Get ‘em!”
The crawling sensation worsened, as did the expression of panic on Raph’s face. He swatted frantically at his neck and shoulders, trying to rid himself of the unseen threat… that is, until he realized: Don and Leo were laughing at him! The troublemaker of the group was behind him, and that could only mean one thing. He whirled around quickly to see Mikey, one arm hovering over his older brother’s carapace with a tattered gull feather in his hand. Mikey gulped, whipping hand and feather behind his back and feigning an innocent smile.
“Oh, you little son of a… !” Raph raged, storming after his brother as Mikey danced out of his reach. “You are so dead!” he bellowed.
Once Mikey had received a few smacks from Raph, Leo decided that was enough, and gathered them back to order, Raph protesting the whole while that Mikey hadn’t been beaten nearly soundly enough. The leader could tell that concentration wasn’t at its peak, so his plans for a proper stealth lesson went out the window. He declared instead that they’d just play ninja hide-and-seek for the remainder of the evening. “Raph, you’re it,” he announced.
“What?! How come you get to decide who’s it?!” the volatile turtle snapped back.
The leader turned a flat look at him. “Because last time we played, Donnie was it, then Mikey, then me. It’s your turn.”
Raph’s scowl only deepened, hiding the sheepishness at his own childishness. “Fine,” he acceded. “Five block radius of here.” He pulled out his phone, setting the timer on it. “One minute, starting… NOW!” He leaned his head against a roof access shed, shifting his eyes back and forth, despite the fact they were supposed to be closed. After a moment, he impatiently pulled his phone out to check the timer. 23… 22… 21…
And then something bit through his leg.
Raph screamed as his leg went out from under him and he crumpled to one knee. He stared dumbly at the wound in his upper calf for a moment, blood seeping from it and running down between his toes. Furious more than scared, he scanned the rooftops, spotting the sniper three blocks away when his partner squealed a triumphant, “Whoo! You got ‘im, baby! You got ‘im!”
Not about to let Rocksteady get another shot off at him, Raph scrambled to his feet and hobbled around to the other side of the roof access, then hollered at the top of his lungs, “Guys! Sniper! Bebop and Rocksteady are—” He trailed off. His brothers were probably well out of earshot by now. He was on his own. He limped hurriedly toward the edge of the roof, every step agony. Maybe if he got to the fire escape, he could make it to a manhole… but then he would be leaving his brothers to fend for themselves against an enemy they didn’t know was there… He reached for his T-phone, realizing as his hand swiped across the empty patch of his belt that he’d dropped it when he’d been shot. He swore. There was no going back for it now.
A sudden voice from above him nearly made him jump out of his shell. “Raph, dude, are you okay? What was all the yelling about?” Mikey hopped down from the ledge he’d been perched on. “Is that blood??”
“Mikey!” Raph had never been so glad to see the knucklehead. “Took a shot to the leg… Bebop and Rocksteady… they’ve got a sniper rifle…“ He paused as Bebop’s voice carried to them from less than a block away.
“I saw him in this area… he’s gotta be close! He ain’t gettin’ away from us, though, son! D’jou see which one it was?”
An immense thud indicated the arrival of Rocksteady as well. “Da, it was red one.”
“Oooohh!” Bebop squealed. “That’s the toughest one, G! Shredder’s gonna be over the moon about that one, baby! We are talking first in line for the retromutagen and a promotion!”
“Don’t count promotion until is hatched. Find turtle first, celebrate promotion later. Anything on heat sensor?”
“Not yet… But don’t you worry, Big S! Ain’t nobody gonna get away from my infra-red! Hoo!”
The two brothers exchanged a glance. Mikey untied his mask and wrapped it tightly around Raph’s wound to somewhat stem the blood flow, then moved to get a shoulder under Raph’s arm on his wounded side. “Three-legged race time, bro… let’s get you out of here…” Raphael nodded and tried to hop as Mikey supported him, but it slow-going at best. Raph soon found himself overcome by dizziness, and he slipped out of Mikey’s hold, landing on his shell as he succumbed to what he knew was a combination of shock and blood loss. “Mikey, go… you gotta get out of here...’fore… ‘fore they see you…”
“No way am I leaving you behind for those two jerks!” He seemed to ignore the rest of Raph’s protests for him to run, instead looking around the rooftop. After a moment of contemplation, he took out his nun-chucks and used them to bash in the screws on a large nearby air conditioner and pulled the housing free from the main unit. “Looks like you’re gonna be hiding instead of seeking tonight after all, Raph!” he chuckled, then dragged his brother over to the unit. “You’re maybe gonna have to tuck your head in a little bit, brah. And gimme your sai.”
“Mikey, what’re you—“ Raph groaned weakly, unable to protest as Mikey snatched his weapons away from him.
“Here, you can babysit my chucks for a while.” Raph felt the hardwood batons dropped unceremoniously onto his plastron. “And here’s my phone… Call Leo and Donnie after those goons go by. Oh, and I’m gonna need this…” Mikey seized his brother’s mask and yanked it off Raph’s head by the knot, then pulled it over his own eyes. “Now… knees to your chest, head in…” and with a shove, he slid the casing over the wounded turtle and part of the exposed air conditioner. “Ya all right in there, bro?” he called softly once the housing was in place.
Raph blinked, wondering why he’d even gone along with this… it had all just happened so fast! He was glad he wasn’t claustrophobic. “Peachy,” he grumbled back, actually feeling slightly better now that he wasn’t upright and moving, despite the throbbing agony in his leg. He turned his head and could see, barely, through the slots in the metal.
“Hmm… forgot the blood…” Mikey muttered, pulling his kusarigama blade from his belt and setting the point against his calf where Raph’s bullet wound was.
“Oh, Jesus… Mikey, don’t!” he yelled as Mikey made a small, deep slash into the muscle. He could see enough to see the blood trickling down Mikey’s leg.
“Shut up, dude… you’re an air conditioner. Air conditioners don’t talk!” Mikey chided, banging on the metal. “Man, that didn’t tickle. …And whatever you do, don’t go to sleep!” Then Raph heard, in a reasonable facsimile of his own voice, “Who’s the bad-assin’est turtle in New York?? Raphael’s the bad-assin’est turtle in New York! You bet your sweet shell he is! Ain’t a problem in this town I can’t punch my way through!”
A look of befuddlement crossed Raph’s face, then spread into a grin as he realized: his nincompoop brother was getting into character.
Mikey dragged his (now very realistically) injured leg across the roof in a fine rendition of the worst ninja ever, more like he wanted to be spotted rather than hiding in the shadows. He banged into things, stayed in the light, swore loudly about the pain (using several curse words Raph didn’t know Mikey even knew), making it very obvious he wanted Bebop and Rocksteady to see him. It didn’t take long.
“Steranko! There he goes!” the warthog mutant hollered. Mikey let out an impressive string of swearing as he mock-hobbled toward the other end of the roof as the two mutants pursued him.
Rocksteady laughed triumphantly. “This going to be easy as the American pie!”
Raph could hardly see as Mikey allowed them to nearly catch him, then threw a smoke bomb, appearing on another roof.
“Your silly little smoke thingies ain’t gonna work, turtle! I can still see—wh… how the heck’d he get over there?!” Bebop’s voice carried over the roofs.
“Does not matter how… just get him!” the rhino bellowed.
A snippet of a show they had watched as kids came back to him, and Raph understood: like a bird pretending to drag an injured wing on the ground to lead a predator away from its nest, Mikey was leading the mutant bounty hunters away from Raph’s hiding place. Raph wished he could have watched the whole thing; the way he played those two was masterful… But then his leg gave a painful throb, and he wanted nothing more than to get home and get his wound dressed. He picked up the phone Mikey had left him and dialed Leo.
“Tell me again why you agreed to this?” Leo said as he and Donnie pulled the metal casing away from Raph’s hiding space.
“Believe me, if I could have run I would have, but the shock was getting to me,” Raph groaned, his brothers carefully sitting him up. “I couldn’t move fast, so Mikey put that thing over me—so Bebop’s infra-red wouldn’t pick me up—and then led them off…”
Leo said nothing further on the matter, but seemed impressed.
Don looked over the bullet wound beneath Mikey’s mask. “Actually, I do approve of the way he had you lie; keeping that leg bent and elevated probably saved you a lot of blood.”
Leonardo looked up as the sound of the two mutant mercenaries approaching reached them. “Hide,” he ordered, and all three vanished into the shadows cast on the rooftop, though moments later, all three of them were peeking out to see the outcome of Mikey’s merry little chase.
He’d led them all the way back to where the turtles had started their night from, on the next rooftop over, the one with the exterminator’s sign.
“Where the heck did he get to now?!” the warthog whined, breathing hard from chasing their target for blocks. “Are you sure you got him? Rhinos ain’t got great eyesight…” he questioned his associate.
“Of course I got him!” Rocksteady hollered in an angered response. “You think blood running down leg was from paper-cut?! What good is doing stupid visor if you cannot find single wounded turtle?!”
“I can’t pick him up if he’s hiding behind stuff!” Bebop snapped back, the usual playfulness in his voice replaced by strong vexation. Both of them looked up as a crackling, splintering sound filled the air. “Like one of those…” Zeck added as the wooden billboard came crashing down on top of them, mutant turtle in a red mask riding it all the way down with a hearty, “BOOYAKASHA!!!”
Muted swearing in Russian emanated from the hole Rocksteady’s horn had punched through the wood, but Mikey, adding injury to insult, hooked his kusarigama chain around the top of a crumbling brick chimney, pulling the load of bricks down on top of the billboard as well. Groans from beneath the board indicated that the pair were down for the count.
All three of the remaining turtles leapt from their hiding places to cheer their brother’s victory as Mikey joined them. Raph threw his arms up in the air, shouting, “Mikey!!!” ecstatically, then nearly fainted as his injury once more caught up with him. Don and Leo each got a shoulder under his and the four started the trek home.
Raph sat up after Donnie finished bandaging his leg. Don was giving him the standard preachy rigmarole: “You’re lucky it was just a flesh wound, otherwise I would have had to operate, and we really don’t have the proper setup for that. Now, I want you to stay off of that leg as much as you can for at least a week, and keep it elevated. No training, no patrolling.”
Raph groaned irritably at this, but shifted his gaze as Mikey strolled into the lab. “Is the patient well enough for some judicious application of nacho-Twizzlers-and-onion-ring pizza?”
“Hey, little brother,” the red-banded turtle smirked at him rather placidly.
“How’s your leg, bro?” Mikey asked, proffering the aforementioned pizza.
“Eh, not bad. Donnie’s got me pretty hopped up on painkillers. I think he dipped into the good stuff for me, so I’m feeling nothing right now!” Raph proclaimed with a wide sweep of his arms. “How’s your leg?”
Mikey grinned widely. “What, this?” He indicated a small patch of gauze taped to his outer calf. “Hardly even worth mentioning!”
“Good,” Raph nodded, then took a stricter tone with his brother. “Don’t you ever bleed for me again! You got that?!”
“I’ll bleed for my brother if I damn well feel like it!” Mikey retorted in Raph’s voice, then pulled the red mask from his face, dropping it in his brother’s lap. Then he also dropped the affectation. “Dude… doing your voice all night really made me really hoarse…” he coughed.
Raphael laughed, then sighed. “Guess I owe you an apology, Mikey.”
“Oop… That’s the painkillers talking…”
Raph snorted, grinning. “Yeah, maybe it is. But look… I’m sorry I said you shouldn’t be on the team, and I’m sorry I called you a nincompoop. You really stepped up and did some clever stuff back there. You saved my bacon.”
Mikey’s eyes formed into gleeful little crescents. “I saved your bacon from the bacon!”
Raphael let out a bark of appreciative laughter. “You’re smarter than you act sometimes, ya know, Mikey?”
“Darn right, son! I’m no nincompoop… I’m nin-competent! Like ninja and competent at the same time!” Raph smiled and chuckled, and his younger brother took his leave, beaming.
Don came back over to check Raph’s blood pressure. “Are you gonna tell him that that sounds more like ‘incompetent?’”
Raph beamed. “Nah, I’ll let him bask. At least until the morphine wears off.”
Walking Dead - Player Two - ch12
Summary: Michelangelo's goofing around has Raph in a snit, but when Raphael takes a bullet to the leg, it's Mikey and his bag of tricks to the rescue.
First of all, I gotta say you totally win with this title. XD I love puns. Soooo much. Love 'em. The minute I saw your title I was like "Well I GOTTA read that!" Hahaha. And also I have to say you did a great job on taking a difficult word prompt from this contest and making it work perfectly for you and your story.
I really enjoyed your opening scene. Right away I could tell you have a great grasp of writing Mikey and his ADD antics in the 2k12 TV show, so it really helped me visualize your story as I was reading it. I think you did a good job balancing Mikey's personality of being not-the-brightest coupled with easily distracted, without going full out idiotic (which is something the writers in the show seem to have trouble with themselves! )
I also kinda like that you snuck a swear word in right in the first paragraph of the story. XD I think it sets up the tone for the rest of the fic as definitely taking place in the 2k12 world, but not necessarily a story we would see in the show itself, which is helpful for the reader. I wasn't shocked about all the blood and violence later on thanks to you doing that little set up in the beginning.
So yes, I much enjoyed your opening little scene as a good set up for the rest of the story. (One thing that did confuse me a little bit was how Mikey found a toad as a dumpster dive buddy in New York... I don't think they're quite native to NYC dumpsters heh heh.)
And I can see you've already had this comment before, but I love your dialog for Rocksteady and Bebop. XD You write them so well! Both of them are characters with such distinctive ways of speaking, it's very easy for a fanfic writer to lose that world-knowledge credibility if they write a fic including them but can't write their dialog believably. But you had a great grasp of their accents.
A small nitpick here, and just my personal opinion, but I found a few (very few and far between) sentences to be a little awkward. Example: "and he was entertaining them with impressions as they made their way to one of the manholes they used as their access out of the sewers" <-- While 'access' is technically used correctly here, I think another word might have made a smoother sentence because "access out" sounds a little awkward. (Also tiny typo found for Leo dialog: "Okay, guys, quit fooling around, and let’ head topside." is missing the 's' in let's)
I like how tough you made Raph in the sniper scene. The turtles have always been stronger than a regular human in a fight and I liked that you paid homage to that here and not have him completely incapacitated by the bullet wound. I would have like a little more description for the injury though (not in a gory way, but I mean like more of a description of Raph's reaction to the pain, difficulties while he's trying to move/get away, how his body isn't responding as quickly as usual, the start of the on come of shock, etc. etc.) You have so many great visual descriptions of the scene, I would have liked more of an inner reflection, like what's going through Raph's mind.
"Don't count promotion until is hatched" is my favorite thing ever. XD I laughed so hard.
The idea of Mikey pretending to be Raph is really clever! I am positive the turtles' enemies would get them confused with each other if they switched masks, which is a hilarious and fun idea that fit in well with your scenario here. A good balance of fun reading but also a sense of urgency and danger (which as we all know are two things we always look for in TMNT fight scenes!) Things like making his own injury to match Raph's, and putting Raph in the air conditioning unit to throw off Bebop's visor, are great examples of Mikey being able to smarten up and use his wits when the situation really calls for it.
Another small bit of awkward wording: "What good is doing stupid visor if you cannot find single wounded turtle?!" (Not sure if 'doing' was the word you were going for there? I think the sentence works fine if you delete 'doing' altogether.)
You know, one of the things I really think you're good at is foreshadowing, i.e. dropping little pieces into the story early on that tie in to the story for the climax. Specifically Mikey doing impressions with his brothers and the damaged billboard, both of which were used in the final battle. This is an important part of script-writing for TV shows as well. You have a great grasp of literary techniques that are on fine display here!
And yes, the ending was perfect. Haha, oh boy, Raph on painkillers.... XD And yay for more puns! You have made me a very happy reader, lol. All in all this was an awesome story and the only critiques I could find were very small things that I think you would have fixed on your own with a bit of extra time reserved for editing. Thank you for sharing this with us. ^_^