"Heh heh… C-can we keep 'im?" Michelangelo jested. Clearly he was the only one in the joking mood.
The purple clad turtle deepened his stare.
"My lab… now."
The youngest brother nodded with a gulp. Oh, boy…
As the two headed into Donatello's lab, Raphael followed not too far behind.
"Oh, I've gotta hear this one," the red clad turtle said to himself. He turned back to his eldest brother.
"Y'gonna be alright there, Fearless?"
"I – Hggg'shhhhih! Ju-uh, H't'shooo! – gah, 'n,h'uhh—tchou!"
"Gesundheit. I'll take that as a maybe!"
The hotheaded brother proceeded, leaving the blue clad turtle helpless in his own sneeze fest. Soon, Raphael reached the lab – and boy, were things getting frigid in there.
"Si'down," Donatello said sternly, not looking at Michelangelo. The youngest brother complied, clutching Klunk in his arms.
There was pure, tense silence for over a minute – excluding Donatello fishing through his desk drawer irately. Michelangelo didn't dare ask what he was looking for. Raphael, on the other hand…
"Er, Don?" the red clad turtle inquired, "Whaddya doin'?"
Donatello didn't say a word. He was still digging, mumbling heatedly under his breath. Finally, he had found what appeared to be a small, white pill bottle of allergy medicine and shook it quickly. He handed it to Raphael.
"Please give this to Leo," Donatello ordered quietly, his voice quivering, "Tell him to take two every six hours until he stops—"
Not wanting to mess with a fuming Donatello, Raphael nodded his head and followed his order.
"Oh, and Raph…" the purple clad turtle called.
"Shut the door behind you."
"Oh… 'kay, but why?"
"Just shut. The door."
Raphael and Michelangelo swallowed hard. Donatello didn't get angry often, but, boy, when he did…
The red clad turtle nodded promptly and did as instructed. This left only the two (well, three) of them in the lab alone.
'I am so dead,' Michelangelo thought to himself.
Donatello's back was still turned to his younger brother. After a moment of quiet, a heavy exhale broke the suspense.
"What… were… you… thinking," Donatello started slowly, his voice lower than usual.
"Uh," Michelangelo stammered, "W-well—"
"Don't even attempt to answer that, because, clearly, you weren't thinking!" Donatello could feel his cheeks burning as he shouted, his eyebrow muscles knitting together.
The orange clad turtle hung his head as his brother continued.
"I mean, c'mon, Michelangelo, a cat?! You thought it would be a good idea to bring a cat into this house?!"
"W-well, I had to!"
"I had to, Donnie! It was rainy and cold, a-and he was all alone an' scared—"
"-So, you thought this would be the perfect place to keep him?!"
"-And just what was your plan, exactly? Huh? T-to hide him in your room forever?!"
"Look, Don, 'm sorry—"
"-Well, 'sorry' isn't going to cut it, Mikey! 'Sorry' isn't going to fix the kitchen, or get Leo to stop having an allergy attack, or—"
Donatello stopped short as he noticed Michelangelo's eyes welling up. The orange clad turtle bit his lip, and sniffled lightly – looking at nothing but Klunk. No matter what Michelangelo had ever done – ever – Donatello couldn't bear to see him cry. The genius terrapin took a deep breath.
"Mikey," the purple clad turtle groaned, "Face it, the sewer's no place for a pet. He… he just can't stay here."
"But me an' Klunk—"
"Oh, holy—y'named him?! Y-you never name them! That's how you get attached!"
"I know, but…" He paused, looking down at his tiny companion, "H-he picked it."
Donatello was getting exhausted. He watched how complete the kitten made Mikey feel. And now, his brother had grown to care for the little thing! How in the world was he supposed to separate them now? He rubbed his temples with his forefingers.
"Look," he said calmly, sitting down beside his little brother, "You care about…'Klunk'…Right?"
Michelangelo shook his head.
"And you want him to have a great home: where he'll be loved, a-and be taken care of, and roam free to his little kitty heart's content. Don'tcha?"
The orange clad turtle nodded again. Where was Donatello going with this?
"I know you do," the purple clad turtle insisted, placing a hand on Michelangelo's shoulder, "And that's why… you have to let him go."
"Mikey, think about Klunk, here. I mean, we're barely ever home! We're training all day, on-patrol half the night… there just wouldn't be enough time for us to give Klunk the attention he needs. Th-the care he deserves, pal."
The youngest brother didn't say a word. He just looked down at Klunk.
"Mikey," Donatello continued, "He barely lasted an hour in your room without destroying the place… and sending Leo into an episode. Realistically speaking – how the heck is he supposed to live here?"
A tear dripped from Michelangelo's crystal eyes. Donatello was right, and he hated it.
"…Can he stay the night?" he asked quietly, not looking up from a now sleeping Klunk, "Just one night. In my room, only. Then, I'll go find him a good home tomorrow?"
Donatello grinned softly. "Sounds like a plan to me."
He patted the orange clad turtle on the back, rising from the chair.
"Now," the purple clad turtle continued, stifling a yawn, "It's late – and I think we could all use some sleep."
"That is, if Leo's sneezing doesn't keep us up all night."
Michelangelo followed Donatello out of the lab, still clutching the sleeping kitten tightly. As they went to their separate rooms, the orange clad turtle felt a gentle hand grab his shoulder.
"Hey, geek," It was Raphael. Who else could it be? "I know doin' the right thing sucks sometimes, but… well, y'know."
Michelangelo gave his brother a little smile. "Eavesdropper."
With a wink and a shoulder nudge, Raphael turned to his own room. Respectively, Michelangelo went to his room, as well – quite startled to have stepped on the rubber duck which was propping the door slightly open.
"Ooooh," the turtle smiled, turning to Klunk, "That's how you got out, eh?"
The orange clad turtle placed the kitten gently on the edge of the bed. He stared at him for a good while, tears steadily streaming down his cheeks.
"Klunk," he said, his voice hushed and uneven, "I'm gonna find you the best damn home ever. Don'tchu worry."
He kissed the top of the little cat's head, and went straight to sleep. **************************************************************************
Michelangelo, though hardly rested, woke up right on schedule. Oh, how he dreaded today – the day he had to give up Klunk. Why, he'd only known the cat for about twelve hours! How did he get so attached already? Regardless, the orange clad turtle knew this was going to stink worse than Raphael's cooking. After he did his morning stretches, Michelangelo turned to the edge of the bed.
"Mmmmornin', Klunk," the young turtle yawned, "How'dja sleep?"
There was no response.
His eyes nearly popped out of his head. The cat was nowhere in sight! The orange clad turtle could feel his heartbeat accelerating as he checked under piles and piles of clutter.
"Klunk?Yoohoo – K-Klunky…" he tried his best to sound calm, though he was undoubtedly panicking.
In seconds, Michelangelo zoomed downstairs. His footsteps rivaled that of bullet shots, he was moving so quickly. He came across his brothers settled down to breakfast in the kitchen.
Donatello nursed his cup of coffee as he spoke, "Mornin', Mike—"
"Have you seen Klunk?!" he cried, grabbing Donatello's plastron.
"Woah! Easy there, Mush-for-Brains," Raphael tutted, gently peeling Michelangelo from their purple clad brother, "Whaddya talkin' about?"
"K-Klunk! H-he wasn't in my room this morning, and—wait! Leo, you're not sneezing."
"Yep! Sure glad that's over," Leonardo sighed, taking a deep inhale through his nose. "Gah, it sure does feel good to breathe again. I—"
Leonardo cut his sentence short. Clearly, this was not helping Michelangelo's nerves – following glares distributed by Raphael and Donatello. The eldest brother cleared his throat.
"Er, I mean, I-I'm sorry, Mikey. Haven't, uh, seen Klunk all morning."
Ignoring the blue clad turtle, Donatello turned to Michelangelo.
"You're sure he wasn't in your room?"
The orange clad turtle nodded affirmatively.
"He's just… gone, dudes," Michelangelo sighed, "A-an' I didn't even get to say-"
His voice was caught in his throat. Before anybody could respond, Michelangelo ran back to his room, just barely missing Master Splinter as he made his way to the breakfast nook.
"Michelangelo?" the wise rat called to his youngest. He turned to his other sons.
"Boys, what troubles Michelangelo?"
The brothers looked at one another before Donatello stepped forward.
"He's, er, not feelin' too well today, Sensei."
"Ah, I see," Splinter acknowledged, turning to his eldest, "And how are you today, my son?"
"Uhh," the blue clad turtle hesitated guiltily, "I feel… much better, Father."
"Excellent. Well, let us start the day – To the Dojo, my pupils."
And as the day went on, Michelangelo quietly sobbed in his room. He tried to distract himself with comics, but to no avail. It seemed like everything he thought about came back to Klunk. The poor turtle could do nothing but sleep to escape his thoughts… And even then, the questions would come to haunt him.
'Was he alright? Where'd he go?'
Poorly accepting the fact that his new friend had vanished, the orange clad turtle was urged by his brothers to round up the energy to go on nightly patrol. The sky was black as pitch, and the turtles had a lead on an impending villain planning to thwart the city.
"-Thanks, April," Donatello said, flipping his shell phone shut, "Okay – April said the creep was last seen…"
'Gah, this is dumb,' Michelangelo thought, visibly not paying attention to a word Donatello was saying, 'I should be… Oh, what's the point? It's not like I can bring 'im home, even if I—'
"Michelangelo," Leonard called.
"Got the plan?"
"Eh, yeah, sure. Got it."
"Wonderful! Repeat it back to me."
Michelangelo hesitated. "Uhhh…"
"Oh, for the love of—fine," Leonardo sighed, cutting his brother a break, "Just cover the East End, okay?"
"Good. Now, le—heh…hh'Heggh-schhiiih! Woo, 'scuse me…"
Michelangelo perked up at Leonardo's sneeze.
"Bless you," Donatello saluted, "Feelin' alright?"
"Th-thanks, *snfff*," Leonardo sniffled, "Yeah, just… Never mind. Right – Now, let's move!"
The boys launched from the rooftop: except, that is, for Michelangelo.
Raphael cocked an eyebrow, "Comin'?"
"Yeah. Uh, gimme a minute?"
The red clad turtle nodded, launching off after his brothers.
The orange clad turtle didn't move a muscle. Then, all of a sudden…
Michelangelo's cheeks stretched into a smile.
"Klunk?!" Without a second to lose, the young turtle slid down the fire escape as the meows called to him.
"I hear ya, buddy! I hear ya!"
He had one flight to go, he was sure of it! He could just barely make out the orange fur below him.
"Klunk! I'm comin'! I—"
Michelangelo stopped dead in his tracks as he heard unfamiliar humming. He made not a sound, as the turtle peered through the holes of the fire escape to get a better look (without being seen himself, of course).
There, in clear view, it was him – Klunk! His Klunk! The kitten was perched in a window box, giving himself a cat bath. However, the cat was not alone. He could just barely make out a pair of hands – belonging to an older woman, no doubt – extending a bowl of food to 'his' Klunk. The turtle heard the faint sound of her saying, "There y'are, sweetie. Eat up!" as she left. The kitten 'm'aaaow'd gleefully before he supped, purring softly as he began to dine.
Michelangelo could feel tears stinging his eyes as he smiled.
"Well, Klunk," the turtle choked, "Looks like y'got yer home, huh?"
As he turned around, he was startled by a confident –
He turned back to find Klunk's large, green eyes fixed on his blue ones. The gaze held for a good while – as if the kitten's stare alone was his way of saying, 'Thank you' to his new friend.
"Yer welcome, bud," Michelangelo waved, "But don't worry – I'll visit again...
…It'll be our little secret."
Taking off into the night, the orange clad turtle sighed contentedly.