Donnie woke to a loud crash of thunder. Intense, heavy rain outside echoed throughout the lair with repetitive, frequent cracks of lightning.
He reached over to pull his tablet from the nightstand, wincing at the bright screen that blinded his tired eyes.
The weather radar reported that it was just a bad storm, predicted to last the night, and readings from his systems indicated that the power went out. No big deal, something he could easily fix in the morning.
Donnie sighed tiredly and flopped back down on his pillow, slowly drifting back to sleep.
Except he flinches from another loud crack of thunder.
God, why did the lair have to echo everything so much louder--
His train of thought halted.
He opened his eyes again and sat up, glancing around.
The youngest of the family was completely terrified of storms. Typically he would show up in Donnie’s room because he could give Mikey headphones to block out the sounds, and then sleep with him throughout the night.
But the box turtle is nowhere to be seen.
Donnie thinks, gears turning in his head, groggy and slow. Maybe.. Mikey would come in later? Or is somehow sleeping through this?
The room shook with another loud crack of thunder.
No, he should go check.
The soft shell lowered himself out of his suspended bed and quietly made his way out into the lair, loud with the sound of rain reverberating in the large space.
Making a beeline to Mikey’s room next door, he poked his head in.
“Mikey?” He whispered loudly.
He was met with another boom of thunder, and an empty hammock. Not here.
He chewed on the inside of his cheek, glancing back to the lair.
Donnie pondered the chance that Mikey could’ve gone to sleep with Leo or Raph instead, but Raph was also frightened of severe storms. Not to the extent that Mikey is, but wraps himself up in a mountain of blankets and pillows to get through them. And then Leo actually loves storms and rain because they put him to sleep, a relief for the insomniac.
Striding across the lair to Leo’s room, he found the slider softly snoring in his bed alone. No sign of Mikey.
Not wanting to disturb his rest, he moved on to Raph’s room.
A pillow was over his larger brother's head, and his wide frame layered with blankets. He couldn’t tell if the eldest was awake or not, but from scanning around the room Mikey was also nowhere to be seen.
Donnie tried to think of other possibilities where the young terrapin could be. He considered their dad an option too, but Splinter’s snoring was so incredibly loud it’s impossible to get any rest when in the same room as him, and dealing with their cranky tired dad in the middle of the night wasn’t exactly a comforting experience.
Maybe…. Mikey was hiding? It wouldn’t be too far from his room though, with how the Lair was extremely loud and shaking from the thunderous rain.
Donnie decided to check Mikey’s room once more.
“Mikey?” He called again upon reentering.
He made his way around the hammock to get a closer look at the back of the room. It was dark, but his eyes adjusted to make out his surroundings. There was a silhouette of some stacked boxes and a shelf. Mikey had cases full of tapes for his cassette player, cups filled with paint brushes, and dozens of cans of spray paint. One corner of the room held a stack of large paint cans, and the other had several very large canvases propped up against the wall with an empty space next to them. In that empty space was an obscure shape with a blanket draped over it.
Donnie crouched down to get a better look, reaching out to put his hand on the blanket.
A loud boom, and the shape under the blanket flinched and shook.
He slowly lifted the cover and found Mikey’s shell, the youngest tightly withdrawn into its protection, trembling and silent.
“Hey bud, are you ok?” he asked softly, rubbing a gentle circle on the carapace, “Why didn’t you come to my room?”
He was met with silence, but a rumble of distant thunder boomed and Mikey whined quietly.
Donnie worries his cheek some more. It pained him to see the usually bright turtle so frightened.
“C’mon, let’s go back to my room and I’ll give you some headphones to help,” he said as he pulled the shell out from the hiding spot.
Keeping the blanket wrapped around him, he hefted his Mikey up and held him to his chest. Now that he held him properly, he could feel just how much his little brother was shaking.
He deftly began to make his way back to his own room.
However, the sudden movement of a figure in the corner of his vision jolted him to a stop.
Leo stood in the doorframe of his bedroom on the other side of the lair, a frantic, sleep-deprived expression on his face. He appeared surprised to see Donnie, who heaved a sigh trying to recover from being scared half to death.
“ Leo ! You scared the hell out of me, what are you doing?” Donnie hissed at his other younger brother, his voice probably lost to the rain.
Leo just squinted at him for a long moment, before noticing that he was carrying Mikey. Instead of responding to the question, he loopily pointed at them with a delirious, half-asleep nod, gave a thumbs up, and then dragged himself back into his room.
Donnie just stood for a second making a face, unsure what to make of the strange, brief interaction, but a crack of lightning reminded him to get back to what he was doing. He returned to his room, closing the curtain to the entrance once inside, and looked down at the smaller shell in his arms again, the plastron tightly sealed shut. It was a unique trait to box turtles, their plastron had a sort of hinge that allowed them to close the openings to their shell entirely once tucked inside, quite literally like a box.
“We’re in my room now, do you want to come out?” he asked.
Still no answer, just quakes of shivering from inside.
He frowned, and instead approached the side of his bed and hoisted Mikey up, sliding him onto the soft suspended surface of his bunk.
The spot he had been sleeping in prior was still warm, so he arranged Mikey over it before laying down and tucking himself next to him, pulling a blanket over them both.
Holding his brother to his chest, he rested his head on his pillow and tiredly watched the entrance to the closed shell, waiting for Mikey to come out.
“C’mon Mike, you know it’s not healthy to stay in your shell that long,” Donnie tried.
Thunder boomed and the room shook. Mikey flinched in his embrace.
Still no reply.
Donnie sighed, and instead rested his chin on the lip of the shell. After a moment of waiting, he closed his eyes and a soft purr rose up from his throat. He tiredly curled around his younger brother, holding his body flush and purring against the shell, hoping the vibrations would calm the small turtle and encourage him out.
Minutes ticked by, and Donnie began to fall asleep to the sound of the rain. The storm had calmed some and the rain lightened up, but the sound of thunder still rumbled in the sky.
As he was drifting off, he was suddenly pulled awake by the shell pressed to his chest stirring.
He cracked his eyes open and was met with a pair peeking out back at him from a slight opening in the shell
“Hey Mike-“ Donnie started sleepily, but was abruptly cut off by the youngest coming out of his shell to tuck his head into Donnie’s neck, wrapping his arms tightly around his torso.
Mikey nuzzled the crook of his neck and pressed his whole body as close and tightly to his brother as possible. Donnie eased into the embrace and rubbed a hand on Mikey’s back.
“Are you alright?” he asked
Mikey mumbled a quiet “yeah,” and buried his face closer to him.
With his other hand, Donnie reached over to the shelf by his bed and grabbed a pair of earbuds.
“Do you want to put these on?” he offered.
Mikey tilted his head up a little to peer at the headset and nodded.
After some shifting around to put the headphones on and getting situated, Mikey settled on not playing music, but rather enjoying the silence that the noise-cancelling earbuds provided.
The two laid together, pressed close and legs tangled up, melting into each other’s warmth, content and safe. Donnie was lazily rubbing his thumb in circles on Mikey’s shell, whose breathing evened out and ghosted across Donnie’s chest as he finally began to relax and fall asleep in the warm embrace. Soon Donnie’s touches eventually and gradually came to a stop as he drifted off to sleep as well. The gentle purr reverberating between the two of them died down when they drifted into a slumber, the rain still echoing in the lair, but much softer now.