Figures. The one time I pull a Raph and storm out, it's over something really stupid.
Picking a fire escape at random, Mikey dropped down the rusted ladder and took a seat on the topmost metal landing. His phone went off again — the third time since he left almost an hour ago — and like the first two times, he ignored it, letting it ring itself into silence and send his nosy, can't-take-a-hint brothers back to voicemail.
New York always looked so different after it rained. All the dull brick and tarmac shone, everything wet and gleaming under the street lights and the night sky, like the whole city just got back from the cleaner's. He and Raph shared a secret soft spot for Brooklyn, and this spot by the East River — right outside Dumbo, with probably the best view of the Manhattan Bridge — was one they stumbled upon together, a few weeks after they turned fifteen. It was farther from home than Mikey usually went by himself, farther than Leo would be happy to find out he went, but tonight was an exception.
He knew Raph hadn't been looking for an argument. And Mikey shouldn't have turned it into one.
"I just wish they'd stop treating me like I'm brainless," he muttered for no one to hear, tracing patterns across the wet railing with his fingers, feeling like a loser because his feelings were hurt over something so stupid.
"Give it a rest, Mikey. Your cartoons don't predict the future — that's the dumbest thing I ever heard."
He should have let it go; he should have made a face or shrugged it off or something. Anything would have been better than taking it to heart, and sitting up on his knees, and coming back with, "Well, I was right about the mind control."
And he hadn't shouted, or thrown the words in the mean way Donatello did sometimes, the way people in movies threw hand grenades, but he could feel himself tensing up like he did in the dojo right before a spar. It was almost satisfying, how it made his brothers pause, but it wasn't really — Leo stared at him through narrowed eyes, like "I can't believe you just," and Donnie's mouth hung open, and Raph's shoulders squared.
Raph didn't like to talk about it — the mind control, and the hours he belonged to the Shredder — and bringing it up was like pointing out a big pink elephant in the room, and Mikey knew better.
"Shut it, Mikey," Raph growled, more of a warning than anything else. And Mikey, knowing better, pushed himself to his feet anyway.
"Why should I? I could talk all day long and you still wouldn't listen. You never listen to me."
"Maybe we would if you ever said anythin' worth listenin' to,"Raph snapped — and he didn't mean it, Mikey knew he didn't mean it, but… still. He couldn't help flinching, some of that sudden irritation giving way to a much more familiar hurt.
He trusted his brothers more than anything. He loved them to the moon and back a million times; he'd go with them anywhere. And when Leo gave a surprising order, when Donnie came up with an impossible plan, when the odds were ten to one and Raph caught his eye with a playful smirk, Mikey would always follow their lead.
But they didn't trust Mikey like he trusted them. It seemed to cost them so much just to hear him out, like it was easier just to shut him down instead.
They were a team, but sometimes they didn't feel like one.
"Gee," he muttered back, eyes dropping away, "thanks a lot, Raph."
"That's enough, both of you," Leo said at that point, tossing his magazine aside and moving up to his feet in one flowing, water-like move Mikey wasn't sure when he'd learned. The can't-believe-you-just in his face was evolving rapidly into a clueless, half-fascinated concern. When he reached out, it was like someone trying to stop a train wreck with his bare hands. "You need to calm down."
Mikey never picked fights. Mikey threw water balloons and planted rubber spiders, and poked gleefully at all the sore spots in Raph's temper because it was sort of just how they played. This sudden tension didn't belong between the two of them, and no one was more aware of it than they were.
And all three of his brothers were staring at him, in a way that just got to him sometimes — like they couldn't make any sense of him, like they didn't know where to start. Like he was a complete stranger, not a brother.
Mikey took a step away. "Whatever. I need some air."
And now he was sitting on some random fire escape feeling sorry for himself, and the rain clouds were beginning to gather back in, and there were three missed calls lighting up his phone. Mikey dropped his head against the brownstone behind him and sighed with gusto.
Raph stormed off all the time to cool his head. Mikey didn't see what was so great about it. He was cold and wet and miserable, and sort of lonely, and being at odds like this with his brothers made him feel at odds with the whole world.
When his phone went off again, it was a text alert. He'd been ignoring those, too. But sitting there with nothing else to do, it took all of a minute for curiosity to get the best of him despite his determined annoyance, and soon enough Mikey was sliding his T-Phone out of his belt to check his messages.
Whatever happened, Raph's sorry. He was really upset when you left.
Stop ignoring your phone.
I don't know what's wrong, but I'll fix it, okay? Just come home.
And he was going to need way more willpower than he'd ever have in his whole life if he was going to stay mad at them now. His fingers tightened around the shell-shaped phone — he hadn't meant to upset Raph or Donnie, and he knew Leo was probably worried, too. Hurt feelings weren't worth all that. He was being stupid.
He opened up a new thread — a mass text to all three of them — and at the same time, a clinging drop of rainwater fell from the ladder rung right onto his screen. Making a face, Mikey flicked his phone to get it off.
Light reflected oddly off the screen at the same moment as he heard a heavy footstep shift in the loose gravel on the roof above.
An alarm pulled somewhere in the back of his brain, and he rolled to one side and threw himself off the fire escape in time to avoid being caught in a cage of twisted metal, as an unfortunately familiar rhino-man body-slammed it with a roar.
Mikey hit the ground in a practiced rolling fall, phone flying from his hand and heart pounding against his plastron so hard he was pretty sure one or the other was gonna break. What was Rocksteady doing here? He tugged his 'chucks from his belt as Rocksteady dropped to the ground, and realized in the next, heart-sinking moment that he was surrounded. Bebop, Rahzar—there was Tiger Claw, too, and easily two dozen Foot ninjas and…
He couldn't help the fear that sank like a stone through his stomach, or the way his hands started shaking, even if his weapons didn't waver. And he stood his ground but his eyes went wide all on their own, as from somewhere behind him Tiger Claw murmured, "It is the little one, Master. Hamato Yoshi's youngest child."
And the Shredder stepped into the single flickering streetlight like some kind of horror movie monster, eyes cold and manic and not exactly something Mikey was eager to see on a cold night alone in Brooklyn.
"He will suffice," the Shredder said, and that was the last thing Mikey remembered.