Bishop checked to make sure that the sedative was continuing to have its desired affects before turning to the latest readouts. “This one’s ready,” one of the doctors announced, drawing Bishop’s attention away from the files in his hands.
Bishop walked over to Leonardo, “Can you hear me?”
“Yes,” Leo answered in a whisper. The drugs had him awake enough to answer some questions but not to the point that he would remember.
Bishop asked a series of questions, including the names of all four Turtles and where they came from. Each answer correlated with the information he had received earlier from Leatherhead. Satisfied with what he got out of Leo, Bishop nodded to the doctor to continue his research. Blood was drawn from each of the Turtles and they went through several scanning devices.
“Sir,” another doctor rushed up to Bishop. “According to this readout, the one called Michelangelo is actually a female.”
Bishop took the file from the doctor and looked it over. “Interesting,” Bishop adjusted his glasses. “Leonardo called Michelangelo his brother and Leatherhead referred to Michelangelo as ‘he’.” Bishop looked Michelangelo over, “On the surface, this one looks no different from the others. It leads me to wonder if they even know.”
He handed the file back to the doctor, “Make sure the female is rendered infertile. We don’t want them to suddenly discover that their brother is really their sister and start to procreate.”
“Yes, Sir,” the doctor saluted then rushed off to fulfill his orders.
“And make sure it is done in a way that doesn’t leave room for suspicion,” Bishop called after the doctor in an afterthought. He turned to a nearby soldier. “Is everything else in order?”
“Yes, Sir. We disabled the scramblers so that their tracking devises could get through. Our scans show that there are others on their way to rescue them now. The ‘exam’ room is also staged and soldiers are on standby.” Bishop nodded his approval as the soldier gave his report. Once his research was done, Bishop intended to let the Turtles go but it didn’t want to appear soft so he had to stage a way for them to ‘escape’.
“Is Leatherhead in place?” Bishop asked. Bishop hoped to get more information out of the Turtles than he could get from Leatherhead. He was not disappointed. “I’m done with him and the tracking device I’ve implanted will be useful in the future.” He looked at Mikey, “I wonder what will happen if I make the female the focus of my aggressions.”
He had scanned the robot and his technicians had learned a lot from the advanced technology, putting his research ahead by at least ten years. He had communicated with the Federation and had arranged for them to pick the robot up. He had a feeling that the Turtles would fight for their friend and maybe even be able to get rid of the invaders.
As soon as the doctors were through, Bishop’s men carted the Turtles into the false exam room so that the show could begin. Once they were free Bishop made sure he had secured all that he needed and left.
Michelangelo was bummed. He was the Nexus champion and he was knocked out in the second round this time. It was all because of the changes his body was going through; it threw off his balance and made his joints ache. Why did it have to happen the year of the Nexus tournament?
He made his way through town, sulking as he walked. He wasn’t really paying attention to his surroundings and was startled when a Kame spoke, “Hey there.”
Mikey jumped a little but managed to hold back his scream, “Hi.”
“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” the Kame smiled. “I noticed you and just had to come say ‘hi’.”
“Well, you did,” Mikey smiled. “I guess you recognized me from my statue and wanted to meet a Nexus champion. I decided this year to let my brothers have a chance at winning so I threw the fight.”
“You’re a Nexus champion?” the Kame looked Mikey over. “That’s impressive.”
“Yep,” Mikey beamed. “I’m a ninja master.”
They were soon joined by other Kame and the first one looked around at his friends, “Not only is this one beautiful, but also strong. I told you I have a good eye for a mate.”
“Wait,” Mikey’s eyes widened and he backed up. “A mate?”
“Yes,” the Kame smiled at Mikey. “I can tell by looking at you that you would give me strong children.”
“How can I give you children when we’re both dudes?” Mikey was starting to feel uncomfortable. “Never mind the fact that I live in a different dimension than you and plan on going back to it once the tournament is over.”
“What is a ‘dude’?” one of the other Kame asked.
“Dude is what I call other guys; other males,” Mikey explained, feeling a little foolish. “It’s just something I do.”
“What?” the first Kame’s face split in a wide grin. “You think you’re a male?” The Kame chuckled and his friends joined in.
Mikey looked around at them all, “Well, yeah. Look at me. I don’t look any different from you.”
The Kame all burst aloud with laughter. The first one managed to get himself under control long enough to speak. “How can you be so stupid?” Mikey’s heart sank as the Kame continued to laugh. “I guess I was wrong about you making an ideal mate. I don’t want my children to lack sense enough to know whether they are male or female.”
“I’m not female. My voice is too gruff,” Mikey choked out. “Why do you guys think I’m a girl?”
This only incited more laughter among the Kame and Mikey was finding it hard to breathe.
“Mikey?” Donny called out to him and Mikey turned to see Donatello running towards them.
Mikey ran to his brother then grabbed his hand and led him away before the Kame could say anything more. The last thing Mikey wanted was for Donny to join in the laughter.
“What’s going on?” Donny asked as Mikey dragged him away. “Why do you look like you’re on the verge of tears? Did those Kame say something to upset you?”
“It’s nothing,” Mikey tried to brush it off and changed the subject. “They’re giving me a hard time about being eliminated so early this time. So you were eliminated from the fight?”
“Yeah,” Donny answered with a sigh. “Raph and Leo are still in though.”
“Let’s go watch them fight,” Mikey pulled Donny in the direction of the stadium.
When they got back home, Mikey asked Donny for books on turtles and read them all, cover to cover. He stood in front of a full body mirror and looked at himself while reading off the differences between male and female turtles. First was eye color, which had been changed by their mutation; turtles don’t normally have blue eyes. Second was the length of the fingernails, which they kept cut.
Mikey continued down the list. Males have an indention in their plastron for when they mount females. The mutation had made their plastrons softer so none of their plastrons had indentions. Next on the list was the length and width of the tail. Males’ were shorter and thicker while females’ were thinner and longer. Mikey and his brothers kept their tails tucked most of the time so there was no way to compare them.
Females tended to be bigger than males. Mikey had grown taller than the others.
The final thing was the cloaca and where it was along the tail. Males’ were located closer to the middle while females were located at the base. Mikey un-tucked his tail and looked for his cloaca. He found it high on his tail. “The mutation must have moved it higher,” he told himself. “I’m not a girl.”
His eyes filled with tears as he sank to the floor, looking at his tail. “I’m not a girl.”
“Leo!” Splinter watched as Mikey got up off the floor and chased after Leo. There was panic in Mikey’s cries as he ran up the stairs. “Please don’t leave me.”
“I did not expect Leonardo to react in such a way,” Bishop stood in shock. “Why would he act like that? And why does Donatello look like he’s having a nervous breakdown?” Bishop moved towards Donny but Splinter held him back.
Splinter’s eyes slowly moved so that he was looking up at Bishop, “You can see yourself out.”
“Let me help,” Bishop offered but Splinter held up his hand, silencing him before walking over to collect Raphael off the floor.
“You’ve done enough,” Splinter then walked over to Donatello and placed a calming hand on his shoulder. “You poked your fun and caused more damage than you had intended. You are the cause of their pain, you cannot help. Now leave.”
Bishop turned on his heel and left the lair without another word.
Mikey’s sobs echoed through the lair and Splinter sat down next to Donny, unsure what to do. Romantic relationships were not something he knew anything about.
No one said or did anything for a while and the only sound was that of Mikey crying. Raphael had cried himself to sleep in Splinter’s arms and Donny just sat on the floor, leaning against Splinter for comfort.
April and Casey entered the lair, carrying boxes of supplies. “We’re here with your extra supplies.” They heard the sounds of Mikey’s cries and took in the dejected looks on Donny and Splinter’s faces. “What happened?” April put the box down and rushed over to Splinter. “Donny, are you okay? Why’s Mikey crying and where’s Leo?”
“It… is… complicated,” Splinter answered and April sat down next to Donny to offer him comfort.
Casey placed his box down and looked around the kitchen. He noticed the food burning on the stove and shut it off. “Was Leo hurt?” Casey asked, fist looking down at the drops of blood on the floor then looking up towards the bedrooms.
“In a way, yes,” Splinter answered in a whisper, “so has Michelangelo. I just hope that they can work through their pain and forgive each other.”
Mikey sat outside Leo’s bedroom door, leaning against the wall. He could hear Leo inside; his gentle sobs and grunts of frustration penetrating the door.
It was too much for him; he needed to explain everything to Leo even if it was shouted through the door. “I’m sorry, Leo,” Mikey sobbed out. He knew that his voice echoed around the lair but he didn’t care. “I was gonna tell you after lunch today. I just wanted to make sure I knew enough to answer your questions. I know I should have told you sooner but I was scared.”
Mikey heard silence through the door and hoped that Leo was listening. His voice broke as he spoke, “I found out only two years ago. How stupid do I have to be that I didn’t know? But…, I was told that I was a boy and I believed it to be true. I was never really interested in sex and we were never really taught about it. I knew that turtle penises were in the tail so I figured that it was up there but that I never had any reason for it to come out.
“I didn’t want you guys to laugh at me like the Kame did, it hurt so much, so I figured it didn’t matter and just denied it; I didn’t want it to be true. I even started to forget about it. But, then you started to show interest in me.”
Mikey had to stop to get his breathing under control. He took several deep breaths and let them out slowly before he was able to continue. “I rejected you at first because I knew that if we started to date I would have to tell you and that meant that I would have to admit it to myself. But you were persistent and before I knew it I was falling for you and then the fear started to build inside me again.
“I didn’t know about what Bishop did to me; he knew I was a girl before I did, can you believe that….
“I was afraid that if I told you then you wouldn’t want me because there would be no way to avoid having babies if we had sex. I mean condoms just won’t work on a turtle dick, it would just rip through, and I would have stored your sperm in my body anytime we did it.
“I was also afraid that you would be okay with it and we would have kids. I don’t want kids. I don’t want to bring a child into this kind of life. It wouldn’t be fair to them. And there would be so many; turtles lay so many eggs at a time.
He sat in silence again for a few minutes, listening for anything from Leo. “I don’t want to be a girl,” Mikey sobbed. “I’m sorry I lied… but I just… I couldn’t….” Mikey’s throat closed, cutting off anything else he wanted to say. He sat with his knees bent up and his arms crossed, resting on them. He looked down at his tail and cried. “I don’t blame you if you hate me now.”
The door to Leo’s room opened and Mikey looked up to see Leo standing there, looking down at him. His eyes were red and puffy from crying. “Did I hurt you?”
“I was more embarrassed and frightened than hurt,” Mikey answered truthfully.
“I lost myself for a moment.” Leo stepped out of his room and dropped to his knees next to Mikey, “I don’t know what came over me.”
“Bishop has that effect on people,” Mikey quipped, trying to lighten the mood. “I’m not mad at you.”
“You’re too forgiving.” Leo covered his face with his hands as he fought back a new flood of tears, “I’m sorry, Mikey.” He sobbed for a while before he managed to regain control enough to look at Mikey. “I wouldn’t have laughed at you and I wouldn’t have left you. I love you Mikey.”
Staying seated on the ground, Mikey scooted closer to Leo then pressed in for a hug. “I love you too, Leo.”
They held each other and Mikey felt a wave of relief wash over him. He held tight to Leo as he let his emotions work themselves out. “I don’t want to change my name,” he whimpered. “And I don’t want you guys to treat me any different or to start calling me your sister. I don’t want to be a girl.”
Leo’s arms tightened around Mikey, “Okay. Nothing will change, Mikey.”
“Thank you,” Mikey buried his face on Leo’s plastron.
After a while, Leo pulled away from Mikey and stood up, “I’ll be back.” He made his way downstairs and across to where Splinter was sitting with Donny and Raph. He fell to his knees then bowed with his face to the floor. “I’m sorry for the way I acted, Father.”
“Shock can cause us to do things that we normally would not,” Splinter placed a hand on Leo’s shoulder.
Leo sat up and reached out for Donny but Donny pulled away. “Donny, I’m sorry,” Leo moved closer.
Donny got up and moved away from him, hesitated for a moment, then ran to his lab and April followed him. “Donny wait,” April called out as she chased him.
“Donny will never be able to look at me the same way again,” Leo fought back the urge to cry.
“His wounds are still fresh,” Splinter placed a soothing hand on Leo’s shoulder. “Give him time.” Splinter then pointed to the wound on Leo’s arm, “You should have that taken care of so it doesn’t get infected.”
Leo looked down at the broken skin on his arm where Raph had bitten him. The blood had stopped but the flesh was starting to swell. He looked at Raph, resting in Splinter’s arms, “Is he okay?”
“He’ll be fine,” Splinter nodded.
Mikey came downstairs, “I’ll take care of your wound, Leo.” He turned and entered the kitchen then started to look for the first aid kit.
Casey came up next to him and placed a hand on Mikey’s shoulder, “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Mikey nodded. “I feel a little better now that the truth is out. I just wish it was on my terms.”
“I wouldn’t have laughed at you either,” Casey’s soft smile warmed Mikey enough to have him smiling too. “I mean, I’ve know you for five years now and I had no clue that you were a chick.”
“Thank you, for understanding.” Mikey shoved Casey playfully, “Don’t call me a chick.” Casey laughed and Mikey found the kit then nodded slightly to Casey. “Excuse me.”
“Of course,” Casey stepped out of the way. “I swear; that chick jab is the only joke I’ll do.”
“Sure it is,” Mikey smiled as he walked past.
Donny was lying, curled up on his cot, staring at nothing. April made sure that the door was closed behind her before she made her way over to lie down next to him. He let her pull him into her arms and curl around him.
She didn’t say a word, only offered her silent comfort but the silence was not something Donny wanted. “How could he do that?” Donny whispered. “Leo clamed to love Mikey but he attacked him is such an intimate way. As I watch it happen, everything that K.C. did to me flashed in my mind and I started to panic.”
“I wasn’t here to see it but I’m sure Leo never wanted to hurt Mikey,” April kept her tone even and her voice soft. She wanted to know what had happened but didn’t want to make Donny relive whatever it was that had him upset.
“Leo was so angry. He’s usually in better control than that,” Donny told her. “Bishop didn’t break the news that Mikey is a female delicately and Leo lost it.”
“Mikey’s a girl.” April tried to wrap her mind around that. “And none of you knew or even suspected it?”
Donny shook his head, “I never looked at Mikey’s tail; for the most part we keep them tucked. He doesn’t look feminine in any way. It must have been devastating for him to learn about it the way he did. I saw the look on his face when the Kame in the Nexus were laughing at him.”
Donny chuckled softly, “Even now that I know, I can’t call Mikey ‘her’. I can’t think of him as female.”
“There is no reason for us to,” April said with an air of certainty. “Mikey doesn’t identify with being a girl so we will respect his wishes in this and continue as if he were male. The only one who is going to see anything that would contradict that is Leo. The rest of us… it will be something we know in the back of our minds but do not acknowledge.”
“When Leo came towards me, I saw K.C.” Donnie confessed. “What if that doesn’t go away?”
“You are in shock right now, Donny,” April shifted so that they were looking at each other. “I’m sure that once you start to think clearly again, you will be able to sort out that Leo is nothing like K.C. and would never hurt you, or anyone, like that.”
“Will you stay for a while?” Donny pleaded, wrapping his arms around April. “I don’t want to be alone right now…, or around anyone who is male.”
“As long as you need me,” April kissed the top of Donny’s head and settled in.