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Best Medicine

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The sneeze echoed through the lair loudly, causing everyone to stop and take notice. Leo looked up from his game to meet Ralph’s startled look from the couch. Don flipped his goggles up and turned away from his desk. With Splinter snoring loudly in his arm chair, that only left one possible culprit.

“You okay, Mikey?” Called Leo.
Even from upstairs, Mikey’s voice was obviously congested.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” he replied. The absolute lack of energy in the response spurred Leo to go hunt down his baby brother. It didn’t take long to find the small turtle, lying on his bed in the middle of a mountain of blankets while watching his small tv quietly.

“Hey, bud,” Leo called softly, “you don’t sound okay.” Bleary eyes peered out of the blanket mound at him.
“I t’ink I got a cold. It’s not too bad, I just can’t dop ‘neezing.” The pitiful tone in Mikey’s voice made Leo shake his head disbelievingly and reach into the blanket to feel his brother’s forehead.
“Stooop Leo, dat’s cold!” Mikey half-heartedly jerked his head away from his brother’s hand, only to gasp and screw his eyes shut as it made the pounding in his brain worsen.

“Yeah, you’re not okay,” Leo declared. “C’mon downstairs where it’s warmer and we can keep an eye on you.” A low whine was the only response he got. The blue-banded turtle considered his options for a moment before just reaching forward and plucking his brother - blankets and all - off the bed. Mikey gave a token wiggle to protest this action, but quickly settled down when that movement made Leo start to lose balance.

Once the two blanket-laden turtles made it downstairs, Don strode over to do his own forehead check of his little brother. Mikey, as usual went sick, immediately reached out to be held by his tall brother. Rolling his eyes at the favoritism, Leo carefully transferred the swaddled box turtle to the genius.

Don swiftly walked to the couch and sat down, then helped Mikey rearrange the blankets into the most advantageous cuddling format. They ended up with Mikey straddling Don’s legs while facing into him, nose tucked into the genius’ neck, and arms curled into the space between their bodies.

“Alright, time to sleep,” Don crooned, gently rocking Mikey back and forth. Leo looked around for Raph, and not seeing him, grabbed the TV remote to put on a cartoon, per their “sick turtle” tradition. Careful not to jostle Don and Mike too much, the blue-banded teen slid between his lanky brother and the arm of the couch, leaving the larger space open for Raph.

Just a moment later, the largest of the turtles walked out of the kitchen, carrying a tray of steaming mugs. Gingerly, he set the tray on the coffee table and began distributing drinks.
“Leo, here’s your hot chocolate. Chamomile for Donnie. I get cider. Is Mikey still awake?”
Don drew aside part of the blanket, revealing that their baby brother had in fact fallen asleep already.
“Well, that’s good!” Raph whispered. “I’ll reheat his tea when he wakes up.” With that declaration, the snapper settled into the couch and smiled at his brothers. It took a few minutes of shifting and moving, but the group eventually settled in to watch cartoons until Mikey was feeling better.

Not an hour later, Splinter roused from his nap. Worried by the lack of clamor in the normally noisy lair, he hopped out of his armchair to look around. His search was shorter than he anticipated, since all four of his boys were piled on the couch and sound asleep. Smiling gently, the rotund rat picked up the trailing ends of a few blankets and tucked them around his sons more securely. Then, with a gentle rub to each head, he shuffled off to his room.