First Intermission

When Mother’s Away

Junior waddled across the cave floor, on a mission. He had his target in sight and, in mere moments, he fell upon it.

“Raaaa,” he cried, rolling around. His tiny toddler hands clutched the red scarf he found as he pretended to fight it. He clicked and chirped, unable to produce a more aggressive sound.

A deep, rumbly growl filled the cave. Junior, who had just landed on his back, completely wrapped up in the scarf, poked his tongue out in confusion. A large, shadowy figure loomed above him, its massive, gaping maw revealing sharp teeth. Bright eyes stared back at him before the figure descended.

Junior shrieked.

“I got you!”

Junior’s shrill laughter filled the air as Raph continued to growl, the vibrations tickling the baby as he ran his hands down Junior’s sides.

“I’m gonna eat you!”

Junior patted his hand against Raph’s snout, finally coming down from his giggle fit. He cooed, perfectly content.

“Raaaaa,” he called, then he tried to growl. It was a weak, little sound that didn’t have much vibration to it.

Still, it filled Raph with pride. “Yeah,” he encouraged, rubbing a finger under Junior’s chin, “that’s right. Raaaaa,” he growled.

Junior giggled again, clapping his hands together. Raph scooped him up, holding him against his plastron as he rocked him back and forth. Raph watched, bemused as he growled, a deep, rumbly noise within his chest. Junior pressed a hand against his plastron, eyelids drooping until he finally went lax in the turtle’s grip. Raph continued, ensuring the baby stayed asleep, but internally he was cheering.

“Still got it.”

Next Intermission

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