Third Intermission

Babies At Heart

“Again,” Junior cried, swinging his arms around wildly. “Again!”

Mikey grinned, rocking his nephew–he had a nephew–before tossing the kid into the air. He felt light as air for a few miraculous moments. Then his uncle caught him easily. He shoved one of his hands into his mouth and bit on his fingers.

“Ah, ah, ah,” Mikey chastised. He pulled Junior’s hand out of his mouth, taking care to wipe the fingers clean with his cape. “You’re gonna hurt yourself, boss.” His nephew listened to him… for all of three seconds. Then Junior was biting his shirt collar. “Man,” Mikey whispered to himself, “I gotta talk to your parents about your teething problem.”

“Not teething,” Junior spoke, voice muffled by fabric. “Professor Donatello says teething is for babies.”

“Well,” Mikey dragged out. He rolled his eyes for dramatic effect, reeling back so Junior dangled a foot away from him. “You’re baby.”

His nephew gasped. “No!” The shirt fell from between his lips. “I am five years old! I’m practicing adult!”

“Practically,” Mikey corrected quietly. Junior still flushed with embarrassment, pressing his dry hand to his eyes like that would hide him. “How old do you think I am, Junior?”

“Uh… Daddy’s older than you?”

“Yeah. He’s the oldest. Then Donnie, then Leo. I’m the youngest.”

“Um…” Junior pressed his index finger to the spot between his eyebrows, shutting his eyes tight. Then, when the answer came to him, his eyelids snapped apart and he snapped. Mikey made a mental note to offer to babysit instead of Donnie. “Ten!”

Mikey smiled. “Ten? Final answer?”


He made a buzzing noise, chirping his dissent. “Wrong! I am–”

“Hey,” Raph interrupted, stepping into the cave. “It’s late. Why are you two still awake?”

Junior groaned but pushed on Mikey’s hands so he could drop to the floor. He held onto his uncle’s cape. “Daddy,” he whined, “Master Michelangelo was gonna tell me how old he is. You interrupted. That’s rude and,” he pressed his finger to his forehead, thinking, “and mean!”

Raph deadpanned. “You don’t know what that word means.”

“Do too!”

“Uh huh.” He took Junior’s other hand in his as the three of them made their way to the bed cave. “But Angelo’s twenty-nine.”

Junior squawked indignantly.

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