So...yup! This took a loooong time because I got writers block! Sorry it took me so long to write this out! I hope you guys like this chapter! Please review!
The only sound in the kitchen was the soft sizzle and hiss as eggs fried within the pan Mikey held on the stove top. It was so strange for the turtles, trying to hold up a conversation with their...their, well, their brother. Just thinking of the teen as a part of their family, as a sibling, was hard for all of them.
After a moment, Leo took it upon himself to break the silence.
"Well, I suppose it's only fair if you know our story first. I must admit, I'm surprised you didn't faint when you saw us all."
Jack managed a soft grin, giving a lopsided shrug.
"To tell the truth, I've seen a lot of weird things."
Leo chuckled leaning back in his chair.
All the turtles and their father settled down, no doubt readying themselves for a long talk. Leo looked at Splinter.
"Would you like me to tell him, father? Or would you rather tell him?"
The mutant rat looked away from Jack, gaze turning onto his eldest son.
"I believe it would be best if I told him myself, my son."
Nodding, Leo fell silent. Splinter looked to Jack, who waited patiently.
"First, I wish to properly introduce myself. I am Splinter, father and teacher to Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo."
Jack smiled hesitantly.
"It's nice to meet you, sir."
Splinter returned the smile. Such good manners, it made pride swell in his chest.
"And I am just as honored to met you, Jackson. How do you feel?"
Jack grimaced slightly, rubbing his side.
"Sore. I don't remember much of anything. Just some muffled conversation and flashes of color. The last thing I really remember is that man in armor talking to you about something. I panicked...then I...I..." He made a face as he tried to recall what happened. "Managed to get free. Then I heard Raphael talking to me. That's all I can remember."
Everyone winced. It was no fun at all to get kicked by a foot clad in metal of all things. It was no surprise he didn't remember Jack surprised them all when he smiled.
"But I'm fine now, sir. Thank you for your concern."
So, the mutant rat mused, Jack- no, Naozumi, didn't remember the Shredder calling him the teen's father. He'd have to talk with Naozumi later. Splinter smiled warmly.
"I am glad that you feel better. Now, I suppose I should start my son's and my own story from the beginning."
"I'd appreciate it if you would, sir."
Splinter chuckled softly, then began to tell the tale.
"Long ago, I was a human, just like yourself. I had moved to America in hopes of recovering from the death of my wife. I bought four, tiny young turtles, hoping to ease the loneliness I felt. I was on my way home when I saw a two men conversing. Out of curiousity, I went into the alleyway, listening to their conversation.
"But I was seen, and confronted by several more men, who all appeared the same in appearance. I fought them off as long as I was able, but in the fight, a canister of a strange, glowing ooze was knocked from one of the men's hands, breaking on the ground and splattering over myself and the four turtles.
"I felt pain all over my body, and the next thing I knew, I was shorter and no longer human, but rather in the form of a rat. The turtles, in turn, enlarged and became humanoid, but their species remained unchanged. I knew that if we were seen, we would surely be in trouble, so I scooped up the four little turtles and took to the sewers, where I raised them as my own sons, and taught them the ancient art of Ninjitsu."
Jack looked awed at the story, eyes shining with interest. The teen was a good listener, that was for certain.
Splinter smiled, inclining his head.
"Indeed, it is rather the unusual story, yes? Now, why don't you tell us about yourself?"
Jack smiled, taking a sip from his glass of water.
"I'm afraid my story isn't even close to being as interesting as yours. What do you want to know?"
Splinter smiled warmly, as did the four turtles.
"Anything you wish to share." Splinter replied kindly.
Jack hummed, looking at the now empty plate that sat before him.
"Well...I'm sixteen and a half years old, and I come from a tiny, almost non-existent town in Nevada. I...don't really do much. If I'm not at school, doing homework, or helping my friends out, I'm at work."
"Work?" Leo asked, confusion crossing his face.
Jack nodded, wincing when his body protected with a fierce ache.
"I work a part-time job. My mom is a nurse, and it doesn't pay much. I got a job as soon as I could to help pay the bills."
Surprise flashed through five pairs of eyes. The teen wasn't so much a teen as he was an adult in a youth's body.
"That's...very responsible." Leo said, managing to break the silence.
Jack shrugged, holding the glass loosely in his hands.
"That's how I was raised. Be responsible. To my mom, my school, my job. It's all I know, really."
Blue-grey eyes turned away from the cold glass and instead looked at Splinter.
"Like I said, I don't really have a story. Sorry, I know it isn't interesting."
"What're ya 'pologizin' fer?" Raph snorted. "There ain't nothin' wrong wit' a normal life."
Jack smiled crookedly, looking for a moment like he wanted to laugh, but the amusement was quickly pushed down.
"Yeah. I guess you're right. Thanks." He then looked at Don. "Could...could I call my mom now?"
Donnie smiled, nodding.
"Of course. What will you tell her?" He asked, curious.
Jack sighed, running a hand through his hair.
"I...Guess the truth. I was kidnapped and saved, but I'm still in danger so I need to lay low for awhile. I can figure out where I can stay that'll be safe afterwards."
"Dude!" Michelangelo exclaimed cheerfully. "You can just stay here! We'll deal with Shred-head!"
"Mikey's right. We've dealt with the Shredder before, and you'll be safe here until this all blows over."
Jack looked surprised, then hesitant as he glanced at everyone in turn.
"You're...you guy's are sure? You wouldn't mind?"
They all smiled, shaking their heads.
"We would be honored to help you." Splinter replied, inclining his head to the teen.
Jack beamed happily, relief coming off him in waves.
"Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate it."
Donnie's hand moved to his sash, and he pulled his Shellcell off of it, handing it to Jack.
"Here you go. It works just like a normal cellphone."
Jack smiled gratefully as he flipped it open, dialing a number quickly. He then held the phone to his ear, eyes turning to the table as he patiently waited for someone to pick up. His face then broke into a grin.
"Hey mom? It's me."
Jack suddenly jumped, holding the phone away from his ear. The others could hear a femenine voice yelling and crying from the speaker. Jack gave them a sheepish smile as he slowly returned the phone to his ear.
"Mom, I-...Mom, slow-! Mom, mom breathe! Mom!" Jack laughed out. "I'm okay! Please, just calm- Mom! Calm down!"
The feminine voice quieted, if only a little. Jack took the chance to explain things.
"I'm sorry mom, I wish you didn't have to go through that. Listen, you need to go stay with Optimus, Arcee and the others, alright? Mom! Mom, just listen to me! I was saved from the people who kidnapped me, but they might come after you, so you need to get to the others and stay with them, alright? The people who saved me are very kind, and they can keep me safe until they deal with the kidnappers."
The others looked at each other. The teen's voice was even, unwavering. As though he'd gone through something like this before, they mused.
"I'll call as soon as I can, alright? You have my word, okay? So just go, and stay with the others, and let them know I'm okay. I'm safe here, and I'm sure about it, so don't even say I don't know for sure! And mom, I love you, alright? I'll come home as soon as I can."
Jack smiled when the woman replied, nodding.
"Yeah. Alright, love you. Yeah. Bye."
Jack pulled the phone away from his ear, ending the call with the hit of a button. He then slumped in his seat, closing his eyes for a moment. After a long second, Jack opened his eyes once more and smiled at Don, holding out the phone to him.
"Thanks for letting me borrow it. I feel better knowing she's going to be safe."
The teen's face showed happiness, but his eyes showed sorrow, though heavily concealed. He missed his mother. Don smiled, nodding as he took the Shellcell back.
"No problem. Feel free to ask for it any time, it's untraceable so the Shredder can't find us."
Jack inclined his head in thanks. A moment of silence came, then Leo spoke up.
"Hey Jack. Who is Optimus? If you don't mind my asking."
Blue-grey eyes snapped up to meet warm brown eyes, and the teen gave a crooked, weak grin.
"Just a friend. It's...It's a code name. He's part of the government and can keep her safe."
They were mostly lies, though well practiced. The others almost didn't notice. They decided not to question him though, since he was already injured and exhausted. They didn't want to make his situation harder.
Silence came over the room once more, Jack returning to eating with vigor, and the others simply sitting about, keeping their guest company. The teen didn't seem to notice, but Splinter was staring at him, eyes full of wonder and pride.
Soon, the plate was picked clean, and Jack stretched, yawning widely. Any energy he'd regained while unconscious was now all but gone, and it was obvious. Splinter smiled.
"Perhaps you should get some rest, Jack." He said softly. The youth blinked a few times, seeming to take a moment to process what the former human had said.
"I...Okay." Jack yawned again, earning chuckles from the others at the table.
"C'mon, dude!" Mikey piped up, standing and moving over to the teen. He took one of Jack's arms, slinging it over his shoulders. "I'll help you to Donnie's lab!"
Jack smiled gratefully.
The orange turtle grinned lop-sidedly.
"No problem, dude!"
Everyone else watched as the youngest turtle helped the teen back to where a cot waited. Once the two dissapeared into another room, Raph sighed, leaning back in his chair.
"Geez, this 's way beyon' weird." He muttered, crossing his arms.
"Never thought I'd say this, but I totally agree."
"Yeah...I never thought I'd hear you say that!"
Leo rolled his eyes, though smiled all the same, while Raph snorted.
"Yeah, laugh it up, genius."
"My sons." Splinter said, voice soft yet stern. "Now is not the time."
"Sorry, Mastah." Raph replied. "But it's jus' so weird! Talkin' t' a lil' brotha' we didn' even know existed? Gotta admit, it's a lil' far-fetched, even fer us."
Splinter shut his eyes, thinking for a long moment. He then looked at Leo, Raph and Donnie once more.
"I understand, Raphael, that adjusting to Naozumi's presence will be difficult for you and your brothers. But you must realize it will be just as trying for Naozumi."
The three turtles looked at each other, seeming to silently converse, then Leo inclined his head.
"We will try our best to welcome him into our home with open arms, father."
The former human nodded, satisfied.
"Thank you, my sons."
Jack awoke with a start, a strangled gasp leaving his lips. He quickly looked around, then relaxed as realization hit him.
He was okay. He was safe.
Taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm down his still racing heart, he sat up fully. He winced when his aching bones protested, but he pushed that to the back of his mind, instead focusing on trying to get up.
The lab was empty, and dark. He wondered why he wasn't cold in the dark sewer room...then noticed the warm blankets that had been piled on him. Huh, he never noticed that. He must've slept through anything and everything.
Swinging his legs off the side of the bed, he carefully stood. For a moment, Jack swayed, nearly falling over, but he quickly caught his balance and managed to make his way out of the room.
Once outside, he looked around, trying to find someone, anyone, who could help him to the kitchen so he wouldn't have to lean on a wall. But he didn't see anyone...
He jumped when there was a thud in another room, beyond an asian style screen door. it sounded like there was...fighting?
Panic settled inside Jack. Were the others alright?!
Steeling his aching insides, he made his way over to the doors as quickly as possible and slid the door open.
Everything immediately fell silent as Jack stared at the turtles, and they stared back at him, everyone rather alarmed, though for different reasons.
There was a long moment in which the silence remained, then Donnie frowned, concerned.
"Jack! You shouldn't be walking around! You're still-"
"Ah geez," Raph groaned. "Cool it, Don! Yer yellin's freakin' the poor guy out!"
The purple clad turtle scowled at his brother.
"He's got broken ribs and a fractured leg! Not to even mention the other injuries he sustained, and probably trauma! He shouldn't even be standi-!" He paused, gaining a thoughtful look before turning to Jack. "How did you get out here?"
Jack looked like a deer caught in headlights.
"I...Er...I walked..?" He half said, half asked.
A long moment...Then Mikey laughed.
Donnie sent the orange turtle a frown, then gave Jack a disapproving look.
"You shouldn't be walking on your own! How you even managed to get here without help-"
"Uh, does a wall count?" Jack interjected, jerking a thumb behind himself. "Because if so, I've had plenty of help."
This earned a snort from Raph and a grin from Leo. Don's frown just deepened.
"C'mon." He sighed, moving over. "Let's get you back into the la-"
There was a sudden, loud rumble. Everyone stared at Jack, who's cheeks darkened to a mellow red. A small smile flickered across Don's face.
"Alright, scratch that. Let's get you to the kitchen and get you something to eat."
Jack grinned sheepishly.
"I'd appreciate it."
Splinter smiled softly, looking at his sons.
"Perhaps it is alright to cut training short today, my sons. Come, let us eat."
Mikey whooped, and was the first out of the room. Jack took a moment to examine the room itself.
It seemed to be some sort of dojo. Weapons along one wall, and stiff bamboo mats lined the floor from one wall to another. The smell of sweat and incense mingled in the air, distinct against the rest of the sewer home. It was lit well, florescent lights humming softly from far above, and Jack assumed Don had rigged lighting throughout the entire 'lair', as he'd caught Mikey calling it the day before.
Don took one of Jack's arms, slinging it over his shoulders and slowly guiding him out of the dojo and towards the kitchen.
Despite being under a dangerous city, in dark and damp sewers that had probably seen much better days...this place felt warm. Like home, somehow. Jack smiled slightly as he glanced around the main room they passed through. In a deep alcove, several computers and a chair waited, most likely for Donnie. A skate board ramp was pushed close to another wall, along with a couple of old, retro style arcade games, and Jack had no doubt this area was all Mikey.
His eyes continued to search, and he next saw several weights and an old, heavily patched punching bag. Somehow, despite not knowing the two older turtles well, Jack felt this just about screamed Raph. He saw nothing that seemed to be a small space for Leo or Splinter, but Jack suspected they were quite similar, and most likely rather enjoyed their time with their family, rather than any time for themselves.
Jack smiled as he saw a large tv, with several second-hand chairs and couches around it. The family that watched tv together stayed together, he supposed.
They quickly reached the kitchen, which was attached to the main room. He was settled down in the same chair at the table as last time, and Jack watched as Mikey moved about, fixing up a quick, on-the-spot breakfast. Don sat on Jack's left, starting to check the teen's injuries, while the spot to the humans right was left for Mikey. Splinter sat across from him.
"It looks like you're healing up alright." Don said slowly, carefully feeling along Jack's bandaged ribs. "But you shouldn't be moving around so much."
Jack grimaced, wincing slightly as his ribs ached in protest.
"I...Sorry. I was just worried."
Soft brown eyes flickered up to Jack, confusion in them.
Jack nodded hesitantly.
"Y-yeah. I thought...I thought I heard fighting, and I was worried something had happened. I didn't remember that you guys practice martial arts."
Raph gave a bark of laughter, making the human youth jump.
"Kid," He said, grinning crookedly. "Ya gotta worry less 'bout us an' more 'bout yerself."
Jack met the red banded turtle's eyes squarely, face calm.
"Not to sound rude, or anything, but I'd rather be paranoid and worry about others, than selfish and worry about myself."
Silence once more fell, everyone staring at Jack. That was when Splinter learned something new about his son, and the turtles about their little brother.
He was selfless and kind hearted.
A smile stretched over Don, Leo, Mikey and Splinter's faces, while Raph grinned, nodding slightly in acceptance of this.
Mikey set a plate down in front of Jack, and the teen smiled gratefully.
"C'mon, just call me Mikey dude!"
Jack smiled shyly, inclining his head.
The teen then waited until everyone else had a plate and Mikey sat down before beginning to eat. He had manners, Splinter mused as he watched his young son across the table.
They all ate breakfast in silence, the turtles glancing at each other from time-to-time. Jack felt rather awkward, and continued to fidget in his seat as he ate. Leo noticed this and, taking pity on the teen, decided to start a conversation.
"So, you lived in Nevada, you said? What's it like there?"
Jack looked relieved to end the silence, and set down his spoon.
"If it isn't hot it's blazing." He informed with a wry grin. "And Jasper has only one school. Strange thing is there's more bullies than fast food places there too."
Raph scowled at that, while Mikey looked confused and Leo exchanged a look with Donnie and Splinter.
"So, uh, Jasper? Never heard of it before." Don said, glancing from the teen's injuries to his face.
Jack grinned sheepishly.
"I'd be surprised if you did. it's tiny, nearly non-existent. Why else would there only be one school?" He laughed. "We're lucky it hasn't become a ghost town, but it's got reasonably priced homes so it's survived so far."
A small laugh left Donnie, while Mikey and Leo grinned and Raph snorted.
Jack seemed to be calmed by their amusement, and he eased back in his chair.
"And here? What's it like in New York?"
"Loud." Raph stated bluntly. Jack ducked his head, a soft laugh leaving him.
"Really? I would never had guessed." Jack joked.
Raph huffed, rolling his eyes at the human while Leo grinned.
"New York can be dangerous, but it's home." He confided.
"That...Sounds nice. Not the dangerous part," He said quickly. "The home part."
Leo laughed, nodding in reply.
Splinter watched them all talk, a soft emotion upon his face. It warmed his heart immensely, not only to see and learn about Naozumi, but to see all of his sons, adopted and not, getting along.
After they all had finished their meal, Don stood with a sigh.
"Leo, Raph, can one of you carry Jack to the couch while I go get some new bandages for him?" Jack went to protest, but Donnie gave him a look. "No, you can't walk there, you'll make your leg's condition worse."
Leo laughed kindly at Jack's indignant expression and stood.
"Sure thing Donnie."
The purple banded turtle sent him a thankful look before retreating to the lab to gather what he required.
Leo moved over to the younger male, crouching down, shell towards the teen.
"Here. Climb on."
Jack huffed, looking rather embarrassed, but he carefully got onto Leo's back-, er, shell.
Sure that Jack had a good hold on his shoulders, Leo carefully stood and made his way towards one of the couches in the livingroom. There, he carefully set Jack down, ensuring he didn't jostle the youth's bad leg.
"Thanks." Jack said quietly, still looking rather embarrassed that he'd had to be carried to the couch. But Leo simply smiled.
"No problem. Don's right, you shouldn't be walking much."
"I've had worse."
Everyone exchanged a look, confused and slightly worried (though Raph would never admit he was concerned in the slightest).
Donnie re-entered the room, a first-aid kit in hand.
"Alright, let's re-wrap your chest first, and then your leg. I'll need to replace the bandages on your arms, too, since your wounds probably reopened in the middle of the night."
"Man." Donnie said as he crouched down and began to unwrap Jack's leg. "You're a better patient than Raph or Mikey."
"Hey!" Both mention turtles snapped, frowning at their brother. Don simply grinned at them with a raised brow, daring them to deny it (neither did).
"Well, like I said, my mom's a nurse. I've been raised to do what any doctor or nurse says."
Don hummed in understanding as he set aside the old linen wrap and took the new roll of bandages in hand. He took in the nostalgic smile on Jack's face.
"So, you must really love her, huh?"
Jack nodded enthusiastically, beaming.
"Yeah, she's the best. I mean, well, she isn't around all the time, she gets stuck with a lot of day-long shifts at work, and she's kinda a tofu nut, but she's great. She...she took me in even though her ex-husband didn't want a kid."
A shadow of sadness flashed across Jack's face, but vanished just as quick as it had appeared. All the same, the turtles and Splinter noticed this, and didn't press the subject.
Jack forced a fake smile onto his face.
"Either way, she's awesome. She's been there for me, no matter what. I just really hope she'll be okay now, with that Shredder guy around..."
Splinter grimaced. He hoped so as well.