Disclaimer: Don't own tmnt. Fanfic for fun not profit. This takes place in the 2014 movieverse.
Sparks flew and the acrid smell of metal bonding to metal filled the room. The fizzing sound stopped, started again and paused, then two more short bursts before ceasing altogether.
"O.k. guys. You can let go now."
With a slight hesitation the other three turtles let go of the medal cradle, though Leo refused to completely take his hands away till Donnie was out from underneath the heavy structure. To be fair the last two times they'd been given the all clear the curved steel had almost crushed the lanky youth. This time however everything did seem to be fine.
"Sooo… are we like completely done bruhh?" Mikey asked with barely contained excitement.
Donnie finished putting up the welding gear and smiled broadly at his shorter brother as he set his taped glasses back in their proper place. "No more lumpy mattresses on the floor, no more sharing blankets, no more ending up at the bottom of the turtle pile and…" He looked at Raph meaningfully. "no more waking up to feet in my face. Gentleturtles welcome to the land of solitary slumber!" With that he gestured broadly to the newly completed furniture.
"Woohooo!" Mikey jumped onto one of the four new curved cradles that would be their beds laughing maniacally as it swayed with the motion. The bedroom had been under construction for months now. Even before that they'd been forced to share a common sleeping space on the floor since the bunk bed wars of 08'. All the brothers could identify with the relief of no longer being confined to the continual purgatory that was the pile of blankets and pillows in the main living space. But it was all worth it now. "Why are they so big?" Mikey asked as he peaked over the rim, the rest of his splayed body hidden in the hollow of the steel bowl.
"Several factors," Donnie ignored the long suffering sigh and the mumbled 'nerd' from behind him. "firstly according to my calculations and based on our current growth rate it appears that some of us will actually reach nearly 6ft tall within the next five years. These springs and metal plates weren't easy to get ahold of, not to mention how labor intensive this whole project was. I don't want to have to redo it in a couple of years cause of some shell cramping. Plus." Donatello stretched his arms above him and arched his back as much as his anatomy allowed. "I for one would appreciate some extra room to grow."
"I don't know Donnie, I think a little less growing would be good for you." A somewhat sullen voice chimed in.
"You're just jealous, face it Leo, I've got exactly 7.96 centimeters on you now. You're never gonna catch up."
"You don't know that."
"Based on basic human growth charts coupled with studies on the relative maturation of north american red slider populations and the notes I've kept plus the anecdotal evidence from sensei, yeah I kinda do," Donnie smirked and straightened to fully display his height. "Little Brother. And the way your shell is bulking up you're gonna be stooped as well as stunted."
Leonardo consciously stiffened his posture at the insult. It wasn't his fault his shell seemed to get heavier every day.
"You two whine all you want. I'm gonna be big an' tall. Plus I'm getting the best bed!" With that Raphael hefted himself into the bunk that would be closest to the t.v. area once the construction tarps were taken down.
"HEY! That was mine! I took three days getting that one in perfect alignment!"
Raph didn't turn to address him but merely waved a hand in acknowledgement. "Nice job bro."
"That's ok Donnie, you can bunk next me! We can share snacks and ghost stories and take turns throwing stinky socks at Raphie. That's if we wore socks. I should totally get some socks. Think sensei would get me some if I asked? I want super fluffy ones that will keep my toes warm in the winter. Cause ya know cold floors. But not in April, the lair always floods then and my socks would get wet. Oh but if they get wet I bet they would be extra stinky and then we could throw them at RAPH!" Mikey had flipped onto his shell and was wiggling his four toes in the air, as if displaying his soon to be fuzzy foot cozies. "I want long ones, short ones, like five orange pair and…" Donnie sighed and went to sit in the cradle adjacent to his rambling brother, giving into the inevitable. For his own sanity though he decided there and then that differential calculus would be his new personal lullaby to keep from going insane from Mikey's nightly chatter.
Leo stepped to the remaining bed, looking it over, rocking it slightly as if to test the stability. It's not that he didn't trust his brother's mechanical abilities, but they were still only 11 and it wouldn't be the first time he would be on the wrong end of one Donnie's failed projects. His worry was unfounded though considering the paces that Mikey was putting the design through. He did hope that there was a good supply of WD-40 around though, the constant creaking and groaning from the support spring was starting to give him a headache. Any other thoughts were stopped as the soft sound of a tail dragging on the concrete floor came from around the corner and a section of tarp flipped back to reveal Master Splinter entering the space.
"Ah, my sons, how is your work progressing?" All four turtles leapt enthusiastically to line up in front of their father, smiles all around.
"All done! Can we pplleeeeeaaaassseeee sleep in here tonight?" Mikey was the only one who could pull that kind of pleading whine and still make their rat dad smile rather than frown. It also helped that he was the only one who still had to look up at their father, if only by a fraction of an inch, while leveling his best puppydog eyes with those baby blues. Splinter stroked his facial hair a few times while considering the request and all four pre-teens waited, barely breathing in hopes of the affirmative.
"Hmmm…" He was proud of his children's accomplishment, the project had been a wonderful exercise in teamwork and ingenuity. However, being the father of four rambunctious boys Splinter was not about to let such a golden opportunity go to waste. "It would be unwise to occupy a new space when the rest of the lair is in a state of disorder. In addition I have recently be studying a book on Feng Shui and tonight may not be the best date to move." He turned his back as if to go back to his own room. "There are charts I must consult. It may be a few more weeks." He had to suppress a smile as chirps of protest and a muffled conversation commenced. Splinter continued to leave but at a much reduced pace, waiting for the inevitable.
"What if we clean the lair!" A young voice called out louder than was necessary. It was Michelangelo, his most impatient son, and the most gullible.
"Perhaps," He said coyly, as he stopped and paused, drawing out the moment for ultimate dramatic effect. "picking up the clutter and cleansing the environment should allow for more positive energy to flow into the space." He turned again to his sons who had mixed looks of hope and annoyance on their faces. "Yes, under such conditions I believe that a move would be acceptable." He allowed just the hint of a smile cross his muzzle.
"I'll clean the dojo!" Leo piped in, keen to please his father. "Mikey you take the kitchen, Raph the living room and Donnie the bathroom. Then we'll finish the rest together." There were slight groans at the assignments but everyone was eager enough to secure their new bedroom that it was kept to a minimum. Soon the lair was filled only with the sounds of cleaning, except of course the kitchen where Mikey blared the latest pop radio station as he washed dishes.
After a solid three hours the entire lair was sparkling, well as sparkling as a sewer home could be, and all four turtles were gathered in front of the tarp separating them from their new bedroom. They looked to each other and with a silent signal, tore down the ratty plastic ready to break in the new space only to find someone had beat them to it.
The boys were slack-jawed as their bedroom was revealed. Along one side was a stack of crates color coded and containing all of their personal items. Signs and collections decorated the walls and all the construction debris were gone. But more amazing than this were their new beds. Not only were they tidily made but each was decked out with blankets and pillows that were new. NEW. There was no mistaking it. No unidentified stains. The lingering odor of mildew that seemed to cling to fabric no matter how many times it was washed was absent. These linens were not salvaged from a dumpster, but pulled from packages. Plus each bedspread was prominently arrayed in their own personal color scheme. To children who were used to living on society's cast offs this was more than a miracle.
"What are you waiting for my sons?" The twinkling mearth in the voice that crept up behind them was unmistakable. "Are you not pleased?"
They turned as one, still in a stupor of disbelief before tackling their dad to the floor in an exuberant pile of unabated youthful joy. Splinter was buried under a pile of gratitude and turtle shells. "Ok. Ok. That is enough." He couldn't help the laughter that spilled from him, it was nice to be appreciated father rather than the feared disciplinarian for a change. "I'm glad you like it but that's not all..." He paused to get their attention then whispered conspiratorially "...there's ice cream in the freezer."
"Woohoo! Ice creaamm!" Michelangelo was the first to disengage from the heap of familial love and booked it to the kitchen.
"Really… ice cream?" Raphael pulled back for a second to look at his dad in disbelief. The normally grumpy child's face was alight with wonder and joy.
Splinter pulled him into a brief hug, reveling in the rare moment and feeling that his dangerous scavenging had been more than worth this moment of joy. "Chocolate-marshmallow even." Raphael's smile became even wider as he got up and ran to the other room, determined to get his share of the precious creamy delight.
Leonardo was aware enough of manners to help his sensei up before walking at his side to meet his other brothers already in the kitchen. Halfway there he noticed that Donatello wasn't with them. "I'll be right back, Father." He returned to the bedroom to find Donnie standing not by his own bed with it's various shades of purple but by Leo's. Seeming to admire the pattern on his brother's new comforter and mumbling to himself softly.
"Saturn, sixth planet from the sun, second largest planet in the solar system. Gas giant roughly 95 times more massive than earth but with only one-eighth the density. Looks yellow due to ammonia crystals in the upper atmosphere. Widely regarded as the most beautiful planet because of its system of rings made up of ice, constantly renewed as particles shatter against one another revealing a fresh surfa…"
"Donnie?" Leo called and his brainy brother snapped out of his revere and jumped away from Leo's bed seemingly embarrassed to be be caught near it.
He fumbled with his hands and nervously pushed his glasses up the bridge of his flattened nose. "Oh Leo. Uh… I… I guess we should get some dessert before Mikey eats it all." He gave a shy smile and went to move past his older brother trying to avoid eye contact.
In an instant it all became clear. They had all worked together to build the room. Their father had gifted them equally for their efforts, as he always did. The worked together, trained together, played together, were punished and praised together. Yet, Leo knew better than anyone that sometimes the fairness wasn't enough. They all craved to occasionally be the center of their father's attention. Leo knew he did, not that he was trying to be a brown-noser but the need for the individual attention and praise was something that he couldn't suppress, no matter how much it got on Raph's nerves. He could tell that Donnie was having one those moments right now.
Sensei was only treating them equally with the bedroom surprise but Leonardo knew that it really was Donnie who deserved the lion's share of the credit. They had been nothing but the muscle. The whole room had only come about because of Donatello's talent and skills. In many ways he was jealous of Donnie's ability to make their home function. Raph and Mikey both had the talent to make their subterranean space bright and comfy but it was Donnie who made it run. The older they got, the more intelligent Donatello got, the easier and more enjoyable life became for them all. They teased him at times for his geekiness and tendency to become obsessed but really they were beneficiaries of that genius, often only focused on how to make things better for their family. At the moment though it seemed that laser like focus had fixated on Leo's space themed bedding.
His other brothers had received plain bedspreads with either simple geometric patterns or just their signature colors. Leo was the only one to get something with a bold pop art design. Bright orange and yellow planets, suns and comets contrasted against the royal blue backdrop with the entire comforter trimmed in silver to compliment the occasional spaceship that streaked across the motif while two planetary pillowcases completed the set. It was plain to see that Sensei had given it to him for the abundance of blue in the pattern and the uniqueness of the design did make him puff with a bit of pride. It was also plain to see that Donnie really, really liked it.
Whereas Leo just saw something neat and eye catching, Donnie had been reciting facts and figures about the various celestial bodies depicted on the fabric. A thought soon formulated as to how he could show his most intelligent brother just how much he was appreciated. He looked over his shoulder just in time to see that his lanky sibling's shell disappearing into the kitchen alcove. After a few small adjustments to the room Leo quickly followed him.
The kitchen was filled with happy rambunctiousness and the mood was unquenchable, even when half-melted ice cream was spilled on Raph by Mickey he just laughed it off. Of course he retaliated by smearing some of the same on the smallest turtle but was only playful rather than annoyed. By the end of desert no one had been spared and the baths were deemed necessary for all. For once there were no complaints, none of the boys desired to mess up their new bedding and were eager to complete all the nightly grooming rituals. Clean and clothed they said goodnight to their father before heading to their newly remodeled bedroom for the first time. It felt like such a monumental occasion that not even Mikey asked to be tucked in.
"So… how are they?" Donnie asked with just a hint of trepidation. He had decided to get in bed last just in case there was a fault in one of the cradles that he would need to adjust.
"Ohh that feels so good. I can actually sleep on ma' shell." This was high praise from Raphael who always seemed to have the hardest time finding a decent sleeping position and jostled them constantly when they were piled in together. It made Don fill with pride that he could make his burly brother comfortable at last.
The squeaking from Mikey's bed was becoming pronounced as he gained momentum from his purposeful rocking. Donnie saw Leo grimace at the sound and raised his hand for his little brother to pause his motion. He ran to his supplies and grabbed some spray lubricant and ducked underneath the frame to apply it to the support spring. Mikey just gave him an upside down smile as he watched him work. When Donatello popped back up he was encircled in a shell-cracking hug. "You da best, bruhh."
Once freed from Mikey's embrace he looked to his last brother to see how he was faring. Leo just simply nodded his thanks and slipped underneath his new covers. Don smiled and gave one more wistful look to the oldests' comforter. He liked his deep purple duvet but had to admit that Leonardo had definitely gotten the coolest set of linens. Whether consciously or not their father always seemed to favor Leonardo. It shouldn't bother him but at times it did. It was becoming obvious that even among their small isolated family, Donnie was the outcast. Master Splinter just didn't understand him sometimes and Don was beginning to doubt that he even tried to anymore. It didn't help that his brothers teased him about his rambling thoughts that he sometimes had trouble keeping to himself. He would have to work on that. Work on fitting in better. Then maybe he wouldn't feel like the weird one anymore. Donnie shook off these troubling thoughts and recalled that this was a good day. A project completed and happy brothers. It was all he could really ask for.
Pulling back his covers he was shocked still to see one of Leo's new pillows in his bed. The one with the cartoonish Saturn prominently displayed on it's blue star speckled background. Looking up he saw his brother looking directly at him, eyes full of gratitude and something more, understanding. Leonardo winked at him before turning away so that just the rim of his carapace peaked above a rocket flying past Jupiter. Donnie smiled and crawled into the metal cradle, tucking the precious gift firmly underneath his head, petting the soft material a few times in awed appreciation. He drifted off to sleep with ears full of contented snores, a heart bursting with familial love and head exploring the dynamics of celestial mechanics.
A/N: Been hanging out on tumblr with a crazy group known as the Nugg Laif. This was a result of a conversation with jbadgr and a fanfic challenge. I enjoyed making this. ^_^*
In other news: I do intend to continue FOT and have lots written for it. With summer over I hope to pick it back up again. Thanks anyone who is still reading it and looking for updates.