I don't know how many of you even read the IDW comics or have kept up with the ongoing series, and if not, then you probably won't understand this fic. Here's some info: Splinter killed Oroku Saki and took over the Foot Clan to protect his sons and the city. However, he has done unspeakable things as the new leader of the Clan, like executing a crime boss and nearly killing the leader of the Triceratons (who aren't the bad guys in this series). The Turtles now have a strained relationship with Splinter, especially Raph.

I have a few theories on what's going to happen to Splinter before, in, or after issue #100. This fic is based on one of them.

The Earth Protection Force (EPF) is an organization that protects the world from dangerous and deadly mutants and is led by Bishop.

Jennika is a young girl who is Splinter's current chunin or second-in-command.

Koya is a mutant falcon who used to be Shredder's pet.

Bludgeon is a mutant arrowhead shark who along with Koya is part of Karai's group.

NOTE: There will probably be grammar mistakes which I will fix later.

"Filthy rodent! Ptui!" The ninja lifted his mask and spat him directly in the face, prompting the others to laugh cruelly along with him.

The former leader of the Foot Clan had been chained to a fence outside the headquarters like a lowly animal and was treated as such. His face was now a mess of bruises and cuts, his old ruby robe was tattered and torn, and his left eye was completely swollen shut. His ears flattened in a defeated manner as his former soldiers, who were once loyal enough to give their lives for him, ridiculed and abused him like he never even mattered to them at all.

"Here, eat this, rat!" Another Foot ninja picked up an orange from out of a brown paper bag and tossed it up and down a few times before he threw it at Splinter with full force. The rat let out a pained grunt as the fruit hit him in the gut and broke apart, its juices staining his already ruined clothes.

"What are you doing?" the tallest of the group scoffed and crossed his arms. "Rats don't eat oranges." Then he bent down to reach into the brown bag and pulled out a lump of cheddar cheese. Splinter could sense the sadistic smile beneath the young man's mask as he approached him. "They eat cheese." He broke off a large chunk and held it under Splinter's black nose. "Eat, rodent."

Splinter slowly turned his head away, refusing to take a bite.

Annoyed, the Foot painfully grabbed him by his chin and forced him to open his jaw. The chunk was shoved into his mouth and down his throat. He choked on it and quickly cough it back up, spitting out large wet pieces. He heaved and panted as the soldiers broke into raucous laughter.

He weakly lifted his head and looked up longingly at the bright full moon that hung in the starry sky. He thought about his sons, whose trust he had betrayed and shattered after preaching to them about choosing the path of peace and then executing his enemies right in front of them. He thought about Jennika, who stayed at his side even after everyone else turned on him, and she payed for her loyalty with her life. He thought about Tang Shen, whose heart he had undoubtedly broken after spilling so much blood in the name of honor.

Honor. He thought he knew the meaning of that word, but he was wrong.

And Raphael was right.


Flashback, a week ago...

"Father, when is all this bloodshed going to end?" Leonardo demanded, confronting his former master about the ongoing conflict between the Foot and the EPF.

So many lives were lost on both sides, and innocent people were getting caught in the middle of it all. The Turtles did whatever they could to end the war without getting into another conflict with their father like they did during the Tricerton invasion.

But the final straw came when Splinter ordered his elite to kill Slash, who was still being controlled by Bishop to unwillingly do his dirty work and be his ultimate weapon. Mikey was absolutely devasted by the loss of his friend, and his brothers couldn't believe that their father would order the execution of Slash knowing how close he and Mikey were.

As for Splinter, he indeed knew of their friendship and it absolutely crushed him to break his youngest's kind and loving heart, but he did what he had to in order to protect his children from Bishop's wrath. He did not expect the Turtles to forgive him for it, and he would never forgive himself either.

As was the tradition, only Leonardo, the master of Clan Hamato, was permitted to have a private council with Splinter, so the others were to wait outside, though Raph really wanted to give his father a piece of his mind and even threatened to break in. It took both Leo and Mikey to finally call him down...for the moment.

Leo stood before the platform on which the Foot throne stood and looked up at his father with golden eyes that burned with fury, yet he did his best to speak in a calm and respectful tone. "We've lost a close friend in this senseless war, and we may lose more if you do not put an end to all this conflict." He then bowed his head to the Master of the Foot. "As Clan Master, I respectfully ask that you call a truce between the Foot and the EPF before more innocent people are killed."

Jennika, who stood next to Splinter's throne, watched the Turtle begrudgingly bow with sad eyes. She couldn't even imagine what he and his brothers were going through, and it pained her to think that Leonardo probably hated her, too. Not for her part in Slash's death because she didn't have any, but for her affiliation with the Clan that had done nothing but hurt and even kill his family and friends.

Splinter closed his eyes and sighed tiredly, folding his paws in his lap. "I understand your frustration, my son, and I know that I have caused you and your brothers so much pain. And believe me when I tell you that I want nothing more than to end this war. But you know as well as I that Bishop's insufferable and pertinacious nature prevents him from listening to reason and reaching a compromise. It is Bishop who prolongs the conflict, not I. And if he will not agree to a truce, then he must-"

"-die?" Leo bitterly finished for him with a scowl on his face. "Death is not the answer to everything, Father. Darius Dun's death didn't make the city any safer, did it? And even from beyond the grave he was still able to present a threat to our family."

At this accusation, Splinter burrowed his brow and stood up from his seat with his hands folded behind his back. "Perhaps. But one thing is certain: one cannot tame a deadly viper no matter how much compassion you show it. You must either defang it or kill it."

Leo looked at him like he was totally insane. "We're not talking about snakes!" he started to raise his voice. "We're talking about people! And people can change! Like you have, Father. You've turned your back on everything you ever taught us and become someone you're not. Your tactics, your actions, even the way you talk...it's like the Shredder never died and he's still ruling the Foot Clan."

His eldest son's statement insulted and angered him greatly. Being compared to Oroku Saki of all people was the greatest dishonor of all. Infuriated, he stomped down the steps of the platform and toward his son. Leo tensed up, expecting his former Sensei to get physical with him or at least yell at him angrily.

But instead, he took in a deep breath to maintain his composure and spoke in a calm voice, "That is enough. This conversation is over. You may leave my quarters."

Leo shook his head and glared at him defiantly. "No. We're not done here. You can't keep pushing us away like this."

"Whatsamatter, Dad?"

Everyone turned to see Raph standing at the entrance, his arms covered in cuts presumably from fighting the guards that were assigned to keep him out. He marched to where Leo and Splinter stood, looking directly at Splinter with a sneer. "Don't like what you're hearing? Well, that's too bad, 'cause it's about time someone told you the stinkin' truth."

Splinter looked at his hot-tempered son with disapproval. "Raphael, I did not give you permission to enter," he sternly said.

"Screw your traditions!" Raph spat, now standing in front of him. "We shouldn't have to get permission! We're your family! Or do you still consider the Foot to be your family now and not us?"

Splinter's eyes softened as he reached over to touch him on the shoulder. "My son, of course you are my family. You four are more precious to me than anyone or anything in the world. And that hasn't changed, even if you are no longer in my clan."

Raph pulled away from his touch. "Yeah? Well, it sure don't feel that way. You treat us more like allies than your sons, and you use our friends as assets in your wars and even kill 'em off! Did you even consider Mikey's feelings when you decided to execute Slash?"

Splinter closed his eyes and sighed sadly. "I was considering his safety as well as yours. As a father and Master, I must do whatever it takes to keep my children and my clan safe, even if my decisions and actions are difficult and even horrific. It never gets easier for me, however. I assure you that I ordered Slash's death with a very heavy heart."

"It didn't have to end the way it did," Leo told him. "Donny actually found a way to break Slash free from Bishop's mind control. He still had a chance."

"Yeah," Raph growled, "but your goons got to him before we did. You know, Leo's right: you're just as despicable as the Shredder was. The only difference between you two is that Shredder had soldiers who actually respected him, but those Foot chumps are only pretending to even like you."

Splinter's black eyes widened before he narrowed them into angry slits. "Raphael, what are you implying?"

"What am I implying?" Raph repeated incredulously. "You and I both know that the only reason these clowns are even following you is because their old boss kicked the bucket and Karai backed off. But if they were given the opportunity, they'd all turn on you in a heartbeat. And you know why?"

He moved closer and nearly got nose-to-nose to with Splinter, screaming in his face.

"Because not a single person in this clan, including you, knows anything about HONOR!"

Raph's booming voice echoed in the now silent room, and both Jennika and Leo stared wide-eyed and agape. Splinter just stood very still, but his naked tail began to slap on the ground in anger and his nose twitched repeatedly. His grip on his staff was tightening more and more by the second and Leo thought that he might actually snap it in half.

Finally, he cleared his throat and turned away from his sons. "That is enough. Leave now before I have my guards escort you out."

As he walked back up the stairs of the platform, Raph started to walk after him. "Hey, we're not-"

"Raph," Leo grabbed Raph's arm and stopped him. "It's no use." He briefly glanced up at Splinter in disgust. "We'll just have to deal with this however we can."

Splinter sighed softly as he sat down in his throne and watched his sons walked out of the room. Raph stopped at the entrance for a moment to give him a glance that was mixed with hurt and anger, then he disappeared behind the wall along with Leo.

He wanted nothing more than to run after his boys and embrace them, all four of them. He missed meditating quietly in a private room with Leonardo. He missed watching his favorite soaps with Raphael. He missed watching Donatello invent something new and marvelous in his lab. He missed hearing Michelangelo laughter and seeing his smile that would light up anyone's day.

He just wished that things would go back to the way they were, a simplier time when it was just the five of them. When they were a family.

But he simply could not walk away from the Foot. The fate of the city rested in his hands, after all. And most importantly, as long as he was Clan Master, he had the army and resources to protect his sons from any enemy. They could disagree with him or even hate him, but as long as they were safe under his reign, he could live with that.

A gentle hand touched him on the shoulder in comfort and he looked up at Jennika, who immediately pulled away and stood at attention. "Forgive me, Master," she quickly said. "I did not mean-"

"No, my child," he smiled warmly at her and took her hand. "Do not apologize. You are a kindly soul, and you shouldn't be ashamed of that. Be proud of who you are."

She smiled back at the mutant she came to view and love as a father.


Fast forward, yesterday...

"Karai?" Splinter stood up from his throne in surprise as the kunoichi marched into the main hall with Koya, Bludgeon, and a large anthropomorphic mole whom he never saw before. The young woman now had long hair and wore a red leather bodysuit. Each of the four was splattered with specks of blood, no doubt the guards', and Koya stared up at him with predatory eyes. Jennika instinctively reached for her sheathed blade, ready to protect her master.

"Hello, again, rat," the falcon cooly said with a sadistic grin. "Where are your Turtles?"

The protective instincts immediately kicked in and Splinter reached for his staff that rested against the arm of the throne. "Their whereabouts are no concern of yours," he gravely stated as he pointed his staff at her. "I demand to know why you four barge into my quarters and cause such disruption."

Karai took a step forward. "Hamato Yoshi, I have come to claim my grandfather's throne," she declared in a strong voice.

Splinter's eyes enlarged in shock. "What?"

"In Japan, I came to realize that as Oroku Saki's descendant, it was my destiny to rule the Foot Clan and bring order through control as he had planned before he was killed." She then held out a sheathed sword for Splinter to see. "After going through a journey of self-discovery and obtaining the Kira no Ken, I've brought order to Japan with a clan of my own and become the leader I am destined to be. The leader that the Foot Clan needs."

Gritting her teeth, Jennika started to unsheathed her sword, but Splinter quickly raised his hand and silently commanded her not to make a move.

"I see," he calmly said as he folded his hands behind his back. "However, you will find that taking back the Clan by force will not be easy."

On cue, over twenty of the Foot's strongest warriors, including the Elite, came rushing into the room and completely surrounded the small group with their weapons drawn out. Koya, Bludgeon and Ocho the mole stood ready to attack, but Karai remained perfectly calm and still, not at all intimated by the ambush.

Her strange behavior concerned Splinter and he furrowed his brow. "You seem unfazed, Karai."

She smiled slyly and confidently at him. "Perhaps I do not need to fight for the command of your army." She looked around at all the Foot soldiers. "Perhaps they will all willingly come to me."

Jennika stepped forward and glared down at her. "What is this nonsense that you speak of, wench?!" she demanded.

Instead of directly answering her, Karai turned to the Foot soldiers and addressed them all. "My Foot brothers and sisters," she said in a loud voice, "the time has come for you to make a decision. You know in your hearts who is truly fit to lead our Clan, and so you are left with two choices." She pointed her sword at Splinter as he spoke. "You can continue to follow a lowly sewer rat who brings shame to our clan, or you can turn to the successor of Oroku Saki, the man whose very name made all of Japan and New York tremble with fear."

Several Foot soldiers slowly lowered their weapons as though they were considering this, while others stood still but looked at one another. Splinter noticed their reactions but still had confidence in their loyalty to him. After all, he had trained and taught them all to be honorable warriors, and they surely wouldn't betray their own Clan Master, for doing so would be dishonorable.

"Do you see now, Karai?" he said as he gestured to all his army. "These fine men and women are honor-bound to stay at my side until my death. But if you truly wish to take command of my army, then I suggest to a-"

He gasped as an arrow suddenly penetrated his right shoulder and he stumbled backwards. Luckily Jennika caught him before he hit the floor and she carefully pulled out the bloodied arrow.

All eyes were now on the lone Foot ninja who pointed his crossbow in Splinter's direction. "Speak for yourself, rodent," he huffed as he lowered his weapon. "Even I can see that Oroku Karai is the true leader of our Clan. I'm done taking orders from you." He then turned to his comrades. "How about the rest of you? Are you with me?"

A few Foot soldiers nodded and murmured in agreement, then more started to shout in approval. Soon, the whole army went into an uproar, making it clear that they were going to follow Karai from now on.

Splinter gripped his bleeding shoulder as he looked on in utter shock and horror. How could this be happening?

Only Jennika stayed at his side. The Chunin stood up and drew out her blade. "TRAITORS!" she screamed as she leapt off the platform, bravely facing the mob. "You all bring shame and dishonor to our Clan!"

She let out a battle cry as she charged at the Foot soldiers and swiftly slayed the first few. They all moved in to stop her, but none of them stood a chance against the fierce Chunin, not even the Elite. She sliced her way through the crowd to get to her main target, Oroku Karai.

But before she could get to her, Ocho blocked her way and then stabbed her right through the abdomen with her massive long claws.

"NOOOOOO!" Splinter screamed both in horror and fury as the mole lifted the impaled girl high in the air before flinging her across the room. He desperately jumped off the platform, stumbling a bit as he landed on the floor, and he limped over to where she lay.

He knelt down and carefully placed her head in his lap, cradling her in his arms. Her face was growing paler as the blood continued to flow out of her wounds and soak her outfit. Her eyes fluttered open and they brimmed with tears as she looked up directly into her master's own wet ones.

"M-Mast...er..." she rasped then went into a coughing fit as the blood began to fill up her lungs.

"Shhhh, child," he whispered soothingly to her as he stroked her short hair. "Save your strength."

But she still struggled with all her might to speak to him in her final moments, blood spilling down her chin in streams. "Master...forgive me...forgive me...forgive me..." she repeated and begged over and over again until she finally closed her eyes, a single tear sliding down her cheek. "Mast..."

She spoke no more and after a few faint twitches, her body went limp and her head fell back onto his arm.

Jennika had died.

"My daughter," he choked as the tears now ran nonstop. "No..." He nuzzled her forehead with his nose and pulled her body closer to his chest.

His ear twitched as he heard Karai approaching them, her boots clapping on the concrete floor, but he refused to look up at her and continued to hold and weep over Jennika.

"Your own men have turned against you, Yoshi," she coldly said as she looked down at him impassively. "You are no longer Clan Master, and tomorrow you will be executed for your sins against my grandfather and the Foot." She then turned around and walked her way through the crowd, who respectfully parted like the sea as she passed. "Chain him to the fence outside and do what you want to him," she ordered. "But do not kill him."

They all bowed to her before a few of them walked over to Splinter, cracking their knuckles and chuckling darkly.

But Splinter didn't pay them any mind and focused on Jennika instead. He had failed her, just as he had failed Tang Shen in his past life.

A fist collided with his cheek and he blacked out as he fell to the ground.


Back to the present...

So now here he was, dangling on a fence and awaiting his execution tomorrow. The chilly winter breeze made shiver and in the process rattle the chains that bound him. The Foot soldiers who were tasked with guarding him until morning continued to torture and mock him.

He closed his good eye as he replayed Raphael's prophetic words in his head.

"But if they were given the opportunity, they'd all turn on you in a heartbeat. And you know why?"

He bowed his head in shame and a tear slid down his furry and bruised-up cheek.

"Because not a single person in this clan, including you, knows anything about HONOR!"

Raphael was right. They were all right about him.

He intended on changing the Foot and restoring the honor that it had long lost since Oroku Saki came into power centuries ago and then back again in the present.

But he, himself, had lost his own honor as he regressed to his old ways when he was a deadly assassin in the Foot Clan. Instead of taking the path of peace in solving their problems, he turned back to the path of blood and eliminated his enemies. He was no more fit to lead the Clan than Saki ever was.

And so this was his punishment, and he welcomed it. He deeply regretted never having apologized to his sons for betraying their trust and letting them down. But he knew that they all would grow into honorable warriors, and he entrusted the future to them.

He only prayed that his soul would be reunited with his beloved despite the sins that he had committed.

Taking in a deep, shaky breath, he slumped in his chains and waited...

...

"FATHER!"

At the sound of his eldest's voice, Splinter lifted his head and saw all four Turtles running down the hill and charging straight toward them with their weapons drawn out.

"My...sons?" he gasped softly, astounded by what he was seeing.

The Foot ninjas took out their own weapons and charged at them as well. Fortunately, they were hardly a challenge for Clan Hamato and they were all defeated and knocked out within less than a minute. But they didn't kill them. They still lived by the moral code that he had forgotten.

Donatello shoved his bo staff back into his belt and ran to Splinter. "Father? Oh, god." He was absolutely horrified by the terrible shape his father was in. He gently held his father's face, minding the cuts and bruises. "Hold on, Father," his genius son whispered to him in a slightly pained voice, his golden eyes wet and shining. "We're here now. We're gonna get you help."

He wanted to break down right there and then, but he remained calm and took in a deep breath before he nodded slowly.

Leonardo stood next to his brother and used his twin katanas to slice the chains in half and free their father, who immediately dropped. They both caught him before he reached the ground and supported him as they hurried up the hill with Raphael and Michelangelo follow behind them. As they got higher, he could make out the headlights of a vehicle, which he soon realized was a cargo van. As soon as they all hopped in through the back, the vehicle sped off.

The driver, Angel Bridge, looked over her seat at them and sighed in relief when she saw Splinter, badly injured but still alive. "Good job, guys," she gave them a quick thumbs up before redirecting her focus back on the road.

Leo and Donny gently set Splinter down against the wall and Mikey immediately went to work, gently washing his father's face with a wet wrag. "You're gonna be okay now, Father," he said with a sad smile.

Raph grinned and sighed as he sat on the other side of Splinter. The rat expected him to say, "I told you so," and such, but to his surprise, Raphael gave him a lopsided grin and wrapped an arm around him while being careful not to hurt him. "Yeah, we're here for you, Father."

Overwhelmed with all the love that he didn't deserve but was being given to him by his sons anyway, Splinter closed his eye and leaned back against the side of the van, the corners of his lips barely lifting into a tired smile.

He couldn't be more proud of his children, who were certainly wise beyond their years. They have taught him more about honor than he had learned in both lifetimes.

Wow, it's so late and this is so long. Sorry if it seems...rushed at the end.