Disclaimer - I don't own the TMNT. None of them.
A/N - This takes place in my 'What The Heart Wants' universe, although it doesn't necessarily have to. I just like it there. You don't need to read that story to understand this. I will, by the way, have a new chapter up for 'What The Heart Wants' in the next few days. I have not abandoned it!
It can also be considered to be in it's own little universe, since this takes place way before that story. I'd say the turtles are eight or nine in this story. I might even add more chapters, more memories, from the other turtles, if people like this chapter. Or maybe even if they don't! Either way, enjoy!
Donatello: Knowledge and Normalcy
Mike turned to look at Donatello, who was sitting next to him on the couch. His eyes were wide.
Donatello shrugged. Raphael stomped into the living room, walking up to Don. Donatello looked up at him, and gulped. Raphael was angry. Very angry.
"How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of my room?!" Raph yelled.
Don looked back to Mike for support. Mike's eyes were still wide, and he opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
"I… I…" Don stammered.
"I told you, but you had to go in there, and look what I found." Raph held up a dismantled radio. "You know this was my favorite."
"But I just wanted to…" Don began softly.
"I can't hear my station anymore!" Raph shook the radio at Don, parts hanging out and falling to the ground. "See?"
"Oh, c'mon, Raph, it's no big deal." Mike said.
"Stay outta this, Mikey." Raph snapped then turned back to Don. "I want my radio back!"
"It… It would still work if you didn't shake it all over the place like that." Don replied, looking at the falling parts and wincing.
Wrong answer. Raphael turned red, and moved closer to Don, who backed up on the couch until he couldn't move back anymore.
"What's wrong with you?" He yelled. "Why can't you just keep your hands off of my stuff?" Don looked down. Mike put an arm around Don in support. Don began to bite his lip. Raphael threw the radio to the couch, where it landed next to Mikey.
"Why can't you just be normal?" Raph yelled. "Why can't you just watch TV or practice or… do something other than mess with my stuff!"
Mike looked to see Don's reaction. He said nothing, just stared at the cushion of the couch. Mike knew he was trying not to give Raphael the satisfaction of seeing him upset.
"Raphael! Donatello!" They all jumped as Splinter came into the room.
Donatello hit the table with his arm when he jumped, and the lamp teetered, then fell off, breaking into about six pieces on the ground. Mike and Raph looked at Splinter wide-eyed.
"What is the meaning of this?" Splinter asked, looking at the three boys.
Raphael pointed furiously towards Donatello. "He ruined my radio!"
Splinter looked to Donatello. He was sitting on the couch, Mike's arm around him, looking down at the ground. Splinter sighed.
"Donatello, did you do this."
Don looked up at him, his eyes shining with tears. "Y- Yes, master… but.. But, I…"
"He nothin'! He just went into my room and broke it!"
"Raphael." Splinter said, softly yet firmly. It was enough to make the young turtle be quiet. He turned back to Don and Mike. "Michaelangelo. You may leave."
Mike opened his mouth once, then, thinking better of it, shut it. He drew his arm away from Donatello and, giving his brother a sympathetic smile, slid off the couch and went to find Leo.
Splinter sighed. "Donatello, did you go into Raphael's room without permission and… dismantle his radio?"
"Yes, Master Splinter." The young turtle's voice was barely a whisper.
"Why?" He asked gently.
"B-Because, I was bored… I already fixed everything in my room, and Leo's. I asked him." Don shot a look at Raphael, who had his arms crossed. "I… I just wanted to fix it." His voice went soft again.
"But it's broke!"
"But, it's not, Master Splinter." Donatello protested, sitting forward on the couch. "It's not. It works, and better than before."
"Can you show me?" Splinter watched as Donatello tried to get it to turn on again. He sighed. Donatello, unlike his brothers, had always had more fun taking things apart and putting them back together than just sitting around. And when he was sitting still, he was always off in his own mind, thinking about things. The former had always been a bit of an annoyance for the others, although of all of them, Raphael was the least tolerant. Neither Leonardo or Michaelangelo had much of a problem with having their things fixed. Neither did Raphael usually, but only if Donatello asked him first.
Splinter looked back at the two young boys. Raphael was watching his brother struggle with an almost superior grin on his face. Donatello, however, was struggling to get the radio to turn on, his eyes blinking back tears.
"It… It worked before." He whispered. "It did, Master Splinter, it did!" He looked up at Splinter, his eyes shiny with tears. "If Raphael hadn't shaken it…"
"Oh, so now it's my fault, is it?" Raph retorted. Donatello looked back down.
"Raphael." Splinter said softly. "I would like to speak with Donatello alone. Please go into the other room with your brothers."
Raphael walked past Donatello, flashing him a triumphant grin as he walked by. Donatello's shoulder's slumped.
Splinter turned to Donatello with a sigh. He was looking at the couch, playing with a ragged edge of material.
"Donatello, you know that Raphael does not like his things touched without his permission." He said softly.
"I'm sorry." Donatello finally whispered.
"You did nothing to me. It is Raphael that you should be apologizing to. And you will."
Donatello nodded. He remained silent for a few more moments.
"I'm sorry I'm not normal." The young turtle finally whispered.
This took Splinter by surprise. "What do you mean, Donatello?"
"I'm sorry that I don't like to practice like Leo, or watch TV and play video games like Mikey and Raph." His eyes remained glued to the floor. "I'm sorry I don't like doing normal kid stuff, and get into trouble instead."
Splinter's eyes softened. "Come and sit with me, my son." He sat on the chair, and Donatello slowly walked up to him, still not looking him in the eye.
Splinter pulled him up into the chair with him. "Donatello, you are not abnormal. What is normal for, say, Leonardo, is not normal for Michaelangelo. How many times has Michaelangelo gotten up at the crack of dawn to practice?"
Donatello finally smiled at that. "Never."
Splinter smiled, also. "Correct." He leaned back in the chair. "And I would not expect him to start doing so. Behavior like that is normal for Leonardo. And sleeping in is normal for Michaelangelo." He put a hand on Donatello's shoulder. "Everyone has a different definition of normal. And no one else can tell you what that is. Only you." He lifted the young turtle's face to look at him. "Do you understand?"
Donatello nodded. "Yes Master Splinter." He looked back down again.
"What is the matter now, my son? Are you still troubled?"
"Am…" Donatello began, as if unsure how, or even if, to ask this question. "Am I gonna get into trouble?"
Splinter smiled. "Well, I would say if you simply restored Raphael's radio to it's original state…" Donatello opened his mouth, but Splinter continued. "No matter how well it worked before, then I think it would be enough."
"But the lamp…" Donatello said.
"I'm sure you would have no problem helping out with that." Splinter winked at him. "Maybe you can restore it to have three settings again."
Donatello nodded quickly. "Oh, yes Master Splinter."
Splinter smiled, seeing the brightness come back into Donatello's eyes.
"Maybe…" Splinter began. "Maybe a trip is in order?"
Donatello looked at him, confused.
"Yes." Splinter mused. "I think a trip to the dump would be nice. I'm sure you can find more things there to occupy your time…"
A grin broke over Donatello's face. "Really, Master Splinter?"
Splinter nodded. "Go and get your brothers." He smiled. Donatello turned to run off, until Splinter called out to him, stopping the boy in his tracks.
The young turtle turned. "Yes, Master Splinter?"
"Be sure to apologize to your brother." He said, his eyes crinkling as he smiled.
"I will." He nodded vigorously.
"Everyone has gifts that set them apart from others, that makes them special. Never be afraid to show yours. It is invaluable."
To his young mind, his master's last comment didn't mean much at the time. Only that he wasn't in trouble for his mistake.
Donatello stretched out on his bed. It had been almost eleven years since that conversation, and every year he found more and more meaning from the words. His master… his father was gone now, but his words still lingered with him, every day, making him feel better about whatever he'd done that day that had turned out to be less than he thought it would be. No matter what.
Donatello yawned, turning onto his side, getting ready to go to sleep. He looked at his nightstand, and smiled, as he did every night; then reached out and turned off his lamp, the one with the cracked and re-glued lines through it.