It was strange.

Strange, but yet pleasant.

I smiled, my son was just sitting there, slouching on the couch. His chin tucking his chest, eyes were closed; eyelids trembling in semi sleep, a small, content smile curved the lips on his face. It was a face I have not seen often, for he does not show it on occasion. He seemed too relaxed, so pleased, I liked how his calm demeanor looked more pleasant to my eyes, than his usual scorning, angry one.

On the armchair, my elder son sat silently, back resting against the backrest, and his hands, fingers knitted over his chest, his legs were propped on the coffee table, a habit he had just found comfortable. On the couch, I must admit, Raphael had never looked more peaceful.

To his left, Michelangelo had leaned to his side, snoring softly, his head resting comfortably to Raphael's shoulder. And to Raphael's right, Donatello had pillowed Raphael's thigh under his head. Leonardo was lazing on my armchair, he was in a losing battle against sleep, his eyelids dropped every so often, his head nodded in brief surrender, he was hardly able to keep them open.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones were asleep on the cushioned floor, their daughter, Jasmine, was pleasantly snuggled between them, touched gently by the hands of her loving parents. I smiled at my sons and now my granddaughter, sleeping peacefully after a long birthday party, and as much as I think the room is quite the mess, I think cleaning up will have to wait.

"Un, Sensei?" Leonardo murmured sleepily. His eyelids were practically clamped over his eyes, he was loosing to sleep.

"Sleep, my son." I said softly, I paced towards him and put a hand on his head, "Go back to sleep."

He simply nodded and yawned widely, slouched deeper into my armchair and soon started snoring.

I chuckled, picked up the remote and turned off the monitors, they've been watching movies all night long, even Michelangelo was unable to stay awake through them, and he happens to be the only one among my sons, who could endure sleep the most. He was a never-ending river of energy, strange to see him snuggled up to his short tempered brother like so.

Michelangelo stirred a little, his face showed that he was not comfortable, he moved around, squirming a bit. In reflex, Raphael's brows twitched, his hands uncrossed from over his chest and he, still sleep, wrapped an arm over his brother's shoulder, pulling him in a slight hug.

Michelangelo relaxed, nuzzled his brother's neck, and soon pillowing his brother's leg under his head, and slipped into deep slumber. Raphael's hands rested on his two sleeping brother's shoulders, one on Donatello's, the other on Michelangelo's, his brows relaxed and his frowning face eased back to a soft smile, pleased.

To see them all like this, though asleep and unacknowledged, I felt very proud and warm inside. My heart was very pleased, for when it is time for me to leave, they will still support each other, they will protect each other, and though I may no longer be there for them, they will still be strong. With Leonardo's leadership and tactical mind, Donatello's bright thoughts and wisdom, Raphael's determination and hidden compassion, and Michelangelo's humor and easy going nature, they will stand strong and keep on living.

It was heartwarming to see them like this, loving each other, especially Raphael. To see him show compassion towards his two brothers like so, I only wish if he were to show it to public, and not hide it whenever it is needed. I figured with the passing of the years, his mind will be at ease. After all, ever since the arrival of precious little Jasmine, he had been anything but angry. Children seem to sooth his mind, perhaps if he was to find a mate, his temper will die down?

No, not die, but perhaps curl around itself and hide in the depths of his mind, for his anger is his strength, without his strength, and his hidden compassion, he would not have the strength to protect those he cared for. Raphael is very gentle and sensitive, but his temper had given him the cruel, scorning image of a nasty personality.

It seems that Jasmine had been the only one to see through his barriers, for she was never afraid of him when he was at a moment of rage, on the contrary, she had always found him amusing when he had bellowed in anger.

They were practically inseparable, whenever Mr. and Mrs. Jones come over, Jasmine had always nestled in Raphael's lap, and whenever her mother wishes to pick her up, the child would throw a fit and scream, only if Raphael talks her into complying would she do as told. For a three year old, Jasmine has a stubborn personality, and had been quite the handful, it amazes me how well Raphael had handled her.

Though spoiled, he handled her quite well.

I eyed them all one last time before turning away, I can not let them sleep bare like so, they might catch their death of cold. So I headed towards my son's bedrooms, retrieved their blankets, as well as a few extra for our sleeping guests, and covered them, tucking them into their current bedding. Mister and Mrs. Jones, as well as Jasmine, were deeply sleeping, they never felt me cover them.

Tucking my son in, reminded me so much of how I would father them when they were younger. Michelangelo would always complain that he could not sleep, and would rant over and over to his brothers, until Raphael starts a pillow fight. Some times, Donatello would read out a story for them, and they all comment and make fun of whatever they find amusing in those tales, but they all fall asleep later.

Michelangelo and Donatello never moved, they were too exhausted, chasing after Jasmine, keeping her out of trouble, to even stir. Leonardo stirred a little, but was still asleep, his fingers twitched, as if anticipating danger, but I assume once he recognized my presence, he slipped back into sleep, feeling safe once more. Raphael, on the other hand, flinched with my touch, his grip on his brother's shoulders tightened just a little.

He stared at me, eyelids dropping, "Uh, sensei?" he sleepily whispered.

I hushed him, I could not cover him for he was sitting up, with his brothers using his legs for pillows, "Take this my son, it's getting cold." I offered him the last blanket.

He yawned and smiled, weakly and sleepily, "No, I'm fine." He murmured, head nodded back to sleep, "I'll… be up in a minute…" he yawned.

He was sleep again.

I chuckled.

So precious they were, all of them.

I wish to never lose them, for they mean everything to me.

I love them.


A/N: Splinter having a fatherly moment… hope you liked it.