"Leave me alone Mike. I told you not to touch my computer."
"Look, Leo, I don't need another father. Go play daddy to someone else."
"I'm not trying to be your father Raph, if you would just listen to me for once."
"Leo! Donnie won't let me use his computer!"
"Not now Mike. Raph, I'm trying to talk to you."
Splinter sighed quietly setting down his cup of warm tea on the kitchen table. The winter temperatures had dropped well below freezing, thus trapping his sons in their home; with the exception of Raphael whom he had caught more than once sneaking back in the last few weeks.
Each time, his young son was half froze and in danger of mild hypothermia.
Each time, Splinter had lectured even while he helped Raphael warm up.
Each time, Raphael defended himself by swearing he would take someone's head off if he had to stay below and then Splinter would feel guilty. And Raphael would not be a party to his father's guilt.
Each time, Splinter had nothing to say to that.
The rat didn't know what his life would be like without his sons. But once, every now and then, he would like to find out
"Don, I'll be your best friend," Michelangelo promised crossing one finger across his plastron. "Cross my heart."
Donatello shook his head. "No Mike. Go bother Raph for once." The turtle waved off his younger brother heading for his room and some quiet.
"Raph would beat me up!"
Raphael flopped down on the couch determined to ignore his older brother's attempts at a lecture. "Damn straight I would. Leo, go play daddy to Mike. He needs it."
Leonardo sighed. "Raphael. I'm just saying that going topside alone is risky. Especially when it's so cold and especially when you never carry your communicator."
"I do carry it," Raph refuted just as he realized he'd been baited into the lecture by giving Leo more to talk about.
And Leo pounced on the opportunity. "No you don't Raph. The last two nights, I've found your comm laying on the kitchen table. How are we supposed to know you're ok when we can't get a hold of you?"
"I'm a big boy now Leo. I don't think I need to check in every ten minutes with big brother to tell him I'm alive." Raph grabbed the remote and flipped on the television ready to tune Leo out.
Mike decided not to get involved in their argument and went to Don's room determined to get a few hours' worth of internet time.
"Raph, don't you think that Splinter gets worried every time you're out so late. Do you really want him having that much stress? He's not getting any younger you know." Leo folded his arms over his plastron crossing the room to stand in front of the television.
Splinter blinked and picked up his cup as he tried not to take offense to Leonardo's comment. True, he was no longer in his prime but he did not have one paw in the grave either. And if anything was causing him stress, it was the constant bickering of his four charges.
Raph growled a little. "Move Leo. I'm done talkin 'bout this."
There was a loud crash from Don's room followed shortly by the sound of a turtle howling. "MIKE, look what you DID!"
Michelangelo came running out of Don's room. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It was an accident!"
Don came running out after him. "YOU are the accident!"
Ignoring his two youngest brothers, Leonardo turned back to Raphael.
"Shut up, Leo," Raph cut him off before he could even speak.
How can I let this go? Leonardo wondered to himself. It was dangerous. It was disrespectful and because Splinter had told them all to stay below, it was...
Leo's thoughts were interruptedby Michelangelo plowing head first intohim as he tried to get away from Don. Donatello had that rare look on his face. The one that said someone had crossed the line and the pacifist turtle was pissed. The one that said, someone…or better yet everyone had better get out of his way. And if you intended on asking for any kind of favor in the near future, you should help him get the object of his ire and assist in some necessary justice.
Raphael smirked because Leo was now otherwise occupied and he could at least watch the television even if he couldn't hear it over Mike's howls.
Leo untangled himself from Mike and got to his feet dragging his youngest brother with him while Don glared at struggling turtle. "Do you realize what you've done?"
Mike pulls his arm out of Leo's grip and nods sheepishly. He offers Don one of his best "I'm your only little brother" smiles. "I…uh…broke your glass thingy."
Before Don could explode into a million little pieces and take Mike with him, there was the sound of someone clearing his throat in the kitchen doorway. Movement stopped, arguments ended and all turned to the aged ninja master (with not one paw in the grave) behind them.
Splinter motioned to Raphael to turn off the television. "I would like you all to meet me in my room in five minutes please." With not one more word said, he walked to his room closing the door behind him.
All was quiet for about a minute as each son tried to gauge their father's facial expression and tone.
Leonardo glanced to his brothers finally breaking the silence "What do you think?"
Raphael rolled his eyes at such an obvious question. "I think he's pissed, genius." He clicked off the television and tossed the remote onto the couch.
"He didn't…look…pissed," Mike remarked hesitantly glancing from Splinter's door to the others.
Don nodded in agreement. "He actually looked pretty calm considering we've been at each other's throats for a week now."
Why did the eye of a hurricane suddenly spring into all four turtles' minds at the that moment?