Hi guys, I'm just back long enough to put this one up. I've been doing crazy things to that other fanfiction, which, someday hopefully before I grow old and wrinkly, I will post. However. Enough of that! I don't own any of Mirage's property! yaaaay!
Day 1: This is my book. Master Splinter said. Master Splinter writes in his book and so will I.
His notebook was brand new. The bright blue cover lay perfectly straight with the glittering silver spiral twisting in perfectly uniform rings down the side. It made an unsullied rectangle of paper, with no creases, spots, or wrinkles. The paper inside it felt silky smooth and all the light blue lines ran straight to the edge. Leonardo could hardly bring himself to write in it. Any thing he wrote would have to be perfect: no spelling mistakes, no scribbles, and should sit completely straight on those wonderful lines. The notebook would be ruined otherwise!
"Sensei? How do I know what to write in my book?" Leonardo held the precious notebook to his chest, pen in one hand and a worried frown on his face. "What if I don't write the right thing?"
Splinter patted the worn cushion beside him and beckoned the young turtle to join him. Leonardo clambered up onto the seat. At eight years old, Leo did not have trouble getting into chairs anymore, but his feet would still not quite touch the ground. Splinter waited patiently while his son scooted the final few inches to get his shell all the way back into the sofa. "Leonardo, why did I get you that notebook?"
Leonardo recited almost immediately, "To improve my spelling, my writing, and my reading."
Splinter nodded. "And?"
Leonardo's expression faltered, there was more? "Um… to improve my …" What else came with writing, reading and spelling? The turtle searched his father's face, hoping for some kind of clue. Getting things right was very, very important. It was how Leo showed his sensei how good he was. Seeing no hints in his master's eyes, Leonardo deflated. "I don't know."
Splinter nodded. "No, you do not know, because it is a secret." He leaned close to his son, whiskers forward, tickling at Leonardo's face and whispered in his ear. "I got you that book so you could write down your thoughts."
Leonardo's eyes sparkled with delight as his father shared his secret, but his brow furrowed. Writing down his thoughts did not seem to make sense. Forgetting to keep it a secret, Leo asked, "Why can't I just think my thoughts instead?"
Splinter laughed out loud and quickly quieted himself when the sound of coughing from the turtles' bedroom reminded him that his other sons needed to rest. Keeping his voice low, Splinter pulled a smaller notebook from his pocket. "You know what this is, my son?"
Leonardo squinted and squirmed a bit, trying to figure out where all this was really going. "It's your notebook for when we all go to sleep."
Splinter nodded. "Yes, this is the notebook I write in after you and your brothers have gone to bed." Splinter opened the book, and Leonardo craned his neck to see what was in the notebook. Flipping through the pages, Splinter showed him that there were headings, "Day 245, Day 246, Day 247. Each day, I count one more, and write about what happened that day. Then I can go back whenever I want and read and remember about what happened."
Splinter picked a passage. "Day 237: I am very glad I started to keep this journal. Today something wonderful happened. I showed my sons how to do the first bokken kata. They all were so excited to practice with the wooden swords, but Leonardo especially. He picked up the basic stances very quickly—faster than I did when I learned! He told me at the end of practice that this was the best lesson ever…." There was more to the writing, but Splinter shut the book at turned to Leonardo. "You see? It is as though someone has written a book of our lives. Instead of reading a storybook about giants or kings, I can read a story about Raphael and Donatello. The best part is, that I wrote that story in my book, so I can choose if I want to share it or not. It is all mine to treasure. My book is private."
Leonardo's eyes looked like saucers. "Private" things were especially rare! And this was something that was not only secret, but he did not have to share! (Even though he could if he wanted, which just made not sharing even better.)
Splinter chuckled at the enthusiasm dawning on his son's face. "Start on 'day 1,' Leonardo. You only have to write what you desire. It can be about your family or something you saw or just something you imagined. There is no right answer."
"No right answer?" Leonardo's budding interest paused. He recognized this though. Whenever a conversation with Splinter came full-circle without Leo hearing an answer, that meant that Sensei wanted him to figure it out himself.
A thud from the other room drew Splinter's attention.
"Sensei!" More thick coughing rang out, and Splinter was quick to check on his patients. Leonardo sat in the living room with his notebook and pen for a moment longer. If there were no right answers, he would write whatever he felt like. And since the book was private, no one would know if he had written anything wrong anyways. He hopped up and padded to the kitchen where he sat at the table and wrote, "Day 1:"
Day 4: We had sammiches for lunch. They were good. Mike got mad because Raph switched sammich with him. Mike had the one with the big hole in the bread. Raph thought it was funny. All of Mike's jelly came out the bread hole. Raph said it looked like the sammich took a poo. He used a different word and Splinter got mad.
"Whatcha writin' Leo?" Michelangelo tried to peer over his brother's shoulder as he sat at the kitchen table.
"If you were writin' nothin', you wouldn't be makin' marks on the paper." Michelangelo was insightful today.
Mike giggled. "You're writing about your privates?"
Leonardo sighed the long-suffering sigh of those cursed with silly brothers. "NO. The words I'm writing are mine and I don't have to share them. They're private." Leonardo knew that that alone would not be enough to stop Mike's flood of questions. "Splinter said." Hopefully that would help.
Michelangelo tilted his head to the side. "Splinter did not say that."
Leonardo was morally affronted! "He did too!"
"Did not plus infinity!"
Leonardo blinked. That was cheating! "Did too plus TWO infinity!"
Michelangelo was ready for it, "Did not plus infinity infinity! HA!"
Leonardo held his breath a moment, what did you say to that? He could not just let it go, because Splinter did say that the notebook was private! "You can't do that! There's no such thing as infinity infinity." Not the best answer, but it was true. Mike should not be allowed to say things that were not true to the infinity infinity.
"Nu-UH! I can too cause I just did!"
"Just did what?" Donatello rounded the corner into the kitchen.
Leonardo saw his savior. Donatello knew math really well! He would tell Mike there was no such thing as infinity infinity. "Donatello? Mike said something infinity infinity times. That's not a real number is it?"
Donatello paused in his tracks; this required some serious thought. "Well. If something's infinite it's without end or beginning. So saying something infinite infinity times would be like just saying infinity cause something that goes on forever and ever can't ever have anything bigger than it. But since Mike's SAYING something that many times, that's not true—I mean he can't. Because infinity is not really a number like that. It's a state."
Leonardo frowned, "Donatello. Infinity is a number. Ohio and California are states." Leonardo took his pen and his notebook and went to go write somewhere else.
Day 4 again: Mike tried to see my notebook. Donatello's not smart really.
Day 8: Today was long. Donatello got a gift and it made Mikey cry because he changed his mind about having a new brother.
Donatello adjusted the battered scope for what seemed like the five hundredth time. "So when do we get to see?" Leonardo waited less than patiently with his brothers to check out Donatello's new toy.
"One more second, okay?—Oh wow, I can see the cuticles on this hair!"
Raphael blew his breath out his nose. "And we CAN'T. Any day now, Don!"
"It's my present. And you guys wouldn't understand what you're seeing anyways." Donatello had no problem with hogging the microscope. It was amazing! It had a little bitty light bulb, and some stickers of bugs on the plastic tub with the lenses. It was old and one of the feet was cracked. It had no slides and if you shook it, something inside it made a tinkling noise, but it was a real microscope.
"What do you mean we wouldn't understand? We're not stupid." Michelangelo used supreme will power to keep his hands at his sides. He had already been yelled at once for grabbing at the toy.
"No, you're not stupid, but—fine. Here." Donatello finally parted company with the precious microscope. "It makes things bigger so you can see all the parts and how they fit together."
"REALLY?" Michelangelo shoved past his brothers, almost tipping over the microscope. He'd been working on a 'secret project' for some time now, and this was exactly what he needed. He slumped in disappointment though. "Never mind." Splinter's gray hair was indeed much larger through the microscope, but it did not show how the hair was made.
Curious, Leonardo paused, letting Raphael have a turn at the microscope. "What're you looking for, Mike?"
Michelangelo mumbled, but raced off to his room, coming back in moments with an old shoe box that rattled loudly as he walked. He lifted the lid off and showed his brothers. It was filled with scutes. Raphael had not found the hair that interesting and was now butting in on the conversation with Mike. "What'd you save all those for?"
Looking defensive, Michelangelo was quick to justify his actions. "Remember how we saw that movie on TV where a guy made another guy by putting old human parts together? I saved all the chunks that fell off my shell to build another brother!"
His three brothers exchanged glances.
"Why'd we need another brother, Mikey?" Leonardo clearly thought this was asking for trouble.
"That's the weirdest thing you've said yet!" Raphael threw his hands up and took another turn at the microscope, as though he might find it less boring the second time.
"Mikey, that thing on TV was fake." Donatello shook his head.
"YEAH. It was fake. But we were just turtles an' then that stuff made us human turtles, so why can't this be another brother?" Michelangelo had little patience for logic, but with his brand of science there were no limits.
"But why, Mikey?" Leonardo doubted it would work. After all, Donatello did not seem to think it would. Besides, Leo already had enough brothers. He was sure of that.
"To do our chores. Duh."
Raphael's head snapped up. Now THERE was an idea. "Heeey… not bad."
Donatello rolled his eyes. "You want me to do something like cloning you to get another brother who'll do all our chores?"
"Yes!" Mikey smiled.
Leonardo decided to stay out of it. "Raph, scoot over so I can see the hair."
Raphael moved to the side, the pensive look on Donatello's face gave him hope. Donatello finally nodded. "I can try… just in the interest of science, mind you…"
Raphael whooped and Mikey had to tighten his grip on the box of scutes as he bounced in place. Nodding, Donatello snagged the container out of Mike's hands and the microscope from the table and went back to the closet workroom he set up for himself.
Raphael and Michelangelo exchanged high-fives. Having a chore-turtle would be great!
Leonardo could not take it anymore. "Look, guys. Where'd this other brother sleep? How could we feed him? What if Master Splinter likes THAT Mikey better than THIS Mikey?"
The duo stared at him for a moment before Raphael piped up, "He would have to sleep with Mikey, since he would BE Mikey. Or one of them could sleep on the floor."
Leonardo continued the thought, "I guess they'll figure out how to split their dinners and desserts since there's only one portion of anything 'for Mikey.'
Raphael looked thoughtful, "But Master Splinter won't like one better than the other because they'll be the same turtle. He won't be able to tell the new Mikey from the old one and neither will we."
Michelangelo's face took on a cast of shear horror. "What! No! I don't wanna split all my stuff for two me's!" He raced down the hallway and banged on Don's workroom door. "Donnie! I changed my mind! Please!"
"It's too late Mikey; I wanna try this," came through the door.
"NO! You don't understand Donnie, PLEASE!" Mike hit the door some more.
"At least let me see if I CAN, Mike. The implications are staggering!"
Splinter strode up the hall. "Michelangelo, what have I told you about being disruptive to your brother's hobbies? He respects your art tables. Do not beat on his door while he is working!"
Michelangelo opened his mouth to explain and the thought of Splinter not knowing him hit him full-force. His lower lip trembled and he burst into tears. It took Splinter the better part of twenty minutes to calm him down.
Leonardo and Raphael waited beside the workroom door. Eventually Donatello would have to use the bathroom. When Donatello left, they raided the closet space. Leo stole the box of scutes, and Raph grabbed the light bulb out of the microscope. They threw away the bits of shell and later that night, they gave the light bulb to Mike for safekeeping. Donatello was heartbroken, but sometimes, moral limits must be place upon science.
Day 8 again: Raphael and I broke Don's mycroscope though, so Mikey won't have to share his dinner. But he would not stop crying for a long time. Sometimes Mikey's a crybaby.
Day 35: Raphael does bad things and gets in trouble lots of times. I do one bad thing and now I am in trouble just like Raphael. It is not fair. I am always acting better than him. Why did I get the same punishment as him? Raphael is a butt-head.
Raphael changed colors, he was so angry. "I'm a BUTT-HEAD?" He shouted so loudly that Leonardo heard and raced back to the bedroom in time to find Raphael reading his journal!
"You put that down! It's private!"
"It's not private if you're calling me names!"
"It's private no matter what! Splinter said!"
"Splinter said you could call me a BUTT-HEAD?"
"No! Splinter said I could write whatever I wanted!" The wonderful blue notebook with smooth, silky pages and a flat cover slowly creased and folded in Raphael's hands. "NO! DON'T," Leo squealed. "GIVE IT!"
Raphael looked down at his hands and realized that hurting the notebook upset Leonardo. That was perfect. He would get in big trouble for fighting, but not for tearing a book. Raphael twisted and pulled, and to Leonardo's dismay, the beautiful blue cover and all his journal entries in the front of the notebook pulled loose with a heart-rending tear.
"Guys?" Donatello walked in just as the papers went flying and Leonardo tackled Raphael. "Whoa! STOPPIT! SENSEI!" Splinter was there before Donatello finished shouting, with Michelangelo three steps behind him.
The Master pulled them a part, each still trying to kick one another, tears in both pairs of eyes. "Stop this!"
"He wrote I was a Butt-Head!"
"He tore up my notebook!"
Donatello and Michelangelo watched the pair each trying to convince Splinter they were justified. Donatello bent to pick up a piece of paper. "Sometime's Mikey's a crybaby."
Mikey went wide-eyed, "WHAT! I am NOT!" Donatello picked up more sheets of paper. Mike stomped his foot when no one agreed with him. "I'm not a crybaby!"
"Donatello's not smart really." Donatello's young face clouded over, quietly furious, reading about how Leonardo and Raphael had stolen the one thing that made the microscope work.
Leonardo looked up from his freshly bruised brother and spotted the other two. Hoping to get them to see that Raphael was at fault he opened his mouth, and shut it again quickly. They both looked angry at him!
"C'mon Mikey, let's get out of here." Donatello practically dragged Michelangelo from the room. Raphael followed as soon as Splinter let him.
Leonardo stood in the middle of the room with his head hung, and his beautiful notebook scattered and mangled. His brothers were all mad at him, and he had a sneaking suspicion it was his fault—even if it had been their fault for snooping. His sensei was quiet, sitting on the edge of Leonardo's bed with the bits of paper in his hands.
"Sensei? You know how you said I could write whatever I wanted cause there're no right answers?" Leonardo plopped down on the floor. "I don't think that's true." Splinter stayed silent. There really was no happy resolution. Unless Leonardo had true privacy, there was no way that he could write anything. Splinter had never intended for this to happen, yet even in his own journal, he often wrote of his frustrations. Leonardo cleared his throat, and tried to make his voice sound calm. "I think I'll just think my thoughts now." He looked up at his father, trying his best to keep his tears back. "They HATE me now!"
Splinter was at his side in a heartbeat, papers forgotten on the mattress. "That is not true, Leonardo! They are insulted and upset. They are sad and hurt, but they do not hate you." Splinter gathered his son into his arms. "I am sorry, Leonardo. I did not intend for this to happen. I forget that while I have more privacy because I am your father, you and your brothers share almost everything."
Leonardo sniffled. "No. I know that there're things you don't say to your brothers. Now I know I shouldn't write them down either. Not until I get a safe or lots of locks or something. Even then, I don't think I will."
Day 4,002: Today I found the tattered pages of Leonardo's short-lived journal. I have tucked them in the back cover of this book. His brothers carried the grudge for their hurts for about as long as young boys can carry anything: until dinnertime. They forgave Leonardo in exchange for extra portions of his dessert.
However, looking over these tattered pages, I can see the beginnings of Leonardo's need to distance himself. He fears hurting others, just as he fears being rejected for doing so. Perhaps if his first true experience with privacy had not gone so badly, he would not be so guarded now. Perhaps if I had waited a few more years before giving him a journal, perhaps if I had given them all journals, perhaps if… these thoughts could go in circles forever. If I had been a perfect parent, would they be perfect beings?
thank you for reading.