Author's Note - This is an AU idea I was kicking around in my head. I wrote this out pretty fast just trying to bring it to life for people to see if it appealed to anyone other than me.
It's another take on the turtles-as-human idea. This is really just an intro, a sketch of the premise.
Lemme know what you think, or if the idea's just too out-there and too different from the turtles we know and love.
Leonardo asked about fate.
He was just old enough to understand the word, but too young to grasp the power behind it. He asked his father if such a thing as fate were really possible.
Yoshi thought for a while before answering, as he always did when a question was important.
His mind travelled back to a day nine years ago. An accident. A jar of turtles, a rat. Sewers. And a pink, dull, heavy ooze from one of two jars that fell with them all into the sewers. A green jar, unbroken, lay nearby.
Did he believe in fate? He was a rat. Had spent a long life as a rat. But he took the turtles, coated in the pink slime, and they slept a night in his burrow in the sewers.
When he awoke the next day his fur had fallen out. His muscles had shifted and elongated. His powerful nose had shrunk, his senses dulled.
He looked down at his larger body and saw the shape of his Master, Yoshi, and every other human he had ever seen.
The sounds of cries took him from his self-discoveries, and he found that the small turtles he had carried with him were changed also.
No shells. Skin where scales had been. Wisps of hair on their heads. Different subtle shades of skin tones.
He fed them from garbage aboveground, wrapping himself in discarded clothes from a dumpster and hardly attracting attention on the streets.
As the days passed and every hour brought a heightened intellect and awareness, he came to realize that continuing as he was was impossible.
A human male raising four children in a sewer? He had to embrace his new form. It was a gift given to him and the babies he had found. He had to accept the gift and not waste it.
He had to live.
He learned of the world by walking the streets and reading newspapers.
Fate? He read a news article about a woman who was arrested for putting an unwanted baby in a trash can. That article mentioned that a hospital downtown would take abandoned children no questions asked.
Heavy-hearted, he bundled his turtle children in rags and walked through the doors of the hospital. Three of them he left. One, the quietest, solemnest of the group, he kept. His heart couldn't stand to part with them all.
He learned the world, with his one charge to care for. In the remains of his master's property, carried by a faithful rat and hidden in his burrow, he found identification. He became Hamato Yoshi in his master's place.
He named his boy Leonardo. He found work, he studied the arts his master had taught him, and then he taught those arts to others.
He bought a small storefront space and taught children defense and philosophy. His son aged. And Yoshi would dream more often than not of three other human-shaped turtle children in the world, given up, torn from their brother and each other. He wondered what had come of them.
Fate directed his guilt. Fate led him to volunteer to mentor fostered children. He worked with the troubled, the delinquent, the abused. He devoted hours in the evenings to spreading his knowledge with boys who badly needed it.
And in every face he looked for signs of the babies he had once called his. Any clue that the souls of those children originated with his own adored Leonardo.
All of those things, every twist in paths led to where he was - pink slime instead of green, turtles in a jar, a rat who knew enough to become human. A news report of an arrested mother, a hospital that took his children.
Every step could have been different. Every difference would have meant a completely changed life.
When Leonardo asked him, solemn and studious, whether such a thing as fate existed, he already knew the answer.
He looked at his young son and spoke sincerely. "Fate goes by many names, Leonardo. Fate can be called luck, or coincidence, or God. But in all those forms, never doubt that there is a higher spirit to the order of the world."
Leonardo listened carefully, as he always did. Yoshi left him to his thoughts, going out front of his store to meet a new child the foster system was sending to him to teach.
Fate was in his mind, for that reason, when he first greeted the social worker he worked with most often and was introduced to a sullen, grey-eyed boy named Don.