Not Tonight

I came up with this little oneshot as I was studying for a scary exam. I lost some study time, but hey, I got my idea out! Everyone needs a break sometimes, right:-D Well anyway, one with it.

Disclaimer: Don't own any of this. Yeah…got it?

My sons are ninja, fighters, heroes, and brothers. They go to the surface and risk their lives, day after day, night after night, to help the world. A world that will never accept them. I am so very proud of them, and yet, I fear for them. I fear for their very lives. The very lives that I raised, that I trained, that I shaped, and that I love.

I am always at home, waiting and wondering of my sons' fates each and every time they leave the lair and go topside. I never go with them. They are a team, a family of brothers, and my old joints would slow them down. So I let them go up to the surface and risk their lives, again and again, to fight for the world and the city that they love, hoping that my training will have prepared them for anything they may face. I am left behind in my room full of pillows, candles, and incense, to wonder and obsess over how they fair, if they will be alright, if tonight will be the night where one of them will not return to me.

Tonight is no different as I sit silently within my chambers, bathed in soft candle light in a light meditation. But my patients is rewarded, and as the dark night comes to a close, I hear my beloved boys approach, and I quickly blow out my candles and hobble out of my room, the odor of sandalwood and vanilla following me as I go. I wait in the living room as I always do when I hear them coming home. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. There is an unspoken need of mine to be able to count their heads as they come through the door, to hear each of their voices ring out through the lair before I can allow myself to find sleep, real sleep, for the night.

I hear their voices coming closer to the door. They are coming home. My heart settles for a moment, but only for a moment as a feeling of dread begins to wash over me. Something is not right. I hear my spirited son speak frantically. It is not the voice of a calm warrior, not the sure drawl of victory. It is the sound of desperation. My son of red, so full of spirit and rebellion and courage, he is scared. I cannot make out what he is saying.

The door opens and their voices become louder, more clear as the thick barrier separating us is lifted. And there they walk, covered in blood, grime, and sweat, but alive, and speaking. They have found fight tonight. But only three heads do I count? I feel myself swallowing hard. My mind, full of ever growing dread, sluggishly moves to the arms of my young son in orange, and my heart is stabbed with ice, my breath becomes harder to take, my chest constricts in agony at my discovery.

One of my worst nightmares, one hidden deep in the bowels of my mind, is playing out right in front of my very eyes. One of my sons is not walking in under his own power. He is not speaking, he is not moving.

A soft sound prods the back of my clouded mind. There is the sound of dripping echoing off the walls of our home. I slowly come to the horrible realization that it is blood. My eyes wander slowly to the floor and watch as drops of my son's blood, my son's life, leak from his injured body as if in slow motion, each drop falling and spattering on our once clean and carefree floor like a morbid finger painting. There is blood on the floor. His blood. His blood.

I always knew it would be him. It is his protectiveness, his humility, his severe love for his family, and his strong sense of responsibility, of honor that always made me know. It all led to one very certain path, one very sure conclusion in my mind. Leonardo would be the first of my sons to die. It is in his very nature, his very soul. He will not allow it to happen any other way.

I bring my dark black eyes up to meet the wide and terrified eyes of my youngest son. His eyes, normally so full of life and light, are dull and shady. His voice, which can bring a smile to anyone's face, is mute. His posture, which is always so sure and confident, is slouched in shame, in fear. I meet his eyes and I know what happened. No words are needed.

Leonardo has always felt such a deep need to protect his family. He has felt this large burden from a very early age, earlier than I ever could have predicted. It was one of the reasons that he was named leader. I knew, and felt reassured, that he would always see his family through. That he would never let any harm come to them. Not while he still had breath.

While he still had breath. My God, is he breathing? Is he…? I can't allow myself to finish the thought. I feel a lump form in my throat. But as I watch the frantic and hurried movements of my most intelligent son, I know there must still be hope. My heart settles slightly in this and I numbly rub my paws over my face in a small show of relief. But my relief does not last long as I read the eyes of my three other sons. The situation is dire, and haste is needed if the worst is to be avoided.

My youngest breaks eye contact with me and hurries off behind his brothers with his burden still clutched tightly in his arms, as if letting go would mean the end of the world. I follow, needing to know the outcome. It can't be tonight. It can't be tonight that my worst fear comes true.

I watch as his body is limply and gently laid in his bed, and Donatello, my smart, headstrong, dependable son begins to try and save his brother's life. I do not even try to pretend to understand what it is that he is doing, the depth of his knowledge that somehow never fails amazes me more every day. Instead I go to where I am needed, to the shaking side of my youngest child.

I watch numbly as my second oldest, my stubborn and firey son, kneels tenderly by his oldest brother's side, and his fingers run lightly over his sibling's cold cheek in a rare show of affection. His hands go to put pressure on the ever bleeding wound as he waits for Donatello's instructions. His normally hardened eyes are soft and wide as he stares at his lifeless brother's face. Though he fights with the oldest frequently in a never ending battle of wits, he loves Leonardo feverently, as he does all of his brothers. Raphael, his heart is as big as any of them, and his love and loyalty, hidden, yet unwavering, shine through in his worried gaze.

I tear my eyes from the scene and put a small paw on my youngest's arm. He jumps visibly and he brings his eyes to meet mine. I now see the tears that slowly snake down his red cheeks, tracking through the caked blood and grime to leave unmarred paths of grief. Suddenly he speaks, and my heart breaks at his tone.

"I…we were…I didn't see…and he…he…" He tries to push out his words. He is drowning. I squeeze my hand against his strong arm, trying to convey all of the words that I want to say to him, all of the comfort that I want to give him, but am unable, I cannot bring the words to leave my strangled body. Grieve not, my Michelangelo. There was no avoiding this. This is not your fault.

My heart burns with pride at my oldest's courage, his loyalty, his love, but at the same time breaks with grief. Because of his actions, my youngest son came home safe and uninjured, but because of his actions, I watch him struggle for his own life. I watch numbly as my smart son in purple tries his best to save his team member, his brother. I feel grief and guilt begin to crush me. I did this. I chose this life for him, for all of them. I allowed the events to unfold, and in turn one of my sons lies dying before me.

I pull my suffering youngest closer, needing his comfort as much as he needs mine. Darkness is beginning to surround me and I feel as though I cannot breathe. My world is collapsing around me and I cling to my young son in a desperate attempt to keep myself from being buried under its weight.

Then, a beam of light shines upon me in my murky darkness, and I hear his soft, confused voice. His hand twitches, his head moves. He is alive. He is awake. I hear a strangled sob and feel the presence beside me leave. In a flash of green, my youngest is by his leader's side, arms wrapped tightly around him, his head buried in the shoulder of his oldest brother, tears spilling from his reddened eyes. I feel a strong need to be next to him as well, to reassure myself that he is alright, that the danger is past, but I allow the two brothers to have their moment. Michelangelo needs this moment.

I take a few steps back, feeling my breaths begin to come easier. I realize for the first time that I am crying. I wipe the tears from my bleary eyes, and I can see all of them, holding one another, red, orange, purple, and blue. All so tight knit, all a team. Spirit, freedom, intelligence, and honor. All of them so different, and yet, the same, and each so very special. All of them mine. My sons, my children. Without one, the rest would be lost. I cannot lose him. I cannot lose any of them. And yet, I have always known that it would come to this.

A father should never have to bury his son. And yet, I fear that one day I will have to do just that. One day they will come home one less, and my biggest fears will come to pass. I do not know what I would do, how I would continue to survive, if I even lost one of them. They are my family, they are my sons, they are my life. One day I may have to part with them.

But not now. Not tonight.