Disclaimer: Does anyone have any idea of how much money I would make if I did own them? That would be insane…
Author Notes: Here it is the long awaited companion piece to Picking Up the Pieces
Each chapter is going to be from a different family member's point of view (that includes April and Casey) and occasionally have several point of views in one chapter. Hopefully I'll be able to write the characters well enough so that I won't have to say who's who but if someone requests me to change that I will.
And the Pieces Fall Together
Chapter One: Two Missing Sons
Aging happens. Everything must age and eventually end. That is the way of life. Life is like a flower. It blooms, shines for the world to admire before fading away but not before sending seeds out to make more beautiful flowers. I am a flower that is slowly withering away but I have also sent four seeds off that are blooming beautifully together. My sons have almost reached their prime, shining for all to see even if most would view them as monster or aliens or freaks. Their hearts are good, their souls are pure and even after I have passed they will stand together. However, until that day comes, I will continue to act as their Sensei, as their father.
I have never wished for my youth again. I have wished for many other things in my life. I have wished for my Sensei and father to be with me now. I have wished that Teng Shen to be alive once again. I have wished for the Shredder to never have come after my Master Yoshi in the first place. Most importantly of all, I have wished that my sons' lives had never been tainted by the fear, violence and bloodshed that they have been exposed to. They are barely eighteen, an age where they should never have to worry about the world ending as often as they do.
However, as I sit here meditating in my room, listening for anything that would alert me to someone entering our home, I find myself wishing for my youth. I wish to be young again. I wish to be out there in the city, something I thought I would never wish for before. I wish to be out with sons, searching for the other two.
They may not notice it but I have long since stopped breaking up my sons fights unless they become physical. Thankfully those rarely happen anymore. With their fighting prowess I doubt that I would be able to stop a fight between them. I will not be here forever to stop their fights. They must learn to stop them on their own. They have to learn how to forgive each other after those fights. They have to learn that one day, I will not be here to make amends between them. That having differences between them make it easier to coop and live together as a family.
Five days ago, my sons had a fight that surpassed every one of the fights that they had ever had before. It happened right after lunch. I was in a deep meditation when I heard the arguing beginning. Thinking it was just one of their many squabbles over the remote, I ignored what was happening outside my room. Occasionally they would wrestle for the remote and as long as nothing was broken I don't punish them for those friendly matches outside the dojo. It wasn't until I heard Donatello, my quiet and most logical son, raise his voice that was tainted with anger and sadness did I realize that something was very wrong.
I moved as quickly as my old body would allow as the sound of a slamming door filled the lair. The room outside was about what I thought it would be. Three of my sons were standing there shocked at what had just transpired. Michelangelo had both of his hands covering his mouth and, judging by his tearful and scared eyes, whatever he had said had caused Donatello to yell and stomp out of the room. Raphael was staring stunned at my youngest confirming my belief that Michelangelo was defiantly the one who upset Donatello. Leonardo was staring at the door to Donatello's workshop which was closed, something he only did when he wanted to be left alone or when he was working with something dangerous and rather not be disturbed. At that time I knew it had been for the later reason.
I have only to blame myself for not going through that door to speak with Donatello then. Leonardo had wanted to speak to Donatello which I flat out refused him to do. I forbade my sons from speaking to each other for the next few hours so that they could think about what they had done. I told them that in five hours time I would gather them back together with Donatello and they would all tell me what they had learned. They had seemed shocked by my sternness but reluctantly agree, leaving one by one to their rooms to either meditate, read comic books, or destroy another punching bag in the dojo.
I should have gone through Donatello's door then and spoke to him but right before I was about to knock on the door I could hear the near silent sobs through the door. I had made a choice then, the wrong choice as the case was, turning and leaving my son in his silence. Donatello never was one for crying on one's shoulder, instead choosing to bottle his emotions up inside himself until he had a moment to himself. I have argued with him many times that it is unhealthy to torture himself so but he insists that it is how he prefers to deal with his pain. He swore to me that if the pain ever became more then what he could handle then he would seek out myself or one of his brothers.
I never realized how advanced Donatello had become in his stealth skills before that night those five long days ago. I never heard him leave the lair. It wasn't until I had gathered my sons together that Leonardo and Raphael both informed me of seeing Donatello heading out the door with a duffle bag over his shoulder. However, none of my sons could recall seeing Donatello return. As quick as I had ever seen him, Michelangelo was in the workshop, hollering at the top of his lungs for Donatello. Raphael flipped up to the second story and did a quick sweep of Donatello's room. The knowledge that he was still gone did not sit well with any of them and before I could stop them, my three remaining sons had torn out of the lair heading for the one place Donatello was known to go to when he was upset or in search of new parts.
After an hour of waiting my fears began to grow. I knew something had happened to my sons and I hoped that my training would be enough to see them through. I waited for many hours, twitching at the slightest sound like a nervous animal. I could not find the normal peacefulness in meditation that night and choose to make a cup of tea in an attempt to relax. It was as the water was boiling did I pull my favorite teacup from the cupboard only to have it shatter in my hands.
It was a bad omen.
I had barely turned to look at the clock when I heard the door to the lair open. I heard near silent voices and then feet heading in separate directions, set coming towards me and two more heading down the hallway to my sons' rooms. I reached for a small dust pan and broom as I heard Leonardo come up behind me. Had it been an injury his footsteps would not fall so slow or sound as defeated as they did right then. I knew I didn't want to hear the news he was bringing me but I square my shoulders as I swept the remains of the cup up into a small pile for disposal. "What is it, Leonardo?" I asked him in a voice that was calmer then I though I could have pulled off right then.
He struggled for a moment, trying to find the right words to tell me that Donatello had been kidnapped. Kidnapped… my second youngest and gentlest son had been taken from us… it still bares a heavy sound to the ears. All his brothers had found of him was his broken cell phone and his duffle that had been sliced through by a sharp weapon. The duffle now sits repaired in a corner of my room, waiting for the return of its owner.
It's been waiting there for five days with no word about Donatello or his well being. I can sense my sons are all frustrated with their lack of answers on the whereabouts of their brother. Leonardo has been pushing himself too hard, I can see it when he comes to tell me of their findings every night which are always littered with holes and unanswered question. I have caught him several times thinking of where his brother could be instead of resting like he should be. Michelangelo has become withdrawn during this entire episode. He's lost his wit and humor. I know he blames himself for Donatello's disappearance and no matter what any of us says he seems to believe that it is his fault and his alone that Donatello left there lair that night. Raphael was seemingly unaffected when Donatello was taken. He seemed quiet, more withdrawn then normal, and he was spending more time in the dojo. It wasn't until tonight that we realized how shaken he actually was by Donatello's kidnapping.
Now instead of looking for one son, Leonardo and Michelangelo are searching for two.
None of us remembered seeing Raphael for the better part of the day and, according to Ms. O'Neil and Mr. Jones, neither of them have seen Raphael today either. I have tried countless times to ream in the monster that is Raphael's anger but each time I try to help him he seems to push my consoling away. I understand that what might work for one might not work for another but every time he dismisses my help it still hurts just as much. My heart was healed from his dismissal every time he sought out Donatello after talking to me. Even if he feels he can not talk about his feelings, being around Donatello seems to calm him much like the old saying. Music soothes the savage beast.
Now the musician is gone and the beast has been let loose.
I fear that Raphael may have gotten in over his head. It was only after we had noticed Raphael missing that Leonardo and I seemed to come to the same decision. Raphael had left so that neither of his remaining brothers would be hurt in case he ran into any trouble. He had left on a path of vengeance. Normally I do not fear for the safety and well being of the lowlifes that populate the streets above but tonight I wish them safety. I wish for them to hide indoors and not cause mischief this night. I know Raphael will not stop until he has torn through everyone and anyone who may have taken Donatello. No matter the odds or obstacles he must over come, Raphael will do everything in his power to find Donatello. If there is one thing that amazes me about my second eldest son it is the fact that he can be ten times as stubborn as a mule when it comes to someone telling him what to do and what not to do.
Hm? My eyes pop open as I resurface to the plane of the living faster then I should have. I let my eyes fall shut for another moment letting the wave of dizziness pass before slowly unfolding myself from the lotus position I had been resting in. I am getting old. My joints now pop and creak with the slightest movement. Soon I'll be forced to use that blasted cane at all times and not just when the rain is soon to fall.
I'm only halfway to the other side of the room when the door is slid open revealing my two eldest sons in the frame. Leonardo is standing slightly behind Raphael with a hand on his shoulder and a frown marring his features. I can understand his pain. Leonardo is torn between discipline Raphael about running off and forcing them to waste an entire night searching for Donatello looking for Raphael instead or acting as a supportive figure. I merely have to take a sideways glance at Raphael's fallen features and timid movements to know that he didn't learn anything more about Donatello than we had already known.
There is a rank stench in the air that I have only smelt in the lair a few times in the past years and then only when April herds my sons together into a 'spring cleaning'. I'm still trying to learn of all of humanities customs but this is the only one I entirely agree on with no remorse. If only I could convince my sons such as April does and manage to have them clean our home more then once a year. Still this smell is out of place in our home considering it is nearing the fall months. I wonder… Oh no… I let my eyes fall close for a moment as Leonardo and Raphael walk into the room, the later falling to his knees before me.
Where is my youngest son? "Leonardo," besides, it will be easier to talk to Raphael in private. This is a burden I want to keep Leonardo from as long as possible. A confrontation such as this will leave anyone shaking even if they have done it before which even I have not. My sons usually listen to my words but I know that Raphael has gone far beyond that tonight. Leonardo is waiting as patience for my orders as ever before. He will make a fine clan leader one day. "Where is Michelangelo?"
Despite his youthfulness I can see the hard lies of fear, strain and exhaustion etched into his face, making him appear thirty years older then he already is. "He… retired to his room for the night."
I sigh. Clearly Leonardo knows that is not what he is doing either. He had been so pale and shaken when Raphael was found to be missing I had been worried he would fall to the floor. "Go to him, Leonardo." A simple -yet deep- bow and he's off. Now that we are alone I can do my best at soothing the emotions raging in my son. I kneel before him on the opposite side of the table watching as he twists and fidgets yet keeps his eyes down cast in a sign of respect and shame.
I don't know how long we sat there waiting fro the other to speak. I had been hoping that Raphael would willingly come out and admit to what he has done but I can understand his shame. He knows he has not only disgraced me and my teachings but everything else he has been fighting for in the first place. "How many?" my voice sounds loud to my ears and I can see the muscles across his shoulders tense suddenly. He knows I know what he has done yet still hopes to get out of confessing it. I nearly shake my head in exasperation. Teenagers…
"Seventy two…" his voice is small as if saying it quieter will somehow make me less mad at him. It's odd to see Raphael sitting before me as timidly as he is now. He hides his emotions behind a mask of anger and hate but his heart is filled with love and devotion.
Seventy two… Raphael's training has progressed indeed if he was able to defeat seventy two people on his own tonight. However it burdens me to press further into this issue. If only this was one of his normal… 'stress breaks' as he calls them… "How many of them did you maim?"
He licks his lips nervously. "Twelve…"
Now is the hardest question I have ever asked of you, my son. Please be strong. I close my eyes for a moment as I ask, "How many of them did you kill." I can hear his deep intake of breath. I was right. I was hoping I would be wrong in my assumption but… oh Raphael.
His voice cracks and I know it's only the beginning. I open my eyes in time to see Raphael scrubbing the back of his hand across his beak furiously. He can't keep hiding his pain like this. It's tearing him apart from the inside. He doesn't need to be dealing with this burden on top of losing his brother. I stand slowly, listening as my joints creak and I hear one pop as I move stiffly around the small table. The role of Sensei is now over and the role of Father must begin. I kneel next to him and wrap my arms around him. One's first kill is never easy but I can only imagine the feeling of lost Raphael must be experiencing right now. Not only did he lose his confidant but he had also killed four men in fruitless search for him.
I do not mark the track of time as I act as a shoulder for Raphael to lean on. I only know it has been passing by the dampness that spreads over my robe and down into my fur. My poor son… I rub the back of his neck soothingly. I wish you would tell me how you were feeling but I know that you don't tell anyone that. Not even Donatello if he asked. He's gently trying to pull away from me and I let him go reluctantly. His emotional mask is now firmly back in place even though the cracks are still visible.
I give him a tired smile as he meets my eyes for the fist time that night. He's still shaken by what he has done in his anger but there is little more I can do for him. He breaks eye contact first and looks away. "I-I'm sorry, Father." He takes a deep breath as if trying to expel the pain that was inside him. "I've disgraced you and your teachings." He shifts backwards more and presses his forehead to the floor in an apologetic bow. "I'm sorry."
I return his bow before rising to my feet and walking around the small table once again. It is now time to be his Sensei and give him a punishment suitable for what he has done. He's not looking me in the eyes anymore, instead he's keeping his head bowed in a sign of submission. I honestly do not know what I can give him as a suitable punishment for I wish I had been there by his side during his late night rampage. "Raphael," he flinches at my tone. "I am not mad at you for what you have done for I too wish I could be out there searching for your brother. However, this is not about my feelings as much as it is about honor and hope. I know you and your brothers will find Donatello but as long as you let anger and fear dictate your actions you are causing more obstructions between us and our goal."
He bows his head even lower before me.
I close my eyes and count to ten in Japanese. It was paining me to see my most outspoken son so broken. Even though I have not been able to reach out to Donatello through meditation, if it will give him his usual spark back I will flat out lie to him. "Raphael, do not give up hope just yet. I can sense your brother in my meditations." His look is painfully hopeful and I feel a sharp ache in my chest. I can not believe that I have just lied to him. "Though I can not reach out to him, I know he is still alive."
He licks his lips and nods his head. The son I am use to is slowly coming out of the dark corner of his mind he had hidden himself away in. He is still hesitant and I know he is waiting for punishment for his actions tonight. "And my… punishment?" his voice is acceptant, whatever I say, I know he will do.
I let my eyes close again before reopening them with a hard stare. What about his punishment indeed. Killing four innocents, regardless of their crimes, is not something I can just dismiss. "I should band you from searching for Donatello, to make sure that you do not take another life," I hold up my hand as he opens his mouth to object. Had I given him that as his punishment I know Raphael would openly defy me and leave the lair to search on his own, that is something to be avoided at all costs. I don't want one of my other sons to vanish as Donatello had. "However, I want Donatello home as much as you do so I will allow you to continue searching with your brothers. Until Donatello is found Raphael, I forbid you from fighting unless your life or one of your brothers' lives is in danger. Do you understand?"
I can see him seething behind his eyes but both of us know the punishment should have been much more severe. Still taking away Raphael's ability to fight will mean more time repairing the practice equipment in the dojo. I must look into teaching Raphael to repair what he has destroyed. "Yes, Sensei."
I nod my head and watch as he leaves the room. Just before exiting he turns to me and says, "I am… still very sorry for my actions Sensei. I will not disgrace you as I have tonight ever again. I will return honor to your name." He bows low to me and leaves. I have a feeling that when Raphael finds out who took Donatello he will be hard pressed not to kill them. I let my eyes close again as I take a moment to reflect on what I had jut done. To have lied to my son as such is unforgettable but the hope I have given him is not.