Dedicated to Second Daughter of Eve. Kind of like the fic Early Seasons, but not nearly as good.

"I am the child,

All the world waits for my coming,
All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become.

Civilization hangs in the balance,
For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be.

I am the child,

I have come into your world,
About which I know nothing,

Why I came I know not;
How I came I know not;

I am curious;
I am interested.

I am the child,

You hold in your hand my destiny,
You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail.

Give me, I pray you,
Those things that make for happiness.

Train me, I beg you,
That I may be a blessing to the world."

"There, there, now...."

Splinter sighed as he carefully picked up the tattered blue bundle from the little futon and crib protectively encasing three other sleeping figures. Luckily, the other three turtles were still sleeping. The cold medicine practically knocked them out cold.

Except for the mewing little one here...

The newborn mutant Leo was crying, forehead very hot, though, due to the fact he was shivering, obviously very cold. Splinter shifted the small bundle in his arms and carried him away from the crib with a silent gait that three months of training in his master's ninjitsu had taught him so far.

Well...more then three months learning. He had been with his master when he was something under the terms of...normal for not three months, but for three years.

Three long, happy years that came to an abrupt end when Master Yoshi....

Splinter gruffly bent his head and tried to ignore the stinging in his eyes. Leo was still crying......Ah. The medication Splinter applied to him must've worn off. Teng Shen had taught him a number of herbal remedies, but they could only do so much, after all.

The turtles had gotten ill these past few, freezing days. Winter had steadily been creeping this late December.....

But he had no idea it would affect the little ones to this degree.

The turtles had a bad case of influenza, which, if Splinter was not careful, could turn into pnuemonia. He shuddered, this time not from the cold. It had been an extremely stressful series of days for the aged rat, hopping to one sick turtle to another. This body of his did have it's advantages......but, like all bodies, human or otherwise, it did succumb to fatigue.

So Splinter was biting back a yawn as he cradled the crying infant in his arms, shushing him gently, continung with his soothing ministrations on the little one's shell, tracing little circles with his fingers.

The turtle he christened Leonardo was miserable-any fool could see that. He was slowly quieting down, much to Splinter's relief.

What would it be like? To be an infant-a little scrap of life that awkwardly stumbled into the world blinking and confused, not sure what anyone or anything was? Not even to know that there was ANYONE or ANYTHING, other then a flur of lights and jabbering noises?

Splinter could see why infants cried. Puzzlement led to doubt. Doubt to fear. Fear to Anger. Anger to Sadness...

Leo was beginning to calm down. That was good. Splinter decided to hum a little lullaby to soothe him as well...

"Oh gentle winds 'neath moonlit skies,
Do not you hear my heartfelt cries?

Below the branches, here about,
Do not you sense my fear and doubt?
Side glistening rivers, sparkling streams,
Do not you hear my woeful screams?

Upon the meadows, touched with dew,
Do not you see my hearts a'skew?
Beneath the thousand twinkling stars,
Do not you feel my jagged scars?

Seek not my mournful heart kind breeze,
For you'll not find it 'mongst these trees.

It's scattered 'cross the moonlit skies,
Accompanied by heartfelt sighs.
It's drifting o're the gentle rain,
A symbol of my silent pain.

It's buried 'neath the meadow fair,
Conjoined with all the sorrow there.
It's lost among the stars this night,
Too far to ease my quiet fright....

MAYBE that wasn't the best thing to sing to a baby, but the tune was soothing. Leo lay his head against the faded brown fabric of SPlinter's robe and sighed.

Splinter blinked. When he adopted the turtles, he learned that Leo let out the smallest little sighs when he was quiet and content.

A smile tugged on his lips as Leo sighed again, squirmed closer to Splinter, and dozed off.

For a moment, Splinter just held him, full of quiet, overflowing affection for the little ones. Pausing for a moment, he tucked Leo safely back in, and then hesitated again.

His affection to the turtles could cause him a great deal of future pain.

But that was a risk he'd have to take.

It had been too late-perhaps, Splinter mused, as he reached for a rag in a bucket of icy cold water to carefully wring and dab on the little ones' faces, taking caution not to wake them.

Splinter chose a different tune to hum as he did so.

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
The stars are nigh....

It was a quiet, quiet night.