Disclaimer: Unless you don't recognize them, I don't own them. No money or other profits are being made from this attempt at entertainment.
Please note, as with all my TMNT stories, the ages of the Turtles are Leo, Raph, Don then Mikey (from eldest to youngest). Personally, I just find Leo and Raph being the two eldest makes the most sense based on personalities and the interactions between the Turtles.
Please see the first drabble of this series for the full Author's Notes.
******Day Nine: Ameliorate
transitive verb; to make better; to improve
intransitive verb; to grow better
"Hey Donnie, you wanna play tag with us?" eight year old Michelangelo asked, looking into the room that he and his older brother shared.
Donatello's head came up from where he was bent over a pile of what looked to be, at least in Mikey's opinion, junk. He had set aside a corner of their room for his various projects, bribing a promise from Mikey to never touch anything in it with the offer of doing his chores for two weeks.
Not that that stopped Mikey from hovering every so often…some of the stuff that Donnie worked on was so neat looking! But he did his best to keep his promise and not touch…although there was that one time…but that had been an accident! And Donnie had looked so sad…since then he had been extra careful, much to Donnie's relief.
"Thank you for the offer, Mikey," Donatello replied, setting aside his screwdriver to give his brother his complete attention, "but I'm right in the middle of this. I really want to get it finished before bedtime."
Michelangelo's face fell, he had really hoped that Donnie would play so Raph and Leo wouldn't gang up on him, but by now he was used to his brother bowing out of the games every so often to work on his projects. He couldn't complain too much, as it was those projects that had given them hot water and a working oven.
"Alright, if you change your mind, you know where to find us." With that Michelangelo left to join his brothers', who from the looks of it had either already started the game or else had begun fighting…again…while waiting for him to finish with Donnie.
Leonardo walked into Don and Mikey's room, heading directly for Donnie's workroom. "Donatello, it's time for training," he called out, reaching out to pull aside the blanket still isolating that corner of the room.
Before he could do so, however, a small olive-hued hand moved it away from the wall just enough to allow Donatello to slip through the gap, which was quickly and carefully closed behind him. "Thanks for the call, Leo," Donnie said, surreptitiously encouraging his brother to walk with him out of the room.
Leonardo looked back at the blanket before exiting, turning to his brother to ask, "What are you working on, anyway? You've been going at that thing for weeks."
Donatello shrugged as they continued towards the dojo. "It's a surprise."
Leonardo sighed, knowing he would get nothing more from his brother. When Donatello wanted to keep a secret, not even Splinter could get it out of him. "How much longer are you going to be working on it?" he couldn't help but inquire, "You've really been neglecting your training lately."
Donnie's face scrunched up in thought as he considered the question, ignoring his brother's comment on his training. As far as Leo was concerned, if you didn't train at least five hours a day like he did you were neglecting your training. "Another week...maybe two. There's a piece I'm missing, that I hope to get from the junkyard when Father takes me tomorrow night."
"Well, good luck, I suppose," Leo offered, trying to be supportive, though he didn't understand how his brother could be so enthralled by a bunch of broken junk. Not that he didn't appreciate the benefits that resulted from Donnie's hobby; he just couldn't see how Donnie could enjoy fixing all that stuff.
Finally they arrived at the dojo and entered, bowing their respect before making their way over to the rest of their waiting family.
"Yo, Donnie," Raphael greeted as he entered his younger brother's room, where his fellow middle-child was working, 'his' corner now surrounded by an old blanket that he had strung up to create a small workroom. Raph walked over to the bunk beds in the opposite corner and flopped down onto the lower bed.
"Hmm," he heard mumbled from behind the blanket, before his brother's head peaked around one edge. "Oh, hey Raph," he pushed the blanket aside slightly as he stepped into the room proper, "what can I do for you?"
"Just seeing what you're up to," Raph answered. "You've been in here all day today, and all day yesterday, working on this project of yours. We were startin' to wonder if you were ever gonna come out."
A blush stained Donnie's cheeks as he looked to the floor, his hands grasped behind his shell. His right foot traced imaginary patterns on the floor. "Ah, sorry. I'm just almost done, and I've been looking forward to finishing this for weeks now, and with it being so close now…I guess I've just been letting myself get carried away a bit."
Raph laughed at his brother's predictable answer; you could always tell when Donatello was approaching completion on a project, as the time he spent in his 'workroom' skyrocketed. "No worries, genius. I was just curious as to what you're workin' on this time."
If anything, Donatello's blush deepened, and his head dipped further down.
Raph chuckled again. "So it's a surprise, is it?"
Donnie nodded, looking up at his brother through his eyelashes.
"No worries, brainiac," Raph reassured his brother, now looking forward to the completion of whatever it was Donnie was working for more reasons than just getting his brother back. Whenever Donnie wanted to keep his project a secret, it always wound up being something totally cool. "I'll let you get back to it."
"Thanks, Raph," Donnie quietly spoke, sending a small smile at his older brother as he left.
"So, my son, do we finally get to know what it is that you have been working on so diligently of late?" Splinter knowingly asked Donatello, who had called them all into he and Mikey's room and was now preparing to finally push aside the blanket that had kept his brother's in the dark for over four months. Splinter, of course, was aware of what the project was, having helped Donatello carry many of the part he had found back to the lair.
"Yes, Father," Donatello replied, taking a deep breath before revealing his latest contribution.
For a long moment there was no sound, and Donatello started to fidget nervously. Finally Mikey stepped forward slowly, left arms stretched out in front of him as he approached the rectilinear box sitting innocently on the floor. Just inches away he stopped, as if afraid it would disappear if he tried to touch it.
"Is that…a tv?" he whispered, unable to believe what he was seeing.
Donatello nodded, surveying the reactions before him, "Yeah. Father and I found one in fairly decent shape at the junk yard several months ago. I've been working on getting it working since. There's a cable service line that runs not too far from here that I was able to tie into. I ran the line in a pretty round-about manner, so even if someone does discover that we're connected to it, it will be pretty tough for them to track it back here. I'm thinking of setting up some sort of proximity alarm, so if they do get too close we can…"
"Awesome!" Mikey shouted, ignoring Donatello's ramblings and leaping over to grab his brother in a bear hug. "You are awesome! This is so incredibly cool!"
Raph slapped Mikey in the back of the head when he noticed Donnie trying unsuccessfully to loosen his younger brother's grip. "Let go of him, doofus. He needs ta breath, ya know."
When Donnie had safely extricated himself from the life-threatening hug, Raph grabbed him in a headlock and rubbed his knuckles over his head briefly. "Nice job, Donnie. You really outdid yourself this time."
After being let go, Don stood up, straightening his bandana which had become askew when Raph grabbed his head. "Thank you, Raph!" he beamed, thrilled at the reception his gift was getting.
Leo stood, still considering the latest addition to the lair.
"Leo?" Donnie asked timidly, slightly apprehensive at his eldest brother's silence.
Finally Leo turned to address his three brothers. "I expect all of you to still keep up with your training, you know. I have to say, this is really impressive, Donnie. However," he continued, ignoring Mikey and Raph's groans. Moving quickly, he grabbed the remote from where it sat on top of the television and ran from the room shouting, "I call first dibs!"