A/N: Hey lo everyboday! Happy post Thanksgiving to those that celebrated! Sorry for not getting this up when I had planned; inuficcrzy kinda raised the bar by posting another chapter two days after mine *growls* but no worries, as it actually did add fuel to the fire.
This will probably be the be all, end all to House Rules. Any more that is posted for Splinter's Rules will be done at my website. I'm still here though, as I wanted to start getting the sequel to Yuku SUe Unmei up (which it is, in case y'all didn't know).
Thanks to everyone who's been reading this and any of my stuff. Traffic to my website was bolstered thanks in part to people on this site, so thanks mucho! I now have a RSS feed, so you'll be able to know when I've updated. Done a lot this weekend, so hopefully I'll get another chap of the YSU up soon!
This one is extra long!
We Are Family
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #127. Despite what Raphael claims, a clean room is not a sign of a deranged mind, thus you will all go and clean your rooms.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #104. April, you are not Xena: Warrior Princess and you shall not use war cries to signal your entrance into a room.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #108. Casey, you are never to dare, bribe, or trick the boys into doing anything from an 'American Pie' movie.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #118. None of the rats in the sewers are Splinter's brothers or sisters. Therefore, you are not allowed out of training because one of your millions of supposed 'uncles' told you so.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #125. No matter what you say, Michelangelo, you are not able to see the Grim Reaper, nor are you to claim that he is standing by the Shredder, tapping an hourglass and looking at him impatiently.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #153. I don't know how you did it, and while I am touched by the gesture, please, no more brass bands over-running the sewer, playing Happy Birthday on the anniversary of my mutation.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #158. Leonardo, stop using ninja wire to move objects without your brothers seeing you do it. They're becoming convinced the Lair is haunted. (See rule #74)
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #159. Pit fall traps are for the wilderness only!
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #161. No one is allowed to wrap sleeping or hung-over people with Christmas lights and tinsel.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #165. Silly String is no longer allowed in the Lair. Period.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #166. No one is allowed to use Legos, duct tape, and/or rubber bands to create a giant ball so you can re-enact the boulder scene from Indiana Jones.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #173. Rolling someone in honey, graham crackers, and chocolate sauce and then dumping them in front of the Boy Scouts National Headquarters with a note to 'toast them on medium-to-high heat' is not an appropriate punishment for anything.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #174. Kool-Aid is to be used as drink flavoring only; the fact that it can dye your brothers' skin in a variety of colors is irrelevant.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #175. I have it on excellent authority that no, Heaven is not like the IRS, therefore, you do not need to get a receipt when you do something good.
Splinter's Rules for the Lair #145. No, you do not have the right to fight for your right to party.
It was coming to the close of another year and one in which Splinter was going to put his foot down.
In the months leading up to the year's end festivities, the rat master had sat down and begun a list of what his sons and his daughter were and were not allowed to do in the Lair, police stations, amusement parks, zoos, the Internet, etc. One would think a parent wouldn't have to do such things and really, when looking at his list now, one couldn't believe that at one time this list had only held one hundred items, but at how many items how found their way on it since.
Splinter loved his children, he truly did. It had been no coincidence, he thought, that he had found his way to four baby turtles who had been dropped into the sewer due to an accident. He certainly didn't think it was chance that all five of them were to be covered in the Utrom ooze that created who they were now. Even running into their allies was not what Splinter called coincidence; he called it Fate.
So in making this list, he did not discount the actions of their human friends, another adopted son and an adopted daughter. April and Casey were like his children as well and they were certainly family to his four sons. So it was only fair that he include any of their hi-jinks on this too. He was actually not so surprised that Casey's name registered on many of the list items.
And his sons weren't the only problem links on this chain. He had hoped with only one rule under her name, Splinter had hoped April was above all of these incidents, which he had come to believe was a strictly male inebriated mind set. And maybe it was just the time that both of the humans had spent with them, but Splinter was noticing more and more that the two were somehow getting roped in to these shenanigans.
While he had placed it on the list, Splinter knew in his heart that April hadn't meant to do what she did with a lollipop. She was surrounded by five men who, in all intensive purposes, found her attractive regardless on how they viewed her. Splinter, in his experiences, knew males were highly visual and could take even the most simpliest of acts and turn them into something lewed and sexually charged. He had just hoped his adopted daughter was above all that.
So of course, imagine his surprise when, after the Monty Python pidgeon incident, he actually had to include her on the lecture on why scenes from movies would no longer be acted out in any capacity. Splinter, in perhaps need of some help, had unofficially placed April in a position of authority in dealing with his sons. She was their sister, a mother figure perhaps, and she definitely saw them as her little brothers – as did Casey.
And while Splinter hated to do it, he needed to establish himself again as their father, and that included telling April that yelling like Xena as she walked through the door was not appropriate in any situation, even if she did just 'liberate' the last pre-cooked turkey for Thanksgiving. And while the cry may have screamed the woman she took it from, it was a battle cry not to be used again. This was of course when Raphael had stated she could "battle cry her way into his room anytime".
He had been hit. Hard.
And speaking of Raphael, Splinter could only shake his head. Of the few grey hairs he had – fifteen by his count – ten of those went to his second oldest. Just yesterday, did he not tell his son that Leonardo was not deranged because his room was the cleanest? And then to top that off, Michelangelo declared himself to be the 'sanest of the sane' because his room was the messiest. A refusal to clean one's room is one thing, but to state that one of your siblings may not be in his right mind for doing so was quiet something else.
And then, as if to defy his father and master, Raphael had declared, "We gotta fight for our right to party!"
Suddenly, Splinter could clearly see his second oldest son, holding a sign and trying to convince his younger brothers not to cross the picket line as he organized a strike.
He didn't even want to think about the time the red banded turtle had dropped off his youngest brother in front of the National Boy Scouts Association, with a note he be 'toasted lightly' nor did he want to recall what happened when they had gotten a hold of the dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park exhibit.
He loved his sons. He loved his sons. It was something he seemed to be constantly reminding himself of lately.
If they had been humans, he would have immediately sought the help of a licensed doctor, because surely, his sons were suffering from some sort of mental illness. And it seemed to be catching and spreading to those around them. The aged ninja actually saw more of Casey Jones within his lectures that some of his sons. Even after the lecture on movie scenes, he still had to tell the vigilante that the "American Pie series" was no longer allowed not only in the Lair, but no longer allowed to be watched by any of his sons, Casey included.
"Ah, come on, Sensei!" the larger man groaned, actually pouting at the prospect of not being allowed to watch his movies.
"Casey," Splinter replied, trying his best not to be angry. "Must I remind you what you had Donatello do to that pie? That was our dessert - " Here, he stopped the man from protesting. "I do not care if Michelangelo ate it. He certainly regretted it when he found out where it had been."
The rat, as always, was surprised at just how much trouble his sons and their friends could get into. And this didn't even include their usual daily battles with Foot ninja, Purple Dragons, or EPF agents. Wasn't it last month that he had told the boys pit falls were to never again be in the lair? While no one confessed to building the large hole that had been in the floor and covered with leaves – he didn't even bother to ask when the leaves had come from – nor did he need to ask who had built the large boulder made of Legos.
He even dismissed Leonardo's explanation that it was for 'training purposes only', in case they ever found themselves in the jungle being chased by angry natives. Splinter, in all his years of being a father and in all his wisdom, knew that to be code for 'We were playing Indiana Jones Adventures and wanted it to be as realistic as possible'.
And speaking of Leonardo, Splinter was hard pressed to really come down on him. While it wasn't as his younger sons thought – that the eldest held a higher place in their father's heart – it was because Leonardo took being their leader seriously, nearly to the point where he didn't think he could indulge in fun activities. He wanted his brothers, father, and friends to enjoy life and if that meant he needed to stand on the sidelines and watch, he would. Leonardo had sacrificed much of his life to ensure that no one in his family sacrifice theirs.
It was a noble gesture, but many times Splinter had tried to tell his eldest that he could still be a leader and a brother at the same time. Sending him to South America had been good, despite the turmoil that began after his appointed return. That had been about two years ago and Splinter had indeed seen a change in his eldest, in the way he acted with his brothers; even the constant arguments that had plagued them between the two eldest weren't as common place.
That was why Splinter let Leonardo have his fun with the ninja wire, however once Michelangelo had disturbed his sleep at two in the morning, insisting that the Lair was haunted put an end to that. And he didn't immediately call the eldest boys in when, upon waking and heading for the kitchen, he saw that his youngest son had been done up in Christmas fixtures. Actually, he had gone and gotten his camera, as the scene was quite funny and precious at the same time.
He did not find the incident with the silly string funny however. And he didn't care who started, it was to never happen again.
His sons – his family – was unique, there was no denying that. In fact, as Splinter once again took a long look at the near two hundred items, he couldn't help but chuckle. While most were ridiculous or absurd, it did give them a strange…normalcy in their otherwise odd existence. Some of the items he could overlook as sibling hi-jinks – how else could one explain dyeing a brother with Kool Aid – or even the childish antics to get out of practice.
"Michelangelo, you do not have an Aunt Berta nor an Uncle Augie. How many times must I tell you that the rats in the sewer are in no way shape or form my brothers and sisters? So despite your 'cousin' being born this morning, you are not allowed out of practice. And while we are on the subject, none of these brethren have the power to see Death or the Grim Reaper and they have not passed on this gift to you. You can not, as you are fond of saying, 'see dead people'."
And really, Splinter couldn't help but find some of these situations hilarious, when he thought about them. He was finding it harder and harder not to laugh outright whenever Raphael or Michelangelo did something highly respectable and worthy and they came to him asking for a receipt; in case they needed to present it to the person in charge when they died. And even after explaining this, to all four, even he was surprised when Donatello asked "Is Master Yoshi keeping it tallied in his head?"
"Is he writing it down?" Michelangelo asked. "Cause I do not want to be blamed for those bumper stickers, especially when it was Raph who put them on."
"Well, I don't want to be blamed for making them!" the second oldest exclaimed. "That was all Donnie! See, Sensei, this is why we need the receipts."
"You're all acting absurd," Leonardo huffed. "Master Yoshi isn't keeping score."
"Says the turtle with the Touch of Death," murmured the turtle in purple.
"Yeah, Leo," that was from the youngest. "Don't think Master Yoshi doesn't know what you've done!"
"Well if he did, my receipts are probably overflowing, so there!"
Yes, Splinter loved his sons, loved his daughter, even at their most wackiness. And really, that was the most important thing to remember. Perhaps he would keep the list, if to just remember the fun that his children had as he reached his prime. Looking at one item in particular, a loving smile graced the muzzle of the rat. Even with a list as full as this, there were some things that brought a smile to his face.
He didn't know how they had done it and certainly didn't know how they managed for the last two years without him knowing or anyone else, but there was something to be said on having a marching band play Happy Birthday on the anniversary of one's mutation that was…rather endearing.