Author Note: A friend of mine made the comment that I never write anything 'short'. Of course I can write 'short' stories, and now I've been challenged. Write a series of 'short' (main part of the challenge) stories starring our favorite green team and Master Splinter. I went through the combinations of two characters and there is ten different combinations, so ten chapters for this story. I can choose everything to do with the stories for this challenge (besides the length) so the chapters won't have anything to do with each other. Wish me luck!

O, and for this first chapter, it stars Master Splinter and Donnie (aka Curious). Of course, it is dedicated to candlelight who probably loves turtle tots more than anyone else. Even me. It takes place during my story Desperation if you want a bit more background. I know that's technically cheating but forgive me. Baby steps. Baby steps to my goal.

Disclaimer: Don't own them. Wish I did, but wishing never did anything.

There were a few times in his short lifespan that Splinter would say he had felt completely and awkwardly put out.

The number was steadily increasing these days.

"Umm... little one." Splinter murmured to the new appendage attached to his neck. "You may let go now..." The new appendage ignored him and with a gentle shaking had darkly grumbled his protests. Splinter sighed as he discover the little one dubbed Curious asleep.

Of course it was his own fault. He had taken them in, hadn't he? There was nothing he could do now. He certainly would not kick them out into the cruel, cruel world. Not now when they were at this vulnerable age. They needed him so much and in a little way, Splinter felt he needed them.

But he had vowed not to get attached. He lost one family already, and he refused to lose another. He didn't hold them like other parents did. He didn't even give them names. He distanced himself and in a way he felt guilty because of it. They loved him. He could see it their faces. He didn't know much about love, but it shone through with them and sometimes that hurt.

Which led to his awkward situation.

Curious had been, well, curious about his fur ever since Splinter had first him. It was so very different from his own skin and the skin of his comrades. It was cause for much puzzlement for the inquisitive little one who had seen so little of the world. Usually, Splinter shook him off, but today he had felt especially gracious with a successful 'scavenge'. He let the examination happen, and had promptly fallen asleep due to the long day in his old chair.

Apparently the little one had too.

The little one's had tucked his head into the side of Splinter's neck and the small, long breaths ruffled the fur there. Two, chubby arms had wrapped themselves around Splinter's neck making it warm and sweaty with body heat. Two hands grabbed two fistfuls of fur as six fingers ran through them unaccustomed to the feel of it. Splinter didn't have any idea of how to hold the little one, but it seemed the little one was comfortable. He tucked one arm behind Curious's knees to lessen the chokehold and the other free hand hesitantly traced massage patterns on the little one's neck. Curious let loose a small sigh of contentment and snuggled closer. Splinter felt a small smile slid up his face despite himself. A wave of happiness hit him. This living being had trusted himself to him completely and utterly. Well, maybe this wasn't so bad.

Splinter could feel Curious's heartbeat as it thumped rhythmically with his breathing. With the warmth from the small body and the rhythmic breathing and beating, his own eyes started to close into sleep. Not so bad at all.

Short enough? If anyone wants to see something be written, tell me. These small plot lines are hard to think up...