Disclaimer & Warnings:
I do not own the Turtles, as much as I would love to.
Eventual romantic pairings include 'turtlecest': OCxDonnie; LeoxRaph.
Rated T currently for mild language; later chapters will be rated M for adult content.
Splinter brings home the daughter of his old friend to help cope with her mother's death. As she befriends each of the Turtles, they deal with their own awakening feelings for her... and possibly each other.
*Note for new readers:
Please don't be daunted by the number of chapters in this story! I admit it's grown further than I originally imagined, but I tend to keep my chapters short. I try to keep them to where you can read them in 10-15mins each. I personally like it when an author updates with small chapters, so that's what I did. ^_^
Also, I make notes at the beginning of each chapter if it contains tcest, if you want to avoid those or skim through them. To each their own, I don't want to offend anyone!
Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.
Leonardo sat back, frowning at what he'd just written. He bit the end of his pen, his mind heavy with worry. Master Splinter had been oddly quiet recently, and he knew something was bothering his father. But when he had respectfully inquired, his father had just told him to give him a few days of quiet.
It was unlike Master Splinter to be reluctant to talk; especially to his eldest son, and it had upset Leo more than he cared to admit. Leo had tried to meditate more often the last few days to ease his irritation, but to his surprise had found more solace in his journal. He knew his brothers were on edge as well for the same reason, but mindful of his father's wishes, Leo refused to discuss the heavy pall that had settled over their home. A few days had turned into a week. A week turned into eleven days and counting.
He found peace in expressing his worry to paper.
He looked down at the last sentence he had written again, nodding to himself. He knew his father would confide in him.
A knock sounded at his door, and he spoke without looking up. "Come."
"Yo, bro," Michelangelo greeted, poking his head around the door. "Lunchtime has come and gone, you hungry? I saved you some grub."
A rumbling in Leo's stomach answered for him, and he gave his overly-cheery brother a smile. "Thanks, Mikey. I'll come down with you."
Mikey gave him a thumbs-up, a more genuine smile crossing his face. "Awesome, was afraid you'd lock yourself up in your room for most of the afternoon again." Mikey tapped his brother's head as they walked downstairs. "All that meditating you've been doing has gotta be hungry work, huh?"
"Hey, whatever keeps me from not murdering Raph, right?" Leo chuckled, and Mikey sniggered beside him, a hand over his mouth.
Leo quieted, seeing the turtle in question flopped in front of the TV. Mikey continued to giggle into the kitchen, where he proudly presented a decent-sized quarter of quiche from earlier. Leo gratefully accepted it, hungrier than he'd realized.
Low rumblings came from the couch nearby, and Leo smiled to himself. Raphael was cursing at whatever wrestling match he was watching, but with the unspoken rule hanging in the air, he was doing his best to keep his voice down. Leo knew he'd eventually break and be yelling and pointing at the TV, but as he was only halfway into the show, it'd be a few before the shouts started. Hopefully Donatello would be around before then and would be able to calm him down.
Leo tilted his head as he ate, thinking. Why was it the only brother Raph ever truly listened to was was Donnie?
Deep in thought, Leo didn't hear Donatello shuffle into the kitchen until his bandana ties were pulled in a silent greeting. Leo flashed his next eldest brother a quick smile, wondering for the umpteenth time if Donnie was psychic; he always appeared when Leo needed him. He pointed to Raph, who was starting to get more animated on the dilapidated couch, and Donnie sighed, giving Leo a "you owe me" look. The genius started some instant coffee, then sidled over to Raph, putting a hand on his rambunctious brother's shoulder.
"Didja see that? Didja see that?" Raph yelled, motioning sarcastically at the TV. "He was open! He didn't even try!"
"Moron," Donnie agreed, chuckling. "Hey, inside voice, Raph. You know how our voices carry with these stone walls."
Raph shrugged, waving a hand over his head dismissively. "Yeah, whateva," he mumbled, but he sank back into the cushions, lowering his curses.
"How's your new game, Mikey?" Donnie asked, coming back over to check on his coffee. He kicked Mikey's chair on the way, and the gamer moaned.
"Hey, watch it! I gotta time… these… jumps just… so…." Mikey muttered, throwing a half-hearted kick in return.
"Heaven forbid I mess up your high score," Donnie replied with a laugh, sitting between his two brothers.
"That's the problem; I haven't gotten far enough to get a score yet! Don't interrupt me, bro!"
Leo watched their interactions. Their smiles were strained, their tones higher than normal. They were all stressed, and they didn't even know why. He mimicked Donnie's earlier sigh and sat back, crossing his arms.
"Uh-oh, Fearless Leader's getting into his pissed off pose," Mikey teased, eyeing his brother over his game.
"What else is new?" Raph grumbled from the couch.
"Well, he's not pissed at any of us, so lay off," Donnie replied, then drank half his mug of coffee in one swig.
"That's a switch," said Raph, laying one arm over the couch to look back at his brothers.
Although Leo would've felt personal animosity from Raphael on a normal day, his red-clad brother just appeared annoyed and tired. But Leo could also tell he was reaching his limit, and was preparing for the outburst he knew was coming.
"So can I just say it?" Raph said, swinging his legs over the couch and walking over, the TV forgotten momentarily.
Leo held up a hand, but to his surprise Donnie spoke up. "Whatever the problem is, it's not personal. So let's give our father the mental and physical space he needs."
"And how d'ya know that?" Raph challenged, sitting noisily in the last chair at the table.
Donnie blinked blankly at his brother. "Because I asked him." He looked around in confusion. "Didn't you guys?" His three brothers leaned in, frowning at him.
"What did you ask him?" Leo demanded. "You know he wanted to be left alone."
Donnie held up a hand in defense. "Hey, I just asked if he was upset with any of us, since we were all a little tense due to his uncharacteristic behavior. He said it was a personal matter of his own that he would discuss with us soon."
Mikey's mouth formed a silent "o" as Leo and Raph sat back, each independently wishing they'd thought of doing that.
"Then what's wrong?" Leo asked, staring at the ceiling.
"You volunteerin' to ask?" Raph snorted.
"It was a rhetorical question," Leo snapped.
"Well it was a pretty dumb one, either way."
Leo closed his eyes, taking a deep breath before opening them again. "Raphael, we've all been upset wondering that very question. Don't cover your worry with aggression."
Raph just snorted again, rolling his eyes as Leo returned his gaze to the ceiling.
"I thought it was a pretty good question," Mikey piped up nervously.
"Then perhaps it is time to share my grief with you," said a serene voice behind them, and they turned as one to face their father. "Please, come join me in my room, my sons."
"Of course, sensei," Leo replied dutifully as they eagerly did so.
After they were all seated around the kotatsu, warming their feet underneath the soft blue blanket, Master Splinter brought a stack of letters to the table and sat down himself.
"As do each of you, I have my own personal interests," their father began slowly, almost reluctantly. "As long as these interests do not interfere with our family and routines, I see no need to force you to share them." He looked at each of his sons in turn, who fidgeted slightly. "One of mine has begun to affect us all, and it is time I shared it with you, my dear sons."
Puzzled and nervous, the brothers listened intently.
"I have never told you why I chose to flee to America after my disgrace at the hand of Oroku Saki," Splinter continued. His weathered face crinkled as he smiled. "You will be interested to know I chose this destination because of a woman."
"What?" Mikey blurted out, and Donnie and Raph each clapped a hand over his mouth.
Splinter chuckled. "Yes. During my human life in Japan, I met a talented American singer, a Miss Eve Clover. She has the voice of a thousand angels. We spent much time together the two weeks she was in my country."
Leo listened as Splinter cleared his throat and wondered if his father was as nervous telling the story as he was hearing it.
"Of course, we each had our separate lives across the world, but our young infatuation matured into a fulfilling friendship that we've kept over the years. She eventually married, and has a daughter. Her husband died many years ago in a tragic accident. I have been a source of support for her in all aspects of life, as she has been for myself."
Donnie nodded slightly. He had seen his father drop letters in a mailbox often enough to wonder.
"When I was disgraced, my initial instinct was to flee to anything familiar, and so I chose to come to America. However, on my long journey here, I realized I could never present myself to my friend; my honour was tarnished, and I was penniless. I knew my friend would offer to shelter me, and that was a kindness my honour would not accept. I was honest with her, however, and after a heated argument, she did not press the issue."
Splinter folded his hands on the table, bowing his head slightly, his eyes distant. "I have confided everything to her over the years, my sons. Even our unique history. Her understanding knows no bounds, and her kindness could reach to the stars. She has been a true friend."
"Has been?" Leo asked softly.
Splinter raised his head, his eyes dark with sorrow. "My friend does not have long on this Earth, and I have been debating on whether to grant her only request of me. To visit her before she returns to the spirits."
"Of course you should go, Master Splinter!" Donnie said, gripping his father's shoulder affectionately.
Splinter smiled sadly. "The old ways still bind me, Donatello. And…" he hesitated, "I do not like the thought of her seeing me this way."
"But you know she won't be seein' this," Raph spoke up, motioning to his father. "She wants to see her friend, in- in whateva package he comes in." He offered a small smile.
"You… are right, Raphael," Splinter said softly. "It is hard for me to admit that I still have fears, and yet again you teach me acceptance, just as I have taught you."
Raphael blushed, scratching his head in embarrassment.
"So, let's go!" Mikey said, jumping up in excitement and nearly knocking over the kotatsu.
Splinter rose as well, but held up a hand. "My sons, this is a journey I would like to make alone."
"But of course, sensei," Leo replied, gently patting his father's arm. "We will be here for you when you return."
Splinter stepped forward and hugged each of his sons. "Thank you for your advice," he murmured as he gripped his walking stick. "And your support."
"Here, sensei, take this," Donnie said, pressing a cell phone into his father's hand. "We are one call away if you need anything… even if it's just a listening ear."
"I am proud of you all, my sons," Splinter said, his eyes glowing with pleasure. They followed him to the exit, crowding around him at the door.
"I should return in a day or two; perhaps after all this time, Eve will convince me to accept her hospitality for a few nights." Splinter smiled slyly.
"Go for it," Raph said, grinning.
"Just be careful," Leo cautioned, and Raph elbowed him, frowning.
"Must you always state the obvious, Leo?"
"And you two," Splinter said, a touch of steel returning to his tone, "will be nothing but generous to each other while I am gone, for I am leaving Donatello in charge."
"What?" Donnie exploded, stepping back as if his father had just slapped him. His eyes were wide with panic.
Splinter chuckled, patting the genius on the shoulder. "It's only for a day or two, Donatello. You and your brothers will be fine."
"Master Splinter-" Leo began, but his father cut him off with a stern look.
Raphael just rolled his eyes.
"Take care of each other. I will call if I need you," Splinter repeated, then stepped out into the darkness and was gone.
"This should be fun!" Mikey yelled, holding up a hand to high-five Donnie, but his brother just stood frozen, eyes like saucers.
"Well, I guess this means I can relax for a few days," Leo smirked, patting Donnie and walking back into the living room. "Good luck getting Raphael to early morning practice."
"Yeah, good luck," Raph snickered, punching Donnie's shoulder and following their eldest brother.
"C'mon, dude, it won't be so bad," Mikey pleaded, pulling on his brother's hand.
"Easy for you to say," Donnie muttered, allowing Mikey to drag him back into the living area. "All you do is play video games."
"And read comics!"
"And do nothing productive," Donnie added, scowling.
Michelangelo held up his hands, waving them imploringly. "Hey, I cook for you guys! It's your fault if you don't eat it!"
"Yeah, it's our fault if we don't have iron stomachs," Leo laughed.
"Heyyyy I'm trying my best for you guys," Mikey whined. He fixed his best puppy-dog expression on Donnie. "I really do."
"Try harder!" Raph yelled from the couch, returning to his TV show. Distracted, Mikey ran over and began trying to wrestle the remote from his brother, who vehemently refused to relinquish it.
Leo walked quietly up to Donnie, who still looked dazed as he watched Mikey and Raph fighting over the TV. "Relax, little brother. As Master Splinter said, it's only for a few days. You're extremely responsible, and I believe in you." He wrapped an arm around his brother affectionately.
Donnie nodded, a hint of a smile returning to his face. "Thanks."
When I originally published this story, I uploaded 7 chapters at once. Normally I use this space to reply to reviews and comments, but you won't see any until starting in Chapter 8 of this story. I hope you've enjoyed the first chapter, and if you stick around for the second one... Well, enjoy the ride! I promise there's not *too* much fluff... And as you can tell, this is not a dark-themed story. Although there are some very dark moments. Hint: Angry Mike is scary.