Title: "Father's First Christmas"
Author: Pirate Turner
For: My beloved Jack and our babies as part of their presents for Solstice/Christmas/Kitsmas
Rating: G
Summary: Splinter and his sons celebrate their first Christmas.
Warnings: Turtle Tots
Word Count: 935
Date Written: 24 December 2010
Disclaimer: Splinter, Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are & TM their rightful, legal owners, none of which are the author; are used without permission; and may not be used without permission. Everything else is & TM the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

A smile of pure, delighted joy lit the Sensei's aging, furry face as he watched over the four children before him. It had taken him months to find what he had needed for their gifts and even longer to put them together, and he had found that hiding the finished products had been one of the hardest tasks of his life. Yet every moment of scurrying, scavenging, fretting, and hiding and every drop of sweat had been completely worthwhile.

His long, wiry tail swished beneath the hem of his purple robe as he watched his children play and gave a sight of satisfied happiness. He had found the pieces to Leonardo's first gift in one of his sneak outs to Central Park, and the turtle who would take the leadership role amongst his brothers was proving to love and respect his first sword just as much as Splinter had known he would. This first weapon was of wood, of course, but it would not be many more years before he would place his son's first real sword into his eager, diligent hands.

Michelangelo was lost in the comics Splinter had managed to tear out of every discarded newspaper he had come across throughout the year, but even as he read and laughed over each picture, he was being stalked. His brother, the single child who Splinter felt anger in even at his young and tender age, suddenly lunged at Michelangelo, and Mikey screamed and dropped his comics as Raphael's dark mask filled his vision.

Splinter mused quietly to himself and rubbed the brown fur upon his chin. Perhaps he should have kept looking for the right present for Raphael, but a child's lost Halloween mask had been the only thing that he had been able to find, besides the pizza that he had given to all of his beloved children, that seemed capable of bringing any true interest from Raphael.

Even now as Mikey pouted, Raphael lifted his mask and laughed until tears sprung into his dark eyes. Splinter's tail whisked, but a grin twitched at the corners of his serious mouth. He could not tolerate Raphael scaring his brothers, but at least the child did like his present. "Raphael," he said softly, moving forward, "you should not scare your brother so."

He was ready when Mikey ran into his legs and lifted the baby turtle up into his loving arms. "Sh," he soothed, "it's all right. It's just your brother."

"Meanie!" Mikey cried, pointing at Raphael.

Raph shrugged. "Kid's gotta learn not to be 'fraid o' the dark sometime."

Splinter was sorely tempted to point out that Raphael himself was still just a child when he felt a tug upon his robe and looked down into Donatello's big, brown eyes. He was rather surprised that the child who had already shown such vast intelligence that he never ceased to amaze him had placed his gift of a handmade abacus of stones and wood to the side for he'd been attached to the learning tool since Splinter had given it to him. "Yes, my son?" Splinter queried softly while gently and reassuringly rubbing Michelangelo's trembling shell.

"You got us such great gifts, Masser Splinser," little Donnie declared, water filling his eyes, "but we ain't got you nothing!" His beak shook, and Splinter knew his child was barely holding back his tears. He felt Michelangelo's quiet sobs hush immediately, and, out of the corners of his eyes, Splinter saw Raphael's mask almost slip from his fingers and Leonardo stop practicing with his sword.

He sighed softly, his love for these four, wonderful, little boys filling his heart even more. Dropping to his knees in the sewer, he opened his free arm and spoke gently, "Come here, my children." Mikey continued to cling tightly to him as Donatello and Leonardo rushed readily into his arms. Raphael came closer but yet remained a foot or two away.

Splinter let the tot keep his distance as he looked at each teary child in turn. "You have already given me more than I could ever ask for, my children, and you continue to give to me each and every day. You amaze me. You make me laugh, and you make these old bones feel warm again. I love you all, and I could never ask for a better gift than the love you give me in turn."

He was suddenly covered by three baby turtles, each doing their best to hug him with all of their strength. He returned their loving hugs, though he was careful to remain gentle with them lest he accidentally hurt one of them. His tail swished happily and then almost sprang out from beneath his robe in his sheer joy as he felt another pair of tiny arms grasp him. He opened his eyes, which had drifted closed while delighting in the pleasure of the moment, and smiled down upon Raphael.

Spreading his arms a little wider, Splinter took all four of his boys into his arms and hugged them with all the tightness he dared to demonstrate. "Merry Christmas, my children," he spoke the phrase that would be repeated a million more times throughout their coming years together for the first time. This was his first Christmas as well as theirs, and he finally understood why the humans treasured the holiday so grandly. It really was the best time of the year, and this festive holiday had proven to be one of the happiest days of his life.

Tears of happiness sprung to Splinter's eyes as he heard his boys chorus back to him, "Merry Chrismas, Fader!"

The End