((Ok...by popular demand...or is it threats...I'm going to dust this one off and finish the darn thing. Sorry it just kept giving me the worst fits of any fic I've ever written. OC's are not my specialty. I don't really like them. I think that's why this one was so hard. ANYWAY...over the next week or so I'm going to polish up the first dozen chapters...remind everyone what's going on..and then start posting the rest. So..ready or not here it comes...))

"What I've felt, what I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free, never me
So I dub thee unforgiven"

(Metallica "the Unforgiven")

I was always a perceptive child. I've spent a lot of time reading and I've heard my parents refer to me as a prodigy more than once. But it doesn't take a genius to see that their marriage was strained. I'm not saying they don't love each other, because I'm pretty sure they do. It's just there has always been this tension between them that kept them from being really happy.

I think it has something to do with my dad's family--or lack thereof. I've never met them. In all my nine years of life, no one has even mentioned them directly to me. It was one of those things my parents didn't talk about while I was around, but that I was able to hear enough pieces of argument to get an idea.

From what I can figure out, my dad's family really didn't like my mom and they told him to leave her alone. But my dad's kind of stubborn; not to mention that he loved my mom. So, they ran away together and now here I am. I think my dad feels guilty about running out like that. Once, when I was about six, my dad tried to call a brother of his. He never did get in touch with him, but when my mom found out she was so ticked that she took me away to a hotel for the night. My dad came after us and we went home the next day, but he never tried to contact him again.

I get along with my dad ok. He's more...likeable than mom. Not that my mother is a bad person, but sometimes it seems that she's content to just ignore me. When my dad is away on his business trips once a month or so, me and my mom barely talk at all. Don't get me wrong. My mom's ok. She doesn't yell at me or hit me or anything. Actually the only smack I ever got in my life my dad gave me. And that was for running across the street when I was 4. I think he was more scared than anything. I have to admit I was too. That car came real close to hitting me.

Anyway, in bed that night, I wondered if my dad's relatives didn't like my mom because she was a human. My dad is a mutant turtle and he's explained to me all about the prejudices that humans have against mutants. But maybe it works the other way too and mutants have some prejudices against humans. I look more like my mom than my dad. I have her black hair and rather than green, my skin is kind of a dark olive color. When I was little, I used to get mad because I wanted a shell like my dad. My shell is barely noticeable and very underdeveloped. It took me awhile to realize that was a good thing. It meant I could go out during the day without people being able to tell I was half turtle.

I started at a loud commotion coming from downstairs. Curious, I got out of bed and opened the door to hear my mom shouting.

"What the hell is he doing here, Leo? How did he find us?"

"Taki," I heard my father try to soothe her. "I wrote years ago and told him where to find us. But only if there was an emergency and I swore him to secrecy."

Mom's voice raised another octave. "You broke your word to me! You will regret this Leonardo!" I heard my mom run up the stairs and I ducked back in my room just as she passed. Once I heard her bedroom door slam, I slipped out of my room to the top of the stairs. I looked down into the living room and my jaw dropped. He was standing there with my dad and they were almost exact duplicates.

My dad covered his eyes tiredly and said, "Why did you come here, Raphael?"

"He's asking for you," the double said softly, but I could hear the anger in his voice.

My dad looked up quickly and he seemed a bit scared. "Is he...sick?"

"Why the hell do you care, Leo..."

"Raph, don't start," my dad interrupted. "You know the situation was complicated. I did..."

Raphael pointed a finger in my dad's face. "What you did was turn your back on your family. What you did, you ungrateful bastard, was break your sensei's heart." He paused and then said more slowly. "What you did was unforgivable. But he still wants to see you." He cocked his head to the side. "We have an audience."

My dad spun around and saw me at the top of the stairs. "Ren, you should be in bed," he said sternly. Then he sighed. "Nevermind. Come down and meet your Uncle Raphael."

Looking at this twin of my father's from a distance was one thing but the thought of being close to him was making me nervous. After all, there had to be a reason why my mom hated him. So I didn't move to obey the directive which caused Raphael to laugh.

"Nice to know I still have that effect on children."

My dad glared at him before saying again even more forcefully, "Ren, I said come down here. Don't be impolite."

I knew better than to disobey that tone, so I bit my lip nervously and went down the stairs.
My dad put his arm around me protectively. "Ren, this is your uncle, Raphael. Raphael, your nephew, Ren."

Raphael looked at my dad with a tight smile. "Shushi miren?"

I looked at them both in confusion. Whatever Raphael just said really ticked Dad off and he replied angrily speaking in another language. I realized suddenly that it was Japanese. My mom was from Japan and sometimes sang in her native language around the house, but I never knew Dad could speak it.

Raphael clenched his fists at his sides and cut Dad off. "You have no right to lecture me about anything, Leo. We are not sixteen anymore and you are not the perfect oldest son that has authority over the rest of us." He took a deep breath. "If it were up to me, I would let you burn in this private hell you created for yourself. But it's not up to me. I've been sent to bring you home. Splinter is dying."

I had never seen my dad cry, but right now I think he was just seconds away from a complete collapse. Whoever Splinter was, he must mean an awful lot to him. And Raphael looked pretty smug for someone who just delivered such horrible news. It was like he was taking great pleasure in Dad's pain.

Dad backed up until he was against a wall and then slid down with his face in his hands. I went to sit beside him, telling myself it was to offer comfort, but knowing it was just to get away from Raphael.

"Dad?" I said quietly. He didn't seem to hear me.


I looked up at Mom's voice to see her coming down the stairs. "Mom. Dad..." I didn't know what to say. I didn't know who Splinter was and why his death would be such a blow to my father. I looked up to Raphael, but he said nothing to explain. He didn't even look at her.

"Go to bed, Ren," she said.

I stood up slowly and gestured to Dad. "But..."

"Your Father will be fine," she assured me. "And Raphael was just leaving. Go to bed."

In my opinion, Raphael didn't look like he was going anywhere--at least not without my father.

Mom took me by the hand and led me to the stairs. "But," I tried again to explain what I didn't understand. "Dad's going with..."

"He's not going anywhere, Ren," she said firmly.

At that, Raphael's turned a laser glare on my mother. "Listen, bitch..."

"Raphael," Dad said from the floor. He looked to have gained some control over his grief and his eyes became as hard as stone. "Leave my home. Now."

Raphael was at a loss for words. "You mean that you can't bring youself to go to him? Even now? When he's dying?"

"Ren, go to bed," Mom ordered pushing me upstairs. I looked back and saw my dad get to his feet as Raphael continued, growing angrier.

"You look me in the eye you worthless piece of shit and tell me you're going to let Splinter die without giving him even a simple apology!" I gasped because Raphael had him pinned against the wall. Mother hurried me along trying to block my view.

"This is my family now, Raphael," my father said with conviction. "Please tell Sensei..." He got no further than that. I didn't even see the blow, but the next thing I knew, Dad was on his knees coughing, trying to get the breath back that was knocked out of him. Before my mother was able to push me completely from sight, I saw Raphael lean over him and I heard him growl.

"Don't call him Sensei. You are no student of his and no brother of mine."

( "shushi miren" literally means "meaning regret". Raphael was asking Leonardo if the name Ren was short for miren----regret)