So I wrote this last November and never really got around to posting it. I just found it again, and still think it's pretty interesting- the writing probably isn't my best ever, but I still like it, to be honest. And, just for the record, I knew and still know virtually nothing about the upcoming 2012 series, so, if worst comes to worst continuity-wise, it can be interpreted as 2003 Don talking to one of his many counterparts. (Which is to say that this is post-Turtles Forever and there are spoilers. You've been warned.)
Donatello had never been one for meditation.
It was one thing to understand the concept behind it, but another thing entirely to sit in the dojo for ages, slowly going numb. Yes, it was supposed to help clear the mind. Yes, it was an exercise in patience and focus… and no, he was not good at it. To Don, it seemed like a waste of time—what good would it do to organize your thoughts if you could be bringing those same ideas to life?
Frankly, he rarely used meditation time appropriately—a fact that Splinter had caught onto. Most of the time, the purple-banded turtle just let his mind wander; 'What could I do to improve the security system?', 'What if I rebuilt Mike's old toy car so it could run on the ceiling?', 'How can I keep Leo away from the blender?'… but, every now and then—usually when he'd stayed up into the wee hours of the morning working on a project—he simply fell asleep. Of course, his brothers never failed to give him a hard time, whenever this happened, despite (or, perhaps, because of) the fact that, excepting Leo, he had the best track record when it came to the exercise. He wasn't one of the turtles who consistently used meditation as nap-time—come to think of it, maybe that was why Master Splinter rarely said anything about his daydreaming… at least Donnie was using the block to some effect.
There were those rare occasions where he found himself using this time for the intended purpose, though. He never really meant to do it…it just sort of happened. This was one of those times.
True, Don wasn't particularly familiar with the astral plane, but he could recognize the eerie blankness he always associated with it. Why Leonardo spoke so fondly of the realm, though, he'd never understand. There was probably some key concept that he'd yet to discover… but, for once, he held no interest in finding out what that was.
This sort of 'oogie-boogie-mystical-stuff' (to use Mike's terminology) set the young genius on edge. It took rock solid concepts and turned them to dust, shaking the very foundation he stood on. Science told him that it was impossible to do so many things, but the spiritual stuff told him otherwise. To be totally honest, that wasn't what irked Don so much—he could take the news that the laws of physics weren't always correct. What bothered him was his tolerance of such 'nonsensical' things. He didn't bat an eye at things that should be impossible, and, as an engineer (though his brothers liked to call him a scientist in general) he should've been disturbed by contradicting evidence.
In all of Mikey's cartoons, men of science ranted and raved, denied evidence they'd witnessed firsthand if the 'truth' was opposed… but Don didn't feel any of that denial.
Maybe the answer laid in the phrasing itself: "men of science". It was hard to say that something couldn't exist when one was a giant, talking turtle…
Back in the astral here-and-now, Donnie sighed. The omnipresent whiteness failed to respond to this.
"Why can't we ever do anything normal?" He blankly asked the expanse at large.
"Normality is overrated." A voice from behind him helpfully provided, "What fun is it, sitting around and repairing half of the appliances in the lair?"
Don jumped at the sudden noise and whirled around to face the speaker… only to end up staring at himself. He blinked and rubbed at his eyes—sending his mask askew—but that failed to have any effect on the sight before him. His doppelganger laughed, not mockingly, but genuinely amused by the absurd situation… and, quite suddenly, Donnie realized that they weren't mirror images. Their skin tones were different, for one thing, and the other had clearly seen more than his fair share of combat, evidenced by the scars that decorated his form. Eyes wandering to a particularly prominent scar on the other's leg, he couldn't help but wonder what the shell was going on here.
"This isn't what Master Splinter meant in those lectures about 'finding yourself', is it?" He finally asked, before the corniness of the question sunk in, and he slapped his forehead. What, was he channeling Mikey?
"Probably not." The olive green turtle admitted, still chuckling. "But at this point, who cares?"
"So…uh, you're me?" Don hesitantly asked, uncertainly returning the smile.
"Not quite—we're dimensional counterparts. Definitely similar, but not the same." The foreign entity rolled his eyes—grey, the mind's owner belatedly realized, just like his own—and sighed before tagging on, "Otherwise we'd both be trying to build dimensional portals out of flashlights… and using wrenches like hammers…"
There was a disbelieving silence; Donatello honestly had no idea how to respond to that.
"Hey, it's happened!" His counterpart guaranteed, "I've seen it happen…unfortunately. That entire dimension was messed up, though—it's hard to blame him…"
The other sighed, apparently realizing how far he'd gotten off topic, "Well, now I'm just making a mess of this… Did Master Splinter ever tell you that it's personal experience that defines character? It's an awful lot like that…"
"No, he never said that—at least, not that I remember—but that sounds like my father." Don hesitated, wondering if it was appropriate to be asking the next question, "Are the others the same in your world, too?"
The olive green turtle snorted at the query, worrying the mind's owner, "Oh gee, is Mikey still a hyperactive prankster, Leo an over protective leader, and Raph… I dunno, Raph still Raph? Yeah, definitely."
As soon as one question was answered, though, another was supplied.
"How old are you?"
"Almost eighteen," Came a reply almost as prompt, "I don't know if time is very consistent throughout dimensions, though. I once ended up in a world thirty years ahead of my own."
"And when you said that we have different experiences…"
"Hey now, I can't answer something like that! Who knows what it would do to your world?" It was clear that a non-answer wouldn't be tolerated, though, "Things just got crazy for awhile. Trust me, I've met plenty of our counterparts—we've all got unique stories to tell… yours just hasn't begun, yet."
Donatello sighed, unsure whether or not that was supposed to be reassurance or a warning. "And this is why I don't like meditation."
The other simple gestured vaguely, apparently an indication of unenthusiastic agreement. "At least you aren't stuck with those freaky visions, though. That's more Master Splinter or Leo's specialty…" Even as he said this, he seemed to regret it, which became even more obvious as a long shadow was cast over the pristine whiteness.
"Stupid, Donatello, stupid, stupid, stupid! Turtle luck, how many times does Raph need to say it?"
The mind's owner ignored the near-cursing of his counterpart, though… mostly because he couldn't tear his gaze away from the armored silhouette he was standing in the middle of. Even as he watched, the shadow raised one gauntleted fist- with a wicked looking set of claws attached- and froze, looking almost regal in his gesture. As soon as it had come, though, it was gone again, with a crack like lightning, and Don finally looked back toward the other turtle. He was still berating himself.
"I…what was that?"
Freezing mid-admonition, sighed, weighing his options. "It wasn't good," He finally said, "Not in the slightest."
Almost before the words were spoken, the plane suddenly seemed much less substantial… almost flickering in and out of existence.
"Shell…" The other 'swore', "Well, that's my cue to figure out how I got here, and get the heck out. See ya!"
"My son, I asked if you are alright."
Don failed to respond, suddenly feeling hopelessly confused. One thing was for certain, though, this was definitely the real world, now. None of his brothers succeeded in hiding their curiosity—it was blatant, to be perfectly honest.
"Uh…" The purple banded brother finally managed, "What just happened?"
Splinter sighed, visibly relieved by the fact that nothing serious appeared to have happened. As the rat declared that meditation time was over—and gently pulled his mechanically inclined son aside, hoping to understand what had transpired—Donnie knew what his next project was going to be. He wanted to meet his counterpart again—and not any of them, the Donatello that he'd just had a conversation with.
…What had he said about a flashlight and wrench, again?
Quite some time later, in a completely different dimension, with a not-so-different family, it was a fairly typical night. Raphael was in the garage, tinkering with his bike, Leo was reading in the living room—occasionally accompanied by Michelangelo, who was attempting to make himself a snack while still watching his television program—and Don was at his workstation, designing something that nobody really understood.
Well, it was a fairly normal evening until Mikey screamed (though that in itself wasn't out-of-the-ordinary, either).
"Donnie…? You're in the kitchen…"
Nobody had to look to predict Don's deadpan reaction, "Mikey, that doesn't make any sen…oh."
Leonardo smirked, and looked up from his book as the note of comprehension reached him. True to form, the purple-banded brother was headed toward the kitchen, having realized that Mike really wasn't insane—at least, not yet—to greet their other-worldly guest.
"You didn't mistake your screwdriver for—wait, what are you doing here?"
That wasn't how it was supposed to go. Usually, Donnie would make up some wacky claim, and his counterpart from that bizarre dimension would sheepishly admit that it wasn't too far off the mark. Instead, what the leader heard was:
"Uh… you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Dude, think about who you're talking to." Mikey chimed in, apparently having gotten over his initial shock.
His curiosity effectively piqued, Leo set the book down, and headed for the kitchen. Sure enough, they had a visitor… and yes, it was Don, but not any of the counterparts they'd met before…
The leader glanced at his olive green sibling, who was focused on something else entirely.
"Why do you have… please tell me it's a coincidence that you ended up here holding a flashlight and a wrench."
The younger of the two shrugged, looking embarrassed, "It was Mikey's fault, honest."