No Place to Call Home

By Machias Banshee

Chapter One

Sleep. Five minutes of sleep, that was probably all he wanted. Hell, that was all I wanted, but that wasn't going to happen. With Leonardo's usual bout of shithead-itis and me trying to get to my room after spending the night patrolling, well, let's just say Splinter wasn't in his normal 'cheerful' morning mood. He was still tying his robe when he entered the living room where Leo and I were. Here, I'll do a flashback for ya…

I crept in through the door as quietly as I could. I paused to catch my breath, as I had just about run the whole way from Casey's corner. I hung my coat and fedora and made my way through the living room toward the hall. The living room was still dark, which meant no one was up yet.

I made it to the door of my room, when a hand fell on my shoulder. I spun around to find Leo looking at me. Either he had been sleeping on the couch, or he had been in the dojo practicing for only God knows why at this time. Either way, it was a bad sign.

"Shit Leo, what the hell are you doing?" I groaned, lowering my guard.

"What are you doing?" He asked in a low hiss. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

"Its time for me to go to bed, which I'm trying to do right now" I remarked. I just wanted some sleep, so I kept my talking to a minimum. He leaned an arm across the doorway, barring my entry.

'Let me through, Leo," I said, narrowing my eyes. "It's too damn early in the morning to start arguing and shit, okay?"

"No. Where have you been?" he snapped. Even in the dark, I could see him glaring at me. "Splinter's been going nuts wondering where you were, and I had to tell him I didn't know. I looked like an idiot, thanks to you."

"I was out, and you already were an idiot," I replied as I headed back out to the living room. Any arguing in the hall was sure to wake the others up, and that was the last thing I needed at this moment. I did my best to ignore him. I grabbed one of the couch pillows and the overthrow on the back. I half fell onto the couch, pulling the blanket over my head.

"Don't give me that bull, 'I was out'… Splinter ended up giving ME hell because I didn't know where YOU were," He started. He whipped off my blanket and tossed it into Splinter's recliner.

"Dammit, Leo." I got back to my feet, feeling more and more annoyed.

"If you think you're going to just come in and out at whatever time you please," he hissed, pointing his finger in my face, "you got another thing coming."

"You know damn well that I go hang with Casey whenever I can," I said, slapping his hand from my face. "Besides, you're not my father, so quit talking like you are, or 'you got another thing coming'" I replied, using my best 'Leo voice'.

"Why the hell are you always like this," he said shaking his head. "Mike and Don are never this much trouble…"

"I prefer not having my head halfway up your ass all the time. What, is holding your 'Ani Powers' over them not enough, so you gotta harass me now?"

"No, because what you do hinders us as a group!"

"The fuck? Where the hell do you get off telling me that I'M the one screwing up all the time?"

"WE always have to worry about where the hell you are. WE are the ones who have to try and track you down constantly. WE are the ones who don't know when you sneak off in the middle of the night." He said, clenching his jaw. "If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't even HAVE some of the problems we do!"

"Bullshit!" I snarled, "Me going out with Casey to clear the streets of gangs and shit is not causing problems!"

"You not being here is. Its like you don't even want to be a part of us. You're always going off on your own, like you don't wanna even wanna BE here!" He groaned in disgust, "If you're in such a goddamn hurry to go, then why don't you leave already..."

"Fuck you, Leo! You don't know what I'm—"

The sound of someone clearing their throat caused us both to turn.

'Kay, back to the present…

I threw Leo a dirty look as Splinter approached us, still trying to tame his case of bed—face. Uh, yeah…Well, let me just say now that I pretty much knew that I was gonna be the one to blame…

"Master, I caught him sneaking into the lair, again. It's the third time this week!" Leo started.

See? I knew this was coming. It happens every time that Leo doesn't like something that I do. Most of his first sentences to Splinter are usually this whiny shit. 'Tattling' on me, or ratting on me, somehow. Heh, bad pun there.

I know what you're thinking, 'But you two NEVER get along'. Well, yeah, Leo and me are always doin' that sibling rivalry junk. We don't hate each other's guts, though I'm starting to get towards that point.

This past week had been just frickin' ridiculous. Constantly on my back over every damn little issue, not hesitating to point out my screw-ups. Everyday had either began or ended with an argument. I was getting fed up with it, and so was everyone else. But I was the one to get the finger pointed at. I remember one sarcastic remark I made about him being good as a lawyer—fact twisting, blood-sucking parasite that he is. And today definitely wasn't in my favor either…

Splinter then folded his arms and turned to me, dark rings of no sleep under his eyes. He must have been waiting up for me last night too. I could tell what was coming even before he said anything.

"Raphael, where have you been? Your brothers and I have been worried about you," he started, straining back a yawn. Leo just kept glaring at me the whole time, but even he had that 'no sleep' look on his face.

"Come on, Sensei, It's not like I've been out robbing mini-marts and shit," I groaned. Leo stepped towards me, poking me in the shoulder with a finger.

"Try talking with some sort of respect," He said with a sneer. I swatted his hand away and growled low in my throat.

"I ain't talking to you, so shut up," I barked. He glared at me and I curled my lip at him. He went to move forward when strong hands pulled us apart. I looked away from Leo to see Mike and Don up watching us, sleep still blurring their wakefulness. Mike clutched his old teddy bear in one arm, rubbing his eyes with one hand. Don just had a zombie-ish look, mumbling incoherently. Splinter had a hand on each of our shoulders, frowning. He then turned Leo towards the hall, looking at the other two as well.

"Go back to bed, all of you, it is still very early", Splinter ordered, giving Leo a push in the direction of the bedrooms. I was about to go when Splinter held me back. He then gave me 'the look', and I groaned inwardly.

"Raphael, come with me...we must talk." He said.