A/n: Thank you Amonrapheonix and DarkUnderworld for continuing to beta this story. It wouldn't be the same without you and I am grateful for your help.
"Alright Raph, slowly extend your leg forward." I coaxed gently.
"I can't it's all stiff," Raphael growled in frustration, glaring daggers down at his bandaged leg.
"Okay, if that's too hard, try to extend your arm for me," I said, carefully monitoring Raphael's movements, keeping my eyes open for any signs of pain.
Raphael slowly extended his arm forward, gritting his teeth in pain. I saw a spasm travel through his arm, making it twitch slightly, but he was able to hold the position, which was a good sign.
"Good, now try to rotate it out to the side," I instructed.
Raphael grunted and bit the inside of his cheek, but he managed to move his arm out to his side and held it straight with only the slightest quiver.
"That's really good, Raph," I smiled encouragingly, scribbling a few notes down in my notebook. "You're making progress."
"'Bout time," Raphael grumbled.
"Healing takes time, Raph," I explained patiently, feeling sympathy towards my brother. "The movement in your arm is coming along greatly. I'd give it another two to three weeks and you should be right as rain."
"An' what about my leg?" Raphael asked quietly. "How much longer will that take?"
I found myself avoiding my brother's eyes as I slowly started to re-dress his bandages.
"If we work on it every day, maybe three or four months," I mumbled quickly.
"Four months! You have to be fucking kidding?" Raph thundered in disbelief.
"I'm sorry, Raph," I sighed tiredly, leaning back in my chair. "But your leg injury is very complex. You're lucky I was able to fix it with pins. Any worse and I would have had to amputate it."
"Isn't there something you can do?" Raphael pleaded. "Some medicine I could take or something?"
"I'm sorry, Raph," I repeated. "Only time and patience."
~Master Splinter's POV~
I could not help but study my son closely as he moved awkwardly around the kitchen. Donatello had told me earlier this afternoon that Raphael's physiotherapy lesson had been tense, and my red-masked son had not liked the news that it would take a few months for him to fully recover; and even then he may still have a slight limp to his gait, possibly for life.
I could see the anger and frustration in Raphael's tense shoulders, and I knew, with a sinking feeling in my gut, that it would not be long until Raphael had another meltdown.
The incident that had occurred at the dinner table last week was still fresh in my mind, as I was sure it was still fresh in my son's. Raphael hated showing any signs of weakness, and last night we had all caught him in such a moment.
My heart went out to my second oldest son. I had nearly lost him, and I had no doubt that it was only his acute stubbornness that had kept him from leaving us that horrific night.
The sound of the kettle whistling broke through my thoughts and brought my attention back to the present.
"Raphael, could you please hand me my cup?" I asked quietly.
"Sure, Sensei," Raphael said, reaching up into the cupboard where all our glasses were kept.
I watched as he very carefully pulled down my usual tea mug. There was nothing particularly attractive about the mug. A long time ago, it had once been white. Now, it was a faded sort of yellow colour, and chipped in several places. Many would wonder why I would use such a cup, but the fact was that the cup is very dear to me; and one of my most prized possessions. It was a gift given to me by my sons for Christmas when they were just small children. They must have found it out on one of their romps through the sewers and brought it home. They had cleaned it with extra care, and had each drawn a little something on the sides of the cup. Leonardo had drawn a picture of a small turtle wearing a blue mask holding hands with an aged rat in a red robe. Donatello had drawn some sort of computer looking device. Michelangelo had drawn a smiley face and Raphael had drawn a bright red sun.
"Here ya' go, Sensei," Raphael said, slowly hobbling over to the table where I was sitting.
I could see the whole thing in my mind before it happened, like it was in slow motion. Raphael's grip on his crutches was strained, his weak arm starting to spasm. Stumbling on his good leg, he fell off balance and accidentally put his weight on his bad leg. A pained cry was ripped from his throat as his leg buckled awkwardly and he collapsed to the ground in a bone jarring heap. The cup went flying from his hands and landed with a splintering crackon the floor a few meters away. Chips of colourful porcelain went flying, catching the light and covering the floor like a cracked eggshell.
"Raphael, are you alright my son?" I asked anxiously as I quickly got to my feet and knelt next to my fallen son.
Raphael made a strangled noise in the back of his throat, which sounded like a pained sob. He ignored my words as he dragged himself over to where the shattered cup lay, picking up the broken pieces in shaking hands. On one piece, I could see half a red sun clutched in Raphael's dark green hands.
"I'm so sorry, Sensei!" Raphael gasped, trying to scoop up all the fragments and put them back together again. "I didn't mean-"
"It was an accident," I said soothingly, placing a paw comfortingly on his shaking shoulders. "It's alright, Raphael,"
I felt my son flinch at my gentle touch, and try to pull away. "No, it's not alright!" He shouted, his amber eyes glittering with tears and a pain I couldn't even begin to describe. "That cup was special; we gave it to you for Christmas. Hell, it was the only thing we couldgive you, and now look at it! I broke it, just like I break everything else!"
"Raphael, you must not think like that," I murmured, trying to calm my aggravated son. "It was an accident. Accidents happen all the time. I'm sure Donatello will be able to fix it."
"That's not the point," Raphael whispered hoarsely, his amber eyes fixed on what remained of the cup.
"Master Splinter? Is everything alright?" My eldest son asked anxiously
I turned to see Leo hovering in the doorway, his brow creased and his eyes shining with obvious concern.
"Leonardo," I said, slowly rising to my feet and holding my hand out for Raphael."I believe that it would be wise for all of you to get some air."
"Sensei?" Leo frowned in confusion as it wasn't common of me to suggest that my sons go up to the surface world.
"You have all been cooped up in the lair for a long time, perhaps too long. Take your brothers to get some air, Leonardo. Take care of them, and help Raphael,"
I could feel Raphael's amber eyes bore into me as I said that, but I knew it was the truth. It would be much easier if Leo left without Raphael, but I also knew that if Raphael stayed down here for much longer, a lot more was going to be broken than a cup.
"I will, Sensei," Leonardo bowed his head respectively, though there was a small voice inside his head that was telling him not to go out tonight. It was telling him that if he and his brothers didgo topside tonight, there would be someone there waiting for them.
But he didn't voice his doubts as he too saw the distress in Raphael's eyes. He only hoped that this time, the little voice inside his head was wrong.