Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Character/Pairing: Splinter, Donatello, Ensemble
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words: Say What Friday: "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing." -- Socrates
Word Count: 1,325
Date Written: 1 September 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
One roving eye looks at two turtles and one, old rat, all deep in meditation. The turtle dressed in red seems as unable to concentrate as the master of the roaming eye, but his eyes are shut tight in hard concentration. Donatello sighs, shuts his eyes, and once again tries his best to clear his mind of all thoughts. If Raphael can pretend to meditate, he can at least try.
He manages to sit still for an entire ten minutes this time before both his eyes pop open and a loud, frustrated sigh escapes him, all before he can stop it. His beloved Sensei’s ears prick instantly forward. Splinter opens his eyes and looks across the path at him. His tail swishes, but if he sighs, Donatello doesn’t hear him. In fact, he shows no further signs of frustration. “My dear, intelligent son, you still can not clear your mind, can you?”
Donnie shakes his head in frustration. “There’s just so much I could be doing right now, Master Splinter! This seems like a waste of time!” Donatello grimaces, realizing he’s said those words he’s always tried to keep to himself aloud. He lowers his head, half expecting to feel the hard thwack of his master’s cane.
Splinter does sigh this time as he runs his fingers through his long, grey beard. He rises to his feet and begins to pace in the circle between his sons. “I know it is very difficult for you to clear your mind, Donatello,” he admits to the brightest of his four teenagers. “Your vastly intelligent brain is always full of so many ideas. However, meditation is a skill you need to be able to call upon. There will be times in your life when you need it as a method of escape, I fear, and if nothing else, you may need it to be able to commune with the spirits around you, your own brothers, and to find answers that may not otherwise reveal themselves to you.”
He remembers one of his own Sensei’s teachings, True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. A successful Ninja had to always be prepared for everything he thought he knew to be turned upside down, for the world itself to be turned upside down. He must be able to take all the knowledge he believes he possesses with a grain of salt, something Splinter secretly fears Donatello may never be able to learn to do. His mind is vastly intelligent, but at the same time, in some ways, it holds him back.
Splinter well remembers having his own world turned upside down, losing everything he’d ever known and loved from his betrothed to his entire country. It had not been too long after that that he had finished losing everything he knew when he had lost, or so he’d feared at the time, his humanity. Now he knows that humanity is a concept rather than simply the status of being one of a species. Not all members of the human species possess humanity as it is known, and there are far many more animals who possess the qualities for which that term is supposed to stand than actual, living humans in the land in which he now resides.
If he had not been able to let go of all he had once known, Splinter fears he may well never have been able to adapt his new life, let alone raise four turtle boys who have come to mean the world to him. Knowledge is great for many things, but it can also be one’s downfall. He continues to pace, twisting his hands behind his back as Donatello sits before him, his head still bowed, in shame. He feels Raphael crack an eye open, but his son with the anger management issues shuts his eye quickly when he turns to him.
Splinter clearly his voice, but Raphael doesn’t dare reopen his eyes. Mikey’s stomach rumbles. Splinter turns toward him, but Michelangelo is feigning well the art of meditation. Knowing his youngest son, however, Splinter has no doubt whatsoever that the subject upon which he’s meditating is as many different kinds of pizzas as his eager, hungry mind can create.
Splinter smiles, an answer coming to him. He returns swiftly to Donatello’s side. Even Leonardo has had to learn the many, varied skills of the ninja in steps. The first step has often been helping his students to recognize the benefits of the particular skills on which they were working at the time. Meditation, he knows, should be no different.
“Instead of simply clearing your mind, Donatello, let us concentrate instead of only one item of your choosing. Meditation can often lead us to the answers we may not otherwise find. I know, with as many projects as you constantly having happening at any given time, there is bound to be something puzzling you about at least one of them.”
He walks behind him and begins to gently massage the ridges at the top of his brown shell. “Close your eyes, my son,” his soft voice almost purrs in Donnie’s ear. His tail whisks behind him, but Splinter determinedly takes the lesson slow, giving Donnie the time he needs. “Choose one thing you which to resolve, one problem you want to fix more than any other at this time.”
Donnie tenses for a moment, but as Splinter continues to massage his shell, he feels him begin to relax. “Do you have your item?” Donnie murmurs his agreement. “Good.” Splinter’s tail whisks behind him again, but he ignores the impatient instincts of his own inner self. “Now focus on it. Let everything else go. Remember this one thing. See a white light around the item. Focus. Focus. Let go of everything else. Only remember this one thing. Be one with the item. Reach from within yourself to find the area you wish to fix -- “
Donatello goes lax underneath Splinter’s paws. He stops rubbing and lifts his hands. He is just about to move away when Donnie’s bright eyes pop back open. “I have it, Master Splinter! I have it! I know how to fix the instrument Michelangelo wanted to prevent us from having to eat our leftover pizza cold! All we need is something to implement high-frequency electromagnetic waves . . . “
Donatello’s already out the door of the dojo and running down the hall to his laboratory. Splinter shakes his head and laughs softly. He should have known the answer to his son’s dilemma would involve not only his own projects but pizza as well. These boys he loves so dearly almost seem to wrap their entire worlds around pizza!
He looks back at Raphael, just as Raph shuts his eyes again. He taps his cane on the floor. “Dismissed,” he announces.
“‘Bout time,” Raph mutters, rolling to his feet. He stomps out of the dojo even as Mikey springs up to his feet.
“Man, I’m starving! Anybody else starving? I’m going for pizza! Who wants to come?”
Even Leonardo’s eyes pop open at the “p” word. “Pizza? Did you say pizza?”
“Of course, dude! Want some?”
Leo bounces to his feet. “Are turtles green?”
“Cowabunga! Pizza, here we come!”
Splinter shakes his head as his children run past him, each forgetting to bow at the end of their lesson. He is about to begin his own private meditation session when Leonardo charges back into the dojo, stops abruptly before him, bows swiftly, and then runs back after Michelangelo. Splinter shakes his head again, but then he laughs, long and deep. The sound resonates through their home. True knowledge may exist in knowing you know nothing, but the way to a teenager’s attention span will always be through their stomachs. He smiles and lets his boys be boys as he settles in for what should be a nice, long, and quiet meditation session while his children are gone to procure their favorite delight.