Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Character/Pairing: Splinter, Rufus, Mikey
Challenge/Prompt: fffc r18.03: Color
Word Count: 1,264
Date Written: 7 February 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
“I think the worst time,” Splinter said, leaning forward in confession to his dearest friend outside of his adopted family as his long, wiry tail swishes beneath his oversized trench coat, “was the first time Mikey made pizza.”
Rufus started laughing immediately, even before Splinter could really begin to tell the story. “I bet that was a sight!” He grinned at his friend and waited patiently for him to tell him what exactly he had walked in on that fateful day.
“Donatello had not been too long made our oven. He created it from spare parts and ovens that people in better living conditions than our own simply tossed away when they began to malfunction. It had only been used on very few occasions at that time. He’d made breakfast for us twice. I had attempted to use it once but had not had very much luck with it while Leonardo had managed to burn water when attempting to make tea.”
Rufus’ chuckling cut the old rat off again. “I always thought that was just one of those old wives’ tales!” he exclaimed, wiping tears from his blind eyes. “I didn’t think people could actually burn water!”
“Leonardo has managed to do so,” Splinter admitted, sharing in Rufus’ chuckle, “on more than one occasion. Donatello and Michelangelo are really the only ones who appear to have any luck using that device, but I am thankful for the food it provides us.”
“Of course,” Rufus agreed, nodding and growing serious again.
“But I most certainly wasn’t that day!” Splinter exclaimed, chuckling again. His tail thumped the bench upon which he sat. “None of us had had any idea that Michelangelo was going to attempt to make pizza himself, but I admit I should have seen it coming from the very moment Donatello first revealed the oven to us. Michelangelo has always had a love for food. He is very passionate about good meals, and pizza will always be his absolute favorite food. As he told me after the chaos had calmed and his mess had been cleaned, he had only wanted to provide, in his own way, for his family. Two of his older brothers and I had been out all day, you see, and Donatello had been holed up working on another project. We all know he can spend hours in his laboratory.”
“Your son really is a genius! It’s a shame he hasn’t gotten anything patented yet!”
“Donatello rightly fears what some people, especially some corporations or even the government, might attempt to do with some of his inventions. He does not seek to achieve patents. That is the only reason why he is not already famous across the world.”
“He could be the next Benjamin Franklin.”
“He already is the next Benjamin Franklin, and I must admit, my dear friend, that he is not the only one loathe to get his inventions and his genius involved with the government and other agencies. I fully believe he is helping the world best right from our humble home. Regardless, we are getting away from my tale concerning Michelangelo.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. Tell me about it, Splinter.”
“We entered our home that day just in time to hear an explosion. I left my boys alone, racing to the kitchen for I knew that was the source of the sound. It was indeed an explosion -- and a very colorful one at that!” He chuckled, leaning back and allowing his tail to swish again.
“He exploded the stove?”
“Not quite. Somehow -- I suppose perhaps he applied too much heat -- he exploded the pizza! At first, however, I was caught with terror, because his hands were covered in tomato sauce.”
“You thought something had happened and he’d been hurt.”
“Precisely. I was afraid the sauce was his blood, but when Michelangelo lifted his eyes, big and full of concern that he was about to be punished for his catastrophe, I needed to look no further than the ceiling for an explanation of what had happened. Reds of sausages, pepperoni, and more tomato sauce, yellows and whites of cheeses, purple and yellow onions, green peppers . . . The ceiling was covered in that and more.”
“And,” he continued to confess, smiling and his tail whisking once more, “no sooner had I stepped to Michelangelo’s side than a piece of cheese dripped off of the ceiling and landed on my head!”
“Oh! I bet you were mad!”
“Of course I was! Michelangelo offered to go ahead and clean his mess, but I commanded flips from him right then and there. After his second set, which came after he had single handedly cleaned the entire kitchen, he finally confessed that he’d been hungry, had known we would be hungry upon returning, and had merely wanted to have a fine dinner waiting for us!”
“Did you feel bad?”
“A little, but I must be stern with my boys. There are many teachings, including that Bible you so love, that illustrate the benefits of discipline and warn of what can happen without proper disciplinaries. It is necessary to teach a boy how to become a good man.”
“You have nothing to worry about there!” Rufus hooted. “You’re the sternest father I’ve ever known!” Sensing Splinter’s sudden unease, Rufus hurried to add, “But it’s only because you love your boys so much, Splinter. I understand that. Heck, I wish my own father had been more like you! Maybe then I wouldn’t have wasted my eyesight while I had it!”
Splinter reached across the table and grasped Rufus’ hand. The other man never pulled away or hesitated even when he felt Splinter’s thin, gray fur or the occasional graze of his claws. “For a man who has no sight, my friend, you see more than most humans will in their entire lifetimes.”
“Don’t you mean people?”
“You said humans. Don’t you mean people?”
“Yes.” Splinter smiled. “Yes, of course I do. There is a higher force in this world, Rufus. Some call it God. Some call it Fate. Call it what you will, there are reasons why we are sometimes left to do without something we feel should not be taken from us. In your case, taking your eyesight -- “
“ -- has taught me a lot of things.” Rufus smiled and nodded sagely. “And allowed me to meet a lot of people I might not have otherwise met, like you and, I hope, one day, your sons.”
Splinter’s smile grew. “It can be difficult to get us all together in one place,” he agreed, “but I would like that.” He had always been concerned about Rufus meeting his sons, but he could tell that his friend, even if and when he discovered the truth about them, would never exploit them or turn from them. He was a good man, inside and out, but if it had not been for his lack of eyesight, they never would have had the chance to develop their friendship. Nearly every other person they meet runs from them with but one look, but Rufus had had to look inside of him long before he’d ever felt his fur or a claw. He’d already known him as a friend before he could suspect how different he was or the myriad of reasons why others would have long ago ran from him. Perhaps he could introduce his sons to him one day after all.
Splinter reached down and moved one of his chess pieces. “And in the meantime, checkmate.”
Rufus didn’t look disappointed. He simply set about preparing their next game.