Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Character/Pairing: Raphael, Splinter, Donatello(/OFCs), Mikey
Challenge/Prompt: puzzleprompts August 2018: ALL:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
Power Hour: Shapeshifting, aliens hiding their true forms
Creature Feature: Beewomen
Classified Section: Leo and April going undercover
Sports and Rec: Climbing (a ladder)
What's My Line: Get down with the victim/We both know you need them
Mother Nature: "Concrete" Jungle
Random Descriptor: Father!Splinter, BigBrother!Raphael
Random Object: Casey's hockey Mask and Mikey's clown Mask
Word Count: 2,559
Date Written: 1 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
They lined up before him, majestic, blonde beauties as far as his eyes could see. Donatello gulped, his little tail twitching nervously, as they all smiled at him. He gripped his bo staff harder and wished his brothers were near. He licked his dry lips and attempted again to speak to them in their language. “Can I help you?” he asked, carefully pronouncing each buzzed word.
The Amazons’ leader smiled at him. “Of course you can,” she buzzed back, her wings fluttering. She sashayed up to him and ran her hands over his bare plastron. “We want you to father a whole new race.” It was all Donatello could do to keep his jaw from dropping wide open in shock. “We want you to mate with us and create Anthodines.” Her bold hands caressed lower spots on his shell as she whispered against his beak, “Then we’ll take the galaxies by storm.”
“I -- “ He gulped hard and fought for control of his own mind. “I-I’m sorry, but I have no interest in -- in conquering the galaxy.”
She pulled back and looked sternly up at him. “If you want to play it that way -- “
“I must -- “ he started to explain, but his words of wise and calm explanation were drowned out by her buzzing scream of command to her soldiers.
Three of the Amazons caught him immediately. One muscular beauty on each side of him pinned the turtle’s arms to his shell while the third forcibly spun him around and made him bend down, revealing the openings at the end of his shell to their Queen. Somehow, he could see her transformation even though his back was to her. The human parts of her seemed to fall away. Giant pincers gnashed from her mouth as her rear end became a huge, striped abdomen with an equally huge stinger. He screamed as she closed in. Pain ripped through his body the moment she touched him. The other Amazons buzzed and applauded as their Queen took what they all felt to be rightfully theirs. Donatello writhed, wept, and screamed.
Raphael was fuming as he climbed the ladder down into the sewer. The surface world was hot and sticky tonight, full of chaos and crime, and New York had definitely earned its nickname of the Concrete Jungle. The city was full of crazies, and it seemed to only get worse with each passing night. Casey Jones had damn sure gone nuts behind his hockey mask if he truly believed the words he’d thrown at Raph tonight. He didn’t need the victims! He didn’t need to save lives to make him feel good about himself! He didn’t save people for himself. He saved them because he could, because somebody had to, because they needed a hero, and he was one of a very few beings in this crime-ravaged town who could actually fight back.
“Blasted nutjob,” Raphael muttered underneath his breath as he let go of the slimed bars and jumped the last few feet down into the sewer. He made a face as green water splashed beneath him, but he barely had time to identify the muck in which he was standing before another voice was screaming. His head snapped up, his eyes narrowing. Those were his brothers’ screams!
Cussing a blue streak, Raphael ran as though his own life depending on him reaching Donnie and Mikey in time. He should never have left them alone, he thought, not while Leonardo and April were undercover trying to figure out what the Shredhead was up to next and especially not to save mere human lives! He cared about the humans, yes, and not because he needed them, which he didn’t. He cared about them, because they were living beings and most of them were not able to defend themselves against the aliens and mutants that kept coming into their city. But they would always be nothing to him when compared to his family!
Raphael’s heart was pounding hard within his shell by the time he made it to the lair. He dashed through their living room, jumping clean over his Sensei’s chair and into the tunnel that led to their bedrooms. Donnie had finally made them seperate rooms with no small amount of help from him as he’d cleared most of the brick and rubble, taking out his frustrations on the manmade objects rather than living beings. Now, however, Raph almost wished that there wasn’t separate rooms. It would be easier to reach everybody if they still slept on the old bunk beds.
He caught a glance of Master Splinter’s long, wiry tail as the old rat dodged ahead of him into Mikey’s room. Donnie had stopped screaming, so Raph followed behind his Sensei, telling himself that he’d check on Donatello in a moment. The second he entered Mikey’s bed chamber, however, he saw why Donatello was no longer screaming. He was holding Michelangelo and rocking their younger brother as Mikey wept and cringed. “It was horrible! Horrible!”
“What was horrible?” Raphael demanded. “Who do I need to beat up?” Before Mike could answer him, however, Raphael stepped on something that squeaked loudly. He leapt into the air and drew his sai as he fell back down. He hit the floor in a fighting stance. Mike and Don looked at him for a moment before bursting out laughing. “What?” he growled. “What’s so damn funny?”
He waved his sai at them, but then he saw what had squeaked and slid underneath his feet. Anger bubbling inside of him, he threw a sai straight into the clown mask’s left eye. “DAMN IT, MIKE!” he roared. “I TOLD YOU TO GET RID OF THAT THING!”
“It can go,” Mikey said, his laughter slowly subsiding, “especially after that dream I just had.” He shivered at the memory.
Raphael noted that even his Sensei was laughing, his thin, furry shoulders shaking underneath his tattered, purple robe. He glared at him but then turned his attention back to Mikey. “You mean to tell me those screams were all about damn dreams?” he demanded furiously.
“Well, yeah,” Mikey answered sheepishly. A slow smile started to spread up his beak. “Don’t tell me you were -- “
“Sh,” Donatello told him, warily watching Raphael. “Raph thought we were in real trouble, Mikey. That’s why he came as fast as he did, and why he’s so angry now. I think . . . I think we spooked him.”
“YOU DID NOT!” Raphael glowered at them one more time, retrieved his sai, and turned away from his brothers. “AND GET RID OF THAT DAMN THING!” he thundered at Mikey again before walking out on them.
Splinter sighed. “Would you two like to sleep together for the remainder of the night?” he asked gently, knowing that Donatello had also experienced some kind of horrid nightmare.
“Yes,” they answered quickly in unison before looking at each other in surprise.
Donatello stooped as Master Splinter turned to walk out of the room. He retrieved Mikey’s clown mask from the cold, concrete floor. “Sensei, please get rid of this,” he requested, holding the mask out to their adopted father.
“Gladly,” Splinter answered, his tail swishing beneath his robe. He looked back at his youngest even as he accepted the offered mask. “But only if Michelangelo is certain? I know you have enjoyed playing with this . . . thing in the mask.”
Mikey shuddered again. “Yeah, but that was before that bad clown we fought last week. Donnie’s right. Raph is too. It needs to go.”
“Very well, my son,” Splinter agreed with a humble incline of his head. He would not throw it away, however; he would simply add it to the ever growing pile of objects his sons thought they no longer needed until Michelangelo was ready for it again. “May you sleep better now,” he said, watching as Donatello climbed into bed beside Michelangelo and took his brother into his arms. He turned out their light and headed after Raphael.
He found his tempermental son fuming in the kitchen as he nibbled on a slice of cold pizza and downed what he thought his Sensei did not know was a can of alcohol. “Raphael,” Splinter called to him and watched as his second oldest son jumped. For just a moment, Raph thought Splinter had figured out that he had a beer, but when his Sensei did not remark on the alcohol, he realized that there was another reason why he was barking his name this night. He took a quick bite of pizza and hoped Splinter was not about to ask him where he had been.
Instead of questioning him, however, Splinter sat down beside him and took an equally cold and soggy slice out of the pizza box. He nibbled on the cheese for a moment, his tail swishing beneath the table as he considered what words he would use. Then, slowly, he began, “There is no shame in being concerned for your brothers.”
“No,” Raph agreed, “but I didn’t know the idiots were freaking out over stupid nightmares!”
“Nightmares can feel very real,” Splinter reminded him gently. He raised his knowing eyes to Raphael’s troubled gaze. “Was it not just a month ago, my son, that I woke you from one?”
“Yeah, but that was when the others were missing,” Raph reminded him. “We didn’t know where they were at, and I -- I was worried.” Actually he had awakened from a nightmare that had felt so real that just remembering it now tightened his throat with unbidden tears. Watching the Shredder kill Mikey, Don, and Leo had felt so real that he had awakened screaming, much as his brothers had tonight. “And I was dreaming of the Shredhead,” he reminded him, “not stupid clowns.”
“We do not know,” Splinter reminded him gently, “what the source of Donatello’s nightmares were. Regardless, whereas a clown may seem innocent to us, it represents something much worse for Michelangelo. He used to love them, you remember. How many times has he dressed as one now?” he asked. “It used to be his favorite costume in which to go trick or treating.”
Raphael’s mouth dropped open.
Splinter’s tail twitched. “Oh, don’t look at me like that. Do you honestly think there was anything you boys did of which I was not aware? I knew how badly you all wanted to be involved in the surface world’s activities, so I followed you discreetly every Halloween when you want out. And I, come to think of it, do not recall Michelangelo ever wearing a costume that was not a clown.”
“You’re right,” Raphael spoke softly, looking down at his beer can. “He didn’t.”
“So you see,” Splinter continued to explain, “clowns mean a great deal more to him than they do to us. They are a sign of his childhood. Yet, just last week, one threatened to kill us all. I am certain I do not need to remind you that that was a very narrow escape, my son.”
“No, you don’t.” At one point, Raphael had truly feared for his brothers’ lives because of that berserker clown, though never for his own. He didn’t care what happened to himself, Raph knew though he’d never told anyone else. He only cared what happened to his family and what he could do to help others.
Casey was wrong, though: he didn’t care about helping others because it made him feel better about himself. His greatest fears still stemmed from his own incapabilities. Not only had he dreamed of the Shredder killing his brothers last month when he’d awakened screaming from that horrid nightmare, but he had watched and felt them all be killed because he had failed to protect them. Just as he’d feared he’d done tonight when he had heard Mikey and Donnie screaming.
“There is no shame,” Splinter said gently, reaching across the table and taking Raphael’s hand in his, “in feeling better about one’s own being because you are able to successfully assist others. There is not even shame in failing, as long as we try. There is only shame in doing nothing with the abilities we have been given.”
Raphael opened his mouth to ask his Sensei about trying but failing to protect his family, but then he quickly shut his beak again. He knew what his father was trying to do, but he wasn’t opening up tonight, not even to him. He would not admit to anyone that he was most afraid of his own failures. “I try -- “ he started to say but then fell silent again.
Splinter leaned closer and gently, reassuringly squeezed his hand. “You try harder than perhaps anyone else I have ever known,” he softly acknowledged, his tail swishing, “and as long as you try with all your might and heart, you have nothing to be afraid or ashamed of, my son.”
Raphael pressed his beak firmly closed. He was not going to cry in front of his father. He was not going to admit that he was afraid his hardest tries would amount to nothing. He was not going to speak of just how afraid he was that the Shredder was going to eventually destroy his family that he feared even closing his eyes out of concern that the Shredder and his cohorts would attack while he slept.
Splinter ate the rest of his pizza slice in silence, which he kept hoping Raphael would penetrate though the young turtle remained stubbornly silent. He kept his hand on his and waited several minutes even after he had finished his impromptu midnight snack. Finally, accepting that Raphael was not yet ready to open up, Splinter squeezed his hand again, stood, released Raphael’s hand, and picked up his can of beer. “You know alcohol inhibits us,” he reminded him gently, “and is strictly forbidden, because it keeps us from being our best.”
Raphael lowered his head. “Yes, Sensei.” He should have seen that one coming, he thought.
“Good night, my son, and do try to sleep. Tomorrow will be a busy day for us, and I shall wake you early for training.”
He started to walk from the room but paused in the doorway. “And, Raphael?”
“No more venturing above ground for tonight.”
Raphael’s face fell into a pout behind his father’s back, but he said only, “Yes, Sensei.” He waited until he was certain Splinter was gone before padding back to Michelangelo’s room. He peeked in on his younger brothers and saw them both sleeping soundly. He watched them for a moment, thinking of going to his own room and warring with himself. He did not want to fall asleep. He did not want to risk having more cruel nightmares, especially not like the one he’d had last month, and nasty dreams did seem to be popular this night.
Finally, he walked into the room and sank down into a crouching position, his shell against the wall. He’d watch over Donnie and Mikey as they slept and make certain no harm came to them, or so he’d thought. He listened to his brothers’ snores rattling for just a few minutes before his eyes slid closed also and he slept right where he was, mere feet from his brothers, his hands already on the hilts of sais, ready, as ever, to protect them with his life.