Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Character/Pairing: Splinter, April
Challenge/Prompt: anythingdrabble 55: Filth
Word Count: 385
Date Written: 30 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
“What?” April asked nervously the moment Splinter stopped walking. The old Sensei lifted his nose in the air and sniffed. His wiry tail gave a funny, little jerk, adding to her worry. “What is it?”
“There’s something here,” he murmured.
Her eyes darted around them, searching for some sign of danger or other trouble. To her surprise, the Turtles’ father walked over to a patch of filth on the cement sidewalk lining this part of the sewer. She watched as he used his staff to pick through old, paper cups, some kind of black substance whose source she did not want to know, and other articles of trash. He bent suddenly and started to carefully pull out some tiny, shining balls.
Her eyes were wide and full of questions when he walked back to her. “I suppose -- ,” he started to say and then stopped himself. His tail jerked. “Actually, I know,” he admitted, “old habits die hard.” He held his hand out to her, and April’s mouth fell slightly agape at the marbles that winked up at her. “I used to scavenge for toys for my sons all the time,” he explained.
She blinked. Slowly, she said, “But, hum, Master Splinter, I don’t think any of them are going to play with marbles any more.”
“No,” he agreed, but his smile was kind. His tail swished happily. “However, I am certain, Miss O’Neil, with all the places you frequent as a reporter, you are certain to find some young child who will benefit from them.” He pulled a pouch out of his robe, dropped the marbles into them, and tied the string shut.
April accepted them gratefully, feeling strangely honored. She smiled back at him. “I’m certain I will too,” she agreed, secretly marveling at the life he must have had before the Turtles became old and strong enough to help him. It was truly a marvel they had all survived, and they would not have done so if not for this kind, old rat and all he had endured for them. She hugged them before slipping the marbles into a pocket on her yellow uniform and silently promising them and him that she would find the right home for them. One man’s junk, she remembered, is truly another man’s treasure.