Snapshots of Time I
(Contains TCest based on the OT4 premise)
"Geez Donny, how many times do I gotta say I'm sorry?" Raph asked, staring at his brother's legs.
Said brother's upper body being currently wedged beneath the kitchen sink, Raph had no view of his expression and wasn't able to gauge Donatello's current set of emotions.
"Hand me the monkey wrench," Don said, his voice flat.
Raph was squatting next to him, having offered to help repair the leak that had sprung up after Mikey dropped a handful of marbles into the drain. The story behind that mishap had been long and meandering, and the family had stopped listening after the first five minutes.
Grabbing the wrench, Raph dutifully set it into Don's outstretched palm and watched both disappear under the sink.
"I didn't do it on purpose," Raph tried again.
"I believe you've already explained that about a dozen times, Raphael. There is no need for you to continue to do so," Don told him in a precise tone.
Raph grimaced. That tone was the one the genius used when he was well and truly pissed about something. Raphael hated when it was directed at him; he simply had no defense against it.
"Look, just tell me what I can do ta make it up ta ya'," Raph said, stretching a hand out to touch Don's knee.
The knee twitched and jerked aside. "First and foremost," Don said bitingly, "stop touching me."
Normally, that kind of thing would have made Raph angry. But angry and a Donatello in this kind of a mood didn't mix well, so Raph counted to twenty, his palms now firmly seated on his own knees.
Remaining silent, Raph ran his mind over everything he could think of to placate a hacked off Donatello. He thought of and discarded a number of ideas, including offering to let Don top him, something he rarely let any of them do.
Not making that suggestion was less a matter of pride than self-preservation. Added to everything else, Raph did not want to be accused of using sex to solve problems.
The loud clanging of the wrench reminded Raph once more of how upset Don was about his brother's unintentional infraction. As Raph squatted there at a loss for words, it suddenly came to him exactly why Don was so aggravated.
His deep voice now silky smooth and an octave lower, Raph said, "I guess it's too much for ya' when somebody else is smarter than ya' are."
The clanging stopped. Raph started to grin as he watched Don's motionless form.
"I am not that petty," Don said, with just the tiniest inflection.
Raph grinned wider. "Of course ya' ain't," he said in return, striving to sound a tad sarcastic.
The grin was quickly erased when Raph saw Don begin to move. When the purple banded ninja's head cleared the cabinet he sat up and stared at his brother.
Pointing the wrench at Raph, Don said, "You know full well you are not supposed to touch my computer, especially when there is something open on my screen."
"I told ya' already that it was pure reflex bro'," Raph said. "How was I ta know ya' were in a damn contest?"
"You could have asked," Don told him, slightly exasperated but no longer sounding angry enough to bite Raph's head off.
"If I don't know about on-line contests, Donny boy, how can I ask if you're in the middle of one?" Raph pointed out. "Besides, that was the last word in your crossword puzzle and it won the damn thing for ya'."
Don put his head in his hand. "Shell Raph. Disasterbate? How would I have ever known that word?"
"Ya' need ta get out of that lab more often," Raph said, the grin returning to his face. "Sometimes the real world is a lot more educational. What the fuck did ya' win anyway?"
"I didn't win anything," Don said haughtily. "Your answering that question was a cheat."
"So, they don't know that," Raph shrugged. "Tell me."
Don rolled his eyes. "A certificate, okay? They send you a certificate that states your crossword puzzle championship status."
Raph's eye ridges came down. "Ya' get a stupid piece of paper?" he asked incredulously.
"Actually, I don't. I'm not printing it because you actually filled in the last blank," Don said.
Raph laughed. "Fine. Print it out for me then. I'll hang it on my wall."
Don leaned forward and punched Raph in his arm. "Very funny. I still don't know what that word means."
"Urban slang Donny," Raph said, his knees coming down on the floor as he moved closer to his brother, dark intent showing in his golden eyes.
With a shiver and all traces of anger melted away, Don said, "Slang for what?"
"Something neither one of us is gonna have ta worry about right now," Raph told him.
"At least try it once before you turn me down," Mikey pleaded, bouncing along behind his aged Father.
"I said no Michelangelo," Master Splinter repeated, making his way to the kitchen. "I have no desire to play anything that is called 'Dead House'."
"It's called 'House of the Dead'," Mikey corrected him. "It's super fun, I promise. You can kill zombies and do some hard core fighting. There's a lot of action and it's really great for hand to eye coordination."
"I have no need for a game to strengthen my hand to eye coordination, my son," Master Splinter told him.
"Oh, I don't know, sensei," Mikey said, rubbing at his neck sheepishly. "You might be slowing down just a bit."
Master Splinter stopped to turn a hard stare on his youngest son. The look was met by a big grin and wide blue eyes. Shaking his head, Master Splinter continued on to the kitchen.
"Asking me to play this game with you would not by any chance be an attempt to dissuade me from watching my shows so that you can have more game time, would it Michelangelo?" Master Splinter asked.
Mikey pressed a hand to his chest in mock astonishment. "How could you think that of me? I just wanted to spend some quality time with my Father, you know; bonding and stuff."
"Y~es," Master Splinter said dubiously. "It is amazing to me how you do not consider your daily training with me to be an exercise in bonding."
"Nah, that's not an exercise in bonding, that's just exercise. It's not the same thing," Mikey said quickly.
Master Splinter shook his head. Reaching the kitchen, he moved to retrieve a glass from the cupboard. "I do not wish to discuss this further. I would like to have a cool drink of orange juice and watch my shows."
He turned around to find that Mikey had opened the refrigerator already and extracted the gallon jug of orange juice. His hairy eyebrows lifted when he saw that the jug was nearly empty.
"Whoops, sorry sensei," Mikey said, "only enough for one. You snooze, you lose."
Before he had a chance to uncap the jug, Master Splinter was airborne. Leaping the kitchen table in an effortless bound, the still agile ninja Master snatched the jug from his son's hand. When he landed, he spun around and swept Mikey's feet out from under him.
Hitting the ground with a loud thud, Mikey looked up at the ceiling in stunned silence. Master Splinter calmly poured the juice into his glass and drank it down.
"As you can see, my son," Master Splinter addressed his youngest child, who still lay prone on the kitchen floor, "I have no need for further training in hand to eye coordination."
He was humming as he left the kitchen, chuckling once on his way to the television room before saying, "I made a funny."
It was nearly midnight when Don stepped into the dojo to find Leo seated behind a semi-circle of burning candles, his eyes shut in meditation.
Walking towards him, Don said in a low voice, "Would you like me to replace these?"
Leo's eyelids slowly lifted. "How did you know I was in here?"
Don waved a hand at the candles. "They're burning low enough to be smoky. I saw it and decided to investigate."
"I need to blow them out and go to sleep," Leo told him, making no effort to move.
Don sat down next to him, crossing his legs and resting his palms on his thighs. "Something's bothering you?" he asked.
Leo sighed, his eyes closing again. Don followed suit, letting his body relax a bit, slowly releasing the tensions of the day. A long list of items waited on his to-do list, but for the moment he was concentrated on his brother.
"I almost got a child killed today while I was out on patrol," Leo finally said, his voice barely above a whisper.
Don let the words fade, allowing Leonardo time to adjust to the admission before asking gently, "What happened?"
"A group of Purple Dragons were busting into a bodega. I jumped them as they were coming out of the back and they took off running," Leo said before stopping, a pained expression on his face.
"That isn't unusual," Don commented softly.
"I shouldn't have chased them," Leo pushed out, obviously upset by the next part of his tale. "There was a small child in the street and they plowed right into her. None of them stopped when she started screaming, shell Donny, they didn't even try to avoid her."
Don grimaced. "They probably didn't care, Leo. I take it you were the one to get her out of the street?"
Leo nodded and said, "I carried her over to the sidewalk. Her leg was broken and she was crying."
He stopped for a moment, and Don peeked over at him. Leo was obviously pushing his emotions back under control, and Don remained silent while he waited for his brother to be ready to speak again.
"She's probably six years old if that, Don," Leo finally said. "I was yelling for help and no one came. I dug out my shell cell to call for emergency services and the entire time I was trying to tell her to be calm; that everything was going to be okay."
He took a long shuddering breath. "She wanted her mama," he told Don. "Shell Don, I wanted her mama, but it didn't matter how loud I shouted, no one would come out. An EMS truck came around the corner a few minutes after my call and I barely made it out of sight. Just as they pulled up, the front door of the apartment building we were in front of flew open, and a woman came running down the stairs yelling something in Spanish."
"The mother?" Don asked.
"Yes," Leo's expression was bitter. "She wasn't very steady on her feet; I think she might have been drunk or high. Either way, the EMS people loaded both of them up and drove away."
"Leo, it was not your fault that a child was in the middle of the street late at night because she happens to have parents who don't give a damn," Don told him.
"I shouldn't have been so careless," Leo said.
"Listen to me." Don shifted so he was partially turned towards Leo. "Last week a group of punks from a gang just like the Dragons decided to experiment with some new guns they'd just purchased. For practice, they sprayed an apartment complex with bullets and managed to kill three people, one of them a thirteen year old boy. Every time you stop a gang from following through with their plans for the night, you save three people's lives. If you don't look at it that way Leo, you'll drive yourself insane."
"I can't just think of that little girl as a casualty of war either," Leo murmured.
"Ayuda," Don said. "That's 'help' in Spanish. I'll teach you more tomorrow. It's a good language to know. In the meantime, I can go online and find out how that little girl is doing. And tomorrow night, we'll go out on patrol together. It's been awhile since I've gotten to smack a Purple Dragon with my bo staff."
Another period of silence followed, Leo staring at the low burning candles. Finally a corner of his mouth twitched upwards, and he leaned over to blow them out.
Standing, Leo said, "I think I can sleep now."
Don looked up at him and nodded. "I'll put away the candles. I have a few things I need to finish up in the lab anyway."
Before he left, Leo asked, "How do you say thank you in Spanish?"
"Gracias," Don told him.
Leaning over to press a light kiss to Don's forehead, Leo said, "Gracias, little brother."