Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT (sadly)
Summary: Splinter talks with the three eldest
Warnings: Ha none at all, this is a family fiction
Note: Original outline and beta'd/edited by Dondena
Entering the small dojo, he could see his three eldest children mucking about. Clearing his throat, they immediately stopped turning to stand before him. A light blush crossing their faces at having been caught mucking about when they should have been practicing. It was however one of the few times Splinter had more important things on his mind; that he didn't reprimand them.
"Sit, my sons," Splinter knelt and motioned for his sons to copy him.
The three turtles immediately did as instructed, waiting patiently for their father to say what was troubling him.
"My sons, I have just been with Michelangelo and he is still quite distressed. Is there something that you haven't told me about what happened between you all?" Splinter decided straight forward was the best option.
"No, Master Splinter, we told you everything," Leo answered, looking slightly puzzled.
"Think carefully. Michelangelo has endured your taunts before without a second thought, why is this time so different? There must be something you are missing, it may not appear to be a big thing or significant but anything you have not told me may hold the key."
The three frowned as they thought back over what they had told their father; nothing seemed to come to mind.
"There wasn't anything else, Sensei," Raph finally said.
Splinter's brow furrowed in confusion, there had to be something else; the behaviour of Michelangelo was just too unusual.
"Perhaps if we meditate together, clear our minds of any distractions we will gain the needed knowledge," Splinter suggested.
Following instructions, the small family sat and meditated for an hour, trying to fathom the problem that currently plagued their family dynamic. Raph was quick to grow agitated with the whole process; he was much more a physical person and sitting meditating simply riled him especially when he couldn't see any need for it.
"He's just being a baby!" he finally interrupted them all huffing to himself.
"That is unkind, Raphael," Splinter reprimanded him.
"So what, we shouted at him and told him to get out, it ain't the first time!"
"But what we said wasn't true Raph. We hurt him and that isn't right," Leo argued back.
"I didn't see you stopping him when he left," Raph retorted his hands curling into fists and squaring up to the older turtle.
Splinter's ears pricked up at that statement, that hadn't been mention by the young turtles before. Stepping between his two fiery sons, he held his hands out to hold them from the fight they no doubt would get into.
"Hold! Raphael, repeat what you just said," Splinter instructed.
Raph looked up at his father, blazing golden eyes easing into a slight puzzled look.
"What? Leo didn't stop Mikey leaving either," Raph repeated with less anger.
"Did Michelangelo say anything as he left?" Splinter pressed.
"He said he'd just go then," Donnie's voice was like a calming balm on the two other turtles.
"And none of you prevented him leaving?"
Splinter sighed deeply; he understood now why Michelangelo was suffering. His youngest son lived off his brother's support and approval. His very existence revolved around his older brothers he looked up at them with complete adoration. Since he no longer felt that he had any of that, he was lost, hurt, and perturbed. Splinter knew the young mutant would do anything to live up to his brothers' desired expectations and feeling like he had failed in that he wasn't himself.
"What is it, Sensei?" Donatello asked calmly.
"Michelangelo feels hurt because you did not call him back; instead you let him leave re-enforcing to him that you do not want him. He lives of your approval my sons, and now he feels he does not have it," Splinter explained.
"Knucklehead," Raph muttered under his breath.
Splinter's glare was enough to make Raph drop his gaze, mumbling an apology.
"We shall talk with Michelangelo in the morning, but right now my sons, it is time for you to sleep. Today has been a hard day for all of us," Splinter replied.
Following his sons, he gave one last glance over at Mikey, who was still huddled under his blankets but appeared to be asleep.
"Good night, my sons," Splinter said lowly.
"Good night, Sensei," they chorused back.
Splinter closed the door, leaving his sons alone.
"Good night, Mikey," Donnie's gentle voice sounded in the darkness.
The smallest mutant worked on keeping his breathing level as he heard his family move around the room before the good nights from his father and brothers. He nearly replied to Donnie's simple good night but bit it back; it still hurt too much inside. He lay under his blankets listening to the noises of his brothers as they started to fall asleep.
Raph's unmistakable snore would normally have had Mikey tossing a pillow at his emerald green brother to make him turn on his side, but he didn't want to risk waking him. Donnie mumbled lightly under his breath, a sound Mikey usually loved. He had always wondered if his intelligent brother's mind ever switched off. Leo was silent; a sound escaped him just like in his waking hours. Mikey waited and waited; he needed to make sure they were asleep; he couldn't face them right now.
Slowly, he drew the covers back and stared out over his brothers, his eyes adjusting quickly to the dark. Happy when none of his siblings moved, he gathered up his pillow and blanket before silently making his way out of the bedroom. Glancing across to his Sensei's room, he could see the flicker of the candle, but knew he was being quiet enough not to disturb his father.
Making his way down to the sofa, he lightly brushed it down, removing the small amount of crumbs before fluffing up his pillow. Wrapping the blanket tightly about himself, he snuggled down onto the sofa, pressing his body into the worn material presenting his shell to the world. Closing his eyes, he tried not to think of the colder air of the main room. Instead, he resided himself to his new bed in a room alone, just as his brothers wanted.