Master Splinter and Casey Jones were both sitting on a practice mat and drinking tea. They were watching the sparring silently, both smiling to each other at the Leonardo's and Raphael's before them.
"Easy, little Leo. Take it nice and easy." Leo07 urged gently as Leo87 performed a complex kata. "You need to stretch further when you kick."
"I can't kick any higher than this. I'm doing my best." Leo87 grumbled, twirling his katana effectively. "I'm at full stretchy capacity."
Leo12 was backed up against Leo03. They were shell to shell, watching as the four Raphael's circled them hungrily.
"I can't believe they are working better than us." Leo12 groaned. "What do we do? You've been leading longer than me."
Leo03 grinned. "We turn their weakness against them. Get them angry. Make them lose focus."
"Erm, didn't we try that already? They keep agreeing with us! Everything we say. They just aren't getting riled up." Leo12 looked worried. "If Raph learns to conquer his temper, there'll be no stopping him!"
Leo03 smiled, his brain working overtime. "We'll see. Hey Raph? You there. Hey, bro."
Raph03 put his hands on his hips and looked at his own dimensional brother. "What? Giving up already?" Raph03 was spinning his sai's and looking disappointed.
"No. Not at all. We were just having a word about you." Leo03 grinned to his square counterpart. "All your movements are a little off. You know, compared to the other Raphael's."
Raph03 felt his blood boiling. He stared daggers at his own dimensional brother, breathing heavily. Then he turned and caught sight of the tall, lean Raph.
"Remember what I said." Raph07 grinned at his smaller brethren. "Don't let them get you mad."
"Right." Raph03 breathed deeply and felt the red mist descend. His hands trembled as they formed fists and the veins on his neck were visible. "Gotta focus. Can't lose control."
"Time out." Raph07 called the fighting to a stop. "We Raphael's need to talk."
Leo03 watched as lithe Raphael took Raph03 aside. He was shaking with rage and looked about to blow at any moment.
Raph07 was saying something soothing to his counterpart, holding him firmly by the shoulders. Raph03 seemed to be responding, his breathing deepening. He was still shaking with rage, but his focus had returned. He looked into his counterpart's eyes and continued to breathe slowly and deeply.
"We're still ready to go." Raph12 grinned evilly. "Even odds. Two on two."
Leo12 and Leo03 grinned at the two Raphael's before them.
"I'll take square, you take shorty." Leo03 laughed as the two turtles became locked in combat with their multi-dimensional brothers.
Leo03 was surprised at Raph12's agility. His own dimensional brother was a lot slower, and this only heightened the combat between them. Raph12 was really enjoying the fight, and he used his sai to maximum advantage. In fact, the two of them were enjoying the sparring, each turtle gaining further respect for the other. Both were as strong as each other and the fight became about endurance. Neither one wanted to cede, and so the sparring went on.
Raph87 darted away from Leo12. As the square turtle made slashing movements at his smaller adversary, Raph87 drew his sai and began to counter effectively. Leo12 was amazed that the small, slightly goofy turtle, had such fight in him. They looked at each other momentarily, appraising each other, and warming to each other.
"Not bad." Leo12 countered an offensive strike. "I'm impressed."
"You're good for your age." Raph87 complimented. "You have a lot of skill. Your Master Splinter must be very proud."
"Keep breathing, take your time." Raph07 encouraged his doppelganger. "It's just an insult. It means nothing."
Raph03 shook his head, defeated. "How can I control feeling this way? I just want to rip everything apart."
"You have to find your inner strength. Let the insults wash over you." Raph07 explained, his voice deliberately calm and almost gentle. "You only get beaten because you get angry. Imagine how big bro is gonna feel when you start whupping his shell."
Raph03 smiled a little, and choked out a laugh. "He'd never get over it!"
Raph12 looked over at his doppelgangers and spied Raph03 fighting for calm. "Let it wash over you, like a river over stone!"
"Not helping, bro." Raph03 clenched his fists and continued to breathe. He felt the reassuring weight of Raph07's hands on his shoulders and then felt the weirdest sensation settle over him.
The origin point was his shoulders, where Raph07 was holding on to him. A reassuring warmth spread from his shoulders and tingled its way right down to his toes. Raph03 breathed in amazement as he realised his doppelganger had his eyes tightly closed. Raph07 was responsible for this sudden feeling of warmth and contentment, as if he were reaching into Raph03 psychically and pulling out the anger with a mystical sai.
Raph03 hadn't felt anything so mystically powerful since the Ninja Tribunal. He looked in awe at the taller version of himself, and he now understood why this Raphael was a Master.
Raph07 was in complete control of his emotions, and in a large way, he was helping Raph03 with his own rage and destructive urges. He had stabbed a hole deep inside the anger and pulled out a serene emotion from some place Raph03 wasn't even aware of.
"Thanks, bro." Raph03 felt no more anger. "You took it all right out. How'd you do that?"
"You'll learn. It takes time. Mastery. You'll get there." Raph07 patted his doppelganger on the shoulder. "For now, let me pull it out by force. There is more to you than a mindless blind rage."
Raph03 grinned. He was pumped and ready for a fight. "Then let's get back in there and pummel the Leo's."
Leo87 had finished the kata. He wasn't happy with his progress. The other versions of himself were leaner and had much longer legs. He was short and stubby, and for a moment, he felt in over his head.
"I think we've got company" Leo07 smiled and pointed to the advancing Raphael's. "Ready for a little one-on-one?"
Leo87 grinned and nodded. "About time."
Raph03 barrelled into Leo07 with a laugh, and the lithe turtle twisted as he manoeuvred away from the other. They both went hurtling towards the ground, although Leo07 had a much more graceful landing.
Leo87 gulped loudly. "Go easy on me. I'm not as flexible as you guys."
Raph07 grinned and drew his sai. "We'll see. On guard, little Leo." The little guy watched as the taller turtle advanced, quivering slightly. However, Raph07 started slow and built up the sparring gently - only increasing pressure and movement when he saw the smaller turtle gaining more confidence.
Master Splinter watched the fighting proudly from the practice mat. "Casey. I am so proud of my sons."
Casey Jones smiled and turned to Splinter. "They are definitely gonna win. No bad guy could take on this united front."
Splinter's expression darkened a little. "It depends on what evil has united against my sons. Even warriors as powerful as these have their limits. It depends on what force they will have to contend with."
Casey Jones gulped a little. "Just what the hell are we dealing with?"
Master Splinter shook his head. "I do not know, Casey. All I feel is a lingering dread for what is to come."