Turtles Forever... A Trilogy

Dimensional Ass-Kicking Crime Fighting Teams

Chapter Twenty-Eight...

Father and Son

Splinter87 hobbled through the portal using his walking stick to feel the way. The vortex sucked and pulled at the aged master, but he blindly continued his path onward, toward the source of his concern. As he landed in Dimension Third Earth, he gave a slight gasp and suddenly found himself within a large comfortable room.

There was a single sofa in the centre with his dimensional son Raphael asleep and wrapped in the arms of a larger turtle. This turtle was lean and muscled, and sported the same bandanna colour as his own student. He was also asleep, slightly snoring.

His eyes travelled around the room warily. There was activity coming from a room behind a closed door. Splinter87 could feel the panic within. He knew instinctively that three of his four students were inside this room. Another presence revealed itself to him. It covered him in a warm embrace of energy. With a shock, Splinter87 realised that the energy signature resembled his own aura. Using his own psychic abilities, Splinter87 communicated with the being similar to himself.

The door to the laboratory opened and a mutant rat came out. He walked over to Splinter87 and held out a paw to the confused sensei. "Master. It is an honour that you are here. I am Splinter of this dimension and I bid you welcome to our world."

Splinter87 allowed his eyes to peruse the rodent before him. He felt a gentle energy emanating from the other rat and smiled. Although he was still in a state of shock at seeing another version of himself, Splinter87 was honourable and would return the pleasantries. "The honour is all mine, sensei. I received a vision of one of my students badly wounded and I came here straight away. May I see Leonardo?"

Splinter03 nodded gravely and led the other rat into the laboratory. A wave of uncertainty and horror washed over Splinter87 anew and he took a deep breath to calm his mental state. He was processing the information before him, one turtle at a time. His own student, Donatello, was hopping from one foot to the other with an agitated expression on his face. His Michelangelo was sitting on a stool facing away from the door. He didn't even sense his Master's entrance as he was so wrapped up in his own despair.

On the gurney in the very centre of the melee lay his Leonardo. The turtle was unconscious and being operated upon by a very young version of Donatello. There were other turtles in the room, a female he presumed was a version of April, and a giant crocodile with a gentle smile. Splinter87 hobbled over to his Michelangelo, shadowed by the other version of himself. He stopped by the gurney for a moment, squeezing his injured student's remaining arm supportively, then continued his way over to the pale and shaken turtle. There was nothing he could do for Leonardo, and the young version of Donatello needed space to concentrate on the operation.

"Michelangelo!" Splinter87 reached his son and placed a reassuring furry arm on his student's shoulder. "What happened to Leonardo?"

"We went into battle. It was a disaster. Leonardo was hurt. They're trying to fix him now." Mike87 rambled, shocked at the sudden appearance of his own Master. His eyes were raw from crying and he looked worn and tired.

"Leonardo will be all right. He is resilient." Splinter87 promised, watching his student carefully. Michelangelo was barely holding it together, his eyes were red and he had a guilty expression on his face.

Splinter87 ran his eyes over Mike87's body - the turtle was covered in blood. Even his face was stained with red fluid, and the aged Master felt a shudder go through him. "Michelangelo, are you injured?"

Mike87 shook his head. "Not mine, Master. It's Leonardo's blood. I got drenched."

Splinter87 leaned closer to Mike87 and enveloped him in a comforting embrace. He was shaking violently and had started to cry uncontrollably. "There, there my student. Let it all out."

"It's my fault! It's my fault!" Mike87 sobbed into Splinter87's chest. "I should have been quicker, sensei. I let Leonardo down."

"No Michelangelo. You did the best you could. I am so proud of your efforts." Splinter87 reassured the stricken turtle, encouraging his son to express his overwhelming emotions.

"You don't understand!" Mike87 wailed hysterically. "Leonardo was counting on me to back him up! He needed me! I let him down. It should be me lying there, not him."

Splinter87 looked into his son's eyes. "No. I do not believe that is true. You must not blame yourself for the consequences of battle."

Mike87 was still in hysterics. He was sobbing unashamedly into his Master's chest.

"If I may make a suggestion." Splinter03 met his doppelganger's eyes. "Perhaps we could continue this outside the laboratory. The team of surgeons need to keep focused on their task."

Splinter87 nodded and led Mike87 out of the room, furry paws on his shoulders guiding the desperately unhappy turtle. He followed the other version of himself into a large dojo with a training mat already prepared in the centre of the room. All three sat in a loose circle, Mike87 clinging to his sensei and still sobbing quietly.

Splinter03 lay a paw on Mike87's knee and patted it gently. "Your Master is correct, Michelangelo. You are not to blame for this situation. Leonardo is being well cared for and he will recover fully."

"I hope so." Mike87 said in a small and unsure voice.

Both Splinter's remained close to the distraught turtle, comforting and reassuring him as a team. As Mike87 finally relaxed and succumbed to a restless sleep, Splinter87 turned to the other version of himself and smiled warmly.

"Being a father and mentor is never an easy task."

Splinter03 chuckled, returning the smile. "No, the task is not an easy one. You are right. The hardest job in this world is bringing up children. We send them off to battle with heavy hearts and comfort them on their return, regardless of the outcome."

Mike87 woke from his restless slumber and listened to the Master's talk with his head bowed. He was comforted by their presence and relaxed a little as his mind drifted into a meditative state. He felt the strength of the combined mental power of two powerful sensei sitting beside him. He let out a sigh of relief as they comforted him without saying another word.

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