I Wanna Be Like You
Summary: Splinter had never imagined that he would be a father but now that he is, he sees himself in each of his sons.
Becoming a father and raising four wonderful sons had never been a part of Splinter's plan. When he had been living in Japan as an unmutated rat, there had been no other rats around with which to procreate. Once he was in New York there hadn't been much time before his master was killed and females were the last thing on his mind.
He had been devastated at the loss of Yoshi and had taken to the sewers in search of solitude in which to mourn. He still wasn't sure why he had abandoned that solitude in order to rescue four baby turtles covered in green ooze except that something within him had called for him to do it.
Even after the mutation it would have been so much easier to just leave the turtles to fend for themselves. That's the way it was in the wild and he had no reason to argue against nature. In fact looking after those four helpless beings would have made it far more difficult to take care of himself and eventually seek his revenge against the one that killed his master.
Splinter just couldn't leave them though. As much as he wanted revenge, these turtles needed him. Tang Shen hadn't abandoned him when he needed someone and he couldn't do that to these turtles. This was how he ended up with his four wonderful sons and he has never regretted that decision.
They were growing up so fast though. They were still children though, not even teenagers yet, but the years had just flown by. Each of the boys had developed their own personalities. Splinter could see a clear origin for some of their personality traits and they traced back to him.
The first one that Splinter had noticed taking after him was Leonardo. A ritual that Splinter had always indulged in was a session of meditation in the morning before his sons woke up. One morning when he had walked into the space that was reserved as their dojo he found Leonardo already sitting there.
Leo was struggling to remain awake having risen earlier than he was used to. When Splinter had woken Leo from his doze he had asked him why he was there. He had received a sleepy answer that Leo had been watching him meditate in the mornings.
"I wanna be like you daddy," Leo yawned as he tried to keep his eyes open.
This had started a new ritual of Leo joining him for the last half hour of his meditation in the mornings. It was a time when just the two of them would spend time together in the quiet before the day began and everyone else got up.
The similarity between himself and Michelangelo had been noticed in an amusing fashion. Splinter had been working to cook pancakes for his sons for breakfast one morning with Michelangelo sitting on the counter watching him. This was not an unusual occurrence. Mikey could often be found in the kitchen when Splinter was cooking in order to help him taste test anything he needed.
A loud crash from the living room drew Splinter out of the kitchen to check on his other sons leaving Michelangelo alone in the kitchen. By the time he got back, Michelangelo was sitting on the counter with the mixing spoon in his hand. The spoon wasn't the only difference with Mikey.
The small turtle was also covered in the uncooked pancake batter from head to foot. There was also smoke coming from the pan that was sitting on the stove where batter that Mikey had put there was starting to burn from not being flipped. When Splinter asked what Mikey had been doing he received a simple answer.
"I wanna be like you daddy," Mikey said with such an innocent expression despite the pancake batter dripping down his face.
After cleaning Mikey off, Splinter spent to rest of the time teaching his son how to properly cook a pancake. This was just the beginning of Mikey's love for cooking, all inspired by his father.
It had taken Splinter a little longer to see his influence on his most volatile son. Raphael had always been so eager to start fights and solve problems with his fists that it hadn't surprised Splinter to see him working in the dojo area one evening.
For a while Splinter had just stood to the side trying to figure out what kata his son was trying to go through. It wasn't one that he had taught to his sons so he wasn't sure where Raphael would have learned it.
It suddenly hit Splinter that those were the attacks that he had used a week ago when he and Raphael had gone scavenging topside. They had run into humans that had tried to take what they had gathered and Splinter had needed to fight them off. For a moment Splinter worried that his son was pushing himself because he might now be afraid of going topside. This was not how Raphael responded however.
"I wanna be like you daddy," was Raph's simple but heartfelt answer.
All Raph had seen was his father acting like a badass ninja which is all he wanted to be. Splinter couldn't help the surge of pride that he felt for his son. Together they spent the rest of the evening with Splinter showing his son the proper forms for the katas he was attempting.
Raphael wasn't the only son that was doing what he could to copy his father when it came to their ninja training. Donatello was too. Splinter had been teaching them the ways of the ninja ever since he had begun taking them topside to scavenge with him. Recently he had begun to teach them with weapons beyond the bo staff that he had started them all with.
Leo, Raph, and Mikey were all excited about this change. They never needed to be prompted to grab a different weapon to practice with and always groaned when they had to work with the bo again. Donatello was different though. He never tried to work with a weapon besides his original bo unless Splinter told him that he had to. Whenever given the choice he always picked the heavy stick of wood.
Splinter had wondered if his son was getting the impression from his brothers that he wasn't strong enough to use a different weapon. Boys would be boys and boys teased each other at every opportunity. Splinter had pulled Donatello aside to talk to him to make sure that he did not feel like his father didn't believe in his abilities. Splinter needn't have worried.
"I wanna be like you daddy," Don told him adamantly as he stared at Splinter's walking stick.
Splinter felt very humbled that his son's decision on the weapon that he would carry for the rest of his life was based on him. If Donatello was going to choose to use a bo staff as his primary weapon than Splinter was going to make sure that his son knew that both it and he weren't weak. The simplest of things could be the most formidable.
It still amazed him at times the fact that he was raising four incredible sons. They were each growing into incredible young men that he couldn't be more proud of. They were each individuals but he could see himself in each of them.
The love he felt for his sons couldn't be put into words. They were his pride and joy and he would do anything for them. He had never planned on becoming a father but now that he was, he wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.