A/N: A short song-fic that I thought up while listening to my iPod. The song is "Bring Him Home" from the 1980 musical Les Miserables (an adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1862 French novel): Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil. I do not own the rights to Les Mis, the song, or TMNT in any which way, shape, or form. This is solely for entertainment purposes. As always, thank you so much for reading (and reviewing, if you are so inclined). Oh, and if you haven't seen Les Mis, may I suggest that you do. It's beautiful!
Bring Him Home
It was cold.
The full moon rose slowly, creating eerie shadows through the trees. Yet, even in the bright moonlight, the air was so crisp and bitter that it stung the lungs with each breath.
Master Splinter looked down at the limp shape on the ground before him—his son.
His breath condensed around his furry face in a dense white cloud as he looked down at the face that he knew so well. Shivering slightly, he gently ran his hand over the smooth green dome and frowned at the heat that he felt under his fingertips.
Looking to the sky, he closed his eyes.
God on high
Hear my prayer
In my need
You have always been there
This was the fourth night that the moon had risen over them. Each night, as the moon had grown fuller, the nights had become colder. And now, as he sat on the bare ground, he could feel the cold slipping deeper and deeper into his bones.
The green being shivered and moaned—tossing with the fever that had plagued him for days. Shushing him quietly, Splinter laid a hand lovingly on his cheek silently willing him to lie still.
He is young
Let him rest
The moaning finally ceased, yet Splinter's hand continued to rhythmically stroke across the top of his son's head. Looking up at the sky, he wondered how many days would have to pass before the others got worried and began a search for them.
Bring him home.
The dirt underneath his body seemed to be absorbing the coolness of the night. It felt damp and although they were deep in a gorge and partially shielded from the wind, Splinter shivered violently.
Bring him home.
His leg throbbed painfully. By the way that it twisted below the knee, Splinter did not need a doctor's diagnosis to tell that it was broken. It had been a terrible fall, crippling both of them. Splinter had attempted to stand, yet the pain was too unbearable. Now, he knew the inevitable: There was no way for the pair of them to get up the steep incline without his son first gaining consciousness. Splinter was not able to support his own weight on his leg, let alone the weight of
Bring him home.
Through the pain, he worked to the best of his abilities. He was determined to nurse his son back to health. He wouldn't allow him to die like this. He was going to go home.
He's like the son I might have known
If God had granted me a son.
But he was his son. He had raised him, along with three others, from infancy. He had become their Sensei as well as their father. And in that role, he had established morals and education, and had shown them all the ways of Martial Arts. He loved them all with as much love as any biological father felt for his children. So, in his eyes, that constituted enough.
The summers die
One by one
How soon they fly
On and on
And I am old
And will be gone.
Now, as he sat in the cold, surrounded by the full moon's splendor, Splinter's thoughts turned to how they had come to find themselves in such a predicament.
As each summer passed, Splinter had come to realize that time was passing quickly. His sons were growing up and he wasn't getting any younger.
Years ago, Splinter had left the busyness of the crowded city and found these secluded woods. With limited supplies, he had spent a week submerged in nature, using his time to meditate and find himself. When he finally returned to the Lair, he decided that his sons should share in the joys that he had felt while in isolation.
So every year Splinter individually brought his sons out to these woods, the same as he had—for a week, with limited supplies. And over the years, it had become a cherished time of meditation, training, and bonding. It was a chance to learn more about his sons and grow with them
Yet, this time was different. . . .
This time, disaster struck.
He and his son were only a day into their week-long journey. Standing at the edge of a deep gorge, they had relished in the vision before their eyes. But, before either could react, the dirt suddenly disappeared beneath their feet, causing them to tumble violently, head over heels, down the steep incline and into the steep canyon.
Splinter had lost consciousness when he hit the bottom.
Bring him peace
Bring him joy
He is young
He is only a boy
When he finally awoke, it was dark, the moon rising high over the trees. Allowing his eyes to adjust to the dark, he attempted to take in his surroundings. He could feel hard dirt beneath his body. It was cold, damp, and smelt richly of the forest.
Then he saw him . . . .
He was unconscious, lying motionless a few feet away. Ignoring the shooting pain in his leg, Splinter had frantically crawled to his side. He could see a dark gash opening like a smile across the green dome.
He had lost his trademark mask during the fall, but even without the familiar colors, Splinter had no problem telling who it was.
And in the moonlight, he couldn't help but think of how young and helpless he looked.
You can take
You can give
Let him be
Let him live
If I die, let me die
Let him live
Each had carried a small pack on their shoulders when they had entered the woods. Yet, the violent fall had caused the packs to be separated from them, and the contents were scattered.
Biting back the pain, Splinter had collected as much as he could. Yet, when he had piled the contents in front of him, his heart had dropped.
There weren't enough supplies for both of them to survive the week.
In fact, there was hardly enough food and water for one of them to survive a few days.
But the answer was clear to Splinter—he would take nothing.
Bring him home
Selflessly, he had crushed up the food into paste, making sure his son had gotten the nutrients he needed. The rest of his energy had gone to carefully lifting the wounded head and forcing small amounts of water down his throat.
Now, he could feel the fatigue setting in. He was cold, tired, and hungry. He was also losing strength. But, he refused to take anything for himself. He didn't care what happened to him. He was going to give everything that he could to his child.
Bring him home.
The wind howled through the trees, bringing bone numbing cold. He could feel his son shivering uncontrollably beneath his hand.
Without hesitation, Splinter reached for the tie of his Gi.
His hands shook as he slid the material from his shoulders.
Using his teeth, he ripped at the seams, making the robe larger and flatter. As he draped the material gently over his son's plastron, he reached deep within for warmth, but he couldn't get his body to stop convulsing in the cold night.
Bring him home.
It was dark and cold.
And it hurt to open his eyes.
Each time he tried, lights exploded like fireworks before his face.
Taking a deep breath, he cracked an eye, allowing time for the explosions to subside.
He could feel something draped over his body.
His fingers touched familiar material, and he was confused.
Fingering the tattered Gi that lay over his body, he turned his head to the side and his eyes fell on the naked body of his Master.
His breath hitched violently in his throat and he struggled to sit up.
As his eyes adjusted, the situation finally became clear. He could see the remains of their supplies.
Not enough supplies for both of them. . . .
Splinter's Gi covering his body. . . .
No, he didn't . . .
But, he already knew the answer—Splinter had sacrificed himself . . .
"No . . . ."
It was a hoarse cry, created by strained and dry vocal chords. Ignoring the throbbing in his head, he frantically crawled over to his fallen mentor, his fingers clawing at the dirt. He looked down, watching for any indication of life.
There was none.
Splinter's head lay gently to the side, his chest and body motionless in the coolness of the night sky.
Carefully, he picked up his teacher's hand and brought it to his lips. Closing his eyes, he kissed the palm gently before leaning his cheek into it.
No . . . .
Tears fell from behind his closed lids.
As he nuzzled the soft fur, some heat still radiated from it, but the fingertips were already beginning to cool against his flesh.
He opened his eyes and the sight of the body came back into focus. His stomach lurched and he quickly averted his eyes and took a deep breath.
He turned back. His throat felt like it was closing. He could feel tears, hot and wet, pressing from behind his eyes.
Tenderly, he placed Splinter's hand across his chest, crossing the other one that was already in place. Then, with shaking fingers, he picked up the discarded Gi and lovingly draped the thinning robe over Splinter's body. Carefully, he tucked it in around the jutting bones. He then eased his hands under Splinter's frail frame.
With great care, he slowly lifted the body from the ground and pulled it close to his plastron. It felt lighter than air. Tears came again, falling freely from his maskless eyes and splashed noiselessly onto the thin fur of Splinter's chest.
Cradling him gently in his arms, he collected his strength and pushed himself vertical. Clutching the body of his mentor, he took a shaky step forward—the hardest step he had ever made in his life:
A step toward home to tell his brothers.