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Fic: Broken Vows

Title: Broken Vows
Author: Brokaw22
Disclaimer: The norms
Rating: T
Story Synopsis: Yoshi thought he never wanted children. It wasn't the only thing he was wrong about.

He never wanted children. He knew that, as a clan leader, it was expected of him, but that didn’t change the fact that Yoshi never wanted children. However, after he met Tang Shen that changed. Not at first, of course. In fact, the first several years they were together every time the subject of children came up he would prattle on and on about how he never wanted them and didn’t believe he could be a good father. After all, he knew nothing of being a father. All he knew was fighting and taking down an opponent efficiently and effectively. Tang Shen always argued that he knew more about being a father than he thought, but he never really believed her. He never thought of his lack of desire for children as fear until the day that Tang Shen told him she was pregnant.

He spent the first few months of her pregnancy worried sick with the fear of what kind of father he would be -- especially since he had never really considered having children in the first place -- but as the months wore on he became more and more excited by the eventuality of being a father. Once Miwa was born, he doted on her as much as any father could a new born child, and he was left wondering why he ever thought he didn’t want children. However, that all changed when Miwa was taken from him.

The day he lost his beloved wife and child was the day Yoshi honestly considered that he was right all along…that he wasn’t supposed to be a father, because fathers protected their children, and he had obviously failed at that. The decision to leave Japan was an easy one, especially since no matter where he went or what he did he was reminded of what he lost. Unfortunately, New York turned out to be no better for his aching heart, but Yoshi knew that it didn’t matter where he ran to, because it was always going to be the same. He knew he couldn’t run from his pain…not really, so he stayed.

He intended to just live out the rest of his days alone, dreaming of what he no longer had, but it didn’t work out that way. It took a surprisingly short amount of time for his loneliness to get to him, and, with an equally surprising lack of thought, Yoshi found himself in a pet store searching for some kind of companion. He knew immediately upon entering the store that he wasn’t looking for something that would be abundantly reliant on him. He wanted something that wouldn’t be too loud and could be by itself for a fair portion of the day without feeling neglected, so a dog or cat was immediately out of the question. He considered getting a fish, but the thought of having something he could actually hold was somewhat appealing to him. That was when his eyes fell on the turtle tank.

At first, he intended to merely get one of them, knowing that having someone who actually needed him to get up in the morning, even if it was just a turtle, would improve his melancholy and lonely state. However, when he saw the four turtles huddled in a pile, like a family, Yoshi knew he didn’t have the heart to separate them. Not after his own family had been so ruthlessly torn apart. Before he even realized what he was doing, he had asked the store clerk for all four of them. It wasn’t that big of a deal, and he wasn’t exactly worried. Sure, he had only intended to get one, but Yoshi knew taking care of four turtles was going to be significantly easier than taking care of one child. After all, there would be no 3 am feedings, no screaming late into the night for seemingly no reason, no constant worry that it was too quiet and that something had happened.

Little did Yoshi know how wrong he was about all of that, and he still wonders to this day if he had known what would happen if he would have entered that store in the first place. He would like to believe he would have, but Yoshi remembers those first few days and how hard it was to listen to the turtles little mewls and cries without feeling like his heart was being torn to shreds, because they were so similar to Miwa’s cries. He’s not exactly sure how he managed, but no matter how much their cries hurt it was nothing in comparison to the agony he felt the first time he heard one of the little turtles laugh.

The childish giggling of Michelangelo as he played with Splinter’s tail had left Yoshi in tears as he remembered Miwa’s sweet melodic giggles when Tang Shen would tickle her little tummy. He felt certain that his broken heart would be the death of him. Every time one of the young turtles made even the slightest noise his mind would immediately flash back to Miwa or Tang Shen, and all of the pain that he thought he put behind him would come rushing back.

Splinter’s certain that the only reason he made it through those first few months was because he forced himself to, and he would do it again in a heartbeat if he had to, because every last one of those agonizing moments was worth it for all of the joy his sons have brought him, but, more importantly, he promised his sons he would never fail them the way that he had Miwa, and yet here he is sitting by one of his sons bedsides, wondering if said turtle will ever awaken, and all because he allowed the same enemy, who took his daughter from him three times now, too close to another one of his children. He doesn’t know how his sons keep forgiving him when that mad man continually hurts them, because Splinter is finding it harder and harder to forgive himself.

He should have ended this all years ago, or, at the very least, when Miwa was finally returned to him. He should have realized that they would never be safe as long as The Shredder was still alive, but Splinter was a fool and he believed that as long as they remained hidden all would be well. He knows better now, and he will end it once and for all just as soon as Raphael opens his eyes and Splinter knows for certain that it is his son staring back at him and not the mind controlled version of his tenacious child. He doesn’t know everything that Shredder forced his son to do while Raphael was under his control, but Splinter knows enough.

After all, Raphael attacked his brothers, which is something he’s sure his son will struggle with for a long time to come, assuming he ever awakens. Raphael has spent his entire life wanting nothing more than to protect his brothers. The fact that he was used as an instrument of their pain will cause him an immeasurable amount of guilt. If what his other sons have told him about their battle with their mind controlled brother is any indication, Splinter would say that it already has. Splinter can’t say he’s surprised that when Shredder ordered Raphael to kill his brothers; his most obstinate son did the one and only thing that he could think of to stop himself. He stabbed himself to keep from harming his brothers, and there is nothing that could possibly make him prouder of his child.

He just wishes that it hadn’t come to that, though Splinter knows there’s no one to blame but himself. He’s made and broken enough vows to his children over the years, and he refuses to let this be another one, so, as Splinter holds his son’s hand, he makes one final vow -- one that he knows he will never break, because the moment he knows for certain that his son is safe he is going to end the man who has caused them all of this pain. It is only vow that matters now.

The End