Inspired by both my utter salt for the current brother-brother dynamics in canon, and the song These Days by the Black Keys.
Donnie and Mikey can’t stay in the lair anymore. Their father is gone and the war is over and all that’s left is their older brothers. Who, as Donnie has come to slowly realize, haven’t been treating them well. Not for a long, long time. They can’t stay, they have to leave.
There’s a night, sometime after their father is buried and their enemies defeated, when their home is too quiet and unspoken tension is rising and coiling and choking at everyone- Donnie knows.
He knows he has to leave.
It comes, after another night, a different night. One that’d had another realization, and another quiet, insidious feeling upheaval.
On that night, he wakes up, starts to head to his lab on automatic, even though there’s little reason to anymore- and Leo stops him. Leo asks Donnie, and their other siblings, to meet him in the dojo. Saying that it’s time they had a family meeting, broken as their family is.
There’s a tone in Leo’s voice that Donnie hasn’t encountered before. It’s new, and he doesn’t know why it unsettles him.
Donnie isn’t sure what he’s expecting, kneeling on the dojo floor, like he has for years and years, waiting for Leo to address them. Whatever he might have expected, it’s not what Leo has to say.
Leo kneels in front of Donnie, in front of all of them, instead of with them. Setting himself apart. Donnie watches him, confused by the change.
“Sensei- Splinter,” Leo says, correcting himself for some reason, and that’s when alarms start going off in Donnie’s head. “Splinter gave me a final message, the night he… died. A few hours before.”