Ch 1 An Unexpected Visit.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!" Mikey's voice rang loudly throughout the lair as he made his way toward the dojo, his arms holding two boxes of ornaments to trim the Christmas tree he and his brothers managed to find in the woods just outside of April's farmhouse in up-state New York.

"Will you cut out that noise!" Raph yelled at him as Mikey walked by.

"Aw come on Raph," Mikey looked back at him, "Don't be like that; Mondo Gecko will be here soon so why don't you come into the dojo and help us decorate the tree for Christmas."

"How can you think about decorating and Christmas?" Raph demanded, "This is the first Christmas without Master Splinter and you want to just celebrate the holidays like nothing ever happened," Raph turned back to his comic book, "And why is that pathetic lizard coming over here? Why can't he stay with the Mutanimals where he belongs?"

"He's sad Raph," Mikey told him, "It's his first Christmas without his family so I invited him over to spend Christmas Eve with us."

"Well I don't want him here," Raph stated loudly.

"That is not your decision to make," Mikey retorted back angrily.

"Having him here is going to make it worse," Raph grumbled as he stood up from the couch, "He'll just remind us about how alone we all are." He started toward his room, "Well maybe you can just forget about Master Splinter but I'm not ready to so as far as I'm concerned…. Christmas can just kiss my ass."

"No one is forgetting about Master Splinter," Leo's voice stated soothingly from the hallway, "But I know Sensei would be very disappointed in you for acting like this, Raphael," Raph looked over to see Leo holding a third box of decorations, "After all, we all miss Master Splinter but the best way to honor him is to go on with our lives and do everything we can to keep his memories and teachings alive and that includes being with other people."

"And Master Splinter loved Christmas," Donnie walked past with a box of lights, "So like we do every Christmas eve, we're going to decorate the dojo, wrap presents, enjoy a special Christmas eve dinner with Mondo then tomorrow we'll all go to April's house and enjoy a lovely Christmas dinner with her and her dad."

"And Casey!" Mikey chimed in from the dojo causing Donnie to frown in annoyance.

"YOU can celebrate!" Raph yelled, "I'M going to go to bed and stay there till all this Christmas crap is done and over with," Raph started toward his bedroom, "AND I DON'T WANT TO BE BOTHERED BY ANYONE!"

His three brothers flinched at Raph's loud voice and the slamming of his door. They shook their heads as they made their way into the dojo.

"Gee," Mikey sighed sadly, "I know Raph's been kinda down since Sensei's passing but I really didn't think he wouldn't want to celebrate Christmas with us."

"I wish there was something we could do," Donnie muttered, he looked over at Leo, "Any thoughts Leo?" He asked him.

"Maybe if he knew April had a special surprise for him, he would change his mind?" Mikey looked at his brothers hopefully.

Leo rubbed his chin and stared at the altar in the dojo where a picture of four small turtles standing in front of a large brown rat stood, "I think we should leave Raph alone," He told them, "Let's enjoy Christmas eve as best we can and perhaps by morning Raph will come to his senses."

The other two turtles reluctantly nodded in agreement then the three brothers began to put up decorations and wrap the presents.

Xxxxxxx

Raph burrowed himself under his covers in an attempt to fall asleep; but it was a futile effort as he heard the constant sound of holiday music filling the lair, "Damn them," He muttered as he put the pillow over his head, "Don't they know I'm trying to sleep!" He was just about to get out of his bed to yell at his brothers when a loud knocking sounded at his door, "I'm trying to sleep!" He yelled out, "Go away and turn off that damn music!"

He pulled the covers over his head in an attempt to block out the noise but instead, the knocking along with the music only seem to get louder. After a several seconds, Raph furiously got out of bed and pounded on the door, "I said go away!" He yelled out over the loud knocking and music. In an instant the music and knocking suddenly stopped.

Startled by the sudden quietness, Raph looked at his door in surprise then sighed, "Well," He muttered as he stared at the door suspiciously, "I guess I told them," He stared at his door for a few more moments in contemplation, something felt ominous to him but he couldn't understand why. He finally shrugged it off then started to turn toward his bed. But he stopped short and gasped in shock upon seeing the towering figure of his sensei standing directly behind him.

"Master…." Raph's voice cracked as he gazed wide-eyed at the large brown rat, "Splinter!" He finally gasped out as he stumbled toward his bed. He fell onto his bed and shook his head as his eyes looked upon the sight of his master.

"Raphael," Splinter's voice seemed to echo throughout the room.

"No, it can't be," Raph rubbed his face, "You….you can't be here, you're dead."

"I have passed on, that is true, but I am very much here," Splinter's translucent voice stated forcefully.

"But, but that's not possible," Raph shook his head in disbelief, "I….I must be dreaming or…or something."

Splinter made his way toward him, "Why do you doubt what you see?" Splinter demanded.

"Because…" Raph's eyes looked around his room as he tried to think of some reason for this strange hallucination, "Because I've been really upset and just wishing you'd be here," Raph nodded to himself, "Yeah that's it, it's Christmas, the first one without you and I've been really depressed about everything so I'm wishing you would be here and so in my mind…." Raph waved his hands at Splinter's ghost, "Here you are."

Splinter stroked his long whisker, "Then if I am not real, this would not hurt," He raised his walking stick and smacked Raph on the head with it.

"Ow!" Raph looked up at Splinter in shock while rubbing the top of his head.

"Did that feel real?" Splinter asked him.

"Okay, okay," Raph muttered, "So I'm guessing I'm not dreaming and you…" He looked up at him wide-eyed, "You really are here," Splinter nodded at him, "But why Sensei?" Raph stood and bowed to him, "Why are you here?"

"You have forgotten my teachings, my son."

"Forgotten your teachings?" Raph looked at him indignantly, "Master, Leo makes us practice ninjutsu every day!"

Splinter shook his head, "Not those teachings Raphael," He moved himself across the floor and toward the door, "The teachings of life."

Raph sighed in annoyance, "I don't need to be reminded of life Sensei," Raph shook his head, "After all, what kind of life do we have down here?" He waved his hands around his room, "We've saved the worlds several times, and no one knows about it," He cast his green eyes downward, "We've fought against the Shredder and won but at what cost?" He looked up at him with shimmering eyes, "We've fought against Aliens right here on Earth and we're still the freaks on our own planet," Raph crossed his arms in anger, "It's just not right father."

"You are correct Raphael," Splinter nodded toward him as Raph looked at him in surprise, "But there is so much more for you and this is the time for you to remember that."

"Oh not you too," Raph scoffed, "Are you going to seriously try and talk me into forgetting about everything we've been through and just spend Christmas with my bros like nothings ever happened?"

Splinter chuckled, "No, of course not."

"Thank goodness."

"I am going to have three others do that for me."

"Aw come on Sensei," Raph attempted to plead but Splinter cut him off.

"You will be visited by three ghosts," Splinter watched as Raph rolled his eyes at him, "The first will be here at one tonight, the second at two and the third…."

"Don't tell me," Raph looked at his clock, it was ten minutes to one, "At three?"

"Correct."

Raph let out a groan, "Sensei, can't we just forget about the ghost, agree to just let me deal with everything in my own way and pretend this whole thing was just a really bad dream?"

"Normally I would let you deal with things in your own way Raphael but clearly there is something much more going on with you that needs to be dealt with," Splinter turned away from him, "And you know I was never one to just 'let things go'."

Raph nodded, "True," He sat on his bed and looked back at his clock, it was one minute to one, "But couldn't I take all of the ghosts at one time?" He looked back at his door still expecting to see his Sensei but Splinter was no longer there, "Guess that's a no." He sighed heavily as the numbers on the clock went from 12:59 to 1:00.

xxxxxxx

Hi all and Happy Holidays to all my readers out there, please enjoy this take on the famous Charles Dickens classic and please R&R.