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Fanfic / Shards of a Memory

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"Master Shard" by Lornaka

It was then that she took the name "Shard", viewing the mutation as the shattering of the last of her dreams, and she was now only the shard of a memory. Out of a last remaining sense of honour, she could not leave the turtles to die, but her life was a fog of misery until, one day, as she lay shivering in a damp sewer tunnel, one of the turtles approached her and laid its little hand on her cheek.

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Then, it opened its mouth, and spoke. "Kaa-san."

Shard named that one Leonardo.

It was then that she realized that the mutation was not an end, but merely the beginning of a new dream. She gathered her babies to her, and made a new home for them in an abandoned subway station, training them in the art of ninjutsu so that they could defend themselves if the world ever turned against them.

And though life was hard sometimes, and they had little, their home was a place of laughter, and love, and joy.

What if it had been Hamato Yoshi who died in the fire, and Tang Shen who moved to New York, bought the turtles, and encountered the Kraang in the alley on that fateful day?

Shards of a Memory is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) fanfic by FantasiaWandering, a series of ficlets and drabbles based on the AU idea that the turtles were raised by a mother, Master Shard.

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The fanfic can be read on Archive of Our Own here, Fanfiction Dot Net here and Tumblr here.


Shards of a Memory provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: While we never get any hint that canon!Tang Shen knew any martial arts, her voicing grievances that ninjitsu is obsolete in modern times, here Master Shard is just like canon!Master Splinter, being a kunoichi that taught the Turtles how to fight as effective ninja and possesses intimate knowledge of poisons that are implied to have been taught to her as a family tradition.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • This version of Shredder conspires to kill Tang Shen because he sees her not picking him and then faking her death when he killed Yoshi as a "double humiliation". While canon!Shredder's motivation (as twisted and flawed as they were) could be seen as somewhat sympathetic — avenging the death of a woman he loved by killing the man he thought was responsible — this version of Shredder doesn't even have that. This Shredder's entire modus operandi is based on a wounded ego.
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    • While Karai in canon was Dark Action Girl willing to cross lines that the turtles would not, she was portrayed more as an Anti-Villain who was still less willing to involve innocent civilians. This version of Karai seems to be less mentally stable, going to great, torturous lengths to torment Shard, even forcing her into a Sadistic Choice to let April die of poisoning if she wanted her back, legitimately enraged when Shard escapes with April to treat her.
  • Appearance Angst: It is implied that some of Raphael's rage had its roots in the crack in his plastron, feeling like it made him defective not unlike a broken toy car Leo found thrown away.
  • Anger Born of Worry: When they were younger, Leonardo fell sick. Struggling to vent his feeling of worry over his brother constructively, Raphael would snap at Donnie and Mikey, later taking it out on a practice dummy under Shard's instruction until Leo got better.
  • Berserk Button: Shard understandably has a knee-jerk hatred of men who have an "Entitled to Have You" idea of her, as the Cat King learned the hard way.
  • Cat Folk: Unlike Splinter, Tang Shen's mutation turned her into a cat-person.
  • Cat Ninja: Being turned into a cat-mutant has not made Tang Shen any less effective as a kunoichi.
  • Cat Stereotype: Being a mutant cat, Shard has plenty of small quirks that reflect this. She purrs when she's comfortable, she licks those she's protective of, she has a taste for fish, catnip is banned from the lair due to an undisclosed Noodle Incident and she claws on their tree and plays with yarn when she thinks no one is looking. It is also implied that since the life-expectancy of a cat is much shorter than a human, she ages much faster.
  • Character Tics: Like non-mutant cats, Shard tends to purr when she's comfortable and licks people (mainly April and her sons) who she has affection for.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: In "Chapter 11", Shard and canon!Splinter somehow learned how to reach each other while in deep meditation from across the Multiverse as some form of Astral Projection. While he is not her Yoshi and she isn't his Tang Shen, they still treat this as a reunion.
  • Doting Parent: While she still raised the Turtles to be resilient ninja, Shard is shown to be much more of an affectionate parent than canon!Splinter, being much more physically affectionate (which is not unusual for a cat) and refer to them by Affectionate Nicknames like "her babies."
  • Electra Complex: This version of Karai is far less stable than her canon-version, taking greater pains to attack Shard directly instead of the turtles, even developing a direct hatred for April because she sees her as Shard's replacement for her.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • In "Karai's Vendetta", Karai attempts to kidnap April, only for April to catch her off guard, kick her down a subway tunnel and escape. In Chapter 8, while April manages to draw first blood with a swift kick, Karai still managed to knock her unconscious to use her as bait.
    • In canon, Leo was the first Splinter told that Karai was Miwa. Here, it is April who finds out when Shard calls Karai by her real name.
    • Instead of developing the power to control rats, Dr. Falco instead develops the power to control cats, becoming "The Cat King."
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Shard would sometimes say "Ai yah"translation  in exasperation.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The turtles and April refer to Master Shard as kaasan, an informal and very personal term for "mother." When Shard faces Karai when she tries rescuing April, Karai sarcastically calls her Hahaue, the more formal expression.
  • High on Catnip: Since Shard is a cat-mutant, catnip is banned from the Lair.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Shredder considers Tang Shen choosing Hamato Yoshi instead of him as a "humiliation" worth killing both of them over, having raised her daughter into thinking that Tang Shen was a traitor out of spite before he found out that she was still alive.
  • The Immune: Something in Ice-Cream Kitty's mutation makes them immune to the Cat King's control.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Since Dr. Falco develops the power to control cats instead of rats, he still gains control of the Turtle's surrogate parent/sensei.
  • Interspecies Romance: In a way, between Shard and canon!Splinter in Chapter 11. For added irony, Shard is a cat and Splinter is a rat.
  • Meaningful Rename: Tang Shen took the name "Shard" after her mutation, as her dreams and old life were shattered completely, Tang Shen herself nothing but a shard of a memory.
  • Noodle Incident: Catnip has been banned from the Lair due to "that thing we won't mention in this house ever again", presumably something embarrassing and/or dangerous Shard did while High on Catnip.
  • Offing the Offspring: Shredder had convinced Karai that Tang Shen would have killed her at infancy rather than "stay" with her and Oroku Saki.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • Having never really known her own mother, April has come to see Shard as a mother too, even calling her kaasantranslation .
    • This also applies to Casey Jones when he discovers that she was the mysterious lady that saved him from a group of bullies when he was younger.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Karai seems to have this opinion of April, recognizing the mother/daughter relationship Shard has with her and resenting her after a lifetime of thinking that Tang Shen willfully abandoned her.
  • Sadistic Choice: Karai poisons April with Gentle Mercy (a poison Tang Shen invented) and gives her a choice: either cure April and prove to her that she had replaced her, or choose her and let April die. While it pains her greatly, Shard recognizes this for the loaded choice that someone like the Shredder would teach and heals April, Karai crying out to her in anger.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: While her canon counterpart died by Oroku Saki's hand when he reformed the Foot Clan and attack the Hamato Clan's estate, here her husband Hamato Yoshi (known as "Master Splinter" in the series) was the one who died instead.
  • Women's Mysteries: Apparently matters of poisons and antidotes are secrets kunoichi share from mother to daughter. Since Shard's only daughter Miwa was against her at the time, she instead instructs Raphael in making an antidote to Gentle Mercy when she is poisoned.
    Shard: In this case... I do not think... anyone can fault... the breach in protocol.

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