It had been coming on for years. Each battle becoming more fierce. Wounds becoming deeper and more serious. It seemed that nothing could stop it. The last week had been the worse. Not a day had past without some kind of battle. Sometimes not even an hour past before tempers flared once again. "This lecture is getting old Leo!"

Donatello looked up from his computer screen and sighed. Again? he thought. He briefly wondered if he should intervene, but decided it would be useless. Don got up from his desk and slammed the door to his room shutting out the angry voices.

Michaelangelo had the misfortune of being at ground zero, which that afternoon happened to be in the middle of the living room. He glanced up from his drawing briefly to watch Raphael storm in, followed closely by Leonardo. A part of him wanted to get up and stop the fight before it could escalate. But he was tired of playing referee all week. Screw it, he thought and looked back down at his sketch book, ignoring his brothers.

"If you'd just listen for once!" Leonardo said grabbing Raph's arm to spin him around.

"Go to hell." Raph said slowly and dangerously, enunciating each word.

From the other room, Splinter looked up from his meditation and sighed. He had hoped that his sons would have out grown this petty bickering by now. He had tried everything he could think of to end this rivalry. He had tried reasoning and when that hadn't worked had tried lecturing. After seeing his lecture ignored, he had tried disciplining them, but nothing had helped. Splinter stood and sighed again. There was only one thing left to try.

"You are so pathetic, Leo," Raph sneered. "Your life is so goddamn boring that you have nothing better to do than bitch at me all day."

Leo's face burned; with anger or embarrassment he wasn't sure. "At least I don't need to go out with Casey every night beating up on common street hoods just to make myself feel better about what a fuck up I am."

The blow came before Leo could block it and it caught him square in the jaw. But that was all it took. Completely forgetting himself, Leo launched himself into a fight with his brother. Raphael was only too happy to accommodate him and all the years of frustration and perhaps jealousy came pouring out.

Mike looked up sighing and was about to get up to stop them when a pair of hands grabbed ahold of the mask tails of his brothers and with more strength than Mike thought possible, Splinter yanked his students apart. "That is more than enough!" he said sternly. Leo was instantly apologetic. "Master..I.."

Splinter held up a hand silencing him and let go of their masks. "Come with me," he ordered.
Leo and Raph glared at each other and followed their sensei. Splinter took them into the training room. Raphael sighed. "Ok, how many push-ups this time?" He knew he sounded disrespectful, but he was still too pissed at Leo to care. But Splinter shook his head. "No push-ups."

Leo and Raph looked at each other and then Splinter in surprise.

Splinter held out his hand. "Give me your weapons."

Confused Leo removed his katana from their scabbard and handed them to his sensei. Raphael was a bit more reluctant, but the fierce glare Splinter turned on him was all the convincing he needed. He handed his sai to his master.

Splinter turned and handed the weapons to Mike and Don who had crowded around the door to see what was happening. The master turned back to Raph and Leo. "You wish to fight. Very well. Fight."

"Master?" Leonardo asked confused.

"Resolve your differences. Now. If you must fight to do that, so be it. But know, you will not leave this room, for any reason, until your differences are resolved."

"But, Master.." Leo began.

"Sensei.." Raphael said. As much as he wanted to beat some sense into Leo, this felt wrong somehow.

"Ichirei!" Splinter commanded sharply.

Both turtles snapped to attention and bowed to each other.

"Hajimeru." Splinter turned and walked out of the room, ordering a chuckling Don and Mike to follow him. Raph and Leo stood in the center of the room, staring at each other, both thinking the same thing.

What the hell do we do now?

"Man, did you see their faces? That was priceless!" Michaelangelo kept
his voice down so as not to disturb Splinter who had retreated once again to
the peace and quiet of his room. Mike tilted his head straining to hear the
sounds coming from the training room. "I don't hear anything."

Donatello shook his head. "I can't believe Splinter did it", he said speaking
more to himself than Michaelangelo.

Mike chuckled. "I got five bucks that says Raph takes Leo."

"I don't think that's the point, Mike." He smiled. "Besides, you don't have
five bucks."

It was an uncomfortable minute or so as Leonardo and Raphael just looked
at each other, neither one willing to make the first move.

"This is stupid", Raphael said finally. "Splinter's trying some kind of
reverse psychology thing."

Leonardo didn't know what to say. He was torn. Should he obey Splinter
and fight Raphael until one of them submits, or should he just sit down and
wait until Splinter releases them from this battle? Leo thought the likely-hood
of that happening was slim. Splinter said they would not leave for any
reason. Splinter didn't lie.

He brushed past Raphael and sat against the far wall to think things through.

Raphael watched him. "What are you doing?"

"Thinking." Leo closed his eyes and appeared to be in deep thought.

Raphael folded his arms. "Are you done thinking yet?"

Leonardo ignored him.

"You know, this never would have happened if you weren't on my back

Leo opened his eyes. "I wouldn't have to be on your back if you showed a
little discipline."

Raphael cracked his knuckles and growled in anger. "Know what, Leo? I
don't know what Splinter's trying to prove, but this wasn't such a bad idea.
I've waited seventeen years to be able to show you who is best. C'mon
Fearless Leader. Let's see what you really got."

Leo shook his head, not in answer but in aggravation. "That's your answer
to everything isn't it? If someone doesn't see things your way, beat them
until they do."

Raph smirked. "Well, you seem to have the same theory. Only you nag
until people see things your way. Believe it or not, Leonardo, the world
doesn't turn by your viewpoint." He paused for a moment. "Or Splinter's."
Raphael watched his brother smugly, just knowing that would get a rise out of

Leo looked up, hot anger burning in his eyes. "What did you say?" he
asked slowly.

Raphael stood his ground, glaring at Leo with absolute defiance. "You
need me to translate?" He walked over until he towered right above his
brother. "You are not right about everything. And neither is Splinter."

Leonardo kicked out suddenly and knocked Raphael's feet out from under
him. It only took seconds before Leo had a knee on Raph's plastron, pinning
him to the ground.

"How can you be so disrespectful? After everything Splinter has done for

Raphael twisted slightly and brought his leg up across Leo's throat and
pushed him backwards. He sprang to his feet and beckoned Leo with his

Leonardo rolled up into a defensive stance. "Okay, Raphael. You're not
the only one who has waited seventeen years for something. We fight until
one of us gives up."

Raph grinned. "You'll have to kill me first."

Leo returned the grin. "What do you think I've been waiting seventeen
years for?"


Michaelangelo tried not to look anxious. "Um...I think I'll go get a drink.
Can I get you something Donny?"

Donatello looked up from his book. "No, Mike. Hey, you're not planning
on spying are you?"

Mike smiled innocently. "Who me?"

Don chuckled. "Yeah right." He was quiet for a moment. "Maybe I'll help
you with that water, Mike." He stood and stretched. "We'll take the scenic

"Heh. If you insist, Donatello."

Quietly, they made their way to the training room.

"Hear anything?" Donnie whispered.

"Nah, they're just talking." Michaelangelo paused. "Wait a sec, I think..."

"Donatello, Michaelangelo? What are you doing?"

Mike and Don jumped about three feet and turned to face Splinter.

"H..hi, Sensei," Mike said with a nervous laugh. "We were just..uh.."

Don't say it Mike, Donatello pleaded silently.

"Getting a drink..." Mike finished.

Donatello groaned as Splinter raised an eyebrow. "You seem to have gotten
lost. The kitchen is in the other direction."

"Yeah, well, um.." Mike started to back up. "I think I must be tired.
Maybe I'll just go to my room for awhile..and..uh.."

"Good idea," Splinter agreed. He turned to Donatello, as Michaelangelo
retreated to his room.

Don started to back up as well. "Maybe, I'll go make sure he doesn't get
lost again." At Splinter's nod, he quickly followed Michaelangelo.

Splinter shook his head. "Kids," he muttered. He closed his eyes hoping
for a relatively quiet evening. From the sounds coming from the next room,
he seriously doubted he would get his wish.

Leonardo and Raphael circled each other carefully. Both of them knew that this was different than their sparring sessions. Sensei was not here to referee and nobody was here to stop them should things get out of hand. Leo also realized in the back of his mind that there were no younger brothers to set an example for; no excuses for ending this fight before it was truly over. And what happened then? If he won, would Raphael become even more impossible? Would he be even more determined to fight Leo just to prove that his losing was a fluke? And what if Raph won? Would he take over as leader? Would Splinter even allow that?

Raphael's body tensed waiting for Leonardo to strike. This is what he had been wanting. This was his one chance to prove to Splinter, Mike, Don and especially Leo just who the best fighter was. If he truly looked deep inside himself, he would find just a bit of doubt as to the answer. But on the surface, where it counted the most, he was extremely confident in his ability to beat his brother.

Raphael leaped toward him suddenly startling Leo from his thoughts and nearly catching him off guard. Leo turned to the side and tried to catch Raph's leg as it slid across his shell. But Raphael pulled back just in time and caught Leo across the head with the back of his fist. But because his momentum was carrying him forward, he didn't get in a good shot and was off balance when his landed.

Leonardo spun to take advantage of Raphael's awkward landing and caught him with an elbow to his chest. Raphael stumbled backwards but righted himself before he could fall and was just able to block Leo's follow up kick.

Once again the two brothers circled each other.

"Lost your concentration huh Leo?" Raph taunted.

Leo smirked. "Threw all of your weight into that kick and went off-balance. I seem to recall Splinter warning us against that. When was it? Ten years ago?"

Raphael growled and charged Leo again. Leonardo smoothly stepped out of the way and kicked him in the stomach. Raphael was able to take some of the force from Leo's kick by blocking with the palms of his hands, but it was still enough to nearly knock the wind from him.

"Damn you," Raphael said straightening up and facing his brother.

"Temper, temper," Leo teased.

Raphael's eyes flashed. This had become extremely personal. He was going to beat his brother into the ground no matter what. That's when Leo noticed a light in Raph's eyes.

Leo wondered for a moment what was on Raphael's mind but then Raph satisfied his curiosity. Leonardo realized now more than ever why Splinter had taken their weapons. Things were about to become a lot more bloody. Raph had pulled out a dagger that was hidden in his wristband.
Raphael slowly advanced on his brother. "Okay, now let's go."

Never one to lose his cool, Leonardo smiled tightly as he circled around Raph. "Kind of an unfair advantage isn't it?"

"Splinter always said to take any advantage you could," Raphael reminded him with a grin.

"Oh, so now you decide to listen to Splinter?" Leo asked. "I thought he wasn't right about everything?"

Raph shrugged. "No one is wrong all the time." He threw the dagger as hard as he could. Leo turned to avoid it and realized too late that the dagger hadn't even come close to hitting him. Before Leo could question or taunt Raphael about his aim, Raph landed a kick to Leo's head.

Leonardo spun around with the force of the impact and was forced to his knees as another kick to his abdomen knocked the wind from him. He coughed trying to catch his breath.

Raphael stood over him smiling smugly. "Can't believe you fell for that, Star Pupil. You may be a prick, Leo, but you're still my brother. And I may be a bastard, but it will be an honorable victory that I get over you."

"Don't count on it," Leo growled and stood suddenly with an uppercut to Raph's jaw.

Raphael staggered backwards, a little dazed.


Splinter had been watching silently crouched near the entrance to the training room and breathed a sigh of relief. He had come very close to intervening and cursed himself for not checking to see if his students were carrying more weapons. He closed his eyes. He too had been expecting Raphael to attack Leonardo with the dagger. In those few short moments he had doubted both the wisdom of this battle and himself as a sensei and father.

What kind of master am I if I had not been able to instill in my students the concept of honor? And what kind of father am I if I had not been able to instill in my sons a love for their family?

Raphael would probably never know, but he had laid Splinter's fears to rest. Maybe with all of those lectures he had given Raphael over the years, something had stuck with him.

Splinter stood and stretched. Feeling confident that neither of his sons would be seriously injured, he headed for bed. He had a hunch that it was going to a long least for Leonardo and Raphael.

"Come on, Donny. The coast is clear. Splinter went to bed." Michaelangelo ducked back excitedly into the room.

Donatello barely even looked up from his book. "Go by yourself this time, Mike. I, for one, don't feel up to testing Splinter. He's being pretty creative with punishments tonight."

"Come on, Donny," Mike practically begged. "Don't you wanna know what's going to happen?"

"I already know, Mike," Don muttered distractedly.

Mike stared at him for a second, before grabbing Donatello's book and tossing it across the room.

"What do you know? And how do you know it?"

Donatello sighed and sat up a little. "I know Leo and Raph and I know Splinter."

Mike looked confused and shrugged. "Yeah, so. I know them too."

"Think about it, Mike. All the times Leo and Raph have sparred in practice and things got out of hand...what happened?"

Mike was thoughtful for a second. "Splinter broke them"

Don stood to retrieve his book. "Splinter just wants them to fight off some aggression. If things get out of hand, he'll stop it like always. Leo and Raph are probably talking right now. That's why Splinter went to bed."

A sudden crash coming from the training room startled both of them.

Mike smiled. "Yeah, Donny. You're absolutely right."

Donatello glared at him and threw himself back down on the bed with his book. "Shut up, Mike. I'm still not going with you."


Raphael and Leonardo both climbed to their feet, unsteady after they had toppled over the table.

Raphael held his head and groaned.

"Oh shut up," Leonardo said. "At least you didn't hurt anything you actually use." He had one hand to his lower carapace. He could barely walk after Raph's knee had made contact with his groin as they fell over the table.

"Oh yeah," Raphael snorted. "As if you'll ever get any use out of that in your lifetime."

Leo looked up at him glaring and then he smiled slightly. "Yeah, you're probably right."

Raphael flexed his fingers and shook his head as if to clear it. "Ok. I'm ready now."

Leo was still bent over, with his hands on his knees. He glanced up for a second. "Yeah, me too." He straightened up with some effort. "What were we fighting about again?"

"You're a nagging bastard" Raphael replied without even a moment's hesitation.

Leo nodded. "Oh yeah. I remember now."

Donatello snored softly, his book lying on his chest. Michaelangelo took one last peek around the corner and throwing caution to the wind crept out of his bedroom and down the hall to their training room. The sight he was greeted with was certainly not the one he had hoped for or what Donatello had been expecting. Leonardo was flat on his back on the floor with Raphael kneeling on top of him, screaming in rage as he connected punch after punch.

"You arrogant..." PUNCH! "Conceited..." PUNCH! "Always 'too good for everyone else', asshole!"

Leonardo was able to shift his weight and flip so that he was now on top of Raphael and he returned the favor of listing all of Raph's faults while decking him in between. "And you are a whining..." PUNCH! "Immature..." PUNCH! "Can't ever think of anyone but yourself jerk-off!" Leo practically shook with rage. He curled his fists as tight as he possibly could and swung at Raphael with all his might, his backfist catching Raph's temple. Raphael became motionless.

Still trembling, his fists still clenched; Leo was about to punch Raphael again.


Leonardo turned in shock to his little brother. "Mike..." He looked at Raphael. "I..." He couldn't seem to form a coherent sentence as he backed away from Raph.

Michaelangelo kneeled down beside Raph and glanced up at Leo. "He's just unconscious Leonardo." He crawled over to where Leo sat and laid a hand on his shoulder. "What happened?"

Leo shook his head. What happened? God, just when it seemed we'd get things straight.


Ten minutes earlier

Leonardo easily dodged another kick from Raphael and tried to counter with a punch of his own, which Raphael just as easily blocked.

"Did it ever occur to you, that we're two idiots?" Leo asked sidestepping another strike from Raph.

Raphael paused for a minute and regarded Leo thoughtfully. "It's occurred to me a million times that you are."

Leonardo took a deep breath. Ok, Leonardo, you walked right into that one. "Seriously, Raphael. We've been beating the hell out of each other for hours now and we're still now closer to leaving this room than when we started. Since when have you been so accepting of punishment?"

"This isn't a punishment, it's a pleasure," Raphael growled. "Leo, I've wanted to beat the hell out of you for years now."

"I'm starting to think you hate me almost as much as you did Shredder," Leo said light-heartedly. That his brother actually hated him had never occurred to Leo. Sure they never got along, but when it came down to it, he always thought that Raph loved him. But now, Raphael was so intent on finishing out this fight, Leonardo was beginning to wonder just how to end this without one of them being seriously injured.

Raphael, for his part, felt himself in a downward spiral. Ever since Splinter had left them to fight, he knew deep in his heart that he couldn't walk away with anything less than a complete and honorable victory. Leonardo had always had Splinter's favor, from the time they were little. Leo was able to do anything he wanted, Leo always called the shots, Leo was always better.

Raphael was completely sure that this little trick was just Splinter's way of letting Leo put him in his place. Splinter was so sure that Leonardo would come out on top, and for the rest of his life, they could throw this match in Raphael's face every time he refused to obey his brother.

"Leonardo knows what he's talking about." He could hear Splinter saying. "He was able to defeat you wasn't he?"

And if Leo walked away, conceded the fight to Raphael simply because he didn't want to fight anymore, that was just something else to throw in his face.
"Leonardo did not wish to harm you, that is why he ended the fight."

Oh no, Leo, Raphael thought. You will not get away from this. I will beat you or I'll die trying.

Raphael scowled at his brother angrily. "I don't know, Leo. At least I RESPECTED Shredder."

Leonardo's blood ran cold. If Raph hated him, he could survive, but that Raphael actually said that he respected Shredder more than him was too much. Shredder was a thief, a liar, a murderer, and a man without honor. Who the hell did Raphael think he was to compare him to Shredder?

Leonardo's breathing was short and quick. His eyes flamed with hatred for Raphael and what he said. His brother had insulted his pride and his honor and for that there could only be one response. Rage consumed him and he charged Raphael intent on slamming his head into the cement wall.

Fortunately, for Raphael, Leo was so overcome with anger that he lost his concentration and Raphael was able to flip Leonardo onto his back. Raphael jumped on top of him.

Present Time

The adrenaline that had been pumping through Leonardo tapered off and he found himself sitting on the floor in disbelief at what he had done. And at what he had been about to do.

Every fiber in his being had urged Leo to kill Raphael and to make him pay for the insult to his honor. If Mike hadn't...

Raphael groaned as he came to.

Michaelangelo moved over to him again and helped him sit up a little. "Raph, you ok?"

Raphael closed his eyes for a minute against the pain and when he opened them again, he glared daggers at Leonardo who still sat a few feet away lost in thought.

"Mike," Raph said, his voice low and threatening. "Get out of here."

Mike glanced over at Leo and shook his head. "No, I don't think that's such a good idea. Come on, Raph. This has gone on long enough. Someone's going to get hurt."

"I said to get out," Raphael repeated with more force. "This doesn't concern you. Now, get the hell out before I forget who it is I'm pissed off at."

"Go, Mike," Leo agreed softly. "Raph's right. This is between us."

Mike stood. "I'll wake Splinter. Tell him this is going too far. You guys are worse than you were when you first started." Michaelangelo was worried now. This had started out as some kind of joke, but now his brothers looked they really wanted to kill each other.

Raphael climbed to his feet with great effort. "Michaelangelo, I have never in my life wanted to hurt you, but I swear to God, if you interfere.."

Leo jumped up and got in between Mike and Raph. "Mike, just go to bed. Now."

Mike still looked unconvinced, but he nodded and left the room.

Leonardo turned back to Raphael whose hands were straight down at his sides, his hands clenched. "Raph," he began.

"I hate you, " Raphael declared flatly.

Leo nodded. "I know and you have every right to. I'm sorry."

"You win." Raph brushed past Leo to walk from the room.

Leonardo was confused for a second. "What? Raphael, where are you going?"

"To bed," Raphael replied pausing at the door.

"What? You can't. We're not supposed to."

Raphael turned back to his brother. "Since when have I done what I'm supposed to? You win, ok? Enjoy it. What? You want me to stand here so you can rub my face in it?"

"No," Leo replied. "I just...why? It's not like you to give up so quickly."

"Christ, Leo! You want me to bow down on my knees and kiss your feet? You win! I lost! You could've killed me if you wanted to!" Raphael tossed his hands into the air. "But not you! I insult your precious honor and you still do the 'right' thing. God, maybe you are perfect."

"I'm not perfect, Raphael," Leo said quietly. "If it hadn't been for Mike coming in...I don't know." He looked down at his hands. "I might have...I wanted to..."

Raph's eyes narrowed. "You were going to kill me?"

Leo nodded slowly, hesitantly, not able to look at his brother. "If Mike hadn't come in...I might have. Oh, God, Raphael. I'm so sorry."

Raphael smiled. "You were going to kill me? You?"

"Raph, I don't know. I just lost it for a second. I..." He looked up and saw Raphael's face. "You're happy about this?"

Raphael laughed. "You lost control? You're not perfect? Ha! Leo, you're not perfect. You're as bad as I am."

Leo allowed himself a tentative smile. "I wouldn't go that far." He was quiet for a second. "Is that why you hate me? Because you think I'm perfect?"

Raphael sobered up and shook his head. "No, you think you're perfect."

"I've never thought that I was perfect. I never said I did."

"Maybe not. But you act like it." Raphael dropped down onto the floor and Leo sat opposite him.

Leonardo looked at his lap as he tried to think of what he wanted to say. "I never thought that I was perfect or better than you, I just have this...expectation that I have to live up to." He sighed. "You don't know how lucky you are. You can do whatever you want?"

Raphael snorted at that. "Do what I want? Where the hell did you get that idea? Remember me? The guy who spends half of his life either confined to his room or in here doing endless katas or push-ups."

"And the other half running the streets," Leo interrupted. "Doing whatever you want."

"You're jealous!?" Raphael asked in shock.

Leonardo shrugged. "A little," he admitted. "And so are you." He looked Raphael in the eye. "Do you really respect Shredder more than me?"

Raphael sighed. "I respected Shredder as an enemy. A skilled fighter, but not as a person."

Leonardo waited for him to continue and when Raph didn't he prompted him. "And me?"

"I respect you as an enemy too."

Leo smiled. He guessed that was as close to a compliment he was going to get out of Raph. He stretched out. "We still aren't allowed to leave here until we sort out our differences. And I'm getting hungry."

"Yeah and I have to go to the bathroom," Raph added with a smile. "Well, are you going to stop being a nagging bastard?"

Leonardo considered that for a minute. "No. Are you going to stop being an inconsiderate jerk?"

"No." Raphael sighed and turned over onto on his back. "This room a'int so bad, huh?"

"Guess not."


"Well, don't this look cozy!"

Michaelangelo and Donatello stood at the door to the training room, looking at their two older brothers who were curled up on the floor next to each other sleeping.

Leonardo opened his eyes and blinked away the sleep that threatened to overtake him again. He sat up slowly and nudged Raphael.

"Leave me alone, Leo," Raphael muttered.

"Rise and shine, Raphy!" Mike cooed.

Raphael opened his eyes and glared at Michaelangelo. "Didn't I tell you to stay the hell outta here."

"Yeah, but that was last night," Mike said.

"And when were you in here last night?" Splinter asked coming up behind them. Much to Mike's relief Splinter wasn't looking for an answer to his question. He dismissed Mike and Don to eat breakfast and studied his two oldest carefully as they got to their feet.

"Shall I have Michaelangelo deliver breakfast to you in here?" he asked.

Leonardo and Raphael looked at each other. "No, Master," Leo said respectfully. "I think Raphael and I have reached a...common ground."

Splinter raised an eyebrow at that. "Raphael? Do you agree with Leonardo's assessment?"

Raph nodded. "Yes, Sensei. I think we understand each other now."

"Very well," Splinter replied. "I will trust that you have and release you for breakfast then."

They both bowed and headed for the door.

Splinter called after them. "And I also trust that you will be ready for practice after breakfast."

The two turtles paused and groaned. "Yes Master."

Two weeks later

Leonardo and Raphael sloshed through the sewers.

"You and Casey have a good time last night?" Leonardo asked.

Raphael shrugged. "I guess. Lots of scum out there needed taken care of."

"Lots of alcohol too huh? I smelled it when you came in this morning."

"Yeah, well, Casey had a bottle of Jack that he needed help finishing." Raphael glanced behind him. "Think we're far enough?" Without waiting for an answer he turned and punched Leo in the jaw.

Leo staggered for a second and then grinned. "Yeah I hope so."

The End

Thanks everyone for your feedback and your insistence that I finish this fic. I might not have otherwise. I hope the ending was to your liking.
And I hope no one was expecting anything to actually get resolvedG