Disclaimer: I don't own Leonardo or any of his brothers. I don't get paid for this, and I don't see either of those things changing. Please don't sue me!
Heya All! Alright, silly story time. For a while now my word processor's grammar check has been giving me trouble. Believe me when I say I know better than to trust the thing, but it sometimes points out things that I miss, so I leave it on. However, I was talking about the trouble it's been giving me. For some reason it insists that any word which follows 'Don' must be capitalized. No idea why that might be. I would venture that maybe all guys named Don use their last name as well, and that said last name is something like Just or Shouted or most recently Use, stupid little green line. Except, I know my uncle doesn't always use his last name, and that name isn't Just, Shouted or Use, so that theory is quickly thrown out the window. The other little issue is its sudden insistence that 'Mikey's' should not be capitalized. Please excuse me while I get rid of these stupid underlines. Well, enough about my problems, ON TO THE REAL STORY!
It was early, even for Leonardo, but he had found that he just couldn't sleep anymore this morning. Instead of lying in bed and staring at the ceiling he got up and made himself some tea. As he made his way to the kitchen he tripped over a training dummy lying in the middle of the living room floor. What's that doing here? Oh yeah. Raphael had taken the mannequins head off the previous evening and the body had sailed over here. Evidently no one had bothered to pick the thing up, and considering how heavy it was he didn't really blame them. Raph could pick it up when he awoke.
Leo just shook his head with a little laugh. Raphael was always ready for a fight. So much so that Leo actually worried that he was going to get himself killed one of these days. Anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and that anyone was often Leo. He was well aware that poor Don and Mikey despised the constant disputes, but they very seldom complained. Well, that wasn't true, they complained alright, just not loud enough for Leo and Raph to hear them over their own shouting. But the thing about Raph, even with all their constant bickering, there was no one Leo trusted more. Raphael was his wingman. Sure, Mikey or Don could be counted on to be up to the job, but somehow he usually came back to Raph. Maybe it was a personality thing. Sure, there was a difference. Raphael was a fighter, while Leonardo was a warrior. What is the difference between a warrior and a fighter? Was it honor? No, Raphael had honor, that wasn't the issue. Leo finally decided that the true difference between the two was more one of mentality. Leo fought hard, carefully, and with practiced moves. When he fought it was meant to be beautiful, a dance. Raphael practiced hard and was well versed in his art, but he was scrappy. It wasn't always pretty, but he got the job done. Maybe they fought so much because they were so similar. Leo would never admit it aloud, but he had a feeling that he and Raphael were very much alike, so much so that their one major difference blew out of proportion and led to the constant bickering. Raphael had occasionally referred to it as a basic personality clash. Personality clash or not, Leo knew that even if the whole world was against him that he could count on Raphael. Sometimes he didn't show until the last possible moment, but without fail he would show.
If he had to put a title on him Leo would call Raphael the muscle of their little group. Leonardo pushed the body of the battered practice dummy out of the way, so no one else would trip over it when they awoke, then continued on his way to the kitchen. He started water for tea and turned back to the cabinet in search of some cereal. The first thing he came across was a box of Lucky Charms. Definitely Mikey's choice. Leo laughed a little, and wondered vaguely if his 'baby' brother would ever grow up.
Almost as he thought passed through his mind another thought crushed it. Leo realized that he didn't want his brother to grow up. Without Michelangelo and his constant… enthusiasm, the lair would be a very boring place. Mikey's humor and childish antics were part of who he was, part of what made him Mikey, and something that Leo wouldn't change for the world. But his brother wasn't all childish antics. Mikey knew how to step up to the plate. He might moan, he might complain, he might make jokes, but he knew when and how to rise to any challenge presented to him. Underneath Mike's happy-go-lucky exterior hid a well trained ninja. One who also had an uncanny ability to know when something was wrong. Michelangelo was active, quick and a natural athlete, but the best thing about him was that he was always ready with a joke. Ok, so most of the time it was a bad joke, but it was a joke all the same and often the attempt was all that was needed. Michelangelo also had a natural charm about him that was quite unique. Leo's orange masked brother could definitely dish out creative insults, but that thing that made his insults tolerable, and even fun, was the fact that Mikey could take it as well as he gave it. Leo remembered more than one occasion where Mikey's mouth had gotten into trouble. Michelangelo could talk the talk and walk the walk, but he was just scared or crazy enough between the talking and the walking to be underestimated more often than not. No one could do hidden motive like Michelangelo, and there were times that Leo wondered if that underestimation wasn't carefully cultivated.
Leo smiled. Life without Mikey would definitely be dull, and Leonardo thanked the powers that be for his wonderfully crazy brother. If Raph was the muscle Mikey was the heart beating life into what would otherwise be dark, dank sewers. Sliding the Lucky Charms aside Leo pulled out the box of Cheerios. The teapot started to scream and Leo took it off the heat and made his tea. He poured a bowl of cereal for himself and went over to the table. He set down the bowl and went to take a seat, but he was back up very quickly. What the…? He looked down at the chair he had been attempting to use and found a now damaged shell cell there. He didn't know whose it was but he did know who would have to fix it now.
The resident fix-it-turtle had repaired these things more times that Leo could count, though he was pretty sure that Donnie knew exactly how many times he had repaired each individual phone and who had broken it. He remembered Don joking about using titanium next time. It would have been funny if he hadn't had to explain that titanium was nearly impossible to work with under normal circumstances. Leo's mind drifted to Don's infamous magic bag of tricks. If they found themselves in a fix Don often had something in his bag to even the odds a little. He had a tendency to over-plan, but was also able to think on his feet, and could use his environment very effectively, turning a previously innocuous object into a weapon or escape route. While Donnie might not be the fiercest fighter in a battle, when properly motivated he was a force to be reckoned with. Don's weapon of choice was meant for defense, and that suited him perfectly. If it could be avoided he'd rather not fight, but just because he preferred not to didn't mean he wasn't capable. There was very little that Donatello couldn't do if he put his mind to it, Leo knew that precious few shared the determination that his purple-masked brother had been known to display. The flip-side of Don's determination was that it was not unheard of for him to become utterly absorbed in what he was doing. He occasionally had a one-track mind and became frustrated if anyone tried to drag him away from his project, but normally it took a lot to make Donatello mad. Donnie was quiet, and like Michelangelo he also had an uncanny ability to tell when something was wrong. If Mikey's salve was a good joke, Don's was a friendly ear. Each brother had aspects that made them similar to the others and other traits that made them unique.
Leo put the shell cell down on the table and sat back down to his cereal. He'd categorized everyone else, so decided that he might as well just continue. Donatello was the brain of their little operation. Somewhere in the back of his mind Leo wondered where that left him.
He had earned the role of leader of the motley little crew, and he knew that his brothers respected that as long as he respected them. It was a circle. Leo knew he had his faults, and that those faults were accepted by his brothers just as their faults were accepted by him. Leo was a perfectionist who lived and breathed ninjitsu, and had a slight tendency to be overbearing. That was probably what ticked Raphael off more than anything. Raph would follow his family to the ends of the Earth, but you don't mess with his style and get away with it. Leo had pushed Don to limits beyond what he was truly capable of and even the normally passive turtle had rebelled before, usually in the form of sitting down and refusing to get up or move until he was good and ready. Mikey too had blatantly ignored Leo's wishes in the past. You couldn't lead if you never followed. Leo knew that and had learned to follow his brothers' lead when they had an idea. They were a team and you had to trust your teammates in order to be successful. If Raphael was the muscle, Michelangelo the heart and Don the brain what was left? All Leo could think of was the soul, but calling himself the soul of the little group seemed more than a little egotistical so he dropped the whole thing.
Leo finished his cereal and tea and washed his dishes. He didn't have control of his brothers and that was how it was meant to be. They were individuals after all, but when they came together as a team there was no stopping them.