Disclaimer: I don't own the ninja turtles, or any character that might've appeared in any of the TMNT universes. I'm not making any money from this, so please don't waste your time in suing me.
A/N: This has been the most emotionally draining story that I've written, to this day. Ironic how it's a Leo story, when the guy's my least favorite. However, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Don't forget to review on the way. Thank you.
WARNING: This story contains blood, death and violence. Any reader that feels that he/she is sensitive when it comes to either of these topics, you'll do best by not reading any further. Thank you.
Summary Raphael confronts a broken Leonardo, who, after their master's death has been carrying a dark secret that's eating him alive; an untold story Splinter shared on his deathbed. (Probably the darkest and most tragic fic I've ever written).
The turtle's tired feet climbed down the ladder to his underground home, his worn hands gripping the cold steel of the poles. Raphael had just returned from his nightly patrol, which, as of late, seemed to take place almost every single night. He needed something to take out his anger on. Something to take his mind off of the hollow home he always returned to.
At the end of the pneumonia, Splinter hadn't taken up much space among them, but after he died he left an emptiness no one could fill. Even though it was only six months ago since the tragic event took place, Raph felt like years had passed. Because he felt so much older, they all did. The death of the person that was not only their master, but their father as well, had matured them more than any amount of years ever could. They had grown up overnight.
They were forced to.
He stepped down onto the concrete floor, his feet touching solid ground as he gazed out over the darkened living room.
It was so quiet.
He knew for a fact that his oldest brother was the only one home, which could explain the silence. But that wasn't it. There was something else about the quiet lair that bothered Raphael. The deafening silence was unnerving, almost eerie.
Raph felt like his every sense was running on full power. Tense worry hung in the air of his home, causing the little voice in the turtle's head to call out in alert, warning him.
Something was definitely up.
He descended the stairway leading down to the main platform, where the old duck taped couch stood, facing the beat up TV set of the household. The light was on in the kitchen subcar, but there was no one there. Nothing but silence. And all the other subcars were dark, even the bathroom, which stood open for invitation.
Raphael's watchful eyes travelled down the darkened sets of train carriages, until finally, at the far end of the platform, he discovered a car where a faint light flickered.
It was Splinter's carriage.
None of them had been in there since they cleaned it out, leaving only the furniture and a few of his most precious belongings. It was still too painful. Even as they walked past it on their way to the dojo it hurt them, like a stab to the heart. So why would Leo go in there now? What made this night any different from the ones before it?
Raphael contemplated on leaving his brother alone and retreating to his own room, but his curiosity got the better of him. Plus there was also something else tugging on his attention. Worry perhaps? He warily set off in Leonardo's direction, his pace speeding up the closer to the subcar he got.
He stopped for a moment when reaching up to the subcar doors, listening for any sounds. As he looked through the broken glass window he noticed shadows from a candlelight flickering against the wall, proving that someone was indeed in there. Because no one would be stupid enough to leave a lit candle, let alone Leo.
Raphael was never one to knock, except for when it came to Splinter, but he wasn't around anymore. So the turtle simply slid the doors open and stepped inside.
His older brother sat on the floor by the far end of the car, his shell turned towards him. A few candles were lit around him, their dancing flames surrounding him. He looked like he was meditating, because he was sitting cross-legged on one of their master's pillows, his posture filling the room with a calm only Leo could display. He never moved as Raphael stepped inside, but it was obvious he'd noticed his presence. He seemed aware of pretty much everything at that moment.
"You shouldn't be here," the oldest turtle said after a moment of silence had passed. He almost sounded a little annoyed, and yet, his voice held a trace of remorse.
"Neitha' should you," Raphael replied, taking in the details of his father's room, memories coming back to him. Painful memories.
Leonardo lifted his head, as if staring at the wall straight ahead of him, before his calm voice spoke yet again, "I really think you should leave, Raph."
"Why?" his response came. "Ye hidin' somethin'?"
The question was met with silence, and Raph felt waves of shame coming off of his brother. A pang of worry hit him.
"Leo?" Raph insisted, his voice much weaker than he had intended.
"Please," Leo said, his voice still patient. "You need to leave."
"Like hell I will!" the red masked turtle snapped as he walked deeper into the room, leaving the door open behind him. Leo remained on the pillow as his persistent brother approached him, his gaze focused on the wall in front of him.
Raphael stopped on Leo's left side as he reached up to him, his eyes immediately going to the glint of steel lying in front of him. "Shit," he breathed, shock washing over him like a bucket of cold water.
The situation just turned serious.
Leonardo hung his head in shame, feeling his brother's eyes burning a hole in his skin.
"The hell d'ya think yer doin!" Raphael demanded when he found his voice again. "Have ya fuckin' lost it!" He stared intently on his older brother, impatiently waiting for some sort of reaction as desperation clung onto him.
Leo slowly turned his head to the side to be able to meet Raph's dark eyes, the shadows from the candles dancing across his face in the darkness. "I'm sorry," he finally said, shamefully breaking the eye contact.
"Yer.. Yer sorry?" Raphael repeated, as if it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. "What the hell's wrong with you? Ya juz locked yerself in here, hoping I wouldn't get back until ya were finished?" His voice was mixed with panic and fury.
But Leo didn't answer, he simply started at his lap, his shoulders slowly dropping.
"Get ova' yerself, Leo," Raph spat, shaking his head in disapproval. "What the hell gives you the right? Huh?" He paused for a second, angrily licking his lips. "You don't think we're in pain? You think yer the only one who misses him? Don't be so fuckin' selfish, dammit."
Still, there was no answer from Leo. His dead eyes were still facing downwards, guilt-ridden.
"What d'ya think Mikey would say if he saw ye now?" Raph asked, his voice a little calmer. "His big brother, the mighty Fearless Leader, buried in his own self-pity. Do ya have any idea what this would do ta him?" he asked, waiting for some sort of answer. But just like before, none came. "Y'know what?" His face twisted with disgust as he rested his eyes on his brother. "Yer makin' me sick. For you ta actually plan somethin' like this.. I..." He trailed off, at loss for words as he studied the scene before him. "It's disgusting."
There were candles position around Leo, and judging by the height of the candle wax, they seemed to have been burning for a good half-hour. On each side of the ninja laid his katana, the two items he valued the most. And placed in front of him, a few feet away, was a folded piece of paper. All of this together led Raph to a scary conclusion. But what really convinced him of the gravity of the situation, was the shorter sword placed right in front of his big brother.
The blade was about forty-five centimetres long, the glistening steal resembling Leo's katana a great deal. The black grip of the weapon was decorated with elements of gilt. Giving it a much more expensive look where it laid, unsheathed on the subcar floor.
It was a wakizashi. Leo had used it in practice but never in real combat. The sword had a shorter blade compared to its kin - the katana. It purpose was to replace the long katana, where the ceiling might be too low. Or you could carry it as a spare, in case the katana got lost or damaged in battle. But Leo never did this since he had twin katana. However, there was also another purpose for the wakizashi, a purpose that chilled Raph to the core.
It was used in the Japanese ritual called 'seppuku,' the act of committing suicide in the name of bushido.