(on knees begging for forgiveness) I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Forgive me, dearest readers! I never meant to leave you hanging for four months! I didn't really even know it'd been that long.
For one, this is the last chapter, one which I've been worried sick about. Since Leo is my fave, I know people are expecting more from his chapter. But alas! It must be done!
Since are beloved shout-outs are gone, I'd just like to briefly thank everyone who's reviewed for this story and may in the future.
First, I'd like to thank pacphys, Katana-Babe, Chibi Rose Angel, The REAL Cheese Monkey, BlueRaven and BubblyShell22 for reviewing every single chapter I've put up so far.
Next, I'd like to thank Darktiger2, kikiyophoenix19, Rene, Ghost-girl-13, Sassyblondexoxo, Raph.A.leon, red turtle, Ramica, eldarsevenstar (a.k.a. alex), stocktonwood, Star Ninja, Kellie Fay, Lunar-ninja, Jaganashi, Inumaru12, The Sacred Heart 2 and evangelina, who also reviewed.
All in all, More came up with 23 reviewers! Not bad.
Now for the contest. Nobody won. The closest person I believe was Chibi Rose Angel. I'm not afraid of heights, but I am a little uncomfortable flying in big planes. If it was a jet or something, I wouldn't have a problem.
But I suppose you guys are now really curious what my fear really is. (covers eyes) You guys are so gonna laugh at me, I know it. Well, let's review the clues.
I've never mentioned it in any of my stories. Therefore, it's not bugs, thunder, fire, the dark, guns, or heights.
It's an unusual fear. I've never met any one who shares it with me. Nothing like fear of speaking in public, death, or falling. In fact, it's a child's plaything.
An old, black-and-white episode of The Twilight Zone reinforced it a few years ago. The episode was the one with Talking Tina.
Now with that last one I'm sure you must've figured it out by now. My greatest fear in the world is… dolls. Seriously, they scare the crap out of me. I don't have a problem when they're made of paper or cloth, and action figures don't bother me, but things like glass and Barbie dolls just give me the shivers.
(frowns) I know that somewhere out there someone is laughing at me.
Well, I suppose I should get on with the story, huh? Once again, please for give me for taking so long. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own the TMNT, for if I did, I fear that a few episodes would never be finished.
When you meet a person, you notice certain tendencies, qualities, and weaknesses they may have. At that point, you can't really say you know them; you're just acquainted. It isn't until you're around them more; until you expect those things of them, that you truly understand them.
It's a useful gift in a fight. Not only can you use it to your understanding of an enemy; it can be used to throw them off. If they're good enough, you can bet they're anticipating some tricks out of you as well. In some cases, it's best to do the unexpected.
However, this sixth sense is even more valuable to me among loved ones, especially the ones I've grown up with. I use it a lot with my brothers. Most of the time, it's just for that familial bond, noting how they're feeling and acting. But all too often, understanding those same things I use to get to know them better, I have to use it to protect them.
I feel stupid every time I think about it like that. Sure, they make mistakes; I do too. But they don't need my protection. We've been able to defend ourselves and then some since we were twelve.
And not just with Ninjitsu. My brothers have skills beyond that. I admire them for those talents to levels they'll never know, for I could never explain it correctly even if I tried.
Donny's smarter than I'll ever be. And not merely his with engineering and science proficiency. He understands that you don't always have to fight to win a battle. Don has always looked for the solution involving more calculations than lives.
Then again, just because he's the most peaceful of the four of us, doesn't mean he can't get frustrated. Donny knows how much we depend on him, especially in a tight jam. Sometimes, it doesn't look like it, but that's when you have to look closer. I've seen him lock himself up in his lab for days at a time when he can't figure something out. But he does in the end. Always. Don's never let me down.
Now what do I say about Mikey? It may seem like a surprise, but he needs less training than the rest of us in Ninjitsu. Naturally athletic, all he requires is a few demonstrations to get a new move right. Unfortunately, his mind doesn't always work like that. What keeps him to par with us is the fact that he's easily distracted sometimes, therefore not always keeping up with his training.
But he also recognizes that fighting isn't the only thing in the world. Mikey's a happy guy. His world is full of superheroes, music, television; basically, anything he can entertain himself with. Honestly, I think that if we were ordinary, human teenagers, Mikey would be the most normal of all of us. His smile and laughter is contagious. And he knows it full well too. I think he considers it his job to cheer us up; a job he performs well most of the time.
My brother Raph is the exact opposite. At times, I think he considers it his job to tick me off. Notwithstanding, he's one of the few who can do it. How so, I may never know. For some people, if they knew a person like Raph, it'd be hard to say some nice things about him. Then again, if that were the case, the person wouldn't really know him that well after all. After you get his temper out of the picture, a difficult task at times, you're left with a lot of decent qualities.
He's reliable; always there when you need him. Raph likes going into fights alone sometimes, but you better bet that he's not about to let you do the same. I do that too. I guess we just have a little too much confidence in our abilities at times. Raph's also smarter than me, in some respects. Not once did he ever trust the Shredder. Didn't trust Karai either.
Want to guess who did?
Both times, I was wrong. With Shredder it was more obvious. It took me a little longer with Karai, though. But Raph knew all along.
And despite being the leader, the one whose supposed to know those types of things, I didn't.
What's the point of training myself to lead, taking no time to just relax, if I'm not going to do it right? Sometimes, I think I'm getting worn out of this role. Once in a while, I'll look at myself like they do. But I can't see what they see. I don't see a leader; I see flesh and blood, a person who is bound to make mistakes.
What makes a leader anyways? Courage can't just be it; my brothers are just as brave as I am. I'm a strategist, but they could probably do that as well. And experience can't be it either, at least in this case. We've pretty much been in the same dilemmas.
Come to think of it, they have all the things needed to lead. Maybe not in the same doses, but together, they're perfect. So how did I end up in this spot?
I'm the one who has to be levelheaded in all situations. That's really been getting to me lately. I may be mature for my age, but even a mature person deals with anger. There are times when I've wanted to switch places with Raph, just go out and let everything loose. And Mikey; how he still, despite all the crap we deal with, has been able to keep that child-like innocence. I'd still like to be depended on in some situations, like Don is. But at least he has freedom.
All those things I said about my brothers? I envy them for it sometimes. They can live. Really, truly live. My job is to make sure they stay that way, in mind as well as body.
As the leader, I'm willing to fall.
I'm no longer afraid of getting hurt. Like my fear of heights as a boy, I was able to conquer it in time. Sure, I still feel like I've gotten the crap kicked out of me when it happens, but if I have to suffer a few beatings to keep someone from getting killed, I don't mind. My fear has progressed from a paralyzing fear of heights to a heart-stopping fear of letting them down. I make mistakes, and when I do, there's a greater chance that they'll pay the price for them instead of me.
Failure is not an option. Perfection, as far-fetched as it seems, is a requirement. It's slowly killing me from the inside, but it must be done. Even if no one actually understands but me.
Maybe that's the stuff you look for in a leader; the sacrifices they make.
But I'm more than a leader. I'm a brother.
That I can define. A good brother is someone who cares genuinely about their sibling, and not just because they're related. Someone you grow up with.
My life isn't about defending the people who'll never know I'm alive, nor is it for a type of thrill. It's for them; I live my life for them.
If there's anything whatsoever that's leftover of me from that job; from those shoes I have to fill, what remains is the love I have of and for my brothers.
I don't think they see it often though. The title 'fearless leader' is proof enough, I think. But I'm still their brother. Why else would I fight with them so much? I wonder if that's why it always seem like I'm the oldest. I'm so protective of them.
They're truly… my little brothers. We may have been through everything together, more or less, but they still seem younger, like they still have that purity to them that you eventually grow out of. A piece of life I was neglected.
Even when I was little, I didn't have that kind of spark to me. I was focused, obsessed with getting done what needed to be done. While they were having fun, I was training harder. It was the one thing I could be good at. I never realized what I was missing out on.
There've been times when all I've wanted to do is return to that state where they live in. I want to be like them, instead of so uptight. Granted, I hang out with them every now and then, as a way to stay close to them: throwing water balloons; watching movies. But it's all a lie in the end. They have something between the three of them that I don't. I guess I'm just more suited keeping them safe.
And that's where Leonardo the Leader steps in.
I've had nightmares ever since I was a young child. You wouldn't believe all of the different ways I've discovered that I could lose them. I couldn't live without my brothers. If they were ever in such a situation, I would die each and every death I've dreamt they suffered a million times if it would keep them alive.
And for some reason, I don't know why, I can't do that without being the leader. But they don't want a leader around all the time. And they don't know me as well as their brother. I don't show it enough, no matter how hard I try.
I've failed as both several times, but I'll do my best to keep that from happening again. I can't fail at this task. If they're in danger, I'll protect them. If they're just sick, I'll drop everything and take care of them.
Even though it's getting to me, driving me insane at times, I'll be there.
Leader or brother, I'll always be there.
Wow. That chapter was harder to write than I thought it'd be, but I like it.
And the good new is: Another story done! Hallelujah!
So how'd you like? I hope you enjoyed! (frowns) The story, not the fact that I'm afraid of dolls!
(cringes) I had to go to an allergy specialist today. Get this: I'm allergic to 24 different things! (sarcastically) Yahoo. More medication.
But you guys can cheer my up by reviewing! See ya!