Alright, another short fic that I have been working of for the past day or two. Don't worry, I haven't given up on my other two stories… It's just I was in a Leo-ish mood, and wanted to write a story just for him. It's nothing special, just a lil something that will hopefully entertain my readers. (And not in a comic way, mind you.)

Heh… I kindof threw this together, and I tried to edit out as many mistakes as I could, but if anyone sees a way that I can improve this story, please don't hesitate to point it out: )

Note that italics signify thoughts or flashbacks.

Disclaimer: The Ninja Turtles and other related characters do not belong to me.

This story has been slightly edited. Nothing too big, everyone... just some spelling/grammar/ it'll-sound-better-if-I-type-this changes. :-)


I opened my eyes for what could be the last time, taking in the familiar surroundings of my room. My back was against the wall, with my legs haphazardly folded underneath me in what could be viewed as a mock imitation of the lotus position. But I couldn't meditate. I didn't dare. For I feared that if I shut my eyes again, it would be the last thing I would do.

Every breath that I took sent sharp pains flowing though my body, starting from the wound in my chest and spider-webbing through my veins, making the once simple task of breathing an agony.

I focused my vision on the small candle that I had managed to light before I collapsed against the wall. The small, flickering flame did nothing to banish the darkness that surrounded me, choked me, nor did it succeed in soothing my pain, physical or emotional. My eyes followed a blob of wax as it slithered down the candle's cylindrical form, representing the tears that I dare not shed. For once, my stubborn pride does not cause me to resist the urge to cry. I only hold back because cannot afford to waste my energy on such an act.

But... is it possible that I am taking up more energy holding them back?

My animal instincts, the ones that come naturally to a turtle, tell me the end is near. The turtle part of me is ready to die. The tiny flame of it's presence flickers in the back of my mind. It whispers to me, urging me to let go. However, the other, more human side of me refuses to give up so easily. It digs its heels into life, fighting a loosing battle to stay in this world, in this conciousness. I readily follow it's example.

I won't leave now. I can't. Not while I still have a family to take care of. My brothers— my beloved brothers that I will do anything to protect-- still need me. I must be here to give them strength, reassurance, during this terrible time.

As Master Splinter instructed me to do before he passed three days ago.

Desperately, I begin seek comfort, distraction, in my surroundings. Something that will allow me to hold on until my kin return. My eyes fall onto the trail of blood snaking its way from somewhere outside my door to a pool that surrounds me, a grisly reminder of my current condition. I painfully look down to see blood spurting from around the short blade embedded in my chest, feeding the ever- growing pool of the life-giving fluid.

The dark pool reminds me that I am hanging onto life not by a rope, but by a mere thread.

Suddenly a great wave of energy seems to seep through my skin, and I slump even more against the ever-supporting wall. Exhaustion overtakes me, and the urge to simply lie back and sleep grows strong. But still my stubbornness prevents me from giving in to the darkness. I blink hard, trying to clear a sudden blur in my vision. Though instead of succeeding in getting my sight back, I am greeted with another result.

The image of a beautiful Japanese woman floats just inches away from me. My killer, Karai. I reach out to her, only succeeding in grasping thin air, not realizing that the image was nothing but a hallucination.

But despite my weakness, my tiredness, my light- headedness, I remember. I remember what happened…

I was alone. Well, not alone in a sense that there are no other beings around, just alone… as in without my brothers. There are plenty of others around, humans that I can see from a birds eye view as I jump from building to building. They go about their daily life, completely unaware of my presence.

Or so I hoped. Ever since the Triceratons had broadcasted out existence publicly over the planet, more and more of those alien freaks ('Men in Black', Mikey called them) were searching virtually everywhere for us… including the sewers. Good thing that Donnie had put up all those handy gadgets that kept our lair hidden. Otherwise we would have found ourselves taken to a lab and dissected before one could shout 'cowabunga' three times.

I was out and about because I needed to get out of the lair. I needed to be away from the sadness that had been constantly lingering over my shoulder. No matter what room I went into, the sounds of Michelangelo sobbing or Raph beating the stuffing out of his punching bag still somehow managed to travel to my ears. I couldn't take it anymore. I had comforted my brothers many times while they grieved… But I needed to grieve, too, in my own way. And so I left a note on the kitchen table, telling my brothers to expect me about two hours. I figured two hours was plenty of time to do whatever I had to do.

It felt good to be alone, to clear my thoughts. To ponder without interruption what Master had said to me on his last breath, as the fever finally won over his body. Apparently, he trusted me to achieve the goal that he was unable to accomplish in his life: To kill Shredder, and therefore avenge Yoshi.

But where, when, and how? Was I truly ready to carry out his dying wish? Father spent his life as a sentient being training for us for this…maybe he didn't expect the deed to be carried out right away? I sighed in frustration as I landed in a puddle, splashing cold rainwater all around me. I raised my head to the clear night sky, wishing that I could see the stars. But the city's lights are too bright for that. I felt hot tears burn my eyes, threatening to shatter my composure for the umpteenth time since my father passed. And, for the umpteenth time, I held them back.

"Master, when will I know that I am ready?" I spoke to the black atmosphere, my heart weighed down with sorrow, grief, and confusion.

The only response that came to me was a light breeze, just enough to make the ends of my blue mask stir. Frustrated with the answer I received, I growled ill temperedly to myself and clenched my hands into fists, holding them up before me. I had fought Shredder many times before. Together, with my family.

"And every single danm time we lost," I voiced my thoughts bitterly, "And during those battles we had you with us, master. How are we to do this without you?"

The breeze grew stronger. Was it replying? No, that couldn't be. There are no such things as ghosts, or communicating with the dead.

But if I didn't believe in communicating with the dead, then why was I speaking to my dead father? Was it out of desperation to hear his voice again?

Suddenly, I froze as stiff as a statue. I was no longer alone. I sensed the presence of another being. Was it one of my brothers? No, it couldn't be…

"Leonardo." An adult female voice, laced with a Japanese accent, wafted from the shadows. I knew who it was, and would have liked to relax in her presence, to trust her. But I couldn't. She was my enemy's daughter, and she owed him everything; unfortunatly for myself and my brothers, the demise of the Shredder's worst enemies were at thetop of the list. Though she had a sense of honor that was unlike her father's…if she had to kill me, at least I had the small comfort that she was carrying out the order reluctantly, against her will.

"Show yourself, Karai." The words that came from my mouth were much harsher than intended. Part of me hoped that she would disregard my tone.

"Leonardo." She said again, melting from the shadows to my left. "I have to…" She paused, reading my facial expression in the dim light. "What ails you?" Was that concern in her voice?

I pretended that I didn't hear her question. "You have to what? I don't have time to talk, so let's get this over with." Why was I being so unpleasant? Usually when Karai and I met, we spoke more formally, almost kindly, to each other. But now…

She seemed slightly agitated about something. "I must… Leonardo, understand that it was just a twist of fate that we met tonight. For the past week, my master sent me out on a patrol to…find you."

"And be rid of me." I meant what I said to some out as a question, not a statement. She bowed her head. "Karai, this news is not new to me."

"I am aware of that, Leonardo. Normally I would have let you go, but… I am being watched."

"Then aren't you worried that they will pick up on this conversation?"

In response, she drew her weapon.

I felt adrenaline begin to coarse through my veins, but I didn't move to draw my own katanas. "Do you really plan to go through with this?" It seemed like the right question to ask, despite the fact that both of us already knew the answer.

"Leonardo, please understand that I must."

"You must what? Kill me? For what, love, honor?"

"You know. You are not a stupid man, Leonardo."

"If you follow Saki's orders, then I don't believe that you are allowed to view me as a man."

"Please, I beg you to let me get on with this."

"I have done nothing to stop you." I said, "If you had truely wanted to kill me out of cold blood as your father orders, then I would be fighting for my life by now. Karai, that's what separates you from Shredder's other assassins. You know what you do is wrong. I ask you again: do you really want to do this?"

She sighed, lowered her gaze. "Yes, Leonardo. I must kill you, as my master orders."

"That being your decision, I'll let you know that I can't let you do that, Karai, and you know why." I said, drawing my katana. If it were not for my family, I would have allowed her to run me though then and there. But I still had duties to accomplish.

She nodded behind the lethal protection of her cold steel. "Let us battle honorably, then."

"There is no honor in killing a once-called ally." Long ago, when Shredder was thought to be dead and Karai took over the Foot, she promised allegiance. But, once her father came back, the promise was broken.

Guilt made Karai hesitate momentarily before she moved to strike.

At some point during that battle, she had managed to plunge one of her short daggers into my chest. I had hesitated for half a heartbeat, and that was all the time she needed.

And, by lifting her arm to stab me, she left her left side wide open. I attacked, and one slash with my twin blades led to another…

The image of her lifeless body flashed before my eyes, and I shuddered involuntarily. I didn't want to kill her. I cared for her as a friend, and Raphael always hated the tenderness that I expressed. 'Shredder's bitch' was his nickname for her. He always told me that she would betray us one day, and we would kill each other… And now it had happened. And it was my fault for not listening.

It was my fault that she was gone, and my fault that her blade is still lodged in my chest… If I had stayed here, where I belonged, instead of succumbing to my aching heart, this would never have happened…

I could not tell whose blood covered my body, Karai's or mine. Probably both. Heart full of shame, I turned away from the body, which had it's left side sliced open and it's throat slit...

Her death added to the grief that weighed my heart down. She had been a beautiful woman in many respects.

My thoughts were interrupted as pain threatened to split my chest in two at that simple movement of turning away. My breath hissed out from between my teeth as I automatically put a hand to my chest, realizing that the knife was still there. 'Better not pull it out…' I remember thinking. 'Better let Donnie take care of it…'

I looked up at the sky, realizing that dawn was beginning to break on the horizon. How long had I been away from home? How long have I left my brothers alone?

I tried to take a step forward, but the pain increased and I had to stop, gritting my teeth until the wave passed. Even if I could stumble all the way to the lair, it would be a very painful task. Plus, I'd probably loose more blood than I needed to. I didn't think that the blade had hit any major organs, but it was still a good idea to be cautious...

I reached for my shell cell, only to realize with a sinking feeling that I had left it at home, on my desk.


The first time that I forgot something this important, and it had to be a possibly life-threatening situation.

I was left with no choice but to stumble home. It was a miracle that I made it. As soon as I made it through the lair doors, I called weakly for my brothers, but they didn't seem to be home. And so, not really knowing why, I had staggered half-blindly into my room, where sit now.

Why aren't my brothers home? Did they go searching for me? If they had, would I have been better off staying on the rooftop? If only I could call my brothers, find out where they were…

I'm am so tired… I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone get up and go to the old cordless phone in the kitchen.

…My shell cell. Where did I leave it again? As I strained to remember, the world began to spin around me. I held my breath, willing the ucomfortable feeling to pass.

…My desk. I had left the thing on my desk, which was... right next to me. Painfully, I reached up, feeling the diziness increase with each inch higher I lifted my lead- heavy arm. Finally my fingers clasped around the small gadget.

The small shell- shaped phone opened with the touch of a button, and automatically directed me to my phonebook. I highlighted the first name on the list and pushed the talk button, barely aware of what I was doing. The phone rang a few times before the voice of my younger brother picked up.

"Leo? The hell are you?" Donnie didn't seem as calm as usual... In fact, if it wasn't for the pitch of his voice, I would have thought him to be Raph.

I opened my mouth to speak, finding it not so easy as I thought. My throat felt like the sahara, and my jaw ached for some reason or another. "I-I'm at home. Donnie… I got stabbed."

The few seconds of silence seemed to stretch to fit the length of a lifetime before Don responded. "Y-you what?"

"I think its bad." My speech was slurring. I was no doctor, but I knew my condition had to be pretty bad. Of the many clues that gave my poor health away, a slipping conciousness was perhaps the most conspicuous.

"Did you pull the knife out?" I didn't answer. Another wave of dizziness had hit me hard, and I feared if I opened my mouth I would be sick. "Leo? Leo!" Don tried desperately to call me back to reality. I could hear his heavy breathing on the other line, as though he was running. "Leo, hold on. Stay with me. Talk to me. Tell me how bad it is. Tell me where the blade got you..."

I couldn't answer. It was as though the gift of speech had been mercilessly ripped from my body, leaving me with only exhaustion. My eyelids began drooping slowly, and my head lolled to the side. I was loosing consciousness…

"Leo! No! ...Listen to me! Count to ten with me... do something productive!" Don's voice cracked. Or was it my phone's lack of signal? Either way, it was becoming very difficult to hear my brother… his voice was so far away…

Darkness slowly crept across my vision. My grip on the phone loosened, and then the small device slipped from my slack fingers and fell to the ground with a clack. My body fell awkwardly to the side.

On the small screen of the cell, Donatello's name flashed, signifying that my phone had lost signal.

Hmm… I originally wanted this to be a one shot... but maybe I should write another chapter. What do yo guys think?