A/N: …So here is the next (and last) installment of this story. I must apologize for the lateness of this chapter… I just couldn't get the danm thing right. But, after what must have been at least thirty times rereading and editing (literally), I figured that it was acceptable.

The story goes back and forth between characters, meaning that the POV changes, and the thoughts are kindof jumpy. They kindof get on and off topic a bit… but that's how I wanted it to be, considering the situation that the characters are in.: ) ; )

Note that italics symbolize flashbacks, thoughts, or 'Leo'. (You guys will see what I mean about the whole 'Leo' bit while reading this.)

Also note that there is a lot more swearing in this chapter than the last one, but thats only because of the most handsomest beautifulest turtle in red (Hehe wow… how uncharacteristically fangirlsih of me. ) has a much bigger part in this chappie.

((At the mention of the hot- headed turtle, Shadowflame is almost pounded into the fictional soil ofthe internetby a stampeding mob of 'squee'- ing fangirls. She takes a moment to dust herself off before joining them in their antics.))

Thank you to all my absolutely wonderful reviewers: ReluctantDragon, Darktiger2, Phoenix Red Lion, pacphys, Dierdre, blueraven, Pi90katana, Sassyblondexoxo, Dreema Azaleia Wingblade, spootycup, Ruyn, Ted, KLCtheBookWorm, The Sacred Heart, and longing for leo. Also, I wish to thank those of you who have reviewed for me off- site. You guys really inspired me!

NOTICE- This chapter, like the first one, has been revised. Again, nothing big... just some fixing up to make the words flow together more easily. :-)

And without further ado, here is the last chapter!


It's so dark… darker then the darkest of shadows. I walk down a tunnel- a long tunnel- towards my destination. If only I knew what that destination was…one would think that I've been here long enough to find out.

There's a faint light at the end of this long passage. It started out as just a pinprick of golden energy, but I found that with every step that I take, the light grows slightly stronger, brighter, and more beautiful. It sings to me, the high- pitched notes bouncing off my sensitive ears. It's shining beacons of energy promise my cold body warmth. It reaches into my mind, calming me, numbing me, to all my pain. I love the light. I hunger for the light. I need the light.

And yet, I feel as though each stride that I take towards this golden energy is in the wrong direction. That I am really supposed to be walking down the path that the dark, cold, painful part that the tunnel offers.

But why would I select pain and cold if I could have comfort and warmth?

'The harder path. Always choose the harder path…'

A booming voice that I should recognize reverberates throughout the tunnel. I strain to remember the word to place with it. Con… con… conscience. Yes, I know my conscience well… the force in the back of my mind that always nags me, constantly makes me feel guilty of my actions. If I choose the light, then I can be rid of that nuisance once and for all!

But there is a reason as to why I have such a strong conscience… I can't remember why.

"Dammit, Leo… why you? Why now?"

Yet another familiar voice that causes me to stop, take a second look into the depths of the darkness. A face floats there… a face that I recognize but cannot place a name with. I detect a strong bond between the two of us, a bond that also connects two other beings to me.

And I can feel what was a fourth bond, which is now severed. I reach with my mind to lightly touch it, and pull back as a raw wave of pain hits me, both physically and mentally. The severed bond is still new, it still hurts. If I give it time, it will heal.

But... how much time do I have? I stop in mid step, looking back and forth between the two ends of the tunnel, trying to decide whether or not I should turn around.

And now, as though desperately searching for a way to attract me to it, the darkness radiates a new energy. Something that I have known for so long, an energy that strengthens the bonds that I have with these special people: love. If I go for the light, I forfeit this love, these bonds. Do I really want to put us through the agony of being apart? And if I take the easier path, the path to the light, I shall be reunited with the one who's bond with me was severed not too long ago. I can go to him now, and stay in my rightful place by this person's side forever.

And sacrifice three others. Three for one, one for three… Which side will I choose? Both sides mean equal amounts to me.

Whatever I decide, I must think twice and select carefully…


Beep, beep, beep…

Death. It's floods all my senses- sight, smell, taste… hell, I can even hear it. And I'll tell ya what, I'm friggin' sick of it.

I'm sick of holding back tears- wanting to cry. I haven't cried yet, not even for Splinter's death. I'm sick of sitting by my brother's still form for hours on end watching him balance on the edge of life and death, sick of seeing the looks of pain on other my brothers' faces…

I could go on an' on, but to wrap all that shit up, I'm sick an' tired of being sick an' tired.

…A lot of people are afraid of it. Death, I mean. Too many of 'em, in my opinion. They try ta cover up their fears with the hopes of goin' to a better place—Heaven or whatever. Me? I don't have a religion. I'm a simple godforsaken turtle. The only things that turtles worship are mates, water, food, an' sleep. Take Mikey for example- he eats, sleeps, and drinks around the clock.

Some people think it unwise for someone ta say that they ain't afraid of dying. If that's the case, then I guess I'm one unwise sunnava bitch. Sue me. But I guarantee that if someone were to bring a claim on me for such an idiotic reason, they ain't gonna get anything offa me 'cept my body for science.

Beep, beep, beep…

…Then again, maybe that's all they want. Whatever. I didn't say that I wasn't afraid of nothin', cause I've got a shitload of fears, but… it's my death that I don't care about. My bros... now, they're a whole 'nother story.

My eyes travel across the room, finally falling upon my youngest brother, Michelangelo, whose watch was just before mine. Earlier on when I walked into Fearless Leader's room to relieve 'im, I found him sleepin' in a pretty danm uncomfortable position in the wooden chair. I thought of waking him up… he shouldn't be sleeping during his watch; not while Leo is in a condition like this. He could have gotten worse or… ah, the hell with it. Mike hasn't slept since… I don't 'member, but it musta' been at least half a week. Plus, Leo's fine right now… well, just about as fine as he can get.

So here I am, two hours into my watch sittin' on the other side of Leo's futon an' mopping his fevered brow with yet another cool cloth... trying to drown the bitter taste of depression with a couple of beers…

I'm almost through to my second six- pack.

And, as expected, the only sound that my once big, strong bro makes is wheezy breathing. If it weren't for that, I would've thought him dead. Three danm days he's been like this; apparently not only was he suffering from blood loss, but the blade was tipped with some sort of poison as well… Thankfully Donnie managed ta find an antidote, and most of the effects of the poison went away.

…But even after that he still didn't look too good. Ta me, anyways. The others seemed to think that he was fine. That he'd get better.

Truthfully, and I know that this sounds cruel even for me, I'm just waitin' for him to croak overnight. Wouldn't surprise me. I mean, I really don' want it ta happen… no matter what goes on between us, he's still my bro. My leader. And, though I'd never admit it, he's my hero, too. He does so much for us- from taking the blame for numerous stolen cookies in our younger days to taking a hit for one of us in battle.

But if Splinter could leave us so easily, then so could Leo. People die, even the strongest ones. It's a fact. A cold, heartless fact of life that should be accepted instead of fought against... ta fight against it only brings more pain in the end.

I should know. I lived through that pain.

Beep, beep, beep…

I told Donnie that the other day. The thing about Leo dieing, and me not thinking that he is gonna make it. He got pissed- so pissed to the point that I thought I was looking in the mirror- seeing a reflection myself. He screamed at me… I didn't know my lil bro was capable of doin' that. Usually when faced with that kind of situation, I retaliate with more yellin', but… Heh, for the second time in my life, I was speechless.

The first time was way back when I in a fight with Leo… I don' remember what the fight was about, just that that Blue Boy said something that made me stop short, made my mind go blank… I tried to pull something ta say outta my mind but there was nothing there but the echo of what he had said: 'If you don't want to be here, then have it your way. I won't try to stop you again. Go. Get out and never come back.'

'Course, after that I thought up plenty of retaliations.

Anyways, back to the Donnie thing… I think that maybe Don has the same thoughts as I do on the matter, they're just buried deep in the back of his complicated mind. He don't wanno believe that Leo's gonna leave us.

Better yet, he won't let himself believe that. He's Donnie, after all… both him an' Mike seem ta think that there is an answer to every problem out there.

And I agree with 'em. The answer to Leo's current condition is for him to go belly- up. Period.

It's apparent that Don is disgusted with my behavior… probably doesn't wanno look at me. He locks himself in his lab, only coming out for one of three things: to take care of Leo, to visit Mike in his room, or if nature calls. As for eatin', I don' think he's shoved somethin' down ta his netherlands since we found our big bro in his room, sittin' in a puddle of his own blood.

Beep, beep, beep…

Can't say that I blame him, really. It was a pretty horrific sight ta behold. We followed the trial of blood to the lair to see Leo leanin' up against the wall by his desk, stone cold with only the slightest pulse. That danmed dagger went right through his chest plate, an' the blood seeping from the wound was outlining his plastron... Plus the candlelight flickerin' off of his still body made him look just like a corpse from one of those horror movies. Makes one wanna lose the contents of their stomach.

It was Karai who did this to Leo. It had to have been. While lookin' for Fearless Leader, we found blood on the rooftops. Donnie took a sample of it while we were up there an' ran a test when we got home, once Leo was as comfortable as he was gonna get.

I warned Leo so many- too many- times that she couldn't be trusted. And does he listen? Naww, he thinks that his ideas are better than mine- that I'm stupid or somethin'. He says he knows me; apparently I 'don't trust anyone' and I need to 'give people a chance and look into their souls'.

Three words: Bull fuckin' shit. He knows danm well that he's just about if not less trusting than I am. An' if he knows me so well, then he'd know that I know and see a lot more than I let off.

Like his crush on her, for example. Yup, Leo's not perfect. He has his flaws- crushin' on the enemy. Big no- no.That's probably why he dealt with her in the first place… in some rancid hopes that she would someday feel somethin' for him. Which she doesn't, and never will.

...Then again, now that I think of it, she does feel something for 'im. It's a little thing called hate. And even if a human like her could return the favor of love, I wouldn't bless the relationship. Not even if they were both immensely happy together. Not in a million years. She don't deserve a guy like Leo; he's too good for her.

Why didn't he see that? Why didn't he ever listen to me? Maybe, just maybe if he took the time ta hear what I thought, he wouldn't be layin' in this bed right now.

Donnie and Mike seem to think that he has his reasons for totally ignoring my humble and polite suggestions… but maybe that's just to get me offa their backs. Maybe they wouldn't trust me with anythin' 'cept a coupla beers in a locked, padded room.

But if Donnie didn't trust me, then I wouldn't be sittin' here with Leo right now- supposedly all alone. An' that's despite how pissed he is at me.

And Mike… well, let's juss say that I haven't given him any reason to trust me in the past coupla days. I haven't been a very good brother.

...Which could have also helped Donnie to snap at me the other day. Since I wasn't around to give hugs an' kisses, he was the one who had to take care of Leo's wounds and comfort Mike.

Which I really don't understand. Mike's a fuckin' adult now. Leave him be.

I sigh, finally drawing the cloth away from Leo's forehead. He doesn't even look peaceful like master Splinter did—his is face pale and his mouth sat way back in pain. My eyes travel down to the place where I knew the wound to be, and I felt my throat tighten up and my vision blur and burn, all the negative thoughts that I have had about Leo in the past three days running down the drain.

"Dammit, Leo… why you? Why now?" I half- whisper, half- croak, placing my hand on his head. The very corner of his mouth twitched as though he heard me.

Didn't it?

Naw… I've had seven beers too many. He hasn't moved on his own in three danm days… it was probably just my imagination tellin' me what I wanted to hear, again. Just like when Master Splinter came to me the day he died and told me to help Leo to take care of our family; all this other shit about responsibility…

Bullshit. It's all a bunch of bullshit. Dead people are dead; they can't communicate with the living. They don't resign to a 'better place'. They sit in the ground, cold, rotting, soulless… eaten away 'till their only shells of their former selves.

Beep, beep, beep…

…But I guess sensei is a bit different. He ain't gonna lie in the ground an' rot. Case and April came this morning to take his body away… they are gonna get it molded into cement for us, so that he can stand tall forever. Before Leo got injured, he and Mike were supposed to come up with a poem or somethin' ta carve on it, and Donnie was busy getting a marble base for the statue. The base will have four sides, one for each of us. Don was gonna carve out names inta it and everything, so that we will already have out gravestones ready… Not knowing that Leo might have to use his so soon, of course. It's an odd way to bury our master and each other, but then again, we are an odd family.

I haven't contributed shit to the danm ceremony. There's nothin' special that I can do... And that more than anything is what was botherin' me after dad died. Leo tried to get me to do something, anything, for the service. Basically, I told him to fuck off. I didn't need another person reminding me that I was completly useless at that shit.

I plop the cloth carelessly back into the bowl of water, the rag making a slight slapping sound as it hit the cold liquid.

Mike stirred and groaned. I froze, not daring to move until my lil' brother's light snores continued. I know I should carry him into his room… he'd sleep better, and he wouldn't wake up sore from leaning against that chair.

No… he can deal with minor aches. Besides, being ninja, a he'd wake up right away if I touched him. Better off if we both stayed where we were.

Beep, beep, beep…

Alright, that's it. If that danm heart monitor that Don hooked up ta Leo doesn't stop it's fuckin' beepin' soon, I'm gonna have to introduce it ta stone wall of the sewer.

Beep, beep, beep…

…I swear someone up there hates me.

My eyes stray to Leo's bedside table, looking for something to entertain myself for the time being. His blue mask was hanging limply over a lamp, most of the splotches of blood washed out by Mike, leaving only faint stains. I touched the rough fabric lightly, feeling how similar the material of Leo's mask is to mine.

… An' yet, the ones that own them are so different. Different colors, different passions… different views of life.

Underneath the mask, in the shadow of the lamp there was a small, leather book. My fingers stray to that next, running over its worn cover. I knew what this was- I remember him starting it years ago, when we were juss turtle tots: Leo's journal. I snap my head from left to right, making sure that no one was here to see me invading Leo's limited privacy.

I knew I shouldn't. But that's my nature—doing things even though I deem them morally wrong.

Conscience? Ha ha, what's that?

I want to know how Leo felt when Splinter died… I mean, he didn't seem too affected by it… maybe he was just busy takin' care of us. Well, I'll find out now. I traded the bottle of beer for the journal, placing the beverage on the small table.

I fanned through the pages, only stopping and going back when I found that there were no other entries. The last one was dated the day after Master passed away…

April 17th, 2007, two days after father's passing:

Today seems to be harder to handle than yesterday… I think that the effects of the tragedy are finally sinking in. Though I want to be elsewhere, away from where my master's body lays, I know that I must stay with my brothers. I can feel their sadness radiating off of their bodies, corrupting the air like some toxic waste, making it almost impossible to breathe.

I desperately want to end it all, right to the point that if I had hair, I would have ripped it out of my skull by now.

Michelangelo, as I expected, is taking this the hardest. He hasn't left his room since yesterday, not eating or drinking or even taking trips to the bathroom. He just sits on his bed, notepad in front of him, writing these depressing poems. Whenever Don or I try to talk to him, he always ends up crying on the shoulder of whoever is trying to comfort him. And it's not like he's crying like he usually does when he's upset, either…he tries to get as close to his 'comforter' as he can, grabbing their shoulders and pulling you almost too close for comfort, while sobbing and calling Splinter's name… Just like when we were younger, and he had bad dreams. Except now I am in my sensei's shoes. I must be the one to comfort Mike after the nightmare that came true.

Raph seems disgusted by his behavior, shrugging off Mike's emotional outbursts and treating him like dirt. He only visited Michelangelo once since yesterday, and that was only to claim his CD.

It has come to my attention that Donnie goes to see our little brother every three or four hours, in between bouts of his own grief. I watch him. He always goes into Mike's room with a confident shine on his facial features. However, every time that he comes out, he is on the verge of tears. I know why. It isn't easy to try to hold on to your sobbing brother and composure at the same time.

I followed him into his lab today, after he came out of Mike's room. I really didn't know what to do, what to say to him, except ask if he was all right. And he didn't even give me an adequate answer… just gave a slight nod and a sniff. Things got even more awkward when I pulled him into a hesitant hug… Seeing Donnie in this much distress kills me. He doesn't deserve this kind of pain, none of my brothers do. I wish that there was something more that I could do for them, other than sit around and just listen to their thoughts, their fears…

"My brothers this, my brothers that… what about you, Leo?" I mumbled softly as I read, knowing perfectly well that my words bounced off deaf ears of both of my sleepin' brothers, "Dammit, don't you ever think about yerself?"

And there's Raph. I try and I try, but I cannot break that invisible barrier that separates the two of us. Maybe Raph doesn't want it broken. Maybe he doesn't want my help because he knows that he doesn't need it, doesn't need me. Which is true. I don't know why I even bother trying to go to him… Maybe it's because I need him. Though it sounds selfish, sometimes I can't help but think that maybe I care for him more than he does me. Sometimes, it certainly seems that way.

I clenched the book a little tighter, the leather and paper denting slightly and threatening to completely give way under my powerful grasp. Not true, that wasn't – it isn't true.

Beep, beep, beep…

He's so cold to us all... and I haven't seen any other reaction from him on Splinter's death except anger. Raw, raging anger coupled with the use of several certain substances... He gets pissed at everyone and everything- home appliances included. I don't know what his problem is. Is he angry with Splinter for leaving us? Does he see our grieving brothers as weaklings? … Or maybe this is his own special way of grieving, the only way that he knows how to deal with the situation. Raph may be a hot- headed idiot, but he isn't heartless.

I confronted him this morning. I might as well have been talking to a wall, because Raphael, in his drunken little world, had no intentions of talking things out calmly. Suffice to say things did not go too well between us. He tried to kick me out of the lair- my lair- and—

I growl, a sound that reverberated from deep within my throat. I knew I should skip all the shit he had written about that arguement, before the urge to punch his face in that I had during that argurment came back… Besides, it's just a remake of the fight that happened between us, I was there for it. I know I told him to get out. Wouldn't be the first time, and it's not like he never tried to give me the boot, either.

But I didn't really mean it. Now, sitting next to his motionless body, scrolling down the paragraphs that defined our argument two days before he was hurt, I know that I don't want Leo to leave- never. I think I always knew that.

I can feel my usually frozen-rock-solid heart begin to thaw out.

...But I think that I will need to get out soon. I need to grieve, and for that, I do not want to be interrupted. No crying, no screaming, no Donnie poking his head into my room for assistance with Mikey… Just me. Alone.

Which sounds selfish. My time should be completely devoted to my brothers, until they get over this terrible ordeal.

But I feel as though if I don't get away soon, I'll crack in front of my brothers. I don't want that- I need to stay strong. But the feelings of grief keep welling up, threatening to come crashing though my well- constructed emotional dam.

Plus, I don't think that I could deal with Raph's constant teasing on my tears... or whatever it is that I end up doing.

Leo left the next day. So... that was what he was doing...


Beep, beep, beep...

I have decided to go to the dark side. I need to go. They need me… or do I need them? Perhaps I will find out when I get back.

Back where?

Back to wherever they are.

Who are they?

Don't know. But whoever they are, they mean absolutely everything and more. My devotion, my inspiration, my...

My whatever they are.

But I suddenly can't move in the opposite direction. It's almost as though invisible ropes were binding me to the light.

And, to my horror, I realize that I am being slowly pulled backwards- towards the golden energy- completely against my will.

Nearing panic at the thought, I slam myself against the ground, my body making no sound as it smashed against the cold stone. I open my mouth in a silent scream, digging my fingernails into the ground and trying frantically to move against the force that pulls me back. It worked- after what seemed like an eternity, I was able to move a few feet towards my destination. However, the strain took a considerable amount of energy from me. My body screamed at me, begging for a break.

But I can't rest. For if I do, all my work would be undone as the 'rope' pulls me backwards at an increasing rate.

And so I slither my body onward, ignoring my protesting muscles and focusing on nothing but getting to where I want to be until I finally make it to the end of the tunnel.

As close as I now am, it becomes apparent why this was the darker side of the tunnel. Wall. A solid-looking dark wall of black rock was all that it was. Had I worked for nothing? As my last resort, I reached forward with a hand and tentatively touched the stone.

Warmth erupted from the tips of my fingers and spread throughout my arm to the rest of my limbs, giving me an odd sensation. Almost like I am being pulled into the wall itself.

And then it stopped, and the cold feeling returned to my limbs. I had a body. But I can't move at all, as though my body is made of lead. My eyes are glued shut. My dry lips seemed to be sealed together. But my nose- now that is a different story. I am breathing. With every breath that I take, pain shoots from a certain part of my chest, and I found myself groaning aloud with the intensity of it.

Along with the breathing, the sound of a beating heart- my heart- became the only sound that I can hear. With each beat, it seemed to fill my head with so much force that I thought it would burst.

And then the beating was gone. It became a throbbing pain that seems to fill every crevice of my head, but I found that I can hear once again.

Beep, beep, beep…

And it was with great effort that I opened my eyes.


I shut Leo's diary with a snap, placing it promptly back on the desk an' taking my beer back. My watch is over. I feel like I know Leo better than I ever did before— I had went back days, months, and even years ta see how he reacts to things.

Well, whaddaya know… though he acts it, Leo ain't so different from the rest of us after all.

Someone groaned behind me. Thinking it was Mike, I turned to see 'im in the same position that he was in when I last bothered ta look. Not Mike… then who? I can't sense anyone in the room 'cept me, Mike an'-

And Leo. Slowly, I turned to look at his still body. His foggy blue eyes are open- and he was is staring right at me.

I jumped up from my chair, the wooden legs screeching against the stone floor of the sewer, unable to believe what I was seeing.

"Leo?"

He gave me a half- smile and croaked out something inaudible. I moved to his side and he followed me with his eyes, eyes that seemed too out of focus for my comfort.

"Leo?" I repeated, touching his clammy arm lightly.

"Brother... t-that's what you are."

I furrowed my eye ridges at him, confused. "Eh?" Instead of answering, Leo leaned back, closed his eyes, and sighed.

Then his head went limp.

Beep- beep. Beep- beep. Beeeep.

And his pulse on the monitor changed. Not really a doctor here, but I don' think that that's too good.

"Leo?" Mike's sleep clogged voice suddenly sounded from behind me. Then, as he registered the sound of the beeping monitor, his voice became more awake. "Leo!" I heard him get up from behind me and suddenly he was beside me, grabbing at Leo's hand. I couldn't be sure what he was doing. It was probably a panicked reaction, where Mike didn't know what he was dong, either. I reached over and forecefully pried his fingers off of our dying brother. There wasn't time for that crap.

"Get Donnie." I ordered. Mike hesitated, looking down at Leo. "Now," I barked, and he stumbled to obey.


And I'm back in again, the blanket of darkness in the tunnel washing over me like a bucket of ice- cold water, ripping the life-givingair from my lungs and once again taking the comforting sound of my beating heart from me.

It's still pulling me backwards. Angrier, this time. It doesn't want my brothers to win.

But I won't let it take the prize— me. Desperately I cling to the edges of consciousness, refusing to be sucked into this bright and shining void.

I must gather up all my strength. I must do this for not me, but for my… my brothers. For our bond.

"C'mon, bro..." A voice that I now reconize as Raphael's urges me to try to get back to him- back to reality.

Sucking my energy, I heaved myself forwards, ignoring the painful strain on my muscles…


Once Mike was out of the room, I adjusted myself so that I was closer to his face, lightly patting his cheek and muttering encouraging words.

"C'mon, Leo… come back, come back…"

Beep, beep, beep…

Back ta normal. I let out a sigh of relief, feeling the tension that fear provided ease slightly off of my chest.

… And he opened his eyes again. "Hold on," I whispered, more to myself than to him.

"It's hard." He croaked back. It was the first intelligible thing that he had said to me today.

"Juss keep talkin' ta me, kay?"

"T-that's hard, too," He swallowed. Time for a pep talk. Wouldn't be the first time that I've done this ta one of my dieing brothers. If I can get him to hold on for just a lil bit until Don gets here, maybe he'll live.

Maybe.

"C'mon, Leo… you're you. You've accomplished alotta hard things before, remember?" His eyes glazed over, and I patted his cheek again, harder than before. "Leo!"

Beep- beep. Beep- beep… Beep, beep, beep…

"Raph," he suddenly begged, "I-I'm trying. Help me."

I stared at 'im, unsure of what he meant.

"I'm right here, bro. Just talk ta me."

"No, n-no… Don't let it…" He was lookin' right past me at somethin' I couldn't see, sheer terror evident on his features. "I want to stay here, with you! I haven't finished… I don't want to go…"

Swallowing a lump of bitter emotion, I took his hand in mine and leaned in so close that my beak almost touched his cheek.

"Leo, hold on." I urged.

"Wanno. C-can't."

"You can. Just set your mind to it, an' you can do anythin'. You're indestructible, member?"

He smiled at me and chuckled dryly, something that looked like it took a lot of effort for him at this time. "I-I'm not indestructible. Lookit me."

"You aren't going anywhere."

He blanked out for a moment, and then returned. This time, his eyes were glazed with tears. He took a deep breath, "S-sorry. I 'm fighting. But it wants me."

"Fight harder. C'mon, Leo…"

But the look in his eyes told me that his energy was burnin' low, that he wasn't gonna last long, even if Donnie did get here in time.

And I was right. Leo began to tremble, than shake harder, and before I knew it his body was in an all-out rumble. I desperately held him against the futon, afraid that if he fell to the concrete it would cause further damage.

This definitely isn't from blood loss. The blood that Mike donated (he was the only one who had the right type) should 'ave taken care of that. …Maybe that was a stronger poison on the blade of that dagger than Don thought. Maybe the antidote didn't get rid of all of the effects…

Beep- beep- beep- beep…

Out of desperation, I call to my brother. "Donnie!" Leo was slowing to a slight tremble … "Aw, fuck. Don-ay!"

"Raph…"

"Leo, stop. You're just wastin' energy. Donnie!"

"I'm n-not gonna make it. It hurts… tell me I can g-go."

"Wha?"

"Please. I want permission…" I stopped calling Don and stared at my brother, an uncharacteristic display across his features- he was begging me.

"Ta die? Are ya outta your friggin mind?" He nodded his head weakly, answering both of my questions. I can tell my brother that it's okay ta die, or not say anything and watch him die not at ease.

Either way, both of them will haunt me for a very, very long time. Possibly for the rest of my pitiful life. Once again, I felt my eyes burn and then blur. Then they filled to the brim.

If that's what he truely wanted to hear, I'd tell him he could go. Just not yet.

There was so much that I needed to confess... so much that I wanted to say. But there wasn't enough time, and we both knew that. So, instead of stopping to think about it I spilled out hurried words that traveled at the speed of light from the top of my head to the tip of my tongue.

"Leo… listen ta what I haveta say. Just hold on for this. I've never wanted you to leave us before, bro… not even when I tried to give you the boot outta the lair. I… I read your journal. I'm sorry for that, for everything that I've ever done wrong that's affected you. And I…" I paused as I felt myself begin to give inta my tears, feeling the hot, salty liquid fall, gently stroking my cheek. "I care, bro. According to what you've written over the years, I care more than you've ever known. Tell me that you know that now. Tell me."

He looked up at me, eyes watery from more than just fatigue. "I g-get angry. I know Raph, I've always known. I love a-all my brothers."

I leaned forward, pressing my warm forehead against his cool, sweaty one.

"Then go, Leo." I said, my voice strained with tears. I distinctly heard two other beings enter the room, here Donnie's cry to 'get off', but ignored them. "Be at peace… I won't keep you."

"Thank you." He said, his weak voice barely audible over my tear- laden breaths. "A-and Raph… take care of the family… be stronger that I was. Don't give in to the pain."

Beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….


I admit I didn't need to pack all this crud into one chapter, but I hope that it was acceptable all the same. Personally, I don't think that this installment is as good as the last one… Maybe I should have left it the way it was, as a one shot. What do you guys think?

To Leo fans and anyone else who was affected by the result of the story: I beg you not to kill me.