A.N: So here I am, sat in front of a blank page in Word (Which of course is no longer empty), desperately needing to write. I have no idea how this one shot will turn out. It's just a portrayal of how I'm feeling inside, only for one of our turtles. I needed to write it to get it all out and Leo is a character I can really relate to at times. I know I should be focussing on Somebody Out There but I've developed a little writer's block with it. Don't worry; I'll get over it soon, I promise. Oh yeah, flashback is in italics. Well anyway, enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT whatsoever, and sadly, I don't think I ever will. All I own is a Leo plushie, some figures, a pencil case, some posters, a calendar and TMNT the first movie. Plus I only have little over £10 in my bank account and can't withdraw that from the bank, so I'm pretty penniless, there'd be no point in suing me.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
You Bleed Just To Know You're Alive
The figure pounded his way through the sewers, his bare feet slapping against the slimy concrete, his skin experiencing unimaginable slimy horrors as everything unknown burst under his weight. His practised feet did not slip and slide over the sewer tunnels and the roaring of the wind against his face and the slopping of the sewage river as it tried to push itself out to freedom only soothed him, trying to chase away the echoes in his ears.
The further and faster he ran the farther away they'd be. But they continued to ricochet throughout his mind and now, it seemed, back and forth on the rounded sewer walls and ceiling. He shook his head; there would be no escape.
Maybe he could drown them out, force them down. He sure needed a way to get rid of all the emotion bubbling inside him, threatening to erupt out of his throat like some grotesque volcano. Opening his mouth as wide as it would go, he let out a furious, grieved yell. It reverberated horrendously off the greasy brick and just for a brief second, it squashed the previous echoes. Just for a second though, then they came back, fiercer than ever.
He blinked back the salt water clouding his sad sapphire eyes and clenched his fists so hard the nails on his two fingers sunk deep into his palm and his thumb bruised the knuckle it forced itself upon. His throat felt extremely dry and he could feel the vomit creeping up. He slowed to a halt, unable to keep it down any longer. He crouched and violently threw up everything he had eaten that dinnertime into the already murky brown water. Ashamed he wiped his mouth and spat out anything that remained in his saliva. The taste left on his lips and tongue almost made him throw up again, despite there being hardly anything in his stomach.
He climbed to his feet again and gently walked the length across the sewer towards the far wall. His legs shook weakly from their loss of energy and he stretched out his hand to grip the rung of the rusty iron ladder as hard as he could to steady himself. When he felt satisfied he could support himself sufficiently, he began to heave himself up the ladder. He slid the manhole cover up and across with a grunt, the metal screeching against the concrete topside.
The clean air hit him like a hammer on an anvil. He took in deep breaths of the stuff, the moon beaming down on him just through the tops of the towering skyscrapers. He clambered the rest of the way out and forced the manhole back into place before just kneeling and breathing heavily in the moonlight, safely hidden in the shadows of a back alley. The furious cars didn't manage to shove away the echoes that still persisted.
He slowly got to his feet, swaying slightly still from the loss of his source of energy but he banished away the feeling and vaulted onto the smelly dumpster in the corner. The metal lid moaned like an old man but he was sure it could hold his weight for a few more seconds as he found his usual foothold on the brick wall and heaved himself up. A couple more footholds and scratched knuckles, he was up on the roof of a deserted house.
It was lonely up here, but it suited him just fine for now. It was a little quieter away from the cars but he knew even if he was in a furious rave full of screaming teenagers he wouldn't be able to escape those damned echoes. He collapsed against the old skylight, careful not to rest his back against the broken glass. He turned his head up to where he could clearly see the moon and stars and let them bathe him in a pure milky glow. It wasn't very often he could bask in her light so when he could, he cherished and worshipped the moment.
If someone were to look out of his or her window in the building opposite with a pair of binoculars, unlikely but still possible, they could get a clear as crystal view of him, something his father and mentor constantly told him not to let happen. But at this moment in time, he didn't care. Let them see me he thought bitterly.
The reason why he wasn't supposed to let anyone see him, or more precisely, any human, see him, was because of his appearance. Humans tend to freak out and scream their prejudiced heads off upon the sight of anything they didn't understand. And he was certainly something they would not understand.
He was a mutant, a mutant turtle. Not very tall, only around five foot four or five give or take a few inches. His skin was a darkish jade in colour, not very scaly as was expected but calloused due to countless wounds and whatnots. A smooth oval shell protected the soft flesh underneath and two katanas were strapped there. Pads sheltered his knees and elbows, along with supports around his wrist. Hidden in his belt were the usual emergency gadgets, a cell phone his brother had made and affectionately named a 'Shell Cell' plus other nifty little ninja devices. And last but definitely not least, the most vital thing to our character after his swords was a blue bandana wrapped over his eyes. His name was Leonardo, but at times, he preferred Leo, it didn't make him sound as important, something he really didn't feel at that moment in time.
Leo sighed and bought his knees up to rest his elbows upon. He bowed his head, letting the breath out slowly. The wind whipped his bandana tails but he didn't mind, it cooled his hot and sweating body. Now he was finally alone, he could replay the scene fully in his head without just echoes of particularly nasty voices.
Leonardo knelt desperately in front of his rat mater, also a mutant, pleading desperately. Splinter surveyed his adopted son with sympathetic eyes. He folded his claws in front of him after lighting a couple of candles around his meditation area.
"But Sensei, he's out with Casey! Casey Jones of all people, if he was out with April I may be a little calmer, but he's not, he's with Casey. And you know what they're like Sensei, they-" Splinter held up a hand to silence his eldest's panicky babble.
"Leonardo my son, I am fully aware your brother has gone topside with Mr. Jones, but you have to learn to accept the fact Raphael can take care of himself. He would not feel fondly of you if you were to follow him," He reasoned gently. Leo would not give up.
"But they could get hurt, can't you remember when he got captured that time?" He protested. He hated arguing with his Sensei much more than failing to do a kata one hundred percent perfect but this was Raph, his hot-headed rebel of a brother, and he was out with Casey Jones, a human who was just as hot-headed.
"I can fully recall what happened Leonardo, but your brother escaped didn't he?" Splinter asked gently.
"Yes, but barely. Sensei, please, let me go after him," Leo pleaded, leaning forward and clasping his hands together tightly.
"No Leonardo, I feel your brother will be perfectly safe. I forbid you to go after him. You are dismissed," Splinter said with a final tone. Leo's face fell; he swore he sensed a hint of disappointment.
Wordlessly, he climbed to his feet and left the rat's quarters, shutting the door behind him. Failure. That's what he hated more than anything in the world. He despised disappointing his Sensei, or any of his three brothers or their two friends, Casey and April O'Neil. And now, he'd disappointed all but two.
He walked dejectedly into the kitchen, where Mikey, his youngest brother, was busy washing the pots and Donny, the second youngest, was attacking something with a screwdriver. Both looked up at him when he entered but then saw who it was and returned to their work without any sort of greeting. Feeling slightly hurt, Leo sat at the table opposite Donny.
Leo put his head in his hands, trying to ignore the ache in his side. He wanted to say something but he knew his comments would go uncared for, both brothers were still furious with him. He'd confiscated Michelangelo's Gameguy for spending far too much time on it and he'd wrecked Donny's latest experiment whilst arguing with Mikey about the Gameguy. Mikey had thrown the Gameguy at him and he jumped back unawares (To stop the Gameguy from leaving a nasty bruise on his head) and straight into Donatello's experiment, although he knew full well it was there. Then he had two brothers yelling at him, which wasn't good.
Before that, April had huffily told him to get a life when he commented, rather kindly in his opinion, about her katas. He was only trying to help and she'd told him to get a life instead of watching her every Ninjitsu move. Of course a row exploded, something he and she rarely had. It ended with her telling him to take the stick from out of his ass and find a real hobby before stalking off. That of course, hurt him a great deal.
And now he'd disappointed Master Splinter, the one he strived to please the most. He tried so hard to live up to his expectations and it hurt terribly to see Splinter wonder whether he'd misplaced his trust. There, sat at that table in the kitchen with his brothers blatantly overlooking him, Leo felt very alone in this world.
But then something inside of him beat alarmingly. Raph was hurt. He dived to his feet and pelted out of the front door, running through the sewers for all his life was worth. He couldn't tell you how he knew his brother was injured, he could just tell. It came with the elder brother and unofficial leader thing. He'd never been wrong yet, able to dash off and aid his brothers whenever the need called, and his brothers were grateful for it, and so was Master Splinter.
He was soon around the docks, where he had sensed Raphael's distress. He urgently looked around but could see no struggle or sign of his brother, or of the human Casey Jones. He bit his lip, had he been too late?
He heard the air whistle behind him and he spun to the side as an extremely sharp shuriken whizzed past him. He caught sight of the Foot ninjas on the roof of the boathouse. He drew his katanas, Quicksilver and Rapid-Fire, in a squeal of steel, hoping with all his might Raph was safe.
"Aw great going Leo you imbecile, we were doing fine 'til you came along," A deep voice growled irritably. Leo winced as his brother and Casey clambered over the crates behind him to join him in the fight that would soon come.
"You mean you were hiding?" Leo gasped, his katanas falling slightly in his cold-blooded shock.
"Yes you fucking idiot. Then we were gonna jump 'em and take them by surprise," Raph snapped, taking out his sais, as Casey slid his hockey mask over his face and raised a baseball bat.
"You, you weren't hurt?" Leo asked in horror.
"Goddamnit no! We were fine!" Raph snarled.
The Foot ninjas advanced on them like a river rushing straight into the sea. Leo was in disbelief. He had been wrong. His intuition had finally been wrong, and now he'd lost his brother's and Casey's trust. He stood there, his katanas by his side amidst a crowd of bloodthirsty ninjas. Only when he felt a cracking pain in the side of his face and the cold concrete under his body did he snap back to attention.
It was only when he was safe back in the lair, the ninjas down, did he fully register what had happened. Thankfully neither he or Raph or Casey had been hurt, except an ugly bruise was blossoming on Leo's cheekbone where he had lost himself briefly.
"Ya can't leave me alone for one second, can ya?" Raph thundered at him. He was sat at the kitchen table, Raph, Casey, Mikey and Donny stood up and glowering at him.
"Raph, I-" He couldn't bring himself to say anything, he was too stunned. He briefly looked up into his oldest younger brother's cold chocolate eyes then back down to the table. He'd lost everyone's trust now.
"Ya can't bear the fact I was doing ok without your stupid strategies. Ya had to go butting ya nose in and blowing our cover!" Raph went on, slamming his hands down on the table in anger to fix his elder brother with a death glare.
"Raph, I didn't mean to, I swear I thought you were hurt!" Leo managed to croak out.
"I don't care! Ya think you're so high and mighty with that stupid sense of yours but all it is, is you wanting to suck up to Splinter, wanting to make us look bad!" Raph spat, almost daring Leo to look up at him.
"I don't want to make you look bad Raph, honest I don't," Leo pleaded frantically, obeying Raph's wishes and looking up. Mistake. Raph's eyes were flashing with the utmost hatred. Leo's insides churned horribly.
They all heard the chinking of a wooden cane on tiled floor and looked to see Master Splinter, his face set in a grim expression.
"You disobeyed my orders Leonardo," He sighed sadly. Leo felt as if his heart had been wrenched out.
"But Sensei, they, they were ambushed," He protested weakly.
"They were ambushed because you blew their cover. They were doing fine until you arrived, as you saw yourself," Splinter continued, surveying his son with deep regret.
"I...can I… may I get a little fresh air, Sensei?" Leo stammered faintly.
"You may, Leonardo,"
Leo pushed past his brothers, feeling their glares hurting far more than the deepest wound.
"Go and get yaself fucking killed Leo, ya might do some actual good in this screwed up world!" Raph's voice screamed after him. That was what had boomed inside his head all the way upto the rooftops.
Finished reminiscing, Leo banged his head against the glass just enough to clear his thoughts. He'd failed every single one of them. He'd let them down a little before but not this badly, where they all hated him. And Raph had even told him to get himself killed.
He'd never felt more depressed this past couple of months. With the Shredder still out there, Splinter had put so much pressure on him, training him to the point of physical exhaustion during their private lessons (He'd noticed none of his brothers emerged from their private lessons looking as fatigued as he) and then he'd trained for hours on end until the night grew old, just so he could prove to his Sensei he could do something right. But Splinter had not praised him for how hard he'd been trying; he merely pushed him even further.
And his brothers, they'd been such a burden lately, although he loved them so much. Mikey had been favouring the TV and his games consoles a little too much, so it had only been with his interest at heart Leo confiscated his Gameguy. He guessed it wasn't entirely his fault he'd ruined Donny's research but he had known it was there, and Donny had been working so hard on it. And he hadn't stopped arguing with Raph, only when they both went to bed. They'd yell themselves hoarse and still argue.
And those horrible nightmares, so vividly clear. He could still feel the shiver run down his spine, hear the gentle drip-drip as the blood oozed from their bodies. They'd all died individual horrific deaths, enough to frighten anyone who saw them into insanity. They constantly plagued Leo's mind, putting him off food and sleep. Although still muscled, he'd grown gaunt and thin. The excessive exercise and little food and sleep had finally taken its toll on him.
He could not see another purpose for him in this life other than caring for his brothers. But now they were proving they could take care of themselves and his brotherly intuition was going wrong, so wrong it could cost someone their life. Ever since he was little he'd been trained to look after them. He'd never fallen in love with TV like Mikey, or science like Donny or even rock music like Raph. They all had lives. April was right. He had no life.
He had no real hobby besides Ninjitsu, which wasn't really a hobby; it was his way of life, like a religion. He had always been drawn to the arts, painting, drawing, writing etcetera but he had never become devoted to them, already eternally bound to the honourable art of Ninjitsu. It had become this way, only so he can look after his brothers; he was the eldest, that was his job. He couldn't be the family genius, or the family prankster or the family rebel, or even the family artist. The first three had already been taken, and the last would never be him. He was some sort of a weapon, not an artist.
He had kept telling himself it would get better. So far, it obviously hadn't. He had searched for a way to get rid of the anger and the pain and the loneliness. He had tried his arts, drawing and painting, writing poetry or songs. But they always turned out dark, and did little to help. Meditation couldn't even help him anymore. His mind was too full to empty, like when you stuff your mouth with so much chewing gum to blow the biggest bubble ever, you can't move it to blow the bubble, or even spit it out.
Leo's eyes fell upon the front cover of an old newspaper that had started to rot around the edges. Local boy commits suicide. That was the headline glaring out at him. Before, he always thought suicide, or Seppuku as he knew it, was kind of selfish, but now he realised it was a desperate last resort when there seemed to be no way out. It didn't seem selfish anymore, it seemed like heaven.
He wasn't sure what was keeping him from plunging himself off the edge of the building or sinking one of his katanas into his heart. He wasn't afraid of doing it, that he knew. He sat and thought for a few minutes, the harsh wind making him shiver a little. Finally he came to the conclusion that he was still here because the Shredder was still here. He wanted the Shredder to die the most dishonourable death ever because that was what he deserved. And Leo wanted to be the one to give it to him.
But before he went dancing off to find the Shredder, Leo knew he had to get rid of all this pent-up emotion. He needed to get rid of the anger, the self-hatred, the loneliness and the pain. But how? He'd tried everything. Pondering, he shifted into a more comfortable position and he felt the katanas on his back. His eyes widened. Possibly…
Slowly, trembling, he reached and slid Quicksilver from its sheath. He held the sword with both hands, one gently around the hilt and the other around the blade. It was razor sharp and glinted almost friendly. Leo bit his lip and rested a finger on the sharpest edge. He clenched his eyes shut and roughly dragged his finger along the blade. When he opened his eyes, red blood dripped from his finger to the steel. But it didn't hurt. It actually felt a tiny bit better.
He took a deep breath this time and unwrapped the support from his left wrist. He closed his eyes again and ran the tip of the katana down his skin from inside elbow to wrist. He hissed in pain as it sliced his skin but the pain soon vanished. He looked at the blood welling up and spilling over the sides of the cut. It stung a little but it felt as if the blood was all the emotion flooding out of him. He felt it all leaving him. He panted with the surprise of what he'd just done and how much better it made him feel.
He swapped hands, grateful once again for being ambidextrous. Feeling quite elated now, he did the same to his right hand, wincing slightly as his wounded left moved the sword. There was brief pain once again but that soon vanished into a calm nothingness.
He watched the scarlet emotion flee from his body, his stained katana laid next to him. He began to laugh, a relieved amazed laugh. He'd finally found something that could help him cope with it all. He laughed until tears came to his eyes and then stopped to think how he felt. He didn't feel angry anymore, or hurt, or lonely or hatred at himself. He felt calm and ready for action, no longer weak from throwing up earlier.
He felt the air grow closer around him, and looked up. Great angry purple clouds were rolling in, obscuring the moon's face and ceasing her beautiful light. Leo smiled bleakly as the wind picked up. A storm was on its way. He climbed to his feet, sheathing Quicksilver, despite it still being coated with blood. His wounds didn't ache, although he suspected they might sting when it began to rain. He began to jump from rooftop from rooftop, as if he felt alive for the first time.
But he had no intentions of going home despite there being a tempest coming. He knew no one at home would worry, he didn't intend on going home ever again. He wasn't running away, he knew where he was going. The only thing keeping him on this earth was the Shredder right? So he was going to get rid of the Shredder, and make sure the armoured alien would take he, Leo, down with him. Therefore, he would be forgiven in everyone's eyes. For Master Splinter, Mikey, Casey and Donny, he would be killing the Shredder, for April he would get a life, Shredder's life that is, and for Raph, he would be getting himself killed. All will be happy and that's what his purpose in life was. Look after his brothers and make them happy.
He came to the last rooftop, and the huge Foot tower glared upon him from across the street. A great clash of thunder erupted and a flash of lightning illuminated the grim determination set on Leo's face. The rain began to come down at once, soothing the turtle's hammering heart. The sound of it pattering against his shell and the concrete lifted him. As he predicted, the cuts on his arms began to sting as the water cleansed them into ruby rivers running down his arms, but that only heightened his senses. He was ready.
Oroku Saki, aka the Shredder, pondered his situation at his desk. The storm blustered furiously outside and rattled the windows. A survivor of the ambush at the docks had reported back to him, explaining what had happened with the two turtles and Casey Jones the annoying vigilante. Saki dismissed his subject and proceeded to think things over. The turtles were becoming such a nuisance; he didn't know what to do with them.
He shook his head and reached for the glass and bottle of amber liquid on his desk. Before he could even unscrew the lid of the bottle however, his skylight shattered into thousands of sharp shards and a small round object dropped onto his plush carpet.
"What the-" Saki frowned and made to get up but the object exploded and great clouds of thick grey smoke billowed around, blurring his sight. "Turtles!" He growled in conclusion and snatched his claw from his desk and slotted it onto his hand.
Leo smiled in satisfaction, watching the skylight and smoke bulge out. Thankfully the wind quickly swept it away so it would not get into his own eyes. His smile widened, his eyes glinting manically as he watched the Shredder grab the frame of the skylight and vault himself out. He glared at the turtle, now he was unarmoured; he hated being caught by surprise! He adjusted the claw with an air of arrogance.
"What do you think you're doing, turtle?" He snarled, eyeing Leo warily, his eyes lingered on the wounds on his forearms.
"I think I'm going to bring you down, Saki," Leo answered sinisterly, sounding most out of character. Saki actually laughed.
"I think your brains may be addled young one," He chuckled infuriatingly. Leo bristled and clenched his fists.
"My brains are not addled Saki," He spat.
"I'm curious, freak, my ninjas tell me you, your brother and the vigilante all escaped from our little, scuffle, at the docks uninjured, so what are those I see upon your forearm?" Saki wondered lightly, as the wind whipped his kimono and hair and the rain soaked him to the skin.
Leo glanced briefly at his arms then back upto Saki then shrugged.
"None of your business," He replied just as lightly, trying to display no emotion to the enemy whatsoever. Saki raised a neatly plucked eyebrow.
"Very well turtle, I'll find out soon enough when you're in so much pain you'll say anything just to stop it," He smirked. Leo didn't reply.
He reached up to draw Quicksilver and Rapid-Fire. The steel slithered against their sheathes and Leo shivered in pleasure. This was he, a weapon, not an artist. Saki's eyes widened. He saw the layer of blood that encrusted one of the swords before the rain quickly washed it away. He grinned in realisation.
"So, Leonardo the honourable ninja has resorted to self harming to escape the horrors of this world," He stated smugly. Leo lowered his swords in shock, his mouth slightly open. Then he forcefully regained himself and scowled.
"It isn't self harming, it's healing," He snapped, tightening his grip on his swords and dying to throw one in Saki's throat. Saki laughed again.
"Healing? You are just too much turtle. Causing yourself pain is healing now?" He questioned mockingly.
"It doesn't hurt," Leo corrected slowly.
"So now you are so mighty you are above pain?" Saki teased, his sardonic face elucidated by the continuous lightning.
"I am above physical pain, because now all I know is emotional," Leo murmured wisely, his eyes never leaving Saki's cold grey ones. He knew those were not real eyes, that Saki was really seeing him from his stomach, but Leo need a focus point.
And with that Leo leapt forward, rising Quicksilver and Rapid-Fire. Saki blocked, his claw colliding with one of the blades in a clash of steel. He ducked to avoid the turtle's other blade then bought his fist vigorously into Leo's already bruised cheek. Leo let out a moan as he skidded backwards but caught himself and dashed forward with just as much strength as before.
Unknowingly, his Shell Cell clattered to the floor, the fascia opening and falling on its buttons. Somehow, the combination number that belonged to Mikey's Shell Cell was dialled and Mikey picked up with a very uninterested 'yo'. But all he got in response was furious yells and clanging of steel. Mikey frowned, squinting into the screen. His eyes widened at what he saw and he screamed 'Raph!' before darting off screen. Then Leo's foot slammed onto the device as he was forced backwards.
Saki leant to the side and grabbed Leo's left arm with his claw, causing the skin to slice as easy as if it were made from butter. Leo bit his lip, too high with battle fever to feel it. He counter attacked with Rapid-Fire and caught Saki in a diagonal hack across the chest. Machinery fizzed and the kimono gave way to reveal the purply pink brain like creature encased in the robotic figure. Leo smiled, panting.
The Utrom let out a roar of anger and dived forwards, raising its claw. Leo stumbled and his eyes widened as the prongs sunk into the soft flesh in between his shell and plastron. He turned, wrenching himself from its grasp, the steel grating his skin as it left his body. His face paled considerably with the amount of blood he'd lost. He smiled, that should be enough now, it was time to end it.
But as he fought to find an opening in the alien's defence, he grew tireder and tireder, blocking sloppily and attacking sloppily. He needed a breather. He crouched low, recklessly leaning on his injured arm and scrunching his side wound in the process, he swept his foot underneath the robot's then booted it with all his strength to the other side of the building.
Leo regained his breath, leaning against his katana as Saki struggled to get back up, his apparatus failing. The rain ran down his nose and mingled with the blood streaming from his arm, side and now his forearms, as they had started again. He needed a lift; battle fever wasn't cutting it anymore. He wondered. He raised Rapid-Fire and brought it across his other arm. He felt the tissue snap and the blood began trickling down, he was more aware of that than the rain. But he felt ecstatic instantly. New blood pumped through his veins and his heart beat with new adrenaline, despite losing even more blood.
He waited for Saki to get to his feet; it was dishonourable to attack an enemy when they were down, although Saki wouldn't hesitate to get a few good kicks in if Leo was on the floor. Leo moved like a blur, dancing in the rain, he felt alive, resurrected and nothing Saki could do would take that away from him. The blood lashed around like a gymnast's ribbons, turning into crimson rain.
Leo's swords danced and Quicksilver found well and true in the Utrom's heart. Saki's scarred eyes widened and Leo watched as purple blood spurted in torrents from the alien's brain like body, before the robot crashed to the floor.
Leo wanted to feel something, anything. Possibly pride in defeating an enemy, or maybe even regret, but he felt nothing, only numbness. He didn't even feel the wounds that littered his body. A pool of wine coloured liquid formed around his feet from Saki.
And then it struck him, the sick dizzy feeling of losing far too much blood. But he didn't care now, that had been what he wanted. He collapsed to his knees, breathing heavily, narrowing his eyes to try and receive a sharper view to no avail. Vomit gurgled in his throat yet again and he didn't fight to keep it inside. The coppery smell of mixed blood got to him and he threw up yet again.
But he still wasn't in any pain. Relief was finally creeping up on him, reassuring him it wouldn't be long now. He vaguely heard footsteps thrashing the ground along with the rain. He peered upwards and saw a green face swimming in front of him. He smiled, recognising the red bandana, but not the urgent words the creature spoke.
"You, got your wish," He gasped, clutching Raph's wrist as best as he could.
"What do you mean, Leo?" Raph frowned, indicating Mikey to support Leo's legs. Leo didn't understand him.
"Raph, he, he's lost far too much blood, I don't think he'll make it back to the lair," Don murmured fearfully. Raph bit his lip.
"He will, I'll make sure of it!" He spat determinedly, blinking back the guilty tears that were threatening to overtake him.
Leo couldn't understand anything that was going on whatsoever. All he could feel was everything leaving him, every single emotion. But still he could feel no pain. He vaguely felt himself being lifted and jolted into the air and his wounds pulled but didn't twinge. He coughed and felt something wet dribble down his chin. But then he smiled once more.
"Finally," He breathed.
He relaxed as his whole body shut down and he felt warm, as if he'd just sunk into a hot bath, or sat in front of a merry fire. He let out a content sigh and he closed his eyes. Then he knew nothing any more.
Raph rested his aching head on his arm and clenched his bloodshot eyes shut. He hadn't got any sleep whatsoever. His arm ached but he didn't touch it. He clenched his jaw shut. He had never felt more guilty and ashamed of himself in his whole life. It had been his fault. Leo would be here if he hadn't told him to get himself killed.
He knew what his eldest brother had done. He'd waited until the Shredder had imposed enough wounds on the turtle so he could bleed to death before finishing it. But Donny had said three of those wounds had been done with a katana, and as far as Raph knew, Saki had no katana. That meant Leo had inflicted those wounds on himself.
Raph shuddered and began to sob into his arm, his good one that is. What had they done to him? They'd broken him to the point of wanting to die, albeit a honourable death. He could only feel responsible for everything his brother had gone through. He should have seen, realised how much everything was getting to him, but he didn't. He just sat and watched his brother succumb to grief.
"Raph?" Mikey's weak voice questioned cautiously, reaching a hand out for his brother's shoulder. Raph winced as he caught his light wound. "Sorry," Mikey whispered. Raph glanced up and locked his chocolate eyes to Mikey's emerald.
"How the fuck could I say that to him Mike? How could I be so fucking heartless?" He demanded. Mikey didn't say anything at first, only drew Raph into a hug. Surprisingly Raph hugged him back and cried into his shoulder. Mike couldn't hide the tears coming himself.
"You didn't mean it, Leo was just a little upset," He reassured him.
"But he took it seriously! What if I've killed him Mike? What if he doesn't pull through? Donny said it's unlikely!" Raph cried, breaking away from his youngest brother. Mikey gripped his shoulders.
"But bro, you gave him some blood, it'll be ok, ya can't think like that," He gently shook him.
Raph just shook his head and fiercely wiped his eyes. Just because Raph had given Leo some of his blood doesn't mean he'd survive. Leo thought his plans through very thoroughly. If we wanted to die bad enough, he would have just let Saki in time after time, which it looked like had happened, with Leo helping him along here and there.
Raph let out a shuddering breath, his shoulders shaking. He felt a little weak from sacrificing his blood but he knew he wouldn't be able to get any sleep. And from the looks of it, neither could Mikey. Donny and Master Splinter were keeping a constant vigil over Leonardo's bed, praying with all their might he would be ok.
If he dies, it would serve us all right, Raph thought acrimoniously. It was their fault he had resorted to self harming and taking on the Shredder single-handedly. They had driven him away. Raph felt annoyed at everyone at that moment in time. He hated himself for saying what he had, he was angry at Mikey and Donny for deserting Leo, he was upset with April for blowing up at him, he was irritated with Casey bitching about Leo, and he resented his Sensei for turning Leo into what he had.
Leo felt immensely weak and broken. He couldn't move even if he'd tried. He realised he couldn't be in that better place, the haven he wanted to be in so much, because now he felt the pain he couldn't feel before. A burning pain it was too, on his forearms, shoulders and side. But it wasn't as strong as the emotional pain banging inside his head, telling him he couldn't even die properly.
He let out a moan as he tried to move his arm. He flickered his eyes open and sat up to see his room. He let out a gasp of frustration, he had hoped. But then he saw Splinter, fast asleep in his chair, lines of worry decorating his face. Leo didn't know whether to feel angry or grateful to see him.
Suddenly the coughs struck him, wracking his body in immense pain, but he couldn't fight them. He didn't feel strong enough to raise his hand to block them. He jumped as he felt a paw on his head and looked to see Master Splinter smiling sadly upon him, tears in his eyes.
"Leonardo, my son," He whispered.
But Leo turned his head and coughed into his pillow, ashamed to even look at his Sensei. He wouldn't blame him if he cast him out onto the streets, wounded and doomed to die. Soon the coughs died down and Leo breathed heavily into the soft white cushion.
"Why did you not tell me of your troubles?" Splinter asked quietly.
Tears sprang to Leo's eyes. No 'I'm glad to see you're awake my son' or even 'You did a fantastic job with the Shredder'. He wanted to know why he was so selfish, so thoughtless as to turn to the only saviour that helped him.
Leo wanted just one last chance to redeem himself in his Sensei's eyes. So he poured out his soul, explained every single drop of depression, anger and loneliness. Splinter sat in silence, watching his son cry into his pillow, and caressing his forehead.
"I wanted you to love me for me, but I don't even know who me is anymore," He finished with a sob.
"I know who you are, you are Leonardo, my eldest son, and I love you for the respectful, honourable, loving artist you are," Splinter smiled. Leo looked at him in shock.
"Artist?" He repeated.
"Artist," Splinter confirmed, wiping his son's tears away gently.
"You've seen my stuff?" Leo asked frantically, horrified.
"I've read every poem, every lyric, seen every drawing, every painting. And I realised I didn't just have an amazing ninja for a son, but I also had a breathtaking artist who empties his very heart and soul into everything he does, and I love him for it," Splinter swept away yet more tears that formed in his son's eyes.
Leonardo knew then that he was certainly not alone in this world. He at least had his father, and his father assured him he never lost his brothers. Leo might still feel like a weapon that could be easily shunned aside when no one needed it anymore, but Splinter would try to remedy that, as it was the least he owed his son, for being partly to blame for pushing him into depression.
Leo would always have those scars to remind him but he treated them like old comrades, for if it wasn't for them, the Shredder would still be here. He knew one slip and he maybe falling into blackness once again. He would always be slightly paranoid that his brothers and Sensei would desert him as soon as they knew he'd be ok. Of course they didn't and never would, and gradually, Leo became not the eldest anymore whose only purpose was to look after his brothers, but the artist, whose only purpose was to enchant the world with his art.
But it's hard to break old habits. He thought to himself with a laugh as he trained in the dojo before applying himself to a watercolour painting of Quicksilver and Rapid-Fire. He would never stop protecting his brothers with all the strength that was contained within him. And he would never stop loving them either. Even if Mikey decides to throw an egg at him when he least expected it.
A.N: So, how did you like it? I didn't know it was going to be this long. Well anyway this has nothing to do with Splinter's Secret Student, Somebody Out There, Turtle Claus and Meet the Family. But please remember to clicky that button! Thanks!