A.N: My last day of freedom before school tomorrow hehe. My cast's off and my foot really hurts but at least I'm walking, or rather limping lol. But anyway, I thought I'd try my hand at a longer angst story so far I've just started writing chapter four, and I know there's going to be more chapters than that so yayness! Originally it wasn't a Leo-centric, then it just went Leo-centric. o.0 Yeah I know lol, whoops. But I know most of you love a good Leo thingy (Just like me hehe) so I hope you enjoy this, even if it's not very good. Anywayz, sorry for the long note I'll shut up now.
Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT, sadly. Any poems that you may see, however, do belong to me, so yayness.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
What Colour Is My Life Today?
C1: Grey Like The Cutting Blade
Leonardo sighed as quietly as he could, his exhausted body making every protest it could against the expanding and shrinking of his chest. But he was used to the pain now, it was all he'd ever felt for the last year. He raised the chipped Snoopy mug to his lips and delicately sipped the steaming green liquid that resided in there. It scalded the tip of his tongue but despite that, he took a bigger gulp then set his mug down on the scrubbed oak table with a chink of porcelain on wood.
He tiredly rubbed his face, his two fingers and thumb furiously wiping the weariness away. But it wouldn't go away, it would never go. He'd love to go against routine and collapse into his warm, cushiony bed, but he had a whole day ahead of him, a whole eighteen hours before he would be allowed to sleep.
He shook his head. He didn't know why he was fantasising so much about going to sleep. He knew attempting to do so even when bedtime called would be futile. Sleep had abandoned him this past year. He was lucky if he got two hours of it a night. Thankfully the others slept well. Even if they didn't get any sleep, he'd knock them out himself just so they'd rest.
Leonardo drank more of his tea to rid his throat of the bubbling vomit that was cropping up. It didn't work. He looked down into the transparent green depths and saw reflected a face that did not shock him. He smiled grimly and gave a bitter, quiet laugh, hoping no one heard him. He knew they were still safely tucked up in their beds, sleeping the dawn away until it was time to rouse from their heavenly slumber.
He was looking into his own sapphire blue eyes, but they weren't the same blue he remembered. He thought back to when everything was ok, and knew his eyes were a bright, shining blue, young and happy, back then they were anyway. But now they were dull and lifeless and looked much older that his eighteen years. The purple circles under them reinforced this, along with his skin, which was no longer a healthy jade colour, but ill looking and waxy, a sickly colour. Thankfully his bandana, a similar shade to his usual eyes, hid the circles under them, and he was grateful for it.
He suddenly gave a very violent shiver and he realised he was terribly cold. In retaliation, he clutched the warm mug tighter and brought it near his face, hoping the heat radiating from its contents would bring him back some feeling. He considered switching on the heater but he knew the change in temperature might disturb the others' sleep.
He gave a yawn and ironed out his back muscles, receiving a few pops and clicks and cracks. He was starting to feel a little less sick now. It usually vanished after a couple of cups of tea anyway. He glanced up at his only company, the calmly ticking kitchen clock, and grumbled. It was only five past four am. He had almost three hours to burn.
That was one of the things he hated, lots of time with nothing to do. He considered going back in there and doing his thing for a couple of hours until the others woke up, but he'd only just come out after doing it for five hours straight. He'd learn not to overdo it. He didn't want to collapse again and have them suspicious.
He knew it was wrong, doing it in secret at night. He knew running for hours around the sewers was wrong. He knew hardly sleeping and eating was wrong. He knew almost everything he was doing was wrong. But he couldn't help it. He had been told to take care of himself as well as them many times, that he was no use exhausted and ill. But what if she threw up every time he ate? What if his sleep was plagued with horrific nightmares? What if everything else he tried to occupy himself with didn't work?
Leonardo was suddenly hit with an unexplainable but immensely strong smash of sorrow and soreness and shame. He dropped his mug and it well to the table in a clatter, landing on its side and spilling the green tea. It then rolled the length of the table, fell, and collided with the concrete floor with a hideous break.
He clutched his chest, trying to regain control over his pounding heart; it felt as if it had shattered along with the mug. He breathed heavily, great shuddering pants as he fought himself. He had not cried, not once, he couldn't start now. He needed to be strong for them. Big brother couldn't cry, big brother couldn't let them down; he had to be their shoulder to cry on, he couldn't have one himself.
His heart ceased to thump, resuming its usual pace steadily. He let his trembling hands rest and realised, as it dripped onto his leg, that he'd spilt his tea. He forced his legs to move and he started clearing it up with an old rag salvaged from the sink.
He scrubbed hard, the harsh material burning his hands with the intensity of the friction he created. He scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. He scrubbed until his palms were red raw and the rag was getting threadbare. Satisfied, he threw the rag down onto the table with a wet slop and knelt to pick up the pieces of his once favourite mug.
He gripped a piece of the broken drinks container a little too tightly and the shard dug into his already sore palm. The pain didn't faze him; in fact he welcomed it with open arms. He held his hand upto his eyes and watched the scarlet blood trickle down the crevices in his hand. His stomach churned unpleasantly and he took in a huge breath of air to calm his nerves. Then he listened intently for the sound of anything other than the steady rhythm of his heart or the ticking of the clock. It wouldn't do if one of his brothers heard him.
He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding as silence echoed all around the lair. Quaking, he cleaned up the rest of the broken porcelain and washed his bloody hand. He really needed a fix.
Once again he checked to see if anyone was awake and once again only hush screamed at him. Slowly, he made his way over to the cutlery drawer. Even slower he pulled it open, its mechanisms moaning and groaning. He took in another breath of air and let it out again before reaching out to take something.
He shut the drawer and returned to the table with his something, sitting shakily down. He laid it on the table and began to unwrap the brown support first from his left wrist and then his right. He was ambidextrous. All the while, he listened. He had been trained to sense even the slightest sound and the moment he heard something that indicated someone else was awake, it would be back in the drawer and he would be making another cup of tea, quick as a flash.
He smiled down at the cuts on both wrists, his comrades, his friends. This was the only place he could do it, the rest of his body was naked, fully visible to everyone. He liked them where they were anyway.
His hand surprisingly steady, he picked up the knife and laid it on his left wrist. He pierced one side of the flesh with the tip of the blade, and then dragged it to the other side, skimming through his skin as if it was made of butter. He watched the blood well up over the sides and down his pale green skin, feeling higher than ever. Then he did it twice more, feeling more and more elated each time he did it. Then he switched to his right.
This was his biggest, dirtiest, guiltiest secret. His brothers would flip if they knew. But it got him through the day. After wearing himself out complete with little food and sleep, harming himself was like a false shot of battle fever, the loss of blood giving him the adrenaline needed to last the day without passing out in front of his brothers. It was a small sacrifice to pay if it stopped them from getting hurt or worried or upset.
How he came about it was a total accident. He'd never thought about self harming before, he had been taught it helped no one and was only hurting, not helping. But not too long ago, only a couple of months, he'd worn himself out just as he had done right now, and during morning practice, he'd tripped with his swords and cut himself on his arm.
Of course it was just a nick and his brother cleaned it up straightaway but it was still a self-inflicted wound and it still gave him that little bit of a lift. So he tried to do it again in private that night, just another little nick, this time where it was less visible on his underarm. He felt it gave the same feeling as before, and he found that the more he hurt himself, the more false battle fever he had.
And by now he'd come to realise it didn't just give him much needed energy, it calmed him, much better than meditation. Meditation eased your soul; it generally doesn't help you get rid of any negative emotion like harming did. So combining the two, he was able to stay calm and alert through out the day. In a result of this, he couldn't understand why it was wrong. He knew it was, but he didn't know why.
Feeling far more awake than having a decent night's sleep, Leo crossed to the sink, taking the knife with him. He washed it thoroughly of blood then returned it to its rightful place. He cleaned his wrists and waited for the cuts to clot before wrapping them up with the supports again, they weren't blood proof.
He watched the last of the watery blood ooze down the sink before rinsing it out. His wrists stung a little, but he didn't mind. He looked up at the clock, four thirty. So much for burning time. He decided to meditate until seven. Clearing his mind was the only way of getting rid of the guilt swamping him, the mucky feeling of letting that someone down.
Donatello rose just a little before six. He glanced at the clock and grinned to himself. Perfect, now he could grab the shower before anyone else. Humming pleasantly to himself, he took up his towel and started the journey to the bathroom.
He had taken an early night last night instead of tinkering with his inventions until Daimyo knows what hour, and he was thankful for it. Early to bed, early to rise made a turtle healthy, wealthy and wise. Well, maybe not the wealthy part, but the others were true. He then vowed to go to bed early every night, or rather, when he had the chance.
He passed Mike's room and Raph's room and chuckled to himself as their loud snoring emanated through the doors, along with Mikey's 'Ladies, ladies, relax, there's enough Michelangelo to go around'. Donny shook his head and came to Leo's room. He wasn't surprised to see his door wide open and the bedroom empty. Don glanced around to check if anyone was around then ventured into his eldest brother's room.
It looked a lot fuller than it had been a year or so ago. Back then, there was hardly anything besides the bed, an old bookcase, a katana rack, a small table, a couple of meditating cushions, candles, incense and one small Japanese painting.
But now, it had more cushions, more paintings and tapestries, more weapons and displays, another bookcase, even a few well-cared Bonsai plants. And they were all Master Splinter's.
Donny shuddered. He didn't think he could live with all those things, and he wondered if Leo could too. The smartest turtle believed they should stay in their late master's room in respect, but Leo had transferred them to his only a week after his passing. No one argued with him, not even Raph. No one dared.
It was no secret how devoted Leo was to the old rat. They were all extremely close to him, but Leo was closest. Donny knew Leo had taken their father's death hard but had appeared to be uncaring just to be strong for them. He didn't think Raph and Mikey knew this, because if they did, they wouldn't yell at him for not mourning. But Donny also knew not mourning was terrible for oneself when one desperately needed to mourn. He had tried talking to Leo about it all year, but the eldest had continued to run, he would not face it. And Donny feared for him.
Donny made his way to Leo's bed and neatened up the bedcovers carelessly thrown aside. He frowned. The bed was freezing; meaning Leo had been up a long while. Don sighed and went for his shower, hoping his brother was ok.
Leo had been the only one to witness Splinter's death. Of course, they all had nightmares; all four of them, but only Leo's displayed the truth, the awful, gruesome truth. Leo had briefly told them what had happened, he had to. How could he not tell his brothers how their father had died? But he didn't tell them everything. And no one spoke of their nightmares, knowing Leo's were far worse.
Donny wanted to help. He knew Leo was getting better the wrong way, if there was a wrong way to get over the death of a loved one. He, Raph and Mikey were better. Of course they'd never get back to the same as it was before Splinter's death, but they were as 'normal' as they were going to get. Slowly but surely they were returning to their old selves.
At first Donny would spend the hours in his lab, inventing his thoughts away only to emerge for sleep, practice, emergency scuffles topside and a little food. Mikey would shut himself up in his rooms with his comics and video games, only coming out for the same reasons as Donny. Raph would mainly stay up topside, visiting Casey and relieving his stress up there. And Leo would be there when they wanted a talk or a cry, to make sure they ate and slept and that they were safe.
Now Donny and Mikey were out of their sanctuaries more, doing stuff together, and trying to involve Raph and Leo whenever they could. Even if they were all sat together just reading they were together, knowing they had to be together if they wanted to get through it. Raph stayed at home often to save Leo the extra worrying and whenever he did go out, Leo cut him a little more slack, knowing now his hothead of a brother would take care of things a little more rationally.
Yet Leo was not sinking back into himself. Yes he used to train a lot, but he would always do things with his brothers. He would always play video games with Mikey, would always give Donny a hand in the lab, and would always train a little with Raph. But he wouldn't do that anymore.
He would either isolate himself in his room or the dojo, appearing extremely reluctant to be with them. He'd promised Donny he ate and slept correctly but Donny wasn't so sure. He hardly came to mealtimes anymore. His appearance supported his theory for one thing.
Leo used to be slender built, extremely muscled but agile, with broad shoulders and strong limbs. But now, he had a gaunt frame, a sickening mixture of muscle and a too thin body. The weight had just dropped off him.
They'd all lost a little weight; it was to be expected; yet they were still a healthy size. But Leo just looked ill. And yet Donny couldn't understand where their elder brother got all his energy from if he was as poorly as he looked. He just kept on going, even if he'd spent all day working out. He wasn't like that before it happened. But now, no matter what he did, it was like he couldn't tire out, even if he looked ready to collapse.
Donny pondered this all the way through his shower. He pondered it over his morning cup of coffee. He pondered it, as he got ready for morning practice. He shook his head and yanked hard on his purple bandanna tails, tightening the knot. He took his beloved bostaff from its rack and made his way to the dojo, murmuring a 'good morning' to Mike and Raph, who were already argueing, this time over what to have for breakfast. Raph wanted waffles and Mike wanted fries with chocolate sauce.
They came to the training room door, half expecting to hear the sounds of furious katana swipes and irate yells, but there was nothing. Raph looked at Don and Don looked at Raph and they both looked at Mike, who looked as blank and as confused as they did. Raph shrugged and shoved the door open.
Leo was sat in deep meditation on one of the practice mats. Mike grinned goofily and made to bound over and snap him out of it but Donny laid a hand on his arm and shook his head. Raph approached their leader cautiously, wincing as his feet slapped the plastic. He bent in front of Leo's face and his own lit up in a small smile.
"He's jus' sleeping," He said, straightening up.
"Good. I bet he didn't get any last night," Donny mused, crouching next to the elder.
"Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Mike frowned.
"I went into his room earlier. His bed was cold, he's been up a good while," Donny explained, leaning forwards.
"What are you doing?" Raph asked, aware Leo was usually a very light sleeper.
"Just having a look," Donny replied and very gently began to untie Leo's bandana. He gasped as it fell, revealing the spots under his eyes that were no longer green but purple.
"He looks like he's been punched," Mike observed dryly.
"Can it Mike," Raph growled as Don put Leo's mask in its rightful place.
"Raph, you're wrong," Don said quietly. Very softly and slowly, he began to unfold Leo's crossed legs to get him into a lying position, falling asleep cross-legged couldn't be good for your posture.
"Eh? About what?" Raph started to help; wondering why on earth Leo hadn't woke up yet. He really must be tired.
"About Leo mourning Sensei, he is mourning," Donny answered quietly, easing Leo's torso down tenderly. Still he slept on.
"Dude, the guy ain't cried once!" Mike chipped in, kneeling beside them.
"Crying isn't the only method of mourning Mikey," Donny corrected, lifting his brother's katana sheathes from his shell before he hit the comfort of the mat.
"Then how is he mourning? And ain't it a bit late?" Raph slipped an arm under Leo's neck and his knees, hefting him up bridal style. His eyes widened in shock. "Here Don, tell me that's normal," He pleaded, handing his brother over with little effort. Don gasped.
"What?" Mike demanded worriedly.
"It's like he's almost weightless, I can feel every bone in his body," Don murmured in awe.
"Tell us that's ok Don, please!" Mikey sensed the urgency in Raphael's voice.
"Don't be silly Raph, of course it's not ok. This is his method of mourning, refusing to eat or sleep; training until Daimyo knows what hour. It's a bad way to mourn, because eventually it will lead to your own death," Donny whispered gravely. He began the trek to Leo's room, his arms trembling, definitely not from the weight they carried. Mike and Raph followed.
"But Leo knows that right? I mean Master Splinter taught us to accept stuff the right way, right?" Mikey asked frantically as Leo was laid to rest in his bed. Donny pulled the covers over him and tenderly tucked him in.
"Right Mikey, but sometimes the bad, and easy, ways seem to help far more than the good, or hard, solutions," He replied.
"So you're sayin' Leo knows it's wrong, but he's doin' it 'cause it seems to help him?" Raph thought out loud. Don nodded. "Well that's one of the biggest loadsa bullshit I have ever heard in my life!" Raph growled menacingly, stalking the room angrily, giving everything that previously belonged to Splinter a harsh glare.
"Raph!" Mikey cried, scandalised.
"No Mikey. Leo never does the wrong thing, wither it helps more or not. There has to be another reason!" Raph supposed.
"I see your point Raph. But we'll just have to wait until he wakes u and talk to him. And I'll make sure he talks this time," Donny sighed.
"But Don, even if we do talk to him, will he get better?" Mikey wondered quietly, dreading the answer.
"I hope so Mike, I hope so," Was the reply.
To Be Continued
A.N: Owie, numb bum and my ankle hurts lol. Oh well, least I got it typed up. Hope it passes! Please r and r and tell me what you think! Keep it real and take care guys, love ya!