Hey people … I know it's been a long time. Much has been happening lately so writing stories was at the bottom of my to-do list. Thank you very much to those people who were messaging to see how I was going. Anyway, I'm not saying I'm back for good but this is just something that has been sitting there for awhile, waiting to be posted. "Changed" is nearly finished, it's got about another chapter or two but they aren't jelling at the moment.

This is sort of a random fic that just popped up in my head. Some characters may be out of character but its just a fic exploring brotherly rivalry and what you can do without realizing it … like getting caught up in something and not realizing what your doing to others. Or just niggle away at someone and wonder why they fell. Anyway … enjoy … constructive criticism welcome and reviews even more. Got a problem … tell someone who cares

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Disclaimer: I only own the story … not the characters in it.


Raphael's P.O.V.

Life has been amazing lately, really amazing. How can you explain the best time in your life? Well, let me try.

A few months ago, Leo got injured. Not physical but I suppose you could saw … mentally. We'd had a HUGE fight, which he started of course, and he stormed out of the lair in a rage. Several hours later, we got a phone call. A big mistake to his pride. He … Leo …. the mighty fearless leader had to call for help, for backup. So we arrive on the scene only too find Leo at the mercy of the Purple Dragons. The Purple Dragons mercy … please, they are a bunch of thugs, rejects from society and sissies.

Anyway, we came in, kicked "but" and dragged his sorry arse home. Not only did he get a LECTURE from Master Splinter for being foolish and running off, we actually got some praise for once in our life.

Leo sulked for a few days after that but soon he was back to his bossy, arrogant ways. Not that Mikey and I didn't constantly bring up his failure with the Purple Dragons. The look of embarrassment, hurt and I swear I saw fear on his face was enough to put him constantly back in his box. We seemed to be always one up on Leo.

Anyway, the turning point in my life … and I suppose Leo's, happened, I would say, about three months ago. We were out on patrol and Leo, who was still trying to get back into Master Splinters good books by being a teachers pet, had been pushing us just a little bit too far.

In practice, in our rest times, on patrol and in anything we did, we had to be perfect. He even stayed up to three in the morning, just to put in extra practice and expect us to put in the same hard yards. Get lost, I actually have a life.

So this night we were out on patrol. Nothing interesting happening, just Leo nagging us about "The Way of Invisibility", to stay out of sight, to be quiet, don't lag and just being a pain. So when we spotted some Purple Dragons looting a jewelry shop, our fearless leader commanded that we stop them. I tried to point out that there seemed to be too many of them, not one to turn down a fight, but for a simple jewelry heist, there were just too goons. It didn't seem right

But Leo over ruled me. I'm sure if Donny or Mikey had said anything, he would have listened but being it was me, NO WAY WAS HE GOING TO LISTEN!

So we attacked and just as I had guessed, Leo led us straight into a trap. The Shredder was waiting.

Not only did we get battered and bruised, our fearless leader took a hit to the head and passed out halfway through the fight. So not only did we have to worry about ourselves, we had to protect the shell of our pathetic excuse for a leader.

So I took command. The fight was long and hard but boy the job of leader was exhilarating. I was in total control. And we made it out alive. Raphael, the hot-head, black-sheep of the family, took the place as leader and actually didn't screw up like Leo always said I would. So, not only did we survive a fight that should have killed all four of us, thanks to our leader, I lead, I took command, saved our family, got everyone safely home and we were all in one piece. No thanks to the actual cause to the problem.

And who was waiting at home, fearing for our safety, waiting to shower me with praise, none other then Master Splinter. With Leo tucked up in his little bed, we retold the story. I can still see the look of pride on my fathers face when he found out that I had, as Mikey said "saved them all". I went to bed that night on cloud nine.

So the next day, when I came down to breakfast, there was a huge victory celebration. My favorite kind of breakfast. Mikey must have been up for hours to make it. Pancakes, waffles, sausages, eggs, scrambled and not … there was everything anybody could ever want to eat for breakfast in their lifetime. Never in all the years Leo had "led" us did he ever received such a welcome.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

We were all seated around the table, laughing and joking, when the topic turned to the events of last night and the "splendid job" I did. And guess who I saw hiding in the shadows of the doorway … Leo. He must have woken up, heard the celebration and came down to investigate. And he heard all the praise, saw all the proud looks and admiration from our brothers. But he didn't come and join us, didn't say" good job Raph" or thank me for saving him and having to carry him all the way home. He went back to his room and sulked until I was sent by Master Splinter to fetch him.

He wanted to have a word with him.

So with great expectations, I told Leo that "Splinter wanted to see him", took my place on the couch and waited for the fireworks. It didn't really matter that Splinter had his door closed because Splinter blasted Leo so loud; I'm surprised that the humans above didn't wonder where the rumbling was coming from.

He blasted him for his poor leadership skills, for leading us into danger, for not listening to "MY ADVICE" … I really like that one, for sulking half the day, for being ignorant and "risk-taking". After awhile, Donny and Mikey joined me on the couch, Donny fiddling with a new invention and Mikey sniggering along with me.

Hours later, Master Splinter emerged from his room, followed by a … dispirited Leo. All lesson, I suppose you could say he "kept his head down". He didn't draw attention to his gracefulness, of his "perfect katas" and during sparring; he didn't put his "heart into it" and lost every bout.

This went on for a week until … one day, Master Splinter asked me to "lead" practice. Only Leo ever did that and the look of shock on his face was priceless. And to rub it in his face, I was perfect.

We trained better then we had ever done under "Leonardo's" leadership. A broken Leo emerged after practice was finished and seeming I led practice from that day onwards, that broken look became a distinct portrait to Leo's now subdued character.

After awhile, he started skipping practice. Not that we cared, we got on better without him. He was a shadow of the past, I was the sunlight of today, well that is how I looked to my brothers and father. Life … was perfect.

Not that my quest to make Leo look like the worthless pile of shit he was had ended … it had just taken a new turn.

Leo started to believe he was a "worthless pile of shit" as to say, and I, along with Mikey, helped to reinforce the idea.

It was like Leo and I had swapped places, he was now the black sheep of the family, the reject, looked down upon by his brothers and master, where I was the son who could do no wrong. Nothing I did or said was bad to them, I could spend all my days doing nothing, hang out all night with Casey and it was okay … because I was perfect.

The tyrant had been broken.

After a while, Leo started skipping meals and not taking … "adequate" care of himself. He'd go days without a shower until someone would "order' him to. Yes to "order" him. He also became as skinny as a rake and his muscles disappeared through the loss of training, which left flabby folds of skin all over his body. Actually, to Mikey, "flabby" became his new nickname … he certainly wasn't "fearless" anymore.

But between all of this, Leo would just sit on his bed or wander around the lair with a dead look in his eyes, like he didn't care anymore – not like anybody else did.

Then a few weeks ago, he started to disappear from the lair for hours … or was it days … it's not like we really counted but this intrigued me. Where was my worthless brother going and what was he doing with his worthless life.

Imagine my satisfaction when I followed him one of these times, only to find him pouring alcohol down his throat. My brother was a drunk … I should have guessed that only my brother could hit rock bottom and keep digging.

So I waited until he'd drowned his sorrows, then dragged him, stumbling back home to show the family the depths the once famous "Leonardo" could sink to.

Of course he was quickly ushered into Splinters room where Sensei tore him to pieces. He even struck him across the face when he didn't answer fast enough, thou for how drunk he was, I'm amazed he could answer at all.

And then came the moment I had been waiting for. When Master Splinter told Leo how disgusted he was with him, how he had no honour, how he had not only damaged his honour but the honour of the families, the honour of the clan and then … he compared Leo to me.

How I was perfect, a role-model, what he should aim for, a true leader.

Eventually Master Splinter had no more to say and I hurled Leo to his feet … where Leo proceeded to hurl all over himself and the floor.

The last thing Sensei said was

"Get him out of my sight!"

So I frog marched Leo out of the room and proceeded to "escort" him to his room, making sure Donny and Mikey saw the worst … or should I say the best side of him. On reaching his room, I threw him on to the bed.

"Your pathetic Leo" I said.

He turned his blood-shot eyes onto me but in his drunken state, they crossed.

"The poor star child reduced to a drunken wreck … I should have seen it coming"

He seemed to be trying to refocus his eyes.

"You can't even take care of yourself let alone others" I continued taking in his dusty, dirty, filthy room.

"You useless, utterly useless"

I think we went to say something but at that moment, he again hurled all over himself and the bed.

I wrinkled my nose in disgust.

"You make me sick" I spat as I turned and left the room.


That was about a week ago. Leo didn't surface from his room for days but I think the smell of his vomit eventually drove him out. It nearly drove us out.

Being the leader, I commanded that he clean himself and the room up, if he wanted to live in filth, it didn't mean the rest of use had to suffer. I told him that the homeless people were taking in newbie's and it would be the perfect time to join "his brothers".

I think he actually paid attention to me when I said it because he seemed to be preparing his stuff for leaving.

Before going out this morning, I saw the wretched fool collecting some rope from the equipment room. I don't know what he'd need rope for carrying the few lonely possessions he has. Since Mikey has taken on Leo's room as a "sort of" second bedroom, most of Leos stuff has been broken. Mikey is clumsy and I suppose … careless.

Mind you, coming to think of it, Leo leaving might not be such a good thing … he is an excellent punching bag. It doesn't matter how much you kick or punch him, he won't yell. A couple of days ago, I stabbed him in the arm, just to see if he'd yell.

Nothing, he just stared at the wound until I told him to find someone to bandage it … he was spilling blood all over the floor. I think he ended up doing the job himself since Donny would have been busy, Mikey is useless for those things, I went out with Casey and Leo gives Master Splinter a wide berth.

Not that he needs to worry about Splinter much since he recently shifted into April's apartment. Only temporally but I think the sight of Leo was killing him faster then old age ever would … something I clearly spelt out to Leo, something else that was his fault. He'd brought all his problems down on himself and only had himself to blame.

Walking in the front door to our lair, I notice it's quiet. Donny and Mikey must not be home. Moving into the kitchen, I see a note on the kitchen bench. Grabbing a coke from the fridge, I read the message.

Raph,

Donny and I gone out to see a 2 o'clock movie.

Would have invited you if you were home.

Cya when we get back.

Mikey

Glancing at the clock, it read 3 o'clock.

"Damn" I mutter, while draining the can. I would have liked to have gone.

With Leo out of the leadership role, we've been taking more risks, like seeing movies and wandering around in broad daylight, covered up of course. We hadn't been caught yet and the freedom was great.

Thinking I'd go listen to some music in my room, I threw the empty can at the bin missing it completely but knowing I'd make Leo clean it up later. He'd actually become a good cleaner of late, once you got him out of his bedroom.

Climbing the stairs and passing Leo's dark room, I stopped when I heard a dripping sound. Listening carefully, I didn't hear it again.

Shrugging it off, I moved on.

Drip

There it was again.

Standing incredibly still and holding my breath, I waited.

Drip

Yea, I wasn't hearing things. Betcha Mikey left the tap on in the bathroom AGAIN!

Funny how I didn't hear it before …

I walked back passed Leo's room.

Drip

I froze; the sound was coming from Leo's darkened room.

Slowly turning, I felt my hand along the wall until I came in contact with the light switch. I flicked it on.

It took a few seconds for my brain to register what I was seeing until reality kicked in …and I screamed

Leo was hanging by a rope from an overhead pipe, his motionless body slowly swinging from side to side. Blood dripped from wounds in his arms, running along his arm, down his hand and slowly collecting on one of his fingers. When the load got too heavy, a single drop would fall.

Drip

I screamed again.

Racing across the room, I grabbed onto him, trying to lift him and get some of the pressure off the rope.

But the floor was slick with blood and I couldn't get a firm grip.

I slipped.

My legs flew out from under me and I landed hard on my shell. Dazzled, I gazed upwards as Leo's body slowly turned towards me from the force I'd applied before falling.

All I saw was the whites of his eyes through narrow slits.

Flailing around in his pool of blood, I tried to get up. Half sobbing, I slipped and slide until I was out from under his gaze.

I was covered from head to toe in his blood.

Struggling to my feet, my hands came across something sharp.

Looking up … his katanna.

Grabbing it by its handle, I staggered to my feet.

Running at him, I jumped and sliced cleanly through the rope. Crashing into him, we both fell in a heap on the floor.

Throwing the katanna away, I grabbed Leo and pulled him out of the pool of smeared blood … panting not from exhaustion but from what I just saw and had to do.

Pulling him towards the doorway, I collapsed on top of him.

Trying to hold back the coke I'd just drunk, I rolled him on to his back.

His arms weren't bleeding anymore … his heart had stopped pumping blood.

"NO!" I screamed.

I began to administer C.P.R. but he wasn't responding.

"NO!" I screamed again.

I curled my hands into a fist and started pounding on his chest.

"LEO!"

But exhaustion soon gave way and I broke down on his chest. Holding onto him, I buried my head in his shoulder.

"Why you do it?" I sobbed "Why now"

And yet I knew why he had done it. Raising my head, I looked at his face … he hadn't gone easily.

Lowering my head onto his chest, I jumped when I felt a heart beat.

Bringing my ear to his mouth, I heard him breath.

Praising whoever had answered my call to save my brother, I watched him live.

But he didn't wake up.

I watched him intently, was he ever going to get a severe talking to when he woke up … but he wouldn't open his eyes.

Looking around for some inspiration, I noticed that blood was smeared on the far wall of his room … and it spelt out something.

U s e l e s s

I froze

"Your useless Leo, utterly useless!"

I'd said that to him … and he'd believed me.

I looked down at him, limp in my arms, defenseless and helpless … I'd made him into that.

I could feel sharp pinpricks at the corners of my eyes.

What have I become? How could I say that? I'd become so absorbed in bringing my brother down, I'd killed him.

I gripped Leo tighter.

I'd killed him, I'd killed my brother. The more I tried to deny it, the more it rung true.

I'd killed Leo.

But he wasn't dead yet … NO there was still time, he was breathing … I could take care of him … save him … make sure he lives … tell him how sorry I am.

Gathering him up in my arms, I contemplated where to take him. There's no way I'm putting him back in his room, there's barely enough room in Don's room let alone a chair to watch him in, Mikey's room is a disaster zone, he's not going in my room, he can't go on the sofa we might want to watch telly …

I mentally slapped myself … I can't believe what I just thought. My brother tried to kill himself because of me and I won't put him on the sofa because we might want to watch t.v.

What have I become?

Then a light flicked on in my head.

Splinter room.

It was secluded, clean, not used at the moment, spacious and quiet … perfect for a place for someone to heal.

Carefully I carried Leo down the stairs but on reaching the main part of the lair, I heard a gasp.

Turning, I found Master Splinter in the doorway. Ears pined back, he looked pale. Confused for a second, I wondered why he was here. Then it clicked, today was the day he visited …

Racing over to me, he cried.

"What happened!"

But what could I say? How could I tell him?

Holding Leo tight, I said

"He needs to rest"

Splinter stopped frantically searching him for a pulse.

"Rest?"

I nodded.

Splinters hands then brushed against the lacerations along Leo's neck … vivid red marks.

He gasped as realization struck.

"My room … now!"

Walking behind him, I entered his room and carefully laid Leo down on the bed. He was still breathing.

"Get the medical kit"

Quickly obeying, I fetched it and brought it too him.

Grabbing bandages, alcohol, needle and thread, Splinter set to work on Leo's arms.

He was very pale.

I went to say something when Master Splinter spoke in a shaky voice.

"What happened?"

I tried to answer but I couldn't for the life of me because of the lump in my throat. It was all my fault. Splinter looked at me, I must have looked like a fish gulping for air … but I knew he demand an answer.

"We're home!"

Turning, I looked at the clock on Splinters wall. 3:30 pm it read, Mikey and Don must have finished seeing the movie.

Looking at Splinter, he motioned for me to go out to them.

Walking out of his room, conscious of all the blood on me, I followed the sound of their voices into the kitchen.

"Yeah that was so cool and the bit where he …"

They sounded so happy.

Walking to the entrance to the kitchen, I saw Mikey chuck Don a can. Probably sensing my presence, Don turned to me.

"Yo Raph, you missed a good mov …"

CRACK

The aluminum can hit the floor.

"WHAT HAPPENED!" he shouted as he ran to me.

Turning, Mikey saw me and the colour drained from his face.

Looking past him and at my reflection in the mirror of the kitchen cupboard, my knees went weak. As I thought, I was covered in blood. On my arms, legs, shell, torso … face. All Leo's blood.

The world spun and I found myself in Don's arms as he grabbed me, to stop me hitting the floor.

I think he was calling to me but all I saw was my reflection, I … covered in my brother's blood.

"Mikey … grab … in cupboard … my room!"

I felt the world fall in on me … until I was drenched in chilling sweat.

For Mikey to go to Don's room, he had to go past Leo's...

"… no!" I croaked

"It's okay Raph; Mikey just went to get some …"

"No … he can't"

But I watched helplessly as Mikey reached the top of the stairs, walked past Leo's room and stopped … much like I did.

Trying to cry "NO!" I watched as he turned back to Leo's room … and looked inside.

A few seconds later … he screamed.

Don dropped me and raced up the stairs, as I tried to again shout. Stumbling to the entrance of Leo's room, he froze.

I could see it now, pools of blood on the floor, smeared everywhere, half a rope hanging from above and the blood written word

U s e l e s s

smeared on the wall.

That was all I could take … seeing those words in my mind, Mikey screaming … my world faded into darkness.