A.N: Hey how come no one's reviewing Writing on the Wall? –Sad face- It's not that bad is it? I'm sorry for the lateness, honest I am! Anywayz, for the first time today I watched the episode where Splinter sends Leo off to the Ancient One (God that guy is seriously sick lol). What the hell is a kumquat? Anyway, I noticed we weren't treated with a brotherly farewell, so guess what? You got it, here's one. And please, please, please don't tell me what happens with and after the Ancient One, I know British television sucks and I probably won't see the episodes after that for like ages, but please don't. Thankies. –Happy face- Anyway, enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT. Please don't sue me. My bank account would be of no use to you I promise. Unless you want to put some money in of course, if that's the case, feel free to use it all you like.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
See You Soon
"Hey, where you goin'?"
The teenager stopped his angry packing, head hung low, when he heard his baby brother's curious voice. He had hoped to slip away unnoticed, silent as shadows. But his brothers knew the shadows too. He should have known it wasn't going to be this easy. And in truth, did he really want to go without a word of comfort from those he loved?
"I'm…I'm going away Mikey," He murmured, shaking his head and resuming his packing.
He didn't know what to take besides the essentials. If it was Mike, his bag would be full of comics and video games, Donny would take his tool kit and laptop, Raph maybe a few c.ds and a couple of Bruce Lee movies perhaps. But what did he have to prove who he was? What did he have that screamed out 'Leonardo'?
Nothing. Nothing except books on war he despised, incense and candles that made him feel physically sick. Quickly, before Mike could see, he hastily, carelessly, shoved his sketchbook and pencils into the backpack. It wouldn't do for his brother to realise the whole 'Fearless Leader' thing was just a lie.
Lies broke little Mikey's world. Sure, they were all the same age, but he was clearly the youngest, clearly the most innocent, clearly the most fun loving. He strived on truth. Lies such as who ate the last cookie didn't count. It was true lies that shattered his being, lies about who they were, lies about solid facts.
Leo couldn't do that to him, to any of his brothers. That was why he hid every piece of paper his pencil had ever touched, never to be seen by any eyes but his own sapphire. And even then he was reluctant, all he saw was scribbles and mess.
"Where to?" Mike frowned fearfully, stepping fully inside his brother's room to stand by the bed. Leo sighed, stuffing in a few warm clothes for the long journey.
"Master Splinter wants me to go to Japan, and study under a new Sensei," He replied, trying so hard to keep his voice emotionless.
Mike's obvious distress at his being sent away was getting to him already. He hated seeing Michelangelo upset. All he ever wanted to do during those times was wipe away the sadness and caress a smile to his lips. That was the real Mikey. When Mikey frowned or cried, it turned him into a whole different person, and it broke Leo's heart to see it.
"Forever?" Mike whispered, his voice trembling.
Leo sighed again and looked up from his assignment. He looked deep into those emerald eyes, shimmering with tears. Even if he was going away forever, he couldn't tell Mikey that. He knew Mike loved him. Michelangelo loved everything and anything. But most of all, he loved his brothers. And knowing he would never see one of them again would truly tear him down.
"No Mike, not forever," Leo smiled softly, watching his brother's face light up as he said it.
"Promise?" He asked, his voice no longer quivering.
"I promise," Leo replied, raising a hand to lightly cup Mike's cheek before returning to his packing.
Leonardo knew he could never leave his brothers forever, they meant the world to him. He knew he couldn't survive without them, they were his life force. They were why he struggled for perfection. They were why he could never fail. They were why he could never have a true life of his own. He loved them, and it was his love for them that would eventually become his own worst enemy.
"Dude, is that all you're packin'?" Mike asked in surprise, peering into the rucksack.
There was hardly anything inside, just the usual toothbrush, odd clothes, knee and elbow pads, bandanas, that sort of thing. Nothing to indicate he was going away for a long time, nothing to indicate once lessons were over he had anything for leisure time. What about all his history and Japanese culture books he was always reading? What about some of the incense and candles he was always burning?
"Well, yeah. What else is there to pack?" Leo mumbled, a little sheepishly.
"What about your books and stuff?" Mike questioned, picking one up from the desk.
Leonardo looked at it clutched in the large, green fingers. He'd read that book a million times and a million times again. It was his favourite, fantasy mixed with action, tragedy mixed with happiness, hate mixed with love. Like some great big cauldron and all the ingredients have been just shoved haphazardly into the pot.
Their family was just a few components, slung into the pot of life. A little hotheadedness here, a splash of genius, a pinch of pranks and just a bite of order. Stir them around and you create pure havoc. Some of the elements will get crushed, some will remain whole, some will get separated, some will merge, some will dissolve and disappear entirely. The ingredients were the people, life was the cauldron. Whoever concocted the mix was seriously twisted.
"I dunno, I guess I read them too many times. I'll just look for some when I get to Japan I guess," Leo shrugged. Mike's mouth twitched a little, but he put the book down.
"Well, you always wanted to go there," He said finally.
Why did things feel so awkward between them? Why were they finding it hard to say such little, meaningless things? They had been so close, but now they could both feel the huge wedge keeping them from each other, keeping Leonardo from the rest of the family. That wedge was failure.
Failure. Leonardo's worst nightmare. He was obsessed with it, striving to keep it from devastating his very being. Yet it still edged towards him, increasing that weight little by little. And it had given him a mammoth blow lately; he wasn't sure how much more he could take.
It was pounding, reverberating in his head. He recounted the battle over and over. He tried to think of a way he could do things differently, but he couldn't. He'd done his best; he'd tried so hard. But he just wasn't good enough. He'd never be good enough, no matter how late he trained, no matter how long he meditated, no matter how much he put the effort in.
And he'd truly thought Master Splinter had something left to teach him; otherwise he'd have stopped studying under the Sensei long ago. He'd have become his own master, taught himself what he yearned to know. He wouldn't have left home, just missed out on their lessons, administered his own. It didn't give him any satisfaction knowing he was on the same level as his father, far from it.
Nothing could explain the horror and guilt he endured when he accidentally hurt the old rat this morning. He'd just felt so angry with himself, so frustrated and disappointed. He knew to walk into the battlefield with anger leading your head was asking for death itself. But he couldn't get rid of it, no matter how hard he tried.
He hated himself.
He didn't think his family knew the extent of his real injuries. Master Splinter had said something about his physical wounds had recovered, but not his mind. That wasn't even the start of it. He'd always felt like this, long before they knew about the Shredder. They thought it was recent, due to their latest battle with the Shredder.
They were wrong.
"Hey do you think you could pick me up some new manga? That's if you like, get to go shoppin' and stuff. I don't think the guy you're goin' to would have like comics and stuff, probably just, you know, all the borin' stuff, like Master Splinter. Have you ever actually read any ofthat crap?" Mike babbled enthusiastically, gesturing wildly with his hands.
"A hundred times over," Leo sighed, returning to his packing. Mike's fervour vanished instantly.
"Oh. Right. Um, they're probably not that bad then, just-"
"It's not like I wanted to read them," Leo interrupted quietly.
"You didn't?" Mike pulled a face of clear confusion. Why read a book if you didn't want to? That was just plain stupid.
"No. I wanted to read Edgar Allen Poe, J.R.R Tolkien, Charles Dickens," Leo replied passionately, eyes dreamy at the ideas and twists of classic literature. "Art of War by Sun Tzu? I can't stand it. There's no imagery, no symbolism, no adventure, no hidden romance, no thrills. It's just plain hard facts, plain hard rubbish," He said bitterly.
"Then dude, why don't you read all the stuff you want to?" Mike questioned in bemusement. Leo shook his head; he couldn't blame his brother for not understanding. If he were in Mike's bandana, he wouldn't get the picture either.
"Because Master Splinter doesn't want me to. They wouldn't benefit my learning as much as those he wanted me to read," He explained wearily.
"Bro, that sucks, why don't you just tell him you don't want to?" Mike looked at him oddly, he knew Leo was no pushover, but when it came to their father, Splinter said jump and Leo asked how high.
"I dunno, I just, don't want to disappoint him I guess," Leo shrugged, fastening his bag half-heartedly. Mike's mouth twitched again, sensing his brother's new depressive mode kicking in.
Leonardo had been acting so different lately, ever since that last battle with the Shredder. That had been ages ago though, everybody else was fine. And yet Leo had become harsh, disheartened, livid, worse than Raph even. It was so unlike him his family didn't know what to do. What could they do? They'd tried helping their brother defeat his inner demons, but he had to do the rest himself.
This must be Splinter's last resort, sending him away. The rat must be at his wit's end. But wouldn't part of Leo's obsession with failure be down to the father's unrelenting pressure and expectations? Mike was finding it hard to think about such a wild theory; he was still coming to terms with his brother's unexpected journey.
And he didn't quite know what to say to such a comment, so he changed the subject.
"How long will you be gone?" He wondered quietly, watching Leo fasten his bag as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
"As long as it takes," Leo shrugged, sighing and heaving the rucksack over his shoulder. The strap rubbed where his shell had broken away, aggravating the sore skin.
"That could take forever, no matter what you say," Mike whispered, feeling his eyes burning.
Slowly, shyly, Leo curled a finger around his little brother's chin and raised his head to eye level. Still Mike flickered his emerald eyes to the side, frightened of the tears gathering there. Leo nudged him a little, and that small touch gave Mike the strength to look at him eye to eye.
"Michelangelo, it won't take forever. If it takes any longer than a couple of months, I'll come and visit you," Leo murmured, using his other hand to rest it on the younger turtle's shoulder.
"It won't be the same without you," Mike blinked rapidly as the tears began to fall, swift and furious down his cheeks and onto Leo's outstretched hand.
"I know, I'm going to miss you too," Leo breathed, his own eyes rebelling against his self-control.
"Will you text me?" Mikey posed tearfully, his throat tight.
"Everyday," Leo assured solemnly, determinedly.
With a sob of defeat, Mike plunged forwards and crushed his older brother in a huge bear hug, clinging as if his life depended on it. Leo smiled sadly and wrapped his arms around Mike's shell, whispering soothingly and rubbing the nape of his neck. Mike hadn't hung to him and wept like this for years, and it didn't feel any different, didn't quell the protective, loving side of the oldest one bit.
In fact, it reinforced it.
After a few minutes of cradling him, Leo withdrew, holding him at arms length. Mike gave a hushed sniffle and wiped his eyes. He offered Leo a weak, sheepish grin, and all Leonardo could do in return was upturn his lips ever so slightly.
"Hey, you gonna make me the biggest pizza when I get back?" He asked, chuckling lightly. Mikey gave a feeble laugh.
"The biggest ever,"
In a single swift and soft stroke, Leo bent forward and kissed his baby brother on the forehead. And then, before Mike could do anything, he was alone in that cold and bare room, footsteps sounding hard and quick down the hall, hasty in case the owner changed his mind and turned back. Mike let out a shuddering sigh, tears fighting their way to the surface once more, and flopped down onto his brother's soft, warm mattress.
He wept until he had no more tears and all he could think about was the empty space in his heart where his brother had been.
Leonardo hesitated outside Raphael's room, half wanting to wish his brother farewell, half not. He didn't want to leave on bad terms with the temperamental teen, but he didn't want to leave without saying goodbye either. Taking in a deep breath to calm himself, he knocked lightly on his brother's door. He noticed his eyes were wet so he hurriedly rubbed them dry when he heard the 'yeah, what?' from inside.
When he entered, Raph was lounged on his bed, twirling one of his sai in between his fingers, swiftly and adeptly handling the points. He gave Leo one of the most uninterested looks the elder had ever seen. Leo sighed and let the pack slide off his arm and onto the floor with a thud.
"What d'you want? Come to lecture me 'n' tell me to behave before y'go?" Raph drawled lazily, turning his eyes back to his sai. He watched Leo shift from foot to foot nervously through the clean silver of the steel with hidden satisfaction.
Raph loved moments like these, where the almighty perfect Leonardo was put on the spot. He always tried to be so cool and collected, but he was as 'human' and as easily dominated by emotions as the rest of them, if not more. And Raph loved to see his brother panic, even if he, Raph, did end up picking him off the floor when he was finished. Leo needed looking after as much as the rest of them, it just took him all his time too accept the help.
"Well, actually I…I came to say…goodbye," Leo murmured softly, timidly, looking away to one of the magazines strewn across the floorboards.
"Yeah? Well goodbye, see ya, farewell, au revoir, sayonara, adieu, whatever," Raph snapped coldly, running his fingers up the cold metal of his weapon.
"You make it sound as if you're glad to see the back of me," Leo flared, glancing up to pierce his brother with a stern glare. Raph turned his head, giving him look for look.
"Maybe I am," He said carelessly.
That was a pure lie. He didn't want his brother to go, not one bit. Sure the guy could be a proper nag and a pain in the arse at times, but he was still his brother, Raph still cared for him, loved him. He was angry with their master for sending him away, what good will that do? Leo would be able to sort himself out with the aid of his family, not some old Japanese dude with no life.
Raph wanted to help him; he wanted to be the one to guide his brother back to the light. That was what brothers were for. Raph could never feel able to tell his brothers just how much he loved them, so he showed them, with a strong protectiveness and care when the need was important. Whereas Leo preferred to write his feelings down, Raph found it easier to just show affection through actions. Then he didn't have to say the wrong thing by accident and make a fool of himself.
"Oh. I guess I'm sorry my presence was such a nuisance," Leo scowled, hefting his bag onto his shoulder once more with the air of antagonism.
"No you're not, you loved sucking up to Splinter and being such a kiss-ass. And now you've just come to rub my nose in the fact you're being sent away to some old codger because you've 'learnt all that can be learnt', and I'm not. Just piss off Leo, I'm sick and tired of you trying to be such a teacher's pet all the fucking time!" Raph yelled, sitting up straight and clenching his sai hilt so hard it looked as if his knuckles would burst.
"I'm not! It's not my fault I learn faster than you, don't take that out on me!" Leo cried furiously and shrilly, tears in his eyes.
Raph tried hard not to let the surprise show in his face. Leo never argued like this, he was always frustratingly calm and under control, yet here he was shouting and nearly in tears. This whole Shredder thing really and truly had screwed him up, and Leo was obviously blind to it all.
And they called Raph temperamental. If that was so, there wasn't even a word for Leo right at this moment. Would Leo really find what he was looking for in Japan? Or was it simply right under his nose? But Raph had no choice. Splinter had made his decision, and that was final, Raph couldn't interfere. He also couldn't help but think their father was making the wrong conclusion. Leo didn't need a new Sensei to set his head straight, he needed his family.
But it was too late now, so why should Raph even bother?
"Just get the fuck out of here, Fearless Leader, no one wants you around anymore," Raph snarled.
He turned and skilfully tossed his sai in Leo's general direction. The sharpest, longest prong clearly missed his head, and slammed forcefully into the wooden doorframe. It 'bdoing'-ed, wobbled frantically, then held fast, stuck tight in the hard wood. Leo never even flinched.
"I guess you don't," He whispered tearfully.
Before Raphael could even contemplate this sudden and extreme mood change, Leo had marched out, shoulders shaking as he fought off the tears. With a sigh, Raphael went and retrieved his sai, abruptly feeling extremely guilty and horrible. How could he have said that to his own brother?
He often had the knack of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, but he also told Leo to 'fuck off' at least once a day, and Leo didn't usually take it to heart. But Leo wasn't in a usual mood. With a sinking heart, Raphael realised he'd probably just damaged his older brother's self esteem even more, if that was even possible.
Still, he didn't feel brave enough to go after him and repair it.
Donatello was waiting for him in the hallway, looking as inhibited as he felt. He smiled sympathetically as Leo hastily wiped his eyes dry. Don marched up to him in a few small steps, and rested his hands comfortingly on his shoulders.
"You ok?" He asked quietly, gently rubbing his brother's shoulders, careful of the tender, unprotected skin where his shell should have been.
"Yeah, I just…I just…"
"Had a fight with Raph?" He offered kindly, and Leo nodded defeatedly. "You know he didn't mean a word of it,"
"Then why say it in the first place?" Leo murmured, peering into Don's compassionate hazel eyes.
Donny always had a kind word for everyone, nothing bitter ever came out of his mouth, and Leo was grateful for it at this moment in time. It was rare when he got into fights with his siblings, and when he did they were often quick and unimportant, and Donny was always the first one to say sorry. He hated conflict of any kind, especially between those he loved, and Leo was grateful for it.
"You know what Raph's like Leo, he never says what he means because he assumes we already know how he feels,"
Leo also wished he could understand people like Donatello could. It must be the whole genius thing.
"I'm gonna miss you Donny," Leo whispered. Donny smiled appreciatively.
"I'm going to miss you too bruv," He murmured sincerely.
"Will you keep an eye on things for me?" Leo asked warily.
"Two eyes twenty four/seven," Don grinned. Leo laughed quietly.
Don mentally shook his head. He, like Raph and Mikey, wanted Leo where he belonged in his time of need, with them. Family didn't turn each other away when things got tough; they stuck together and helped each other through thick and thin. What could Splinter be thinking? Leonardo's suffering from a little depression, let's abandon him and send him halfway across the world until he's better.
Not what a father should be doing, Donny thought. But he supposed the rat would have his reasons. He was their father and teacher, they shouldn't second-guess him. Still, as a scientist, Donny found that rather difficult. But what could Donny do? He was an engineer not a doctor, especially not a mind doctor.
"You'll text, won't you?" Donny questioned with a raised eye ridge.
"Everyday I promise," Leo answered obediently. Donny smiled again.
"And you take as long as you need. I know you feel you need to come back as soon as possible, but we'd rather wait months for the real Leonardo, than a few days for someone not our brother," He assured him positively. Leo gave a small smile, touched at his brother's empathy.
"I know Donny. Take care," He mumbled gratefully, blushing slightly.
"You too. We're here when you need us Leo,"
They embraced tightly, knowing they could trust each other to the end of their days. When they let go, they were both crying, grinning stupidly at each other in embarrassment. There were things they didn't know how to say, but they knew what they were without putting them into words. It was just the brotherly thing.
"I know. Same goes to you too," Leo breathed, rubbing his eyes dry once again.
"Take care of your shoulder, it still looks sore," Donny said sternly, folding his arms. Leo laughed at the role reversal.
"I will, it's better than it was," He reassured his brother. Don nodded.
"Love you bro,"
"I love you too,"
Donatello still stood there when the front door shut behind him. He imagined his brother beginning his journey to the docks, his soul weary with failure. He shouldn't be leaving home, he should be with them. He knew Leo would like it in Japan though, he'd always wanted to go there, whether Splinter had made him read the culture books or not.
"He will not be away from us too long Donatello, I know it," Splinter said comfortingly, coming up behind his son. Donny sighed, not feeling respectful enough to talk civilly to his father just yet.
"He shouldn't be away from us ta all," He muttered with a slight scowl.
"I did not know how to help him, it's for the best," Splinter shrugged, lowering his gaze to the door Donatello seemed so fascinated with. Donny clenched his fists in anger, fighting to keep calm.
"Neither do we, but we would have found a way without sending him away," Donny snapped.
He turned on his heel and strode purposefully away in the direction of his lab. Splinter sighed and shook his head, starting to feel the teeth of guilt gnawing at his insides.
Leonardo sighed tiredly and leaned his head back against the cool metal wall of the ship's cargo hold. Not exactly first class, but it would have to do. Besides what did he expect for a free ride? He closed his eyes and pulled the blanket around him tighter.
If only he hadn't quarrelled with Raphael. Michelangelo and Donatello had made him feel so loved and cared for with their gentle words. But Raphael made him feel hated, and unappreciated, a failure. Sure, it was difficult for Raph to express his feelings, but was it really too hard to say I love you, take care and give him a hug?
Leo didn't think so.
He hated leaving his brothers when anything could happen. Sure the Shredder was gone, but that didn't mean Foot activity was down to zero per cent. Besides, Karai was out there somewhere, and he didn't think she was gonna go down without a fight. It wasn't that he thought his brothers couldn't take care of themselves no; it was because he knew what sort of damage Karai was capable of, and if anything happened to them…
He shuddered with the thought. He would never be able to live with himself if that happened to them. Life would have no meaning, no value anymore. It just wouldn't be worth living. He lived for his brothers, and if they were gone, he went too.
He jumped half a mile when he felt his shell cell vibrate against his stomach where it was tucked away in his belt. Sighing, he hoped it was just one of his brothers wishing him goodnight, and not a cry for help. He pulled a face when he saw the caller ID. Raphael. Taking a reassuring breath, he flipped the phone open and held it to his ear.
"Hi," He muttered nervously.
"Hey," Raph's voice was emotionless, but thankfully not cold.
"What's…what's up?" Leo mentally cursed the break in his voice due too the tightness of his throat.
"I'm…I'm sorry bro, I shouldn't have said that…shit," Raph sounded as choked up as he felt. Leo let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, feeling it shudder in his chest as he fought off the tears.
"It's ok Raph, I…I understand," He smiled, pulling the blanket tighter as a bout of homesickness grumbled within him.
"…I love ya, Leo, I know I don't say it as often as I should…but, I do," It seemed as if Raph was struggling against tears too now, if his tone of voice was anything to go by. It gave Lo strength, knowing his brother was missing him just as much as he was.
"I love you too Raphael," He whispered, closing his eyes, content with just listening to his brother's voice.
"See you soon bro,"
"Yeah, see you soon,"
A.N: Whoo all done lolness. Sorry it's short but I hoped you enjoyed it. Bishop is like, so sick. Fancy having to swap bodies and things every so often? Ew. And will Stockman ever die? Geez that guy majorly sucks. And Leo's all better now yay. Not sure whether I prefer him all dark and broody though, it kinda makes him seem more realistic you know? What do you guys think? Anyway, hope you liked and please read Writing on the Wall if you can guys, I'm sorry if it's not as good but your reviews really cheer me up! Talk to you all soon, love you.