-1What do you know - I live! Sorry its been so crazy all, this summer semester has thoroughly whooped my butt. None the less, you can thank all the reviews and alerts and a pesky sister who have encouraged me to write again. I'm so glad for it all. I have truly missed it. Thank you so much
The next few days passed smoothly, or rather as smoothly as things could given the situation. Leo did a lot of sleeping though he got an update when ever he woke up about who had been there as he slept. He was given a card by Casey with a beautiful woman on it that played Cherry Pie by Warrant. It had been the cause of laugher when ever it was opened.
Good ol' Casey.
Raph had become a constant figure in the room unless he was forced out by Splinter, who to his credit had only succeeded in pushing him out of the room twice in the last 6 days since Leo had awoken.
Mikey had helped Don clean up his lab and the two of them had even shared a rather smooth conversation. Some how they had managed to link Comics to Cosmic, regardless on if the other had heard the difference. It was still a pleasant moment.
Leo had upgraded to soup and tea from water and…mush.
It was a grand improvement.
Currently, Leo was sipping his soup as Raph walked into the otherwise empty room. Held in his right hand was the already passed around journal, still latched.
Leo swallowed the soup harder then needed….here it comes.
Raph didn't yell, he didn't scream, no sais were thrown his way (always a good thing). Instead Raph simply laid the book down on the bed beside Leo and met his eyes.
There was a thunder storm of emotions behind the darkened eyes of his younger brother and for a long moment Leo was scared to venture another bite, let alone speak.
Raph walked back to the door and shut it softly, with a turn of a knob and a soft -click- the lock fell into place.
His brother was being far to calm and Leo seriously debated on calling for their Sensi.
Raph moved to Leo's desk and spun the chair so the back of it was facing Leo. Sitting down on the backward seat he now faced Leo.
Leo took a deep breath, utterly unsure.
Of all the things he expected from the hothead in front of him what he heard next nearly caused him to drop the spoon still cradled between his fingers.
"Why?" Was all Raph said.
Clink. The spoon fell from his fingers to the bowl in his lap.
"Leo. Why?" Raph repeated, his tone level.
"You read it?" Leo ventured speaking for the first time.
Raph gave a curt nod in affirmation.
"Then you know." Leo offered hoping that would appease his brother.
Raph's eyes narrowed.
Apparently that did not appease his brother.
"No. I know what you wrote in that journal, what I want to know is why you think doing what you do would solve everything." Raph looked briefly toward the door as someone tested the door knob.
"I locked it, I'll unlock it when your welcome." Raph's tone raised a fraction.
Wonder of wonders, it worked. The shadow on the other side of the door moved away. Either to leave or to tell Master Splinter was unknown, but for the time he left.
The brief distraction had given Leo time to think of a response and when his brothers eyes fell on him he began.
"Every time I turned around I did something. I kept pushing for us to stay together, train together…and it was just pushing people away. No matter what I tried things go worse, so if I just stopped trying…"
His voice faded off into thought. The fact his brother continued to wait made it clear he wanted to hear it all.
"Only, I couldn't. I couldn't just stop trying. It goes against everything that is natural to me. So I figured the only way I could keep out of your business was to stop, period. "
Raph started to speak but Leo continued his eyes focused on the soup in his lap.
"It just got so hard, trying to keep the peace. So tense all the time. Stepping between fights and taking the blame from Splinter, or you, or them. I-"
He looked up to his brother for the first time.
"Raph, I am so…tired."
Raph's dark eyes met his evenly despite the fact his mask was tinged crimson under his eyes thanks to the water that had gathered at the brim.
"So rest Leo. Take a vacation. None of us would keep you from it. But don't you see you were the only thing keep this family together. If you didn't make sure Don ate, do you think he would have ever come out of the lab? Or if you didn't program the remote for the extra cartoons do you think Mikey would ever be out from his room? If you didn't …pull me out of fights do you think I'd still be alive today?"
He paused briefly to let Leo absorb his words.
"And that isn't fair. Its not right for you to be havin' all that on your shoulders. We shoulda helped, that's what we've been talkin' about. We are sorry Leo…Hell, I'm sorry Leo."
Leo was left to stare in stunned silence, who was this and what had happened to the hot head. Then he realized…he had happened. His attempt.
Heh, maybe it had worked after all.
This wasn't how he had planned on it going but the outcome looked as though it may be the same.
Raph stood and placed a hand on Leo's forearm before going and unlocking the bedroom door. The door opened almost at once and Leo saw his family on the other side. Mikey looking sheepish for eavesdropping, Donnie was already making up excuses for why he was there and Splinter just met his eyes and smiled.
As they gathered around his bed he understood that smile, and the reason behind it.
After everything was said and done Leonardo Splinterson was their leader and even now, he held their family together.
Thanks to all those who stayed with me as I wrote this fic. I really hope those who asked for a life version of the story were happy with the ending. Thank you so much - RandomPenName