Title: Ain't No Love - Chapter 1
Universe: TMNT movie/2003 cartoon... they blend together for me. XD
Rating: R ... for language ... it probably won't ever reach NC-17 (sorry, I'm too skittish about writing that stuff)
Pairing: RAPH/LEO (rival-ship of LOVE!)
Disclaimer: I don't own TMNT ... if I did, Leo would bleed more ... and Raph would angst more... ... did I say that out loud? heh ehehe.

Ain't No Love - 1

This is not a love story ... this ain't no love that's guiding me...


After the last candle flared to life in the darkness, he effortlessly centered himself on the practice mat and slipped into lotus. One deep, calming breath and he prepared himself for a couple hours of blissful, SILENT meditation.

Before allowing himself to slip away, however, he took a quick mental check of his environment. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. The gentle snoring of Don with his face nearly plastered to the keyboard of his computer. There was a soft little rattling as his breath skittered over the keys.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Happy mumblings and a contented purring as Mikey subconsciously showered Klunk with attention even in his sleep. The sound of a sandpaper lick across green skin, and the baby brother giggled between snores.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. His father's even, peaceful breathing from his room. Sleeping soundly and radiating contentment. Always happiest with all of his sons surrounding him, and remembrances of his dear Master close at hand.

Deep breath in. Hold. Deep breath out. No sign of Raphael's presence at all. Out on the town again with Casey. Most likely driving too quickly and fighting too recklessly. This brother's actions were becoming more dangerous with each passing temper tantrum he threw.

Leonardo tried to empty his mind to reach the tranquil state he was longing for, but his red-masked sibling's troublesome spirit seemed to latch on to his thoughts like he was physically burrowing his sais into his flesh. He just didn't know what to do about Raph any more. Something was going to burst forth soon, and Leo's greatest fear was that temper accidentally hurting Mikey, or Don.

Not that Raphael would ever intentionally hurt them, but this boiling anger was raging stronger and brighter than ever before. Even Master Splinter seemed at a loss. Leo had caught their sensei many times, recently, watching the moody hothead with a look of resigned expectancy. Like he could foretell Raph's rage spiking and was preparing himself to stop his student. His son.

Leo refused to let it come to that. Ever. His brothers were HIS responsibility. As much as it pained him to think it, their father would not be around forever, and it would ultimately fall to Leonardo to be the head of this ragtag family of mutants. He had to find a way to get Raph under control. Without Master Splinter's help. Without Don or Mikey. Raph's hatred tended to focus around Leo's very existence sometimes. Which was fine. For the best, really. Better that than anyone else.

Don was too gentle, too perfect a soul, to shoulder the burden of taking Raph down a peg. The smartest of Leo's little brothers truly detested violence, and it showed each time his calming voice would sooth Raphael's anger to little bubbles of moodiness.

Mikey looked up to the hothead too much. Which probably did Raph a world of good. He was gentler with the baby brother than most gave him credit for. Of course, between all the skull smackings, it was hard to tell, but Leo could see it in his eyes. Raph really adored Mikey. Could sometimes act like his entire world revolved around the family prankster.

For the oldest brother, however, he only had burning spikes of anger and bitterness, with vicious drops of sarcasm burning through everything like acid. Every time he muttered the phrase "fearless leader", Leonardo could hear the silent "for now" tacked on to the end.

He knew Raph loved him, though. They were all brothers and they all had that strong family bond. Raph was always the first to Leo's side when he needed him. He knew Raphael didn't love him any LESS than Mike or Don … just … differently. It seemed like it had always been that way. He wasn't even sure when it started exactly. When their father made it clear that Leo was to be the leader? Or was it before?

Leo sighed heavily and slumped out of the lotus position. He was never going to achieve full transcendent state with all these doubts hopping around his brain. A movement. He flung himself backwards off the mat, flipping twice in the air and landing gracefully, merely a second before the sai imbedded itself where his leg had been.

Oh joy. Not a good night on the town, then. Sure enough, there was swipe at his legs which he easily avoided, and a punch towards his chest that he merely side-stepped. Clasping his hands behind his shell in a relaxed position, he kept his voice a whisper.

"Bad night, Raphie?"

There was a muted growl in the darkness, then a flurry of punches and kicks that Leo dodged easily, not even unclasping his hands. He sprung into the air and rebounded off one of the columns to flip and land several yards away. His katanas were put away in his room, but he didn't feel the need to retrieve them.

Raphael was on the attack again, punch after punch after punch, but Leo was in a calmer state of mind and had no problems deflecting them. He never once tried to strike back. His little brother just needed to blow off some steam, and that's what he was here for, wasn't it?

Raph finally growled in his gravelly tone. Not loud enough to wake anyone, however.

"Dammit, keep still so I can hit you."

Leo chuckled softly and back flipped away a couple times to get some space.

"Lover's quarrel with Casey, Raphie?"

Another growl and Raph was in his face. The unbridled rage was there in his eyes and Leo dropped his light tone. Definitely a bad night, and he needed to start taking his brother seriously, or one of them was going to get hurt.

"Stop calling me Raphie, you prudey little bitch."

Okay. Really bad night and really pissed off Raph. Leo sighed and finally threw himself full force into the fight. Amazingly, they managed to keep it fairly quiet, and he could still hear their father's soft snores. Distracted for a second and Raph got a painful jab into his gut.

Leo flipped away, but forgot about the candles, and the displacement of air his landing created knocked one over. The flame licked at the mat like it could hardly wait to burn it.


He dropped to a knee and quickly snuffed the small flame. Honor should have dictated his 'sparring' partner wait for him, but suddenly there was an elbow pummeling into his back and all the air in his lungs wheezed swiftly out of his body.

Leo dropped fully the ground, keeping presence of mind to roll onto his shell and attempt to bring a kick to his brother's face, but Raph was already there. A hard 'whump' and his younger, but BIGGER, brother was straddling his chest and pinning his arms to his sides in the process.

Raph laughed darkly, then darted one hand down to grab Leo's straining neck. Quick motion and he'd slammed his older brother's head back against the hard mat. Lights danced in Leo's vision for a moment. When he focused again, his gaze sought his brother's. Raphael was still gripping his neck, breathing deeply and chuckling under his breath.

"See, Leo? I can beat you. I can always beat you."

Leonardo strained to sit up and knock his sibling off of him, but Raph was steadfast and solid.


A painful squeeze and his words were cut off. Leo felt his eyes widen almost comically. Raphael's gaze was dark and intense and he couldn't find any of his brother in it at all. Then, his assailant starting mumbling in hushed tones, never once softening his hold on Leo's throat.

"You think you're so great. You think you're so perfect. Well, look at you now, huh, Leo? Huh, fearless leader? You're alone, you're helpless, and you can't do a thing."

As he spoke his grip tightened and hardened and suddenly Leo became painfully aware that he couldn't suck in a breath at all. He struggled beneath the weight of his brother, but the hand just squeezed tighter and tighter, and the bright little pinpricks of light were back, dancing like fairies in his sight.

He started kicking his legs with all his might. He knew Raph had a temper, but he'd never imagined it would go this far. Finally, finally a couple hard knee thrusts to the back of his shell and Raphael seemed to snap into himself.

He blinked his eyes a couple times behind the red mask, then released Leo's throat like it was burning his hand. Leo sucked in a ragged gasp of air, but kept it quiet. He looked into Raph's eyes again and fought to regain his normal breathing pattern.

For his part, Raphael was staring at his hand like it was an alien creature. He'd shift his gaze down to Leo, and then back at his hand. Honestly, he looked a little shell-shocked. Leo didn't even make an attempt to move, he just observed. Finally, Raphael stood, still staring at his hand, and slowly made his way off the mat. He stopped once to glance back at Leo, a look of utter confusion on his face, then quickly disappeared into the darkness.

Leo waited until he heard him go into his room. Waited until he could hear Mikey's warm mumbles and Don's soft snoring and his father's deep breaths. Waited until he was absolutely sure the lair was at peace, before he rolled over onto is stomach, flattened his face against the mat … and lost it.



Thanks for reading!