Title: Ain't No Love - Chapter 3
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.

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


He sat at the small table in the kitchen and allowed his gaze to unfocus into the depths of his mug. The tea steamed and rippled, still too hot to drink, but he had a feeling he wouldn't be partaking in it anyway. His throat burned as if on fire, and he'd been nearly sick when he'd seen the massive bruise spanning the width of his neck in the mirror that morning.

Luckily, the bruise wasn't quite turtle-hand shaped, or he was pretty sure there would be an uproar when the rest of his family rose for the day. He glanced around the still darkened lair, moving to cup the warm mug with his slightly chilled hands.

The events of the night previous were having tumultuous effects on his world outlook currently. He hadn't slept a wink. Only sprawled across the mat until he had himself under control, then risen to wander to the bathroom, finally coming to take his current position.

He'd spent the night going over the fight again and again in his mind. Why would Raphael do such a thing? Did he … did he really hate him that much? Enough to kill him? He didn't think so … and there had been a look of shock to his brother's own eyes that bespoke of his own disbelief at the situation.

Really, he could only blame the fiery temper. He'd known his brother's anger had been vicious lately, had been reflecting on that very fact right before the fight, hadn't he? So, something had just set him off. Not unlike the time with Mikey and the sparring session that had gotten out of hand.

Raphael just couldn't control it. Leonardo returned his gaze to the quickly cooling tea in his hands. So what could he do to help his little brother? There had to be something. Some way to assist Raphael in his struggle to stay level-headed.

The soft, whispering sounds of life began to make their way to him from the individual rooms of his family. He quickly brought his hands to his eyes and tried to rub a little life into them. Undoubtedly, he looked like hell, and would suffer for his sleeplessness when it came time to train.

A soft electric hum and a wash of blue light from his room, and he knew Donny was awake. His listened to his calmest brother tinker around for a few moments, and then followed the soft padding sounds of footsteps towards his back.

Donny yawned as he passed to his left to open the fridge.

"Morning, Leo."

Leo turned toward his brother and allowed a small quirk to his lips. He could make out the impression of a keyboard slightly darkening the olive skin on the side of Don's face.


His eyes widened as he watched Donny freeze and turn toward him. His voice had sounded HORRIBLE. Muted and scratchy and altogether unnatural. His brother's gaze immediately shot to his throat and he nearly dropped the juice he'd only just pulled out of the fridge.

"Leo! What happened!?"

Leonardo grimaced. All the night spent pondering, and he never bothered to think up an excuse. Guess he better stick to the basic, if somewhat understated, truth.

"Sparred with Raph a little last night."

Don's gaze was instantly skeptical.

"Leo … it's your NECK."

He opened his mouth to retort something, but a deeper voice behind him instantly fried away any comment he might have made.

"Yeah, that was my bad. Leo was distracted when he knocked over a candle and I couldn't pull back my kick in time."

Raphael sauntered into the kitchen and shoved Donatello to the side a little to grab the milk from the fridge. Leo couldn't help but track his brother's every moment, but he endeavored not to show any emotion in his face.

Luck was with him however, and Donatello merely accepted the excuse and sighed heavily.

"Honestly, you two. It's a wonder you didn't wake us up."

Leo tried to smile, but it felt unnatural on his lips. Raphael hadn't looked at him once, and he was waiting to see if this brother would even REACT to the bruise on his neck. However, his attention was swayed as Donny continued talking. He was never one to ignore his little brothers.

"Actually, I have a theory on that you know."

Raphael chuckled darkly as he rummaged through the cabinets, getting his morning cereal ready.

"Oh ya, brainiac? And what's that, then?"

Don smiled and sipped at his juice.

"Well, I think … subconsciously … we honestly just tune the two of you out when you fight."

Raph snorted, but it didn't silence his purple-clad sibling.

"No, really … think about it. Any other sound of a fight in our home and we would have come running, right? But I think we've trained ourselves to recognize who the combatants are, and assess the situation as not being dangerous… so we allow ourselves to continue sleeping. Really, it happens so often, why should the rest of us loose sleep over it? It's not like you're going to kill each other."

Leo felt and HEARD his knuckles crack around the mug in his hands. For a second he feared the porcelain would shatter under the pressure, but he managed to relax his hands in time. He glanced up and realized no one had noticed his reaction. Thankfully.

Donny was happily fiddling with something he'd brought from his room, and Raphael was on his second bowl of cereal. Leo glanced down at his cold tea and grimaced. Such a waste. When he raised his gaze, he was shocked to meet Raphael's eyes. There was no anger … or even triumph, in his younger brother's stare.

He just seemed … calm. Leo blinked and Raph gave him a broad smile.

"Dang, Fearless … I got you pretty good, didn't I? That thing's not gonna fade for days."

Leo nearly choked on his own tongue. If there was a certain reaction he was expecting … it certainly wasn't this. Raphael was acting as if nothing untoward had taken place the night before. Like he hadn't tried to KILL him, followed by the pair of them nearly having miniature breakdowns.

He couldn't answer. He couldn't even speak. In a daze, he realized that his two brothers' were discussing the bruise and the best course for treating it. He suddenly felt very detached from his own body. He hadn't reacted incorrectly, had he? Hadn't imagined the events of last night to be worse than they actually were?

Truthfully, he was at a loss.

There was a blur of color and noise that announced the baby brother's arrival in the kitchen. As always, all attention swiveled to the youngest of the four. It was a necessity. If not, things were likely to get broken. Leo took the opportunity to quickly and soundlessly steal away to the dojo. Hopefully there he would find some measure of peace.