Title-- Things As They Are

Disclaimer-- If I owned TMNT, it wouldn't rock as much as it does.

Note-- Pointless, I admit, but I don't see enough interaction between the two. ...Which isn't too much of a surprise. Well, I hope this is enjoyed.

O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O

I'm stallin'.

From his little corner of Mikey's comic books, Leo looks up and smiles at me. But he's always smiling. And it never means nothin'. Well, it does, but not much. Just means he's fine---for the most part---'n' functioning. So he can't be too bad off... But his stomach's growlin' anyway and mine's already achin'.

I'm an idiot for not puttin' the pieces together earlier---we just binged when hunger hit us. All that mattered then was that everyone was dead 'n' we were owed to feel better, owed it to them to not wallow around in mourning and live best we could. Or, more like I just live to make sure Leo does; without me, he'd prolly just go on his merry day without eating. Then again, sometimes he'd have to remind me. There's been more 'n one occasion that I'd be spaced out, watching the static on the TV, and suddenly he'd be tuggin' on my hand, sayin' "I'm hungry" or pointin' to his stomach to get the message through to me and then I'd realize I haven't been eating, either. What'd really catch my attention is him not smilin'. Then I know somethin's ain't right.

Huh. Wouldn't sound much like Leo to me, either, if I heard about it a couple weeks before everything important to me went to shit. Nowadays, though, it's common knowledge that he's messed up in the head. Tch. Like jacking up his body ain't enough, they just had to screw with his mind, too. Or maybe jacking up his body contributed to it---I dunno. I just fucking hate the Foot a hundred times over how much I hated 'em before.

"I'm hungry."

Leo's looking at me expectantly, and I say nothin' and do nothin' cuz I can't. Cuz there's no food. We ran out yesterday. Getting no response, Leo just looks back down at the comic book he's been flippin' through and turns the page. His foot nudges his pair o' swords lightly, but he otherwise doesn't say nothin' more. He's still smilin', at least.

Yeah, so most people'd wonder what kind of shmuck would leave pointy objects near a crazy person, right? But one look at Leo and they'd stop worryin' so much. See, it's hard pickin' up a whole spectrum o' shit when one hand's fingerless and the other arm's gone. Courtesy of the damn Foot clan.

And me? I'm just chicken shit.

That's why I'm standin' in front o' the main entrance of the lair, now. Stallin'.

Haven't stepped a foot outside the lair since Raph died. Haven't even gone near the front door.

Now, I know I gotta. We need food. Leo needs food. An' what'd Raph say right before he went berserko an' got 'imself slaughtered? Take care of Leo. Like it's just gotta be that easy! Bet that's why he bailed. Shit, they weren't just his friends that died, the selfish putz. Asshole's part o' the reason why we're goin' hungry now--- I know how much the freakin' glutton ate, can't put all the blame on Mike.

It doesn't help that this is pretty much a bachelor pad and that in itself is the reason why it didn't have much food to start with.

And April sure as hell ain't gonna just pop in, an'...an' 'drop off some things' while yappin' about them eating too much. Nope. She was the first to leave. First to die. But we found her body, her sword, and knew she at least gave it a hell of a try. Didn't even get a chance to know what the fuck before next thing y'know, Splinter's down for the count, and then Don 'n' Mike...

God, I miss 'em.

Now, we just gotta live for 'em. If we can help it, me 'n' Leo just gotta stay alive.

But we need to eat to live. And we got no food to eat. So we gotta get some. And I'm the one who closer fits the job description of 'go-fer'. So what'm I waitin' for, right? I gotta hurry up 'n' provide like a man should. It ain't like me, doin' all this think-before-acting crap...

That's what I'd be thinkin' if I didn't have another life dependin' on me.

And it ain't like I'm the one trained in all that ninjatsu-stuff. Not built to keep silent enough to avoid confrontations, not fast enough to outrun a fight, not smart enough to be able to tell if I was bein' tailed or not. If the others fell to the Foot, then what kind of fuck-all chance does a joe like me got? I get into a tight spot, ambushed and unable to escape from those Foot bastards and I'm dead. And, what'll Leo do, then? What'll I say to Raph if there's an afterlife where we can meet up---It's been a while, sorry I left your brother to starve, heh heh heh?

Hell no.

"Casey?"

This whole situation fucking sucks. No, it's just fucked. Just like me. No matter how you look at it. Fucked if I do, severely fucked if I don't.

"I'm hungry."

Leo's looking at me again. He's smiling still, but he's got his remaining arm coverin' his stomach and he's kind of wincing.

I think...I'd rather be fucked than severely fucked. At least then, I can tell Raph and the others I tried.

"I'm gettin' food. Be back later."

I lock the door behind me.

And as I make my way to the surface, I try not to think about me dyin', or Leo crying for food as he curls into himself and starves to death.

----------

Hours later, most o' the eggs are broken, there's blood on the bags, and I'm a gallon short on milk than what I remember nabbin'. I limp inside, lockin' up the door, 'n' I wonder about what Leo's gonna say since I got quite a lot more cuts 'n' bruises than when I left.

But as I turn to face 'im, Leo just looks up and smiles at me.

For the first time, I actually return it.