Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Word Count (fic portion): 1267
Notes: Part of LJ's fanfic 100, prompt 10: years. Odd little Leo POV. Explanation for this...whatever it is, down below.
"How is that even possible?"
"Didn't you know? Mikey's only half turtle. The other half's a stupid monkey."
"I heard that!"
They were sparring. Leo listened to the banter between Raph, April and Mikey while he went through his warm up routine. He always started off slowly, and kicked up the speed at every revolution until his final run-through was done at full speed. He was at the half-way mark currently.
"I'll have you know I'm all turtle, dude. One hundred percent grade A turtle beefiness and a side of chips to boot!"
"Get real, lunkhead."
April was perched on the side watching them. Leo cast his eyes to the side, watching silently as Mikey and Raph traded blows. Raphael was fast but heavy, trading speed for power, and putting everything he had into every blow. Mikey was lighter on his feet, quicker, more agile, dancing in and out of range, landing two strikes for every one of Raph's.
Leo tracked their movements, silently making notes on his mental clipboard of what he was seeing. Raph definitely needed to work on his speed. But Mike... Leo shook his head. Mikey had the same problem he'd always had. And as of yet, no one was able to find a solution for it.
"Time!" Splinter's raspy voice cut through the sounds of flying taunts and colliding flesh. The two combatants slid to a halt, turning to their master and taking a stance before him. "Both of you have done well. Raphael..." Splinter gazed at his powerful son. "You must work on your speed and the conservation of your strength. You expend far more energy then is necessary when you try to hit with all your power every time. This tires you much more quickly."
In his head, Leonardo nodded in agreement.
"And as for you, Michaelangelo..." Splinter turned to his youngest son. Even from across the room, Leonardo could see familiar exasperation mixed with the fondness on his sensei's face. "You must treat these exercises more seriously. You have done well." His eyes narrowed. "You can do better."
Mikey shrugged and nodded. Then he let out a yelp as Raph's hand came swinging from the side, clipping him on the back of his head. "Hey!"
That sparked another bout of sparring, this time unsanctioned by Splinter. Leo glanced at their master but the elderly rat rolled his eyes and let them go to it. Then he looked at Leonardo and nodded once, firmly. Inwardly Leo sighed, but inclined his head in response.
Master Splinter had asked Leonardo to try and make Mikey practice harder. Why he was being punished, he had no idea, but there was no way he could ever refuse his Master's request. The problem was, he had no idea how to go about accomplishing the task set before him.
Master Splinter was right. Mikey was capable of so much more, of doing so much better. Raph may think he caught Mikey unaware with that smack, but Leo had seen the slight tensing of Mikey's muscles; the quick dart of blue eyes to the side that told Leo Mikey had let Raph hit him. Of course, this was nothing new – Leonardo had been watching Mikey let Raph get away with those kinds of hits for years.
Leo brought a hand up to rub between his eyes, pressing hard. He didn't know what to do to get Mikey to train harder. Frankly, he wasn't sure he wanted to.
Was he jealous? Leo thought about that for a minute, casually stepping back as the Raph/Mikey ball of flailing fists rolled by, a swearing, shrieking tumbleweed circling the dojo floor. He had always been the leader, the first to master any technique, the first to advance through the ranks. It was a direct result of his hard work, of his dedication to ninjitsu and to his life as the leader of their family. He could not fail.
But Mikey learned just as quickly. Picked up the basics on the first try and then played around, picking away at the scab that formed on top of Raph's temper, or torturing Donnie by touching everything he could get his pizza-stained fingers on. If he applied even a fraction of the effort to ninjitsu that he did to goofing off, he'd be such a formidable force that even Leo would be hard-pressed to defeat him.
Maybe it was jealousy. To think that Master Splinter wanted him to train Mikey to be even better than Leonardo. Leonardo had always envisioned himself to one day be the jounin of the family – to lead his clan when his father stepped down, to be the teacher instead of the student. If Mikey ever unlocked his full potential, it would mean possibly giving up his future goal.
Or would it? Mikey didn't crave leadership; far from it, he ran away from any sort of responsibility. Though technically they could all be considered the same age, it was a kind of unspoken understanding that Leo was the oldest (though Raph would be quick to point out it wasn't by much) and Mikey was undeniably the youngest. As such, he had a much more childish nature, one they indulged frequently, and none of them would deny keeping an extra eye out for the baby of the family during battles (a role that Raph would fill without hesitation – though he would be just as quick to deny that as he was to complain about Leo's apparent age advantage).
The green tumbleweed of curses, punches and whimpers rolled by again. Leonardo watched Donatello prod the turtle-ball along with his bo staff, amused at the twin yelps the poking elicited. Mikey suddenly broke free; Leo knew that Raph must have been close to truly losing his temper and was no longer holding back his punches, which explained the neat little twist-and-kip-up Mikey performed to easily escape. It was not a true ninjitsu move so much as it was a combination greco-roman wrestling escape and a WWE kip-up copy; a patented Mikey original move, one of many.
Envy. Not jealousy, Leo thought. He was envious of his brother's ability to come up with such creative maneuvers on-the-spot. Of his care-free nature that allowed him to absorb every little detail and make them into something uniquely his. Where Leonardo trained and believed in the value of repetition and committing to memory, Mikey was decidedly an outside-the-box kind of thinker, which made him unpredictable.
In a shady corner of his mind, far from his conscious brain, he decided it was unfair of his Master to ask him to train Mikey to become even better then he was. To try and teach the wind to sit still when it was meant to dance over the treetops. It was an impossible task, and probably the first time he'd ever felt even a hint of resentment over being ordered to do something. Especially when it meant sacrificing his own personal training time. But this wasn't something he would ever actually say. It would lead to disharmony, and that was something he would never do.
He was secure in his role in the family in that regard. And even if Mikey decided to get serious about his fighting ability, he would still be the baby of the family. He would never try to take Leo's place, and Leo knew that. Mikey had his own spark, his way of doing things.
Leo watched his little brother and silently wished he could be more like him.
It struck me that in the new series, Mikey was given some serious, hard-core skills. He's canon-labeled the 'natural athlete', he's the gymnast, the most agile, and as far as I'm concerned, he'd be on par with Leo if he ever smartened up. I started keeping track of his successes in the show – little things, like how he lasted the longest against Baxter's turtle-bot (and adapted twin pipes to use as tonfa clubs) or when he managed to swipe the cell keys from the Triceraton guards even while being watched (and throwing up to boot) while both Donnie and Leo forgot.
..yeah. Anyway, that's my attempt at explaining this fic. Don't ask. :)