No, really! It's me! I have a story!
Yes, I've been gone for awhile. My sincerest apologies. There's been some… issues going on in my life and I haven't been able to get online or even write. But updates are coming soon!
Until then, I hope you enjoy this little one-shot!
Disclaimer: I don't own the TMNT. They don't just ask if you want gift wrap on that one.
It is the way of the ninja to stick to the shadows; to blend with them. In essence, to anyone else they simply dissolve away from the world and become the darkness itself. Maybe they never existed at all.
So it is only fitting that they're lives are carried out at night, when one side of the world is little more than a giant shadow. The electricity that sees its residents through the rest of their tasks can't quell its power. It and the moon are little more than nightlights.
The air is cool in his lungs and he expels it. His breath freezes before his face and swirls to the right like a serpent, disappearing into a sea of black. Leo barely notices it, his eyes focused intently on nothing at all. Yet he remains aware of everything; the wrinkles of the cement that presses into his heel and toes almost painfully now as he crouches, or the feel of the steel of the ninjaken he lets lie against his thighs. As he thinks, his hands unconsciously tighten around the hilts until his knuckles turn ashen.
Like a python in its first kill, his mind wraps around the hidden concepts of night for the first time. For a moment, it seems suffocating. If it weren't for the way his swords reflected the moon, making them gleam like white fire, he doubted he'd be able to stand it.
Most of his memories that stray from the sewers involve the hours of darkness. But it isn't just the light of day that helps him distinguish the two. For now that he looks back upon it, he can see the night is a cruel master. Death may be an integral part of life, but it seems that while daylight accepts it quietly, night demands it. It's a contract between it and the humans that fear it. There's not a signature that hasn't been written in blood.
How many times have they been out on a simple training run just to hear a telltale scream? They've interrupted shocking displays of violence and hostile demonstrations of molestation. They can't always save everybody; Leo has seen the casualties. Everything from kids his age with blood pouring from their guts to men with slashed throats.
Tonight, it was two women. Their three friends had escaped, leaving them to die. They'd bring the cops here soon and lament over the deaths; describe the killer. But for now, he was the only one who knew. The blonde was just barely visible. He could see her light hair down below in the dark; blood colored parts of it like an unnatural hair dye. The porcelain skin of her legs was visible where her pants should have covered them. Her brunette friend was harder to make out; Leo wondered if she'd been killed simply because she was in the way.
The sad thing was, so many more people died around the world everyday. How many was it? Hundreds? Thousands? He couldn't remember anymore. It seemed that once Donny had told him. The point was- the night claimed a good percentage of them without thinking or caring. And it was the same with everyone else. None of these people driving to their concerts and their bars would know about the father of three who finally lost his battle to cancer in London. Nor the young woman in Africa of AIDS. Even while they walked by this very alley, they wouldn't know about those girls, wouldn't care. They'd cluck their tongues about it later, when they heard about it on the news. Talk about the sadness of it, then switch the channel to watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. Their family and friends would continue to mourn for a time, then go back to their lives. And the night would kill again.
For some reason he can't understand, all too often it wants the sweet taste of the innocent.
He doesn't realize he's crying until his vision clouds. He blinks to clear it and watches a tear's descent. The droplet spills down his cheek and over the point of his chin to splatter against the flat of the blade he holds in his left hand. There's more, he know, but they don't fall.
Never before has he felt such hatred for an intangible thing. It's taken Leo eight seconds to realize this. Slowly, he raises his arms back to place the ninjaken into their sheathes. They're useless, after all- all that training, and he can't stop any of this from happening. When he releases the hilts, the ninja finds he can't immediately bend his fingers; they'd held so tightly to the handles. He forces them and they feel like jelly.
Slowly, he stands and his ankles ache dully; his knees pop. For another second, he stands there on the roof's edge, knowing he has to do this. Just a little jump and a few steps- he shouldn't be this afraid. But he's never been so terrified in his life; there's no sound anymore but his heartbeat echoing hard in his head.
Leo tenses his legs and prepares for the jump. He breathes out as he drops three stories; breathes in as he lands on his feet, bending at the knees just slightly. One foot forward; the strangled sound in the back of his throat is unrecognizable to him- he's never heard it come from his own body before. For a moment, he doesn't think he can do it in the end; he can't take another step. That's before he notices he's already moved another three.
Just a glance at the blond girl; he doesn't want to see. Two more and the brunette becomes more recognizable. Her shirt's torn, revealing a lacy, pink bra that falls past her breasts. The killer touched her after all.
But it's the quiet shadow behind her that he's come to see. He's known who it was before he ever crouched down on that rooftop. Leo slumps quietly to his knees and touches the skin. It's still warm, but cooling quickly.
That choke from the back of his throat becomes a single dry sob.
He'd told him not to go so far ahead. Normally, Leo wouldn't even have let him- he's the fastest. But Mikey's always been in between… naturally athletic, but not the strongest or quickest. He deserved a win. He'd gloat about it later, he's sure, eventually frustrating Raph enough that a fight would break out.
That's what's supposed to happen. Not this. One moment, Leo had been moving at an easy pace in a rooftop foot race with his brother. He'd been thinking about what a nice night it was; so clear and cool, but not uncomfortable. Then he'd looked back ahead and couldn't see Mikey. Coming to a halt, he'd felt the panic creep into his chest and stick to its walls. How long it lasted, he wasn't sure. It had felt like hours, but couldn't have been more than a few minutes. He'd called his name, even thought he'd heard his brother answer. Just when he was beginning to calm down then… he heard the gunshot.
He'd heard the scream.
Those few hundred feet had never seemed so far away. But even before he made it to the rooftop's edge, it'd become painfully obvious that he'd failed his baby brother in the worse possible way.
His hand traces over his sibling's frame. When he feels that stickiness, he can't pull his hand back. The shot was to the heart, but maybe if he keeps his hand over it, the bleeding will stop and the wound won't be there anymore.
But Leo's known the world long enough to understand by now that this is just a delusion. Mikey isn't coming back.
Now the tears fall. He grabs his kind little brother by the shoulders and pulls him closer to his chest. He wraps his arms around his shell and rocks back and forth. "It's okay…" He doesn't know why he's talking. It still doesn't seem like he's dead. "It's okay- big brother's here." He places a hand over his head. "Did I ever tell you I'm proud of you? I'm so proud of you."
Many people will remember those girls, more than the small minority that will remember the turtle in his arms. The police will come for their bodies, they'll inform relatives, and look for the killer.
No one will come for Mikey's body. They won't even know he'd been there. There will be no one to notify the family of this loss; Leo will have to carry his brother back home and explain why he had to die alone. While the police searches for an apparent killer of two, no one will think that maybe he'd killed someone else that night.
Bringing one hand down to his sibling's legs, Leo cradles Mikey in his arms and rises once again. Not too far from here, there's an open entrance to the sewers, a large drainage pipe that will let him keep his brother here beside him. Going through a manhole cover would mean he'd have to drop him. Then he couldn't pretend that Mikey's just sleeping- that he'll wake up after this.
More importantly, he just doesn't want to let him go.
And while the police search for the killer, his family will mourn. But Leo will be watching. Sooner or later, they'll figure out who it is. And when they do, Leo will be on him before they can come close.
After all, ninjas are part of the darkness, just a lowly servant of the night. He must serve it- he can still hate it in the quiet of his heart.
The night demands blood. He's not going to deny it.
Kinda short, but it just hit me. I don't know why, but I had to write it.
So, did anybody like it?