A/N - So, my attempt at examining my least favorite turtle. I like all the guys, honestly, but Leo irks me at times. However, when Leo is like this portrayal, I love him. Anyway, I hope you Leo fans enjoy.
DISCLAIMER - TMNT belongs to Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Mirage Studios and 4Kids Entertainment
Leonardo closed his eyes and allowed the chilled breeze to waft over him. There was something relaxing to him in the icy weather, the numb feeling it gave to all his extremities. It was only when he could not feel his limbs that he truly knew they were there. He wiggled his two big toes, nope, not quite at that level yet, but nearing there as that mild sting of biting ice bit deep into his skin. He knew his limits and what was unhealthy for his body, but as of yet, he still had a little more time he could spend outside.
Car horns echoed up from the streets, bouncing and ricocheting off the brickwork of the buildings and through and up the alleys to assault him in such a way it was hard to tell which direction it came from. Only his finely tuned sense of spatial orientation allowed him to pinpoint the direction of the street it came from.
He inhaled deeply, letting the acrid city smoke fill his lungs. He had long grown accustomed to the grimy taste of the air of New York City. Such dirt and grime in the air was easily filtered out, leaving the more unusual odors left, like the strong tar smell that sealed in the roof he was on, the dry odor of hot dust coming from an exhaust port from this building's furnace, even the smell of aluminum and steel graced his nostrils and relaxed him in a familiarly disgusting way.
A cold fleck brushed his beak and he licked away the slightly salty and sour snowflake that had landed there. They all were like that, but it was fine, again, something he was used to with living in the city. It was just nice these days to taste the snow at all. During his early childhood, trips to the surface were never allowed and snow was something completely alien, just a concept he only vaguely understood from the few videos they saw on the TV.
A soft crunch of snow made his eyes snap open.
He was surrounded.
He cursed himself silently for his inattention, as his hand went instinctively to the pommel of his katana. There were a dozen of them. Twelve foot ninja spaced themselves at staggered intervals all around him, various weapons in their own hands. Those with katana and tetsubo positioned close to him, and about three with kusari-gama stepped back a ways to cover their forward men. A good layout for them, it gave them a decent advantage. Not enough of one, though, Leo mused as a small smirk played with the edges of his mouth.
But then he noticed them. Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello, they had them all. His brothers were all bound and gagged, held back by a ninja each. They must have caught them and were now hoping for the full set. But there was no way he was going to give them that satisfaction. These ninja were not even going home with a partial set.
Leo whipped out a katana with his right hand and let loose a quick barrage of shuriken at the ninja holding his brothers. The three ninja around his brothers fell back, bleeding from their star wounds as Leo leapt into action slicing, kicking and punching every ninja that stepped up.
His attacks were precise and quick, like any master of ninjutsu would be. His body flowed with every attack and swipe, glancing from left to right, using every sense he was blessed with to detect the angle and turn of each enemies' attack.
They fell quickly, none of them a match for his deadly dancing blades. Six lay sprawled on the ground, unconscious and occasionally bleeding from shallow wounds. Another joined the ranks and then another. Things were getting easier.
Glancing back at his brothers, his eyes widened as he noticed it. One ninja had gotten behind one of his bound brothers hoping to deliver a fatal blow. They knew already that this battle was already lost, but this one must have been hoping to at least get rid of one of what they called 'The Accursed Freaks.' Leo would never give him that satisfaction. A quick flip over and a flick of the wrist landed his katana buried deep within the ninja's heart. A quick kill, hopefully painless for the enemy. He did not want to kill the men, for they were all really just brainwashed by the Shredder and Karai, but there was no way he would let harm come to his family.
Leo glanced down at the bound form of Raphael. He was unconscious, unfortunately, although his face was scrunched in a mark of defiance, as usual. Leo smirked to himself before he returned his attention to the remaining ninja.
Another one made a similar attempt on Donatello, but Leo was ready for this one and a swift kick to the head sent the man flying into a wall, out cold. Down to three, one for each weapon. He dispatched of the kusarigama first, not liking the range the man had. Sensing the charge of the man, he whipped his katana over his head to smack the man with the side of his blade.
One left. Leo turned, scanning the rooftop for a tell tale sign of where the man might be. A shadow behind his last brother caught his eye. His moves were fast but he was far away. There would be no blocking this attack with his blades. Diving forward, he caught the glancing blow of the falling tetsubo on his shoulder, knocking it safely away from coming anywhere near Michelangelo. Then, letting his body react and move with the momentum, he did a quick pivot on the ground and sent a kick straight for the man's face.
It was over. He had beaten them all and his brothers were safe. His arms trembled slightly, but he did not feel it. He was numb. The winter had finally taken over and bit deep into his body. He felt alive after all that action and a soft content smile curled the corners of his beak. He tilted his head back and relaxed in the majesty as his worn muscles bound up and stiffened from the exertion. Feeling nothing, he licked away at the falling snowflakes.
Yes, that would do.
A chilling smack on the back of his head jogged him out of his revelry. The icy snow from the snowball dripped down his neck and into his shell. His arms and legs may have lost feeling from the chilled air, but this was a whole other story. Leo dropped his katana and clawed frantically, straining to get the burning iciness off his back.
As he caught his breath, finally rid of the snow, a deep gravelly laugh made him look up. Raphael stood on the porch of the farm house, a light dusting of snow still melting on his right hand that gripped his stomach as it held on to the side beam. "Bull's-Eye!" Raph announced to the forests that surrounded the North Hampton ranch.
Leonardo grumbled a bit and started twisting his back, stretching his protesting muscles before he walked over and up the steps to the porch. "Nice Raph, really."
"Hey, I gotta put my perfect aim ta good use Leo," Raph insisted. "And while you were standin' there in your own little world, your mask started paintin' a bull's-eye on yer head. And when I see a bull's-eye, bro, I just gotta answer the call."
Leo rolled his eyes. "You know, if you spent as much time as you did with that punching bag and throwing your sai around as you did on meditating, you'd have a lot more control over yourself Raph."
Raph waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it b'fore Leo. What were you doin' over there anyway?" Raph pointed to the area where Leo had been standing when Raph assaulted him with the snowball. It was just below a large oak tree with many overhanging branches. From those branches, several ropes were dangled and remnants of planks of wood hung from the still slightly swaying ropes. They totaled a dozen such obstacles.
"Training, what else," Leo replied. "I consider it a simulation of a battle."
"How the hell's that a simulation?"
"The swinging boards, after they've been hit, fall back like the attacks from a swung club. I need to control my strikes so they stop and don't bounce back, creating another strike. And with that many of them too, I need to focus and be ready to do it to every single board, or dodge them and let them come back. Either way, it's effective."
"You put waaay too much thought inta this bro," Raph said. "Give me a good punchin' bag any day. Hit 'em once hard enough so they don' get up right away an' that's all ya need."
Leonard sighed and shook his head. "You didn't hear a word I said a minute ago, did you?"
Raphael shrugged. "Not my fault if your voice drones so much that I zone out."
Leo opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was a surprised, "Oof!" as Michelangelo barreled into him, knocking him down to the floor of the porch.
"MORNING LEO!!" he bellowed.
Leo could not help but smile slightly, "Good Morning Mikey. Did you just get up?"
"Nah, I've been up for an hour or so," Mike replied. His jovial smile suddenly diminished and was replaced with confused concern. "You're freezing." He stood up immediately and helped Leo to his feet again. "How long have you been outside?"
Leo shrugged. "Since eight. What time is it now?"
"What were you doing outside for four hours?" Mike asked.
"And buildin' snowmen apparently," Raph interrupted as he pointed to three white mounds over near where Leo was training. Each one was carved with a long central pillar that must have been legs, a big oval shaped torso, a stump on each side near the shoulder for arms and a final ball at the top for a head. Each one had a colored scarf wrapped around the necks, one purple, one red and one orange. They were all position just inside the training circle Leo had set up. "Don' those things get in yer way?"
"That's the point Raph, obviously," Leo explained. "With those there, I also have to worry about shielding the snowmen from harm. It makes things more challenging."
"Uh huh, well, it looks like ya need more work then," Raph informed.
"What do you mean?" Leo looked out and inspected the three snowmen. They were all perfectly neat and trim. Well, as trim as they were when Leo made them, which, in reality, is not very trim. But still, there was no visible damage to any of them. His exercise had gone perfectly. "They all seem fine to me."
"The snowmen are fine dude, but youse ain't." Raph pointed to Leo's shoulder where a large bruise was forming, and even a small puncture wound where the corner of the board hit was beading over with blood. "You're always tellin' me ta be careful wit' mah weights. You gotta be careful with all these crazy courses ya set up too."
Leo chuckled. "Alright Raph, I'll be more careful." He was not going to tell them that his injury meant nothing to him and that the whole point of the exercise was to protect the snowmen, his brothers, from harm. His training was perfect, in his mind, even if he was hurt. HIS body did not count in the scoring system.
Mike had come up between Leo and Raph to look at the snowmen too. "Hey, those are pretty good," he said, beaming. "But, uh…why are their noses near their butts?"
Leo had placed three carrots on the snowmen, each one protruding from the very bottom of the oval body and back of the figures. Raph's face was one of complete and utter bewilderment…with a little bit of disgust thrown in. "What the HELL, Leo? What did ya think they were doin'? Takin' a shit? Or is that s'pposed ta be somethin' else down near their asses?"
Leo flushed for a second. "Guys, it's just their tails," he explained.
"Wait, wait, wait, wait. Yer makin' snow-Turtles now!?" Raph exclaimed. "Damn Leo, what are ya, five?"
"It means something, Raph," Leo told him defensive of his brotherly creations.
Leo looked at the snowmen and their 'Tails.' "It means…" Leo started, but a thought crossed his mind and he just smirked. "No, you know what, you're right Raph."
Raph blinked in surprise. "I am?"
Leo nodded. "Yep, you're absolutely right. Giving them tails and calling them turtles is juvenile. Let me fix that." With that, Leo whipped out a shuriken and with barely a glance to the field, had flung the star out and taken off the carrot of the snowman wearing the red scarf.
Mikey whistled. "Nice shot."
"Thanks," Leo beamed. "Although I don't plan on making a career out of long-range castration."
"Dude! Nasty Leo!" Mike exclaimed.
Raph was laughing his guttural laugh again. "Aw, that's too bad Leo. It looks like you'd be perfect fer the job too. I mean look, yer a natural at it. Hey!" he pointed to the snowman that had just lost his little appendage. "Maybe that guy should be dressed up in a white gown fer the other ones, right?"
Leo struggled to contain his laughter, and instead, he settled with quietly saying as his voice cracked. "Yeah, and a veil and bouquet in his hands too."
Raph went into an uproar that Mike and Leo joined him in, although Leo's reasons for laughing were something he kept to himself. Maybe he would share it with Mike and Don later, but for now, it was his own nice little secret.
Eventually, they all composed themselves again, giving each other courtesy slaps on the shoulders. However, the sound of Raph's grumbling stomach interrupted their quiet moment. "I'm starvin'. Hey Mike, you done makin' those sandwiches fer the hike?" Raph asked.
Mike shook his head. "Donnie told me he'd take over. He's finishing things up."
A look of horror spread across Raph's face. "No! You did NOT jus' say you left Donnie with the food?"
Mike shrugged. "Hey, he has to learn sometime, and seriously, how can he screw up a few sandwiches?"
"I don't know, but he does!" Raph bellowed as he took off into the house. Mike and Leo exchanged confused glances before they heard Raph's enraged voice again. "Step AWAY from the hot sauce, Donnie!"
Donatello's voice floated out, calm and poised as usual. "I thought you liked your food hot, Raph?" It was faint, but Leo barely caught the hint of deviousness in Don's tone.
"My Nacho's yes. My PB&J, NO!!"
"Really Raph, you should be more specific about how you like your food," Don announced. "I mean one day you want things hot, another day, you want them mild. It's hard to keep up." That devious hint again. Leo sometimes wondered if he was the only one aware of that side of their purple-banded brother. Raph and Mike were content with thinking Don was just the quiet engineer who kept to himself, but Leo knew Don better than that from some of the many late night talks they had. He wondered what Mike and Raph would say if they heard some of the things that came out of Don's mouth, or his for that matter.
Mikey's smirk expanded and he took off into the house after Raph, saying, "I have GOT to see this."
Leo was left out in the cold, smiling contently. He reached up to his shoulder and touched the spot of blood. He still did not feel the wound; his body was still too numb. Looking down at his red finger tips, a sense of serenity filled his being. These moments, where his family could be themselves, without any worries plaguing them. So that they could all have relief from the storms that always brewed for them. This was what he trained so hard for. This was why he practiced under the worst case scenarios. This was truly what he wanted to protect.
Looking back up, Leo cleaned his finger off in some dry snow that had collected on the railing before following into the warmth of the war zone he loved so much.
A/N - Yes, Leo is dedicated, loves his family and his ninjutsu, and will do anything to protect his family. However, I DO feel that Leo has more of a humorous and playful side to him than most people give him credit for. I mean seriously, he's fifteen.