Midnight Meeting

Author's Notes: Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to watch more of the turtles and now I'm into Season 4. And is Leo ever carrying an emotional baggage and he won't let it out. Set between Season 4: "Cousin Sid" and "People's Choice".

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As the four brother turtles and their Sensei continued to heal from their near fatal wounds, no thanks to Shredder and Karai, they had their friends to help them out. Once getting back to Earth, thanks to the Utroms, they quickly were able to find April and Casey. The two quickly took the five mutants to the old farmhouse so they could heal without any interruptions. Of course they had gotten a run in with Casey's cousin, Sid but that soon was resolved.

It was another silent night as Leonardo sat on the porch. He had no idea the time but was sure it was nearing midnight. He was at a loss. He fought with Karai many times but this time was the final straw, she had finally revealed her true colors and where her loyalties lied. He once called her honorable but now she was just another ninja deceit. She had no honor and she said she fought for honor. And for her betrayal of honor, Leonardo had the unforgettable proof. She stabbed him and his shell was damaged. He would never be the same again.

As he sat on the porch, he could hear his youngest brother mouthing off again saying things to annoy Raphael. As the two brothers began to argue, he could hear Master Splinter yell at the two to quiet down. Once the rat yelled, nothing else was heard from his brothers. Not even the turtle genius brother had no words to say.

All came quiet again until he heard the front door open. He knew it wasn't any of his brothers so it was either Casey or April. Master Splinter wasn't normally fast, unless it was during a fight.

Once feeling soft fingers touch his head, he didn't not need to guess anymore on who was behind him. Casey didn't have a soft touch.

"Is this seat taken?" she asked quietly.

He slightly tilted his head to where she was pointing. She took his silence as the spot beside him was vacant. She sat down and softly placed her hand on his.

He looked down seeing how her skin clashed with his green skin. With her touch he suddenly felt safe and through the feeling, he sensed tears trying to surface. He tightly closed his eyes trying to force back the tears. He was the leader and he couldn't be weak.

"Leo, you don't always have to keep the strong front up because you are the leader."

"I have to," he finally said. Having her this close, he could smell her perfume. He assumed she brought the fragrance with her so she wouldn't have to smell the sweat off everyone else. He didn't blame her, the others were in such need of a bath, but they haven't been able to since the casts were put on. But now they were off, and they were waiting until daylight before venturing to the nearby lake to bath. "I have to stay strong."

April moved away to kneel in front of him. She grabbed both of his hands. The movement force him to look at her.

"You don't need to stay strong when you are alone. And just because I'm out here doesn't mean you still need to keep the strong front."

"You don't understand."

"Why because I'm not a Mutant?"

Leonardo blinked. "No."

"I am your friend and I want to help. I am not Raph who will go and try and start an argument just because tension is in the air. Donnie and I may have a lot in common but I don't go and hide in amongst work just avoid situations. And of course I am nothing like Mikey. I don't go around reciting quotes from movies and comic books and just plain ignoring tight spots."

"No," he agreed. "You are a human woman who opened her arms to us and it wasn't because we can fight. You have gone out of your way to protect us as best as you can."

"You better believe it," she agreed. "Tears are not always a sign of weakness. It sometimes can give strength."

"April, I have lived a life where having to hide was the only strength there is."

April stood, taking a few steps away. "Leo, I don't pretend to understand everything that happened on that ship but what I do know is that you were not only hurt physically but emotionally as well. We all can see that. And since coming here, you are very quiet and though you are hurt, you are still keeping the ever watchful eye."

"I thought I could trust her. I thought she was honorable but I was wrong." He clenched his fists tightly. "I should have listened to Raph in the first place. He kept telling me that she was no good."

April didn't have the chance to ask if he was talking about Shredder's adopted daughter. He quickly stood up and ran towards the woods. A single tear fell as she watched his retreating back.

-

Stopping at the tree line, he took a look back, seeing that he wasn't followed. Even with his injuries, he knew he was faster than April. He also knew his friend was right. She was only trying to be a friendly ear. Realizing his mistake, he turned away and began to walk further into the woods. He wasn't going to stray too far but he didn't want to go back.

He stopped abruptly as something didn't feel right. He felt like he was being watched and he didn't have his swords. He might be able to hold his swords but his shell was still healing. His arms were now free of its confines of the bandages.

"Show yourself!" he snapped. "I know you're out here."

"I mean you no harm, turtle."

Leo noted that the voice was female. "Who are you? And how do know about this place?"

"Who I am…lets leave that a mystery for now. As for being here, I followed you here. I know the arts of Ninjitsu. My father taught me, but he thinks I'm dead now, which I'm not."

"That would explain how you are here without us knowing." Leo couldn't figure where the voice was coming from. It almost sounded like it was coming from above him, but he couldn't be sure as the voice kept changing direction, as if the woman was moving. He backed himself to a tree; protecting his damaged shell as well as preventing the woman from attacking him from behind.

"Turtle, as I said, I mean you no harm. As for the reason why I keep moving, I don't want you to over exert yourself with your injuries."

"Then stop moving and show yourself!" he hissed.

"You have much anger. You will not like what you see," she said. "But if you insist."

Leo's eyes widened as the woman dropped down in front of him. He couldn't see her face, until she pulled her flashlight up, revealing her face. He gasped at her face. She looked identical to Karai. But her face was softer looking and she wore a dark blue bodysuit. Her hair was the exact length of Karai's but she did not wear a bandanna in her hair.

"Karai," he breathed.

"No. I am not. I am her twin sister. A sister who she thinks is dead. My real name is Akira but since my legit death, I now go by Alex. I use that name to protect myself from my sister and 'our' father, Oroku Saki. And I prefer to be called by my American name.

"I know all about the Utroms and that is why I am dead to her. I did not support father's search. He always told me that the Utroms were the enemy. But he is one of them; I began to speculate his words. When I did learn the truth, after meeting an Utrom, I was met with an untimely death. Or that is what they think. When I was still an Oroku daughter, I began creating my own empire. An empire that works on the side of good.

"Members of my Empire infiltrated Saki's organization and became a member of the foot clan and learnt I was becoming a thorn. They made plans to arrange my fake death. Father knew nothing of my Empire nor of their plotting. As far as I know he still doesn't know."

"How can I trust you?" he seethed. "You could be Karai, trying to get on my good side again."

Alex produced a sword and held it out in her hands, giving Leonardo the opportunity to take it. "If you do not believe me, then use my sword and kill me. Kill me like Karai tried to kill you."

Leo took the sword from the woman's hands. He watched in awe as she knelt down and bowed her head.

"Why not attack me?"

"I will not attack a wounded opponent," Alex answered as she looked up to see him hesitating, while staring at her. She watched as his hand went slack and the sword slipped out, falling to the ground, beside her.

"You do not sound like Karai. You're voice is too soft."

Alex picked up her sword and sheathed it before realizing the turtle was kneeling before her.

"My name is Leonardo, but my brothers and friends often call me Leo."

"So that is your full name. I've heard your name mentioned several times but I was sure it meant that you had a full name. You are in pain."

"It's nothing." Leo turned away.

Alex's fingers reached out and touched the side of his face. The soft touch forced him to look back at her. "Leonardo, I don't mean your physically injuries, I'm talking about your wounded pride. I have been following you for quite sometime and I know you are a proud Ninja. You will take the blow for any one of your brothers. But as your friend said, showing your emotions can be a sign of strength.

"So it's not normal to see a ninja cry but some ninja's do have feelings too and they, once in awhile, take time out and let those emotions run free. It makes them a better warrior in the end, as their emotions are no longer clouding their judgement.

"Why don't you try walking in the streets everyday, wearing a wig to cover your true heritage and being able to stand right in front of your sibling, who doesn't recognize you, well at the same time wanting to get revenge on your father for having you killed and needing to run a company. Plus keeping my ninja training up. I'm telling you, it takes emotional drains on me. Not to mention the sex life is hardly an existence."

At the word of sex, Leo slightly turned and blushed. He suddenly felt very uncomfortable being around a stranger who looked like his archenemy.

Alex saw his blush. "Oops, sorry. I forgot you are only a teenager and many human customs are very alien to you."

"Umm… it's not that," he started. "It's just that…I don't often hear it. I mean I hear it everyday on TV and movies…but I've never heard it…spoken so openly. Especially from a stranger."

"Again, sorry. But as was I trying to say, when my body begins to loose focus, I go somewhere, somewhere where my security guards can not find me and I just let myself go."

"Let yourself go?"

"I cry. Even if I'm not ready too, I will force myself to cry. I will either think about my real parents and how they were killed when my sister and I were small children or I will grab an onion and strongly breath in its scent. I cry to the point of exhaustion. When I feel my body is drained of all major emotional baggage, I make my way into public view and allow myself to be found. By that time, my guards are looking for me."

"Milady."

At the sound of the voice, Leo snapped up. He jumped to his feet, ready to fight if needed.

Alex stood as well and placed a hand on his arm. "Leonardo, it's all right. It's just my head guard looking for me. I had decided to take a break from them and they found me."

"Milady, there you are," a man said as he came closer.

"Do not step any closer," Alex said.

"Milady?" he stopped. "Is that a turtle?"

"Johnson. Please head back and do not tell anyone that you found me."

"That's a turtle who fought Saki."

Leo groaned. He knew not many people in the city knew of him and his brothers but there were enough who did know. For the ones who did, some of them knew more than he liked.

"Johnson," she warned. "Don't make me have to repeat myself. He is not the enemy."

"Y--yes ma'am. I figured you were trying to elude us again. I know you elude us often just so that you could relieve tension and you don't want anyone to know."

"Johnson," Alex's voice softened. "You know me quite well. Well tonight I'm not here for myself. Please head back to camp."

"I'll tell the others you secretly ran off to have a midnight interlude."

Alex chuckled at the implication of the meaning. Out of the corner of her eye she could see that Leo knew what he meant as well. "I'm sure that will shut them up for awhile. You know your men won't spread gossip of me when I have my midnight encounters."

"Yes…well…umm…Good night, Milady." Johnson quickly turned and left the area.

When he was out of earshot, Alex turned back to Leo. "I'm really sorry about that. I noticed you seemed a little embarrassed again."

"You've actually have done that?" he asked, fighting his flush.

"No. It's always something Johnson and I have always covered up when I wanted alone time."

I…ummm…you and Johnson…"

"Long time ago," she answered. She knew that he was asking if she was ever intimate with the guard. "When I first started my Empire. But later on he became my protector and we called it quits."

"Oh."

Alex sat on the ground, pulling her legs up. She grabbed his hand, and with gentle force, she pulled his hand until he sat on the ground. "What did my sister do? I heard you speak with your friend about her and I knew who you meant. I'm sure she did to."

"I don't want to talk about it," Leo growled.

"Haven't you heard anything I said? You cannot let yourself keep these dark thoughts in your head. They must be let out so you can focus and let your body heal."

"I can't."

"She hurt you pretty badly didn't she? I'm sure she is the one who caused your injuries. The injury in your shell looks quite extensive. I mean a chunk of it has been sliced out."

Leo bent his head as tears started to leak out of his eyes. He couldn't show his weakness, but the mention of her and the fact that the woman sitting beside him was her twin, was forcing the unshed tears to the surface. He clenched his fists, trying to force the tears down but as he tried, the more came.

Alex watched as a tear finally slipped out and landed on the ground. She reached out a gentle hand and softly touched his fist. "It's ok to be angry. It's ok to be sad. No one will know."

"She betrayed me!" he blurted, flinching his hands away. "She told me she had honor! She has no honor! I should have listened to Raph! Why didn't I listen?" He punched the ground with every sentence as he raised his voice. With every punch, it became harder as the tears began to flow from his clenched, closed eyes.

"My shell is permanently damaged because of her! I failed my brothers as their brother and leader because of her!"

"How did you fail?" Alex asked.

"The ship blew up," he whispered, "and there was no way to prevent us from escaping. If it weren't for the Utroms, we wouldn't be here. They somehow teleported us off just as the explosion happened. I watched as the explosion happened and then I woke bandaged up and we were alive. My family counted on me, and I failed them."

"She hurt you badly?"

"Yes," he agreed.

"You wanted to trust her, to switch her to the other side?"

"Yes." Tears started to fall. She began to break the damn that he was holding up.

"And because of her, you had to blow up the ship and sacrifice yourself?"

Leo lowered his head as far as he could. He did not want to show her his shame. He couldn't fight the tears any longer. A complete stranger was able to break through his defences. His pride was hurt, as well as his guard for leadership. He was a broken, battered, turtle.

He felt her body shift, but didn't notice what she did until he felt part of her weight on the back of his shell. Her arms were cautiously wrapped around his arms, avoiding the top part of his shell. With her wrapped around him, he remembered when Master Splinter used to that when he was small and he would hurt himself. It always made him feel safe.

After several minutes of allowing him time to silently cry, uncontrollably. She reached up and untied his bandanna, letting it fall to the ground. She then began to rub where the bandanna normally sat. With her rubbing his head, he felt his muscles go lax.

"Why are doing this?" he asked quietly. "You don't know me."

"I know more than you think," she answered. "Like I already told you. I have followed you and have been for quite sometime. How do you think you broke out of the nightmare you were in when you helped your friend Angel with her missing brother?"

"What?" He opened his eyes. "How did you know about that? I thought I did?"

"No. I showed up and pulled you out it. I only could whisper it, as I couldn't get through the pod. When I realized you were awake, I quickly left. I was also at the Battle Nexus. When your brother and the rabbit were tending to the Domino, I used herbal medication that has been in the family for generations to help fight off the poison. I was going to join the tournament but once seeing you guys there, I pulled out. I didn't want you to think I was Karai."

"You've been helping us all along? Why?"

"You are beings who shouldn't have to fight to live. My father shouldn't have targeted you guys in the first place but he did and that was before you became allies to the Utroms. I have been watching since the beginning. I was one of the Foot Ninja who attacked you when you had your first encounter with the Purple Dragons."

"You're kidding me?"

"No. In fact, I was one of them that attacked you personally. It was shortly before then when my death was faked. But I needed to know what my father was doing so I infiltrated him by posing as a Foot Ninja. But with you entering the picture, I made that short lived and began trying my best to protect you."

Leo moved away from Alex and faced her. "I don't believe this. You know everything about us."

"Yes. Why do you think I'm not afraid of you or how I know that you live on your pride? You love your brothers and will do anything to protect them, including taking a deathblow for them even if you don't always get along with them. In a way I envy you. You have a family to care for you when you're in trouble. I'm sure your Sensei…your father, was there for you when you fell and scraped your knee or when you would wake from a bad dream and wanted comfort. I didn't.

"My father died when I was only two and mother she died of a mysterious illness when I was five. Oruku Saki took Karai and I in shortly there after. He taught us how to fight. He made sure we were fed, clothed, educated. But that was it. He never once gave us compassion. If I woke to a bad dream he would basically say 'suck it up princess', 'dreams are for the weak'. By the time I was fifteen, the damage was done, I began to think like him. But I seen some of the other kids and I saw how their parents acted. I soon realized Oroku Saki was actually an alien and I no longer wanted anything to do with him. But I stayed. Only because I wanted a good education."

"You envy us? When we were kids, we had to scrounge around for food. Sometimes we went days without food. Living in the sewers hasn't always been easy."

"Try living without a parent. How would you feel if you lost your father?"

Leo lowered his head. "Lost. Master Splinter is a very good father."

"I have no family. Unless you want to count my guards."

Leo raised his head to look at her. He noticed her flashlight was beginning to dim. "Why do you have guards? I mean what type of business do you have?"

"I have guards to help protect me from Shedder and Karai. Have you ever heard of Ships Lantern?"

"Yes. It's a company that deals with building of ships and has a science tech."

"I'm the CEO of the company. Mind you that's just the cover up of the real company. I own my own school of Martial Arts plus my people are actually private investigators."

"Really? Donnie would love to see the Science Tech of the company."

"Perhaps one day, he could see it. But talking about my company and who I really am is not why I'm here. I'm here to help you to release your anger so you can lead your brothers."

Leo narrowed his eyes. "I can't lead my brothers. I failed them."

Alex suddenly looked angered. She reached over, grabbing the sides of his face, forcing him to stare at her. "If you keep saying that then my sister has won. She defeated the mighty Leonardo. I'm sure she's probably laughing in her prison saying she made the turtle weep over failure."

Leo growled at the woman for her rude comment. "You don't know anything about me!"

"Really? Then stop acting like a child who just lost their favorite toy and start acting like the Ninja Turtle we both know you can be. Don't let my sister be your undoing. There's a saying if you fall off your horse, you must get right back in the saddle and keep on riding. You must get over this guilt and move on."

He tried to turn away but she wouldn't let him. "Easier said than done."

"Easier than you think. It's not your fault. You wanted to trust her, wanted to love her."

Leo's eyes widened. "What?"

"She was the first woman you met who knew what you knew when it comes to Ninjitsu and you had hoped that she would see you more than turtle who can fight."

"Impossible," he breath, anger momentarily forgotten. He couldn't have loved the evil woman. He wasn't capable of love. Who in their right mind would love him? He wasn't human nor was he an alien. He was a being created through science.

"Impossible to find love? You are so wrong. You have loved ones all around you, including the woman who is helping in taking care of you guys."

"April is like a sister to us. Nothing more."

"Deny all you want, but I speak the truth." Alex removed her hands from his face. "Why would you carry this guilt? You are alive are you not? Be thankful you are alive and able to see your friends and family. Be happy that you still have the chance to grow." She figured the turtle was denying his feelings for an evil woman and now he was beating himself up because of it. Of course he was angry because she betrayed her honor.

Leo turned away, facing his shell to her. He wanted to ignore her.

Alex scowled as he turned away. She noticed that he was about to stand up. With quick movements, she had him pinned to the ground. She laid gently on his shell, avoiding his scar, but he couldn't move.

"Get off me!" he snapped.

"Not until you calm down," she answered calmly. "You think no one can love you because you are not human nor alien. But you show all signs of emotions; anger, sadness, happiness. You are more human than you give yourself credit for. What if I was to tell you that someone does love you?"

Leo stopped his struggling. "What?" he whispered.

Alex moved a bit, allowing him to move onto his shell but she quickly laid back on top him, preventing him from getting up. She didn't give him a chance to say thing more as her lips descended on his. His eyes widened at the contact. What was she doing? Her lips were soft and gentle.

She moved away. "Someone does love you and loves you the way you want to be loved. Remember that."

She quickly was off of him and jumped into the tree and was gone. He could hear her footsteps jumping from branch to branch, heading away from him. When she was long gone, he touched his lips, still could feel the tingling sensation of her lips. He shock his head, thinking it wasn't real, that he was seeing things but seeing his bandanna on the ground and her dimming flashlight, he knew it was no dream.

Before long he stood up, pulling his bandanna back on. He grabbed her flashlight, turning it off before setting off back to the farmhouse, where he had to do a lot of thinking and speak with Master Splinter. When he reached the porch he saw his Sensei sitting there. He could see new fur starting to grow.

"My son, is everything all right? April told me that you ran off. She's concerned for you."

"I know Master. I feel ashamed for snapping at her. Is she still up?"

"No, she retired a short time ago."

"Sensei, is it possible for a human to love one of us?"

Splinter raised an eyebrow. "I'm not sure I understand."

Leo walked up the steps and sat beside the rat. "When I went to cool off, someone was following me. She has been following us for quite sometime. She told me her real name is Akira but she goes by Alex. She is another daughter of Shredder, Karai's twin sister. But she's different. Shredder tried to kill her and he thinks she is dead because she doesn't approve of his ways. Should I trust her?"

"What did she talk to you about?"

"To stop bottling my hurt. She knows me like a book. She says she knows me better than I know myself. But that isn't what really has me confused. She told me that someone does love me and loves me the way a man loves a woman. She…she kissed me."

"Kissed you?" Splinter blurted. "I didn't think it was possible for a human to kiss you turtles. I'm sure no enemy would ever want to be that close to any of you. Perhaps she can be trusted. But, stay alert my son she could be dangerous."

"Master, do you think I failed you when the ship blew up and we had no way off until the Utroms arrived."

"Where do you get an idea like that?" Splinter turned to the eldest turtle. "My son, you did what you could. It's not your fault that we were all beaten and battered. I'm just thankful that we are all alive. I'm grateful that my sons are alive. I don't look to the failures. What do you see when you look at the sky?"

Leo looked into the night sky. "I see stars and perhaps one of those stars has Shredder marooned."

"I see the night sky, sitting amongst friends. Even in my condition I feel like celebrating as we are home, safe and sound. Wounds may need healing but I can still look up and know that I will be able to see another sunrise. To be able to wake up and here my sons argue about what to make for breakfast or fight over the remote."

"Alex says I'm beating myself up. She says that I should be thankful that we are alive and we're with our friends."

"Perhaps you should take her advice. Why don't we go inside and sleep? I'm sure if she is only trying to help, we will see her again."

Unknown to either Mutant they were not alone. Up on the top of the roof, crouched a shadowed figure. She kept herself quite hidden from the two. But close enough to hear what they both said. She watched as the two stood from the porch and disappeared inside the building. The woman silently vowed that she would see them again. She heard footsteps in the attic of the house and with quick stealth action, she jumped to the ground, disappearing into the night.

-

Author's Notes: As I continued to watch Season 4, I began to dislike Leo's attitude. I decided to write a one-shot of his problem being resolved.