A/N: This is a one shot that was floating around my head distracting me (and yes, it actually is a oneshot this time) so I thought I'd get it out of my way and post it.

Empty Rooms

Raphael slipped quietly into Leonardo's room when the rest of the family were busy taking care of day to day chores that always seemed to be there, lurking, ready to snare the unwary turtle. As he closed the door carefully behind him, he wondered idly what Leo would do if he caught his red banded brother in his room. Get angry? 'No, that's what I'd do,' thought Raph dismissively, 'Leo'd just be shocked, an then be angry for a second before he decided that that ain't 'honorable' or some such crud. An then he'd get all disappointed that I'd do somthin like that. Then, 'corse, he'd have ta give me a lecture.' Raphael almost headed out the door just thinking about it, but he had come here for a reason.

The room itself wasn't anything special; in fact, it was all but identical to the other turtle's bedrooms. The second floor rooms had little variation, but the four brothers had filled what personal space they had with their own belongings and interests, making the rooms truly theirs. Leonardo had noticeably fewer positions on display than his brothers. He had a neatly made mattress, sans bed frame, pushed against the wall. Raph smirked as he examined the hospital corners.

Raph headed over to the bookshelf that stood against the wall to the right of the bed. There weren't too many books, though honestly, books were hard to find in any sort of good condition so it wasn't too surprising that he had so few. There was the expected copy of Sun-Tzu The Art of War. Master Splinter had all the turtles read it at one point or another. Raph ended up just skimming and he wasn't sure Mikey did even that much. He just didn't figure that all that crap about the ground and movements and junk was really all that helpful. He was strong and his sies were sharp, and if he ran into trouble he couldn't handle, then he'd have to just make sure that he was stronger and sharper the next time. At least, that's what he always figured.

As Raph idly flipped through the pages he noticed that the edges were worn down to almost nothing and some of the paragraphs that had been obscured by damp and damage had been carefully rewritten. He shook his head ruefully but still replaced the volume with the utmost care.

Beside it on the shelf there stood two books on different weaponry, a short history of warfare, a book on ancient Japan, and a chipped tea cup. On the other side there lay the manga that Mikey had bought Leo that one Christmas at one of his comic book conventions. Raph was pretty sure the thing was called the Fighting Tortoises or something, though his Japanese wasn't all that great. It was probably Mikey's idea of a joke. Raphael was slightly surprised to find that the spine was broken; Leo must have actually read it at some point. Probably out of some twisted sense of duty- or to brush up on his Japanese. It seemed that Leo never did anything without a reason.

Raph let out a short laugh when he pulled out the last book on the shelf. It was a book of on the works of the great Renaissance painters. Raph was sure that it wasn't that book, he doubted that Splinter would have given that one up. But still, that Leonardo would have a copy of something like this… well, he wasn't sure actually, it just seemed like a very Leo thing to do. There were even a few pages marked, in different colors no less. Red, orange, purple, and… blue. Raph, blinked hard and returned the book with more force than he meant to.

He turned away from the pitifully empty set of shelves and made his way over to the small desk. Originally it looked like it had been an ordinary writing desk, but the legs had been sawed off, either by necessity or by choice, so now the writer had to sit on the floor. There was a fresh sheet of paper neatly centered on the surface and a hand span of writing utensils set out neatly and evenly on the left. A candle sat strategically in the corner complementing the others scattered around the room. No doubt, if they were all lit then they would light up the room nicely. Not that Raphael was considering the placement of the room, no, he was busy rifling through the top drawer.

There wasn't much of interest; some thicker paper, a small cash of fresh candles, and a calligraphy set. The second drawer was deeper, filled with old essays from when Sensei put them through classes, a few letters from Usagi- Raph didn't even want to think about how they exchanged them. Was there an interdimensional postal service floating around somewhere? There was also what looked like personal papers. Nothing so cliché as a diary, more like notes 'on fightin,' snorted Raphael, 'big surprise.' He was starting to think that was all that Leo ever thought about. Sure, he had always said that Leo was a teacher's pet and had ninjisue on the brain, but even he had never suspected that it was so true.

"Wait, what the shell is this?" he muttered, grabbing a spiral that looked like it was jammed under a large, thin hard back book beneath the other papers. In a room that was almost painfully neat, this stood out. He opened the notebook and was confronted with a sketch. Raph was no expert on such things, but even he could tell that it really wasn't that good. It was probably supposed to be a turtle, one of them, but for the life of him he couldn't figure out who. Raphael supposed that Leo had grabbed one of the old books that Mikey was always doodling in when the older turtle needed some paper, and then just never got around to giving it back. But then why was it still shoved up under all that other junk? Raph still hadn't found what he was looking for so he continued to flip through the book, surprised when he found not notes on later pages but more drawings, getting increasingly better as time passed. Mikey was never this good.

It wasn't like any of them were Rembrandt or anything but it was still impressive. As good as anything in Mikey's comic books. There were a few pictures of sights around the city, and a few more of things that they had seen on their travels. There was even one of April's store, but mostly it was of their home, their family. At first he could only tell who it was if they happened to be drawn with their weapons, after a while though he began to notice the way Michelangelo sprawled across the page, he realized that he definitely had more muscle than the others, and Donatello started to have that distracted look in his eyes. Leo even got Master Splinter's snout not to look ridiculous Raph had been forced to smother a laugh when he had seen his brother's first attempt. Towards the end of the book Leo had started to use colors and had also done a series of portraits, true and finished pictures. There was April and Casey trading barbs over a full sink, Leatherhead drinking tea while he and the Professor discussed something of significance, Usagi with his sword ready, Gen eating something; there was even a dark and painful portrayal of the Shredder. It was obvious in some that Leonardo had been working from memory. Raph knew that April had no plates like that, and he had broken enough to notice these things, Leatherhead's size was definitely off, and sometimes things looked unaccountably flat. But when he drew his family, everything was perfect, from memory or not. Raphael frowned as he realized that just about the only thing Leonardo hadn't drawn was a picture of himself. For some reason it disturbed the younger turtle. Perhaps because in this, the only thing that really and truly expressed his elder brother's existence as a living breathing feeling person, Leonardo made no appearance.

When Raph adjusted the book a few colored pencils rolled onto the floor. It seemed like Leo had been abruptly interrupted and had shoved the notebook, pencils and all, into the desk where Raphael had found it. The red-banded turtle frowned at the thought of Leo hiding something as obviously important as this from the rest of the family. Sure, he was no Mr. Sensitivity, or nothing, heck, he wasn't even as perceptive as Donny, but he wasn't used to his brother not trusting him- and this was way different than not trusting him to stay in the sewers. He though about the book he held and the hours it must have taken, the struggle. 'Leo not do somthin perfect? Yea, I suppose he woulda cared about that,' he thought bitterly, knowing that he too would have cared. He would have gleefully seized the opportunity to taunt his 'perfect' older brother.

Feeling the need to steel himself, he opened the book to the page that was still marked by a red lead pencil. On the page his family sat, frozen in time. Master Splinter was seated in the middle of the couch, looking serene inspite of the fact that Michelangelo's sprawl was coming dangerously close to encroaching upon his space. Raph leaned on the back of the couch over their Sensei's other shoulder, his mouth open and eyes locked on the youngest turtle's uncaring face. Donny sat by Mikey's feet, leaning up against the couch. He was obviously trying his best to pay attention to the exchange between his brothers, but clearly distracted by something beyond the viewer, or perhaps in his own mind. And there, for the first time, was Leonardo. He was walking in from the right, clearly going to sit down on Master Splinter's free side, but not quite there. He looked quietly amused at the whole thing.

The picture wasn't done, some color was put in the foreground, but the background was still indistinct. It seemed as though Leo had been coloring from the left, so most of the colors and even some of the shading were present in his family while he remained more or less a charcoal ghost. 'Fitting,' grunted Raphael silently.

He sat for a while staring at the penciled in expression on his older brother's face and found himself wishing that they had taken more pictures. As a ninja family of mutated animals hiding from the world, making those sorts of memories had never been real high on their list. Funny, he'd never thought that he would live to regret that fact.

Eventually he knew that he would have to leave this room. He didn't think that anyone would find him in here. Leo certainly wouldn't, but Mikey got a little nervous anymore when someone disappeared and their Father certainly didn't need the extra stress. He supposed that he should at least show Donny what he had turned up on his crusade into the past, then the both of them could decide what to do with it. Really, they were all doing much better now, the Lair was starting to feel like home again, inspite of everything. But for this moment he just wanted to sit here and pretend to be worried about Leo catching him going through his desk.

After a while he gathered the pencils that had fallen to the floor and put them back into the drawer. He carefully closed both drawers and straightened the papers still waiting on the desk for words that would never come. As he opened the door to leave, he paused to glance back at the room behind him. It was neat and clean, but far too empty.

A/N: sigh Maybe it's not as good as some of my longer stories, but I hope that you enjoyed it anyway! (I really can't seem to wire happy things, can I?) Please leave a review if you have the time and/or inclination- always much appreciated!