I have been warned by several that I am to inform the reader of the general idea of what's going on. Who am I to deny common sense? This is a fill-in for the '07 movie, in which we hang with Leo in his tube/cage thing while he's drugged up.
Many props to the following for being my betas: DisneyDelinquent, Pi90katana, Nekotsuki, Kallasilya and Princess Tyler Briefs. This would have sucked so hard without 'em.
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Leonardo woke up and he was in a cage. The walls pressed in against him, his head swam, and he was in the dark. Everything blurred.
"Do you remember the day your brothers died?"
He let the question roll over him like water over stone. It had been asked before; it would be asked again. The answer had once been clear, but he wasn't entirely sure anymore. He drew in a breath of sticky, salty air: released. Breathed again.
It tasted the same. He determined that he would continue trying until the atmosphere became clean. There was nothing left to convince him that it wouldn't. Grim optimism overriding logic. Someone would have been proud.
"Do you remember?" It asked again. Words that were light, words that stung and then faded, words that crawled out of the darkness to wrap around his throat: harmful, helpful, hopeless, useless, strung out in the air like horrible intestines when they were uttered, hung up like twinkling holiday tinsel. He'd given up on trying to find the source of the voice and so he let it escape, ignored the fact that he was the only one there, the only one who could speak, because he wasn't insane and it really didn't matter anymore.
Swallowed. Inhaled again. He could taste cold sweat and metal. It was a maddening taste, a stale and syrupy presence that he rolled around on his tongue before spitting, trying to remember what real air felt like.
"Please." Begging, hoarse, desperate. It sounded small. "Please, answer?" He could hear the small broken sobs starting like a record on repeat, and he knew he would answer to make them stop. His eyes opened; took in everything, closed again.
Nothing had changed.
"My brothers…" His answer came out in a cracked whisper, a dead leaf beneath an unsuspecting foot. In response came a sharply drawn breath, a sudden silencing of the sounds that he hated so much, and he allowed himself a moment to be relieved. "I don't…I don't think I even…have brothers…"
"No," it whispered, sad and soft and breaking. "Not anymore."
"Not anymore," he repeated tonelessly. "Maybe I never did." The sounds of tears started up again, strangely muffled and pained, and Leonardo wondered what he had done wrong.
"Shouldn't have said that. Should've just stayed quiet." The new voice was familiar, bubbling up from the darkness like blood squeezed out of broken skin. It seemed to ooze out of the back of the speaker's throat, monotonous and warped, sending the sobs fading into oblivion. He could almost feel the distorted waves traveling through the air.
Leonardo opened his eyes, and the sky was crying. Water ran down his skin in little rivulets while the bright neon sign lit the clouds on fire. He looked down at his arms and found he was holding his swords. A droplet slithered down his neck, footsteps slowly pounded in his direction, and he didn't need to look up to know whose they were.
But he looked up regardless; met the piercing gaze his brother presented, looked back down to his arms. He slowly turned the blades over in his hands, searching for an answer. Raphael spoke.
"Should've stayed quiet. Shouldn't have said…" A pause, then: "City's beautiful at night. Why'd ya leave it?"
I didn't have a choice. His mouth opened.
"I'm better than you." No. He wanted to scream, he wanted to drop his blades and cover his mouth; he wanted to take it back, he wanted- what did he want?
Raphael paused in his approach, turned away, stared out over the city from the edge of the roof before turning to his brother once more. He wasn't in his Nightwatcher gear, wasn't wearing his mask or his weapons or his opaque facial expressions. Hurt flashed openly, quickly fading away into nothingness. Amber eyes turned back to the buildings.
"Mikey don't smile anymore."
-He stitched his mouth shut, covered his eyes: you had to show him that everyone lies-
Leo flinched at the words in the air, struggled to drop his weapons and step towards his sibling; discovered that his hands and feet wouldn't obey his commands.
–Can't talk anymore, doesn't have any dreams: just a clown doll that's been torn at the seams-
I swear I didn't want this. His mouth opened.
"I'm better than you." The words ran from his mouth like the water running down his skin, and he closed his eyes against them. He opened them again and thought he might be drowning.
A gunshot rang in the distance: he watched in horror as his brother's body jerked in response, as the blood began to well up and run down his shoulder. Raphael either didn't notice or didn't care. His eyes never moved. Leonardo's legs moved forward stiffly, slowly, and he suddenly felt like maybe he didn't want to move after all.
"Donnie stopped carin'."
-Donnie the genius was strapped to a bomb: you left him alone and then turned the thing on-
The eldest brother shook his head in denial of the accusation. It wasn't true; he would never abandon his brother like that.
–Don't know if he's dead, didn't find any parts: didn't want to come back, so he hardened his heart-
Please…I didn't want this. I didn't know. His mouth opened.
"I'm better than you!" He choked back the urge to sob and the urge to laugh in a single effort. The words kept pouring out of him like liquid, poisonous and destructive and he was advancing on his brother and God, this wasn't what he wanted-
"Sensei watched us fall apart."
-The absence of one, the silence of another: watched them give up and pretend they weren't brothers-
The sound of screeching metal and breaking glass as two cars collided, and Raphael turned fully away from him, arm hanging limply and leg twisted at an odd angle.
Blood dripped from his shoulder, joining millions of crystal drops on the ground and swirling into faded pink strands. He held up his hands, stared at them and then past them into the street below.
–One might be dead, the other there headed: just a matter of time 'til the news that he dreaded-
Leo took another step forward, feeling the tears well up in his eyes as he raised one sword.
Don't do this. This isn't what I want. His mouth opened.
"I'M BETTER THAN YOU!" It burst out of him in a violent explosion and he struck, screamed in his mind as his sword scratched against Raphael's shell, helpless as it stopped just short of impaling his brother. The younger of the two turned, wearing tears to match the rainwater, blood running down from a scrape over his eye.
"City's beautiful at night. Why'd ya leave it? You were gone an' I…was stuck here."
-It was the wasp, and Raph was the spider: nights were spent taking the fight from the fighter-
Leonardo's swords rose again as Raph turned away. He watched a car try to halt in slow motion over the emerald green shoulder, watched the small figure before it crumple and fly. A bruise blossomed across his brother's face. Raphael's eyes were hollow.
"Proud of me, big brother?"
–Defeated and shamed and forgotten about: it devoured him from the inside out-
He tried to look away, tried to keep his mouth shut, he had tried, he was trying-
I don't want this. His mouth opened.
"I'm better than you." Distantly he wished he had screamed it again. The soft, rasping statement that had just left his mouth sounded like he thought it was the truth. A ringing sound as a weapon cut through the air again and the blood was splattered across his face and he could smell it and it felt like- he felt-
Skin pulled as a smile stretched across his face, manic and feral and foreign to his features. There was laughter there, building up behind his teeth and escaping in low giggles, and it horrified him to hear it. Raphael's eyes regarded him, unsurprised as the spirit was drained from them, spinning into oblivion.
His brother fell. Leonardo's limbs complied with his demands and he stumbled forward, dropped to his knees and observed the splayed figure before him. He could feel the tears mixing with the rain, felt himself gripping his own arms as he hunched over; he couldn't stop smiling and the laughter was piling pressure onto his chest and he choked on it, wanted to scream because this was his brother-
No. No…I didn't want this. His mouth opened.
"I'm better than you," he whispered. Raphael looked up at him, impossibly alive, and his eyes were in pain. He spoke and everything became clear.
"We waited, Leo. Why the hell would ya say that?"
He could hear his swords breaking, and very suddenly he found himself staring up into his brother's face. The laughter stopped. His smile fell.
Leonardo opened his eyes and he was in a cage. There was an explosion and a rush of air, and his brother helped him to his feet.
Staring at his ceiling hours later, he thought he could still feel the blood.
Much obliged ^^. Thanks for reading, and props again to the betas.