A/N - *brushes off the dust from his account* Yeah, been awhile since I've written any fanfics, and I'll admit I don't see myself writing too much more in the near future. Sorry about that. I just got this bunny from talking with a friend of mine and I had to write it out. This is a new genre for me, but I think it came out okay. Hopefully you all see it as a little different for its subject matter.
DISCLAIMER - TMNT belongs to Viacom and Nickelodeon Studios.
Instincts. He had come to trust them over the course of his twenty-five years. It was his instincts of every situation that had saved him more times than he could count, and it was the instincts of a ninja that had been engrained into him every since he was a small child. The instincts told him that at almost every juncture, it was best to be invisible, to meld into the shadows, to be silent and deadly until he knew every detail about his surroundings. So while he sat there, and the nearly full moon gleamed through the grimy broken window onto him, it took all of his will power to fight those instincts and not shy away. Because right then, he wanted to be seen.
Leonardo balanced himself precariously above the primary entrance of a long and cobweb decorated warehouse. The central body of the building was spacious and sparsely occupied save for a few tell tale piles of boxes and crates scattered about. The occasional sound of traffic filtered through the roof where the open windows allowed in some degree of fresh air to the stagnant room. Despite the late hour, the city always had a honk or two of a car horn to share with its denizens. The seclusion from the evening noise was one gift he always noted about his sewer home.
A soft brushing of something against cardboard echoed through the silent cavern of the warehouse. Normally, such sounds were to be expected, as rats often found shelter in the many crates and refuse strewn about this abandoned building on the docks of east Manhattan, so Leo didn't initially pay it any mind. But then the tell tale signs of a clearly audible male voice followed, and a delightful whispered, "Shit!" graced his senses. A smile broke across his features and he shifted his attention to the direction he had heard the voice.
At first, he couldn't see anything, which he was happy about. It wouldn't do to make it that easy for him. But as he watched, the shapely shadows eventually shifted from their similar polygons of rectangles to a more amorphous figure that moved. It didn't move much, but each twitch was like a neon sign, lighting up its position and declaring the figure open for business. Making a calculated judge of the angle of the light, Leo quickly deduced the location of the shadow's owner, and dropped down from his position with a faint tap of skin on concrete.
He navigated the short maze to his target with silent ease, although he made no attempt to visibly conceal himself. He knew there were only two people here, and he knew the other couldn't see him. As he rounded the last corner, he slowly removed a katana from its sheathe and waited, listening for the last noise that would alert him of the exact location of his prey.
Several seconds passed quietly, his muscles itching with excitement for the upcoming action.
One more soft shifting of feet was all Leo needed and he sprang out, whipping his sword through the air, catching the rays of the moon and reflecting a terrifying sudden knowledge of death to the eyes of the poor man around the corner.
"I'm not so sure I liked that language you were using there," Leo said in a soft, triumphant manner.
"Can we just both agree that pissing in my pants was sufficient punishment?"
Leo smirked and removed the katana from where he had stopped it, barely an inch from the young man's throat. The second the steel was gone, he collapsed backwards, landing firmly on his butt and clenching at his racing heart. "I still don't know why I agreed to let you do that to me," he complained. "I get enough thrills as it is."
Leo cocked his eye in amusement.
"I meant from the street," the boy said darkly.
"If you say so," Leo dismissed. He sheathed his sword and took a look at his prey. He was younger than Leo, but not by much. A faint shadow of stubble was covering his chin and cheeks, but it was the kind that only actually helped the already fairly charming face. His nose was straight and his eyes were deeply set and a dark amber color. His bland brown hair was hidden under a patched up Yankee's baseball cap, and a small glint of a metal hoop shimmered from under where the hair covered his ears. Only a small scar on the side of his neck marred the otherwise surprisingly good, if a bit rough, face.
Leo squatted down in front of him as the boy took a few more deep breaths the calm himself. "Feeling better, Charlie?" Leo asked.
Charlie nodded and moved himself to a normal sitting position, just before he threw his arms around Leo's shoulders. The smirking turtle fell into the embrace freely and worked his own fingers into the boy's hair. He took in the scent, smiling as the noted lack of urine odor. All he noticed was the typical dirty musk he had grown to love over the past year.
Charlie pulled back enough to get in front of Leo's face before diving into an almost desperate kiss. Leo blinked in surprise, but allowed the intrusion. It wasn't until Charlie started grasping frantically about him that he finally pulled away and gave him an inquiring look. "Wait, what is it?" he asked.
The young man stopped his advances and stared back with a dumb look of confusion. Almost as if he only just realized what he was doing, his face suddenly flushed to a bright red, and he let out a few colorful words. "Fuck, I'm…gah, I can't believe I was…sorry. I shouldn't…I just…I needed…"
Leo frowned as a pang of guilt shot through him. Here he was happily amusing himself at the expense of someone who was clearly already in a bad state. He had seen him like this before. Charlie was always too embarrassed to blatantly say he was upset, as if it were a crime to admit it, so instead, the man clung to the closeness and the passion the two of them shared. He instantly felt like an asshole, and the only thing he was being asked for was something he wanted to give anyway, so he opened himself to the human as he pulled him into another kiss.
It wasn't long before the two were obliviously uncomfortable on the hard, cold, cement floor of the warehouse, noisy throws of passion only disturbing the rats that scurried away from them, abandoning their temporary homes for new ones that had less horny neighbors.
It never ceased to amaze him. Charlie never looked at Leo in disgust. Sure, he was nervous when they first started their tryst, and he was understandably hesitant to actually be intimate with a mutant turtle – despite Leo's first impressions of him – but he was quick to get over his fears and doubts. He was a calm and logical person. It was one of the things that attracted him to the human. Well, that and saving his life.
An hour later, and the two were lying together, curled up under what little of Charlie's jean coat they could muster, trying to stave off the chill October air that was biting away their sweat. Leo took in the naked body that was barely illuminated before him. He was lean without much muscle, maybe even on the skinny side – clear evidence of living on the street without much food. He stared at his exposed right side and took in the details of the intricate, single-colored tattoo there. He was fairly surprised with how much he admired the design. It was big, swerving all down his torso, with jagged polygon edges. It was sort of reminiscent of tribal designs, except much more solid.
He reached down to trace the edge of the dragon, which elicited an immediate response from Charlie who flinched away and sat up. "I'm cold," he stated simply before getting up and heading to the one box alongside the wall that held the few personal possessions they stored here. He pulled out a large, if somewhat holey, blanket and wrapped himself in it. "Where're my pants?"
"Did you need to go already?" Leo asked.
"I need a cigarette."
Leo flinched but said nothing. Instead, he reached behind him and tossed the requested item to his friend as he had been using them as a pillow. Charlie caught them deftly and fumbled around with them until he got his lighter and pack out. The blanket slipped a bit, exposing much of his front, and Leo took the opportunity to take in the view, particularly of the tattoo. "What happened tonight?" He asked.
Charlie lit and dragged on a cigarette. Leo waited patiently, knowing that his friend always took his time before speaking. "I had a woman cross paths with the purple dragons. They roughed her up something fierce, and I just ran. I hid in an alley and watched. She's a single mother, and now she's stuck in the hospital." His voice was unnaturally calm considering the subject matter, but Leo had heard this before. Charlie was trying to make himself sound apathetic. He wanted to be hated at that moment. He wanted Leo to hate him, but it wasn't going to work.
"What did she say?" Leo asked.
Charlie turned to stare at him. "What?"
"If you knew she was going to be in the hospital, then you must have stayed with her afterwards until the paramedics arrived," Leo explained. "And that also means you must have found a way to call the cops on the situation. Sounds to me like you did all you could."
Charlie shook his head. "You come up with some of the weirdest stories, Leo."
"Is that so weird?"
"In this city? Yeah, it really is." Charlie took the last drag on the cigarette and fished out a new one. Leo has voiced his opinions on the sticks when they first started meeting like this. He knew from his experience with Raph that repeating himself wasn't going to help, so he just let it be. "I jus' wish I knew what they were doing there."
"Did you want me to check it out?"
Charlie chuckled. "They're long gone by now. Didn't stick around when they heard the sirens. It's not one of their usual hangouts. 'Course you know that better than me, right?"
Leo nodded. "I suppose I do."
"Leo, what're you doing?" Leo stared at the human, making sure to keep his face expressionless. "I'm your worst enemy. Pretty much everything you and your brothers have been fighting for the past ten years. How the hell do you explain to yourself that you're shacking up with a Purple Dragon?"
"Ex-purple dragon," Leo said. "That missing syllable says a lot more than you give it credit for."
"I wish I felt the same way."
"Charlie." Leo's voice was purposefully stern, and it got the young man's attention when he got up. "You saved my life, remember? How is it that you think something like that could count for so little?"
Charlie shook his head. "Nah, I didn' save ya."
"It's a shame you feel that way," Leo said. In truth, Leo probably would have been able to save himself, but what Charlie did was still nothing less than heroic.
It was just another typical raid on a Purple Dragon HQ building – they really had become good at sniffing those places out. Most of the gang had already fled and Leo and his brothers were left to just clean up the stupidly brave.
He had been a little careless, and after just taking down one, a sharp rap to his shell had knocked him off his feet and onto his plastron. He quickly flipped over to see a thug with a heavy metal pipe ready to clobber him. Leo was ready for the attack, but before it came, the PD had suddenly collapsed sideways as a body suddenly slammed into him.
Leo stared at the heap of the two gangsters in utter bewilderment as he got to his feet. A quick glance around showed his brothers to be engaged in their own skirmishes, so the aid hadn't come from them. He quickly looked back down at the two figures as the one with the pipe was scrabbling to his feet and cursing at the other. "What the hell CB? I coulda had 'im, and ya done went an' fucked it up." The teen gave the still prone one a sharp kick to the gut that left the boy audibly wheezing and gasping for breath.
Leo tapped his initial assailant on the shoulder. "Hey!" he said. The dragon spun around startled. "It's more effective when you do it like this." And he gave a quick sharp kick to the guy's torso that sent him careening backwards, sufficiently unconscious. Satisfied, Leo rushed over the other boy and helped him to his feet as he continued to gasp for air. "Why did you do that?"
The boy looked up at him, fear mixed with confusion marred by exhaustion. "I…What?"
"He's your posse or what not, right? Why did you stop him? We're enemies. Why did you save me?" Leo's voice was commanding and terrifying, demanding the answers as he wasn't in the mood for this to be a long conversation. After all, he had been careless, and he had the next day all set for getting rid of this new weakness he had just been shown he had.
The boy looked at the unconscious dragon and back to Leo. "He…was going to kill you."
That was it. It was so simple a statement, and yet the boy said it in such a way that it sounded like he considered it the most obvious thing in the world, and Leo knew instantly that he meant it. That that was his only reason for tackling the larger and stronger gangster. Just to save him.
Twelve months later, and that same boy now sat beside him, wrapped like a burrito in a dusty blanket, looking as simple and forlorn as the day the two met. "You never did tell me why you were even in the purple dragons," Leo said.
Charlie laughed solemnly again. "It's such a stupid reason, and you wouldn't even believe me if I told you."
"My curiosity is going to eat at me, so you'd better tell me," Leo said jokingly.
"No, I don't want to spoil this."
Leo frowned. "Can you tell me about your father then?"
Charlie rubbed at his forehead. "I've told you about him. He died when I was sixteen. That's why I'm on the street. What more is there to say?"
"You knew him for sixteen years, and you can't even tell me what he looked like?"
Leo threw up his arms in frustration. He stood from the crate they were sitting on and paced a little bit. "Charlie, I've told you far more than I should have about my life. My brothers, my sensei, even the few human friends we have. Yet, I still can't get anything out of you personally. I don't know you. Tell me something. Anything."
"My life is full of bullshit. There's nothing for me to tell you Leo," Charlie said calmly, but Leo could hear the ice in his voice as the boy stared up at the windows. He had learned quickly that Charlie never changed tones much when he spoke, but his body language spoke worlds of the kind of mood he was in. His hand twitched and he kept looking back and forth, like he thought someone was hiding in the shadows. This was how Charlie got pissed. "You know plenty about me. My mother died when I was five. I barely remember her beyond the fact that she died giving birth to my little brother, and then he died a few weeks later from SIDS. My life has been a series of pointlessness. I don't need to talk about it."
"I don't get it," Leo admitted. "Your family dies and you choose to forget them?"
"I didn't forget them. There's just…not much to remember." Charlie was looking at the floor now. He pushed his pants around in a heap, collecting dust like a wet mop. He certainly didn't care much for his personal possessions. He shivered.
"Get dressed before you freeze," Leo ordered.
Charlie obeyed robotically while he watched Leo pace about frustrated. "Don't you ever get cold?"
"I'm used to it. Ninjas are trained to endure any slight discomfort." Leo spoke plainly and clearly without care for the attempted topic change. "One thing. One thing about you, that's all I'm asking for."
Charlie sighed. "Alright, fine. I joined the Purple Dragons because…I wanted to see you and your brothers."
Leo stared. "You…what?"
"I told you, it was a stupid reason." Charlie lit another cigarette to calm his nerves. "I'd say I regret it, but I accomplished what I wanted to, so I guess it was one of the few things I can actually be proud of. Besides," he paused in putting on his shirt to pass his hand over the massive tattoo on his side. "I kind of like this, despite what it means."
Leo shook his head. "I don't understand. Had we met before?" Leo always took painful strains to attune his memory so he could identify any random passerby that he ever crossed paths with or accidentally exposed himself to. He wanted to make sure he never crossed their paths again so that whoever saw him would chalk the experience up to them seeing things one day. But as far back as he could remember, he had never seen Charlie up until that day in the warehouse. He was afraid that his memory hadn't been as good as he thought it was.
But then Charlie laughed, which only confused and frustrated Leo more. "No," he explained. "I'd never seen you before, but let's get real here. How long've you been dealin' out pain to the mob, the Turks, the Purple Dragons, all of 'em? Rumors go around the streets, Leo. We hear about the weird little green guys that keep getting in the hair of the ones that try to shake all of us simpler, unaffiliated bums up and lay down their idea of 'turf.' And ya know, there's lots of stories that float around this city, but the one about the little green guys? When a story gets around that much, you know there has to be something behind it. My curiosity just got the better of me, so I tried joining the one group that I heard the most rumors coming out of. I wanted to see what these little green men everyone was talking about were."
A moment of silence lapsed between them as Leo pondered the story. What Charlie said was disconcerting, to say the least, but it made sense. He and his brothers had lived here for twenty-five years. There were bound to be some urban legends about them, despite their best attempts at staying hidden. Michelangelo had even been mentioned on the news on occasion as his superhero persona. The news really should not have bothered him as much as it did, and Leo knew that, but he couldn't stop himself from worrying.
And right then he was worrying about Charlie. "That's probably the stupidest, most reckless thing I've ever heard of," he scolded. "I even live with the crown king of bad and reckless ideas, but I think you may have just out done even Raphael."
"Should I be flattered or scared?" Charlie asked smirking.
Leo growled and Charlie shrunk back apologetically. "Okay, I'll cut down on the stupid," he promised.
Leo sighed. "No, I should have expected as much with you." He sat down on the nearest crate and stared at the floor, thinking. How had he let himself get this far without finding out who Charlie was first? This was unlike him. He was cautious. He liked to know everything about a situation before he got involved. With Charlie, he thought he was being cautious initially, but he really wasn't. He had gone along with this…whatever the two of them were doing, quickly and willingly. It was his gut he was following. Trusting Charlie just seemed like it was right.
The careless thought concerned Leo. He hoped he wasn't losing his edge, but logic did come back to save him. There was hardly anything Charlie could really do to expose him and his brothers. The boy was on the street with no real support from the gangs or anyone. In fact, just the opposite. With the stunt he pulled saving Leo, the purple dragons were now passively hunting him. He wasn't big on their radar, but any PD who was in the know knew to look out for him and hurt him if he crossed their paths, and the tattoo on his side also permanently branded him as a Purple Dragon to all of the gang's enemies as well. Saving Leo had cost Charlie every bit of protection he had on the streets. That was why Leo had to hide him that night.
After the heist, Leo sent his brothers home while he got Charlie somewhere safe. Cries from the gang quickly declared him a traitor in their midst. Leo knew he couldn't let anything happen to him, so he grabbed the boy that saved him and ran out into the night.
It took a little clever maneuvering, but they were eventually able to lose their tailers, so they hid up in the same warehouse they occupied now. The boy had been grazed by a bullet past his neck while they were running, so Leo took the moment of respite to pull out the first aid kit Don had made all of them and bandage the wound. "You'll be fine. It's not that deep," he told his savior as he put the bandages away.
"Not so sure about that anymore," he said calmly as he touched gingerly at the bandage.
Leo took the boy in with an appraising look. "What's your name?"
"Charlie," he said.
"Are you always this crazy, Charlie?"
"It comes and goes, I guess."
"What do you plan to do now?"
"You really didn't think this through, did you?"
"Nope. Should I have?"
"Of course you should have! You've just marked yourself. You're going to need to leave the city now if you don't want to get shot and killed. Why didn't you think before you acted?"
"You'd have been dead if I had thought about it."
Leo shook his head. He had been in no real danger, but the kid didn't know that, and he didn't really see the benefit in telling him. But besides that, with Charlie now being wanted by the Purple Dragons, Leo felt responsible for him since he did at least try to do him a favor. He had to keep an eye on him for at least a little while. "Stay here and hide. I'll be back in a little bit with some supplies that you can use to camp out here for a little while until things cool down."
And that had been the start of it. Honor had kept Leo coming back to watch over Charlie, but now the threat on his life had subsided enough that he could make his way through the streets without too much hassle. He didn't need him anymore, and yet he couldn't bring himself to stop coming.
A strange rattling sound brought Leo out of his reverie. He looked up. Charlie was playing with his katana with his foot, making it tap gently on the concrete floor of the warehouse. He smiled a bit. He had seen this before. Charlie liked watching him practice, but he didn't really like asking for favors. Instead, he just tried to hint at things in subtle ways like playing with his katana, badly mimicking Leo's moves, things like that.
Leo stood and picked up his bandolier that held the two sheathed blades. He strapped them on and wordlessly began a simple slow kata. He took each moment fluidly, commanding the blades with expert precision and controlling the space he sent his strikes into.
Charlie watched as he smoked another cigarette. The warehouse was starting to stink of the fumes, and it made Leo wrinkle his beak in disgust. Going out to get a pack of cigarettes was the first time Charlie had left the warehouse after the incident, and Leo properly chewed him out over it. That was actually the day things got serious between the two of them.
"You risked your life so that you could slowly kill yourself?" he lectured. "Didn't you think this may be a good opportunity to get rid of the habit?"
Charlie shrugged. "My life's always at risk. I feel like I might as well live it in comfort."
"You'd live in better comfort and with less risk if you spent a few months getting away from those things."
"Yeah, so I've been told. Guess I'm not that strong."
Leo snorted in derision. "Give yourself a little credit. You thought you'd try to save a mutant turtle that would have just as soon taken you to the cops without a seconds thought."
"Now who has the low self-esteem?" Leo glared. Charlie smiled. "So what did you mean be 'thought you'd try?' You sound as if I didn't save your life."
Leo's face fell into a nervous frown. "Well-,"
"You didn't need my help a month ago, did you?" Charlie said as more of an accepted statement than a question.
Leo paused, but it was clear Charlie had already put the pieces together and guessed the truth, so he decided not to hold back. "No, I didn't need your help. I'm a trained warrior, and I know how to control a fight, especially against untrained thugs like the Purple Dragons. I was going to sweep the guy's feet out from under him when you tackled him."
Charlie stared at him for a moment, but he didn't seem angry to Leo. Instead, he was just…puzzled. "So then why did you help me afterwards?"
Leo blinked. "What?"
"Well, you said it was a matter of obligation of honor, since I gave you something, you needed to repay the favor. Obviously, I didn't give you anything, so why did you help me, and why do you keep coming back? Am I so sexy that you have a hard time staying away?" The last part was a joke, clearly, but Leo was already in a state of shock at Charlie's line of questioning that it didn't register right away, and he soon found himself flustered at the thought.
"What…? I…no, that is…I don't…" English had decided to abandon him then. It took several embarrassing seconds for him to regain enough composure to say, "You gave up something for me at least. That's enough to demand I pay it back." Leo nodded approvingly at himself for the recovery.
Except Charlie was already laughing at him, which only made him fluster more. "Oh my god, you're gay, aren't you? I was not expecting that," Charlie chortled. "What do you and your brothers do about that?"
"Oh fuck! You're sick!" Leo was actually a little surprised at his own profanity. If Raph could have heard him, he'd never hear the end of it.
Charlie rolled his eyes. "I didn't mean like that. God. I meant how do you all cope with no prospects. Do you deal with just masturbation, or what?"
Leo cleared his throat, trying to help his now very dry mouth. "We deal in our own way."
"So none of you've had sex then? Haven't found a willing human?"
"We only really know a few, and none of us would risk that friendship. Besides, they're a couple."
Charlie nodded in understanding. "Then did you want to?"
"Sort of. I have to make money somehow." Leo looked like he was about to comment on that, but Charlie quickly continued. "It's not exactly like I have a choice. It's just the easiest method out there for me sometimes. And I've only done it a few times as a last resort. Stayed clean at least. Lucky me."
"But then why are you propositioning me?"
Charlie shrugged. "Well, I guess as far as turtles go, you're probably hot, and we're both in a position where we can't really get any in a way that either of us are happy about. It just seems like it would be, say a…mutually beneficial fuck buddy situation."
Leo stared at him for a minute processing the very crazy suggestion in his head. There was an obvious answer to it. He should have said NO! almost right away. The idea was way too ridiculous to consider. Yet, despite everything his head was telling him, the only thing he was able to say at that moment was, "I'll think about it."
And he did. He thought about it all week. He thought about how it would actually feel to take Charlie, or be taken by Charlie. He thought about how safe and comfortable he had actually felt with the boy in the days he had spent with him so far, watching over him. The reasons for refusing kept coming to him, but they all felt so hollow for some reason. They had no force behind them, and in the end, he went back, a week later and agreed to try it. He just somehow knew that it was alright. That they'd be okay.
That was almost a year ago, he mused as he swung his blades around. He was still coming here after all that time. Was it really only now that he was questioning things? His thoughts were swimming, and he started losing his focus on the kata. So when he missed the pipe lying on the floor that happened to be right where he put his foot, the obvious reaction came about. He stumbled, only slightly stumbled as his foot just slipped a little with the suddenly uneven floor, but it was more than enough for Leo. The rhythm of the kata was gone and he let out a loud curse at his clumsiness. He threw his beloved katana straight into a nearby box in frustration.
Charlie, almost psychically knowing what caused the problem, quickly put out the cigarette and hurried over to Leo's side. "What happened?" He asked.
"What happened!" Leo practically screamed brushing Charlie off of him. "You happened. I'm so distracted worrying about you I can't concentrate on anything else, and I don't have the luxury to do that. I have the lives of my family to worry about first, and I'm here in a musty warehouse having sex with a human! There's nothing right about this. I can't start slacking off now."
Charlie stood back and watched dispassionately. "Did you want to stop meeting like this?" he asked.
Leo glared at him. "Is it that easy for you? Was this just an easy way for you to get sex? God, was that all it was for me! I don't know. What the hell are we doing?"
Charlie crossed his arms in thought. He spoke very plainly. "If that's all it is for you, then we should probably stop. If you want to worry about your brothers more, that's fine. I know your family comes first to you. I knew that from the first time you told me about them. You don't owe me anything anymore. I doubt even your sense of honor would argue with that. Just tell me right now what you want and I'll go with it."
Leo looked at his lover. He said it so simply, yet he could see the pain in his eyes. He knew Charlie didn't want to say it, but the young man accepted him and his way of life so readily and perfectly. In that moment. That moment of clarity, he realized what his instincts were telling him all along. He knew why he kept coming back here. "I'm sorry," he finally said. "I don't want to stop this. I've just…I don't know how to handle this. I never did. I'm just so worried because…I think I love you."
Well, Leo thought, that's one way to get some answers. Charlie had looked away when he said that. He looked like he was staring around the warehouse, looking at all the little bits of evidence that they had left in the area. The holes in boxes where Leo had taught him to throw shuriken. The box that held their blankets and spare clothes. "You actually love this? What we've done here?" Charlie asked.
Leo actually nodded right away. "I do." It was so easy for him to say, it was almost startling.
"And yet you like to criticize me for just about everything I do that doesn't live up to your principals."
Leo frowned. "Yes. I've told you about my family. I've told you about how I lecture Raph and Mikey and even Donnie. You know that if I didn't it would mean I didn't love you."
Charlie chuckled. "You make a good point. But you still complain that you don't know me."
"Yes, I do want to know more about you. But…I think I can deal with that now. But I do need to know what you think."
There was a moment of silence between the two of them. Charlie continued to stare at the dirty, rodent infested warehouse as he pondered Leo's words. Leo couldn't look away. He knew it may have been intimidating for Charlie, but he didn't care at that moment. He needed an answer, and the only way he really knew how to guarantee an answer like this was through an intimidating stare.
Finally, Charlie broke the silence. "I think…I want to meet your brothers and your father. If that's alright with you."
Leo's smile was probably the biggest he'd ever had in his life. It wasn't exactly the words he was looking for, but he knew their meaning well enough. "I'll talk to them. And I'll bring them here next week if I can." Yes, Leo thought with confidence, I'll definitely be bringing them here. He threw his arms around his lover in a tight embrace. "Thank you." He said simply.
Leo pulled back and gave Charlie a quizzical look. "Who?"
"My dad. His name's Daniel," Charlie said again. "He's a surgeon at St. Paul's hospital in Albany."
The meaning behind the words hit Leo immediately. "Your father's alive?"
Charlie shrugged. "Maybe," he said quietly. "He was when I ran off about ten years ago. I don't know if he's still at St. Paul's or if he even still lives in Albany. He remarried a woman named Lisa when I was fifteen. I didn't like it. I thought she was after his money, so I ran off. I haven't seen him since then."
Leo shook his head. "Why did you tell me he was dead? I don't get it?"
"Oh come on Leo." Charlie pulled away from him as his voice, for once, started to get louder with frustration. "The first thing you tell me about your family is how amazing and honorable your father taught you all to be. Your father and your honor are so much of what you are, how could I go and tell you that I was dishonorable to my own family and ran off without once telling my Dad thanks for raising me. Not once. I never thanked him…Fuck!" He wiped away the tears that were starting to form in his eyes. He tried his best to keep the quaver from his voice, but the emotion was too strong.
Leo watched him, unsure of what to do. He wanted to comfort him, but…that wasn't right. This wasn't something Charlie wanted comfort for. This was something Charlie hated himself for. "We can look up your father. We can see if he still works at St. Paul and my brothers and I can take you to see him if he-."
"No!" Leo shut up. "Sorry, no. ARGH! No, I can't see him anymore. It's been too long, and I've done too many things. I can't come back and put that on him. Hell, at the very least I can't let the Purple Dragons even know I HAVE a dad. No, I'm not bringing him into this. I'm not making him pay for my mistakes."
There was nothing to argue. Leo could only stand there and watch as he finally got his wish with Charlie. He finally knew who he was as a person. And despite the circumstances, he actually liked what he saw. He smiled. "Alright. Alright, I get it. But don't worry. You're making amends now for whatever you did in your past. And that matters more than you think. Trust me, I know." Leo moved to embrace him again, and Charlie took it willingly.
"Thanks," he said.
"Anytime," Leo replied. He pulled away and did a quick check of his gear. "I should get going. My brothers have been starting to become suspicious lately."
"Well, they have a right to be," Charlie said. "From what you've said, they're not stupid."
"True. Are you going to be okay tonight?"
Charlie nodded. "Yeah, I'll be fine."
"Alright." Leo nodded to his lover one last time, gave him a smile and bounded up through a window near the ceiling and out into the city. A faint green haze of morning was starting to shine over the water. He had spent more time here tonight than he thought. He hopped over the next roof over to get his bearings when he heard the light shuffle of the shifting of gravel on the same roof. He smiled slightly to himself. "Alright Raph, I know you're there."
Raphael stepped out from behind an exhaust fan on the roof and stared at Leo, his arms crossed. "Fuck Leo!" he said, trying to convey the meaning of all his anger in those two words.
"Charlie's doing that," Leo said jokingly.
"Gah! Ew! Don't ever say that again."
Leo laughed. "So how long have you been watching us?"
"The whole night," Raph said.
"Really? Even at the beginning, when we were-."
"YES! Even then. I looked away for most of it, but I still saw too much." Leo smirked. "What exactly are you thinking Leo. The kid's a PD."
"And how do you know that? Ever thought this could be a fancy game they're playing?"
"If it is, then why is it taking them a year?" Leo asked. "Purple Dragons aren't that patient Raph."
Raph grumbled, conceding the point.
"Charlie's genuine, and he's a good guy. You'll like him."
Raph sighed. "God, I really don't understand you sometimes, Leo. You should've told us about this sooner."
"Maybe," Leo admitted. "I'm sorry for that. But I do want to tell you all now. Is that alright?"
Raph harrumphed. "Fine, but just be sure to leave out the finer details."
"Oh? Why not? Maybe you could learn some pointers from us if I told you about it."
Raph turned to leave. "You do that, and I'll have to tell Mikey and Don that you're a bottom and a screamer."