"Leonardo-san, it's your move."
Leo looks back at his opponent and smiles ruefully. He had been lost in thought. He considers the board carefully, and then moves his silver general to capture the enemy lance. The young boy opposite him pulls a face and throws up his hands.
"There is no way for me to win now, Leonardo-san! Truly, you are the best shogi player I have ever known."
"I am surely not," he replies, smiling. "My father can best me with his eyes closed."
The boy wrinkles his nose in a silent laugh.
"So can mine."
They share a moment of humor, and then the boy rearranges the board for another match, clearly giving up this one for a lost cause. Leo lets him. In truth, he would really rather not be here, but he has little choice in the matter. His father, Master Splinter, and the Ultimate Daimyo encouraged this friendship between their sons, which prompted Splinter to bring him along to the Battle Nexus for visits more often than he might have otherwise. Leonardo can understand why, and he would never do anything to disappoint his father, and yet…
And yet, at moments like these, when the boy isn't looking at him and he can stare unnoticed, he remembers.
"Leonardo-san, do you believe that dreams have meaning?"
The question catches him off guard, and he gapes at the boy, who fiddles with a pawn and looks down at the board.
"I have these dreams sometimes, and… you're in them."
"What are these dreams about?" Leo asks, stomach sinking. The boy won't look at him. "Dreams are not something we choose," he tells him reassuringly, even though he would rather just let the subject drop. "They are nothing to be ashamed of."
"But—" The boy places the tile onto the board with a clear tap. "They are very strange and… disturbing dreams."
"Tell me about them," Leo says calmly. The boy frowns, but this time it is only in concentration.
"I am always… older, in these dreams. Much older than I am now. And… different. Sometimes I am fighting you. Sometimes… I want to kill you." He is whispering now, and Leo closes his eyes, unable to watch. The boy goes on. "Other times there is another… mind, inside my mind, and our bodies are fused together and we stay that way for a very long time. When I dream about that, then it is Master Splinter I also wish to kill, and all your brothers, and you." The boy looks up at Leo suddenly, his voice growing urgent. "But I don't want to kill you! I like you, Leonardo-san. You're my friend. Why do I have these strange dreams? Sometimes when I wake up, the hate is still there, and I have to remind myself that I am still a child, and not a man, and that you are my friend." The boy drops his gaze when Leo says nothing.
What can he say? This boy was his enemy, and now he is not. But if he had all his memories back, he surely would be again. Who is to say he will not grow up the same way he did before, and become Leonardo's enemy anyway. And yet, it is very pleasant, in its own way, to have a child look up to him, want to play with him, admire him. Not to mention the relief it is to interact with someone who does not find his appearance very strange at all. Leo can't figure out how he feels about this boy, and it stops his tongue when he should be offering words of reassurance.
The silence goes on for too long, and the boy finishes putting the pieces in place with a downcast look. Leo picks up a piece, and before setting it down he says,
"Sometimes dreams are just dreams."
The boy looks up at him with something like hope in his eyes. Leo gives him a smile, though he doesn't feel it.
AN: Shogi is Japanese chess.