Michelangelo watches as Leo performs yet another of his crazy training routines. This one has candles (they always have candles; what's up with that? And where does he keep getting them? He must go through hundreds of them), a few swinging blades, and a spike pit. Mikey's actually a little impressed with the spike pit. Don must have helped him with that one. Oh, and of course Leo's blindfolded.
He runs through the insane obstacle course perfectly.
And so it makes Mikey a little mad when Leo gets to the end, tears off his blindfold, and does that little huff of breath he does when he knows he's failed. He's probably going to do it again and again for hours until he "gets it right," despite the fact that he did it more flawlessly the first time than Mikey might ever be able to do it, period.
"Hey, Leo," Mikey calls out, because he can't stand watching Leo do this to himself one more time. Leo frowns, annoyed at being interrupted during training.
"What, Mikey?" His voice is clipped, distracted. He's running through the routine in his mind, trying to pinpoint his flaws. Mikey says the first thing that comes to mind.
"Why do you like training so much?"
Leo actually turns to look at him, squinting slightly in the glare of the TV behind his brother. Mikey decides it was a serious question, and keeps a straight face. Finally Leo turns away.
"You wouldn't understand," he says, sounding a little sad. That takes Mikey by surprise.
"Sure I would," he protests, vaulting over the couch and landing in front of his brother. "Lay it on me, bro. Why do you like it so much?"
Leo doesn't answer for a moment, and then he sheathes his swords, sitting down on the ledge around their training area and using the blindfold to wipe away his sweat.
"I just do," he says, and instantly corrects himself. "It's fun."
"Fun?" he repeats. "You think training is fun?"
Leo actually growls a little, and gets up.
"I told you you wouldn't understand," he says, and Mikey can see that something important is happening here. He stands up as well, putting a hand on Leo's shoulder to keep him from running away back to training.
"I guess I don't," he admits. "But… I want to."
Leo looks at him, judging his sincerity. He sits back down slowly, twisting the blindfold in his hands compulsively. Mikey has a flash of enlightenment: it is important to Leo that his brother understand this thing about him.
"It's fun…" he repeats slowly, and Mikey lets him think. Sometimes Leo has a hard time explaining things that aren't about battle or training. "I like the feeling of… getting better. Of watching myself improve, knowing that I'm the best I've ever been, and that tomorrow I'll be even better. I can never get enough of that."
He's a level junkie, Mikey realizes with a start. How many times has he been sucked into that same feeling himself while playing video games, that obsession with getting to the next level, and the next one and the next? That is precisely what Leo is telling him, and he gets it, gets his brother, with such a blinding flash of clarity that he can't say anything for a moment. Who knew Fearless Leader was so… human? He grins.
"Dude, that's totally how I feel about video games," he says, excited to share his new understanding with his brother, who seems to have been craving it so badly. "Every time I beat a level, the only thing I can think about is beating the next one."
He watches Leo for an answering flash of insight, but instead Leo frowns.
"It's nothing like that," he says, getting up again, and something has ended, something broken. Mikey can only gape after his brother, who adds over his shoulder, "Video games have nothing to do with training."
And Mikey thinks he gets why it was so important to Leo that Mikey understand him. Because being misunderstood hurts.