Disclaimer:

I do not own Leonardo of any of the characters in it. They belong to the BBC, or CBBC, whichever one takes ownership.

Chapter One

He was going to be so late! Maestro was going to have his head! Why did he think he had time to go out this morning? Ducking past a woman carrying what appeared to be a chicken Leo darted into the next alleyway, a shortcut he hoped to the studio.

"You little bastard!" Pain exploded in the side of Leo's head, sending his flying into the wall besides him. Dropping to the ground he traced his hand through his messy shock of black hair, mildly surprised to find it come away sticky and stained red. Staring at his fingers he saw them blur and shift for a moment, his eyes refusing to focus. Looming above him, his face red and swelled with hatred stood Rizzo, a bloodied chunk of wood clutched in his podgy fingers. Panic spiked through Leo's gut, shards of ice twisting through him as terrors took over.

"How dare you try and trick me!"

Leo felt the air rush out of his lungs as the kick slammed into his stomach, Rizzo didn't stop. Alternating between crushing blows with the chunk of wood and violent kicks he seemed to go on forever raining down pain on the boy. Hatred marking every action. Finally, gasping for breath he stopped. The boy didn't move, he lay as still as a corpse.

"Hey you there! What do you think you're doing?" Dropping the wood Rizzo bolted, moving surprisingly quickly for someone of his girth. The man who had yelled ignored his flight and instead carefully moved towards what seemed to be the dead body of a teenage boy. "In the name of all that's holy." He hissed through clenched teeth. There wasn't a patch that he could see of the boy that wasn't coated in blood.

The body jolted, a harsh cough wracking the teenager as he coughed up blood. Quickly stooping the stranger placed a hand gently on the boy's chest; there was a heartbeat, faint and weak.

"Hey kid." He paused not really knowing how to address the boy. "Can you hear me?" The boy offered no response, the slight flutter of a heartbeat the only sign he was still alive.

"Can you perhaps tell me what your name is? Where you live?" For a moment there was no noise, save the bustle of the street behind them.

"Se... senior Verrocchio." Leo managed to mumble, pain lacing his words.

"Verrocchio? Your one of his apprentices?" The man stared down at the silent boy who had seemed to slip into unconsciousness. He could leave him here and get help, but if he did that the madman who had done this might return to finish the job. As gently as he could the stranger slid one arm under the boy's shoulders and the other under his knees, lifting him off the ground so that his head rested against the man's chest.

A small whimper escaped the boy's lips, no doubt it wouldn't do the boys condition much good to move him, but leaving him in an alleyway was not an option either.

"Mac!" The dark skinned boy grinned at the girl Lisa who would be a boy waving madly at him from under the archway that lead to the courtyard just outside Verrocchio's.

"Hey Tom! What's got you in such a state? You should learn to be calmer like me, Zen and all that."

"Have you seen Leo." She snapped, not caring about whatever Zen was. "He's not been seen since last night and Mistro is about ready to hit the roof."

"No I haven't..."

"Excuse me!" The pair spun to face to speaker behind them. Approaching them was a man with sun bleached hair and a weathered face, staring at them through two glistening blue eyes.

"Leo!" Lisa screeched darting forward. It was as if she'd been punched, the sight of her best friend lying limply in the arms of some stranger, his chest shuddering with each shallow breath.

"What happened to him?" Mac raced towards the stranger next to Tom, his eyes taking in Leo's state.

"I wandered across a madman attacking him down an alleyway, I was too late to actually prevent any damage but when I shouted towards the attacker he took fright and ran off."

"Rizzo! I'd bet money on it." Mac spat.

"I don't care who it was!" Lisa could feel hysteria creeping up on her. She could barely recognise Leo under all that blood. "We need to get him inside! Mac go fetch someone to help!"

"I'll go find a physician." Mac muttered, sickened by the fact he actually was glad he wouldn't have to look at Leo in that state anymore.

"Follow me." Lisa hurried forwards, back towards the studio with the stranger following close behind her.

"I forgot to mention. My name is Philip by the way, Philip Serrano." Lisa nodded distractedly, holding the door open so Philip could get through it without hitting Leo's head on the doorframe.

"Tomaso, what is this?" Maestro's voice boomed down over Lisa, his imposing figure sauntering towards her.

"Verrocchio I assume." Verrocchio's eyes alighted on the bundle in Philip's arms.

"Leonardo? Cosomo, quickly go fetch some fresh water. Take him upstairs, Tomaso will show you which his bed is." Phillip dipped his head and followed the boy who had rushed towards him in terror a few moments again up the set of wooden stairs.

"That one there." Lisa choked out the words. She watched as Philip rested Leo down on the mattress, Leo's head lolling to the side as if he neck could no longer support its weight. The sound of a door clattering open broke her out of her thoughts as Mac tore into the studio, a rather flustered physician behind him.

The pair rushed up the staircase. Mac sucked in his breath, stepping back from Leo's prone figure as he walked into the room. If it wasn't for the erratic movement of his chest he could have been mistaken for a corpse.

"Let me see him." The physician pushed past, bending over the injured boy. "He's taken quite a beating." Cosomo pattered in with a jug of clean water and a dish to pour it into. "You all may leave while I work." The physician motioned with his hand that they should all go.

"I want to stay." Lisa protested.

"Tom." Mac said softly, taking hold of her arm, "Let him help Leo, we'll come back up in a little bit."

She looked as if she was about to protest again but the fight left her and her shoulders drooped.

"Half an hour max." She whispered. "Then I'm coming back up."