TMNT is NOT mine. Enjoy. Review ^^
The word alone sent them shivers down their spines. They wished they'd never pass through that, but wishing that… was like asking the sun to never appear again. It was inevitable that one of them had to die someday and that day had come at last.
Splinter's sons had been beside him since the day he couldn't leave the bed because he said he was too tired to do it. They had never been so attentive before; whatever it was that Splinter wanted, the guys did almost the impossible to fulfill their father's wishes. They wanted Splinter's last days to be absolutely perfect.
Splinter was sleeping when he passed away. At least he didn't suffer, they thought. But it was impossible to know that.
The funeral was in the farmhouse; family friends were present showing their condolences. The guys were all broken but they took this death pretty well, they knew sooner or later Splinter had to leave them.
They were still teenagers… well, not all of them. Leonardo had turned 20. He was now the adult and sensei in charge.
The others… even Raph… cried. But no one was as hurt as Leo was; he had been the closest to Splinter since he learned how to walk.
The ceremony ended, the guests and family went inside the farmhouse but Leo didn't move. He knelt and touched the words on the tombstone like reading Braille; every word felt like a stab on his heart. His father, his hero, his master and inspiration was dead. Gone. Forever.
Leo remembered the day Splinter announced he was not a Jounin anymore; he was now the new sensei. The young ninja didn't know what to say, he felt nervous, happy, excited… so many emotions. He wasn't scared at that time but all his fears and doubts came to haunt him when Splinter started to show the signs… the signs that told him his time had come.
So many questions, so many doubts, so many things… and just one Leonardo to deal with all of them.
He felt vulnerable without his guide… his father.
"The ceremony was beautiful, father. All our friends were here; seems like you were so much loved in life" Leo said with a sad smile and caressing the flowers near the grave. A hand on his shoulder made him stop his moves.
"I know you miss him" A dark voice said. Leo knew immediately it was Raph.
"How couldn't I miss him? He was my father, my sensei… my everything" Leo said. Raph knelt beside his brother. Leo continued.
"And now I'm the sensei here but I'm not ready! Why did he have to leave me such an important responsibility?"
"Well, it's logical that you're the best suited for that" Raph shrugged.
"I don't know. I've messed up big time before, like the time I went all moody on you, guys. I'm still sorry for the cut on Splinter's forehead" Leo said sadly.
"That's in the past now. Now, about the sensei thing… you are ready, bro. I can tell" Raph smiled a little. Leo shook his head.
"No, I'm not Raph. You don't understand"
"What don't I understand, huh?" Raph asked with a serious voice. Leo remained in silence.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" Raph insisted trying to control himself.
"Leave me alone, please" Leo said. Raph frowned and grabbed Leo by the shoulders trying to make eye contact.
"You think I'm not hurt for Splinter's dead? He was my father, Leo… just in case you forgot it. And he was Don's and Mikey's father too! Don't you think we all are feeling the same pain you're feeling now?" Raph said angrily tightening his grip on Leo's shoulders a little.
"I know, Raph! I'm not stupid!" Leo replied breaking the eye contact.
"You're acting like one" Raph let go Leo slightly pushing him. Leo looked more hurt now. Raph sighed and calmed down again.
"I'm sorry, bro. Really. I just don't know what else to say. I hate seeing you like that" Raph said.
"It's ok" Leo shrugged.
"You're not gonna mourn for the rest of your life, right?" Raph asked raising a brow.
"No" Leo answered. He lied.
"Your face tells a different story, y'know?" Raph replied knowing his brother had lied.
"I'm not sure. I know I have to keep going; I knew he wasn't going to be here forever. I knew he was going to die and I was prepared but… why does it hurt so much now?" Leo said, his voice breaking a little.
"It hurts 'cause you know that he always loved you the same way you loved him… maybe more. And people are never ready for the lost of a loved one, trust me. That pain is completely normal but you have to move on. Your family needs you; you are our only guide now, we count on you and we know you are gonna do your best. But just on the dubious chance you do mess up… you'll have the rest of us here to back you up" Raph smiled at his brother.
"Wow… that was deep. How many fortune cookies did you eat?" Leo teased.
"Very funny, Fearless. I'm trying to cheer you up!" Raph chuckled.
"And you did. Just a little but thanks" Leo chuckled a little.
"At least it's a start" Raph shrugged. They both stayed in silence.
"You don't think this will make us more distant?" Leo said after a few minutes.
"What do you mean?" Raph asked in confusion.
"You know what I mean, Raph. When we started training and I became leader we hardly ever hang out like bros or friends. We started arguing and fighting… now I'm not just your leader, I'm your sensei. I'm afraid things would change even more between us" Leo sighed heavily.
"I'm not saying you're a martyr but neither am I, Leo. We both make mistakes. I guess we'll have to learn how to deal with that" Raph commented. Both turtles stayed in silence once again.
"It's getting a little cold. We better go inside" Raph said getting up.
"I'll stay here a little longer" Leo said.
"Need some company?" Raph offered.
"I'll be fine" Leo said with a sad smile.
"Ok. Just remember Leo, you need to move on. That's what Splinter would've wanted" Raph added and made his way to the farmhouse.
Leo knew Raph was right; his sensei wouldn't have wanted him to be miserable for the rest of his life. He still had his brothers and friends with him… and that was all that he needed for now. The blue masked ninja stood up and gave a last look at Splinter's grave before walking to the farmhouse where his family was waiting for him. Leo wasn't alone, he would never be alone. Now, he just needed to move on.