Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.

A/n: Just another little one-shot I came up with last night ^^ Again sorry if there are any mistakes! Please enjoy.

-Raph's POV-

After a long day of training there's nothing I want to do more than retreat to my room, hunker down in my hammock and fall into blissful sleep. But I can't. Whenever I close my eyes I always have the same bad dreams. I always have nightmares. I know everyone has nightmares once in a while, they can't be helped. But I have them every night. I have them every time I close my eyes. And it's exhausting. All I want to do is sleep. I just want to close my eyes without seeing those images. Sometimes I wonder if they are images at all, or if they're memories.

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking

We've been training hard today. Master Splinter wanted to teach us the importance of balance and invisibility. You'd think that working out for three hours would have anyone on their hands and knees, dragging themselves towards their waiting beds. But not me. I knew I what would greet me once I closed my eyes. So I said goodnight to my brothers and watched them retreat to their bedrooms. I stayed behind in the dojo and did the thing I do best; punch something. At times I feel sorry for the punching bag. But other times, like now, I let all my anger, all my frustration, all my sleep deprivation fall onto the bag.

When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow

I don't know how long I stood there; punching and kicking the bag, letting my emotions travel from my heart through my arms and onto the bag. But soon enough I was panting and out of breath. But I still didn't want to go to sleep, despite the late hour. So instead I made my way to the showers and let the hot water sooth my aching muscles. I didn't realize I was beginning to doze off, the warm water lulling me to sleep. I jerked awake and angrily switched the water off. In the future I would have to start having cold showers instead.

Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Going into the kitchen I made myself some coffee. I wasn't fond of the stuff like Don was, but I was hoping it would do its job and keep my awake for the rest of the night.
The clock on the wall read 2:48 am. If the coffee did its job I would hopefully be able to stay up until six. That's when the others got up anyway. I sighed and retreated to the couch, turning the TV on and muting the sound. Just because I couldn't sleep didn't mean I wanted to wake the others up.

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep trying

I felt my eyes start to droop and my head loll to the side, sleep starting to creep in. I tried to fight it, tried to push it away, but soon it consumed me, dragged me under and into the abyss. My last conscious thought before sleep claimed me was that coffee sucked.

I opened my eyes to a familiar landscape. I was standing in the middle of the street, under the dull light of the wanning moon. The streets were deserted and eerily quiet. Cars were turned over and burning, like empty metal shells. Buildings and homes were quiet, nothing moved in the shadows that seemed to have taken over the city. Debris was like a carpet covering the road. How could I just be standing there so calm like when the city had obviously been destroyed? That's when I realized that person standing in the middle of the road wasn't me. Well it was me, but it was like I was standing on top of one of the nearby buildings looking down at the scene. Me, well my dream me that was standing in the streets, took a step forward, familiar green hands clutching blood stained sais. I gasped and stumbled back, not wanting to believe my eyes. The red mask that I always wore was gone, only to be replaced by a mask made of blood. The same red colour I wore every day with pride was now splashed in scarlet in a crudely drawn mask. I watched, unable to move, as evil me stepped forward, eyes narrowed and flashing with something I couldn't put my finger on. I watched in horror as with every step evil me took, Shredder's armour appeared on my body.

"No, no stay back!" I yelled, reaching for my sais only to find they weren't there. "No!"

"Raph! Raphael wake up!"

I jerked away, breathing heavily, the nightmare still playing before my eyes. I felt a warm hand on my arm and forced myself to calm down, turning to look up into Leo's worried eyes.

Smile, what's the use of crying?

"Raph are you okay? What happened?"

"Nothing, I'm fine," I growled, hiding the fear I felt. I wasn't about to Leo what I had been dreaming about.

"Raph you were screaming," Leo said, obviously not convinced. "What was it, a nightmare?"

You'll find that life is still worthwhile

"Yeah, I had a nightmare okay. Big whoop, everyone has 'em," I clenched my teeth. Man I hated showing weakness in front of the others.

"Okay," Leo said, holding his hands up in a placating gesture. "I only wanted to make sure you're all right Raph."

"Yeah well, thanks for the concern but I'm fine," I said, turning away from Leo to gaze back at the TV, hoping he would just go away.

Instead Leo came around and took a seat next to me on the sofa. "What are ya doing?" I growled, shifting over reluctantly so he had room.

"Don't think I haven't noticed your lack of sleep Raphael," Leo said, his eyes boring into mine. "When was the last time you had a descent night's rest?"

"It's none of ya business," I growled. "I'm fine."

"Look Raph, I know you don't like admitting things to us but obviously something's going on. I just want to help. You're my brother Raph."

"Look Leo I'm fine," I sighed in defeat, slumping against the sofa in defeat. So tired…

"If your fine then why do you wake up screaming every night?" Leo shot back.

I whipped around and faced him, narrowing my eyes behind my mask.

"Don't think I don't hear you Raph," Leo said gently. "You can tell me anything Raph. I just want to help."

"If ya want ta help them go away," I mumbled, the edges of my vision starting to blur as a yawn escaped me despite my best efforts to hide it.

"Whether you want to talk or not Raph, I'll be here," Leo told me, wrapping his arm around my shoulder.

If you just smile

I stiffened and tried to push him off but I didn't have the strength. My eyes felt like they weighed a tonne and I couldn't keep them open anymore.

"Get some sleep Raph," Leo whispered as my eyes closed, pulling me into his embrace. "I'll be here for you."

And for the first time in a really long time, I didn't dream.