More Than a Leader, less than a brother

Summary: Things are worse than ever for the mutant family as tensions between Raph and Leo grow more and more each day. It seems the two can't talk to each other except with snide insults, angry shouts, heated threats, and irritated glares. Well, at least Raphael can't anyway. Meanwhile Leo does what he always does, - deals with it. He's tried talking calmly, he's tried fighting back. Heck! He's even walked away a few times!

But now enough is enough. Leonardo is sick and tired of his brother's attitude and decides to try a new tactic in dealing with his brother's anger and quite possible hatred for him.

Will Leonardo's plan solve things with Raphael once and for all, or will it tear the two brothers and their entire family apart for good?

P.S. This is my first TMNT fanfiction, so please give feedback and advice. Thank you!

Chapter 1: The Last Straw

Splinter sighed heavily as he heard the unmistakable sound of yelling coming from the living room, a clear sign that his sons were back from a rather unsuccessful patrol around the city. Setting down his steaming cup of green tea the ninja master rose from his chair already knowing full well which of his sons were arguing.

Though walking with a wooden cane the large rat moved at a quick and steady pace as he headed toward the source of the noise. Splinter shook his head, beginning to feel like he was at the end of his rope. He had tried everything to help his two headstrong sons get along with each other.

He had separated them for a time, believing perhaps that the two only needed some space in order to cool off and that afterwards they would be more willing to work things out.

It had failed. The two turtles went back to fighting each other almost instantly.

And so, for his second attempt at helping his apprentices, he had let them. Giving both turtles the dojo for an entire day Master Splinter had allowed both Leonardo and Raphael to fight and train and yell and scream at each other till their hearts content. And when the ninja master had returned to the dojo at the end of the day to find two exhausted and fairly battered turtles lying flat on their shells in defeat he truly believed that was the end to their struggle.

Unfortunately, just a day later, the wise but tired rat found he was wrong as the two brothers were at each other's throats once more.

Splinter sighed, now standing in the archway of the living room to find all four of his sons back home safely.

"Why couldn't you just listen to me for once in your life?!" Leonardo shouted across the room at his larger yet just as heated younger brother.

"Maybe cause I don't feel like bein' bossed around by a smug little know it all!" Raphael roared back, fists clenched and shaking.

It was a bitter sweet welcome. Splinter rubbed his temples with his finger tips attempting to hold back the headache threatening to start. Looking over at his two other sons the rat found that they too were being affected by their brothers' fighting.

Michelangelo looked tired and bored, swinging one of his nunchuks back and forth with little enthusiasm while throwing the occasional worried glance at Donatello who was currently sitting on the couch propping his head up with one hand looking equally tired and worried.

"If you had just stuck to the plan none of us would've been seen! That fight wouldn't have happened!" Leo yelled accusingly.

"You mean YOUR plan! All ya been doin' lately is bossin' us around!" Raph shot back. "Did it ever dawn on ya that one of us might have a better plan than you! We're part of this team to ya know!"

"But I'M the leader!" Leo said exasperated. "We've been through this a million times!"

"And so what if we got inta a fight!" The red clad turtle ignored his brother continuing his angry rant. "It's what we've been trained to do! Or what? Is our oh so mighty and fearless leader to afraid to get his hands dirty?" Raph sneered knowing his jib would get under his brother's shell.

Leo felt his face get hot. "I'm not afraid of anything!" He shouted a little louder than necessary. "I just don't see the point in fighting if we don't have to!"

"Don't have to?" Raph rolled his eyes. "Please, if I would let ya have it your way all the time we'd never see any action!"

"That's not true!" Leo shouted, the tiniest bit of hurt leaking through his voice.

"Admit it Leo," Raph took a few steps forward, pointing an accusing finger at his smaller brother. "If it were up to you we'd never step foot outta the shadows!"

"How can you say that?!" The blue clad leader shook his head. "I'm just trying to do what's best for our team! I'm trying to keep you all safe! Why can't you see that?!"

"And who ever said that we needed the great Leonardo to protect us?!" Raph challenged, his electric green eyes narrowing.

"ENOUGH!" Splinter's voice coupled with the sound of his cane slamming down on the stone floor echoed through the room silencing the two arguing turtles. "That is enough my sons." The ninja master continued in a much calmer tone as he stepped into the room. "The two of you must stop this constant bickering with one another. A team cannot fight together as one if they are fighting within themselves."

"Tell me about it." Mikey moaned dramatically. "After all that yelling I can't even hear myself think anymore." The youngest turtle paused, closing his eyes and concentrating hard. Mikey's eyes snapped open. "Nope, nothin'."

Donnie opened his mouth to say something but instead just shook his head. "Oh forget it." The brains of the team sighed rubbing his temples. "This headache is so bad I can't even focus long enough to explain how that's logically impossible."

"My point exactly." Splinter said sternly, his gaze focused on his two eldest sons. "This relentless hostility to one another does not just affect the two of you, but your brothers and me as well."

Both turtles quickly began to feel guilty although it was more evident on Leonardo's face as Raphael tried to mask his guilt with his usual scowl.

"I'm sorry Master Splinter, I… I didn't mean to cause so much conflict in our team." Leo apologized honestly, hanging his head a little in shame.

"Yeah me either." Raph grumbled refusing to look at anything but the wall.

Their master let out a long suffering sigh as he set down his wooden cane, leaning it against the sofa. "My sons, the two of you are very different in many ways. In the way you train, in the way you choose to fight and even in the way you handle your feelings and therefore your disagreements. Your personalities clash in many ways. However," Splinter paused placing a gentle hand on both his sons' shoulders, his eyes softening in understanding. "The two of you are also alike in many ways. Stubbornness being one of them." He teased lightly. Leo smiled a little while Raph only glared at the floor. "The two of you must find balance with each other. You must work together to build each other up instead of tearing each other down." Straightening up the rat reached for his cane once more, setting it firmly in front of him with a smile. "Remember, iron sharpeneth iron."

"You're right sensei." Leo bowed respectfully understanding his master's message loud and clear. "I'll try to do better."

Splinter's smile softened until-

"Pfft. Teacher's pet." Raph mumbled just loud enough for all to hear.

"RGGG!" Leo growled turning to his brother with clenched fists. "Didn't you hear anything Master Splinter just told us?!"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stop fighting, start getting along, blah, blah, blah." Raph replied uncaringly. "I heard the lecture Leo, I don't need to hear you repeat it for me."

"You are so impossible! Even after all that you just don't care!"

"Oh what? Just cause I didn't give an automatic 'hai sensei' like you did!"

As the two brothers started back up again Splinter only covered his face with one hand and groaned.

"Don't beat yourself up too much sensei." Donnie's comforting voice broke through the current argument. The rat looked to his right to find the purple clad turtle smiling up at him reassuringly. "It's like you said, they're both pretty stubborn."

"Yeah," Mikey joined in as he jumped off the couch. "Their heads are as hard as their shells. Not like me and Donnie though." The youngest turtle smiled, small dimples forming on his cheeks. "We listen to everything you tell us."

"We do?" Donnie blurted out loud.

Splinter only smirked. "I'm glad to hear that Michelangelo, as that would mean your room must spotless."

Mikey's smile vanished, his eyes growing wide. "Huh?"

"I did tell you to clean your bedroom over a week ago, didn't I?" Splinter asked, smirk never faltering.

"Ahahaha…" Mikey laughed nervously rubbing the back of his neck. "Of course. My room, completely clean, spotless just like you said…" The orange masked turtle took a few steps backwards before spinning around and darting out of the room completely. "Gotta go!"

Splinter shook his head but his smile only faded when he realized both Leonardo and Raphael were still arguing.

"That's it!" Raph decided suddenly as he pulled his sais out of his belt. "I'm done talking to ya Leo, now we settle this my way! Come on!" The larger turtle challenged.

"We always do it your way Raph." Leo replied, now sounding tired and frustrated. "It always leads to this, but nothing ever gets settled." The blue masked turtle shook his head. "I'm tired of this Raph, and I don't know what else to do…"

Splinter's brow creased, something in his eldest son's tone grabbing his attention.

"Well I know what I'm gonna do! Come on!" Raph poised himself in a fighting stance waiting for his brother to pull out his swords. But instead Leo just stared at him, his sapphire blue eyes narrowed and focused, for a moment Raphael truly believed his brother was going to fight him. But after a moment whatever emotion Raph saw in his brother's eyes vanished replaced with something much softer and dejected.

Leo, the fearless leader, the mighty protector, all around Mr. Perfect, looked utterly defeated.

"No." The word slipped past Leo's lips hollow and empty. "No Raph. I'm not doing this, not anymore." Raph's eyes widened as Leo's shoulders slumped, his once sharp blue eyes looking tired and vacant. "I'm tired of this. I'm tired of trying to work things out with you and having it blow up in my face every time. You obviously don't want my help, you've made that clear. So I'm going to stop."

"Stop?" Raph echoed, panic and fear mingling in his chest at his brother's solemn tone. The two emotions naturally making him angrier. "What do you mean stop?! Stop being our leader?! Are ya gonna just run away?!" Raph's grip on his sais tightened to an extreme.

"Of course not." Leo replied in that same dead tone Raph had already come to hate. He didn't like it. Hearing and seeing Leo look so… defeated. It wasn't like Fearless at all. "I'm not going to neglect my responsibilities, I'm just going to stop doing this with you. I'm not going to talk to you, I'm not going to try and help you in any way, and I won't order you around on missions anymore. I'm not going to do anything with you anymore."

"W-What the shell?" Raph muttered in confusion.

"I'm done fighting with you Raph and I'm done trying to reason with you. I'm done being mad at you and I'm done trying to help you. I'm done with you." Leo finished, his tone revealing just how serious he was.

"D-Done with me?" Raph's heart was pounding hard and loud, so loud that he didn't even notice his own stutter. "What'ya mean you're done with me?"

"It means just what I said." Leo answered calmly. "I'm done with you Raph." Without any more explanation Leo turned his back to the red masked turtle and walked away.

"W-Wait! Ya can't just decide that outta the blue!" Raph called after the leader but Leo didn't stop. "HEY! Do you hear me! Ya can't just walk away like this! LEO!" Raph yelled at his brother's shrinking shell until Leo's form disappeared completely in the dark hallway. "ARRRRGGGG! FINE!" The largest ninja turtle turned to his master and only present brother. "If he doesn't want anything to do with me than fine!" Turning back to the empty hallway he yelled, "I DON'T NEED HIM!" And with that Raphael pushed his sais back into his belt and stormed away grumbling angrily under his breath.

Donnie stood frozen for a moment his hazel eyes the size of saucers. "Ummm, Master Splinter? What just happened?"

"It would seem Leonardo has made up his mind on this matter." The large rat answered soberly looking down at his son.

"Y-You don't think he was serious about all that do you?" Donnie asked, alarm written on his olive green face. "Leo w-wouldn't really…"

"He seemed very serious to me." Splinter cut off his apprentice calmly but solemnly.

"B-But…" Donnie stuttered.

"THERE!" Mikey's excited voice echoed through the hallway before the lime green turtle came running back into the living room. "There," The freckled turtle panted lightly. "Bedroom all cleaned and spotless, just like you told me." Mikey reported with an innocent grin. Master Splinter and Donatello only stared at the youngest turtle.

Mikey blinked. "What?"

"For now I think it would be best if we did not interfere with Leonardo's decision." Splinter continued ignoring his youngest son's question. "He and Raphael must resolve this problem on their own."

"Yes Master Splinter." Donnie agreed softly.

"Um, yeah, right." Mikey nodded still looking dumbfounded.

"Goodnight my sons." The ninja master bowed his head, his sons mimicking him before he turned and retired to his room.

"Ummmmm," Mikey said at length after their master had left. "Why do I get the feeling I missed something important?"

Soooooo, whatcha think? Any good? I hope you enjoyed this chapter cause there's a lot more to come! As I said before advice and feedback are always welcomed and appreciated so please drop a review! See ya next time!