Take a Breath
Take a Breath
"All you need to do is breathe"
It all started when I was out with my brothers on a training run. My brothers and I ran to the docks for a break. Mikey and Donnie were out of breath panting heavily while Raph was berating me for making Mikey and Donnie as tired as they were. I didn't debate with Raph this time because of the splitting headache I already had because of a fight with him earlier in the day. I furrowed my burrow trying to block Raph's voice for a bit but then my sixth sense got the best of me. The same with Raph both of us turned our attention to the docks to see the Purple Dragons unloading crates from a ship. Raph and I gathered Donnie and Mikey and we traveled by shadows to the ship. I went to the ship to see what they were unloading while my brothers went to see what was happening with the crates. I needed time for myself for my headache and also to get my brothers to understand why I was pushing them so hard. I walked onto the ship and watch the Purple Dragons bringing in the last crate to the warehouse. I signaled to my brothers through our shell cells about what was happening then I moved onto the shipping crate. I opened the shipping crate to find it empty but a long cable running along it the top and to a hidden hatch to the ship. I called Donnie in on the shell cell to tell him about what I found.
My brothers were going to come join me in a few minutes so I decide to follow the cable and see what it was connected to. Using the edge of my blade I pried the panel off the ship and with wide eyes I called my brothers and yelled at them.
"GUY GET OUT OF HERE THE SHIP HAS A BOMB ON IT!"
"What!?" Raph yelled at me.
The bomb was ticking down and I was about to run away and leave it there but I looked around the ship to see innocent people working late on the dock near the ship. Calling my brothers again I asked Donnie how far the blast from the bomb would be. I described the bomb to him and took a picture to help him out.
"Leo you need to leave now that bomb will take out the whole ship and send everything flying for miles." Donnie stated.
"What about the other people here?" I asked.
"Leo there is nothing we can do you need to get out of there now!" Donnie yelled.
"Yeah Leo we can't save all lives." Raph added.
"No we can't abandon those people because we want to live." I shouted back.
"Leo what are you doing" shouted Donnie
"Leo don't make me come there and drag you away!" Raph added.
"Please Leo you need to leave" pleaded Mikey.
I ignored my brother's calls and took other panels around the bomb off with my blades. The bomb was in a bag I carefully took the bag into my hands and carried it to the edge of the ship. I looked down at the timer and it read 00:15. I was about to throw it into the water and run when I heard my name being called. I turned my head to see my brothers standing on the ship panting heavily.
I looked at the timer to see only five seconds left. I didn't think of nothing else but my brother's safety so I jumped with the bag in my hands into the water as it detonated. The last thing I remember was the sound of my brothers calling my name.
Gasping I sit straight up from my bed. Sweat rolled off my forehead and onto my blanket and hands that were tightly clenched in a fist. I rubbed my eyes with my hands. Standing up on wobbly legs I got my balance and walked out of my room and into the bathroom. The lair was silent and the air was heavy. Entering the bathroom I turned on the sink I washed my hot face with the sink's cold water. I stared at myself in the reflection of the mirror. Dark circles under my eyes I wondered what was happening to myself.
But I knew this was punishment for my actions. This nightmare always came when I failed to protect my brothers from the dangers of everything.
I walked into the lair to find myself surrounded by water. Just like always I could breathe find. I swam to my brother's rooms to see them once again empty. I wished this nightmare would end so that I could return the torture of reality. I didn't understand it but when I entered my room it was fine, no water or signs of anyone being in there. I took my swords and blue bandana and tied them to my person. But something was different this time.
The nightmare would always have my family behind me yelling.
"Why didn't you save us?"
"I thought you were perfect so why aren't you doing something?"
"Why are you such a disappointment?"
But this time it had nothing. I decided to walk out of room to see if they were out there waiting for me this time. As I made my way out of my room the door shined a bright light at me forcing me to cover my eyes until the light dimmed down.
Now I was outside on the streets of New York. Location water tower of the first defeat of the Shredder. I looked around to see if anyone was there the sounds of footsteps signaled me to take my blades out but when I went to reach them they were gone. The sound of the footsteps pounded in my head making me cover my ears with my hands. Watching from the corner of my eyes I could tell from the metal shoes who it was.
"Shredder" I muttered under my breath.
"Hello Leonardo. I've come to talk to you." Shredder said.
"Yeah right do you really want me to believe that, you think I'm that stupid?" I yelled back the pounding in my head was growing louder and more frequent.
"If you want the pounding to stop come with me." The Shredder said turning around and jumping down from the ledge of the building. I didn't want to follow him but the sound of the pound in my head was growing more and more painful. With my hands still covering my head I followed the Shredder down to the streets. But as I fell I was engulfed by a bright light when I opened my eyes I was in the lair once again with the Shredder in his regular attire.
"Leonardo do you remember the time I asked you to join me and you refused?" Saki asked.
"Yeah you lied to me and my master opened my eyes to who you really are" I said.
"Come see what would have happened if you agreed to my offer. I think your family and friends will explain everything for me." Saki said with a smirk.
The training area changed to complete nothingness to my father and brothers practicing with their weapons. But what surprised me the most was the fact my brothers were doing it with no arguments or fighting.
"Good job my sons now it's time for you to rest." Splinter said.
My brothers bowed.
Splinter stood up and walked into his room while my brothers stood there laughing and joking around.
"Man Raph that was a good training session." Mikey said.
"Yeah I don't think I've been that focused into my training since we were kids. You really are a great leader." Donnie added.
"Thanks Donnie. I had to do something. After you know who left and joined the Shredder I needed to step up and be a better big brother than he could ever be. Now come on let's watch a movie." Raph said.
"Yes. I get to pick it this time." Mikey said running into the living room.
Raph and Donnie rolled their eyes but followed the fun loving Mikey to the living room.
"Do you not see Leonardo that your brothers and father would have been better off without you?" Saki asked.
I didn't know what to believe was this real would my brothers really be happy without me.
"Come if you don't believe me then watch this." Saki said snapping his fingers the world swirled and transform to April apartment.
I watched April leaning over the counter reading a magazine with Casey moving boxes behind her.
"Hey babe where does this one go?" Casey asked.
"Over there by the display case near the door." April answered.
Casey moved the boxes over to the display case. Walking back over to April Casey through his arm over April's shoulders and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"So how are we feeling?" Casey asked.
"Good" April said placing her hands on her swollen stomach. "I can't believe I'm six months pregnant."
"Me neither I'm glad we did this." Casey said placing his hand over April's hand that was on his stomach.
"We better get back to work the guys are coming over for dinner." April said.
"Yeah, yeah I'm glad I found out who we could trust and who was really a snake in the grass." Casey added.
"If you stayed with me my soldiers wouldn't have attacked you and destroyed her shop. Look how great life is without you there." Saki said.
I watched sadly from the sidelines my friend's laughing and bringing a new life into the world. Would this really of happened if I wasn't there?
"Come there is one more place we need to go." Saki said.
The world once again changed and we were in the Shredder's headquarters.
A different version of Saki was sitting at his desk writing on some documents.
A knocking noise echoed the large empty room.
"Enter" Saki said.
The doors opened slowly to revel me dressed in a foot soldier uniform without the hood.
"Master Shredder I have a report for you." I said.
"Come Leonardo tell me how was the 'run' you went on last night?" Saki asked.
"Well Master I was able to take care of business and remind them why they run over your order." I said.
"Good. You may leave me now Leonardo." Saki said.
I bowed my head and was able to leave when Saki said, "Wait"
I stopped quickly and turned around to see Saki standing up and walking over to me.
"Leonardo tonight is the night that we must send the sheep to the slaughter." Saki said.
"Yes Master I do believe it's time." I said.
The world changed to me walking into April's shop the place was covered with blood spread over everything. I was dripping head to toe with blood, in my left hand I had my blade out with the tip dripping blood into a small pool under my feet with my other hand I was writing a message to them to come get me. Walking out of the store the view changed and I could see the bodies of April and Casey spread out. Casey was on the ground with his mouth hanging open and April was still on her stool with her body on the counter.
The world changed and I was standing on the rooftop with the water tower. I was waiting still covered in blood for them. The pounding of footsteps rushing to me grew louder and louder until in the moonlight I could see them filled with rage.
"Hello brothers." I said with a smirk.
"Don't you dare call us brothers!" Raph yelled.
"Yeah after what you did to us, sensei, Casey and April you don't deserve to call us anything." Donnie added.
Mikey had bloodshot eyes and wet tear marks on his mask asked me, "Leo how could you do that to April and Casey they were our friends."
I stared at my former brothers and said, "Because my master asked me to. That's why."
Raph charged at me with his sai pointed straight at my heart.
"You'll pay for that" he roared.
I took out my swords and we clashed. Donnie and Mikey joined in and we all fought. But my brothers still forget at times that I will always be better than them. Now that I have studied under Master Saki I knew more techniques than before.
From the sidelines I watched in horror was I merciless decapitated my brothers and smiled the whole time. I watched as their bodies fell to the ground and when the battle was over I started to the play in the blood and write a message to my Master. The foot soldiers that were tailing me saw this message and went to report to Master about what I did. Leaving the bodies of my brothers I went home to finish the job.
I entered the lair and was greeted by my former master sitting on his knees almost like he was waiting for me.
I walked into the room soaked in the blood of my brothers and friends with my sword in my hands. I raised it to his throat to see what he would do. He did nothing.
"Leonardo if you must then you must. I wish to die from your blade if I have today."
"Fine" I said.
I took the handle of my blade into my hands and swung it at his throat. I made sure he could see that it was the same blade that took his former master's life. The blade I used today took the lives of my former family and friends lives. As the head fell to the ground and the body collapsed I started to mindlessly laugh.
I could watch anymore of it and covered my ears and eyes trying to get away from the horror of my life if I joined the Foot. The pounding in my head grew louder and louder because I was now blocking the world around me. But what startled me was the faint voice in the back of my mind.
I looked up and said "What?"
I turned to the Shredder to see him laughing at me in the same way as I was when I killed my father.
"Don't you see Leonardo I've been distracting you from what you should have really be focusing on?"
"Dear God now I understand"
The pounding was someone trying to save me. The yelling are my brothers.
"You're too late Leonardo you're too far gone."
Leo please come back to us
Leo please we need you. I need you.
I turned to the Shredder and stood up yelling at him
"No! It's never too late. My brothers and I have a bond that can never be broken. I need my brothers just like they need me. We may fight at times but we still love each other. My nightmares are just that nightmares of my insecurities to live up to the high expectations I set for myself. I love my brothers and they love me. We need each other so I will never give up!"
The world around me twist and turned changing and swirling around me, Saki was disappearing and screaming at me "You'll regret this!" I didn't care all I want to do now is see my brothers. Focusing all my attention to the sound of my brother's voices I closed my eyes and waited.
I coughed and slowly opened my eyes. Mikey had my head cradled in his arms with tears rolling off his cheeks and falling onto my face.
"Leo your back!" Mikey shouted.
Donnie was panting heavily and reach over to me and held me tightly in his arms sobbing into the crook of my neck my name. My eyes wondered over to Raph who had his back turned to me with his shoulders shaking.
"Raph?" I called out weakly.
Raph turned to look at me with tears falling out of his eyes and down his cheeks.
"Leo" Raph whispered. Donnie got off me and rubbing the tears out of his eyes. Raph quickly took his place and cried his heart out in the crook of my neck. Saying "I'm sorry" over and over.
"I called April and Casey they'll be here with Master Splinter and the van." Donnie said.
I tried to stand but my body and brothers protested.
"Leo you been technically dead for ten minutes. The bomb blew you into the ship and you hit your head. Thank God you threw the bomb away from you seconds before it blew up. Raph carried your body to the shore and we've been working on bringing you back to us."
"Leo did you see anything?" Mikey asked me.
I shook my head no. I didn't want to share what I saw but Raph and Donnie knew I was just saying that so Mikey didn't have nightmares.
April and Casey arrived quickly with the truck. Raph and Donnie help me into the van and onto the stretcher inside. Mikey decided to drive and Master Splinter sat in the passenger seat waiting to hear what happened. I was too tried to say anything and fell right back to sleep until the next day when I woke up back in the lair in my room surrounded by my brother's sleeping forms.
I looked down at my hand to see Raph was holding onto it tightly in his grip. I didn't think I could shake it off so I left it alone and went back to sleep. I didn't dream of an empty lair or me underwater but of my family and friends together laughing and enjoying each other's time. Raph and I weren't fight but enjoying each other's time.
"I love you Leo." Raph said.
"I love you too." I said.
I woke up to someone shaking my shoulders. Slowly opening my eyes I turned my head to the side to see Raph staring at me. Donnie and Mikey were both still asleep with Klunk on Mikey's plastron.
"Hey" Raph whispered.
"Hey" I replied.
"Want to tell me about what you saw?" Raph asked.
I shrugged my shoulders saying "If you want to hear it."
"When you're ready." Raph said.
I told Raph slowly what I saw in my nightmare when I was close to death. Raph squeezed my hand tighter and tighter as the nightmare got worse and worse. When I stopped everything was silent.
I turned my head back to Raph.
"You know that was dream right?" Raph asked.
"Yeah I know it was just too real at times. I wondered if you guys really didn't need me" I admitted.
Raph stared at me serious.
"Leo you don't know what I would have really done if you tried to join the Shredder. I would have done everything I could to keep you here and show you why you matter to us. To me. Leo I love you as much as a brother could that my world would have stopped if you left us. It was bad enough thinking you were dead but you live but now our enemy trying to kill us would have drove me nuts. Never forget Leo we need you much more than you need us."
"Raph" tears threaten to leave both of our eyes.
"I love you too Raph. I love you all so much that I need you guys in my life. So I guess we all need each other."
Raph and I broke out in a small laughing fit.
Raph never let go of my hand that morning and I did the same.
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