"Leonardo, we need to talk." Samuel staggered over to his son, swaying on his feet.
Leo could smell the alcohol radiating from his father's breath. He decided to be as patient as possible. "What is it, dad?"
"You know how you said that you would get your grade in social studies up by today?" He smiled, revealing a row of crooked, yellowed teeth.
Leo was confused, he had never said that. "Dad, I don't remember..."
"Shut up, you useless ******" Samuel yelled. He backhanded Leo across the face, sending him crashing into his desk.
Leo shook his head and brought a hand up to his cheek where he could feel a nasty bruise forming. The pain was the least of his problems. His father had hit him. His father had called him the cruelest of names, but had never physically harmed him.
"You never brought the grade up. You're such a failure. It was smart of you to give your money to those lousy ***** next door, they'd actually use it for something useful. Not save it up for something that will never happen." His father sneered before kicking Leo in the ribs.
Leo cried out and curled himself in a tight ball of protection, defending his head and neck the most. The tears streamed down his face as his father spat out insult after heart wrenching insult.
"Useless runt... idiot... retard... Worthless piece of garbage... waste of space and time... mistake... not my son."
The last one shattered Leo's broken heart. He curled up tighter and stayed that way long after his father had staggered out of his room.
Leo slowly opened his eyes and looked to his digital alarm clock. It read 2:54 a.m.
dragged his feet to the bathroom and slumped against the door. His
shoulders were racked with silent sobs. He slowly looked on the
counter. There sat a pair of scissors that his dad used to cut his hair.
Leo had heard talk that it was relief. He knew a couple kids at school did it. He always thought it was a sign of not knowing what to do and having no hope. But at that moment he saw it as a way out of the pain.
He grabbed the scissors and slowly ran it across his skin. It left a small red line, he did it three more times before stopping. As tears slipped onto his wrist, he thought back to the time his dad hadn't been drinking.
Five year old Leo ran across the yard and into his father's open arms. "Hi there squirt!" Samuel ruffled Leo's hair.
"Hi daddy!" Leo fluffed his father's hair back.
Samuel chuckled lightly. "Son, I love you, no matter what."
"I know, daddy, you tell me that everyday. So does mommy." Leo giggled.
Leo felt more tears roll down his face. He looked down at the angry red cuts he had inflicted and immediately cleaned them out, the guilt and reality of what he had done was sinking in.
Leo realized that it had made things worse. That it wasn't relief, but quite the opposite.
"What have I done?" He murmured.
Leo woke up half way on his bed. He looked down at his left wrist. Even though he had barely gone through the skin, the marks were obvious. A calling card.
Leo pulled a long sleeve shirt over his head and looked in the mirror. It hid them well.
His thoughts then drifted to his ninjutsu classes. How was he supposed to hide them then? He would get really hot in long sleeves. He recalled his loose long sleeve work out shirt and put it in his training bag along with his other training gear.
Leo rushed out of the house without waking Samuel. The moment he opened the door, he saw Raph sitting there waiting for him.
"Hey, Leo!" Raph called, jumping up from the curb.
"Hi," Leo gave his best smile to avoid any suspicion from Raph. Then he saw Raph staring at his long sleeves.
"Dude, it's about 83 degrees out, why are you in long sleeves?" Raph laughed, eyebrow cocked.
"I ran out of other shirts," Leo was relieved that he had come up with a decent excuse so he didn't stumble over his words.
But with every small lie that came out his mouth, more guilt built up in his chest. He could feel it weighing him down. He wanted to tell Raph, but just didn't know how.
Raph nodded, seeming convinced before speaking up again, "You want to come over to do homework after school?"
"Yes!" Leo said, a little too excitedly. He'd give anything not to go back to his house.
"Ok, if you insist." Raph said jokingly as they boarded the bus.
After a long day of school, Raph, Leo, Mikey, and Don all headed to the dojo. They stepped into the bathroom to get out of their school clothes.
Leo looked down at his wrist... the small scrapes had began to scab over. He pulled the shirt over his head and checked the sleeves. They covered the small cuts.
He walked out and began to stretch out with Raph, Don and Mikey.
Splinter walked in a couple moments later. "Hello, students," he greeted them warmly. Nodding in approval at them warming up.
After warming up and being taught a few new katas, it was time for a small sparring match without weapons.
"Donatello, Michaelangelo, you will spar each other. Raphael, you will spar Leonardo. Go easier on him." Splinter said.
Leo and Raph approached each other.
Raph charged Leo and Leo stepped aside, letting Raph stumble before regaining his balance. Raph tackled Leo with a low growl and pinned him down. In the midst of that, Leo's shirt sleeve had rolled up... revealing four small red lines that had begun to fade.
Raph stared at the lines for a minute when the full reality hit him. Leo saw the change in his expression and followed Raph's eyes.
Leo panicked, knowing Raph knew. He threw the red head off himself and ran into the bathroom before breaking down into quiet sobs.
'Why did I do this to myself?' He thought sadly.