Somebody to Lean On

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The Truth Behind the Pain


Raph sat in the hospital bed next to Leo's. Leo was asleep and his arm was in a full cast and sling.

Angel burst in through the door and hugged her son. "Raph, I was so worried! The doctors said you would have to stay the night and feared the worst."

"No, mom. That's just for inspection." Raph said.

"I know, Raph. I was just so scared." Raph's mom began to sob.

"I know. I was too." Raph murmured.

"Will he be okay?" Angel brought her sad gaze over to Leo's still form.

"I think so, physically, at least. Mentally, I'm not so sure." Raph sighed.

Abruptly, Angel felt a buzz in her pocket she pulled out her vibrating phone. She answered it to be met with two loud and frantic voices.

"It's for you," Angel handed the phone to her son.

"Hello?"

'Raph! Oh thank you for answering! What happened? It's all over the news!' Don's voice came through the speaker.

"What part?" Raph muttered.

'It says that a man, Samuel Itami, was drunk and abused his son. Then his son's friend came over and the father beat both of them. They ran over to the son's friend's house where the man broke in and held them at gun point when the police arrived. Then it said that both boy's are in the hospital! Neither you or Leo answered your phones, and after what happened earlier, what happened?'

'**** you, media' Raph thought.

'Are you and Leo okay?' Mikey's tear filled voice came through the speaker.

"Um, how would you define okay?" Raph knew he was just delaying the truth.

'You and Leo are fine and it was some other families under the names of Itami and Jones.' Don replied.

"Alright, we're in the hospital next to that nice pizza place, Anthony's. Leo has a broken arm and his dad is nowhere to be found. I have a couple lightly bruised ribs. For your information, Samuel never held us at gun point." Raph explained.

He could hear muffled gasps before Mikey's voice came through, "we're coming."

...

Leo felt as though a truck ran over him five times as he drifted into consciousness.

A blurry, well built and red- headed boy came into his line of sight.

"Rph?" He mumbled.

"Leo! Oh finally, are you okay?" Raph seemed flustered and relieved at the same time.

"What happened?" Leo was more confused as his eyes focused on a hospital room.

Raph froze. The doctors said Leo's medicine would make him drowsy and disoriented.

Leo's eyes widened a moment later and turned from confused to in complete and utter sadness.

Raph knew that Leo had just remembered the past few hours.

"He really crossed the line, didn't he?" Leo asked.

"Leo, he crossed that line the moment he took a drink of beer." Raph said sympathetically.

"Now that you know this, Raph, you may as well know the whole story," Leo said.

/flashback/

5 year old Leo and his dad were playing catch in the backyard.

"Come on, squirt, at least try to get the ball to me!" Samuel joked.

Leo giggled and tossed the ball to his father.

"That's better, Leo." His father knelt down on his knees and spread his arm out. That was Leo and his father's sign for 'piggyback'

Leo leaped into his father's firm arms.

"I will always love you, do you hear me?" Samuel ruffled his light son's hair.

"I know, daddy, you tell me that every day. So does mommy." Leo said, ruffling his father's hair back.

Suddenly, the phone rang from inside the house.

"I'll get it, squirt, you practice your throwing." Samuel set Leo down and walked inside.

/end flashback/

Leo paused at his last happy memory. A lone tear fell down his cheek.

"You and yer dad were really close, weren't you?" Raph asked.

Leo nodded before continuing.

/cont. flashback/

Leo threw the ball at his target when his father came out, tears were streaming down his face.

"Leo, your mother was in a car crash. She's hurt, but doctors are going to make her better. For now, lets go see her." Samuel lifted Leo on his shoulder and began to walk to the car.

"Daddy, if the doctors are going to make her better, why are you crying?" Leo asked.

"Because I'm concerned for her. She'll be fine, but I love her and I don't want her hurt."

"Like the time I broke my arm?" Leo asked.

"Yes, Leo, like that." Samuel drove to the hospital with Leo.

They made it to the front desk.

"I'm sorry, sir, she's in the ICU right now. You'll be able to see her in a while. The doctor will come in with a full report in a couple minutes, please wait." The woman at the desk gave a sympathies smile to the five year old boy.

"Daddy, what did she say?" Leo asked as they sat down.

"Mommy's being helped right now, but she'll be fine." Samuel plastered a brave smile on to hide the true fear that clenched his heart.

Five minutes later, a doctor came back. He smiled sadly at Leo before turning to Samuel.

"Well, sir, I'm truly sorry. We did everything we could do, but the impact damaged her brain too much. She lost all her memory. Other than that, she had damage to her spinal chord, she will never be able to move properly. She will be permanently color blind in one eye and fully blind in the other. There was nothing much to do." He said solemnly.

"Can we see her?" Samuel asked quietly.

"Yes, but she's currently in a coma. It is likely she will come out of the coma in two weeks."

Samuel led Leo to a room. They opened the door to find Venus deathly pale. Her face was laced with stitches and her neck was in a brace. The heart monster pulsing at a slow rate.

"Where's mommy?" Leo asked, confused on why they were in this person's room.

Samuel chocked back a sob. "This is mommy, Leo."

"Why won't she say hi?" Leo asked, tears filling his eyes.

"She's asleep." Samuel replied.

"Like grandma and grandpa?" Leo asked.

"No, your mommy will wake up." Samuel gave his son's shoulder a squeeze.

/end flashback/

Raph sat there, contemplating what he had heard.

"So... your mother died? Is that why?" Raph was careful to place his words so not to hurt Leo.

"No, not exactly... but when she did wake up, she was as good as dead to my dad..."

/flashback cont./

Samuel and Leo sat by Venus for the twelfth day in a row.

"Will she ever wake up, daddy?" Leo asked.

"Yes, Leo, she will."

As if on cue, Venus began to stir.

Her eyes fluttered open.

"Mommy!" Leo cried out happily and ran to his mom.

"Who are you?" Venus asked, confused.

"What do you mean, I'm your son! You know!" Leo was shocked.

"I'm sorry, I don't remember you." Venus said.

"Mommy! Stop playing around! This isn't funny!" Leo began to cry.

"Look, I'm really confused, but I don't remember you, all I know is that my neck hurts and everything is grey." Venus looked distraught at the sobbing boy.

Leo turned to his father, "Daddy, you lied! You said this was mommy! You said she would be fine! This isn't my mommy! And she isn't fine!" Leo screamed before running out of the room.

Samuel stood there, tears were streaming down his face.

"I'll be back, Venus." Samuel said, before chasing after his son.

...

As Leo ran through the hallways of the hospital he slammed into a doctor.

"Woah, there son, what's wrong?" The doctor put his hands on Leo's shaking shoulders.

"My... daddy... lied... lady... not my... mommy." Leo sobbed into the doctor's chest.

Samuel ran down the hallway to his son,

"Leonardo, I'm sorry, I didn't want to tell you. I didn't want you to hurt." Samuel apologized.

"Are you the father?" The doctor asked.

"Yes, that's me," Samuel sighed.

"Please tell me what happened."

After Samuel explained, the doctor led Leo and his father into Venus' room.

Venus stared at the doctor with a dreamy look in her eyes.

"Venus, this is Leo, your son, and Samuel, your husband." The doctor explained.

/end flashback/

Raph had tears in his own eyes.

"Oh, Leo. I'm so sorry."

"It's okay, it's in the past. It's what happened after mom got better that led to my dad... drinking." Leo chocked on the last word.

/flashback cont./

After Venus had recovered from the general injuries, she began physical therapy with the same doctor Leo ran into. His name was Chaplin.

By the time the therapy ended, Leo was 7 and understood a lot more.

Then that day came. It shattered Leo's already broken world.

It was the day Venus told Samuel she didn't love him anymore.

"I'm sorry, Samuel, it's just that... I'm in love with Chaplin. We can still stay in touch." Venus explained, seeing the broken look that crossed her former husband's face.

Venus moved in with Chaplin and Samuel never spoke with Venus again. Samuel never cured his broken heart. Venus never could let go of her guilt.

Then Samuel came home drunk one night. He had been looking for a way out of the pain and ended up at a local bar. Leo found his father pounding on the door at 3:00 a.m.

From then on, Samuel would go out and drink. And every year, on the day of heartbreak, he would always take an extra shot, an extra bottle, an extra puff on the cigarette.

Every time Samuel would return home, drunk. He'd have no control. In the morning, he wouldn't remember a thing.

When Leo was 10, there were no 'in the mornings' his father would always be drunk, he always carried a full shot canister in his pocket along with a pack of cigarettes.

Then the abuse started. Leo would be called name after painful name.

Leo knew his father never truly meant it. He knew his father was still in pain and had no control.

He was never angry at Samuel. Not once.

/end flashback/

"I still don't blame him. He made a mistake, but I forgave him... it's just along the way I learned to fear him. For 6 years I was called idiot, retard, stupid, useless... the list goes on. It got to me and I gave up on my college dream. That's why I gave you the money. I lost it though, when he actually hit me. That was when... you know." Leo sighed.

"Oh, Leo. I'm so sorry, I really am. I wish I could've helped sooner." Raph was crying almost as hard as Leo.

Raph reached over and clasped his best friends hand. Then they fell into a dreamless sleep.

...

Ten minutes later, Don and Mikey burst into the room.

"Leo! Raph! And... they're asleep." Mikey said before turning to leave.

"Not anymore," Leo muttered.

"Yeah, don't you guys have the decency to knock?!" Raph sat up groggily.

"Uh... sorry," Don looked just as embarrassed as Mikey.

"You guys can stay here overnight, if you want. We'll talk about the stuff tomorrow." Leo said.

Don and Mikey pulled chairs together and they all fell asleep.


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