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Leonardo's Secrets

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“Leo!” Mikey shouted with his hands cupped over his face, willing his voice to carry through the entire sewers of New York in hopes of it bringing his brother to him.

Leonardo promised to hang out with him at eight o’clock, and it was currently one minute passed said time.

Michelangelo strolled through the lair, first checking Leonardo’s room, then the kitchen, then the living room, and then the base floor where they skated. He finally went to the training room where he saw a familiar face, but not the one he was searching for.

He watched Raphael dodge a blow from his assailant, moving to land a punch on his sparring partner, but Franken-Foot blocked the hit.

Mikey approached them, staying far enough away to not end up in the line of fire. “Hey, Raph, have you seen Leo?”

“No, why?” At Raph’s distraction, Franken-Foot knocked him to the ground with one heavy sucker punch. Mikey hissed sympathetically as the paper ninja apologized with their body language for being too rough, reaching a hand out to assist him. As always, Raph took the hit like a champ, stood up, and was prepared for another round.

Mikey cleared his throat to get his attention back. “Leo promised to be my muse, my afflatus, the centerpiece of my next masterpiece.” At Raph’s confused look, he simply said with a shrug, “you wouldn’t get it, it’s an artist thing.”

He framed his hands to mimic a photograph, squaring Raphael in the center of his imaginary image. As large and perfect of a canvas Raph would be, he had other ideas swirling in his creative mind that involved a certain older brother who promised to hang out with him on time. Leonardo’s shell was not going to paint itself. “Do you know where he is?”

“No, sorry, Mikey,” Raph’s apology was genuine as he turned to him, “I haven’t seen him for-” he cut himself off. He looked over to the clock, then down to his fingers, and counted all three on one hand. “Three hours. Give or take. Said something about going up top for a bit and coming back with pizza.”

“Three hours?!” Michelangelo threw his hands in the air. “He’s been gone for three hours- he knows he promised to hang out!” Michael would not forgive him if he flaked, not at all, as gentle and forgiving as he was. Unless- “do you think he’s okay?”

“It’s Leo, of course he’s fine” Raph assured, as though Leonardo was the most capable adolescent turtle around, but then the uncertainty kicked in, realizing that maybe he was not correct in his first assumption. “Maybe go ask Donnie if he’s seen him though, he could’ve come back.”

Following Raphael’s advice, Michelangelo waved a casual goodbye before turning and leaving to reach his next destination.

“Donnie, hey!” He greeted as he entered his brother’s room and strolled up behind him, watching as he played some kind of computer game. Donatello silently clicked away at commands and moved the mouse around without giving a response at first, so he spoke again, leaning in much closer. “Have you seen Leo?”

Donatello jumped and spared a fraction of a glance to him before looking back at the computer.

“Who?” the inquiry came, then after a few beats, “right, the one clad in blue that messes with my stuff.”

“I’m kind of getting worried about him. Raph says he’s been gone for three hours.”

“He’s fine,” Donnie assured much too quickly, unconcerned.

“Do you know where he could be? I need him for my project.” Mikey leaned onto the back of his seat, his head above Donatello’s as he played the game. Donnie let out a small “yess!” of victory before swiveling in his chair to face him, causing Mikey to stumble back in surprise.

“Of course I know where he is, what kind of brother would I be if I didn’t plant tracking chips in each of your cellular devices? I can track any location you all are at during any given time. Terms and conditions like cross dimensions and what not do not apply.”

“You mean, you can track everything?” He asked warily.

“Everything. I have chosen to ignore it most of the time, given privacy and personal space, buuut, I could not help but notice a few patterns when I looked.”

Oh no. Some things did not need to be known, some things like-

“Yes, Mikey,” the disappointed look Donnie sent him made his eyes drag to the ground, ashamed of his secret being exposed in the open, “I know that you sneak out to get pizza for yourself once a week without sharing with your oh-so loving brothers.”

“But worry not!” Donnie shot a finger in the air with a hint of a smile. “Your secret’s safe with me.” His eyes were on the computer again, turning and clicking away at buttons until a map showed up on the screen with four blinking dots, three clustered so closely together they almost merged, the fourth was further away.

“It seems he did not go far. He’s somewhere near the park out east. Might I ask why you didn’t just text him?”

“He’s not replying.”

Donnie shrugged, taking a brief moment of contemplation before saying, “sometimes he hangs out at the outskirts of the city as well. It’s not abnormal for him to leave people on “read,” he quoted with his fingers, “for awhile. Believe me.”

“What does he do?”

“Not my business,” another shrug. “By following the patterns of his movement, he appears to be outside quite often, surprisingly. Not that I look often,” the last statement was tacked on like an excuse for his suspicious snooping.

Donatello held out his hand. “Now, give me your phone. I’ll upload his location to it.”

Michelangelo obliged, holding out his phone for him to take. Donatello plugged it into his computer and got to work on adding Leonardo’s location.

“And done! If there is a problem, which I doubt there is, call Raph and I immediately, but there won’t be.”

“Thanks, Dee!” He took his phone back, and snatched one of the chocolates he noticed on his desk, laying innocently for anyone to take.

“Anything for you, Mikey.” Donatello waved his hand dismissively, eyes once more glued to the screen, but one of the claws from his battle shell extended to pat him on the head. “Now go go, I have my work to get back to. This dragon won't slay itself.”

As he left the room, he heard the faint, indignant cry of “Mikey!”

He ate the deliciously sweet chocolate in one bite. A crime well committed.

Michelangelo jumped from roof to roof topside, occasionally checking his phone. From what it said, he should be right around where Leo was. 

When he looked up, he finally saw him, sitting on the other side of the roof, the vast expanse of the city outstretched beneath him.

“There you are!” He called out, running up to him from the side. Puzzled, he leaned forward to look down at him from an angle, expecting a response when nothing came.

“Uh, Leo? Helloo?” He waved a hand in front of Leonardo, but the attempt to ruse him by a visual queue was left in vain. His eyes were closed while he breathed in a slow, rhythmic tune. A small hum of protest was the only indication that his presence was acknowledged.

He recognized that posture from somewhere before, he had caught glimpses of Splinter occasionally sitting in such a position, but never for too long before complaining that it “never works.”

“Leo!” He shouted, taking his shoulders in his hands and shaking him.

Leonardo startled, crying out in surprise and falling backwards, pulling himself away from Michelangelo. “Mikey?! What are you doing here?! How did you find me?!” The questions tripped over each other, frantic and confused.

“Uh, duh, you made a promise to me, and I’m hunting you down by any means necessary to make sure you fulfill it.”

Leo cleared his throat, “oh right, right right, it’s that time already?”

“Yes! It’s eight-thirty!”

“Oh,” Leonardo winced, guilt crossing his face, “I’m sorry, Mikey. We can do that stuff right now.”

He watched him with a puzzled gaze, unable to hold back the thought as it came to mind. “Were you just-” he found it hard to say- to question, really what he was about to say felt maybe just a little uncharacteristic of his brother- “meditating?” 

For a fleeting moment, he looked uncomfortable, embarrassed even, hands fidgeting with each other, eyes never quite meeting Mikey’s, but then the signature confident smirk settled right where it was supposed to be. “No, no! Of course not,” he scoffed, standing up. “Why would I do something like that? Meditation is boring.”

“Okay,” he said, not entirely believing him, but not wanting to argue. “Just make sure you don’t forget about our promise next time, Leo. You know I have a tight schedule,” he did not, “lots of adoring fans are waiting for my next masterpiece.”

“Uh-huh.” Leo hummed with a nod that was not all that convinced. “Well, then what are we waiting for, take us home, Miguel.”

 


 

“Leo, hurry up, or we’re going to be late!” Donatello could hear Mikey shouting from across the lair. He rolled his eyes as Leo shouted back at him, his voice resonating from the kitchen nearby, but loud enough that he may as well have been screaming in his ear.

“Coming! Don’t rush ahead without me!” Donatello strolled around the corner, only to slam into Leonardo, said troublesome sibling knocking him over and landing on top of him.

“Leo!” he complained, separating from him and standing up, huffing as he dusted himself off. “I’ll have you-”

“Sorry, Dee,” Leonardo shot up on his feet again, running past him and waving a hand while his form disappeared around another corner, “gotta go, I’ll make it up to you later!”

More than likely, Leonardo would not make up for it later. 

He sighed and went into the kitchen to make lunch.

Lunch was an ordinary routine that he carried out, a simple sandwich tended to do the trick when no one else was cooking, or when the others were outside of the lair.

Nay, what was out of the ordinary was Donatello stumbling over something hard as he left the kitchen.

He looked downward to the culprit that caused his imbalance. “What’s this?” He lifted the object.

A blue cover akin to Leonardo’s sash looked up at him with innocence, golden borders that curved and turned intricately resided at the corners. The hard exterior would have been a piece of art alone, had the edges not been worn and ripped from so much use. He ran his fingers over the cover, feeling the small rough bumps on the surface.

“It must be one of Leo’s books,” he mused aloud. He must have dropped it when they fell.

Now the only question was if he should be the mature, responsible brother he very clearly was- as he was more responsible than all of the others combined- and return the book without a single page touched. Leonardo’s book.

Donatello chuckled to himself, a borderline devious laugh, patting the cover of the book as he returned to his room.

It was time to do a little reading.

He relaxed at his desk and opened the book, greeted by a worn page of writing filled in blue ink.

I will raise my blade.

In love of my family.

I will stand for them.

-Leonardo

Donatello could only snort in disbelief at the haiku that lay open on his desk, written by none other than Leonardo himself. It must have just been something he wrote on a whim. He flipped through a few pages, and quickly realized that this was not just any book, it was a notebook.

A notebook that was no ordinary diary, but entirely written in poems. Sonnets, haikus, free verse, ballads, and much more far and between, with a few short stories. It was nearly full.

Curious, he read through the poems and short stories of family and love, of adventures and enemies, of heights and fears, of wise meanings in life and uncertainties of what it may bring.

These works were marvelous. Donatello found himself captivated by each poem and story. Whenever he was not working on his tech or the turtle tank, or hanging out with his brothers, he was reading.

He had nearly forgotten that Leonardo was the author of this masterpiece.

Donatello had held onto the book, just for a little longer, a few days, tops- before he promised himself to deposit it right back onto Leonardo’s desk where it belonged.

Things never went as planned, as he should have assumed, Leonardo had caught him red (or in this case, purple, if one wanted to say) handed before he had the chance to return it.

Donatello had been leaning against the turtle tank, taking a break from working on fixing one of his most prized pieces of work, reading through a few poems when said owner strolled into the room.

He closed the book as he heard him approach, able to distinguish the steps of each of his brothers, Leonardo’s being steady, yet light.

“What do you want, Leo? I’m kind of busy.” He was not entirely busy for the moment, but he planned to continue his work. He did not want Leonardo distracting him. “So unless you plan to help me with my work, or tell me that one of our other brothers have gotten into yet another situation of complete chaos, I’m not interested.”

Leonardo was about to say something, but then his eyes drifted to the object in his hands.

Oh.

Oh.

Donatello neglected the one fatal mistake of actually forgetting that this was Leonardo’s book.

“My book!” Leo snatched it from his hands, frantically flipping through each page, eyes darting around for any sign of a single tear or added symbol. “I’ve been looking everywhere for it! What were you doing with it?” He asked suspiciously, holding it a little closer to himself.

“Uh, nothing, as you can already tell by the lack of marks on it. I took the uttermost care of your precious book, ‘Nardo, whatever happens to it now is your fault and yours alone.”

“Did you-” he paused, then asked warily, “read it?”

He raised a tall brow at the statement. Leonardo was not one for showing anything aside from arrogant confidence, and with a single sweep of his gaze, he appeared, anxious, in a subtle way. His eyes did not meet Donatello’s when they always did, he was not leaning casually, but instead stood rigid, fingers curling a little tighter around the book.

Leonardo wanted to hear him say “no.” Clearly.

He sighed heavily, deciding that perhaps honesty, on this one occasion, was the best route to go with over something so personal. With reluctance, he admitted it with a nod. “Yes, I did.” Then, with a small smile, he added, “I was unaware you were invested in the fine arts of writing. Vocally, you have the intelligence of say, a meerkat, but in your mind, your writing-”

“Whoa, whoa, slow down there, Donnie,” Leonardo cut him off before he could say anything else. “Who said anything about it being my writing?” He said casually, strolling over to his side and leaning against him, propping an elbow on his shoulder. “You really think I’d sit around and do that kind of stuff when I could be reading Jupiter Jim or kicking butt with you guys? I think not.”

He was all confidence again, eyes meeting his own in a challenge, as though daring a jab at him as they often did with each other. Donatello narrowed his own gaze, unashamed of the suspicion he directed at him. He wanted to argue. “But- each poem has your signature. Are you claiming that you’ve plagiarized countless creative works?”

A clearly loved book, fancy signatures, and poems that spoke much too close to home, seemingly from Leonardo’s heart. Not to mention the relief in his eyes when he saw the book physically present in Donatello’s hands and not somewhere entirely lost in the city of New York, a plausible outcome. No, he did not believe him.

“I wouldn’t call them creative- but yes. I just copy them when I’m like- really- I mean really bored and have nothing else to do. Don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal, Don, I don’t know why you’re trying to make a big deal out of it.”

He scoffed. “ I’m not the one making a big deal out of it, Leo,” he said pointedly, shrugging him from his shoulder.

“Uh, you obviously are, besides,” Leonardo turned and began to walk away. “Poetry is boring,” he said with a shrug, as though rolling a dearly loved hobby from his shoulders was so easy.

With a troubled frown, Donatello watched Leonardo as he left.

 


 

Raphael noticed it happening- maybe a week or so ago. He would be minding his own business, crossing paths with Leonardo’s room as he strolled around the lair. From inside the room, he could hear the faint buzzing of a portal being activated.

At first, he thought that maybe Leo was just trying to practice with the thing. Then, he realized that after he heard the noise, he would not see Leo around for at least an hour afterwards.

In reality, he had no idea how long Leonardo had been doing it for. At what point should Raph start to get worried about his little bro? 

That was concerning right? Leaving without saying anything, potentially going missing.

After three weeks of silent suffering, thoughts of Leonardo getting himself into trouble, concerns of him doing something dangerous sticking to his mind like superglue, he decided that he did not want to risk it anymore. 

Leonardo went through another portal in his room. Said brother turned around, looking left to right, surveying his surroundings in a way that made Raph stand on edge with worry. He watched as he slunk into it, and before it disappeared, he leaped through it.

Raphael was spat out on the other side, ungracefully colliding with the ground and slamming into the lush dirt and grass. The portal blinked away, and he was left to spit out a little dirt that got in his mouth.

He quickly looked around, sighing with relief when he noticed that a very angry Leo was thankfully not looming over him. 

Would Leo get mad at him for this? Maybe he should just leave it be.

But what if he had gotten himself involved with something bad? Leo could get hurt, he had to to check it out, just to make sure.

Distantly, he heard laughter fill the air.

Raphael hid inside a large bush when he heard the noise, looking towards a yard a few feet away. He saw an old woman, talking eagerly to Leo with a warm smile that reflected many years of love and warmth, a grandmother at heart. Leo put on a sunhat that she offered him along with a pair of gloves.

“You’re so charming, young blue,” her voice was faint, but he could make it out like a whisper in the distance.

Leo’s voice, however, was much louder, and carried throughout the forest behind him,  “it’s just one of the many great things about me.” He winked at her and she giggled as she gestured to the garden that was her backyard.

 “I think all of the plants need some water.”

“Right,” Leonardo replied, grabbing the hose from the back of the house and messing with the dial on the end of it. “With this kind of heat, believe me, I’d want to be watered if I was a plant.”

She laughed again. “You remember how to take care of the garden, yes? Just as I taught you?”

“Don’t worry your cute little granny head, I’ve got this.”

“Alright, you have fun now.”

“I will!” Leonardo grinned joyously as she left him, turning back to tend to the garden.

Raphael watched him water the backyard, pick and pull at weeds, tend to each plant with care, the entire time with a relaxed smile on his face and a near constant humming of a tune in his mind.

Leo liked gardening? He wondered how Leo out of all four of them would be the one to find enjoyment from it the most. It felt more like a Mikey thing.

He realized that Leonardo was in no immediate threat, in fact, he was doing absolutely nothing that could possibly be dangerous or reckless, he was the opposite, he was safe and sound with some old lady who probably offered him lemonade with a warm dinner on a daily basis.

Okay, so maybe he was overreacting a bit. Maybe it was time to leave Leonardo in his own privacy before he was noticed. The lair must not be that far from here, right?

He took a few steps before the humming from the garden stopped. “Wait a minute,” he froze in place, “Raph?! What are you doing here?!”

He turned around and slowly approached the yard, wringing his hands together nervously. This was not a good situation. He stood outside the fence, and Leo stood in front of him on the other side, frowning, clearly annoyed. “I- uh- I could ask you the same thing.”

“I’m here because I came here alone, not to snoop on my brother, which is totally what you’re doing, isn’t it?” The accusation hurt, despite it being true.

“I was worried,” he argued.

“You could’ve asked,” he shot back. “Raph, you are way too overprotective sometimes.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because this is my business.”

“No, not that- not exactly.” He awkwardly rubbed at the back of his neck. “I mean, why didn’t you tell me you liked gardening. They have community gardens, at night, we could’ve-”

Leonardo laughed, forced and loud, cutting him off. “Oh no no, you thought- I’m not doing this because I’m having fun, I’m doing this for Mrs. Granny inside.”

At Raphael’s baffled expression, he further elaborated, which kinda sounded like defensive ranting to him. “Think of the old lady! I have to help her, as the “nice young boy” she calls me. I can’t just let her tend to this nightmare of a garden alone, she needs help! I, Leonardo, would not be doing this without obligation, think about it, gardening is boring.”

“Young blue!” The old woman called from inside the home, opening the screen door with a tray in hand. “I brought you some lemonade,” bingo, lemonade, “and if you're almost done, I’m sure Bethy would like to see you.”

“Bethy? Oh, she’s got a dog? Or is it a cat?” Raphael spoke eagerly, excited to catch a glimpse of an animal in the home.

A blush bloomed all the way down to Leonardo’s neck as he choked on air. A weird response to his question.

The old woman stood beside Leo, staring up at Raphael’s large form with an expression of awe. If it were not for the tray she held, he was certain she would have adjusted her glasses as though she saw him incorrectly.

“My, my, you look strong. Is this one of your brothers, young blue?”

“Yes, and I think it’s about time he went home.” Leonardo reached for the odachi sheathed on his person, eyes filled with intent to create a portal beneath him as soon as possible. He paused, however, when she lifted a frail hand to shush him, balancing the tray in one hand. Leo kindly took it from her before she dropped it.

“Nonsense, there’s plenty of lemonade for everyone. If only the other two were here.” She turned and gestured for them to follow. “Both of you, come inside.”

He had to duck to make it inside the door and squeeze through the hall, careful not to scratch anything nearby with his shell. 

He stood in the living room like a rigid statue. Leonardo set the lemonade down on the coffee table before flopping on the couch and making himself at home.

Raphael looked around, searching for Bethy, but frowned when no animal appeared in his immediate vision. “Uh, excuse me, but is Bethy around?” He asked the old woman as she grabbed another glass for Raphael from the kitchen.

“Bethy’s in here, I can grab her for you.”

“Raph, please don’t,” Leonardo begged, and Raphael turned back to him with a confused look.

“What’s wrong, Leo? I just want to see her.”

Leonardo chewed at his lip, looking down towards the ground.

“Here she is,” Raphael turned to face the woman to see the animal in her hands.

But there was no animal, just a tiny little- tree? Raph had no idea that trees could even get that small. “Uh, ma’am, that’s a tree, I think?”

“But of course it is, it is a bonsai tree. Young Blue has not told you they’re his favorite? He’s always so passionate about plants, but he just loves shaping and tending to Bethy. He told me that he wants to have an entire collection of bonsai someday, but he cannot have them where he lives. There is not enough sunlight, so Bethy stays here with me.” She leaned in a little closer. “Did you know he even talks to her?”

Raphael tried not to snort. He knew by now that the woman had a heart of gold, but she had unintentionally overshared much information that Leo seemed to want to keep a secret, judging by how his face was buried in his hands, groaning loudly.

He had a hard time understanding why he was so upset with this. Raphael always jumped into things before thinking of a complex plan really, Donatello’s helmet made him realize that, but that method always tended to work. That did not work for this situation.

He watched Leo, how he never really looked at Raphael or to the plant in the woman’s hands. He looked, ashamed, or maybe embarrassed, fingers now curling around his arms as he hugged himself. He still could not figure out why Leo was acting like this over some plants.

Gardening is boring , Leonardo’s statement echoed in his mind. But didn’t the woman say that he loved plants?

He held out his hands and carefully took Bethy from the lady’s arms. “Leo,” the attention of said turtle snapped up to him as he sat down beside his brother, couch bending and straining from the added weight, “tell me a little more about Bethy. I don’t really know much about plants, but she’s a really cute looking tree.”

“You’re not gonna- laugh- or make fun of me?” He asked warily.

“No- well I mean, it is kinda weird that you talk to her, but that’s your thing- but no. Why would I do that?”

He still appeared uncertain.

“There’s nothing wrong with you liking plants, Leo,” he finally said, hoping that the conclusion that came to his mind was the right one. “Why don’t you tell me about Bethy? Only if you want to.”

Relief fell over Raphael as Leo’s casual smile returned, genuine, and eager to speak. He was glad he had figured out what was bothering him.

They stayed until the late evening, and Raphael had learned more about plants than ever before, he even helped Leonardo with some gardening.

 


 

Leonardo strolled into the kitchen after a morning shared with the nice old woman he frequently snuck off to see, and maybe use her to tend to her garden. Not that he did not love the lady, she was almost on Todd levels of good. Almost.

He dished up a plate of food that Mikey and Raph had worked on together, sitting down next to the latter while his other two brothers sat across from him at the table.

Dad must have slept in again, so it was only them.

He was about halfway through lunch when he noticed how oddly quiet the table was. Granted, he started a lot of conversations, but it was weird to not hear Mikey talk, or Donnie complain about some post he saw online, or Raph mention what was on their schedule for the day.

Then, he noticed, they kept staring at him, then looking between each other, silently exchanging words and sharing the same thoughts like some kind of hivemind.

“Uh, is there something on my face?”

Donnie cleared his throat and looked to Mikey. Mikey shrugged and looked to Raph with uncertainty.

“So, Leo, did you see your room?” Raph asked.

Leonardo quirked a brow. “Uh yes, I see it every day?”

“No, I mean, did you see it before you came in?”

“I did not.”

“Well, Donnie and I changed a couple of things in it.”

“Raph and I changed the lamp on your desk to create artificial light so that you may bring “Bethy” down you if you desire. I would have gone for a name like William or Einstein, but it's not my plant.” Donatello shrugged.

“You told him about Bethy?!” Leonardo shouted in surprise, nearly standing from his seat.

“I couldn’t help it, she doesn’t deserve to be separated from you like this,” Raph defended, distressed for the plant on his behalf. “That poor plant, all alone on the windowsill.”

“And while they did that, I cleared out a spot in the lair just for you so you could meditate whenever you want, in both comfort, and style!” Mikey spoke up eagerly. “And you won’t have an excuse to flake on me anymore.”

“Mikey, you-“ he was unable to say anything before he was cut off again by Donatello.

“I have some great news as well, ‘Nardo. I have seen the potential of your talent, and I wish to beta-read all of your work and publish it if you so desire, thank you, and you’re welcome.”

“Publish- what?! Guys, you did all of that for me?” He asked in disbelief. 

“Yeah, you bet we did,” Mikey nodded proudly.

“You don’t seem to be jumping for joy like I thought you would, actually you seem a little upset again,” Raphael fidgeted nervously as he spoke.

“You guys invaded my privacy! Of course I’m upset! You,” he pointed to Donatello, “reading my very personal book,” then to Raph, “and you, following me without asking! Not to mention going in my room. At least Mikey had an excuse, he texted me! That’s totally not cool guys! You don’t get to have your own secrets and then see all of my own.”

Raphael raised his hands in a placid manner. “Leo, I’m sorry we invaded your personal space. It’s not that we’re trying to find out every single secret about you. We didn’t mean to-“

“I did,” Donnie cut in.

“I didn’t mean to, but I did, and I’m sorry.”

Donnie frowned and added, “me too.”

“We’re just sad that you felt like you had to keep all of this a secret from us when you don’t have to,” Raph said.

“But I’m supposed to be the cool face guy, not the guy that likes boring stuff.” Leonardo gestured to himself. He frowned, his gaze just below them as he added, “and I guess I thought you guys would make fun of me for it.”

Donatello crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, brows furrowed in a troubled manner, Leonardo’s words sinking in for him to reflect. “We all have a habit of throwing verbal jabs to one another, but there are many lines we do not cross.”

“And who cares if it’s uncool or not, we’ll always love you, Leo, boring or not. Besides, none of what you do is lame.” Mikey maneuvered around the table and hugged him close, followed by Raph, who nearly lifted them off of the ground. Donnie even joined in after some hesitation, attempting to hug all three of them.

“You’ll always be the coolest, Leo,” Mikey assured.

“I was under the impression he was not cool to begin with,” Donnie teased, a verbal jab, as he described moments ago.

Leonardo was hesitant before he relaxed into the hug, getting comfortable.

He had been so worried that they would make fun of him for his interests, that it would ruin his facade he had carved into a stone wall, he never thought about how they might actually react.

Maybe he could risk being a little more “boring” around his brothers. Of course, Jupiter Jim, skateboarding, and pizza always came as a priority, but now he could sit in the living room and write away in his notebook without a worry.

The thought elated some of the weight on his shoulders, letting him rest comfortably in his brothers’ arms.