The Greatest Hurt (A TMNT Oneshot)

What started out as just a normal evening patrol ends in an emotionally painful battle for Leonardo.

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1. The Greatest Hurt (A TMNT Oneshot)

 

Leonardo stopped and glanced back over his right shoulder. Had he heard something just now? He listened carefully to everything around him on the rooftop, as Master Splinter had taught him, but heard nothing. He warily turned back and began walking again.

This time he sensed that someone was there, and he pulled his katanas from their sheaths as he spun around to greet his enemy head-on. Metal crashed into metal, and Leo suddenly found himself face-to-face with Karai.

Memories hurled themselves at him before he could put up the wall to stop them. Meeting her for the first time. His brothers and April telling him to stay away from her. Shaking her hand. Staring into her enraged eyes after he betrayed her trust.

Telling Raphael he was over her, when he totally wasn’t.

Still, she had made it very clear that they were enemies. Leo shoved her back and took a ready stance, one sword at eye level. Karai stared coolly at him, a hint of a smirk on her lips.

“Hey, Leo,” she said.

Leo frowned. “Karai.”

“Nice night.”

“I hadn’t noticed.”

What was she doing? Leo wondered. She obviously hated him now – why wasn’t she attacking him? He took a few slow steps away from her and glanced around to determine his position. There wasn’t much cover up here, being a roof. Just the door that led into the apartments below. He took note of what street he was on and did the math. His brothers were waiting for him just a few blocks away. He could run for it and get some backup, but he didn’t want to seem cowardly.

Karai lifted her blade and began moving to her right. Leo matched her pace, and they began to circle one another.

“What are you doing out here alone?” she asked him casually. Her brown eyes searched him, probing for a weak spot. He wouldn’t give her the chance.

He lunged for her, swinging both swords towards hers. Again the clang of steel echoed in the stillness as the two enemies snarled at each other.

“How long have you been following me?” Leo demanded.

“You don’t know? I thought you were smarter than that.”

Leo swung one of his swords at her head. She ducked and rolled out of the way, slashing her own katana through the air towards his exposed side. He jumped aside and again their swords met.

“Where are your brothers, Leo?” Karai asked, smirking.

“None of your business.”

“Oh, come on.” She leaned in a little closer. “I want to see them, too.”

A spark of anger shot through him. He shoved her away again and began attacking more fiercely this time, trying to send a message. She countered and dodged each one with ease until she eventually decided to break the pattern. Karai rolled to one side and did a couple of flips so that she was directly behind Leo. Before he could react she had aimed her sword and swung. This time the steel of her katana hit its mark, Leo cried out, and the sword in his right hand clattered on the rooftop. His upper arm began to trickle a small but steady stream of blood.

Next Karai aimed a roundhouse kick at his back, throwing him to the ground. He caught himself and rolled over onto his carapace, startled to see the tip of her blade aimed at his throat.

“Where are your brothers?” she demanded. This wasn’t playful banter anymore.

Leo scowled. “Stay away from them.”

“Or what?” she chuckled, moving the tip closer. It brushed his chin. “You’re in no position to be making threats.”

“I told you,” he replied calmly, ignoring the growing pain in his arm. He scooted himself back a little, but she followed his every move like a hawk. “If you come after them, I’ll come after you.”

“I’m terrified.” She pushed him back against the edge of the roof and held the tip just inches away from him, observing him quietly. After a few moments of contemplation she smiled. “They are close, aren’t they?”

Leo didn’t answer.

Karai didn’t move her blade any further. Leo waited. Nothing happened. Finally he said, “Well, what are you waiting for?”

She lifted her eyes only slightly, smirked, and removed her katana from his throat to defend herself against an attacker who hadn’t been there a moment before.

A flash of red and green told Leo it was Raphael, and he watched as he fought Karai as if she were the worst creature on the face of the earth.

“Leo, are you all right?”

Leo felt a hand on his shoulder and he winced as Donnie knelt beside him to examine the wound.

“I’m fine,” he muttered.

“Dude, it’s Karai,” Mikey said as he came to stand on Leo’s other side, his weapons at the ready in case Raph needed him. “We haven’t seen her for months.”

“How did you guys know where I was?” Leo asked, glancing back at Donnie, who was now pulling some supplies out of his satchel.

“We heard you yell,” Mikey answered instead.

“Then we heard the fighting,” Donnie added.

Leo grimaced as his brother began to wrap the wound in gauze. There wasn’t much pain; he was more upset about having let his guard down around Karai. Again.

There was a shout, and when Leo glanced up he saw Raph had knocked Karai’s katana from her hands and was about to go for the final blow. Without thinking Leo snatched one of his own swords up and raced towards them, ignoring Donnie’s protests behind him.

This time when metal crashed, it was Raph’s sai on Leo’s sword. He stood beside Karai, his sword above her, protecting her from his brother’s rage. The gauze on his shoulder was falling off, as Donnie hadn’t had a chance to secure it.

“What are you doing, Leo?” Raph demanded, his eyes burning jade fire. “Why are you protecting her?”

There was a long pause as Raph glared at Leo, Leo gazed calmly at Raph, and Karai lay on the ground watching the two of them in silence.

Finally, in a voice so soft Raph almost didn’t hear it, Leo said, “Let her go.”

Raph frowned, watching Leo carefully for a few moments. When he realized he was serious, Raph sighed and let up on Leo’s katana, stepping back a few paces. “You’re the boss.”

Leo glanced down at Karai and took her in for a moment – her multicolored hair, her brown eyes...and the uniform she wore. An imitation of the Shredder. He narrowed his eyes at her. “Go.”

Angry and humiliated at having been rescued by her worst enemy, Karai retrieved her sword and aimed it at Leo once again. Only this time, each of his brothers pulled out their weapons and stood by him, ready to fight together.

Finally deciding that it wasn’t worth it this time, Karai sheathed her weapon, put her mask on, and leapt from the rooftop, leaving the turtles behind.

Leo watched her go, oblivious to the voices of his brothers asking him if he was hurt, what had happened, what did she want. All he could think about was how he had come so close once before, so close to gaining her trust and possibly her friendship. Now she was running back to her father, away from him.

And that hurt more than any physical injury.  

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