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Revisiting by: MicaTurtle 

Leo was there, waiting at the exact time. His heart was still beating with fear that he would be discovered leaving the lair. When he snuck out at midnight, on the tips of his toes, watching for the slightest sound, he was no longer "Fearless" at all.

He was no longer a leader, either. Leaving behind his all his family and his clan. It was just for a night; he told himself each time. A night, twice a week.

But when the worst was over, his heart could beat with excitement. He was going to see her, and this time it wasn't about strategies or her needing help.

She had suggested just hanging out together, and it looked like ... a date.

He, Hamato Leonardo, an almost 18-year-old mutant, was going to have a date! And with the most fearless kunoichi ever.

It was something that made him so happy that he would love to have yelled it from the top of the Empire State Building. Unfortunately, he couldn't. He couldn't even boast about it to Raph either.

Because she was the forbidden fruit, and all of his family would be either mad or disappointed with him.

But why, as she had pointed out, couldn't he take something for just him once in his life? So, he did it. Meeting her, when all of his family members were sleeping, twice a week.

All the rest of his time was dedicated to his Master and brothers. Leo was an excellent son and good brother. A kind and helpful friend to April and Casey. He tried to do good things all the time, acting like a real hero.

Each time he risked his life and told her afterward, she smiled, her amber eyes mocking him:

"Such a good boy..."

But he didn't feel it was a good "good" coming from Karai.

Leo was a hero to his Master, his brothers, and his friends. He would be considered a hero by all the city of New York's citizens if they knew about him. Even his enemies seemed to find that Leonardo was bad-ass and worthy to be feared.

Even Karai's supposed father, The Shredder, considered Leo his most dangerous enemy.

But for her, he was just a kind-hearted moron.

And here he was, waiting for Karai. Even if the last time he had sworn never to come back to her. He was tired of hiding his T-Phone, looking at it non-stop and then quickly erasing the proof. Moreover, the morning following their rendezvous, he had to wake as early as usual, as not to raise suspicion, even if he had only slept three hours.

But tonight, it was supposed to be different. So maybe he was a moron, but he was there because he wanted so badly to believe her.

"Not even going to greet me or anything?" Karai sneered and he startled, turning to face her.

She seemed to believe he was ignoring her on purpose, not that he, the great ninja, had been snuck up on. So he tried to play it off like a cool guy. "Sorry, I was in deep in thought about our next mission."

"Our? Do you mean you and me as 'us'?"

Leo flushed. He wasn't sure was the best answer to that. He was afraid Karai would be outraged he dared talk about "us" as an item. So, he awkwardly explained it was about his brothers.

"Oh." was her only reply. Leo didn't need to focus on her aura to see that Karai was pissed off. However, he knew enough not to say that to her. And asking her about it would just make her deny it and anger her further. Women were so complicated! Even the most high level, complicated kata was more natural than talking to Karai. When Leo stood with his sword in his hand, he could deal with whatever could happen. But, Karai was far more unpredictable than a Kraangs attack.

Leo considered it more prudent to change the subject.

"So, what about tonight? You had an idea in your mind?" he questioned, in a voice that he hoped would sound smooth.

"And you, did you have an idea in your mind?" she mocked and Leo turned his head away so that she wouldn’t see the flush of his cheeks. The truth was that yes, despite his efforts to not think about it, Leo couldn’t dismiss an idea: making love.

He knew it was impossible and therefore pointless, but it all had started a few months after his first meeting with the kunoichi. It was spring, and Leo was tossing and turning in his bed uneasily. After a few nights, he had noticed that his three brothers were showing the same weary and uncomfortable demeanor. Master Splinter had noticed as well and asked Donatello to give them the TALK about birds and bees. Of course, Donnie did what he could. He couldn't look into any previous studies, textbooks, or websites to talk about the mating seasons of mutant turtles. But after two years, Donnie had studied the phenomenon enough to know that they weren't in a real mating season. It was basically 90% just normal male teenage hormones combining with and multiplied by the 10% male turtle mating instincts. So, they were good, kind of. None of them would go all in rampage instinct mode on April or whatever female. It was just double hard to control themselves for these few weeks. Leo could manage it. He was strong.

Raph and Mikey were the worst, taking all the hot water for their endless masturbation sessions. It was easier for them because they had no crushes to fancy on. So, focusing on a non-specific girl was easy. They could think of anybody! But Leo was caught between a rock and a hard place, literally! Thinking about Karai seemed disrespectful, and not thinking about her disloyal.

He didn't dare ask Donnie about his issues with that. About how he managed to not go insane not thinking about April. In fact, he didn't talk to anyone about it: his siblings would call him a moron, too.

So, Leo had two formidable ambidextrous wrists but could do nothing with them.

But, here he was, on a hot night of the end of May. Face to face with the girl of his dreams, trying to tame a hard-on. In her tight armor, with her small and fleshy lips like a beautiful ripe plum. Her satiny skin and her short hair ruffled by the wind. She was so gorgeous. April said Karai's makeup was excruciatingly ugly, but Karai wasn’t like April. She was completely a woman, completely kunoichi, and much too different for April to understand her. But it's not like Leo could explain it to their redheaded friend. She would be pissed at him, and he had enough to handle with one volatile girl.

"I don't know? Hide and seek?" he proposed in a relaxed tone. When he and his brothers wanted to have fun, that was something they did. There were a lot of ways to spice up a hide and seek night.

Then, just as he should have expected, she burst into laughter. "Hide and seek? Are you 6? I was thinking more about going to my place and maybe...I don't know... having some sex."

At this, Leo froze like a deer in front of the lights of an eighteen wheeler on the highway. Karai was smiling too much. It must have been a joke. He had to find something funny to reply with. Leo coughed a little, mustering up a firm voice. "Oh yeah? Lead the way then. I'm curious to see where a rebel like you lives."

Yes, it was a perfect answer. Not eager, just curious and as if hadn't heard the sex part. As if it wasn’t important at all. Like sex wasn’t the focus of all his lonely nights for the last two years straight.

Karai didn't seem fooled by his cool guy act but didn't comment on it.

"Follow me," she said and Leo, after a brief thought about that was maybe a trap, followed. Yes, he wanted badly to trust Karai, but he wasn't so stupidly blinded by her as to not bring his swords with him, even for their rendezvous.

They jumped and ran for about 4 miles only, before she dropped down from the rooftops to slide onto a metal balcony, opening the window. "It's here, but let it be understood Leonardo, this place is for your eyes only, and only if I've invited you beforehand." Leo nodded seriously, stepping over the window frame.

It wasn't a trap at all. The apartment really looked like the one of a young punk woman, or whatever the name of Karai's style was, with a lot of Japanese inspiration. The living room was cozy and decorated with Asian horror movie posters. The bookshelf was full, and Leo went first to that rather than the beautiful katanas hanging on the wall. He already knew the girl's passion for blades. It was what they had in common, but knowing what she liked read could tell him a lot about the soul of the kunoichi he admired.

“What kind of music do you like?” she asked, bending over her iPod and the speaker.

Leo felt embarrassed and on the spot. He really only listened to the music Mikey played in the den. His brother was the musical expert in their family. Leo knew neither artists nor songs. It wasn’t like he could go to a concert or ask a DJ. Blushing, Leo admitted his ignorance, saying he was only able to hum some songs.

Of course, she looked disappointed, but she tried again and asked him: “Well, hum something, then. I won’t be in the silence all night”

Suddenly, the only songs he could remember were slow love songs. Karai was going to misunderstand his intentions and believe he hoped to slow dance pressed against her in order to get to having sex quicker. Courting woman was a battle and he must be prepared to go at it slow and steady. If he rushed her it would spoil everything. Of course, that was assuming that he even had a chance with her, something that he doubted.

But she was waiting for something, so he started the first song that came to him. It was the only song that he knew the lyric for sure and he began it lowly:

You'll never know how much I really love you

You'll never know how much I really care

Listen do you want to know a secret

Do you promise not to tell woh woh woh closer

Let me whisper in your ear

Say the words you long to hear

I'm in love with you oo

He stopped himself, many rhymes too late, blushing red with embarrassment.

Then, someone he'd never seen before occurred - Karai looked uncomfortable or intimidated. She interrupted him: "You really have a jazz singer voice, Leo. But never mind, I'm not a big fan of The Beatles. I'll put on something else."

She seemed nervous and chose a song randomly then said: "I'm going to go make some popcorn. You can choose a movie meanwhile. Do you want something to drink?"

Leo nodded and asked for a glass of tap water while listening carefully to the lyrics of the songs chosen by Karai. It was a part of Karai's life, an intimate glimpse into her, and Leo wanted to know everything about the kunoichi of his dreams. Music brought souls closer together, he had read it somewhere, and maybe they could discuss it later. He needed to expand his musical culture because it seemed important to her. Having chosen a movie whose poster already adorned the living-room wall, He was therefore satisfied to have made a wise choice. He sat very straight on the sofa, hands on his knees, listening to the words. Then, his heart sank -

I want you to notice

When I'm not around

You're so fuckin' special

I wish I was special

But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo.

What the hell am I doing here?

I don't belong here.

Was that what Karai thought of him? A creep having nothing to do with her? Don’t belong to her? Was it some kind of message to tell him to leave her alone?

But he remained straight on the couch, without moving, even his hands, holding back his tears with all his might.

Karai came back into the room with a bowl of popcorn and complained loudly about his choice of movie. "I have already seen this one a thousand times."

"Sorry," Leo commented coldly, "This is my first time here."

“Why are you so worked up about all of sudden?” Karai snapped.

“I’m not.” Leonardo denied.

"Well, if it is so important to you, I can watch it again!", she yielded but in a sulky voice.

"Don't go to that trouble; I'm leaving."

At that Karai seemed genuinely confused

"Did we really just argue about a damn movie like an old married couple, and then you just randomly decided to leave?" she asked, incredulous.

Leo, who had already stood up, stopped and thought for a moment. Maybe indeed, Karai chose the song randomly, or only for the melody, which was, he could admit, rather stirring. Maybe there was nothing meant to be insulting to him in the lyrics and he was reading too much into it for no reason.

“Karai..." he began, sitting back down next to her, "it's kind of complicated. You know that I know almost nothing about the trendy things on the surface... and I don’t know you very well either, so...”

"I understand, you're like a virgin, I mean, virgin about everything." Her green eyes shone with irony. "but I'm sure there are things you have... studied. You’re such a boy scout, ready for anything, right?" Leo wondered if there was an innuendo here. He guessed that yes since Karai loved teasing him or making him uncomfortable.

“But maybe I’m wrong about your innocence and you've already done all sorts of nasty things with your brothers.”

Leo spat out the water in his mouth and turned sharply towards the kunoichi: "What are you talking about?"

"You know what I mean. Four male teens together, alone, add in some animal instincts..." Karai's expression became dreamy, then greedy, "Don't be a prude. You know what I'm talking about. I saw your brother looking at you in a horny way.”

"My brother?" Leo repeated incredulously, not having the tiniest idea what Karai was talking about.

"Yes, you know, a guy, green, with three fingers and a shell, does ninjutsu." she mocked as if it was indeed a good joke.

"What I mean is, which one?" he asked, curious despite himself. He knew it was just silly talk, but he wanted to know how far she would push the joke.

"Oh God! You really don't know? Well, I'm not telling you! His eyes are all over you, and I feel so much pity for him!" she sneered.

Leo was shocked and somewhat annoyed. Her taunting was ridiculous. Even if she was sincere, it was probably some made-up scenario in her head about nothing, mistaking he and his brothers' strong brotherly bond. It was undoubtedly not Donnie. Donatello was far too into April and wasn't affectionate at all with his brother. Anyway, why was he even thinking of it seriously? It was slanderous, and he had to put an end to it.

"Karai, you have to read too much yaoi manga."

She rolled her golden eyes. "Whatever," she replied disdainfully, "let's watch this movie."

The name of the movie was “In the Realm of the Senses” and Leo had never seen such an erotic movie. Watching pornographic scenes with his crush seated right next to him was pure torture. Keeping the popcorn bowl on his lap by necessity, he managed to stay still with a neutral face. However, by the end of the movie he just wanted to run away, in order to shorten his suffering. Anyway, it was already past 3 AM and he had to go back before his disappearance was noticed.

Karai didn’t object to his departure, especially at this late hour and asked: "Why don't you kiss me- goodbye?"

Leo wasn’t sure at all about this. Trap? Joke? What was it? He wasn’t sure but he knew that the kunoichi would probably make fun of him no matter which decision he made. However, he decided to be bold for once. To try to seem to have some control over something with her for once. He took her by the waist and approached fearlessly, then raised her chin with his finger to put his lips on hers gently, making a light contact then pulling away quickly.

Karai seemed surprised: "Is this the kind of kiss you give me after such a movie?"

Leo frowned. What did that mean? He had thought he was daring, but had also been trying to stay within limits for a first date. And he had enjoyed the kiss. Or he would have if she hadn’t been so sarcastic about it.

Karai waved her hand dismissively "Whatever, go see your brother. Maybe he could give you some kissing lessons."

Leo flushed with anger. Again, with this stupid thing? He found this accusation degrading. Karai had spoken of animal instinct and this whole stupid fantasy she had about him and his brother, and it made it seem as if she denigrated all the work he was doing to stay in check. Recalling the earlier song, he used the lyrics to bid his goodbye to her - "What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here.”

Without waiting for her answer, he stepped over the windowsill and swore again. This was the last time he came to her call.

Leo couldn't sleep. The memory of what had happened earlier, as well as the natural heat he felt because of that damn month of May, prevented him from getting even a few hours of needed rest. When his alarm clock rang, he felt like he had just closed his eyes. It was probably the case.

He couldn't stay in bed, he told himself, and anyway, a cold shower would do him good, looking down with exhausted eyes on his morning wood. He tried not to meet anyone in the hallway and slipped into the bathroom.

The icy water did him good. His erection fell, and it woke him up completely. Shivering, he rubbed himself with his towel and paused for a moment as he wiped the water flowing from his skull. Approaching the mirror, he touched his lips with his finger.

His lips had rested on Karai's. He studied his reflection for a long time, wondering if his sin was apparent. He knew that by 18 years old, kissing a girl wasn't bad in itself. But it became so when the girl in question was from the enemy clan, and his father and Master forbade him from seeing her in particular.

Leonardo had the highest respect for Master Splinter, but he couldn't obey this order in spite of himself. For more than two months, he had seen Karai secretly and for the moment, no one suspected anything. Leo prayed that it would stay that way, because if he guessed correctly, his Master's anger would be terrible. Leo didn't mind physical pain or more chores or whatever punishment his father could choose to give him. What he feared was the disappointment in his Master's eyes, and the looks of disgust and contempt in those of his brothers.

Nobody could understand, even Donnie! Donatello was okay; he could drool about April and look like a fool as his heart's content. April was their faithful and loyal friend. Courting her wasn't a betrayal, just stupidity. But Leo was both: a silly traitor. And being the leader, folly was twice as grave. He shouldn't be leading his brothers in battle and be giving them orders when he couldn't lead his own heart and follow his own Master's command.

Leo was such a failure. Worse, he was an impostor, but nobody is allowed to know. If his sibling knew that they risked their lives for such a hypocritical bastard, he would lose their love and respect forever.

He looked at his reflection again with a critical eye, trying to imagine the adorable face of the kunoichi leaning towards his. Karai's waist was as tiny as a butterfly and her skin was so soft, golden as pale honey, and her lips were so warm. Her whole body was soft and warm, with gentle and inviting curves.

To Leo, his body was even greener than his brothers and his head was so big, completely disproportionate! Even compared to his siblings, his face looked more like a beak, he thought, looking sideways. And what about his shell? It was so broad that Karai, even if she wanted to take him in her arms, wouldn't be able to clasp her hands. To love Leo, you'd have to be sick! And what about having sex with him? Nobody in her right mind would!

As the song had said, I don't belong in her world.

But... Karai had still invited him to her place. She had trusted him enough to do that, and he must be grateful. Karai wasn't the kind of girl to trust a lot of people, so it was precious. She had made popcorn and sat so close to him during the movie that it had been a struggle to resist just flipping her over on the couch and having his way with her. Karai had been the kindest to him last night that she had ever been since they had met. She had seemed to be waiting for something from him and seemed to be disappointed that he wasn't giving it to her. So besides being hideous, he was stupid and clumsy.

So why had she asked a kiss? He didn't get it. Maybe he was over thinking it again.

There was a knock at the door. "Leo? Are you in there dude? You've been in there forever, bro! It isn't just you who has a hard-on to take care of this morning, you know!"

Embarrassed, Leo donned his gear quickly, calling out to his brother "I'm not doing anything of the sort, Michaelangelo. Give me a moment; I'll be right out."

He opened the door to face a grinning Mikey: "Maybe you should. You've seemed super stressed out lately! I mean even more than usual and that’s something considering you!"

In a cold tone, Leo replied that he was perfectly fine and went to the kitchen. He now needed a very strong tea, the fatigue already coming back. He had to be more alert quickly since training began in less than two hours and he couldn't afford to look like he was slacking.

The breakfast was french toast soaked with so much maple syrup that he felt nauseous. But yesterday, he hadn't eaten dinner, too nervous anticipating his upcoming meeting with Karai. Thus, he didn't have anything in his stomach except the popcorn he had shared with her. He remembered accidentally brushing his hand against hers as he reached for some. His ugly three-fingered green hand with her pink, petite, star-shaped one... What a dummy he was, to take the risk to see such a beautiful woman who would never love him back.

Guilt and self-loathing made him disdain his breakfast. With less enthusiasm than usual, he went to the Dojo to do some stretching before the official training began. He didn't even notice his brothers were there until he felt Mikey's stare on him. He barked something, embarrassed to have been caught daydreaming. Usually, Leo was only business in the Dojo. What a pitiful model he has become.

The training was hellish. He stumbled once during the race laps, and Mikey bumped into him. Raphael gave Leo a surprised expression. Stumbling wasn't something that happened to him. It was more Michaelangelo's way. Mikey was naturally gifted, even more than Leonardo, but such a goofy... But still, a loyal and honest goofy, and so, a better being than Leonardo.

"Leonardo, my son? I talked to you!"

Shit! Splinter was talking to him. Leo startled, hastening to answer; "I'm sorry, Sensei."

The rat sighed. "You will spar with Michaelangelo."

Leonardo didn't reply, but he was very rarely matched with his youngest brother. Splinter must have been sensing his inner weakness.

"Hajime"

As his brother circled him, showing off his swirling nunchucks, Leo began to think again. Karai seemed nervous too. In Leo's choice of song, his subconscious had wanted to declare his love to kunoichi. Maybe Karai had too? The chukun-bu of the nunchucks colliding with his face, bursting his lip drew him cruelly from his thoughts.

"Oh, shell! I'm so sorry, Leo!" Mikey exclaimed, "I was sure you would see that coming!"

Leonardo touched his lip. It was bleeding. It was kind of ironic that the part of him which had sinned was the part that was punished. Anyway, the pain didn't bother him. It was more embarrassment about what kind of pitiful fighter he was, not able to dodge a simple strike.

Meanwhile, Mikey continued his litany of excuses "But you're kind of daydreaming lately. In fact, you've been kinda spacey for the last two months, dude! You're not yourself..."

Leo stopped wiping his lip, his blue eyes widening. His little brother was intuitive about other's feelings, and if he continued rambling about Leo's weird behavior, he might figure something out, and then Leo would be caught.

With his authoritative voice, he interrupted the youngest "Don't be silly, Mikey! I have been hit. That could happen, and that means you're improving. So, I'm proud of you."

Mikey narrowed his eyes and hissed: "Please, don't tell me you think I'm enough a dumb enough to believe this kind of bullsh..."

"Michaelangelo, leave your brother alone and watch your mouth!"

Mikey muttered something and Donnie, calmly, raised his hand "As the doctor of this family, I suggest that we slack on the training a bit. We won't be patrolling that much the next two weeks, and Leo seems exhausted."

"I'm not! I'm not weak! I'm perfectly fine!" Leo snapped so fiercely that Raph grinned.

"Anger is my department, bro. Didn't know you had such a short temper in ya, Fearless!"

"This isn't the Leo we know. Something is off..." Mikey protested, but not so loud, not wanting to bring back Leo's fury toward him.

"Stop talking about me as if I'm not here! Sensei, please. Let's continue. I will pay more attention, I promise." Leo insisted with a huge grin.

Master Splinter looked deep in thought and then, his decision fell: "Perhaps your brother Donatello is right. We will take a day off. Go rest, my son, and put some ice on your lip."

Leo's eye twitched and his faked encouraging grin twisted. He couldn't be mad at his father and argue about this. It wasn't a wound worthy of skipping training! Even if Leo was the leader, he couldn't overrule Splinter. So, despite his sore mood, he bowed to his Master and left the dojo.

He went straight to the bathroom to look at his mouth. His lip was definitively split and deserved even less of Karai's sweet kisses.

"Leo, I'm really sorry... I know these spring things suck..."

As if he had been burned, Leo spun to bark at his brother, "That has nothing to do with it! I didn't have any issues with whatever month we are..." Seeing Mikey looking at him with such pain in his eyes from being yelled at, when he just come to say he was sorry, Leo calmed down, "Mikey, I assure you. The "spring thing" has nothing to do with it..."

"So, you admit it? There IS something bothering you! Nobody could fool the Nexus Champion!" Mikey declared proudly, his hand on his waist in a superman pose.

Leo sighed, Mikey's insistence could be heavy at times.

"I only need a cold shower, I assure you."

Raphael shouted that if they wanted to talk, then they should do it outside because he had a "hot date". Leo rolled his eyes at the transparent code name.

"You're such a perv.” Donatello declared.

"Hey, I don’t judge you! You fancy a girl. Don’t judge me for not having anyone that I'm interested in. Having no expectations gives no deception, for either side. My hand doesn’t argue with me, doesn't ask for gifts or romantic outings. It is a peaceful relationship. The best I could have." Raphael laughed and Leo envies him. Raphael had never entertained any illusions about a possible love affair. He loved his family and gave himself pleasure. He was fulfilled. Maybe Raph was the wisest.

After the shower, he didn’t feel any better. His head was pounding with so many questions, that he felt on the verge of screaming with frustration. He wanted to love her and be loved. He knows it won’t happen, it's not possible. But still... she let him kiss her.

He noticed that he had been watched from afar for a while. He noticed Donatello looking worried about Leo pacing and growling like a locked-up tiger. "Leo, I need to see you in the lab. I have some questions to ask you and also the usual blood test. "

"I'm fine, Donnie, it's useless!" Leo argued.

Donatello held his hands up in a no harm gesture "I didn’t say you’re not. As you know, we are the first mutant turtles on the earth, and I need to take notes about our health. You know, just in case, one day, maybe we would have descendants."

Leo stopped in his tracks. In a flash, he imagined Karai, her toned belly, swollen with his little ones. He shook his head. Karai would never want it, and any children of theirs would surely be monsters!

“It’s for the sake of your family, Leo. I need some comparison and Raph refuses, he says he doesn't want to 'play guinea pig.'” Donnie mocked, mimicking Raph's voice. “I did it to myself, and even Mikey has acquiesced and let me take some samples. And you know how much he is afraid of a needle.”

Leo smiled, amused. “What did you give to him to convince him? I doubt Mikey had such innate respect for science to 'sacrifice himself for the knowledge of the turtle kind'.” Leo mocked too, with Mikey grandiloquent whine. “Chocolate? Cookies?” Leonardo guessed, walking toward the lab with a more relaxed posture.

“No, and it was kind of funny because he only asked me to swap chores with him! So, I do the dishes, and he does the laundry. It’s a win-win situation for me. Mikey isn’t always the most thorough when it comes to washing plates and glasses, and I don't want to drink from one of Raph’s glasses without it being fully sanitized. You know, the glass he holds with his... date.”

Leo burst out laughing. Donatello was rarely in a funny mood, and right now it was what he needed. In a good mood, he settled down, stretching out his arm so that Donnie could take his blood.

Donnie continued to chatter sweetly. "It's nothing complicated, Leo. I just need to check if we have hormonal changes and I'm going to ask you some questions. I need to check if what we are experiencing is common to all of us or if it varies according to the individual."

Donnie asked a few routine questions, and he realized that from the beginning Donnie was doing this earn his confidence when he asked him point-blank "How many times do you masturbate compared to any other time of the year? "

Leo blushed hotly, despite Donnie's friendly look. But if Don cared enough to actually ask, maybe he was having the same issue regarding April, and maybe he could share his problem. So, he confessed."I don’t do it anymore."

He realized quickly that Donatello didn’t have the same reservations he had when he saw him fetching his pen, shocked.

"What do you mean? Absolutely zero? "

"Yes. You mean you still do?"

Donnie seemed so stunned that Leo felt super self-conscious. If he could pull into his shell and hide, he certainly would at this time.

“Since when?" Don asked, ignoring Leo's question "I mean when was the last time you gave yourself some pleasure?”

Leo looked down. Why must he feel ashamed of being chaste? All great heroes were.

Donnie must have felt his embarrassment because he took the hand of the leader and squeezed it. “Hey, Leo? Look at me - There is nothing to be mortified about. I didn’t mean humiliate or embarrass you. I was just surprised. However, that does explain a lot of your recent behavior.” Donatello clarified softly.

Leo looked up, eyes shining with suspicion. “What do you mean? My behavior hasn't changed. I'm normal.”

The scientist gently smiled. “Of course, you are, Leo, but you've seemed to grow darker than before in the last months. Giving yourself a little... stimulation could help. And it's totally healthy to do so.”

Leo looked straight into the eyes of the genius, deciding to lay as much of his problem out on the table as possible. “How can you manage it? I mean you don’t find it disrespectful to have fantasies about April while you stroke yourself?”

It was Donatello's turn to look uncomfortable: "Wow, that's a direct question. Haha, um ... Well, I can’t imagine doing nasty stuff to April, like anything degrading or humiliating. And she doesn’t even know I think about her while I do it, so I don’t think it could really bother her. Also, I don’t always think about her! Fantasies don’t always need to be identified. You can think of a stranger, you know."

“You don’t feel unfaithful to the one you love when you fantasize about another?” Leonardo asked in genuine surprise.

Donnie blushed like he did every time they talk about him loving their friend, but then, he gazed at Leo, and the leader realized that he had said too much. Donnie was too clever to be fooled. He had to get out of the lab, quickly.

“Why would you ask me such questions? Do you feel that way about someone? Is that the reason you remain chaste even with yourself?” Donatello asked, eager to know, his curiosity awoken.

“Don’t be silly. It was just a question. And I advise you, Donatello, to complete your questions if you aren’t finished yet because I have duties to attend to.” Leonardo spoke with his leader's voice. Donatello never sassed at this tone.

“Well, if you say you’re okay... But it’s the opposite of how Mikey and I feel.”

The big brother in Leo was concerned. Did that mean his sibling wasn’t okay?

“What do you mean, Donnie?”

“Nothing important enough to keep you from your duties” Donatello replied in a neutral tone. “Mikey and I just feel our urges seem more urgent and stronger this year, and if you look at the number of shower Raphael takes, well...”

“Oh? Is it a problem? I mean is something bad happening to us?” Leo questioned, worried.

Donatello didn’t comment about the “us” that had slipped from Leo’s tongue. “No. I think it’s normal. But I think that fixating on only one person is not healthy because if you can't or don't have him or her, you'll feel very alone and isolated. It's the reason why I don’t think only about April now. We have already a limited choice, why limit ourselves further in our minds? I suggested the same thing to Mikey. He is kind of sad too,if you hadn't noticed.”

Leonardo frowned. To him, it seemed quite the contrary, Mikey bugged him endlessly.

“No. But Mikey doesn’t fancy someone like we, I mean, like you do.”

Donnie grinned. He so loved when the leader was wrong! “It seems that you’re wrong Leo, because Mikey talked to me about his big crush.”

Leo forgot even Karai at the moment, too flabbergasted about what had happened to his little brother, while his mind was busy elsewhere. So, Mikey was maybe in love and sad because she didn’t love him back, like him with Karai. He must talk to the youngest to warn him to not take the same path as him; a very painful and unsettling one.

“But where did he meet her? I mean Mikey never sneaks out the lair, right?” Leo didn’t add 'because I would know it' but was thinking it.

“I don’t know, Leo. The most interesting thing I learned about was when I asked him what he was thinking about, and he said: 'his fine ass'.”

“His?” Leo asked, his eyes wide. His little brother was gay? Leo was stunned, but he regained his composure quickly seeing a nodding Donnie. Donatello accepted it, so it was fine. “But I mean, the question is still the same: where did he meet him?”

A thought came to Leo. “Do you think it's Casey? Does Casey have what you would call a 'fine ass'?”

Donnie grimaced. “Ew. Just ew. Please, I don’t want to think about that. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. His love or sex life is his, just as your monk life is yours.”

Donnie made a gesture to ask him to leave, having Leo’s blood sample and having finished his interrogation. The leader left the lab deep in thought. He walked towards Mikey’s bedroom. If Mikey was showing himself to a stranger, it would be hazardous for all of them. He had to lecture him about being more careful.

He knocked at the door of the youngest and waited politely until Mikey yelled: "Come in."

Mikey was listening to music, laying on his bed. "What’s up, bro?" he asked nonchalantly.

Leonardo reflected on how Donatello had proceeded to extract the truth; chatting gently, asking precise questions, slowly working his way up to it...

"Oh, I wanted you to add a song to my T-pod."

Mikey sat up, smiling. "Really? which one?"

Leonardo didn’t remember the title of the song, but the chorus, he remembered that indeed. It had wounded him like a hot iron. Studying this song would be a wise move. Leo was always serious and dedicated to his studies. Karai loved this song, or she wanted to pass him a message last night... Either way, he must listen to it and focus on the melody and the lyrics. This would help him get to know her better and maybe understand her intentions too.

He hummed the song and sang the few lines of lyrics that he remembered. Mikey listened to him quietly.

“I know from the first few words which song you were talking about, dude. But you have a such a beautiful crooner voice, Leo. I wanted to enjoy it until the end. Even if I'd rather you were singing a more cheerful tune.” he smiled. “Give me your T-phone; I'll add it. You can stay here in the meantime. Maybe we could discover some other songs you'd like.” Mikey suggested eagerly.

Karai's song came out of the speakers, filling the room and Mikey turned toward Leo, smiling in success. But Leonardo didn’t see him, he was too busy obsessing over and analyzing the lyrics.

I don't care if it hurts

I want to have control

I want a perfect body

I want a perfect soul

Those lyrics were speaking to him. Their meaning becoming clear. Earlier, in the dojo, Leo had been hit because he was too slow, too weak. He couldn’t stay there, listening to music! He had to train to be worthy of Karai. Anyway, he knew the song's lyrics now, through and through. The message was that Karai was special and he wasn’t.

“Leo, bro, do you want to listen to another song?” Mikey asked softly, resting his hand over Leo's lightly.

Leo shook his head, getting up hurriedly, "Later, Mikey. I need to practice. See you at dinner. "

“Don't you mean lunch?" Mikey asked, surprised and slightly disappointed. “It's only eleven o'clock."

Without turning around, Leo said, "I have to train a lot."

---Later that evening---

Leo was on the couch, watching some random action movie with all his family and friends when he felt the vibration of his T-Phone. He paled, despite his expression remaining unchanged. It was a talent that he had mastered: keeping a neutral face even when the situation was unexpected and had turned very dire.

Like now.

Because he was in the living room with all the people who had his number. At least, officially. Guessing who the caller was, was easy. The only person who wasn't there:

Karai.

What was really unexpected was the fact that it was Monday. Karai and he had agreed to only meet on Sundays and Wednesdays, their days off from patrol. So, the fact that she was calling him on a Monday was unsettling.

He couldn't pretend to have not heard or felt it. Mikey had definitely felt it, he could tell by the surprised look on his brother's face.

Leo stood up very slowly, quickly inventing a cover. "Oh! I forgot. I had set an alarm for my training... I must go..."

Mikey, who had been sitting next to him, raised an eye ridge, "Are you serious? You've been training all day!" he whined.

"Michaelangelo, there are things more important than television! Maybe you should train more too." Leo replied, sternly. He knew Mikey hated extra training. Surely this would make him drop the case now.

Mikey's face seemed suspicious and then, he grinned, "You know what, bro? You're right. I'm going to train with you!" he said eagerly, jumping up from the couch.

The leader bit his lip, embarrassed and chagrined, not having seen this coming. His youngest brother never wanted to train, even less so on a movie night.

The T-Phone vibrated one more time and he slowly pulled it out of his belt as if he wanted to turn the alarm off. He took a look at the screen with the most natural look he could manage and then, he flushed, "I miss you. Maybe we could kiss more, tonight, my place. Midnight."

The shock to read words like "kiss" and "miss you" from Karai made Leo stammer.

"Actually, maybe I should sleep instead. We'll train together tomorrow, Mikey"

Mikey muttered something about Leo's many "laters", but Leo, after a weak "good night" to everyone, went directly to bed, his mind in turmoil, picturing a deeper kiss. Too embroiled in his own emotional chaos to notice the heavy look following him.