The smog from Shredder's factories warred with the smoke produced by his army's path of destruction as it rolled and twisted around Leonardo's form.
Standing against a crumbling brick wall just outside of the latest rebel base, he tried to ignore the acrid smell of burning rubber and the more clinging scent of burning flesh. The stench clung to his coat and climbed into his pores even as the boom of nearby weapons fire assaulted his hearing.
A moment later the concussion shook the ground beneath his feet and sent mortar crumbling onto his shoulder. He absently brushed it away as he returned to his private thoughts.
Raphael found him exactly where he thought that Leo would be. His brother's unseeing eyes surveyed the demolished landscape, preferring the solitude here to a room filled with enough noise to rob him of another of his senses.
Moving towards Leo on nearly silent feet, Raph purposely made enough sound to warn the elder brother of his approach.
Leo's head turned slightly. "Raph."
"Hey," Raph said, stepping up next to Leo and looking out over the ruined horizon with his one good eye.
"Where's Mike?" Leo asked, his voice almost too soft to hear.
"Watching Don work, like he used ta do before Don disappeared," Raph told him, his own tone mild.
Leo turned away as another boom cut the air. "He knows that's not our Donatello, doesn't he?"
Raph shrugged and then remembered that Leo couldn't see the movement. "Yeah," Raph said. "He knows and he don't care. It's close enough; same face, same voice, same way of doin' things. Mike ain't gonna leave Don's side."
"Afraid this one will disappear too?" Leo's head shifted again as he listened to the cadence of Raph's voice.
"He will ya' know. Eventually. He'll fade out of here the same way he came in. Mike just wants some return for all of the years we spent hunting for our Donny," Raph said.
"He died." Leo stated it as a fact. "I think we all knew that after the first week that he was gone. Don would have found a way back to us otherwise."
Raph lifted a hand to Leo's shoulder, the touch the first hint of the rekindling of a closeness they once felt.
"I know," Raph said. "Mike didn't want ta believe it."
His hand tightening on Leo's shoulder, Raph turned to face his brother, urging Leo around with his grip. Face to face, Raph could see his reflection in Leo's dark glasses and grimaced at the section of his mask that had been sewn shut.
Reaching up with his free hand, Raph slipped the glasses off of Leo's face. Leaning forward, Raph looked deeply into Leo's eyes, seeing the blank, dulled look in what used to be flashing amber.
"I wish ya' could see me," Raph said hoarsely.
"I can see you, Raph. I can see all of you in the way I want to see you, back when we used to smile," Leo explained.
Raph swallowed the emotion tightening his throat, keeping his hand on Leo's shoulder in order to remain balanced.
"This plan of Don's, is it gonna work?" Raph asked finally.
Leo's lips briefly quivered into a tiny smile. "Yes," he answered.
"We gonna make it?" Raph tried for a lighter tone with this question and failed.
"No," Leo replied, seeming to look into Raph's eye.
"Ya' could fix it so we do," Raph suggested.
Leo shook his head. "Then the plan won't work," he said simply.
Raph thought about it for a minute and understood. He sighed. "I see your point."
"Mike knows," Leo said.
"Yeah, he's sharp that way," Raph acknowledged.
They stood in silence for a few minutes, neither moving as they seemed to pull something they needed from each other.
"Time for it to end, bro'?" Raph asked, searching Leo's blind eyes.
"Yes, Raph," Leo answered, lifting one of his hands to Raph's shoulder too. "Time for it all to end."