This chapter, the Turtles are around six years old.

Chapter 3: Can I keep him, dad?

Life in the sewers was not easy. Especially so for people who could not just go to the store when they were in need of something. It was for this reason Yoshi regularly went on a 'garbage run,' as his youngest had so aptly named the foraging trips to the nearest junkyard.

When he came back from one such an outing, his children were nowhere to be found. While it was unusual, since they knew to ask permission first, it was not necessarily alarming, because his sons often played hide-and-seek in their home and the nearest sewer pipes. So thinking, Yoshi settled down on the couch to wait for his sons to show themselves.

When thirty minutes later, his sons were still missing, the father started to worry. First, he once again checked the bedrooms, in the hope his sons had turned up. When that proved fruitless, he looked in the dojo, where he only found a length of rope hanging from the tree. Now, he was really starting to get concerned.

After searching for 2 hours, Yoshi ran out of places to look in the tunnels the boys frequented most. He returned home, hoping his sons would have returned in the meantime. If they had not, he would go out again.

Yelling greeted him when he entered the living room. Never before had he been so pleased to see his sons arguing; they were safe. The father took just a bit to check his sons over. Raphael and Michelangelo were fighting over a cracked brown clay bowl his youngest was clutching to his chest. His oldest was trying unsuccessfully to break up the fight. Donatello had retreated to the other side of the living room and avoided drawing attention.

"He's mine!"

"No, I found him, so he's mine!"

But no matter how glad he was to have found his sons, Yoshi still had to interfere before the squabble turned to violence. "My sons, that is quite enough!"

His unexpected interruption startled Michelangelo into dropping the bowl. Raphael leapt forward to catch it and faceplanted. Luckily, he fell on the couch instead of the floor. Not so lucky was the fact that the bowl was filled with water and made a sizeable spill on the couch.

Raphael got up and hastily picked up the bowl. "No no no," he muttered, frantically removing cushions from the soaked furniture, after he tossed away the bowl.

"It is alright, Raphael, we can clean it up."

Completely ignoring his father's assurances, the boy continued his frantic dismantling of the couch. "Help me look!" he demanded. Not wasting a second, his brothers started searching as well.

The second-youngest made a noise of triumph, his head and arms hidden under the couch. "I found him!"

He climbed to his feet and triumphantly held up a ball of green leather. Before anyone could react, he dropped it again with a cry. "Daddy, it bit me!"

The boy sent a baleful look at the dazed reptile on the couch.

After ascertaining Donatello wasn't seriously hurt, the harried father sat his children down in the dojo to find out where their pet came from.

"My sons, where did you find a crocodile?"

"Donnie says it's an alley-gator," the freckled turtle contributed.

"Of course, but I would still like to know where you found him.

Raphael looked down and shuffled his feet.

"Raphael," Yoshi prompted sternly upon seeing his son's hesitation.

The boy shrugged.

Yoshi raised an eyebrow.

The dam burst. "I'm sorry, daddy! I know we're not s'posed to go there, but Leo said I can't climb, so we go'd to the place where all the water falls and I climbed all the way to the top-" at this point, the Hamato patriarch felt his heart skip a beat in terror "-and the alligator was all alone and sad and then Mikey said the alligator could be his pet, but I found him, so he is mine!"

Michelangelo protested. "He isn't yours!"

Before the disagreement could evolve into a full blown argument, Yoshi decided to intervene. "Enough!" He slammed his walking stick down on the floor.

"I am very disappointed, my sons," Yoshi scolded. The four toddlers gazed at the floor. "I expected better of you."

Leonardo flinched as if struck. "Father, I..."

"Do not interrupt."

"Yes, Father."

"Now, what possessed you when you went to a storm drain, a place I clearly forbade you from going? Do you know how dangerous that was? Not to mention, you should not have been outside without asking me in the first place."

The boys averted their eyes uncomfortably.

"Do you have anything to say for yourself?" their father prompted after a few minutes of uneasy silence.

"No, father/daddy," his sons whispered guiltily.

"Then I will tell you your punishment. All of you will be staying in your room for the next two days, with the exception of meals and bathroom visits. Leonardo and Raphael must also help me with extra chores. And before you ask, my son," Yoshi addressed Raphael, who had started to protest, "you and your brother get a bigger punishment, because you put yourself in danger and Leonardo encouraged you to do so."

The green-eyed turtle deflated.

The room was silent for a few moments, when his youngest asked hopefully, "Can we still keep the alley-gator?"

"No, my son, we can not," Yoshi answered with a hint of regret.

Michelangelo's eyes started to water. "Why not?"

"Because we do not have the means to care for him."

"But he won't have 'ny food!"

"That is true, my son, but we do not have food for him either."

"Can't he not eat worms? Like us," Leonardo piped up timidly, likely still a bit cowered by the scolding he and his brothers had received.

"Leo, alligators don't eat worms. They eat meat and fish," Donatello provided.

"But why can't we get that?!" his youngest cried.

Yoshi closed his eyes and sighed. "You know why, saiai no hito*."

Michelangelo sniffed. "It's not fair!"

"I know, watashi no musuko*, I know."


Japanese translation(s)

* saiai no hito = dearest one

** watashi no musuko = my son