Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT (sadly)
Summary: Splinter sets his nine year old sons a new challenge
Note: Second place prize for xHylianKnightx in the TMNTFriendsForever camping Competition
Yoshi had pondered over his decision for many hours. He had meditated and mused on every possible outcome and the potential hazards and found there to be a great many. If he was honest in his heart he did not want to do this but he knew that he needed to have confidence in his sons.
Rising to his feet the mutated human left his room and headed into the main living area where his four sons were residing. Looking over the nine year olds he still felt a pang of guilt but steeled himself, it was time to start letting them grow up more. His sons needed to do this if they were to remain safe in their sewer home.
Swallowing hard Yoshi motioned for his sons to join him in the small dojo he had set up. Standing over their kneeling figures he hid the small smile and kept his face stern.
“My sons, I have decided it is time to expand further upon your training,” he spoke to them.
All four of the turtles looked at each other and grinned before Yoshi drew their attention back to him.
“It is time for me to know whether or not you are capable of caring for yourselves in the sewers if we ever get separated. As you all know you are not allowed into the sewers unless I am with you. During our outings I have endeavoured to instil in you ways and means of tracking your movements in order to find your way home, now we shall put this to the test,” Yoshi explained to his sons.
Looking down at them he could see a mixture of excitement, wonderment and fear in their eyes. Swallowing again he forced himself to ignore the fatherly tug on his heart which told him they were not ready, knowing in his mind that they were.
“I will be taking you one at a time into the sewers, we will journey for twenty minutes as measured by my watch without speaking and then I will instruct you to find our way home. I will not guide you in anyway even if you take a wrong turn. You will have one hour in which to find our way home again,” he told them.
Watching them carefully he saw his sons go from joy at being taken into the sewers to somewhat apprehensive as the mission dawned on them. While they would be safe with their father with them, it would be their responsibility to get back home.
“In order to help you concentrate and to make this a little bit more fun for you all I have decided to make this a little bit of a competition. Since I know how much your all love to better each other this should motivate you. Whichever of you leads me back to our home the quickest will get a prize,” Yoshi informed them.
“What’s the prize?” Raph questioned eagerly.
Yoshi chuckled as he looked down at his red masked son, he should have known Raphael would revel in this kind of task. While all of his sons loved a challenge, it was Raphael who seemed to love these types of challenges the most.
“Extra worms and algae at dinner?” Mikey asked rubbing his plastron.
“More TV time?” Leo questioned hopefully.
“Skipping practice?” Donnie asked even more hopefully.
“Not getting into trouble for beating up Mikey?” Raph muttered under his breath.
Yoshi chuckled once more at his son’s suggestion but shook his head.
“The reward my sons, will be accompanying me on a supply run to the surface,” Yoshi informed them.
Four mouths fell open as they took in the prize, their eyes opening wide as it really dawned on them.
“The surface?” Donnie clarified.
“As in our feet on the surface, climbing the ladder and everything?” Raph added.
Yoshi inclined his head in a nod drawing whoops of delight from each of his sons.
“The reward is only for the winner so I know you will all do your very best. I want you to concentrate on our journey and the markings in order to keep your bearings and guide us back home. Now in order to decide what order we will go in, we shall put your names in a bowl and draw them out,” Yoshi explained to them.
Each turtle eagerly wrote his name on a small piece of paper and folded it over several times. Taking the four bits of paper, Yoshi placed them in a bowl and mixed them up. Reaching in he picked the pieces of paper out and read the order out to his sons.
“Raphael shall be first, followed by Leonardo, Michelangelo and then Donatello.”
The four turtles accepted the order although Raphael seemed intent on informing his brothers how he had this mission in the bag.
“Nope is going to be me, I’m the fastest,” Mikey responded quickly.
“Not likely Mikey you get distracted too easily. If anyone will win it will be me because I have such a good memory,” Donnie answered.
Raph snorted and pushed his olive skinned brother, “Nope me I will win!”
Leo rolled his eyes at his brothers but deciding not to join in their argument. He was fairly confident he would win this task, after all whenever they did go out with Master Splinter he was the one who paid attention to what his father was saying.
“Very well Raphael, are you ready?” Yoshi interrupted their argument.
“Yes Sensei!” Raph replied jumping to his feet.
Yoshi rested his hand on his sons emerald green shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo you all know the rules, do not leave the lair,” he instructed his other sons.
The three remaining turtles nodded and bowed to their father. They watched as Yoshi led Raphael out the lair and into the sewers. Raph’s golden eyes darted about the sewers as he followed his father, taking in as much as possible.
Yoshi led him through tunnel after tunnel, twisting and turning without speaking a word to his red banded son. They walked for twenty minutes before Splinter stopped and turned to Raphael.
“Raphael lead us back home,” Yoshi ordered.
With a big grin on his face Raph turned and headed confidently back through the tunnels. Yoshi appraised his son as he followed enjoying seeing the confidence Raphael was oozing. It faltered only for a few minutes at one of the sewer junctions when the emerald green turtle seemed to have forgotten which way, but it flared back up as he made his decision.
“Raphie!” Mikey cheered as his brother strutted into the lair.
“How long Sensei?” Raph asked turning to his father.
“All in good time my son, but you did very well.”
A half smirk settled on Raph’s face as he turned back to his brothers and silently challenged them. Leo’s eyes narrowed, while Mikey pouted slightly and Donnie glared a little at Raph.
“Leonardo come,” Yoshi instructed his blue masked son.
Following Yoshi Leonardo did what he always did when out with his father and tried to apply everything he could remember. His eyes were watchful and he made sure to discern little things that would help him get back home.
Leading Leonardo down the same tunnels he had taken Raphael, he stopped at the twenty minute mark and turned back to his son.
“Leonardo lead us home,” he informed Leo.
With a nod of his head Leo turned and began to make his way back through the sewer tunnels. Yoshi watched as Leo’s confidence waned and flared even more so than Raphael’s did. Whilst his hot headed son had a cocky reassurance about himself, Leonardo was more cautious and doubtful.
Nevertheless like his brother Leonardo led Yoshi back to their lair safely. Mikey once again cheered happy to see his brother back safely. Raph and Leo exchanged glances and stuck their tongues out at each other.
“Well done Leonardo, you did well. Now Michelangelo are you prepared for this challenge?” Yoshi turned to his orange masked son.
“Yep,” Mikey piped up jumping to his feet.
Bouncing behind his father he waved to his brothers and left the lair. Knowing the chances were slim that Raphael had informed Donatello and Michelangelo of the route he had taken, Yoshi didn’t take any chances. Leading Mikey down a different route, he took him away from the lair.
Yoshi could hear his youngest son moving behind him, the sea green turtle making very little attempts to be quiet but following as instructed. Yoshi felt a little bit of worry creep into his heart that perhaps Mikey’s short attention span would make this task beyond him and that he would fail.
The last thing Yoshi wanted was for any of his sons to fail but at the same time knew he had to let them accomplish this mission, this fresh challenge on their own. Stopping at the twenty minute mark he smiled as he turned back to the bouncing ball of energy that was Michelangelo.
“Alright Michelangelo lead us back home,” Yoshi ordered.
“This way!” Mikey declared and shot back down the tunnel.
Yoshi had to run to keep up with his son as Mikey zipped down the corridors. He even managed a chuckle as on more than one occasion they were going down one tunnel when Mikey would declare ‘wrong tunnel’ and double back.
The youngest turtle was breathless as he skidded his way back into the lair but keeping enough breath to announce his arrival loudly to his brothers. Yoshi quickly followed and took a moment to settle his breathing.
“Well done Michelangelo,” Yoshi praised.
Mikey grinned widely at his brothers before flopping dramatically down on the sofa.
“Alright Donatello, it is your turn,” Yoshi turned finally to his purple masked son.
Taking the same route he had just used on Michelangelo, Splinter lead Donnie into the tunnels. While he did not make as much noise as Michelangelo, Yoshi could hear his son muttering under his breath as they moved.
He could not make out the words so knew Donatello was not attempting conversation, but he was curious as to what his highly intelligent son was muttering. Yoshi’s ears twitched as he attempted to listen but throughout the whole journey he couldn’t make it out.
Like the other three journey’s, twenty minutes out Yoshi stopped and turned his attention to Donatello.
“Lead us back Donatello,” Yoshi ordered.
Turning on his heel Donnie began to make his way back through the tunnels. Yoshi’s ears continued to twitch as the low mutterings still spewed forth from his purple masked son’s mouth. He watched as Donnie walked back through the tunnels with a quick pace, his hands moving out every so often to acknowledge things almost like he was checking them off a mental list.
Without fail they made it back to the lair and into the safety of their home, where three other anxious turtles awaited their return. Seeing that Donnie and Yoshi were safe, all attentions turned to who could possibly be the winner.
Yoshi lead them back into the dojo and motioned for them to kneel down before him as usual. Eager eyes watched everyone of Yoshi’s movements and while he wanted to prolong the reveal, Yoshi knew it would be cruel to do so.
“The winner is . . . . . . Donatello,” Yoshi announced to them all.
Donnie blinked a couple of times before a wide grin showing off the gap in his teeth spread across his face.
“No way!” Raph declared.
“But I ran really fast,” Mikey added.
“Sensei Donnie never pays attention to his surroundings,” Leo contributed.
Yoshi held up his hand for silence and immediately his sons ceased their talking.
“While it was very close it was Donatello who brought me back to the lair the quickest. You all did very well my sons and I am proud of you, you each showed your individual strengths and how much you have learnt. Each of your took on this mission or challenge if you would prefer with much vigour and I am confident that you would be able to find your way home, if we were ever separated. You have made me proud my sons,” Yoshi praised them.
Raph crossed his arms grumpily and Leo frowned unsure how he hadn’t won, while Mikey crawled around to Donnie and jumped on his shell.
“Way to go Donnie, don’t forget to bring me something when you go to the surface with Sensei,” Mikey praised as he hugged his brother.
“Well done Donnie,” Leo added finally shrugging his shoulders and accepting defeat although he swore it wouldn’t happen again if he could avoid it.
Raph remained kneeling with his hands crossed over his plastron but hearing his brothers praise Donnie he finally sighed. Turning to Donnie he pouted a little before clapping him on the shell.
“At least Leo didn’t win,” Raph muttered begrudgingly.
Taking it as praise Donnie beamed some more turning his attention back to Yoshi.
“Yes Donatello you have done well but I must know something, what were you muttering as we walked along?” Yoshi questioned.
“Oh I was making a list of the things I saw, so I could find my way back by looking for them just like you said we should,” Donnie replied happily.
Yoshi smiled and nodded at his son. With a wave of his hand he dismissed them and watched them scramble over each other to get out of the dojo. While he didn’t want to let his sons grow up he knew it was inevitable.
He knew as long as he made these little missions in life a challenge that his sons would throw themselves upon them with gusto. Smiling with content Yoshi knew he and his sons could face any challenge that life could possibly throw at them.