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From Prison to Home

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June 14, 1930

Darkness wasn’t a concept they were familiar with. Only just beginning to live, the three had only experienced the brightness and vitality that came with freedom and the outside world. 

Light. All traces of it had vanished the moment that door was shut. 

The moment they had leapt from the paper was not one they would soon forget. Slowly feeling the life fill every one of your limbs, taking in your first true breath rather than having the breath animated into your lungs. 

Then again, no one had wanted them to leave their paper confines. 

No one knew what to do with them, but the three children themselves weren’t entirely sure what to do. They had only been alive a few minutes and were simply acting the way they had been designed. 

Maybe that’s why they would feel betrayed later on: they were just drawn that way.

The children didn’t know why they were treated so harshly after they’d been caught. It wasn’t their fault they’d left the paper.

The three of them were dragged up the ladder and thrown into their metal prison, the door quickly slamming shut and stopping any chance they had of returning to the world they had so quickly been taken away from.

The oldest had told the younger ones not to worry, that there was no way they’d keep them in there forever. 

She was the first to start panicking. 

It only took a few minutes for her to start, but she was so young, how could she not panic?

Did they not realize it was children they had locked in here?

“I-I can’t see.” After blindly searching in the dark, the eldest’s hands eventually found the trembling form of the youngest. Without knowing why, he felt the unwavering need to console and comfort the girl.

“I know. It’ll be okay.”

A few minutes later, he heard sniffling from another part of the room. The younger boy, he concluded. 

Grabbing the girl’s small hand, the eldest traversed the darkness until he bumped into the form of the other boy. Like the girl, he was trembling and sniffling in terror. Wrapping his free arm around the boy, he could feel how much smaller he was compared to himself. This girl and boy had been drawn a few years younger than him, apparently. 

The oldest didn’t know why he felt the need to comfort them, but he did. So that’s what he did for the next few hours, because, quite honestly, he didn’t know what else to do.

It took them a day after being stuck in the dark, metal tower to realize that, despite being drawn together, they for some reason did not know much anything about each other. 

“What are your names?” the girl had suddenly asked after the three of them had been sitting in silence. When she didn’t immediately get any answers, she continued. “I...I feel like I’m supposed to know your names but I don’t.”

“I felt it too,” the oldest said. “My name is Yakko.”

“Yakko,” the girl repeated. Something about saying it felt right to her. 

“Mine’s Dot,” she replied. 

Dot, Yakko thought. For some reason he imagined her having a longer name. 

The girl, Dot, continued. “What about you? What’s your name?” Yakko knew who she was talking to.

The other boy hadn’t said anything since they were thrown in the previous day. Yakko and Dot had found it strange, as he seemed to be just as lively as the two of them when they’d first left the paper. While they’d both kept some conversation, he hadn’t spoken a single word. He would, however, make sure he was always sitting near one of the two. 

He didn’t say anything for a few moments. Yakko thought he wasn’t going to respond when a small, quiet voice broke the silence.


None of them could deny the strange connection they each felt to each other. Like an invisible string had attached itself to each of them in a strong knot that refused to be loosened. 

They desperately wanted to learn more about each other, but it seemed they had to first learn about themselves.

Had they’d been like normal drawn toons that had sprung to life, like the famous Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse (though they had been intentionally brought to life), their creator would’ve taught them everything they needed to know about themselves.

Despite not having this, the three toons could still feel their own personalities deep within themselves. They would just have to bring them to the surface themselves without the help of their creator. 

A bit unfair, yes, but nothing had been fair with them so far. 

Yakko and Dot found that they were more comfortable taking charge in the conversation, something that would cause them to butt heads much later in life. Wakko, on the other hand, was more content to listen, only interjecting when he felt compelled to, which, at the moment, was very seldom. 

Despite the connection he felt, he couldn’t find himself opening up to them just yet.

Yakko was beginning to learn that his name hinted towards his own personality: he found himself talking, a lot. It wouldn’t even have to make sense or be directed at either of the younger toons, but he was almost always yakking about something.

It made the oldest wonder if the others’ names had anything to do with their personalities. He couldn’t imagine what Dot could refer to (though he did have to admit, it was a rather cute name). And Wakko. Well, that kid was about as opposite as you could get from being wacky. At least, Yakko thought he was. He hadn’t heard him talk enough to confirm or deny that.

Dot, though, seemed to be livelier when it came to conversation. Yakko often found himself talking to her, even though there hadn’t been much to talk about yet. Many of her remarks were beginning to show hints of sass, as well. He wondered if that was a trait she would retain later on.

She hadn’t imagined their life would be like this when she had first sprung from the paper. 

Those short moments of freedom had been so nice. Dot had thought it was going to stay like that forever; her and these two wild boys, seemingly wreaking havoc upon the unsuspecting studio. 

When they had been locked up, though, it seemed like those two boys she had been with were completely different people. She felt different, too. Dot knew that, somehow, being locked in here had changed them. 

What they had been out there was who they truly were: zany, wild, happy, and free. 

These two...boys. Dot knew their names, but not much else. Like her, they were trying to figure out who they were. 

The oldest, Yakko, was a few years older than both her and the other boy. Even in their short time together, she could tell he had a quick wit about him. Anytime she would say something, he would respond with something even more clever instantly. He’d also been undeniably comforting in their time together.

She wouldn’t forget those first few moments. She’d started panicking, crying. Without knowing it, she’d wanted comfort. Specifically, his comfort. Yakko had seemed to want to deliver it, as well.

The other boy, Wakko, wasn’t giving her much to work with. While she could pick up small parts of Yakko’s personality through conversation, Wakko hadn’t said much more than his name. She couldn’t tell if he was shy, laidback, or both. While her and Yakko already were already beginning to banter, Wakko would sit in the dark, listening. 

Like Yakko, he seemed willing to give comfort to her, but in a different way. Instead of reassuring her that everything would be alright, he would simply sit close to her, lean his head against her’s and listen. But like her, he was also eager to receive comfort from Yakko. 

Well, he was both older and younger, she supposed.

More than most anything, Dot wished they’d had some light source. Three days now, they had sat in the dark, either sitting, stumbling, or cuddling close.

She desperately wanted to see their faces. Dot had seen them briefly but found herself struggling to remember. They had looked very similar, and yet...distinctively different. It was hard to explain. She could only assume she looked similar to the two of them.

At the end of every day, Dot would look in the direction she knew the door was. Hoping, wishing it would open…

Wakko wasn’t sure what he was feeling. 

Yakko and Dot seemed to be getting along well. They spoke so easily, bouncing back and forth off the other. Making jokes that they themselves didn’t know the punchline to. He wasn’t surprised, though. Something within Wakko told him that’s how they were supposed to be. That’s just how they were drawn, something kept telling him. 

‘How am I drawn, then?’ he would often retort back to that voice within his own mind. He was struggling to figure out where he fit in with these other two. They were drawn together, so Wakko concluded he had to fit into their dynamic somehow. 

He’d been sitting by himself, the other two seemingly asleep, if their soft snores were any indication. Out of pure instinct, Wakko felt his hand reaching behind his back. 

‘Am I going crazy?’ he thought. It was like his body knew something his brain didn’t, acting on its own. ‘My name is Wakko, after all. Maybe I’m the psychologically unhinged one.’

Not quite knowing where the thought came from, Wakko’s attention was snapped away when his fingers brushed against something. Quickly grabbing the object, he brought his hands in front of him, despite it not helping him see it any better. Feeling with his hands, Wakko could tell it was some sort of sack. 

Reaching inside, Wakko was surprised to find multiple objects inside it. More surprisingly, the bag seemed much larger on the inside, as Wakko realized when he felt that he had reached all the way up to his shoulder.

Somewhere in the back of his mind the word ‘gag’ kept coming up, whatever that meant.

It had been a week.

They didn’t know that, of course. No sunlight, remember?

The three had been able to learn more about each other a bit. Yakko; headstrong and sarcastic, and also something else he didn’t quite know how to describe yet (‘why does it hurt when they feel sad?’). Wakko; laidback, attentive, and a bit of a wildcard. They were, unsurprisingly, shocked when he told them about the bag he had apparently willed into existence. Dot; strong-willed, sassy, and affectionate. She never had any qualms with being snuggled or cuddling with either of the two boys. 

They finally knew more about each other, and conversation was easier and more relaxed. Almost like it flowed better. 

“I’m confused,” Wakko spoke up suddenly, slightly startling the other two.

Yakko didn’t miss a beat. “What’s new?” He often jabbed at the younger boy. Wakko didn’t seem to mind.

“What are we?”

“Well, if I had to guess, I’d say we were quite charming, even if those people out there didn’t seem to think so. As for what animal we are, well, I gotta say, I couldn’t tell. Heck, I didn’t even get a good enough look at either of y-”

“No, no. I mean, to each other.”

Yakko, for once, had no response to this. 

It was something all three of them had been wondering. There was some sort of attachment that they simply could not deny. Without knowing why, they were drawn to each other. They wanted to be near one another, to protect, to encourage, to reassure, to love--

That was a new one. How could one know love when they hadn’t been shown anything of the sort?

Yet they all three felt it. They simply hadn’t given the feeling a name. They loved each other, even if they were just now realizing it. 

Truly in sync for the first time, they each found the answer to Wakko’s question at the same moment.


After that conversation, the three toons--the three siblings--had grown ever closer. 

Despite this, many days were still filled with panic and tears, most commonly from the youngest two. 

They’d eventually figured out their ages, Yakko being fourteen, Wakko eleven, and Dot nine. Once he’d found out, Yakko had thought, of course they were scared. The two of them were so young. 

When he thought about how young his siblings were, his anger would occasionally flare. ‘How dare they throw us in here, knowing how young they were?’

It had been an especially bad night. A few hours after they’d all fallen asleep, Dot had woken up crying. 

Yakko was up in an instant, quickly sitting up and trying to figure out what was wrong. He hadn’t caught much, but through the flurry of words such as ‘net,’ ‘tower,’ ‘door,’ and ‘dark,’ he had caught the general meaning.

She’d had a nightmare. Which, Yakko had realized, was something terrible that all three of them had experienced so far. 

He soon felt another small figure sitting up and shifting closer to them. Wakko had woken up and, if he was feeling correctly, had embraced his sister in a hug. 

It warmed Yakko’s heart that, despite being barely older than Dot herself, Wakko still had the big brother instinct in him, just like Yakko did with both of them. 

Yakko wasn’t sure how long they’d stayed there when he suddenly heard a loud gasp.

“I got it!” the middle sibling suddenly shouted. 

Both Yakko and Dot heard him hastily stand and stumble off somewhere in the darkness. A thud and a quiet oof indicated he had also faceplanted. Yakko smiled when he heard the quiet giggle from his sister.

“Care to enlighten us on what you have supposedly ‘got’?” Yakko asked. He wasn’t immediately met with an answer, rather just the sounds of many somethings being haphazardly thrown about.

“Can’t believe I didn’t think of it before,” Wakko mumbled as he continued to do...something. Only he knew. Yakko and Dot simply had to guess. They wouldn’t have to guess for much longer, however, as very soon Wakko happily cheered.

“Again I ask, care to enlighten us?”

“Enlighten? If you say so…”

The three were suddenly blinded, shielding their eyes from whatever had so rudely penetrated their vision. 


“Sorry…” they heard Wakko silently mutter. He was apologizing for giving them…

“Light!” the youngest soon exclaimed. 

‘Couldn’t have said it better myself,’ Yakko thought. 

As his eyes adjusted to the light that he had gone so long without, Yakko soaked in the image of his siblings. 

His eyes first drifted to Dot, still snuggled in his embrace. She looked...happy? Yakko was pretty certain that was the right word. She was certainly small. She was wearing a little pink skirt, her two ears held together by a yellow flower. Like himself, she was covered in soft, black fur, save her face and feet. The only word that could come to Yakko’s mind was cute. 

He then looked to his brother. Only a bit larger than Dot, but still much smaller than himself. He wasn’t wearing pants, however, but rather a comfortable looking blue sweater. He also donned a backwards red cap, his ears sticking out two holes in the top. Whereas the fur on Dot’s face curled upwards towards the top of her head closer to her ears, Wakko’s curled outwards down at his cheeks. Yakko also noticed that his tongue was lolling carelessly out his mouth. 

For the first time, Yakko realized he had genuinely seen them smile.

Days soon turned to weeks; weeks soon turned to months. Before they knew it, they’d been stuck in the tower for a year. 

Wakko’s ‘gag bag’ as he had called it had turned out to be extremely useful. Not only had he pulled out the lamp those many months ago, he’d also been able to get them blankets, pillows, a bed (a bed?!), a small radio, and some papers and pencils. 

While Wakko had been the first to discover his apparent toon abilities, Yakko and Dot were soon discovering their own. They’d been mimicking what Wakko had told them he’d done, and while they hadn’t found any sort of magic bag, they’d both found an assortment of items. Pies, anvils, and mallets seemed to be the most popular items. 

It felt like second nature to the siblings, as simple as breathing and walking, though it seemed much easier for Wakko. While Yakko and Dot could talk miles and miles around each other, Wakko seemed to shine when it came to toon abilities. 

It made sense, though. They were beginning to realize they were becoming more and more how they’d been drawn. It was beginning to make sense, why it had been so easy for Yakko and Dot to open up to each other, why Wakko hadn’t realized how to fit in with them yet, why Yakko felt so drawn to protecting them, how Dot was able to so effortlessly persuade her two older brothers.

They truly were just drawn that way. 

“How long do you think we’ve been in here?” Dot asked. 

Yakko shrugged. Wakko reached into his bag and pulled out a calendar that miraculously had the date circled. 

They’d all learned to just accept certain things, no matter how strange.

Dot walked over to where her brothers were sitting, glancing at the calendar Wakko had pulled from his bag. 

“September 19, 1934,” she read. The words hit them like a brick.

“It’s been four years?” Wakko asked. They hadn’t realized how long they’d been trapped in the tower. 

Yakko had truly believed they would be released eventually. Those people didn’t honestly plan to keep them locked in here forever, did they? Were they hoping the siblings would simply keel over so they wouldn’t have to deal with them anymore?

As much as Yakko wished he could change the situation for his siblings, the fact remained that they were still trapped in a metal prison.

They eventually started keeping track of the days. Wakko had no problem finding the calendars in his bag, so he simply replaced them as the years passed by. 

The years continued to tick on by. 

The siblings eventually came to the terms that they would spend their entire lives in the tower.

The three of them worked together to add more decorations to the tower. If they would be stuck here, it would at least look how they wanted it to. 

Many of the items came courtesy of the Wakko’s gag bag, but Yakko and Dot also contributed many of the decorations, pulling different items from seemingly nowhere. Together, they eventually made the inside of the tower a lot more lived-in-looking. 

‘Strange,’ they thought. ‘It seemed like it was bigger than they originally remembered.’

10 years had passed. Out of the three of them, Yakko was the most bitter.

He wasn’t sure if he would ever forgive those people for throwing him and his siblings into this prison.

17 years. Wakko and Dot asked him if they’d ever be able to see the sun again.

Yakko hated how their expressions faltered and their ears drooped when he’d said “probably not.”

26 years now. They had decorated the tower again. Dot had gotten to pick the colors this time. Yakko had laughed when he saw Wakko’s scowl as he’d realized everything was pink. 

34 years. The tower never stayed the same for too long. They were constantly adding more to it, their personalities leaking into every aspect of the metal walls. 

Yakko had been playing with two paddleballs nonstop for about three days now, and Dot was about ready to strangle him.

They laughed a lot more now than they used to. One of them was always cracking some sort of joke. Yakko would make a sarcastic comment to one of his siblings, Wakko would make some bizarre face to make them laugh, Dot would burst into song about how cute she was (neither of them would deny it, either.)

They were happier.

45 years. Yakko had been feeling drawn to the tower door. Like it was begging him to leave. 

He’d felt that draw ever since they’d first been thrown in here. Back then, he felt drawn to get his siblings out to take them someplace safer. Now, however, it was simply a desire to see what was out there. He wasn’t as angry anymore.

53 years. The siblings realized it had been years since they’d called the tower a prison.

62 years.

Yakko smiled as he watched his two siblings. They were still sleeping; he himself had just woken up about an hour ago. 

They’d been in the tower for so long, yet they hadn’t aged a bit. Yakko had summed it up to them being drawn toons. It was still an odd concept, nonetheless. 

His mind began to wander as he listened to the soft snores of his brother and sister. 

He knew he had changed since that fateful day 62 years ago. He was still the wisecracking, sarcastic fourteen-year-old, but he’d changed into so much more. Yakko had become the older brother that Wakko and Dot had so desperately needed. He’d been there in their moments of fear, pain, and sadness. 

They’d been there for him, too.

His eyes drifted to the sprawled-out form of his brother.

What a transformation the kid had gone through.

Yakko couldn’t forget that shy little boy that Wakko had been when they’d first been locked in the tower. For two days, the only time he’d spoken had been to tell them his name. His shyness eventually morphed into a laid back, calm demeanor. Wakko was more attentive than Yakko could ever hope to be. While Yakko would do what he did best, yak, Wakko would casually listen, taking in every detail and surrounding. He’d also grown into his namesake, just as Yakko had. Wakko was, in every sense of the word, wacky. You never knew what to expect with him. His goofy smile and unpredictability never failed to make his siblings laugh.

Moving his eyes to his sister, Yakko laughed at how peaceful she looked compared to Wakko’s sprawled form.

She’d changed, too. She had been talkative since the beginning, yes, but she was so much more than that now. Dot had an uncanny ability talk her way out of almost any situation. Well, most any situation. She was cute, and she knew it. She often used it to her advantage; persuading Yakko that instead of not being able to watch TV for a week it should only be a day, getting Wakko to do almost anything for her simply by batting her eyes. And she was so much more confident and braver, no longer crying anytime the lights would go out. She was a strong young lady. She was sneaky and clever. But she loved her brothers so fiercely, and they loved her right back just as strongly. 

Yakko noticed they were beginning to stir. They would be up soon.

The eldest Warner found himself looking around the tower. 

For so long, he had despised it. Hated it. He would’ve done anything to destroy every inch of the godforsaken water tower. However, as the years went by, he came to the conclusion wasn’t so bad.

Yes, they had been effectively imprisoned inside the metal tower, but just like the Warner’s themselves, the tower had changed.

No longer was the tower a dark, dreary room that caused him and his siblings fear. Rather, it had been transformed into a cozy and fun environment. A place where they had spent countless hours laughing and playing. Crying and being comforted. Simply talking.

Not only had the tower itself changed, but it had changed them.

Inside this tower, they had found themselves. Grown into the personalities they had been created with so many years ago. Sure, they wouldn’t have had to grow into their personalities if they’d had their creator there to guide them, but then they wouldn’t have formed their inseparable bonds that had formed through their growths. They would have been a family, but simply because they were drawn as one.

Now, though, they were a family because they’d grown into one. 

No longer was the tower a metal prison that’s only purpose was to confine three children that the world wasn’t quite ready for. 

It was home. 

And they wouldn’t have it any other way.