“Pardon, Sensei. But do you mean college?” Colt frowned, tensing slightly. He and Rocky would be going into their senior year of college at the University of Washington when they returned, both on sports scholarships. They had made plans for after school, but hadn’t yet discussed them with anyone but each other. How did she know?
“College. Life. Your fates are intertwined, like strands of rope.”
The brothers exchanged a glance. The ‘strands of rope’ concept was a familiar one, that their grandfather had begun when they were ten, and reiterated each summer with their training. Only, he had always told them that the two of them, along with Tum Tum and Mori himself, made up four strands of rope – ‘mind, spirit, body, and heart’. At least, they had always assumed that he had meant the four of them…
Rocky shrugged one shoulder, the barest movement. Colt relaxed and smiled politely.
“Thank you for your tutelage this summer, Sensei. It has been remarkable and invaluable.” He said, bowing with his hands resting flat along his thighs. Rocky followed suit. “We will remember your words and advice.”
“Our flight leaves soon, and we have yet to pack.” Rocky finished smoothly. “By your leave…?”
The shrug was one of a number of signals that they had developed over the years. It meant ‘smile and nod, we’ll figure it out later.’ They had used it most often after one of their grandfather’s obscure lessons about listening to the sound of the flowers, or being like a stone in a still pond. It was easier than trying to decipher whatever lesson their teacher was trying to impart at the moment.
Sensei sighed, hiding her amusement. They would understand soon, although it would not be an easy lesson for either of them. “Go on then.” She said, waving them away. “It has been my honor and pleasure, young ones. Be safe going home.”
They bowed again and left silently.
“Well, that was weird.” Colt burst out as soon as they were back in their room.
“She was one of Grandpa’s teachers.” Rocky shrugged. “Kind of goes with the territory.” He zipped his duffle bag shut, having already completed most of his packing that morning, and threw himself back on his bed.
“Yeah ,but what about that stuff she said about our fates are intertwined?” Colt frowned, dumping his pile in his bag and yanking the zipper shut as well.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it.” Rocky yawned. “We’re brothers, plus we’ve been training together since we were five.” He let a ghost of a smile appear. “Ive been trying to get you to stop following me around everywhere since we were seven. I still haven’t managed it, so I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that you’re not going anywhere.”
Colt’s pillow flew with startling accuracy, hitting his brother in the face. “Love you too, Rock.” he smirked at the other boy’s sputtering. “And you’re right – I’m not. Someone has to make sure you act your age once in a while. Especially after graduation.”
Rocky rolled his eyes and threw the pillow back. “You’re my little brother, idiot; I’m supposed to look out for you, not the other way around.”
“Younger, not littler.”
“Whatever.” They both were well aware that most people mistook them for fraternal twins, despite the ten month age difference.