Rocky and Colt leapt up, but Tum’s foot still connected solidly with Rocky’s thigh, and his fist with Colt’s hip as he twisted, blocking most of the blow.
“Cease fire, Tum Tum.” he repeated. “You may resume battle after lunch, if you have the energy.”
“We were just goofing around, Grandpa.” Tum glared at his brothers and stuck his tongue out at them as they smirked.
“Mm-hm. Go wash.” He waved them away, knowing that the tasks he had set for the afternoon training would tire them out enough to minimize the horseplay and rough housing for the rest of the day.
As he had intended, dinner was a quiet affair. They would be fine in the morning, Mori knew, but the first day of training was always the hardest, especially after a school year of mild conditioning and light sparring.
“Good night boys.” He called up the stairs to the loft.
“Night, grandpa.” Came the subdued replay. Satisfied, Mori sought out his own bed.
“Hey wait a minute.You just said that Grandpa was wrong.”
“Go to sleep, Colt.”
“You never do that. Mister always-follow-the-rules, I-am-stone and never react to anything, Rock-bot just admitted that our all-knowing wise sensei grandfather was wrong.” Colt pretended to wipe a tear from his eyes. “I’m so proud.”
Rocky thumped him in the face with his pillow. “Shut up and go to sleep, jerk.” He pointedly closed his eyes, willing himself to take his own advice, but sleep wouldn’t come. Stone. Rock. Cool. Composed. Steady. Rocky had always been an observer, a thinker. An ‘old soul’, his mom had called him once. He liked those descriptions, and was proud of his ability to observe, think, and assess a situation instead of charging straight into the chaos, as Colt often did. It was annoying and exasperating, but that was just who his younger brother was; full of life and energy, inherently confident in his own abilities, the same way his wild namesake was. Rocky had learned the hard way a long time ago that it was easier to suggest rather than outright order when it came to his impulsive younger brother. Orders and lectures just made him dig his heels in and more determined to do things his way just to prove you wrong. Unfortunately, the wilder Colt got over the years, the more Rocky had to be like the stone he was named for; unmovable, unyielding force to stand against the wind.
Sometimes it was boring though, always being the voice of reason. What if Rocky wanted to be the wild one, with the crazy ideas and impulsive decisions? His eyes shot open. What if he started acting more like Colt? The main reason his younger brother got away with some of his antics was because Rocky was there to pull him back. But what if Rocky turned the tables on him? Made him actually be the logical, thoughtful one for once. The teen smirked into the dark. He didn’t know if he would actually go through with his secret plan, but it was amusing to think about. Grandpa always reminded them that a ninja was equal parts mind, body, spirit, and heart, but somehow he had been designated as ‘mind’ only, while Colt embodied the spirit aspect. But his brother was intelligent and observant, while Rocky could be passionate and instinctual. Maybe they just needed the right opportunities to show it.