Grandpa hadn’t even given him a chance to explain why he was fighting! He hadn’t been thinking about wanting to ‘play hero’, as the older man assumed; at least not for a bunch of strangers. They had actually gotten in the way of the teen’s original goal – to talk to the pretty Native American girl from the protests who had been the catalyst for this whole mess in the first place. What did he care about a bunch of adults who were intimidated by three lunkhead cowboys?
Colt sighed heavily, punching his pillow as he turned on his side, facing away from his brothers.
“Colt. You awake?”
Colt turned back over to look at Rocky. “Yeah. Can’t sleep.”
“Me either.” Rocky propped his head on his arm, turning more on his side so he wouldn’t wake Tum Tum, who was snoring softly next to him. “Still thinking about earlier?”
“It’s not fair, Rock!” The words burst out of him again, rife with frustration. “I wasn’t trying to be a hero, or doing it for attention! I was just doing the right thing, when no one else would!” Why didn’t anyone understand that?
“Shh!” Rocky warned. “It’s okay, Colt. I told you I get it. Grandpa’s wrong about this one.” That surprised Colt into silence; Rocky usually believed that their grandpa could do no wrong. “But this isn’t a battle that we can win. So we go clean up our mess, because if the manager was too scared to say anything to those guys about harassing that girl in the first place, then they sure as heck aren’t going to blame them for destroying the parlor or dare to ask them to clean up their mess and pay for the damages.” He pointed out logically. “And we let grandpa think he has taught us a lesson. Okay?”
“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.