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.
Rocky quickly forgot about his hazy what-if plan to be more impulsive and instinctive in an effort to get his brother to act more responsible, yet somehow Colt managed to do it all on his own. Maybe it was age, maybe something had just ‘clicked’ in the inexplicable ways of adolescence, but the two boys worked more smoothly than they ever had as a team over the next few days, planning and executing a rescue mission for Jo’s father (and later Jo herself) almost flawlessly, and being a big part of the obstacles that eventually foiled Jack Harding’s evil scheme of dumping illegal waste in the landfill.
The Indian reservation had been exceedingly grateful, and had ultimately shown that appreciation in the best way possible. Someone – Rocky suspected at Jo’s suggestion – had struck a deal with Doty’s Pizza Parlor on their behalf. Free pizza and unlimited game tokens for every visit for the rest of their lives. Even Tum had declared he was full – after consuming three medium pan pizzas loaded with anchovies, all by himself. Rocky and Colt had made him sleep downstairs on the couch that night, declaring that they couldn’t stand the smell. They had also chased him around with water balloons, as part of a ‘moving target exercise’, and to ‘help’ him rid himself of the last lingering remnants of the fishy smell. Grandpa had even the odds and given Tum a Super Soaker to return fire. The fight was eventually called a draw, and the older boys had let their younger sibling back into the loft.
The rest of the summer had flown by, between ninja training and Colt’s budding romance with Jo. For all of their teasing, Rocky and Tum actually liked her, mainly because she made a conscious effort to not interrupt their dynamic or relationship with their brother. She was also just as willing to team up with Tum for a baking day (and flour fight), or teach Rocky about the different types of birds and critters that habituated the reservation. She also taught Colt how to ride a horse, which he was terrified of at first but quickly took a liking to.