Kozaburo Nambu had chosen today to work from home. Not because he needed the time away from the office, but because Ken and Joe both had entirely free schedules for some reason. He'd found it wise to be nearby when the two sixteen-year-olds had so much idle time. Especially if he wanted to keep his already considerable insurance rates down.
Of course, leaving his office door open was a double-edged sword. It meant that he was constantly distracted by small things, or small people, as the case may be. Since Ryu, Jun, and Jinpei were all ensconced with various tutors, at least the dull roar of a busy home had reduced somewhat.
He finally started to find his focus when he heard a voice bellowing down the hall.
How many times had he reminded Joe that they had an intercom system for a reason? Shaking his head, he focused on his work again, but the sudden rush of feet past his office door immediately crushed that possibility. He'd caught sight of caramel hair in the passing blur. That meant …
Kozaburo was somewhat impressed by the speed of the next blur charging by. As he rose to ensure that today's first epic battle didn't destroy too much furniture, it occurred to him that he'd never heard the phone ring.
With a slight feeling of dread, he lifted the receiver for their house phone, and dialled the call-back number. Meanwhile, he heard a dull thud from the living room. He guessed from experience that they'd managed to knock over the couch.
"Lolita's House of Pleasure," purred a female voice in Kozaburo's ear. "Tell me your fantasy, baby, and I'll take very good care of you."
Kozaburo pinched the bridge of his nose. "Wrong number. So sorry."
He hung up and just stood there a moment. When a headache didn't attack, and the sounds of teenage violence in the living room didn't cease, he shook his head and went to go break things up.
Somehow he wasn't surprised to find them circling the downed couch. Joe was moving backwards with an unrepentant grin, while Ken stalked him in a blue-eyed blaze of fury.
"C'mon, Ken, lighten up," Joe teased, still grinning. "That's the most action you've seen so far, isn't it?"
Watching Ken leap over the couch like a panther, tackling Joe before he could dodge, Kozaburo silently added additional meditation time to Ken's schedule in particular. The future leader of the Science Ninja Team had to rise above such obvious taunts. Of course, another part of him was evaluating their combat skills at the same time.
As the battle raged closer and closer to a lamp Kozaburo's mother had left him, he realized that he rather liked that particular piece of furniture. For the sake of preserving its pleasing shape and some fond memories, Kozaburo finally said, "Enough!"
By that point, Joe had gained the advantage. Kneeling over Ken, he'd just been about to strike a blow, but he made the mistake of stopping and looking up. Given that he was the one who made the offending call, Kozaburo didn't warn him when Ken's eyes flashed with vengeful glee.
Joe yelped as he found himself thrown into the back of the couch. Fortunately, it being a couch, Kozaburo didn't hear any cracking bones.
"Enough," he repeated. Now to watch them squirm and hope this didn't get turned back around on him. "Now one of you will tell me what this is all about."
The two teens came to stand in front of him, disheveled and glaring sidelong at one another. Kozaburo waited, crossing his arms. After counting to twenty, they still hadn't given in, and he had a policy of making them confess even when he knew exactly what had happened.
He started drumming his fingers on his forearm. A few moments later, he barely heard Ken mutter.
"Check the phone bill."
Joe elbowed Ken in the ribs. Ken hissed and moved to stomp Joe's foot, but Kozaburo cleared his throat. Both boys settled down again.
"And what am I going to find?"
"Yeah, Joe," said Ken, smirking. "What's he gonna find?"
"Going to," corrected Kozaburo.
Two teens rolled their eyes. Then Joe shrugged. "It was just a joke."
"At what, ten bucks a minute?" Ken's eyes narrowed.
Joe stared at the floor. At first, Kozaburo made the mistake of thinking he was actually regretting this little adventure. He was quickly disabused of this assumption as Joe's shoulders started to shake.
"It was so worth it," he snickered. "And I caught the look on your face on camera. Can't wait!"
Kozaburo watched red-faced horror replace Ken's smug expression. Violence was imminent. He'd have to mete out punishment later. "At least take it outside."
For a second both boys stood frozen. Then Joe took off, hauling the sliding glass door open and tearing into the backyard. "I'll put the picture on this year's Christmas cards!"
Ken let out a growl and took off after him. Again, Kozaburo pinched the bridge of his nose. Still no headache. Good. He strode over and closed the sliding glass door, finding himself tempted to lock it. The only thing that held him back was pondering what kind of damage they'd do trying to break back into the house.
But it would keep them occupied. Smiling, he locked the sliding glass doors, and then made sure all the doors and windows were secured. Then he settled back behind his desk, turning so he could work in full view of the security monitors. If they insisted on being distracting, they might as well provide some entertainment.
Being a parent to a burgeoning team of techno-ninjas wasn't so hard. It just required some creative thinking.