The Duckling and the Dinosaur
“What's wrong, Rai-Rai-chan?”
Raiden looked up at his mother. She had short blonde hair that stuck out at all ends at the bottom and her brown eyes reminded him of little drops of chocolate. She smiled at him as she cradled her youngest child in her arms—little Toshirou who was just about four years old. He considered his mother to be so bright compared to adults. And she always had a smile on her face.
“Well...” he shuffled his feet as he looked away from her. “I was wondering...when can I be a ninja?”
His mother was always so calm and collected, and it was always hard to surprise her. She simply sighed and crouched down beside him. “And why do you want to be a ninja?”
“Because Tou-san is.” He blinked at her. “Tou-san is a great ninja, and I want to be just like him.”
She gave him another smile before kissing his forehead. “Yes...he is, isn't he? Well, then I know you'll be a great ninja too.”
Raiden blushed at her kind words and smiled widely at her. His mother was always inspiring him whether it be in music, painting, or whatever he wanted.
“Me too, Kaa-san!” Azuna was walking with them, her hand in Raiden's. Her pigtails were bouncing with every step that she took. “I wanna be a ninja too!” She exclaimed excitedly.
“Of course, of course, Zu-chan.” Their mother smiled, continuing their way through town. “You and Rai-Rai-chan will make such a great duo.”
“Ah! Rai-Rai-nii! We could be commarades! And beat up bad guys,” she pretended to punch the air, as if beating off bad guys.
Raiden smiled and tickled her. “I think I will be the one beating up bad guys...You're way too ticklish, Zu-chan.”
“I am—hahaha—not!” She tried to fight back her giggles.
“Then stop laughing,” he chuckled himself.
Azuna took in a deep breath and puffed out her cheeks. Raiden continued to keep tickling her as her face got redder and her mouth threatened a smile.
“Raiden,” his mother's tone lessened her playfulness, though it wasn't quite scolding, “stop tickling your sister. She's gonna be a tomato if she gets any redder.”
“Hai, Kaa-san~” Raiden stopped tickling Azuna, but that didn't stop her from bursting into laughter.
Raiden's mother turned around to see a bubbly young woman running towards them. She had long blonde hair that was braided down her back and she seemed to be wearing scrubs. Her eyes were a bright blue and a wide smile adorned her face.
“Yoshi-chan!” Suzuna's eyes grew wide as she, too, smiled even wider at the approach of this woman.
“Suzu~” The woman's demeanor changed as soon as she had come upon them. Looking at the young boy in her friend's arms, she quickly crossed her arms over her chest and pouted at her. “You didn't tell me you had another one...”
Suzuna chuckled. “Of course I did, Yoshi-chan...Although it's been four years since...”
The woman cocked her head to the side as she thought and then rubbed the back of her head, giving her friend a goofy smile. “Whoops...I guess I forgot...” She giggled.
The older women both turned their heads in the direction of the little voice. A little girl with purple hair in a little pink dress and yellow rubber boots ran toward them. Her face was smudged with a bit of dirt and her nose seemed to be running. She quickly collided into the woman's leg and clung to her scrubs.
“Kaa-san! Why'd you weave me?” The little girl sniffled.
“Whoops...I guess I forgot...” She laughed and rubbed the back of her head.
“Is this Nagisa-chan? She's gotten so big...” Suzuna smiled, shifting Toshirou in her arms.
The little girl hid her face at the sound of her name. Nagisa's mother simply laughed and ruffled the girl's head. “Yup...She's a lot like her father.”
“Well we better hope,” Suzuna joked, “After all, we don't need another overly crazed duck lover in the village.” She giggled.
Nagisa's mother pouted again but quickly giggled along with Suzuna. “But that wouldn't be such a bad thing...”
“So, how is Tadaiki doing?” Suzuna asked, remembering the woman's oldest child.
“Tada-chan!” She clapped her hands together. “Oh, he graduated from the Academy and is a Genin now. We're really proud of him.”
“I-I wanna be wike Tada-nii...” Little Nagisa piped up.
Suzuna smiled at her and ruffled Raiden's head. “So does Raiden...”
“Kaa-san~” he moaned as he pushed her hand away in embarrassment. Turning his attention toward the purple headed girl, he puffed his chest out and smiled, “I'm gonna be the best ninja ever. Just like my Tou-san.”
“W-Well, I'm gonna be wike Tada-nii~ He's a great ninja~” She said.
“Rai-Rai-nii~ What about me?” Azuna looked up at him, her big brown eyes wide and her bottom lip stuck out. “Aren't I gonna be great?”
“Of course you are, Zu-chan.” He smiled at her.
Both mothers smiled down on their kids.
“You know, I think it would be a great idea to have a play date soon.” Suzuna suggested.
“Oh Kami, that's a great idea!” Nagisa's mother squealed. “Nagi-chan,” she cooed at her daughter, “wouldn't you like it if Raiden-san and Azuna-san came over? Maybe you can show them your ducks?”
Nagisa smiled up at her mother and nodded. Turning back toward Raiden and Azuna, she cocked her head to the side and asked, “Do you wike ducks?”
“I wove ducks!” Azuna nearly squealed. “They're so cute and fwuffy~”
Nagisa smiled at her and quickly went over to her, grasping her tiny hands in hers. “Aren't they?! You will wike my ducks.” Still gripping Azuna's hands, she looked over at Raiden. “What about you? Do you wike ducks?”
He shrugged, disheartening Nagisa.
“He woves ducks!” Azuna was quick to say, brightening Nagisa's face. “Whenever we pway, he pways wif my stuff duck.” She giggled and so did the purple haired girl.
“A-And dinosaurs!” His face grew red as he pouted. “Dinosaurs are cool and real men play with dinosaurs.” He huffed.
The mothers tried their best not to disturb the bonding children, though they did need to attend to their to-do lists.
“Well, we'll make sure to have some dinosaurs when you come over, Raiden-san.” Nagisa's mother smiled at him, taking Nagisa's hand in hers.
“Oh!” Suzuna smiled even wider. “And I'll be sure to bring both Taku-chan and Kay-chan too! They'd love to see the ducks.”
“Aw, the twinies!”
Both mothers seemed to regain some youth at their meeting. Raiden couldn't help smiling every time his mother did. After all, she brightened any room she walked in, but Nagisa's mother was just like his own. She was overly affectionate and caring as well as loving. He could tell that she must've forgotten a lot of things, but overall, he liked her. As for her daughter. She was tiny like Azuna and Kaelen, but there was something about the little girl that grabbed him. Her eyes held so much innocence, she too radiated like sunshine. It seemed that he was surrounded by a lot of walking suns.