The Little Bro
Summary: Barney and his nephew reach a milestone moment.
"Okay, dude, are you sure you're ready for this?"
"Uncle Barney, come on..." says Eli, giving Barney this look that says really, man?
Barney sighs. "Alright, but it's kind of a big deal, Eli. I don't want you to feel like I pushed you into this too early. Your first time should be special."
"Look at me! I'm ready!"
Barney does take the time to really look at his nephew, and all he can see is the kid that he taught how to color inside the lines, the kid who spat up on his tie, the first kid to really melt his heart and make him think of one day having children of his own.
Just a boy, about to become a man.
The moment is bittersweet.
Barney adjusts Eli's vest, and gives him a steady nod.
"It's time," says Barney. "To war we go!" he shouts, and the pair hurry out into the laser tag arena just as the game begins. They hold their guns at the ready as they duck and dodge behind fake boulders and walls.
Eli shoots at his nearest target, a small girl whose vest glows red instead of blue. His aim is true and the lights on her vest temporarily turn off. "Yeah! I got her! Uncle Barney, this is so legendary!"
Barney and Eli share identical grins as they maneuver around the arena, syncing up in time to take down a pair of nerdy teenagers.
The kid's got serious game.
Later, when they knock back sodas and chomp on soft pretzels after a legen-wait for it-dary win, Barney smiles at his totally awesome nephew, and says, "Little Bro, I've trained you well, even if you'll never beat my score."
The seven year old merely grins, and Barney swears that he's looking at a miniature version of himself, a theory that is confirmed with Eli's reply: