KOFtober prompt 5: Rain

The sun was gone. In its place, thick, dark clouds painted the world in shadowy drabness. Rain pelted down from them, hard and unrelenting, turning the lawn into swampy mush. Thunder rumbled somewhere in the distance, like the growl of some great beast. This was the sort of weather most people would find depressing; it was the sort of day they would spend indoors, bored witless, but dry. Kula, on the other hand, found wonder in the change of once-familiar scenery. Today, she decided, was going to be a day of exploration.

Foxy and Diana had armed her with a thick raincoat, gumboots, and an umbrella when she expressed she didn't want to stay indoors with them. The umbrella puffed out into a semi-transparent dome when it was opened, its clearness dyed dull yellow by the small lights on the banisters. Kula departed with a kiss on both cheeks, skipping off the low patio and into the wet expanse beyond. The items did their job, keeping her mostly dry, even when she gleefully stomped her way through puddles and jumped into the deeper ones. Kula giggled to herself as the elaborate braid Foxy had twisted her hair into slapped against the plastic of her raincoat with every jump. Most of the braid was utterly drenched since she was haphazard about how she held her umbrella. She didn't mind in the slightest. The chill was nice.

Maxima — who had offered to chaperone her little backyard excursion so Foxy and Diana could relax and stay dry — trailed along behind at a respectable, non-splashable, distance. He'd forgone a raincoat, and his umbrella wasn't big enough to cover his entire girth, so his sweater was drenched at the shoulders. But he also didn't seem to mind. Maybe he even enjoyed it? He definitely had a relaxed, happy smile on his face. Kula was glad he was having a good time, even if she was still disappointed that he'd declined to join in the puddle-hopping. He would've made such huge splashes...

Movement in the middle distance drew her attention. Kula paused and squinted through the rain, twirling the umbrella handle absently between her palms. It had been something small — about the size of her hand, maybe — and would have been easy to ignore if there hadn't been such speed and power behind the movement. She scanned the flowered shrubs, trying to locate the speedy little something again. Leaves and sleeping flowers bobbed under the weight of the downpour, but all was otherwise still. She hummed to herself and turned away, disappointed that maybe her eyes had been playing tricks on her.

And then came face to face with bulging eyes attached to a squat, slimy body.

"Froggie!" Kula squealed in delight.

The skin at its throat swelled massively. With a disgruntled croak, the frog launched itself away from her. The smack-splash of its body landing in a shallow puddle was only barely audible through the general drone of the rain. Another jump, just as impressive as the first. The second landing sounded fainter.

Impulsively, she dropped her umbrella to run after it, footfalls wild and loud. "Ah! Wait, come back! I wanna hold you!"

Distantly, she thought she heard Maxima call out to her. But she ignored him for now, focusing instead on the fat little body springing away. She was sure he'd understand why she'd ignored him when she triumphantly presented the cute little amphibian to him. He'd already shown her so much in the scant half year they'd known each other... so it was only fair of her to show him some small wonders in return.

In terms of timeline, this is shortly after the events of '01. Everyone's getting their first taste of mundane life, and Kula is enjoying it the most. She didn't get much personal enrichment as a NESTS assassin, so at this stage, every encounter with the world around her is new and wonderful. And the two hardboiled new additions to her family find it refreshing after all they've been through.