Seirah picked her way down the wall of tumbled stones confidently. Even when she alighted on loose ones, she hopped to the next one nimbly, without a moment's pause to overthink how dangerous it was. Her journey didn't look too graceful — particularly when she went down on all fours to clamber across some sections like a large spider — but that didn't matter because it was still the most amazing thing ever. His big sister was so talented! He hoped he became that nimble when he got bigger so he could be just as cool.
She perched on a particularly large stone with a mostly flat top right in front of him, ocean breeze plucking at stray wisps of her bob. When she extended her hand he grasped it eagerly, excited at the prospect of exploring something new. Her grip was reassuring as she guided him up sideways, over a bunch of smaller, easier to reach, stones until he could clamber onto the same one she stood on. From there, they both clambered their way up slowly, following the safe route she'd picked out and memorised. He drew confidence from her steady grasp on his hand. So much so that his other arm was stretched out, a little toy plane between his fingers, more for fun than for balance.
Their journey was over rather quickly, without a single mishap to slow them down. Their prize was a perfectly clear view of the ocean and the shell-speckled sand from all directions, and the cloudless blue sky overhead. More importantly, there were an abundance of shallow rock pools to examine. The salty wind blustered, roaring in their ears and sending their hair whipping wildly, as he took the lead. The stones were still a little damp from high tide a few hours ago; not enough to be super slippery, but enough for their bare footfalls to have some slap to them.
They flitted from pool to pool, peering into each one in search of tiny marine life. More often than not there was little to see but barnacles, empty shells, and algae. A few had drab, lightly dappled, brown crabs in them that were so small they were barely the size of his pinky nail. They skittered around on tiny legs, sliding out of reach into cracks in the rock, or burying themselves in whatever sand was in the pools, when his fingers trailed through the water in an attempt to pat them on their tiny heads. One of the bigger, deeper pools even had a few minuscule fish swimming in them. That was an amazing find. Even Seirah seemed to perk up more at the discovery. She did have to gently remind him that fish weren't made for petting, however, which was disappointing, but didn't stifle his wonder one bit.
When they eventually climbed back down, their skin was warm and reddened and their hair was tangled. His toy plane was now blinged out with a bracelet Seirah had made from a piece of fishing line found wrapped around a stick lodged between two rocks and several shells of varying sizes with holes in them. Another person had also entered the beach while they had been exploring. Upon sighting them, the woman rose from her seat in the sand, dusting off her thighs and buttocks. It was unmistakably their mother; even in such warm weather, she was wearing the familiar, faithful brown leather jacket. She was just quirky like that.
Their mother crouched when the pair got a little closer, arms outstretched. Grinning ear to ear, he immediately extricated himself from Seirah's grip to run at her at full tilt. The sand squeaked between his toes, kicked around everywhere by his mad dash. Bodily, he flung himself at her, dropping his plane to embrace her with all the might his tiny body could muster. She released a small "oof!" at the impact, but followed the momentum with a wide spin. And then she kept spinning, hands wrapping around him, faster and faster. His hands, tiny and smooth, wrapped around her neck even tighter to keep himself anchored. The world was reduced to a blurred whirl of colours and his delighted shrieks and giggles, partly snatched by the strong breeze. Round and round they spun until he was on the cusp of throwing up from dizziness. It was then that she stopped spinning, chest heaving, and staggering to stay upright.
She was still breathing hard when she finally stabilised herself. The sun was directly behind her, the glare reducing her face to shadows and a brilliant, equally dazzling, white smile.
"Happy birthday, —"
A gull shrieked directly in his ear.
And just like that K' was awake, blinking groggily under the light of the same sun bathing a different beach.
The offending bird tilted its head at him. It strutted even closer, without fear, to get a better look at him. He watched its approach through bleary eyes, still a little disorientated from his nap. The gull pecked curiously at one of the fingers of his gauntlet, hoping the strange shiny was some sort of delicacy. He shooed it away with a clumsy wave of his arm and some unintelligible mumble. Even without much energy in the movement, it did the job; the gull took off, squawking indignantly, to go harass someone else.
Eyes drawn by the sudden moment, Maxima peered over at him. He was scraping down the sides of a tiny ice cream tub with an even tinier bright green plastic spoon. Because of course he'd hit up the ice cream vendors while they were here. "Good nap?"
K' hummed, palming at his numb cheek. His voice was still quiet and thick with sleep when he responded. "Had some sort of dream..."
"Oh? Must've been a real nice one; you were smiling in your sleep."
"Mmm. Maybe..." The contents were already fading from memory, but the impression of lightness remained. The woman's smile, dazzling as the sun behind her, lingered like eye floaters. It brought a bittersweet ache to his heart. He tried not to dwell on it as he sat upwards, sand trickling off his arms and chest. "Where are the other two, anyway?"
Maxima pointed one tree trunk arm at the distant water. "They decided to take a dip when they realised you weren't waking up any time soon."
Sure enough, K' could pick out the pair amongst the rest of the beachgoers. He spotted Kula first, her alabaster skin so much paler than the other bodies in the water that it was practically a beacon. She kicked her legs idly, flicking around water for the hell of it while Whip was dragging her through the waves on an inner tube. She had the bright pink plastic flamingo by the neck, swimming with a single chiselled arm, as if holding the toy hostage to make sure Kula had a good time. Both of them bobbed along with the currents, letting the water do all the work as they cruised through it.
"You going in, too?"
"Sure." With a faint groan, K' pushed himself to his feet. Arms over his head, with hot metal and warm flesh fingers laced together, he arched his back. Stiff vertebrae clicked satisfyingly. "Might wake me up a little... How about you, tin man?"
"Nah." Maxima settled the cup next to his thigh, digging it into the sand to keep it in place. "Don't feel like potentially sinking today."
K' smirked, pausing in his stretching to jerk his chin at the empty ice cream cup. "Eat enough of that sweet crap in one sitting then maybe you'll be buoyant enough to float."
"Har har, toothpick. Remember to clean your gauntlet thoroughly when we get home. I don't want the good doctor to give us both another lecture about rust maintenance."
K' flapped his bare hand dismissively. "Yeah yeah. I don't want the crotchety old fart breathing down my neck about rust buildup again. One lecture was more than enough."
Doctor Makishma was a temperamental old man on even his best days, but he became ten times worse when he learned his tech creations weren't being maintained with nothing short of meticulous care. Add K''s own sass and irritable personality to the mix and their checkups quickly devolved into grease fire levels of volatility. But never mind the dusty old fossil; there were some good, strong waves there with his name on them.
He raised a lazy hand in parting at Maxima and he shuffled away for the water. Whip noticed his approach when he was halfway to the water's edge, poking Kula's side and pointing. When she spotted him her face lit up. She waved both arms excitedly, ushering him over to come romp in the water. K' indulged in a rare smile and picked his pace up to a light jog.
Maxima watched his departure, snorting into his fist at the sight of semi-dried white blotches shaped like hearts and flowers and two sets of text on his back. The pretty cursive between his shoulders spelled out "goblin", and a simpler, clearer type on his lower back branded him "weenie king", flanked on both sides by silly sausage doodles with sunglasses. Kula and Whip had applied their sunscreen creations rather thickly while he was in dream land, none the wiser, so it was going to make for quite the tan. He wondered how long it would take for K' to notice his new "ink".
November 8th is KOFG's anniversary, and to my understanding, has become the fandom's unofficial birthdate for Mr Dashbert. I couldn't quite finish this in time here — it's already nearing 1am as I'm posting this — but hey. It's still the 8th in some parts of the world. And since I already missed Maxima's, Kula's, and Whip's birthday's, I'm not about to miss celebrating my fav jerky goblin's special day.
On another note, the mother of The Siblings K is a cheeky reference to a character from another game that maybe two people will pick up on. I'm not sure if she'll be my consistent headcanon parent in future works, but I do plan to have her make another couple of appearances in things.