Just a heads up that I'm approaching the K'/Kula dynamic as purely platonic for this collection rather than leave it ambiguous like I usually do. I'm putting all of the emphasis on the "family" in "pseudo family" this time around. You do you though if you still want to see them through shipping goggles. I can't stop you and I won't chuck a fit over it anyway.

"It looks shit. Do it again."

Kula puffed her cheeks in irritation. "Your hair's too short to work with! And so are these ribbons!"

"Quit making excuses. You're the one that wanted to learn this." Scowling at the hand mirror she'd let him borrow, K' reached for the wonky little green bow keeping part of his fringe pinned up. He clicked his tongue with irritation when it unravelled with a couple of deft pinches and pulls, allowing the shaggy white locks to fall back into place. Sloppy work. He held the ribbon out to Kula, pinched loosely between thumb and forefinger. "Now try again."

Grumbling, Kula plucked it from his hand. "Can't we just go back to doing the bigger bows?"

"No. You're already semi-decent at those; you need something more challenging."

"What?! Just semi-decent?" Kula seethed incredulously. "Your bows are still ugly, even though you're the one who taught me!"

"Yeah, well, I have severe nerve damage in one hand. What's your excuse for those shoddy jobs, besides never practising by yourself?"

"I have a bad teacher."

"Yeah? Well I have a brain-dead idiot for a student." K' rolled his eyes.

That pushed a button.

Eyebrows drawing down into a scowl, Kula gripped a tuft of hair at the back of his skull. She yanked, hard and sharp, forcing his head to jerk back. K' yelped at the sudden painful tugging against his scalp.

"OW! What the hell?!"

"I'm not a brain-dead idiot," Kula snapped. She tugged again, forcing K' to lean further back or risk the hairs being ripped out. "And you're the one who sucks at this, not me."

"Asshole!" K' seethed, swiping a clumsy hand at her face.

Kula let him go and skittered out of harm's way. With nothing keeping him aloft, K' tumbled over the end of her bed, swearing up an even more colourful storm as his head struck the floorboards. She sneered down at him with vindictive satisfaction.

"Horrible, awful, nasty little jerky goblin!"

Ignoring the new mild throbbing tempo in his skull, K' scrambled to his feet. There was murder in his eyes.

"You little shithead," he spat. "You're gonna regret that."

Kula tossed her hair derisively. The wrathful fire in her eyes mirrored his own. "Try and make me regret it, stinky."

The sound of something heavy hitting the floor roused Maxima from the deep nap he'd unknowingly fallen into. He came to with a snort, blinking blearily at the early afternoon sunlight streaming in through the living room windows. He was about to dismiss the noise as nothing and let the comfortable blanket of sleepiness drape over him again, but it wasn't an isolated instance. As the grogginess petered out, he could pick out more muffled thumps and a pair of enraged voices screaming over each other. A break-in or a raid was his first deduction, and it instantly cleared the cobwebs.

Face hardening, he shoved out of his armchair and headed for Kula's room, which was the source of the scuffle.

The trio worked so hard — had taken every precaution possible — to ensure that this apartment was safe; that they could have this single, peaceful, place to live without having to constantly look over their shoulders. And now it was compromised. NESTS was dead and gone; couldn't these greedy, power-hungry people just leave well enough alone so the trio could finally enjoy their hard-earned freedom?

Cracks split the skin of Maxima's forearm open, the segments extending outwards, as he thundered down the short hall. Beneath lay sleek metal armaments, already locked and loaded. Face stormy, he yanked open the door to Kula's room. The arm canon was thrust through first, followed by his hulking torso, bent double so he could actually see inside. Brilliant blue overtook his eyes, the glow eerie and full of threat.

"Hands where I can bloody see them," he snarled.

The faces that met his weren't anonymous masked agents. And they certainly posed no hint of threat. K' and Kula had paused mid-fight, frozen to stare in stunned confusion at the interruption.

Kula was pinned, the red metal digits of K''s gauntleted fingers jammed into one corner of her mouth, pulling at it. His bare hand was brandishing a hairbrush, raised mid-strike. Kula's own fingers were hooked in a nasty claw midway down his cheek and in his shoulder. The red tracks running down half his face spoke that she had dragged her nails across his skin before hooking into their current position.

The trio did not move for what felt like an eternity.

Heaving the biggest, most irritable sigh, Maxima stooped even lower so he could get inside. The panels of his arm clicked back into place as he did so, hiding the heavy ordinance back under the guise of a regular human arm. He stomped towards the pair, the ethereal glow of his eyes dimming to nothing. Papa bear may have sheathed his claws, but he was still visibly irate. With each hand, he grabbed a superpowered brat by the back of their shirt, forcefully prying them apart. He ignored their hissed hurts as fingers were pulled out of tugging and clawing positions.

"Both of you," he growled, giving them a light shake like misbehaving kittens, "are a nightmare."

One peaceful day — just one — where he didn't have to deal with their petty squabbling. Was that truly so much to ask for?

"She started it," K' bit out, wearing one of his famous glowers.

"You're the one who called me an idiot for no reason!" Kula snapped back. Her hair rippled, the briefest puff of chilled air rolling off of her, in a display of barely contained anger. "You started it!"

"You almost ripped out my damn hair!"


"Little mutant!"


Fuming, Maxima dropped the pair unceremoniously to their feet. They'd barely settled onto solid ground again before their bodies went stiff with tension. Hands were being raised and stances spread with the promise of escalated violence. But a thick arm was thrust between them, killing that idea before it came to fruition. The big man wasn't having a bar of it. Not after their antics had scared him into thinking they were in legitimate danger. Having to explain, and pay for, random fire and ice damage was also a hypothetical headache he didn't want to have to bring up to the landlady.

"Do not," he growled out, voice low and dangerous, "even think about it. I don't care who did what, or when they did it. Disengage and cool off. Now."

K' clicked his tongue. He turned on his heel, going out of his way to barge his shoulder against Maxima's arm. Still being a petulant brat... but at least he was being the bigger person. Or so Maxima thought.

Pausing at the door's threshold, K' couldn't resist shooting Kula one final glare. He jabbed a metal-plated finger at her. "This isn't over."

Her eyes flashed at the challenge. "Good. Because your fat head looks like it still needs another good smack."

"I said enough, young lady," Maxima growled, giving Kula a stern look. He then turned to K', making several irritable shooing motions. "And you. Get out of here."

Both his young charges huffed but acquiesced. Kula turned her back away, cheeks puffed mulishly. K' stomped away down the hall, muttering under his breath. He made sure to slam his door as he locked himself in his room. Because of course he would.

Satisfied that the fight was well and truly over, however briefly, Maxima stooped and squeezed his way out of Kula's room. He closed the door gently behind him, leaving the girl to stew in silence by her lonesome. He plodded away on heavy feet, sighing and palming at his face. His fingers dragged across the vaguely rubbery faux flesh, the motion lightly stretching it over metal eye sockets.

It was in times like this that he wished he could enjoy a good stiff drink for more than just the taste. Instead, he would have to try contenting himself with a bit of stress baking to take the edge off.

Not a very blissful start for this drabble collection. Oops. But if you've grown up with siblings with only a couple of years' age difference between you, you'll know bratfights like this are par for the course lol. Usually when you're way younger though...

Anyway, I don't have any set schedule or ideas for this; it's just a little side thing I'll add to whenever it suits me or I need a break from more intensive projects. So feel free to shoot me requests on social media, or here, or whatever for aspects of this trio's daily life/mishaps you'd like to see poked at.