It was early afternoon when Cecille found him. He'd spent the past hour or two scooping up seashells by the shore, a routine he practiced so often that that was the first place his sister always looked. Perched on the sand where the tides could barely reach, Dynos greeted Cecille with an awkward gaze.
"I knew I'd find you here," she said, to which Dynos replied that she always did. "Are you collecting shells again? They're pretty . . . but that's just it. You're a boy! It's usually the girls doing things like this."
Dynos rubbed his thumb on the surface of one shell, a gesture that hinted at his discomfort. "I'm not a girl, though," he muttered. The unspoken "you are" hung in the air; Cecille missed it or simply chose not to acknowledge it.
"Of course you're not, silly." She leaned forward and looked him in the eye. Then she smiled. "You wouldn't be my little brother if you were."
She'd meant age, of course, but there was the double meaning Dynos picked up on. "I'm not small." It was a fact his sister always poked at him with – he wasn't particularly tall or short, and he was a good half an inch shorter than her. Without thinking, he began to rub on the shell harder, his thumb moving in quicker, more erratic motions.
"Yes, you are! For now." Cecille puffed up one side of her cheek, hands resting on her hips. "Boys grow so tall. You're probably going to outgrow me, and I'm supposed to be the older one." It was injustice, she thought, that an elder sister – of twins, no less – would be genetically cursed to be shorter. (Dynos had once told her she was being dramatic and making no sense, but what did he know?)
Had it been a normal day, Dynos would have retorted that girls started growing earlier. She'd get a few years head start, to which Cecille would huff that they wouldn't be enough. He'd shoot up like a fully functioning Lightship while she would splutter and fall like a Lightship with Ray leakage, she'd say. Dynos could never quite understand where she pulled those analogies from, and he would tell her as much and she would laugh (whether at the question or him, he didn't want to know). But today was different, and he tried for a change in pace.
"It'll be easier to dodge if you're small."
Cecille just gave him a look.
"It's true . . . "
She rolled her eyes, in amusement rather than exasperation. Her brother's attempts at humoring were oftentimes strange, given how differently they tended to think. He was so much mellower than she could ever hope to be. She humored him back. "There's no need for dodging if you take down the enemy before they have the chance to strike."
Arrogant as the statement was, there were few counters to the argument when a Garcia said it. The Garcia style was brutal, in a word. As frail as the master's two children appeared, they were strong enough to quickly take down many a monsters by their lonesome. Cecille especially packed a punch that sent most boys in the dojo airborne and crying – Dynos knew. He was one of them.
Then he blinked, noticing a hand and lavender frills swishing back and forth in front of his face as Cecille called him. "Hey! Are you daydreaming again?"
"Hmm. You've been at that seashell for a while, now." Dynos looked down at his hands. He'd forgotten about the shell he'd been rubbing away at. He dropped it onto the sandy ground below him and observed his sandy thumb. It was a move he instantly regretted as the ocean's tide engulfed the shell and caused more sand to stick to the bottom.
He heard his sister giggling (which was surprisingly feminine in contrast to her usually tomboyish nature) when she noticed the forlorn look on his face. "You know, it's almost time for lunch," said Cecille. There was the silent indication to start heading back, but her brother stayed rooted to the sand. "Dad's going to want us back soon."
"And then we'll resume training," Dynos finished. Cecille nodded enthusiastically, though the eagerness seemed to fade with each nod.
"Well, until dinner. After that, Dad's all yours." She paused, continuing wistfully: "I wish he'd teach me as much as you." Dynos knew that very well. It was something his sister mentioned now and then, though she always meant it more for herself than for him to respond to. He didn't think their father taught him that much more than her, and he told her as much. Cecille shook her head. "You'll be running the dojo someday. He's teaching you a lot more than me." She seemed to spy the complaint, and so she quickly added: "But that's okay, because I have plans of my own, too!"
Dynos nodded slowly. "You're going to be a hero of justice. Right?" A corny goal, if anything, but knowing his sister she would be able to achieve such a title.
"No, no, that's wrong!" When she saw the puzzled look on his face, she shook her head again, almost violently. "I'm going to be the Hero of Justice. There's a big difference."
In all honesty, he didn't see the difference.
"Right. That's what you want to be."
"And you're going to be the head of the dojo," she said with another prideful smile of hers. The corner of Dynos' lip twitched. He quickly covered it by putting on a smile to match hers, though it was considerably smaller in nature. He couldn't pull off arrogance or pride very well.
"Yeah. That's what Dad wants."
He was running out of things to say. Fortunately, Cecille seemed content enough and finally straightened from her leaned pose. "I think I'll head back," she started. "You should come in soon, too, okay? Don't keep us waiting, or lunch will get cold!" Then she pivoted on her heels and marched off, but not before momentarily stopping and reminding him: "And don't forget your seashells!"
She was gone, and Dynos was alone. He suddenly felt cold, and he thought being so close to the ocean all this time was beginning to have its effect on him. Picking up the seashell he'd dropped before, he picked at the grains of sand on the surface with his fingers. When he was satisfied with his work, he stood and patted his pants. Then he reached for the other shells he had put aside even earlier and cradled them in his arms. He hadn't gotten as many as he would have liked, but there was plenty back home to compensate.
The sky had gotten a tad darker than he remembered. Lunch would be served soon. With the thought of a warm meal in mind, Dynos followed his sister's footsteps and headed for home.
Authoress' Notes: This piece was named after the notorious tongue-twister due to Dynos' inability to articulate what he wants. The story addresses what his sister and father desire, hence his lack of substantial responses to Cecille's talk of their future. I originally intended to add another element where it'd be made clearer that Dynos and Cecille want what the other has (acknowledgment from a parent versus personal freedom), but I wasn't able to fit it in. Either way, I hope you all enjoyed this quick one-shot!