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The Greatest Christmas Ever


by jcrules902

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A lean, stealthy figure padded silently through Neopia Central, paws barely making a sound on the snow-covered ground as it moved silently from shadow to shadow in the dead of night. Past the Petpet Shop, past the Post Office, past the Rainbow Pool, past all the shops--which were closed--and on into the different neighborhoods. His blue fur appeared gray to any passers-by or onlookers and his eyes gleamed in the light caused by the lights on the buildings he passed and from the street lamps nearby.

     Christmas Eve in Neopia, Year 7, and where am I? thought the Lupe rather bitterly. Outside. In the cold. Alone. By myself. Freezing my tail off. A great way to spend Christmas! Note to self: Don't spend any more nights in 2 degree-weather! He added that to his already-rather-long list of mental notes and things to do, getting a bit more annoyed by the second.

     He heaved a sigh and kept walking, hoping that maybe--just maybe--some nice Neopian would let him spend a night or two with them--just so he could be out of the cold. He'd sleep on a rug for all he cared; he only wanted to be off the street, even for one night.

     Unfortunately, the blue Lupe had had little luck--he hadn't been able to work up enough courage to knock on their doors: only peek through their windows and watch some open presents and some put up last-minute decorations forgotten about from past years' Advent Calendars and from Neofriends. That was how he felt--forgotten. Abandoned. Lonely. Rejected.

     His past owners had all left him at the Pound after owning him for a few months, telling him he was "too old" or "boring" or some other stupid, untrue excuse.

     But you could hardly call it "owning", he scoffed to himself. They were all too busy with other pets to even notice me! All those cute, new pets and paintbrushes enveloping Neopia every month! Pah!

     Strangely, the Lupe wasn't as Sloth-like or crazy as some would think. Yes, he was annoyed, but he had learned that bitterness was not the way to make himself feel better. Instead, he chose to think of the good things in his life--and, at Christmastime, admiring the beauty of his surroundings certainly took his mind off his past and the not-so-good things in life.

     This year, there was one particular house that caught his attention. It was probably the least-lit one on Wishing Well Drive but, looking through the Christmassy Stained Glass Window, he spied what looked like the happiest little group of Neopians he'd seen all Year 7.

     There were three of them-a teenaged, redheaded girl, a yellow Gelert, and a yellow Xweetok, all gathered 'round their lovely Gigantic Decorated Christmas Tree looking at the pile of presents underneath. Something about the Xweetok seemed very familiar, but the blue Lupe couldn't quite put his paw on it...

     Seemingly from out of nowhere, a Plushie Harris poked the window with its paw, startling the Lupe and causing him to fall backwards into the snow near the window.

     As he stood up and began shaking his coat free of powdery snow, the Gelert appeared at the window, and the Lupe was startled for the second time that night.

     Luckily, he didn't fall over again, and he offered a mental thank-you to whoever had made that possible.

     Afraid the Gelert would be upset if she caught him trespassing on her property, the Lupe lowered his body a bit in hopes of not being seen.

     A moment later, he realized his action had not been needed--the Gelert was only scolding the Harris gently for something he could not make out but was assuming had something to do with poking the window.

     Slowly, he stood up again, but his timing could not have been worse-the moment he got his nose above the windowsill, the Gelert turned his direction.

     Her mouth dropping in awe, the Gelert darted away quick as a Snowbunny.

     A moment later, before you could say "Advent Calendar," the door to the Neohome opened and a familiar voice asked, "Greytail? Is that you?"

     Stunned, Greytail--for that is what the blue Lupe's name was--asked, "Goldy?"

     Sure enough, there stood Goldclaw, the Xweetok Greytail had seen near the tree and his old friend from the Pound, and the two stared at one another, amazed, for quite some time.

     Finally, Greytail broke the silence with a nervous, "You... you live here now?"

     "Sure do," replied Goldy, an air of pride in his voice.

     "Wow. It's... lovely." Greytail said softly, not sure what other adjectives would describe the Neohome in front of him.

     "Thanks. I worked pretty hard to make it inhabitable," replied another voice-a girl's-with a hint of humor to it.

     Turning slowly, all Greytail's previous worries disappeared: the redhead standing in the doorway looked happy to see him, not upset that he was trespassing. She must have guessed from his expression that he was confused, because she smiled and asked, "So, you and Goldy know each other?"

     Greytail nodded and Goldy asked him, "What're you doing out in the cold?"

     Smiling to himself, Greytail thought, There's that old concerned voice of his again. Some things never change.

     Sighing, the Lupe replied, "Trying to find a place to stay for the night."

     Looking confused, Goldy asked, "How come?"

     "I decided I was tired of being adopted and disowned and adopted and disowned and decided to try living on my own for a change."

     "Well, if you'd like, you could stay with us," offered the girl, looking from Goldy to Dawn--who had come to the doorway a few moments earlier, the Harris in her paws--to Greytail, as if asking the other two if it was all right.

     Goldy's face lit up and the Xweetok exclaimed, "That would be great! He really could, Becca?"

     The girl laughed, then patted Goldy on the head with a smile. "Of course. He's your friend and he needs a place to stay, so why not? Dawn, what do you think?"

     Here, the redhead turned to Dawn, a knowing smile on her face.

     "Sounds like a plan to me, Becca," replied the Gelert, smiling warmly at Greytail.

     Amazed at their kindness, Greytail stuttered, "Y-you'd really let me stay here?"

     "Absolutely!" replied Becca with a smile and a laugh. "Come on in!"

     With a wave of her hand, Becca headed back toward the door.

     As she reached the doorstep, she turned. "You might want to hurry up a bit, guys. It's getting colder out here by the second," she told them. Then, her face lighting up and her eyes sparkling, she added, "And we don't want the neighbors to complain!"

     The little group laughed, then turned toward the Neohome.

     As he followed Becca, Dawn and Goldy into the Neohome--Dawn bounding over to pick up her Harris, whom she'd introduced to Greytail as Harry right before he'd leaped out of her arms, and Goldy jabbering a kilometer a minute about how Greytail would "love our Neohome"--Greytail realized that they were giving him the greatest Christmas present ever--better than anything you could receive from the Advent Calendar or Queen Fyora or any of the other Faeries in Neopia: they were giving him a home and a family, for which he would always be grateful.

     And the story's just begun...

The End

So, if you're reading this, it means TNT rocks. ^_^ Merry Christmas, Neopia!

 
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