I'm waking up. It's near eleven o'clock in the morning and I'm just now waking up. Now that's not so uncommon, but I do hear raised voices from downstairs. I blink open one weary eye and throw off the covers, yawning loudly.
Then I walk downstairs. Suni and Sedgee will already be up. Kodak? Well... he might still be in bed. I don't know; there's so many things different about that Blue Eyrie. And Chair will definitely be up. She only sleeps till 'round eight.
Now I can tell whose voices are raised. Sedgee and Chair. What the...? Everyone knows Chair would do anything for the little Green Cybunny. So why are they fighting? And I can hear the clitter clatter of a wooden spoon against metal pan. Suni must be making pancakes, and I'm not complaining; that's one food of his that's pretty good.
I waltz casually into the kitchen.
"For the LAST time, Chair!" Sedgee's screaming. "Call me SEDGE! Sedgee is such a babyish sounding name." She has her paws on her hips and everything.
"But Sedgee - Sedge, I mean - I GAVE you the name Sedgee! It's your NAME," Chair counters.
Sedgee or Sedge, I don't know what to call her, rolls her eyes. "Well, it's a name about as STUPID as you are!"
Suni, the Tyrannian Christmas Peophin of the family, is trying a bit too hard to stay concentrated on his pancake batter.
Chair's face gets redder and redder and redder. And I'm applauding the Cybunny on the inside - guess she has learned some stuff from yours truly. From all those years of looking up to me, the coolest one in the family, and certainly her favorite brother -
Then Sedge turns around. "Akats!" she screeches. "This DOES NOT concern you! Get your sorry little Kyrii face OUTTA HERE!"
I'm struck dumb. It's all I can do to turn around and collapse into the couch in the living room, listening to Sedge and Chair at the fights. Just WHAT is going on here?
Sedge has always treated Chair and me with respect, you know, and she's always hated Suni and Kodak. But now that's all changed?
I thought Sedgee - Sedge, I mean, see how difficult this is for me? - looked up to me. Her older brother, the ultra-cool Orange Kyrii. Now she's acting like she hates me. Sedge has always been the sibling of the family that I really like. I think I'd go insane if it weren't for her, despite her always being so naive and fluffy.
Again - WHAT is going on here?!?
I go into the kitchen when Suni calls my name. I sit down in a chair and eat the pancakes. I try to pretend that everything's normal, but it's not.
Sedge is glaring at Chair, sort of. "Can we go to the mall today?" she blurts. "Or just me, maybe?"
Since when has Sedge been interested in clothes? Since she changed for the worse, I guess.
Chair sighs, rubs her temples a bit. Looks at her used-to-be-little Green Cybunny, the baby of the family, who's suddenly demanding a whole new name and a whole new wardrobe. "It's expensive," Chair mutters.
Sedge rolls her eyes. "I have money too, ya know."
"Not near enough for anything not on clearance."
Sedge rolls her eyes AGAIN. I never before realized what a master Sedge is at that. Perhaps her friend Ginger taught her? 'Cause it's not like Sedge has had any practice here. "I think I've got enough for a few tops, maybe a pair of jeans."
"Yeah, I kinda need new jeans, too, Chair. How 'bout we head to the mall today?" I put in, trying to get on Sedge's good side again.
She nods gratefully at me and winks, because I think she understands that, though she'd like to, Chair would never let her go to the mall by herself. Sedge is only ten years old, and her birthday's in a month. Still, eleven years is a bit young to be walking 'round the mall by herself... and I can't pretend I'm not worried for my little sister's safety. Must be the protective big brother coming out in me.
Chair thinks about it, then rolls her eyes too, a little jokingly, and cracks a smile. "Well, I guess so... you do need the new fall fashions, don't you?"
"YES!" Sedge pumps her fist in the air.
This is still a little weird, because normally Sedge is perfectly happy in some raggedy old sweatpants and an old concert T-shirt, or even nothing at all, flouncing about in Cybunny fur. But I guess I'll take this over having Sedge hate my guts.
So. We're walking to the mall. Just Chair, Sedge, and me, cause Suni had work to do and Kodak didn't want to come. Chair's talking about maybe moving Kodak to one of her other families, just maybe, because he doesn't really fit in well here. We have no real objection to that. My brother's okay, but he's just not really all there.
It's only about a ten minute walk before we happen upon this gi-normous building with flashing lights. Holding on to a purse she got for the Day of Giving, this wide smile starts spreading across Sedge's face.
"Okay, so can we split up?" Sedge asks. "I'm SURE that you wouldn't want to look at all the stuff I want to."
Chair shrugs. "Whatev. Meet back here at two-thirty."
As Sedge scampers off, Chair's face suddenly gets a little droopy. I think this whole Sedge thing is taking its toll on her. For the first time in forever, I feel kind of bad for my owner.
"So... so. I guess I'll go look at jeans," I say to break the silence.
Chair nods and walks away in the opposite direction.
My heart goes out for her but I ignore it for now and walk to the Kyrii department. There's some pretty cool stuff, a pair of mechanical wings that I'd just love. But I'm here for jeans, so I look around till I see a pretty cool pair, and I try it on. It looks decent, so I take it up to the desk and buy it.
When I'm walking back to the fountain, I hear a scream that pierces my heart. Like I haven't heard that same exact scream before. When Sedge was afraid that Stammy, her Scarabug, was drowning... when Sedge fell off a six foot high log over a river (she landed in the water and was all right)... but no matter the occasion, there's no doubt in my mind that that's Sedge, and Sedge is in trouble.
I drop my bag of jeans and dash off to the pretzel shop. Sedge has this weird love for pretzels... after shopping she'd definitely be there. I'm running and running till my lungs are about to burst, because it's none too close. But I have to get there for Sedge.
When I skid to a stop, I see Sedge tugging on her purse. A large crimson-colored Lupe has hold of the other end. Sedge's being stolen from!
Suddenly the Lupe shoves Sedge roughly and she falls to the ground, hits her head, and lies there.
I'm filled with rage. The pretzel shop owner is shouting for the Defenders of Neopia, but they won't be here quick enough; the Lupe's running away. With speed I didn't know I had, I'm sprinting after the Lupe, yelling in his face and prying the purse from his grip. I tell him the Defenders of Neopia are coming. I tell him he'll be in jail for a long, long time. He looks into the air and there's Judge Hog! I'm surprised, but I hold fast to my little sister's purse and the crook runs away before he can be caught. Without a word to me, Judge Hog pursues him.
I crouch down next to Sedge... no, Sedgee. She's never seemed more like a little girl. She blinks and lifts her head. "You okay?" I ask gently.
"Yeah... I'm fine." I hand her the purse and she grins, then she hugs me and lets me help her up. "Thanks, Akats."
"It's nothing." And then I realize something.
Sedge is different now. She's growing up. She's not just a tiny little kid anymore, and she's stopped looking up to me.
But she's still my little sister.
"Come on, Sedge... let's head home."
Chair is a little surprised when we turn up at the fountain with muddy pawprints on Sedge's purse and a black eye on her face. We explain everything to Chair about the past hour, and she shakes her head and smiles. "Boy, Akats, you certainly have a tendency to get in trouble."
"It was SEDGE in trouble, not me!" I roll my eyes for effect.
Sedge giggles and Chair shakes her head, but smiles at us.
That night Sedge and I argue for the first time in about forever. I walk into the living room with a headache and a heartache, and I plop down on the couch and flip on the Neovision.
Chair sits down next to me. "It's hard, isn't it?" she asks me.
I know what she's talking about. "Yes... very," I admit.
She grins, sort of sheepishly. "Well, Akats, it happens. I remember when you turned from a cutesy little kid into a 'cool' teenager." I roll my eyes (see how often that happens in this story?). But I can't help but laugh.
"Sedgee... Sedge is just growing up. She's turning into an annoying little preteen. And it is difficult to deal with, but it's all part of living in a family. Sedge is becoming more like an adult, as are you... though sometimes I still think you're too immature for your own good!"
I ignore her little comment.
"Sedge doesn't look up to you anymore, doesn't want to be exactly like her big brother Akats. And that bothers you, doesn't it?"
"Well, just remember, Akats... maybe Sedge isn't your little follower anymore, but she still loves you. It's like, we've lost Sedgee for good... but we've found a different Sedge."
I smile and kind of act like none of this applies to me, but in truth I feel better than I have all day.