The Foster: Part Five
A single tear slipped down Savannah's face. She reached up to wipe it away, cradling her baby Xweetok, Misty, close to her body. Next to her, lying motionless on a beige colored hospital bed, was Sam. The foster pet's right arm, and head were tightly wrapped in bandages, and she was connected to many machines from the Space Station. The only sign that showed that the green Kacheek was still alive was the steady beep-beep-beep of the heart monitor, which was the only sound in the room.
All around Savannah, her other pets sat motionless.
The twins, Wren and Dove, gazed out the window quietly. Zana was on the couch by the Neovision, which was turned off, staring blankly at the ceiling. Kisa and Emily sat curled together next to the door, watching everyone else. Even Alisa, the usually hyper speckled Acara, realized that something horrible had happened. She sat at Savannah's feet, rubbing at her sky blue colored eyes with her tiny pink paws.
Savannah glanced over at her oldest pet. Madalleena had collapsed when she had seen Sam the night before. Now, she was lying silently on the extra chair by the bed, her wings hanging limply from her body, almost lifeless.
Then the door clicked open, and a green Gelert sporting a lab coat and a name tag that read 'Doctor Lellert', stepped in. His eyes widened at the sight of all of the pets in the room.
"Are you Savannah, owner and/or guardian of Miss DeeSamantha, the green Kacheek?" he asked the brunette girl, glancing down at his clipboard.
"Yes," the girl replied quietly. "Is she... um, will she..." Savannah's voice dropped off, and her gaze shifted to Sam's still body.
The Gelert smiled and nodded. "Yes, she will live. The poor child is just a bit banged up, that's all. She broke her right arm, and got a small concussion. She'll just have to stay in bed for a while, but, otherwise, she'll be fine." There was a loud, thankful sigh as the whole family let out the breath that they'd been holding since he walked in. The Gelert frowned. "But most of you need to go; the guest limit is two at a time."
Savannah nodded and watched the doctor leave the room before turning to face her family. "You heard the doctor. Most of us need to leave." All of the pets knew that Savannah was staying, and that they couldn't talk her out of it, so only one pet could stay.
"But Savannah, we all want to be here when she wakes up!" Emily yawned, looking up at her owner with her piercing blue eyes.
"Sorry, sweety, but you heard what the doctor said. Besides, all of you need to go home, change clothes, have something to eat, and get some rest. And I'll neomail you if anything happens."
Too exhausted to fight, the shadow Xweetok and her sisters shuffled out of the room and down the hall, taking Misty with them. Savannah then turned to face Madalleena. The faerie pet was still slumped on the couch, blinking back tears.
Kneeling on the floor next to her, the blue eyed girl ran a hand through her hair. "Don't worry, baby, she's going to be okay."
"This is all my fault." Maddie sniffed.
Savannah didn't know what to say, so she simply sighed. "I'm going to take the others home, but I'll be back." The girl kissed her pet's forehead and left.
The Kacheek's eyes fluttered open and she looked around in surprise. She was on her back, her head propped up slightly by a fluffy pillow, and she felt very drowsy. The ceiling and walls were a blank white, no pictures or anything, just a Neovision set in the corner, and a table with many small jars or liquids and pills. Her arm felt heavy, as well as her head. Sam's black eyes peered downward to see a thick cast wrapped around her arm, and a tub ran to her other arm, connecting her to a large machine.
"Sam?" She moved her eyes to see Madalleena standing over her, tears glistening in her violet eyes.
"Mmm?" Sam replied drowsily, closing her eyes for a minute.
"Oh, Sam! I am so sorry! I shouldn't have said those things about you! I-I had no idea what you had been through! T-this," the faerie Kougra moved a paw over Sam's body and the machine. "This is all my fault!"
Sam was surprised. She had never seen the Kougra cry.
"Please, Sam, can you ever forgive me?"
Sam felt too tired to say anything, so she simply placed her un-bandaged hand on her foster sister's paw. She gave a small nod, and Maddie's eyes lit up. Leaning together, the two embraced.
Suddenly, the door opened and Savannah walked in. Her eyes looked tired, and her hair hung limp and unwashed around her small face. Sam noticed that she still wore the same clothes that she had worn the night before. In her arms was a small basket full of goodies. When she saw Sam, her eyes lit up and she dashed over to them.
"Oh my gosh, Sam! Are you okay? You poor baby, I-I was so worried! I thought that you wouldn't... Well, it's not important now! The only thing that matters is that you're okay!" She dropped the gift basket and leaned over the bars of her hospital bed to hug her foster pet.
The Kacheek hung back for a moment, still knowing that she couldn't care for them. But then something hit her. Savannah, Madalleena, and all of the others really did care for her, and they would never leave her. They loved her, and had been worried about her. They had loved her, and she hadn't been giving them back the love and attention that they had given her. Now was the time to do just that.
Reaching up - a bit painfully - Sam wrapped her arms around her foster owner and hugged back. Savannah tensed, a little surprised at first, but then smiled widely. When they finally broke apart, the girl turned to face her Kougra sternly.
"Now, Maddie, you shouldn't have said those things about Sam last-" The Kacheek held up a paw and cut Savannah off.
"Don't worry." She placed her paw on her foster sister's. "I forgave her."
The blue-eyed girl moved her gaze from one pet to the other, and then a warm grin spread across her face. She then gathered both pets into her arms. "I love you guys!"
Sam winced as Savannah's arm brushed against her bandaged head. The brunette immediately apologized and put her back down on her bed, but the Kacheek just smiled.
Then the girl's expression became serious and her eyes softened. "While you were still unconscious, the rest of us started talking. W-we want you to join our family." Maddie smiled and nodded.
Sam felt her jaw drop. After all she had done to them, after all those things that she had said, they wanted her to become one of them? She looked up at Maddie and Savannah with wide eyes, and then ever so slightly, nodded.
The girl burst into a smile, and whooped. Once again, she gathered both of the pets into her arms.
"On one condition," the Kacheek teased, and watched as Savannah froze. "Morph me back into a Peophin?"
Her foster owner - now permanent owner - hugged Sam tighter and laughed. "Welcome to the family," she whispered.
Three months later...
Laughing, Sam plunged headfirst into her family's new pool, splashing the water with her new Tyrannian Peophin tail. Savannah had purchased a morphing potion as soon as she was out of her casts.
The family's petpets (including Sam's new Gruslen, Taylor) all bounced around the pool, squeaking and yipping playfully. Misty crooned in her playpen, which Kisa was sitting next to and reading. All of the other pets swam around the pool, squealing.
Savannah splashed Sam, and then dove underwater. With a laugh, the Peophin chased after her.
When they finally resurfaced, Madalleena was standing by the door with a piece of paper in her claws, and a smile on her face.
"Hey, Sam, come here!" she called. Madalleena was now Sam's closest friend. Smiling, Sam dragged herself out of the pool and grabbed a tan colored beach towel, before dragging herself over.
"Look at this!" The faerie Kougra handed the Tyrannian Peophin her paper, which Sam automatically saw had the mark of The Neopets Team across the top.
Dear Madalleena the faerie Kougra,
Congratulations! Your Neopian Times submission (The Foster) has been chosen to appear in a future edition of the Neopian Times! We have added a shiny new trophy to your cabinet...
Sam looked up at her sister in shock. "You wrote a story, and it got into the Times?"
"Yup! And it is all about your coming into the family!" She paused. "Do you like the title? I couldn't think of a better one, and I wanted to get the story in this week, so that one just stuck."
Sam looked back down at the acceptance letter in her hooves. The name was kind of vague. It wasn't anything too fancy, yet it wasn't anything too lame either. And it fit. Sam had been the foster. Flipping through the copy of the story that was attached to the neomail, the Peophin smiled.
It was perfect.