Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 171,606,722 Issue: 178 | 18th day of Awakening, Y7
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Remember Me?: Part Two


by 3dcourtney12044

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The walk to their home on Guild Street seemed to take an eternity, but as Xrai looked back on it later it passed in a blur of color and questions. She kept quiet, but her mind was bubbling, hungry for answers. Who am I? What's going on? Who are these people?

     "Xrai," Snickers said quietly after an awkward pause when they turned on the street of Guild Street, slowing down so that the two walked behind their owner. "Err, ah, your name is Xrai. Anyway, I'm your brother, Snickers, and that's Courtney--" He nodded at the young eleven-year-old ahead of them. "--she's our owner."

     "Owner?" repeated the Shoyru, perplexed. "Why do we have an owner? Don't owners tell you what to do?"

     "Well, because..." His voice trailed off, unable to answer the question in a way she would understand. "Uh, she's more of our... friend. Our good friend, who we live with. See that house? Over there? That's ours, it looks small, but once you get inside it's pretty big."

     Xrai was silent, but Snickers took her nod as a reply. They approached the big, light gray house and walked down the cobblestone path, and Courtney climbed up to the porch. She turned the brass knob on the door to find it locked. She rapped her fist sharply on the door, and heard a thunderous uproar from inside sounding like that of a stampede.

     "Watch out," warned Snickers to his sister with a managed grin. "It's like a zoo in there with all of the Petpets, and our brother and sister."

     Xrai didn't smile, just gave a small nod. She and her brother climbed the stairs, and waited until the door was flung open and a blissful-looking brown Uni appeared in the doorway. "Xway! Snickers! Couwtney! You guys are home!" she squealed, clapping her hooves together, and then turned to Courtney. She began pouting to Courtney about how she had run out of chocolate chip cookies, and stood aside as the three entered.

     "One second, Cuni," said Courtney, and turned to Snickers. "Why don't you give Xrai a tour of the house?"

     "Sure," agreed Snickers, nodding at his older sister. He pointed his paw at the stairs and motioned for the Shoyru to follow. She did so, and Xrai heard the brown Uni ask, "Why does she need a tour?"

     "I'll explain later," Courtney muttered, ushering Cuni out of the hallway and into another room in the house.

     They reached the top of the stairs to meet a hallway with two doors on each side. She cocked her head curiously, and, before they could continue, Xrai questioned, "Why did she call me Xway? Isn't my name Xrai?"

     Snickers sighed, and turned to face Xrai. He looked into her green eyes, but he couldn't see the same Xrai in there that loved to fight and battle. The same Xrai that could get knocked down countless times and not give up until she succeeded. The same Xrai that he had known his whole life. The same Xrai that was his sister, his best friend.

     "Well," he explained, "Cuni's still young, she can't talk properly yet."

     "Oh." Xrai's expression was blank. Snickers felt a pang of sadness.

     "Anyway," he continued, jamming his thumb in the direction of the first door. "That's Courtney's room, and that's the bedroom I share with your other brother, Alec, he's probably reading in there or something. Then there's your room, and Cuni's is at the end." He nodded at Xrai's door, which had a paper sign taped to it that read XRAI'S ROOM. "Wanna come in?"

     She followed him into her bedroom, a brightly lit room with a Zen bed in the corner near a large window that overlooked the street where pets were playing and yelling. Snickers watched the Shoyru lean against the window sill and peer out at the pets. He could suddenly see her blink away tears.

     She spun around and looked alarmed. "What's that?" She backed away cautiously as Snickers picked up a Spotted Snowbunny off of Xrai's pillow who had been snoozing soundly. He stroked her fur and replied, "It's your Petpet, Cybana, she's a Spotted Snowbunny." He set the Snowbunny on the ground and let her hop lightly over to where her owner stood. "She's losing her eyesight, and she needs extra care, but she can always tell where you are because you're her owner. She trusts you."

     "Do I like Snowbunnies?" she inquired nervously, eyeing Cybana as she sniffed her owner and looked up into her face pleadingly.

     "Yeah, you love them," said Snickers, disheartened. He had thought for sure Xrai's Snowbunny would strike and help Xrai to remember who she was. His shoulders sagged and he strode over to to her bed and sat down.

     There was a long silence in which Xrai looked around the room uncertainly. She spotted a wooden bedside table with a lamp, a thin book, and a framed picture, and in the corner of her room was a Red Beanbag Chair. She peeked over her shoulder to see a cloud pass over, and the sun came out, allowing a sea of light to flood the room. Xrai ran her finger across the window sill.

     "Snickers, right?" she said after the pause, and the Kougra nodded. "Well, Snickers..." She stopped, playing with her paws absentmindedly. She nervously lifted Cybana into her arms and cradled her. "Tell me about myself. What was I like? What am I supposed to be like?"

     Her brother let out another sigh. "Well," he began slowly, "you love to cook. You make dinner for us almost every night when Courtney's out of the house, and it's delicious, too. You fight a lot with our brother, Alec..."

     "Why?" she proposed, looking taken aback. "Why would I fight with him?"

     "Oh, y'know," Snickers replied casually, "things like, well, he leaves his books everywhere and you yell at him because once you tripped on one, it's mostly just about little things."

     Xrai blinked, and then shook her head, appalled. "I can't believe I would do something like that. He's my brother. You're my brother, too, I wouldn't argue with you!"

     Snickers did a small nod, wishing, more than ever, that his sister was there. "Tell me more," she said quietly. "Please?"

     "You like to battle in the Battledome, which is... kind of the reason you can't remember anything..."

     "What is the Battledome?"

     "The Battledome is where pets use strategies and skill to defeat their opponent in a battle," he explained, a small amount of pride in his voice; for once, Xrai was asking him questions about the Battledome instead of the other way around.

     "Oh." She stroked Cybana, running her fingers through her silky spotted fur. She placed the Snowbunny down on the floor and let her hop away. "I can't imagine battling pets -- for fun."

     Snickers didn't reply, but he stood up slowly and sadly and said, "It's almost time for dinner, wanna come downstairs? Maybe cooking could help you remember. You always loved to make dinner and desserts for us."

     She shook her head sadly. "No thanks," she said softly. "I don't feel like I belong here. I think I want to be alone for awhile." Snickers nodded solemnly, and sauntered out of the room. The Skunk Kougra stopped at the doorway, turned slightly, and whispered, "Good luck, Xrai." With that he was gone, closing the door behind him with a creak.

     The Shoyru strolled to her Zen bed and flopped down on it, burying her face in the pillows. "I don't belong here," she moaned, her voice muffled. "I don't know anybody!"

     Xrai was quiet, letting tears streak down her face, trickling off her cheeks and dotting her pillow. She heard the laughter of pets outside who knew who their families were, who knew who they were. She looked up and rested her chin in her palm.

     Xrai tilted her head to one side and spotted a shining blade leaning against her wall. She suspected this was one of those weapons for the Battledome, and shot up out of bed, shuffling over to the blade and picking it up. "I will never battle again," she uttered, and crouched down to slide the sword under her bed.

     She looked at her reflection in the blade, feeling she had done this before -- but she just couldn't remember. A Christmas Shoyru gazed back, her eyes wide, her expression that of confusion. Tears escaped and slid down her face.

     Pushing the blade under her bed, the Shoyru got to her feet and glanced wearily at the framed photograph on her bedside table. It made her tilt her head to one side and inch closer, reaching her paw out and touching the cold picture frame.

     In the picture, Courtney was laughing with Cuni on her shoulders, reaching her hooves up high. A Disco Kau who she suspected must be her other brother Alec stood next to Courtney, and in the middle, bending down, was Xrai herself. Her eyes beamed, her face lit up and shining. Next to her, with his arm slung over her shoulder was her best friend Snickers.

     She gasped, slowly moving her finger across the picture and touching Snickers' fun, glowing, smiling face. Xrai turned around on her heel to see the Spotted Snowbunny looking up expectantly, whiskers twitching, beady eyes beaming. "Cybana," Xrai whispered, and picked her up, cuddling her gently -- the way she had always done.

     ---

     "I can't believe she lost her memory," Alec said softly, thinking about all the times he had picked arguments with her and teased her, only to get yelled at and pushed by his older sister.

     "Yeah," agreed Snickers, laying his head down on the wooden kitchen table, watching Courtney stir a pot on the stove, her eyes tearful, her face grave. She was quiet. "She said she couldn't believe she actually fought with you, or battled in the Battledome. She was even a bit afraid of Cybana."

     "Now THAT I can't believe," exclaimed Alec, shaking his head somberly.

     Snickers nodded. "I know! And Cybana's her Petpet!"

     "No, the part about us not fighting. It's unbelievable!"

     Snickers grinned, and glanced at Cuni, who sat next to Snickers, playing silently with her Usukis on the table. She looked up at him, upset about losing her older sister like this. His smile faded just as fast as it had arrived.

     "Hi," said a small voice from the kitchen doorway, and everyone turned to see Xrai, leaning against the wall.

     "Xrai!" Alec chimed. "I'm your other brother, Alec, the one... um... Snickers told you that argues a lot with you?" She nodded. "Well... I'll never argue with you again. I'm sorry, I just wish you could remember..."

     Xrai approached the table, frowning, and said, "You'll never argue? Again?"

     "Never." Alec let his head hang in shame, looking at Xrai, deplored. "I'll never argue with you again."

     A smile spread out on Xrai's face, and she smirked. "Now, THAT'S something I've always wanted to hear," she teased, eyes bright.

     "Xrai!" cried Courtney, dropping the spoon and striding over to her pet, hugging her tightly.

     "You remembered!" screamed Alec. "And you still made me admit I'd never argue?! With you!?!?"

     Xrai laughed and grinned. Snickers let his shoulders shake from his sobs of joy and he wrapped his arms around his sister. "I missed you, Xrai," he whispered.

     "Why?" she exclaimed, hugging him back. "I was always right here!"

     "Yes," he answered quietly, "but when you couldn't remember who any of us were, it seemed like a part of you was missing. A part of all of us was."

     "Well, I remember now," she proclaimed after the embrace. "I'm here now, and that's all that matters."

The End

 
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