This is a sequel to 'To Remember'. Thanks to sonicfan76! (:
"Annabel! Annabel, have you put away your gifts yet?"
She wasn't planning on it.
She was too busy sitting alone in her room, thinking about what her best friend Lilly had told her today. She was too busy mulling over her situation. She was too busy wondering why she wasn't good enough for fame and he was.
Annabel had been flying around Neopia Central, per usual, glancing down at all the stores, thinking about the various articles of clothing she could buy, when she nearly slammed into a billboard. They were a new fad, to advertise different countries, different stores, all those sorts of things. But this billboard? This billboard had been different. She'd been sure, quite sure, that she saw that silly dismal brother of hers plastered all over it, that silly dismal brother of hers she'd tried so hard to forget.
But why was he on a billboard?
Was he prettier than her? No. Was he smarter than her? No. Was he more fashionable than her? No. Did he have more friends than her? No. Was he her? No! So why was Jacob the one on the billboard when she was obviously far superior?
Annabel abruptly stood up. She had to get out of here. She quickly exited her room via the window, happening to catch an updraft of air under her wings; Annabel flew several houses down, to where Lilly the white Kougra lived. Lilly was sitting outside under a tree, just looking pretty. Annabel fought down a wave of jealousy before landing and saying, "Lilly, like, oh my Sloth. You totally knew what you were talking about the other day."
Lilly looked over at Annabel, eyes peaceful. "Did you ever have any reason to doubt me?"
Annabel would have pointed out the fact that last time she ran on something Lilly had told her she ended up making a fool of herself, but she decided not to. She didn't want to fight Lilly now. She sat down across from her instead. "We totally need to find him. Maybe with my connection to him, we'll be totally famous too."
"Do you even know what he became famous for?"
"Um, no. Does it even matter?"
Evidently it did, because Lilly continued as if Annabel had never even spoken. "You remember all those creepy scary thingies that were like, taking over the world, right?" Annabel nodded once, silent. She had no clue how this related to her brother. "He and this orange Kougra girl stopped them. He like, magicked them."
"No way! That's so not possible!" Annabel tossed her hair. "You remember Jacob, right? He was quiet and like, not smart. He was just like a gardener pet. He never ever said anything! How would he be able to use magic against shadow creatures to save the world?"
"I'm the one that remembered him. You're the one that forgot him. Besides, I don't know how he'd be able to use magic."
The two best friends sat there in silence for a few minutes, Annabel thinking about how horribly lucky Jacob was, Lilly wondering what they could do for fun. Lilly was the one that spoke first. "Annie, I just had the most brilliantest idea." Annabel wondered how brilliant it could be when Lilly used 'brilliantest' in describing it. "We should totally go to that new store in Meridell. The one that Amber and Lucy were talking about in Neoschool the other day."
"But Lilly, everything costs an insane amount of NP there."
"So?" Lilly lowered her voice to a tone that suggested conspiracy. "That's why we take the stuff we want! We won't get caught!"
It was tempting. Besides, Annabel had wanted to pay a visit to that store anyway. She had always wanted to be able to show up Amber and Lucy. Now she could, by 'buying' something even better than what they had. It would be a good way to forget her current problems. So Lilly hopped onto Annabel's back, and with a lot of effort on the latter's part, they made it all the way to the outskirts of Meridell.
Where there were even more billboards of Jacob.
"I hate this," Annabel muttered. "Having to look at his ugly face splattered everywhere." Lilly snickered, but didn't say anything. Annabel didn't bother to wonder about what Lilly was thinking. Instead, she marched right up to the huge store they'd been speaking of, and marched right in.
And on her way to march right back out, a Neopian Defender happened to snatch her up by the left wing. "Hold on there, little lady," said the large red Lupe. "I heard that something's been stolen recently from this store. You wouldn't mind letting me search your bag, would you?"
"Yes, actually, I do mind," Annabel snapped. "I have to go." She tried to move past him, but he just grabbed her other wing. "Let go of me! This is so not fair!" And was that a glimpse of Lilly's bright white fur, disappearing into the crowded street?
Life was so not fair.
Annabel was brought before Skarl next, who had her dump out all the contents of her bag. There, of course, the stolen items were, including a super-cute green-grey scarf and a new bright yellow purse. They'd cost too much for her to buy anyway. "It's fine," Annabel said, turning up her nose and folding her arms. "I liked the pink scarf better anyway."
Skarl chuckled. "You're quite the catch, aren't you?" He glanced over at the red Lupe. "Darien, just toss her into a cell. Maybe in a couple of days she won't be quite so insolent."
"A couple of days?" Annabel burst. "I totally have a beauty pageant tomorrow!"
"You should have thought of the consequences before committing the actions," said someone from behind her. Annabel didn't even bother to look. The voice was deep and unfamiliar - it was probably another Neopian Defender. Sounded like a Grarrl, maybe. "My liege, would you permit me to have her released early? I can account for her."
Who had the audacity to imply she couldn't account for herself! Annabel put her nose even higher into the air, as if it wasn't high up enough already. "I can account for myself, thank you very much, Mr. Random Neopian Defender That I Don't Even Know!"
"If you can account for yourself, you're doing a very good job of it." Was that smooth sarcasm she detected? "You obviously need some help, Annabel Heather, and you're just lucky I'm still willing to provide that."
Skarl was chuckling some more. Annabel was starting to feel very confused. She lowered her nose and unfolded her arms. What was it he'd said? Well, firstly, he automatically knew her full name. And he'd said 'still willing' instead of just 'willing.' Annabel was too embarrassed to turn around to look him in the face so she continued to look at Skarl. "Fine," she said in a muted voice. "Thanks for your help, kind sir."
"All righty!" Skarl exclaimed. "Miss Heather, you're free to go. Hanso, come here. I have a Battledome challenge for you from one of Xandra's relatives and I have yet to hear that message from Jazan."
Whoever had been standing in the back of the room crossed it to stand in front of Skarl. Annabel stared, brown eyes wide, at the back of his head - at the shaggy uncut hair, the dark blue fur, the sea-captain-inspired navy trench coat...
"Jacob?" Annabel burst. "Oh my Grundo, no way! It totally is you!"
Jacob-slash-Hanso didn't turn around. He made no movement. It was as if he hadn't even heard her. Skarl said, "Darien, get rid of her. She's getting delusional now. Heather, toots, this is Hanso. This is the guy that saved the world. This is the guy that battled the maniac Xandra and got turned into stone afterwards. Only thanks to Fyora is he still here. Why am I still talking? Argh, just get out of here, Heather!"
Annabel yelled, "Jacob! You could totally make me and Lilly famous!"
"My name isn't Jacob," was all he said. "And I don't know you. Nor do I know anyone named Lilly." He didn't even turn around.
"Jacob," Annabel whimpered, as Darien the Neopian Defender shoved her backwards toward the double-doors, "Jacob, I know you. You used to wash our Doglefox for us. You used to clean for us and cook and garden and stuff. Then you ran away, which was really stupid, by the way, because our house wasn't good enough for you!"
He finally turned around. Annabel gasped. Jacob didn't even look the same, not when she saw him in real life. On the billboard he'd looked familiar enough. "You don't know anything about me," he whispered, barely loud enough for Annabel to hear. "And my name is Hanso."
With that, Annabel was shoved out of the throne room, away from the possibility of being famous, away from her only brother, the one she'd always been so keen on forgetting. When she left Meridell, Lilly was waiting for her under a tree, sporting her brand-new stolen green hat.
"Annabel! Annabel, how'd you escape so fast? Did your brother vouch for you? Won't you take care to remember him yet?"
She wasn't planning on it.