To The Newest Waters
Aiden, the blue Zafara, sighed. Here we go again. This was, what? His sixth owner? Ever since his first owner abandoned him a year ago, he’d been in the system. He couldn’t seem to stay in one place for long, which was odd, because it wasn’t like he was a bad pet. Maybe it was because he wasn’t painted. He didn’t know.
Aiden sat outside Rose the Pound Uni’s office while he waited for his new owner to sign all the paper work. What was her name again? Ra_17? Ru_13? Something like that. Rose had told him that morning, he just wasn’t really listening.
Aiden glanced down at his backpack. It held everything he owned. He didn’t really need to keep much. A few books and toys. He didn’t need much else to keep him entertained.
Aiden had just begun to reach for his bag to get a book, when the door to the office opened. As the owner, a teenage girl with curly, long brown hair, walked out, she smiled and asked Aiden if he was ready to go. Aiden just shrugged, grabbed his backpack, and stood. The human—he really would have to learn her name soon—led him down the street to her Neohome.
The walk home was spent in silence, except for the noise of Neopia Central. Aiden was thankful that she didn’t pester him with those loathsome, albeit well-intended, questions. What are your interests? Do you play games? What do you like to eat? These, of course, would have to be answered eventually. It just always felt strange to Aiden to answer them in a string right off the bat. And since, with the background noise, the silence wasn’t uncomfortable, Aiden just looked at his surroundings.
As they got closer to the house, Aiden took in the details. Two stories. He guessed two or three pets would be able to have their own rooms. Well kept lawn. So, this person wasn’t lazy, or else she had the money to hire someone to keep it nice. A lack of toys on the grass assured him that younger pets didn’t have the run of the place. The inside was nice. Clean, but not so clean that you worried about touching anything. It was quiet. Then Aiden remembered that school was still in session and any other pets would still be in school at this time of day. The school the pound pets attended ended a week beforehand. At least he’d get an extra week or two of summer.
The owner led him up the stairs and stopped at the first door on the right. The girl pointed across the hall, saying that it led to the bathroom that Aiden would share with three others.
“But we’ll save the rest of the tour until after you’ve settled in.” She opened the door to what was now Aiden’s room.
The first thing that met his eyes was... cardboard. The room was made of cardboard. The flooring was the cheapest you could get too; it was completely bare. The furniture was sparse. A simple desk and dresser along one wall. A medium-sized bed in one corner. And finally the closet and windows on the opposite walls.
As he set his bag by the door, Aiden muttered, “This is it?” He’d seen worse, of course. But judging by the house, and neighborhood, he’d been hoping she’d spring for a little more... well, more.
The girl didn’t seem offended by the comment. In fact, she smiled. “Don’t worry, it’s only temporary. Once you decide how you want your room, I will get you something more suitable.”
Aiden wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that, but he didn’t ask. When he said nothing, the owner excused herself and said that she’d be downstairs if he needed anything. As soon as she had left, he closed the door and threw himself on the bed with a sigh. He folded his arms behind his head and closed his eyes, taking a moment to unwind and piece together the events of the day.
When he opened his eyes, they traveled about the room taking in the detail... or lack there of. Presently, they landed on the single spot of color in the room: something taped to the ceiling above Aiden’s bed. Curious, he stood and reached for it, his paw just brushing the edge. He settled back down into a sitting position, with his legs hanging over the side of the bed, and turned the object over in his hands. It was a multicolored envelope addressed to The Newest Waters.
Aiden snorted. The writer obviously meant him, but he was not about to be taking any family name, thank-you-very-much. The last “family” he was in had abandoned him, so he was content to just keep to himself. His mild irritation didn’t prevent him from opening the rather thick envelope, however. He withdrew a several paged letter as well as several photographs. He laid the pictures aside and began reading.
I hope you weren’t too surprised by the cardboard. It was still standing, right? I told Re that we should have used something a little sturdier, but she insisted that it’s all part of the experience.
See, Re (that’s what we call re_15) does things a little differently.
I don’t know about you, but I had been through a few owners before I came here. The first few weeks were always really awkward until the family and I had normal things to talk about.
Aiden nodded to himself. He understood what that felt like. It was part of the reason he was glad the walk to the house was mostly quiet.
Well, they have a system here to try to make the transition a little easier, since most of us are two years or older.
Good. Aiden was starting to get tired of houses full of little kids.
The first month or so that you spend here will be designing your room. You have almost complete free reign. There’s only a few things they’ll object to. For example, I turned this very room into a rainforest, complete with trees, plants, sky, and even a few animals (it took a while to get them right). I made it out of bamboo and then painted the animals and leaves and things in. We took some pictures before we went and demolished it. I also included the pics of Stephen’s (the pet before me) room.
Aiden stopped reading and picked up the pictures. His eyes widened in amazement. Every inch of the walls were covered with something. Themed furniture, posters and even toys. Even the ceiling was painted. Aiden was beginning to get excited in spite of himself. He picked up the letter again, turning to the next page.
One point of it all is to give you something to talk about with the rest of the family. But the real point is to give you a few things you tend to miss in the pound—something to call your own and the sense of permanence.
So, seriously, go to town on your room. But definitely take time to think about it.
Aiden’s mind was already spinning with ideas, but he pushed them away for the moment, because there was still more to read.
So, now for the boring stuff: house rules. Everyone has them. Here, there aren’t many besides the standard ones (no fighting outside of the Battledome, try in school, etc.). Tone of voice is everything here. Re likes to be sarcastic and joke around. So, have fun, but watch your tone. Say what you will, but say it with respect. You can argue decisions and make your point without getting in trouble as long as you do it with respect. Simple enough, I hope.
Aiden was lying on his back at this point, holding the letter over his head to read. The rules sounded easy enough; and Aiden didn’t really like fighting or the Battledome anyway, so there was no problem there.
And moving on! Next door to your room is Bethany. She’s a blue Xweetok. She’s nice, quiet, shy. But, reach out a little and she’ll be your best friend.
Down the hall and to the left is the twins’ room. Well, we call them twins. Jordan and John spend all of their time together playing games, creating stuff, running around, and creating general havoc. They’re red and blue Myncies, respectively. Watch out, they’ll try to trick you. Every so often they save up for paint brushes just to mess with everyone’s heads.
Crystal’s room is downstairs. She’s actually Re’s original pet. Surprisingly cool for having her house invaded by strangers. But as I understand it, she pretty much grew up with this set up, so you’d think after five years, she’d be used to it. She’s a camo Zafara.
Re is downstairs too, in the back, behind the kitchen. So stay quiet when you get your midnight snacks, haha.
Okay, a little about me and then I’ll let you tend to those plans that I know are so desperately piling up in your head.
I’m Lily. I transferred to a new owner after spending a year with the Waters. I did so by choice. The owner was a good friend of Re’s and promises to take care of me. And if he doesn’t... Let’s just say that Re will take care of that. But I have to say, I’m so grateful that Re adopted me. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth. Life here can be fun, if you let it. I wish you luck and hope you enjoy your time here.
If you need anything, I’m sure Re can give you my information if you want it. Good luck again.
Wow was all that Aiden could think. The family sounded different, but interesting. Re_15, or Re, sounded like someone he could get along with. Maybe even relate to. Aiden looked around the room one more time, mentally painting the walls in his mind. He still wasn’t sure what design he would go with yet, but he sure couldn’t wait to figure it out. Aiden smiled for the first time since Re picked him up. He could get used to living with this family.
Author’s note: I own CrystalWaters_, but the rest of the pets in this story are completely fictional.