The Color Purple
I smile as I enter my new neohome for the first time, bearing great news for my neopets.
"Han, Mai, get down here! I have a surprise for you!" The overenthusiastic skittering on the steps makes me grin... In the midst of the chaos of moving, they've found a way to stay positive, even though they fought over who got what room. (They both had an affinity for the one that overlooked the mountains. I can't blame them: it's beautiful.)
"Mai, watch it! Jeez, could you be any more dangerous?" Han's light-hearted tone was one of camaraderie, not of actual anger or scorn.
I laugh as my Ruki clomps into the room with his new wooden clogs on.
"Why do you wear those things, anyway? They look so dumb." Han smiles and shakes his head.
"Do not! They're a fashion statement. Not that you'd know anything about fashion..." Mai put his chin up in a mock-snob pose.
Han rolls his eyes and looks at me.
"So, what's the surprise?"
"Well..." I pause, for the suspense of it. I swear, I should have been an actress.
"Well?" Mai prompts.
"Since you guys have taken the move in such a high spirited fashion, I've decided to paint you the colors of your choosing. You name it, I'll get it."
Han and Mai star at me for a minute, their jaws open wide.
"Um, aren't we kind of, y'know, poor? Or something?" Han tilts his head at me. He was always the cynical one.
We weren't poor, honestly. I just didn't have enough to buy them super-expensive clothes, or anything, what with the down payment on the house...
"Yeah, but I'm willing to sacrifice and work hard in order to do it. Come on, what colors?"
"Desert!" blurts Mai. It has always been his favorite color, ever since he had first seen a desert painted Ruki.
"Now, those guys have fashion," he'd quipped, nodding at the expensive-looking garb approvingly. I'd laughed and agreed with him. They did have style.
I sigh. That's a ton (three million, to be exact) of neopoints. But I'd promised.
"How about you, Han? Any color in mind?"
"You won't laugh, will you?" He looks at me, his anxiety obvious on his face.
Mai snorted. "It's probably royal, or something. You've always liked the look."
Han shook his head. "No, no. I've actually thought about it a lot. Y'know, ever since Gracey was painted faerie..." He looks off into the distance, remembering his best friend's color change. He was too good of a friend to be jealous, but he'd wanted a new color from that day on.
He quickly switches his gaze back on me, refocusing.
"Purple. I want to be purple."
Mai tries to hold back his laughter and fails miserably.
"Funny joke, Han. But seriously, what color?"
He looks at me defensively and growls. "I'm not joking. I want to be purple!"
I pause for a few seconds, judging his tone.
"Okay, fine. Purple. But why?"
Han shakes his head slowly and looks down. "You wouldn't get it. It's too... weird."
Mai nudges Han and smiles. "It's because it's Gracey's favorite color, right?"
Han blushes and nods once.
"Aw, that's so cute, Han!" I exclaim, grinning from ear to ear.
"I'm sure she'll love it. So, purple and desert. Right?"
Han and Mai both nod at me eagerly.
"Okay. I'll work on it. Go back to unpacking, okay? I'm going to try to round up some dinner." I quickly glance at the omelets and jelly that are still on the table from lunch. We need real food.
I could hear they're joyful whoops of "All right!" and "Awesome!" as they left for their rooms. I sit down and sigh, pressing my fingers to my temples. My friend could probably help me out, as well... She's a neobillionaire, according to herself.
It was going to be hard between the extra work and restocking of the shop, but it was totally worth it. I'd do anything to make Han and Mai happy.
Four months later
As soon as I open the door, Han and Mai start asking questions... They've heard rumors from their friends about what I'd been doing recently.
"Is it true? You actually god them?!" Mai is practically shouting with excitement.
"Calm down, calm down. Yes, I bought the paintbrushes... We can go to the Rainbow Pool right after I put away the groceries." I let the grocery bags thud down on the table for emphasis.
"Can we see them?" Han tilts his head at me. He knows I'm a sucker for that.
"Sure, sure. Here." I offer Han one of the larger bags. "Don't lose them or anything. Those were expensive!"
Mai laughs at my paranoia. "We're not going to lose them. C'mon, Han, let's go look at them."
Mai snatches the bag and runs into the living room.
"Thank you." Han smiles at me. "You're the best."
I ruffle his fur. "Yeah, well. You deserve it. Go on, check it out." He saunters off into the other room.
"This. Is. Awesome!" Mai is flailing his lost desert paintbrush about, marveling at it in his spazzy way.
Han looks into the bag and gasps. "She must have... gotten the wrong one...!" He sits down in shock, staring off into nothing.
"What's up?" Mai breaks out of his celebratory dance and looks at Han. He takes in Han's expression and pats him on the back.
"Dude, I'm so sorry. She must've messed up, or something."
Han shakes his head slowly. "No. It's not that. Look." He reaches into the bag and pulls out a plushie paint brush.
Mai looks started and gasps. "Oh. My. For the love of Fyora..." He sputters, as dumbstruck as Han is.
"So, do you like it?" I ask from the doorway. I'd taken up the post shortly after they'd rushed in, convinced that Han would be jumping for joy by this point.
"Um... This is really too much... You shouldn't have, really..." Han looks down and frowns a little.
"You said purple, right? That's totally purple." My smile is completely lost on him.
"This is too-" He starts but then stops, sighing quietly to himself.
"Han, I know that Gracey's favorite color is plushie. And Xweetok plushies are purple. I thought I'd do you a favor."
Han looks up at me and squints. "This isn't a joke, is it?"
I blink at him, stunned. "Um, no? That'd be horrible!"
Han looks at the paint brush again, his expression unreadable.
Suddenly, he looks up at me and grins. "Okay. You are officially the best."
Mai nods. "Yeah, the best!"
I laugh and pull them in for a hug.
"Now, let's get going, before the sun sets. There's no point in getting you guys painted if you can't see the color."
They practically sprint out the door and, as an afterthought, shout various things at me, including "Let's go!" and "Hurry up, slowpoke!".
I laugh and follow them. I'm so glad that I'd done the right thing in buying him that paintbrush. Now, maybe, he could truly be himself around Gracey. He could be the smart, funny Xweetok that I know he is.
An owner can only hope.