The Little Things
Luci hated rain with a passion.
She sat lazily on the sofa by the window, one paw resting on her lap, the other drawing mindless patterns where her breath had condensed on the glass. A blanket was draped around her shoulders and a half-empty mug of hot-chocolate sat on the coffee table. The radiator wasn't giving off any warmth, and it hadn't since this weather had started.
A week without heat? It didn't seem like summer to her at all.
Of course, her thick, bushy fur kept the majority of the cold out, but it was the dampness. The dampness that soaked through her pelt and clung onto her skin – that was why she hated rain.
And what was worse, Luci felt the beginnings of a cold coming on. She sneezed, barely audible above the racket from outside.
Maybe another sip of that drink will do the trick? She tried. Her skin still felt cold.
"You're silly, Luci," came a soft chuckle from behind her, "that won't warm you up unless you take a shower in it. Then you'd be all sticky."
The red Xweetok frowned. She'd unfortunately grown to recognise that voice over the past month or so. Brede, her owner's newest pet. A young, pretty blue Cybunny who was completely oblivious to all things bad in Neopia. Was that a good thing? She wasn't sure. It could one day get her into trouble.
Luci felt her sit down next to her, not taking the time to look.
"I brought you something," Brede said, "here."
Suddenly the Xweetok felt the blanket being lifted off her shoulders and she jumped, now three times more cold than before.
"Hey! What did you-"
"You can't dry yourself with a sheet as thin as that." Luci felt a thicker, warmer cloth surround her body, and her skin instantly began to dry.
"You got me a towel..." Luci wasn't sure how to thank her. She hesitantly looked across at Brede, who also had one draped around her shoulders.
"Yep!" she popped the 'p', smiling, "I saw you shivering, so I thought, why should Luci be cold when I'm nice and cosy? It didn't seem fair, so I went out and bought you one."
The Xweetok's eyes widened, "you went out in this weather just to get something to keep me dry?"
Brede nodded, a huge grin still on her face. Then suddenly she hunched over and shuffled back, staring grimly at the floor. "Wait... are you angry at me?"
Luci's face softened and she gestured for the Cybunny to sit closer. "Not at all," she said. "Here," she handed the younger pet her hot chocolate, "you can finish this if you like."
"Thanks, Luci! I haven't had one in forever!"
It's amazing how quickly her feelings change, the Xweetok thought, and maybe mine, too.
They sat there in silence for a while, staring out of the window. Brede became interested in the drops that trickled down the glass and she followed them with her nose, giggling when she accidently bumped against it and the sharp cold spread through her face.
For some reason that she didn't know, the weather reminded Luci of her old home in Faerieland. It never rained there, as it was above the clouds. The weather was always perfect and she could always see the stars at night, the space station on one side of the sky, Kreludor on the other. And there was that funny green and white thing that flew past every now and again, like a falling star that never really fell.
Then, a while ago, Faerieland had gone crashing down into the ground, destroying her home on the way. If she squinted hard enough now, here in her new house in Neopia Central, Luci could just make out the faint traces of pinkish-white cloud that only partly filled the massive hole in the sky.
A hole in her heart.
Of course, Brede hadn't even been alive then. For her, Faerieland had always been on that mass of rock in the ground, a beautiful glade with lush green grass and sparkling, clear waters.
"Do you miss your old house, Luci?" Brede suddenly asked, as if reading her mind.
"Yeah," she whispered, barely heard above the noise of the rain, "I do."
She stared at the shower outside, watching the water droplets as they fell from the clouds, and then landing on the ground and splashing into nothing. Gone, out of existence. But yet still there in the form of part of a puddle. A part of a whole.
Was that what it was like for Faerieland? She'd been in Moltara at the time, speaking to Igneot.
"Can someone ever be truly happy?" she had asked.
Igneot had put his flaming hand on his chin, orange eyes looking off to the left into middle distance, "The coals become colder, but there is a chance."
Well, she certainly was cold.
Faerieland was like a huge raindrop that came tumbling out of the sky, and then landed in the puddle that was Neopia. Part of it broke up and splashed away like her house, but most of it had stayed intact, albeit slightly damaged and cracked.
When she'd returned from her trip to the underground city, Luci wasn't sure what to think at all. She just broke down and cried on the shattered remains of her doorstep. Her home had gone. Most of the things inside had been ruined, but she managed to some clothes and a couple of packets of food.
"We'll move to Neopia Central," her owner had decided soon after, "we'll be close to the shops and the houses are much cheaper there. You could even start your own shop, Luci. How does that sound?"
Luci had grunted in agreement, still dazed from what had just happened. All the rare items that counted as savings for her dream paint brush had been crushed, even though they had sat inside the safety deposit box.
Their new house, the one she lived in now, wasn't much smaller than her old home. But the difference was still massive. She couldn't see the night sky well anymore from all of the light pollution, and the ground underfoot was no longer soft and fluffy from the clouds, but hard and dry on the paths that many pet and owners had travelled on in the past. It should have given her a sense of pride and culture to know she was virtually in Neopia's biggest and most thriving city, but that was not the case.
Then Brede, for the second time that day, pulled her out of her memories as she found the young Cybunny snuggling close to her.
"You're my big sister," she said, "and I'm your little sister."
Luci smiled, thoughts coming together and forming in her head.
"It's the little things that make us who we are," the Xweetok told her, "like buying people presents, or making them dinner. It's what colour their painted, how many times they've won a game of Key Quest or what they've received from Coltzan's Shrine. Their experiences in life – good or bad, might I add. Or maybe what type of weather they prefer."
"It's those little things –lots of them – that shape our lives and chooses our friends. And then those friends, like you, Brede, become another little thing that makes us, well... us."
And, suddenly, the rain didn't seem so bad anymore.