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A Grey Day


by shadowcristal

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Finally. They had been waiting for so long, the two of them. The beautiful colors of the Rainbow Pool reflected in the excited eyes of owner and pet.

     "This is it," Vivi said. The owner gently gestured to her pet to step into the pool, and Claire did so. The cute Cybunny let her feet sink through the liquid, filled with swirls and little patches of odd color.

     "It'll be all right, won't it?" Claire asked. "I'll still be myself even though I look different, right?"

     That meek and scared voice alarmed Vivi. For the first time since the purchase of the Grey Paint Brush, the owner realized that her pet was afraid. Afraid of being painted.

     "We'll be okay," the owner said. Deep inside, Vivi wasn't sure if it was okay or not. They had heard many rumors about paint brushes that could change the personality of the pet. She recalled how her cousin's pirate pet acted after he had been painted. Tadellus used to have the best manners she had seen anywhere, but after he became a Pirate Scorchio he started to chew with his mouth open.

     "Okay," the Cybunny said, reassured. She took a last look around her, the last sight she would see in Neopia Central as a plain pet. When she opened her eyes again, Claire would be grey.

     They had worked so hard for this. Vivi had spent hours, days and months restocking her little shop with food and books. Claire had gone to Faerieland and worked like crazy on the jobs she had received. Finally they had gotten enough Neopoints to buy a Grey Paint Brush.

     Owning a Grey pet was Vivi's dream. She wanted the *sigh* avatar so badly, and right on the day it was released they had decided that painting Claire grey would be their main goal.

     And now they were finally here. The owner let the paint brush hover in the air for a second before she brought it down.

     The Cybunny felt the paint trickle down her spine and change her. Suddenly she felt cold. Scared, Claire opened her eyes and looked around.

     Everything looked the same. There was no change. Relieved, the Cybunny stepped out of the pool and looked at her reflection.

     "I'm Grey!" she burst out, examining her new coat. It was a dull, boring color, but ever so beautiful in their eyes.

     "Yes, you are," Vivi said, filled with happiness. Her hands felt empty, and she quickly hugged her pet. That paint brush was nothing compared to this...

     "Let's go back to Pet Central, shall we?" the owner asked, releasing her pet and placing a hand on the Grey Cybunny's shoulder.

     "Yeah!" Claire said cheerfully.

     Moments later, the 'Something has happened!' message popped up. Vivi ran off to show her friends the new avatar she had gotten and Claire took a nap.

     -

     She opened her eyes. No... Something didn't look right. Claire looked around. It looked the same, but it was somehow different.

     The Cybunny shuddered. Perhaps those rumors were true? Did the coat affect the pet's personality? She gulped and looked at herself in a mirror.

     Suddenly that admirable grey, dull coat didn't look so wonderful anymore. She looked as if she had already worn it for... for... forever. Claire gasped as she noticed the dull, red color around her eyes.

     "Do I really look like that?" she asked herself, shocked over this new discovery.

     "No," the Cybunny told herself. "I'm the good old happy me... I'm Claire the Sunshine and I am not a stupid, blithering, weeping little grey pet!"

     The Sunshine was a nickname that her friends had thought of when they first met Claire. The Cybunny smiled. Hilde, Agnes, Xphania, they had all thought that she was the most cheerful, bubbly and energetic pet they had met.

     "I won't let a stupid coat get me down," Claire thought, determined. But she was already getting doubtful. For how long could she remain a sunshine if she looked depressingly dark like this? What would all her friends think?

     She sighed. The Cybunny realized that she was definitely not herself. Her old self would've brushed those worries away with a smile and some reassuring words.

     She knew why and she knew what was happening to her.

     "I won't..." Claire muttered. Deep inside, she knew that she was wrong. That depressing grayness of it all had already set its claws into her soul. Her old self was already disappearing.

     Not able to withstand it anymore, the Cybunny put her paws over her ears and ran outside. Maybe... if she couldn't hear anything, she would stop changing.

     She had seen them. Those depressed pets, only painted for an avatar and then left to themselves with their incurable depression. The sadness of no reason but a coat.

     "I'm not like that!" she thought. "I agreed to this! I chose this myself!"

     Tired from running, the Cybunny sunk down on the ground behind a small yard. This was another example of the effects of the coat. Usually she would be able to skip for a long time, but the gloomy coat dragged her down.

     "I can't believe I agreed to this," Claire thought bitterly. "If I had known what was going to happen, I'd never have said yes!"

     The Cybunny was amazed at her own ugly feelings. She had never experienced such dark feelings before. Her happiness was diminishing with every second. That horrible grayness dissolved her, turned her into something she had often seen and but never thought she would be.

     "I'm Grey," she whispered, her tiny Cybunny body shivering. No. She mustn't cry!

     Then she thought of Vivi. How happy her owner had looked when she was painted. No... She must be good, she must bear this... this curse, this cursed coat!

     "Vivi will be disappointed," Claire thought. That single thought blew away some of the claws on her soul. "I can't make her sad... It's better if it's just me, instead of both of us suffering..."

     Her broken spirit couldn't stand it anymore. With those thoughts and many others, the strain that Claire had placed on herself slowly let go.

     "I'll have to be good... I'll be okay, if I try hard enough," the Cybunny whispered, embracing herself tightly. She sniffled.

     There was no use hiding it anymore. Sitting in that dark, drab backyard, Claire realized what being Grey meant. Another few sniffles, and the Cybunny now understood the red eyes, the saggy fur... everything about how a grey pet looked.

     She looked up at the sky, which looked grey to her. A raindrop landed on the Cybunny's nose and all of a sudden the bottle that had held her feelings broke. Tears streamed down Claire's face, mixed with the rain.

     She sobbed and sobbed for all she was worth. For some reason, it felt good to cry. Perhaps it was the coat? Another few feelings surfaced, and more tears fell.

     She had wept until her tears were no more. When she noticed that her fur was dry again, Claire looked up. The sky wasn't grey anymore. It was a cheerful shade of blue, the same shade that she had been before she had been painted.

     Feeling much better, the Cybunny got up and started walking home. That first time being painted hadn't been as wonderful as she had thought, but Claire knew she had learned something. Now she knew what being Grey meant and she knew that she had to let go sometimes.

     "Being blue was wonderful," Claire thought as she opened the door.

     "You're home!" Vivi cried out, running to hug her pet. The Cybunny hugged her owner back.

     "I was really worried, you know," the owner said as she let go of Claire.

     "Sorry about that," the pet said. She looked her owner in the eyes and Vivi shuddered. Had Claire always looked like this? The owner sensed that there was something going on with her pet.

     "I have something important to tell you," the Cybunny said. That conflict with herself and the rain had taught her to let go, and she felt that it wasn't worth the trouble to just make Vivi happy and oblivious. Vivi would definitely want to know how she felt, and for the next fifteen minutes Claire explained her feelings about being Grey.

     "I'm sorry," Vivi said after her pet had finished. She impulsively hugged Claire again. "I guess I didn't think how you would feel about being depressed all the time. I was wrong to paint you Grey."

     "It's all right," the pet said, patting her owner gently.

     "I know!" the owner said. "Why don't we paint you back to blue? There is a Blue Paint Brush after all!"

     "B-but," Claire protested, shocked. "Doesn't that mean we spent all that time earning the NP for nothing?"

     "It's better if both of us are happy... Anyway, what counts is the experience." Vivi smiled. When she saw that her pet wasn't smiling, she added, "Don't worry! Neopia is the place where we can make our dreams come true and feel good. Now that I've had my selfish dream fulfilled, I say we spend the rest of the time feeling good. What do you say?"

     "Yeah..." the Cybunny trailed off. "Though it's still too bad... Working that hard..."

     "What counts is not necessarily the end, but the journey there," the owner said wisely. "And we had fun on the trip, so it's all right. Let's take another trip, okay?"

     "Okay!" the pet said. She smiled. It was good now. She had finally sorted out everything, and now they had a new goal to attain.

     "Getting the paint brush might take a day or two..." Vivi said after a moment. "Is that okay?"

     "Yeah," Claire said thoughtfully. She looked at her owner, who looked quite concerned. "I'll be..." No. She wasn't about to lie to her owner, just after telling her about how she felt about this new coat. "Well, we'll just have to see, won't we?"

     "There you are, Claire the Sunshine," the owner smiled. "Yes, we'll have to see..."

The End

 
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