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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 15th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 116 > Short Stories > Buwan & Bituin

Buwan & Bituin

by ladyariel32

Buwan was a nice-looking teenage girl living in a simple NeoHome somewhere in Neopia Central. She was afraid, horribly afraid, because tomorrow was to be her pet's first birthday and she still didn't have a present to give. It would have been easy if Buwan was a rich girl but unluckily, she wasn't. Buwan was one of those owners included in the classification "less fortunate": the ones the wealthy owners ignored mostly because a good many of them were beggars and thieves. But Buwan was neither of the two.

     She started playing NeoPets almost exactly a year ago. Buwan immediately adopted a blue Aisha she saw in the pound. The pet's name was Bituin, a strange name for a little girl. Buwan loved her and cared for her very much. She would have enjoyed spoiling Bituin to bits but no, she didn't have any toys to give except the blue fuzzle included in the Newbie Pack. It wasn't because she was awfully poor. Buwan was simply a thrifty and practical teenager. Instead of sparing a few NP's for a plushie or two, she deposited them in the bank. Bituin never complained. She never did. That was just the way she was.

     Now, Buwan was prepared to splurge for the sake of her Aisha. After all, she realized, the reason why she was "scrimping and pinching to make ends meet" was for the happiness of Bituin. She had quite a bit of NP's stocked in the bank. All she needed now was a gift.

     A gift. A simple gift, Buwan thought to herself. How can a simple gift be so hard to find?

     Bituin was a quiet Aisha with a pleasant disposition. She always had a charming smile on her face. Complete strangers often smiled back when they saw Bituin's smile. In spite of this, Buwan realized bitterly, the Aisha didn't seem to have made any friends or even casual acquaintances. She was more likely to be found gazing off into the distance with a faraway look in her ebony eyes and a rather calm expression on her face. She scarcely objected, that was true, but she had never opened her mouth to speak either.

     I've spent almost a year with her and yet, Buwan paused, and yet… I feel like we are total strangers.

     Buwan suddenly grasped that she didn't know a thing about Bituin at all. Only that she loved her and that Bituin loved her, just the same.

     Doesn't she?

     Buwan chose to ignore that last comment that was asked by her heart, rather than her mind. Instead, she stood up from her place near the kitchen window and slowly opened the door. She was well on her way to the Neopian Shops when the sun rose into the sky and Bituin woke up from deep slumber.

     I got up early to buy some groceries. There's a bowl of cereal and a can of Neocola waiting for you on the dining table. Help yourself. Be back later. - Buwan

     Bituin read the note with a small smile. She placed it underneath her pillow and entered the dining room. There, she ate her meal in total silence.

     While Bituin was easing her hunger, Buwan was frantically withdrawing almost all of the NP's in her bank account. She had seen something in one of the shops: a White Aisha Collar with a lovely sky blue "A" hanging from the middle. Rushing blindly into the shop, Bituin grabbed the collar like a lunatic and scrambled to find the Shopkeeper.

     "What can I do for you?" a masculine voice asked sounding mildly alarmed.

     "I'd like to buy this," Buwan replied, turning to face whoever it was.

     The voice belonged to a formally dressed blue Shoyru (he was wearing a three-piece suit). "Ah, a White Aisha Collar. A trinket for your pet, perhaps?"

     "Of course, it's for my Neopet!" Buwan snapped impatiently. "Who do you think I'm purchasing this for… myself?"

     "Um," the Shoyru mumbled. He reached for the collar with a trembling paw.

     Bituin eagerly paid for the item and seized her shopping bag hastily. She left the shop clutching tightly to the precious package, a giddy smile on her face. She walked in short, springy steps being careful to avoid passersby.

     I did it! her inner voice exclaimed. I finally bought the perfect gift!

     Her heart, which was drumming in her chest just a little while ago, was now shrieking with joy. Buwan wanted to laugh out loud but of course, she couldn't do that. Instead, she allowed herself to smile… a smile so wide that it couldn't have been a smile but a grin.

     When she reached their NeoHome, she found Bituin lying peacefully under a tree in their yard. Her eyes were closed and her chest rose up and down methodically. Bituin was fast asleep. Buwan tiptoed into the house silently and placed the bag containing her gift in her closet. She breathed a sigh of relief.

     "Bituin, what have you been up to today?" Buwan asked her Neopet cautiously as they ate lunch. It was the first time she ever asked Bituin a direct question.

     Bituin only looked at her with a shy smile and pointed outside. Buwan gazed outside, too. There, stuck on the tree trunk, she saw something she hadn't seen before. It was a piece of white paper. On it was a clumsily drawn blue Aisha holding on to the hand of a young girl wearing a red shirt and blue pants that she assumed were jeans. It was a picture of Buwan & Bituin.

     Without warning, Buwan hugged her Aisha tightly.

     She loves me, after all…

     Buwan didn't trust herself to speak. She knew that if she did, she would burst out crying. That was really not her style. It was the first time Buwan ever saw the Aisha offer a gesture of love and affection. And then, she realized, it was the first time she ever did, too.

     As she tucked Bituin into bed that night, Buwan sang her a lullaby. Her voice wasn't sweet or melodious. In fact, it wobbled and sounded sort of cracked. But it didn't matter at all for Buwan's short song was a song from the heart. Bituin gave her owner another smile before closing her eyes.

     Buwan went into the living room, sat on the couch, and began answering a few puzzles in her copy of "Big Book of Puzzles". Gradually, her eyes got heavy and she fell asleep. She was awakened in the middle of the night by a shuffling noise coming from her bedroom. Heart beating wildly, Buwan got up from the couch and made her way to her room.

     Could Bituin be looking around for my birthday present?

     She almost giggled at the thought. Who would have thought that shy, silent Bituin would actually wander into her owner's room at night to see if she could find her gift? Buwan opened the door a crack and peered inside.

     "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!"

     Buwan's scream rang throughout the NeoHome. It wasn't Bituin inside but the sly, evil Pant Devil holding on to the bag containing the White Aisha Collar. As the teenager hurried into the room, the Pant Devil was already climbing out the window. Buwan felt her spirits sinking. She dropped onto the floor despairingly. She heard footsteps behind her. It was Bituin, of course, with a worried look on her face.

     "Go back to bed, Bituin," Buwan told her with what she hoped was a reassuring smile. "Everything's all right. I just had a nightmare and fell out of bed."

     She led Bituin back to her room and tucked her into bed again. "Now, go to sleep." The Aisha still looked anxious but she followed her owner's order and obediently closed her eyes.

     Buwan opened her closet and looked inside.

     Maybe, if I wish hard enough, I'll find the package in here… safe and sound. Maybe, I really am having a nightmare. Anytime now, I'm going to wake up…

     She didn't really care that the item that cost her nearly all her NP's was gone. She didn't care, not really, about the Pant Devil. If it were an ordinary day and not the day before Bituin's birthday, a visit from the Pant Devil wouldn't have mattered at all. There was nothing to steal in the house, anyway. The fact that the Pant Devil resolved to steal something this special night just meant that Buwan was terribly unlucky. Only a few minutes more and it would be Bituin's birthday. Tears were slowly beginning to form in her eyes. She wiped them away with the back of her hand.

     At that moment, Buwan decided to go back to the Neopian Shops and buy another gift. She didn't have much NP's left to obtain a decent gift but hey, it was better than not having anything to give at all. With this in mind, Buwan left the NeoHome. After an hour, she returned carrying a Heart-shaped Charm in a brown paper bag. Exhausted, Buwan slipped under her bedcovers and immediately entered dreamland.

     When Buwan woke up, it was already mid-afternoon, almost evening. The sun was just about to set. Buwan smiled at the sight of the orange-rose sky. Suddenly, she sat bolt upright. Bituin was outside, sitting under the tree in the yard and facing the setting sun.

     "Oh no!" she groaned.

     Although she was still in a haphazard state, Buwan headed outside, clutching the Heart-shaped Charm in one cold hand.

     "Bituin!" she called out, almost stumbling on a stone along her path.

     The Aisha turned around and smiled.

     "Bituin!" Buwan repeated, her voice sounding stuffed up as tears ran across her face. "Happy Birthday…"

     She handed Bituin her meager gift. "I'm sorry… I'm sorry…"

     I had plenty of NP's… NP's I should have spent a long time ago to make her happy. I can't even get her a respectable gift. I…

     "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I bought you a more expensive gift but the Pant Devil came and… and…"

     Buwan was startled when Bituin hugged her. It was the first time she ever gave Buwan a hug… the very first time.

     "I love you, Buwan," Bituin said in a soft voice. "This is the best present I've ever had."

     The only gift you've ever had, Buwan wanted to add bitterly. But no words came out of her mouth. It was the first time Bituin had ever spoken. Buwan hugged her back.

     "I love you, too."

     The crescent-shaped moon appeared lighting up the sky. Beside it was a tiny star, a twinkling star that seemed as if it was dancing.

The End

Author's Note: Now that you've read this story, I would like to tell you the meaning of the words "Buwan" & "Bituin". They are both words used in my native language, Filipino. "Buwan" means " moon" while "Bituin" means "star". ^^ I just thought I'd let you know. :P


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