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The Melon Gem


by raven_esque

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      It's a little bundle of green fur.

      That's what I take to be the scenario, at first. Slowly, her head peeks up, and pink eyes gaze at me questioningly. Nubby black horns gleam a bit as she stands up in a wobbly way, and as my leg moves outward in sheer maternal instinct, she falls against my knee. Ow, quite frankly, and I wince a little because that's my knee and my shin and that leg's not exactly put together well.

      But I smile as she makes a noise and gives me a teary eyed look. It's so watery that I hush it to keep her from thinking she has to be upset. "Shuu shuu, girl." No. Girl isn't a name, but she's so new. What name can I give this little creature? "Shuu shuu." I say again, bending down and scooping her into my arms. Her muzzle is in my face instantly, and she nibbles my nose before bleating, then smiling back with tiny fuzzy lips. An Ixi, a little goatchild, and I marvel at her tiny form in my hands. I idly wonder where this pink collar came from, though I figure I'll never know, and brush back the little curl of green atop her head.

      It's nearly five minutes. Five minutes as I simply hold her while the world around us is still moving, changing, keeps going. She blinks at me, such a pretty girl I coo, and when she turns her head to glance around us and looks back at me from the corner, where the pink melds with the green rimming it in such a brilliant way, it comes to me at last.

      "Tourmalina."

      She perks up, and though later I have to sign a different name, adding in silly extra letters and dashes because that's just the rules somehow, she knows. I can just TELL, she KNOWS it's her name.

      "My sweet melon-gem. Tourmalina."

      Later on, she wobbles after me, chasing my legs with her horns and gradually learns to say 'Oops!' and giggle afterward, because I don't mind and I don't get angry because if I had the equivalent of stilts for legs, I'd be a mess walking too. Several hours of us wandering around the market, she's got the hang of it; mostly. My poor legs get headbutted as she stumbles into me, and against my better judgement I buy the green and gold dress as soon as I see it. She'll be able to wear it later on, I rationalize.

      She does, and it's in my state of horror, seeing her in the Battledome of all places, that I realize she's a fighting maiden. She's weak, yes, and Punchbag Bob's nice about letting her use kicks and punches with tiny hooves, but I see the thrill in her pretty pink eyes. She's enjoying this. She's enjoying it a lot. And when finally it ends, her sweaty and panting and a total mess that I give her a bath at home, I know what to do.

      I research while she's sleeping in her pretty blue bed, calculating and waiting for the moment to strike. When the clock hits the hour mark, I run to Altador and snatch up a sword, and though the shopkeep shakes their head and hands me a shorter version once I explain, I know it's what she'll need. When the second challenge comes up, I marvel at her skill in the match, and moreso at that dress; how has it not ripped yet?! Hit after hit, she spins and jumps and slashes, and it occurs to me that I feel slightly bad for Punchbag Bob.

      "Momma!"

      She storms up to me when the final hit's landed its mark, and by now my legs are hardened and barely bruise as her horns hit exposed skin.

      "Didjya see?! Didjya see?! I did it! I took him down!"

      I crouch and smile at her, my little warrior maiden. "My fiesty little melon-gem. Be careful, you'll be getting tired of Bob soon and the other opponents aren't as nice." As I eye up the creepiest Chia to exist, bouncing a pie in its hands in a threatening way.

      Her fuzzy cheeks fluff up in a pout. "Moooooommaaaaaa! I can handle 'em!" And she bucks and does a spinning jump, eager to get going; she never sits still for long, which suits her just fine. "I'm a rough, tough, go-get-'em girl! You said so!" And I have to snort; she's already learning how to throw my own words back at me. She's such a headstrong girl. "A Tiki Tour sounds nice right about now, though!" And that's her way of letting me know she's honestly tired and wants to sit in my lap for a while because she might act tough but she's still my baby.

      And that sounds nice.

      "Alright, alright, we'll go right now. Then we'll get something to eat." I scoop her up, and she puts her head on my shoulder, those big pretty pink eyes gazing at me as I carry her off.

      "Tourmaline is also called a 'watermelon gem'." She's peering over my arm at the notebook, distrust in her eyes, and I know she's actually confused because unlike the books I read to her, this has yet to vanish in a puff of smoke. "It makes a lot of people happy because the colors remind them to be."

      Tourmalina looks up at me, big pink eyes shimmering. "Do I make you happy, Momma?"

      And it's a lump in my throat, hot and watery and hard to shove down as I pick her up and cradle her, sitting on the floor of our little home. "You've made me the happiest I've ever been. Just by being you." Because it's hard, yes, she acts so independent and strong but gets hurt and needs care and love. But I have her to keep going forward for, I have her to wake up to each day now.

      So I buy her weapons and we sneak off omelettes, and the wheels get spun whenever we're in the vicinity, and sometimes I indulge and just buy her a spree gift and she'll headbutt me in sheer joy.

      The days are passing quickly. She's a summer child, but I wonder how she might look later on, in a coat of blue with cloud spots all over, or maybe a lavender coat, bright thin wings sprouting from her back. Or even those vivid new colors, the ones that I've never seen before and have no idea how to get but I'll do it somehow for her. I'll ask her before, of course, and I know as long as she likes it, I'll do whatever she asks.

      Her head perks up one day as I'm writing, calculating for a new weapon, a new furniture piece, maybe food? It's about that time anyway, almost noon and we've already hit up all our usual daily places, although today the Tombola Man had run to get a bite when we arrived.

      "Momma?"

      I make a humming noise, and start making a little column. She must want to go see a concert.

      "Can I have a sibling?"

      My pen hits the floor the same time as my jaw. Too bad parenthood never comes with instructions.

      The End

 
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