A Heart to Heart
Also by earthlingdreamz
In the bright chill of a February morning, two beautiful Draiks met in a snow-covered playground. Blippita, adorned in red and purple, was dressing up her snow Chia with leaves when Lidaei approached.
The faerie Draik wafted gracefully along one of the winter currents, skipping among the clouds until she landed silently in front of her friend. With an effortless curtsy, Lidaei barely greeted her friend as she tried to suppress a giggle. "Now I wish I had a snow brother or sister to dress up on clear, cool days!" As Lidaei straightened to embrace Blippita, she let a flicker of worry cross her cerulean eyes.
The purple Draik returned the hug. "It's wonderful to see you, Lidaei! You'd think that with six real siblings I'd be satisfied, but no, none of them will allow me to dress them up. So I come out here to build my own snow pets..." She stopped chattering suddenly, aware of the look on her friend's fair face. "Why, what are you thinking about, Lidaei?"
Lidaei smiled lightly as she listened to the details of her friend's life. She felt immensely grateful, however, when Blippita released her from the happy facade and recognized her true feelings. "Oh! I didn't want to trouble you, but I am beginning to panic. You see, I haven't been able to think of anything to get my sister Nytingale." Lidaei bit down on her lower lip as her soft teal tendrils curled tightly against her ears. "It's not that she's terribly picky, I just can't think of a thing she would like! She's one of the oldest of my siblings and well, I just don't know her that well, even after living together for some time."
"I think I understand," said Blippita thoughtfully. "My big sister is a lot older than me too... I'm never quite sure exactly what she likes, but I usually just get her a book or something, because she's an avid reader." Absently, she traced an image of a heart in the snow. "What's Nytingale like? I mean, does she have hobbies or unique interests, like exploring? I'm not very familiar with the ways of Darigan Peophins."
Lidaei sighed, and the wintry breeze caught the sound, lifting the chime into the air. "It seems so much harder for Valentine's Day than any other holiday, doesn't it? She does like her walks, but always alone and in dark places, like caves." Lidaei scratched thoughtfully at her speckled snout. "Maybe a flashlight? But oh, that's so imperfect for Valentine's! What sort of book do you think you'll get your big sister?"
Blippita squeezed her eyes shut and stuck out her tongue for a moment, looking sweet despite her frustration. "It's extremely hard to find a book that Yinna hasn't read already," she explained. "I've been to the Book Shop a few times, and titles like The Lonely Grundo caught my eye... my big sister enjoys stories of adventure and love, but she seems to have read them all. One book that she hasn't read is Neopian Heroes, but it's very rare... I guess I'll have to save up to buy it. I think it'll be nice to walk up to her with the book and say, 'You're my hero,' you know." She smiled briefly, basking in the warmth of that imaginary moment. "The book is so expensive, though. It really is difficult to find a suitable gift for someone you appreciate. Folks always say, 'It's the thought that counts,' but I don't think gift-giving is quite so simple."
"Oh yes, I see what you mean." Lidaei furrowed her brow. "Neopian Heroes sounds fascinating. I've always liked the faeries the best, myself, out of all the heroes, but think of all the grand stories..." She let her mind wander to the distance of her gaze with her eyes glossed over for a moment before she shook it off. "That's the other trouble, I've just realized. Books like Neopian Heroes or proper attire for Nytingale are just so very expensive. Do you think it's alright to spend more than 100,000 neopoints on a Valentine's gift for your sister?" Lidaei asked anxiously. "Or would something else be more reasonable?"
Blippita thought of her small mound of savings back home, and her cheeks flushed a little as she realized the impossibility of her dream. "Perhaps something else..." she sighed. "But then I'm back to square one. Meep. What makes a gift meaningful, anyway? It's interesting how we put so much effort into finding the perfect gift for someone, but when we actually receive something, we don't mind all that much if it isn't perfect."
Lidaei couldn't help it - she giggled, then quickly smothered the sound in her slender paws. "Sorry, it's just the irony - you're absolutely right! I hadn't spent even a second thinking about what Nytingale might get for me. You know, I might not even mind not getting anything at all. I'd be happy with a snowman, or a snowball fight." Lidaei kicked the snow at her feet and then, with a slightly devious glint in her eye, sized up Blippita for a moment. "You know..." The faerie Draik crouched, unfurling her gossamer wings. "We could just paint pictures in the snow for them!" And with that, she launched herself at Blippita, getting just enough force to knock over the purple Draik, kicking up fluffy snow as they tumbled over one another. Lidaei laughed deeply. "Time for snow faeries!"
The fun was infectious. Blippita shrieked with joy as she felt the snow yield against her wings, her tail, her body. Within moments, the two Draiks had hollowed out two roughly faerie-like shapes in the snow. "Hehehehe, you're brilliant, Lidaei," chuckled Blippita, rolling back onto her feet and brushing snow off herself. "I know exactly what I'm going to do for Valentine's Day now. I'll tell my brothers and sisters that I've got a secret gift for them out on this playground. I'll lead them here, and then do to them exactly what you just did to me. And then, I'll give everybody some heart-shaped chocolates, and call it a great Valentine's Day."
Lidaei had settled for pushing her wings, ever so gently, into the snow to create faerie wings. It rather more resembled a Draik, but she stood proudly over her imprint as she spoke with Blippita. "The chocolates sound like an excellent touch," Lidaei said approvingly before bringing her paws to her muzzle suddenly, eyes wide. It took her a moment of surveying the landscape before she turned, dropping her paws. Behind them, she had hidden an expansive smile. "Maybe I'll build my family a little winter wonderland overnight, hope it freezes, and show them all on the morning of Valentine's Day! If it's not cold enough, I could also use a few hundred of those plushie snowballs my mother has stored up. Yes! This will be brilliant, for both of us and our families."
"That would be lovely," said Blippita appreciatively, with light dancing in her vibrant ruby eyes. "Let me know if you need any help with your project, I'd be more than happy to join in. I can almost taste the happiness of Valentine's Day already! It's going to be another awesome, fun-filled day, with love in the air and all around..." She did a little twirl. "Another celebration of the warmth that we all can give, despite the snow and wind and cold." A pause came into her voice as she considered something. "Perhaps, after we've finished enjoying our Valentine's gifts, we could do something for the pets in the Pound, or leave some chocolate hearts at the Money Tree. For Neopians who aren't as lucky as us. Valentine's Day is about spreading love, after all."
"You're absolutely right!" Lidaei stared in awe of Blippita's brilliance. "That's precisely what we ought to be doing on Valentine's Day, spreading as much love to our friends, and even strangers, as possible. Chocolate hearts, bouquets of flowers, and maybe even a mysterious card or two." Without warning, Lidaei lurched forward, grabbing Blippita's hand as she hopped into the air, wings straining to catch the cool breeze. "We'd best get started collecting everything right this moment! We'll want to wish all of Neopia a Happy Valentine's Day!" And together they set off to do exactly that, spreading love and friendship throughout the world.