Come and Gone
31st of Celebrating. The Day of Giving had come and gone. Neopets everywhere were now celebrating the last day of the year, but soon, it too would be gone. She always watched them come and go. The holidays. The Neopets. The end of the Winter Starlight Celebration tonight would mark another year she had watched come and go. Just a lonely little Aisha made of snow. Not even a Snow Aisha, just a snowpet that had come to life after many years of the Celebration's joy surrounding her. Alive, but unable to move. Soon, the Celebration would be over. Soon, she would be alone again. No one paid attention to a lonely little snowpet on Terror Mountain, after all.
"I can't believe they went without me!"
A Christmas Aisha stopped in front of her, cutting off her vision of the rest of the Celebration. He stamped his feet in the snow. She was grateful when he stopped his tantrum. His feet had strayed close to her bare paws.
"They left me behind again!" the Christmas Aisha finally said, plopping down into a sitting position. "They do this every year!"
Did that mean this Aisha was left alone every year too? That made him the same as her. She wanted to reach over to him and tell him she understood. No amount of wishing would allow her to move, though. She was certain her ears would have drooped if they were capable.
The Christmas Aisha spun around to face her. She wondered what had caught his attention. Nothing unusual had happened. She worried something had shown up behind her. The Christmas Aisha sat back down and tilted his head at her.
"Didn't you just move?"
What? Had she moved? She had been around for years and had never moved even once. It was a silly question. Then again, the Aisha was talking to her. It made her both happy and sad. Pets didn't talk long if you didn't respond, and she was incapable. That meant he'd be going soon. Once again, she was certain her ears would droop if they could.
"Whoa! You did move!" The Aisha lifted both of his forepaws and pushed up against the outer side of her ear stalks. "You gotta stop doing that or your stalks'll fall off!"
What was he talking about? It was true that if she moved her ear stalks they could fall off. After all, they were just poked into her head and not attached like a normal Aisha's ears. But that didn't matter because she couldn't move.
"There, you'll be okay now! They're back in place," the Aisha said with a smile, dropping his feet back into the snow. "Hey, why don't you talk? I'm friendly, I promise! It's just that every year my friends end up running off to do their own thing during the New Year's celebrations. I get stuck alone a lot. Is it the same for you? Oh, are you not talking because I haven't introduce myself? The name's Chris!"
"I'm not talking because I can't talk!" she shouted. Her eyes widened and she clamped her paws over her mouth.
"What do you mean you can't talk? You just did!"
Chris laughed and sprang into the air, dancing circles around her. She followed him as he danced by spinning around in her own circles. She outran her own feet and ended up tripping and landing face first in the snow. She lifted her head and laughed, "I'm moving! I'm really moving!"
"Of course you are silly!" Chris laughed in response. "You're a Snow Aisha! All Snow Aishas can move!"
"No, I'm not!" She shook her head. "I'm just an Aisha made of snow. I'm not a real Neopet."
"What do you mean?"
"I've been here for years but I've never been able to move. Until now!"
"Of course! I'm always left alone when the holidays end!"
"So you don't even have a name?"
"I... no," she said. She lifted a paw to her chin and looked down in thought. "I mean, I've always been able to watch the holidays go by, but I've never been able to talk to anyone. I just woke up one day without being able to move. So I don't really have a name..."
"Then your name is Snow, because you were made of snow!" Chris said. He spread his arms wide. "It's like all the pretty stuff on the ground and in the air! Let's go, Snow!"
She blinked as he bounded off into the snow. "Go where?"
"To enjoy the Celebration, of course! You've never moved before, right? There's so much to do!"
"You mean you want to hang out with me?" she asked.
Chris ran back up to her, skidding on the snow until their noses were almost touching. He hopped up and down a few times before grabbing one of her forepaws with both of his own and pulling. "Of course! Come on, Snow! The Celebration ends in an hour, we don't have much time!"
Snow tried to object, but Chris didn't give her the chance. He dragged her along for a few awkward steps before she gave in and started chasing after him. By the time they reached the crowds, she had forgotten her previous objection and was laughing along-side him. When he stopped in front of a group of singing Neopets holding candles, she almost ran right over him. In dodging, she instead skidded sideways and right onto the frozen lake.
Her eyes widened as her feet slipped and slid around. She tried to get her footing and instead ended up running in place for a few seconds. Her legs finally gave out from under her and she thudded down onto her belly. She spun in several circles before coming to a stop only because she ran into a post being used to separate the fishing and skating areas of the lake.
"Hey, if you wanted to ice-skate you should have just said so!"
Chris zipped past her, all four of his legs tilted forward. He pushed his left legs to the side, guiding himself around in order to slide to a stop in front of Snow. She tried to get to her feet, but instead her paws slipped again and she fell back to her belly.
"You don't know how to ice skate, do you? It's easy! If you try to walk, you'll just fall down. You have to slide!" Chris hopped to the side and kicked backwards against the ice with one of his back paws. He put that paw's leg forward and slid forward, angling to the side again to spin around and come back towards Snow. "See?"
"I don't know..." Snow said.
"Come on, try it! It's fun once you get the head of it!" Chris grabbed Snow's front paws and pulled her to her feet. She began to wobble, so Chris pushed the back of her neck and she began to slide forward. Chris sat down and cupped his mouth with both of his paws. "Angle your body forward! Lean into it!"
Snow's eyes widened as she picked up speed. She tried to stop herself as her legs tried to give out from under her again. Her back legs went before her front, and she ended up crashing into a snowbank in a sitting position.
"Snow!" Chris tried to run forward, causing his own legs to give out. His head slammed into the snowbank right next to her's.
Chris put his paws down on either side of his shoulders and popped his head out of the snowbank. He heard a erratic sound from the snowbank Snow had crashed into. He quickly began digging at the snow only to expose a laughing Snow Aisha underneath.
"Snow, are you okay?"
"I-I'm perfectly f-fine!!" Snow said, having trouble getting words past her laughter. "I've n-never had th-this much fun!"
Chris started to laugh as well. "Me neither! My friends usually just tell me I'm silly!"
Snow clamped her paws over her mouth and tried to stop laughing. It only made it worse. The intensity of Chris' laughter increased as well. In a few seconds they were both on the boundary between snow and ice giggling hysterically. They were just beginning to taper off when a loud gong resounded through the area. Chris' ears perked up and he hoped to his feet. Snow, still giggling, climbed to her own feet.
"What's th-that?" Snow giggled out.
"The countdown is going to start soon!" Chris turned back to Snow. "Come on, we should join in!"
Snow stopped laughing and the thin branches that made up her ear stalks wilted. She looked down at her paws, shifting her weight from side to side. When the awkward silence she had caused continued, she pawed at the ground. When Chris put a paw on her shoulder, she looked up with tears in her eyes and stepped backwards until she was out of his reach.
"What's wrong, Snow?"
"I don't want to be alone again!" Snow lifted her head and blurted out, "It's the same thing every year! The Winter Starlight Celebration ends and I'm left alone. No one cares about a snowpet on Terror Mountain. I'll be left here all alone again!"
"No, you won't!" Snow took a quick step back as Chris ran up, putting his face directly in front of hers. He put a paw to his chest. "We're friends, aren't we? We've had a lot of fun, haven't we?"
"But you have to go home when the Celebration is over! Everyone always has to go home..."
"Then you can come home with me!" Chris said. He took a few steps back and spread his forearms wide, "There's more to Neopia than just Terror Mountain! There's Shenkuu and Meridell and Faerieland and with a little magic I can take you to places like Maraqua and Moltara! There are lots of pets to meet and places to see! And you don't ever have to be alone ever again!"
Snow reached up a paw to wipe the crystals her tears had formed from the corners of her eyes. "You'd really take me all those places? You really won't leave me alone?"
"Of course I would! And of course I wouldn't!" Chris gave a wide smile. "And my other friends won't either! We can't waste something as amazing as you coming to life! You gotta take advantage of it and explore as much of Neopia as possible!"
"I do! I want to do all of that!" Snow said, jumping up. The smile had returned to her face. "I've heard people talking about those places during the Celebration! I've always wanted to explore and play and have friends!"
"Well then, come on!" Chris said, turning around and pointing towards the still growing crowd of Neopets. "It's almost time for New Year's!"
Snow chased after Chris as he ran off. She was sure he was right. The year had come and gone, and for the first time ever, she would be going with it.