Hijohu and Gabreilla2323
Also by catholikid110
Hijohu sighed happily against the shop window, which misted at the warmth of his breath. For an Ice Bruce he sure did have a lot of warmth inside, and a ton of love to give - which was why each and every day he would make his way to his small icy cafe, ready to serve the hungry and frost withered Neopians who braved the cold streets of Terror Mountain. He served a multitude of things - mostly made of ice of course - and utterly delicious! It was amazing what a little kitchen work and a pinch of magic could yield. And not just any magic, only the happiest of it, harnessed from pure joy.
A little jingle sounded above the door, and he turned around to see a rather gloomy looking Acara slink in miserably and slide its hunched figure onto the furthest counter stool from the window at which he sat. His tiny icy heart melted a little for her, it must be a very terrible thing to be so grey all the time. He grabbed a menu from a little stack beside him and waddled on over to greet her with a smile.
"Why hello there, friend," he said while placing the menu before her, "I do hope you've had a pleasant travel. It's Warm Borovan Wednesday, so take half off any Borovan related drink you might fancy. Also two for one on the Frozen Snowflake Pretzels. We've really been churning them out this season!"
His enthusiasm was met with a very tiny somber grin as she smoothed back her ears. "I don't want anything - really! Just to come inside for a minute. I thought coming to this mountain might bring me some happiness but -" she looked down at the menu in despair, "it seems I have yet to find anywhere that brings me happiness."
Hijo felt his eyes water just a little; he dabbed at them coyly, trying not to let her see. "Well then," he said, coming around the side of the counter to sit next to the sad Acara, "misery does love company, does it not? What's your name, anyways?"
"Gabi," she admitted with a pause. "Well, actually it's Gabreilla2323; there were many Gabreillas before me, probably after me as well."
Intrigued by his new companion, Hijo reached over the counter to pour himself a tiny cup of Iced Borovan, and then decidedly poured her a warm one of his strongest blend, just in case she changed her mind about wanting a drink. "2323 is a lot of pets," he admitted. "What happened to you all?"
Her face darkened considerably for a second before she could respond, "Back in the Sloth Days, he needed more Grundos for the mines. He sent pounded pets to the labs in masses trying to turn them. But the lab was unpredictable, and often pets were changed into something else. I was one of those pets. I was turned grey before we were rescued, and now I will never be able to be changed into anything else."
"Why, that's terrible!" Hijo exclaimed, nearly toppling off his stool in astonishment. "To have your happiness taken away like that..." He paused to take a long sip from his cup. "That is a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone."
Gabi slumped against the counter top, burying her face in her arms. "I thought I'd feel less lonely in a place like this, where it is as void as I feel inside, but I was wrong. This wasteland only reminds me of my grief."
"But it's not a wasteland!" He leaned over to put his little fin on her shoulder. "This is a beautiful place filled with so much warmth and happiness surely some of it must be able to rub off on you! And it's the Season of Giving! What about the decorative holly lights on all the little shops? We will have a New Years Celebration bigger than all the others in Neopia! If you just give it a chance I'm sure you'll see how wonderful it is."
She looked up at him in desperation. "When you've felt this way as long as I have, you begin to lose hope that it will ever be different."
"But I have hope - and faith enough for the both of us!" Hijo leaped off the stool, scuttling back around the counter. Item by item he began fetching the ingredients necessary for his newest concoction. He couldn't let his dismal friend down. She had suffered so much, and everyone deserved happiness. Gabi watched him from droopy eyes, every now and then taking a drink from her warm Borovan.
When he had nearly everything prepped, he bent over the bowl, straining his little arms to squeeze the last of the juice from the very rare Lime Negg he had been saving for an extra special reason. But if this wasn't a special occasion, he certainly didn't know what was. He needed a difficult recipe; of this he was certain. The magic he used required it.
He was tenderly attentive to each of the steps, carefully whisking together the flour and sugar, beating the batter until it was just the right consistency. When he was done with the dough, he rolled it perfectly flat - it was incredibly tedious because the soft buttery mixture wanted to separate almost instantly - but finally with a little time and elbow grease it was painstakingly flawless. He used a heart shaped cookie cutter to extract a single cookie and then rolled and braided the edges with the excess dough until it looked nothing less than perfect.
It wasn't until then that Hijo disappeared below the counter, retrieving from the many cabinets a tiny black box with a little lock on it. He quickly opened it, pulling out what appeared to be a small leather coin purse.
This piqued Gabi's curiosity at once. "What is that?" she asked.
Hijo smiled knowingly. "Magic Holiday Spices - it's very unusual and hard to come across. For years Neopians have known it to be a Battledome Item, but I find that when one has a curious sort of task to do it can be rather helpful. You see, it will grant someone a single wish each year, but only if that wish is selfless and true, and I know this is the wish I've been been saving for it."
He dipped his little fin into the folds of the satchel, removing the tiniest pinch of the dust - it looked nearly golden in the firelight of the cafe. Shutting his eyes tightly together he thought very hard to himself of all the happiness he wished that his new friend would feel, and all the glorious moments that he wished for her to come. And just when his heart was brimming with hope he blew the tiny bit of spices all over the heart shaped cookie. It made it sparkle as if crystallized.
Gabi didn't say anything, but Hijo could see the shift in her eyes, for the first time in a long time there was possibility. It took nearly an hour for the cookie to bake thoroughly and rise, until finally Hijo scooped it up with a hot pad and placed it upon a plate to cool. It was a terribly grueling wait after that. He tried to clean his workshop in the meantime just to keep his mind occupied, but his patience was dwindling, replaced by an eagerness to see if he had succeeded or not.
Finally it was time. Gabi pulled the little plate to her, letting the delicious fumes waft toward her nostrils. Immediately Hijo could see a slight rosy flush to her cheeks. Was it working? The first bite was as if in slow motion, and then a second, and a third, until the entire little pastry was devoured. Hijo poured her another cup of Hot Borovan unable to contain his fascination.
"Did it work? What do you feel?"
Gabi took a long sip of the Borovan before letting out the most twinkling laugh he ever had heard. The light in her eyes was unmistakable, the cookie had done what was intended. "I finally feel warm inside."