Losing My Twin
Everything looked different underwater, even my own paws. In contrast to the murky water, my paws were a stark blue. I loved the way my fur swayed when I paddled through the water. I could have looked at the mysterious pond murk forever if I didn't need to breathe... but I did.
With some more paddling, my head broke the surface. I felt the air against my wet fur and saw a yellow fin. Before I could even take a breath, it shoved my head back under the water. As my lungs burned, a familiar excitement spread through me. I grinned against the water and kicked to the surface.
"Lovrell!" I tried to sound as menacing as I could while sputtering water. A high-pitched giggle rang from someone on the dock. "I'm going to get you!"
"Psh, like you could catch me, Skylyn," Lovrell joked from the dock. She wiggled her Maraquan fins in emphasis. I smiled as I swam to the dock. Ever since Lovrell was painted into a Maraquan Eyrie, we came to this small Neopian pond to swim. I pulled myself on to the dock.
"I don't know, I'm pretty strong swimmer if I do say so myself," I joked, playfully elbowing my friend.
We laughed for a while and sat in the warm sun, listening to the sounds of the pond. Petpetpets hiding amongst the plants buzzed and there was a distant din of the Neopian market. When my fur was dry and the sounds grew rhythmic, I felt myself nodding off.
"I guess I better head home before I fall asleep," I told Lovrell as I stood up. Her eyes blinked open sleepily.
"Oh yeah." She yawned a little sheepishly. "I should too."
I'm a lucky neopet with an owner who cares. Even if that means she freaks out when I accidently fall asleep by a pond and come home late. My tail swished behind me as I jogged through the neighborhoods of Neopia Central. Swimming was fun, but always left me hungry. If I hurried home, I might be able to eat the last flotato before one of my siblings got to it!
I reached the modest neohome and let myself inside. The strong scent of soup filled the house and my stomach rumbled. I could hear my sister Skymur humming her favorite Mellow Marauders tune. Curled up on the couch was my twin brother, Skyker.
"Hey, Skylyn," he greeted me, looking up from the book he was reading. Being with Skyker is a lot like looking into a mirror. I smile, he smiles. Our mom calls us her little Lupe twins. Which makes sense since Skyker and I are twin blue Lupes.
"Mom's on a walk with Staryo," Skyker explained. I nodded. Staryo was our younger sister, a baby Meerca. He closed the book in front of him. Normally it's hard to get Skyker's attention away from the books. Something important must be on his mind if he doesn't want to read, I decided.
"Is something the matter?" I asked tentatively. Skyker's eyebrows furrowed for a moment, like they always did when he was thinking hard. Behind his eyes I could see him at war with himself as if he was... torn about sharing his problem with me. This had never happened before, I realized. We told each other every.
"Y-yeah, It's just..." Skyker kneaded his paws together, cautiously picking his words.
Staryo's gleeful baby-shout rang through the house as Mom opened the door. Her smile was huge.
"Skyker! It's finally here, let's go!" Mom announced ecstatically, gingerly placing Staryo down next to me. I wanted to tell Mom to wait, just so Skyker could finish talking to me, but she practically dragged Skyker out of the house before I could get a word in. I got a glimpse of a neofriend package under her arm.
"Skymur! Make sure you give Skylyn and Staryo some of the soup that's on the counter!" Mom's shout was muffled through the door. It'd been a long time since I'd seen Mom so excited. What could be going on?
"So are you going to eat?" I turned my head to see my sister Skymur in all her Ghost Xweetok glory. She raised an eyebrow at me. In the brief chaos I had forgotten I was hungry. My stomach growled and I took a step for the kitchen. Before I could take another, Staryo had wrapped her beige baby paws around my own. Her wide eyes looked up at me hopefully. I carefully picked her up and was showered in a chorus of happy gurgles and giggles.
I smiled and followed Skymur into the kitchen.
"Do you know what has Mom so worked up?" I asked Skymur as I slid Staryo into her high chair. Skymur was using a ladle to put the soup into three bowls. She waved her tail dismissively as I sat down at the table. With eerie eloquence she brought the bowls over, her red eyes shining indifferently. She put one in front of me, Staryo, and herself when she sat down.
"I'm not sure. It has something to do with the package she received from Neko's mom," she finally answered carelessly. I nearly choked on my soup.
"What?" Neko was Lovrell's sister; Lovrell who just got painted Maraquan, whose mom has more money than the Wishing Well. My stomach twisted uneasily. Was... Skyker going to be painted?
"What?" Skymur repeated with fake innocence.
"Lovrell's mom?" I asked frantically. Didn't she understand what this could mean?!
"What?" My sister's face was blank. It was so... aggravating.
"You are so annoying!" I hadn't meant to shout so loud or slam my paw on the table so hard. Staryo whimpered. I immediately felt horrible. I...I couldn't stay in the house. My chair fell backward as I stood up. I needed to talk to Lovrell. I left my soup on the table and stormed out of the house.
The humid evening air felt like it was suffocating me. I needed to know. Was I going to lose my twin? My legs pumped effortlessly, like swimming in the pond when I was playing with Lovrell. I should have asked her. Oh why, oh why didn't I ask?
Shouldn't I have made the connection? No... I didn't have any way of knowing. Without thinking, I weaved through the pairs of neopets with owners. I barely registered the concrete of the Neopian market place under my paws. My throat burned and legs began feeling heavy but I couldn't stop. I shut my eyes. I had to-
"AH! WAIT! DON'T-" That voice. It sort of sounded like-
My brains felt like someone took a whisk to them as I crashed in to some poor neopet. I stumbled backward and blearily opened my eyes. The other neopet was getting up as well. It looked like another Lupe.
"Skylyn, sweetie, are you okay?" Mom's familiar voice spoke as she brushed some dirt off my head.
"Mom...?" I couldn't think; my brains were too jumbled.
"Oh, Skyker, you're not hurt, are you?" Mom cooed as she went to pet the other Lupe. Skyker.
"No Mom, I'm fine," Skyker insisted, ruffling his fur. His voice was the same but... in front of me stood a spotted Lupe.
I lost my tw-
"Skylyn." Skyker brushed Mom's hand away and stood in front of me. I could still see my shocked expression mirrored back to me in his face. Wide, panicked eyes, a twitching nose, all topped with ruffled fur. Fur that used to be blue, but was now a russet orange tinted with brown and black.
Skyker's eyes, our eyes, were still the same color. I focused on them, watching his brain work. He had that glint in his eye, he was processing. It was the same glint he got when he had almost finished a new battledome strategy for me. Finally he opened his mouth.
"Lovrell's mom sent Mom a spotted paint brush, so... I got painted." He smiled sheepishly. "We were just there thanking them."
I stood there, gaping like a fish pop.
"And you know what? You're still my twin. I'm still me and you're still you." Skyker's eyes shone confidently with the warmth of the setting sun. "Right, sis?"
"Y-yeah." I smiled, and he smiled back. I had been silly to worry and panic, I realized.
"Plus, it's not long before you'll get painted, too," he teased.
"Well then, you two, let's head home," Mom declared and began walking home. We followed and I fell in step next to my brother, remembering that I needed to apologize to Skymur and Staryo when I got home. And that there might be a nice flotato waiting for me with my soup.
Author's Note: Thank you, wildeh_and_icers and your fantastic pets.