Hot dog, I've jumped on the bandwagon! *brick'd* Heh, okay, not quite. I've actually been planning to make a oneshot series like this for a while now, and finally managed to get it started.
Anyway, I should probably explain how this is going to work. Basically, this is a series of oneshots that involve Brynn and Hanso and usually will have something to do with some aspect of their relationship. Now, this could mean a lot of things – some oneshots will be romantic, of course, but others will focus more on just their friendship or pre-TFR-acquaintanceship. Depending on the individual story, they could also be light and funny or dramatic, deep or simple, and take place in the past, present, or even the future (seeing as Neopian time pretty much moves forward with our time). I may also take a few requests (though I won't guarantee that I'll take every request – just the ones that I am able to work with. Also, don't bother asking for anything sexual or the like, because it ain't happening.) If you have questions about anything regarding these stories (how I envision the Faerieland guard, something about a particular character, etc), feel free to ask! If I get a lot of questions, I may set up an FAQ in the author's notes section of a future chapter.
Summary: A special sort of Faerieland holiday has arrived, and Hanso isn't about to let anything get in the way of sharing it with his best friend.
Now, as for this first oneshot… Snow Day was a fun little idea that I came up with months ago and started writing with plans to have it up as a "taking place now" story this past winter. Unfortunately, a combination of writer's block in the last section and distractions with other writing projects made it… very late. On the other hand, though, I seem to recall that Faerieland pretty much appeared in the southern hemisphere on the map before it crashed, so maybe it uses southern seasons and winter would actually be coming up for the Faerielanders? This oneshot would actually be a bit early in that case. It really works either way :)
A few quick notes on the story: first off, the characters (particularly Brynn) feel like they may be a tad OOC at some points. I don't think they really are, though; like I mentioned earlier, this is meant to be a fun and slightly fluffy piece, and they're just really enjoying themselves on their "day off." Please let me know if you still think they're a bit off and, if so, how to fix it for future reference. Also, I live in Florida and don't have much experience with snow-based activities, so it's possible that some of those scenes may be kind of weird. If they are, please forgive my error and imagine that that's just how they do it in Faerieland.
"Bryyyynn… Hey, Brynn, wake up!"
Hanso gently shook his friend's shoulder as she mumbled incoherently in her sleep. After a moment, she bolted upright, causing him to jump back.
"Hanso!" Brynn hissed. "What are you doing in my room?"
Hanso put his hands up innocently. "You gave me a key to your house, remember?"
Brynn groaned as she slipped out of bed and began to rub the sleep out of her eyes. "You know that's only for emergencies – not so you can just waltz into my house whenever you feel like it! What are the neighbours going to think?"
Hanso snorted and leaned back against the wall. "Brynn, it isn't even seven in the morning yet. I doubt anybody even saw me come by."
Brynn sighed. "Fine. You still haven't told me what you're doing here, though," she remarked. Rubbing her arms, she added, "It's really cold this morning, isn't it? We should –"
Brynn paused – that wasn't right. Faerieland rested more or less in the middle of a tropical rainforest these days; it practically straddled the equator. There shouldn't be any cold mornings here! Startled, the Kougra turned her attention back to Hanso. He was grinning now, and for the first time she noticed that he was dressed much more warmly than usual. There could be only one explanation for all of this, and when she darted to her bedroom window and threw open the curtains, her suspicions were confirmed.
One of Faerieland's more unique traditions has carried over rather nicely from the days when the country was situated on a cloud, too high in the sky to receive any real precipitation. On one randomly and secretly chosen day of each winter season, a team of air and water faeries gathers very early in the morning and begins a massive project in temporarily altering the area's weather. Their goal itself is simple: To generate the conditions necessary for a good, hearty snowfall that will leave Faerieland blanketed for the entire day, while keeping the air just cold and crisp enough to sustain the snow.
The end result of this endeavour left Brynn in awe. Those faeries had really perfected their technique over the years, and the city held a picturesque winter beauty that rivalled that of Happy Valley. Already, a number of children and adults alike had begun to wander out into the snow, rejoicing in both the once-per-year opportunities it offered and the holiday from classes and most jobs that would soon be declared in honour of the tradition.
Hanso sidled up to his friend and joined her in staring out the window. After a few moments, he turned to her with a wink and said, "I'll head out and let you change. Meet ya outside in a minute!"
0 * 0 * 0
Not long after, a much more warmly-dressed Brynn joined Hanso outside. She took a deep breath of the crisp winter air as the two began walking toward the heart of the city.
"I hope the Faerieland armour holds in heat well," she remarked offhandedly. "This weather is really nice for a snowy day, but it's still going to be cold."
Hanso pouted. "You still have to go in for work? What about the holiday?"
Brynn shook her head and gave him a sad smile. "Hanso, you know the guard can't just close down for the day. Criminals don't exactly take days off to follow traditions, and we have to keep the kingdom safe."
Hanso sighed dejectedly, and then assumed a thoughtful expression. "Well," he said, "It's too bad nobody tracked down Aethia this morning and casually reminded her that you missed last year's Snow Day because you were busy taking care of dangerous artefacts in the Lost Desert, and that you'd probably enjoy getting a day off for this one since it'll be your first. I bet she would have really taken to the idea…"
Brynn halted and stared at him, her eyes wide. "You didn't!"
Hanso laughed and put his hands up. "Hey, she thought it was a great idea! Besides, the Battle Faerie used to handle the guard on her own all the time – heck, she still does whenever we have to go hunting for artefacts. She'll manage without her captain for one day. Now come on, I think I saw a huge snowball fight going on back there!"
The Ixi turned and began to sprint off excitedly, leaving a still-dazed Brynn looking on in disbelief. Slowly, a broad smile stretched across her face, and she finally laughed and broke off running after him.
0 * 0 * 0
The next few hours passed by quickly. After Brynn managed to slow Hanso down enough to remind him that they still had to grab breakfast, the two easily located and joined in on the snowball fight that he had seen earlier. It was as massive as he had remembered, and even included a few of the younger guards lucky enough to have the day off and (though he would never reveal it) one of Hanso's old friends from the Thieves Guild. The Ixi and Kougra were almost immediately placed on opposing teams, and soon found themselves head to head, laughing and issuing challenges to one another as they pelted each other with snow.
It was a bit of an odd feeling, Brynn considered as she twisted out of an oncoming snowball's path only to be nailed in the back by one of Hanso's sneakier attacks. The two had been working so closely together for over a year now, and yet being on opposite sides again felt somewhat… natural.
Still, she thought with a light smirk as she slunk around the playing field in an attempt to edge closer to her target, this is so much better than chasing him around Brightvale all the time and having to be enemies. This is a game; something friends do.
Something best friends do.
Hanso seemed to catch on to what she was trying at that moment, because he suddenly started backing away, and then turned to make a run for it. Brynn's smirk broadened. Scooping up a haphazard handful of snow, she darted after him. Here was that familiarity again, the old game of Kadoatie and Miamouse – and this was a game that she always seemed to beat him in. She caught up to him quickly and, having failed to properly compact the snow in her hands in that time, she instead grabbed the back of his collar and unceremoniously stuffed the snow down his jacket. Hanso actually yelped at that, causing Brynn to collapse helplessly into a fit of laughter.
"Oh, think that's funny do you?" Hanso cried, suddenly wearing a smirk of his own as he flung a messy handful of snow back at the Kougra.
By this point, the two were beginning to feel more like silly little kids than the mature, responsible (well, maybe that part mostly just applied to Brynn) adults that they had become. But right then and there, it didn't really matter.
They were making up for lost time, after all.
0 * 0 * 0
As the sun began to edge towards the horizon and the snowball war gradually broke apart, Hanso and Brynn found themselves wandering through the rare treat that was wintery Faerieland. All around them, giggling children were hard at work building snow pets or else on their backs, carving out snow angels. Hanso nudged his friend and pointed out a completed set of snow pets – a Kougra and an Ixi set together, carefully decorated in just such a way that they looked awfully familiar. The two shared a good laugh at that.
Out past the main city, a number of stands selling borovan and other warm treats had been set up. All of the lakes and rivers were frozen over, with the exception of the Healing Springs (which, like the Faerieland guard, couldn't be closed down for the day). Even so, there seemed to be an even larger crowd than usual at the Rainbow Fountain.
Brynn and Hanso came up to the fountain to discover that an ice rink had been set up at the frozen pool, with Naia joyfully overseeing the skating Faerielanders. Hanso couldn't help but wonder if she was simply relieved to have a day off from turning away pets who hadn't completed one of her quests.
Brynn gasped. "Oh, I love ice skating! We've got to try this!"
Hanso hung back. "Uhh… I'm not sure about that…" he answered hesitantly.
Brynn turned to him. "How come?
"Well… I've never exactly skated before." With a sheepish smile he added, "You don't really get much of a chance to when you've grown up a thief."
Brynn chuckled lightly and took his hand. "I'll just have to teach you, then," she replied as she led him through the crowd to the frozen pool.
The two pets entered the rink a few minutes later, Brynn gliding smoothly over the ice on her newly-rented skates while Hanso wobbled a little and immediately clung to the wall. The Kougra had to suppress a smirk as she tried to coax her friend out onto the ice.
"Come on, Hanso, you're hardly even tried!"
"Can't I just go along the wall like those guys are doing?" Hanso pleaded, gesturing toward a group of small children scooting around the rink. Brynn gave him a flat look.
"But I like the wall! The wall is my friend!" he went on, awkwardly patting its side. "It won't let me down. Literally!"
Brynn raised an eyebrow. "And you think I would?"
In the end, Hanso finally agreed to trade his precious wall for Brynn's arm. She kept to a slow and steady pace as they circled the rink, and he eventually stopped wobbling quite so much and began to imitate her rhythm.
The evening wore on, and before Hanso knew it, he was looking up at a starry sky. He grinned and nudged Brynn's shoulder with his own.
"Hmm?" She followed his gaze up toward the twinkling lights and smiled.
"Short day, huh? It was worth it, though," Hanso chuckled. Brynn nodded and put her hand over where his was gripping her arm to give it a gentle squeeze.
"Thanks for giving me a chance to share it with you," she said.
"No problem," he replied, still grinning. "It was a lot better this way."
Brynn grinned back, and then began to pick up speed. Hanso let out a slight yelp before adjusting his pace to match hers, and they laughed as the enchanted snowfall sparkled around them and the stars in the Faerieland sky shone overhead.
So... I guess that's it for now! I hope you enjoyed it ^_^ I'll have to warn you all, I'm working on a series for the Neopian Times right now and it will probably take a while, so it'll most likely be a little while before I get the next oneshot for this series ready. Until next time!