AN: Hullo. Wrote this several months ago, shortly after I once again re-discovered my love of Neopets. I've written several inter-connected one-shots, but chronologically this is the first one. I thought, since I'm uploading my other story, I might as well upload these too. I'll be digging through my harddrives and uploading lots of my old stuff, so keep an eye out. I don't own Neopets, but if I did, Neocash wouldn't be so prolific... And Lutari Island would become accessible! RAWR!

Music: Merlin Lost ~Piano Solo~

/AN


A Sister Gone


Wardove smiled at Julie, quickly dragging a forearm across her eyes in an attempt to remove the tears that were forming. The older Xweetok noticed her actions and moved to embrace her in a sisterly hug.

"You don't need to cry Dove." Julie muttered, patting Wardove's mane of molten fur. Wardove could only shake her head.

"I'm going to miss you." She muttered, clutching at the fabric of Julie's dress, as if the other pet would vanish if she were to let go.

"We made a deal that I would live with you guys for a year, and then I'd go back to the pound to find a permanent home." Julie reminded her. Wardove nodded, tucking her head under her adopted sister's chin. A year ago, she'd promised herself that she wouldn't cry like this again. It wasn't like Julie was the first pet they'd sheltered for a year. In fact, she was the third. Every year, their owner Annashi would go to the Pound and adopt a pet, making a deal with the pet that they could have a warm home for a year. It was better than leaving them in there forever, Dove had to admit. That still didn't make the partings any easier. Dove heard two sets of paws approaching and she twisted her head to see her other two siblings, but she didn't release Julie. Not yet.

"I don't know why you're so messed up about this." Hato muttered, crossing her arms and refusing to look at the hugging Xweetoks. Aqua Spark gave her a sharp look and elbowed the young Lutari in the side, causing her to yelp. The Christmas Kougra approached Dove, patting her warmly on the shoulder.

"Don't mind her." He muttered. Dove just nodded. Senso Hato was the youngest, and she had joined the family after Julie had been adopted. As she had only been a part of the family for a few months, Hato was still a bit prickly about 'bonding'. Finally, Julie pried Dove's arms off; gently pushing her into Spark's waiting arms. She smiled one last time and reached down; grabbing the small bag Annashi had packed for her. It held only a few items, pictures of the family and a few of Julie's favorite books. Keepsakes to soften her time back in the Pound.

"I'm really gonna miss you." Dove muttered, wincing as her voice wavered and tears began collecting in the corners of her eyes again. Julie smiled and stepped forward, carefully wiping Dove's tears away.

"You're always going to be my little sister." She said, smiling softly. She shifted her gaze to Spark. "You're always going to be my responsible older brother, even if I am older than you." Spark grinned wryly at that. "And you're always going to be the prickly little sister that likes to show off her long tongue." She commented, finally turning to grin at the scowling Lutari. Hato snorted.

"Gee, thanks."

"Come on, I know you're just trying to act the big girl. You'll miss me, even if you don't want to let everyone know it like Dove is." Wardove couldn't help but crack a small smile as Julie lunged at Hato, catching the youngest pet by surprise and wrapping her in a tight hug.

"Lemme go!" Hato yelped, squirming desperately, trying to break free of Julie's hug.

"Admit it; you're going to miss me too."

"I will not!"

"You won't admit the truth? I'm not going to let you go until you admit it!"

"No!" Dove grinned, tears forgotten as she watched the familiar sight. She knew that, even though Hato was loudly declaring that she wouldn't miss the other pet, Dove knew otherwise. The two had been every close. Seeing his younger sister smile, Spark also smiled. Finally, their owner Annashi approached, smiling at her family's antics.

"Are you ready Julie?" She asked, offering the Xweetok her hand. Julie nodded, finally releasing Hato; who darted behind Spark and stuck her tongue out. The Xweetok detoured around to give Dove another hug.

"I promise I'll write to you guys when I'm out." She muttered. Dove smiled, finally pulling away from the other pet.

"I'm never going to forget you Julie." She said with a grin. Julie grinned back and ruffled the fur atop Dove's head.

"I should hope you never forget me." She grinned. Finally, she strode over to Annashi, taking the teenager's hand and striding down the street towards the Pound.