Italia sighed longingly as she looked out of the window. Rain was falling, she noticed suddenly. She wondered when it had begun.
Behind her, her sigh was echoed. “Oh, Italia,” Amberly groaned. “You’ve been looking out of that window for hours. Aren’t you tired of staring at the rain yet?”
Italia didn’t bother to answer. Hours? She thought she had only been sitting there for a few minutes. Behind her, she heard Amberly walk away.
“When you’re ready, dinner is on the table,” her owner said in what sounded like a defeated tone. Italia felt a stab of pity for her. She should go eat dinner and talk with Amberly. She should do that to make her smile. Instead, she got up and walked to the front door. The bright yellow Yurble opened it and stood peering out at the raindrops pattering down. They were so... delicate. Like droplets of spun silver. She stepped out and let the rain wash over her. She stayed until she was completely soaked and shivering, but she still did not go back inside. She only turned when she heard Amberly standing at the door.
“I came to check where that cold breeze was coming from... Oh, Italia, what have you been doing? You’ll freeze!” Her owner hurried out and, keeping her head bent low against the rain, gently pushed Italia into the house. “Come on, I need to get you dried off.”
Italia let her owner guide her. She caught sight of herself in the mirror at the end of the hallway. The silver rain hadn’t stayed in her fur. She was just wet, now. She suddenly broke from her owner’s grasp and went to her room.
“Okay, well... don’t forget to dry yourself off,” her confused owner called after her.
She didn’t dry herself. She pulled a chair over to her window and sat there, looking out. The rain had slowed, and eventually it stopped while she watched. The sun came out, bright and yellow like her. She didn’t like the sun. It was hot and fierce, and it hurt her eyes to look at it. It wasn’t at all like the cool and gentle rain. She turned away from the window and went to go find a towel.
* * *
Italia sat at the table, picking at the food that Amberly had placed in front of her.
“Eat up,” her owner encouraged with a hopeful expression on her face. “I made it myself. Stew is perfect for a cold, rainy day.”
Italia laid her spoon down next to her bowl. It was raining again? She stood and walked over to the nearest window. The rolling hills of Brightvale were deep green, soaked by the moisture. To her eyes, they had a faint silver sheen to them. She wanted to go walking on them. Would that make her silver like the rain? She headed outside.
Reluctantly, she turned. Her owner’s eyes held reproach in them, but she only said softly, “Try not to stay out too late, all right? You know that I worry when you don’t come back for hours.”
Italia nodded and went outside. She walked slowly towards the green curving expanse of a hill, letting the rain soak her. She lay down on the grass and watched the clouds form patterns. They looked like gyrating castles of grey light. She wondered what it would be like to walk among them. She had been to Faerieland, but these looked so much more beautiful. Silvery rain fell silently from them and danced on her skin. She closed her eyes, so that she could feel the rain’s beauty.
* * *
Italia woke slowly to the realization that something was wrong. She could no longer feel the rain against her fur. Had the sun come out? She opened her eyes cautiously against the potential brightness. Hovering over her, blocking the rain, was a black-swathed creature. She did not pause to ponder on this impossible fact, for in his hand he held extended towards her a beautiful, silvery paint brush. She reached out and took it slowly. With a nod, the creature vanished. She sat up and stared at the wondrous creation she held in her hand. It was beautiful, almost the color of the rain-laden clouds. She stood up, knowing where she needed to go. For a moment she hesitated. Amberly would already be worrying. Only for a moment; she knew where she needed to go. She turned away and started towards Neopia Central.
The trip took little time. She walked more quickly than she usually did, and the distance was not very large. When she arrived at the Rainbow Pool, she was the only one there. Most people preferred to paint their pets under the fierce light of the sun. There was no one to ask her what she was doing there without an owner.
She stood looking at the Pool for a time. Its multicolored surface rippled under the fall of raindrops. She entered the water slowly, letting it soak through to her skin. It was warm and lapped slowly around her body. She pressed the cold tip of the paint brush to her forehead. Slowly, she swiped it down her neck and back, then along her arms. She made sure to get every curve of her long, tightly curled ears. Finally, when she was certain that she had painted every last inch of herself, she placed the used paint brush gently on the grass. Holding her breath, she ducked down under the surface of the water and opened her eyes. It was a different world. Translucent patches of color swam through the water like strange, transparent fish. Looking up, she could see ripples on the surface of water forming from the rain. The sound was oddly amplified. At last, she looked down at herself. Bubbles formed in front of her face as she sighed with satisfaction, then stood up straight. She walked out of the Rainbow Pool, and turned slowly as she looked. Her coat reflected the color of the skies above nearly perfectly. She felt as if the silver of the rain had finally blended into her fur. Picking up the dripping paint brush, she dropped it into a nearby trash bin and started walking back towards Brightvale.
By the time she was back, the skies were pure black. She wondered if Amberly had been very worried. She hoped not. She approached the house quietly, and as she neared the doorway she could see Amberly slumped on the stoop, asleep. She approached and gently shook her owner awake.
Amberly stirred, then jerked awake. “Italia?” She gasped. She grabbed her pet in a huge hug. “Oh, I was so worried... it’s so late!” She actually looked for the first time. “Italia! What did you do? You’re... you’re Grey.”
Italia nodded. She looked at her owner as Amberly searched her face, trying to find an answer. “But, Italia... why? Were you that unhappy?”
Italia gave a small smile, and spoke gently for the first time in a very long while. “No, Amberly. But now... now I am complete.”
Squeezing her shocked owner’s hand gently, she walked inside the house. The silver glow of rain and cloud went with her.