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A Place to Call Home

Chapter Text

The wind blew, rustling trees and howling faintly now and then. Rain poured down from the sky, soaking everything in its wet chill. The dark clouds above made the already dim evening even dimmer. All those with any common sense had long since gone inside, safe from the unpleasant weather.

All, save for one.

A small girl wandered the streets of a small town. Rain had successfully soaked her to the bone, and what portions of her long hair weren't plastered to her body by moisture were being waved about limply by gusts of wind. Lifting her skirt to keep it from trailing into the many puddles about the ground had become pointless, and she would have stopped bothering with it by now if it weren't for the risk of stepping on it and faceplanting into the water again.

She didn't mind though. She'd been caught out in storms like this countless times. The sensation of water running over her skin and gemstone and of wind playing with her hair was familiar. The sounds of her feet submerging themselves in puddles of water and mud and the rumble of thunder near and far was familiar. The scent of wet grass, wet earth, wet everything was familiar.

The girl brushed wet locks of hair from her face, then flinched at a particularly close crack of thunder. Okay, so she did mind it a little. Familiarity didn't always mean comfort after all, and times like this weren't exactly the most comfortable. It wasn't like there was much she could do though. There were no caves nearby, no abandoned structures, and trees didn't make for very good shelter. Trying to get shelter with a human was probably out of the question too, since the last few times she'd tried to socialise with humans, they'd mistaken her for some hostile something or another, and had either fled in a panic or drove her away with weapons and insults. While the weapons couldn't do much to her, they still hurt a lot, just like the insults hurt a lot. It was better to avoid coming into contact with humans if possible.

...That certainly wouldn't stop her from getting as close as she could get though. Or from observing them from a safe distance.

Humans were just so fascinating. And they made such lovely music too. And they had interesting dances as well! As much as she wanted to avoid those angry and threatening ones, there was just too much she was curious about to stay away for long. There was just so much she wanted to see and do an-

Without warning--not that there was really ever any--her foot caught on something, and the girl fell face first into the wet ground. A soft groan of annoyance escaped her throat, and she took a minute to spit and blow the muddy water from her nose. "Rrr, I even had my skirt up this time!" she complained, though had any bystander been around to hear, they probably wouldn't have heard it through the storm. With a sigh, she picked herself up and began walking once more, adopting a slower pace in the hopes that history wouldn't repeat yet again.

Looking down at herself, she couldn't help but frown at her blue dress, now coated in brown. One of the worst parts of weather like this was getting covered in mud and dirt. She much prefered warm days with clear skies, when she could fly and soar through the air to her heart's content. It was so great, the wind flowing through her hair, forests and oceans and settlements rolling by below her...

Oh, right, humans. Humans had some really lovely music. They had songs for just about any occasion, and with just about any feel. Cheerful ones, sad ones, silly ones, the list went on. After listening to so many, the girl had even come up with a few of her own. She'd never really had an audience to sing them for, but she was sure they were good.

As she walked through the rainy streets, she took a moment to examine her surroundings. All around were simple structures made of wood and stone and other materials; human homes, places of business, and so on. The only sources of light in the dim evening were the occasional glows from inside windows, or the flashes of lightning that illuminated everything in sight. There didn't seem to be anyone around at the moment. Chances were that all the humans were indoors, passing the time however they did. After another look around, she realised that if she wanted to sing, now actually wouldn't be a bad time. It'd help pass the time, and it could help her take her mind off the small feeling of lonelyness she'd been feeling for a while too.

After a moment, she decided she might as well, and after another she decided on a song to sing. It was an old favorite of hers that she'd heard a while back, a song with a slow, steady, peaceful melody. Clearing her throat, the girl began to sing into the evening rain.

At first, her voice remained soft, and was covered up by the noise of water rushing to the ground and wind rushing through the air. Gradually though, her singing picked up energy and volume, and the empty streets she walked were filled with the gentle voice of a gentle girl. It wasn't much later that her imagination took over, and she began to skip and even dance a little, imagining herself performing for some unseen audience as she splashed through the stormy town. The tempo of her song was definitely a little bit faster than it should have been, and she thought she might have messed up a note or two, but she didn't care.

Eventually, her carefree moment came to an abrupt and unfortunate end. The girl had been so distracted by her performance that she hadn't noticed a patch of uneven ground until it was too late. Her foot caught the spot at just the right angle to throw off a twirl she'd been doing, sending her falling to the wet earth with an elligant and dignified cry of "Wahh!".

Once again, she found herself on the ground, letting out a quiet groan before picking herself up. She could feel a slight blush coloring her face after that little slip. Maybe she'd gotten just a bit carried away. On the bright side, at least nobody had see-

"Hey there!"

She stiffened as someone called out from nearby. A quick glance around revealed one of the surrounding buildings' doors was open, and standing in the doorway was a woman, illuminated by a light from inside what was likely her home. "What're ya doin' out in that downpour. Get in here!" she continued in a tone the girl quickly realised was shock.

The girl looked around herself, trying to see if there was maybe someone else this woman was talking to. When her search yielded nothing, she looked back to the stranger and prepared to speak. "Do... you mean me?"

"I don't see anyone else, do you?" she replied before stepping aside, beckoning the small girl inside. "Now get in here, before ya get sick."

"Blue Lace Agate, huh? Ain't that an interestin' name."

Blue Lace Agate sat on an old but rather comfortable couch, wrapped snugly in a blanket, pale blue skin illuminated by the light of the fireplace. "I suppose." she answered with a gentle shrug. "I've never thought much of it, really. It's just who I am. Probably because of my gemstone too." She lightly tapped the blue and white gem on her shoulder as if to emphasize her statement.

"That so? What's with that thing anyway?" the woman inquired from her position in a chair across the room, eyeing the stone with curiosity.

"It's... well, it's me. Everything I am, everything I can do, that's this gemstone. It's not just a part of me--it is me." she explained. "I don't even need to eat or sleep like humans do, my gem gives me all the energy I need."

The woman had a bewildered expression on her face at the explanation, and it took her a moment to respond. "...That ain't like anythin' else I've ever heard. Sounds like the stuff of the deepest dreams, I tell ya." She proceeded to let out a soft chuckle. "Can't say I got any reason not to believe ya though. It ain't every day a girl anythin' like yourself comes to town. Well, if Blue Lace Agate's who ya are, then my name's Emma. Pleasure to meet ya." the woman--Emma--introduced with a friendly smile.

Emma was a kind old woman, with brown eyes like Blue's, and gray hair that held just a hint of its own former brown, though it wasn't as long as the girl's ponytail. She was rather thin, and taller than the small girl as well. After inviting Blue in from the storm that was still pouring outside, Emma had urged her into the bathroom, where she could wash the mud from herself and get dried off. Once that'd been done, the small girl had been offered a warm blanket and a spot on Emma's couch, where she currently sat. At first, the old woman had worried over Blue's pale blue coloration, but she'd finally begun to relax once the gem had managed to convince her it was, in fact, natural for her.

"It's nice to meet you too." Blue responded with her own smile. "Thank you again for inviting me in. Your home is very lovely." And it really was. A well-crafted rug had been placed in the center of the room, an old clock rested against one wall, and there had been a picture hung here and there. There was also a fireplace in one wall, which currently burned and crackled, filling the space with pleasant warmth and light. It was a simple place, but still lovely.

"Eh~" The old woman shrugged. "It ain't anythin' special. I do what I can to keep it lookin' nice though. Good to know someone likes it." She paused for a moment, lifting a cup that'd been resting on a table close by and taking a sip before continuing. "So, any particular reason you were just wanderin' out there in that storm?"

"Not... really." she admitted a bit sheepishly, brushing a stray strand of her white hair from her face. "I don't usually have any place to stay or go. Usually I just find a place that feels comfortable enough and stay there for a while before moving on." Her eyes wandered over her current surroundings for a moment. "And I can't remember the last time I've stayed somewhere this comfortable."

"Ahh, I see. Well, ya better get used to it." Emma's statement earned a confused glance from the girl across from her. "What? Ya didn't think I'd just toss ya back out there without a care in the world, did ya? I couldn't do that to a sweet girl like you. That'd just be wrong. Everyone deserves some kinda home, that's always been my opinion."

"Even me?" The question slipped out before she could stop it, but she didn't have time to react before Emma had.

"Of course!" she answered without a hint of hesitation. "Doesn't matter who or what ya are. Old or young, man or woman," She paused for a second. "Human or magical rock girl. Everyone should have a nice home to come home to."

Blue Lace Agate wore a wide-eyed expression of surprise. "You- You mean, this would be my home? I could stay here as long as I want?" She'd never gotten an opportunity like this before in all the centuries she'd been alive, so it was difficult for her to hide her excitement. No more roaming aimlessly! No more being stuck out in storms! And she'd have someone to stay with too, so she wouldn't be by herself anymore!

"Sure, as long as you're willin' to lend a hand." Emma replied with a nod. "I'm gettin' old, I'm gonna need help takin' care of this place. As long as ya help out with that, ya can stay as long as ya like."

The small gem excitedly clapped her hands together, a broad grin making itself at home on her face. "Yes! Of course! I'd be glad to help out, especially if it means I can stay here!"

"It's settled then." Emma said, beaming at the joyful girl. "Welcome home, Blue."