A/N: A quick story I had the random urge to write. I never thought I'd write a betta story but here ya go c:
Fish was a "gift" - that was about all he knew.
Back and forth and back and forth he went about his little world always hitting the end before he really realized he was even moving. Some days he couldn’t convince himself to do his usual morning routine of twenty short laps, deciding to instead rest on the bottom of his world fighting off the chill that sank into his body. Glancing up at the surface of the water he watched mesmerized as the sunlight rippled across the top of the water, creating the beautiful patterns he distracted his days with. Willing himself to reach the surface he took in a gulp of chill winter air, the oxygen stinging his lungs as he sunk back to the bottom of the cube, feeling betrayed by the beautiful surface.
The ache of his body was something he had grown used to over time, a malady that was only alleviated in the rare magical times that /she/ paid attention to him. The creature that fed him was always hard to see through his little watery world but he was always happy when he saw her. She would drop in a few pellets and call him "good Fish" before she left just as quickly as she came on most days. Others she would carefully take him out of his house in a confusing change of jars until he was placed back into his home - the stinging of his gills removed for a short while. Sadly these days didn't happen often.
Sometimes he didn't see her for several passings of the sun. It was those times that he missed her the most. The walls of his home felt particularly small in those days and he wished there was some way to follow her out into the world she disappeared into… just to remind her he was there.
One day she came home with the strangest face. It was twisted up horribly with water running down her face like she had sprung a leak but he couldn't figure out why such a thing should be happening. That night she sat in front of his home for hours, mostly in silence as more water ran down her face until she slowly looked more like normal.
Then she started talking. He didn't understand most of what she said. Strange words he had never heard about places he didn't understand came pouring out of her mouth but he listened the best he could anyways. When she finished he circled the front of his cube, wiggling his curled tail to try to show her that he was listening. That he cared about whatever 'being cheated on' meant.
He was rewarded when she smiled, placing her fingers gently against the plastic that separated them. For a moment he hovered around her touch, disappointed when her smile faded into a frown. "What happened to your fin… it's all curled. You used to be so much more… red." She looked troubled for a moment before she hastily disappeared, the strange glow from the other side of the room lighting up not long after.
Saddened that his time with her was cut so short Fish sank sadly back to the bottom of the tank to wait out the time between her next visit.
Surprisingly it wasn't even the next morning when he was carefully taken out of his cube into his small jar and then back into his home once again absent of the stinging he was so used to. Not caring the reason for her quick return of attention he swam happily about his home, trying his best to show his appreciation. However she still seemed sad.
The next few days continued in the same fashion with each morning stating with a trip to the jar and a nice clean home. He almost couldn't believe his luck. One afternoon, just as the shimmers on his water were fading, she came home with a huge grin, stopping by his tank with a smile and a kiss to the plastic before running off again. Curious he tried to watch where she went but she was out of his sight. What felt like ages later she finally came back and placed him in his little jar. He was surprised however when instead of being set back down he was carried across the room to be placed in a large body of water, his jar bobbing as it was pushed about gently by some strange force. Strangely excited he swam excitedly around the jar in circles, every few laps stopping to look up at her. It was a torturous eternity before she released him into the larger water and he froze for a moment in shock.
There were plants in here, plants and sand and… a cave? He wasn't sure how he knew what these things were… but he knew them all the same. Snapping out of his stupor he swam happily about the new space, ducking under the cave and playing in the current, before going to the front to wiggle happily at her. The water was even nice and warm! For the first time since her face leaked she really smiled down at him.
"I hope you like your gift. I got it just for you." She rested her elbows down on the desk, seemingly content to watch him swim. "A nice big 5 gallon for my big boy. Right next to my bed now instead of all the way over there." She pressed her fingers against the glass again, trying to keep her face from twisting all strange. "It's been a long year, thank you for putting up with me. Things will be better from now on."
She turned off the lights and under the dim light of the moon he watched her settle down beside his tank. Feeling an emotion he didn't have the words for to describe he settled down on the sand on the closest side of the tank to her.
Fish was a "gift" - and he knew he was loved.