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Reina

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Malia couldn't help returning a smile to Jexel as he teased her but she was glad the two could at least have a moment such as that one. It was odd still for Malia, to be spending time with a half-breed but being with Jexel only proved what she always knew. Half-breeds were not as bad as humans made them out to be, perhaps there was a chance they could coexist in some future. It wasn't likely but Malia could always hope. She watched as Jexel took a seat in front of her. He was handsome in his own right. He looked like her and at the same time didn't. His paws were really what made him inhuman. He could honestly pass for a man if they weren't so prominent.

His invitation to stay caught Malia off guard but she smirked at him. "Mrs. Jones, our housekeeper, cooks phenomenally. I can eat her food any day, so joining you for her leftovers would be great." Malia opened the container and split the food so the two could eat. She placed her food on the lid and handed the bowl to Jexel. "It tastes much better warm but it'll do for now." She couldn't believe she was sharing a meal with a half-breed. If her father could see her now...he would have a heart attack!

"So what do you do out here all day? And why are you alone? Don't half-breeds have their own community? Why don't you live there?" she asked as she took a few bites of the food she brought. Delicious, even cold.
 

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Jexel smiled as he was handed the food. A layer deeper he was in a state of panic, hoping that she would turn him down and leave. Even deeper than that, the half-breed began to acknowledge a feeling of kinship with the human...perhaps something more. Jexel had to work very hard to keep such a feeling as far into his being as possible while he ate, his eyes widening in surprise of the new tastes. "Whoa, what is this? Ish wreary *ulp* good!" The lynxling fought between taking bites of the food and asking his question. Eventually he realized what he was doing and withheld taking another bite as he answered Malia's inquiries. "Um, I just try to survive, I guess. I don't have any family or friends around, so I don't bother living with anyone. Sure, we have our own community, but our news is just needless poison. It's made all domesticated half-breeds suspicious of everyone, even themselves. I was born in the wild, so I think I decided to stay out here, away from all the stupid decisions made inside the borders."

He had given up. Avoiding conversations with this human felt like taking a first kill from a cub. Besides, Jexel was lonely. Being out in the wilderness hadn't done him any favors socially, so he decided to indulge himself in pleasant conversation, despite the person he was speaking to. "What about you? Apparently humans have a few...'unique' rituals of their own inside those borders. What do you do all day? Do you have a family? Friends? ...are you rich? I-I'm not gonna take advantage or nuthin' like that, I'm just curious. Not that I could- that is to say- I-I'm not a charity case!" Jexel's face began turning a very slight pink. To prevent himself from continuing his streak of stupid speak, he took another large bite of the food before him. This was a very harsh mistake on the half-breed's part, as he began coughing viciously in response to biting off more than he could chew. Eventually he got it all down and fell on his back with a heavy and unimpressed sigh, closing his eyes in the hopes that it was all just a dream...
 

Reina

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Malia laughed as Jexel enjoyed Mrs. Jones' left overs. The woman was a master in her craft. It was why she had spent so many years at the Mayor's home. Malia enjoyed the meal along with Jexel, even if the food wasn't reheated, it was still good. She listened as he began to answer her questions and was suddenly saddened by his admission. No family? No friends? No community? To Malia it seemed to be a sad existence, one no one should endure. To be alone, all the time...Yet the thought resonated within herself. Sure she had community, family and friends but she felt alone most of the time. No one truly understood her and she constantly had to pretend to be someone she was not. Perhaps the half-breed was better off than she was.

Then it was her turn but again Malia couldn't help but laugh as Jexel continued on and on before almost choking on his food. He was silly and she liked that about him. "You alright there?" She smiled at him before continuing to answer his questions. "I live with my dad in the human community. My mom passed away a long time ago. He works all day so I spend my time either in school or with my friends. We hang out, shop, watch movies, stuff like that. I guess you can say I'm rich..." The Mayor of the human community's daughter actually but I won't mention that part.

"...but sometimes its more of a burden than a blessing. More is expected of me because of it and I hate it on most days. I have lots of friends but most don't understand me or think I'm crazy for my ideas." What would they think if they knew I was hanging out with a half-breed? "I don't agree with a lot of the stuff they play on tv, especially about the half-breed community...and meeting you...further confirms....I might be right." Malia finished her meal and gathered the bowls, putting them back into her backpack. "And I don't think you're a charity case. Just thought you could use a few things to make life a little easier out here since apparently you don't have a community."

She gave him a soft smile and walked over to where he lay. She stood beside him, looking down at him with the same smile. "So you gonna take a nap now? I was hoping we could do something. What do you do around here for fun?"
 

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"Sounds...empty." Jexel said after pondering Malia's answer, not bothering to lift himself back up to meet her eyes. "Sorry, that was a bit harsh. It does sound like a rough life for someone with so much. I could never live like that." Jexel shifted his gaze to the human as she walked to his side, smiling down on him. "F-fun? I...I don't really know. Honestly, naps are about the only fun I have around here. Everything else is hunting, fishing, building...you get it. I mean, I like to run I guess, but there isn't too much to do out here other than that." His eyebrows narrowed as Malia continued to smile. "You aren't gonna start petting me, are ya? Because you look like you are, and I don't recommend it." Jexel grinned in mock menace as he picked himself up and stood next to the human, stretching his arms behind his back with a resounding and satisfying pop. "Ahhhh.... What about you? Are you hiding something that we can do for fun around here? ...Not like you didn't bring enough for me already." The half-breed chuckled, scratching the back of his head as he continued to wonder what could possibly be done in the forest for fun.
 

Reina

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Jexel was truly anomaly but one Malia welcomed. He seemed just like any regular guy, he just had certain features that made him appear different. Otherwise, Jexel and the other half-breeds were just like their human counter parts. Malia matched Jexel's grin and stood before him, arms crossed over her chest as she watched him. "I can see what else I have in my back pack." She walked over to her back, bending over to rummage through its contents. "I have......my iPod and...my iPad but I don't know how good that will do with no wifi out here in the woods. I guess we can play with some of the games though."

Malia pulled the electronics from her bag and showed them to Jexel. "Do you even know what these are?" Not many of the half-breeds could afford the luxury of certain electronics and judging by Jexel's decision to isolate himself from his own community, Malia assumed he had no familiarity with the objects she held. "This one," she said as she showed off the ipod, "is to listen to all types of music. You load up whatever songs you want and you can listen to any record you wish. Its much handier than having to deal with various records and Cds. It's all in one convenient place." She handed the small object to Jexel, gesturing for him to listening through her large headphones. They were big enough that he could comfortably place them over his prominent ears. "And this is an ipad. It's like a mini, flat computer. It can do just about whatever I want but its obsolete out here. No connection I could use."

For a moment she felt like some prissy princess with her toys. Here was Jexel, out in the woods making ends meet with whatever he could hunt and build while Malia showed off the luxuries her father purchased for her. "I use these for fun when there isn't much else to do. Although if my back wasn't still killing me...I'd challenge you to a race," she said with a wink.
 

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"I...Pod? iPad? Not a clue." Jexel shrugged his shoulders as she pulled out the strange objects. As she handed him the iPod and headphones, the half-breed smirked and decided to entertain Malia. "Alright, alright...music, huh?" He muttered, fiddling with the small device in his paws and putting on the oversized headphones with care. He immediately removed them, his face contorting in a violent cringe. Rather than say anything, Jexel observed the device in his hands with even more scrutiny, eventually figuring out how to work the volume. With awkwardly tender care he turned the sound down and placed the headphones on once more, smiling as the music lilted into his ears at a volume he could handle. As Malia brought the iPad up, Jexel removed headphones once more and paid close attention to her description, his eyes glowing with undivided interest. "Wow...a computer, huh? We don't use them very often in the community. Humans are a bit finicky with who gets what of their technology...eh, no offense."

At the mention of a race, Jexel's muscles tightened, an obvious tell of how eager he was to move. "Heh, I don't know if you'd want to try me in a footrace. I may not be as fast as my kin, but I could beat a human any day, on two paws at that! Let's call it a natural advantage." He grinned, a more competitive side of himself beginning to show. His grin slowly faded though as he continued thinking. "It's a shame your back is shot... Hm..." Jexel thought long and hard about what he wanted to do. Being presented with company left him unsure and limited in his options. As appealing as the new technology was to the lynxling, there was something...off about it. "...I got it!" Jexel suddenly exclaimed, a whimsical smile growing on his face as he took Malia by her hands. After putting the tech down safely on her backpack, the half-breed wrapped the human's arms around his neck, calling out a brief "Hold on tight!" before scaling a nearby tree, stopping briefly on branches to make sure Malia kept her grip and balance.

It wasn't long before he reached the highest point of the tree, finding a nest of branches sturdy enough for both of them to rest on. Jexel's idea didn't stop there though, as he assisted Malia's head above the autumn-colored canopy of leaves to look over the world. To the left lay the communities, spaced apart but both visible, and to the right towered a scenic view of the entire forest, burning in the colors of fall. Far off in the distance stood a mountain, its snowcapped peak mingling with the clouds like a bridge to the sky. Jexel's heavy breaths weren't enough to diminish his enthusiasm for the view, evident by the giant, open-mouthed smile that grew on his face. His fangs glistened in the midday sun, and his eyes were practically on fire, their amber hue refracting light like pools of deep gold. Turning to Malia, still struggling to draw breath, Jexel could barely utter his question. "Wh...Whe...Well?" He stammered, sucking in air at every opportunity presenting itself half because of the climb, and half because of the pure excitement he exuded.
 

Reina

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Malia enjoyed Jexel's playful tone, she found his challenge fun. "Well I'll have you know that I run track in the human community. I've won races. I've got the medals hanging on the mantle to prove it. I think I can definitely give you a run for your money," she said with a sly smirk. She probably couldn't. He did have a natural advantage over her but she would definitely do her best. Suddenly Jexel became very excited and grabbed Malia by her hands. She was still a little apprehensive about being grabbed by a half-breed but she allowed him to touch her. "What? What are you doing?" she asked, unsure what idea the lynxling had thought of.

Before Malia was entirely sure what was happening, Jexel had maneuvered her onto his back and began scaling a tree. She tightened her grip around his neck, fearful of what he was going to do. Was her trust misguided? He seemed excited. She shouldn't jump to negative conclusions so quickly. Jexel took them to the highest point of the tree. Malia looked down and was suddenly afraid. She had never been so high before. He helped her look out over the trees and Malia's mouth dropped open. The scene before her was spectacular. From this height she could see both communities clearly and the beautiful area that surrounded it. "Jexel...this is amazing!" she said, enthused with the sight before her. She turned to face him with a bright smile that matched his own. "We should come up here all the time. This is the perfect place to hang and not be seen but to see everything! Wow..." She couldn't believe what she was seeing. It was like something out of the Discovery Channel. Of course Jexel would have no idea what she was talking about but it didn't matter, with him she could see such things first hand.

Malia leaned against the bark of the tree, using it as support to rest against. "Thanks Jexel. This is pretty cool." Her eyes gravitated back to the ground and she quickly shot them back up. "We're really high up huh....Don't let me fall this time, k?" She gave him another wink and smiled.
 

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The lynxling smiled at Malia's reaction. "I'm glad you like it." He responded, his breath finally returning. "I'd like to think it's the best view around, but there's probably a taller tree further in the forest...but if you like this, you should see the sunset! It's incredible..." At the human's comment, Jexel looked down as well, returning his gaze to hers with a grin. "Let's not bring that up again. Just let me know when you're ready to head off, and I'll get you down all safe-like...I promise." Jexel spoke as he relaxed on the other end of the branch, dangling off of it without much of a care. "Say," He spoke again out of the blue, "...what makes you different from all the other humans? Anytime I see 'em, they're usually ranting about how half-breeds are the spawns of satan...whatever that is, or getting scared of every little thing outside the border. And then there's you, little miss makes-friends-from-falling-outta-trees enjoying a good view with a half-breed. Why the lack of hate, hmm?"
 

Reina

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"Then I guess we're staying here until sunset," she said rather matter of factly. If the sight before her was amazing and the sunset was even better, then she didn't want to miss the sunset. It wasn't as if she had anything better to do anyway. Her father wouldn't be home until after sunset anyway and it wasn't as if Malia wasn't an adult and could go and come as she pleased...well as long as she was within the human borders that was. He wouldn't suspect her however. She had never given her father a reason to. "You can help bring me down after that."

Sliding down the bark, she took a seat on the branch, chuckling as she watched Jexel hang from the tree as if they were very high up in the trees. She sighed at his sudden question, thinking of what would be the proper way to respond to him. "I don't know. I guess...I just always thought something was up with all the news reports on the tv. It just seemed like the footage had been altered or clipped at certain points to show a specific position. I always felt like there was more to the story. Plus I've never been the one to conform to the social norm," she said with a bit of a giggle at the end. "My father always said I'm the most rebellious member of the human community. If he knew what I did when he was at work....he'd kill me!"

"Not literally of course but I wouldn't want to find out the answer to the that question anyway. I'd rather no one ever knew. They don't understand. They just believe everything they are told as if it were fact. I don't know...I just always thought there was more to it and apparently I was right. You could've killed me that day, let me die falling from the tree but you saved me. Now we're hanging out together as if we weren't supposed to be mortal enemies. What about you Jexel? You're a rarity yourself. You don't live in your own community and now you have a human friend. What's up with that?" she asked with a smile.
 

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Jexel was taken aback at how free Malia was with her time, but he didn't let it show, simply listening to her explain what made her so different. "A rebel, huh?" The lynxling grinned, pulling himself to a proper sitting position to see the human better. "We hunt and kill rebels in the half-breed community, ya know. Those cowards inside the walls figure that any weak links could give humans a chance to attack them easier. Sympathizers are generally rooted out and chased as far away as possible, if not executed outright. That's actually what lead me to this community in the first place. My...uh, maybe I shouldn't say." Jexel scratched his head apologetically, changing his tune when she turned his question back at him.

"I suppose I felt pity for humans more than anything...at least at first. It's only been a few years since I first saw a human, so I didn't expect much of them. Then, one night while I was still in the community, a bunch of thugs found a way past the border and shot a few half-breeds. I helped catch them, and we handed them back to the humans without a fuss. Never heard anything about it since, but since then the half-breed community has been forced to be extra cautious. Humans keep trying to do stupid stuff over there... I guess I just got tired of it. If I'm being honest, I'd say the only reason we're here right now is because I don't like seeing people die." Jexel huffed, popping his shoulder with an exasperated sigh before continuing. "Ouf... I'm still skeptical of you, just so you know. I'm not one to trust others easily. The fact I'm living away from my own kind should be case and point. Even so...I suppose we can be friends. It'd suck more for you if I didn't agree." He grinned slyly, taking a glance down the tree to the ground below.
 

Reina

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Malia's eyes followed Jexel's as he glanced down the tree to the ground below, "Yes...that would really suck for me wouldn't it?" She returned his sly smile with one of her own. "I'm skeptical of you too you know. Who grabs a girl and just whisks her up and into a tree anyway? And shirtless for that matter." She crossed her arms in front of herself and looked the half-breed straight in the eyes. "Don't get any ideas, k?" Malia was just being playful. She had never met anyone like Jexel before and it was fun to just mess with him. She laughed as soon as she said the words, "I'm just playing around. Friends is good by me."

The remainder of the evening was spent in the tree. The two spoke and learned a little more about each other and the various communities. They were curious of each other and the lives they lived. They were two completely unexpected friends and something that should enter some history books. A half breed and a human getting along and enjoying each other's company with no other motive but friendship, it was unheard of. As the sun began to set, Malia looked over the canopy of trees, wide smile on her lips as she watched the change of colors in the sky. It was like a masterful portrait being painted right in front of her. The shades of yellow, orange and red, and the way the light shun over the two communities. It was literally just a batch of trees that separated them yet it felt bigger than any concrete wall she had ever read about.

When it was dark and the sun had finally made its descent, Malia turned to Jexel, "I better get home now. Mind helping a poor defenseless human girl get down off this tree and back to her community border?"
 

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Being called out for being shirtless brought an intense red hue of embarrassment to Jexel's face, as he hadn't realized it until Malia pointed it out. "S-Say now, that's just coincidence! You caught me off guard, ya know! Coming to my home and shouting for me 'n all...besides, we wanted something to do, and I had an idea. I don't like waiting around that much." He rubbed a paw over his bare shoulder, becoming a lot more enclosed in the attempt to cover himself. Malia's confirmation of her playfulness brought a smile to the lynxling's face, but it didn't help how shy he had become in front of the human girl. It was this way that they spent the rest of the day, conversing, relaxing, and living out a fantasy condemned by the world. As the sun set, the divide between sky and trees was blurred. The sun's rays seemed to burst into flame on the trees in intense and passionate reds and golds. The further the sun sank, the more vibrant and unique the colors became, purple and crimson unveiling themselves amongst the canopy to accent the night sky. Eventually the blazing colors of the world were muted by the night sky, and the moment was gone. Jexel looked at Malia in a new light that day. Despite all he had told her, the half-breed felt a bond forge between the two in trust and understanding.

"Y-Yeah, I gotcha." He responded to the human's request, still self-concious about his bare skin and fur. All the more gingerly, Jexel brought her hands around his neck so she could hang on his back, fighting the physical sensitivity that his shyness inflicted on him. "Just hold on. I'm going to sprint to the border." He said with a nervous smile before beginning the descent. Despite the care Jexel took to get down, the ride was still jostling to anyone unused to the sudden starts and stops on each branch on the way down. The lynxling didn't take anytime to relax once they were both on solid ground though. Jexel picked up Malia's backpack and handed it to her with what seemed to be one continuous motion before he began his sprint, the human girl still attached to him. Trees rushed by at a rapid pace as the half-breed made his way to the human border, stopping just short of an unsafe range. "Sorry if I got a bit carried away there..." He said as he helped Malia stabilize herself. "I don't like to stop moving very often. But, at least you made it safely!" Jexel grinned successfully, placing his paws on his hips only to feel the breeze cross his bare chest. With a shiver and a blush, the lynxling quickly crossed his arms across his middle, refusing to make eye-contact with Malia due to the embarrassing circumstances. "S-So, I'll... I'll see you around, I guess?"
 

Reina

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Malia wrapped her arms around Jexel's neck and held on tightly. Her skin pressed against his bare back and the sensation sent odd feelings through her that she couldn't place. She didn't understand it but it was short lived as Jexel took off. It took everything Malia had to hold on tightly to Jexel. He was being careful but the constant jumping, stopping and the sprinting was draining for her as well. When they finally came to a stop, Malia felt a little dizzy. Jexel helped to stabilize her, Malia holding on to his forearms for support. She shook her head and smirked. "A little carried away? Try to remember I'm human, k?" Once she was sure she wasn't going to fall over, she adjusted her bag and looked over to the human community. "Safe and sound," she muttered softly.

Malia smiled as she turned to face the embarrassed Jexel. "You've spent most of the day shirtless and now you're embarrassed?" She chuckled lightly and turned towards the human community. She began taking steps towards it when she stopped and turned once again towards him. "How about I bring some more food tomorrow and we hang at your place for a while. I'm on break from school at the moment so I can afford a few days in the woods. See you tomorrow Jex." She really didn't give him a chance to respond or protest before she had turned back to human community and made her way inside.

The rest of the night was spent in her room thinking about Jexel. It was so odd to her. What an unexpected friendship. No one would understand it but she was so curious about him. She wanted to know everything there was to know. It seemed they understood each other better than most of her human friends anyway. The next day, after her father had left for work, Malia grabbed some left overs, put it in her bag and headed back out into the woods. She was feeling much better today. Some of her bruises weren't as sensitive and her back wasn't completely sore. It wasn't 100% but that was probably from Jexel whisking her up and down a tree the day before. Perhaps they could stay on the ground today.

When she finally made it to Jexel's camp site, she knocked on the bark of the nearest tree. She couldn't call his name out loud but she figured she could at least...knock.
 

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"W-Well you called me out on it!" Jexel huffed defensively as Malia walked away. The next moment, she was making plans to hang out again, and Jexel wasn't able to protest before she walked out of sight. The half-breed, unwilling to pursue the human to say how bad of an idea it could be to see each other again, walked back to his home deep in thought. There were many more factors at work than the simple social boundaries each race was forced to adhere to. When he arrived back at his disheveled living space, Jexel immediately got to work, making immediate use of the tools that Malia graciously provided. He used the tape to stabilize his feeble furniture, and the rope went into stringing branches together to fortify his walls. By the end of the night, the hut looked leagues better than what it had. The gaps in the walls were closed off, and a skeleton for the roof lay off to the side. Within the confines of these new upgrades, Jexel sat in the glow of a flickering light emanating from his paws. Fire... He thought, staring at the flames jumping from his fur and climbing up his skin. I'm just a hazard. Maybe I shouldn't bother sticking around anymore. I could go back to the mountains...but that human... The lynxling continued his inner conflict until the late hours of the night, trying to make a decision between cutting his ties while he could and seeing where a forbidden friendship could take him.

"I'll just let her off easy." Jexel told himself upon awaking the next morning. He knew deep down that it wasn't the choice he wanted to make though. He spent the rest of the morning attempting to forget about Malia, distancing himself as much as possible from thoughts of the human girl. After enjoying a minuscule breakfast of well-roasted rabbit, it became clear to the half-breed that removing Malia from his mind was a task nigh-impossible to perform. Then the knocking came, arousing Jexel's suspicions as he scrounged for materials near his camp. Okay, okay. Just tell her to leave. Nothing hard! Just. Leave. Jexel tried to convince himself as he made his way towards the source of the sound. At the sight of the human, his entire mental process broke down. "H-Hey, nice to see ya." He spoke to Malia with a purely external smile as he stuffed his screams of frustration at his inabilities deep within his mind.
 

Reina

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Malia greeted Jexel with a bright smile. "Hi," she said as she walked closer towards him. His demeanor was a bit apprehensive, the ever observant Malia noticed. She couldn't help wondering why. Everything seemed to be going so well the day before. "You alright?" she asked as she moved closer to him, taking a seat on the tree stump not far from the entrance to his tent. "You seem a little....tense." She eyed him curiously as she set her backpack down in front of her and pulled out the bowls of left overs she brought with her. "Brought some food. It was going to go to waste at home. My dad hasn't been home much this week and his food will just go into the trash. I figured we might as well enjoy it under the beautiful backdrop."
 

MIIDD

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"W-what? I mean, no, no I'm totally fine!" Jexel spoke up, trying to hide his thoughts from Malia's burrowing gaze. At her mention of his tenseness, he quickly broke down further. "I'm not tense! You are! I can feel it in my f-fur...shut up..." The Lynxling rubbed his shoulder and bit down on his lip, doing a poor job in an attempt to keep his cool. In his persistence to seem normal, Jexel nearly forgot what he had set out to tell the human. He forced himself to ignore the comment about more food as he sat down in front of her with a sigh. "I really appreciate all this, but listen... you shouldn't come around here anymore. It's not that I don't like you - I mean, not 'like you' like you, but I like having you around, but... jeez, this is hard." Jexel rubbed his face in irritation as he tried to straighten himself out. "Okay, here it is. We can't hang out. I'll just end up getting you killed, and I don't want that...I'm sorta a bad luck charm. I've always been, and I'll always be. So... just go. Take your food and head back." Jexel fought hard to keep his tears at bay while he spoke. Not wanting to see Malia's reaction, he stepped into his hovel and gazed at the work he'd be giving up. The more he thought, the easier his tears flowed until his face was stained by the salty droplets.
 

Reina

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Malia raised both brows as Jexel seemed to tense up even more. He was being defensive. She couldn't help wondering what was bothering him and what had changed from one day to another. Her eyes followed his own as he sat down in front of her. Malia swore she felt her stomach drop as Jexel began to tell her what was really on his mind. He didn't want her around anymore. Her mouth dropped slightly open in disbelief. He was kicking her out too. Well she didn't have to take that, not from a half-breed! She was the human mayor's daughter!

Malia's look of shock took on an angry one as she grabbed the bowls and violently shoved them back into her backpack. "Fine," she said angrily. "You don't want me around then fine. I'll leave. I should've known a half-breed couldn't be trusted. I'm so stupid for thinking you were different." She quickly zipped up the bag and flung it over her shoulder. "Enjoy your little hut and your rabbit food. Hope you have a great life," she said sarcastically and stomped out of Jexel's small clearing and back into the forest. She did not deserve to be treated that way and if that was what he wanted then she was more than happy to oblige. She was perfectly fine without him before and she would be fine without him after. It only cemented in Malia that perhaps all the half-breed stories were true and Jexel was actually doing her favor. Yeah, a favor. At least that was what she told herself as she made her way back into the forest.
 

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Jexel sat in his hovel with a red face and a broken heart, Malia's words striking deeper than he had expected. "...wait, don't leave me..." He whispered as she stomped off, knowing full well his voice wouldn't reach her ears, but wishing that, by some miracle, it would. He waited for a long time in the same position, listening to the human's feet stomping through the underbrush frosted over by the early cold. The more he listened, the wider his eyes grew, as a new set of steps had joined the cacophony of angry steps. Looking outside his door into the woods, Jexel stood with a small amount of determination, fighting his urge to sulk in order to save Malia once again.

"Human..." Growled a deep voice from within the bushes near Malia's path. From the shade of the trees and leaves glowed two sharp yellow eyes, set on the woman who was so deliberately crushing the ground with her feet. "You're quite the noisy morsel, aren't you? But why so angry?" The eyes approached, and the body they were attached to soon revealed itself. It was a half-breed wolf male with scruffy black hair and a toothy grin. He wore tattered jeans and a flannel shirt, and looked to be a few years younger than Malia. "It's not like you actually cared about him. He's a freak, and he knows it. It was cute watching you two make-believe though... Maybe I'll seduce my own human! Then when she starts to get cozy, I'll eat her just like I'm gonna eat you! Now come 'ere!" The wolf lunged at Malia, pinning her down by her shoulders with incredible strength, his claws barely clipping her skin and drawing blood. "Oooh, that's red..." He licked his lips thoroughly, revealing numerous fangs sharpened with use. It was obvious that this wasn't his first time going after a human. "Now relax, relaaax! I'll finish up quickly, then I'll deliver your body to the human border. See? I'm not all that bad."

Using his knees to brace Malia's shoulders to the ground, the wolf boy moved his claw to her neck, eager to begin carving away. Before he could draw more blood though, Jexel barreled into his side, knocking him clean off her. What followed was two mounds of fur growling and hissing, trading blows and knocking each other into the ground in a feral fight to the death. Jexel had power on his side, but the wolf easily outplayed the slower lynx, skirting around him and making gashes left and right. With each cut, the lynxling's eyes grew wider and wider in rage until, finally, he landed a solid blow into the wolf boy's gut, bringing him straight down to the ground and pinning him there. "What's your deal!" Jexel yelled in his face, only to be spat at by the smiling wolf. "Screw you, Jexel. If my dad were still around, he'd kick your-" the lynx was quick to cut him off. "I payed my dues! I worked for your family until I bled, then I worked more, like a slave to your mother and to you!" The wolf cackled in response. "You're still a slave for all I care, and a murderer! Murderer! Murderer!" he repeated over and over, like a broken record. Jexel visibly shook as the words struck his core. "Stop it..." He began to plead. "Stop it, stop it! Stop calling me that!" The lynx's last exclamation was one of anger; the last straw holding Jexel back. The wolf didn't have a chance to repeat himself again as the lynxling atop him burst into flames. In the next moment, the flames flooded the wolf, and a moment later there was silence. As soon as the fire had begun, it petered out, and Jexel was left sitting on the charred remains of the wolf, crying silently to himself. What had become of Malia was no longer his concern, whether she stayed or ran. Now he could only hide his face in his paws, sobbing over the patch of eradicated greenery around him.
 
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Reina

The Dark Queen
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The leaves and branches crunched loudly underneath her feet as she made her way angrily through the forest brush. "Who does he think he is?" she mumbled to herself. "Stupid half-breed. Thinks he's better than me." Malia was so into her own feelings of anger and resentment she didn't notice the other set of foot steps that had joined her. She did however notice when those footsteps were accompanied by a sinister voice. Malia turned quickly towards the sound to see another half-breed. She remained completely still, glued to the place where she stood. It was a half wolf but he was no Jexel. She could tell immediately from his demeanor and the look in his eyes. This half-breed would not be gentle or kind. This half-breed was whom she had been warned about, his kind.

Her eyes stayed glued to his own as she watched the creature begin to approach her. Malia was beginning to shiver from the fear as her heart pounded violently in her chest. She didn't know what to do, didn't know how to defend herself. She was trapped. The wolf lunged at her and Malia let out a loud scream. Before she knew what was happening, she had been pinned to ground, sharp pain emanating from her shoulders as his claws dug into her flesh. She couldn't move. "No!" she yelled. "Help me! Help me!" It was a vain attempt to get help. She knew she was too far into the forest for anyone from the human community to hear her. She was helpless. She was going to die at the hands of a half-breed. It was everything her father and all the humans of her community had feared.

Malia shut her eyes as tears fell down her cheeks, bracing herself for what was to come. Suddenly the weight she felt over her had been lifted. She opened her eyes quickly and saw that Jexel had come to her aide. As the two fought on the ground, Malia got to her feet quickly. Her jacket was stained with her blood but she would deal with that later. She grabbed her backpack and began to move away from the two half-breeds. She didn't want to see the outcome. She just wanted to make it out of there alive. She took off running in the opposite direction but stopped when she heard the half-wolf shout murderer to Jexel. Murderer?

Malia slowed her pace and looked over her shoulder towards the two fighting half-breeds. That was when she saw it. Jexel and the wolf were engulfed in flames. "Jexel!" she cried out, turning in the direction of the two half-breeds. She began to run to Jexel's aide when the fire died out leaving only Jexel above the charred remains of the wolf. Malia collapsed to her knees at the sight. Her eyes and mouth opened wide as she stared at the scene before her. She didn't know what to do or say. She only watched as smoke emitted from the remains and Jexel sobbed into his paws a top of them. He....he....he killed him.

The more she watched the more everything started to make sense to her. Why Jexel lived alone and away from his community, why he didn't want her near him. He was dangerous and this was apparently not the first time he had killed another. It seemed as though she watched the scene for quite a long time, unable to move or speak.

She finally cleared her throat and addressed the sobbing lynxling. "Th-thank you. Thank you for saving me...again. Uh...this is why isn't it? This is why you live so far away from your own community. This is why you wanted me gone."
 

MIIDD

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Jexel slowly looked toward Malia as she uneasily thanked him and asked her question. He thought on her words for a while, looking back down at the remains still under his body. Waves of nausea began to pass through him as he weighed his actions in his mind, so he leaned his head down on the charring chest of the deceased wolf half-breed, doing his best to remain somewhat composed. "Don't...don't call me a murderer..." He managed to utter through choked breaths and silent sobs. "I didn't mean to...I never mean to... but I can't help it! I just get s-scared and angry, and then th-the fire...and..." Jexel forced himself to stop talking in order to catch some semblance of breath. Once he regained a bit of composure, he stepped off the corpse and brushed himself off violently, as if afraid of the ashes that clung to what remained of his pants and sweater. After making sure he was clean, he walked over to a nearby tree and sat at its base, still breathing heavily as he took in a different scent than the burning ground.

Turning back to Malia, the lynx half-breed prepared to answer her question anew. "Yeah... That's the reason. I have the ability to use magic, and it screwed over my life. I lost my family, I can't have friends, I struggle to keep where I live from crumbling...as a threat, I am powerful, but as a living, breathing, thinking thing...I'm a disgrace." He managed to let a smile slip to his face amongst the teardrops slipping down his cheeks. "Sorry I made you so angry. I got you into trouble again..."
 
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