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Reina

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Malia stared at the charred remains silently. She wasn't sure what to say, was afraid to even move. She was processing everything she had just witnessed. She had almost been killed, Jexel saved her yet murdered someone else in the process. Was it justified however because the half-wolf was planning on killing her? Her head began to hurt the more she thought. She sighed deeply and shut her eyes in some vain effort to make it all go away but the smell of burnt flesh and fur was too much to handle.

She was finally able to stumble to her feet and moved to an opposite tree, far enough away from the remains and far enough away from Jexel. She didn't know what to make of him. He was so sweet and kind, yet he was quite deadly. She listened to his explanation and his apology. It melted her heart to see the tears stream down his face and she was filled with compassion for him.

"Hey...you're not a disgrace. Don't say that."

If he wasn't a disgrace then what was he? She didn't know. He was completely isolated so he wouldn't hurt anyone. "You're trying to do your best to keep everyone around you safe. You...you saved me from that thing."

Malia looked towards the remains once more, quickly shutting her eyes and turning away again. Her memories flooded with the sound of its voice, the hot breath over her face and the claws that pierced her skin. She touched her shoulder, wincing from the pain. "He...he deserved what you did to him." Malia wasn't entirely sure she meant what she said but she hoped it would at least help Jexel feel better. "He was going to kill me. He's the half-breed humans worry so much about. One less terror in the world and one step closer to finding peace between the two communities."

Against her better judgment she moved towards Jexel and sat beside him. She wasn't sure what triggered his magic but she was almost sure it had something to do with anger or an extreme rush of adrenaline. She wanted to lighten the mood, get him to relax or get his mind off of what had happened. "Admit it," she began to say playfully. "You just like to be half naked around me huh?" There wasn't much left of Jexel's clothing after the fire died down. It was the only thing she had to change the mood.
 

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Malia's words surprised Jexel, his melancholic smile disappearing to be replaced by an expression of confusion and concern as he looked toward the human. "...I killed him, though." He whispered back down to his paws, turning his guilt-ridden face away. Then she said that the wolf-boy deserved it; deserved to die. Jexel's face lifted back up, pondering the human's worldview in light with his own. His eyes widened as he made a distinct realization; that Malia was right. Perhaps not in the sense that she explained, but right none-the-less. His eyes grew even more as he watched the human make her way toward him, sitting down by his tattered side. He was about to say something in response, but Malia cracked her joke, and it made Jexel forget everything for a moment. Slowly, the lynxling looked down at his clothes. His tough jeans had turned into shorts, and his sweater was nothing but a few scraps of fabric clinging to his arms and back. He took a deep breath in response to his state, almost like a delayed gasp, and released it all in one big sigh before looking back to Malia.

"You...You just... Dangit, Malia, you really know how to push my buttons!" He huffed, trying to remember what he was about to say with no avail. "Y-You made me forget what I was gonna say, you jerk." He smirked, giving her a light push on the shoulder and relaxing a bit more. "...but thanks for that. I'm really sorry you had to see the whole thing though. That kid was a real mess to work with, even when his father was alive... So now what?" He said, finally finding it in himself to stand up. Jexel offered a helping paw to Malia as he continued. "I don't know what I'm gonna do now, Malia. Someone in the community will probably notice that he's missing, and they'll send a rescue party or something. Worse, they could think that the humans got him. Tensions are high enough as it is, so that might be the final straw for the half-breeds. I can't go anywhere if there's a chance of me being spotted, but these were the only clothes I brought out of the community when I left" He mulled over his troubles before looking his company in the eyes again, blushing slightly as he was caught off-guard in his thoughts. "I-I'm sorry, you really don't need to get involved in this. Maybe you should go home and patch yourself up..." He pondered, trying to hold himself still as he waited for a response.
 

Reina

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Malia chuckled lightly as Jexel pushed against her shoulder. It worked. She had distracted him, at least for the time being. "Na, its ok. What are friends for right?" she smiled at him and accepted his paw as it was extended to her and she stood on her feet again. She dusted off her jeans from the dirt and dried up leaves and looked to Jexel. Now what? She wished she knew the answer to that question. "Can't we just bury him or something? What if we left him near the border where he could be found...would they still suspect the humans if he was so close to the border?" Malia had no idea what to do. She had never been in a situation such as this before. Besides, her father was the one that handled all the affairs of the community. Her only job was to look pretty at Galas and never embarrass him.

Looking at Jexel's tattered clothing, Malia had an idea. "My dad has a lot of old clothes that he was planning to donate to the goodwill. Its still sitting in boxes in my garage. I can bring you something to change into and some extra to keep as well. He won't miss them. I'll just tell him I donated them already to someone in need. Which is true. I wouldn't be lying." She smiled at him as she grabbed her bag and slugged it over her shoulder. "Let's walk over to the border. You stay out of sight though. I'll run over to my house and bring the clothes as quickly as I can. Then maybe we can talk about relocating your little hut. We don't want those half-breeds looking for you."
 

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Jexel was internally awestruck that Malia had not only ignored his advice to go back to her community and leave him, but she had intentionally gotten herself involved with her suggestions. "Y-you did hear me, right?" Jexel shook his head in disbelief, smiling at her scheme. "Well, if you insist, I suppose I can't really argue. You go ahead and start walking...I'll take care of the body." Jexel turned to the charred half-breed and gulped before walking towards it, paws outstretched at his sides. I am in control. I am in control. He thought to himself, his expression conveying his extreme focus. In the next moment, his paws burst into flames. Jexel straddled the ashen body, placing his paws on the corpse's chest and letting the fire pour over it. The heat pulsing from the two forms was immense, causing the greenery around them to wither and wilt away. Even so, nothing else was burnt. Jexel had total control of his power this time, vaporizing the entire body but the bones. When he had accomplished this, he scraped his large, heavy paws on the malleable ground nearby, digging into it without much issue. With each sweep of his paws, more dirt flew out until a sizable hole was left. With careful movements, Jexel swept everything left of the wolf-child into the hole, then filled it back up until it looked just like the rest of the environment. After taking a shaky breath at what he had done, Jexel bounded away, locating Malia without much trouble.

"So you think your dad's clothes will fit me?" He asked as he caught up to the human. "What does your dad do, anyways? I hear humans wear suits a lot. I've seen half-breeds try and pull 'em off, but...they just look weird." Jexel knew he was talking just to keep the silence at bay. Malia's father hadn't honestly interested him a bit, but it was something; a way to keep his mind occupied. Then he remembered what else Malia had told him. "W-Wait, what did you mean, 'relocate my hut'? That's...that's not something-" But it was too late to question further. The human community was in sight, forcing Jexel to move out of sight in some underbrush. Crouched low to the ground, the lynxling could only watch as Malia left to fulfill her intents.
 

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Malia nodded towards Jexel and began trekking back towards the human community. Before she was too far she looked over her shoulder and saw as Jexel set fire to the remains once again. Malia winced, quickly turning her attention back to the direction she was headed and did her best to ignore what she was seeing and even doing. The pit of her stomach turned and she thought for sure she was going to be sick but she didn't want Jexel to see her like that. She wanted to give him hope and show him that he wasn't alone and there were people out there that cared and wanted to make a difference.

Luckily the human community wasn't too far away and the hike wasn't as long. Jexel met up with her a short time later, Malia greeting him immediately with a smile. "Not too sure. My dad is a little heavy set so I'm sure the clothes will fit you baggy but its better than the tattered shreds you're sporting right now." She shrugged her shoulders and watched as the human community was coming into view. She couldn't be happier to be home at the moment. "My dad? He's....he's..." Malia was apprehensive about answering about her father's position. He was the most powerful man in the human community and most definitely not a friend to half-breeds. Humans already treated her differently because of who her father was, she didn't want Jexel doing the same. "He's in politics. All very boring stuff really. He's gone a lot because of it and yes he wears suits but the clothes in the garage are not suits. They're mostly t-shirts, sweats, shorts, stuff like that."

Finally they reached the border and Malia began rushing towards it. She didn't have time to address Jexel's last question but she promised she would return as quickly as possible. Once past the brush of trees, Malia darted through the human community quickly but without drawing too much attention to herself. She nodded cordially to her neighbors as they saw her walk briskly past. Most gave her weird looks and that was when Malia noticed the dirt and blood stains on her clothing. She was going to have to be more stealthy than that. She stuck to the alleyways, knowing her father would hear of her wardrobe soon enough. She was already concocting an excuse for him when she arrived at her obscenely large mansion. She entered through the back door, careful to avoid the housekeeper and darted straight to her room to shower and change.

The water hitting her cuts and bruises was painful. The half-wolf did a number on her shoulders and she knew she would be sore for weeks. She rushed her shower as quickly as she could then headed towards the garage once she was ready and dressed again. The boxes of clothes for donation were clearly marked thanks to her father's neurosis and it made it easy for Malia to grab some items she needed, toss it into her bag and head back to the forest. She hoped she hadn't been gone too long. She did her best to hurry but there was only so much her human legs could do. She finally made it back to where Jexel was hiding, calling out to him in a voice barely above a whisper. "Jexel? Jex? I brought the clothes."
 

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While waiting for Malia to return, Jexel realized how wounded he was. His scrap with the half-wolf left him with more than his fair share of cuts and bruises. His arms and legs were torn up, and only now had he noticed the blood slowly seeping down his waist. It wasn't much, but it was enough to make Jexel impatient for the human to return. It wasn't long before he heard her whisper from his hiding spot. Instinctively, the lynxling crouched further down, as though preparing to pounce, before coming to his senses and picking himself up. "Hey, over here." He raised a paw as he walked over to the girl. "What'd ya bring me?" He asked, not waiting for an answer before digging through the box in Malia's hands. Without hesitation, he pulled out a shirt and began tearing it into strips, huffing in irritation at the strength of the fabric as he worked. He quickly had the cloth torn into multiple, lengthy strips, which he began applying to his wounds without hesitation. "You took a while. Did you run into trouble?" He asked, wincing as the cloth drew across the small scratches scattered on his arms, legs, and sides.
 

Reina

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Malia watched with raised brows as Jexel dug through the box of clothing and shredded one of her father's t-shirts. "Hey...that was a perfectly good shirt," she scolded although she knew it was necessary. She set the box down on the ground and sat on it to make herself comfortable. "Na, not really. Just some nosey neighbors. I'm sure to have to explain to my father later why my shoulders were stained in blood. I'll just tell him I fell and hit myself against a tree or something. He'll berate me about being too close to the border but I'll ignore him like I always do," she said with a hint of a smile.

As Jexel bandaged himself up, Malia took the opportunity to address Jexel's immenant move. "Hey Jex," she began. "I think you need to move your hut from where its at or just leave it and move somewhere else all together. Someone is bound to come looking for the wolf-kid. They'll sniff him out somehow and it will lead back to you. It isn't safe. It might be best if you found a place better to hide but maybe not so deep into the forest so we can still meet up from time to time." She looked to him with concern, truly worried that something horrible might become him simply because he saved her once again.

"You know...just behind the human border...on the other side, where the mountains drop down into that big valley...wouldn't that be a good place to hide? There aren't many trees but at least its the farthest point from the half-breed community and humans don't dare go near the mountains. Plus...its actually not too far from my house. My house is on the far end of the human border."
 

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"Hey, I don't have fancy human meds. Cut me some slack." He huffed with a smile after making sure the makeshift bandaging was drawn nice and tight. Jexel listened carefully while he worked on his wounds, his ears twitching at Malia's words. "Good to hear you didn't get caught...but are you sure you can convince your dad that easily?" He asked skeptically as he wrapped up the last of his recovery work. "I mean, can humans really be that stupid? ...W-Wait, I'm sorry, that came out wrong. It's just, y-you were clearly scratched!" He pointed out, motioning a paw at her shoulder. "Sure, it's not deep enough to make a scar, but the cut will still last for a good day or two. If your dad sees that and still buys your story, I'd shave my fur." He chided, taking a closer look at her cut for a moment before moving away from the human and responding to her assessment of his situation.

"You're right that they'll be hunting me after they find the kid, but...closer to them? To the humans? You know what you're asking me to do, right?" Jexel asked baffled before sitting down and massaging his lower paws. "And on the other side, too... That's a ways away, and going all the way around the community isn't a safe trip to make at any time of day, ya know?" Jexel paused for a moment as he popped a few joints, sighing in comfort at the result before continuing. "...I've gotten over wondering why you're helping me. No matter how you explain it, it just confuses me. So, I hope you have a plan."
 

Reina

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Malia's eyes gravitated to her shoulders as Jexel pointed them out. They were sore to the touch and although they weren't bleeding, they were not easily explained. She smiled though and returned her attention to Jexel. "Well prepare to shave your fur then. I'll keep long sleeves on while I'm at home to avoid him even seeing the scratches. My dad and I are close but not that close that he would want to see the skin underneath my clothing. Plluuuuuuss," she emphasized with a mischievous smile. "I'm daddy's little girl. He will chastise me buuuuttt I have a way with him. I might be confined to the house for a while but I'll be out and about soon enough."

She watched Jexel sit across from her and express his concerns. "Hey...I'm human remember? I know its a difficult decision but what other choice do you have? We could always wait until late at night and sneak you through the human community." The idea just came out of Malia's mouth without much thought.

Through the human community? Was she insane?

"I mean...well...I know all the back alleys and how to avoid human eyes. If we can get you all the way to my house...its just a small trek to the mountain side from there."
 

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"Seriously? 'Daddy's little girl'? Jeez, humans are a bit more leniant than I give them credit for, huh." Jexel shook his head with a sigh. "I guess I won't argue with that, then. I ain't shaving my fur, though. That was a joke." The lynxling looked down to his paws with a tired expression, not looking forward to begining preperations to move anywhere. "I know you're human, but you're also special. You don't hate me. I still don't get it, but I'm done arguing about it. The people in that community though? They want me dead. Your dad probably wants me dead. Your friends probably want me dead... Getting caught by them means the exact same thing as being caught by my own people, and maybe worse."

Jexel had gone back to massaging his paws after his small rant, only to look back up at Malia with wide-open eyes at her suggestion. After getting over his initial shock, Jexel began to voice his concerns. "A-Are...are you nuts? Through there? Me? That's like asking me to run into quicksand! I don't think-" The lynxling was cut off by a shadow moving over his eyes. The sun had shifted faster than he expected. Soon it would be night, and time was of the essence. "...alright, we'll go with your plan. Get up. I need to change my clothes." He said quickly, motioning to the box that Malia was sitting on. After rifling through the cacophany of clothes for a few minutes, Jexel found some attire that matched his usual style. With uncharacteristic shamelessness, Jexel undressed down to his small-clothes in front of Malia and redressed into his new clothes, getting the feel for their bulk before settling down again. "Alright, just give the word when we need to head out."
 

Reina

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Malia smiled wide when Jexel agreed to her plan. It was dangerous, it was more likely than not a foolish idea but leaving Jexel at the mercy of the half-breeds after having murdered one of their own sounded worse. She rose to her feet immediately and allowed Jexel access to the clothing within the cardboard box. She turned quickly as he began to undress, hiding her gaze from him although her curiosity wanted to look over her shoulder and peek. She didn't however, she didn't want to cross any boundaries, even though they really hadn't set any and frankly they had no idea what their friendship even meant.

She turned when he spoke, smiling as she looked at him. "The clothes are a bit oversized but it will have to do." Bending down and rummaging through the box again, she pulled out a sweater and tossed it Jexel's way. "Pull the hood over your head, you look relatively human with the exception of the paws but the sweater and pants are doing a good job of covering them." She looked him over from top to bottom. With the hood covering his ears and the oversized clothing draping over his paws, Jexel looked very much human and for a moment, he was pleasing to Malia's eyes. She stared at him, not realizing her gaze had lingered a little longer than she intended.

Feeling the heat rising to her cheeks, she quickly moved her gaze away and gestured towards the human community. "Uh...we'll uh, we'll have to wait until its completely dark. It'll be uh, easier to hide you than if it were daylight." Malia stepped a little to the side, putting a bit of distance between herself and Jexel. Her idea was insane but even more insane was whatever it was she felt just moments before for a half-breed. She shook her head and stared in the direction of the sun, waiting for it to finally set before they made their move.

When the sun had finally set, she motioned for him to follow her and together they made their way into the human community. Malia's stomach turned violently as they crossed through the brush and into the human community. She was very nervous and hoped that no one was really around and that no one would really approach them. Malia pulled her own hoodie over her head, keeping her head low as she walked beside Jexel and into the back alleys where no one really walked. "Just stay close to me, keep your paws inside the pockets and head low."
 

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Jexel took the hoodie gratefully, letting the fabric encase him with a familiar feel. The hood fell comfortably over his ears, and the sleeves reached over his paws with ease. "Your dad has pretty good taste, I guess." Said the lynxling as he got a feel for the girth of the clothes, wiggling his legs around to smooth out the fabric. When he raised his head, he barely caught Malia's gaze, and for a moment, their eyes locked together. Jexel saw the red rise to the human girl's cheeks, and he could feel it flooding his as well. Simultaneously, they turned away from each other, shoving down the feelings that they shouldn't have felt at all. "S-Sure thing. Just say the word, and we'll get m-moving." He responded to Malia's nervous statement with one of his own, wringing his paws together as he tried to calm down. There were more important things to worry about than mistaken feelings for a human, after all...then again, the heat physically radiating from Jexel's body told a different story. Good thing Malia had moved too far to feel it.

Soon darkness shrouded the land, providing the perfect cover for the two to travel through the human community relatively unseen. Jexel mirrored Malia's every move, staying close to the shadows, and abusing his natural agility to keep his steps silent and quick. At times, he would outpace the human in front of him, which would be followed by a sudden collision and a quick, whispered apology. Other than these slight hiccups, Jexel followed Malia's every order to the letter, fear impacting his obedience more than anything as they made their way through the potentially dangerous community.
 

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Malia's plan was just as dangerous as letting the half-breeds find Jexel in the woods. If the humans knew a half-breed was crossing through the community, it would be the end of him for sure. She was taking a huge risk for him as well. She shuttered at the thought of what the humans would do to HER if they knew she was assisting a half-breed. The odds were against them and they couldn't risk being caught at all.

They maneuvered through the back alleyways undetected for some time. Most community members were already in their homes. It wasn't long before they reached the obscenely large mansion that belonged to the mayor and his family, Malia's home. She wasn't yet ready to address who she really was with Jexel just yet. She didn't know how he would react to learning she was the mayor's daughter. It just didn't sit well with her.

She was about to veer away from her mansion when a familiar voice called out from behind them. "Malia! Malia!" Malia's eyes opened wide and she turned suddenly towards the sound of the voice. It was Malia's best friend Regina. The short blonde was running towards them quickly and Malia knew she couldn't shake her even if she wanted to. Malia looked to Jexel and whispered, "Just stay calm. Keep everything inside your hoodie."

"Hey girl!" Malia responded with a large smile as her best friend came up to the two and embraced Malia.
"Ive been looking everywhere for you Malia!" Regina said.

The two girls spoke with a quick moment before Regina's eyes finally met Jexel's. "Oh..sorry. Who's this? I don't believe we've met before." She extended her hand towards Jexel, "I'm Regina and you are?"
 

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The danger of every step taken wasn't lost on the half-breed. His fore-paws were shaking in anxious fear at every little flicker of light and every sound that echoed through the alleys. Jexel had to keep himself focused to control his magic in the tense situation...then the mansion came into view, and the lynx's eyes widened in a sense of inferiority. His face flushed, and his mouth sat agape in awe as they walked closer to it. He was about to ask Malia about the massive building when a voice called out. Not only was it loud, clashing with the night's silent atmosphere, but it was... She was calling straight at Malia, and in association, Jexel. The lynxling's eyes practicly popped out of his skull in exasperation at the human's acceptance of the stranger's approach. "A-Are you kidding?" He hissed before the new human could come into earshot. "Who is she? What are you doing!?" ...but it was too late. Malia was already putting on a chummy smile as the new face approached, and they hugged it out in full view of the surprised half-breed. From what he could gather, the two were friends, but everything they said and did was somewhat foreign to him.

Then the new human turned to him, and their eyes locked for a brief second before Jexel forcefully looked away. His eyes alone could have given him away; their bright, golden amber slits obviously belonging to something more beast than man. He was content to leave their meeting at that, but out of the corner of his eye, Jexel saw the girl's had extend. Regina...Regina was her name, and she was unwittingly forcing him into the worst position he could possibly be in. His mind raced in reaction, running through scenarios at a blinding pace. He could pretend to be deaf. He knew enough of the bestial sign-language to pass for it...but therein lay his answer; even under the sweater sleeves, the motions to the language of pawed half-breeds would simply look like stupid flailing. His time was out now, so he took the only option left. With a heavy blush hidden by the shade of his hood, Jexel bowed and took a small step back and behind Malia, playing the shyness card as he refused to speak.
 

Reina

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"O...k..." Regina said as she retracted her hand and returned her gaze to Malia with raised brows. "Your friend's kinda rude there Malia."

Malia shook her head, "No, don't mind Jexel. He...." Malia paused as she thought up a good cover story to help her hide Jexel more effectively and explain his strange actions to her best friend. "He's from the other human community. You know...the other one that my father does business with. Yeah...he had an encounter with a...uh, a half breed before finally getting here. So he's a little stunned. You know. So, yeah. He's come to see how we do things here and bring the news back on how we deal with and keep the half-breeds on their side of the border. You know...I told you this, remember?" Malia tried to play it off the best she could, she only hoped her friend would buy her excuse. "Come on Reg, don't tell me you forgot already. Why do I even talk to you? You never listen."

Regina raised her brows curiously. She didn't remember Malia telling her about any new visitors, then again, she was a big offender when it came to listening to others. Perhaps she did miss it. Besides, Malia never lied to her. "Duh! Of course I remember. I just forgot that was today..." She swallowed hard and nodded at Jexel again. "Sorry about that...what was your name again? Axel?"

"Jexel," Malia corrected. "Either way, we have to get going. It's really late and Jex here has had a long day."

"He staying at your place?" Regina asked as she pointed towards the large mansion not far from them.

Malia breathed in deeply. Nice one Regina. She didn't want Jexel knowing where she lived exactly. What would he think about her if he knew she was the mayor's daughter? But Regina had unknowingly backed her into a corner and she had no other choice but to say, "Where else would he stay."

Regina looked over to Jexel once more as he hid behind Malia, trying to get a good look at him. His gaze was down but she could make out some of his features. He was handsome from what she could tell. "He's cute Malia," she said rather matter of factly. "I'm surprised your dad would allow him anywhere near his precious little girl." Regina laughed slightly and began to walk in the direction of Malia's mansion. "I'll walk you guys. We need to talk anyway. You missed class today and you know how your father is."

Malia's mouth dropped slightly. Oh no, oh no, oh no. "That's ok Gina. Really. We'll be fine."

Regina scuffed, "Why?...Do you want to be alone with him already?" She laughed once more and continued walking towards the mansion.

They had no other choice. Malia looked at her watch. She still had some time before her father actually did come home. How was she going to explain Jexel to him? She had to get rid of Regina and go back to hiding Jexel but she didn't know how. Unwillingly she began to walk towards the mansion, whispering to Jexel as they walked and entered through the large double doors of her home. "I'll try my best to get us out of this. Just keep everything inside the hoodie....welcome to my home." She let Jexel inside but barred the entrance for Regina. "It's late. I'll see you tomorrow, k?"

Regina smiled, "Oh, I get it. Sure thing. Just be quick, daddy will be home soon. Enjoy," she said with a wink. "Bye Jexel. Nice meeting you."

Malia rolled her eyes and shut the door. She turned to Jexel nervously. "Uh...no one is home right now. So we're safe for the time being. We just have to wait until I'm sure Regina went home then we can continue on our way."
 
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MIIDD

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Jexel was relieved that Regina bought Malia's excuse, but the sigh that was building itself up in his chest died immediately once Malia's home was pointed out to him. The mansion; the one that had made him feel so low-class and pathetic, was his friend's home. She lived there... like, all day! All he had was a little hovel in the forest, and now that wasn't even his! That was hardly the worst of the situation, as Regina made comment after comment about him and Malia being "together" in a way that even Jexel was too embarrassed to contemplate...despite how appealing the idea might have seemed only a few hours ago. Even Regina was complementing him on his looks. He could feel his face practically blister under his hood. Had it not been for the size of the hood, his ears would have been visibly and violently twitching. The half-breed did his best to contain the shock, surprise, and consistent discomfort of the situation, but the heat that emanated from his body was something he simply couldn't account for any longer. Jexel did his best to keep the effects of his magic to a minimum, but the wave of heat still washed over them as they walked.

He was more than thankful that Malia halted Regina at the door, but her comments still set him on edge. Jexel was sure that his face was permanently stained red for the night as Malia entered the house. He let out a breath of relief the second Regina was out of sight, filling the house with a comforting warmth. "A-Alright, just...just give the word, yeah?" He chuckled nervously, keeping his face hidden under the hood as carefully as possible. Even though she said they were safe, he didn't move from his spot on the ground. All the carpeting, the furniture, and even the walls were vibrantly clean. It blew Jexel away, making him feel that if he touched any of it, it would be noticed by the world.
 

Reina

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Malia stood by the door and peered through the curtains of the windows in the foyer of her lavish mansion. She had to make sure Regina went home. She couldn't risk being discovered by anyone. As much as she knew Regina loved her, she didn't believe Regina would understand her friendship with Jexel. Malia herself didn't understand it; she couldn't expect anyone else to.

As she watched Regina head home the room began to get increasingly warm. Malia adjusted her shirt and began fanning herself when she realized why. She turned to Jexel quickly and moved over to him. "Hey, relax ok. We dont need you setting my house on fire, k?" She placed her hands on both his shoulders and looked into his eyes. "We're safe. Try to relax."

She gave him a smile and walked over to the kitchen calling back to him as she moved. "Hey, you hungry? She opened the fridge and pulled out some left overs. Mrs. Jones always made sure they had something to eat. She set the bowls on the counter and opened the containers. "Looks like egg salad in one bowl and...mac and cheese in the other. Come on. Don't worry. You won't break anything." She gestured for him to come to her as she looked at the time. Her father would be home soon but she should at least feed Jexel if he was going to uproot his home.

"I should've told you about where I live. I just didn't want you to be weird around me. People already treat me differently because of who I am and who my father is. I didn't want you to treat me like everyone else does. I hope you understand."
 

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"A-Ah, right, got it..." Jexel attempted to dissuade Malia's worries with a smile, though her hands on his shoulders made that increasingly difficult, not to mention her eyes locked straight on to his. After everything Regina had insinuated that night, he could barely handle a glance from the human. Regardless, he did his best to calm down, lowering the ambient temperature by taking deep, lengthy breaths. Once he felt confident enough to walk on the pristine floors of Malia's home, Jexel followed the her to the kitchen, then to the counter, sniffing the food she set out with caution. After a brief smell of each, he scrunched his nose and stepped away. "Eh, I'm alright for now..." He yawned, doing his best to politely decline.

"You shouldn't worry about how I'd treat you. Sure it's a really big house, but you aren't a stupid snob like most people who own places like this. Your dad could be the...the mayor, and I'd still treat ya the same. Besides, don't go lumping me with your human friends! I still have a bit of pride as a half-breed, ya know." Jexel huffed, crossing his arms with a teasing grin. "So, what's the next move, huh? It sounds like your pop will be here soon. I'd rather not be here when that happens..."
 

Reina

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Malia laughed nervously as Jexel eluded to her father being the mayor. She wondered what he would think if he knew she was the daughter of the mayor. Only the mayor lived in a lavish home such as the one she lived in currently. It appeared the half-breeds were not aware of that and Malia was thankful for that fact. She didn't want to have to explain her position to him, not now...perhaps never. She grabbed a fork and dug it into the egg salad, taking a few quick bites from it.

"We head out through the back door. There," she said gesturing towards the white door that led to the yard area. "There's an area at the edge of the fence that's weaker than the rest. I'm sure you could get through there without any issues. Plus we should be..."

Just then Malia heard the turning of the doorknob. "Oh no," she said as she heard the fiddling of keys. "He's home early!"

Without thinking she grabbed Jexel's paw and dragged him up the marbles steps, racing down the hall and into her bedroom. She shut the double doors quickly, heaving and panting as she leaned against them. She raised a hand towards Jexel, "Just...oh my god...Please don't set anything on fire."

"Malia! Malia!" she heard her father call from downstairs. "Are you home sweetheart?"

"Yeah Daddy! I'll be right down!" she called back. She looked to Jexel nervously. "I'll be right back. Looks like we have a change in plans...again."
 

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Jexel listened intently to Malia's plan, staying a safe distance away from the leftovers while nodding his head in understanding. Then the doorknob began turning. Jexel would have said something, but Malia was already on it, taking his paw without hesitation and dragging him up to what he could only assume was her room. The steps were cold to his paws, and he could feel flecks of dirt removing themselves from his fur as they ran. Jexel had to bite his lip to continue going along with the human, knowing that anything he did could come back to bite him if he weren't careful. He had to fall on all fours to keep himself stable as Malia released his paw and closed the doors. At her request, he plopped himself down into a sitting position, much more like a cat than a man, and took a breath. Thinking back on the day, Jexel was at least confident in Malia's ability to think things through, so he focused on that trust to keep the heat radiating from him to a minimum. "It's alright. Just hurry up, please." He said nervously, unconsciously kneading the carpet with his paws.
 
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