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The Other Side of the Border

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When Carmen woke up for dinner, it was 7pm and the sun was already setting. She yawned and attempted to roll over and go back to sleep, but someone chewing on her ear dragged her back awake against her will.

"Ivyyyyyyyyyyyy!"

The beast whined, flicking her ear out of her best friend's mouth.

"Carmeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!"

The Red Panda beast whined right back, flicking Carmen's nose with her bushy tail.

"Just five more minutes...."

She curled her head and tucked her face under her own tail.

"Oh no you don't!"

Ivy growled, pouncing on her. She bit down lightly on the younger girl's girls neck, snarling a mock challenge.

Well, Carmen was never one to back away from a challenge!

She whipped up, her lithe body quicker than Ivy's fluffy one. After a few minutes of scuffling on her bed, Carmen managed to pin Ivy down.

"Ha! Victory!"

She crowed, getting off Ivy and giving her tail a triumphant lick.

Ivy bared her teeth, looking like she was about to pounce again, when the door opened.

"Ivy, I thought you were bringing Carmen down!"

Antonio leaned in, bracing his hand of the doorframe and taking in their rumpled appearances. He smiled, looking like he was trying not to laugh.

"What?"

Ivy asked. He just chuckled softly.

"WHAT???"

She yelled, the confusion and indignence on her face finally making him lose it and point to the mirror.

"The back of your shirt!"

She and Carmen looked back at the mirror at the same moment, then Ivy screamed.

"IM GOING TO KILL HIM!"

And rushed out of the room. Antonio turned to Carmen, still chuckling

"Well, you coming? You know how Saira's really big on pack meals."

The fox beast stretched, yawning wide enough to show her glittery fangs.

"Yeah, Saira's gonna be pissed if I miss pack dinner again."

The dog beast cuffed her on the side of her head in admonishment.

"Watch your language!"

"Whatever dork!"

She ruffled his hair, causing his floppy ears to fall in front of his eyes.

"Watch it chica, or I'll bite!"

He snapped playfully at her, causing her to squeak, them punched him in the shoulder.

"You'll have to catch me first!"

Carmen spun around and ran off, laughing in exhilaration, the barking behind her signifying he was giving chase.
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When Ivy got downstairs, she charged right at the the Red Panda beast that was sitting on the couch eating Cheetos. A black haired girl and an electric eel beast managed to grab her before she could reach Zack, but holding back sibling rage wasn't easy.

"Heeeeey Ivy...what's up?"

Zack asked with a nervous smile.

"YOU KNOW WHAT'S UP! YOU WROTE SOMETHING HORRIBLE ON MY SHIRT!"

The black haired girl craned her head back to look at the back of the redhead's shirt, and choked.

"I'm guessing you don't like it?"

"LIKE HELL I WOULD EVER LIKE IT!"

A small blonde girl wandered in from the kitchen, looking confused. She read the words on the back of Ivy's shirt, turned to the Labrador beast next to her and asked

"Chase, who's Justin Bieber?"

This caused Zack to start laughing, and the two restraining Ivy joined. Chase Devineaux flinched, and his eyes got a glossy sheen as he stared into nothingness. His voice was full of pain and embarrassment when he answered.

"It's better you don't know, Sunny. Spare yourself."

The blonde huffed, but said nothing else. The black haired girl and the electric eel beast exchanged looks, then both suddenly seemed dead serious.

"So Dakota,"

The eel asked the black haired girl, a hint of a smile trying to break through is false-seriousness.

"Should we let Ivy go? Get vengeance for her tarnished pride?"

"I don't know Neal,"

The black haired girl, Dakota, responded, side-eyeing a trapped Zack.

"What is the proper punishment for writing "🖤 Justin Bieber" on your sister's shirt?"

Neal seemed to consider this for a moment, he and Dakota staring Zack down in a way that made him certain that he would get no mercy.

"I think this is a criminal offense, if I do say so myself."

Dakota nodded

"Let the punishment fit the crime."

Both Dakota and Neal let go of Ivy at the same time, letting her attack Zack. They hung onto each other, nearly crying they were laughing so hard as Zack ran away screaming.

Sunny stole Zack's unfinished bowl of Cheetos, and Chase grabbed the remote. Carmen and Antonio entered the living room, looking flushed and amused. They flopped down on the couch, panting.

"Dinner time!"

The call from the kitchen prompted a storm to the sink to wash their hands. Carmen smiled as the speaker leaned out of the kitchen doorway.

"Did you make dinner Saira? I just want to know if it's edible!"

The demon beast laughed and shook her head.

"Of course not, Tammy and Maelstrom cooked."

"Good, cause your cooking sucks."

Saira flipped her off good-Naturedly and was promptly slammed into by two screaming balls of red fur.

Carmen laughed as Saira squeaked while being smushed under Zack and Ivy, and thought

I never want this to change. Life is perfect the way it is.

She ignored the small but intensifying pangs she got in her mind, the part connected to her Soulmate, and went to join her pack at the table.