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The hot Zuldazar sun beat down on Xiomara's skin, making the little troll smile as she ran around with her friends. She had always been fast and strong, tall and powerful. Xiomara was a monster. She was proud. She heard the boys, her friends, to her left, her head swiveling quickly towards them as she ran in their direction. Nobody could hide from her for long, she had keen eyes like an eagle! It was why she always liked Pa’ku so much. They were the same.

The little troll felt discomfort in her stomach; different from the butterflies she felt when she was hungry, but not quite different enough that she noticed. Was she hungry? She had skipped breakfast that morning. But she always did! Her parents never prepared her breakfast and she always scrounged up lunch off of Rohq. Always. That was the nature of their friendship, after all. She brushes the pain aside, figuring that it was a bad case of stomach troubles. Could have been a bad dinner she’d eaten the night before. It was fine. She continues to run around, her bright eyes seeing movement in a nearby bush.

Xiomara easily finds and smacks Rohq in the shoulder, cheering for herself and jumping up and down. They exchange a good laugh and he places his large hands over his eyes, counting loudly as she runs to find her own bushes to hide in. She lays on the ground, to keep from being seen. She was always good at hiding, too. Rohq rarely found her. As she waited, the pain in her stomach grew stronger and stronger and stronger until it felt like a knife had been thrust into her abdomen and TWISTED, making her little face scrunch up. She flopped, feeling like she was about TO DIE. She struggled to keep from making little pained noises as the knife twisted and twisted, and suddenly Rohq’s smiling face popped into view as the brush was set aside. Gotcha! He looked so proud of himself… until he saw her face.

It didn’t take much to make her friend worried, especially given how they had met to begin with, and she was quickly taken away to find a medic. Rohq had gotten surprisingly strong recently, a fact that Xiomara envied. She was the strong one! That was her job! How could he be stronger than her suddenly? She was snapped from her thoughts as she was set down in a chair, a medic coming to gently touch her forehead. Xiomara dramatically explains what had happened through gritted teeth, hands crossed over her midsection and doubled over. She rarely cried, but today tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.

The medic raised an eyebrow at Xiomara and gently shoos Rohq out of the tent, though the pair of trolls exchange a look and protest. They had to be together during this! They were always together during the tough times. Ride or die! Right? She looks fearfully at the medic. What was so important that Rohq couldn’t be there to hear it with her? With enough coaxing (a lot of coaxing, at least ten minutes of disagreement), the stubborn two finally agree. The medic crouches beside the young girl, taking hold of her hand and looking up into her eyes. Her voice is calm and even, motherly, as she asks the girl if she has a family that can come to get her; to ask if the girl had a mother who would rather explain to her the important milestone she was undergoing. Xiomara shakes her head: no. She didn’t have a family that would come get her. She didn’t have a mother who would want to explain what was happening. She considered asking for Rohq’s family to come, but she couldn’t bring herself to burden them any further than she already had.

The medic sighs, closing her eyes for a moment, before patting Xiomara upon the hand again. The pain continues to cut and dig into the small troll, her eyes continuing to water. She wipes at her eyes, tiny hands balled up. IT HURT. Maybe she needed to use the bathroom! That usually helped. She quietly asks the medic to use the restroom, struggling to remain polite in the midst of her DYING. The medic agrees, though her face says she is uncertain. Xiomara slowly makes her way to the restroom and what she sees causes her to SHRIEK. The shriek cut through the silence, like a hot knife through a stick of butter; it pierced the heavens. She runs out, her eyes wide, as she shows the woman her undergarments, stained bright red with what looked like blood. SHE WAS DYING! HOW COULD THE LOA LET THIS HAPPEN TO HER?!

The gentle medic takes Xiomara’s hand again, her voice soft. Her face was etched with concern – concern that the girl had nobody to call in this trying time, concern that she had no place to go. After a moment, the medic sighs and places her hands upon Xiomara’s slender shoulders, looking into her bright eyes. She slowly explains what was happening to the girl, using simple and understandable terminology, waiting patiently as she asked questions. The girl made a face, like she was about to protest. But-! This hadn’t happened to Rohq! How could this only be happening to her, they were the same! Weren’t they?

 The medic chuckles and considers her words, telling the girl that this would never happen to Rohq. But how could this be? The words take a moment to settle in her mind. The shock upon her face told the medic everything she needed, and she gently patted the girl once more. Rohq was a boy, she was a girl. There would be differences between them, especially as they got older. They wouldn’t stay the same forever. Xiomara feels the sting of tears in her eyes again, though this time not because of the pain in her abdomen.

Tears begin to spill from her bright eyes, rolling down her scaly cheeks, as the realization that she couldn’t be one of the boys forever begins to set in. But she’d always been one of the boys. She’d never been different! They were her friends and now they’d look at her like some outsider! She wails. Loudly. And before the medic even has a chance to stop her, the door bursts open as the other young Zandalari sprints in, with the quickness of lightning Rohq was beside her again. Friends until the end, right? Ride or die. He looks at the medic, like she had just stabbed his best friend. HOW DARE SHE?! The young boy starts to protest in return, his normally polite and friendly persona shed to show a fierce and loyal protector underneath.

To say this medic had the patience of a saint may have been an understatement, as she pinched the bridge of her large, hawklike nose and began to calm down the rowdy children. First, to get Rohq to stop trying to punch her, and then to get Xiomara to cease her tears. Neither of these things were helpful besides to help escalate the other child. She crouches down beside the two, hands upon their shoulders. Xiomara looks at Rohq, rubbing at her puffy eyes again, attempting to keep from wailing about how he would abandon her now that she was different.

And in that moment he laughed.

The laughter snaps the young girl out of her wailing, causing her to look at her best friend with wide, confused eyes. Why was he laughing at her? She was serious! She balls up her little fists and punches him in the shoulder. Hard enough that it might have caused a bruise on him. The punch to the shoulder was met with more laughter, before the young boy wraps his friend up in the biggest, sweetest hug that a boy his age could manage. Why would he abandon her just because she was a girl? They’d known this for ever now! Since the beginning of ever, duh! He punches her back, gently, in her shoulder, as he tells the medic that they were going back to his house to talk to his parents about what happened today. Xiomara sniffles again, protesting against causing the family any more trouble, but Rohq stubbornly disagrees and pulls her away before the medic can say another word.

She was one of the boys and she was part of his home. Regardless of whatever weird doubts she had, for whatever weird reason, because she was a weird butt-butt, she was part of the family! Couldn’t escape now, Butt-Butt!

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