IV. Half-bloods Choose Between A Monster or the Void of Doom

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❝ Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself

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Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself. Nathaniel Brand

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In all her years of flying to dance competitions, Akira never expected the flight to be one of the worst she has ever been on.

She sat in the backseat of her father's car, anxiously picking at her nails and tugging at her stray hair with worry. Ryota and her father sat up front as they discussed their latest international competition and structured out a solid routine. Miguel sat beside her and watched Akira's face go pale, knowing how uncomfortable she felt when in a confined place with her family. As they pulled into the airport's parking lot, the car slowed to a stop and drove up by the sidewalk. Haruto looked at the rear view mirror and Akira looked away from his reflection immediately. "Get out," He said as he signaled with his chin.

Akira swiftly unbuckled her seatbelt and rushed to grab the door handle, shaking it a bit and pushing it open with all her might. She stumbled forward from the force and tripped on the curb, falling forward until Miguel lurched forward and grabbed her wrist. "Woah, you okay?" He asked as Akira regained composure and straightened up.

"Y-Yes," She mumbled as Miguel slid his hand into hers to help himself get out of the car. "Thank you."

He smiled back and let go of her grasp while Ryota got out to open the trunk. The actor pulled out Miguel's suitcases and dragged them over to the foreign exchange student. "It was nice having you around, kid," He grinned endearingly and ruffled the boy's hair who merely faked a laugh in response. As Ryota headed back to grab Akira's belongings, he pulled out a single, black duffle bag and threw it at her feet. She frowned at him, and her brother scoffed and rolled his eyes with amusement. "You honestly believe that I am going to carry it for you? Pick it up yourself, woman."

Holding her emotions back as she bit her tongue, Akira crouched to pick up the bag and slung it over her shoulder. She straightened out her black skirt that fell to her knees, annoyed but not surprised that Ryota didn't have the decency to hand it to her. Miguel watched his friend with sympathy and gestured towards the building. "Let's hurry up and check in so we don't miss the flight, okay?" He asked gently and she slowly nodded in agreement.

He went ahead, pulling both suitcases behind him as he entered the airport. Akira turned back to lock eyes with her brother, shooting him a glare full of spite. "Freedom from you for a week; what a dream," She held back the urge to spit in his direction. "I may finally be freed from your high pitched, pubescent voice, brother."

Ryota placed a hand over his chest and blinked back fake tears, pretending to be touched by her words. "How you flatter me, dear sister." He reached out and without warning, grabbed her ponytail and ran his fingers through her long locks. His face seemed a bit blank as he moved up to her hair tie as if recalling something, but Akira drew back with confusion in her glare. Ryota's soft gaze morphed into cruelty as he snickered at her recoil. "I shall be ecstatic to show you three new trophies by the time you return. Let us both hope that your little dancing camp will help get your life back in check," He cackled at his joke before getting back into the shotgun seat.

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