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Immediately after "The Truth"

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Maya Lindholm: Maya rolled around the corner as Warren left Akkey’s room. She hadn’t mean to eavesdrop, but she did. She bit her thumb, thinking hard. Should she even go in there? Akkey might not even want to see anyone right now. She shook her head, sighing, and wheeled herself in.

Akkey had the blanket wrapped around her shoulders, hugging her knees close to her chest. The position was painful for her wounds but she didn’t care. She buried her face in her arms when Maya came beside her, saying nothing.

They were both quiet for a long time. People periodically ran past the door, carrying bandages and medicine. Hunter even peeked in once, but continued on when he saw the sisters.

After what seemed like hours, Maya finally spoke, “Akkey…”

Akkey kept her head down, her words muffled ignoring her statement, “You shouldn’t be here. It’s too dangerous.” 

She sniffed, “Isn’t it a bit too late for that.”

“You need to go! It… it’s too dangerous here. Go back home, you’ll be protected there. She promised you will be safe, as long as I do the job…”

Maya reached out, running her fingers through her sister’s dyed hair, “Hel? And the souls?” Akkey’s head snapped up, staring fearfully at her sister. The older girl smiled, “It’s hard to keep it a secret, you know. People talk. That attack wasn’t exactly inconspicuous, either. And… Father told me.” Akkey looked away, her mouth a thin line. Damn it.

“Is it just the King and Father who know about this?” 

A small nod, “I don’t want to tell anyone, especially Tree. I’m giving up all these souls just so you can be safe during Ragnarok without having to be aligned with any god. You don’t have to fight. You can still go to Valhalla.”

“You don’t have to do that…”

“But what if you die! You can’t leave me again! Not now… now that I can protect you,” Akkey’s breaths became shallow, her eyes widening, “Who am I kidding… I couldn’t even protect the others… ever since the beginning. Mother died, Vox died, Haddock died, Rotgrass… Hyro… Teddi and Cynthia… everyone… when I try to fix it just makes it worse… they keep dying… leaving… you’ll die again…”

“Akkey, listen to me,” she firmly turned her sister around to face her. Hazel eyes stared hart into green, refusing to let up, “Ten years. We were separated for ten years, and now we have a chance to be together again as a family. Hunter and I are staying. We’ll be fine.”

“You need to stop doing everything by yourself. Let the others help you. They’re your family, your friends. Tell them. Tell Tree why you left. They deserve that much.” she gripped Akkey’s shoulders, “Father and I are alive. The King is alive, that boy Vox is alive. Stop beating yourself for it. You’ve done more for everyone than you think.”

She wrapped her arms around the younger girl, and Akkey buried her face in her chest. Maya smiled gently. It was warm, “You’ve grown, Akkey. Mother would be proud of you.”

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