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"You...are right." Leroy could not have looked more stunned if Micah had dropped an anvil on his head, "All I have offered is banality and the most pedestrian of romance. When at the very least her dreams should be made manifest and her enemies defanged. You have opened my eyes, Micah," he told the other boy, utter sincerity shining in the aforementioned, "I shall not soon forget this."

 

"Though I must admit some surprise, the raw power Mia bears is stirring, to say the least. Her spirit is indomitable and and her heart is true as crystal. And while I know little of this world, I know you are under an existential menace unlike anything Earth-2 faces. We are all young, but even the young may die."

 

He shrugged, "As to your question, I recently finished a few biographies on Nancy Ward, one of the renowned and wise gighau you mentioned. Her slaves and I would have looked very much alike..."

 

The Dragon Prince's voice trailed off, as Ben-Hur was saved from dying of thirst by a faceless stranger.

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Mia groaned. Judy interpreted it exactly as Mia expected she would, and now any denial was going to look like she was embarrassed. And she was embarrassed! How were those the words that came out of her mouth? It was like her own brain was trying to sabotage her.

 

"Judy, that's not, she's, no. We're fighting," Mia tried to explain. Then she sighed. "Thank you. You look great too."

 

Rubbing her temples, Mia wondered how long until this came back to bite her. She was hoping never, but with her luck it was going to be quick. Unless she made sure...

 

"Okay, so Micah knows, but more importantly, I need you to... Not spread things around, okay? Please?"

 

 

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Micah blinked as Leroy's conversation jumped all over the place. His expression remained flat, almost stony.

 

"Okay, so...I'm sorry, what?"

 

His voice betrayed more emotion than his face. Micah's expression shifted a bit, toward confusion, and he ran a hand over his face for a moment.

 

"So, I explained that Mia and I aren't super-serious or whatever, that we're just here to watch a movie with you two, try to relax. I mean, I'm not saying I don't want to even be her friend or anything Leroy! I just said we're not all super-romance-committed like...like you and Judy are. And now you're jumping to declarations of rejection 'banal romance'?"

 

He shook his head.

 

"Right, okay, yes. That's my point, though, Leroy. You lifted up the concept of women like Nancy Ward on a pedestal and ignored the uglier truth of what she did. I'll be the first to admit white people have done a lot of nasty stuff. But just like I'd say they're not all monsters or whatever, people like the Cherokee aren't all saints. It's like you keep swinging back and forth on extremes, same as with the whole romance thing. Just...maybe moderate some, you know?"

 

He sighed.

"I'm not trying to be a jerk but you're so...you're exhausting for someone like me to be around sometimes, man. I know you're not trying to do that. I'm trying to...to...clear the air? I dunno. I'm bad at this, honestly."

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"Ah promise," said Judy with a wink. "Believe me," she admitted with a thin smile, "if there's anybody at Claremont who can keep a secret, it's me and Ashley." She paused a moment ,then opened the makeup kit in her purse to touch up her lipstick - a bright shade of ruby red that had gotten a little smeared with all the kissing earlier. She blushed a little as she thought about that, then said, "Leroy and Ah don't get a lot of opportunities to go on, um, dates," she said as she finished up the lipstick, "what with everything being the way it is. Ah'm sorry if we made you uncomfortable just now." 

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Mia sighed internally. Well, as long as Judy would keep quiet about it. Maybe without anyone to talk with it about, she would forget or figure out what Mia meant in time. If not, Mia knew that something dumb would follow. "I mean, no, that's all pretty tame stuff, it was just cute is all. I don't really see that a lot from you guys," she said with a smile. "You two make a good couple."

 

She rubbed the back of her neck. "Whaddaya think they're talking about out there?"

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"Oh, who knows," said Judy with a little wave. "The boys can keep themselves busy for a while, and I can watch in here just as well as out there. Here, you want some of this?" she offered, handing her makeup bag to Mia. "Not that you don't look great," she offered, "but you could look even better!" She gave her a bright smile then asked her sister "Can you hear anything out there, Ashley?" 

 

Ashley shrugged, leaning against the wall near the door. "Nothing loud. I think they're talking about race or something." 


"Oh, well, that's them Ah guess," said Judy, her face looking clouded for a moment. "Definitely nothing we need to worry about." She considered for a moment, then said, "Don't you think Leroy needs to cut his hair? Ah mean it's real pretty, but it's almost as long as mine, and it's just...he'd look so great with short hair." She sighed softly, putting some of her own makeup back in the bag. "Micah too. They're both really cute, though." 

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"Good Micah, never apologize for who you are or what you have to say." The otherworldly boy looked downright grave. "If they do harm, words alone will not make amends. If not, you blunt yourself for nothing."

 

"Thank you for your forbearance, Father Guimont," he added with a brilliant smile at the adult still in the room, "it does more good than we know."

 

Turning back to his schoolmate, the young prince went on in earnest "Micah, those two faces, the good and the evil, are balance in my eyes. Nanyehi sought to forestall the destruction of her people by adopting the sedentary culture and surface traits of industrial European colonies. Perhaps because of it you are alive today, to see the heirs of genocidal invasion claim an eternal mantle of liberty and tolerance."

 

Leroy shrugged, "Your ancestors still have less evil in their past than Atlantis. That is all I meant by it."

 

"But, if you will indulge me, I would like to know." Looking curiously at the other boy, his voice dropping to soft thunder, the Dragon Prince of Earth-2 asked the boy from Bartlesville "If not the great Mia, is there someone you do have feelings for?"

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Micah had forgotten about the presence of the priest for a few moments. He sent the man of the cloth a sheepish look and a shrug, before turning back to Leroy. 

 

"I...okay, I guess that sort of makes sense. It's just...you're kind of coming at it different than most folks would. It is hard to say what might have gone different. Seems to me like what she did, didn't end up helping my ancestors much, though. I probably wouldn't have been much better back then, though. Dunno."

 

Then Leroy asked at rather fateful question. Micah froze, his eyes widening a bit.

 

"Well. Uh. See...I guess I don't really feel like goin' into that, yet? Look, this is probably one of our better conversations, Leroy. But we're not, like, buddies. Not yet. Maybe one day. But not yet. That kinda thing takes time."

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