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This Is Where The Party Ends


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What Judy remembered the most afterward was the way it didn't hurt. Oh it hurt inside, as if the heart that was barely there anymore had been torn out of her chest, but nothing else hurt. She didn't cry, she didn't sob, she didn't even feel an ache in her throat. Nothing in the body that she had, if she was honest with herself, been planning to give to Leroy sometime in the very near future felt his lack at all. It was all inside her head, and inside her soul. 

 

"Ah was worried at first that he was just going to go back home to his mother, the way Ah always thought he would. But Ashley showed me the letter from Vanguard and she said it all checks out. Tristan da Cunha never had its own hero before!" She laughed, but it didn't sound like she really meant it. 


It was all a fine thing. The British government would pay Leroy a substantial amount of money to spend the next five years of his life living in their South Atlantic territories with Dio, guarding the remotest inhabited place on Earth from Deep Ones, talking gorillas, and the occasional ghost pirate. Even Dio would get to go, and commune with the sleeping godling beneath the island's quiescent volcano. He'd finish his high school training there (it helped that he was now eighteen) and even take classes remotely.

 

By the time his contract with the British was done, he'd have enough money to buy his own place, whether on the island or somewhere else. He'd be free.

 

"He talked about how, um, he could wait up for me and how Ah could go down there and visit him whenever Ah wanted. And that we could even get married after Daddy's out of office. But the President's daughter can't just go visit her boyfriend in the middle of the ocean whenever she feels like it. And Ah don't...Ah don't want to wait that long." She reached down and twisted a spot on her finger and said, "So Ah gave him his ring back, and we parted amicably, and Ah told him Ah'd pray for him, and that he'd pray for me. And Ah will." She scrubbed her hand across her mouth and said, "And Ah want to cry about it. Ah _feel_ like Ah should cry about it, and scream, at the injustice of it all, but Ah just...Ah just can't." 

 

Ashley was around her by now, putting her arm around her shoulders as she said softly, "Ah think there's something wrong with me..." 

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