Cya left Leo’s house slowly. She walked out of the yard as if she was still, somehow, thinking he’d say “no, wait, come back.” She walked down the road, ignoring people, ignoring animals, ignoring the little voice in the back of her head that was always suggesting improvements to the city.
He sticks around because he’s crazy. THAT voice had always been there, even when it was pretty obvious Leo wasn’t so much sticking around as being tethered by ill-thought-out promises and Cya’s habit of Finding him whenever he got too far off. He sticks around because he’s tethered.
If his insanity was changing, evolving, would there still be room for the Protagonist’s Friends?
She walked to the wall around her city and climbed the ladder. It was her city; nobody was going to tell her not to be there.
“You built a real city,” he’d said. She chewed it over. Yes, yes she had. It wasn’t New York City or even Chicago or Milwaukee, but it was a city. She’d set out to make one, and she had.
“We aren’t teenagers anymore.” It was hard to argue with that, either. After all, they had grand-children who were past the teenaged years.
That was where something had gone wrong. Then he’d asked if something was wrong with him. Then he’d asked if he was insane.
She stared out at the mountains beyond her city, and the road snaking its way past Cloverleaf. She looked inwards, at the growing city she’d wrought. It would hold, she thought, even if she didn’t. It could grow now, with or without her.
Leo… Leo wasn’t exactly predictable, but he, Howard, Zita, even Gaheris, Mags, they’d always had a set of behaviours they could be trusted to act within. Cya too, of course; Cya was The Calm One.
Which explained entirely why she was crying. She bit her lip and raised her chin. Nobody would ask why the mayor of the city was sobbing on the walls, but it wasn’t particularly great for morale, either. The Mayor made things go, just like Cya always had. She didn’t bawl her eyes out.
She certainly didn’t bawl her eyes out over her friend the insane samurai. And absolutely not because he might not be insane anymore.
The drop from the walls was a long one, too long to make safely, but making the earth soft and bouncy was an old trick by now. Cya slid down to the ground and let the soft space between inner and outer walls cradle her. Nobody would see her breaking script here. Nobody would be worried by her crying.
Leo… Leo was changing.
“How bad…” It had been bad, sometimes. It had been awful sometimes. But selfishly, Cya had not minded as much as she should, because it let her be useful. It let her be needed.
“It’s nice.” And she’d done what she always did and given him what he might possibly at some point need. She’d built him a house with her own hands and Workings. She’d stocked it with food in case he visited. She’d done a bigger version of packing him a go-bag. And, sane, or becoming sane, or differently insane, whatever was going on with him — whatever she’d triggered in him — Leo had cared about as much as her angrier Kept had cared about their go-bags.
She stared blankly at the walls of her city. What in hell was she supposed to do next?
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