This story contains major spoilers for The Shepherd's Crown.
The Administrator of the Official Fanfiction University of Discworld closed the book and lay it carefully on his desk. He glanced down at the cover, blinked a few times, then looked up at the young woman sitting against the wall of his office. "It-" He grimaced and cleared his throat. "It's all right to cry, you know."
Tiffany Aching raised her head and met his gaze. Her eyes were hard, her cheeks pale. "You think I would weep for her?" she asked in a level voice. "I, who have kissed the Winter?"
The Administrator managed a small smile. "No, Miss Aching-"
Tiffany fixed him with a glare. "Mistress."
"Mistress Aching," the Administrator allowed. "Not for Granny Weatherwax, nor for Nightshade, nor for your own Granny Aching. I've read your books; I know you. But…" He reached out a trembling hand, pressed it down onto The Shepherd's Crown.
Tiffany slumped back in the wooden chair, tugging her cloak tighter around herself until she seemed almost to vanish into the blackness. "You think you know me," she said, "but he did. He was our creator, our chronicler… he was the… I don't have the words." She shrugged, a ripple in the darkness. "He gave us the words, and now he is gone. How can we go on, when all stories have come to an end?"
The Administrator nodded slowly. "And this is the last one," he said softly. "And it's yours."
"But it shouldn't have been!" Tiffany exploded off her seat, hitting the ground hard and stalking over to the Administrator's desk. She swiped the hardcover book out of his grip and held it up. "The last Words should have gone to that wizard, or Commander Vimes, or Miss Susan, or Gra-" She cut herself off, gasping for breath. "They shouldn't have been mine," she said more calmly, a few moments later. "They shouldn't."
The Administrator leant back in his chair, his eyes half closed. "We all hoped for a little longer," he said, his voice low. "Another two or three novels, a couple more conventions, a few more years of lilacs in spring. But we don't get to make that choice." He drew in a deep breath. "So you got the last Words, Mistress Aching. And they were good ones, weren't they?"
Tiffany clutched the book in both hands. Slowly, she opened it, turning to the final page. The Words were there, printed in small, simple letters:
"So did you use magic to make the hut, miss?"
"I didn't have to," said Tiffany. "The magic was already here."
"They were all right, I guess," Tiffany said in a small voice. She brushed away the tears threatening to fall and met the Administrator's gaze again. "But what do we do now?"
"The same thing we've always done, Mistress Aching." The Administrator reached across the desk and took The Shepherd's Crown from her hands, placing it back on the desk. "We carry on."
Disclaimer: Discworld belongs to Sir Terry Pratchett. OFUDisc is my tribute to his world.