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December 6th

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Johnny sat down in the back row, as silently as he could. He was very very late, and while he was far beyond caring what people thought of him, disrupting a funeral almost everyone in the criminal underground seemed to be at didn't seem like a particularly good idea. At least Saint seemed to be something all the junkies agreed on, as all of them had apparently turned up. There was restless shifting from a few of the people there, perhaps they hadn't really expected there to be a funeral, or had figured it would wrap up in ten minutes. Although he had just arrived, that was obviously not the case.

There was no open casket, presumably because either Saint had not been real, or when a person blows their head to bits it isn't advisable to have an open casket. Johnny wasn't sure which and didn't care, he was looking for confirmation and closure no matter what form it took. It seemed like it was about to take the form of sticking around, as another person got up to make a speech.

He tuned into this one a bit, the woman speaking was older than Saint had been, and obviously not related to him. She was a friend, she said, the friend that had found his body. Johnny had always assumed it was another customer, but this woman looked to be in perfect health, and she carried herself with far too much dignity to be someone who regularly bought back alley drugs. She was almost regal, and spoke as if she was relaying the story of a particularly nasty traffic accident. Upset, but not devastated. Of course she wasn't, Johnny thought, she hasn't lost a friend at all. But doubt still lingered in a small dark corner of his mind, so he stayed in his seat while the woman finished her speech.

And then he saw her, rising up to take the podium next.

It was like looking at a ghost. Her high cheekbones, the way her dark, calculating eyes looked out over the crowd, the rigid line of her back as she turned to face her audience. He had seen it all before, so many times at so many parties and this, this was almost the conformation he needed, unless this was simply the face on which their collective imaginations were based. But somehow, he doubted that person would be at the funeral if she were.

He watched as she took a deep breath to start her speech. But she had barely gotten a word out when her voice audibly stuck in her throat, and tears appeared in her eyes. The woman from earlier moved as if to comfort her, but was stared back in place with an intensity Johnny had only ever seen in Saint. The girl at the podium took another deep breath, and began:

"My name is June. Although I don't know most of you, I am so glad to see that my brother was so loved."


It takes her twenty minutes to get through the single notecard she has with her. Johnny sits through all of it even though he had never intended to, hanging onto her every word. She talks about things he never thought existed; her and Saint's (Jimmy's) childhood dog, the tree they grew up climbing, the time Saint (he was Jimmy, Johnny reminds himself, he was real) corrected a teacher so many times he got thrown out of the class. A whole life before Johnny, but none after him. Yet he gets a ride with one of the junkies to the graveyard.


He stays until the casket is completely buried. So does June. They stand side by side, if you can call it that from ten feet away, and watch Jimmy leave them forever, to become part of the dirt. To Johnny it was a bit poetic, but the sentiment was almost definitely not shared, so he kept quiet. June did not.

"You're Johnny." Not a question, or an attempt at an introduction. She knows. And he doesn't answer.

"He really loved you, you know," she tells him, her eyes focused on the pile of earth that, a week ago, was her twin brother. "He kept telling me he was worried about you, and in the letter he left me he asked me to make sure you were alright."

She looks up at him now, her gaze going straight to his soul, reading his sins he thinks. He can't see feeling in her eyes. "I'm not stupid. I can see that you were bad for each other. But be that as it may, you're still the reason my brother is dead." She looks back at the grave, and her shoulders sink in exhaustion. He waits.

"I've done everything he asked, and I'm glad you're alright. But I think you should go home." They stand in silence for another moment, the December wind cutting through the jacket Johnny wears and into his conscience. When he turns to look at her, she's crying again.

The next day, he boards the bus home.