Mary's funeral is short, hypocritical, and awkward, all in that order. At the last, her family rallies around her; like in her early death, Mary allowed them to forgive her how they couldn't while she was alive and blasphemous. Rev. Camden himself - Simon always thinks of him in those terms - does the eulogy, begging God to forgive his daughter her illness and take her into His loving arms. Simon stands to one side, Connor holding his hand like they're boyfriends, and doesn't think of much of anything at all.

No one from Sunnydale comes. Connor got a call from Giles while he was driving back from school - they already had their goodbyes, and to show up would just exacerbate the situation with the family. Like, he actually said 'exacerbate'. Connor hung up, and felt sick to his stomach.

Once the eulogy is done, Lucy gets up and does some readings from the bible. Simon shakes his head once, at the part with the valley of the shadow of death, and Connor squeezes his hand. Matt looks over, and then looks away.

"She was a pariah before she kicked it," Simon whispered. "why bother now?"

Connor stares off, at the shallow pond by the grave marker. It's nearly frozen, unheard of for this time of year, and is a dark grey, just waiting for proper spring. He mumbles, "funerals are for the living."


Half of Rev. Camden's parish shows up at the wake afterwards, all bringing food and fond memories of Mary as a little girl. The neighbours pass around casserole dishes and spoons, and someone makes sure their mom eats something. Simon keeps checking his watch, trying to decide the earliest he can get out of here with the excuse he has to study.

"How are you holding up?" Ruthie says from behind him.

Simon turns; Ruthie. Ruthie's been at school in Paris. It's a religious college so no one minds. She looks older than him, older than Matt, but not in a bad way. She looks *adult*, where everyone else just looks old and tired.

Simon shrugs. "Okay. I have to leave, soon."


Nod; "Connor promised to drop me off before he went back to school."

Ruthie has a lot of food on her plate. She tells him, "I've been here a week already," and then, "my plane leaves tomorrow."

"Back to France?"


They never used to be strangers like this; but when Ruthie looks at him with those eyes that have been crying, and puts a hand carefully on his shoulder, he knows, they're not strangers. They just don't have anything to say right now. Ruthie's always been more alone than the rest of them - Matt had Mary, and then girlfriends. Lucy had Mary and Matt. Simon and Connor had each other. The twins had each other. Ruthie was just always more independent than the rest of them, like somehow early she learned to be this stable, adult, reasonable human being and kept it to herself.

Connor slouches up to them, the day taking its toll. He's been crying, too. "C'mon, I can't stand this anymore," he mutters angrily. "Like she was their favorite daughter, like she was this angel, not the--"

Ruthie says, "give them one day of mourning, then call them hypocritical."

Connor subsides, but again he leans against Simon. Simon puts an arm around his shoulders, says, "we're out of here."

Ruthie nods, and walks away, composed as ever. Not that she isn't upset, not that she isn't grieving. She's just somehow learned the way to do all that on her own.

"I got another call from Giles," Connor says as they make their way to the front door, dodging the condolences and offers of food. "I guess," and Connor swallows, "her Watcher has some of Mary's things. He said he could bring them by for me later this week, or--"

Simon nodded, smiled pleasantly at Mary's basketball coach from high school, pretending he gave a fuck what she thought of Mary. "I'll go down there," he says, "I mean, I'm closer. I could."

Simon never met Giles; never met Sharon, the Watcher Mary talked about so often on the phone. Never met Buffy. Connor shoves the front door open, and turns. "They're more mobile than we are, but I'll tell him you'll meet with--"

their mother comes jogging up, tears still streaming down her face. "You weren't going to say goodbye, boys?"

Simon stares at the ground. Connor stares at Simon.

"Where are you going?" She sniffled, and added, "we need you right now."

Connor finally replies, "we have to get back to school. Midterms."

Her eyes are angry, and hurt, and visciously guilt-tripping. Simon doesn't really care. He forced himself not to swear at the parents that disowned Mary, the same parents are not going to succeed in convincing him they 'need him' because she's gone now. "We've got school," he says, and then allows himself, "and I have to go get Mary's stuff from Sunnydale."

Immediately, his mother backs a step up, and narrows her eyes. She sniffles again, and Connor manages to shove their way back out the door and down the sidewalk. It was cruel, maybe, but it was also the fastest way out of the house. "I swear, Connor," he says, kicking a rock down the pavement as they make their way to Connor's car, "I'm not coming back here."