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and if I had a nickel for every time this bit has already tried to jump the queue in the last year - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
and if I had a nickel for every time this bit has already tried to jump the queue in the last year
#@!!$ Muse has a positive genius for coming up with the last missing lines of these when I'm supposed to be getting dressed for things, I swear...


Max rings. He's lost Anton. Of course, when and where?

Jason's surprised, a bit, that I would think of attending a funeral. "I mean, you know... it's, um, in a church?"

(That old saw. I'd wondered why I'd only got an invitation to the wedding's reception, at that.) "Reckon if Max can stand it, so can I," I say.

If Jason's eyebrows go any higher they're going to get stuck in his dreads. "So, um... Max is... one of..."

"-- Oh, no, no, erm... he's just..." I grasp for an explanation that would be sufficient; "Really not Catholic." Anton was, faithful as Karol Wojtyla, but Max... Max told the Weathermen to get stuffed because he considered them too caught up with their own orthodoxies, questioning received authority is what he does.

He's turned out well, I've always thought.

Jason's more surprised to see me in a suit. "You actually look your age, I mean, not, whatever, but... I wouldn't card you in that."

I don't think it's going to be a bloody open-bar, but I suppose I can appreciate the sentiment.

Characteristically, Max has arrived at the compromise with himself of waiting for me in the church's front vestibule, trying to look as if he's receiving people at the book of condolences rather than pretending that he's not where he is. There's a glint of silver stubble round the usually crisp edges of his beard. Max manages a smile for the suit: Bueller. Ferris Bueller.

Shut it.

The smile widens and he pulls me in for a fierce hug. Ah, so glad you came, man. So glad you came.

Other mourners mill about, occasionally approaching Max; Mr Sprytny. (Max returns my questioning eyebrow with the tiniest shrug. I doubt the authorities are still so interested in finding him, at least for the reasons they should be, but why deny him his little conceits.) He's putting on a good show of restrained fortitude, accepting sympathy from those in the know and those not with the same wry grace: "He was sixty-seven years old and he loved pierogi more than his health, what can you do?" I get the odd glance of reined-in curiosity, but these are Max's people. They know not to enquire too closely of anyone whom Max doesn't introduce as an innocent. By the same token, so do I.

I don't want to know who people believe I am.

By unspoken agreement we end up back at mine after the long day is over, sat in the front-room by candle-light putting more of a dent in the bottle of Penderyn that Susan and Michael had brought for the flat-warming. Jason won't be home until very late, he's working a function after his class schedule; Max seems disappointed to have missed him -- Good kid? I shrug. I think this is a good thing for you, you live alone you get all... tweed.

I do not.

Still. Not good to come in to an empty house.

Max's breath catches. He blinks, too rapidly, and, at last, crumples, the brave front sliding down his face until his eyes go bright. I draw him down to weep into my shoulder, stroking his hair. Ssh. Maxeleh, bach.

I thought -- I thought I could -- How do you do this?

I have no answer for him.

Jason is round-eyed and quiet the next morning, nodding confused politeness to the old man in his kitchen making three portions of eggs benedict. "I guess you'd have a lot of exes," he says once Anton's nephew has come round to give Max a lift home.

"It's... No." I shake my head. "Complicated. But not... No."

Now I've really confounded Jason. "You're not, like... his grandfather, or something."

I think, just for a moment, of telling him how when I look at Max I see an eleven-year-old girl who doesn't yet realise that she'll never see her Vater or Mutter or Tante Lotte again. Jason would understand, child of such a frightful age himself, and yet I know he wouldn't, because I still don't. "It's complicated," I say again.

My flatmate is still giving me quite the doubtful look. Considering that Max could easily be Jason's grandfather, I can see where he might be unsettled. But he keeps his own counsel about it, and even comes up with a casserole for me to take along when I mention intent to check in on Max. Some instincts are universal, I suppose.


2 responses | moved to respond?
ashnistrike From: ashnistrike Date: July 16th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
An LJ friend of mine is quoted as saying "I don't understand death, but I've got hot dish down pretty good." Given Jason's background, it's not surprising that he's of the same school. I presume that we're not meant to understand what the relationships are here? (Or at least, not yet?)

robling_t From: robling_t Date: July 17th, 2012 04:57 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
This is about where Muse's preference for handling this project through so much inference becomes REALLY, REALLY ANNOYING. :) Let's say I think it probably doesn't lose anything if the backstory here is a little vague, but I guess it points out potential missing scenes elsewhere... (one of which is almost certainly the "Brash young Yank on my doorstep that one morning" story, which I'd have to figure out how to slip in as a flashback without disrupting the flow-such-as-it-is...)
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