Jinx didn't own a suit, never had. What he did own was a pair of neat black trousers and a black button up shirt to go with it. It was an outfit that he didn't wear often, but it was still more than he wanted to. Sometimes he thought about getting rid of it, a sort of 'don't encourage the worst' mentality, but then he always needed it again.

Jinx was losing track of funerals he'd attended in London, but this one was the worst. This one should never have happened. None of them should have happened, but even if they were unfair, this one beat them all. He and Tal should be home today, and maybe it some alternate more fair universe another Tal and Jinx were. A Tal and a Jinx and an Alice, all curled up together in Tal's bed like a real family.

He and Tal would never be a family, not ever, no matter what happened later. Jinx saw that clearly now, like one of Peter's visions.
Alice's coffin reminded Jinx of a shoebox, barely bigger than the box his last pair of New Rocs had come in.

They were uncomfortable.

He'd hardly worn them.

He thought he might have left them at Loli's place.

When Alice was five, Jinx was going to get her a pair of those New Roc knockoffs they made for kids. She was going to be the coolest kid in kindy. (Would she have liked goth boots or would she be the kind of little girl who only liked pink? Maybe she'd think her goth parents were embarrassing.

Maybe Jinx would have stopped wearing makeup for her.

Maybe he would have stopped wearing skirts and glittery nails.

Maybe he'd have bought a suit.

But maybe Alice would have liked to sit behind him and braid his hair, and maybe they would have shared makeup, maybe he would have approved in her boyfriends because 16-year-old Alice has the same taste in boys as her old dad.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Or not at all.

Alice's coffin is barely bigger than a shoebox.

"She looks like she's sleeping," someone said, and Jinx hated them for . He didn't even know would it was. He couldn't think past Alice and then Tal, Tal who he clung to, who he couldn't let go of, who had tried to bring Alice into the world for them.

Tal would have been an amazing mother.

Snap wasn't a mum, neither was Stasia. Is that what Alice had now? Those two fuck ups?

Jinx couldn't bear to think of his Alice as a ghost up there. Did babies exist in that place? In some ways that seemed even more horrible than her being gone completely. Alice as a baby forever and ever? Jinx had to force himself to stop thinking about it or he knew he'd be sick. He already could feel the edge if violent nausea trying to rise up just from coping with this day.

When the words had all been spoken, they lowered Alice into the ground, where it was cold and dark. His daughter, buried in the black with nothing but worms. (At home there was an unused cot full of soft toys. None of them were worms.)

Jinx was asked if he wanted to put a handful of dirt onto the coffin. Why not. What else was there to do?

Go on, throw dirt on your dead baby girl, you worthless piece of shit.

But once the dirt was his hand he couldn't let it go, couldn't open his fingers to drop it. He just stared down at the hole for too long and then, without a word or really even making a decision, he walked away. Away from the funeral, away from his friends, away from Alice. He just walked, clod of dirt still gripped in his hand.

He didn't know where he was walking to. He didn't know what was in this direction. He had a handful of dirt and a head full of static.

A green car pulled up alongside him somewhere on the road past the cemetery - the cemetery where Snap was. buried. His baby buried in the same ground as his ex-girlfriend. His child in the same earth as the love of his life, both of them lost forever to him. Was that irony or just awful? Jinx don't know.)

The passenger door of the car opened and it was Helena who leaned out. "Hop in," she said, and although Jinx wanted to just keep walking, he didn't feel up to arguing it. He opened his hand and the dirt fell heavily before disintegrating, half of it sticking to his hands with sweat. He wiped his hand slowly on his nice funeral pants and then got into the car.

He put his seatbelt on.

For a little while they drove in silence but too soon Helena was talking, her Irish accent sounding more Irish today and Jinx thought it was strange that he took note of this. He couldn't manage to notice anything else since Alice died, couldn't follow the plot of his own life, but he could tell that Helena's accent was thicker.

"I'm so sorry, Jinx," she was saying. "Its so so horrible and I wish I could say something to make it better." Silence, as she waited to see if he would maybe say something. He didn't and so she went on. "Do you need anything?" Silence. "If you need anything at all- "

"Helena," he snapped, "fucking shut it."

Helena clamped her mouth shut and drove. The road lines were swallowed by the front of the car and Jinx watched them, letting them lull him as much as possible.

Spotting the cigarette box on the dashboard, Jinx reached out for it. "I need a light."

Helena didn't say anything but reached into her pocket, eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel, and pulled out a blue lighter with a cartoon skull on it. Jinx wound down the window and then lit up.

He'd quit smoking and drinking when Tal had, the both of them giving up those vices for Alice, but now it turned out to have been a sacrifice without a reward. He took a long drag and waited to the nicotine to calm him. It didn't happen. Jinx blew smoke out the open window and didn't speak again.

The wake was being hosted at Victoria Lane, Deirdre taking care of all of it. Helena led the way inside and then left him - she said something as she went, but it was unimportant. Jinx found a chair in the corner of the room and sat. He didn't know if he was supposed to be doing something here. So many wakes and he had no idea.
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Darker London

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