Detonating fireworks is one way to celebrate. Here is how we do funerals.
It had been a while since I’d been down south with Jace. Mia was home with the kids. All the kids. Faelen and Drake were staying with Mia and helping to take care of Naya. Matt was stuck in the AU building with classes. Fae wasn’t enrolled in anything yet. That was one reason he was with Mia, he was looking towards human schools. Mia and Jace had a good one nearby. It would be a pain in the ass, he didn’t seem to want to stay in Hell’s Kitchen with Sage. Maybe he was afraid of the pack not being part of it. We hadn’t had a chance to sit down and talk really.
Jace and I had flown down. Jace being the great man that he was held my hand the whole way. He sat by the window he consoled my fucking fears and he was the perfect friend. And after all that had happened, he’d forgiven me. I wasn’t sure I’d forgive myself yet for Chris’ death, but Jace had forgiven me. That was the biggest step I needed to take.
The funeral was a whole day affair. We stayed with Jace’s parents in Jace’s old room. We shared the twin bed like we had many times before. I startled awake early and rolled out of his embrace and felt the welts on my back and took care of things before anyone in the house stirred. Unlike home, I had breakfast ready before 5 when Mr. Hill came down to fetch the preset brewed coffee.
He looked at me and shook his head. “I always forget we can expect breakfast before the sun when you are here.”
I smiled. “It’s the least I can do for you in this time of loss. I’ve more than enough breakfast to feed the whole village if you need.”
Mr. Hill laughed. “Son, we likely will.”
I smiled. “Then I’ll keep cooking. You and your wife have family to attend. People to see to. I got the food for the day. Everything.”
Mrs Hill stepped into the kitchen on that last little bit and wrapped her arms around me. “Oh hunny, you don’t need to do that. Me and the girls got it.”
I shook my head. “No ma’am. I got this. Let me do this for you please.”
Jace’s brother came down stairs pulling on a purple jacket and a festive hat. I felt the tear run down my cheek before he was even in the room. He gave me that smile, so like Jace’s. He said, “Mama, leave him be. Chris would want everyone in town spoiled by this one.” Henry clapped me on the back and I felt another tear roll down my cheek. He pulled me in for a hug and whispered, “I know you did everything for my boy. I never once doubted it brother, unlike Jace who should know better.”
I hugged him back and whispered back, “He has his reasons for doubting me.”
Henry laughed and sighed at the same time. “He loves you more than he should, my little brother, but he always believes in you.”
“I love him too, just…”
He patted my back and squeezed me, “He knows.” He leaned away from me and took a strip of bacon from the platter. “He knows he’s just too pig headed to care.”
Jace was standing at the bottom of the stares with a wide grin and his middle finger sticking up, “I love you, too, Hen.”
The nickname prompted Henry to wrap Jace up in a head lock and the Hill parents to tell the boys to take it outside which they did. But they greeted all the folks coming down into their yard.
Venatori funerals celebrate the life of a Venatori. A southern Venatori funeral took the celebration to a whole new level. There was the usual bonfires and party, but today the Hill house was Jazz central. They had several bands playing throughout the day. The dance floor was light up and would stay on fire until well into the night. The booze were free flowing.
There would be stories of Chris and his family. There would be stories of his family’s legacy. There would be fun and sad all rolled into one, but they celebrated the death of their son.
To some it may seem outlandish, but for the Venatori, death came for us all. We knew this, we understood this, and if the universe took us from our family and friends it wasn’t predestined or ordained. It was life.
There were Magnus present at every party. They maintained a certain discretion from the outside world. A veil not only of vision but of sound. But at a funeral they did other things too, one was returning the body to the universe. Being Cesari I attended more funerals as a child than I would have liked. But being Cesari I was often given the honor of returning the body to the universe while the rest of the party celebrated the life.
I had already done that for Chris. I’d given him his burial. I’d burned his body and I sent him back. I brought the ashes back so the ceremony could be preformed, so those in attendance would get to say there goodbyes and witness the magic of life returning to the ether. No one ever saw what I did, I had asked on many occasion what other’s saw. The patterns around the ashes when dispersed with magic flitted and floated by the visible eye. The winds of the magic taking the ashes away but hat wasn’t what I saw. The ash turned to lights, turned to life itself. I’d seen the sparkling lights when I first started digging into the healing with the elements. Between each thread, each weave of a pattern between everything was life, that tiny spark that made the universe tick. It was this sparkle that allowed me to heal. But if you tried to force it, it burnt out. You had to let life do it’s thing of it’s own free will. It made us up. It gave us life, and it stayed with our bodies as we died unless we let it go back to where it came from. Human’s return the bodies to the earth. Vampires turn to dust, the life gone from their bodies when they died. They burn up their life force the longer they live after death. Therians burn their bodies to keep the taint from spreading to others. Everything returns to whence it came.
It was more beautiful than the fireworks that were going off during the ceremony. Jace wrapped his arm around my waist behind the barbecue pit I was manning. “You need to draw what you see babe. Someone will believe you one day.”
I laughed. “Someone believes me now.”