Jack Spicer's funeral was three days later. The monks showed up early, resplendent and somber in their formal robes. Omi started to cry as soon as he saw the casket. Clay seemed to have shut down. The cowboy hadn't said more than two words in the last three days. The blond Dragon pulled the brim of his black Stetson low over his blue eyes and kept his gaze on the floor.
There were more people than the monks expected; a group of boys Jack's age arrived all wearing the same black blazers and slacks and deep red ties. They all looked bored out of their skulls. Rai realized with a start that they were probably Jack's schoolmates. He hadn't even known that Jack went to school. Megan was there as well. The spoiled girl demanded attention and toys and seemed oblivious to the fact that Jack was dead. Mr. Spicer approached the casket once, then spent the rest of the service sitting in the corner smoking cigarette after cigarette. Mrs. Spicer took up station by the coffin, sobbing loudly that her baby boy was dead.
The four monks approached the casket. Jack didn't even look like Jack. His wild hair had been neatly combed, his eyeliner scrubbed off and his school uniform replaced his raggedy trench coat.
"He looks like Good Jack," Kimiko muttered, then gave a semi-hysterical giggle that morphed into a sob. "We were so mean to him, even when he was Good Jack."
"We kept getting stronger. We forgot that he had no one to train him," Omi whispered hoarsely, standing on tiptoe. "We got so strong that we forgot he was weak."
"He just kept fighting." Raimundo whispered. "He had no skills, his robots weren't that good, and he wasn't even very healthy. Why did he keep fighting? Didn't he realize he could be killed?"
"Shoulda brought the Monkey Staff," Clay muttered. "Was always 'is favorite wu. We coulda buried 'im with it."
"What if Chase or Wuya wanted it?" Kimiko asked. "Do you think they'd hesitate to rob his grave?"
"I brought these." Omi held up Jack's goggles. The left lens had been cracked and the strap was ripped but Omi had added on another strap, tying the new one on to the original. "He will be more Jack Spicer with his goggles."
Raimundo boosted the Dragon of the Water up and Omi slipped the goggles under Jack's hand.
"That's better," Rai said. "That's - that's a lot better."
"You're holding up traffic." The monks looked over to see Jack's schoolmates lined up to view the body. They were being corralled by three nuns and a Catholic priest. The speaker was a tall brunette with skin nearly as pale as Jack's. He didn't even glance at the casket.
"We apologize," Omi said. "We will take our seats for the service."
The Xiaolin Dragons withdrew and took their seats, except for Raimundo. Hesitantly, he approached Mrs. Spicer. He felt like he was going to his own execution. What was he supposed to say? 'Sorry we killed your son; it was kind of an accident, oh by the way, with his dying breath he asked me to make sure you played his favorite song at his funeral'?
Mrs. Spicer looked up over her monogrammed handkercheif. Her makeup was impeccable and for a second Rai wondered how she kept her eyeliner from running while she cried. Mrs. Spicer gave Raimundo an appraising look.
"You're from the Xiaolin Temple, aren't you?"
"That's where - that's where my Jackie-" She trailed off, burying her face in her decorated hanky.
"Y-Yes, Ma'am." Rai rasped, feeling his throat close up. Mrs. Spicer's image was starting to dance and shimmer through the tears welling in his green eyes.
"I didn't even know he was studying martial arts!" The woman sobbed. "Now, because of some stupid training accident-!"
Raimundo didn't say anything. A 'training accident' was the lie the Temple had used to keep the authorities from locking them up in the funny farm. No one would have believed the local goth boy was plotting to take over the world through the use of magic items called Shen-Gong-Wu.
"W-was he good at it? Kung fu or whatever?" Mrs. Spicer asked.
"No," Rai admitted. "He sucked." A traitorous chuckle made it about half-way up his throat before dying. "H-He was pretty good at Monkey style," The Brazilian offered, feeling the need to say something nice about Jack Spicer.
"Monkey style . . ." Mrs. Spicer echoed, shaking her head. "I don't think Jack would pull off a very convincing monkey."
Raimundo did laugh then. Mrs. Spicer looked at him sharply, but her expression softened as she recognized the strained tone of the 'laugh or go insane' hilarity. Rai choked, laughter abruptly changing to sobs. The Xiaolin Dragon buried his face in his hands and cried with more fervor than he ever had before.
"Oh, there, there, honey." Mrs. Spicer stood and gathered Raimundo into a heavily perfumed embrace. "I-I'm just glad to know my Jackie had a good friend like you."
"I wasn't a good friend! I made fun of him and laughed at him! When he came to train, I made his chores all harder even though I was glad he was there!" Rai insisted.
"I'm sure Jackie knows-knew you really cared about him." Mrs. Spicer said, rubbing Rai's back. "I know he would have considered you a friend even if you gave him a hard time. Knowing Jackie, I'm sure he gave as good as he got."
Sniffling, Raimundo nodded weakly. Mrs. Spicer continued to rub up and down the Brazilian's back.
"Well now, you certainly do train hard," she murmured. The woman's manicured hands traced Rai's well-muscled back appreciatively. He could only meet Mrs. Spicer's blue eyes in outright horror. She was hitting on one of her son's friends at her own son's funeral?
The Dragon of the Wind extracted himself quickly and fled back to his companions, all thoughts of Jack's song forgotten.
Somehow they made it through the service and waited respectfully while Jack's coffin was lowered into the ground.
Raimundo couldn't remember if anyone spoke. All the way back to the Temple, each Xiaolin Dragon remained silent, lost in his or her own thoughts. The silence remained intact as they retreated to their respective sleeping stalls. Kimiko turned on her radio.
Rai left his mind drift as the music washed over all of them. He didn't know what he thought about or for how long. He cried a few times, confused, helpless tears with no force behind them.
The thought struck him suddenly that he had never asked Jack's mother to play the song the evil genius had asked for.
Equally sudden was the realization that the song playing on the radio was the one Jack had mentioned.
'They said all teenagers scare
The living shit out of me
They could care less
As long as someone'll bleed
So darken your clothes
Or strike a violent pose
Maybe they'll leave you alone, but not me.'
Raimundo didn't know how he recognized the song; he had never heard it before. It wasn't his type of music. He hoped, in a disjointed, inane sort of way that Jack wouldn't be mad.
'The boys and girls in a clique
The awful names that they stick
You're never gonna fit in much, kid
But if you're troubled and hurt
What you got under your shirt
Will make them pay for the things that they did.'
Rai felt a cold chill. Without really knowing why, he rolled onto his side and looked at his clock.
It was 7:32 p.m.