Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me – if they did do you really think I'd be writing slash on the Internet and not making any money out of it?


Crying at Funerals

Everyone cries at funerals, it's allowed, especially when it's your father who's died. But I'm not going to cry, not now, not in front of everyone. It wouldn't do for the Master of Buckland to make such a spectacle of himself in public.

It's only now that I finally realise the weight of the title. I'd been the Master in all but name for months now, but only truly for the last five days. I hadn't ever really believed it would happen, he was old, but not ancient and right up until the end I thought he would get better. I thought this would just be a practice, a few weeks of running things when he was still around to give me advice so that I had some experience that I would be grateful for in ten years or so.

I was there with him at the end. There with him and mother, who everyone thinks will follow him soon, even though I don't think he really knew it. I didn't cry then either, partly from relief, but mainly because I felt there had to be someone who wasn't crying and there were so many things to do. I had to make arrangements for someone to make a coffin and for someone to dig the grave and write letters to all of our relatives about when the funeral would be. I did everything except lay him out; mother did that because I don't have any sisters, but I thought I would have to help her with that too.

Pippin turned up early on Wednesday morning; he must have left almost as soon as he got the letter. It had rained all night and when he arrived he came straight to my rooms to find me and hug me he dripped rainwater all over the papers on my desk. He's still the same old Pippin even if he looks different, having filled out considerably in the last few years and started to get a few grey hairs. He looks like a father now, except that his eyes look red – our families were always close.

We haven't seen as much of each other in the last few years, although a friendly, and sometimes much closer, relationship has been maintained, especially since the birth of his son. He and Diamond haven't lain together since then; the birth nearly killed her and he hardly dares touch her now in case he ends up with her death on his conscience. She didn't come to the funeral, she said that she didn't want to take the child on such a long journey when it could start to snow any day, but I think that in her heart she knows and wants to give us some time alone together. Or maybe she's just too disgusted to come near us.

Between his arrival and the funeral we stayed together, hardly ever even touching the way we usually would, but just drawing strength from each other's presence and curling up in each other's arms at the end of the day. I would say to sleep, but I slept little, even when it was not my turn to sit and watch over my father's body. I still can't quite bring myself to think about how it's in the ground now; he never did like the cold and there was always a roaring fire in his study from October til April. I think that's what they call irony.

It started snowing within an hour of the burial when we were inside, trying to make polite, almost cheery conversation over the funeral tea. It's strange, but no matter how close your extended family is, there are always some who you only ever see at weddings and funerals. They all know who I am though. I suppose that's something I should have got used to, but I never have. Receiving visitors was never really something I enjoyed and now I could definitely do with being alone. Well, not quite alone.

I think he can tell how I feel. Not through any supernatural means, but just because we've spent so much time together we can read each other perfectly. He's been hovering close to me, though for once he doesn't speak – he doesn't know what to say. But now he comes closer with a glass of sherry for me and when he puts it into my hand his fingers brush against mine for just a second too long and he looks into my eyes. Maybe he has to go back to his family tomorrow, but for tonight at least he'll be there for me.