Title: Breaking
Summary: He'll want these memories some day. Of kindness from the people he once considered crazy strangers and who he would eventually turn into the blood family, the real family that didn't look with disdain onto the problem children. Prepare for tears. One-shot.
Disclaimer: So mentioned.
Dedication: To the great and glorious creator of this series, Tracy J Butler.

I can see eternity!
-Rocky. Lackadaisy Pancakes.

'No excuse for my face there. It's only abided in small doses...'

The inside of Freckle's house (his parents' house, actually; Ivy recalled Rocky telling her about the place one of the first times he ever made her one of those delightfully rich and powerful rootbeer floats inside the Lackadaisy while Zib and the band played 'I'mma Jazz Vampire' for Miss Mitzi) was booming with noise from the guests that had not gone to the funeral, but were sure to be present at the wake. From what Ivy could tell, observing everything from the top of the stairs that she had trailed up looking for Freckle, the entire crowd consisted of people who only knew Freckle's mother and father and Freckle and either had no knowledge of the deceased or were quietly whispering (in corners, eating the cake and sandwiches Nina provided, sipping the cherry punch from the lovely china bowls set out on the long tables with white tablecloths that made Ivy feel unclean and sick and dizzy with blood floating into her nose that she knew wasn't there—it wasn't there anymore) "good riddance" or "it was bound to happen eventually" much too loud for caring.

Ivy came to the funeral because she was invited by Freckle. She was the only person, she felt, that Freckle thought could get by Nina's eagle eye without being thrown out on the spot.

He was right, but she hadn't been able to get to the front of the group while the preacher (the little brunette wanted to scream when she saw the self-righteous Catholic with his collar and his black robes look down his nose at the casket with no flowers decorating the lid and started quoting from the Bible something she couldn't remember the words that DID NOT FIT at all) spoke words to comfort the crowd and had the casket lowered. Freckle—Calvin, as his mother called him as she rubbed his back—just stood at the front and watched his only real friend he'd ever had was lowered into oblivion within the ground. The preacher grabbed a clod of dirt as per tradition and let it hit the casket carelessly before everyone left.

Ivy sighed as she drifted down the staircase and finally—thank God, finally—spotted Freckle through the glass of the living room window; standing on the porch with a piece of cake that was untouched. When she walked outside her tail was almost crushed under the foot of one of the policemen that had been friends with Freckle's father for years (she almost growled at him, but bit back the attempt and just curved her tail closer to the inside of the horribly sad—but beautiful for the event—black dress she'd forced herself to wear) but paid no mind after just seeing that the fork on the plate beside the cake was making a little clinking sound every so often; a sure sign that the blank expression on Freckle's face was also attached to shaking tremors that Ivy felt must have meant he was trying not to cry.

'GOOD GLORY! Strike me dead! …But send me a lady like that first…'

It hurt to see him rattle hard when she lightly touched his shoulder and took the plate away from him before it fell to the wood the porch was made up of, but when he looked at her, blinking and then finally registering who was seeing she gave him a level, almost dry smile before grabbing his arm and then setting the plate with its cake and fork onto the porch swing.

Freckle didn't resist when Ivy dragged him off the porch, out of the yard, through the white picket fence and out of sight of anyone and nobody that was paying attention.

'…I don't wanna have to leave again, Freckle! I like it here! THEY TOLERATE ME!'

His fingers kept twitching on the fabric along his knees for each bump in the road Miss Pepper couldn't seem to help hitting on their way to the Little Daisy in the car she'd borrowed from her father's garage.

Freckle couldn't help but think that it was either he twitched every few seconds or he would break down into tears and once he stepped out of the car he would vomit his guts out like he had been since he'd seen his cousin's body (the head wound that was going to finally lose its stitches in a few days had been ripped back open into a mess that allowed Freckle to see the white of the skull underneath, his knuckles were cracked and lacking most of the skin that had been there, there were three bullet wounds wide like the holes in a wheel of cheese; looking at the bullet wound in his cousin's shoulder made the burning of what remained imbedded in Freckle's shoulder feel even worse) in the city morgue the morning right after he'd gone into the hospital of his own volition because he kept dropping shot glasses while serving gin at the Lackadaisy.

"You know, I bet if we got the Arbogasts' Giant Spider to do the whole speak from the Bible thing, this whole day could've gone down a lot better," Ivy finally spoke up since setting Freckle into the passenger seat and giving him a little murmur that Miss Mitzi was expecting them at the shop, "At least he's disrespectful because he moves in the same circles as Viktor, not because he has any personal grudges with anyone."

"…The funeral family?" Freckle spoke, voice down inside itself with grief Ivy knew it would take a long time to lessen, if at all.

"Yeah. I mean, Rocky never actually met any of them, 'cept maybe their hearse, but I think he woulda liked them, ya think?"

Freckle twitched again at just the name, but he didn't freak out, he just pressed his cheek to the glass window and tried to soak in some of the cold it radiated and the wind that also passed through the inside of the car and made Ivy's hair twitch up and down and weave as she finally managed to avoid a pothole as she turned down another street that lead to where Ivy knew all the others were.

(Zib had been smoking all morning in his bedroom quoting something like "We are broken, nothing can fix us," while Viktor tried to overcome the pain in his leg and chest by not moving at all and sitting in a booth inside the Little Daisy, eating toast with bacon and fried eggs. Miss Mitzi had holed herself up in her office with Wick and Ivy didn't really know what they had been talking about because Miss Lacy shooed her away to get to the funeral. Ivy had also seen Mordecai creep into the diner, but hadn't stuck around to see him sit down with his former partner and set his gloves on the table as a gesture of goodwill.)