Disclaimer: Don't Own It.

It's Been a Long Time

Despite being invited to every one, Mark's parents and older sister, Cindy, only came to Roger's funeral.

"We didn't know any of them, Mark," Mark's mother would insist, when Mark asked them to please be at (Insert Collins or Angel's name here) for the funeral. When he first called for Angel's funeral and got that response, he yelled a bit, pulling out the 'why don't you care about what's going on in my life?' card, which resulted in his mother yelling back at him incoherently until he hung up on her. What Collins passed, he only got their answering machine, both parents out for dinner together. They never called him back and he never followed up.

When Mark called about Roger's death, he didn't expect them to come, but for some reason, his mother, upon hearing the defeated tone in her son's voice, asked for the address of the church.

"Why?" Mark asked, his tone neither accusatory or angry - just plain dead and flat, which was even more jarring than if he'd yelled.

"We knew him, Mark," Mrs. Cohen said, sighing, "We met him a couple of times, remember?"

"You didn't KNOW him. You met him, there's a difference," He replied, still in that eerie flat tone that sent unsettling chills up his mother's back.

"Alright, well, can you give me the address to the church please?" She asked, sighing.

And he did, although it seemed half-assed and reluctant on his part, at least to his mother. Mark had too much to worry about to really care if his family showed their faces at the funeral, and that was the truth behind that.

It was only two days later that the Cohens' found themselves in the outskirts of Manhattan at a small little rundown church, practically running across the parking lot because they had hit traffic on the way down and were now officially late.

Upon opening the church door, heads turned in their direction, and Mrs. Cohen's eyes went immediately to her son's, who was in the process of going up to the altar to speak. Her face, which, like her son's, tends to flush when embarrassed, did just that as the few people there peered at them with scrutiny. They slipped into the closest pew as everyone went back to watching Mark, who's expression was matching the tone he had on the phone.

Dead and flat.

Crossing over to the closed casket, where he touched the light wood surface gently, he began, back to the audience.

"Everyone came looking to me when it came time to do this, because I knew Roger so well." He started, then turning around, they all noticed the tear stains pouring down his cheeks, "But that was probably the wrong thing to do."

He paused, the silence rippling through the church painfully.

"Because I can't look at the bright side of this, I can't even pretend to. He was my best friend, and now he's gone, and I don't know what to do with myself. I've lost so many of my best friends in the past couple of years that I'm starting to try and distance myself because I'm fucking scared. I can't handle this type of loss. I thought I would be able to, but I can't."

Mimi's soft whimpering became audible when Mark looked over to her. From the back of the Church, Mrs. Cohen was sitting on the edge of the pew, eyes wide at her son's confession.

"These people are my family," He continued, lip quivering, "And Roger was my brother. There's not a memory I have in the past ten years that doesn't have him in it. Two days ago, as I held his hand and cried, he told me, 'Mark, you stayed strong through everything, and I want you to stay strong through this'."

"I can't though," Mark continued, openly sobbing, "I'm tired of being the strong one, the one who waits until he's in his room alone to cry. I want to mourn him, and I want to do it openly. There won't be a moment in the rest of my life that I don't think of him, because he's a part of me."

"For that, Roger, I can't forgive you, because I wanted you to be my best man when I got married and my kid's uncle Roger… I wanted to sit on a porch with you forty years from now and talk about the 'boho days', and laugh. It's not your fault, I know, but I can't let you go, I can't."

Unable to continue speaking, Mark covered his face with his hands as Mimi appeared, wrapping her arms around him, crying into his neck and whispering soothing words.

From the pew in the back of the church, Mrs. Cohen cried, her husband pulling her close to his side.

"We lost him, didn't we?" She said, watching her son be comforted by someone other than herself. Mark allowed himself to be led out of the Church, walking past his biological family without a second glance.

Cindy, who's eyes had tears threatening to spill over, shook her head as she watched her baby brother retreat.

"He hasn't been ours for a very long time."