Disclaimer: I do not own it.

A/N: This piece won 3rd place in SpeedRent's 13th challenge...Yay!

Stark White Walls and the Sound of the Machine

It wasn't all sad eyes and tears and silence. There was also laughing, and reminiscing and shared smiles.

He wouldn't forget these days, these days where the backdrop was the sound of heart monitors beeping and stark white walls reflecting off of his glasses. These were the days he shamefully remembered the most, because within these days there were the moments he'd close his eyes against, trying so so hard to burn into his memory.

He'd map a smile, memorize the way eyes would sparkle, concentrate on the feeling of hands as they held his own.

The way hair would fall, the touch of a head on his shoulder, the feeling of a cool forehead under his lips.

The sound of goodbyes, and the pain reflecting. Sobs radiating through or against his chest, the flat lining of a machine, the sound of death.

Collins had been with Roger when he left, Maureen with Collins, and Roger with Mimi.

He had been with Roger, holding his best friend to his chest as Roger shivered violently and cried.

Tears threatened to fall but he held them back, instead focusing in on the silent camera on the nightstand. As Roger fell into a final sleep and the nurses came running in at the sound of the heart monitor letting out a steady whistle, Mark pressed his hand against Roger's forehead, then his head against the back of his own hand, skin against skin, closing his eyes, trying to remember Roger's face, Roger's smile, Roger's life.

His laughter, his dreams, the bad and the good.

April, Mimi, withdrawal… tears, heroine.

Fresh track marks, the marks that not long after became scars that haunted Roger of a past he wanted to forget. The grin that Roger had when Mark had informed him that he'd been sober for over three months.

The discovery of April, the diagnosis of AIDS.

Sitting with everyone in the Life, the days when Roger had disappeared to Santa Fe.

Goodbyes, goodbyes, goodbyes, laughter, tears, memories being exchanged. Stark white walls and the sound of heart monitors flat lining.

Mark the filmmaker watched behind his eyelids as years blurred by him, out of order and sometimes, out of focus.

Mark the best friend hated having an expiration date on his best friends.

His eyes fluttered open and he found himself looking up at Maureen, who looked tired, withdrawn… like years had been stolen from her. Mark looked back down at Roger, who looked more peaceful than he had in a long time.

"Goodbye best friend," He whispered, pulling his fingers from Roger's as he allowed Maureen to pull him away from the bed.

Away from the stark white, the dying souls, the machines that had kept his best friends alive until they could hold on no longer.

The camera in his hand felt heavier now, somehow, or it may be his heart that weighed him down so much. The darkness of the loft was comforting somehow, it reminded him of the life he used to have.

And when he slept, it'd be the only place where he could see them again.

No tears, no sweating, no shivers, no coughing. No regrets, no need to reminisce, because it was all about now.

No stark white walls or the sound of death as told by a machine's flat beeping.

Just smiles, healthy laughter, and open arms.

Just like he wanted to remember.