Author's Note: Yay! This won 1st place at Speedrent! Thank you to everyone who keeps reading my stories and commenting. It means SO much to me.

Disclaimer: I don't own it, not even a little.

The Narrative FilmDays, Back Then and When Roger Finally Figured It Out

Before Mark realized the beauty of documentary filmmaking, he'd spend hours writing screenplays, hunched over a worn notebook with ink stained fingers (pens liked to explode on him for some reason. Roger found this funny, and Mark found out it aggravating to say the least) as he struggled to come up with the words he wanted to convey.

Those were the days when Roger was still high, and Maureen would still curl up against him at night and Benny would stand in his doorway and read him the day's headlines with his cereal spoon in his mouth.

Those were the days when his hands would hurt after spending hours writing, perfecting, creating.

Th0se were the days when he'd make Roger and Maureen and Benny and Collins and April be actors, and they'd stand in the park as Mark shouted 'Action!' where they'd launch into whatever scene he'd written. Roger would most often forget the words, the treacherous drugs doing a number on his memory, and Maureen would over-act, trying to steal the spotlight that never was really there to begin with.

And later, they'd sit on the couch as Mark cringed at what he'd created, the silence of his friends around him only confirming his own thoughts.

It was after April, and Maureen and Benny left that Mark discovered the art of using what was right there in front of him - he'd forgotten that his friends were just as interesting as any character he could make up. They were funnier, more charismatic and all had the most unbelievable pasts he'd ever seen in any narrative film, making him realize that he was stupid not to ever think to use them before.

The camera that had always found itself in his hands became an accessory, as necessary as his scarf or his glasses. He was rarely seen without it, and it just felt right being there, floating in the background, an eye to whatever was happening in their lives.

Mark liked to pretend that this was normal, this utter attachment to an inanimate object, but he knew better.

Truth was that he was scared to forget them, which was why he got so annoyed when the camera would be turned on him. He knew what he looked like, he knew what sounded like - he didn't need to look at his own face when he reviewed his film.

But soon enough, much too soon for Mark's liking, he wouldn't be able to remember Angel's dresses, or Collins philosophical musings or Mimi's smile or Roger's melodic voice, and that scared him, much more than anything else in the whole world.

His memory could only hold so much, but his camera - that could hold as much as he wanted it to.

And much much later, Mark Cohen stood in his new apartment, watching as scenes from his past life flickered in front of him on the wall. On the projection, Roger had come up and put up a hand to the camera.

"Touch me, Marky," He'd said, half-drunk and wearing a bittersweet smile. They'd just lost Collins, and Mark knew that Roger had finally figured out Mark's secret… that he was using the camera not to hide, but to hold onto what he was sure to loose. His raised hand was to the future Mark, to the Mark that would want to touch Roger's hand again, feel him, remember him - not the Mark that was there with him at the moment, taking the film.

And he was right, because the present Mark crossed the room quickly and pressed his hand to where Roger's was projected, taking deep breaths as the bittersweet memories bubbled into his chest and turned into tears.

"December 24th, 1997," He said, as he peered into his camera later that night, "I am alone, just like I thought I'd be."