Author's Note: This won first place at SpeedRent, yay!Please read and review. Thank you all very much for all your support!

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The Warm Feeling of Over-Protectiveness, Roger's Thank You and The Princess

Roger Davis, through his haze of foggy, drug-ridden memories, hazed recollections of shooting up and thoughts of the days when he'd done nothing but play his guitar and slowly destroy his body with the drugs shot through his arm through the comfort of a needle, could remember a time when he'd lived at home, when life was a much different sort of idea for him.

He remembered sitting on the shadowed steps of his lower-middle class home, hands clasped together as he heard voices below. At fourteen years old, a much younger Roger Davis thought he was quite the adult. He could remember feeling a fierce sense of jealousy and brotherly protection pour into his chest as he watched his big sister float across the kitchen floor, heels clicking against the tile. She had the biggest smile he'd ever seen and she looked so, utterly, absolutely beautiful. Her pink, taffeta drowning dress swallowed her up into a world that was not their own - she looked like a princess, curls falling perfectly over her face with a fake tiara perched on her head completing the look.

He could feel chest tightening at the sight of her date as he linked his arm with her, the other boy wearing the biggest Cheshire cat grin Roger had ever seen. Roger wasn't stupid, he knew what boys thought about, especially on prom night. He was a boy after all.

He felt a rush of air as his three other sisters pounded past him on the stairs, their voices a high pitched squeal as the sound of photos being taken reached his ears. His princess sister and her date had been whisked into the living room for a roll or two of film and an embarrassing reiteration of rules by his mother.

He knew he'd spend his whole night sitting in his room, awake, worrying about his big sister and her date's Cheshire grin. He'd always been fiercely protective of his sisters, he couldn't help it.

"They are your sisters," His mother would say, as they ate dinner, or as she drove him home from soccer practice, or as they waited in the dentists' office, "And they need you. You're the only man in their life, Roger."

And Roger took this very seriously.

He remembered his sisters' giggles the next morning, when he'd stumbled downstairs. They were sitting around the dining room table, his princess big sister still in her dress. Her hair was mussed ("From dancing," She'd said, but Roger wasn't too sure) and she looked tired, but her sparkling eyes told him she'd had a great time.

Roger had wondered if prom for him would be as magical as she'd made it sound. "The slow dances were so beautiful," she had said, hands clasped together and a far away look in her eyes, "And the decorations were just amazing."

He'd learned, only a few years later, it wasn't as fantastic as she'd made it sound. His date had left him mid-prom to dance with the head basketball player of the school, and he'd found himself sitting in the back of the hall with Mark Cohen, the kid who carried his camera around everywhere.

They didn't share many words, just grumblings about how much prom sucked, but Roger was happy not to be alone. Mark's presence made him feel a bit better about being ditched, and although they didn't speak to one another for another four years after that (not until Collins introduced them when Roger first moved into the loft, in which they both looked at one another with a tilt of their heads, and then said, at the same time, "Hey, didn't you go to-") Roger never forgot Mark's laughter as they made fun of the dancing couples and the bad music that was playing. He never got to thank Mark for that either - drugs and April and Benny and Maureen and everything else getting in the way.

It wasn't until the same sister, the one he'd observed all those years ago in her beautiful dress, was in another princess like gown - this time as she was in preparation for her wedding ceremony, that he remembered that he needed to thank his best friend.

He sat in the same spot he had all those years ago, ignoring his sisters' feet running up and down the steps past him, their gowns brushing his face as they flew by. He also felt that familiar feeling of protectiveness that had burned through his body back then bubble back up again. He adjusted the uncomfortable collar of his tuxedo, not used to being dressed in anything this fancy. His bohemian, artsy life simply didn't call for it, nor did he really like it. It was only for one of his girls that he'd dress up like this, and only for them.

He felt Mark's presence as the filmmaker sat down on the steps next to him, and he turned to look at his best friend with a small grin.

"Hey, remember when we went to prom and we ended up at the same table because my date had ditched me?"

Mark laughed and wound his camera. Somewhere upstairs, they could hear Mimi, Joanne and Maureen's giggling as they got ready.

"Yeah, of course."

Roger reached over and pulled Mark into a half-hug.

"Thanks for that, by the way."

They looked at one another, and Mark knew that Roger's thanks weren't just for that prom night. They were for sticking by through everything - the drugs, April, the HIV, the withdrawal, the depression. Through Roger's newfound appreciation and reconciliation with his sisters and mother, all of whom he'd missed more than anything.

Before Mark could say anything back, Roger's Princess older sister floated to the bottom of the stairs, looking up at the two of them. Her eyes, emerald like her brother's, sparkled up at them in happiness. With a gloved, outstretched hand, she smirked.

"Ready to give me away, little brother?"