Author's Note: Hey guys, sorry about the uber late update, but my life got really hectic. I had a few projects I had to finish and with so many things coming up I got side tracked and then creative block set in. Yeah, I totally suck, but I'm sorry and I'll make it up to you guys somehow!

To Sargent Snarky: You know, it's funny that you talked about the gender/sex thing. I had a long drawn out discussion before I posted that chapter with a friend of mine. The reason I used "gender" was because it is considered normal to use the term, but also because of the fact that the word "sex" brought on the giggles... my friend decided to beta that chapter and she giggled... a lot, so I changed it to "gender". I'm not saying everyone is immature like her, but seriously, a serious paragraph could have gotten killed by that so I decided to take a safer route. I hope that made sense!

And to everyone: Thank you for reviewing and sticking with this, even if I am evil (you all know I am). Thank you for the awesome reviews that you guys send my way and just the wonderfulness in general. I have the best readers, you guys are quite awesome. And for the new readers, I hope the quality of this keeps up and you enjoy yourselfs just as everyone else does as the story proceeds.

Chapter Eighteen:

How did I get here? Mark asked himself as he leaned against the safety rail. He was on the roof of the hospital, standing by the raised wall they had put up for safety. The rail was raised and up to his chest, good enough for him to support his own weight since the walk up all those flights of stairs had tired him out.

I'm so pathetic, he thought as he sat on the ground and kicked away an empty soda can. He wondered what he was going to do when someone found him up there. He knew that it was a restricted area, but he needed the fresh air and had overheard someone talking about the roof. When he got there, the door had been propped open. It was the perfect place to go on a smoking break or just sit. It was also the perfect for taking a dive. At least then it'll be permanent, he told himself.

He hadn't been able to actually leave the hospital since he couldn't find his clothes and he didn't know how long everyone would be gone for. But it wasn't as if he wanted to run away. He just needed to get out of that room and away from his friends for a while. He couldn't stand it in there. He hated feeling so useless. He didn't want people shoving food in his face or seeing him cry. He hated when people saw him cry.

Mark didn't move from his spot when he heard the roof door opening, the rusted hinges giving off a spine chilling sound.

"Enjoying yourself?" Mark looked up at the familiar voice.

Roger stood there, smiling awkwardly. Mark shook his head and simply chose to ignore the musician.

"One of the nurses looked over the security tape and said you came up here," Roger said, "They, uh, they didn't want me to come up here, but I asked them to give me a bit with you."

Mark stayed silent. How did you speak to someone who couldn't even look at you when you were aware of their presence?

"Look, I'm… I'm sorry I wasn't here. I was just… I was scared." Roger kneeled down and placed his hand on the filmmaker's arm. The other man didn't move, didn't look at him, "What do you want me to say, Mark?"

The silence that took over was overwhelming. Mark found himself wanting to speak, but unable to.

"Can we…at least get off of the roof and get you into some real clothes?" Roger asked, trying to sound light hearted, "A hospital gown isn't exactly flattering."

The filmmaker sighed and shook his head, "You really suck at things like this."

And the musician gave a soft, forced laugh, "Yeah, I know."

That day, Benny watched as Mark was checked out and lead back to the loft surrounded by his friends. It wasn't a strange sight to see. In fact, Benny had seen it a dozen times before, granted they were with different people, but it was the same image. The reasoning for all the attention was different, but he knew that they all meant well.

The filmmaker hadn't spoken very much. Benny was told that there was an incident that involved the hospital roof. The fact that Mark was alright told him that the situation hadn't been disastrous. Still, a part of him was worried about the silent treatment that they were all getting. It wasn't normal. Or perhaps it was at times like these. He didn't know.

When they arrived at the loft, Mark went straight to his room and shut himself in there. No one stopped him or questioned him, not knowing how to be sensitive with their questions. They didn't want to feel as if they were trying to keep Mark on a short leash because of what had happened.

"Just leave him alone," Roger said, "He'll come out when he's ready."

"When will that be?" Maureen asked sounding slightly irritated.

"Just give him some space," the musician said, "Just trust me on this."

"Do you think it was a good idea to check him out so soon?" Joanne asked, sitting down in one of the worn chairs, "The doctor did want to keep him for another day of observation."

"He says he's fine," Roger argued, "Besides, he didn't want to stay."

"How would you know?" Maureen asked, "You guys didn't even talk."

"I just know… Mark doesn't like hospitals very much. I think him staying there would have just made things worse."

"I think that's the first time you've made sense in a long time," Collins said with a smile.

And they waited, hoping that things would turn out for the best. They hoped that Mark would talk to them and work things out. Unfortunately, they knew that they were all just trying to be optimistic.

"I'm going to take a shower," Maureen said, pulling her jacket off.

"Alright," Joanne answered as she closed the door behind her, "Take your time, baby."

"I always do," the diva said as she wrapped her arms around the lawyer's waist, "But…it would be nice if you joined me today."

"Maureen," the other woman said with a smile, "You know it gets cramped in there."

"Yeah, but I like being cramped in there with you."

"Why don't you go in first? I have a phone call to make."

"Alright, but if you're not in here in ten minutes, I'm going to enjoy myself alone."

Joanne couldn't help staring after the diva as she walked away, swaying her hips suggestively. She knew she shouldn't think about a proposal like that, especially after all that they have been through the past few days, but she knew that it was Maureen's way of dealing with things. Sex and the feeling of pure enjoyment always made Maureen feel better and Joanne knew that. She didn't mind indulging her lover if it meant that it would bring happiness.

Throwing her jacket onto the couch, she sat down and picked up the phone. Pulling a scrap of paper from her pocket, she looked it over quickly before dialing. The phone rang twice before it was picked up.

"Hello, Jason?"

"Who's this?" the voice on the other end questioned sounding a little out of breath and flustered.

"It's Joanne," the lawyer said with a smile, "Did I interrupt something?"

"Uh…" she could hear the embarrassment in Jason's voice, "Not really."

"I just wanted you to know that Mark was checked out of the hospital today."

"Already? I thought he'd be there a while longer."

"Apparently not."

"Is he doing alright?"

"He's…not really himself."

"Well, the guy almost off-ed himself, I'm sure he needs some space to clear his head."

Joanne sighed, "I want to try convincing him to get professional help, but the cost will go through the roof."

"Don't try convincing him to do anything," Jason said, "It has to be his choice. He has to solve the problem on his own and find it in himself to seek the help he needs or it won't work. He'll just see it as you guys forcing him to get therapy."

"I guess you're right."

"Listen, Joanne, thanks for letting me know that Mark's out of the hospital," Jason's voice went up an octave, shocking Joanne, "But uh… I have to go!"



The line clicked before going dead. Joanne stared at the phone for a minute before shaking it off. She had no idea what was going on and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know.

"Pookie! Are you coming?" Maureen's voice drifted out from the bathroom, low and seductive.

Joanne gave a small laugh as she loosened her tie. She knew she'd be crazy to pass this up.

Roger stood outside of Mark's door, not knowing if he should go in or not. Everyone had left and he was there, alone, trying to gather the same amount of courage that he had back in the hospital. He had never expected it to be so hard to talk to his best friend.

Shit, get a grip, Davis! He scolded himself. Taking a deep breath, he knocked lightly on Mark's door before slowly opening it.

"Mark?" he cautiously pushed the door open and took a step inside, "Everyone left… and I just wanted--"

"I'm trying to sleep, Roger," Mark said from his place on the bed, "Can you come back later?"

"Oh. Alright then…" the musician quietly closed the door and walked back into the livingroom, not quite sure what to think. He still wasn't used to being pushed away like that, especially by someone that was always so willing to talk and ask questions.

Was this how Mark felt? Roger wondered, thinking back to all the times that he had refused to talk to Mark or refused his friends request to get out of the loft. He thought of all the times he had gotten angry at Mark for suggesting that they do something other than lounging around the loft and the times that he had closed the door in his friend's face for simply wanting to know what was wrong. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that this was nothing compared to what he had put Mark through in the past.

Mimi lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, wishing she could see through it and see what Roger was up to. She had left because she knew that Roger would need his space. He had also told her that he wanted to talk to Mark, alone. But the biggest reason why she left was the fact that she didn't know what to say to him.

When Collins had told her the story of what had happened, it had really struck something in her. It made her realize that Roger had done a lot of fucked up things, things she couldn't quite imagine. She had seen Mark and Roger's friendship and what it was like. It was one of the better ones she had seen in her life. Most people would have broken off contact and gone their separate ways the second something bad happened. Yet, somehow, those two had stuck together. Somehow, Mark found it in himself to stay.

I was wrong, she sighed as she rolled onto her side. She thought back to the day that she had slapped Mark and cringed as she recalled her own words.

"What's so damn hard about your life?" Mimi asked, unable to keep her cool, "You were never a drug addict, you didn't have to go through withdrawal, and you never got HIV or AIDS. Tell me what the hell was so damn bad and important that you had to upset Roger like that! You're going through the same thing we are! You're fucking broke and trying to make a life doing something you love with little to no success! I get it! But you didn't have to take it out on him!"

"I never took anything out on him!" Mark yelled back, "You don't know anything, Mimi, so don't judge my life!"

Mark was right. She really didn't know anything about him. In a way, she was disappointed in herself for not seeing that something was wrong. She was disappointed in herself because she should have talked to Mark instead of losing her temper. But she could never keep herself in check when she got worked up.

Her number one concern was Mark, but following close behind was a sort of anger she couldn't help but feel toward Roger. She couldn't help but wonder what was going through his head to walk out on his best friend after hearing everything.

So, what do we do? She asked herself. Do we just sit around? What do we do?

Author's Note: So, what'd you think? I sort of decided that a nice calm, or at least sort of calm was needed since the story has been a bit of a ride in the last few chapters. I've left you with cliffhangers and near deaths and emotions and secret spilling, I think if I kept it up I'd kill a few braincells... and a few people would kill me for being horrible. I'm sorry if this chapter was short, but it was one of those times when you know you have to cut it off or it'll get really stupid.

Also, I didn't have a chance to proof read it, so feel free to point out any mistakes. And please, leave a review and let me know what you think. The next chapter will be longer, I promise!