DON'T OWN IT
AN: Ok, so here is the end. Hope you all like it, let me know what you think of the story, my writing, anything to help me get better! Or to make me smile, that's always nice.
It took Roger two days to find himself alone, in the hospital with Mark, and with the courage to talk with him.
He closed the door, keeping out their friends. He left a note on the door, telling them he was speaking with Mark and not to disturb them.
He looked at those ice blue eyes, and he could see fear. Fear of rejection, fear of reprisal. Fear that Roger hadn't already spoken and fear of what he would say now.
Those eyes that saw so much, and they showed so much. Roger wondered if Mark knew how much of him could be read in his eyes.
Mark watched him move the single chair closer to the bed, facing it so they could look at each other comfortably. Roger was silent a few moments, his eyes closed. Thinking of what to say, how to say it. He said a silent pray, begging for guidance in how to say what was needed.
"Roger?" Mark was timid, he really was scared.
"Mark, I can't forgive you." Roger started, his eyes still closed.
"Ok." Rejection, defeat clear in Mark's voice. He would just give up so easily, like he assumed this was beyond Roger. That angered the rocker.
"I can't forgive you for something that wasn't your fault. Mark I have my own confession to make." Roger finally looked up, meeting Mark's eyes. If he was going to do this, he was going to do it right.
"It's not your fault we both have AIDS. It wasn't you who gave us this death sentence. It was April's fault."
"But she didn't know, if I had told you." Mark was rushing his words. Stumbling over them to get them out, to take the burden on himself. Always so self sacrificing.
"Mark, for once just shut up and let me explain. I really got it this time." Roger snapped. He didn't mean to yell, but Mark was not listening.
"It was April's fault. Because she paid to have you mugged. She wanted to keep you out of the loft, she was mad at you for being so close to me. She was angry at you for being right about the addictions. She paid to get you ruffed up enough that you wouldn't be home to bother us. It was her fault. And I knew that, I knew that on some level with the drugs and the drinks. I heard the Man talking about it one night. I just didn't put it together with you until you spoke up."
Mark just looked at him, sorrow and tears in his eyes.
"So you see, I can't forgive you for something that you had no control over. I am the one that needs to be forgiven." Roger told him, he was firm, he was adamant, he was also teary eyed. He had done this to Mark, he had done this to his best friend.
"It is not your fault Roger, you asked me to stay in and party with you, I should have had fun that once. If I had stayed home, none of this would have happened." Mark spoke, his voice tired and broken. So like his body.
"Yes, it is. I brought her home, I let her in, I kept her around. I knew she didn't like you and I let her get away with far to much."
"Roger, if you are going to insist that this is your fault, and I am going to insist it is mine, lets just agree that it is hers." Mark told him, reaching out to hold Roger's hand.
Roger took the hand, feeling how cold it was, and it made him want to weep. Mark really didn't have much time, he really screwed this up.
"Sorry I won't be there for you Rog. I know I promised, but I don't think I will make it." Mark told him.
"It's not your fault." Roger got out, though how he didn't know. The lump in his throat felt it should be choking him.
"Yeah, it kind of is. I didn't take my meds, that is my fault." Mark's hand went limp and he leaned back into his pillows. "Sorry Rog."
"Stop saying that Mark, just stop. It's not your fault, none of it. You didn't ask to get sick, you didn't ask to be poor. You didn't ask for a junkie roomie who cant take care of himself. Stop beating yourself up and focus on you, for once. Please, for me?" Roger was in tears, at the sight of Mark like this. This was not the way it was supposed to go.
"Fine, not our fault." Mark smiled weakly. "I think I am going to sleep now." He barely got out before the medication took over.
Roger sat there watching. It was the end. He knew that. The end would come soon for Mark. It wasn't that Mark wasn't a fighter, it was that Mark fought for everyone else. Anyone but himself. Mark had never learned to take care of himself. Sure, he could always remember Roger and Collins and Mimi's medication schedules. He would make sure they had food and always ate, but when it came to himself, Mark was hopeless.
That had been a reason that Roger and Mimi agreed to stay in the loft with Mark after they got married. Some one had to stay with Mark and make sure he took care of himself. They just never realized how much Mark needed to be looked after.
Or how much he really looked after them. Bills came in that they never looked at before, rent, medication, clinic visits, food, electricity, water, phone. No one had ever really given much thought to any of it but Mark. He always made sure everything was paid, no matter what he had to do. Roger now wondered what else Mark had done without to give Roger everything he had.
They sat with him in shifts, talking about anything and nothing, watching him rally for a week before beginning to fade again.
Roger was with him in the end. Only Roger. Mark had sent everyone home earlier in the day, sleeping away hours while Roger strummed his guitar.
He had begun to play Musetta's Waltz when Mark stirred. He blinked away the sleep and smiled at Roger.
"Fitting song to play, since it's the first one I heard you play when I walked into the loft that day." His voice was so raw, so strained, and yet still so Mark. His eyes still this deep placid blue, tired and sick, but calm and lit up at the site of his best friend.
Roger gave a small laugh.
"I guess." He shifted the guitar around and pulled something from his pocket. "I got you this. I went to confession last week and it made me think of you. I though well, this way if you're wrong, maybe you can use it to get in anyway." He smiled a sad smile and handed Mark a pale blue rosary. Mark held it close to his face and smiled a true grin that reached his sunken eyes.
"Thanks Roger, feel like I should say a Hail Mary or something now that I have it." Mark stopped to cough and Roger reached for a glass of water.
"I got you something as well." Mark said after his drink. He reached around his neck and lifted a necklace off. It was golden with a star of David hanging from the chain.
"To make us equal." He smiled as Roger slipped the chain around his neck. It seems even this far gone, they still thought exactly alike.
"I guess we are." Roger smiled, and then watched Mark, as if waiting.
"Play for me?" Mark asked. And with tears in his eyes and a lump the size of New York City in his throat Roger picked up his guitar and began to strum out the old worn out waltz. He watched as Marks breathing even out, slowed down and at last stopped.
No more late night chats over beer and early morning talks over coffee. No more films and parties, no more confession.
"Love you bro, I'll be seeing you soon I guess. Till then, stay out of trouble hu? Never know when I will make it up there to watch out for you, so this time try and watch out for yourself. Say hi to Angel for me, she should be watching over you for me now. And you keep an eye on us." Roger let the tears fall on Mark's face. The rosary held tight in Mark's grip.
"In case you are still worried, I forgive you, for anything you feel you did. No more confessions." Roger slunk out of the room then, as the nurses rallied around his friends empty body.
Roger thought it was fitting it was just those two at the end. He had always known it would be, though he had pictured it another way in his mind. He was glad Mark had someone there. Maybe this once Mark was selfish enough in an odd way to get what he had always wanted. He wasn't alone at the end. Roger wasn't mad at Mark for dying. Not like Mark though he was. Roger was mad that Mark had to die that way, that Mark had to sacrifice his own health and life for Roger, while Roger lazed around with his wife and his guitar.
Roger made sure the rosary was in Mark's hand when he was buried, despite the protest of Mark's mother. And Roger made sure he was never with out his Star of David. Though the only time Roger ever set foot in a church after that confession was to attend Collins' and Mimi's funerals.
Roger released only one record before he joined Mark. He called it Confessions, in honor of his friend. Each song held something dear to Roger, some confession to friends and family that he had held in. He confessed fear, anger, pain, betrayal and heartbreak. He confessed the love for each he could not say in words. Even April was there, a confession of his anger and still his love to her, his thanks that she helped bring Mark to him. Maureen was there, a thanks for her spirit that drove him to finish the songs on the album, and to keep living after Mark. To Joanne for taming Maureen, and his love of her anal quirks. Mimi was his light, and he thanked her for reminding him of where he ahd come from and what his friends had done for him in withdrawal, it was an odd song, though she also had Your eyes, his pubic profession of their love. Collins and Angel had a song called Hope and Love, a reminder that even the oddest couplings show beauty. And a few, for all of them, were songs of sorrow at what he felt he had done to them. It was a best seller, it brought his family to see him at his death bed, though they were shoved out by Maureen and Joanne, who had promise to stay with him at the end.
The cd was sold in joint packaging with Mark's film.
The dedication was simple it read
I have a confession….
When Roger opened his eyes again, it was to a face and a voice he hadn't heard in a very long time.
"You have nothing left to confess Roger, and I have nothing to forgive you for. Welcome home." And he was engulfed in a hug from his best friend.
…….. You are forgiven