This is for Challenge #8 at Challenge Central. I hope you like it. Oh, also, the apples Mark likes are actually called Empire apples. Just thought you guys would like to know.

CHALLENGE 8: Has to have both Mark and Roger in it. Can be friendship or slash, whichever you prefer. This one is very vague, all we ask is that you have these things be included in the fic: apples and Roger tripping (as in physically tripping). We'd prefer humor in this, but write what you will. Be creative with the prompt, and how much you use them or focus on them is up to you.

Mark loved the fall. Mostly because that's when his birthday was, but there were other reasons too. First off there were all the pretty colors. He loved when his dad would rake the brilliantly hued leaves into a big pile. Then Mr. Cohen would pick up his son and toss him into the pile, causing the boy to laugh. Mark loved that.

He also liked driving to Michigan to visit Grammy and Granddad. Granddad and Daddy would take him apple picking at the orchard just a few miles away and then Cindy, Mommy and Grammy would make apple pies and caramel apples.

Mark loved going to the apple orchard. He loved riding on the hay-filled wagon to the fields. He loved picking the shiny, red apples off the trees. His favorites were Vampire apples. Mark assumed they were called that because of their bright, red color. He liked going back to the barn, and while Daddy paid for their pickings, Granddad would take him to get fresh, sweet cider and his own, store-bought caramel apple, which always tasted much different than the ones that were made at home.

The one thing Mark didn't like about going to Grammy and Granddad's was that there was nobody to play with. Sure, Cindy went, but she was eight years older than he was and only interested in kissing boys. However, one year when Mark was seven that all changed.


Mark sat on a bench by himself at the apple orchard. Daddy was paying for the apples and Granddad was getting cider and the customary caramel apple. Being tired from an unusually long day of apple picking, Mark's little legs had been exhausted and Granddad said he could sit on the bench as long as he stayed there. Mark agreed solemnly and watched as Granddad disappeared into the crowd.

Granddad seemed to be taking a long time, but Mark didn't care. He felt very grownup sitting by himself on that bench and watching the various people walk by. One person in particular caught his attention.

A boy, around Mark's age, was running after three older boys. He was wearing ripped jeans and a little, faux leather jacket. His sandy blonde hair was spiked up rebelliously and he looked pretty intimidation to Mark.

"Stop!" the boy yelled, "Give me back Dingo!"

Suddenly, the boy's shoelaces got caught under his own feet and he fell to the ground roughly.

Eyes wide, Mark hopped off the bench and ran to the boy.

"Are you okay?" Mark asked, helping the boy up and brushing some dust off of the black jacket.

"Yeah," the boy answered, "My big brother's just stoled my stuffed dog, but my Mommy will get it back for me. She always does. Oh, I'm Roger. Roger Davis."

"I'm Mark Cohen," Mark said, "Oh, your chin is bleeding."

Roger grinned and brought his fingers to his chin. "Really!" he questioned, "Cause if I am then I'll get ice cream!"

Mark nodded. "And you've got scrapes all over your nose."

Roger threw his fist into the air. "Yes!" he shouted triumphantly.

"Do you live around here?" Mark asked, hoping for a friend.

"Yeah, just down there," Roger answered, pointing down the road in the direction Grammy and Granddad's house was.

Mark smiled, revealing many gaps where teeth had been lost, "My Grammy and Granddad live over there! I'm only visiting."

"Really? Where are you from?"

"New York!"

Roger's eyes opened wide. "Wow! That's really cool. Michigan isn't really that fun. Have you ever been to New York City? I went there once, but I was just a baby, so I don't remember anything."

Mark nodded. "Yeah, I go there for Thanksgiving to visit my aunt."

A frantic voice suddenly filled the air. "Roger?" a lady yelled, "Roggy-bear, where are you?"

Roger cringed at the name. "That's my Mommy," he said, "I've gots to go. Maybe you can come over my house!"

Mark nodded, smiling. "Yeah, that'd be fun!"

"Mark?" Mark heard Granddad shout, "Where'd you go?"

"Oh, that's my Granddad. Bye-bye Roger!"

"Bye-bye Mark!"

The two boys turned and went their separate ways.

"Where were you?" Granddad asked when Mark came into view, "I told you to stay by the bench!"

"I met a new friend!" Mark answered, smiling, "His name is Roger. Roger Davis."