A/N - Another one written during school math sub boredom…and at home…. review, please!!!

Chapter One

Mark woke with a strange pain in his chest. When he tried to cough, the sharp pain stung his entire upper body. "That's weird," Mark said out loud to himself. "Maybe it's just a gas bubble or something," he reassured himself.

The filmmaker hoped beyond all measure that he wasn't sick. If he were, he would have to be isolated from almost his entire family. At that time, Joanne was on a business trip for the law firm, so wanted, maternal help from her was unavailable. Angel, Collins, Roger, and Mimi were obviously out of the picture. Benny wouldn't give a shit about Mark's health conditions, or any condition for that matter, so there was only one left.

Maureen.

The thought scared the hell out of Mark. The last time Joanne had gotten sick, Maureen had tried giving her help. Mark and Roger never got the details. But the strong, independent lawyer had fled the apartment she shared with the drama queen and ran to the loft to escape Maureen's 'helpful' clutches.

Before he could dwell anymore on the terrifying subject of being under Maureen's care, Mark decided to see if he really was sick. The small blonde rolled out of bed and onto the floor with a loud thud. "Oops…hope no one heard that…" Mark said to no one. He crawled over to the phone and called the loft two floors below.

"Hello?" The cheerful tone of Angel's bell-like voice consoled Mark a little bit.

"Hey, Ang, can I talk to Collins?" Mark managed to choke out. His voice surprised him, as it was hoarse and scratchy.

"Sure, honey, hang on. Collins! Mark's on the phone!"

"Coming, just a second!" The deep, husky voice hollered back.

"Hey, Mark, what's up?"

"I think I'm sick…could you possibly specify, or try to anyway, what I might have?"

"Sure, what are your issues?" He laughed a little. "Besides the obvious ones, of course."

Mark stifled a laugh. "Running nose, I have a cough, my voice, duh, and my chest hurts like a mother."

"Ooh…you should get that checked out. Do you need money?" Collins asked, sounding deeply concerned.

Mark hesitated. He hated asking people for money, especially his friends. But he was dirt broke, and needed it. Sighing, he said, "Yeah, that would be really helpful. If you could just come up and slide it under the door that would be perfect. I don't need you or anyone else getting sick. I have enough to worry about as it is." Mark's hidden parental side was kicking in.

"Alright, I'll be right up." Collins hung up the phone.

Mark put the receiver on the base of the telephone, grabbed three blankets and a comforter and shuffled over to the couch. He wrapped himself as tight as he could manage, considering he had no help mummifying himself. It was then that he realized that Roger wasn't there. Mark searched his brain for where he might have gone.

-flashback-

the night before

Mark was in the shower, humming to himself. Roger was out in the main room, fiddling with his guitar strings.

"I'm writing one great song before I…" Roger angrily put the ancient instrument on the metal table. He could never get the last note of that cord right.

"MARK!! I'M GOING DOWN TO MIMI'S!! I'LL BE BACK IN THE MORNING!" Roger strained his voice so that Mark would be able to hear him over the running water and the filmmaker's off-key humming to Musetta's Waltz.

"KAY!! SEE YOU TOMORROW!!" Mark hollered back, and the sliding door slammed behind the musician.

-end flashback-

Mark shut his eyes, not bothering to take off his rectangular, black framed glasses. A few seconds later, he heard a knock on the door, and, opening his eyes, saw a pink envelope slide under the door. Clearly a touch of Angel.

"Thanks, Col!" Mark yelled as loud as his hoarse voice could handle. He heard the professor's retreating footsteps stop.

"Oh, and keep Rog out. Make him stay with Meems or the two of you." Mark would make such a great dad…what with all the nagging.

"Sure thing, I'll see you later." Collins headed down the stairs.

Mark glanced at the telephone across the room. He reluctantly released himself from his death wrap on the old, ducht-taped sofa, dragged his tired, achy body across the room to the chrome table. He unenthusiastically picked up the headpiece of the old phone and dialed Maureen's number.

Author's Note- Reviews!!! I want to know what your guys want from this!!! How you want the story to turn. I've started chapter dos, and I wanted to make this about 5 or 6 chapters long, so let me know! Chapter Two should be up either later tonight or tomorrow.