Here's the final part to this mini-series! I hope you've all enjoyed it, and that you enjoy this part!
When Mark woke up he was alone, which surprised him. He and Roger had fallen asleep together last night, with Mark still using Roger as a pillow and Roger just kind of flopped over the end of the couch. It hadn't been the most comfortable of positions, but neither had wanted to break the moment by actually moving, and Mark at least had fallen asleep fairly soon after. He didn't like to admit it, but this whole being injured thing was tiring, even though he basically had just stayed in bed for the past few days.
He must really have been out of it though, to not feel Roger getting up. He gave a little groan as he tried to sit up, his entire body stiff and fighting him. Yeah, being injured was not fun.
Gingerly pulling himself up into a semi-sitting position, he looked around. It appeared as if the whole loft were empty. Collins' door was open and Mark figured he'd hear it if Roger were here and awake. Good, because then Roger wouldn't yell at him or hover when he got up off the couch. Complete bed rest or not, he still had to use the bathroom very badly, and he wasn't going to have Roger or Collins assist him to do that. He'd like to keep whatever dignity he had left after falling down the stairs intact, thank you very much.
A quick glance around revealed that Roger had left the crutches within reach. He grabbed them and levered himself carefully to his feet. Attempting to walk, he discovered his leg was still very painful, but he liked his mobility too much to complain about it as he maneuvered himself to the bathroom and from there to the kitchen. There was a note on the counter.
Mark – Covering your shift. Get your food and get back to the couch. Roger
He scowled. It was all very well for Roger to be all superior acting and protective, but just then Mark didn't appreciate it. He didn't like being in the position where he had to accept help from his friends, and he was physically limited in movement, and especially where Roger now knew about his feelings and how embarrassing they made him act. And he could be smug about it because Mark needed him now, and Roger had been the one to make the first move. If Roger had found out about Mark's feelings in some other way, at some other time, Mark wouldn't be so…unsettled. Now he just felt closed in and edgy, even while being glad that at least he didn't have to hide anymore, and that Roger liked him back. It was unsettling, to feel both ways, to say the least.
But putting a little too much pressure on his leg made him stifle a yelp and reluctantly follow Roger's direction after making himself a sandwich (which took far too long and was far too painful of a process – it was hard to do something while also holding onto crutches, he found).
"Fuck you, Roger," he muttered, hobbling back. "Fuck these crutches. And fuck my stupid leg."
As he sat down, feeling far too tired and sore from such a short trip off the couch, his eye fell on his camera sitting on their battered coffee table, and he felt a little better. He tucked his crutches out of the way and started eating his sandwich. At least that hadn't broken, and Roger had picked it up before someone else had taken it. There wasn't really anything he could film right now, unless he wanted footage of the empty loft, but it reassured him to see it sitting there, unharmed. It wasn't even scratched, really.
He stuffed the last corner of his sandwich in his mouth and pulled the camera over to him to give it a thorough checking. He'd been able to give it a quick glance when Roger had given it to him, but he wanted to make sure everything was okay.
He was in the throes of making sure nothing had gotten damaged internally when Collins walked in. "Hey Collins," he said, barely looking up before focusing back in on the camera.
"Hey Mark," Collins called back, going into his room and then returning without his coat. "How are you feeling? You were so asleep when I left you didn't move the whole time I was eating breakfast."
Mark shot him a glance at that, but there was nothing in Collins face to suggest that Roger had still been with him on the couch during that time. "I'm feeling alright. Get tired faster though," he said as casually as he could, which wasn't very casual at all. Damn it, Roger was probably right when he'd said Mark wasn't that subtle. "And I hurt."
"You take the pills they gave you?" Mark shook his head sheepishly—he'd actually forgotten about those—and Collins walked over and got them. "Of course," he said, dumping the pills into Mark's hand, "I'd be a little stiff if I slept draped over someone that way."
Mark's eyes flew up to meet Collins'. "Uh," was all he could manage to say.
Collins merely screwed the lid of the pill bottle on and continued. "You and Roger looked about as uncomfortable as two grown men sharing a couch could get when I came in last night, but neither of you moved while I was here at least." A wide grin spread across his face when Mark could only stare. "So, when did you tell him?"
Mark didn't bother pretending he didn't know what Collins was talking about, or denying it—Collins would obviously not believe him. "I didn't tell him anything. He already knew," Mark said accusingly, shooting Collins a look.
Collins shook his head. "It wasn't me," he defended himself, but he spoiled the effect by raising an eyebrow. "I'm impressed though, I thought he was oblivious."
"Apparently not," Mark muttered. Collins snorted and he suddenly became involved with his camera again. "He kissed me at the hospital, that night after you all visited."
Collins made a small, pleased sound. "So that's where he was," he said. "He didn't come back that night, and he wouldn't tell me where he'd been." Mark sneaked a look back up at him and saw him smirking. "So was he there…all night?"
Mark slowly nodded, and Collins other eyebrow flew up. "He spent all night with you? In a hospital chair? Damn, the boy is gone."
Mark could feel himself turning red. "Well, he wasn't precisely, in the chair," he mumbled, wishing he would just shut up. But he felt compelled to talk around Collins. More of his unsubtlety at work, he supposed. Roger had probably jinxed him. He started when Collins threw back his head and laughed.
"You let him spend the night in bed with you in a hospital?" he said between chuckled. "Mark, I wouldn't have expected that from you!" And Mark didn't get the chance to explain that he hadn't exactly let Roger sleep in his bed before Collins was continuing. "No wonder he came home and took such trouble with that thing," he said, pointing to Mark's camera.
Mark looked from it to Collins in bewilderment. "Took such trouble with it?" he repeated, hands clutching around it instinctively. "But he just picked it up and gave it back to me." It hadn't been broken or anything that would cause him any trouble…
"It had a few cracks in it after that fall," Collins said cheerfully. "But Roger came back and went out and got them all fixed."
Mark's mind stuttered over this new development. Broken? It had been broken? And Roger had fixed it for him? Collins continued, oblivious to Mark's shock. "Found someone to do a damn fine job of it too. Looks new almost."
His mind took another nosedive, prompted by the horrible feeling that his camera had completely broken, and Roger had gotten him a completely different one, and he hadn't been planning on telling Mark, and how was Mark supposed to repay him for that—and then that train of thought died thankfully when his searching eyes found the scrawled "Mark Cohen" his eleventh grade self had written on the bottom when he'd first been given the camera. It was still his. Just fixed.
That was still bad though. Cameras like his weren't exactly cheap to fix, as he'd found out before. And Roger had specifically told him that his camera hadn't broken at all. And he knew Roger was saving up for some equipment for his band, and—he was interrupted by Collins' hand patting him gently on his shoulder.
"Maybe you should take a nap," his friend suggested. "You look a little pale still."
Mark looked up at him and blinked. "Yeah, maybe I will," he said vaguely, still mulling about the implications of this. He barely noticed when Collins wandered back to his room with a benevolent smile and a "sleep well."
In the end, he took Collins' advice and went back to sleep. Actually, he had just worried about it until he'd given himself a headache, but pretending he was being smart sounded better. And it wasn't doing him any good to stew about it, and Roger probably wasn't going to be back for a while. So he settled his camera carefully on the floor beside the couch and closed his eyes.
When he woke up, someone was petting him, fingers riffling through hair to run soothingly over his scalp. He made a content noise and rubbed up against the hand before opening his eyes to see Roger's face upside down above him from where he was sitting on the couch arm behind Mark's head. "Hey," he said.
Mark smiled sleepily, not quite awake yet. "Hey."
"How are you?"
Mark gave a smile intended to say that he was fine, stop worrying, and started to sit up. "Good." He ignored Roger's helping hands and pulled himself up, finally managing to lean up against Roger. "I thought you had band practice."
"I did, it's night."
"Oh." Mark blinked, trying to reorient his mind. He'd slept clear through the day? Was that healthy? But he was waking up now, and he remembered why exactly he'd gone back to sleep so early. He pulled himself up again, trying to twist around to see Roger. "We need to talk."
"About what?" Roger asked. He obligingly slid around to sit on the floor facing Mark so that Mark could look at him easier.
"About you fixing my camera." Mark threw it out there, just to see what kind of reaction he was going to get. He didn't even know where he was going with this—just that he needed to talk about it.
Roger's eyes widened before his face became carefully blank. "It wasn't broken," he said, giving an easy smile.
So Roger wanted to pretend it hadn't happened. That made a happy sensation flutter briefly inside his chest before it went away again, replaced by a kind of embarrassment. It was nice of Roger, really, to do that, but Mark had a hard time accepting that kind of generosity. Even if he was in some kind of undefined relationship with the giver. Or maybe especially because of that. He didn't want Roger to feel as if he needed to coddle Mark more, just because he knew Mark had feelings for him. Mark wasn't signing up for that. So he just gave Roger a look. "Collins told me."
The grin slowly slid off of Roger's face. "That fucker," he muttered. "He promised not to—" His look turned sheepish, and he cleared his throat. "I mean…"
Mark raised an eyebrow. "So were you going to tell me?"
Solemnly, Roger shook his head no. "We decided not to tell you until you got back from the hospital…that it had broken, because you would have worried about it otherwise. And then after I stayed the night, I just decided to fix it myself and not tell you, because otherwise you wouldn't have let me do it. Right?"
Mark reluctantly nodded. He definitely would have argued against Roger fixing his camera. "But I'm still going to repay—"
"Mark, you're not," Roger interrupted. "You are not paying me back for this."
"But," Mark protested, frowning.
"Nope, I'm not taking anything from you." Roger held up his hands. "It's a gift, and I'm entitled to give you gifts."
"You are?" Mark frowned more, although it didn't seem to deter Roger. "I don't remember agreeing to that."
Roger pointed at him. "When you admitted to liking me by kissing me back, you entitled me to give gifts. Don't fight it."
"But—" Mark sighed and gave up. He'd just have to buy Roger something later to make up for it.
"And you're not allowed to buy me something later either."
"Wha—" Mark scowled. Maybe Roger could read his mind. "So you can give me gifts but I can't do the same?"
Roger smirked. "Oh, you can give me gifts, but they can't be the equivalent of fixing your camera, or that's just payback." He coughed. "Although, I guess you have paid me back."
Mark eyed him suspiciously. "How?" He didn't remember getting Roger anything…
"Well, first, you are stuck on that couch, so you're at my mercy. Which is too good a situation not to take advantage of."
Mark scowled more and was about to retort when he was stopped by Roger holding up a finger. "And, umm, when I got your camera fixed, I might also have gotten the guy to develop the film that was in it…"
Mark's eyes flew open wide. "You didn't," he said incredulously. Shit, oh shit, that meant…
Roger smirked. "You were filming my ass when you fell," he gloated. "And I have evidence of it!"
"Roger…" Mark protested, trying to think of some way to deny it.
Roger leaned in close to Mark's face. "And if you're not a good patient, I can tell Collins and Benny exactly why you're stuck on that couch," he threatened teasingly.
"I would," Roger insisted. Mark believed him.
"I'll be able to get up eventually," he muttered. "And then I can beat you." He could feel a grin twitching at the corner of his mouth. It was too hard to stay mad at Roger, especially when he hadn't exactly been mad anyway…
Roger closed the distance between them and gave him a brief peck on the lips. "You can try," he laughed. "But until then you have to listen to me."
"I hate you," Mark said, contradicting that by leaning in for another kiss.
"No you don't."
"How about we watch that film you fell taping?"
"Okay, now I hate you."
"Or I could play you some new songs from the band."