Title from Lou Reed's "Heroin." Mark, Roger and April fall from grace. (Mark/Roger/April.)

Things Aren't Quite The Same

The first time April tries heroin, though she knows she's firmly on a couch in another groupie's house, she's flying.

Roger finds her inexpertly playing his acoustic – a not wholly unfamiliar scene, but not a recent one. She doesn't notice him come in, and gives a low giggle as her fingers pull half-chords from the strings, and hums something that resembles a Springsteen song.

He walks behind her and wraps his arms around her. At this she smiles, but gives no other indication that she knows he's there.

He plucks a chord out himself, and sings, "And she's buy-ee-ing the stairway to heaven," just to be obnoxious. She hates that song, and he knows it. She doesn't respond to it, though. His smile falters.

"I got you something," she says, leaning back against his shoulder to look at him.

"What'd you get me," he murmurs into her ear. She pushes a baggie into his hand. He raises it to his eye level. "Tell me this is coke," he says.

"Whatever you wanna hear," she half-sings, pressing herself against him.

He drops the baggie at the moment the words leave her lips, and stares at it.

"Play for me," she whispers. Her hands slack, fall to her thighs, and he seizes the guitar. He sings gently into her ear until her hand closes firmly around the neck of the guitar and her lips press insistently against his face and lips.

It's been a week and she's not his April. His April tastes of smoke and gin and smells of musk. His April's smile is captivating and her sex all-consuming. He sees her for stolen moments, a shaken, frightened girl, until the smack hits her and that low giggle rises like smoke.

A smile isn't just teeth. Sex isn't just fumbling and humping. There's something there that he never knew they had, and now it's gone.

"'s twice as good as what you feel on stage," she tells him. He shakes his head at her as she wraps the rubber band around her arm. "Think I'm joking? Try it."

He hesitates, and she moves over on the couch, leaving an affectionate kiss on his cheek, near his ear. She unwraps the rubber band from around her arm and strokes a hand down his arm.

He looks her in the face. It's her, and can he really deny her?

One time won't kill him, and if he can see what she sees, and she can see what he sees, maybe this will all be fixed.

He kisses her for a moment, so glad to have her back, if briefly. "Show me it all," he says.

She prepares him, gently, but nothing can really prepare him. He is unprepared for the drug, but moreso for the fact that she's right.

Mark squints through the camera as Roger opens the door. "You look like shit," he says.

"What will I do, I'm not up to Mark Cohen's standards." Roger takes a seat on Mark's couch.

"No, really," Mark goes on, still filming. "Party too much?"

"You could say that."

"I bet. Rock 'n' roll lifestyle, right?"

"Something like that," Roger says, quick to change the subject. "Where's Maureen?"

Mark sets the camera down, a bit too hard. "Good question."

Roger understands and nods. "You have the patience of a saint."

Mark shrugs it off. "We don't all have perfect, understanding women, you know."

"April has a few flaws," Roger finds himself arguing, purely on principle.

"She worships you and does anything you ask, I'm not buying this."

"She gets out of hand," he says, slightly helplessly. "So do I, we're perfect for each other."

"...All right there?"

Roger takes a breath, ignoring the shaking of his hands. "Yeah. Want to go out? You need to get out of this dump."

Mark hesitates. "Fine, let's go. You sure you're good?"

"Never been better." Roger grins. Mark rolls his eyes, and pulls on his coat.

Roger has obviously forgotten that Mark is a miserable, temperamental drunk. About the time that he starts ranting about Maureen being a slut, Roger pulls Mark from the bar and calls a cab. Mark sulks against the window, pressing his cheek and five-o-clock shadow against the chilled glass. Roger watches him, aching for a fix, of April or of heroin.

"You're so damn lucky," Mark mutters. "You are so damn lucky."

Well, what's he supposed to say to that? He knows he is – if only Mark would actually break it off with Maureen... "Don't think about it," Roger says. "Just sleep or something."

They go to Mark's place, first. Roger hauls him up the stairs, and opens the door. He quickly closes it. "Uh, come on, you can crash at my place..."

Mark opens the door himself, stares at his girlfriend and some random man on the couch, and says scathingly, "I hope you're having fun, you whore," before slamming the door. "Your place. Yeah. C'mon."

Mark clings to Roger's lapels as they go downstairs. The cab's still waiting. Roger has to somewhat shake Mark off of him to get him into the car, and eventually tugs Mark out of the car, tipping the cabbie more than he would normally for having to put up with him.

They get up to the apartment with little trouble, only tripping once, and Roger's hands are shaking so badly that he can barely open the door. "Y'allright?" Mark asks.

"... Yeah," Roger says, jamming the key in and nearly breaking it in the lock. He pushes open the door.

"There you are," April calls. She moves back on the couch to look back at him. "I can't sleep, baby..."

Mark gives Roger a baleful sort of look, and stumbles into a chair.

"You should just dump her," Roger says to him.

"Roger," April whines – it's only now he notices she's wearing next to nothing. Still doesn't matter.

Mark's out of it, Mark won't even notice. He reaches into the cabinet where they're storing the heroin now, and finds himself hiding behind the cabinet nonetheless as he cooks it and all. He only half-hears the conversation a few feet away.

"April," Mark breathes.

"Maureen fucking someone else, Mark?" Her voice is sticky-sweet, innocent yet accusatory.

"You're beautiful..."

Roger slumps against the counter, the needle, dull from overuse, hitting the floor. He pushes himself up – walking's hard – and stops dead when he sees April entwined with Mark, her hand in his hair.

"I'm sorry," she murmurs, and kisses Mark.

Roger walks over and pulls her away from him. "What are you – what the fuck?"

April is in tears. "Can't you see?"

"I see you all over my best friend!" he shouts. "Put some clothes on, god, you're such a fucking whore!"

"She's not a whore," Mark snaps.

Roger gives April a shove, and she barely catches herself. "He needs us," she says.

"Or you." All the smack's done has made him angrier. He wants to kill her, he wants to hurt her, how could she do this to him?

She kisses him for a long moment, and he pulls her close by the small of the back. He's almost forgotten that Mark is there before a hand is pulling him away by the sleeve and Mark is suddenly kissing April.

The rage surges up again, and Roger drags Mark away from her, and suddenly they're kissing, rough and intense when Roger tastes April on him and loses it again.

Roger gives Mark a shove onto the couch, and April is there, stroking the track marks on his arm. "He needs us," she whispers to him.

It's her. And once won't kill him... right?

"Show me," he breathes, before kissing her again.