Fear and promises

Disclaimer: Don't own it, unfortunately. Second attempt at a Marker fic, I'll see how it turns out. Set pre-Rent but in an alternate universe in which Mark and Maureen didn't date.

Mark's P.O.V

Things had never been awkward between me and Roger, until now. Sure, I had broken up with him over a year ago but we had always been best friends and nothing could change that. Not even when April came along. He loved her, he loved her so much. But I knew Roger, and I could see in his eyes that he loved me too. But April knew and she was okay with it, so we just stayed that way. In some kind of weird, love triangle type thing. I'm not sure I ever told Roger the reason for me breaking up with him, he didn't ask.

"Rog, I'm sorry. We can't, we just can't keep doing this." Roger looked at me with a blank expression.

"Please tell me that you still love me." I sighed and contemplated whether to or not.

"Of course I still love you. But we can't be together. I'm sorry." Roger had shifted and for once I couldn't read him, it scared me.

"Do what you have to do. Break my heart, do whatever you want to stay happy but please Marky, please just promise me you'll never leave me alone." I smiled softly, selfless Roger was a side only I ever got to see.

"You will never be alone as long as I am alive. If I haven't left you by now, I never will."

And I had stayed true to my word. Through April and the drugs and the HIV I had stayed right by his side. And we had never spoken of what we used to have. I found it laughable that everyone would marvel at me saying, 'Mark, it's so wonderful that throughout Roger's withdrawal you've never given up, you've never left him. After all he's put you through' when in reality I was the one wondering how Roger had managed to have never left me. My actions had left him in pieces long before April's untimely death, and he had never complained, never put up a fuss. He had always carried on as if we were nothing more than friends, until now.

I cracked my eyes open and was instantly blinded by the sunlight streaming through my dusty window. It illuminated my room and make the dark, dreary walls look even more stained and worn. I liked that about my room, I felt like it represented me. Dull, boring and lifeless. I felt selfish for doing so little with my life when I was going to be the one to carry on living after Roger's and Collin's death. Sure Maureen would still be alive and kicking, but that was exactly the problem, we moved in different circles and Benny had already upped and left to marry Alison and made our 5 amigo's a four. I stretched and felt the familiar crack of weary bones that had spent the night trying to get comfortable on a lumpy mattress. I could feel my glasses crooked on my face and panicked, hoping they weren't broken. How tired had I been last night that I hadn't removed my glasses? But after a quick check and realising they were fine I knew I had to get up. I mentally prepared myself for the possibility of Roger sitting in the front room in just his underwear and shivered. That, and the sight of his now-rare dazzling smile were the two things to have ever made me doubt my decision to break up with him. I gave myself one last mental push and opened the door. Just as I had suspected, Roger was sitting on the sofa in his underwear looking perfectly Adonis-like as the sun bounced off his skin and made it glow and his muscles stand out. I sighed.

"Morning Rog." I wondered if Roger could ever sense my unease, if he even knew that I still loved him. If he did, did he contemplate why I didn't want to be with him?

"Morning sleepy." I snorted to fight down the panic that the nickname brought to me.

"I don't think you're one to talk, I'm normally up before you." There it was, that heart-stopping smile.

"Yes, but not today." I shook my head slightly and went over the kitchen, rooting around for the much-needed tea that I knew would be hidden somewhere in the mass of unused cupboards.

"Did you want anything?" I called, smiling as I pulled a teabag from the box and plopping it into a cup. My smile dropped as Roger replied:

"I'll answer that when you get in here."

I was scared, I had always been scared.

Roger's P.O.V

I was so certain that Mark still loved me. I would catch glimpses of it when he would stare at me, probably thinking I wouldn't notice. And I knew that Mark was more than aware that I still loved him. How could I not? After everything he had done for me, he had gone beyond the duty of best friend and stuck with me, just like he'd promised. So in my opinion it wasn't unreasonable of me to think that just because Mark had broken my heart a year ago that he wouldn't be okay with a relationship now. I had never questioned his decision, nor let on to him just how much it hurt because I trusted his judgement and didn't want to make things worse for fear that he would break his promise to me. So instead I poured out my heart and soul into my notebook, not even lyrics, just thoughts and feelings so that the first half looked more like a teenage girls diary entry than a song in progress. I picked up the book that lay on the table beside me and glanced at it while Mark was busy fumbling around in the kitchen, I knew he was procrastinating.

'I hate that every single day, day or night, the moon or sun will always beat me to telling the world of your beauty.'

I wondered what Mark would make of that. I had written that on the exact night that he broke it off as we were sitting on this very sofa and I watched him being bathed in moonlight from the massive windows, it made his pale skin look so silky, not washed out like it would anyone else. I still remembered that day if it was yesterday, and it still hurt. The wound would never quite heal. April had always known that I loved Mark, she had also known that I loved him more than I did her. But she never complained, never put up a fuss. She knew that it was just the ways things were.

'Things will not change if I start shouting and bawling at you Roger, and to try and come between you would just be silly. I understand that you need each other and that you were soul mates long before I came along. Just as long as you save some love for me I'll be okay.'

Roger smiled at the memory. April had been so special, but no-one could see past the fact that she was a HIV-positive junkie. Except maybe Mark. I sighed and put the book down, I could hear from the lack of noise that Mark thought he had stalled long enough. He creeped back in, as if making less noise would mean that I couldn't see him and make the inevitable move just that little bit farther away. But it wouldn't. Mark sat down heavily and placed his tea down on the table, laying his hands out in front of his crossed legs. Now that he was sat here in front of me, I doubted myself. I shouldn't do this to him. But I had to.

"Mark-"

"Roger, please don't." I bit my lip, he looked so worried and nervous. I shook my head, I could feel tears beginning to pool in my eyes.

"I have to, Mark. We have never spoken about it, there's just some things that I need to say, that I need you to know. And then I'll stop, just this once, please." Mark's bottom lip trembled as he minutely nodded his head. I didn't consider a reaction like this, I let my hand crawl slowly towards Mark's on the sofa and when he didn't move back I interlaced his fingers with my own, such welcome contact after my withdrawal from him, "I have never stopped loving you, Mark." Mark choked back a sob and I resisted the urge to comfort him in a way only I could, "Even through April and my withdrawal I didn't stop, not for a second. No matter what I said or what I did, I never stopped. Even now. And I just wanted to say that I'm sorry." My breathing quickened as Mark's free hand came up to gently caress my face and his eyes were so soft in the morning light. We moved towards each other agonisingly slowly and our lips met softly, so softly that it almost wasn't a kiss. My breath caught in my throat as Mark pulled away, his lips set into a thin line.

"That wasn't a reconciliation, it was a goodbye." I couldn't speak. Terror filled me and coursed through my body as I watched Mark get off the sofa and leave. I sat in shock before one lone tear dribbled miserably down my face.

"But you promised."

A/N: Well, wasn't that nice and depressing? Love to hear thoughts on if this was better or worse than the last one. I'm thinking worse. Please R&R and love to everyone, my readers make my life =)