I started this at two o'clock this morning and finished it at four, meaning I was literally half asleep. And that also means that right now, I'm running on two hours of shuteye and lots of caffeine. So, please bear with me. There are bound to be mistakes I didn't catch.
Here we have 3k+ words of angst and character death. Enjoy the sexy.
I cried while writing this because I'm a tool.
I don't own any of this shit, I reeeeeeeent.
Roger likes the nighttime. The darkness and the cold and the quiet all manage to calm him when it's particularly late. When he's stressing out, he just sits and listens to the nothingness. That's probably what he likes best about night. There's just nothing. No light, no sound. It's so peaceful.
He especially enjoys spending his nights with Mark, which they've both grown used to doing by now. They've been together for a few months and things have certainly changed. They've grown accustomed to these changes, though. Things that they probably would never have thought of a year ago are normal to them now, and neither would change it for the world.
On this particular night, Roger can't get to sleep. He's in bed with Mark, and Mark has been sound asleep for hours. He has his back pressed against Roger's chest and Roger's arm is curled around his waist. It's warm and welcoming and probably their favorite position to fall asleep in. But Roger can't sleep because he feels awful. For him, getting sick isn't exactly the best thing in the world. In fact, it's one of the worst, no matter how mild or severe the sickness is. His immune system has been slowly plummeting for so long that he can't even risk it at this point. Letting himself get sick is practically a death sentence.
His head aches so badly that it's making him almost dizzy, and he's sweating. He's been really hot for the past half hour or so and he feels like he's about to ignite, yet at the same time, chills are creeping up his spine every so often, making him shiver. He doesn't understand what's happening or why it is, but he knows it can't be good and he needs to get rid of it.
He pushes his damp hair away from his forehead. As slowly and quietly as he can, he slips out of bed so as not to wake Mark because God knows the guy needs his sleep. Stressing about his film and dealing with Roger all day can't be easy. Roger tiptoes out of the room and to the kitchen. He just needs to reach the nearest steady object he can grab onto. He braces his hands on the countertop, hanging his head between his shoulder blades. He takes a few deep breaths and tries to slow his heart rate. He has to calm down; he can't stress himself out or anything because it will only make things worse.
Hoping to alleviate some of his sweating, he pulls his shirt over his head, tossing it carelessly to the floor. He'll pick it up tomorrow. Right now, he just needs to focus on getting himself together before morning where Mark will wake up and see him. He doesn't want Mark to freak out. Roger can't let Mark get so worked up about him being sick because he knows Mark and knows he'll jump to the worst case scenario, and they both know what the worst that could happen is.
Roger doesn't want to think about it. Everyone knows he's afraid of death, which is why he has had such a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that he is going to die, perhaps a lot earlier than he'd like to. Before he can even do half of what he wants to do, he could possibly just disappear. That's what scares him. He doesn't want to go feeling unfulfilled. He doesn't want to go earlier than he has to.
Most of all, he doesn't want to leave Mark.
Who knows what Mark will be reduced to without Roger? They depend on each other. Just like Roger always turns to Mark for anything and everything, Mark is the same with Roger. They're each other's rock. It scares Roger to think about Mark living on without somebody there to be with him. Who's going to take care of him? Who's going to let him know that he's loved every single day? Mark needs that. He needs to be reminded that he's not alone, and Roger does that for him. So what's going to happen when Roger's not there?
He's sure he has every right in the world to be scared of dying. They were all there to witness Angel's death, and that meant they were also there to see how it affected Collins. It gives Roger some sort of idea of how things will be afterward. It's different, though, because Mark isn't Collins. No matter what he'd like people to think, he's just not that strong. He likes to pretend that he doesn't feel things as strongly as he does. Contrary to the beliefs of those around him, Mark's not made of steel; he just bottles it all up. He hides. He doesn't show his true feelings. He pretends not to feel things to prevent himself from actually having to. Roger is guilty of the same thing on several occasions, but he can't let Mark do that to himself after he's gone. The problem is that he doesn't know what to do to stop him.
None of this should be an issue, though, because Roger is going to be fine. He's just freaking himself out too much right now. It's obviously not anything serious. He's not dying.
His hands start to shake, and he tells himself it's because he's worrying too much, even when he knows deep down that that's not the case. He reaches up to get himself a glass and fills it with water. He's going to be fine; he just has to get something into his body and go back to bed. Then he can sleep it off and everything will be fine in the morning.
He sips at the water slowly. Now he's not going to lie: he's getting kind of scared. He knows what this all means. He's seen it happen before. He's tried for so long to prepare himself for it because he was able to watch for the signs in everyone around him, but now it's happening, and it's terrifying. Roger is, of course, infamous for denying things. He doesn't accept the things that are obvious, those things that are right in front of his face. But what else can he do? When it's something like this, how can he not try to deny it? It's fucking scary. It's one of his worst fears coming to life.
Or, well... maybe that isn't the best term he can use to describe it, really.
He turns around again, the dizziness from his headache returning with a vengeance. He grips the glass tighter and his other hand flies out to catch his balance on the counter. He tries to steady himself but, fuck, he's so dizzy all of a sudden. He gives up then because yeah, he's pretty terrified, and he goes to call for Mark. He shouts Mark's name and doesn't realize that, in the process, the glass slips out of his hand and hits the floor with a crash. It shatters and glass sprawls across the floor in every direction. It's everywhere, and Roger can't focus on it. The room starts to spin and there's a noise ringing in his ear that's heavy like water. He's fighting to keep himself steady, shaking and trying to take deep breaths again. He feels like he's toppling over completely when he's barely even moving at all.
At some point (he doesn't know how long it is because he's lost his shit completely), Mark emerges from the bedroom hastily, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Roger figures the sound of his voice calling his name followed by the breaking glass must have woken him. Mark glances down at the glass on the floor and Roger can tell that he's swearing, but he can't hear him clearly. Roger just stares, and then he knows that Mark is saying his name. Mark comes closer to him and puts his hands on Roger's shoulders, then hugs him.
"Mark," Roger begins weakly. Mark moves away a bit so he can look Roger in the eye. "Mark, I-I think I'm-" Roger trails off slowly. His eyes roll back and he collapses to the floor.
The next day, hours after an adventure in the emergency room, Mark and Roger are back at the loft. Roger's in bed, curled underneath all the blankets. He's not tired. He isn't going to sleep. He's just lying there. And Mark is sitting beside him, not touching him. He's just sitting there, his back straight, staring blankly ahead. Roger feels really uncomfortable.
"You can be upset, y'know," Roger says quietly, still with his back to Mark. "You don't have to pretend to be strong for me."
"I'm not," Mark insists. His voice seems to have lost all sense of the things Roger loves about it. It just doesn't sound like Mark anymore at all. "I'm not upset."
Roger turns over, looking up at him. "Yes, you are. I saw the way your face fell when he said that my-"
"I know what he said, Roger," Mark says loudly, cutting him off. "I was there."
A minute passes where neither of them speaks. Mark clenches his jaw and continues to stare at nothing. Roger pushes himself to sit up when he decides enough his enough. He winces at the way his muscles ache, and despite his attempt to hold it in, he groans uncomfortably and his arms wobble as he forces himself to sit upright. This doesn't go by unnoticed by Mark, who snaps out of his trance and becomes his old concerned self, resting a hand lightly on Roger's shoulder.
"Don't strain yourself, Rog. The doctor said to take it easy."
Roger glowers up at Mark through his long lashes. "I know what he said, Mark," he mumbles bitterly, and Mark narrows his eyes before turning away again.
They sit shoulder-to-shoulder sharing at the wall. Mark probably has a million thoughts running through his mind. Roger is trying to picture what Mark may be thinking of because he can't think of anything. Nothing but what the doctor told him that morning once he woke up from his fall in the kitchen.
"Mr. Davis, your T cells are low. I'm afraid you don't have much time left. I'm sorry."
Immediately, Roger turned to Mark, who was already looking back at him. It was a testament of their love, really, because when something is wrong, they immediately look to the other to figure out what to do. Someone always has an answer. But this time, they just stared. And the look in those blue eyes was enough to haunt Roger for a lifetime. That one devastated, heartbroken look was going to be engraved in Roger's mind for the rest of his life.
Which, evidently, is not going to be much longer.
Mark remained completely silent from that point on. For the remainder of the visit and on the way home, he didn't say a word. It bothered Roger. It really did. He wanted Mark to speak, to tell him how he was feeling, but he wasn't making a sound. And they went home and crawled into bed and ended up exactly where they are now.
"We knew this day was coming," Roger reminds him. "I'm sick. I've been sick. We've prepared ourselves for this."
Mark whips his head around to look at Roger, saying in a mess of jumbled words, "Yeah, it's easy to 'prepare yourself' for the death of the person you're in love with when it's not actually happening. And then they really are dying and there's nothing you can do. Absolutely fucking nothing."
Roger frowns. He's the one who's dying, but right now, he feels like he's lost Mark. He doesn't recognize him right now. Roger looks away again, staring at the wall. This time, neither of them decides to break the silence.
Roger spends days in bed. He doesn't eat, no matter what or when Mark tries to feed him. He's starving, but he can't stomach anything, or he just doesn't want to try. He passes through sleeping spells which only last about twenty minutes each, and then he's awake and screaming for Mark again. But when Mark does come and Roger is shaking and sweating and in tears, Mark can't do anything but sit there and tell him it'll all be okay.
A week and a half after Roger's doctor's visit, the last little sliver of his hope has washed away. He knows nothing is going to resolve itself now. The virus completely took over and now he's just slowly slipping away, waiting for the pain to end. The night where he realizes all is lost, he's lying with Mark behind him, holding him around the waist. It's a nice turn of events and it's how things have been going for a while now, with Mark holding Roger instead of the other way around. Mark holds tightly and cherishes Roger the way Roger always loved to cherish Mark. Now, Roger needs to be cherished. Mark knows he doesn't have much time left. It sounds selfish, but he needs to be with Roger as much as he can before he can't at all anymore.
At one point during the night, Roger has a feeling. It settles deep in his stomach, letting him know he really can't wait much longer. He knows.
He turns over, groaning at how much his body hurts as he does, but he wants to look Mark in the eye. Once he's facing him, he presses their foreheads together, looking at him. Mark looks crushed. His eyes are glassy and distant and Roger knows that that means he's completely at a loss. He doesn't know what to do. And Roger certainly understands why.
"It hurts," Roger says meekly.
Mark's eyes glisten. "I know, Rog," he responds, running his hand through Roger's greasy, overgrown hair. "I wish I could take all the pain away."
Roger takes a deep, shaky breath. "You can't," he begins breathily, "but I can."
Mark's brow furrows in confusion. "What do you mean, you can?"
"I mean that I've been holding on these past few days 'cause I didn't want to go. I still don't want to go." He bites down on the inside of his cheek. Every part of his body is aching. He's freezing and he's scalding hot, and everything is just completely wrong. It's not the way a person should be living. "But I can't hold on anymore."
Mark shakes his head immediately. "No." He's already welling up, and the sight makes Roger's heart clench in his chest. "No, Roger, don't say that. Keep fighting."
"But it hurts, Mark. I don't think you understand. Everything hurts," Roger murmurs. "You don't want me to suffer."
"Then let go." Roger looks him straight in the eye. "Let go with me, Mark."
Mark tenses up, at a loss for words. The way Roger speaks is killing him. His arms tighten around Roger, trying to pull him closer, always closer. "I can't let you leave me, Rog. You can't let go. Stay with me." He's crying now, and his voice cracks a few times.
Roger starts to cry, too, but he can barely tell because he's sweating so much that it's made his face wet. "You're going to be okay. I promise you that. Remember that I'm always here."
Mark closes his eyes, shaking his head again. "Stop it. Stop talking like this," he says through his teeth. "You'll be okay. Stop this."
"Just tell them all that I love them." Roger is ignoring Mark's pleads for him to stop. Mark is pretending not to listen to Roger, but Roger knows better. Mark is taking every single one of his words to heart, whether he wants to hear them or not. "Collins and Maureen and Joanne and Benny... Give 'em my best, okay?"
Mark doesn't answer. A choked sob escapes his lips. Roger brings a trembling hand up to Mark's pale face, wet with tears, caressing it lightly. He's trying to be comforting, but his skin is cold, and it's bringing Mark closer to the reality at hand.
"I love you," Roger says. His hand goes from Mark's face to the nape of his neck, and he brings their lips together. "Always remember that I love you. I love you so much. More than anything in this goddamn world." Roger laughs a little, but the sound is hollow and breathy, and nothing like the laugh Mark adores. "Hell, you are my world."
Mark nods, his eyes still clenched shut. Roger figures he just can't say anything in return. He's too choked up. It's okay, though; Roger knows. He kisses Mark again, longer this time, and Mark just can't help the way that he's crying. Roger sure isn't blaming him. If the roles were reversed, Roger would be reduced to a complete fucking mental breakdown. He's actually proud of Mark for not spewing nonsense and going insane when the love of his life is dying right before his eyes.
"You're not alone, Mark," Roger reminds him. He brushes their lips together gently. His eyes close because it's starting to become a hassle keeping them open. His hand moves to the side of Mark's neck so he can caress his ear with his thumb. "You're never alone."
Mark's hold on him increases even further. "My God, I love you," he mutters hopelessly, ducking his head down further. He breathes in Roger's scent, realizing fully well this is the last he has of his Roger. This is it. The moment that was inevitable from the moment they met. But nothing ever seemed as real as this moment. Roger thinks that maybe he's truly seeing Mark for the first time because he's letting it all out. Everything that's been bottled up, all his remorse about losing Roger is finally being spilled.
"You're not alone," Roger repeats. He doesn't want to be brave. He wants to let all the agony slip away. But for the time being, he has to be brave. For Mark. "I will always love you, no matter where I am. You're never alone."
He speaks these words periodically for a while after that, just to let Mark know that he's still with him and he's not alone. Mark has his eyes closed and he cries and shakes and clings to Roger for dear life. Roger has taken to slowly, slowly stroking Mark's arm up and down. The motion becomes slower as the time passes, but the decrease is so gradual that Mark barely even realizes it when he stops altogether. He does, however, notice when Roger stops telling him that he's not alone. Mark's entire body goes rigid when he realize he's in Roger's embrace, but Roger is...
Too afraid to open his eyes, Mark wriggles away and steps out of bed, leaving the room as fast as he can. He can't be in there. Not with Roger still in there.
He goes into the kitchen and picks up his phone. He dials absentmindedly, his shaking hands fumbling. As it rings monotonously, Mark backs against the wall, sliding down to the floor. He brings his knees to his chest and wraps his free arm around his knees.
"Mark? What the hell?" Joanne's tired voice hits Mark hard.
He feels so empty, so cold. Everyone was informed of Roger's episode in the kitchen that night and the fact that he didn't have much time left, so Mark figures one of them must have been awaiting a call like this. He just still can't believe Roger is in the other room, yet he's not there anymore, and so he doesn't know what to even begin to say to Joanne. It's the eeriest feeling in the entire world, honestly. He doesn't know what to make of the fact that his dead boyfriend is lying in their bed right now. Mark closes his eyes.
"What's going on? Mark?"
Mark glances at the bedroom, and then looks down at his feet. "He's..." He can't even bring himself to say it. Mark takes a slow, unsteady breath. "Roger is... He's..."
Joanne doesn't let him finish. She knows. "Mark, did Roger... Is he... dead?"
The word has Mark sobbing again. That's all the confirmation Joanne needs. She tells Mark to stay where he is and not do anything, and she demands that he stay on the phone with her so that she knows he's still with her. But Mark is in despair. He drops the phone to the floor while the line is still connected. He can hear Joanne's voice saying his name over and over, telling him to pick it up. He curls into himself, falling into a crumpled, defeated heap on the floor. He doesn't understand why what happened has happened, and he figures he never will.
He doesn't know how long he stays on the floor like that. But eventually, everything is happening at once. Joanne, Maureen, and Collins show up with each other to get Mark and perhaps try to help pull him together. They're followed by EMTs and police. Most go into the bedroom to where Roger's body is. One stays behind to help comfort a stunned Mark.
Just when progress seems like it's about to be made and they may get Mark to start giving them some answers, they bring Roger's body out. Maureen sees first, and she speaks so quickly when she tells Mark not to look. She even goes so far as to almost dive in front of him so he won't see, but he looks past her anyways because he can't help himself, and then he's lost again. They're back to square one where he's shaking and turning into a complete mess of sobbing and anger.
He realizes why Roger died the way he did. He realizes why he was there. He kept telling Mark that it was okay, that he wasn't alone. And the moment he stopped saying he wasn't alone, Mark realized it was because suddenly, he was alone. And now he's going to remain alone for the rest of his sorry life, and there's nothing he can do about it.
Roger is gone. He's never coming back.
Mark, surrounded by his friends and strangers trying to help him, is completely and utterly alone.