Mark Cohen (make_creation) wrote,
Mark Cohen

for bill

Things weren't so bad. He was waiting on a story from Lyra and he'd been spending time with Tosh. A lot of time. Today, though, he'd woken up in his own hut and stared at the ceiling for a minute before he got up and headed for the compound. He'd liked the rain and the cold, but it was too warm for the jacket and shirt he'd layered over his other clothes. When he got to the kitchen, he laid them over a chair, grabbed some coffee, and took a seat. A battered copy of Lolita came out of his back pocket and he began to read, even though he'd read it a hundred times before.

When he saw Bill come in he smiled...but it faded quickly when he really took note of the look on his face.
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Bill was reluctant to leave the clinic and Roger's side, but he knew others needed to be told, Brian and Mark especially. He stuck his head into the kitchen and scanned the faces within, going inside when he spotted Mark at a table.

"Mark," he said by way of greeting as he approached, and he was sure he looked far from thrilled. in his usual blunt way, he forewent a preamble. "I'm glad I found you. Roger's in the clinic."
The three words he hated to hear the most crashed into him and it took a second to decide he'd heard Bill correctly.

"In the clinic?" he repeated, the blood draining from his already pale complexion. Never good words for someone like Roger. Someone like Mimi. Someone like Angel who had spent the whole of October in the hospital.

The words echoed in his head, voice over, reverb carrying the last L out like a bell ringing.

"Yeah," Bill confirmed with a nod. "He's all right...well, he's not all right, but he's alive, and conscious, and talking."

He ran a hand over his face, suddenly exhausted, his back a little sore from having to carry Roger. "He - he stopped breathing after I'd got him to the clinic, but Doctor House was able to fix it, get him breathing again. He called it...anaphylaxis? And said Roger has a bad upper respiratory infection."
Mark blinked rapidly, focusing on Bill's eyes. He'd never taken the time to notice how blue they were. It was surprising what drew his focus at times like this. The bad dye job on the nurse who had been so fuckin' mean to Collins. The way Mimi's hands had looked. The necklace Maureen had been wearing when she'd told Mark about Joanne.

Just how blue another man's eyes were. The line of his mouth and the strength of his jaw. The angle wasn't right though. He shouldn't be looking up.

Finding the strength to stand, Mark swallowed hard and tried to ignore just how dry his mouth was. Stopped breathing. Anaphylaxis. Infection. Disease.

"Shit," he whispered. One virus was a death sentence, but it was everything else in the world that was what Mark feared. He could keep everything together, running smoothly, in working order, but he was helpless in the face of this fucking plague.

"He' he..."

Close on Mark's paralyzing terror.
Mark looked about as afraid as Bill felt, and once he stood Bill put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "He's got to stay in the clinic until he's better, so House can keep a close eye on him, but he's going to pull through this infection thing," he said firmly, willing himself to fully believe his own words. "He'd better, or I've nearly pulled out my sodding back for nothing."

He gave a wry smile. "I'm sure he's wanting to see you."
Until he's better. It was a sad fact that when Mark looked into those blue eyes again, there was little confidence in his own. People didn't get better. Not really. Not once it was serious enough to land them in a hospital bed to begin with.

First there was the cough. The constant struggle to keep pneumonia at bay. Then came lesions. Weight loss. Opportunistic infections. Fever and chills.

Mark knew the drill.

Reason said that Roger should have died years ago, at least by the calender. In New York, he'd have never made it to 2008. He'd have been long buried. Mark could kick himself for ever letting anything come between them. All those lost minutes. Hours. Days. Months.

"I...I've got to go, Bill," he said, his voice tight and small. By the time he reached the clinic he could pull himself together, but it was that first moment--go for impact, sharp focus, stark lighting--that was always the hardest.

"Thanks. For telling me. You, um, would you mind finding Brian? He's going to want to know." Fucking Brian...the asshole had better show up. If he was everything Roger felt he was, he'd better be in the clinic not too far behind Mark. "I've got to..."

He pointed toward the door, looked at the shit on the table. Cup, jacket, book. Fuck 'em. The only important thing in his life was down the hall in a bed in the clinic. He started for the door, a bundle of nervous energy, but took enough time to stop abruptly, spin to face Bill, and say,

"I should...thanks."
"Yeah, that was my next stop," Bill replied with a nod. He didn't completely understand what was going on with Roger, the strange Muggle disease that affected him, but he knew the end result. He knew the end result because of Mimi, and he didn't want to think of how far away that might have been for Roger, his best mate.

"Go, mate," he continued, with a vague wave towards the door. "Go see him. I'll find Brian."
Mark nodded and walked out. His whole body was taut and tense like an overtightened string just waiting to snap. He needed to shake it off before he went in. If Roger was awake and talking then he didn't need a best friend who was so terrified to be alone that he disconnected. He took a deep breath and opened the clinic door and managed a weak smile.

Close on Roger.