Warnings: (Expected) character death.
Word Count: 709
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm making no money off of this.
On their third Christmas together, Mark's "family" falls apart. It turns out that his earlier prediction, "Mimi's running out of time," was all too true. And so, at eleven PM on Christmas Eve, Mark, Roger, Collins, Maureen and Joanne watch her die. If Angel's death was painful, Mark thinks, this is excruciating. After all, he wasn't there the minute Angel actually died. And this is already the second death. Eventually, only he, Maureen and Joanne will be left.
He tells himself not to be so morbid, but it is hard not to be, watching one of your closest friends draw her last breaths. He only wishes there was something he could do, some way to make her more comfortable. But they all knew this was coming. Mimi had come down with pneumonia a few weeks ago, and they'd seen her body slowly deteriorate.
Mark also knows that if this is hard for him, it's near impossible for Roger, who has lost so much already. Mimi is lying on the bed in front of them, her breath raspy and shallow. They all know it's too late for the hospital. And no one wants to leave even for a second to make a phone call.
Roger is sitting on the bed, holding her hand. He has unspilled tears in his eyes that he's clearly fighting back. Mark wants to go to him, to hold him tightly and never let go, but he knows better, and manages to restrain himself.
By the time she finally stops struggling for breath, lets the world go, the four standing around the bed are openly crying. Their tears are not only for Mimi, but for their whole group. They cry for Angel, and Roger and Collins, who have lost lovers and whom the other three will soon lose, and for Mark, Maureen and Joanne, who are losing everything. Yet still, Roger's tears are frozen in his eyes. As Mimi's body shudders one last time, he can't stand it anymore, and drops her hand violently, running out the door into the night. Maureen instantly goes to the bed, Joanne clings to Collins, and Mark looks around him. He wants to run after his roommate, but doesn't want to leave his friends.
"Go, Mark," Collins says softly, noticing his inner conflict. "He needs someone to be there."
And Mark, too, runs out into the night, following, hoping to find Roger, hoping he hasn't gone far.
He's in luck. Roger is sitting on the top stair outside the doors of their building, tears finally flowing freely. Mark goes to him, draws him close, lets Roger sob into him. Neither of them have to say anything, they simply draw into each other and cling, violently. And when Roger has no more tears to shed, Mark pulls him to his feet and leads him back upstairs, telling everyone else to leave them for now, to come back in the morning when they're all a little less emotional and can talk about what to do next.
And Mark gently covers Mimi with a sheet, and leads Roger to bed, and stays curled into him all night.
That's when it starts, really: the night of Mimi's death. It feels wrong, somehow, to find love on the night your new lover's old lover dies, but it's what happens. Life is funny sometimes, Mark thinks a year later, as they are all sitting around, talking about Mimi and Angel and how much their lives were affected by both. Mark expects Roger to clam up and leave the room, but instead, Roger stays by his side and says, "You know, I never would have said this a year ago, but sometimes things work out for the best." And he squeezes Mark's hand.
Mark smiles, thinking about that night, and how he got to hold Roger and never let go after all. And he knows that sometime, maybe soon, maybe not for a while, his whole world will come crashing down the way Roger's has, the way Collins' has, and he will have no one to hold him while he cries. But for now, life is looking pretty good. In her memory, he is living by Mimi's credo, not thinking about the future. No day but today.