It was times like these he wished that he didn’t care so much. Wished he didn’t lack the ability to make Roger see reason. Wished every evening weren’t spent dreading a phone call that might one day inform him that Roger had done something completely stupid, like picking the wrong fight, or gotten hit by a car, or worse—that he’d managed to overdose.
Roger didn’t worry about these things for some reason that Mark could never possibly begin to comprehend. Roger didn’t particularly give a shit about anything these days. Except smack. And sometimes April when they were both in the mood and not itching for another fix.
--But mostly smack. At least, that was the impression Mark was frequently left with.
It was thereby related concerns that had drawn Mark out of the loft that night, onto the streets to track his junkie room mate down and drag him home. He hadn’t the faintest clue where April had vanished off to when he found Roger trashed and lying in an alleyway a bit away from the loft. And he couldn’t have given less of a shit even if he’d tried.
“Get up.” He kicked one of the rockstar’s feet in an attempt to wake him up. Roger jolted awake looking for all the world like he was about to punch the lights out of whoever had dared disturb his rest before realising who it was.
“Fuck.” He muttered, slouching back into the wall and blinking repeatedly in an attempt to force his eyes to focus. “Buzzkill. What d’you want, Mark?” His words were slurred but for the most part still coherent.
“Get up.” Mark repeated, sounding more annoyed than anything else. “You’re not sleeping on the street.”
“S’not like it’s any warmer at the loft.” Roger scoffed, letting his eyes slip closed again before making a vague shooing motion at the film-maker. “Fuck off.”
“Roger,” He was quickly losing patience with the other. Of course, that was to be expected when this tended to be a biweekly occurrence, sometimes even more frequently. “Will you please just get your lousy trashed-to-shit ass up and come home?”
Roger hung his head and there was a cross between an aggravated groan and a growl coming from him. "Make me." Going to the loft was the last thing he felt like doing, and he wasn't in the mood for the nagging that would follow--not that he ever felt like listening to those annoying pleas for him to stop what he was doing to begin with.
The film-maker made an exasperated motion with his hands before forcing himself to stifle any and all emotions threatening to burst forward. That wasn't the way to handle this, letting his emotions take charge. Even verbally lashing out at the other would likely end in violence.
It's not Roger, he reminded himself for the millionth time. It's the drugs talking.
"Look," he said after a moment, folding his arms across his chest with a sigh. "I don't care where you've been tonight. I don't care what you're on, who you've seen, what you've done--I just want you to come home. Can you give me that much?"
'I don't owe you anything'. That was the first thought that crossed his mind. But this was Mark, not some punk trying to tell him what to do. He knew Mark wouldn't be quiet unless he was humored, and as annoying as he was, he knew he couldn't treat Mark like everyone else. Besides, it's not like he couldn't just come back out later if he got sick of the loft. "Only if it'll make you shut up." He finally managed, his tone still somewhat hostile.
Mark scoffed lightly in agreement before offering a hand to help the other up. "You can pass out on our floor for all I care. But you're not sleeping out on the street like some kind of stray animal." --he doesn't mean that. Not entirely. He has nothing against homeless people. He has a problem with Roger trying to hide what he's up to. But they're all aware of it.
Benny's disgusted by Roger and April's behaviour; to the point that he's rarely ever home anymore - always staying over at Allison's. Collins has given up trying to joke with Roger because his words are frequently taken out of context only to get him snapped at. Maureen...she likes April. She loves having another girl in the loft. She doesn't like the smack so much. She doesn't like Roger so much. Even Mark has noticed that she intentionally works late shifts to avoid coming home until Roger's already passed out.
Roger grunts and starts standing up, not taking the hand at first, but after a moment of stumbling, he takes Mark's hand long enough to stand upright before letting go immediately and stuffing his hands into his jean pockets. "Fine." A stray animal...that certainly described his mentality at times. Wanting nothing more than his fix and willing to claw and bite through anything that kept him from getting it. "What're you doin' out here anyway?"
"I thought that was obvious - I'm filming." He made a shrugging motion with his hands that he figured would indicate, even to Roger's hazy drug-clouded mind, that his camera wasn't even with him and that the entirety of his focus was currently on Roger himself.
There was another discontent grumble as he waited a few seconds to make sure he had his balance, then Roger began walking out of the alleyway at a somewhat slow pace for the other. "Smartass."
"I was making sure nothing happens to you out here all by yourself." He added a bit more seriously, intentionally staying behind the other on the off-chance he happened to blackout before they got back to the loft. He had half a mind to ask what had happened to April in regards to the fact that she wasn't with him, but then decided against it on account of the fact that Roger was cooperating and he didn't want to start anything else with him.
"Oh, so basically, Maureen's not around for you to have fun, so you come look for me, alright." Perhaps that was harsh, but he couldn't give much of a damn right now. Hell, that was what it seemed like. Mark was always on his case about not being out late or keeping safe or staying at home, it was almost like Mark was his girlfriend and not April, with how he'd nag so.
He stopped dead in his tracks for a moment with a expression of disbelief. It's the drugs talking, he reminded himself again. Even as he told himself that he still found himself retorting, "Yes Roger, I'm bored and horny so I came looking for you. You hit the nail right on the head with that one."
Roger couldn't help but give a slight chuckle at that, pausing as well before bitterly replying, "You're so adorable with your wit, Mark." With a scoff he continued back toward the loft. "Come on already, I'm walking, aren't I?" It wasn't a question. He wasn't going to wait or slow himself down for the other much more when he didn't want to be back in the loft in the first place.
"Humor is a requirement for putting up with your crap." He snorted, resuming following the other. "But I'll accept the compliment."
He thought about retaliating again, but then decided not to, and instead stayed quiet as they approached the loft, occasionally pausing here and there, but not blacking out.
"...are you alright?" It was a stupid question, which he had long realised before the words left his mouth. But he was getting concerned with the randomly stopping and even more fed up with the silence. He hated silence. He hated silence twice as much as usual while Roger had drugs in his system because he had no way of knowing how "with it" the other was unless he forced him into keeping conversation. He wasn't expecting much of an answer despite persisting. "You can tell me if you aren't. I'm not mad at you, Rog."
He flinched at those words. How he hated hearing those. Since when was he ever alright? The only time he was alright was when in a buzz, and sadly for Roger they weren't in full effect anymore. He was torn on whether or not to lie. If he said yes, there was a chance Mark would keep pressing and really challenge his temper, but he definitely didn't want to be open about that emotional crap. "No--and I don't want to talk about it." He quickly added with a firm tone.
"Fine." Mark shrugged, falling into step beside the other so that he could actually look at him. He was still making sense, that was a plus. Even if the responses were still curt. "Can you at least tell me why you're trying to avoid going home?"
Roger made it a point to keep looking ahead and avoid eye contact. The last thing he wanted was to see that puppy-like face Mark made whenever he was upset. "Wanted to be alone."
Wanting to be alone. That wasn't particularly a feeling Mark was familiar with. In fact, that was much the opposite of what Mark wanted, and he wasn't entirely certain what to do with this information.
"And you couldn't be alone in your bedroom?" He was nagging. He knew he was nagging, he knew Roger was about to point out that he was nagging, but Roger somehow seemed to be that one person that Mark had a hard time keeping anything from. A lot of thoughts tended to end up in his mouth before his brain could actually process them. "--you could have gotten mugged. Or--or worse. What then?"
There was an aggravated sigh at the nagging, but he didn't have to directly point it out. The honest answer? If he had gotten killed, he wouldn't have cared. "I don't know, Mark. You tell me. What would one do after getting 'worse' as you put it?"
"Why can't you take any of this seriously?" He frowned, stepping in front of the other to block his path. His tone sounded desperate even to his own ears. "Why won't you look at me?"
Roger flinched when the other got in his way and pretty much forced his way into his line of vision. Seeing Mark like that was...wait, why did he care what Mark felt like? Why did he give a damn? "Why should I? How come you take it so seriously, Mark?"
"Because you're my best friend, Roger. And you're throwing your life away." God, he sounded like his mother. But it was true and it was painful to watch. And he had to force himself to stand his ground, because nearly every fiber of his being wanted to sidestep out of the rockstar's path for fear of being lashed out at. "And you don't care. You don't give a shit about your band, your friends, your life--you're hooked on smack, for fuck's sake. And I'm just..." For once his brain actually managed to catch a thought before it ended up blurted out and he trailed off with a sigh. "--never mind."
Stating the obvious. That was all the other was doing. Yeah, he didn't care. He didn't give a damn about any of it right now. He was finding it more and more difficult not to let his temper take control and just shove Mark out of the way, but this conversation was over. He walks closer to Mark and brings his face in real close, not showing any regard for personal space right now either. His eyes are cold and empty. "You're the one that's wanting me to come home. If you want me to come home, then get out of my way. Or are you trying to be my ball and chain?"
"I just want to understand." He responded defeatedly. Trying to get an actual answer out of Roger was like trying to make apple juice from an orange; you still got juice, but it wasn't the flavour you wanted. And it was bitter. Reasons not to attempt reasoning with an inebriated person. But then, somehow the even shorter temper Roger was in sober these days was a lot more frightening than the hazy distant look in his eyes that was currently fixed on him. He didn't move.
"If you understood then you'd be doing the same damn thing yourself. If you had wanted to be my partner in crime then you'd have made it clear before now." He takes another step, closing in on Mark even more, to where he could pretty much feel Roger's breath on him at this point. "I'm not playing around Mark."
"I want to help you." He insisted, involuntarily taking a step backwards away from the other before he could help himself. He wasn't afraid of Roger. He wasn't. Really, he wasn't. Or at least, he kept trying to tell himself that. It certainly would have looked that way to anyone watching. (And it would have been true.) "You're so busy pretending not to give a shit, the moment anyone points out the ways in which you obviously you do give a shit, you get angry. That's not helping, Roger. Drugs aren't helping, Roger. Hiding in an alleyway at 2AM isn't helping, Roger."
"I don't want help." He notes the other backing away and steps forward again, not breaking eye contact and keeping his hostile demeanor. "I got out of the alley, if you want me home, then we're going home. Don't make me say it again, Mark, I'm getting tired of using my lips to say it. I don't give April this much, don't make me find out what my limit with you is."
"I'm not April." He snapped, or attempted to, anyway. His voice was wavering, despite attempts to hold a defiant tone. "I've known you longer than anyone, Roger. Why is so much easier for you to use your mouth to tell me off than it is to tell me the truth?"
That was it. He had given plenty of warnings. He--although very lightly, especially considering the kind of mood he's in--shoves Mark back to put distance between the two only to close it again. "Home. Now."
Mark stumbled backwards a few feet but remained otherwise unmoved by the motion except for the dawning look of realisation it earned him. "That's it, isn't it? You don't remember. You're so trashed you don't even remember why you took up using to begin with, do you? You don't even know what you're hiding from anymore."
A nerve, Mark definitely hit it. This was ruining what was left of his buzz. "You're playing with fire, Mark. Move." It was only making him more frustrated that whatever he did, Mark wasn't seeming to listen. It wasn't this hard to get his way before. Was he not being intimidating enough? Or was the other just that stubborn?
"Oh for fuck's sake, Rog." It wasn't even angry. If anything he actually sounded amused, if not relieved. Because Roger getting angry implied that Mark wasn't wrong. Well, that was one way to get answers - keep poking the hornets nest with a stick. "You wanna take a swing at me? Go for it. You're only furthering my point that you're so far gone you can't even remember where it all began."
He did clench his fists, but he wasn't going to humor the other. "Fuck this." With a growl Roger grabbed Mark by his shirt again--not to intimidate him since that obviously wasn't working--just moving him out of the way so Roger could start walking for the loft again.
"Yes, Roger. Fuck you, fuck me, fuck my life, fuck off--that's your response to everything these days." He trailed after the other, no longer making an attempt to get in his path. He'd made his point, he'd given Roger ample opportunity to tell him he was wrong. He hadn't done so. He wasn't entirely sure what to do with any of this information, but at least it was some kind of step in the right direction. He hoped. "Fuck April too, while we're at it. I'm mean she's probably receiving the brunt of it, right?"
"Don't bring her into this." This was exactly why he was out on the street, the exact thing he was trying to avoid. He made it clear he wanted to fucking be alone, yet Mark was following and nagging him like a little puppy, and wouldn't shut up no matter how many times he was told.
"Where is she, anyway?"
"What did I just fucking say about not talking about her?" It was practically a hiss. They had gotten into a fight, that much was probably obvious by now.
Mark could fill in the blank with that. "So in other words you blew up on her." How April put up with Roger moodswinging all over the place, Mark wasn't quite sure. Roger could be sweet when he wanted to be. But they had a seen an awful lot more of that side of him before drugs came into the picture.
"Oh, so it's my fault." He was growling at this point, focusing on walking back to the loft before he really did lose his temper.
"Well, you could always tell me what happened..." He started, making a hand motion of 'go on...' despite the fact that Roger wasn't looking at him. "Then I wouldn't have to assume."
"Or you could stop trying to fish for answers when I already said countless times that I don't want to talk." His buzz was pretty much gone by now, and he was pissed at that, but he was also now able to feel his depression, and he wasn't as hostile with those words.
"You never want to talk." Was the immediate reply, followed by a slump of his shoulders. "You're not going to spend the rest of your life shutting me out, Roger. I won't let you."
For one second, he paused and shook, as if Mark had hit another nerve. He quickly recovered however and started walking again. "Stubborn."
"You wouldn't have me any other way."
There's a bitter chuckle, but nothing is said to refute it. "Can we at least get inside first?"
"I think I'd like that, yeah." A small smile bordering on normal crossed his face. "My battery's dying." Again with the camera metaphors. It meant he was willing to let up on the other, as Roger seemed to be snapping out the haze. Risky way of keeping him conscious, Mark had to admit, picking a fight he wasn't actually looking for, but he hadn't quite figured out a better means of getting Roger to keep talking. "You know I wouldn't nag so much if I didn't care about you, right?"
"That's why I let you."
His smile widened and he patted his friend's shoulder, figuring it was now safe to do so. A part of him wanted to point out that digging his heels every step of the way was not 'letting Mark' do much of anything, but he held back. He pulled his hand back and stepped around the other to open the door to the loft. "I'll tell the others not to say anything. You came home when I asked you to, that's all that matters."
Roger rolled his eyes a bit and gave a--albeit forced--smile, mainly out of politeness to Mark. He was still rather pissed that he was woken up at two in the morning and then scolded. Still, if Mark held the others off of his back, that'd be worth it. "Alright." With that, he walked in the door.