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Ficathon #5 - "Take a Look Outside and Down" (for lionessvalenti) - Rent Ficathon [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Ficathon #5 - "Take a Look Outside and Down" (for lionessvalenti) [May. 16th, 2007|11:26 pm]
Rent Ficathon


Title: "Take a Look Outside and Down"
Author: emilystarr1
Written for: Lioness Black/lionessvalenti
Word Count: 3,200
Rating: PG-13 for language and mature themes.
Pairing: Roger/April, mentioned Mark/Maureen, Mark/Roger
Genre: Angst
Summary: No matter how well you know someone you can't always know what they're thinking. Especially when everything suddenly changes.
Notes: I chose the prompt "Loneliness Goes by Aaron LaVigne" -Mark/Roger".

Loneliness goes as you enter the room
the same room that I've pictured with you
You enter with style and you give me that smile
knowing that I'll look away, hey.

You take your dream
lined with golden white,
is it up to me
to make things right?

Or will you have to cope
with the strength of everyone?
It's the same but it's different,
and will I get lost in this new definition of love?

Taking this plunge as you look in my eyes
figuring out who we are.
When the fun of it's gone,
yes, you'll still be the one
where we laughed, now we'll just smile

Take my hand
tell me to not be afraid
help me understand
this thing we brave

Or will you have cope
with the strength of everyone?
It's the same but it's different,
and will I get lost in this new definition of love?

This thing called love
makes your mind ache,
love makes your heart break,
love makes your soul take a look outside and down
Down, down

This thing called love
makes your mind ache,
love makes your heart break,
love makes your soul take a look outside and down
Down, down,

Oooh... yeah.

When I write songfics, I always end up being more inspired by the feel than the words themselves, though I tried to keep what I understood from the song in there as well. I really hope you like it. ♥
Warnings: Language, talk of suicide, drug use.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, or RENT, or "Loneliness Goes".


When he got the phone call, he’d wanted to leave right away.

But Collins had said no.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” he’d said, his voice subdued. “He’s …”

Obviously Collins hadn’t wanted – or hadn’t been able – to articulate just how Roger was at that moment. Mark didn’t blame him. His hand tightened on the receiver.


“I – we’ll see you when we get home.”


Mark hung up; it made sense, even as it seemed wrong. Of course Roger would come back here. After all, the apartment was in April’s name, she’d been there first. And Mark doubted Roger would want to go back to that place, ever again.

He shivered. He didn’t want to imagine how this had all come about, was grateful that for right now all he had was a phone call. He didn’t want to know if Roger had found her, if there had been a note to explain, if she had already been dead or …

Shaking his head to dislodge the gruesome thoughts flooding it, Mark walked to the sink and grabbed the coffeepot, not entirely aware of what he was doing but needing that movement, needing something to do instead of think and imagine and picture.

In that moment, he wished he just knew the facts so he could stop the imaginings.

The horrified imaginings of a mind that never once imagined how far the ripples of April could really go.



“Why don’t you just fucking go home then?”

Roger wasn’t used to April screaming at him. She would get angry but it was a quiet, sullen anger that made her go to another room to get away from him, a brief something that always passed as quietly as it began, ending with her coming back and reaching out for him. If there was yelling, Roger was usually the one doing it. And even that was rare.

But since they’d started living together this happened so much more. For the first week or so everything was wonderful – they’d lost the light because April hadn’t been able to pay the bill but there were candles and each other and it had ended up being a great night, even if Roger couldn’t quite remember the details of it the next morning.

It was the surprise now that kept him from yelling back. But his silence only seemed to infuriate her more. A cruel look passed over her face.

“Or do they not want you, either?”

He almost had to take a step back. This wasn’t his April, and he had no idea what was doing it to her.

“Go fuck yourself,” he said quietly, shaking his head and heading for the door, grabbing his jacket off the back of the couch as he passed it. His hand had just reached up to open the door when April hurried after him.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she said, her hand clutching his shoulder too tightly, so he could feel nails digging into him through the thin material of his shirt. “Just – you’ve got to get off the drugs, you have to – ”

Mentioning drugs was consistently annoying. And even if he wasn’t as used to hearing it from April, Roger’s reaction was instinctual. He tried to shake her arm off and duck away, but April got in front of him, in his face, both hands pushing against his chest now.

“Just stop it! Just stop the fucking drugs!”

Roger did take a step back this time; April had gone past yelling into shrieking, and he couldn’t remember her ever doing that before. And she was hitting him, smacking at his chest and shoulders.

“Just stop! Stop it! You don’t even know how bad they are, you have no fucking idea, you don’t even know – ”

And suddenly there was a ringing silence. Roger looked at April in amazement, at the shock on her face as she reached up a hand to wipe under her eyes. She was crying.

Roger reached out, putting a hand over the one she had still resting on her cheek. “Hey.”

April looked up at him, her eyes big and wet. She almost looked frightened.

“What are you talking about, baby?”

For a second, it looked like she was going to speak. April even opened her mouth. But then her eyes closed and she lowered her head, shaking it slowly. Roger’s hand tightened over hers.

“I’ll cut down, okay? We’ll have more money, you won’t feel as stressed …”

She never looked up. “Go, Roger,” she whispered. “Just go.”


Benny had been out when he got to the loft, which he forced himself to not think of as home. Roger was glad – fuck if he wanted to see the smug look on Benny’s face when he learned April had kicked him out. He’d said they wouldn’t last a week. And no matter that it had been over a month now, Benny would still gloat.

Maureen was gone, too – only Collins and Mark had been home. They’d looked at him, concerned, and he’d laughed it off at first.

“April kicked me out,” he said simply. “Got a stretch of floor I could maybe rent for the night?”

“’Course, man,” Collins said, getting up from the couch and stretching, his back cracking loudly. “Mmm. I’ll get you some blankets.”

“Thanks.” Roger kept his head down, not looking over to where Mark was sitting on the table. Without Collins there, the silence was thick and charged.

“You’re going to lose her, you know.”

Roger felt his chest constrict as he looked up at Mark. It was just an unfair coincidence, that’s what it was. Before tonight April had never seemed to have a problem with the drug use. Mark, however, never stopped harping on it. He’d been so relieved when April said he could move in.

“Shut the fuck up, Mark,” he answered, his lazy drawl effectively masking the anger he felt bubbling up inside. He clenched his jaw, waiting. There was no way Mark wouldn’t have something else to say about it.

“Right.” The words were sharp, his voice deep. “Because you can’t fucking handle anybody making you face what’s really going on. You will give up absolutely everything for the drugs that are gonna fuck up your life – and they will,” he insisted, catching Roger’s look. “You are so fucking messed up it’s not even funny. I don’t even know you anymore, Roger! You’re just lucky she hasn’t made you choose yet.”

The words, the bitter tone in Mark’s voice, made a chill run down his spine. He heard his voice rising beyond his control. “What the fuck do you know about it, huh? You’re gonna give me this bullshit about April leaving me, about not being able to face things, when Maureen is out fucking some other guy right this minute?”

They both stopped, and Collins chose that moment to walk back in, dropping an armful of blankets on the couch.

“We don’t have any extra pillows,” he said casually, “so you’ll have to just make do. Now are you guys gonna kill each other or be the intelligent men you are and go to sleep?”

Roger glanced at Mark, who looked as furious as he felt. This couldn’t be the same friend he’d lived with for over a year – the friend with the easy laugh and eyes that had seemed to change the day he found Roger shooting up. As if it mattered to their friendship in any way. No one needed a friend like that, where one little detail could change everything.

“Sleep,” Collins said decisively, walking over to Mark and putting a hand on his shoulder. “Good choice. I commend you both.”

In a sudden move, Mark shook off Collins’ hand and hurried to his room. Collins turned to Roger.

“That was hitting below the belt.”

“Oh, fuck you,” Roger said irritably, running a hand through his hair. “I’ve had a bad fucking night.” He paused, his voice getting softer when he spoke again. “Besides, he deserved it.”

“Oh, yeah?” Collins flopped onto the blankets on the couch, staring up at him. “What’d April kick you out for?”

Roger shook his head, feeling the muscles in his arms beginning to twitch. Shit. “I don’t know.”


“I don’t know, it came out of nowhere, I’m telling you. She’s never had a problem with it before …” He trailed off, and after a moment of hesitation went to sit beside Collins. “She’s starting to act like him.”

Collins turned his head, fixing Roger with a piercing stare that made him want to squirm. “Yeah, well, when you love someone it’s kind of hard to watch them kill themselves.”

“I’m not.” He hated how he sounded, like some spoiled little brat.

Not breaking eye contact, Collins said, “Yeah, well. You’re putting yourself on the fast track.”

“I’m not.”

“You buying clean needles every time?”

Roger bit the side of his bottom lip. “I know everyone I share with.”

Collins looked away now, shaking his head. “Yeah, and I knew everybody I fucked.”

There was a long silence; finally Collins lurched forward, putting his hands on his thighs for balance and standing. He turned back to Roger.

“So, April, she’s okay, besides this?”

Roger looked up in surprise. “Yeah. Why?”

Collins shrugged, and turned again, heading for the room he shared with Benny. “Mark told me she called. I thought it was weird, her calling us when you’re not here.”

“That is weird.” He furrowed his eyebrows. “Did she say anything to Mark?”

“Nah, not that I know of. Mark said they didn’t talk long. But maybe you should ask her about it.” He waved one hand in the air. “Good night.”


The next night he went home, and neither drugs or fighting was mentioned. There was some silence, some stiffness, but around midnight she came out to the couch where he was getting ready to sleep.

Roger sat up quietly, and she settled down beside him, burrowing under the arm he raised.

“I’m sorry.”

“Me, too,” Roger smiled, leaning over and kissing the top of her head. See? Mark was full of shit, she was fine, he was fine, everything was going to be fine. They would show him, he would see that Roger was in control and that it could work. That you didn’t just leave someone over something like that.

“Roger?” April said after a while, her voice sounding hesitant. Roger tightened his arm around her.


“I – How is Collins doing?”

“Okay,” he said, puzzled. April didn’t know any of his friends well – it was strange for her to ask about them like that. “Why?”

He could feel her heart beating. “I don’t know. I just …” She rolled in his arms, wriggling around so she could look up into his face. “I mean, how does he deal with it?”

Roger looked away for a second. “I don’t know. I don’t know how he does it – I sure as hell couldn’t.”

“You couldn’t?”

“No way. I mean, I respect how he’s dealt with it, Collins is amazing, just … having to watch everything all the time, having to be careful and not fuck and just having this huge thing hanging over your head all the time …” He shook his head.

“…Why couldn’t you fuck?”

“Well, I guess you could,” he answered after a moment. “You’d just have to find someone else who was positive.”

April’s arms went around his waist, her head resting around the middle of his chest. “Yeah, I guess that would be okay.”

“Yeah …” Roger trailed off, the hit he’d taken earlier floating around his mind, and April twisted to look at him again. “It’s just – I still couldn’t do it. I don’t think I could handle it, you know?”

April pulled away a bit, only to sidle over after a moment and lean against him, resting her head on his shoulder. It took her so long to respond Roger thought she wasn’t going to talk anymore.

“Yeah,” she said softly. “I know.”


There was something in him, something burning in his chest that made him desperate to prove to everyone that Mark was wrong. But he especially wanted to prove it to Mark. And when he got to the loft a few days later, Mark was the only one there. Perfect. No one to interfere.

Mark looked up briefly when Roger entered and then started for his room.

“You’re wrong.”

He stopped slowly, one foot at a time. Finally he turned to face Roger.


“Yeah,” Roger answered a little too fast, his body thrumming with an unexpected tension, almost giddy at showing Mark up in this way. “Because April and I are fine. We fight, but we love each other. She won’t leave me.”

There was a subtle pressure in the ‘she’, the implication making a disgusted look pass over Mark’s face. He turned away again.

“When’s the last time you used?”

That’s not relevant.

Two hours ago.

“None of your fucking business.”

Mark kept his eyes trained on the wall. “Where’d you get the money for it?”

“A gig.”

Even Roger could hear the forced casualness in his voice, the too-light tone. Mark snorted.

“Right.” He tipped his head back, rolling his head as if his neck was hurting him. “You’re right, Roger. Completely fucking right. Will you go now?”

Barely aware of what he was doing, Roger rushed forward, pushing himself in front of Mark. “You know you’re wrong.”

Mark stared at him. For so long that Roger started to fidget, took a step backwards. “Why do you care?”

He tried to not show any confusion on his face. “Because you’re a smug self-righteous asshole and I want you to see it.”

“Nice.” Mark swallowed. “But if you don’t have to see, neither do I. You’ll never admit it, but you’ve changed. You’re different, you know it, and you know you’re going to fucking well throw everything away for this. You’ll never stop.”

“I’m not throwing anything away. I don’t do that,” Roger said, voice steady.

Mark sighed, looking down to the floor, not meeting Roger’s eyes. “Look, like I said, you ever get clean, you’re more than welcome here. But this is my place, too, and when you’re on that shit I can ask you to leave.” He looked up again, staring hard into Roger’s eyes. “But whether you believe you’re throwing it away or not, she’s going to be gone.”

“Fuck you,” Roger flashed. “She loves me.”

“Yeah, but has she seen everything yet?” Mark was leaning into him now, his whole demeanour challenging even as his voice seemed shaky. “Has she seen you so fucking strung out you’re shaking and puking? Has she caught you stealing for your next hit?”

There was a long pause, the only sound breathing. “Yeah. I didn’t think so.”

Roger’s jaw was so tight he wondered if he’d ever be able to open his mouth again. He didn’t know why he was just standing there, why he didn’t turn on his heel and get the fuck out of there the way his body was screaming for him to. But without warning, Mark had stepped up closer to him, getting right into his space and grabbing at his face.

“She’ll leave, too, Roger. She won’t be able to take it. I couldn’t. Collins couldn’t, even though he’d never say it to you.”

Roger stayed silent, watching as Mark stared at him seriously, gaze darting from his eyes to his mouth, it seemed. So he wasn’t exactly surprised when Mark pulled him forward and kissed him warmly, his lips lingering over Roger’s mouth.

He couldn’t breathe at all until Mark pulled away; and even then it wasn’t much, because Mark’s hands were still burning into the sides of his face and when he spoke Roger could still feel his heated breath.

“So listen to me. Stop. Don’t lose her, too.”

Roger pulled away. “I’ve gotta go.”


Was it only hours before that that happened? He didn’t know why he was at the hospital. Almost anything they tried to ask him he didn’t know. Everything was not-clean and white-seeming and over-bright.

It was all wrong.

All Roger could think about was having something, someone, to hold onto.



Watching Roger, Mark thought, was like being in one of those ridiculous cartoons or really old black and white movies where someone was tied to the tracks and the train was five minutes past due. Underneath it all you knew it was ridiculous and that things were going to end up all right and you really didn’t need to get emotionally invested …

But still your legs twitched and you waited to see them get saved.

There was a desperation in Roger now, a disquiet that he never voiced – except to ask Mark if he had gotten tested yet.

“Roger,” Mark had said quietly, carefully, when Roger first asked. “I only kissed you. That’s it. I’m fine.”

Roger flinched every time the kiss was brought up. Neither of them mentioned Maureen, the cheating, but whenever Roger made the effort to talk he insisted that Mark get tested.

It wasn’t that Mark didn’t want to – there was just so much to be dealt with at the loft, Roger, Collins getting ready to leave, Benny gone, and even though Mark didn’t have to work right then, he found he couldn’t really do his kind of work, either. No ideas came. Everything was just too overwhelming.

Especially when he looked at Roger a moment too long and remembered what it was like to have their lips pressed together.

But finally it was too long, Roger was doing better, and Mark had no excuses. Roger told him he better go before it got cold or he’d never haul his sorry ass out of the loft to do it. Mark figured he was probably right.

However, he felt no need to tell Roger he’d gone. No point in making him worry more than was necessary.

The day Mark got his test results, it was snowing. The first early snow of winter started to swirl around him as he walked home, a paper in hand. When he got home and walked in, Roger’s eyes zeroed in on that hand as he slid off the table and strode over to Mark.

He stopped a foot away, suddenly hesitating, just looking at him. It was times like this, when they were quiet and their eyes met in some kind of importance, that Mark wondered if Roger would ever forgive him. For being so wrong about him. And so right about everything else.

Roger cleared his throat. “Well?”

Mark smiled, held up the paper. “Negative.”

The smile faded off Mark’s face as he took in Roger’s reaction, the sudden stiffness and stillness. He turned abruptly, soon disappearing into his room, but not before Mark heard a “thank you for getting tested”.

Then Mark just had to sit and think for a while. Because this wasn’t something he’d expected. He’d expected Roger to be – not happy, but pleased, something. And for the life of him he couldn’t come up with any rational explanation for why Roger would seem disappointed.


[User Picture]From: discoapocalypse
2007-05-19 06:30 pm (UTC)
ahhh that was so goooooood!
i loved it.

especially mark and roger confrontation.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: emilystarr1
2007-05-22 09:36 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. :)

Thanks for leaving a comment. ^^
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nederlandergirl
2007-08-16 08:19 pm (UTC)
I love the last few lines. Your Roger is so real.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: emilystarr1
2007-09-01 01:43 am (UTC)
Oh, man. I am so sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this! I really appreciated it, a lot, but I've been sick and not doing a lot of internet stuff. But, yes, this comment made me happy, especially what you said about my Roger - what a nice compliment! Thanks very much, for that, and for reading. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nederlandergirl
2007-09-04 08:45 pm (UTC)
Roger's hard- he has to be closes up with not too much emotion but you can't just make him a bully. But he's my favourite to characterize.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)