Title: Just a Kiss
Author: Lind-Say
Rating: PG at most
Fandom: Rent
Timeline: During the show, right after "La Vie Boheme B" & the ensuing riot.
Notes: This is something that just popped into my head & wouldn't leave me alone. I figured it wouldn't hurt my other story to get this down before it decided to go bother someone else. Not Beta-read. If it sucks I take full responsibility.

I love riots. The noise, the chaos - it's a rush. I can't help it. Maybe it's the anarchist in me.

But all good things must come to an end, & the mayhem dies down before too long. Roger & Mimi have snuck off some time ago; as I thread my fingers through Angel's, I make a mental note to tell Roger all about what he missed.

Then again, it's not like Mark won't show him his footage later. That kid & his camera...

Speak of the devil...Mark walks right past us, obviously deep in thought. With a grin, I call out to him & he spins around, as though he's only just noticed us. Then again, maybe he has; he's in his own world often enough. He comes walking over to us, chewing on his lower lip. It drives me crazy.

"Where do you think you're going?" I ask, in a mock-stern tone. Mark grins a little & shrugs.

"Who knows?" he replies. "Benny really locked the fucking building up. He's unbelievable."

"He's Benny." We both nod & Angel snorts. Mark can't stay still; he's fidgeting & keeps changing his posture. Okay, something's up. Quietly, I ask Angel to give me a second to talk to him. She squeezes my hand quickly & saunters off. I watch her go for a moment before turning back to Mark, who still looks distracted.

"So what's up, man?" I ask. When he just shrugs, I add, "You look like you've got something on your mind."

"Maureen kissed me tonight," Mark blurts out, looking up from the camera in his hands.

"Did she?"

"Yeah, back at Life."

"Well, Maureen kisses a lot of people," I remind him. I mean it as a joke - mostly - and Mark smiles, but his expression sobers immediately.

"No, I mean, she kissed me...like she did when we were still together." He looks at me now. Oh shit.

"Do you think...I mean, is it possible that..." he trails off & I interject.

"No," I reply honestly. "I don't."

"Really?" His face falls. I hate making him feel bad, but it's better than giving him false hopes.

"Yeah, really. Maureen was just...being Maureen. I mean, you know how she is."

"Yeah, I do..." Mark murmurs, pushing his glasses back up on his face. "I just thought...I mean, I was hoping...it was a pretty good kiss, you know?"

"It was just a kiss," I say gently. Perhaps not the best choice of words, but I guess it hits home. He sighs & shrugs. I put a hand on his shoulder.

"You got a place o stay?" I ask.

"Not yet. I wasn't really thinking about it," he admits.

"You have to get your priorities straight, young man," I tease, & he shrugs off my hand, biting back a grin. "Well, you should come stay with me," I press on. He looks up at me.

"You have a place?" he asks.

"Well...Angel does." It's my turn to shrug. He starts to protest, spinning off some bullshit about not wanting to intrude, but I interrupt & tell him it's unlikely Angel will protest. She chooses that moment to come back & I explain the situation to her quickly. She immediately agrees to let Mark stay over, sshhing him when he begins to protest all over again. Maybe he still feels guilty, but he looks relieved now, too.

Angel's chattering on, the more the merrier, stay as long as you like, there's plenty of room...Mark seems more relaxed in her company. She has that effect, I notice. As we approach Angel's building, I pull Mark back & ask him, just one more time, if everything's okay. He nods, a bit hesitantly.

"Just a kiss, after all," he says softly, though I can tell from his face that he's still not happy. I don't blame him. Before I can say anything else, he's on his way in, & that's my sign to let it drop.

Angel catches me inside & pulls me in for a kiss. Nobody's around to see it. Leaning back, we both smile at each other before our lips meet again.

No wonder Mark's hurting over Maureen. It's never just a kiss.