A/N This fic is posted under my name but it is co-written with Fae (from Erik and Fae), so here is our first Rent fic APPLAUSE !

So this is how it was done- basically it is written from two POV's- Fae wrote Mark's POV and I wrote Maureen's. Though the hour differences worked mostly against us, we used RP's to do the dialogues and may God bless the internet for giving us the ability to do this thing!

Read and review, you guys! We'll be waiting!


Disclaimer- all Rent characters are the property of the late, great Jonathan Larson

Chapter One

"Open scene. Roger and Mark's apartment. We screen at March 2nd, 10PM... pan right, zoom in on Roger... Roger?"

Mark peered over his camera searching for his best friend, only to find the living room deserted. Funny, he thought, he was here a minute ago. He turned his camera off irritably, trying to avoid wasting film. He didn't have much left, he couldn't afford any more. Standing up, he called Roger's name again.

"What?" a voice called from a distance.

"Where'd you go?" asked Mark, wiping the lense with his sleeve.

Guitar strings echoed through the apartment. "In the bathroom."

Mark raised an eyebrow. "You brought your guitar in with you?"

The tune to his new song, Your Eyes, played harmoniously in the air. It was a sweet melody dedicated to his beloved Mimi, who he could never stop talking about. Sometimes Mark wished he'd shut up about it.

"The acoustics are great in here," replied Roger. It didn't seem like he was coming out any time soon. The guitar strings continued to play.

Mark sighed loudly falling backwards on their three seat sofa. He took off his glasses hastily, feeling an itch of tiredness between his eyes. He rubbed them carefully, while trying to resist a well-deserved yawn. Not yet, he thought forcibly, I can't get tired yet. He still had some film to edit and sort out.

He placed his glasses over his deep blue gray eyes and turned his camera around so the lense would face him. He turned it on, reluctantly at first, then cleared his throat.

"Mark Cohen here, trying to figure out why my life is such a disgrace. Single, dumped by a lesbian, and AIDS-free, I lay here figuring out why I feel so left out." Oh God, thought Mark miserably, I don't even know what I'm saying. He sat up, switched scenes, and panned across the empty living room. "And here is my pitiful sanctuary. It isn't much...but it's home."

Suddenly the face of a handsome, rugged man appeared on the lense, his green eyes shining with happiness.

"You can see it in my eyes!" Roger sang smiling.

"Now you want your closeup," said Mark, putting his camera down. He rubbed his temples, trying to numb the pain inside them.

"Hey," said Roger putting a hand on Mark's shoulder. "Why don't you put your work on hold for a night and join me and Mimi for dinner?"

"It's okay, I'll be fine," he said. "You don't have to do that."

Roger became silent, almost as if he was lost for words. He arched his guitar, strumming random chords until they sounded into a familiar tune. He spoke, continuing to play.

"What the matter Mark?" he asked concerned.

"Nothing." Mark realized that he had answered that a bit too quickly, but it was too late.

"Come on Mark, don't hide it..."

"Roger, nothing's-"

"Don't make me sing it."


"Tell the folks at home how you're feeling now, Mark?" he singsonged.

"Roger, this isn't a rock-opera!"

He stopped playing and mumbled a quick "sorry" before setting his instrument down. He sat next to his best friend, trying to decipher the depressed expression on his face. Mark tried not to look away, but he couldn't help feeling detached.

"What is it?" asked Roger lightly.

"I... I don't know. I guess..." He took a deep breath and said quietly. "I guess... I'm still not over her." Mark stood up, embarrassed of his confession. Roger followed him, placing a hand on his back.

"You know I love Maureen," affirmed Roger. "No matter how much I try not to, she's a disease. But I hate what she's doing to you. But you know the pain won't stop until you let go."

"I know," said Mark. He turned to Roger and saw a worried look in his eyes. He frowned. "Look if you don't mind, I'd like to finish up my work alone. And... I've got some thinking to do."

"Okay. I'll be out with Mimi." Roger slipped into his jacket and headed for the door. Before leaving, he mentioned. "Uhh... don't wait up."

Mark managed to crack a smile. "I won't."

Flashing him a grin, Roger walked out, closing the door as quietly as possible. As soon as the lock clicked, the familiar daunt of tormenting silence filled the room. So alone, so unwanted. That's how Mark felt. The silence became louder until he couldn't take it anymore. Even when no one was here, he couldn't get any peace and quiet.

He started to set up his projector, deciding to get some editing done before his troubles distracted his concentration. Opening their closet, he dug through boxes of old clothes, four year old screenplays, posters of bands unknown to this decade, sheet music, and who knows what. Finally finding what he was looking for, he hauled a box full of old film reels. Maybe I can find a reel of Collins, wondered Mark. He was planning to make a tribute for him and Angel, since the pain was still healing for everyone. He dragged the box into the living room which he had now turned into his personal editing room.

As he searched through his memories, he couldn't help but guess what each film reel contained. Halloween- ahh, when they toilet papered Benny's house only to experience his heat of revenge by turning off the heat a week later. Roger's birthday- he laughed. That was when him and Collins hired Bella the Belly Dancer for his surprise birthday party. Benny's wedding- that brought back painful remembering. This was when their dear friend betrayed them and married the evil queen, but paid their respects anyway. Mark's 21st- when they bought every alcohol known to New York and made him drink a bottle of each. That, Mark remembered, was not a pleasant sight. May 16th... May 16th?

What happened that day? Mark tried to remember, but nothing was coming to him. He hated himself for not giving it a proper title. May 16th? What was that?

He pondered about it for half an hour before actually giving in. He didn't think he should waste his time watching something he totally forgot about, but what the hell? He slid the reel in and watched it play.


A living room similar to theirs materialized onto the screen. The only differences were that there were more furniture, more color, more live activity, and the atmosphere seemed so much lighter. On their long sofa sat Roger, April, Benny, and Collins, and on the other side was another figure sprawled onto a leopard skinned love seat. Maureen.

Mark's voice came on. "May 16th, 11:45PM. We spend a quiet evening at home, celebrating the wonderful Maureen Johnson's birthday."

Close up on Maureen as she held a glass of champagne in one hand. "Just as I like it... just us."

Everyone laughed, and Collins spoke. "Maureen, your birthday was two days ago and you made a big show about it at the Life Caf×™. We're just making up for lost time."

The camera zoomed in on Maureen and she smiled playfully. She pursed her lips and mouthed, "I love you pookie." Suddenly a voice came from behind the camera.

"Here, let me have a turn with it Mark," said Roger's voice.

"What? Do you have any experience?"

"You press a button. You move the camera around. What's there to know?"

"Would you let me touch your guitar?"

"You'd be dead before you touch his guitar," said April.

"That's right. Get! Come on, let me shoot you and Maureen."

"I hope you're not hiding a gun in that guitar case," joked Collins.

"You know what I mean." There was a short pause and Mark hesitantly handed him the camera. A younger looking Mark sat next to Maureen. She lifted her legs and laid it on top of his lap.

"So Mark what are you going to...ahem...give Maureen for her birthday?" asked Roger, as it zoomed in on the couple. Mark made a face as if he was trying not to turn red, and the others cooed and wooed.

"I've already given her a gift," remarked Mark.

"Woo!" the guys cheered on.

"Not that," cleared up Mark. The cheering died instantly and was replaced with fits of chuckles. Mark gazed at his girl lovingly, as if there wasn't any person on earth he'd spend his life with. He held her hand tight...


Mark couldn't watch anymore. He knocked over the projector and the reel fell out of the slot messily. He couldn't bare it. He remembered that day clearly now; it was all so painfully clear. It was the day he had professed his love for Maureen. And he remembered that he couldn't stop saying it after he had said it once. His heart ached inside. He couldn't believe that she was finally gone- he never thought he'd see the day. He always thought that the videos, the footage would remind them of how happy they always were together, and yet they only hold burdens. Tears ran down his face. His heart felt so empty.

Well, he knew one way to mend an empty heart, and that was to fill it with alcohol. He had taken up drinking after she left, but only when he was alone. He never drank more than two bottles though, but as the days proceeded, he seem to have been consuming more and more, almost religiosuly. He made his way into their refrigerator and took a six-pack out. He dropped it on the floor of the living room, and laid against a wall as he helped himself to a drink.

He couldn't even look at another girl since Maureen. She was his first love, and she would always have that special place in his heart. And it seemed as if she still had that place in his heart, the place where when they were still in a relationship. Sure they had their fights. They were different, after all.

Was that it? Was it because they were so different? Because she was a gorgeous, luring seducer and he was New York's nerd of the year? But he always liked that about their relationship. Even though at sight, they were those type of people, they brought the best out of each other. She brought out of him a person he'd never expose. When he was with her, he felt like he could do anything, like he was wilder, took more risks. And she... she was calmer, sweeter, gentler. They brought out the best of each other. There was a time where he thought they were perfect for one another... Mark took another drink.

Four drinks or four hours or four days later (he couldn't keep up), Mark felt the urge to stand up. He couldn't let her do that to him. He couldn't let her hurt him again and again as she screwed around with her bitch. Hope... there had to be hope. After all this time, after all these feelings, after all the drinks, he knew that she just had to feel something between them. Maybe if he said those words again. Those three words that made her smile all the time. He made his way out the door, and onto the streets.

What if she hits me? Mark asked himself. Nah, she can't. It's me! It's Mark, she can't hit me. He pushed his glasses up and tried to catch his balance. Which way to Maureen's? West. Gotta go west. Dark, and a bit warm, he made his way to Maureen's apartment. Up the stairs... up, up, up, Mark almost laughed at himself as he tripped over every other step. He stopped at her door.

What if Joanne was in the apartment with her? He couldn't remember if she worked long days or long nights. He didn't dare knock on the door yet. What if he walked in and they were... they were... he couldn't even imagine it. How could she? How could she do this to him? How could she not know how much she meant to him?

He fell to his knees. Maybe this was fate. He couldn't control his destiny. There was nothing he could do if the fates were against him. The hallway light shone brightly, streaming straight down to his eyes. He squinted, and stared at the light. It started to flicker off and on, until it slowly died down to a dim. A few minutes later, the light died.

So this is how it is, thought Mark bitterly. Just like the light, our relationship was. Strong then flickered down to nothing. He bit his lip, and tasted the bittersweet liquid from the alcohol. Suddenly, he wished for more. He decided to go back when he realized he didn't know where he was going. The stairs seemed to have disappeared.

Well, he might as well do it now. He staggered to Maureen's door, and knocked lightly. The door opened slightly.


"Maureen is two doors down, hun, and what are you doing? It's the middle of the night!" a woman said.

"Sorry. I don't know what I'm doing. It's all right." The door closed and Mark stumbled two doors down. He knocked. No one answered. He scratched his blonde hair. He knocked again even louder this time, and leaned near the door, waiting for her to answer.