Author's Note: I've been pondering writing another Rent fanfiction, more of a prequel and Mark-centric (though still Roger/Mark). I was just wondering if anyone had an opinion of the chapter lengths. I know that they're a bit longer than the "norm" chapters on fanfiction (but by no means up there with the ten page long chapters of some people. How you could ever write that much in one chapter? I would kill for that). Do you guys see that as a negative? Would you enjoy smaller chapters more or are they fine how they are? Also, I know I do a lot of inner thoughts and what not. Would it be more readable if I had more dialogue/description and less "Mark thinks... Mark feels..." or have I managed to hit a fair balance? If you could answer either one, I thank you a million times over.

Touch and Tell Lullaby
Chapter X: Day Break

"Maaaark. Maaaark. You need to wake up." Mark moans, swatting at Roger's hand when the other boy tries to shake him awake. Roger scooting away from Mark's light smacks, shifting around until he's sure the box behind his back is completely hidden. He gives his friend a few more seconds of sleep before nudging him with his heel. "Mark!"

Mark mutters something under his breath, struggling to sit up in bed without loosing any of the covers. He tries glaring at Roger, but without his glasses it just looks like squinting. Any illusion of fierceness is lost when Mark yawns and rubs some of the sleep from his eyes. "What?"

"Surprise," Roger answers with a light, awake tone he knows will annoy the still out of it Mark to no end. Mark stops scrubbing his face to look up at Roger with interest. All he gets is a coy, self-satisfied smile. "But you have to wake up."

Mark groans and flops back down, pulling the covers up over his head. "I'm tired," he whines, snuggling against the pillow. "Need sleep."

Roger might have been more sympathetic if he weren't so excited. Ignoring Mark's determination to go back to sleep, Roger asks, "Don't you know what today is?"

"Cold," Mark complains. He pulls the blanket down and pats the free mattress space beside him. "You're suppose to be keeping me warm, not keeping me awake."

"That's cheating," Roger says, because who wouldn't want slide under the covers and curl up next to Mark? Roger's eyes go between Mark and the bed. Behind him, his hands fiddle with the package, making sure it's still out of sight. It's a tempting offer, and it takes Roger a second to remember why he's not already in bed with Mark.

Mark throws some of the blankets back for Roger. "Stop playing around. I'm freezing."

Roger can't help but smile. "Then I'll have to warm you up." It's hard to mix how Mark's eyes dart to his boxers. Suddenly, Mark looks much more awake and much more red. Before he can say anything, Roger shoves the box into his hands. "Merry Christmas," he says, maybe a little too quickly, and Mark isn't the only one blushing.

"Yeah..." Mark squints down at the box in his hands before reaching over and grabbing his glasses from the nightstand. "What is it?" he asks, picking up the cardboard box and shaking it. He wrinkles up his nose and holds it a few inches away from him. "And why does it smell like beer and fish? Did you get this off the street."

"Only the box." Roger is rather proud that he'd remember to wrap it at all. If putting a gift in an old cardboard box could be considered wrapping. "Besides, it's a Christmas present. You're not suppose to ask questions. You're just suppose to open it." Roger pushes the box closer to Mark's chest, urging him to open it. "Go on."

Mark shakes the box a few more times before the idea really sinks in. When he grins, he looks just like a kid around the Christmas tree. "You got me a gift?"

"Open it!" Roger can't seem to keep himself from fidgeting. He'd forgotten how exciting it is to give a gift. The last thing he'd bought for anyone had been getting April some smack.

Mark laughs, tearing up the top of the box as fast as he can and empty the box onto his lap. A dark blue, green, and white jacket falls into his lap. Mark raises an eyebrow, picking the jacket up and turning it around. "It's a jacket."

"I told you it would keep you warm," Roger says. He's glad Mark has the coat held up between them, because his mind instantly goes to other ways he could keep Mark warm, and his cheeks heat up.

Mark grabs the tag, eyes going wide when he sees the price. "It's new," he says, voice a little higher than usual.

Roger winces. "Yeah." Maybe the jacket cost more than half the rest of the boy's wardrobes, but Roger saw it and it just looked so Mark. Besides, he didn't really need that new amp right this minute. Mark doesn't look impressed. He keeps turning the jacket over like he's looking for something wrong with it. Roger knows exactly what's wrong. Friends don't normally spend their entire paycheck on one piece of clothing for each other. Especially not friends that can hardly pay the rent. "It's not really a gift," Roger says before Mark can think over it for too long, "so much as a trade in. So I can get my coat back."

Mark pouts, putting the new jacket down in his lap. "But I like that coat."

Roger rolls his eyes, feeling a bit annoyed that Mark had to be so damn difficult. Why couldn't he just tell Roger to fuck off, that he didn't want the present, that he loved the thought and the jacket and Roger? Not only that, but he is ruining Roger's one good excuse for why he felt the need to go and get Mark a gift. "My mom bought that at Good Will years ago," Roger complains. "It probably smells."

Mark's cheeks turn red. He starts fiddling with the jacket's zipper. "I guess."

Roger sighs, reaching forward to take the coat away from Mark. He can still get his money back, maybe put it towards repairing his amp, something he should have done in the first place. What made him think it would be such a good idea, buying something for Mark? "If you don't like it-"

Mark jerks the jacket away from Roger, hugging it to his chest. "I do!" he says, pulling back when Roger reaches for it again. "Come on, Roger!" Mark puts on his best pout, the one that makes him look like a dorky ten year old. It doesn't make Roger feel any less embarrassed, but he can't help but grin and roll his eyes at the begging look.

Biting down on his lower lip to keep from smiling too much, Roger grabs on to the jacket and pulls hard enough to yank Mark out from under the covers. "You said you didn't want it," he says in an almost mocking tone.

Mark crawls to his knees, keeping his hold on the jacket's collar. "I do now!"

Roger gives a hard enough tug that Mark ends up at the foot of the bed, and the jacket is entirely Roger's. He holds the coat back behind him, smirking when Mark glares up at him. "Prove it."

"How do you prove you need a jacket?" Mark says, using Roger's knees to push himself up. "I'm already freezing my ass off. Isn't that enough?"

With Mark's hands on his legs and their bodies almost touching, Roger knows Mark isn't freezing. It feels to Roger like he's radiating heat. They really are too close and not close enough, Roger thinks, and Mark looks so good when he's pouting and rumbled from sleep.

Before Roger can say any else back Mark leans forward, causing Roger's heart to jump. This is why he went and blew half of his cash on some stupid, over priced jacket. Roger feels dizzy when Mark presses their lips together. He drops the coat, fingers curling into the sheets to stop himself from grabbing Mark and tugging him forward.

They stay in that awkward limbo of a kiss, barely touching but not far enough back to feel casual. It's just another one of their friendly kisses, Roger reminds himself. But it doesn't feel that way when Mark's hand crawls up his leg. Roger only barely holds back a moan before Mark grabs the jacket, pulling it away from Roger. It's just a game, he tells himself, don't make an ass out of yourself, Davis.

Mark murmurs, "Thank you," and Roger can feel his friend's hot breath against his mouth. A hand rests on his shoulder, calluses fingertips ghosting over Roger's suddenly burning skin. Roger isn't sure if he can move right then, so it's all up to Mark. He leans in a little more, tilting his head so that their lips mold together.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Roger jumps back from Mark so quickly he winds up on the floor in a pile of magazines. "Fucking hell!" He arches off the ground, rubbing the sore spot on his backside. He definitely heard something crack.

Mark is pressed against the wall, flushed and breathing hard enough that Roger can hear him over another set of knocks. He's staring at the door like a teen caught making out by his parents. After catching his breath he says, "That's probably Collins with some holiday wine."

Still wincing in pain, Roger mutters, "yeah," groaning as he picks himself up off the floor.

The second Roger is leaning over the bed Mark is jumping away. "I'll get it." He slips a sweater on inside out and backwards in his rush to answer the front door, or possibly just to get out of the bedroom as quickly as possible.

"I'll be out in a second. Just let me put something on." Not that Collins hadn't seen Roger in his boxers a million times before, but suddenly it didn't seem like such a good idea to be caught like that. His heart is still racing, and he's pretty sure the second Collins sees him he is going to know what Roger had been doing.

Not that Roger had done anything wrong. He hadn't been the one who had started the kiss, although he might have done something that maybe he knew Mark would probably kiss him for. Still, he had definitely not been the one who kept kissing. That had been all Mark. It is Mark that had been trying to kiss Roger.

It takes Roger a moment to register that thought. Mark had been trying to kiss him.

The knocking is finally cut off. "Hey Col-Oh."

"Hey yourself."

That voice.

Roger's thoughts scatter as he makes a mad dash for the door. Ignoring the fact that he's half naked, breathing hard, beyond confused, and has a pain up his right side, Roger runs out of the bedroom, nearly crashing into the table before he can slow down.


Mimi's just as thin as Roger remembers her. The dark circles under her eyes haven't receded, and her face is still gaunt and too close to death. The smile, though, that's new. It's not her "take me out" look that Roger fell in love with. It's a little more down to Earth and a lot more heart breaking.

"Roger," she says, and Roger starts breathing again. He tries to say something, but all he can do is keep staring at her. After a few seconds, she starts to look rather amused. "You just gonna stare all day?"

She's got a healthy glow to her skin. When she smiles this time, there's something there that Roger can't remember ever seeing. Somehow, Roger manages to get his voice back enough to say, "You... You look good."

Mimi chuckles, glancing away for a half a second before she can meet Roger's eyes. Her eyes. Mimi has indescribably beautiful eyes. "You too."

"Thanks." Roger isn't sure what else he can say. Most of his mind has stopped working, unable to process much other than the fact that Mimi is standing here, back in the loft after half a year. He doesn't even notice Mark until the other boy is walking in front of him.

"I really need to get somewhere," Mark mutters, hurrying past Roger to the bedroom. He comes back out with his camera and new jacket. "I have some filming I need to get done."

Mimi laughs, patting Mark on the arm as he tries to zip up his jacket. "You never stop working, do you Mark?"

Mark looks right at Roger. "Sometimes it's easier that way."

If he means anything by this, Mimi doesn't seem to pick up on it and Roger's too busy staring at her to think about it. "Well, good luck," Mimi says, standing aside to let Mark out. Mark gives her a quick smile and nod, still trying to get the jacket on. His hands are shaking too hard to click the zipper in place. "Cute jacket," Mimi adds, running a hand down the thick white strip across the right side. "Is it new?"

"Christmas gift," Mark explains, jerking when Mimi touches him. "Complicated zipper."

"Here." Roger grabs Mark by the arm, swinging him around. He ignored Mark yelp and small struggle, pushing the other boy's hands away so that he can zip the jacket up. "There we go." He holds Mark back to get a good look at him. The jacket looks a thousand times better than the ratty disaster Mark had been wearing for so long. It doesn't hurt that the jacket fits his form a little more.

Mark fidgets uncomfortable with Roger studying him. He shakes off Roger's hands, taking a step towards the door. "I have to go."

Roger reaches forward, taking Mark by the shoulder again. "See you later." He kisses Mark on the forehead before letting him go.

For a split second the two lock eyes. Mark is staring into Roger, looking for something. Roger, he hopes that Mark can find it in him.

Mark looks away in a hurry. "Later." The door shuts, leaving Mimi and Roger alone in the apartment.

Roger smiles, running a hand through his messy hair. "He works too much." It's the only thing Roger can think to say. In his mind he can still see Mark's eyes burning into him, and he can't help but feel like's he's failed something.

Mimi isn't smiling any more. She isn't even looking at Roger. "I should go." She stuffs her hands in her pockets and turns to leave. Before she can get another step, Roger is in front of the door, hands on Mimi's shoulders to keep her from walking out.

"No!" He winces when he realizes how pathetically desperate he sounds. Closing his eyes and taking a few calming breaths, Roger tries again. "I mean, please don't go."

Mimi shrugs his hands off her shoulders. She hugs herself, protecting herself from Roger. "Look, I get it. I mean, you in your boxers and Mark looking like he did. I'm not an idiot, Roger. I just... I didn't expect." Mimi sighs, one hand massaging her temple as she backs away from Roger. "I need some fresh air."

"Mimi, wait!" She's already pushing past Roger, hurrying out the door. Before she can make it to the stairs, Roger grabs her wrist just hard enough to stop her. Mimi growls, but Roger isn't about to just let her walk back into his life and then leave without a word. He has enough stress thanks to this thing with Mark, Mark who is giving Roger weird looks and trying to kiss him. He doesn't need Mimi to mess with him like this.

Before he can try and calm himself down, Roger's temper is already boiling over. "So that's it? You're just stopping by to leave me again? Just coming over to fuck with my head before your next high?"

"Fuck you, Roger!" Mimi shoves hard enough that Roger ends up landing against the stair railing. Throwing her hands into the air, she mutters something in Spanish before storming down the stairs. "You know, I don't even know why I'm here! Like I expected you to..."

Watching Mimi run down the stairs, Roger has to force himself to not go after her. "Wait!" Mimi doesn't even slow down. Leaning over the railing Roger shouts, "Mimi... I..." Roger doesn't know why they get like this every time they're together, but he can't let it end like this. He doesn't want to risk this being the last time and his last memory of her being some yelling match in the hallway. He doesn't want to hurt Mimi. Not really.

Roger closes his eyes, listening to the silence of the hallway. The silence of Mimi not running away from him again. "I'm... I'm sorry."

Mimi shakes her head. "Don't be." She doesn't head back up, she doesn't even look up at Roger, but at least she's staying.

Roger's fingers curl around the railing until they're completely white. "I just... I don't know why we have to be like this."

Slow enough to be a scene from one of Mark's movies, Mimi turns around and starts up the stairs. "I do." Standing a breath away from Roger, Mimi looks so beautiful. Even under the bad fluorescent lighting she manages to shine.

Carefully, as if expecting Roger to jerk back, Mimi reaches forward to touch Roger. "What we had," Mimi says, staring at her hand over Roger's heart, "it was... passion. It was all fire and life and explosions." Mimi is wearing a heartbreaking smile. A year ago Roger could have kissed that look away. Now he can't even meet her eyes. "It was the most exciting things I've ever felt. But I guess that sort of thing... I guess it can't last forever."

Without even thinking about it, Roger starts to answer, "Nothing last-"

"I know." Mimi's hand moves to Roger's face, cupping his cheek. "Maybe, though, there are some things so close to forever that you can hardly tell the difference." The way she says it, Roger's not sure if it's a statement of a question. Everything is temporary, this he knows. What Mimi's talking about is something that is there with you no matter what. Something so permanent in the fleeting minutes of your life that it seems everlasting. Roger, he can only think of one person, and it isn't this beautiful, energetic girl he fell in love with.

With her hand running down Roger's face, he asks, "Why'd you come back?" Before her hand disappears, Roger reaches up to stop her. Hot skin against hot skin, and all Roger can feel is one sliver of coolness against his fingers.

Roger is shaking when they untangle their hands. Mimi slips away from Roger enough that she can show him the ruby-and-gold band. "I'm getting married." Roger's too shocked to form whole thoughts. He closes his eyes as if trying to get rid of some sort of illusion. "His name is Jordan," Mimi explains. "I meant him in my rehab group. He's one of the counselors."

"How... How long?" All he can do is nod at the ring so that Mimi knows what he's referring to without him having to say it out loud.

"Three months," she answers. Seeing the look of bewilderment on Roger's face she adds, "No day but today, huh?"

"No," Roger mutters, talking a step back so that he can lean against the stair railings. He grabs hold of the bar, unable to trust his balance at the moment. It feels like something in his chest is being crushed. "No, I guess there isn't."

Mimi sighs and drops her hands, fiddling with the ring. "I just..." Both her and Roger are staring at the floor covered in gum and stains. It's easier then explaining these things face to face. "I wanted to make sure you're doing okay. I guess... I don't know why I thought you needed me to check up on you." Mimi shrugs and offers an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry for earlier. I was just... shocked."

Roger's head is still spinning. "What?" He's not sure what it is he's asking. What is Mimi so shocked about? What is she doing here? What happened to them? What is it about Roger that made him so damn impossible to love?

Mimi puts her hand away in her pocket. "Did you love me?" Roger might have fallen over if he hadn't been holding onto the railing. He jumps back, staring at Mimi with wide eyes. He can't seem to get his brain working fast enough to come up with an answer. Taking a deep breath, Mimi repeats, "Did you love me?"

"Of course." Roger loved the way Mimi had been so determined to take him out. He loved the way she refused to let all his pushing and anger stop her from getting what she wanted. He loved the way she never quit living just because everything in the world told her she is going to die.

Mimi crosses her arms, keeping herself safe. She looks so unsure, more uncertain than Roger can ever remember seeing her. "Do you... Do you still..."


Cautiously, as if still afraid for herself, Mimi looks up to meet Roger's eyes. They're a hint of a smile playing at her lips. She starts to lean forwards, eyelids fluttering closed.

Before she can reach him, Roger puts his hands on her shoulders. He's sure to be gentle, but when Mimi opens her eyes she looks hurts. Softly pushing her back, Roger tries to explain. "It's just..." Roger isn't even sure what it is, why he can't let himself kiss Mimi. He has a few ideas, but they don't seem like the sort of thing he can share with her. "You meant so much to me Mimi. I don't..."

Roger bites his lips, trying to think of all the things he can say to make Mimi stops looking at him like that, so brokenhearted that it's all Roger can do not to take him in her arms and promise her the world. Something stops him, makes him keep her at arms length. Something that feels so close to forever. In the end, all he can do is stare at the ground, dropping his hands away from Mimi and taking a few steps back towards his door. "Be happy."

"You, too, Roger." Mimi's voice sounds like it's filled with tears. She takes a few steps back, managing a weak smile when Roger finally gets the stomach to look at her. "And merry Christmas."


Roger's asleep before Mark comes back home.

After Mimi left, Roger couldn't feel anything. There is no other way to describe watching Mimi walk away. Roger knows it's his fault, from the ring on her finger to the final goodbye without even trying to fix what they'd lost. It had been Roger, after all, who had pushed her away in the first place with his arguments and stubborn possessiveness. It had been Roger who couldn't bring himself to kiss Mimi one last time.

Mimi, she had wanted him to kiss her. She had wanted to see if the sparks were still between them. All Roger had to do was look into her eyes and he could tell that they would always be there. Part of him would always love Mimi. Maybe if he could have brought himself to kiss her, all that passion that had been between them would have blown up. Maybe Mimi would still be here. Maybe Roger could have stopped her from going back to her new life where she's clean and engaged and loved.

Roger knew he couldn't kiss her, because it doesn't matter who he's with when he's eyes are closed he's always kissing the same person. Mimi, she deserves so much more than what Roger could give her.

Too exhausted to do anything else, Roger had fallen into bed. The part of him that loves Mimi is breaking down, and the rest of him can't help but think about Mark and every thing Roger's done wrong when it comes to his friend. He's thankful when he manages to fall asleep, to get away from all the emotions that feel like they're destroying him.

He wakes up it's to a string of curses. Squinting through the dark of his bedroom, Roger can only barely make out the figure of someone hunched over. After the mumbling stops it starts riffling through the closet. Roger tries to sit up only to find the apartment too cold to leave the blankets. "Mark?"

"Sorry," Mark mutters, closing the closet door as quietly as possible. "I thought you were asleep."

"I was," Roger says, interrupting himself with a yawn. "What are you doing?"

There's movement in the dark. It looks like Mark waving something. "Just grabbing some clothes."

Before Mark can leave Roger asks, "Where are you going?" He's already struggling to get out from under the covers. Mark leaving so late at night with a new change of clothes doesn't bode well with Roger. He needs to be under the covers, tucked around Roger, helping Roger fix himself.

Instead he's heading towards the door. "To my room," Mark answers, still talking in whispers even though Roger is already awake.

"Why?" Roger asks. He stops trying so desperately to untangle himself from the bed. He already hurts enough with Mark leaving him, but he's not sure he can handle anything like another fight and if Mark is going to spend the night with someone else, Roger knows there will be a fight.

Even with the room only lit by the a sliver of moonlight pouring in from the living room, Roger can still make out how Mark has begun to fidget. "I... Well... I thought you might like some private time with Mimi."

Roger isn't sure wither to wince or laugh. "Mimi's not here." He draws back the covers, patting the mattress next to him. "Come on. You're going to freeze tonight if you try sleeping in your own room."

Roger's heart stops while Mark hesitates, afraid Mark is going to tell him he has to go, he has someone waiting for him. Then the dark figure takes a step away from the door. "I guess the last thing we need is either one of us catching a cold," Mark says as he starts pulling off his clothes. Even as confused and hurt as Roger is, he's still disappointed that it's too dark to see anything.

Mark slips under the covers, immediately cuddling up to Roger who jumps away on instinct. "God you're freezing!" Roger says, grabbing Mark and nearly hauling the other boy on top of him. He wraps his arms around Mark, pushing them together until he can feel his body heat start to melt the frost over Mark's skin.

"Well, it is December in New York," Mark points out. He twists and turns in Roger's arm, trying to give himself some breathing room. Roger refuses to give him an inch. After a while of struggling, Mark sighs. "Roger, I think you can let go of me now."

Roger doesn't listen. It's been a while since Mark has fought against him, but it's for his own good. "First you spend all day outside in the winter, then you try and sleep in your own room. Are you trying to get the flu, Mark?"

Mark sighs and gives in, letting himself relax against Roger. "I just thought you and Mimi might want some time alone to... You know. Talk or whatever."

The mention of Mimi sends a shiver down Roger's spine. "She's getting married." He says it before he has time to think about it. In the dark he lets himself cringe, berating himself for being such an idiot. Mark deals with enough without Roger just shoving all his problems onto him.

In his arms, Mark goes completely still. "Mimi's getting married?"

Roger nods. "To some counselor guy. She showed me the ring." Roger's pretty sure he can still feel the cold gold between his fingers.

Mark shifts in Roger's arms until they're nearly face-to-face. It's too dark to make out much, but Roger can feel Mark's warm breath against his cheek. "Are you okay?"

"I don't know." Roger shakes his head and tries rewording. "I mean, I'm fine. I just... I'm not sure." If Roger still doesn't know why it hurts so much, watching Mimi walk away when he practically told her to, then how can he explain to Mark what made him do it? How is he going to tell Mark that it's his fault he couldn't kiss Mimi?

"Strange that she's getting married," Mark whispers, almost like he shouldn't be talking about this with Roger. "It doesn't seem like that long ago."

"It's long enough to fall in love, I think." Roger knows exactly how easy it is to fall in love with someone. Those heartbreaking smiles, that look he'd never seen before. Mimi is afraid she might have fallen into a love that might last. Roger knows that feeling. "No day like today."

With Mark's head resting inches from his own, it's hard not to want to touch. He lets go of Mark, running on hand through the other boy's hair. Mark leans back into Roger's touch, muttering something that might be "Yeah."

After April died, Roger decided he didn't deserve life. All those things he had done to seize the day, the drugs and the sex and the fun, he thought his girlfriend's death and his diseases were meant to punish him for that. Angel had never seen it that way. Mimi, she never punished herself the way Roger did. "What am I so afraid of?"

"I don't know," Mark answers, not sounding entirely awake. Roger's gentle petting is rocking him to sleep. "What?"

Roger looks down at Mark, flatting some of the hair he'd ruffled. His hand slips down Mark's face, cupping his cheek. "She asked me to kiss her," Roger says. Mark probably didn't need these details, but Roger wanted to share them. He wanted Mark to know what he'd given up. And maybe by tomorrow he'd realize what a stupid idea this all is, but right now is not about tomorrow.

He can feel Mark's brow furrow in confusion. "Like goodbye?"

"Like to see," Roger explains. "She wanted to know if I still loved her."

There's a silence where Mark doesn't seem to be able to talk. He clears his throat before asking, "Do you?"

He does, but that isn't for Mark to know. "I couldn't kiss her," Roger answers. He shakes his head, not dropping his hand away from Mark's face. "She wanted me to so badly, Mark, and I just couldn't."

"Oh..." Roger wishes it were light enough that he could make out Mark's expression. Maybe it's better that it's dark. Maybe it's better if Roger just plunges into this, just takes this one chance before he dies. "Why not?"

This is not a causal kiss. Roger holds his breath when he leans in, lips finding Mark's easy in the dark. Mark jumps under the unexpected contact, but Roger doesn't let him go far. He has this one chance, and he can't just give up. Pressed against Mark, Roger makes sure this can't be mistaken as just another friendly kiss. This is about Roger living. This is about today.

Some how, it works. There's a low, hoarse moan and Mark opens his mouth to let Roger slip inside. Hands grab at shoulders and hair, pulling bodies closer until Mark is actually in Roger's lap. With Mark straddling his hips dressed only in boxers, there are about a million things to do, but all Roger can think about is this kiss. Hot and open and how close he could get to Mark before they died from lack of air. Roger is more than willing to stay like this until then.

Mark is the one who pulls back; slow enough that Roger can still lick and nip at his lips before letting him go. Both boys are breathing hard, and suddenly the winter chill is nothing compared to the fire under Roger's skin. Mark is beautiful and flushed and holding onto Roger's shoulders so tight that it hurts. "Mark?" He runs his hand down Mark's face, squinting through the dark to watch the other boy's eyes flutter open.

Mark kisses the palm of Roger's hand as it passes over his lips. He doesn't look upset and he doesn't look ready to leave. "Yeah?" His voice cracks over the word, and Roger knows without seeing that Mark is blushing. Maybe this is reckless, and maybe one of them will leave, and maybe Roger will regret that for the rest of his life, but he's not going to regret tonight.

"I have something I should tell you..."

La Finition