Disclaimer: RENT and its characters do not belong to me.

Author's notes: Well, I'm sorry it took me so long to get this up, but it took me a while to get it to the point where I was happy with it. I'm pretty sure the basics of this plot are all pretty straightforward, but if you have any questions, you know who to run to.

"And you're going through our cupboards why?"

Mark turned around at his room mates voice. Roger was standing, in a pair of sweat pants, nothing else, as though he had just woken up. He most definitely had just woken up, Mark decided, knowing that Roger didn't really believe the day started before at least eleven. "We have some money left over from the last time Collins came." He paused going back to the bare cupboards. "I thought I'd get food."

"Oh." Roger just acknowledged the idea before sitting at the kitchen table, which of course, wasn't really a table, but was closer, than their previous attempt of a cardboard box had been.

"Do you need anything?"

"How about some of that ramen soup stuff?" The actually name was at a loss to Roger, but he knew that it was cheap, and tasted decent enough, and it was the fall so that meant that the loft would be getting cold again. Soup would be good.

Mark turned, putting a plastic bag on the table in front of Roger. It was filled with half a loaf of bread that was a myriad of colors. "Do you have any idea how much sodium is in those things?"

This was a typical movement that Mark would sometimes go through. Being healthy. It was completely lost on Roger. And most of the time Mark. "It can't be less healthy than this thing." He held up the loaf of moldy bread before tossing it into the trash.

"Yeah, I'll get some." Mark sighed, before starting to slip into his worn coat. "I'll be back in half and hour or something."


Mark was staring at his hands. It was easy. His hands weren't doing anything that could be considered threatening. They weren't even moving, which was a bonus to his skull, throbbing due to the blow it had sustained when he had fainted. He had fainted when he had seen one of the three men, holding one of the three guns, that was being used to rob the store.

If that hadn't been bad enough for him, this had drawn attention to him, and when he came to, he was suddenly at the front of the store, a gun being pointed at him. Mark had listened to the three argue about shooting him (something that put him even further ill at ease) until one of the robbers, who Mark didn't know whether to thank or scream at, decided that if they used him to create a hostage situation, they could get more money out of the entire thing. This resulted in the robbers pacing for half an hour, waiting for a phone call, asking what their demands were. It was the store clerk who pointed out that if they wanted the police to ask them this, then the police would have to actually know that there was a hostage situation to begin with.

And this put Mark where he was now. Sitting on the floor of the mini-mart next to the cashier, staring at his hands, trying to will the situation away. Guns were never his strong suit. Any dangerous situation had never been his strong suit. He had been there for an hour and a half now. This allowed him to learn that his captors were Jack, Simon, and Logan, three brothers, that definitely had a few anger issues.

Simon, the one who's bright idea it had been to let the police become involved in the first place, was the one that was manning the phone. He wasn't cooperating with the police very well, blaming them for creating such a long wait, causing the wait for the demands to go on even further.

Logan was the one who had just wanted to shoot Mark. He seemed to be just as hot tempered as Simon, and was very fond of his gun, along with pointing it at anything that was annoying him. So far this had been Mark three times, something he wasn't looking forward to repeating anytime soon, another reason that his hands were such a good option to be looking at.

It was Jack, who was clearly the one unsure about the entire operation. He kept mostly to himself in his own corner.

It was when the phone rang that Mark involuntarily raised his head, to see Simon, not even moving to answer it. Three rings later, and the check out clerk spoke. "If you want your money you're going to have to talk to the police and tell them what you want." Simon just glared, prompting the cashier to try again. "Look, you did start this thing because you want money didn't you?"

"I want you to shut up." Simon started pacing again, running a hand through his hair.

"I'm just saying that--."

"Shut up!" As Simon turned and bellowed, the gun went off.

Mark's hands could feel the faint pulse coming from the body beneath him. The weak throb went in time with the stronger one in his head, that had yet to ebb away in the past hour. He could no longer bear to look at his hands. They were not pale, thin, and harmless anymore; they were now coated and slick with the crimson blood of the cashier. He couldn't remember the exact turn of events that had led to this (although he was awake his mind seemed to be drifting in and out of a conscious state) but he could ascertain that Simon had shot the man on the floor, and at some point he had been forced into the position of trying to keep the man alive. Given his nonexistent medical training, and lack of any sort of supplies, this consisted of Mark attempting to control the bleeding by holding an entire roll of paper towels to the wound. The roll was soaked about three quarters of the way through.

Through all of the pulsing coming from his hands and head, Mark could hear Jack talking to his brothers. "We can't let that guy die. We'll go to jail."

"If we don't come up with something soon we're going to go to jail any ways." Logan ran his free hand across his face. "We need to get out of here."

Mark couldn't agree more, though he didn't vocalize it. He had now been there for two and a half hours, and things weren't looking up.

Simon, who had been sitting on the counter since the shooting incident, looked down at his brother. "Well I'm not hearing any brilliant suggestions."

Logan turned on him. "You're the one who got us into this mess. If you had just let me shoot this guy--," He gestured to Mark, "The cops wouldn't be outside waiting to arrest us."

"We won't be in so much trouble if we let this guy live." Jack looked over to the wounded cashier, trying to reason with his brothers. "Can't we just let him get some help?"

"Shut up Jack!" Logan yelled quickly. "We let him get help they just send a cop in!"

After the short period of silence that followed, Simon spoke. "Jack's right. If we let him live they'll go easier on us."

Logan seemed to contemplate this for a moment. "Fine, call them up." As Simon went over the phone, he walked to Mark and grabbed his forearm roughly, pulling him away from the checkout clerk and into a standing position.

"What are you doing?" Jack asked a little nervously, watching as Mark's eyes went from being in a focused, but completely nervous, semi-calm state, to a wide and terrified one.

"Giving us a little insurance." Logan placed the gun against Mark's temple, using his other arm to hold Mark against his body in a tight hold. "You tell those cops that if they try anything funny with that paramedic then this one gets the same treatment as our other friend."

Roger glanced up at the only working clock in the apartment. It was now 4:27 (PM Eastern Standard Time, he added subconsciously) which meant that Mark should have been home two hours and 37 minutes ago. Not that he was counting or anything. If anyone had asked him, he would have said that his frequent checking of the clock was to make sure that his AZT beeper wasn't off, or something of the like.

But nobody was asking, because nobody was in the loft besides Roger, the fact that was bothering him.

For the first hour in which Mark hadn't shown up, he had been able to convince himself that Mark had seen something that he wanted to film, and had gotten caught up in it. He wasn't that worried in the first hour. Then he noticed that Mark's camera was sitting on the kitchen table.

The next forty five minutes, Roger reduced his worry with the thought that Mark had probably just decided to go and visit Maureen and Joanne, on a spur of the moment thing. But this idea ended when he remembered that they already had plans to meet with Joanne and Maureen that night. Mark wouldn't want to spend that much quality time with them.

For the rest of the time, Roger had been unable to find a reasonable explanation for the nonexistent reappearance of his roommate. He tried to take his mind off of it, but slowly found himself getting distracted from every attempt, until he was reduced to sitting on the couch, looking from the wall, to the clock, to the door.

He was annoying himself, because he didn't know why he was worrying. Mark was an adult, who could do what he wanted. Maybe he was worried because Mark had said half an hour, and Mark was never late for anything, or maybe it was because of all the time that Mark had spent worrying over him. Or maybe it was the fact that Roger had the unrelenting fear that came with knowing the type of people that lived in this neighborhood. It didn't matter. The fact was, Roger was worried.

He looked at the clock. 4:31. Mark should have been home two hours and 41 minutes ago. He sighed. "Where the hell are you Mark?"

OK, that's that. I might be able to post more but, I'm not sure. It depends how long it takes me to write an essay on my opinion on who was right in Antigone.

Auxiliary Author's Notes: At this point in time this fic is not going to be slash. Roger's worry is like that of someone worrying about a family member, spawned a bit by other things mentioned above in the story.