Author's Note: This is my first attempt at Roger/Mark slash. Please be kind and review :0)

Disclaimer: I don't own Rent.

The Five Snapshots of a Teetering Friendship

I.

It was unexpected, that first time, in the darkness of the loft with the smell of alcohol tinting the air. It was shadowy and quiet and they were giggling, intoxication bubbling into their voices.

It was a grin and a hand on a knee and a friendly lean in as they talked about whatever they were talking about - something they without a doubt forgot the next morning.

It was a tilt of heads and soft lips touching bitten ones, hesitantly and with a question. It was fingertips on slightly stubbled, perfectly sculpted high cheekbones and raised eyebrows.

And it was forgotten, as the phone rang and the boyish, childish exploration of one another's mouth was stolen from them as the machine picked up.

This was during the days when Maureen was out all night without explanation and Collins went to bed early because he had a class the next morning and April was off looking for the dealer and Benny was hiding Allison from them.

And it meant nothing, but two best friends, intoxicated and enjoying each other's company. An accident, a slip-up, a hazy, forgotten moment the next morning, when they suffered from simultaneous, twin hangovers.

II.

It was just as unexpected the second time, in the softly candle lit loft, as Mark cursed Benny and his tendency to shut off the power, as Roger was shivering with withdrawal and choking on April's name that had had a hold on his throat ever since the blood, the note, the diagnosis.

It was strong arms wrapped around shaking, weak ones, Mark's lean, tiny frame pulling Roger's to his own, soft whispers and unshed tears rising in his throat.

It was Roger's pleading eyes and the sudden feeling of contentment that enveloped them both; the trust, the calmness. It was a tilt of a head and an upside-down kiss, nose against slighty-bearded chin and wet lips sliding across on another. It was sloppy and messy and a little bit gross, but it felt good and they needed each other, damn it, and they needed each other like this.

And it was interrupted, by a pounding on the loft's metal door and Benny's voice, and Mark slid away, flushed and confused.

This was during the days when Collins was at MIT and April had already died and Maureen was still out all night without explanation and Benny had already abandoned them.

And it still meant nothing, but a man suffering from such excruciating pain that he reached out to the only person that meant anything to him anymore. A weakness, a last hope, a way to get Mark to understand. Two best friends, clinging to each other the only way they knew how.

III.

The third time it happened, it was still unexpected, but not unfamiliar, not unfounded. In the daylight this time, as spring approached. It was still cold, still a bit bitter, and Roger was sitting on the windowsill, blanket wrapped around his shoulders, Mark's small frame hunched before him, a small, black address book in between their face-to-face sitting positions.

It was Mark muttering names as he bit his lip, wondering who he could still call, who he'd missed, who he could possibly find other people to call through in the attempts to find Mimi. It was Roger's hand as it reached out to touch the side of Mark's face, in the attempts to get his best friend's attention.

It was soft and relaxing and dry, not much more than a peck physically, but deep and rousing emotionally. It was chapped lips against chapped lips, a soft tongue touching Mark's lip in attempts to deepen, it was a cry for help, a silent plead, a touching outreach.

It was stopped, this time, by Mark's own choice, as he pulled away and touched Roger's face and smiled wantonly, knowing that that was a silent thank you, Roger's way of recognizing Mark's help.

These were the days when the nights were still cold, and the machine beeped with messages from Maureen and Joanne and Collins and even Benny in the attempts to locate the missing link in their family.

And it meant something, yes, but not in a romantic way. It was two best friends connecting, two best friends being there for one another, reaching out for one another, in the wake of losing two of their family.

At least, Mark kept trying to convince himself that.

IV.

The fourth time it was expected and they wanted it and they needed it- hands groping, reaching, touching - fingertips dancing over skin and lips tasting every part of one another. A hand under a sweater, the hum of desire rumbling in their chests.

It was Mark taking control, lips nibbling, touching, kissing Roger's neck as the guitarist, the best friend, pulled him closer, body flush against is. It was Roger's groaning rumbling in his chest, his arms tightening around Mark's thin body, clinging, hoping, hugging.

It was two best friends, confused as fuck, reaching out to one another in a way that only seemed right. It was desire and passion and if they really really thought about it - love. It was lust and fuck- it was hot, and they wanted one another, no - needed one another.

And it stopped, this time by the crack of thunder from the world outside and the two men jumped apart suddenly - shocked out of the haze of just feeling good by the beginnings of rain pounding on the loft's shoddy roof. It was lust glazed eyes matched with lust glazed eyes and swollen lips and the beginnings of a hickey in the elegant hollow of Roger's throat.

These were the days when Mimi had come and then gone again, flying up to meet Angel, and Maureen and Joanne saw nothing but each other, and Collins was up at Boston University and Benny had finally backed off.

And it meant something to the both of them, and they could tell just by looking in one another's eyes that something's changed. That their need, their salvation - it was in one another, and that was scary.

So, they tentatively closed the distance again, lips meeting, touching, connecting - because they knew that they couldn't cross that line. That this had to be the last time.

That they needed each other like that, but they couldn't have each other like that.

V.

The last and final time it happened, in the stark white of the hospital room, Mark's fingers entwined with Roger's, it was just a goodbye. A soft touch of lips to recognize one another, to recognize what was happening.

It was a final way to say thank you, to convey words they never spoke aloud, to know that they were connected.

So, as Roger closed his eyes, green glass being cut off by the sliding of eyelids, Mark pressed his cheek to Roger's forehead, just in time to hear his best friend's last words.

"I will always love you, Mark. I wish we could've…"

And Mark knew what the rest of Roger's words were, and he wished, with all his heart, mind and soul, that they could've too.