Disclaimer: I don't own Rent!

Author's Note: This is my first smut!fic, and it's a bit sad. I apologize for that. It's really dear to my heart, though, so I hope you enjoy it. Also, if anyone knows the song "In the Deep" by Bird York (it's from the Crash soundtrack), this fic was definitely without a doubt inspired by it. This fic was originally posted in speedrent. Sorry if you already caught it there!

Still Here

It was music, reverberating through the walls of the loft. It was hooded eyes and lips swollen from drinking all night. It was nimble fingers on the neck of a guitar, a private show for his friends, for his family. It was Roger Davis, in all of his rock-god glory, turning their old, rickety, shitty apartment into a place they once used to visit, a place where they could remember being a lot more carefree.

They remembered the dark clubs, the thrum of bodies grinding together, as they linked arms to make their way through the crowds. They remembered hanging back by the bar - they were "with the band". They remembered the haze of smoke, the pounding of the bass, Roger's rough, powerful voice the only thing in their ears besides the screams and the intoxication.

Back in the present, huddled together on the ratty old couch, they watched their friend melt into who he used to be, sans heroin and drugs and April. They watched his weariness melt from his features, the confidence return to his voice. They watched as they were transported to and from their pasts, goose bumps on the back of their necks and dotting their arms.

And as the last cord vibrated through their eardrums, as the weariness fell on the handsome face and the cheers (considerably lower in volume from the club days, simply because there was less of them) echoed in response, Mark Cohen ducked his face behind the legs he'd been hugging to his chest, trying to hide the tears.

------------------------------------

Later, when the rest of the alcohol had been consumed and the friends were beginning to crash, Mark took advantage of his lack of intoxication to begin cleaning up. Zig-zagging about the room as not to step on the sleeping figures of his family, he began collecting bottles, cringing every time they would clink together.

"What are you doing?" Came Roger's voice, from somewhere, anywhere. Mark's eyes darted around the dark space, searching for his roommate.

"I thought you were sleeping," He finally said, spotting the musician leaning back in the armchair, eyes drooping, fingers tapping. Roger shook his head slightly, face illuminated slightly by the moonlight that was spilling into the room through the windows.

Mark stilled, bottles tucked under his arms, in his hands, looking at his best friend, watching the pale light highlight the figure before him. Roger was looking more and more like a fallen angel these days, pale and thin - a grim frown and haunted eyes forever tainting his handsome face.

Mark blames the death that's followed them around, that's been breathing on Roger's neck, threatening to take him next.

"I never liked New Years Eve," Mark finally said, watching as a lick of hay colored hair fell in Roger's face, "Too many bad memories."

With that, he stepped over Maureen and made his way over to the kitchen, gently placing bottle by bottle into the trashcan in order to not create much of a stir. Roger's heavy footsteps resounded behind him and the songwriter appeared, leaning on the cabinets.

"I never knew that," He continued, and Mark knew this is what he called 'Roger's bullshitting'. This is the kind of conversation, kind of discussion Roger would continue when he didn't want to be alone with his thoughts.

Mark had noticed it had started happening after Mimi died.

Roger would ask questions to things Mark knew he never would, just to keep the filmmaker talking. To keep Mark's voice in his head instead of his own. To keep the thoughts from eating at him from inside out.

"Yeah, well," Mark replied, not into being Roger's distraction, not tonight, not when he didn't have anyone to kiss at midnight, not when he couldn't bring himself to find salvation in alcohol.

Silence bloomed, warm, comfortable. Mark crossed his arms over his chest, eyed his roommate from the corner of his eye. From the other room, they could hear Collins' deep, intoxicated snore, and the hum of the amp that Roger never turned off.

"I'm glad you played," Mark insisted, knowing Roger needed to hear it, "You looked…"

"Alive?" And here came the chuckle, the sarcastic rumble deep in Roger's chest. Mark met his eyes with Roger's, squinted, sparkling ones, unable to find humor in the statement.

"It made me remember those gigs you used to have down at Charlie's and CBGB's. How me, Maureen, Collins, April and Benny used to think we were hot shit because you were with us and we were with the band. A lot of firsts happened at those gigs." Mark said, avoiding the sarcasm, the bitterness in the smooth voice he'd come to recognize more than his own.

"I met April at one of those gigs," Roger remembered, "And you met Maureen…"

"You first shot up in the bathroom at CBGB's and we first met Benny's Allison at one of your shows."

Silence again, as the two best friends, roommates, mulled over their past. Things they wanted to forget, things they couldn't forget. Smiles, laughter, tears, weakness and strength. Multicolored lights, the haze of cigarette smoke, the hum of intoxication. The images, the moments - they all fluttered through their minds like a mismatched clip show - hopping from moment to moment, era to era. Mimi, April, Maureen, Joanne. Angel, with her high heels and swirling skirt. The withdrawal days, nothing but bitter cold and a shivering, huddled figure up against the wall. Death, life, love, happiness, bitter sadness.

Mark still wasn't sure what he should feel these days. He wasn't sure what was normal, when he'd be able to breathe normally. Life, to him, was like a haunting song, it's music video showing the bittersweetness of the everyday.

With a sigh, Mark crossed back into the main room, stepping over Joanne, Maureen, Benny.

"I saw you," Came Roger's voice, loud and powerful against the stark silence of the loft. Mark froze, cringing. He waited, waited, waited for the sounds of stirring, of protests from the friends, the family. When none came, he turned to look at Roger, who was rapidly approaching him, stepping over bodies with ease and a lanky grace. Mark bit his lip as the musician stopped, a mere inch from him, the moonlight spilling over the pale skin, the sunken eyes.

"I saw you," Roger repeated, his voice wavering, "I saw you crying. Why were you crying?"

Mark recognized this voice as desperation, as need. This was the voice he'd hear when Roger begged him to let him get one more hit ("please, please") and later, when he'd ask Mark to hold him ("I can't stop thinking about her, Mark, I can't stop thinking about Mimi - she's everywhere. She's haunting me."). It was the voice Mark would slide his eyes closed against, try not to give into, try to forget. It weakened him, it exhausted him.

"Roger-" He began, but nothing was going to stop the musician, not this time.

"Mark," And a weak grip attached itself to his shoulders, shaking him lightly, "Why were you crying? Tell me."

And Mark had an answer, but he didn't want to say. He didn't want to watch Roger's eyes as he spoke the words aloud, didn't want to see the haunted look deepen. By the look on Roger's face, however, Mark had reason to believe the songwriter already knew what the unspoken words were, they hung so heavily in the air.

Suddenly, a sense of deep frustration and exhaustion pulled on Mark, weighing him down. He felt like he was drowning, tired, burning from the inside out. Reaching forward, he grabbed the back of Roger's neck and pushed his forehead against his roommate's, placing a cool hand against his stubbled cheek.

Roger's sobs started then, deep and uncontrollable, confirming Mark's thoughts. He squeezed his eyes shut.

And suddenly, the sobs stopped just as fast as they started, and silence erupted once again.

"I'm dying, Mark," Came the soft, rough voice, and Mark shivered, goose bumps tumbling onto his arms. He pulled Roger further into his embrace, lips to temple as Roger clung onto his shirt.

"I'm dying," Roger continued softly, accepting, and Mark couldn't deal with that. He couldn't be okay with Roger's acceptance, with his understanding, "And you know it. You know I'm dying, Mark."

At this, Mark began to shiver, intense and unwilling to hear the words spoken to him.

"Roger, please," He begged, hands smoothing Roger's hair down, "Please don't do this."

"Mark, we need to talk about this, we need to -" And that desperate voice is back. And that distressed voice is back. And that begging voice is back.

And Mark, calm, cool, collected Mark - who was stone faced through April's, Angel's, Mimi's deaths, who was the one to crawl to if you needed to be held, who was the one everyone looked to for strength- wasn't able to hear this. Not now, not ever, not Roger.

Looking to silence his best friend, his musician, his songwriter - Mark did the only thing that his heart was telling him to do. Did the only thing that felt right.

He pressed his lips against Roger's, silencing the other man, trying to convey his desperation through his touch, through the hand in Roger's hair, through the broken sobs bubbling from his chest into Roger's mouth.

And suddenly, Roger was kissing him back, with just as much desperation, with just as much need. Teeth clicking, tongues fighting, bodies flush against one another's, this was kissing. This was need, this was lust, this was the desperation of two men, two best friends, finding sanctity, finding love, in one another. Finding salvation in the place they never thought to look.

Mark finally pulled away, leaning his forehead against Roger's in attempt to catch his breath. He was still sobbing, body racking heavily against Roger's chest. He needed this, he needed him.

Mark allowed himself to be drawn away from the main room where their friends, their family, had still been miraculously asleep. He allowed himself to be led into his bedroom and for the door to be closed behind him. For Roger to sit him down at the edge of the bed and sit next to him, silently.

Knees turned in, head drooping so that his chin was against his chest, Mark felt the sobs subside. Felt the heaviness settle on his chest. Felt Roger's hand on his knee.

"You're here now," Mark said suddenly, his voice sounding loud, foreign, in the hollow of the room. That sliver of moonlight seemed to have followed them into his room because Roger was once again illuminated by it, looking slight, fragile. Like a fallen angel. Like his fallen angel.

"You're here now," Mark repeated, placing his hand over Roger's, "And you'll be here for awhile."

That was no lie, because although Roger was slipping away, he wasn't diagnosed, his medical stats were fine. It was emotionally that Roger was falling from underneath him, and from past experience Mark knew that first came the emotional breakdown, then the physical. That Roger's descent was beginning, and would come rapidly sooner then any of them could hope.

A hand was on his cheek and his face was tipped up to look at the musician briefly before the distance was closed and they kissed again, softly, gently, exploring one another.

"I didn't get to kiss you at midnight," Roger murmured in between kissing and pulling Mark's lower lip into his mouth, "And it's all I wanted to do."

And hands began to wander as Mark pressed his fingers through Roger's hair, damp from sweat and Roger's loosely brushed over the hollow of Mark's neck.

It was two men, two best friends, two people finding comfort in one another. Finding connection.

Mark's head tilted back as Roger's lips trailed from his lips to the hollow of his neck, and he moaned audibly, finding comfort, finding trust under Roger's fingertips. With a soft push, Mark pulled Roger down with him on the bed, rolling to his side, pressing his body against Roger's.

Roger pushed a leg in between Mark's and rolled their hips together, briefly knowing that if he could, he would crawl inside Mark, where he could keep the safe feeling forever. Where he could not worry about anything, not anymore.

"I need you," Roger murmured, as Mark's lips find his throat and one of his hands come up to rake through the soft blonde, "You're the only constant in my life. You're the only thing that's kept me alive."

And at this, Mark begins to cry again, stopping his ministrations and burying his face into Roger's neck. Fingers pressed into the musician's shoulders, turning white into red as he clutched and held onto him, trying to get as close as possible.

"Shh," Roger shushed, kissing Mark's shoulder, tightening his hold around the filmmaker. He sighed deeply and licks Mark's earlobe, sliding a hand down to dip under the sweater that Mark's been hiding under all night.

Mark, desperate, wanton, needing Roger now, and now and forever, wanting Roger, needing Roger, for the rest of his life- kissed the musician with more fervor then he had before, feeling needed, feeling loved. He moans against Roger's mouth and allows the songwriter to pull his sweater up and over his head and then helps Roger out of his own long-sleeved teeshirt.

Skin against skin, chest against chest, they fit together perfectly, they can't get enough of one another. They run hands up and over shoulders, savor one another's warmth, kiss one another's tears away. Mark teases, teeth just barely scraping over the elegant hollow of Roger's throat, while Roger caresses, fingers dancing over Mark's chest. Their hips grind together, savoring one other's touch.

Moans, murmurs, soft words are exchanged. Roger's hand works magic on Mark's belt, flicking it open with a simple touch. Mark's eyes roll back in his head as Roger's hand touches his cock, exploring his body as his lips teases and nips at Mark's neck.

Mark, unable to not do the same for his best friend, his roommate, his songwriter - quickly pushes Roger's pants down over his hips, eyes widening when Roger grabs his wrist to stop him. Before he could say anything, Roger's rolled over, leaving Mark cold, alone, aroused and needing Roger's touch. From the corner of his eye, Mark watches as Roger retrieves a foil package from the wallet that had been haphazardly tossed to the ground.

Suddenly, Roger's lips are on him again, tongue probing into his mouth as he puts on the condom. Finally, he reaches around Mark and pushes the filmmaker's body to his own, moaning into Mark's mouth as their erections meet and they unconsciously begin to grind into one another.

Mark's body is warm with arousal, need and the unmistakable buzz of love. Tears spring into his eyes as he buries his face into Roger's neck, as he feels the power in his body building, as they grind against one another, as Roger moans his name. Roger kisses his neck, his cheeks, his eyes, his lips as their climaxes build off of one another.

And suddenly, the warmth burns from head to toe, and he stills. Roger continues grinding against him, breathing heavy, guiding him through his climax as he achieves his own. Finally, Roger sobs into his neck, shivering as he comes, tightening his body against Mark's, and the two lay there, savoring the connection between their bodies, through their souls.

Mark thinks Roger looks beautiful like that, breathing heavy and holding onto him like he couldn't let him go. He created that in his musician, created that need, that want. It's enough to make him cry all over again.

"I'm here," Roger murmured, "I'm not going anywhere just yet."

"I know," Mark replied, as he ran a hand through Roger's hair, pulling back to look in Roger's eyes. Emerald meets azure and they stare at one another for a moment, before Roger's eyes blur and tears spill over onto his cheeks, running down the side of his face and over Mark's fingers, which was holding his face gently.

Mark squelches the tears in his own chest, as he pressed their foreheads together.

"I'm not going anywhere, not yet. Not yet," Roger continues, through raking sobs.

What scared Mark the most, is that he knew Roger didn't believe his own words. That Roger was trying to convince himself.

"Shhh," Mark shushed, hands running up and over Roger's shoulder, tucking Roger's face into his neck.

He was there, and he would be there. They were about to embark on something more genuine and more heartbreaking then anything they'd ever experienced, but it'd be worth it, Mark knew that. It'd be worth the memories, the love, the pain.

The heartbreak.

"You're with me," Mark whispered, as Roger's tears subsided.

Roger would always be with him, forever. Whether physically or spiritually, he'd never be away from Mark. He was a part of him, a part of his soul.

Part of who Mark was.

"You'll always be with me."