Title: Aftermath

Author: Girl Who Writes

Feedback: If you feel moved, it would be lovely.

Pairing: Implied Roger/April and Mark/Maureen

Word Count: 531

Rating: PG

Genre: Angst

Summary: He tries to remember back to every piece of advice he's been offered since high school, but he doesn't remember anyone
offering any pearls of wisdom on the subject of suicided girlfriends and HIV.Notes: Pre-Rent; I've seen the movie and read the Broa
dway scripts (which obviously isn't the same as seeing it, but I take what I can get), so I apologise if any details are messed up. I've sort of appropriate both into one extreme-canon scenario. Written for speed rent at livejournal.

Spoilers: Rent movie and musical.

Warnings: Nothing really.

Disclaimer: Jonathon Larson and the movie studios own Rent. I just play with them.


It's not that he doesn't want to talk to Mark.

It's that there's really not much to say. Actions speak louder than words, and April has had the last word.

He sets his jaw when he thinks of her name and shoves that thought from his head, his fingers tapping on the Diet Coke can next to him, a bribe from Collins to leave the loft – just go out on the fire escape for ten minutes.

He opened the windows and stayed inside all night, with his contraband (according to Maureen) beverage.

Collins forcibly dragged him into the bathroom and shoved him underneath the cold, slightly dirty spray of water from the rusty shower head a few days ago; he hadn't showered in that bathroom since he found her, painting the floor red.

April always was an artist. Even in the grotesque act of self-murder, she created art work. Her scrawl on a post it stuck to the mirror and Mark's razor, the blades clinging to long strips of flesh, tossed in the corner.

Exactly what is there to talk about when everything happens? He tries to remember back to every piece of advice he's been offered since high school, but he doesn't remember anyone offering any pearls of wisdom on the subject of suicided girlfriends and HIV. He vaguely remembers some burly uncle clapping him on the back and laughing that if he's going to die young, he ought to take a lot of innocent people with him, and Roger wonders if April was given the same advice.

If he'd been ten minutes earlier and she'd still been here, he'd want to hit her and hold her at the same time. Did she really hate the disease so much she left him alone to die? Wasn't every single thing he'd ever been taught about finding 'the one' been about how they wouldn't do that?

"Roger."

There's Mark with his scarf wrapped tightly around his neck, camera in hand, looking concerned.

"Yeah?" His voice is rough with lack of use.

"You wanna talk about it?" Mark is unsure, wondering if his question will spark another violent outburst, dotted with expletives and detailing all of Mark's flaws. But he's tired and got nothing left to talk about.

"No."

"You remember Collins is leaving for MIT tomorrow?" Mark asks, carefully but not so carefully he feels patronised. He shrugs and rewinds his mind to remember if it's ever been mentioned at him in the last few weeks.

A shrug is good enough for Mark. "We're going to Life Café to send him off," Mark continues. "Collins, Maureen, me and you."

He looks up, making a face, noting that Mark hasn't asked if he wants to come. "You're forgetting something," he picks up his drink can and swills the last of the soft drink in the bottom.

"What?" Mark tenses, obviously ready for an argument.

"My empty wallet."

"Oh – Collins' treat; he's going to a paying job, after all."

He shrugs again, and that's good enough as a 'yes' for Mark.

Roger leaves the loft for twenty three minutes, long enough to sip at a beer and wish Collins well, and that's a start.