Disclaimer: Jonathan Larson created RENT and it's probably now "owned" by a film studio

Roger dropped the duffel bag on the floor the moment he stepped into the loft. "Ooh, it's good to be home," he sighed, tossing himself onto the couch. "It's good to be home," he repeated. His lower back ached from the drive, not to mention to numbness in his rear.

"Roger?" Mark knelt beside the couch and picked strands of hair off Roger's face.

"Hm?"

"Are you… are you gonna be okay?" Mark asked as gently as he knew how.

Roger cracked open his eyes and glanced at Mark. "Oh, yeah." He nodded. "Yeah, I'll be okay."

"Because you know if you ever need to talk about it, or about… about anything--"

Roger interrupted, "I'm okay, Mark. I know what happened to me, I just… have some issue with my mother, that's all."

Mark kissed Roger's cheek. "Okay," he said. "You know I'm always here for you. I love you."

Roger turned and caught Mark's lips in a kiss. They spent a few minutes absorbed in each other, fingers stroking hair and shoulders and backs. Then Mark caught his hands unbuttoning Roger's fly. He froze and looked at Roger, who was looking at him. Am I moving too fast for you, baby?

"That'll never work in this position," Roger murmured. He sat upright with his legs tossed over the edge of the couch.

It was just as the boys were beginning to enjoy themselves that they heard, "Oh, shit."

"Fuck!"

Collins walked out of the loft and closed the door, struggling not to laugh. Roger quickly helped Mark stand and pulled up his pants. "Okay, you can come in!" he called.

Collins lost his battle with the giggles. "You gotta warn a guy before you start doing that!" he said.

Roger scowled at him. He pulled Mark down onto his lap and cuddled him. "We didn't know you were here," he retorted sulkily. Mark, enjoying the cuddling, began nuzzling Roger's neck. "Anyway, why are you here? Columbia kick you out?"

"Jackass." Deciding the couch was more than occupied, Collins settled himself in a chair. "I only called you six times. You didn't pick up! I had a Saturday seminar, then Spring Break."

"We haven't been home all weekend," Roger explained. "Mmm, Mark, that's nice…"

"We went to Jersey," Mark added.

"To talk to my parents," Roger concluded. "I don't think my mother will speak to me for a long time. Not that that's a bad thing," he added hastily.

Mark wrapped his arms around Roger and petted his head. "Uh, guys… what's going on?" Collins asked. "Are you going to tell me the entire story here, or just going to move it to the bedroom?"

Roger sighed. He pulled his legs up onto the couch, trying to restore some of the circulation affected by Mark's weight. Mark began to ask if he should get up, but Roger latched onto him and answered that question. He paused. How exactly does one tell such a story? What words could be used?

Roger resolved to simply say it, and said, "My mom's boyfriend tried to rape me when I was twelve." Collins was too taken aback at this to speak, so Roger continued, "We haven't ever talked about this, my mother and I, because… well, she pretty much told me not to. But, he had been… um, touching me, for a long time, and he tried to rape me. She didn't believe me."

"Roger…"

"I'm okay," Roger assured them quickly. "I'm fine."

Mark stroked his hair. "You don't have to be," he said softly.

"I know and I appreciate that, but I'm not going to spend my life worrying about what some pervert tried with me fourteen year ago. Now come on! It's Spring Break, what're we gonna do? Catch some cheap tickets to the Parthenon?"

---

All Roger could think of the next morning was getting his coffee. He downed one cup and poured another before falling into a seat at the table. Collins was already there.

"Morning."

"Hey."

"Listen, Rog… are you sure you're all right? You were hitting the bottle pretty hard last night."

And yet, miraculously, no hangover! Roger nodded. "It's not a big deal," he said.

Collins nodded. "If you say so," he said, "but I don't want you to feel like you can't talk about it."

Roger sighed. "Collins, there's nothing to talk about. It happened. It was bad at first, but…" Roger trailed off. He realized, suddenly, "Thomas, do you need to talk about this?"

Collins laughed. "Me?"

"Yeah. I don't care but you're all worked up."

Yeah, Roger. I wanna know who could do that to you, and why, and I want to find that guy and beat the crap out of him. "Nah. I just don't want you to think ignoring this will ensure your fairy tale ending."

Roger smirked. "My fairy tale ending is in the bedroom drooling onto the mattress," he said. "You guys are my family now. Y'know… Maureen is like a crazy sister, Joanne's like a mother, you're… the Japanese grandfather--" Roger ducked a flying piece of Cap'n Crunch.

"Roger, that's the most fucked-up family I've ever heard of."

"I know," Roger said. He downed a gulp of coffee. "I guess that's why I'm so happy."

THE END!

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