Visits to You
By: The Versatile Scarf
Disclaimer: I own neither RENT nor the Anthony Rapp song.
Summary: Is this the last time?
Author's Notes: This is in no way affiliated with any other story by the title 'Visits to You'. 'Kay. Now that that is settled, we may proceed. This will be a multi-chapter story. Don't expect miracles in my 'cranking out' of chapters. I'm not fast.
Warnings: Allusions to character death.
Visits to You
Are suddenly new
And suddenly everything's sacred
The graveyard was cold in April, much like the rest of New York. Ah, the Big Apple and its bipolar weather. Endearing to tourists, torturous to inhabitants. Especially those inhabitants who couldn't afford heat. His breath was visible in the bitter morning air, condensing and then dissipating in mere seconds, a natural occurrence that warmed the hearts of children and chilled the hearts of adults, who had already seen enough frigidity in the world.
A shiver ran relays up and down his spine as he passed a headstone depicting an angel in prayer, her head bowed low over her hands, hair falling in sheets over her face.
She had deserved something as elaborate as that.
He hadn't hated April. Even after she took Roger with her down that rabbit hole of drugs and sex and the bastardization of rock and roll, he hadn't hated her. His former glory had been taken away with the needle that drew the blood for the test that spelled out their death sentences. Only remnants of it remained, though the disease coursing through his veins was killing it off. April remained in his blood, taking his glory for herself. Sucking him dry like some perverted sort of tic.
Which was why today would be the end of that chapter in Roger's life--in their life.
The gravel path crunched under two pairs of shoes, filling the silence that had fallen between the two friends. Needless to say, Mark had been beyond surprised when a puffy-eyed, shivering ex-rockstar had shaken him awake that morning, begging for closure. Begging for release from the dead, chilled fingers that had closed around his wrist as he screamed and screamed and screamed. Begging for release from her smiling hazel eyes as they stared sightlessly at the ceiling. Begging for release from the smeared lipstick surrounding a dead smile. He had begged and begged, still begging until the two of them had closed the door of the loft behind them.
And now they were here, shutting another, proverbial, door.
Rows upon rows of headstones, both simple and extravagant, leading up to their destination. A small, squarish marker. April Firgens imprinted in stern script across it. Birth date to death date. Long dead flowers placed beside it, in the hole provided by the cemetery. Nothing more and nothing less.
He heard Roger heave a sigh full of regret, sorrow, and what was once love but now just pain.
"... Hi April."
It was then that Mark turned, walking off a bit to leave the other to his last visit; his closure. Roger needed this. They both needed this. Then they could move on from shuddering each time they walked into the bathroom, or from Roger waking in the middle of the night and asking where April had gone to, or from Mark expecting the smell of percolating coffee in the morning, just like April used to make it. There was no coffee anymore. Not an ounce of feminine trace in the loft--Maureen had left for Joanne a week or two back. It being a woman had been more of a shock than her actually cheating. He had known she was cheating. He had been too busy keeping Roger from killing himself, either through drugs, a razor, or neglecting his AZT. He couldn't let him do that. Maureen had gone. Collins had gone. April.. April had -been- gone, but now it had come around again and this needed to end now.
There were flowers growing alongside one of the paths he had taken. Swallowing, he knelt down to pick a few of them, frowning at the uneven lengths of stems that came with the flower heads. Flowers that were probably weeds anyway. He didn't care. At least they were pretty. Holding them tightly in one pale hand, blue eyes closed slowly, and he inhaled deeply. A sneeze followed, but he didn't care. Nor did he mind the sniffles that came after the sneeze. It had been worth it.
The path now crunched under only one pair of boots as he returned to the vacant grave. Roger had gone, then. It hadn't been a very long visit, but if it was all he needed.. then it was all he needed, and Mark wouldn't argue with that. Standing at the foot of the grave, his eyes flickered over the placard once again, before roaming to the hole in the ground beside it. The dead flowers had been cleared away, and a rolled up piece of sheet music had been placed there instead. Suddenly, his own gift seemed beyond inadequate. One of the flowers fell limp in his grasp even as he shifted, eyeing the piece of paper Roger had placed there.
"... He still loves you, you know.. He always will, I think." His voice sounded pathetic. He -felt- pathetic, talking to nothing; no one. "He.. you're part of his glory. Always will be."
He shrugged half-heartedly, as though he were stating a well-known fact, though the truth was he needed to tell her this. He needed to tell this to someone, and she seemed a good a candidate as any. Besides, if she were laughing at him, he'd never know. April had always laughed at him. Maureen had always laughed at him. Cindy had always laughed at him. Maybe it was a sort of trend that followed through the females in his life.
"You once compared me to a puppy." The blonde shifted nervously, another of the stems breaking with an audible 'crack' in his hand. ".. I think I know what you mean now." He cracked a half-smile, but the corners of his lips were twisted so severely downwards that it looked more like a grimace than anything even -resembling- a smile.
".. Here. I.. I picked these for you." He stepped forward gingerly, placing the flowers in the cup. Two of the flowers hung over the side, pitifully. The rest seemed to dull in comparison to Roger's music. "We.. we tried to buy some nice ones on the way over, but... I spent the last of our money on Roger's AZT. Don't tell him that, though. He thinks I just left it at home accidently." Biting down on the inside of his bottom lip, the young man glanced around the graveyard.
"Everyone misses you. Collins said, just the other day.. he said... I don't remember what he said, but it made us miss you that much more." Mark's voice hitched a bit, but he quickly lifted his glasses up and wiped below both eyes, breathing deeply; shakily. "But this needs to happen. This needs to happen if Roger is ever going to live again. We can't keep coming back here. Roger can't keep running out to try and get his next hit fand end up here instead, cursing and screaming at you. I can't keep waking up and wondering when you'll be home, and then remember the blood stain in the bathroom that I can't fucking get out of the floor, April! It's never going to fucking leave and its all your fault!" A choked sob, even as he wiped away the tears that were now rolling freely down his cheeks. He swiped listlessly at them, his shoulders drooping, head bowing forward.
His breathing remained heavy as he tried to regain composure, which seemed just out of his reach. Just far enough away that it was unattainable. "That's why I can't keep coming back here. We can't. We'll remember you, April, but it's better to remember you as you are on film, rather than in a bathtub filled with pink water. It's.. it's better... better.." Another hiccuped sob.
A warm, comforting arm slipped itself around his shoulder, and for a moment he wondered if April had come back. In some bizarre twist of fate, she had never died, and he was crying over some random person's headstone.
But that was not the case. The headstone still read the same words, taunting him.
Without looking up, he placed a hand over the one resting on his trembling shoulder, squeezing gently.
"Bye April.." he echoed, before the two of them turned away, starting down the path, back to the loft and their lives.
The silence was again filled with the crunching of their boots, but now they were more like a four-legged creature, rather than two separate entities.
".. those were pretty flowers, Mark."
".. yeah.. they were pretty, weren't they?"
"Yeah, they were."
A/N: Et this chapter... est fini. Reviews welcome. This is just chapter one out of a series of eight or nine. I have yet to decide.