No Day But Today
DISCLAIMER: I do not own RENT or anything affiliated with it.
Mark smiled as Roger handed him his coat, even though no one could see through the surgical mask he was force to wear. "Thanks," he said. He ignored the fact that it looked like he was swimming in it.
"You could use some new clothes," Mimi whispered.
"Nah. These'll fit again soon," Mark replied. He pulled her into a hug. "It'll all be okay now, Meems. Nothing to worry about," he whispered. She smiled at him as she pulled away.
"Let's blow this joint," Roger said, putting his arm around Mark's shoulders.
"Couldn't have said it better myself."
Everyone watched the screen as Mark's picture flickered up for the final time. "It's been one hell of a year," the movie Mark said. "I was supposed to be dead by today, but I'm still here. I'm officially in remission for seven months. It seems like a lifetime to me. I went back to work a few months ago; Liz took a job in Chicago. I don't think she could stand to look at me any more. Or maybe it was because I refused to work with her again.
"No one can ever really understand what it's like if they haven't been there. They can pretend like they know what you're going through, they can pretend to be sympathetic. But in the end, they weren't there the days when you were so sick you just wanted to give up and die." They all watched in silence as movie Mark smiled back at the camera one last time. "Someone's got to tell them, though. Right?" They watched as images of the past year flickered across the screen. When it was over, they all sat there and stared at the screen in silence. Mark cut off the projector and turned the lights back on. Finally, Maureen spoke up.
"You do realize that if you don't send that in for a film festival, we're all going to kick your butt, right?" she asked him. He smiled.
"I already did," he said, pulling a letter out of his jacket pocket. "They want me to come out next month for it."
"What? Mark, that's great!" Maureen jumped up and hugged him, and the others all offered their congratulations as well.
"And call us as soon as you get to the hotel, okay?"
"Okay, Joanne," Mark replied. He smiled and gave her a quick hug before turning to Maureen.
"Have fun, Pookie," Maureen told him. Next it was Mimi.
"Just not too much, okay?" she said.
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," Roger told him, giving him a hug. Finally, it was time to say goodbye to Collins.
"Take care of yourself, man," Collins said. They embraced for a moment. "Go make Angel proud," Collins whispered, so that only Mark could hear.
"I will," Mark said. He pulled away and started towards the gate where his plane was boarding. "I'll see you guys in a couple of weeks," he called, waving. "And don't forget…"
"We know man, and we'll take the damn AZT. Now get out of here before the plane leaves you!" Collins said. He smiled at them one last time before disappearing through the gate.
A/n: Come on now, how could I let Mark die! If I did, there couldn't be a sequel! Not that I'm making any guarantees in that respect. But I like to leave my options open.
Thank you to all of my wonderful reviewers, especially those who made me laugh, and Abby for trying to guess every plot point before it happened… and actually getting it right once (I swear, you are a mind-reader!).
Well, I'm off to actually relax for a while now that this is done. Maybe I can control myself enough to not start another one before the end of the week.