Pairing: Alluded past Roger/April and Mark/Maureen
Word Count: 1,021
A/N: Written for speedrent. Wasn't too sure about the ending when I first wrote it, but it did win first place :).
Warnings: Language, mentions of violent behavior.
Disclaimer: Rent is not mine. I only own the DVD, but that DVD is all mine.

When he was little, he'd had a piggy bank. A true piggy bank, all pale pink and complete with a ceramic curly tail. He had loved the sound each coin made as it hit the bottom, so he shoved every single penny he could get his hands on in there, just so he could hear that gentle "plink" as it hit the bottom. Sometimes he would jiggle it back and forth and listen to the coins slide.

He was so proud of the fact that he never touched the contents. He was saving for something good, he had always told himself.

Years later, he still had it, complete with his childhood savings inside. It was shoved in the depths of his closet, hidden under a pile of clothes. If Roger had ever found out Mark still had a piggy bank, Mark was sure he'd be teased endlessly about it.

Or course, that is, if Roger could look past the heroin haze to even notice.

It was bad. Utterly bad. April was dead, leaving behind a death sentence written neatly on the right hand corner of the bathroom mirror in red lipstick and a trail of blood across the bathroom floor. Mark spent hours cleaning up the mess, dizzy from the bleach fumes by the time he was done.

Roger was...well, Roger was not good. Actually, not good was probably the understatement of the century.

Roger was depressed. Depressed and high. A combination Mark didn't think could even exist, ironically, but there it was right in front of him.

Roger needed to get clean. Mark found them - all the drugs, all the needles - and got rid of them all. Together, Mark and Collins padlocked the door, so Roger couldn't get out, couldn't find drugs, and couldn't hurt himself.

The latter, of course, was nearly impossible. Mark hid the knives in the kitchen first, followed by the forks. It felt weird eating everything with a spoon, but it was necessary. Just maybe they could get through this. Just maybe.

That was when it all went to hell.

Maureen spent more and more time away from the loft, returning with scent of strange cologne on her clothes. Collins got an offer from MIT that was just too damn good to pass up.

Roger got violent.

Mark, in turn, got nothing but bruises.

His entire body hurt from trying to hold Roger down, trying to keep him from hurting both himself and Mark. Most times, it didn't work. Roger was simply bigger than he was and Mark more often than not found himself staring at more blacks and blues in the mirror.

Roger needed help and Mark wasn't sure he could give him it. But he had no other choice. Cash was nonexistent making rehab an expensive and unattainable dream.

He unearthed his piggy bank and stared at it. If only the coins inside, saved from his childhood allowance could help. But they wouldn't even made a dent.

So it was straight back to the current plan. The current plan that had Roger craving heroin more than ever and Mark using all he had to keep him from making a mistake.

All he had today involved being Roger's punching bag.

"Roger," he managed and somehow, someway, his voice got through to Roger. Roger stopped and let him go, the fury in his eyes disappearing almost as quickly as it had appeared. Mark wasn't sure what happened after that. He bolted towards the bathroom, closing the door.

He sat in there a while, breathing past the pain and the nausea, for once not caring exactly where Roger was in the loft or what he was doing.

It was when he relieved himself that he noticed. His urine was red. Fucking red.

He heard the loft door slide open.

"Mark, we have to do some-shit!"

"A little privacy, Mo," he said softly as he reached down to flush. Maureen never knocked and the bathroom had no lock.

"Mark, that's blood!" Maureen continued, not budging. "Holy crap. Did Roger do that?"

He sighed. "Does it matter?"

"Of course it fucking matters!" He heard a tiny bit of fear creep into her voice. "You need to see a doctor."

"With what money?" He shook his head. "I'm fine." He was lying. His back hurt like hell, but they couldn't leave Roger alone even if he could afford a trip to the emergency room.

Maureen's response was to yank up his T-shirt, revealing a dark bruise across his lower back. It was the worst yet, Mark knew, and couldn't help hissing.

Maureen was uncharacteristically quiet a minute before lowering the shirt. "I didn't know it was this bad," she admitted softly.

"Yeah, well, stick around a bit and you'd see plenty." He couldn't stop the bitterness from creeping into his voice.

"I always thought you and Collins-"

"Collins is gone, Mo," Mark interrupted. "He lives in Massachusetts now."

"Yeah," she agreed. "I could help. I could-"

"No. You're better off staying away." As much as Mark needed help, as much as he wanted help, he didn't want Maureen hurt. She might be cheating on him, but with Roger taking up all his time lately, Mark wasn't sure if it was fair to blame her.

He'd rather she was cheating that getting physically hurt. Actually, he'd prefer if neither of those things occurred, but life wasn't working that way.

"You need a doctor," Maureen said. "I'm serious. I can stay with Roger and-"

"And what? Get the crap beat out of you too?" He swallowed, holding back a groan as he shifted slightly. This had to end.


He walked out of the bathroom and straight into his room, not caring if Maureen was following him or not. He grasped as he bent down, fighting back another wave of nausea as he moved clothing out of the way.

The pig stared at him with its innocent, unmoving eyes.

Fuck it. He'd find the rest of the money.

He picked the piggy bank up and threw it to the floor, spilling ceramic pieces and coins onto the floor.