Pairing: Benny/Alison.
Notes: Came rather quickly, for once. Written for speedrent, challenge #48.
Warnings: Character death
Disclaimer: Rent is not mine. I only a copy of the DVD, but man, that copy is all mine.

One word changed his entire life, just when he thought he might have it back on track. He'd made choices, plenty of them bad ones, but had figured that he had also made enough decent ones had to help balance it all out, right?

Life obviously didn't work that way.

He sat on the curb in front of the perfect house, with the perfect spouse, the soon-to-be perfect family and wondered just how he, in one word, was about to destroy it all.

He wasn't a bad person or mean person. He did what he needed to do make it, to get the hell out and on the path towards a successful future. He'd told his mother he would make it, and he was, sending her enough gifts to prove it.

He'd always beaten the odds. He found a way to go to college when the money for college was nowhere to be found. He found a way to escape rent payments when money was tight and he took pity on his college roommate and dragged his scrawny white ass to New York the moment they graduated.

Where had he gone wrong? Had it been when he "sold-out" as his friends had put it? Had it been when he strayed from his wife, just those very few times?

He knew which offense had cost him, it stared him straight in the face with that one single word.

In the distance, he heard the front door open, heard the footsteps approach.

"Benny? Honey, it's only thirty-five degrees out here. What are you doing?"

"Thinking," he replied, not budging. He couldn't meet her eyes. Not now, not ever.

"You could think inside, you know."

"I'm fine here," he told her. "Really, Alison, I'm fine. I'll be in shortly, I promise."

She sighed. "All right." Hesitant feet retreated and he heard the door slam. Next door, a dog barked. In front of him, a couple of cars passed. Live went on.

He loved her. Truly, he did. Even if she'd started as a leg up, a way for him to meet the right people and make the right connections, he'd really grown to love her.

Even when he strayed, he knew that he'd always come right back to her.

He couldn't do it. He couldn't tell her.

Instead, he pushed himself off the curb and went for a walk.


It would be two hours later, as Alison started setting the table for dinner that the doorbell ran.

Benny had decided to take a detour through rush hour traffic.