A/N: Written for the LJ community Rentforbastards under the prompt, "cliché storylines."
Disclaimer: I don't own Rent. I don't even rent Rent. Rent, I'll admit, owns ME.
The Day After The Turning Point
Roger Davis could honestly say he knew everything about Mark Cohen.
Mark's favorite color? "Blue. Come on, give me a hard one, at least try and stump me, will ya?"
Band? "The Who. What the fuck, really."
Memory? "Getting the lead in his high school musical in eleventh grade. The kid can sing- but, hey! I didn't tell you that."
Favorite Season? "Fall. Something about the colors of the leaves in Central Park."
However, somewhere between the loss of Angel and Roger's first gig back on stage, Mark had become someone else, and for once in the six and a half years Roger's known him/been best friends with him, the filmmaker had him utterly, speechlessly, baffled.
"Later, Rog," He'd said, the day of the Turning Point, as he fumbled to slide his jacket on and grab his keys as he practically bolted to the door. Roger was barely able to say anything (Mimi's tongue in his mouth had something to do with it, too, he must admit) before a clank of metal against metal echoed and Mark was gone, nothing but a flash of blond and jingle of keys.
It wasn't until approximately eleven PM that evening that Roger noticed the camera on the edge of the metal table, forgotten, forgotten, forgotten - for whatever Mark had so hurriedly dashed out to.
"Are you okay?" Mimi's voice startled him, and Roger nearly dropped the spoon out of his mouth (the Mint-Chocolate Chip ice cream on his tongue suddenly tasting sour), and Roger wasn't sure if he was okay, because if he thought about it (which he did), he realized Mark's been leaving the camera behind a lot lately, and that was so Out Of Character for his best friend, for the man he would say he knew everything about.
Sometime the next morning, (noon-ish, Roger would find out later, as per the microwave's digital clock on the counter) with the salty taste of anger burning the back of his throat - ("He's a big boy, Roger!" "Shut the fuck up, Mimi - it's not like him to leave his camera, where the HELL could he be?") Roger staggered into the living room to find Mark on the couch, jacket still on and body curled around a horribly tacky pillow Maureen had given them at some point.
Another thing Roger knew (Knew), was that Mark was tiny, soft and fragile, always looked it. He craved touch and comfort, despite his tendency to detach - and would often sidle against anything that was soft or warm or breathing, really, and Roger remembered the days when Mark would just cuddle, all the fucking time, with anyone. April, Maureen, Benny, Collins even. Later, Angel, Mimi and even Roger himself at times. He knew it was more of the fact that Mark was a rock to their group, he was constant, permanent, always there with a smile and soothing tones. You wanted a hug? Hm, Mark loved hugs. Wanted to cuddle? Go for Mark, he loves it.
That day, though, the Day After The Turning Point, Roger could smell the alcohol on Mark's breath. Could smell the sex, the booze, the smoke, and he recoiled a bit despite himself.
The best friend in him wondered what had changed, and he couldn't quite place it. Somewhere between Mimi's miracle Christmas Eve and that day Roger wasn't quite there. He was there, but not There. His eyes were on Mimi, on songs, on his muse. His best friend? He saw him, but, he'd begrudgingly admit, didn't truly See him.
Roger vowed to start paying attention to Mark from that Day forward - from that Day After The Turning Point. He vowed to not lose his friend against the pretty disillusion of the New York Night Life, not like he'd been lost at one point all those years ago.
However, as Mark sighed in his sleep and tilted just so, his sweater riding up, Roger's eyes caught sight of the red, red, red of the scratches, the scabs, and the white of the jagged scars that were obviously days, weeks, months- years, old.
And Roger threw up in disgust, because he'd realized at that moment, with the pain staring him in the face, that he never really knew Mark, not really.