Spoils of War
Author: Girl Who Writes
Feedback: is beloved
Pairing: implied Mimi/Roger, Maureen/Joanne.
Word Count: 1395
Summary: Not everyone understands what the significance of certain days are.
Notes: Speed Rent challenge #122, Song fic challenge - Death Cab for Cutie's "Marching Bands of Manhattan." Title teh lame and will probably change.
Spoilers: Movie and musical.
Disclaimer: Characters are property of the Jonathan Larson Estate.
I wish we could open our eyes to see in all directions at the same time.
Mark sits on the new couch – five years old, and it will forever be the new couch to him – and… he just sits there for a second, looking around at his home. Always his home – it's been three years, and counting since Benny signed the deeds to the loft over to one Mister Mark Cohen, and one Mister Roger Davis. And when Roger was dying, he signed everything over to Mark, after making Mark swear that he'd take care of Mimi for him.
Seven years since Angel died. Mark looks at the photographs hung up on the wall, sophisticated in black and white, with silver frames – Angel in her Santa dress, with Collins and drumming outside their building. Roger strumming his guitar, his arms around Mark and Collins' shoulders and one with Mimi in his arms after the wedding – civil ceremony with a quick signature, wearing his jeans and leather jacket.
Mimi's home; she's still with him, amazingly enough. She came back to life, and Roger wrote songs and sold them, recorded a few, made money – killed himself doing what he loved so much. Leaving behind a legacy that made him a martyr for his art, a tragedy in life and death, the modern day rock star; leaving behind money to keep Mimi alive, and Collins comfortable as he went to Angel's side. Her eyes are sadder, older, and she's thinner than ever, but she stays with him, keeping him company and making sure that he's never alone.
"Hey. I thought you were going out with Amy tonight?" She places groceries on the old silver table that will never ever be removed from the loft – there might be heating, and a television and new furniture and hell, a new kitchen, but that table has seen more than anything; it's been more than a table, it's been a makeshift stage for Maureen, a drum for Angel, a deathbed for Mimi and the place where they sit every night to chat, whether or not they eat.
"She called earlier to cancel." Not everyone understands what the significance of certain days are – the day April died, the day Angel died, the day Roger died, the day Maureen and Joanne made it to their second anniversary without a single separation during the two years, the day Collins died, and Mark's girlfriend tries her hardest but it is harder when she never met Angel, never watched Roger and Maureen bicker, never saw them together. Amy has only known Mark as emotional wreckage, never as the man watching his friends die.
And it is true what you said, that I live like a hermit in my own head.
"Well, Joanne and Maureen are coming over tonight," Mimi flops onto the couch next to Mark, her head on his shoulder. "I'm making pasta, and there'll be alcohol."
"Sounds good," Mark smiles at her. "It's been a tough year."
"Oh yeah, very tough," Mimi shakes her head and gets back up, to get herself something to drink. "I saw posters for Civilian all over the city today."
Civilian, his first film since Collins died, a tribute to him, really. A study of anarchy and protests and the world people were so unhappy with. It had taken weeks to track down a handful of Collins' old students, to interview them. And Mark had marveled at, despite Collins' easy dismissal of his students, how he had touched these students, left them with puzzles and philosophy that had given them a cause to fight for. It was two hours running time, and Mark's longest film, and showing around the city in art house cinemas. Reviews were stuck to the fridge by Mimi, all of them glowing, because Mimi threw away the bad ones. Maybe if the inspiration for the film hadn't been Tom Collins, the bad reviews wouldn't sting. But they hurt, and Mimi only kept the good ones out for his eyes.
"Some paper called today and wanted an interview after the holidays," Mark stood. "Need help with dinner?"
"Are you going to take it?" Mimi looked up, concern lighting her eyes. "You should."
"Because you can," Mimi was chopping mushrooms, so she didn't have to look at him. "I've got the Life Support counselor; Joanne and Maureen have a counselor through Joanne's firm…"
"I'm sure Maureen loves that," Mark said dryly.
"She hated it, but it helped," Mimi shrugged. "You need to talk to someone, Mark. I want you to talk to me. You've done so much for me…"
He hated making Mimi cry, and the tears always started whenever anyone mentioned Roger – long, damp trails down her cheeks, and then she'd excuse herself to the bathroom where he could always hear the hiccup-y sobs that broke his heart. She'd been stripped of everything since he'd met her – her best friend, her husband, and Collins, whom she'd always go to for advice, had left her virtually dependent on Mark for everything.
He wondered if she ever resented that Roger had left everything to him, leaving her to ask for her husband's money and keepsakes, if she ever wanted to escape but couldn't because she had nothing to escape with, except an old guitar.
"I…" The words didn't come easily.
She didn't dance at the Cat Scratch Club anymore; she spends her time at dance classes on Broadway or volunteering at children's hospitals and, Mark supposes, taking care of him. Many potential girlfriends have been scared off by Mimi's presence in Mark's life, but Amy likes her, feels sorry that a girl of twenty six is already a widow.
Mimi takes a sip of her soda and looks at him – all pale skin, and dark, sad eyes and he remembers a long time ago when she was just the girl downstairs, and wonders how much he and Roger missed out on by never going downstairs to say hi.
"Say it, Mark," she says simply, and it comes tumbling out, like he can't say it fast enough.
"You never wanted to leave, did you?" Mark asks. "But you… couldn't."
Mimi's silent, and he just knows she's trying to think up a way to say, yes, she wanted to get the hell out, and still does.
"Roger always knew that I'd run away when he died." Her voice is strong but sad, and there are no tears. "That's why … he was trying to protect us both, Mark. Make sure you never spent a night alone in a loft without heat; guarantee that I wouldn't die in a park somewhere, alone." Her voice quivers but no tears. "He saw what Angel's death did to us all, and he didn't want it to happen again."
History does repeat, but never in the same way. That doesn't make sense, and that makes Mark smile.
"What no one ever thinks is that if I really wanted to go," Mimi shook her head, "nothing would have stopped me."
There's a knock at the door and there's Maureen and Joanne with food and drink and presents. There are hugs and drinks are poured as Mimi finishes dinner. Mark gets up and puts on a CD, and Roger's voice filters out of the stereo. It seems wrong that Roger didn't live long enough to enjoy the spoils of his success.
The three women stand in the kitchen, Maureen's head on Joanne's shoulder, and her arm around Mimi's waist as the stereo plays the first track on the CD, 'Your Eyes'.
"That's really the worst song," Maureen said flatly, breaking the silence. And Mimi giggles, Joanne smiles and Mark grins easily back. "Really, can we skip to the next song?"
Hours later, they sit on the roof, and Mark films the girls talking, laughing, bottles of wine being passed around.
"December 24, 11:51p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Merry Christmas, guys."
Not everyone understands what the significance of certain days are – the day April died, the day Angel died, the day Roger died, the day Maureen and Joanne made it to their second anniversary without a single separation during the two years, the day Collins died, and the day they all met.
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.