Disclaimer: RENT belongs to Jonathan Larson, as do the characters, etc. I'm just playin'.

I awoke, not even tired, and there was daylight. I smiled.

Then I remembered where I was and why and I huddled under the blanket and squeezed my eyes shut. goawaygoawaygoaway... It didn't work, and I had to-- almost wanted to face Mark again. Because maybe it's childish and immature, but I still hoped he would forgive me, at least hear me out. I'll just grab some coffee and put my thoughts together. I always do better with a planned speech. I--


Mark was standing there, right there, right in the middle of the room and maybe I can get back to Collins' room before he-- too late. Mark saw me.

He looked as though he had seen a ghost. "R-Roger?"

Is he still angry? Can we talk? Is he-- oh, G-d, is he going to throw things at me? My muscles tensed, ready to duck, and I said, "Uh... hey, Mark." Nice to see you again!

It really was. G-d, he's so beautiful... I felt myself begin to swoon and promptly blinked away those thoughts.

"Hi?" Mark rubbed his forehead. "Jesus, I know I had trouble sleeping last night, but that's really you, right? I'm not imagining this, am I?"

It occurred to me that it would be particularly romantic to kiss him and ask if an apparition could do that. But I think kissing a maybe-ex boyfriend was not a very bright move. I nodded. "It's me." I can go if you want...

"Oh, good. Cause until this moment, I thought I was never going to see you again…"

He sat down at the table and motioned me over. "Sit, baby-- er, Roger, don't just stand there."

I did as he asked, and I didn't say a word. I didn't look at him. And this... this was an act of contrition I had seen so many times it should be affectation but it was not. It felt right. My body moved, I did not ask it to. I just sat and I waited.

After a moment's silence I glanced up at Mark, hoping he was looking away, hoping I would have a chance to study him, see what he was thinking-- he was looking right at me. Right. At. Me. I quickly stared at my hands again.

"You know, Rog, I don't… it's not that I care about your age. I just want to know why."

"I'm--" sorry. I swallowed the word. It wouldn't do any good. "Selfishness," I told him. "Fear. At first it was... it was just a line, I didn't think... I didn't... look at you and, and know that I loved you, I just... we were hanging out, and... and then... I didn't know how to tell you because... because I was scared that you wouldn't love me. Because I wasn't the person you fell in love with, and... I was so selfish, I'm so--" NO! I fell silent and waited for him to kick me out. Again.

"You're not the one I fell in love with? So everything else we ever talked about was a lie, as well? You don't live with your grandmother and have a part time job?"

"I... I do work. Barely, but... I help out with Saturday and Sunday rush. I live with my mom and my stepdad." I didn't know what else to tell him. "I go to school during the day," I said, quietly enough that he could talk over me with ease. "I play sports and guitar. I love you. I'm sorry, I--" I didn't mean to say that, it just slipped out. "The cat..." I stopped, covered my eyes. It was too fresh. "I did have a cat," I managed, ashamed that my voice broke. "And she did die two days ago."

"I never doubted you about your cat…" He placed a hand on my arm.

I liked Mark's hand there. It made me feel... better. About everything. About the cat, my life... about me. I wanted to ask him-- what now? Will you take me back? But I didn't. Mark would make his move, and I was too afraid to rush him.

"Where do we go from here?"

I didn't really feel I had any right to do this, to even ask for this, but I raised my eyes slightly to ask, "Would you..." take me back? "can you forgive me?"

"Yeah. I can." Mark smiled.

I gave a shaky smile in return. "Thank you." An almost impossible stir of happiness began in my gut.

He squeezed my arm once before standing up. "You hungry? I'm not as good as you are in the kitchen, but I'm sure I can fix you up something."

"No--" I grabbed his hand gently, then realized what I'd done and stopped. "Sorry." I pulled back my hand.

Mark sat back down. "No, it's fine. You're not hungry?"

Hungry? I had forgotten how to be. I don't think I'd eaten since... since... probably in about 40 hours. I didn't care. I just wanted to sit with Mark, just be with him. That's what I told him. I couldn't look at him as I said it. Who am I to ask for anything?

"Ok. We can do that." He tugged me away from the table and led me to the couch, where he pull him down to lay with him. "Is this okay?"

Okay! It was more than okay. This was... this was bliss. I held his hands. "This is perfect. You're perfect. I don't deserve you." I murmured the last part to myself. Mark was... perfect. I'm gonna be a better boyfriend... I just wish I knew what I was doing. "I love you."

He kissed my shoulder. "I love you, too." He pressed his hand to my chest and I remembered the tea cup. "Does it still hurt?" he asked, his voice soft and low.

"I've had worse." What really hurt was the blue spot on my forehead where the shoe hit me. Now that hurt. "I deserved it." In case he began to doubt that. I was definitely an asshole. And not just in the good way.

"No you didn't. I should have controlled myself. Sorry." He kissed my shoulder again.

"Mark, I was stupid, okay? I was selfish and I hurt you. Don't apologize for throwing a teacup. I think I more than earned it. And I don't want that between us." Especially not something as small as that.

"Okay." He tightened his hold on me, and didn't say another word.

Neither did I. I couldn't help but know that my mom was worried sick, that I was missing a second day of school... and I couldn't help but not care. Because how can anything not be perfect?

I cuddled closer against Mark, closed my eyes, and waited for this moment to never end.


Yup, last chapter up just before I leave. I hope anyone reading this enjoyed the story; reviews would be loved! Please?