A/N: So, I haven't been around a lot. Besides that, here's something new. And it's new for a couple of reasons - one, this Roger and Mark? They're not like my old Roger and Mark. They're fresh and clean, and without a doubt inspired by Matt Caplan's Mark and Tim Howar's Roger. I saw them both tonight, and fell in love with their representation of the characters. While I was pretty familiar with Matt's Mark, I wasn't so much with Tim's Roger. I heard he was way over-dramatic and it was painful and silly to watch - but I found it endearing and kind of charming how much of a dramatic baby Tim's Roger was. He was lovable in his own way, and wonderfully contrastable (sp?) to Matt's sarcastic, witty Mark. So, yeah. This isn't Anthony!Mark or Adam!Roger, and it wasn't supposed to be slash, just friendship, although with slashy undertones, because HELLO it's MarkandRoger, and they're very rarely not slashy. It was fun to have this Roger and Mark, and I might play with them some more.

Disclaimer: I don't own Rent. Or anything else. Really. Well, a poster. And a book. And stuff.

Growing Pains

So yeah, between withdrawal and Mimi's disappearance, Roger's taken a liking to throwing things when angry, which has had Mark very nearly lose an eye to many a pick over the past year and a half.

Mark's reflexes started out as flinching as Roger stomped and huffed and pouted his way across the loft, tossing things to the floor and slamming his hips, hands and feet into anything in his way. When objects started to literally projectile across the loft - like spare keys, or cassette tapes, or ow, picks (in the eyes), Mark's flinching turned into literal ducking, dodging, and at times, crawling to avoid being hit.

Now, Roger's not necessarily aiming for him, of course - it's just that despite the size of the loft, there's not very much space for things to go when being tossed by the handful like confetti.

Today, though, Mark's still on the couch, as Roger rages on and on about this and that and this, but Mark's not listening, and isn't sure he cares. Everything triggers him these days - these days in between fighting with falling in love with Mimi and re-fighting with her - so it's not a surprise that today's rampage is begun because he's misplaced sheet music to something-or-other - some song Mark's never heard of. Mark doesn't even bother reminding Roger that the mess, the chaos that he's creating, is making it worse - but stays fairly still, going about his business. When a book flies dangerously close to his head, he slides down a bit, and sighs only loud enough to make himself feel better.

"I can't fucking -" Roger's saying, between muffled curses and crashing of objects. Mark winces when he hears what he knows as one of the few bowls they own falling and cracking on the floor, but doesn't get up.

When Roger sniffles, and only finally, when he whimpers, Mark turns his head.

So, Roger's crying now, and Jesus, this is ridicolous, is the only thing Mark can think as he pulls himself from his seat and over to his roommate, who's half-heartedly trying to hide his tears. Mark wades practically knee deep in the mess Roger's created before pulling himself up next to him on the table, thigh to knee pressing against his roommate's in a silent touch of 'I'm here'.

"I dunno-" Roger begins, but he's sobbing now, turning his head to tuck it into the spot between Mark's chin and shoulder. Mark shivers a bit from the coldwet sensation of the tears and the awkwardness of this whole deal, but doesn't move away.

"You're tired, Rog." He says, finally,reaching over to pluck a pick from Roger's idling fingers so he can avoid it ending up in one or both of his eyes, "It's late."

"I need this music -"

"Shh." Mark feels like his Mom must've when he was thirteen and awkward and gangly and uncomfortable in his own skin - because he was a fucking mess and would cry, cry, cry, and she'd sit with him much like he was with Roger at this moment.

Mark's never seen Roger like this, not the violence, not the mood swings, not the dramatics - not even during withdrawal. Not even right after April, not even in the beginning of this. He thinks, over and over, as Roger slows his crying, that if love does this to you, he doesn't want to try for it, again, ever. And he thinks this like he's never been in love, because he's recently (as Roger and Maureen screamed and screamed at one another over something useless until Roger threw one of Mark's old screenplays at her, paper raining down on them like flat, dry snow) decided Maureen and him never really had been in love at all. It was more like a mutual (and then, not so mutual) obsession.

Later, when he's thinking about this again and again, as he remembers the mess and chaos on the floor of the loft outside of his room, he doesn't think much of it when his door slides open and Roger tip toes himself not-very-sneakily into his room and under the covers of Mark's own queen bed, curling up far enough away that he's not touching, but just plainly existing and happily in Mark's presence. In fact, Mark smiles a bit, because Roger will be okay, just like he was after April, and withdrawal. He just needs to be coaxed a bit, let free a bit, allowed some space.

Because, Mark thinks as he chuckles silently to himself, it serves him right to have to suffer through Roger's reverting to young-awkward teen years (oohh, rebellion, ohh, down with the man!), because Mark had babied him through the shakes and shivers of withdrawal.

When Roger's breathing deepens, Mark closes his eyes, knowing Roger is well on his way to growing up, and it was only a matter of time before he'd spread his wings and fly, truly fly.