A/N: A Matt!Mark, Tim!Roger fic. I don't own Rent and appreciate any feedback I get. Thanks for reading!

In Ignorance

Today, Mark's very aware of the lives that are going on outside of his Alphabet City world. He knows that since it's five PM, his Mom, hair clipped up with a claw clip (one of the teeth gone, probably, from abuse) and glasses perched on her nose, is chewing on a bottom lip as she stirs dinner. He knows Maureen and Joanne are walking back from Joanne's office building, fighting or chatting or kissing or all three, in each other's company as the city's life surrounds them. He knows his father's probably sitting in traffic on the Hutch, listening to 1010 WINS and making faces when he doesn't agree with some foreign policy the DJ is reporting on. Collins is lecturing, smiling and gesturing, gaining attention and respect amongst a rather uninterested generation of kids.

Mark's aware of those he doesn't even know too - of the distant sound of kids laughing and running down Avenue B, the snap of doors opening and closing, the hum of the taxis. He's aware that everyone, including the city itself, is living and breathing - going, going, going, gone. Moving on, taking in everything slowly.

He wonders, not aloud, but internally, as he takes deep breaths, in and out, in and out, deep and wide - he wonders if people are wondering about him too, are as aware that he's existing even not in their presence. He wonders if someone is thinking about him, somewhere. If maybe Benny has stopped a moment to wonder how he feels, or if his sister considered phoning him.

Mark's wondering and wondering and concentrating on these ideas, because he wonders if those around him would understand, or would ever think of what he might be dealing with right now. He's wondering if they could even imagine that he'd be sitting on the couch (taped up, worn and uncomfortable in many ways) with Roger's head cradling in his lap. He wonders if anyone would stop to think that Mark would be dealing with the silence surrounding him, the still chest of his best friend, the wide blank eyes.

As rain begins to fall outside, Mark's eyes slide closed, and he runs his fingers through damp, matted strands of hair on Roger's head. Behind closed lids, he sees his Mom tasting the stew, Maureen's smile, Benny's hands sliding over the steering wheel of his car, Collins' classroom. He tastes the warmth and spicyness of the stew, hears the radio in his father's car, sees his sister pushing his niece on the swing.

When the tears come, Mark wonders if their thoughts are flickering at all to him, because he's definitely thinking of them. He's thinking of them and their full, rich lives, and mourning Roger's, which has escaped somehow, after a few shuddered breaths and soft cries.

He hopes someone is thinking of him, of them, and wondering how they are. He hopes someone thinks to contact them, so Mark can be relieved of the tight feeling in his chest. So Roger's death, so recently occurring, will not be his secret anymore. He needs to mourn his best friend, who's been suffering so much in the past few days. He needs to be reminded that Roger's death isn't his fault, even though he should've insisted he'd go to the doctor; that the cold wasn't just something that'd go away.

In the silence, Mark accepts Roger's still heart and blank eyes. He simply runs a hand over his best friend's features and curls his knees to his chest to cradle him to his chest. Mark's own heart is pounding, in pain, in anguish, in sadness. He thinks of them, living and living and living, not knowing about the pain he's feeling at the moment. When the news breaks, he knows that everything will change. There will be tears and sobs and lots of mourning. He thinks of them, and he holds onto the thought that their ignorance is a blessing in disguse. They have a few more minutes, hours, days, until they're world is rocked to the core. In his head, though, there's a part of him that wills, wills, wills - that someone be thinking of them, so that some of this pain will be lifted from his chest, and -

And when the phone rings, he sobs. He's not alone, and someone's thoughts have went to him and the lost soul in his arms. He's not alone anymore, and life has changed for everyone. It's time to mourn, move on and celebrate Roger's life.