Disclaimer: It's all Jonathon Larson's. No one could hope to measure up anyway.

OOC: Alright…so, I started writing this awhile ago and eventually began to ignore it in the hopes that it would become something I liked if I didn't pay attention to it. That failed, so now I'm rewriting it in a style that I like better, and which will most likely inspire me to actually keep the story going this time. I should have known that I wouldn't like it in first person. I just don't like first person. This time, instead of that, while each chapter will still alternate, either Markcentric or Rogercentric, it will be third person.

At any rate…here goes.


The first time Mark saw Roger, he knew that Roger was absolutely dangerous, and he really shouldn't get anywhere near him. It's not as if he was accustomed to hanging around crazy punk-rocker kids, anyway. But Maureen had gotten another crazy notion into her head, and Mark couldn't change her mind. For that matter, when could he ever change her mind?

"Marky, I need to have that guy play for me. He's in a band. A real one. With his guitar and my dancing, we could really have something going! Seriously, have you heard him play? It's a-maz-ing."

Mark shook his head at Maureen, trying to avoid looking at those wide eyes which were certain to be staring at him with all the pleading that she could muster stored up in them. He knew that look, and he knew when it would best serve him to avoid it, because he couldn't ever help but give in when Maureen started looking at him like that. It was bad enough that for most of middle school he'd had a phenomenal crush on her ever, back before he'd gotten to know her and realized that she was slightly damaged goods, but now she was also his best friend, and he was not the strongest guy when it came to girls either way. Besides, Maureen was used to getting her way, and Mark was certainly no exception.

"Maureen, don't call me Marky. I hate that. It makes me feel like a first grader again. Bad enough that my mom calls me that sometimes—and really, do you want to be like my mom?" He tried the only tactic that had ever even had a ghost of a chance of working—trying to avoid her plea altogether. Chancing a glance at her, he could tell that he'd made no headway whatsoever. Her eyebrows were still drawn together, and her bottom lip was pushed out just the right amount. Mark could already feel himself softening and getting ready to give in, to his disgust.

"Don't worry, your mom isn't half as sexy as me," she shot back, loudly, drawing the attention of a couple kids nearby. She knew they'd heard and shot them her brightest, most self-satisfied grin, and Mark smirked as they looked faintly offended.

Maureen tended to have that effect on people—slight offense, but drawn and interested all the same. Certainly she'd always had that effect on Mark, even after having known her for six years, and being friends with her for four of them. Sometimes it was frustrating to watch her, with the world on a leash, but most of the time he just accepted it. Maureen might have exuded self confidence, but she need approval as much as everyone else. Maybe more.

Her whining voice broke back into his thoughts, shattering them rudely. "Couldn't you just please tape us together? I guarantee, it'd be the most interesting thing for to come out of this dump of a school since—ever. We'd be a sensation." She flung her arms wide, nearly hitting a few people, and Mark could feel his face beginning to turn red. Being friends with Maureen tended to have its fair share of embarrassment. He rolled his eyes at her, wishing that she could have placed this conversation somewhere other than the halls before school.

A glance at the clock told Mark that he still had a solid five minutes before the bell was going to ring and he could escape to the safety of the back seat of his calculus class. There was no hope of salvation from that direction, unless he could out talk her, which was never likely.

"Let me get this straight. You expect to walk up to a guy you don't even know, who only moved here a month ago but has already made his way into the band circle of the school, and ask him if he'll write an original song and play it to help you protest the fact that they're taking soda machines out of our school?" She nodded, looking at him pleadingly with those big eyes again, and he knew that he was sunk, once again, and he was going to have to help her with her crazily concocted plan.

All the same, he hesitated long enough that Maureen stepped it up a notch, sidling closer and folding her arms onto Mark's shoulder, tilting her head against him. "It'll be fun, Mark. Maybe you'll make another friend."

Stung slightly, Mark pulled away and looked at her. In a way she was right. He was quiet and intelligent, traits that didn't particularly lend themselves to a great social life. Normally it didn't really bother him, because he had his camera as something to hide behind, but normally Maureen didn't point it out so blatantly.

She seemed to realize that she was overstepping an unspoken line even before he could say anything. "I'm sorry," she quickly said, trying to remedy her slip. Mark regarded her, and this time it was the sincerity of her expression rather than the plea that got to him.

"It's fine. Don't worry about it," he told her, just like always, because he couldn't stay mad at people. Particularly when those people included his best friend (who, as she'd pointed out, happened to be one of his only friends).

He thought back to the first time he'd seen him—Roger Davis. He had been wearing jeans that were tighter than some of Maureen's, and a fitted black shirt with some band name on it, though Mark couldn't have said which, now. Blond hair was spiked up, and his green eyes were rimmed lightly with eyeliner. He was late to the one class that they shared--their government class--and walked in carrying not only a backpack, but a battered guitar case. With a glare at the teacher that dared her to challenge anything, he'd slipped into his seat, across the class from Mark.

For some reason, Roger fascinated him, in a somewhat unsettling way. He had an air of confidence that was impossible to ignore, but that was subtly different from Maureen's version of self-assurance. Where Maureen had to beg the world for attention, Roger would have gotten it no matter what he did. All he had to do was lean back and bask in it.

It was completely the opposite of Mark, and that was what drew him the most. He knew that he was reacting just like everyone else did to Roger, and it occurred to him that Maureen may have been counting on that to convince him. Eyeing her, he tried to read into her motives and intentions, but her face was carefully blank, displaying nothing other than obvious hope.

As a ploy to buy time, he slid his camera out of its case and centered Maureen in the view-piece. The prospect of interacting with Roger was somewhat terrifying, and Mark wasn't sure if it was possible of not. Before him Maureen grinned, loving to be the center of attention.

"Close on Maureen, who's crazy enough to talk to a complete stranger, and has somehow gotten me to go along with it," Mark narrated with a sigh.

The bell rang, jarring his thoughts, and Maureen flung herself unabashedly at him, causing him to lift his camera clear of her tight hug. "Thanks again, baby!" she said enthusiastically, blowing a hugely fake kiss as she rushed off to class. Scenes like that had, at one time, embarrassed him to no end, but her vast quantity of energy and physical affection had become normal and even enjoyable over time.

Around him people were beginning to mill about, zipping up backpacks and gathering sweatshirts and notebooks into piles. For a moment, Mark let the crowd pour to either side of him, enjoying the feeling of invisibility that it afforded him. As he switched off his camera, finally turning to head for calculus, he muttered, "Close on Mark, who's about to have an incredibly long day."