Disclaimer – I own nothing of RENT – that belongs to the wonderful Jonathon Larson. I do own, however, my original characters and the plotline. 'Nuff said.
Italics are thoughts and flashbacks.
A/N: I was cat sitting a while ago and this story just sort of hit me.
Summary: AU: Roger is lonely, so he decides to adopt a kitten. How will his friends react? Also, he's starting to fall in love with a volunteer where he purchased his kitten. Rated T because it's RENT. All characters live. ONE-SHOT. Takes place in 2009. Hint of Roger/OC
Roger Davis was lonely. Not your average lonely. He missed his Mimi (they had broken up when Mimi started using – again). Mark had moved in with Maureen when she and Joanne broke up – for good this time, but the two women decided to stay friends. Collins was living with Angel and they adopted a little girl named Sara Kathleen. No one really cared about Benny – he and Alison had moved to California a year ago.
"I'm going to do something about my loneliness." Roger thought out loud. He found his car keys and went to his car. He didn't even bother to put on a jacket – it was a humid summer's day.
He drove two miles to the cat shelter that he had volunteered at as a teenager. Pulling into an empty parking space, he turned off the ignition and entered the shelter.
"Hello. Can I help you?" a young volunteer – in her early twenties by the look of it – asked him.
"Yeah, I would like to adopt a kitten." Roger told her, petting a large brown cat near the entrance of the shelter.
"Okay. Did you have anything in mind?" the volunteer inquired, brushing her long honey-colored hair over her shoulder.
"Not really." Roger said, following her to the Kitten Kingdom.
"Feel free to go inside and take a look at the kittens." She told him, opening the door. Roger went inside and took a seat on the floor. Instantly, four or five kittens came over to him and started to climb all over his legs. One even batted at his shoelaces, which made him laugh.
That's when he saw her – a beautiful tortoise-shell kitten. She was towards the back of the room, curled in a ball, frightened out of her wits. Roger slowly stood up and walked over to the kitten. She pricked her head up and carefully inched her way towards him.
"Hi there." Roger greeted her, carefully picking her up. She was so tiny and thin in his arms. Roger nodded to the volunteer and she entered the room, a broad smile on her face.
"She's a total sweetheart." She said, scratching the kitten under her chin. Loud purring reached Roger's ears, making him smile. The volunteer turned her attention to Roger. "What are you going to name her?"
"I was thinking Artwork, because she looks like a piece of artwork." Roger answered.
"You can pick Artwork up in a couple weeks – we'll have our vet come and make sure she's okay to adopt. Is there a number I can reach you at?" she asked.
"555-1876." Roger told her, writing it down for her.
"Great. I'm Rose, by the way."
"Nice to meet you. Anyway, I'll call you in a couple of weeks, letting you know that you can come and get your kitten. Here's a list of things that she'll need." Rose handed Roger a typed-up list of things that Artwork would need. Roger was uneasy about finding a vet. He would talk to Joanne about that – she had adopted a dog named Hercules, so she probably had an idea about finding a vet.
Once Roger left the cat shelter, he went to purchase things for his new kitten. He was so excited, he even bought a purple harness and a matching leash. The cashier looked at him as though he were crazy as she rang up his purchases.
An hour later, Roger was home and was figuring out where to put everything for his new kitten when the phone rang. Putting down the huge cat tree, he sprinted to answer the phone.
"Hello?" Roger panted, nearly out of breath.
"Roger? Why do you sound out of breath?" Maureen asked.
"Maureen? What's going on?" Roger asked, catching his breath.
"Nothing – what are you up to?" Maureen asked innocently.
"I just got back from the pet store." He told her.
"OHMIGOD – YOU GOT A PET!" Maureen squealed loudly.
"Yeah – I got a kitten." Roger said.
"Aww – what's the name? a boy or a girl? What breed and color? When can we see it? Omigod – you have to let me throw a kitten party for you!" Maureen rambled on and on, not giving Roger a chance to answer.
"Maureen? Who are you talking to?" Mark asked in the background.
"Roger – he got a kitten!" Maureen squeaked.
"Can I talk to him?" Mark inquired. Maureen sighed and handed Mark the phone. "You realize I can NEVER come visit you now – I'm allergic to cats."
"Hi to you, too."
"Sorry – hi."
"What about taking your allergy shot before you come over?"
"It gives me a rash."
"You have allergy medication, don't you?"
"I forgot about that."
"Right. So, I guess Maureen told you I got a kitten."
"Yeah, she did. What kind?"
"A beautiful tortoise-shell kitten. I named her Artwork, because she reminds me of a piece of artwork."
"When can we meet her?"
"I get her in two weeks, so I'm thinking then. Maureen wants to throw a 'kitten party', but I'm putting my foot down at that."
"I'll let her know – oh, guess what?"
"Maureen and I are expecting – we're due around Halloween."
"That's great – are you having a boy or a girl?"
"Both – we found out yesterday that we're having twins – one boy and one girl."
"Congratulations. How far along is she?"
The two men talked for a little while longer before Mark said he had to go – Maureen was craving chocolate, chips, pickles and Ranch dressing. Roger laughed and hung up, happy that his friend was doing great.
Two weeks later, Roger got the phone call from Rose that Artwork was ready to be picked up. Roger told her that he would be there in twenty minutes.
Twenty minutes later, Roger entered the cat shelter and went to find Rose. She came to the front, a blue cat carrier in her hand.
"Artwork just had a bath, so she's pretty for you. I wrote down the name and number of the vet we use – Dr. Susan Mayer. She has a clinic not too far from here, so if you have any trouble with Artwork." She told Roger, handing the carrier to him.
"Thanks for everything, Rose." Roger thanked her.
"You're welcome. I know this is none of my business, but would you like to go on a date sometime?" she asked.
"I would love to. Are you free tonight?"
"Wanna go to dinner and a movie?"
"Sounds great. What time should I be ready?"
"Are you ready now?"
"Yeah, it's the end of my shift."
"Great. Let's get Artwork settled and then we can go somewhere. Do you like Italian?"
"I love Italian."
Roger just smiled – they were off to a great start already.
Instead of going out to dinner and a movie, Roger decided to call his friends to come meet Artwork and Rose.
Within twenty minutes, the entire gang was there, except Mimi, of course.
First to arrive were Collins, Angel and Sara Kathleen. Sara Kathleen clung tightly to Collins' leg. She had mocha-colored skin, long brownish-black hair and piercing blue eyes. Collins and Angel had adopted Sara Kathleen when she was a baby and now she was two-years-old.
"Hey munchkin." Roger greeted the young girl. She just hid behind Collins and Angel, as if Roger would spit poison at her.
Roger let Artwork out of her carrier and she zoomed around the loft as if she had a rocket attached to her back, making Roger and Rose burst out laughing.
"Hi. I'm Rose." Rose introduced herself to Collins and Angel.
"Hi hun. I'm Angel, this is Collins and our adopted daughter, Sara Kathleen." Angel introduced herself, Collins and Sara Kathleen.
"Rog, your kitten is so cute." Collins said, walking over to Roger, Sara Kathleen hanging onto Collins' coat.
"Thanks. Her name is Artwork." Roger told him just as Joanne entered the loft, followed by Mark and Maureen.
"Hey guys. This is my friend, Rose. Rose, this is Joanne, my best friend Mark and his wife, Maureen." Roger introduced Rose to Mark, Joanne and Maureen.
"It's nice to meet you, Rose. Roger's told us – nothing about you." Joanne told the other woman, entering the loft.
"Auntie JoJo! Unca Mawk! Auntie 'Reen!" Sara Kathleen squealed, running over and hugged each of her relatives.
"Hey! Where's my hug?" Roger asked.
"Wite hewe." Sara Kathleen told him, hugging him tightly.
"Aww that's my girl." Roger told her, patting her butt as she walked back over to Collins and Angel.
The gang ended up staying for a little while longer before Sara Kathleen started to get cranky and Mark's allergies started acting up. Both Roger and Rose said goodbye to Collins, Sara Kathleen, Angel, Mark and Maureen. Joanne left shortly after Mark and Maureen left – she had a case the next morning and wanted to go prepare for
"They are so sweet." Rose said once everyone left.
"I know – I think they liked you." Roger told her, smiling. "What are you doing tomorrow?"
"Nothing – why?" Rose inquired.
"Wanna see a movie?"
"I would love to."
"Great – what time should I pick you up?"
"Noon would be perfect." Rose told him, scribbling down her address for him. Roger knew exactly where she lived.
The next day at noon, Roger pulled into Rose's driveway and waited for her to come out to see him. He saw the screen door open and Rose exit the house – she was wearing jeans and a T-shirt with flowers on it. On her feet, she wore open-toed sandals.
"You look beautiful." Roger complimented as Rose climbed in the passenger seat and put on her seatbelt.
"Thank you." Rose thanked him, smiling over at him. "How's Artwork doing?"
"She's doing great." Roger told her, backing out of the driveway.
Pulling into the movie theater parking lot, Roger turned off the ignition and turned so that he was facing Rose.
"Rose, there's something you should know about me before we get too serious." Roger started. He had rehearsed for three hours in front of the mirror last night.
"Okay – I'm listening." Rose told him, taking his hand in hers.
"I'm HIV positive."
Rose's eyes welled up with tears. Roger unfastened his seatbelt and exited the car, motioning for Rose to get into the backseat.
Once they were in the backseat, Roger held Rose and let her know everything was okay.
"My brother died from HIV – he got it from his boyfriend and was misdiagnosed by the doctor. He died last year." Rose said between sobs. Roger just held her close, stroking her hair and rubbing her back.
Once Rose had calmed down, she and Roger exited the car and walked hand-in-hand to the movie theater.
"Any movies out that you want to see?" Roger inquired. The past weekend he had seen 17 Again and Hannah Montana: The Movie with his seven-year-old twin nieces, so he would be happy not seeing those again.
"I've been wanting to see Obsessed." Rose spoke up, looking at the movie titles.
"You know that's a thriller, right?" Roger asked, just making sure.
"I've been wanting to see that, too." Roger told her, getting two tickets for Obsessed.
"How about a snack?" Roger inquired, leading the way to the snack bar.
"Just some popcorn and a drink." Rose told him. Roger nodded and went to get snacks while Rose went to use the bathroom. They met outside the theater and entered the movie together.
Four months after seeing the movie, Roger and Rose went out again – this time to a fancy Italian restaurant.
After the appetizers were served and the wine poured, Roger signaled to the strolling violinist and whispered something in his ear. The violinist smiled and played Musetta's Waltz as Roger took a box out of his pocket and knelt in front of Rose.
"Roselyn Katharine DuPree, will you marry me?" Roger asked. Rose nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Roger smiled and slipped the ring on her finger – Joanne had helped him pick it out – it was a four carat diamond ring that looked beautiful against Rose's pale skin.
Two years later, Roger and Rose welcomed their first child – a girl named Melodie Katharine Davis – into the world two weeks before Christmas. The family was complete now – Roger had three beautiful girls (if you included Artwork) to call his.
As for the others, Mark, Maureen and the twins – Henry and Elizabeth – they're doing great. Angel and Collins had a scare with Sara Kathleen – she had a high fever for a week and had to stay in the hospital during that time. Thank goodness, Sara Kathleen recovered and was able to come home.
As for Joanne, she met a wonderful woman named Kate and they're engaged. Kate has a son from a previous relationship named Sean, who is about the twins' age.
The families live within walking distance from each other and manage to get together for everything – from birthdays to wedding anniversaries to everything in-between.
One clear summer night, the families gathered in Roger's backyard for a sing-a-long. Roger played his guitar while the rest of his friends and families used their voices.
"There's only now, there's only here
Give into love or live in fear
No other path, no other way
No day but today." The thirteen of them harmonized, smiling at one another and squeezed each other's hands.
Nothing could tear them apart now.