Title: And Life Begins
Rating: PG-13 (That seems to be my default rating...)
Word Count: 1,723
Disclaimer: Rent will always own me. I've never had any power over it.
Summary: Pre-Rent. Mark just arrived in the big city and has nowhere to go. Luckily, he runs into the singer of the Well Hungarians.
A/N: This is sort of my tribute to RENT. Instead of posting something relating to its ending like I originally was, I wanted to focus on a beginning. I'll save the ending fic for another day.
Son of a bitch. Mark sighed as he stepped out of the club. He looked around. It was late, and he didn't have anywhere to go. Guess I shouldn't have come without any plans. He mused dryly, at least I packed light. He looked down at his bag. The contents were a few outfits and his camera bag. None of which were good to live solely on.
He sighed again. Just as he was leaving, the door to the club opened, hitting his arm. Mark let out a groan of pain.
“Shit! Sorry, man.” Mark was about to tell the culprit just where he could stick his 'sorry' when he looked up. Mark was speechless. “You okay?”
It was the singer of the band he had watched tonight. He looked even more gorgeous up close. What the hell? That thought brought a light blush to his cheeks. He then remembered he was asked a question. “Yeah, just a bump. I'm fine.” Mark offered a smile.
The singer smiled, showing off his nice pearly whites. “Good to know.” The bleach blond stared at Mark then, making the aspiring filmmaker uncomfortable. “You were at my gig tonight.” He stated suddenly, smiling again. “You had the camera, right?”
Mark swallowed nervously. “Uh, yeah. That was me.” Oh shit. He noticed? The musician laughed.
“I saw you by the bar.” He took out a cigarette and lit up. After taking a drag, he continued. “Felt honored, actually, having someone film us.” He grinned, eyeing Mark up and down. “Especially by a guy like you.” He took another drag.
Mark just stared at the blond. Did he... did he just check me out? Mark blushed. He had never met a gay person before. Now one was hitting on him! What was he going to do?
“You okay, snowflake?” The musician asked, amusement and a bit of worry on his face. Mark blinked.
“Snowflake?” He asked, forgetting his dilemma.
“Well, I don't know your name, so I gave you a nickname, seeing as you're kind of pale.” He chuckled, taking another drag. He studied Mark, taking in his appearance. Mark shifted from foot to foot nervously.
“Uh. Mark. I'm Mark.” Mark scratched the back of his head. The musician nodded.
“Roger. Pleased to meet you.” Roger offered his hand, which Mark took hesitantly. They held hands for a moment, idly shaking them. Mark gazed at Roger's nails. They were painted. Oh God.
“Roger!” The door flew open, revealing a pissed off man. “Get your lazy ass in here and clean up!” Mark stared between the two. The man looked like he could take five in a fight, and Roger wasn't budging.
Roger snorted. “Keep your pants on, Ted. I said I was coming out here for a smoke, and I'm doing that.” Ted narrowed his eyes at the blond.
“Just hurry up. It's not like you can't smoke in the club.” Ted remarked sarcastically, going back inside. Roger laughed quietly to himself. Mark released the breath he didn't know he was holding.
Roger glanced at Mark. “Sorry about him. Treats me like a kid brother. He's really just a big Teddy bear.” Roger smirked, taking a last drag. Mark nodded absently. This wasn't helping him find a place to stay.
“So, he's older than you?” Mark asked, surprising himself. This is not what you need to be doing! Find a place to live! Roger smiled.
“Yeah, by three years. I'm actually the youngest of the Well Hungarians.” Roger grinned. Mark rose an eyebrow.
“How old are you?”
“Nineteen.” This surprised Mark. He was so young. It gave him hope that maybe he could actually pull this ridiculous notion off. Roger was silent for a moment. Then, he smiled. “So, have anywhere to crash tonight?”
Mark paled. “Uh,” he coughed, “not really. I kind of... just got here?” Mark answered. Roger laughed, making Mark feel like a grade schooler.
“Yeah man, I know what that's like.” Roger nodded to the door. “Hey, come in a bit. It's a little chilly tonight.” When Mark didn't make a move, Roger continued. “Come in and rest, then I'll take you to a place where you can stay.” Roger smiled sincerely at him. Mark decided to trust that smile.
An hour later found Roger and Mark walking along the sidewalk. “Sorry again about my bandmates.” Roger chuckled. The band had given Mark a bit of a hard time.
“No troubles.” Mark assured, though he was a little shaken up. They kept making lewd comments and suggesting some very sexual activities the two blonds could do later tonight.
Roger chuckled. “So, where'd you ditch to be in the Big Apple?” He readjusted his hold on his guitar. Mark looked at it with interest. He did love music.
“Uh, Brown University? Scarsdale originally.” He glanced at the rocker, bracing himself for any jibes that might come. But Roger only laughed.
“That's two things we have in common.” He stated delightfully. When Mark looked at him with confusion, he elaborated. “I came here from a small town, and I was eighteen just like you.” He looked over to Mark and grinned. “Had it in my head I was gonna be a famous musician.” He chuckled. “What brought you out here?”
Mark stayed quiet for a moment. Roger didn't press him for any answers, just kept walking with a little smile on his lips. He decided to take a chance. “Family. Pressure. Just... life at the dorm. Everything was always so controlled. I just wanted to, to break free, you know?” He glanced at Roger. “I just want to film, maybe become a known filmmaker. Who knows.” He finished quietly.
They walked in silence, with Mark glancing at Roger every now and then. Roger was humming a tune to himself, sort of like a lullaby, still wearing that smile. Mark studied Roger. He came to the city last year, yet he seemed to be doing just fine.
They came up to a building that looked like it had seen better years. Roger pulled a key from his pocket and opened the door. He motioned for Mark to follow him. Roger led Mark up three flights of stairs to a corner door. He unlocked the door and nodded for Mark to enter.
“Honey, I'm home!” Roger yelled, smirking when he heard quiet cussing. While Roger went to put his guitar in his room, Mark looked around. It wasn't a bad sized loft. Very spacey. They had a decent kitchen area, a bathroom and what looked like three bedrooms. Wow.
“Hello, hello, what have we here?” Mark snapped his attention to the man now standing before him. He was tall and broad shouldered. He looked strong, yet fragile. His eyes seemed so wise, but he was wearing a fool's grin. “What's your name, little one?” He chuckled when Mark made a face.
“Mark.” They just stood there. “Um, you?” The man smiled.
“Thomas B. Collins at your service. Call me Collins.” He offered his hand, which Mark took. With a surprised yelp, Mark was pulled into a huge bear hug.
“Yo, black man, can you release the poor frightened kid before I call the cops on your ass?” Roger came back into the room, a smirk on his face. Collins laughed as he let Mark out of the embrace. Roger placed a hand on Mark's shoulder to help the small blond steady himself. “I see you met my roommate.”
Collins snorted. “You're my roommate, you little racist bitch.” He chuckled as he plopped down on the couch. “So, what brings his skinny ass here?” Collins asked, surveying Mark. He eyed Roger with a smirk. “Have you forgotten the rule of bringing boys home after midnight?”
Mark went tense at the words. Roger snorted. “Stop scaring him. And that rule applies to you, you big black queerbag.” Roger stuck his tongue out, which earned a laugh from the older man. Mark relaxed a bit, but not fully.
“So, seriously, what brings him here?” Collins asked as he stretched out on the couch.
“Well, Pete moved in with his girlfriend.” Roger stated. Mark quirked an eyebrow.
“Yes, I know this.” Collins smiled, getting a gleam in his eyes. “Your point?”
“Well, I was thinking we could fill his position.” Roger smiled slightly, inclining his head to Mark. Mark was surprised. Was Roger suggesting that they take me as a roommate? Collins was quiet for a moment, studying the pair before him. Then, he smiled.
“Sure. Why the hell not?” He got up and walked over to them. Placing his arms around their shoulders, he said, “I've already taken in one stray, why not another?” He and Roger smiled, seeming to remember something.
Roger looked at Mark. “How about it?” He smiled. Mark looked between Roger and Collins, two very different yet very strange men. His mother warned him about places and people like this, how they'd eat you alive and spit you back out. That settled it.
“Yeah. That'll be great.” Roger and Collins smiled, hugging the aspiring filmmaker in welcome. And for the first time in a long time, Mark felt at peace. I could definitely get used to this.
“Now, if you excuse me, I have a hot date in my room.” Collins stated with a smirk, leaving the two in the living room. Roger scoffed.
“What happened to the 'no boys after midnight' rule?” The musician asked, crossing his arms.
“I made it, so I can break it.” Collins grinned as he disappeared. A moment later, they heard a very deep groan that was not Collins. Mark paled slightly. Okay, I don't think I'll get used to that.
Roger laughed. “You'll grow to love him.” He smiled at Mark. “Come on,” he motioned for Mark to follow, “let's get you to your room.” He led Mark to the room closest to the door. It was nice, better than Mark expected. He placed his bag on his bed, feeling at home already. Roger smiled. “Welcome to the city, Mark.” And with that, Roger was gone.
Mark sat on his bed, taking out his camera. After winding it up, he narrated. “December 18th, 1986, two A.M. Eastern Standard Time. The beginning to my new life as a struggling artist.” Mark smiled. He liked the sound of that.
His life begins tonight.