Allo, cordyangel here! I'm writing this one shot because the other day, I was watching RENT and then I put on Fight Club and I realized how similar they are! Really, if you look deep down, there are some honest to goodness similarities that cannot be denied.
I didn't want to put people off in the summary, but this is a Fight Club/ RENT crossover. It's not especially essential for you to have read or seen Fight Club, but if you don't get anything, review and I'll explain. This story switches between perspectives, but you'll know. It starts out with the Narrator, who, for all intents and purposes, we will call Tyler. The only reason someone would have a problem with his name being Tyler would be if they'd read/seen Fight Club. And while I'm sure there are many out there, this is what has to be done. So read on, and review!
Disclaimer: Mark, Roger, Mimi, Life Support and everything else connected to the musical RENT is the creation of Jonathan Larson and I do not own them. Tyler, the Narrator, Marla, Angel Face and anything connected to Fight Club is the creation of Chuck Palahunik and is not owned by moi. Slept So Long is a song by Orgy and is not owned by me.
I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
I had come full circle.
It had been two years since I'd gone to my first support group and here I was again. But now I wasn't here to cure insomnia. I was here to recruit.
"Let's go around the room and introduce ourselves." Of all the groups I'd been to these people looked the sickest, though Chloe had been a difficult skeleton to compete with. It was also my first one without nametags.
"Mark," a voice two seats away said.
What's my name?
"Roger," the blonde said next to me.
"My name is Tyler," I said, giving a little grin for nostalgia's sake."Tyler Durden."
A new one came today. It was shitty, really. People died, but more people kept coming, filling the empty spaces. People never got smarter, they never stopped getting sick.
"Tyler. Tyler Durden."
The name sounded sort of familiar, but at the same time, this guy didn't look like a Tyler. He looked like a Rob or a Pete. He didn't seem to have the attitude to carry off Tyler.
I frowned a little. Why was I thinking about this so much?
But try as I did, my thoughts kept returning to Tyler. Maybe I'd spoken too soon. He was a little like Mark, but he was, admittedly more edgy. Tyler had a spark of danger behind his cool 'Devil May Care' attire.
"Tyler, do you want to say anything?" Paul asked him in his quiet voice. Silently I wondered how he'd survived this long. He was the only member left from the first meeting I'd gone to.
"Uh…no. I'm good." A wave of pity swept over the room for Tyler. If you didn't say anything, people assumed the worst.
"Okay," Paul said. "Roger?"
Traitor. I've always felt a bit like a deer caught in the headlights whenever I'm called on.
"Uh…" I saw Mark give me an encouraging look. "So, things are good. As good as they can be, I mean." I took a breath. "I've still got AIDS. HIV," I amended. "But I'm not afraid of death. Just afraid that I'm not making enough of the time I've got left."
Heads around the circle nodded in agreement.
"That was good," Paul said, his smile in his voice if not on his face.
A few more people went after me before they recited the mantra I knew so well.
"No day but today."
I stole a last look at Tyler. The words had never felt so loaded.
Yep, he was the one.
I am Jack's tingling anticipation.
The hard part would be getting him away from the guy who was clinging to him fiercer than Angel Face had been clutching his nose after I'd broken it. I wondered briefly whether Roger and this kid were fucking each other.
No, I'd thought after a moment. They were probably making love.
I snorted. Roger must've been quite the sport fucker in his day, but he was tamed by this Howdy Doody filmmaker. How 'American Dream' of them. Luckily I was here to help with that.
"Hey," I said catching up with them. "Know where I could get a decent cup of coffee?"
Roger turned and gave me a sideways look. "Oh yeah, the Java Café, it's a couple streets down."
"Roger," the albino next to him admonished. "That was descriptive of you." He turned to me, holding out his hand. "I'm Mark."
"Well, if you're so good with directions then how come you don't tell him?" Roger grumbled.
I lifted an eyebrow. Oh yeah, they were definitely a couple.
"Why don't you take him?" Howdy suggested brilliantly.
Roger gave his boyfriend the same look he'd given the mediator at Life Support. It screamed betrayal.
"Anyway, I've got to meet Maureen. Something about a protest she wants help with." Mark turned away. I watched him go with a bit of disappointment. Part of me regretted the fact the kid was obviously too much of a pacifist for any kind of fighting. His skinny wiry frame held so many delicious possibilities.
Reluctantly Roger gestured for me to follow him. "This way."
"Your boyfriend seems nice," Tyler said as we walked in the cold.
Boyfriend? "Mark? He's not my boy-"
"Hey, I'm not here to judge…whatever you do in your free time is none of my business…"
"He's not my boyfriend," I said firmly, turning a corner. "I've got a girlfriend."
"Ouch," Tyler winced. "I'd feel better for you if you had a boyfriend."
"Why?" I asked on an impulse. "Are you gay?"
Tyler let out a laugh. "Unfortunately, no. I wish though. Girls are vicious. They fuck you up, every time without fail."
A silent part of me agreed wholeheartedly.
"So what's yours name?" He asked as we entered the tiny café.
"The girl who fucked me up, or the one I'm with now?"
He screwed up his face. "They didn't both fuck you up?"
It was my turn to laugh. "No, they both fucked me up. But one came before the other."
Tyler leaned back in his chair with his hands behind his head. "I've got time."
A waiter came by and took our order. I fiddled with sugar packets until he was gone and I slowly started to launch into my story.
"The first one," I began, "was April."
I shot him a dirty look and he immediately shut up. "She was a junkie. I was a junkie. She slit her wrists after she found out about the HIV."
"One time, my girl swallowed a stomach full of Xanex. Scared me shitless." He seemed a bit amused by the memory, though I couldn't think why. "Luckily, it was one of those 'cry for help' things. Is that how you got it?"
"Either the drugs or the sex. I guess I'll never know. I guess it really doesn't matter. And the one now, her name is Mimi."
I stopped, waiting for him to interject, but he didn't. I cleared my throat and continued. "Was a junkie. But I wasn't anymore; I had just come out of withdrawal. She's clean now, but still sometimes I wonder…" Not wanting to talk about Mimi anymore, I turned the question around. "What about you? Who fucked you up?"
"Marla. God, I hate her. She's my wife. I think it was a strategic move, now she can fuck with me 24 hours a day 7 days a week." My gaze was caught by his wedding ring, something I'd missed before.
"How long have you two been married?"
I let out a whistle. Tyler didn't strike me as the type who could be tied down for any length of him. "Does she have…?"
"No," he answered quickly. "Mimi?"
"Yeah. She was working today, so she didn't come. But yeah."
"I don't have AIDS either," he said matter of factly.
"I'm as healthy as a horse. No tuberculosis, no blood parasites. No fucking testicular cancer."
"You're shitting me," I said plainly. I could sort of feel my mouth hangingopen and so I went on."That's sick man, you're twisted…these people…you trick them! For what? Money? Is that it, you pathetic, sell-out wannabe corporate dick-" Mark's words coming from my mouth.
I took a deep breath before I said anything else that I'd regret. Being with Mimi had taught me quickly to hold my tongue at times. "You make me sick," I said at last, throwing a few dollars on the table. Mimi and I would go hungry tonight, but I wasn't about to be indebted to this asshole.
Okay, I correctly had expected Roger's blow up. I am Jack's utter lack of surprise. Winning Roger back would be well worth getting him pissed in the first place.
I ran out of the café after him. "You're mad," I said lamely.
"So hit me."
Blunt. No foreplay, no pretty words. Roger and I weren't making love to each other, we were fucking.
Roger turned to look at me, his eyes wide and full of disbelief. "What?"
"You know you want to," I reasoned. "I want you to hit me."
"Hit you?" He asked again, still uncertain.
Gosh this one was full of questions. "As hard as you can," I rolled my eyes.
Roger stared at me like I'd grown several heads. "No," he said after a pause.
"Why not? It's what you want to do."
"Because you're not worth it," he began on the moral tirade I'd heard a million times before and had perfected in my yuppie days. "You're a-"
I cut him off. "You're an ex-junkie who was so wrapped up in his own fucked up life that he didn't even care about his girlfriend 'till she offed herself." I made sure that my voice had no malice, that when I delivered my performance, it was all in the tone of the casual observer I was.
"That was a long-" The temper I'd seen in Roger initially was beginning to show itself.
"A long time ago Roger?" I laughed a little. "People rarely chance, and when they do, it's never for the better. You can' honestly tell me that you don't wake sometimes and feel like you'd gladly give your right lung for a hit."
"And that sometimes, when you think no one will notice, you even buy some. But not to use, just to see. You still wish that you could feel as alive as you did when you were using."
Roger fell silent, but he was still listening. I steamrolled on.
"Tell me that you don't lie awake next to your precious Mimi some nights and wonder when she'll die too."
"Shut up," he said again, though unlike the first time, now it was a warning.
"And when you're done fucking her, you can't help but think, 'hey this is what she'll look like when she d-'"
I'd seen Roger's fist retract, but never really felt the blow. Like most addictions, fighting had numbed me. Every time I fought, I had to do it longer and harder to feel alive.
"Finally," I said as my own beautiful red blood dripped down my face. Slowly, I picked myself up and socked Roger in the stomach.
It had been so long since I'd been in a fight. With Mark and Mimi, it was always words. With April, I'd slapped her a few times, but I never went farther than that. Even while high, I knew much better than that. Nothing could have prepared me for this though. Tyler was beating me, pounding me with more strength than he looked like he'd possess. The hands that were touching me now were so unlike Collins' or Mimi's or even Mark's. These hands didn't want to make me feel better; they didn't want to help me. They wanted to maim me, destroy me, and while I knew that, they still rivalled Mimi's sweetest caress and Mark's most comforting hug.
I gave one last punch and I was spent. We laid there, side by side until we caught our breaths. I looked into Tyler's beautifully broken face, ignoring his already swelling eye and caked with blood nose. I wanted to tell him the gift he'd given me, I hurt and therefore, I was. Tyler held up his hand however, before I could try to put into words what I was feeling.
"I want to show you something."
I led him to the seedy bar a few minutes away.
Checking my watch, I gave a sigh of relief. 8:17. Good enough. "Follow me," I looked behind myself to make sure Roger was there.
We walked down the stairs and the smell of blood and sweat hit me. I was home.
Why did I follow him? He was, after all, a stranger. A stranger who had only told me lies since the moment we met. But after our fight, I couldn't help but think that I'd follow him to the end of the world if he asked me to.
"Follow me," he said, his voice thick with excitement. As if I could keep myself from doing so. As we went downstairs, the few doubts I had flew from my mind. The thoughts of Mimi and Mark filed themselves away.
I could smell blood and sweat, the scents were embedded in the walls. It was disgusting, and yet strangely intoxicating.
He opened the double doors and I was met by a hundred or so guys. Some were shirtless, some were barefoot. I recognized one as a subway driver and a couple of the waiters from the Life were there, their shirts off and looking like they were anticipating the best lay of their lives. I turned to Tyler, begging for an explanation.
"Roger," Tyler looked at the men as he spoke, preening for them, putting on a show. "Welcome to Fight Club."