Author's Note: This is my third Rent fan fiction, and a nice one, I think. I don't have much to say here except that I was inspired to write this after seeing Rent onstage for the first time when it came to San Francisco awhile back, and it was simply amazing! That being said, I do not own any of the characters here except for an original character named Musetta. You'll see who she is soon enough, but if you have read my other story, "The Camera Loves You", then it will make a lot more sense to you.
A Year in the Life
-A Rent Fan Fiction
The projector light danced across the wall of the loft as it displayed single frames. The old machine flickered and blacked, showing the film that the filmmaker Mark was trying to get working on that cool spring night. He scowled at the projector and fiddled with the wire connected to the power.
"Damn it, work! Piece of shit…" he muttered with frustration. He hoped that his friends Roger, Maureen, Joanne, Mimi, Collins, Benny, and Musetta weren't paying too much attention to him.
"Mark, we could always screen it later," Roger said somewhat under his breath.
"No, it has to be tonight," Mark replied. "I finally finished it."
Roger rolled his eyes and Mimi shook her head. She turned around to Musetta and whispered, "Got any idea what your boyfriend's so desperate to show us?"
Musetta shrugged. "He says it's a surprise."
Joanne squinted a little and looked at the projector. "Mark, I'm no technical expert, but maybe you want to try flipping that switch right there?" the lawyer asked.
"Huh?" Mark said with a questioning look on his face before taking another look at the projector and taking her advice. Sure enough, the projector turned on a second time and screened almost perfectly.
"Good call," he said and ran over to the group to watch, almost slipping. Musetta moved over a little to let him sit by her as she and Mimi giggled. Then, all their eyes turned to the screen as the title, "A Year in the Life" came onscreen.
Some basic footage of Alphabet City came onscreen as the movie started…
"Friends are all that a person can ask for, and there are no friends like my friends," narrated Mark.
There were clips of all of them. Roger playing his guitar in the loft, Mimi doing a mimic of her Cat Scratch Club dances, Maureen singing a song from Carmen, Joanne making an odd face at the camera, Collins handing out flyers about his Theory of Actual Reality to passerby, Benny tapping his foot at Roger's Christmas Eve gig while his wife Allison just scowled beside him, and Musetta painting wildly.
"Now, normally, you'd be hearing me talk through this whole thing, but this time I thought I'd leave that job up to these guys," Mark's voice concluded. "Here goes."
The film cut to Roger, sitting in the loft, a guitar pick in his hand. "You seriously want to interview me right now, man?" Roger asked.
"Yes, just answer the questions," Mark's voice said from somewhere. "Tell the folks at home about yourself."
Roger rolled his eyes. "I'm Roger Davis. I'm a songwriter, working on fixing all the mistakes I made back when."
"Okay, so what are you working on now, Roger?" asked Mark.
Roger shrugged. "Getting some of my music to sell, I guess," he said. "I've already had some gigs this year and I've got a single on the air."
The camera closed up a little on Roger. "So…what would you say is your inspiration for your songs, Roger?"
Roger took a pause onscreen and smiled. "Lots of things, but there's one girl out there that inspires me most. That's Mimi Marquez."
"What about her inspires you?"
Roger looked to the floor, then back to the camera. "You know, I can't explain it."
The footage cut away to Mimi and Roger walking together, hand in hand. She danced in the street like a nut while Roger laughed in one clip, then they kissed in another.
"-I can't explain what about her makes me feel like I can write these songs, but she's just… always there, you know?" Roger concluded and began to strum his guitar again with a smile on his face before the footage cut to Mimi.
"-Me?" Mimi asked onscreen. "Well, I don't know. I'm a dancer at the Catscratch Club, I've got no family in a hundred miles, and… I'm HIV positive. Sure, I know I don't have a whole lifetime, but it's not all bad. I've got Rog and my friends."
The footage cut away to Roger and Mimi sharing another kiss, but the interview continued in the background, "So, what would you say about you and Roger?"
"-I love Rog, that's all I need to say." The movie showed more footage of she and Roger as she continued, "I guess that's what makes it all okay, you know? Love."
The next scene was from outside Roger and Mark's loft window on the fire escape. It was really terrible in quality, for the camera was shaking and the chortles of Mark, Maureen, and Musetta were in the background, but nevertheless Roger and Mimi walked into the loft and talked for bit, then Roger got down on one knee before Mimi hugged him tight enough to strangle him. Maureen and Musetta finally cheered and Mimi turned to look before screaming, "You did not just get that on film, did you?"
Maureen's voice cut in before she showed up onscreen. "Yeah, I was surprised when Roger proposed to Mimi. Still, how couldn't I be happy about that?"
"What about you?" asked Mark. "Are you happy?"
Maureen smiled. Some footage came onscreen of the lawyer and the performer fighting as an interlude. "Me and Joanne fight sometimes, but everyone does. Sometimes we just need our space."
Joanne's face came onscreen next. "Sometimes I feel like I can't trust Maureen. I mean, she just doesn't think." A clip showed Maureen screaming at the top of her lungs and looked ready to get into a fight with some anti-lesbian girl passing by before Joanne held her back from ripping the girl's head off. "Sometimes," said Joanne, "I feel like I have to protect her."
"Most of the time we fight over… little things," said Maureen before the film showed the two lesbians having a nasty fight at the Life Café. "-But I've never had a relationship last this long, and I really think it's something special this time."
Joanne's face came onscreen and she sighed. "Sometimes Maureen drives me crazy." She stopped and smiled. "-But she's still my Honeybear."
The last shot of the pair showed them share a small kiss at the bar of the Life Café before Benny's voice came in.
"Let's just say I can't believe you're actually filming me," Benny said. "I-I messed up before, I'll admit it. Money can do bad things to a person."
It showed Benny and his wife Allison cuddling a new puppy, this one a little Dacshund hound they called Anton. Benny had bought the dog for his wife a year after the loss of Evita, even though he wasn't too upset by the loss of the first dog. Allison kissed him in response. They almost seemed touching on film.
"I really do care about Allison and the Greys. That'll never change. All the same, I sometimes miss that old life with my friends," Benny said when he came back onscreen and looked to his feet, seemingly ashamed.
Collins appeared onscreen next. "Friends call me Collins, Tom Collins. When I can get a job, I teach a course in Computer Age Philosophy, and I'm almost done compiling my Theory of Actual Reality. There."
Mark paused in his interview off screen. "Are you sure that's all, Tom?"
Collins sighed. "Well, no… I don't know. Sometimes I just get down about things, I-I lost someone I really loved."
There was some older footage that showed Angel, the late drag queen bohemian. He (or as almost everyone called him, she), was dancing about in those platform shoes of his. Next it showed Collins and Angel on the subway together, kissing sweetly.
"We knew it wasn't forever," Collins said off screen, "But I wish there was something I could've done… Oh, well."
"Oh well?" asked Mark.
Collins came back onscreen. "Angel never wanted me to be sad about it." He smiled a little and shook his head. "That girl never gave up on anything, but especially not family. That's what we all are here. Family. I've seen lots of faces come and go here in Alphabet City, but somehow we stay together. I couldn't be happier about that."
The scene cut away to Musetta, who was making a face at the camera before her interview started. "Me? Well, let's see. I-uh, I love to paint. It's just what I do. I mean, I'm working on getting a degree in art, but I really want to make something… different. Something special, you know?"
There was an interlude of footage of Musetta, Collins and Maureen socializing at the Life Café. "Let me just ask, when did you come into the circle here?" Mark asked off screen.
Musetta smiled when she came back on. "Let's just say I had a little encouragement from some insane cameraman."
A clip showed Musetta attempting to run away from the camera, shaking and following her, before she turned around sharply, grabbed it, and pointed it at Mark. The sound came on, and Mark begged onscreen, "Y-you're holding it wrong, just let me do it. Muse…"
The clip went back to Musetta. "Mark and his friends took me in. Well, in an awkward sort of way. They're like my family away from family… especially Mark."
The footage changed to Mark actually letting himself be interviewed. "I'm not used to this kind of thing… having me be in the story, I mean. I guess you could say I like to stay on the outside of things. I've watched my friends for so long."
There was a scene of everyone at the Life Café raising a glass to the camera.
"-But I think I'm starting to feel that connection," Mark continued before the footage showed him scowling at the camera and placing his hand over it so that no one would see himself. "It took a long time to get there, but I think I'm feeling more myself these days."
There was a long montage of footage. Everyone had their own moment in the movie. These were simple, great times over the year.
There was Mimi, showing off her engagement ring to the camera before another clip showed her studying class books. She had gone back to school and became Roger's fiancée. Next was Roger, hugging Mimi tight before another shot came of him performing at his big, Christmas Eve gig. Another shot showed everybody except Musetta listening to the half-busted radio for "Your Eyes" to make its debut on the air. They cheered when they heard it. That song had really won Roger some fans, and he knew that he was on his way back on track.
Benny and Allison stood by the sign on the other side of town that read, "Future Home of the Cyber Arts Studio". Oblivious to them though, Maureen was making "cow ears" out of her fingers behind them. Even with Benny's dream now a reality, Maureen would never approve of what she called "Cyberland". Joanne was shown next, crying silently from stress at a particularly bad case before Maureen came up and kissed her girlfriend's lips. There was another scene of Joanne getting a little tipsy at the Life Café and Maureen laughing hysterically before she fell down flat on her face. Sometimes it seemed that there was no real difference between type A and type B with those two.
Next was Collins, lecturing some part of his theory to Life Support members, who were all listening with a fair amount of interest. There was yet another shot where Roger and Collins were singing Christmas carols, but rather off key. Roger likely had filmed the next, very zoomed-in shot of Mark and Musetta sharing a long kiss before Musetta blocked the camera lens with her hand. Mark finally meeting a girl was something that had happened over the year as well.
A last shot showed everybody at the New Year's Eve party at the Life Café. There were toasts and laughter all around, and of course, there was dancing on the table. At last, the screen darkened and faded with the words, No Day but Today onscreen…
"So, what'd you think?" Mark asked his friends when the film ended, shutting off the projector.
The bohemians stared at the wall. For a moment, no one spoke. Then Maureen, as usual, broke the silence. "Mark, that was… damn, that said it all!"
Collins started to laugh. "Yeah, and I just thought that was a practice interview you did. I can't believe you got me so worked up."
"Never trust a filmmaker," added Mimi. "-But it was good."
"Good? It was great!" said Joanne. "I've never seen any of this, Mark."
Benny nodded. "Yeah, you never made a documentary about our lives just as a casual thing."
Roger raised his eyebrows and spoke to his best friend, "I've got to agree. It was more sentimental and sappy." He was jabbed in the rib by Mimi and Musetta at the same time. "-But, hey, it was good."
"Finally the filmmaker is actually in one of his own films," Musetta said and winked at Mark. "I think it was a good touch."
"You should make one like this for next year, Mark," said Maureen. "Who knows? Maybe then Mimi will be Mimi Davis, and Joanne and me can get engaged… again." Joanne looked over at the performer, eyes wide. "Or, well, maybe you and Muse could get married, or…"
"-We get it, Maureen," interrupted Mark.
Roger raised a glass, empty though it was. "To us!"
Everyone else pretended to grab onto a glass with their hands. Maureen made "clank-clank" noises to compensate for a toast. Indeed, the night was to the bohemians.