Notes: New story! Ok, I have to credit the basic plot and the idea to Joy2, who asked me to give this a whirl. Much thanks to her for being so fucking groovy as to flatter me into trying it.

Disclaimer: This story is post-RENT, and contains self-mutilation and eating disorders, not to mention a healthy serving of slash. If this disagrees with your stomach this is not the place for you. Mosey on over to the G-rated happy section.

Other Disclaimer: I think we're all well aware that none of us on this site own RENT, but here it is again, I don't own it and am not affiliated with it. I'm just a poor broke teenager with an overactive imagination. And a fetish for angsty gay boys. But really, aren't we all?

Chapter 1 -Color My Hair But The Dye Grows Out-

My hipbones have always stuck out. It was never really noticeable until I got so out of shape when I was on heroin and whatever, but I've noticed recently that they've gotten significantly more prominent. More so than before. I run my fingers over them, then sigh and pull my pants all the way up. I pick a shirt from the top of the pile, careful that it has long sleeves, and pull it over my head. I cast a reluctant glance back at the bed I refuse to sleep in and then make my way out of the room.

"Hey! You're alive!" Mark calls out happily, turning the familiar camera-face onto me. He lowers it a moment later, biting his lip at his choice of words.

I shrug at him and go into the bathroom and shut the door. I stare at my reflection, and feel around the lymph nodes in my throat, they've been sore lately. They feel relatively normal so I just sigh and run a hand through my hair. The bleach is fading, I can see light brown roots underneath. It's also really long. And so is my sorry excuse for a beard. I poke my way around the bathroom until I find a couple unused razors and a thinning role of duct tape next to them. I wrap a piece of tape around the handle of the razor and go about shaving the growth off. Mimi wouldn't have wanted me to grow a beard, no matter who died.

I cast another glance at my slightly cleaner reflection but just roll my eyes and turn away. It's a hopeless cause. I let myself out of the bathroom and make my way over to the table. I pull myself up onto it and sit, staring at the floor.

"Hey, you want something to eat?" Mark asks hesitantly.

I shrug. He slowly comes over and climbs up next to me.

"How are you?"

I shrug again. "Fine." I choke out.

"Roger. . ."

I turn to give him a glare. "How do you think I feel, Mark? My girlfriend just died!"

He says nothing, but I know what he's thinking. And I suppose it's true. Mimi didn't just die, she's been dead half a year. I sigh and slide off of the table and head back to my room.

"Roger, wait."

I turn slowly and watch him, waiting for him to continue. He joins me near my doorway. I look down at him indifferently. He stands before me, a short little man with blond hair and his aging shit camera held tight, close to his body. He pushes his glasses up his nose and smiles shyly at the floor.

"Do you want to, I don't know, talk?" He asks hopefully, looking up.

I shrug. "Not really. I'm just going to go lie down or something."

"Are you sure you're not hungry?"

The idea of eating right now somewhat disgusts me. How do I have time to eat? I have my set schedule of mourning and self-pity that I've only recently started to include Mark into. It's not that I don't eat, but setting aside actual time in my day for an actual meal seems sort of wasteful.

"I'll eat later, Mark. I'm just tired."

"Are you feeling alright?"

"Look, just, back off... ok? I don't need this right now." I don't yell at him. I don't have the energy to yell at him. No energy and all I do is mourn and sleep. My arm is burning.

"I'm fine, Mark." I tell him, trying to soften my tone. "Just tired, that's all." I say dreamily, pushing past him and going in my room. I shut the door in his face, drowning out his last words to me. I put the broken wooden chair up against it under the knob to serve as a lock and walk over to the bed. I don't sleep in it, but it's got other uses.

I lift the mattress up off the floor. Underneath is my collection. Gleaming, silver and stained. Pretty maids all in a row. I take a small one and lower the mattress again. I lean against the wall and lift up my sleeve. The first time I cut myself I was probably fourteen. Old man was drinking, again, pushed my mom around some, and I sat upstairs and listened to it. And I felt guilty for not doing anything. So I was just holding my switchblade, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It's never been regular. Only when I've felt particularly guilty or I'm lonely, or pissed. I've never been compulsive about it. Until now.

Shallow, small little cut near the elbow. Practice. A little farther down the arm now and I drag it across the skin, then really sink it in. A line of blood rushes up to greet me and I pull the knife away. Enough for today. I wipe the blade carelessly on my pants and then lift up the mattress again and leave it with the others. I let the sleeve of my shirt fall over the wounds and lay down on the blanket I sleep on. I reach into the front pocket of my pants and my hand hits a too-prominent hipbone. They really stick out when I'm lying down. I close my eyes and turn onto my side.

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Reluctantly I open my eyes to the pounding on my door. I groan softly and sit up, disturbed by the feeble growl my stomach gives as a way of morning greeting. I stand and move the chair away from the door. I open it to reveal Mark holding a bowl of cereal up to me.

"Hey, I noticed you shaved." He says, holding the bowl out farther. "I thought you might be feeling a little better, you know..." He sighs. "So I brought you this."

I shrug but take it from him and go to shut the door. "Thanks, Mark."

He holds a hand out to stop the door from closing on him.

"Why don't you come out here and eat? We can talk or something, anything." He looks hopeful, pleading with his eyes. "Just to get you out of your room."

"I was out yesterday." I say nonchalantly, not really thinking about the words.

"Yeah, well..." He says slowly. "I don't know, I just thought..." He sighs. "I'm worried about you, Rog." He looks past me. "Do you sleep on the floor?"

I lift one shoulder up and then drop it again. It doesn't really seem to matter. I look down at the bowl in my hands. Little squares of flavor swimming in a white pool of what doesn't belong in my body right now.

"I can't handle the bed. She's been there." I say quietly. I lift up the spoon and then drop it back in the bowl. I hand it back to Mark.

"You can eat it, I'm not really all that hungry." I try to shut the door but he pushes it again.

"One spoonful, Rog. Please."

"I'm not hungry." I succeed in closing the door and I replace the chair. I lift up the mattress again and take out my switchblade, my old favorite. I lift up the right leg of my pants and get a good little scrape next to the others on my ankle. I drag the blade over a vein on the top of my arm but don't press down. I feel the scratch of the metal over my skin, a sharp little tingle following a lifeline, then I move it slightly to the right and give it a good push and pull it back towards me. Drop the sleeve and hide the evidence. No one ever needs to know.

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