Hey guys. So…a great deal of this chapter was not my idea…it wasn't in the original plan. But my muse took control of my body and this is the result. And…I'm a little iffy on it, just because I wasn't planning on anything like this happening so soon, but she (currently a she, she changes genders often…a feature rather common for people who live in your mind) was quite adamant so I'm just going with it haha.

I do not own RENT.

Important: Italics are usually Mark's thoughts. The last scene of this chapter is in Roger's POV (well, its always 3rd, so maybe just perspective?) so know that in that scene, Italics are Roger's thoughts.

Hot Spots, Cold Spots, and Sore Spots

Mark yawned, wandering out into the general area of the loft. The sound of the guitar that had been ringing through the loft suddenly stopped. He glanced over to see Roger looking at him.

"Hey." He said, not in the mood to fight with his roommate.

"You sober?" Roger asked roughly.

Mark bit back the urge to make a sarcastic or harsh response. "Yeah."

Roger looked at him for a moment, as if he didn't quite believe him before he moved from the window to the couch. "Sit down." It really wasn't a request.

Make me. Mark thought childishly, but he found himself going to sit at the opposite side of the couch as the musician. Maybe I can find a way to stay civil…for old times' sake.

They didn't say anything for a moment and Mark was about to get up when Roger looked at him. "So…is Rico Suave your dealer?" he asked, barely hiding his contempt.

Mark rolled his eyes. "His name is Marshall."

"Fine, is Marshall your dealer?" Roger spat his name like an oath.

"No, actually." Mark answered, tone patronizing.

"So, how'd you meet him?" Mark could tell Roger was struggling to stay calm and resisted mocking him.

"He's Reye's brother."

Roger frowned for a second before recognition dawned on his face. "Reye, the café barista you're not fucking?"

Mark nodded.

"So…now you're gay? I knew heroin changes people, but goddamn Mark, you're just running for junkie Jekyll & Hyde of the year, aren't you?" he mocked.

Mark felt anger build up in his blood but remained calm out of sheer force of will. "I don't believe in sexuality." He lied, using Reye's line.

Roger frowned again. "What the fuck do you mean by that?"

Mark smirked. "I believe people fall in love with people, not their genitalia." He knew he didn't actually believe Reye's theory, but he didn't feel like defending his sexuality to Roger.

Roger starred at him for a moment before he sneered. "So you fell in love with Marshall?"

Mark opened his mouth but no sound came out. He struggled to come up with an answer, but couldn't bring himself to say either option to Roger. After a moment of silence he finally opted to glare at the musician. "That's really none of your business."

Roger matched his glare. "Like I fucking care."

Mark stood. "Fine, if you don't care, then I'll stop this disturbing charade of a conversation and just go."

"Need a hit already?" Roger mocked.

"Why don't you just fuck off and mind your own business, Roger." Mark gave up his attempt to be nice and turned to leave.

"Because I want you to stop this." Roger suddenly yelled, getting to his feet.

Startled, Mark turned to face him. "Why?" he challenged.

Roger opened his mouth then shut it before opening it again. "Whatever problems we have, Mark, I still don't like that you're doing heroin. Fucking can't stand it, actually. I want you to stop."

This is weird…he's never asked me to stop before…I didn't know he actually…cared… He can't…so why is he pretending to now?

"You don't care about me, Roger, you've made that perfectly clear over the last few months. So don't pretend to. You're just pissed that I went out and got my own life instead of moping around the loft every day like you." He said harshly.

"Yeah, you went out and got a heroin addiction, an asshole boyfriend and a bunch of junkie friends. That's quite a life, Cohen." He sneered. "I am so jealous."

"Maybe you are!" Mark heard his voice raising but couldn't stop. "Maybe you actually are jealous that instead of waiting around for one of your good days, instead of constantly begging for scraps of your attention, instead of being there for you to lean on and push around, I fucking finally figured out that I didn't need you. You fucking hear that, Roger? I don't care about you and I don't need you anymore!"

Mark watched Roger's mouth open without sound, his eyes flashing with numerous emotions but before he could wonder whether that was actual hurt in the musician's eyes, Roger came closer. "Maybe you don't care about me…but what about Collins? What about Maureen? Or Joanne? You care about them?" he asked darkly.

"Of course." Mark snapped back.

"So what do you think they'll think of little Marky shooting up? Huh? Did that come up in your little talk with the girls? Did you tell Collins about it during his last phone call? Huh?" he demanded, eyes flashing in challenge and an unspoken threat.

Mark felt his chest go cold. "You wouldn't." he breathed.

Roger smirked, feeling the power of the conversation finally go back on his side. "I would. I'll tell all of them if you don't quit."

"You have no fucking right!" Mark shouted, shoving into Roger's face. "What is your problem? I'm not addicted, I swear!"

Roger's eyes softened slightly but his voice remained harsh. "I'll do it. Just a fucking phone call away, Marky, for everyone to know your dirty little secret. You don't want me to? Just stop using. If you're not a junkie, it should be easy."

Mark breath came in harsh pants as he glared at Roger. "Whatever, fine! I'll stop! You happy, asshole?" he finally bit out, pushing away from the musician and walking back to his room.

"I want your stash."

Mark turned.

"I mean, its not as if I don't trust your word or anything…no, wait, its totally that I don't fucking trust you."

Mark gaped for a second before he nodded. "Let me think about it."

"You're not leaving the loft, either."

"What? You can't fucking keep me here like a goddamn prisoner!" Mark shouted, finally losing it.

"Well, what's the good of taking your stash if you can just go get more from the Man or your lover boy and his junkie sister?" Roger demanded.

Mark stayed silent for a moment before saying softly, "I have to work today."

"I'll walk you there." Roger answered simply.

"Fine! Fucking whatever, if it gets you off my back, you can walk me to work." Mark conceded, not seeing any other option.

"And I'll be there to pick you up when you're off."

Mark flipped him off as he went into his room.

LINE

Mark looked over at Roger's closed bedroom door, heart pounding as he searched through the cupboard. Fuck fuck fuck fuck…gotta make this work, I gotta make this work… Goddamn, I'm so fucking wired…I really need—no, want—I really want a hit. Fucking Roger and his idiotic ideas of 'helping' me. I don't need help, I just need him to get the fuck away from me. He found what he was looking for and quickly pocketed it.

He mentally made sure he had everything he needed and then went back to his room, shutting the door tightly.

As he looked around his room he smiled slightly. He made a quick line on his dresser, snorting it and licking the residue, before stuffing the wax paper envelope under his mattress. Even if he… well, he'll never be able to get it all.

LINELINE

"Here, asshole. Happy?" Mark snapped, dropping a small paper baggie in front of Roger.

"Where's the rest of it?"

Mark stared at him incredulously. "What makes you think that isn't it?"

"Ex-junkie here. I'm not a moron. I know you have more stashed somewhere, so where is it?"

Mark rolled his eyes before going back into his room, followed closely by Roger. "Get the fuck out." Mark growled.

"No. Show me the rest. Now. Remember, only a phone call away." Roger's tone left no room for argument.

Gritting his teeth in anger, Mark pulled open his top drawer, taking the small paper bag from the corner. Then he went to his closet, pulled out a pair of his dress shoes and pulled the small paper envelope from where he had stuffed it in the toe. He flicked it at Roger who caught it easily.

"There. That's it."

"No, its not. Where's the emergency stash, Mark? Where's the syringe and spoon?"

Mark glared at him before going to his crate where he stored his reels of film. Near the bottom was a small canvas bag that held his syringes and chasing supplies. On the way up, he slid an unseen hand under the mattress. Walking over, he deposited the canvas bag and another baggie in Roger's waiting hand.

"You're such a prick." He muttered, walking past him. "So, you going to walk me to work or not?"

LINE

"I'll be here at eight." Roger said, walking out of the restaurant.

"That your boyfriend?" Rachel asked, motioning to the retreating figure.

"Don't insult me. That's my idiot roommate." He answered, tying his apron on.

"So, Dennis isn't real happy with you." Rachel said conversationally.

"I don't care. At this point, I'm getting used to getting chewed out… Besides, if this place doesn't work out, I think I might go into theatre. Turns out, I'm real good at acting." He smirked.

LINELINELINELINELINE

Mark glanced around nervously. He didn't see anyone so felt safe to exit. He kept looking around himself as he hurried out of the back alley behind Eat'ems. It was only 7:15. He'd managed to get out of work early because it was slow, but he wasn't sure if Roger was going to be early or not.

God…I'm taking such a risk here. I hope he doesn't say anything, but I can't let him control me. I can't let him lock me away…fuck the consequences.

He slipped out the back end of the alley and quickly made his way to Marshall and Reye's apartment.

LINELINELINELINELINE

The fan whipped around on the floor. That's going to cut someone's feet off when they walk by. Mark thought thickly before laughing when he remembered that no one was going to walk by the fan since it was really on the ceiling. He watched Marshall walk upside down towards him before leaning down and kissing him gently.

"How are you comfortable sitting like that?" he asked with a laugh.

Mark shrugged. "I could sleep like this. I'm actually pretty comfortable in any position, I can fall asleep on any piece of furniture ya got." He explained. Marshall just chuckled and sat beside him, right side up.

Mark was upside down on the couch with his back against the seat, his legs against the back of the couch, and his head hanging off. He was recovering from a light high and still slightly loopy from it. He smiled when he felt Marshall's fingers gently grazing his neck, stroking him from chin to the hollow of his throat. His touch became lighter, tickling, and Mark had to clench his teeth to keep from laughing, giggling slightly through his nose. Marshall kept it up and Mark opened his mouth to tell him to stop but all that came out was a loud bout of laughter. Mark swatted at his hands desperately and Marshall, chuckling, stopped.

"I'm definitely marking that area as `Very Ticklish'." he grinned.

Mark pulled himself right side up, sitting next to Marshall. "What, have you got some kind of Mark-Chart that you mark these things on?" Mark asked.

Marshall grinned wickedly. "Mhm." He leaned in, nuzzling the side of Mark's neck. "This spot here." He said softly, his lips against Mark's skin, sending a shiver down the filmmaker's spine, "Is `Extremely Sensitive'." Marshall then let his fingers slide gently down Mark's neck, before resting at the edge of his collarbone. "And this is one of your best `Hot Spots'." He informed Mark.

Mark raised his eyebrow. "Are you so sure about that?" he asked.

The photographer chuckled, sliding Mark's shirt to the side as he moved his mouth over the spot, sucking ever so gently. Mark's head fell back as he arched, a harsh gasp of pleasure escaping his lips before he could stop himself.

"Yes, definitely a `Hot Spot'". Marshall laughed.

Mark mock-glared at him. "This isn't fair. You shouldn't be allowed to know all my spots." He pouted slightly. Marshall laughed again, kissing Mark until he smiled.

"Oh, don't worry, Babes, I don't know all your spots… yet. I wouldn't mind finding a few more, while you're here though." he teased, sliding his tongue lightly behind Mark's earlobe, provoking a breathy moan. Mark turned his head, kissing Marshall as he slid a hand up the Latino's shirt.

"Only so long as I get to make a chart of my own." He breathed. Marshall kissed him again.

"Oh, definitely, Babes."

LINELINE

Marshall lay on the couch, scowling slightly, as he stared up at the ceiling.

"You sure you don't want a hit?" Mark asked gently.

"No. You sure you do?" he challenged.

Mark shrugged helplessly. "Yeah…I mean, what's the big deal?"

"The big deal? Have you seen Reye's arm recently?" Marshall suddenly demanded, sitting up.

Reye turned to glare at him. "Marsh, please, don't bring that shit up again."

"No. I'm really getting tired of this. Show him, Reye. Show Mark your arm. Let him see!"

Mark stared in stunned interest at Marshall, having only very rarely seen him angry. Then he looked over at Reye, who was staring at the spoon and syringe she had been readying and fiddling idly with her sleeve.

"This is ridiculous…it's not that bad." she said softly.

"Then why don't you show him?"

With sudden defiance in her eyes, she pulled her left sleeve up all the way past her elbow and Mark stared at it for the first time in weeks. Track marks and bruising covered her forearm with more bruising on her upper arm. The worst area, though, was the bend in her arm, the spot of skin appearing horrific due to the few spots that looked almost like deep open sores and the skin that wasn't puckered with sores or marks was fully bruised.

"Holy shit." Mark murmured.

"Its not that bad." Reye muttered defensively.

"Not that bad? Damn it, Reye, look at your arm! Look at it!" Marshall raised his voice. "You cannot sit there and tell me that's not that bad! Admit it, hermanita, you're using too much."

Reye stared down at her arm. "Its…a little bad to look at. But I'm okay…really."

Marshall stared at her for a long moment before looking back at Mark. "So…you two still want to shoot up?"

Reye chewed her lip for a moment, pulling her sleeve back down. "So we'll chase. I'll cool it with the needles for a while."

"That's a good idea." Mark finally spoke up.

Marshall looked between the two of them for a moment before sighing and walking out of the room. Reye took the moment to start setting her and Mark up to chase. Suddenly Marshall came back in and tossed a tube of Neosporin in front of Reye.

"Before you chase, I want you to coat your arm in that. And I want you to use it a few times a day until those sores heal up." he said softly. Then he sat down on the floor, pulling Mark to sit between his legs. "And make enough for me, I'm gonna chase, too."

Mark wasn't sure why he sounded so resigned.

LINELINE

Lovely lovely lovely. Mark sighed. He'd been trying to find a word that described heroin. Lovely was pretty close.

He had never realized just how much he worried and stressed about things until he experienced these moments without any of that. He had never realized that there was always some part of him constantly upset or hurting until he lived those few hours without that pain. And that kind of feeling, that freedom from all of that...unpleasantness, gave him a kind of euphoria that he was incapable of feeling without H. He had forgotten that you could exist without painful emotions, stress, and worrying. He hadn't known that you could actually feel that good. And it was getting to a point where any time he wasn't high was a reminder of how much just living hurt. It made him realize that heroin didn't ever have to be a bad thing.

You just need the control. If they all just realized how much better this is…they'd never ask me to quit.

LINELINELINELINE

That bastard. That goddamn bastard! Roger slammed his fist into the wall before leaning his forehead against it, exhausted.

Mark hadn't been there when he'd gone to pick him up. When he'd gone in and asked the manager, he'd been told that the filmmaker had left work almost an hour early.

I'm such a fucking moron…how could I have thought he'd give in so easily?

Enraged, Roger had returned to the loft, hoping vainly that Mark would be home. He wasn't surprised when he wasn't, just disappointed.

That fucking bastard…I can't believe he…Why did I think…I can't believe he lied so fucking well…I can't believe I believed him…I can't believe he's changed so much.

Roger collapsed on the couch, starring at the mounds of powder on the coffee table. A surge of anger hit him and he violently swiped his arm at them, scattering the powder over the floor.

It wasn't as if it mattered. He'd stared at the powder for so long, torn between his dread of being right and knowing Mark had betrayed him and fear of being wrong and tasting heroin for the first time since he had quit almost four years ago. In the end, his need to know had overridden his fear. And now, he just felt anger.

Every bag had contained the same thing: baking soda and brown sugar. He could still taste it on his tongue; bitter salt and rancid sweet. It made him want to vomit.

I can't believe he's changed so much…

Roger looked up to stare at the phone. He had their friends' numbers memorized. It would be so easy.

I told him I would…He knew…and he still lied, still left. All I have to do is call them… maybe they could help…maybe that'd finally be enough to knock some sense into Mark…

He continued to stare at the phone but made no move to stand up. He'd been thinking about making the calls since he'd realized Mark had never given him any of his stashes.

A couple fucking phone calls…that's all I need to do…So why can't I do it?

LINELINELINELINELINELINE

So, what'd you think? Remember, I love specifics and reactions! I'm a little stuck on next chapter, so it might be a few weeks. Reviews would probably greatly help me find inspiration!

Spanish Guide:

Hermanita – little sister

PS: So there are more than 20 OCs in this fic, I was wondering…which one is your least favorite? Which OC do you really just kinda not like at all?

PSS: If you want to know what the OCs look like, I got really, REALLY bored a few weeks back and put up pictures of what I imagine they look like on my livejournal account (my sn is PKmaniacs and its my most recent post since I don't use LJ often. If you actually go look at them, let me know what you think :D)

Much Love,
Di