Disclaimer: RENT belongs to Jonathan Larson. I'm just playing with his characters

All right, so my computer broke down and I couldn't do much for about a week... but now I'm back! This story was a speedrent entry; I'm extending it to post here. If you saw it on speedrent, please don't spoil the ending.

Also, I will be updating "That One Second" shortly. This is in the same 'verse, but a separate continuum-- that is, the events of this story are not canon to the other stories.


Wednesday

morning

I feel my body before my mind begins to think. Everything hurts, as though I've overexerted myself and not in a good way, either. My legs and shoulders especially ache. Everything is twisted and sore. Even my ass feels like someone tied the muscle into knots.

I remember a fairytale I learned as a child. I don't remember it well, but I remember that a man in the story, a close friend or brother of the chief character, had been bewitched by a sorceress who transformed him into a horse at night and rode him into a lather.

There was something in the solution about an enchanted bridle and likely a sleeping potion. That piece matters as a child reads the story; the child wants to know only what happens, but as an adult I am more concerned with the implication of his affliction.

Every night, the man is turned into a horse. Bridled and whipped and ridden. He is dehumanized, belittled, abused, in every way mistreated and stripped of his human dignity, and wakes unable to recall the evening.

Imagine not being in control of your own body.

This sensation jolts my heart as I awake. My body behaved without my consent. I was stripped of my most basic human dignity, my body used by another and for what, how, why?

Then my mind wakes. I'm sweating and panting, and the only power exerted over me by another is the gentle touch on my face, brushing away sweat.

A nightmare, it was only a nightmare.

"You okay?"

I open my mouth. It's dry. I hiss, swallow, my eyes still squeezed shut. "Glasses," I say.

"Here."

My glasses are pressed into my hand. I slip them onto my face and open my eyes. Roger is watching me, his mouth half-open, brow furrowed. In the dim half-light, he's the first thing I focus on. "Are you all right?" he asks.

He doesn't look half-bad, either. Concern suits him. Toplessness suits him, too. Briefly I wonder if Roger will ever grow hair on his chest.

"Yeah." I push myself into sitting position. My heart is still racing and my throat feels like one giant lump, but there's nothing to be frightened off. I'm not scared.

"Do you wanna talk about it?"

I shake my head and force up a smile. "Just a bad dream," I say. "Doesn't mater." I kiss his cheek quickly. The clock reads 6:40. I rub my eyes under my glasses. "Shit, it's early." Then, "Hey, what are you doing in bed? Aren't you going running?"

Roger shakes his head. "I thought I'd stay with you," he says.

"School, baby," I remind him. Roger nods. He's gotten himself there every morning since he moved in; he doesn't need my help. I give it anyway.

I don't know why I'm giving him reason to leave me alone, not with how nice it was to wake up to someone petting me and keeping me warm, but Roger raises himself out of bed.

"Try to get some sleep," he suggests, petting down my hair, then he drags himself out. I hear him stumbling around the loft, hear him talk to Collins, then the door slams shut. I go back to sleep.

The loft is empty when I shuffle out of bed at noon. The shower hisses and groans and spits down water in its accustomed harsh stream. I step under before the heat cuts out, letting the last vestiges of sleep wash away with the soapsuds.

Too much sleep, it's a sign of depression, the inertia cycle of depression.

I know I shouldn't make it a habit, but for one moment under the shower I blink and forget what day it is.

TO BE CONTINUED!

Reviews would be more than awesome... please?