The Highest Form of Flattery

This was, Mark reasoned, perfectly normal. Well, not exactly normal- perhaps this was on the fringes, maybe even outskirts, of what people would consider 'normal'- but bollocks to them, it was fine, it was still fine.


There was no way this could be a bad idea. It was a… a romantic gesture; far more personal than chocolate and flowers, which a tad overdone, really- and Sophie was the winning combination of being quite pretty without full knowledge that she was. She probably received flowers and chocolate all the time. Maybe from Jeff.

Except, no- Jeff was more the sort who would forego the pleasantries and get straight down to fucking on the kitchen table or whatever the hell kind of sordid things those of his kind did.

That bastard.

This wasn't bad. This was fine. There were worse things you could do to demonstrate your undying love for someone. Like stalking. And reading their private e-mails. And sending them mildly racist doodles on post-it notes- 'Nazi love', looking back on it now, it didn't seem nearly as witty and clever as it had done. Funny how often that seemed to happen.

Actually, that was a lie. It was more depressing.

At least he wasn't killing kittens and delivering their heads to Sophie at her doorstep. That was always a plus point.

…Oh God. Most people wouldn't even consider killing a kitten- the fact he was thinking about it, but not pursing it as an active hobby at the moment, was not something to be proud of; it was disturbing.

Could he kill a kitten?

He'd already kicked a dog to death, kittens couldn't be too far away.


Was this how all serial killers began? Was he, Mark Corrigan, respected businessman (well… that wasn't entirely truthful, but why insult yourself when other people who hated you much more than you hated yourself could insult you more? It was better to leave it to them), going to become the next Jack the Ripper?

Maybe this was a bad idea. But he'd already started the 'O'- it would be cowardly to back out now.

…And maybe that's what Jack the Ripper said when he was half-through removing the organs of his first female prostitute.

It's okay, Mark, he tried to reassure himself. You are not going to become a serial killer. You don't even have a spade; you wouldn't be able to hide the evidence.

Although, if you got Jeff on top of a tall building and said he tripped…

Mark stared at his wrist. The words 'SO' looked back at him. He couldn't leave it like that; 'SO' was not a message, it was a pathetic reminder of another plan to win over Sophie that failed. Miserably. Besides, what would 'SO' stand for? That would mean carving the 'S' had been useless, and it had been bloody painful, so come hell or high water Mark would keep cutting and causing himself pain until his previous attempts at cutting and causing himself pain had been worth something.

It was as Mark sat on his bed, contemplating the pros and cons of becoming a murderer whilst carving the name of the woman he loved into his wrist to convince her he was a desperate, broken man who would readily, quite happily, hack at random parts of his own body with a knife if she wouldn't leave him- which, admittedly, shouldn't be too difficult- when Jeremy walked in.

And, Mark was forced to admit, there was something a bit odd about the scene he'd just described, so maybe Jeremy had good reason to look at him as though he'd been putting dead babies in a blender- although this name-carving incident wasn't quite at dead-baby-in-a-blender level, was it? Maybe it was more dead kitten on a lemon juicer…

That didn't make things any better.

Why was he so focused on dead kittens? Was that a sign of an impeding mental breakdown? Or had it happened already, and hadn't had the courtesy to tell him?

"Mark, what the bloody hell are you doing?"

"Oh, don't worry, Jez," said Mark, trying to sound rational. He was in a suit and tie; of course he was rational. That rendered the blood on his arm completely irrelevant. "I'm not really cutting myself. I'm just doing it to show Sophie I'm desperate and I'll commit suicide if she leaves me."

Which was perfectly normal. Every good, healthy relationship needed a hearty dollop of self harm and suicide threats; it let your significant other know you cared.

…When phrased in that manner, it did sound rather romantic. Those previous apprehensions could go to hell; this was a perfect idea.

Except the expression on Jeremy's face didn't mirror these sentiments.

Well, what did he know? Carving things in your skin was far more romantic than inserting various, cylindrical shaped objects up people's rectums regardless of whether they belonged there or not.

Like Mark's toothbrush.

It was difficult to feel sympathy for an inanimate object, but Mark truly felt a sense of grief for his poor, defiled toothbrush.

"Jesus Christ, Mark," said Jeremy, striding forwards and taking Mark's wrist. "What a brilliant idea. I bet she'll be overjoyed when you start bleeding and crying and shit and clinging on to her arm."

"I wasn't going to cling; it was going to be more dignified than that," Mark tried to explain.

Remember, you're wearing a suit. Nothing's more dignified than that.

"Ah, dignified. Of course. You wouldn't want to self harm for attention in a… a indignified manner, would you?"

Well, when he said it like that, the plan was beginning to sound like one of his lesser brilliant ideas- thus chalking the grand total of his actual brilliant plans up to a resounding none.

But Mark wouldn't give Jeremy the satisfaction of knowing that. He would sooner have eaten Styrofoam.

"It's undignified, actually," Mark corrected, not knowing what else to say.

Ah. Correcting grammar. The last refuge for the socially incapable; the one comeback that can be used time and time again, depending on the intelligence of the person you're speaking to. That's why it was best to be friends with idiots- then, when you weren't sure how to reply, you could always dig into their English speaking skills and try to make yourself look (and feel) better.

Not that it really worked.

"I don't give a fuck; 'un', 'in', same thing," said Jeremy. "Nobody cares, Mark- that's what they invented spell check for. You're living in the twenty first century now."

Mark didn't bother correcting Jeremy; spell check was a tool designed to twist your words without your knowledge, and the people at Microsoft were laughing at them. He could only sit there as Jeremy inspected his wrist, using rather more care than he expected. Then, with a wrinkled nose, Jeremy took a tissue from the box on the bedside table and began to dab at the blood flowing- well, not flowing, that was too melodramatic, too Hollywood. It was dribbling, actually, in a bored, lazy, can't-be-bothered kind of way, but realistic human responses weren't interesting enough for the big screen- from his wounds. It was unlike Jeremy to be so gentle; to give a fuck for anyone other than himself. It was a novel experience.

"If she turned you down because you're a fucking creeper- which you are, by the way- then what would you do? Cut off an arm? A leg? Why don't you just cut off your cock, Mark, you'll never get to use it if you act like… like…" Jeremy made a vague gesture with his free hand. "Like this."

Jeremy rolled his eyes and began talking again before Mark had a chance to reply- which was probably a good thing, because Mark didn't know what to say, and when he had nothing to say, he would generally say too much, interspaced with a lot of silence and longing glances at his shoes, as though they could speak for him and held the answers of the universe. But his shoes never offered any helpful advice- smug bastards.

…It would probably be more worrying if his shoes did offer advice, come to think of it.

"Why don't you write her a poem or something? You wouldn't hurt yourself that way- unless you stick the pen in your eye to make a statement or something, which I could so picture you doing. I could post it on the internet; maybe then Sophie would be interested."

"Oh, very droll. Very incisive of you, to mock your own friend's attempts with the girl of his dreams-"

"Yeah, but we both know it's never going to happen. At least, not while you're you. Maybe she would like you more if you stuck a pen in your eye- it might give you an edge."

Of course, that was a ridiculous suggestion.

Mark would never stick a pen in his eye. Unless there were mitigating factors. Would Sophie really like it if he stabbed himself in the eye with a pen?

…Probably not.

Grossly disfiguring yourself with a biro was unlikely to score points with anyone; at least, not the sort of people who had nice, normal, non-detrimental-to-your-mental-health relationships. Going for the eyes would be the worst; messy and a painful… a bit like sex, really, expect…

No, there were no real differences between sticking a pen in your eye and sex. Except sticking a pen in your eye would be slightly less embarrassing.

Jeremy's voice cut through Mark's inner babble; "If you are seriously considering what I just said I will hurt you."

"Well, maybe if you hurt me instead I'll look less needy."

"Yeah, hmn, maybe no. Not unless there's anything in it for me. Which there actually isn't, so don't try to say there is."

Mark sat there, watching as Jeremy scrunched the bloody tissue into a ball and aimed it at the bin. It missed, and at any other time Mark would have demanded he pick it up before he got blood into his carpet- why did he even have carpets when he lived with somebody like Jeremy? It was just begging him to get crunchy nut cornflakes and milk and sperm stuck there that Mark would have to clean- but he didn't, partially because it was his blood, and partially because…

He wasn't sure why.

He didn't want to think why- which was irritating, not wanting to think, because his brain often overrode his simple requests because it fucking hated him, like everything else in the world.

But there was something comforting about… this… in a strange way.

He had intended Sophie to see the wounds but, reflecting on this, the 'S' and half the 'O' on his wrist did look rather peculiar; and, as Jeremy said, he didn't want Sophie to think he was weird. Well, she already did- there was no use denying it- but at the moment she saw him as an eccentric, awkward, strange yet rather charming person… Hopefully?

People like that didn't use their flesh as note paper.

At least, if anyone had to know about this, it was only Jeremy. Jeremy wouldn't question it because it was normal Mark behaviour; just another weird thing to add to his steadily growing list of 'Weird Things' that were best not discussed.

In fact, Mark was sure, if he did snap at some point in the future and murder that kitten (which kitten? Was there a particular kitten that needed liquefying now? You have to keep this hypothetical,) Jeremy wouldn't ask questions.

He couldn't.

It wasn't like he had anywhere to live.

a.n: Omg o: I can't even believe I wrote this. This is so far removed from what I usually write, it's weird. So it took me a while. Eheh. I don't think I got the characterisation down right –sweatdrop- and there's a whole load of nothing that goes on here, but this section on is sooo devoid of fics it's like a barren wasteland. My love for Peep Show and Mark and Jeremy forced me to contribute something o: Even if it's not all that nifty.

I really, really love Peep Show. I identify with Mark so much it's kind of scary XD And I wish I didn't. But oh well XD What can you do~ Lala.

renahhchen xox