A/N: I've taken it upon myself to compile a list of my favorite RENTfic clichés in order to poke fun at them. Please, nobody take offense to this- because I know that I've violated many of these! I just find them funny and I hope that you will, too.

Disclaimer: If RENT were mine… we've been over this.

Rules of RENT

This list of rules is vital to anyone writing a fanfiction based on the musical RENT. Never forget ANY of these while you're writing, or risk sounding like a fool to the entire community!

Rule One: Always include a reference to Roger's withdrawal period. This is necessary because Roger obviously stayed home during withdrawal instead of being sent to a clinic where he could be safely guided through the process. It was therefore an extremely traumatic experience for Mark, who was left for some reason alone with the shivering, violent heroin addict and was most CERTAINLY abused.

Rule Two: You must also reference some injury or scar that Roger inflicted during withdrawal that he has somehow forgotten about, which he will proceed to discover by accident and, despite Mark's protests, hole up in his room/on the roof where he belongs. He wouldn't be Roger if he wasn't an angsty bitch!

Rule Three: Maureen must at some point make Mark do something for her, even if he's reluctant to do so. Mark will forever remain hopelessly in love with Maureen and will spend all of his time doing her bidding if he is not out filming hobos. In fact, Mark is hopelessly in love with most people, if you just give him a chance, and he's simply too much of a pussy to ask anybody out. This is critical to his character development in your story!

Rule Four: The loft must be described only in negative adjectives in reference to its filth and freezing temperatures. Remember, the boys live there because they're poor. Therefore, it cannot be clean: first because they have no money and therefore must live in squalor, and second because they are both men and are not expected to be cleaning the house.

Rule Five: Include a reference to a RENT song. If you don't, then there has been a serious mistake. Please try again later.

Rule Six: Benny may only be used for two purposes: the asshole, or the affair. If he is not fucking Mimi or demanding money on holidays, then he should not be mentioned at all. It is important to honor the fact that all RENT fans are required to hate Benny and his wife as well, despite the fact that we never met her in the show. Unless Mark has fallen hopelessly in love with one of them, which is apt to happen because he is Mark, then Benny and Alison must remain the antagonists.

Rule Seven: The spelling of Roger's name is optional even though it's clearly spelled for you in the libretto and your playbill. Therefore, you are encouraged to randomly throw a 'd' in the middle of his name whenever you want. Who needs consistency?

Rule Eight: If Mark is engaging in sexual intercourse with a man, make sure to remember that he is notorious for being a whiny little bottom. It is also vital that he be tied up with his own scarf during the act, because he and the scarf are far too close to be parted for even the twenty minutes it may take to reach an orgasm.

Rule Nine: Feel free to bring Angel and/or Mimi back from the dead for the purposes of your fic! It's okay to bring the dead back to life to play with them, as long as your plot is so-so.

Rule Ten: Cangel fics are not allowed to leave the T section at the very most. While they are perfect and we love them, we obviously don't want to read about their relations as much as we want to read about Mark and his scarf's steamy sex life.

Rule Eleven: Never forget that Mark and Roger were, are, or will be having sex at some point. Most likely, Mark is hopelessly in love with Roger and Roger has no idea. This intercourse should occur under the influence of alcohol or other drugs and should also be filmed, because we all know Mark can't put his camera down for that long.

Rule Twelve: If you are sticking to canon post-RENT, then Mark will be paired off with the nearest OC, self-insert of Mary Sue he runs into by law. There is no way around this. Obviously, if all of the other main characters were in relationships during the show, we cannot tamper with them after the show. Mark cannot be allowed to remain single.

Rule Thirteen: The Life Café is not an option, it is a requirement. You must provide one reference to or scene occurring in the Life at some point during the fic or risk it becoming invalid. This is the only Café that the bohos will ever attend and the only place they ever eat, even when they have food at home.

Rule Fourteen: Mark must be wearing his scarf throughout the course of the fic. The scarfy is Mark's prized possession. He cannot physically function without it wrapped around his neck. In the summer, this means he may possibly overheat and die, but this would still be better than going without his scarf for a day. Similarly, Roger's plaid pants must be referenced, because they are one of the only two pairs of pants that he owns.

Rule Fifteen: The couch in the loft must be made exclusively of duct tape and, should any characters be unfortunate enough to sleep on it, break spines. None of the characters must get rid of it, however, because it is a vital piece of furniture in the loft despite it's apparent danger to the bohemian's safety.

Rule Sixteen: Always exaggerate just how broke Mark and Roger are. While the other characters may have some means of making money, neither of them will ever make enough money to comfortably support themselves and pay for rent and groceries. In fact, feel free to make it so that they are literally dying of starvation.

Rule Seventeen: Although Angel is dead, make sure that Collins never moves on. He must not ever find a new lover. He must also talk about Angel as though she is an actual angel hovering over his shoulder. The Angel ATM must never be rewired, lest Collins lose his only means of obtaining money for food and suffer an untimely death via starvation and/or depression.

Rule Eighteen: Maureen must cheat on Joanne. Joanne must be jealous. These two factors are key to portraying the MoJo couple in your fic. Even many years post-RENT, Maureen must NEVER learn to be successfully monogamous no matter how happy Joanne makes her and Joanne must NEVER get a handle on her jealousy. Ever.

Rule Nineteen: If, miraculously, the bohemians happen to have money during the course of your fic, make sure that they only use it to get into shenanigans! If they are allowed to use it for groceries and or the rent, they will spontaneously combust. Also, this money must have no definite source; if it must, then it has to come from Collins, who will not disclose where he got it.

Rule Twenty: If you are doing self-inserts, it's important for them to have a love affair with one of the main characters. Members of the RENT community are eager to read about your personal fantasies regarding Mark, Roger or one of the other members of the cast- but mostly Mark or Roger. Or both. It's even better if one is jealous over the other's relationship with you.

Rule Twenty-One: Angel must end every one of her sentences with "honey", "sweetie", or various other terms of endearment, because she is a woman at heart and real women always end their sentences with a term of endearment. (Contributed by beatlesxlove)

Rule Twenty-Two: In the event that any Rent pairing (especially Roger and Mimi) wants to have biological kids, it is perfectly acceptable to ignore the fact that AIDS can be passed down from parent to child. It is also acceptable to say that none of the characters have AIDS at all now, and they are magically cured. (Contributed by 3v3rlark)

That was really fun to write… Anyways, I don't mean any offense to anyone. I promise. I will probably violate all of these at some point and do so quite happily. I hope everyone enjoyed it and I'm open to adding more, if you drop me a review or message with another rule suggested.

Love, Toni!