Author's Note: I watched Rent for the first time ever just a few weeks ago, and I quickly fell in love, so here is a fic I wrote. I think Angel and Collins are so adorable together and I'll never be okay that Angel died. I wish they had more moments together. Also, this is purely based off the movie, and I don't know how much it varies from the show, so if there are any discrepancies, that's why. Thanks for reading!

One Thousand Sweet Kisses

October 31, 1991. One year. Three hundred and sixty five days. Fifty two weeks. Twelve months. Five hundred, twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. One year.

One year since Angel Dumott Schunard passed away, in the warm and loving arms of her first and only love, Thomas Collins. One year since AIDS claimed the life of the only person Tom could ever imagine spending his life with. The person he'd vowed to cover for all his life. Who knew all his life would only be ten months?

Who knew that the two of them would only get ten months together, and of those ten, one would be spent in a drab hospital room? Who knew that the first person to accept Collins for who he was, the first person to love him unconditionally, would die ten short months later?

It wasn't fair. Each morning Collins woke up in a half-empty bed, and he would screw his eyes shut, hoping against all hope it was just some sick joke. He hoped against all hope that he would find Angel beside him, but his wish was never granted. He was alone, and all he had left of his Angel was photos, a cold gravestone, and memories.

The only comfort he got from Angel's death was knowing she wasn't suffering anymore. Dying from AIDS wasn't pleasant in the slightest. It was painful to watch, and almost certainly ten times more painful to go through. At least Angel was finally free. She was in heaven, or Hell, or wherever she was, and she was free.

That didn't make the grief any less consuming. It didn't stop Collins from thinking about Angel all day, every single day. It didn't stop him from clutching onto the jacket she'd bought for him late at night, and crying so hard he sometimes thought he'd die.

For the longest time, Collins was convinced he'd never be able to find love. At least, not the kind of love you found in movies or read about in books. He was a gay, HIV-positive, black man, living in New York City. Sometimes he was surprised he hadn't been killed yet. He had just come to accept the fact he was different and he'd never find love.

But then Angel found him on Christmas Eve of 1989. She found him after he was mugged. She'd found him at his worst and promised to love him as if he were at his best. She was so kind, so selfless, the kind of person everyone should strive to be. He loved her so damned much and he hated himself for grieving as much as he had in the past year, but he just couldn't help it. Angel was someone to miss.

She would yell at him, though, for missing her so much. She would yell at him for crying so much over her. She would tell him to think of and cherish all the great memories they'd made together instead of crying over the ones they would never be able to make. It was just so damn hard for him not to miss her.

Of course, he'd known going into the relationship that there was a ticking time bomb for the both of them. AIDS could strike at any time and decide to kill them off, and even though he thought he'd been prepared for when that day came, he'd really only been convincing himself that. When Angel first told him it was only a matter of weeks, Collins was in denial for days. It just wasn't possible. His Angel couldn't die. She just couldn't.

But she had. Roger, Mimi, Mark, Maureen, and Joanne had all been there for him in the past year, calling him up at random to see how he was doing. Maureen even convinced him to help her organize her latest protest, but the pain was all still too real. In fact, he sometimes found himself wishing AIDS would claim him soon, too.

At least then he could see her again.

But as long as it was Halloween, Collins knew what he needed to do. Angel would never want him to spend the day in a dark apartment, crying over her being dead. She would want him to live his life to the fullest extent, just as she had always done.

And who was Collins to argue?