Satine was dead. It didn't matter how much absent he drank, or how many prostitutes he filled his bed with, neither did Toulouse or the bohemian revolution. Satine was dead. And Christian was defeated.

The little green fairy flew through the only room that was his apartment, laughing, disappearing and reappearing, caressing Christian's hand, that firmly grasped an empty bottle. Christian was sitting on his couch, which he had moved so it faced the window, giving him a perfect view of the Moulin Rouge. Next to him, his little table held his typing machine and the first manuscript of what would be his novel. His story, his life, his love. Satine. Satine was dead.

He took the bottle to his mouth, holding it for a moment before noticing that no liquid was reaching his dry throat. His arm fell on the couch, wasted, and he felt the bottle leave his fingers, crashing against the floor without breaking. He heard it roll through the old wooden floor, delighting in the sound that now defined his life. An empty bottle rolling on the floor.

He smiled.

A bitter laugh left his lips when a tear fell on them. Another tear that meant nothing. Satine was dead. The only thing he had left was the bottle that had already stopped rolling.

He heard a firm step behind him, he felt someone picking up the bottle, he didn't look back.

Get out, Toulouse – he was answered by a laugh,as soft and bitter as his own. The Duke. He didn't even had the energy to get surprisedby such a visit.

A typical poet – whispered the low voice, leaving aside the nervous tone it had had when close to Satine – drunk, drowning in his own misery, crying the death of a whore – he would have liked to punch him to death, but he wouldn't leave his chair

The Duke stayed silent then, maybe waiting for some sort of reaction from the other man. It never came. The richest man went through the room with his blue eyes, it was just as he had imagined it. The most adequate image for the present situation and the writer who, still not moving, didn't look away from the club. Beautiful.

He let the bottle fall to the floor again, getting only the sound that Christian was.

I hate you – whispered the black haired man,receiving the Duke's laugh

I didn't kill her – he answered simply, walking to the couch and into Christian's view, not letting him see the Moulin Rouge. Christian moved his face, not looking at the other man

The Duke took his hand to the writer's face. He caressed a cheek softly, raising then his hand in a fast movement, hitting the face that stayed still.

Look at me when I'm talking – the Duke's strong hand grasped Christian's chin, making their gazes face. He let out a third laugh – look what you've become for nobody… oh, the melodrama! – he exclaiming, leaning closer to Christian, breathing his scent – the writer and the whore, it would have been a nice story if she had survived, right? – still no reaction. Satine was dead, what the Duke had to say was not important – naïve bohemians… - he laughed again

What do you want? – whispered Christian, not making any efforts to escape the other man's grip

Stupid writer

The Duke smiled that smile of his, the one he had had on when he had thought Satine was his. Then he descended strongly on Christian's lips, putting his tongue inside his mouth when the other one opened it out of surprise. Every part of Christian's body reacted in a second, unconsciously leaning back. The couch kept him imprisoned against the Duke's hard lips, that pushed him into that painful kiss. He raised his arms, separating the man from him. Without giving it a second thought, he stood up and crashed his fist into the other one's jaw, hearing with ecstasy the sound of hurt bones.

From the floor, the Duke smiled with superiority, putting two fingers on the wet trail of blood that came out of his mouth.

It wasn't that hard to make you react – he murmured while completely cleaning the blood – you're predictable

Before he could do something else, Christian felt the other man launch against him, making them both fall into the floor. The writer resisted as much as he could, but he soon found himself with both of his arms pinned above his head, the Duke pressing his drunken body.

Rage flew out everyone of his pores, his breathing was fast, but the Duke was still there, smiling. He didn't surprise when he felt an erection pressing his leg, all that encounter reaching a sexual touch coming from the unknown.

You and I, we're not that different, Christian – the Duke made sure he hold both of his wrists with one hand, the other one descending through Christian's body – deep down we were looking for the same

I loved her! – he exclaimed, trying to bite the other one's lips, an involuntary tear running down his face when the Duke's hand reached his erection

Don't you see? – he laughed – we're just the same

I hate you

Christian hit his head with the floor when the Duke penetrated him, beginning a fast movement inside him. It hurt.

What you, idiotic bohemians, seem not to understand – the other one kept talking, never stopping his thrusts, never slowing down – is that hate is much more powerful than your love

Stop… - half whispered Christian, tears burning his face – stop

She didn't love you, you know that, right? – the Duke's hand freed Christian's arms, burying it in his hair

The writer's hands went straight to the other one's hips, scratching, feeling blood between his fingers. It hurt. Satine was dead and it hurt.

His body reacted to the Duke as it had never done before. He wasn't a cheap prostitute, an excuse to take away the pain. He was a man, strong, rough. He hated him, he hated him and it hurt, but he hadn't felt anything like this in months. He was feeling. Pain and pleasure and hate and fear. He was feeling. Satine was dead and he needed to feel.

I hate you – he repeated, but the Duke just laughed

I know, just as you know she used us both

I hate you

She was a whore, and the only thing whores can't afford is love… she would have stayed with any idiot who had offered it

I hate you – and it hurt, it hurt, but please don't let it stop

We all have a price

I hate you

Hers was love

He could have said the same phrase for the rest of his life, but his body shook with a violent orgasm, sending the Duke to one of his own.

The Duke stood up coldly, straightening his clothes carefully, combing his dark blonde hair with his fingers. Christian stayed on the floor, his gaze fixated on the ceiling. The pain was physical now, but the writer thanked feeling something that held him to the real world. He was alive, and he was feeling.

He felt a soft blow in his chest and, raising his eyes, he saw a bundle of perfectly folded bills. He couldn't avoid a bitter laugh.

Buy yourself something to drink – said the Duke not looking at him – you need it

Without any other word, Christian heard the firm steps leave the room.

He stayed there, lying on the floor, half dressed, dry sperm on his clothing, who knows how much money on his chest, looking at the ceiling. It hurt. He was feeling. It hurt. And Satine was dead.