Title: Different
Category: Moulin Rouge
Pairing: Nini/Argentinian & Christian/Satine
Rating: PG-13 (Could be a PG)
Summery: Things were different now that Satine was gone.
Word Count: 1,000

Dedicated to Carly who is my Moulin Rouge Muse I suppose.

Things were different now that Satine was gone. The Moulin Rouge was falling into disrepair since no longer did anyone come to see the entertainment the girls who lived there provided. It wasn't that men did not look for pleasure in return for diamonds or other forms of money, they just didn't want to have it somewhere haunted by the red head beauty whose last breaths were spent there.

At least the papers claimed that Satine haunted the club. She would not rest until reunited with her lover who lay in what seemed to be a trance in his so-called-apartment some would say. They never stated his name, just referred to him as the penniless writer. They always had a new spin on the romantic tale. The penniless writer had taken on the Duke (also nameless) to save the virtue of his love. Satine had died to save the life of the penniless writer. The two had been kept away from each other and Satine had killed herself with the promise to return for her lover. They hardly ever mentioned the fact that Satine was a courtesan or the truth about her death. It wasn't romantic enough. It didn't sell papers.

Sometimes Nini would throw the papers away in an angry rant about how they destroyed what Satine was. She wasn't a princess or a perfect porcelain lady. She wasn't just a lover of a man who dreamed larger then the world would allow. She was a woman, she was a courtesan and she was Nini's friend. Other times she would simply hug them to herself for a few minutes before calmly handing them over to one of the few girls remaining at the Moulin Rouge. They had dwindled as time went by and now were only a company of six.

Nini supposed what made her mad the most is that the last moments of Satine's too-short life were truly romantic in nature and it would take someone who was oblivious to everything not to notice that she was the other part of Christian's soul. It tore at her because she could have helped them, but didn't. If she had only refrained from giving the Duke his clue to the truth they could have spent a few nights in peace together. She had gotten too tied up in her own petty jealousies to see that they had what she no doubt would never have and ruined it for them.

Sometimes she pretended she did have what they had though. The Argentinean was perhaps the only man she allowed to sleep with her with out paying and more then once. She recalled a few nights where she had stayed up after he had fallen asleep and wondered if he was her penniless writer. He never penned a word except those he wrote on her body as they danced, as they loved and as they fought but to her they were as beautiful as the words that Christian penned on paper. She wondered if he loved her and if she would have run away with him if he asked.

He took her to see Christian last week, the anniversary of Satine's death. He didn't look good, but she wasn't surprised. He didn't say a word to her, speaking only to Letrec. Sometimes she imagined his accusing words that he never allowed to leave his brain. That was why she saw him as little as possible.

That day she had ranted at him. How he was failing Satine. How he should be telling their story, the true story, and not letting some reporter tell lies about her. Show her to be a real person, not some romantic figure. Show them his Satine. The Satine she knew, and not the pretty-upped version that the newspapers portrayed. The girl who gave her the hope that perhaps love did exist in the vast and lonely place known as earth.

He only looked at her till she had left.

When her lover came to her a few nights later, he told her some of what she had said had reached him. That he was now writing their story. She was glad. It needed to be told, and it needed to be told by the one person Satine trusted and loved more then anyone in the world.

Oddly enough, that was the night where she allowed herself to really mourn her friend. He held her as she cried, not saying anything. He simply held her to her tears dried. Then allowed her to talk. He was the only person, besides Satine, that she had ever spilled her soul too. She wondered if that was another sign of love but shrugged after the thought of it.

It was impossible for Nini to love. That was the one truth her mother gave her when she had turned her over to Harold Zigler to train as a courtesan. They were not meant to love, only pretend. Pleasure others but never ask for it in return.

But she imagined that if she could, she would love him. Perhaps one could learn to love. Satine had never stopped believing in love, nor had Christian, Letrec or even Audrey. They all continued to believe that anyone could love and be loved regardless of who they were and she wished oh so much to believe that but she was afraid it was all a farce.

Her lover never replied when she mentioned these fears so she assumed it was just her imagination that there was love or that he felt such emotions towards her. After all, she was simply a courtesan. But she would continue to imagine it because since Satine died it was the only thing keeping her from loosing her grip on sanity. He reminded her that she was still alive and that she could continue to live in a world where the light seemed to no longer shine on those of the Moulin Rouge.

Things were different now that Satine was gone.