Author's Notes: This was written at the request of a friend awhile back, and thankfully, when my computer crashed, I didn't lose this. It's yet another Angel/Collins piece, firstly because that was part of the request, and secondly, because I really enjoy writing it. This is somewhat similiar to "Summer Shudder," only with a fluffier, happier ending. (And as I said before, this was written awhile ago, before I wrote "Summer Shudder.")

Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with "Rent." This was written for recreational purposes only, I can assure you that I am gaining no profit in posting this online.

Violent Red

Like cinnamon caught on fire, her vibrant red burns against the cobalt sky, illuminating everything around them as though caught in some inferno. She's got flowers dancing around her like graceful ballerinas, embedded on a skirt of jade, the color of a faded emerald island, and a pair of gloves obscuring her divine hands. One of which is currently occupied with the velvet skin of her companion.

He's all bruise-colored in his dark leather jacket and denim shirt. He could easily be mistaken for some drunken dealer, some shady caricature of a human being specializing in the sins of the midnight hour. But that's not who he is. Just as she's not quite the diva she appears to be, neither is he, then, the troll beneath the bridge, the master of substances and pain.

They walk together at a steady pace. Down the New York avenues, they prowl like panthers. They are predators this evening, but only to themselves. They roam for some momentary comfort, one morsel of time long enough to exchange good-byes.

She leans in, and he meets her half-way with his bohemian pair of lips, chapped and worn from too many years without much use. She doesn't complain. She savors the second-hand feel to them. It's as though she's stepped into a thrift store, kissing him, and discovered a matching pair of sparkling stilettos. Their affair needs no designer words for any sort of description. Their heaven needs no judgment, no golden-arch gates required to gain approval.

It's then the smoke of reality settles in, like a murky fog, and she's whispering, "I love you." He tries to speak, but it's as if he's dared to look into the eyes of Medusa-he's frozen in the stone of disbelief, watching as she rises with the mist.

He opens his eyes, stinging with crystalline tears. The searing light of morning caresses him, like the gentle flame of a candle. He gives up the dream he'd been clinging to, allowing it to fall aside into the pile of various articles of clothing by his bedside. He's sitting up now, taking his face into his calloused hands.

He wipes away the sorrow, stuffing it into the pocket of his leather jacket as he looks out into the cosmopolitan morning. He's bewildered by what he sees, and clumsily, he drops his previous grievances.

He forgets the ridiculous time at which he's awake. He forsakes every thought he was previously thinking. Before him, caught in the sunrise, is the smile of his fallen lover, hanging like a halo over the dawn. In the morning light, he swears he can distinguish wings among the clouds.

But most of all, in the break of dawn, he sees their hands locked together again, lips worn from laughter. In the light of day, he sees her there, and he knows that they will be together again, someday.