Collins opened his eyes to see his Angel standing behind him.

"I've missed you so much," He breathed. Her mouth drew into a melancholy smile.

"So have I."

Collins' face warmed in return. He stood silent for several minutes, staring at the additional figure in the reflection, drinking her in. He raised a hand to the mirror, touching her image in the glass. No matter how illogical it was, his body remained calm and unsurprised, at ease with her presence. Angel would never harm him.

"It's begun, hasn't it?" Collins questioned. "My energy has started to leave me, and…" He couldn't finish. Angel remained silent for a moment.

"Yes." She whispered.

The remaining air expelled itself from his lungs. He started to feel the full gravity of the confirmation. He was really dieing. Panting slightly, his body swaying with disorientation, he locked eyes with his love again.

"Is it going to hurt?"

Angel's expression grew pained. "I'm sorry…"

Collins sucked in a gasp. "How long before I…?" Expire? Succumb? A lonely tear trickled down the pale mocha skin. Collins cried out in despair, sobs wracking his body.

"How am I supposed to do this, Angel? How can I do this without you?" he pleaded, his face quickly becoming damp again.

Collins watched from the mirror as Angel moved forward behind him, her chest against his back. Collins couldn't feel the touch. She slid her long arms under his and round his torso, holding him, and leaned her head against his cheek.

Collins shivered against her with longing, forcing himself not to look down as he somehow knew her image only existed within the mirror. His skin tingled warmly against her absent touch; her presence, no matter how limited, installing a calming sensation within him. Collins didn't doubt or question the hold; they remained locked in the embrace for several minutes.

"I'm scared, Angel." Collins whispered finally.

Angel turned her sorrowful eyes to his face, for the first time looking away from his reflection. Collins shivered as he watched, forcing himself not to look away from her image in the cold looking glass.

"Shhhhh, it's okay, Lover," she cooed. "I'll cover you."

Collins' eyes fluttered shut as she pressed her lips to his cheek, his skin tingling warm as she kissed him. Instinctively, Collins raised his hand to cup Angel's face, his eyes still pinned shut. Her lips never met his skin. The dame broke. Despair flooded through him as he tried desperately to hold on to the sensation, hold on to her, but he knew it was too late. His hand slid through empty space to touch his own ear.

A strangled cry sounded as Collins opened his eyes to his lonely apartment. His solitary figure stared back at him from the mirror, its dark cheeks stained with tears.

Collins was alone. Collins was dying.

He closed his eyes once more and sobbed again, his body shaking as he yearned for her presence, but stopped when he felt a disembodied warmth envelope his body.

"Shhhh, Lover. I'll cover you…"

Collins looked up. The apartment was still empty, but Collins could feel the warmth of his Angel holding him.

Protecting him. Sheltering him. Loving him.

Covering him.

Collins gave one last sob, his face drawing into a long absent smile, and he knew he wasn't alone.

Shhh, Lover, I'll cover you…

Just a quick disclaimer: I dont own Rent.

There is another part to this fic, but I shall upload it separately, as both sections can stand separately of each other, and I do not necessarily want to solidify a connection. The working title is 'No Day But Today', but this will probably change, as did the initial title of this story (now the chapter 2 title).

Credit where credit is due: big 'thanks' to my Uni Writing Group, who gave me such warm responses to this text, and helped considerably to the final version of the first chapter. Also, a thanks to my good friend and long term beta-reader Richard the Pedantic (may he have mercy on my garden). I do also apologise for the similarities between this fanfic and 'Blessings', written by one of my favourite authors, missxflawless. This is purely coincidental, and I was kicking myself when I read this morning, for not getting my own up sooner. Finally, a warm 'hi' to TMac, another talented Rent author also on my favs list, and thanks for listening to my Rent ramblings!

Till next time, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.