Disclaimer: This beautiful world was created by Jonathan Larson, and I'm only playing in it for a little while.
Tom wipes the sweat away from Angel's forehead. "What?"
Angel opens his eyes and flutters his eyelashes. "You never had to ask before."
He begins to stutter. "But… y-you're sick."
Angel rests his hand over Tom's forearm, his eyes flickering at the white hospital bracelet around his wrist, almost the same color of his arm nowadays. "I want to. One last go."
"Don't talk like that."
"What's my T-cell count now?"
Tom swallows. "They've stopped checking."
"I'm a lost cause, honey. Least I could do is…" Angel moves his hand so that it rests on Tom's thigh.
"We can't. I can't–"
"Take advantage of me? One could say I did that to you the night we first met."
"Today for you, tomorrow for me," Angel softly sings. "Just… please, Tom."
He lowers his face to Angel's, and their lips meet.
When Angel and Tom approach the building, Angel has his doubts. He stops in front of the building's door and studies his reflection in the glass.
"Are you sure?" he asks, fixing his wig.
"They'll love you," Tom reassures him.
"I should've worn jeans today. Not all this–"
Tom takes his hand, interlaces his dark brown fingers with Angel's ring adorned ones. "It's beautiful. You're beautiful." Tom kisses him and opens the door.
Angel steps inside and easily climbs the stairs in his four-inch heels. "That's a given, honey," he says, smiling back at Tom and fingering the drumsticks tucked into his black Santa belt.
Nothing wrong with a little show on Christmas Eve.
Tom moves in with Angel soon after New Years. They both know it is going fast, but Tom doesn't want to impose on Mark and Roger (whom Angel suspected needed their privacy as they seemed more than "roommates" to him), and Angel could use a hand paying the rent on his little studio apartment that charged more than it was worth…
Contrary to all the speculation that surround them before Roger and Mimi hooked up, Tom and Angel didn't first make love until two weeks after moving in together.
They take everything slow, and when it's over, Angel lies back against the pillows, spent and satisfied.
Tom kisses his shoulder. "You're my first, you know."
"That's hard to believe."
Tom shakes his head, and Angel finds it adorable that he is still wearing his beanie, though nothing else. "That's not what I meant."
Angel laughs. "So what is it? Man or drag queen?"
"The latter," Tom says, using that professorial turn of phrase that makes Angel wish he'd stuck it out at college.
"So you weren't chasing any other skirts before me?"
"None that would tent, anyway."
Angel ponders this. "So if I was wearing makeup and heels that night–"
Tom looks down at the bed sheets, and Angel follows the movement of his eyes.
"I have a confession to make."
Angel raises his eyebrow.
"I only wanted you for your pickle tub."
Angel feels like he can laugh forever.
At the end of January, Paul asks everyone how are they keeping up their New Year's Resolutions. Tom happily reports that he is still employed with NYU, but Angel knows his real resolution has to do with a brick-and-adobe restaurant out west. Roger, who comes in late with disheveled hair and purple lipstick on his jaw, admits that he's still working on that song. As for Gordon…
"I'm not dead yet," he says wryly.
Before Paul can interject, Angel speaks.
"Honey, the point of this is not dying – it's to keep living. And I think we're managing that just fine."
The group claps, and Tom rests his arm on Angel's shoulder. He tilts his forehead into Tom's head and tries not to cough too loudly.
It's May, and Mimi's mother is throwing a party in the park to celebrate her twentieth birthday.
Angel and Tom are lying under a tree watching Mimi and her cousins fight with water guns. Soon enough the bohemians wage their own war, Maureen snatching a gun and soaking Joanne and Mark in equal succession. When Mark retaliates and hits Roger instead of his ex-girlfriend, Angel and Tom break out into laughter, and Angel snuggles in closer to Tom. He should have brought a jacket – he feels a chill in the air, even though the others seem fine in t-shirts and tank tops.
"Cold?" Tom asks.
Tom smiles. "And this coming from a man who can wear tights and a miniskirt in the dead of winter."
"Point taken." Angel is wearing a polo shirt and jeans – he didn't feel like wearing makeup today, or at least that's what he told Mimi when she bemoaned his "preppy boy" attire.
"Ay dios, now Mami is going to try to put us two together – she wants me with a nice Puerto Rican boy," Mimi said anxiously.
"I'm sure she'll be fine," Angel said, pointing to the table where Mimi's mom was piling arroz y habichuelas on Roger's plate.
Just remembering the food sent Angel's stomach roiling. He coughs once, which turns into a fit over the grass.
Tom leans over him. "Are you okay?" He rubs reassuring circles on his back.
"Yeah," Angel says, voice raspy. "I'm – fine."
Tom presses a kiss to his cheek. "Let's go home."
Angel looks over at the rest of them, still shouting and running and laughing across the grass. What would life be like without his new family?
He pats Tom's knee. "Help me up," he says with a flirtatious grin.
Tom begs Angel not to go to Life Support. It's getting cold, he tells him, and the F train is skipping stops.
But Pam died two weeks ago.
Angel manages to last fifteen minutes in the meeting before he runs to the bathroom, the children-sized toilets bringing him to lean his head in even further when he vomits.
Tom slowly guides him out of the stall and helps him wash his face. Angel doesn't want to look at himself in the tiny mirror, so he turns away and dries himself with the scratchy brown paper towels.
"It's okay," Angel says, breaking the silence. "You can say 'I told you so,' now."
Tom purses his lips. "Actually, I wanted to make note that you ran into the girls room."
Angel then notices the lack of urinals and the dirty pink tiles surrounding him.
"At least I'm getting something right," he says finally.
Tom is breathing heavily, kissing Angel's chest around the edges of the hospital gown, touching his arm and further down, and Angel arches back against the flat mattress, letting out a low moan.
Tom obliges, and Angel gets as loud as he can without the nurses coming in. Tom responds with a keening sound that brings tears to the corners of Angel's eyes.
Angel can hear the sound of skin on skin, and he feels the pressure build more and more until he's rising, a burning warmth gathering from within him, spreading up and out of him as he sees himself and Tom engulfed in white light –
"I love you!"
He collapses back on the bed. Tom inches up until they're side by side, Tom awkwardly curled around him.
He places another kiss on Angel's cheek. His nose. His lips.
Angel doesn't tell him that he feels a pull toward somewhere he cannot see.
"We stay here a little while longer."
Author's Note: Many thanks to SouthernWitch69, who beta'd a story way out of her fandom.