A/N: I correct what I said in the first chapter; the journal I am using for posting my fanfic100 is Kendal94. Sorry for the confusion if anyone actually did try to find me (which I doubt) but I don't use that account a lot and I couldn't remember what I named it. :D Sorry. Now on with the incredibly sad final installment. You know I promised myself that I would never write a death fic? Eh…
Disclaimer: Jonathon Larson is a genius. Jonathon Larson owns RENT. I am not a genius. Therefore I am not Jonathon Larson. Therefore I do not own RENT.
Collins scrambled quickly to get Angel's cup of water off the side table and hold the straw up to her chapped, dry lips. She took a few tiny sips, coughed as she swallowed, and smiled at him in thanks before settling back down on the white hospital bed she'd been in for two weeks.
Angel had defied the odds, but not by much. Four months after she'd given that devastating news to Collins, they sat in a sterile hospital room, praying for Angel's recovery, but only being able to hope for a painless end. Neither was happening, it seemed.
She had come down with pneumonia and at first it had seemed like she might get better. But then she'd collapsed and Collins had realized there was no coming back from it this time. He'd taken Angel to the hospital amid protest, and now sat by her side day and night.
As he thought about it, a few tears slid down his face and into Angel's short natural hair. He was on the bed with her; her skinny, decrepit body clutched in his arms, his head resting atop hers. Her once strong, lean body had become emaciated and frail. It took all her energy just to keep her eyes open; keep in the land of the living and not float away. Though even that was becoming harder and harder.
It would happen any day now, and despite attempts at accepting this and coming to terms with its inevitability, Collins still couldn't believe it. He couldn't accept it. When she was gone, it would be like eternal blackness for him. He'd no longer have a reason to live. He'd just found her and now she was fading away again. He wouldn't be able to live through that.
"Collins," Angel whispered. "Tom…please don't cry."
"Angel…," Collins murmured back. "Baby, don't waste your energy. You'll need it to get better." He was in denial but who cared. Not like it mattered; she was going either way.
Angel gave a wispy laugh; nothing like the light, free laughs Collins was so used to. It was humorless; almost bitter. "We both know that's not going to happen." She slowly moved her head so her sunken eyes looked up into his. "I'm not going to make it through the night, probably. You know that, right?"
"Yeah, I know," Collins choked. "Could you at least try, though? It's Roger's birthday tomorrow, and…"
"I'm tired, sweetheart," Angel said. "I'm so tired. I'm tired of being in pain, and I'm tired of misfortune. I'm tired of praying only to have everything go wrong. I'm…I'm tired of life."
"You can't say that, Angel," Collins whispered.
"I love you," Angel said. "But…I can't go on like this."
It sounded almost like she was breaking up with him; not dying. So he said the only thing that sounded appropriate for that scenario. "Angel, don't go baby."
"Not right now," Angel assured. "Later, though…Later will you let me go?"
"I'll try," Collins promised, sobbing and knowing he couldn't even attempt it. "But I can't make any promises."
"Okay," Angel breathed.
They laid or another hour, before Mimi walked in, looking worse for wear. The young Latina looked like she'd aged twenty years in a matter of weeks. Her attire reminded Angel that the whether had chilled since he'd come to the hospital in early October.
"Hi," Mimi murmured. "Angel, are you awake?" It was hard to tell these days; her best friend's eyelids only opened a few millimeters when she could get the energy to actually open them. Other times she would just keep them closed, caught in a floating haze of sickliness and pain and exhaustion.
"Yeah, Chica," Angel rasped. "I'm awake." She slit her eyes open to look at Mimi's outfit, and a ghost of a smile appeared on her face. "Hey, missy; aren't those my favorite tights?"
Mimi looked down at the green tights she was wearing and nodded, a knot in her throat. When she looked back up her eyes were shining and her lips were wobbling. She was blinking more than normal. "Yeah. I, uhm…borrowed them. I'll give them back when I'm done. I just wanted to wear them…" For comfort? As a homage? Would Angel understand that?
"Keep them," Angel said. "I won't be using them anymore."
A noise emanated from Mimi's throat; a strangled sob and whine combination. The tears overflowed and two fat ones ran down her cheeks. She wrapped her arms around herself and whispered, "Okay, Angel."
"Okay, Chica," Angel said. "I love you, honey. Tell everyone, okay? I love you all."
"We love you too, Angel," Mimi sobbed. "We love you too." She looked towards the door and said, "I'll see you guys tomorrow. Maureen said she'll drop by."
"Okay," Angel agreed, not wanting to inform Mimi that she wouldn't be around this time tomorrow.
Mimi waved and walked out, still wiping the tears from her eyes.
"…Angel?" Collins asked, alarmed after several minutes of silence from Angel. "Angel?"
"Hmm?" Angel whispered. She'd almost fallen asleep.
"Are you tired?" Collins asked.
"So tired," Angel whispered. "Tom…let me sleep?"
"Okay, Angel," Collins said. "Angel, baby, I love you. I love you so much and I'll never forget you. I love you."
"I love you too," Angel said. "Goodnight Lover."
Almost laughable; how she was being so nonchalant about this. "Goodbye, Angel."
He held her as she dropped off to sleep, as the monitors started to beep after a few minutes, and through the flat line until the nurses came running and pushed him away from her.
He blinked as the giggling voice he felt he hadn't heard in so long (Though it had only been a couple of months) called his name. He looked around. Well this was sure strange. Why was he in the loft? How was he in the loft? Last he'd checked he was in the hospital with Maureen staring at him in tears as his eyes closed…
Then he saw the pair of legging-clad knees resting next to his head. His eyes traveled up to rest on the face of and angel. Angel. His Angel?
"ANGEL!" He cried, shooting up. "Oh my God…am I dreaming again?" He'd had many an alcohol-and-pot-induced dream in which he talked to her.
Angel shook her head, biting her lip. She looked healthy; healthier than he'd ever seen her. Her eyes were bright and excited, her skin was a glowing caramel color, her lips were full and moist, and she had an overall look of health. "No, sweetheart. You're not."
"Well then…," Collins said, blinking. He thought no one lied in dreams; weren't they supposed to be an insight into your own subconscious or something? "Where am I?"
"I'm not sure what to call it," Angel said, looking around. "It's…I guess you could call it heaven. But it's not like heaven; at least not what they tell you heaven is supposed to be like. People don't walk around in robes and no one flies…actually, it's kind of lonely. It's been just me for a while."
"It's the loft, Angel," was what the intelligent Tom Collins chose to say. You'd have thought he'd pick up on the fact that heaven had just been mentioned, and that his dead girlfriend was kneeling in front of him. But no; he'd picked up on the fact that Angel was referring to the loft strangely. "Not someplace…the loft."
"I know that," Angel giggled, poking him. "But it's…it's weird. I'm not sure." She looked back at him and whispered, "How are you feeling?"
"…Fine," Collins said with a shrug. Actually…really fine. Like he could run a marathon, do one-hundred jumping jacks, and still have the energy to teach four classes in a row. "Uhm…great, actually."
Angel grinned. "I know, right?"
"But wait, Angel…," Collins' eyes widened as what Angel had said before suddenly sunk in. "Baby…am I dead?"
"Yes, Tom, you're dead," Angel murmured, moving into his lap and kissing his chest. "I'm sorry. You…must have been really sick."
"I know that," Collins said, still shocked. "Just…wow. I'm dead."
"Yup," Angel sighed. "Sorry."
"No, no…it's okay," Collins said. "Life…it wasn't great without you anyway, babe. How long have you been waiting here?"
"Minutes," Angel said with wide eyes, a smile snaking onto her face. "Maybe a few hours. Enough time to figure out that I was dead, and realize that there's no way out of this place… And then you just kinda materialized on the floor. How long have I been dead?"
"Almost a year," Collins said.
"Hmm…interesting," Angel said.
"Yeah. Interesting," Collins snorted. "So…what now?"
"I get the feeling we're supposed to wait for something to happen," Angel said, glancing around. "But maybe that's just me. What about you?"
"The same," Collins said with interest.
And just then, something did happen. The walls faded away to make room for something…something strange. A shadowy, vast…nothingness. Nothing above, nothing to either side, and nothing, both were shocked to realize, below. They stood up, gripping hands tightly, and stared.
"I see you've been reunited, once again," said a voice behind them and Angel and Collins turned to see a bland looking man behind them, looking bored with them. "That's nice."
"…Who are you?" Angel asked with trepidation.
"As I've told you before, my name isn't important," he said.
"…We've never met you before," Collins informed. Okay, now he knew he was dreaming. He looked to Angel, who shook her head.
"You never remember anything," he groaned. "Well, whatever. Here's what you need to know – again. You're soul mates. Destined to find each other in every life. And, uhm…well, you're both dead. So…congratulations, you get to spend your time up here until the rest of your crazy friends show up and we can get with the reincarnation…That might take awhile. That Maureen girl is scheduled to live until she's about one-hundred this time around. Oh, and, sorry about the gender mix-up this time around, Angel…they didn't mean to do that. It just kind of happened. You were scheduled to go back and, well…we just couldn't find a new female life that wasn't already taken."
"Okay," Angel said with a shake of her head.
"Sit around for a few days, it'll all come to you later," the strange man said. "Past-life amnesia sometimes happens when souls die a particularly traumatic death…Just so you know, time won't go as fast as it did before. The rules are all different for soul mates, it's confusing… especially since time isn't supposed to even exist around here…"
"Wait, so we're just supposed to sit around here for an eternity and stare at the nothingness?" Angel cried. "We'll go insane!"
"First of all, there is no disease, mental or otherwise, here," the guy said. "Second, no. This is just the welcoming space. That place you were before is where you're going to be."
"Tell me it's not just gonna be us, alone, in the loft?" Collins begged.
"Again, no," their informer groaned, seeming to become fed up with their lack of knowledge on things he assumed they should know. "I guess it was in something like waiting-room mode before, when you were there! You're going to have access to the World of the Spirits, just like every other time you've been here…for God's sake…"
"…We're not in heaven, are we?" Angel asked with raised brows.
"No. You're in what we call the World of the Spirits. All of you soul mates get shoved here when you die."
"Okay," Angel agreed, not wanting to argue. "Does that mean Meems and Roger, and Jo and Mo are soul mates too?"
"Yup. And Mark and Tony; don't forget," he sighed with a roll of his eyes. "And you're in the something-group of soul mates. Like A or B. Something high. You all manage to find each other. Are you happy, can I send you back now?"
"Who's Tony?" Angel asked.
"You'll see," he sighed, before the shadows made way for the loft again.
"Uhm…that was interesting," Angel sighed after a few long minutes of silence.
"Yeah," Collins agreed. "Interesting as hell."
Angel smiled and turned her head up to his, their lips meeting in a long kiss. Collins relished it; it was like a lost man drinking water for the first time in days. "I love you. It's good to have you back, Lover."
Collins grinned. "Dontcha mean soul mate?"
Angel laughed and nodded. "I guess I do."
Sure, it was the end. The end of one life; certainly not the end of existence. Certainly not the end of love.
A/N: Did you like that? I couldn't make it too sad. Though I almost broke out in tears several times while writing the first part. And the second part was just something that came to me. I may write something about Angel and Collins' other lives; not sure.
Thanks for reading the three stories. I hope you liked them.