She was Angel

Author's Note: Second fanfiction for Rent. Hope you enjoyed the other one. If you haven't seen it, take a look. Rent doesn't belong to me and I hope you enjoy!

"I have known you for about a year now," Mimi noted, spreading another layer of blue polish over the shortly-clipped nails. It had to be perfect, and Mimi squinted as she did away with any imperfection, "and it still seems as if I don't know anything about you."

"What to do you want to know, sweetie?" Angel asked, smiling as she leaned back against the comfort of her pillow. A hospital room wasn't much, but they had managed to do a lot with it. Cards and flowers were everywhere! She was lucky, Angel thought to herself, to have such beautiful friends who would do so much for her.

"Well…I don't want to sound rude," Mimi began, "But how did all this happen?"

"Ah," Angel nodded, knowingly. It was a question she had been asked many times, but not usually in such a kind way. She knew Mimi wasn't asking out of hate or out of spite, just curiosity, "I suppose, if I were friends with me, I would want to know too."

Mimi smiled, taking comfort in her friend's words. She was glad Angel hadn't taken them the wrong way.

"I guess I knew I had always been different…"

"Special," Mimi corrected with a smile that Angel returned.

"Special. I liked things most little boys didn't. Have you ever seen a little boy dressed up in a tutu with nail polish and a bow in his hair?" When Mimi shook her head, Angel continued, "Apparently neither had my parents. They tried to figure me out in the best way they knew how, sending me to therapy."

Mimi made a face.

"Yeah, I wasn't a fan either. Being studied like that under a microscope, having your every word analyzed. It was like there was something wrong with me and they were trying to diagnose it. Here I am, just being me, and everyone assumes there's something wrong with me. Well, I got out of there as soon as I could. I had been attending these damn sessions for ten years, I wanted out."

"I bet your parents weren't pleased."

"Far from it," Angel grinned, "They told me I wasn't thinking right and that I wasn't 'well enough' to make a decision like that – as if I were sick or dying or something. Hmm…" Angel leaned back into her pillow, a not-quite-right smile forming at her lips, "ironic."

"Angel," Mimi shook her head, "Don't think about that. So what happened?"

"I was fifteen at the time. My dad told me if I didn't want to be his son, I didn't have to. I could live on the streets and starve. So I packed up what little I had, and marched right out of there. It was for the best anyways."

"I am so sorry."

"It's alright, honey. Things like that happen. Sometimes the bird must fall and break his wings, in order to gain the strength she needs to fly."

"That's pretty philosophical."

"Fortune cookies: the only philosophical thing left in this country."

"You don't really hate it, do you?"

"Nah, sweetie," Angel smiled again, "Just annoyed with her, that's all. She claims to be free and open and accepting but then she turned her head when slavery was around, and she's turning her head today."

"Maybe things will be different soon," Mimi paused, realizing suddenly that, if there was change, Angel probably wouldn't be alive to see it, "I started living on the streets when I was sixteen."

"Why?"

"Figured if I wanted a man to watch me naked, I'd rather him be a stranger than my daddy, and I'd rather get paid."

"You're daddy did that?" Angel asked, her eyes wide, "Oh baby."

"It's alright," Mimi shrugged, "It was a while ago."

"Not that much of a while ago," Angel persisted, "Sweetie, are you sure you're alright?"

"Fine," Mimi smiled, "See, I am here with you. This is where I should be. If I hadn't left, if I hadn't worked at the club, I might not be here with you."

"Glad you are."

"Me too."

"They look good," Angel nodded towards her nails, "I wish I could do them."

"Maybe you can someday," Mimi said, not realizing how empty that promise was until after she said it. She paled.

"Don't worry, honey," Angel patted her hand, "I know this is weird for you too."

"I wish I could do something…"

"Nah," Angel shook her head, "Let Him handle it."

"Him? You believe in God?"

"Sometimes."

"I never did."

"It's funny," Angel closed her eyes, "we only really call on him when we need him. We never consider him needin' us."

Mimi nodded, "Can I ask you something?"

"Shoot."

"Did you really kill the akita?"

Angel winced and nodded, "Yes, sweetie. I did."

Mimi nodded, letting it sink in.

"I know, I didn't think I was the killin' type either. But it was money, sweetie. I needed my medications and those are so expensive. I just…I hate that I did that."

"Roger said you were dancing about it."

"Because of the money. I could buy them presents, I could buy my medicine, I could buy food, honey. After I bought all this, I am sitting in my living room and I am thinking to myself, 'what the hell did you just do, mamacita?'"

"I am sorry," Mimi said, starting on the other hand, "I have been desperate too."

"New York will do that to you, won't she? Such a cold heartless bitch, but you end up lovin' her anyways."

A nurse opened the door and shuffled in with a tray of food, "Hello, Angel. Here's lunch for the day. I hope you enjoy."

"Thank you, love," Angel called towards the nurse before staring angrily at the tray, "Damn hospital food tastes like shit."

Mimi laughed, "Here, let me help." She lifted the lid off of the tray and winced at what was inside.

"What is it today? Fried cat liver?"

"No – I think its mashed potatoes and some sort of…eww," Mimi put the lid back on, "Can't I go and get you a burger or something?"

"Nope," Angel sighed, "No outside food for me. Unfortunately, it's this today."

Mimi scooped up a small bite of mashed potatoes with the spork and slowly brought it to Angel's chapped lips. After taking a bite, she winced and turned away.

"You got to eat," Mimi persisted.

"I don't like this."

"I know the food is bad, but…"

"It's not the food," Angel stopped her, "It's everything. I have to be in bed, I have to have my nails done, I have to go to the bathroom in bed, I have to…I've had to give up everything – my dignity, everything."

"Angel," Mimi pushed the tray to the side, and crawled into bed next to her, "You are so beautiful. You're eyes sparkle with life and joy, Angel. You are the most positive, beautiful, happy person I have ever met. It is an honor to be here with you."

Angel's eyes filled with tears, "Girl, now you're gettin' my face all weapy."

"Still beautiful though."

"Don't you doubt it," Angel grinned, "Oh damn!"

"What's wrong?"

"I didn't know I was so tired!"

"I can leave."

"No – no, stay here. Just lay here with me until Collins gets back from the center, okay? Just lay here with me."

"Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

"I am beautiful," Angel said, half-asleep.

"With a heart to match," Mimi kissed her on the cheek, "Now get some sleep, okay? I'm not going anywhere."

"I know. Neither am I, honey, neither am I."

And Mimi knew she wouldn't. Even if something were to happen, Angel would always be there with her, with everyone. There was a piece of her inside their hearts that wouldn't go away – even if you wanted it to.

Mimi smiled, looking down at the sleeping body next to hers.

She was Angel. She was dying. And she was beautiful.