A/N: This is AU because Angel is alive for the next year's Christmas. I do not own Rent – obviously. If I did, my stories would be a lot better and far more talented. Reviews make my day. Just an early Christmas present for you all.

Rated T for language, of course.

Christmas Bells

"This is the best Christmas I think I have ever had," Mimi said, hugging her knees to her chest as she sat on the floor next to her boyfriend, Roger.

"I think we can all agree on that," Collins kissed Angel on the forehead, "Right, baby?"

Angel snuggled closer into her lover's arms, "Mmhmm."

"I think so too," Mark said, "Christmas' have been pretty shitty for me."

"Same," Roger Joanne rolled her eyes.

"Well, why don't we talk about it then," Maureen suggested, "I mean, we're all here and sometimes it helps to get this stuff out, right? Let's all go around and share one Christmas memory we have before we all met, okay?"

"Sure you want to do this?" Joanne asked, "I mean, I know my stories aren't all rainbows and sunshine."

"Mine either," Collins said, Angel patted his chest comfortingly.

"Well, who wants to start?" Mark asked, grabbing his camera.

"I'll go," Angel announced.

"Okay," Mark began to film.

"Well," Angel swallowed, brushing her wig in place, "It was Christmas morning and I was eight years old. I had been wanting Beach Bash Barbie for about two months. She was the one with the little pink bikini and the sunglasses? Well, I never was one to brag about what I wanted or what I wished I could have, so I just quietly pointed her out in ads and on commercials. Christmas morning came, and I had stayed up all night with excitement. You know how little kids are," Angel smiled, "When morning came I hurried to the tree to open up my Beach Bash Barbie…and…and she wasn't there."

Collins placed his hand over hers.

"I got a football instead. I wasn't tacky about it, I said thank you and put it aside. I didn't touch the thing all morning. Well, my daddy asked me why I wasn't playing with it and if I wanted to go outside and have him teach me how to throw it. I told him that I was sorry, but it just wasn't really what I was expecting. When he asked me what I did want for Christmas, I told him. He asked me why I would ever want something like that, and when I couldn't explain it, he threw me up against the wall and began to hit me over and over and over again. It was the first time I had ever been beaten for being…well…unique," Angel attempted a sad smile through the falling tears.

"Angel," Collins lifted her hand to his lips and grazed the soft knuckles.

"It's alright, honey. Six years later, I got myself out as fast as I could."

"You were only fourteen," Mimi gasped, "Younger than I was."

"You learn to survive. I was used to being beaten up and called all kinds of degrading names. Those things make you stronger if you don't let them bring you down. Life is short, why spend my time wasting it on anger and hate."

Mark lowered his camera for a moment before Angel objected, "No, keep it rolling. I think some of these stories need to be shared."

"Can I go next," Mimi asked. Mark nodded and she began, "I was twelve when my father bought me my first set of diamonds for Christmas. It was a small diamond ring, but still pretty lavish. Extremely lavish, I guess, for a twelve year old. My mom got so mad when she saw what I had gotten while she only received a twenty dollar gift card. That night, when he made his annual trip to my room, he asked me if I liked the ring. When I said yes, he told me that it was a gift to make me keep quiet. Couldn't let our 'special little secret' get out, right?"

"Sweetie," Angel stood up, and pulled Mimi against her. She brushed a tear away with her thumb.

"Thanks," Mimi smiled sheepishly at her best friend.

"Mimi," Roger looked at her, sadness swimming in his eyes.

"I'm fine," Mimi assured him, "I got out of there really fast. Family is always supposed to be there for you, right? Blood is thicker than water, yada, yada, yada it's all bullshit. They didn't care when I left, except probably my father who no longer had a kitten to pet. Besides, you're my family now," she cringed, "How totally cheesy was that?"

"Very," Mark smirked from behind the camera.

"Well," Angel interrupted, "It is true."

"I want to go next," Maureen spoke up; Mark pointed the camera on her, "My first Christmas on the streets, I spent sitting in the Life all night, gorging myself on fries and beer. I figured that I didn't want to be alone in the cold, so why not blow my money on beer and fries, right? When the waiter asked me if I was waiting for someone, I told him yeah, his boyfriend so he could fuck off."

Angel, Mimi, and Roger busted out in laughter.

"Hey," Maureen smirked, "It was true."

"That's my girl," Joanne kissed her.

"My merry Christmas memory was when I was nine," Roger spoke up, "My granddad gave me my first guitar and taught me how to play. He died about three months later. The last memories I have of him are when he stood over me, placing my fingers over the right strings, and coaching me through it."

"Sappy," Mark grinned from behind the camera.

"Shut up, scarf-face," Roger shot back.

"Hey, this thing keeps me warm, alright?"

"Don't worry, sweetie," Angel patted his knee, "Someday you'll find yourself a girl to do that."

Mark rolled his eyes, "Alright, alright. Who's next?"

"I'll go," Collins suggested, "Last Christmas Eve…"

Angel giggled, "It has to be before we met, silly!"

"Hey, who said you're included in this story," he laughed and dodged a smack from Angel, "Well, does it count if I just met her?"

"Fine," Mark sighed, "Just go."

"Well, these losers had beaten up and taken my things. It was cold and I was alone. An angel came to me, and insisted on taking me home and getting me cleaned up. She was beautiful. An angel indeed. The rest of the story is…history," he pulled Angel into his arms and began to kiss her neck, exciting giggles from the glamorous drag queen.

"Honey! Collins! Stop," she laughed, pushing him off of her.

"Best fucking day of my life."

"Good to know," Angel smirked.


"And it was mine too," she grinned, "I will never forget it."

"Okay!" Mark interrupted, "Enough mushy stuff!"

"Pookey," Collins grinned.

"Huggie bear," they proceeded to give each other Eskimo kisses, earning a loud, "Awww!" from Mimi and a groan from Mark.

"Okay, lovebirds, who's next?"

"I'll go," Joanne offered, "My Christmas memory is getting dumped on Christmas Eve by some bitch that I thought I'd be with forever. If she hadn't dumped me, I'd probably still be with her and would have never been able to meet my pookie."

"Aww!" Maureen pulled Joanne into a hug, "I love you, sister!"

"Looks like it's just you, Marky," Roger smirked, "What's your Christmas memory?"

Mark turned his camera on himself, "My Christmas memory…my Christmas memory is right now. With you, all of you. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, bitches!" Collins laughed heartily, lifting his cup to the air.

"Merry Christmas," Roger and Mimi said, sealing it with a kiss to each other.

"Merry fuckin' Christmas," Maureen shouted, before grabbing Joanne and kissing her.

"Happy birthday," Angel said quietly, looking up at the cracked and leaking ceiling.

It was Christmas and they were together. As cheesy and as lame as it sounded, they were a family. No matter how weird, how ridiculous, how much they argued and fought. They were a family and they were spending Christmas together. Despite the cold, the leaking ceiling, and no electricity, they were happy.

Merry Christmas.