Title: The First Cold Stab
Author: Amy Fortuna
Rating: PG
Pairing: Satine/Christian
Archive: Yes.
Summary: That terrible night. Christian waits.

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"All night long the penniless sitar player had waited...."

Christian was the kind of person who could only think when emotion was not running at its highest level. At times of great stress, he would go speechless, wordless, voiceless, and could not defend himself.

So it had been when his father had accused him of terrible things, of wanting to live a loose and immoral life, of desiring, as he had said, "baseness."

So it had been when he and Satine had been alone together for the first time, Christian stumbling over his words like a half-taught schoolboy.

And so it was now, when Satine had promised to come to him and had not come.

From typewriter to window he roamed, restlessly. A thousand nightmares went through his mind. Was she dead? Kidnapped? In prison? Or did she just not care? Did she *want* to hurt him?

The rational part of himself kept saying she was just delayed and would turn up any minute. The gibbering emotional self raced on with theory upon theory about why she was not there.

He lived a thousand years in that night. A weaker person would have cried, but the tears burned themselves hotly away ere they reached his eyes. He was angry and weary, and convinced that Satine had just been playing with him, that she was even now showing the Duke a good time, in her own special way. Helplessly he remembered their kisses just a few hours ago (a hundred years ago!) and wondered how she could change so fast -- she had seemed to desire him so much.

Saturday morning was a riot of dawn color, and just after the dawn came Satine, wrapped in a warm robe, pale as a star. She wore no makeup, and looked exhausted.

"I'm sorry, Christian," she said meekly. "I was sick."

Christian let her in, not believing her for an instant, and she sat down on the bed. Normally Christian would have joined her there, but not today.

He sat down at the typewriter.

"Where were you last night?" he asked, coldly, putting his hands on the typewriter as if to write and then letting them fall back.

"I told you," she said, coughing softly. "I was sick."

Eyes almost filling with tears for the first time, Christian stood up, making his way over to her. "You don't have to lie to me," he whispered, heartbroken.

Satine just looked away for a long moment. Then, and her voice was filled with tears as well, "we have to end it. Everyone knows. Harold knows. Sooner or later, the Duke will find out, too."

Christian turned away from her, staring at the wall. Was this the end? Such happiness that they had could not have lasted forever, could it have?

"On opening night, I have to sleep with the Duke," Satine went on, and she did not sound pleased about it. Getting up, she moved away from the bed toward the window. "And the jealousy," she said, not looking at Christian, "will drive you mad." She was quoting from the play.

For a long moment, both of them stood there, far apart, wrapped in their own private heartbrokeness.

At the point of tears, hope came back to Christian. She had not slept with the Duke. She still loved him. And that was all that mattered.

Not listening to her whispered protest, he made his way to her, and whispered, putting his hands against her face, "Then, we'll write a song."

She tried to move away from him, but he did not let her go. "And we'll put it in the show and no matter how bad things get, or whatever happens, whenever you hear it, or when you sing it, or whistle it, or hum it...." He was nearly crying now, but it was with joy, not sorrow. "Oh, then you'll know, it'll mean...it'll mean that we love one another! I won't get jealous." He kissed her quickly. But she moved away from him.

"Things don't work that way, Christian," she said, a gentle rebuke to a naive boy. "We have to end it."

He shook his head, smiling, and suddenly the inspiration fell like lightning. He could not have stopped himself from singing if he had tried.

"Never knew I could feel like this," he sang, putting his arms around her again. "Like I've never seen the sky before."

She turned to him, and a pale smile lit up her face.

END