AN: OMG, hold your breath for yet another alternate ending. WAIT! Don't run away yet! Only parts of the ending are being used...I am going to twist things a bit, and play around with the whole sordid scene...the story begins around the time of "The Storm" (Don't they all?). Anyway, on with the show!!!

~A Poet's Dream~

Why does my hear cry?

Feelings I can't fight

You're free to leave me,

But just don't deceive me,

And please believe me

When I say I love you!

"Satine!! SATIIIIINE!" Christian screamed, his heart filled with an uncontrollable panic and his soul filled with a longing to hear Satine say that she was choosing the penniless sitar player...the penniless poet. But his cries for redemption went unheard...at least by Satine. Two of Zidler's men did hear Christian, and they dragged him out into the street, before pounding him with their fists. But when it became evident that the boy was not going to put up much of a fight, they tossed him onto the rain- soaked streets, and returned to the dry warmth of the theatre.

Christian raised a weary head, but could not find the strength to stand. He dropped his head down into the puddle in front of him, and closed out the universe.

***

~Two hours earlier~

"I'm going away from you! Away from the Moulin Rouge! Goodbye, Harold!"

"You're dying, Satine." It was Harold's trump card, the one he only vowed to pull out under the direst of circumstances. Satine's recent coughing fits, (due more to her dangerously tight corsets than anything) had helped Harold devise the plan. He could see that she loved that damn writer, and that soon, she would fly away from him. Harold needed Satine now, much more than she needed him, and that frightened him. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his little sparrow, but he also knew that the show must go on. He also knew, that in order to convince Satine that she was dying; he would have to make Marie believe the lie. And she had. So, when Satine looked at Marie, panic-stricken and hopeful, all Marie could do was nod sadly. Harold's heart broke, as Satine collapsed into a fit of tears.

***

~After The Storm~

Christian pulled himself up against a darkened wall, and slumped down into the shadows of the night. He watched with bitterness, as new and old patrons of the converted Moulin Rouge made their way inside for a show they would never forget. His show. His dream. His life...thrown away for a deceitful courtesan's fickle heart. He felt his eyes grow heavy, as the rain began to let up. His eyes closed, and his body slumped forward, as darkness engulfed him once more.

*

Toulouse searched everywhere, but there was no sign of Christian. He was not at his garret, nor was he at the theatre. Toulouse knew he had to get to the theatre for the show, but his concern for his friend was mounting.

Where could he be?

***

The show went off without incident. The Hindu courtesan chose the evil Maharajah. And the audience ate it up. Satine received a standing ovation. As she stood center stage, she smiled sourly at the sickening irony of it all. This had been her dream. She had long dreamed for a day when the audience would rise to their feet, and cheer her for her performance, not as a Sparkling Diamond, but as an actress. A real actress. Now she was in the moment, standing inside her dream, and she realized that this was no longer the dream she cherished. She longed for Christian, with all of her heart and soul. This show, this performance, it was full of a naïve poet's dreams. Dreams that she had shattered, dreams that she had shared, once upon a time.

He had given her the dream. The dream of happiness, and of love. He had given her his heart, and had asked for nothing in return. As the crowd continued to cheer, and Harold beamed with pride, Satine felt the emptiness consume her. She suddenly felt as though the entire world was collapsing around her. The curtain fell once more, and Satine closed her eyes, hoping with her entire being that she would awaken in Christian's arms.

"Stunning performance, my dear," The Duke's slithery voice pulled Satine from her reverie.

"Why thank you, dear Duke," Satine purred. Her Sparkling Diamond, it seemed, was always near by.

"Shall we adjourn to the Gothic Tower for supper?"

"Of course, dear Duke. Just let me change. I'll meet you there shortly."

"As you wish, my darling," The Duke smiled possessively, and walked off the darkened stage.

Satine watched the Duke depart, then took a deep, shaky breath. She needed to see Christian, more than anything. Satine changed quickly, and, as she emerged from her dressing room, the Argentinean collapsed onto the finale backdrop, causing a whirlwind of chaos. Smiling wryly, Satine used the distraction to make her escape.

*

Satine was wheezing by the time she made it to Christian's garret. Composing herself, she lifted a delicate hand, and knocked lightly, as she contorted her face into an expression of guilt and sadness. It was the first time since the beginning of the show that she allowed herself to wear her emotions on her face. She stepped back, as the doorknob jiggled, and the door swung open. Satine squinted, as the light from the room flooded the hallway.

"Toulouse, what are you…where's Christian?"

"I was hoping you could tell us, mademoiselle," Toulouse whispered.

"When did you…I mean, the show just ended."

"I couldn't find Christian before the show, and so I came back here directly after curtain call, hoping that he'd returned. I…I fear that something horrible has happened."

Satine gasped sharply, "No Toulouse, don't say such a thing. I'm sure he's just upset, and…"

"Mademoiselle, pardon the intrusion, but why would Christian be upset?"

Satine looked at the diminutive artist, and felt her defenses drop. She had to tell someone what had happened before the show, and she knew she could trust Toulouse.

"Oh Toulouse! I've ruined everything!" Satine cried, exasperated. "I told Christian that I was choosing the Duke, and I fear that the jealousy has driven him mad!"

"But Mademoiselle, why would you do such a thing?"

"Harry told me that the Duke was going to have Christian killed," Satine whispered.

They were silent for a moment, but the stillness of the night did nothing to calm either soul.

"We must find Christian," Toulouse said suddenly, deciding he'd heard enough. He grabbed his jacket, and made his way out the door, with a slightly shaken Satine close behind.

***

The first thing he noticed was the throbbing. The relentless, painful pounding coming from somewhere deep inside his head. He opened his eyes slowly, and noted that the pounding rain had turned into a light snow flurry. It was then that he noted that it was bitterly cold, and that he was wet, and missing a coat. As his brain registered this information, his body shivered. Where was he? He scanned the area, and noted that he was in a large ditch, in a small ally, and the Moulin Rouge was across the road. Then, it all came flooding back to him. The words that Satine had said still stung, and Christian felt his eyes well up again. Why had she pretended? Why had she lied to him? She knew that she had is heart, and she seemingly used it to get what she wanted. But what could she possibly have had to gain by pretending to love him? Wouldn't it all have been much simpler to simply charm the Duke?

The Duke. He had offered her everything she'd always wanted. That's what she said. Christian laughed bitterly, and wondered if the Duke had offered Satine his heart. Doubtful. But, then, the conniving courtesan deserved a man that would provide nothing more than fame and fortune. She had destroyed his dream. She was dead to him now.

Pulling himself up from the filthy ditch, Christian, staggered out onto the street. His head was still woozy, and his body ached from being contorted in an odd position for so long. He wandered toward his garret, looking up just in time to see two very familiar faces walking toward him. He scowled stubbornly, as they approached.

*

"Christian? Oh, Christian, what happened to you?" Satine tried to reach out to Christian, but he grunted and backed away from her touch.

"Christian, let us help you," Toulouse pleaded.

"Leave me alone," Christian muttered, his harsh stare burning a hole in Satine's soul.

"Well, well, what do we have here?"

Satine turned around, and found herself face to face with the last person she wanted to see. The one person who held their collective fates in his skinny hands, the one who wanted Satine for his own, and wanted Christian dead.

The Duke.