by elfin

�Why does my heart cry�.�

I don�t know when the audience left.

For a very long time I stood and stared at my sparkling diamond, broken, in the arms of her equally destroyed lover.

Christian�s sobs were breaking my heart.

This was my fault.  I should have told her earlier, prepared them both.  I should never have signed that contract.  Who was I to declare whom she should be with?  I didn�t think, didn�t believe she would ever make the connection between love and making love.

But she did.  And because of me, she spent her final hours nursing a broken heart, her misery palpable.

I did that.  I was the cause of the terrible pain we were all audience to, in Christian�s words tonight, and I�d known it as he threw the money at his beloved Satine.  What if she had died without telling him the truth?  What would that have done to his vibrant spirit?

What would her death do to his vibrant spirit?

We stood there for what seemed like hours.  Christian crying, his heart breaking, as he held her.

Letting go of her would be to let go of his hopes and dreams, his life, his soul.  It would be to admit she was gone, and I doubted if he would ever be ready to do that.

After an eternity, I watched Toulouse go to Christian.

Carefully, more gently than I could ever have managed, he touched his fingers to Christian�s hair.  He leaned in close and whispered words only they could hear.

Christian shook his head, his sobs growing louder, each one seemingly tearing his soul out.

Toulouse continued stroking that fine hair, speaking words I couldn�t make out and didn�t really want to hear.

It took a long time, but finally, Christian nodded just once.

A signal, of sorts, I guessed, because when he did so, Chocolat stepped forward to crouch in front of them.  Ever so slowly, he reached his dark arms under the still form of my dearest dove and started to take some of her weight.

�No!�  Christian�s desperate, sudden cry tugged at my already aching heart and I blinked back further tears.

More words, spoken in low tones, yet still Christian was shaking his head and holding onto his love as if his wishing alone could bring her back.

Tentatively, I stepped forward.  I had no idea what I wanted to say.  I just wanted to do something to ease the terrible feeling of guilt settling into the cracks in my soul.

Toulouse looked up at me sharply, but upon seeing my expression, I suppose, his eyes softened and he smiled sadly.

I knelt down behind our broken poet, my hands on his shoulders.  �She is gone, Christian,� I murmured, knowing what I was doing, knowing that every word was searing into his already raw wounds.  �She has been ill, dying.  I knew but I didn�t tell her until last night.  I don�t think she could have borne the pain in your eyes were she to impart the news to you�.�

I could feel the tremors wracking his body, ripping him apart, piece by piece.  Soon his heart and soul would lie in tatters.

�Let her go now, Chwistian.� Toulouse took a few stands of the ebony hair and played them through his fingers.  Believing that his friend�s touch was acting upon our dying star, Chocolat tried once more to take Satine from him.

�NO!�  Christian tightened his embrace, hugging her body close to him, burying his face in her red mane and sobbing more harshly than he had before.  �No�.�

We backed away, Chocolat and I.

But Toulouse remained, kneeling on the floor with his angels, watching over them, waiting until the time came.

Until it really was the end.