A/N: So this is basically an exploration of different pairing possibilities, some canon and some random fanon. Enjoy. :-)

In Love
by Fiyero Oberon

1.

Mimi is standing on the stage, frozen in position as she waits for the exit music to play. The drunken guy in front of her has the red silk scarf she tossed to him wrapped around his neck and the entire crowd of men were cheering and whistling at her and the other girls. The spotlight was focused right on her and she could swear she was going blind from the beam that was piercing her eyes. A bead of sweat rolled down her nose. Her chest heaved as she breathed heavily, exhausted from the strip and she was ready to go backstage and drown herself in freezing water.

"Hey, Mimi," someone hisses.

Mimi looked over her shoulder to see the other girls strutting off the stage, winking at the crowd. Mimi stands and turns, swinging her "tush," as Angel calls it, as she walks back up the catwalk to exit. She turns to blow a kiss and wink, then ducks offstage and cries out for water.

A dented water bottle is shoved into her hands and Mimi unscrews the cap. She takes a large gulp and heads to the dressing room, studying the schedule in her mind to remember if Cops and Robbers was next or Santa Baby.

Virginia comes out of the dressing room and looks Mimi up and down before giving a giggle and running off. Mimi rolls her eyes and swings the jammed door open.

She nearly runs into Roger.

"I… What… Why are you here?"

Roger grins. "Why not?"

"What were you doing with Virginia?"

"Just talking. I –"

"Roger, don't be stupid. Virginia is the whore of the Cat Scratch, everyone knows that."

"I was waiting for you, nothing happened!"

"Rog…"

"Mimi!" Suddenly his lips are on hers and she knows he didn't do anything with Virginia.

2.

"Put it away Mark."

"All right." But Mark keeps filming Roger; he hasn't had a shower in almost a week and his greasy hair is proof. He's lying shirtless on his bed, legs propped up on the pillow, pretending to read a magazine.

"Mark!"

"It's off!" But the camera continues its soft pitter-patter and Mark knows that Roger can tell it's still on. "Zoom in on Roger, one week after Mimi ended it. And now Roger is getting up, look at those abs on Rogie-boy, and now the door is shutting." Slam.

3.

Joanne was at the Cat Scratch Club again. It was the third time this week and Mimi was starting to feel weird. Monday night she had come because Maureen had left her for some boy. Wednesday she came claiming that she was feeling lonely and just needed to be with someone. But now Joanne was sitting in the ugly green chair in the corner of Mimi's dressing room. Drunk. Again. And Mimi was supposed to get ready for Cops and Robbers. "Uh, Joanne?"

"Yeah?" Joanne was chewing her lower lip, just watching Mimi.

"I need to change."

"Yeah." But Joanne wasn't moving.

Mimi was hardly ever self-conscious – how else could she be a stripper? But for some reason Joanne's dark eyes seemed to eat at her flesh as she slipped out of her clothes. She glanced over her shoulder and watched as Joanne's eyes slid down her body. Mimi shivered and grabbed the leather corset.

"Uh, Joanne?" Mimi turned to face her friend, exposing herself.

"Mm?" Joanne's eyes were fixed on Mimi's body and Mimi felt so exposed… this was so different from the thrill of the catwalk, so much more electrifying.

"Uh… nothing." Mimi dressed quickly and hurried for the stage.

4.

"Maureen, give it back!"

"May 19, 1987, twelve thirty-two PM, Eastern Standard Time."

"Stop!"

"Mark Cohen, A.K.A. Pookie gazes dreamily at the Statue of Liberty. Go on, Marky, gaze dreamily!"

"Maureen, please."

"All hail Lady Liberty!"

"Mo! What are you doing?"

"Pointing it at myself, silly. Hi, Marky! Hi, Roger and Benny! Hi, Collins! Hi, anyone else who's watching this!"

"Maureen!"

"Come here, pookie!"

"What?"

"Kiss me!"

"Maureen, the camera!"

"So? You don't care how anyone else feels about being on camera!"

"Maureen, get your hands out of there!"

"Aw…"

"Oh, stop it!"

"Please?"

"Stop pouting!"

"Pookie?"

"Fine!"

5.

Collins sits. Just sits there, at the kitchen table, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year. A lifetime. A moment. A small ring of milk sits on the table, leftover from the glass of milk which now lays in jagged pieces on the sticky floor. The photograph on the table was taken just days before Angel was taken to the hospital, yet it seems as though it is already yellowed with age.

Collins smiles. Memories of Angel dancing and playing the drums flash through his head. Such sweet memories, such sweet sorrows. "You just aren't Collins if you don't smile," Angel once said. She was right.

Collins stands. His legs ache from sitting so long, and he stretches them out. Staggering forward, he feels dizzy, or drunk. Angel was the light of Collins' life – and now that the light had been snuffed out, it felt like the winter would never end. The warmth would never touch him again.

Collins walks. The bedroom isn't far. Angel's favorite place was their bedroom. "Three guesses and the first two don't count," she had told Collins when he had first moved in with her.

Collins sleeps. The realm of sleep is the only place where Collins feels at total peace, at total rest anymore. In sleep, Angel is alive again and Collins is happy. In sleep, the light still glows.

6.

Joanne slammed the phone down. "I hate being a lawyer!" she snapped.

She hurried back to bed, where Maureen was waiting, her lips curved into a pout.

7.

It had started at the Cat Scratch. Benny had forced his way backstage to try to talk to that hot girl who had just done the Cops and Robbers strip – Muffy was same old, same old and he just needed a little variety. Just one night, he told himself, over and over.

Liar.

He hadn't bothered to ask her name until the third night and she had answered with a slap across his face. He grabbed her wrists roughly and pulled her toward him, forcing a kiss on her chapped lips. When he woke in the morning, he found a red silk scarf in the bed next to him with an index card with the name "Mimi" scribbled on it.

He also discovered a goatee drawn in bright red lipstick on his face when he looked in the mirror.

From then on, Mimi became Benny's mysterious lover. They met every night in the same crappy hotel room. Benny's shoes stuck to the floor, but he tried to ignore it. She would show up at two in the morning and they had nights full of fun. And every morning Benny woke in the bed, naked and alone.

Muffy didn't even bother to ask questions after a week. She knew what he was doing and let it happen – and Benny did his best to ignore the unexplained undershirt under the bed or her new black underwear or the red tie in the corner that he knew wasn't his. Or the disgusting stains on the sheets that he definitely did not remember leaving there.

But who cared? Benny had Mimi.


A/N: Please review.