Imagine Nini replacing Satine as Marie in Bohemian rhapsody after she dies. Imagine finally Nini getting the spotlight she always dreamed of. Imagine Nini receiving the praise, the money, the attention, imagine Nini finally becoming the moulin rouge’s headliner.
Even though she convinces herself that that it’s what she deserves, she knows it feels wrong. Because Satine deserved all this and more.
Imagine Nini seeing the Moulin rouge thrive financially, but crumble emotionally. Imagine her seeing the fire in toulouse go slowly out, the laughter in zidler slowly fade away, and the fear in baby doll's eyes when her dysphoria gets the better of her and no satine to be there.
most of all, imagine her seeing the absolute stoicness on a once youthful christian's face, the plain lack of emotion and the blankness in his eyes whenever something or someone reminded him of the woman he loved.
imagine nini steadily bearing the guilt of everything that had happened.
but imagine santiago always being there for her.
imagine santiago always noticing when she starts to internally blame herself for everything.
imagine santiago being her rock, her strength through it all.
imagine santiago seeing everything and saying nothing, because he knew she would kick his ass if he even breathed a word of it.
What he sees is her breaking down every time she comes home to him. He lets her air out her frustrations then let’s her sob in his arms all night long.
Then imagine him spilling everything to christian during a night of too much absinthe, and christian FINALLY waking up and realizing he isn't the only one affected by what happened.
imagine christian cautiously begin to approach them all as the show continues to run, and imagine nini wonder why christian's eyes begin to shine again.
imagine her wondering why the man who was once drowned in grief was picking himself up out of nowhere.
they all wondered too.
imagine the moulin rouge become a little more brighter as the months fly by. imagine zidler finding in himself to truly laugh again, arabia and la chocolat and baby doll sitting together without one of them breaking down in tears, and toulouse finally rejecting his first bottle.
imagine christian smiling again. imagine christian writing his first song after satine's death. imagine him forgetting to hold his composure and cracking at one of santiago's jokes, his laughter echoing through the nightclub after a long time. imagine him finally going sober.
imagine a much more emotionally stable nini wondering what could have caused such a drastic change.
imagine satine's first death anniversary rolling around, no proper grave to lay flowers on because they cremated her and scattered her ashes around her home, the moulin rouge.
imagine everyone gathering in the dressing room in the elephant, where it had not been touched for a year. imagine everyone joining forces to fix and clean the place, as if satine would just waltz in there right after. there's laughter and food and friends- nini's heart swells.
imagine christian standing up to speak in the middle of the room, where the love of his life first kissed him.
his speech is simple- they laugh at the story of their first meeting, coo at him, a writer, at a loss for words, but they all quiet down as his voice grows solemn.
imagine christian gazing at them all, this group of bohemians and artists, wondering what he must have done in a past life to deserve a family like this.
"satine's death-" and here his voice cracks, "-was probably the worst thing to ever happen to me. i lost my muse, my life."
but he looks up at them all, something different in his eyes. "but i wasn't the only one to lose anything. we all lost satine that night. you all knew her for almost her entire life. you lost a daughter, a sister, a friend."
imagine nini wondering where the hell this was going.
"i realized that hey, i'm not the only one hurt by what happened. i'm not the only one bearing the cross. we've all lost someone very near and dear to our hearts. and if she could see us a year ago, she'd hit us and tell us that even without her, the show must go on."
"satine wouldn't want us to be down and desolate and downright miserable without her. we're her family. we should continue doing what we love in her memory. she was the epitome of freedom, beauty, truth, and love, and if we keep those ideals alive, we keep her spirit alive."
imagine christian saying all of that, and everyone receiving him with a round of applause. they all troop out and down to the moulin rouge, but christian, still blushing from the applause, calls nini back.
"i didn't say this in front of them because you would probably thrash me to an inch of my life." christian stutters.
nini had always had the smallest feeling that christian was terrified of her.
"b-but, i'd like to thank you, f-for... i don't know, really, but santiago-"
nini shoots a glare at the empty doorway.
"he didn't mean to, he was drunk, but he saw how sad you were and how sad EVERYONE was and i. i don't know. managed to pull my head out of my ass. you were the one to make me realize that it's not just me and thank you for that, i guess"
imagine christian saying all of that to a dumbstruck nini, who nods and slowly moves to get out of the room.
"w-wait!" christian calls, then hesitates.
"what?" christian blushes again.
"i'm doing this... this thing. it's a book of sorts, about satine and i's story. it was her dying wish. it felt right to tell you. well, goodnight, nini."
nini nods and goes out the room, hesitates, then runs back in again.
"christian? about the book thing. how can i help?"