"Shilo, take your medicine," Nathan instructed as he locked his daughter's door shut. He heard an annoyed groan make its way through the thick slab of wood. His heart twisted slightly. He felt bad at having to keep his precious little girl locked up all the time, but the world was too dangerous for such a sweet, pure, delicate thing like her. The real world would crush and devour her whole in a split second without even realizing it and then it would move on to its next victim, leaving her nothing but a shattered shell. Nathan knew this because the same type of thing had happened to him and he had since vowed that he would never let his innocent daughter endure that pain. So he hardened his heart, finished locking the door, and left for work.
Work. Work was that place where he was ruled by his bully boss and said boss' three delinquent kids. Work was that place where he was paid to violently rip organs from those who couldn't keep up with their own payments. Nathan hated that job, but he had to keep it or poor little Shilo would be thrust onto the streets or into the corrupt claws of his boss. Nathan would kill, did kill, to ensure that wouldn't happen.
As Nathan trudged into the GeneCo building, mentally preparing himself for another brutal task, he literally ran into his boss' only daughter: Amber Sweet. The girl was, as always, high off of street Zydrate and trying to find the operation room for yet another surgery. Was it the 6th or 8th this week? Nathan didn't care or remember. He was only in it to protect his own daughter who, hopefully, would never sink to this level.
"Ooof," Nathan muttered as they collided. Amber only swayed a little and Nathan grabbed her arms gently in attempt to steady her so that she didn't just collapse on him.
As Nathan held Amber, he had the chance to observe her up close. Looking at her now, Nathan felt the smallest tinge of pity and regret. Pity that anybody would ever become so broken and regret that he never tried to stop it. He was no hero, but he could've spent more time with Amber. Maybe he could've even saved her! He had a daughter after all. It wasn't like parenting was a foreign concept to him. Actually, there was a time when he did act as Amber's daddy when her real one was too busy being a bigoted miser to give her proper care. That was way back in the day when Nathan was still young, strong and full of hope. Back then, Rotti had been his hero with Nathan's only issue being how little time Rotti spent with his children, but back then, he had understood it. He thought that since Rotti was a very busy man, it made sense for him to neglect his children a little. Nathan had picked up the slack with little Amber, whose name had been Carmela back then. He did all the things a father would with his daughter. He sang and danced with her, talked and coddle her, all of these wonderful things. Then it all went wrong.
Nathan was set to become a full father in his own right when, due to a sickness and his own monstrous mistake, he lost his wife and almost lost their daughter. From that moment on, Nathan was a very broken man and he cringed whenever Carmela came near. It was like he was worried that, just by exposing himself to her, he was putting her at risk. Besides, after finally seeing just how fragile life was and just how much care a child really required, Nathan began to pour his heart and soul into Shilo. It was a natural thing for him to prize his own child over his boss' but even still today, Nathan had to admit that maybe he should've have been so callous towards Carmela following the death of his wife.
Following the death of his wife, Nathan reached unmatched levels of reclusiveness and whenever Carmela so much as tried to talk to him, he would brush her aside. There no more tea parties or talks. There was no more dress-up or dolls. Nathan shut himself entirely away from Carmela. She received the same treatment from Rotti and learned, at a very young age that Daddies didn't care very much for their daughters. This wasn't exactly the best lesson to be teaching a young child, as proof by what she became in the years to come. At this point, however, Nathan was too fixated on keeping Shilo safe to notice that Amber, a child who had practically once been his other daughter, was slipping away right before his very eyes.
Now, Amber may not have ever been Nathan's responsibility in an official sense, but that was no excuse. Nathan didn't need to be Amber's dad in order to look after her and try to care for her and set her on a good path. Unfortunately, that was the excuse Nathan used every time he had to look into the dead eyes of his boss' daughter, his other daughter. This was partly what terrified Nathan about Shilo. If one considered Amber his "test daughter", he had certainly failed there. Would the same befall Shilo? After all, Amber had been quite like Shilo once upon a time. This spoiled, sex and surgery addicted heiress didn't always use to exist. Nathan shivered in horror, guilt, and disgust. Amber was just another glorious failure to add to long, long list of sins and secrets. Marni's death, Shilo's sequestered life, Amber's shattered 1, all the people he killed. Did it never end? Was the world really this cruel? He supposed so… Nathan woke from his thoughts to hear Amber slurring.
"Wheresssss thrr-oper-room ah?" she mumbled. Nathan didn't reply. Instead, with his hands still around her arms, he led her around just like the way he led Shilo around the house when she was a toddler. This time, though, instead of leading a child around a home, he was leading a disgraced daughter into one of those breeding grounds of the sin that plagued the world so terribly. Guilt tore at Nathan's heart again but it was too late for anyone to do anything of any real use so Nathan contended himself with setting Amber up onto one of the beds in the operating room and he stayed by her side as the Genterns prepped for her surgery. It was an odd but kind gesture that nobody questioned, the Genterns being too afraid to and Amber being too out of it to.
"Thank you Dr. Wallace," the Genterns said once the last scalpel was set into place. Nathan nodded curtly and backed out of the room at once. Right before he left, he watched a Gentern raise a big syringe full of glowing blue substance and press it into Amber's anatomy. Nathan cringed at the vulgarity, despite being used to seeing things much worse. He turned away, unreasonably angry, but right before he shut the door, a sad and slurred chorus hit his ears.
"I can't feel nothing at all…" it was Amber's surgery mantra. Nathan also had little doubt that it was her life mantra too. To be honest, it could easily be his mantra too. The world had sucked the light and life from him. He was nothing but a robot. A killing machine. and when one had a job like that, there was no room for love, mercy, compassion, or feeling. But yet he still loved. Why? Because he had something pure. Something not bred to kill. That was not only something worth living for, but something worth feeling for, no matter the pain and internal conflict it would cause. So maybe Amber's catchphrase wasn't Nathan's. At least not yet.
Nathan turned back to the operating room door. He didn't open it again, he just stared at it. He was ok because he had Shilo and vice versa, but Amber had nobody. No true family to turn to or to love. She really didn't feel anything at all and that saddened Nathan. But what saddened him most about it was that he was part of the reason she had no love. He had left her on her own. He had failed her like he'd failed everybody else. He'd failed his other daughter and now he wasn't even sure if it was still possible to save her. But if it was? He was too much of a coward to try and find the way.