AN: I honestly don't know why I felt the urge to write this, but it wouldn't leave me alone. I hope it's at least somewhat enjoyable. I may follow up with his thoughts on Shilo, I'm not sure.
There was, by his estimation, a single 1x3 inch strip of natural skin left on Amber Sweet's body. It existed in the seldom noticed area behind her left ear. How it had managed to escape being removed during the countless face-lifts, hair replacements, ear restructurings, neck remodeling, and the thousands other little cuts she so happily subjected herself to he could hardly imagine. And, in truth, he had no empirical evidence that even this little patch was the actual Amber Sweet; it was only a feeling, a subtle difference in taste and texture that set it apart from the rest of her artificial form. Or maybe it was only for his own sanity that he convinced himself there was at least something of her left. He could never be sure.
There used to be more of her. Back, years and years before in the early days when she had only undergone a dozen-odd surgeries and he bit his nails in fear whenever he set about his nightly harvesting activities, the majority of her flesh had been her own. Even her eyes had been real. The first night she had come to him, a newly made drug lord with the freshest product in town, her eyes had been the natural brown she was born with. But no one kept their real eyes anymore, not when so many exciting artificial colors and enhancements were available as such a low price. No one but him. Sometimes when he is near her he closes his eyes against the neon violet or ice blue implants starring back at him and imagines the plain, chocolate brown he once had seen. She really had been beautiful back then.
He could be considered a historian of Amber Sweet's body. He had watched as it had all been peeled away, her freckles and imperfections torn out to be replaced by the latest in GeneCo technology. Her feet, her hands, her breasts, her ass, her teeth, her tongue, he had known them all and then been left with nothing but their memory as she upgraded herself inch by artificial inch. And he had helped. As much as he mourned the passing of her natural self, whenever she desired a replacement he was there, pressing the gun against her and watching her slip down into the pre-surgery void. She paid too well to refuse, and even if he had she would have only left him for another dealer, one who not only would have no memory of how she used to be, but one who wouldn't even care that she had changed. Even as he loathed each artificial patch, the idea of another dealer administering her dose was something he could stand even less.
It wasn't just her. No one was real anymore, no one was pure. Everywhere around him were stitched together Frankenstein's, marveling at their own grotesque bodies even as the Repo-man came to take their bits and pieces back. It was the disease of the age. Artificial hearts beating in artificial chests to smile with lab-grown lips at stitched on faces. It was enough to make his stomach, his own, naturally made stomach, turn in disgust every time he looked around. It was little wonder he spent half his life in the graveyard; all flesh was the same in death.
Like the rest of GeneCo's clients, Amber Sweet was dying. In the large, existential view they were all dying of course, each day marching every closer to the inevitable crypt. But Amber was dying in a different way. She had been alive when he first met her, as alive as he was, a difficult summit to reach in modern society. He felt things, really experienced them, and for a time she had as well. Even drugged out on Zydrate, rolling on the mass of rags and tatters he called a bed in mindless oblivion, even then she had been alive. She had starred at him with wide, brown eyes, whispering to him about the sensation of non-sensation, begging him to come down with her. Not that he ever did; a business man never skims off his own product. But now, now there was nothing. She lay as cold and motionless as the lowest of his whores, starring blankly at nothing until the knife met her skin, cutting away what little there was left of her. He could stab her through with his knife and she wouldn't notice. More and more often he wondered why he didn't. The real, natural Amber Sweet was almost dead, and no one would truly morn the destruction of her artificial replacement. A quick flick of his blade, and he could leave her before she could leave him.
But there was still that strip. He could hardly stop touching it, whenever she was near enough and high enough to allow him to do so, running his fingers and tongue over those few precious inches that were all that remained of Amber Sweet. He could never reach it before she had used the gun, he was far too afraid he would draw her attention to the area and make that nights surgery dedicated to taking care of that small spot. In the minutes or hours after she had come to him but before she demanded the product, in the time they lay pressed together between satin sheets or rotted blankets, in those moments he closed his eyes, dreaming of that one small strip even as he caressed the recycled stitched on flesh that coated the rest of her, inside and out. He could pretend she wasn't hideous then, thinking of that one small patch. With closed eyes he could still think she was beautiful.
And after she had left him, the Zydrate pulsing thorough her veins forcing her to stumble towards whoever's knife would tend to her that night, he was afraid. Afraid she would come back without that last bit of herself, afraid he would soon be the only human left in the city made of himself instead of the grotesque conglomeration of others, and, most of all, afraid no one else would even notice the difference.
There was a single 1x3 inch strip that was all that remained of the real Amber Sweet. One night it will be gone and she will be nothing at all. Sometimes he wonders if, after that, there will be anything left of him either.