Disclaimer: I own diddly-squat when it comes to 'Repo! The Genetic Opera'. You heard it here first.

Author's note: I'm a newbie fan and a first-time Repo fic writer. This idea came to me in a parking lot during work hours, and refused to leave me alone until I started writing it out. If any edits need to be made regarding canon events, character personalities, and overall continuity; please don't hesitate to let me know. :)

Chrysalis

Chapter 1—The Unraveling

It is said that if a single thread within a tapestry is allowed to remain loose, the entire work of art is in danger of coming undone. Not only could it catch on a nail, a splinter, or other sharp object; but if one were to pull on the thread hard enough, it could cause equal damage to the piece. A similar thing might also be said about the thread itself: because it is so light and thin, it will break easily once enough strength is applied to both ends. And in order to survive in a harsh world like that within Sanitarium Square, those in need of survival could not ignore any important factors when their lives were at stake; nor allow any potential threat to go about unnoticed.

In the wake of Rottissimo Largo's death and the two 'accidental deaths' plaguing the Opera with controversy, Amber Sweet once thought all her troubles had come to an end. Outside of the headlines and the news reports, three things were clear in her mind: her father was no longer present to insult her genetics; Shilo Wallace had refused inheriting GeneCo; and thanks to these current events, Amber herself now had the family business and imminent fame right in the palm of her hand. No one would laugh her into running away because she was the woman in charge, and being in charge would bring her much more respect than life as a scalpel slut ever could. Every news station on the island would fight each other to interview her, her perfect face would be on the cover of every magazine and newspaper page, and most of all, instead of being degraded for her long list of stupid things, she'd be recognized for finally doing something worthwhile.

However, after a mere two days, she learned the hard way that her new job wasn't just a comfy desk chair and a golden name plate upon the door. Her new e-mail account contained a long list of messages about GeneCo's daily operations—which clients had made their payments early, which had paid in the nick of time, who had failed to come through and who paid for it with their lives; the amount of money received this month and whether or not it was an improvement from last month; the dates and locations of various board meetings; who had been hired for a new position and who had been fired for failing in their old one, and so on.

Moreover, a lot of scribbled notes came daily from the levels below her office—the elevator had broken down and the stairs would have to be used in the meantime; Mr. So-And-So had fallen ill with a cold and gone home for the day; Miss Whomever had just finished her reports and would have them sent out by tomorrow; even some bit about Joey in tech support had put in his two weeks' notice, because Mom and Dad talked him into working at their little office down the street.

Thirdly, neither Pavi nor Luigi seemed to care about her workload, because they just couldn't shut up about all the things they didn't like when it came to her style of 'management'. Either she took-a too long to answer the phone; or that man didn't look me in the eye when he said good morning; or she should-a stop cutting the Genterns' break-a times because I have-a nothing to do all day, since when did I have to take out my own trash; you were a lot-a more fun before-a you hit the big time; complain complain complain; blah blah blah. Shouting matches, squeezed groins, ego trips, exposed scars, and slamming doors were the order of the day back home, for neither one of her older brothers bothered to see things from her point of view, nor did they care.

And if she hadn't dealt with enough trials and tribulations already, one more still managed to worm its way into the midst of her busy schedule. Approximately six days after assuming command, she woke up to find a few spots of blood on her underwear, and assumed that it might be time for her period. A small pad was enough to take care of that problem; yet when she came home from work later that day, she discovered that the bleeding had mysteriously stopped.

It's the stress, she thought, flopping down onto the couch to try and relax. Once I get a little quiet time, my cycle will be back to normal.

By the next afternoon, she was hard at work again minding the office, tending to paperwork, answering e-mails, and taking care of just about every task on her to-do list. Focus meant progress, after all, and the more she paid attention, the more she could finish. At the same time, dealing with the constant flow of activity was tiring, and she found herself going straight to bed after sunset instead of to the alleys for her latest Zydrate fix. She would have to wait to start indulging in surgery again, because times of transition were always the hardest and she couldn't afford to let anything slide. She'd managed to get through a few nights without it already, despite the rising and falling of her temperature and the stinging feeling in her skin. If she could pull it off that well now, she would most likely be just as well later on, if not better. And once again, she assured herself that the odd workings of her body were only temporary. When everything was back to normal in her late father's establishment; she, too, could get back to business as usual.

It wasn't until another week had come and gone that things finally took a turn for the worst. She had gone to her private break room and settled down in a comfortable chair; then had almost started in on a meal of roast duck and olives when suddenly, her stomach lurched in protest, forcing her to run to the nearest restroom. One minute later, she saw the remains of her breakfast spill into the first toilet she came to, her mind reeling with the onslaught of nausea.

By that time, a few nosy Genterns and some other people in black suits had gathered in the hallway, whispering curiously behind their hands and giving her odd looks when she finally pushed her way through the door. Not wanting to be the start of the latest water cooler gossip, she ordered them all to get back to work before scribbling a note and handing it to the secretary, insisting that she would spend the rest of the day at home to get over a stomach bug. From there, it was straight to the main hallway, the elevator, and after a long ride to the ground floor, the parking lot where she could call the first available limo driver and not have anyone stare at her or start asking questions.

In her haste to get that person on the line, her fingers slipped on the phone's buttons, making her cancel the call and dial the right set of numbers for a new one. She kept telling herself that there was no need to panic, that the lack of the glow was screwing with her biology, yet her sliver of a conscience wouldn't stop rebelling against her thoughts. Some tiny voice in the back of her mind reminded her of just how far she'd gone for that shot of Zydrate not so long ago. Her desperation to feel no pain put her at the mercy of that pale man in the alley, and even though he'd tried to walk away, she had been the one to insist that he take exactly what she offered as payment, and then some. How was it that she hadn't chosen the safer route, and resisted her addiction until she could return with the right sort of money? Why had she been so eager to feel him against her and inside her, even if only as a trade for the drug she desired? What was it about that dealer that got her so worked up in the first place? And most of all, was there a possibility that her strange health had something to do with their little meeting…?

Her answer came not long after she'd slipped into the safety of the back seat, strapped herself in, and opened her purse to tuck the cell phone back inside it. One hand happened to nudge her latest box of birth control pills, something her father had insisted on the day he caught her kissing a stranger at the Charity Ball of 2046. When she pulled the box out and prepared to stick it in a different pocket, she felt her insides instantly turn to ice. The flaps had not been opened.

Oh, no. Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no…

Amber's mind and heart started racing at the same time, and right after she'd shoved the box back into her purse, she ordered the driver to get her to the nearest drugstore for some stomach medicine. She was out of the car and through the automatic doors in a heartbeat, ignoring the curious stares and whispers of the other customers in a frantic search for the right aisle. Once she'd come to the shelf where the pregnancy tests were kept, she turned right around, dropped a one-hundred-dollar bill in front of the cashier, and ran straight back into the limo so that she'd be on her way home before the common folk started gossiping.

There was no telling how long it took for her to get home that day, because it was as though all her thoughts had been suspended until the moment she walked through the mansion doors. Afterwards, she swayed dangerously between panic and fury, shoving a maid and at least two other members of the household staff out of her way so that she could reach the bathroom in peace. Next, when she had locked the door behind her, she read the instructions on the box; took out the home pregnancy test; and followed those instructions to the letter, all while praying to whomever was listening that it all turned out to be a false alarm.

Some time later, after she had turned away and counted down the minutes under her breath, she inhaled slowly and dared to turn back for the results. What she saw felt like an invisible punch to her stomach, for the wind was suddenly knocked out of her. Instead of just one line, there were two, a double symbol of proof that not even she could deny. Amber Sweet was pregnant. Her selfish need for Zydrate had been the cause, and if she valued her sanity, she would now have to avoid that drug until an abortion could be arranged. So, also, would she have to avoid the truth of how this child came to exist—if the public knew of her addiction and its link to GeneCo's endless supply of corpses, the entire company might have its purpose questioned, let alone her own reputation. For those reasons, once she'd done her best to swallow her tears and get a grip on her emotions, she threw the test away and then, after pulling the door open, prepared to head upstairs.

Unfortunately, someone had already witnessed her distress, and that somebody retreated back into the shadows long before she noticed they were there.