Disclaimer: I don't own Repo! The Genetic Opera.
For once, Graverobber was awake before Shilo-a fact that he quickly took advantage of. He made his way to the kitchen and prepared a glass of water before silently advancing toward Shilo's room at the end of the hall. Grave knocked as softly as he could, and after receiving no answer, pushed the door open gently, as to not disturb the sleeping girl.
Grave set the glass of water on the stand beside the bed, let his eyes drift quickly to the sleeping teen, then crossed the room once more to draw the curtains closed to block out the sunlight that was just barely starting to peek into the room. Having all the necessities covered, Graverobber relaxed in one of the soft, comfortable chairs adorning the room. Sure, it was a little creepy that he was sitting here watching Shilo sleep; however, he knew that as soon as she crept back to consciousness, she would feel like complete shit-and what type of black market drug peddler would he be if he wasn't there to help her through her first hangover?
Grave sat in the chair for quite some time before Shilo began to stir from her sleep. "G'morning, Kid," he said brightly, a slight smirk placed on his lips. He was given a groan in response as Shilo flung her arm up against her eyes, attempting to block out the little bit of light that had found its way into the room. "I brought you some water; it'll help, I promise." Graverobber spoke softly now, knowing how his words were probably killing her head at the moment.
The older man was given a delicate "shhh…" before Shilo groaned once more, deciding it was best not to try to open her eyes for a few more hours; maybe the room would stop spinning by then. The girl's eyes stayed closed, and Graverobber questioned if she had managed to fall back into her own world of unconsciousness.
He reached his hand out tentatively, contemplating whether or not he would disturb Shilo's steady breathing simply by moving his arm. However, after a moment of silent deliberation, his fingers stretched a tiny bit farther, daring to graze the girl's cheek in a gentle stroke. This brought on an unexpected reaction: Shilo hummed softly at the touch. "Hmmm…" Graverobber paused, curious and almost… anxious… to hear and see what Shilo would come up with next. After several more silent moments, her voice broke the space between them once more. "Grave…" she began, taking a deep breath, "thanks… for everything."
A small smile spread against the man's lips. "Sure, no problem, Kid." This seemed to alleviate Shilo even more, a relaxed sigh escaping her lips before readjusting her head on the pillow and slowly drifting back to sleep.
Another smile found its way to Graverobber's face. He really had been smiling a lot lately, probably more than he had in his entire life. Could any other conclusion be drawn besides the one that indicated Shilo as the reason for this change? Did it really matter anyway? Now that he had decided to look after the young girl, did anything other than her happiness matter? Graverobber sighed, deciding that his internal deliberation was pointless after having already resolving to look after Shilo at all costs. Having made this decision, again, Grave relaxed in his chair, surrendering thought to watching the girl before him sleep peacefully.
When Shilo woke back up two hours later, her head was still reeling. Graverobber was still in the chair he had been in earlier, except he had managed to drift unknowingly into a light sleep. Shilo was tempted to chuckle at the sight of him slumped over in the chair, but restrained herself with the fear that her head would explode from the subtle motion and delicate noise. She allowed herself a humored smile before turning to the bed stand that held the glass of water Grave had prepared for her. A frown set itself on her lips as determination flared up in her eyes at the newly presented challenge.
Shilo planted her hands on the sheets beneath her and braced herself for sitting up. The strength seemed to have disappeared from her limbs, but she summoned it back, urging her muscles to remember how to work properly. Sitting up shouldn't be this strenuous of a task! It took a few false starts and unsuccessful attempts, but in less than a minute, Shilo had managed to sit up enough to reach over and grab the glass of water that had been left on the bed stand. She took a few little sips, savoring the cool smoothness of the liquid traveling down her throat.
The teen set the glass down on the wooden table next to her bed with a soft, but audible, clink, which set Graverobber into motion, stretching his limbs and waking back up to the world around him. "Hey, Kid," he mumbled through a sheepish smile, "how are you feeling?"
Shilo considered the question for a moment before giving her answer, "Not too bad, I think. My head hurts like a bitch, though."
This earned her an amused smile from the man in the chair. "Drinking as much as you did last night will do that to a kid-" A stern glare cut him off, pushing him to correct himself before an argument flared up. "-Drinking that much will do that to a person."
Shilo's features relaxed once more at the correction. She didn't hate it when Graverobber called her "Kid;" it was basically just a nickname. However, she did not like the fact that he had just called her a kid. She was practically an adult¾living on her own and everything. Hell, after what she and Grave had done the other morning…how could even still think of her as a kid?
"Grave…" Shilo began timidly, not quite sure how to broach the subject without making things weird or making her head hurt more than it already did. His eyes rose and met her gaze, already questioning what was on her mind.
"Yeah?" he asked, cautious.
"…Well… I just…" She sighed, feeling momentarily defeated. No, I have to do this. If I want to be his equal… With another sigh, this time of determination, she began again. "I wish you wouldn't think of me as a child; I'm not one anymore, and I wish you'd treat me like an adult, especially after we…"
"Ki-Shilo, I don't try to think of you as a kid; hell, I don't even want to think of you as a kid. It just… sort of happens." Shilo gave him a curt look. "What I mean is that… I just feel like I want to protect you or something; you seem so… vulnerable, or something." Graverobber quickly diverted his gaze, feeling the intensity of Shilo's eyes on him, but not daring to look up from the now-interesting glass of water.
"I'm not vulnerable!" she countered at his meekness. "I've been treated like baby for my entire life, and I am finally able to live my life the way I want to; I'm doing perfectly fine without everyone trying to protect me."
Hearing her voice raise, Grave came to the conclusion that if he wanted Shilo to at least consider seeing things from his point of view, he would have to stop fearing her reaction. With a separate flare of determination in his eyes, he resumed his side of the debate, for he refused to let this escalate to an argument. "What's so wrong with people caring about you? What's so wrong with having someone want to protect you? Whether it's needed or not, is it so bad to have someone who loves you enough to try to keep you safe and happy?"
Graverobber hadn't noticed the control in his voice slowly fading, but Shilo had. Without realizing what she was doing, her hand was reaching out, resting itself on Grave's knee. "Grave…?" After a few moments of silence, Shilo tried again. "Grave, are you oka-"
"Sorry, Kid-I mean, Shilo. It's just… I've lived on those streets for… a long time, and believe me, there were times when it would have been nice to have someone, hell, anyone, who wanted to protect me. The closest thing I've had to that is the junkies I sell to, and they only give a shit about me because I supply them with their fix. Believe it or not, but having someone who cares about you and wants to try to protect you from the bad in the world isn't the worst thing ever."
During Grave's proclamation, Shilo found herself lacking the will and desire to disagree. She could hear the strained control in his voice, could see the desolation deep and far away in his dark eyes. This is the closest I've ever been to Graverobber's past; he's never been this… open with me before. Has he been suffering all this time and hiding it from the world? Once again, her body was moving without her brain's knowledge. Shilo moved her hand from his knee to the other where his hand was laying apathetically. She drew his hand into hers, trying to create some sense of reassurance in the gesture.
"Grave…" she spoke softly, "hey, I'm sorry; you're right. I just… it's frustrating sometimes when you want to be equal with someone, deserving of that person, and they still see you as a pathetic, defenseless child."
The man raised his eyes once more, "I never said you were pathetic or defenseless. I don't see you as a child either; you're obviously a woman now. It's just that…some part of… my being tells me to try to shield you from all the shit in the world."
Shilo grinned, her lips pulling slowly into a timid smile. "I'll tell you what, Grave," she whispered, intertwining their fingers and drawing his hand closer to her. "I won't protest you trying to protect me anymore if you let me protect you too." Her smile lit up her eyes as she met his gaze, trying to send every possible message through the single look that everything would be okay, somehow, from now on. I will take away the pain you've felt… someway or another, Grave. You don't have to suffer in silence anymore; I'm here now.
Graverobber felt his lips twitch upward and found himself leaning forward, out of the comfortable chair, to wrap his arms around the girl before him, enveloping her in a tender hug.
"You've got yourself a deal, Kid." Shilo smiled with a sigh of unexpected relief at hearing her old nickname on his lips. "You think you're up for some breakfast yet, or are you still under too much of your hangover's influence?" Shilo could practically hear the amused smirk in his voice.
"My head still hurts, but I think I can manage food now. But, do you really think you are capable of making breakfast? Last time you tried…" she teased.
"I won't burn the toast this time, I promise."
Later that evening, Shilo found herself hidden in the darkness of the city's back alleys. Graverobber had held true to his promise: the promise to let her accompany him on the streets at work. However, he made it quite clear that tonight she would only be observing the exchanges, not actually selling Zydrate.
The two of them had discussedwhat would happen over the only slightly-burnt toast they had for breakfast. After several heated minutes of debate, a compromise was reached. Shilo would be allowed to work alongside Graverobber as soon as possible-that evening-however, for the first couple of nights, she would only watch the exchanges take place, not actually sell the drug.
Grave was still holding meekly onto the hope that Shilo would see first-hand what took place on the dark streets, and would decide that she wanted something better for herself. However, that hope was diminishing more and more with each passing hour.
Already, Shilo had observed two different purchases; from what she could tell, it wasn't that hard. The only thing she'd have to focus on was keeping her face free of emotions while making the exchange. Graverobber had briefed her on some of the little things she'd have to heed, in order to keep her out of as much trouble as possible while working the black market scene.
For Shilo, the evening seemed to pass quickly. She followed Grave loyally in the darkness, watching as he sold Zydrate to at least two dozen different clients. When the consumer had left, Shilo would lean over and ask him a question about the purchase, or about how he handled the particular person; each time, Graverobber would answer honestly, regardless of how unwilling he was to bring Shilo any further into the Zydrate world.
Several hours later, as the night was fusing with morning in the darkness, Shilo's first day selling Zydrate on the streets drew to a close. She had grown tired without even realizing that she was slowly drifting in and out of consciousness against Graverobber's side as they walked. With a wickedly-amused smile, Graverobber stopped walking and let Shilo lean against him, supporting her with his arm.
"I thought you were up for this, Kid? Is it past your bedtime or something?" he teased lightly, sure that she was still awake enough to catch the taunting.
"Shut up," the girl managed to mumble, "long day…" Graverobber grinned again, then shifted his weight and turned toward Shilo. Surprisingly gracefully, he picked her up, holding her like a groom carrying his bride through the threshold of their home. The sudden movement was unexpected for Shilo, causing her to gasp quietly in the man's arms. "Grave…?"
"Shh, Kid. Don't worry, I'll take care of you tonight; get some rest," he comforted quietly. Shilo found herself too tired to protest, and allowed Graverobber to carry her wherever he had planned. She smiled slightly at the thought of trusting him to protect her from anything that tried to frighten or threaten her in the night.
Graverobber carried her to one of the more isolated alleys-one that wouldn't see a lot of bums trying to get their fix or make a living on the street corners. It was the alley that he usually slept in before he had met Shilo and started crashing at Mag's house; it was the alley he still called home when he wasn't at Shilo's place.
As delicately as a feather caressing a soft breeze, Graverobber set Shilo on the cool pavement, leaning her back gently against the brick wall behind her. Grave shrugged off his jacket, kneeling down to wrap it warmly around Shilo's shoulders. He made himself comfortable at her side, wrapping an arm protectively around her shoulders, pulling her to him.
Though Shilo teetered between being awake and asleep, she could distinctly feel the warmth surrounding her. It didn't matter that she could feel the hard ground and wall supporting her; it didn't matter that she was out of the safety of Mag's house; it didn't matter that Luigi and Amber were still probably trying to kill her. None of that mattered now. Shilo could feel hear Graverobber's breathing, feel his heart beat as she leaned into him in comfort. She felt undyingly safe in the man's arms, something she had never expected to feel after seeing her father murdered so brutally.
Shilo smiled as a thought struck her. She thought back to the day she had asked Mag for help, and she had imagined Mag showing her two different images-two different paths. It was hard to believe that it was only a few days ago; it was hard to believe that so much had changed since she had decided the path she wanted to take. The situation she was in currently was so similar to one of the images Mag had 'presented' to her in her mind.
With another smile to herself, Shilo knew she had made the right decision. Sitting here in the dark alley was perfect, because she had a friend, a companion, beside her. There was no possible way she could have been happy by herself in Mag's luxurious house; it was just so empty, despite all of the material belongings it contained. Here, with Graverobber by her side, she would never be alone again, not in society, and not as a human being.
Leaning closer into the protective arms around her, Shilo sighed once more. "Thanks… Grave. For everything…" she mumbled into his warm chest.
As the pale moonlight fell delicately over Shilo's features, Grave discerned her faint smile. With a smile of his own, he leaned down, placing an ethereal kiss against her hair, bring his fingers to play soothingly with her wig's tresses. "Sure, Kid. No problem."
Author's Note: yay! It's finally finished! I'm sorry this chapter took awhile to get finished... I was having a major case of writers block. However, I just had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday (God my mouth hurts like a SOB.) so I've had some free time on my hands-I forced myself to sit down and finish this story.^_^
I really hope you enjoyed "Alone in Society." I might do another Repo story in the future... but probably not for some time; I want to try to dedicate some of my time to a handful of other stories that I'm still working on. I want to say thank you to everyone who has followed this story; I never expected it to have so many readers. You guys are the best! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed as well! I love hearing what everyone thinks-so don't forget to review this final chapter! =D Until next time ~~ ~~