Death, Rebirth, and Rechristening

Disclaimer: No, I do not own Repo! Or the characters. I do own Nicki and Arcane. But then. Yeah. I didn't think to ask Terrence fir the rights to it when I saw him last. I was too busy thinking about dragging him under the autograph table…

Right. Moving along!

He was nine years old, plucking the leaves off of the dying plant in their living room. His mother was agitated, enough that he could hear her harsh breathing along with the clunking even through the door to her room. At the time, he had known something was wrong, but not what. His father's departure had been too long ago for it to be about that. And honestly, she hadn't really been upset about that, either.

His mother was not a shrinking violet. She hadn't even flinched that day.

But presently she barreled out of her room, cursing and muttering things like 'laid-off', and 'bankruptcy'. Her eyes snapped to him, and suddenly he realized that 'something wrong' was a vast understatement. Her eyes burned a blazing blue, thick twists of dark hair like ropes flinging around her face.

"Robert."

"Mom?" his tone was childishly sarcastic, and for it he received his father's trench coat to the face. He pulled it off his head, prepared to squawk at her, but the fierce expression stopped him. She shoved him into the coat, even though it was huge, and layered no less than six scarves around his neck. His brows had creased.

It was only early fall.

"You have to run. Tonight." It had clicked then. The Repoman.

"No. We should both run. And you said that-"

"Robert." Her mouth, was a grim, dark line. "Geneco bought the hospital. He…" She swallowed. "it's the third one in as many months, kiddo. And Geneco doesn't trust the original employees. I'm at the end of the line." She had always been frank with him, never lying to preserve him. In that moment, he really wished she would lie. He had cried, his breath shuddering in harsh time with hers.

"But Mom-"

"No buts." She was buttoning the coat, streaks of black racing down her face, He had never seen her cry before, and in this moment, he knew he would never forget this. He would never doubt how much she loved him, with this image of her wrapping him in clothes with her breath rattling out of her chest.

He heard the wail over the speakers, and for a moment it was the only sound. Just over the roar, he heard her speak for the last time.

"The Rutledge Cemetary. Find the one with the gas mask and hooded purple coat. GO. NOW."

He did as asked. The door banged against the house as he bounded out into the city, running through alleys like the little street rat he was. When he was three blocks away, he heard gun shot. One shot. Then several more, almost at leisure.

Repomen did not carry guns. At least, not pistols.

He was out of breath when he reached the cemetery specified. It was eerily quiet, but then that was likely good. He searched, at first finding no sign of anyone. His heart beat faster. What if the graverobber wasn't here? What would he do? How would he pay off his heart?

But suddenly, he had had company. The graverobber crept over the pile of corpses freshly dumped, so stealthily he doubted he would have seen them if they hadn't allowed it. The purple coat gleamed dully in the sparse light, but the figure straightened to a crouch and switched on a light on the heavy-duty gas mask.

The first thing he had noticed was that this was definitely a female. His second thought was that she was ibeautiful/i. But that may have been because she was his only hope. She spoke, her voice smoky and modulated behind the mask.

"You're Nicki's kid, aren't you?" Her fierce green eyes, lit by the light down by the filter, took in his long hair and strong features. He nodded. He head dropped, and she scraped back her hood, revealing a riotous curly Mohawk, mussed and bright red. She raked her nails through it, in obvious despair. They had been friends, he could see. Or was this an aunt? He didn't know. But she was all he had now.

She raised her head, eyes bright. For a moment she looked very young. Nineteen, at most. She looked around at the desolate landscape briefly, sighing. Her voice was very soft for the next question.

"Would you change who you are, if you could?"

"No." He shook his head vehemently. "I don't want more debts." She grinned.

"I didn't mean surgery kid. You're lucky. They did your heart right before the zydrate started pumping." She lowered herself down the hill, standing with feet apart. She was only about a foot taller than him. "No kid. I meant your nature. You're going to have to if you want to pay off that heart fast." He had scowled.

"My name isn't kid. It's Rober-"
"Not anymore, kid." The words had snapped out of her mouth like lightning. He remembered blinking at the vehemence. "You're a graverobber. Or a GraveRobert. Or whatever the hell you want." She leaned so that he was staring into the roaring fire of her eyes. "But you aren't that boy anymore, understand? Living in this city means never letting them know you existed. And they will forget that you did. And then…you can be whatever you want."

He had blinked at her again, but he could feel the words reforming his resolve. He would be reborn now. In order to live.

"Just Graverobber." He murmured, and she nodded.

"I'm Arcane." She grinned, he could see eyes crease. "Let's hope you live up to being the namesake of our profession."

She handed him the needle.

AN: This is a oneshot for now, but if I get any interest I may continue. And Yes, Arcane is in fact 19. No, they will not hook up.