AN: Hello, everyone! Hope you're doing good. I'm glad you all seemed to like the last chapter, even if it was a bit... well. Not overly pleasant in places haha. Poor old Shilo. I'm also sorry that this chapter took me a wee while to get out. I've just been kind of lazy recently and I wrote this in a really weird order (I wrote the beginning and then a bit near the end and yeah it was just strange.) So hopefully it will still be fluent. Also, please excuse any typos because some of this was just typed out after I wrote it down in a notebook and typing shit out is really boring. I know there were a couple of mistakes in the last chapter, but about half of it was typed up after I wrote it down first. I have to admit that I'm not the best typist, especially when I'm getting really into something. My fingers get overexcited, I guess. I should also warn you that at one point you will simply see an x in between two paragraphs which refers to a point of view switch in the middle of a flashback. Just to clear that up. Well, enjoy the chapter! This one is not quite as horrible as the last, but I have some plans for the next one that are... yeah. ): We'll just have to see. Let me know what you guys think of this one, anyway! I love all your reviews. And I promise to try and get the next one out a little faster.
PS: I am glad I was not the only one with a cringy childhood, haha!

Warnings: Language and sex references.

Shilo was cold. When he was through with her, she was left abandoned, lying in the middle of the bed where Pavi had taken her for the next round, and the next, while he went to clean up. She could hear the water running and the distant scent of his over-priced cologne slowly made its way to her.

She didn't know how to feel. Disgusted? Angry? ...Satisfied? The very idea sent a shudder through her. No. For now she merely felt numb, and cold. So cold. She would be lying if she said there had been no enjoyment in it for her; Pavi was skilled and very experienced, there was no denying that. But she hated the way his stolen lips had touched her, the way his tongue probed at her, the way his hands explored her as though he owned her. She didn't know how to feel.

And then, quite suddenly, the water stopped running. She listened closely, heard a soft shuffling, and then he stepped out, fully dressed with his hair in order. He paused in the doorway and observed her as an artist who is admiring his work might. With a twisted smirk, he approached the bed and cast long fingers covetously through her hair, brushing them over the curve of her cheek. Those awful, dead lips fluttered with deliberate grace and delicacy over her brow bone as his arm wound around her slender waist to pull her closer and even the smell of his soap and the fabric of his clothes made her want to retch. Her breath shook.

"Get-a cleaned up and-a dressed, cara mia. We-a have an appointment with-a my sister in half an hour."

xXx

It was miraculous, really, that she managed to scrub the blood (and other substances) from her skin and get herself dressed without either vomiting or dissolving into hysterics, both of which she was on the verge of. She didn't know what sort of sick little romance Pavi was playing out, but she knew that she didn't want any part in it as he brought her to Geneco's main office, holding her close to his side.

She was still shaken and could barely stand to be beneath his arm without cringing. She wished more than anything to squeeze her eyes shut and pretend that none of it had happened, to pretend that daddy wasn't dead, that he hadn't been lying to her, that Blind Mag was still her idol, that Rotti Largo was still the power of the world looming over them all, that she didn't know the dirty little secrets of Geneco and still watched the Largos parade on her television screen as though they were merely characters from her imagination, as though they did not exist in real life. Of course they were very much real. She stole a miniscule glance at the middle Largo, who seemed rather pleased with himself.

The man must have felt her eyes on him, as he looked down at her, stolen lips pulling into a little smirk.

"I think that-a you and I will-a be getting to-a know each other very well in-a the future, bella," he crooned and she felt her stomach tie in knots again. Perhaps one day she would question him on his motives, on why he was doing what he was to her, on what exactly his plan entailed. But for now she would accept being kept in the dark. She couldn't bring herself to find out any more.

xXx

"Genecruises."

Amber Sweet's manicured hand slammed down on the desk rather vigorously. Trapped beneath it was a poster for the aforementioned idea, which Luigi quickly snatched up to inspect with a scrupulous eye. The young CEO sank back in her high-backed chair, her hair presently black and piled at the back of her head in a bun, a few loose strands escaping to frame her recently narrowed face. Genetically enhanced, purple eyes regarded her older brother as he stood beside her desk, reading over the poster silently. Her other sibling sat perched in his favourite armchair, though today with the new addition of the little Wallace girl sat squirming slightly in his lap.

Miss Sweet was no fool. She could see when her brother had gotten what he wanted, and this was one of those occasions. He was notably more relaxed than he had been the last time they had spoken and one long-fingered hand absently stroked the hip of the girl that he had pulled into his lap whilst the other held his usual hand mirror, tilting it this way and that to see his new face from every angle. She had almost snapped out a rather snide remark about the office having more than enough seats for his little lapdog, but the girl looked as though she were about to pass out as it was and Amber was feeling particularly merciful today. She wouldn't bring the little runt into the conversation unless it was necessary. Instead, she merely looked on in distaste as her perverted older brother inclined his head just a little to nip at the girl's ear and neck, brushing kisses along her flesh whilst she bit down on her lower lip, apparently to avoid voicing her obvious discomfort. As his mouth latched on a little more firmly in what was sure to result in a rather prominent bruise, the girl gave a sharp jolt and an almost inaudible whimper, the sudden movement causing Paviche to emit a soft growl, his hand tightening on her hip. With a roll of her eyes, Amber finally saw fit to intervene.

"Get a room, Pavi, neither of us want to see you drooling all over your latest little catch."

His eyes flickered up to look at her and he gave a soft chuckle against the back of the girl's neck. Amber felt a disgust she could not quite place well up inside of her and she wasn't sure the cause of it. Generally, the sight of her brother being tended to by a woman would not have such an effect on her. Perhaps it was the girl's obvious distaste for his actions. Or perhaps it was because she looked so very young, even taking into consideration the fact that her eighteenth birthday had fallen the day after the fateful opera (something that Amber had discovered when looking through her father's paperwork – suddenly Geneco's previous CEO's thinking made all too much sense to her.) When she was younger, she often found herself having to push her brother's probing fingers away from her face, even as an adult she would find herself drawing back from him in disgust. She knew the sort of man her brother was, the sort of man he had always been, even before his 'accident.'

"Forgive-a me, sister. I-a simply cannot-a control myself," he grinned, the hand on the girl's waist sliding up and down slowly.

"You can wait five minutes," she bit back with a sneer.

"Genecruises, huh?" Luigi mused, disregarding the current topic. "The fuck is this?"

At this, Amber righted herself, leaning over her desk on her forearms to address her little 'audience.' "A new business proposition. Cruises to Italy and back. Of course, surgery will be offered on board. Think of it like a holiday package."

The eldest Largo paused for a moment, considering. "I like it."

"Good, because I'm already working on restoring some of the ships I want to use," the CEO smirked.

"Thanks for fucking letting us know, slut."

"I don't have to let you know all my plans for the business, you know. I'm in charge."

"Yeah, and everyone's just waiting for you to run the fucking place to the ground so that I can take over."

"Not gonna happen."

"Well, we'll just see about tha-"

"Ah, brother, sister," their sibling sing-songed from his perch in the armchair. He received twin glares. "Please. Mia bella and I would-a like to-a retire to our rooms quickly. Let's-a make this quick, si?"

Amber continued to glare, but spoke nonetheless. "As I was saying," she sneered, long, claw-like fingernails tapping on the desk in agitation, "I'm already working on restoring the ships. The first is already finished and we'll be on the first cruise to promote it. We're leaving the day after tomorrow, so get fucking packing, alright?"

xXx

As per usual, any public appearance involving Shilo meant that she was to act the part of Geneco's pretty little baby doll. Her outfit was chosen by Amber – a little black 60's-inspired dress complete with a small white jacket which boasted an elegant black trim. The morning they were due to leave, she tied the long, black hair of her wig up into a simple ponytail and set small, black studs into her ears (a present that Pavi had given her when she woke up that morning. She wondered if he could sense her hostility, if he knew that she was upset. Even so, he did not hold back on touching her freely, so perhaps not.)

They arrived at the port without much hassle (Shilo had been sure to stay as far away from Luigi as possible in the limousine and Pavi had been all too happy that this meant she was pressed to his side) and presently stood on the ramp of the ship whilst the press gathered at the bottom, snapping pictures and throwing questions at them, many of them directed at Shilo, but she was cut off by Amber who still insisted that she would not yet take any questions. Shilo absently wondered when she would be expected to attend interviews and the like. Perhaps Amber was holding back until this supposed new surgery range... Shilo shuddered to think about it. Perhaps her line would cause more unnecessary repossessions. She distracted herself by the way the murky water lapped at the sides of the boat, how Pavi would tug her smugly just a little closer to himself when questions were tossed at him about her (were they an item? Were his GENterns jealous? What about the age gap? Shilo, Shilo, is it true? Are you and Pavi an item? Kiss her for us! Give him a kiss! Look this way, look that way, over here!)

Eventually, Amber lifted her hand for silence and the happy little 'family' made their way onto the ship whilst the crowd of other passengers screamed and made a fuss to see their favourite celebrities again (Shilo heard that people had been mugged for their tickets, even third class. Everyone wanted to be on the premier journey.) They were greeted by the captain, a clean-cut, clean-shaven man with greying hair and lines on his face, handed the keys to their suites and guided up the stairs by GENterns. As expected, the ship's interior was lavishly decorated and their suite was even more so (Shilo's heart had sunk just a little when it was revealed that she would share a room with Pavi.)

When the fuss was over and everyone had cleared out, Pavi turned to her with a jester's grin and gently tugged the tie from her hair, allowing it to come loose. One hand ran covetously down the side of her face, catching her chin and tugging it upwards.

"Why don't-a we... make ourselves at home, bella?"

xXx

Three days later, Shilo made her way down to the lower decks, feeling rather shaky. It had been good luck on her part that Pavi had been taking so long in the bathroom – it had been enough time to clean herself up with a discarded towel, dress, and leave the room to clear her head. Unfortunately, the ship was bombarded with falsely smiling scalpel sluts, who were eager to acquaint themselves with Geneco's newest celebrity. It was a foolish idea to approach the ship's main deck, as it was a cesspit of fake and shrill voices. Not now, not when she was feeling like this. And so she decided that a trip down to the lower classes would most likely be a better idea, although the lower ship could grow a little stuffy at times, or so she had been told. Perhaps it was foolish on her part, considering her newly found fame, to venture down below where the necromerchants and their customers lay in wait. However, her... romps with the middle Largo son often left her wishing for a time that one of them would choose to strike, to end her slavery. She chided herself mentally for thinking so negatively – those in third class were not necessarily bad people. At least they had paid for their tickets and it was general knowledge that anything supplied by Geneco would not be cheap. Perhaps if she had been a healthy girl and part of a normal family she herself would have taken up lodgings in second class... Of course, she was not part of a normal family and such a thing as a holiday was unheard of at the Wallace residence.

The ship gave a light rock beneath her as she climbed down the stairs. Her head had already been swimming and the gentle sway had done nothing to help her balance. She stumbled a little, falling slightly against the wall, thankful that she appeared to be steady enough to keep herself from tumbling down the stairs altogether. As she descended into the lower area of the ship, she hesitated by the corridor which she knew would lead her down to third class. Perhaps not today. Instead, she kept going, climbing into the bottom of the ship where she could feel the jolting hum of the engines beneath her feet. Although the ship itself seemed to have come from a hundred years ago or so, the Largos took great pride in the development of the large electric engines which kept the ship powered. Perhaps if she had been in a slightly more optimistic mood she could have taken the time to appreciate them.

She had now reached the storage area at the base of the ship, where large trunks and crates were piled high and sleek cars were parked awaiting arrival at their next destination. The area was large, a little dingy considering the fact that the only illumination came from the lamps which were dotted here and there. However, it was thankfully peaceful and, for the present time, held a little comfort to Shilo in its vast emptiness. Making her way down the stairs into the large facility and further into the maze of possessions, she came to a halt somewhere she thought might be the middle, considering the distance she was from the large balcony that she had previously been standing on, looking out over the area – she could see it when she glanced up. She perched on top of a beneficially located crate, her back pressed up against the door of a smooth, black car. Drawing her knees up tightly to her chest, Shilo sat in silence. And then the tears came. Thick and fast, the saltiness of the tears made their spidery trails down her face with each sob she choked out. Clutching her knees to her chest, small shoulders shaking, she took advantage of the luxury of weeping – something that had not been allowed to her in longer than she could bear. If she cried after her nights with Pavi, he would grow angry and a crazed, maddened look would seep into his piercing eyes as he loomed over her, questioning her – she loved him, didn't she? He was good to her, wasn't he? Of course she did. Of course he was. Everyone loved him and any woman would jump at the chance to be in her position, he would remind her as one cold, slender hand would lock onto her jaw, forcing her to look at him. And her sobs would quieten in fear until she learned that it was better not to cry at all. To pretend that yes, she enjoyed this sick relationship. Yes, she was happy when he swept her off to bed. Yes, she loved him. He would never proclaim his love to her, of course. That simply wasn't Pavi Largo's style. Pavi Largo did not commit. She doubted that he still had the ability to love anyway – he didn't know what love was.

Soon the tears dried, leaving the uncomfortable stickiness of salt on her cheeks and her sobs weakened to light hiccups and sniffles. She closed her eyes, forehead pressed to her knees and took deep breaths in an attempt to steady herself. He would be looking for her, she knew that. But she wasn't ready yet, couldn't go back to him like this, couldn't stand his prying fingers wiping at the reddened spots beneath her eyes as he cooed mockingly to her, asked her what the matter was, if he should help... take her mind off things. Oh God, no, she couldn't go back yet. She tossed a couple of pills to the back of her throat, before reassuming the positioning of her head on her knees, allowing her eyes slide closed and enjoying the rare peace and quiet. Of course, that had been until...

"Uh... Kid?"

She had known who it was instantly, but even so she lifted her head and allowed her eyes to take in the stark white face, the tattered fur coat, the brightly coloured hair. "You again," she stated rather flatly.

Graverobber held out both arms, as though graciously accepting applause, and hopped with ease over a trunk in his way, moving over to sit beside her on the trunk, one arm extending behind her to rest languidly against the door of the car. He studied her closely as though on a trip to the museum whilst she kept her gaze locked forward. Giving a slight squint, he spoke at last in the usual, deep baritone. "You been crying, princess?"

She glanced up at him for a second, before giving a light sigh and wiping hastily at her eyes with her sleeve. "Uh-huh."

"What happened?"

"It's... It's not really that important." Now she made an effort not to look at him, instead fixing her gaze on the floor, angled away from him a little.

"Life with the Largos not all it cracked up to be, huh? Can't say I expected it to be all fine and dandy. Not really. Everyone knows they're a bunch of crazy fucks, Kid."

"You could get killed for saying that, you know."

"You won't tell."

"No. I won't." Of course she wouldn't. She was far too lonely to risk endangering the life of her only... acquaintance. "Why do you keep following me around?"

A smirk lined black-painted lips and a flash of wolfish teeth were barely visible. "Who says I'm following you, sweetheart?"

And that embarrassed her for some reason and she felt a faint warmth beneath her cheeks. "I don't know. I guess I just... I just assumed."

"You know what they say about 'assume,' darling – makes an ass out of 'u' and 'me.'" He chuckled a little, tucking one finger beneath her chin for a brief second teasingly. "No need to be bashful, now."

Shilo stood up stiffly, almost mechanically, and stepped back a pace or two. "Don't play games."

"I'm not playing. I'm just curious, is all."

"Curious about what?" Her arms crept around her own torso, holding it firmly for comfort.

"Curious as to why Geneco's little princess is sitting down here all alone crying her eyes out." He raised a brow. "Shouldn't you be up a few levels, sipping champagne and eating artificially produced caviar?" he murmured. She narrowed her eyes in response, frustration welling inside her.

"Sometimes I just want to be left alone," she countered a little testily. Yes, she had been quite comfortable all alone in the quiet before the notorious Graverobber had decided to make an appearance. "Anyway, why are you here?"

"What're you saying? A graverobber can't enjoy a holiday like the rest of the world?" He glanced up at her in mocking offense. And then he sniggered. "Thought I'd see what this cruise business is about." He shrugged. "Besides, I had a suspicion that you'd be here. Can't miss an opportunity to see my favourite girl, can I?" He flashed her a roguish grin and that made her heart stutter for just a second even though she had just taken her medication, but she rolled her eyes nonetheless.

"Sure. I'm guessing you didn't pay to get here."

"Why pay when you can get a free fist class ride down here?" Once again, he spread his arms to gesture the space around him.

"They'll kill you if they find out that you stowed away on here."

"But you won't tell," he repeated. She shook her head. No, I won't. "Besides, I doubt Amber Sweet wants her favourite source wiped out."

At that, Shilo gave a curious little tilt of her head, hesitantly taking her seat on the crate beside him again. "She has all the zydrate in the world now. Why does she still need to see you?"

"Ah, ah, ah," the Graverobber chided gently, tapping the tip of her nose with a fingertip, to which she scrunched up her nose and pulled back a little. "The zydrate that your new family" don't call them that "deal in and my produce are very different. You can't beat street-grade shit, Kid."

"Well... what's the difference?"

"My zydrate is pure. Hasn't been filtered, watered down, nothing. Just the good old glow," he purred. "Why? You wanna try some, princess?" He leaned in closer to her and that was enough to set the alarm bells ringing in her mind – she had seen that look in Pavi Largo's eyes too many times. She propped one hand against his shoulder and gave him a weak shove backwards – too weak to really make him move, but he must have decided to humour her, as he scooted away anyway.

"No. I don't want to end up like those... addicts. It's... It's gross."

He grinned. "Ain't nothing gross about it, angel. It pays pretty damn good. Sometimes not good enough, though," he concluded in a grumble. Shilo gave a little smile at that and for just a moment it seemed that some great weight had been lifted from her chest. Right now she was safe and Pavi would never look for her down here and she had a little company to keep her mind off things.

She gave a little chuckle. "I can see that. When was the last time you had a shower, anyway?"

The graverobber shot her a little glare. "Ha ha, very funny. Just a couple of days ago, as a matter of fact."

"Ew."

"You do what you can to get by."

"I would offer you a shower in our bathroom, but I kind of want to keep my face," she joked, though there wasn't much humour behind it. It was true that she would be in deep trouble if Pavi found a strange man in their shared accommodation. Perhaps not as much trouble as Graverobber would be in, but even so she did not feel like risking it.

"Our?" he repeated with a raised brow. "He doesn't even let you have your own room? Geez."

Shilo quite suddenly took a deep interest in her knees and the movements of her fingers as they fidgeted in her lap. She gave a short shake of her head. "No. I've shared his room since I started living with them."

"Christ, Kid, that freak really has you on a tight leash."

Perhaps on any other day under any condition, she would have shoved the man beside her, batted at his arm, told him not to call her supposed benefactor a freak. He was just a confused, lonely man – that was all. But not today. Today she mulled over the word that had been tossed casually into the conversation and realised that it fit Paviche Largo perfectly. Yes, he was a freak. He skinned women and wore their faces as though they were animals. He treated Shilo as though she was his doll. She expected everything from her and gave nothing in return. Even his voice was false. Truly, he was not a person at all. He merely took the form of one, if that.

"I guess so."

"Oh, Miss Wallace!" At that horribly shrill voice, Shilo could have sworn that her heart dropped right out of her chest and into her stomach. No, no, no, no. She glanced up and sure enough, there was one of Pavi's favourite GENterns on the balcony, staring in surprise at them (she could see baby blue eyes widening beneath the generic red facemask and oh, just go away, would you?) She glanced over at Graverobber, expecting to see him go diving for cover before he was seen, but instead he merely gazed up at the young woman with a smirk curling his lips. "G-Graves..."

"Hey, Ashlynn."

The woman's cherry red lips trembled a little as she grasped for the right words to say. "You shouldn't be here, Graves," she settled on, a little weakly.

"So what, baby?" he called back. "Haven't seen you around for a while. It's been awful lonely, you know?"

"I'm... I'm trying to cut back." Shilo could see the muscles in her throat working as she swallowed nervously.

Graverobber clucked his tongue. "You and I both know you'll never manage it. How about you meet me down here later? I'll even give you a discount – call it a welcome back present." A hint of desperation seeped into the GENterns eyes and she glanced over at Shilo. She could see the woman's hands shake as they rested on the banister.

"Miss Wallace, Mr Largo is looking for you. You'll be late for dinner."

Shilo nibbled lightly on her lower lip for a moment, gathering up any shreds of courage she had left, before turning to the notorious necromerchant by her side. "I had better go."

"Sure, princess," the man responded with a grin. "Don't be a stranger, though. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on-"

"I'll be sure to avoid storage."

He chuckled, evidently not wounded, and lounged back on his throne of objects. "I'm here all week." She gave a roll of her eyes, before making her way over to the stairs and climbing up to join the GENtern.

"Oh, and Ashlynn?" The young woman turned back for a moment to regard the drug dealer. "Don't forget about me, now." A roguish wink. The GENtern didn't respond, but Shilo could see that she was evidently shaken – she had a feeling that Graverobber would be receiving a little company later that night when the woman's employers were preoccupied at dinner.

There was a tense silence as they made their way back up to first class, separated only by the GENtern's heels tapping on the floors. That was until she saw fit to break it. "Please don't tell Mr Largo about this."

Shilo almost halted, but she forced herself to keep walking and glanced up at the woman by her side. This could just work to her advantage. "I won't, if you don't tell him that I was down there. If he asks you, I was up on deck the whole time. He doesn't like going up there – he says it messes up his hair." For a moment, the GENtern looked like she wanted to say something in response, but she remained silent. Shilo wondered whether perhaps she was jealous. Well, you can have him. I don't want anything to do with that... that freak.

xXx

The scene was almost nauseatingly domestic if one considered what Shilo's ultimate fate was to be.

Two and a half weeks after Pavi had plucked her from her previous cage, Shilo sat contentedly beside him on the sofa, cross-legged with a large book resting atop her lap. He sprawled languidly next to her, one arm resting along the bend of the arm of the sofa whilst the other stretched out just behind her head, sea blue eyes focused in mild interest on the glare of the television screen. They sat in silence, each keeping to themselves. At one point, Pavi saw fit to make himself more comfortable and brought one leg up to rest the ankle on the corresponding knee. Usually, Shilo would not have given a second thought to the seemingly innocent action, until she realised that it meant that his crooked knee rested gently against hers. This constant contact made her a little uncomfortable, however, she decided not to move her own leg lest he become offended (better not upset him he's been ever so good to me I judged him too soon when I saw his interviews on the television he's been nice) and sent him a small glance.

When her large brown eyes did come to rest upon the face which was not his own, she noticed that his own eyes were narrowed and he squinted just a little in order to read the writing on the screen. She focused her gaze back to her book, but parted her lips to speak.

"Do you need eye surgery?"

He turned his head a little to look at her, raising one eyebrow in surprise. "Hm? What-a makes you say that, bella?"

Still, she did not look up from her book, too enrapt in studying the wingspan of the dragonfly on her page. "You were squinting at the TV just now. I saw it."

The masked man gave a light snort. "I am-a not that old yet."

"Eye surgery doesn't mean you're old. It just means your eyes don't work so well anymore."

She could not see him smirking, but she heard it in the heavily accented falsetto of his voice. "Same thing, no?"

"No. That man off the TV had his eyes fixed not so long ago. He was talking about it."

"Enlighten me, cara mia."

"That man who reads the news. He interviewed you last week."

"The-a old one, you-a mean?"

"No, no, the other one. He's probably about your age." With this, she did look up from her book in exasperation, only to see him eyeing her in interest. "You know. The one with the hair. It looks a bit like candyfloss."

"Ah." Recognition dawned on his features at last and he gave a small smile. "Si, I know now. Still." He turned his attention back to the television screen with a deep sigh. "I would-a rather not undergo surgery."

"Why not?" She was inquisitive now, perched beside him on her knees, eyes blinking owlishly up at him.

He chuckled softly, drumming his fingertips on the arm of the sofa. "We all have our-a secrets, tesora."

She drew back a little at his flat refusal, shoulders sinking just slightly in disappointment. "I'd just rather you were able to see where you were going."

x

As Shilo turned back to her book, the masked Italian stole one last glance at her, all frail limbs and long, dark hair and large eyes and in that moment he made up his mind.

The next day, Pavi Largo received the first minor surgery he had undergone in around five years to cure his near sightedness. With clammy palms and shaking breaths he had returned to the operating theatre, his fingernails digging into his hands as he was administered zydrate for the first time since he had lost everything he was; since he had lost all grip of himself.

Considering the short distance of all destinations in the towers, he was able to return to his rooms after only an hour or two recovering in one of the private rooms reserved for Geneco customers and walked through the door assisted by a GENtern with his eyes bandaged, though he had insisted that his 'mask' be replaced before returning to his rooms – Shilo was not quite ready for the little surprise of what his true face looked like. He wished he could see Shilo's reaction when he returned, but it was enough to feel her small, soft hand clasp his as he dismissed the GENtern and her hushed voice insisting that he rest, that she would take of everything and it had been a perfect opportunity to allow his hand to brush the side of her face as though ensuring she was truly there. He was hastily directed to a nearby armchair, a glass of water pressed into his hand and Shilo had acted the perfect little nursemaid (he wondered if this was perhaps her way of "repaying" his supposedly gallant action of sparing her life) and had asked him more than once if there was anything she could do to help him.

That night the bandages came off and Pavi Largo was as good as new, no longer having to strain his eyes to see the television screen, or anything else for that matter. Perhaps the surgery had been worth it after all if he could allow his eyes to take in Shilo's pretty face, her large eyes and sweet, little smile in more clarity. That night, he bedded three GENterns, stealing the face of one who particularly caught his eye. His mind was fixed on the smoothness of Shilo's hand against his own, the curve of her cheek beneath his fingertips. He had retreated to his bedroom when he was through with the little puppets under his family's employment, still smelling of sex with his hair rumpled. For a little while he had stared at the gentle slope of her neck and shoulders beneath her nightdress, how she breathed evenly, and had simply inhaled her scent. At times, he was unsure whether it was her in herself he lusted after, or her doll-like face. But then his mind directed him back to the memories of the way her eyes shone when she laughed, the smooth legs beneath dresses and skirts that were shorter than she would prefer, her timid voice hushing him in the dead of the night when no-one else gave a damn. He reached the conclusion each time that it was her he wanted, that he would have her no matter what the price. Because Pavi Largo always got what he wanted. After all, no-one said 'no' to the Pavi.