AN: This fic was inspired off of an AU created by Ophelia the Painter (an online artist who has drawn a great deal of fanart for Repo, Devil's Carnival, and AMS). The AU she created is called Sister Sweet and, as the name entails, is a sequel AU where Amber and Shilo develop a sisterly relationship. I've always liked the idea and now I've kind of written a fragment of that story out. So thank you, Ophelia!
Amber Sweet sat in her office, shuffling over more boring, stupid papers. This wasn't what she had expected when she took over GeneCo. She had expected more glamour. Oh, true she'd thrown a few good parties already, but being a leader was harder than she thought. There was so much work and thought involved. Every paper had to be organized in order for every cog in the machinery of GeneCo to run smoothly. What made things harder was the fact that the papers weren't exactly simple agreements with "yes" or "no" replies. Some were long treaties, some were complaints, some were budgeting numbers, some were lists of organ inventory. There was just so much to sift through and so many people to attend. She had meetings and interviews and conferences and speeches almost every hour. It was running her ragged!
But despite the strain of being the most powerful being on Earth, Amber never complained. As tired and mad as she was, she never thought about surrendering GeneCo. Not even once did she imagine quitting. She never canceled or missed a single meeting or interview no matter how much she wanted to. This dedication and determination surprised her. Of course, Amber always knew she was sharper than other people believed, but she never realized she'd be this determined to be a better leader than her father. Her father. That cruel, greedy, selfish man who was never happy with her, yet never denied her a thing. He had made it look so easy. Even when he was complaining to her about all the work he did, there was just something in his genes that screamed that he was a leader. Amber wasn't sure she had that gene but boy did she want it. It would be really useful right now. Her father was almost lucky, he didn't have to clean up all these messes anymore… Amber rubbed her head wearily. Another problem with her current lifestyle was that she was forced to think. This meant she had to stay away from the sweet relief of Zydrate.
A ding echoed Amber's tiny office suddenly and she looked up to see her two guards and a pitiful lump between them. Great, more problems.
"What is this?" Amber half-snapped, half-groaned. Now she understood why Daddy was always so mad when her own guards used to carry her home after she got her hit of the glow. The guards dumped the lump on the floor and the pathetic thing rose up. So it was a human… it was… a girl? And Amber recognized the girl…
"Shilo?" Amber asked. Though Amber had only seen the girl a few times, her face had been plastered everywhere since the Genetic Opera. Amber knew Shilo as the girl who almost stole GeneCo from her. As this memory popped into her head, surprise turned into anger. "Why are you here?!" she snarled.
"I'm-," Shilo broke off, coughing feebly. Blood dripped from her lips as she coughed. Amber cringed slightly at the sight and deduced that the guards must've hurt her somehow.
"Give her a chair and water," Amber ordered the guards. They obeyed silently, one of them shoving Shilo into a chair while the other pulled went to fetch a drink from one of the lower floors. She returned in about a minute and Shilo gasped in relief as she took a sip of the cold drink. Once she had finished every last drop, Shilo finally met Amber's eyes and answered the question Amber had posed to her.
"I'm here because I want to apologize," she said, and Amber's world was turned upside down again.
Amber and Shilo spent the next hour talking and Amber learned a lot from that talk. Contrary to what she had believed, Amber realized that Shilo never meant to take GeneCo, or Rotti's love. Everything Rotti did to Shilo he did of his own choice. Shilo hadn't wanted any of it really. All she had wanted was a chance to see the world. Rotti had used her just the way he used everyone. Amber frowned as Shilo continued to explain how Amber's beliefs about Shilo were all due to misconceptions.
"I know he doted upon me but I swear I wasn't trying to steal him from you. I just figured he was doing it to be nice!" she cried. Amber snorted but she couldn't deny that Shilo had a point. Rotti could be really charming when he wanted to be.
But the most important development between the two girls came at the end of the talk. Just as Shilo had finished explaining the truth behind Rotti's lies and just as Shilo had put the last misunderstanding to rest, Amber got to ask one last question.
"Why did you really come here?" she asked.
"To apologize," Shilo replied.
"No, I mean, why even do that?" Amber corrected.
"I guess it's because I wanted to clean up all the loose ends before I left this place," Shilo murmured.
"Left?" Amber echoed, narrowing her eyes.
"I want to see the world," Shilo explained. "But I wanted to make things right here first."
"So now that you've said all your 'farewell' and 'I'm sorry' you're planning on leaving Sanitarium?" Amber asked. Shilo nodded. Amber mulled over Shilo's words. On the one hand, she was kind of glad Shilo had come in to clear up these misconceptions or else Amber would've always been worried that Shilo would challenge her claim to GeneCo. Rotti's will was still written for Shilo, after all. But at the same time, Amber wished Shilo had stayed far away from her because now Shilo had somehow managed to instill a sense of responsibility in her and Amber felt like she couldn't just let Shilo waltz off into the world on her own.
Great. Since when did I start getting a conscience? Amber asked herself. But as she watched Shilo stagger awkwardly over to the office elevator, Amber bit her lip and then asked one last question.
"You won't make it very far on your own. Do you want my help, or not?"
From then on, Shilo and Amber were friends. At least in private. To the public, they were in something like an alliance wherein Shilo had promised never to try and make a claim on GeneCo while Amber promised to leave Shilo be in return. When the cameras were off and the curtains were closed, however, Amber and Shilo were far friendlier than that, surprisingly enough. After Amber offered to help Shilo achieve her dreams of traveling the world, though Shilo had initially been wary of such an offer, an unlikely friendship bloomed between the two. It started with Shilo asking why Amber was helping and ended with both of them realizing how similar they were. True, their lives had gone in very different directions but both of them were lost, lonely little girls with a missing mother and severe Daddy issues. Both of them understood the desire for something beyond the world they knew and both of them understood the devastating effect the Genetic Opera had left on them. Because of these mutual experiences, the pair got along quite well and, in time, they grew friendly.
Amber found Shilo surprisingly enjoyable and Shilo, in relief, was more than willing to give Amber another chance. This mutual desperation for a companion was part of what made their alliance possible. Amber, as promised, funded Shilo's trips around the world while Shilo began to work with Amber, helping her run the world since Luigi and Pavi weren't exactly the best people to go to. Pavi still thought mostly with his other head while Luigi's mental instability had rendered him forever ineligible for a true position of leadership. If he wasn't busy stabbing the life out some poor soul, he was busy screaming and crying in his room like a child. Shilo had actually proven quite adept, not because she was experienced but because she was empathetic. Nice guys might've finished last but that didn't mean they weren't a good help to those around them. So the unlikely friendship between Shilo and Amber continued to grow.
"How're you doing, Shilo?" Amber asked Shilo over a FaceTime chat one night. Shilo had been exploring China for the past few days and was set to be back tomorrow for Amber's birthday.
"I'm doing well, Amber," Shilo grinned. She saw the warmth behind Amber's serious visage. "And don't worry, I know when I'm supposed to be back. I could never forget your birthday!"
"Good," Amber sounded relieved. "I will see you tomorrow evening."
"Yes you will," Shilo agreed. Then Shilo ended the call. The moment the screen went black, Amber's face lit up. A smile lit up her face, it was a face she hadn't changed in almost three months thanks to Shilo. Amber hated to admit it, but the kid really had grown on her and the thought of seeing Shilo again, on her birthday no less, was actually really exciting.
Unfortunately, things didn't go entirely as planned.
"Where is Shilo?!" Amber hissed the next night. She was hosting a ball for her birthday and as she and her brothers roamed the dance floor, none of them could find the young woman anywhere. The bouncer had not seen her either, even showing them his list of names to prove that Shilo had not checked into GeneCo yet.
"Perhaps she-a forgot!" an Italian-accented voice cried. Amber turned to see her Pavi slide up. He too had become affectionate with Shilo, but Amber sometimes wondered if the affection wasn't laced with lust. For that reason, Amber tried to minimize Pavi's time with Shilo.
"That's fucking stupid! She'll be in soon. She's never let us down," another male approached. It was Amber's oldest brother, Luigi. Luigi's relation with Shilo was the same as Pavi's. In this moment, though, Amber was agreeing with Luigi. Shilo never forgot things like this.
"Let's just keep looking!" the young woman snapped impatiently, then she and her brothers continued to scout the dance floor.
Hours later, Amber's birthday ball had ended and Shilo still hadn't arrived.
"What did I-a tell-a you?" Pavi lilted.
"Pavi, shut the fuck up!" Luigi snarled, tackling Pavi. Amber watched them roll around on the floor for a moment before scoffing at them, too hurt to chastise them.
"I'm going to bed," she hissed and that was the last her brawling brothers saw of her that night.
Amber walked out of the opera house and back towards the GeneCo building, rage and hurt coursing through her body in equal measure. She was genuinely pissed off and offended that Shilo had forgotten her birthday but, at the same time, there was a pain in her chest. Had Shilo really forgotten? Or was she just trying to get out of it? Was it something Amber had said or done? Or did she really mean so little to Shilo that her birthday was just another calendar day to Shilo?
Amber had just reached her room when she received her answer.
"Happy birthday!" a voice shouted. After she recovered from her heart attack, Amber realized who it was. Shilo was sitting on Amber's bed with a cheeky grin.
"Shilo? Where were you?!" Amber snarled, irked at Shilo's immature actions.
"In your bedroom the whole time," came the snarky reply.
"Why?" Amber growled.
"You said I had to be here this evening but you technically never said I had to be at the party," Shilo smirked. She was the only one who got away with talking to Amber like that.
"You bitch!" was all Amber could say in reply.
"I hate parties," Shilo shrugged, but then her face became serious. "I really am sorry for letting you down but I'm not lying when I say that large parties give me anxiety. I'm still not used to being part of a crowd. Sure, I'm used to being in and observing them, but I'm not used to being at the center of it all and if I were to attend a party for you, you know the tabloids would be going nuts for the next three months," Shilo added and despite her anger, Amber had to admit that Shilo was right. The girl did have anxiety issues and the press would try to stir up some inventive story about why the ex-heir to GeneCo was attending the birthday part of the current heir to GeneCo. Perhaps Shilo skipping out on the party was a wise choice in the long run.
"I guess I understand," Amber finally admitted, albeit grudgingly.
"I got this for you to make up for it," Shilo offered, pulling a necklace that looked distinctly Asian from her pocket. "During my travels, I never forgot you, you know?" she asked as she handed the pretty little thing over to Amber. Amber took the necklace and started down at it, scowl finally softening. Amber really hated Shilo. That girl knew just how to melt her heart.
"Happy birthday," Shilo whispered again as she embraced Amber.
"Thank you," Amber whispered in reply, daring to return the hug. It was an unlikely friendship but it was a friendship nonetheless.
AN: As unrealistic an AU-ish as this is, I really do like the idea of Amber and Shilo becoming friends just because of how eerily similar they are. You know, both are daughters abused by their fathers and both just want to be happy and free but are living in a society that makes this goal pretty much impossible and both spend their days surrounded by reminders of how flawed they are. Once again, though, I'm giving a huge thanks to Ophelia for inspiring this and being the awesome and talented person that she is.