Chapter twp is here and my god it took longer than I wanted it to! I literally rewrote the first section of the chapter about half a dozen times before finally coming up with this end result that I'm happy with!
Welp, enough of me complaining! Enjoy the second chapter!
(And yes, the chapter's name IS a reference to an HTF episode.)
X X X
Shifty was dead.
. . .
Then why did everything hurt so much? Why could he still feel his faint heartbeat and pain as something squeezed his head? He figured out he was not in fact dead when he opened his eyes and found himself staring up at a ceiling he didn't recognize. Shifty frowned and sat up, looking at these strange and unfamiliar surroundings. The furnishings were simple: a small couch, coffee table, and a few armchairs. The walls were painted a light blue and the whole room smelled of Pine-Sol and lemon, so much so that it was almost suffocatingly clean. He reached up to scratch his ear only to stop when he felt a bandage wrapped around it.
"It's a good thing you're a terrible shot."
Shifty whipped his head behind him and saw Petunia had entered the room. Now he was even more confused, his frown deepening as he spoke to the blue-haired girl.
"How'd I get here? Ain't I supposed to be dead?"
Petunia didn't answer at first, instead walking to him and standing beside the couch before answering his question.
"You were completely wasted, missed your shot and just ended up grazing your ear with the bullet before Lifty tackled you. Guess he knocked you out or something."
That explains the bandage covering his ear. . .
"But why am I here? In your house? If I got shot, shouldn't I be in a hospital or something?"
"You were. For a few days," Petunia gave a sheepish smile.
Shifty's eyes grew as he caught that, "A few what?! How long have I been out?"
"A week? I think, maybe five days."
"Fuckin' hell. But. . .wait you didn't answer my first question," the frown returned as he rubbed his chin, "Why am I here?"
"After your condition was better, we brought you here since we obviously couldn't just dump in you back at that rundown shack you call a house."
"It ain't that bad, "Shifty grumbled, unpleased at hearing this neat freak insult his. . .admittingly rundown abode.
"It is. Anyway! Flaky had no room at her house with Lifty and her already being there, and they were kinda panicking so I said I'd house you for a bit until you woke up."
"Well, I'm all better! So if you don't mind," Shifty rose from the couch and pushed past the girl as he walked down a hallway before finding his way towards the front door. His hand barely grazed the doorknob before he heard the sound of footsteps thumping down the hall followed by Petunia's voice.
"Wait, you can't leave yet."
"And why's that?" Shifty crossed his arms and leaned against the door, giving the girl a bored blank face, "You said you're keeping me until I'm better and," Shifty ripped the bandage off of his ear, revealing his ear which was missing a small chunk, but no longer bleeding, "I'm gonna be fine."
Petunia winced at seeing the man's wounded ear but shook away the feelings of disgust as she retorted, "But I have to help you. I promised Flaky and your brother."
"You're gonna. . .help me?"
"Like Flaky did with Lifty. I'll help you right your wrongs, become a better person, and then the town'll love you! Like your brother."
Shifty opened his mouth to protest. He didn't need anyone's help, especially not from someone like Petunia. But he stopped himself as an idea popped up in his head. If he played his card right, agreed to this stupid plan of hers, he could finally live the good life. A free place to loaf around, free food, and all he had to do was pretend to go along with this sinking ship of a plan. It was perfect. Grinning mischievously, he nodded eagerly.
"Alright! I like the sound of this! What's first?"
"First things first, we're gonna get you cleaned up! Good thing I stocked up on bleach!"
X X X
Shifty knew Petunia was a bit of a germaphobe, hell the girl wore a goddamn car air freshener around her neck like a necklace. But this. . .
This was insane.
If there was something cleanliness or hygiene-related, she made him do it. She made him shower, shave, brush his teeth, and put on deodorant. She even made him bathe in bleach and hot water even after his first shower. Just when he thought things couldn't get any weirder, the girl brought out the clippers. Petunia made him sit down and she turned the clippers on, the tool emitting a loud buzzing as she moved to towards his head. He stopped her, grabbing her arm as he shouted out.
"Whoa, whoa! Whaddya doing with that?"
"What's it look like I'm doing?" Petunia frowned as she pulled her arm from his grasp, "I'm cutting your hair."
"Like hell you are! I don't need a haircut, my hair is fine as it is."
"Really?" Petunia ran her fingers through the thief's messy green locks, a frown on her lips as she shook her head, "It's all dead and dry. Needs a good chop to make sure it grows healthy again."
Shifty had a sour look but nodded as he grunted, "Get it over with. And not too short on the top!"
Petunia smiled, glad the twin was being somewhat cooperative now and started to get to work on his hair. She buzzed the sides and back gradually, fading and blending it to near perfection. She then took some scissors and, after slightly wetting Shifty's hair, began to snip and cut the top down a bit. She finished up with brushing his hair and then handed him a small hand mirror.
"How'd I do?"
Shifty took the mirror and looked at his new haircut. It was the shortest it had been in years, but the green-haired thief wasn't as annoyed as he thought he'd be. He surprised the girl by giving her a smile as he handed back the mirror.
"Looks good. Surprised. With you being a clean neat freak and all, I'd thought you'd be freaking out over touching someone's hair."
Petunia sighed, "Can you go five seconds without insulting someone?"
"Whatever. Anyway next thing we're gonna do-"
Both looked down at Shifty's stomach, the cause of the sudden noise. Petunia gave him a light smile and the thief blushed light as he gave a sheepish grin.
"How about the next thing we do is go get some food? I'm starved."
X X X
Petunia watched in disgust and slight amazement at Shifty, who had just starting munching on his third plate of ribs. The two were out of Petunia's quiet and cozy home, having gone to the town's diner for an early dinner. Petunia was a bit wary of having Shifty show his face around, give he somehow had even worse reputation than before. But luck was on their side it seemed as there were many people in the diner. Petunia turned her attention back to Shifty, who had already started on chowing down on a salad, his ribs ate clean. She knew the twins were thieves, but she also knew that sometimes they stole out of necessity. The conditions they lived in weren't great and neither twin had a job of sorts to keep a steady income for food, so of course they had to steal to survive. But she also knew they stole because they were kleptomaniacs. Stealing was in their blood, for better or worse.
But she was going to change that, just like Flaky did with Lifty. It was only going to be harder, given that his brother's reputation wasn't nearly as bad as his. Petunia frowned, wondering if she made the right choice. Did she really think she could change and fix the older twin? She was like Flaky, in that she was always willing to see the good in people and give them the benefit of doubt.
This was Shifty she was talking about though. Lifty was bad before Flaky managed to help him. Rude, lazy, ungrateful. But Shifty was so much worse. She figured the reason Lifty was so cold to others was because of his upbringing. Shifty wasn't the kindest brother, even before kicking out his sibling, and would often boss around the younger twin and make his life even harder than it already was. He was heartless, he was horrible, he was-!
Staring right at her.
The thief seemed to have had enough of stuffing his face and now had his arm propped up on the table to support his head as he leaned into the table, a raised eyebrow and confused green eyes staring at his companion.
"You good over there, neat freak? Find a hair in your food?"
Petunia sighed, "No, no. Just thinking."
"Just thinking, eh?"
"Hmph, whatever." Shifty had a bored look on his face as he yawned, "Well, I'm stuffed. Could use a nap or somethin'."
"No naps," Petunia shook her head disapprovingly, "We've got work to do."
"Work's hard. Can't we sleep then do work?"
"Fine, fine! What's this work you've got planned?"
"I'm gonna send you places to help out the other around Happy Tree Town. Help them out with things and get to know them. Show them a better you, a kinder you."
Shifty grimaced at hearing the kinder part, but nodded, "And what am I gonna do for your first job? Get smacked with a book after taking someone's wallet? Make soup for a horde of people?"
"Nope, neither of those things. I just have one question, and then I'll explain.
"Fine, ask away."
Petunia smiled, pausing for a second before asking the last thing Shifty thought she'd ever ask.
"How good are you with kids?"