Chapter 4 - She'll Pay for that Surgery

Sleeping on the couch, even her own couch, was not the best of ideas after the trip she had. But waking with Graverobber sleeping in the chair across from her made the whole uncomfortable ordeal worthwhile. She watched his steady breathing for a minute before unfolding herself from the worn cushions. Mentally adding a new couch to the list of things she needed to do to get her home back to the standards the Wallace family once held.

Making her way into her kitchen, Shilo smiled at the site of Kodo and Podo 'cleaning up' the vermin that had made their way into the house over the years. "Good babies," she murmured softly before moving to start a pot of coffee. She was going to need it strong and for it to last.

With a fresh, steaming cup, she settled at the kitchen table with a pen and a note pad and got to work. She had a lot to do, and a fairly small window of time to get it done. "Let me see, there's only one or two more papers I need to sign before the hospital is mine and then the renovations can begin. In the meantime,..."

"Hey Kid, you made coffee?"

Glancing up from her list making, Shilo smiled. "Yes well, you watched my house for me and hauled all my luggage in. The least I could do was make sure you are well caffeinated. And make sure to eat something. We've got a lot to get done today."

"We?" Graverobber leaned against the counter as he sipped from his steaming mug. "What we?"

Shilo's smile turned crafty as she went back to her list. "Well, I can't exactly toss you out after everything you've done for me. But I also can't have you dealing out of my house. Not when I intend to run a respectable hospital. So we need to get you set up with your own space. And we need to turn Dad's old Repo-lair into a safe receiving room for those patients that are in too deep with Gene-Co. It'll be dangerous work, and it's the only way I can see to start to pull this city out from under Gene-Co's thumb."

With a flurry, she tore off the page she was working on and held in in Graverobber's direction. "Can you get these things for me?"

Eyes narrowed, he took the page from her and glanced at its contents. Choking on his coffee, he stared at her. "Are you mad? How exactly do you expect to pull this off?"

"Well," she purred, batting her eyelashes over the rim of her coffee mug. "I figured you had a few favors to call in. I've already bought the old hospital Dad worked at before Gene-Co got so bad. And come on Robber, what's life without a little intrigue?"

The look on his face was absolutely making her morning. Even made the kink in her neck from sleeping on the couch almost seem worth it. Almost.

He was staring at her again. It made her little girl crush she had on him the night they met all those years ago flare to life. Shaking her head in an attempt to clear her thoughts, she took a large drink from her mug before starting to work on her own list.

"Alright Kid, I'll do my best to get this taken care of for you. But you gotta give me more ta go on. How exactly are you planning on flying under Gene Co.'s radar?"

Another drink of coffee. A couple more written lines. "You let me worry about Gene Co. You just focus on that list and spreading the word to those that are struggling that help is coming. Help that they can afford. This island has been cut off from the rest of the world for far too long."

Pushing away from the table, Shilo stood while draining the last of her coffee. "Now scoot. I have work to do and I'll need your help moving some things around when you get back."

Graverobber just shrugged as he tucked his paper instructions into his coat, finished his own coffee and left out the back door without a word. She knew that he would need time to adjust, but it still made her a little sad that there weren't any wise cracks. Probably should just be grateful he's still willing to help her after all these years. And he did a pretty good job of taking care of her home while she was gone.

But now it was time to get to work. Dirty dishes went into the sink before she started riffling through the various drawers until she found a pair of chopsticks that she had no memory of her Dad every using. They must have been from a take out order for Robber, regardless it would serve her purpose. Carefully twisting her hair up, she stabbed the bun with the chopsticks and left the kitchen to face the upstairs for the first.

"Deep, slow breaths. You can do this Shilo. No fear." Squaring her shoulders, she marched up the stairs. Getting all of three steps before turning about and heading right back down. "Can't do it. Not alone. Hooligans!"

With that, her ferrets came tumbling out from under the couch. Their little furry faces seeming to be full of ferret laughter as they practically pranced to where she stood. They wove around her ankles and nipped at her toes before starting the struggle to climb the stairs. Stairs are tricky for furry tubes.

Their single-minded determination to get to the next floor for exploration and snack hunting gave Shilo the push she needed to follow them up. Only stopping every third step to watch them cartwheel down a couple steps before correcting themselves and climbing again. Shilo knew she was stalling. She didn't feel ready to face her old world. But she knew that if she didn't do it now, she never would. Then what would be the point of her return if she couldn't accomplish this seemingly simple task?

"Depression and mourning are assholes," she grumbled under her breath. Finally making the top landing where she promptly sat down and let Kodo and Podo pretzel into her lap. Scratching their heads affectionately, she focused on calming her nerves and mind as best she could, already feeling the tears threatening to fall. "Haven't even done anything yet and already blubbering like a baby. This is going to be a long day."

The hooligans wormed their way out of her lap and took off down the hall to see what interesting tid bits they could find. Which was her que to pull herself back to her feet. Deciding that facing her own bedroom would be the easier of the too, that's the direction she moved it.

Surprised to find the lock on her door broken, she opened it and looked at her old prison for the first time in eight years. Seventeen years she lived here, learned here, was trapped here. Now, it was just a room. Posters on the walls, bugs on display, piano covered in dust, and plastic curtains hanging around her old bed. Those were the first things to go.

It wasn't as hard pulling apart her old room as she thought it would be. The left-over medical supplies her father had kept by the door would be taken down to the Repo-lab to be used on future patients. The clothes that weren't completely moth eaten would also go to the lab so patients could have something clean to put on where applicable. The moth-eaten clothes would be turned to rags. Same process for the old bed sheets and curtains. Even the plastic curtains would be repurposed for her hospital plans.

Flipping and beating the mattress was going to have to be good enough for now, and she wanted to move the piano down into the living room and have it tuned up. Her old bug collection? Well her pets had already found those, which she was fine to see them enjoy it so much. Grateful she hadn't used any harsh chemicals to preserve them. The bugs weren't looking to good anyways as a result of her, at the time, sub-par skills.

That just left a good, deep clean with the windows open to let in some fresh air. Robber may have taken good care of the house, but he clearly hadn't cleaned a room that wasn't used. Though why he broke the lock? She would have to ask him when he got home.

It was still mind numbing that she was home. Her prize finally within her grasp. Soon she would finally be able to change the world. But for now, she just needed to focus on facing the ghosts of her past and reclaiming her home.