What's Lost

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Octavia's knuckles turn as white as the sink she grips. If Shard didn't have so many sharp, pointy objects that he was careful to keep out of her reach and to threaten her with, she would've been fighting him tooth and nail. But he's already completed the worst offense against her hair that can't be undone. So, all she can do is seethe in her anger as he runs a comb through the hair he thoroughly washed.

She had never seen so many combs, brushes, scissors, and razors detached from a PrimBot before. Shard came rushing back to the cell with all of them in a black bag. He prided himself in knowing how to use all of the supplies - according to him - masterfully and immediately went to work on her hair despite her protests.

"Done!" Shard says.

Shard steps back and admires his work.

"Beautiful! You're parents are going to just love the new look. To top off this job, however, you just need to shower that musk off you, unless you don't know how to do that, either. And I'll gladly help you with that, too."

Octavia could feel his smile chill her spine.

"If you dare try, I do not care how many weapons, potential or actual, you have on you. I will find a way to claw your eyes out, and I will not care if I die in the process."

Shard lets out a chuckle.

"I'd like to see you try getting that far. But I'll take that as ya know how to bathe. And if your lying about that too, just hollar."

Shard packs his hair supplies and briefly leaves the bathroom with them to drop them off and to get the toiletries he left outside the cell. He hands them to her in a plastic-y bag.

"You have ten minutes in the shower. The water will shut off automatically. I'd suggest leaving that mess on your face for last. If it shuts off while you're scrubbing it off, let me know, and I'll allow ya to run the sink for up to five minutes to finish. After that, you're out of luck. I'll be waiting for ya out here. Take longer than that and I'm coming in."

Shard closes the door behind himself and slides the key under the door.

In the toiletry bag are a towel, washcloth, soap bar, comb, deodorant stick, and full change of clothes. Octavia puts the soap and washcloth in the soapdish - a divot in the shower wall. She throws off her clothes and, enjoying the brief freedom for her ankle, kicks them in a corner before starting the shower. The water shocks her. She believes if it was a degree colder it would be ice shooting from the tiny showerhead. But her desire to be clean gets her through it. Though the icy water doesn't help with the muscles aching from her sleeping arrangement, it helps wake her up and bring her more into reality. The nightmare-daze dissolves down the drain. She watches it wash off her in the shower's chrome walls.

She believes being here more now but still struggles to fathom how she has spoken to Shard and not been killed. How high of a ransom does he want from her?

Begrudgingly, she follows Shard's advice to wash her face last. The water shuts off on her. She tells Shard through the door. While she waits for his okay to use the sink, she dries and puts on underwear, deodorant, and another pair of ripped black pants provided to her in the bag. She looks at her reflection, specifically her hair.

After cutting out the hair brush, he also cut off half of her hair's length and proceeded to shave the half of her hair where the brush had gotten stuck.

You're parents are going to just love the new look.

An electric thrill tickles Octavia's chest. The thrill tempts a smile on her face. Her parents would absolutely hate her hair. They would have never allowed such a drastic style. For a brief moment, she likes how different, how rebellious it looks.

She instantly shakes the thought from her head. She can't possibly like something distorting her image like this. Enjoying something rebellious and something the Chromies gave her is insanity. Anger and guilt rip her stomach. How can she like something the Chromies gave her after they took the most important thing away from her? Tears nip at her eyes.

Though she liked the deviation from her parents' overbearing rules, she understands the rules' necessities. Bad images of her anywhere on the Net could destroy her or her family so, she had to and was willing to make sacrifices. And she doesn't want anything the Chromies give to her. There's nothing they have that she wants. They can't give her back her little sister.

She takes the comb from the toiletry bag and parts her hair down the middle, perfectly hiding the shaved portion of her head.

Shard knocks on the door.

"You have five minutes, Lovely."

Octavia quickly goes to work soaping, scrubbing, and rinsing the remaining cakes of makeup off her face. Finishing with a minute to spare, she dries her face as well as some water that splashed on her chest and puts on the dark yellow shirt provided to her.

"I don't hear the water anymore," Shard says. "If you're done, put your ankle accessory back on."

She forces herself to put the chain back on and slides the key back under the door. Shard's shadow briefly appears under the door before it opens.

"Much better," Shard says. "All that's left is to brush those teeth, which I'll let you do after we eat. But first, let's talk about the reason for all the pampering. There's an upcoming photoshoot."

"Photoshoot?"

"Yes, but let us discuss this over lunch, shall we?"

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