"Don't take long! And quiet that useless coward down! He'll lead them straight to us!"

7 bristled, scowling in the direction of the door. What did 1 know?

"Nevermind 1 for now, 7!" How did he know her so well? "I need your help!" 2's words were barely audible over the din there in the makeshift workshop of the cathedral 1 had them holed up in. They had just managed to get 5 inside, sparks shooting from what was remaining of his left lens. For most of the trip inside, he had been incoherent, mumbling or moaning, too dazed from the shock of the explosion to realize he was in pain. When he came back to his senses, the pain hit him full force, and now he was a restless mess, crying out whenever 2 got too close to the fresh injury. "Hold him down, 7! I can't work with him writhing around like that!"

It took 7 putting all of her slight weight into the effort to press 5 onto the makeshift cot, and he was still struggling, making it difficult for 2 to complete the extraction of the lens that was damaged beyond repair. Once that was out, the pain from it would be gone, but it was a matter of getting it free from 5's struggling frame that was the tricky part.

Finally, lost on any further ideas on how to stop his frantic struggling, 7 reached down and grabbed one of her companion's hands, gripping tightly as she twined her metallic fingers with his. "5, please! 2 can't fix you if you don't hold still!"

"I... I'm sorry!" 5 cried in response, head tossing to one side, frame shuddering through every centimeter. "It's just... it..."

7 clicked her lenses shut tight. His tone was as painful as his injuries must have been. "I know. I know, I know it hurts. But it won't anymore when 2 is done. Okay? I promise."

He nodded slowly and 7 lowered her head, keeping her lenses shut tight as she rested her head near his, letting him brace the uninjured side of his face against hers. She continued to murmur quiet reassurances, clutching his hand tighter when she heard the click of metal as 2 finally got ahold of the offending optic. She felt as 5 tensed, and almost flinched herself at the awful scrape of parts as the lens was removed from its socket, leaving an empty space and something of a hollow ache for her companion.

Once the lens was removed, he quieted considerably, though he did not relinquish his grip on her hand. His lack of squirming, however, did allow 7 to sit up and watch quietly as 2 set to work on the next part of his task: covering the place where the optic had been. He'd chosen a piece of sturdy leather, and though he was having difficulty with the stitching, it was functioning perfectly for the purpose.

It wasn't until sometime near the end of the miniature surgery that 7 noticed 5's grip on her hand had gone lax and his single lens had clicked shut. She was almost worried until the soft click and whir of the gears inside his burlap body reminded her that he was still functioning. Just... exhausted.

"He'll probably stay in that rest cycle for a few hours," 2 stated with a quiet sigh as he snipped away the last remaining stray thread from his neat patchwork. "I only wish there was more I could do for him. Poor lad. It'll take some getting used to... missing that lens."

7 gave a soft smile, reaching over to rest her free hand on 2's shoulder. "You did what you could, 2. He understands. Go get some rest yourself. We've had a long day."

The kindly old doll gave a chuckle, patting her hand gently. "You may try to hide it, but you're a sweet girl, 7. Sweet as can be. Keep a lens on 5, won't you? I don't doubt this is going to be difficult for him."

"Of course. I doubt he'll be moving anytime soon."

With a nod, 2 slipped out the rest of the way, leaving 7 alone with the other doll.


It was several hours later when 7, almost about to slip into a rest cycle herself, felt 5 move against her side. Blinking, she sat up, smiling when she saw him shifting a little. He hadn't noticed her sit up yet. Was he trying to get up without waking her?

"Hey. I see you're up."

Her voice caused 5 to start a bit, turning to face her, single lens wide. "...wow. That's... different."

Her expression turned concerned quickly. "What? What is?"

5 blinked a few times, obviously looking a little disconcerted. "Just... this." He lifted a hand, reaching out to touch her face, looking more than a little bit startled when his fingers met soft cloth. "I can't... tell how far away you are. Or how close."

7 sighed, expression disheartened as she took 5's hand in hers from where it lingered near her face. "2 said this would be difficult for you for a while..."

"Difficult for me?" 5 questioned, though his tone was flat. His head lowered, as if he was unable to look her in the face. "I lost an eye, 7. And I nearly got you and 2 killed. Maybe 1's right. Maybe I am useless."

At that, 7's expression went sharp and she grabbed 5's chin with her free hand, turning his face so he was once again looking straight at her. "You are not useless. Do not listen to that blowhard. He's full of hot air and he knows it. Besides, he could've prevented this. Always insisting we keep running, keep hiding. Look what it's brought upon us." She smiled a little. "Besides. All complaining about that old geezer aside, I think the patch makes you look kind of... dashing. All rugged and tough."

That brought a laugh out of 5 as he leaned back, pulling his face from her light grip. "Oh, yeah. Tough as nails, I am. Rusty old nails that break when you kick them." He laughed when she smiled, shaking his head. "Thanks for believing in me, 7. I'm glad someone does."

"2 does," 7 interjected quietly, gripping his hand. "And he'll keep right on believing in you, just like I do. Just like we all do. Just ignore 1. What does he know? Just because he's the oldest doesn't make him the smartest." Smiling, she leaned against his shoulder, head resting against his. "2 and I support you, and so do the twins, and... at least, I think 6 does. It's hard to tell sometimes." She gave his hand a squeeze. "So don't let yourself get too down yet, okay?"

Though at first he didn't respond, 5 did finally smile a bit, releasing her hand to instead put an arm about his lighter companion's shoulder, drawing her into a tight hug. It was one he was unwilling to release, especially when she reciprocated in kind, arms around his waist. "So long as you've got my back, 7. Thank you."

He smiled when she looked up, freeing one arm to place her hand softly against the leather that covered his fresh wound. "I'll always have your back, 5. Make no mistake about that. You'll never have to be alone."

Smiling, 5 leaned his head down, resting his forehead against hers in a moment of surprising peace from the skittish young ragdoll. "Then that's perfectly okay with me."