No, I don't own the movie. Wish I did. This is my first fanfic in a couple years, so I'm a little rusty. Enjoy :)

5 scanned another part of the Emptiness with the telescope. 2 had gone out again, alone, and 5 desperately wanted to know he was alright. A bit of motion flickered behind a downed machine and 5 fixed the telescope, hoping to see his friend. Instead he recognized a familiar blue hood. The little stitchpunk looked around quickly then ran towards the sanctuary. 5 scanned around, but didn't see the approaching stitchpunk's twin anywhere.

I've never seen them apart, 5 thought as he abandoned the telescope and raced out of the watch tower, What's 3 doing out there alone?

5 burst out the side door of the sanctuary and was promptly bowled over by 3.

"Ahh!" he yelped, thrashing against the other before 3 clamped a hand over his mouth and stared him in the optics. Once 5 was still 3 got off him and grabbed his hand, dragging him towards the Emptiness.

"Wait, 3, wait!" 5 responded, tugging back, "What's wrong? Where are we going? Where's- where's 4?"

3 released the other stitchpunk and allowed him to regain his feet. The shutters in his optics clicked and 3 projected an image against the wall. 5 felt his gears clench painfully as the scene played out nearly life-sized before him. 7, her abdominal seam split from crotch to waist, staggered through an immense stone doorway, dragging one leg badly. The scene changed to 4 hovering by the bedside of an unconscious 7.

5 was so stunned that when 3 went to drag him again he offered no resistance.


It was worse in real life, 5 decided. 7 was covered up to the neck with a handkerchief but 5 could still hear the uneven whirs and clicks of a damaged gearing system. 4 sat by her side, holding on of her hands in both of his, stroking the back of it with his thumb. He looked up from his vigil as they entered and flickered a sentence at his twin.

"7," 5 murmured, stumbling forward to the bed. The warrior looked so delicate he was afraid to touch her. 5 tripped on something hard near the bed. It was 7's shield, heaped with the rest of her gear by the side of the bed. The shield he'd built to protect her. He couldn't believe this, he wouldn't believe this! 7 was the strongest of them, she... she couldn't...

But she was. And now 7 needed his help. And as much as he wanted to going to pieces in a keening little heap wouldn't do her any good.

5 gently pulled back the handkerchief to expose 7's wound. All the tearing had happened along an existing seam, he noted with forced clinical detachment. That at least would be a simple repair. He murmured an apology as he carefully edged the fabric back to expose 7's gears.

A low growl was all the warning he got. 7 sat up bolt-upright. Metal hands clamped around his throat and dragged him forward, and he found himself staring the now-conscious 7 in the optics.

She doesn't recognize me, 5 thought, trying to beat back his panic as he regarded the battle mask her face had hardened into, She has no idea what's going on.

3 and 4 stood on either side of him and flickered their optics frenetically at the warrior.

"7, please..." 5 managed to choke out. He thought he saw recognition in her optics.

"5?" she asked. The hands around his throat relaxed, then dropped. Her whole face showed relief, then sagged as she fell back. 5 caught her around the shoulders and eased her back to the bed.

"Sorry for that," she gasped, optics threatening to shutter again. That brief show of strength had taken a lot out of her, 5 thought sadly.

"Don't worry about it," he replied, his voice a little hoarse from the compression of his throat, "There's something off with your gears, I can hear it. Can I take a look?"

She nodded. 5 eased the split seam open, feeling 7's whole body tense around his hands. Two gears were sitting at odd angles on their axles, and a third, way down in her right hip, was badly warped, both gear and axle.

"One of the gears controlling your right leg needs to be replaced, and there's a couple more I'll have to adjust. I could straighten the axle back to normal but it really should be replaced."

"Show me?" 7 asked, propping herself up. 3 and 4 silently supported her back as 5 took 7's hand and led it over the damaged gears.

"This is the one that needs to come out," he told her, touching her fingers to the gear. 7 pressed her lips into a hard line as she felt the contours of the bent gear.

How does she do it? I'd be screaming by now! 5 thought as he watched 7 examine her own damage.

"Go ahead and take it out then," she said at last, lying back down. She placed her arms deliberately at her sides and gripped the bed.

5 sighed. He knew this was going to hurt her.

"4," he said, "Keep her shoulders against the bed. 3, I need you over here to control her legs."

7 said nothing as the twins moved into position.

"If you feel like passing out, don't fight it," 5 told her, "You don't want to be awake for this."

7 gave him a small smile.

"Do what you have to. I'll be fine."

Here it goes, 5 thought, gears clenching as he undid the tiny nut holding the gear to its axle. 7's body shuddered as he tried to slide the bent gear off the equally bent axle. It wouldn't budge. The gear wouldn't make it around the bend on the axle, 5 realized. He could try straightening it first, but that would take more strength than he had in his bare hands and he hadn't thought to bring any tools aside from the needle and thread he normally carried in his quiver. The fastest way would be to cut the axle- no, he couldn't do that. Even if he had snips cutting it would hurt 7 too much. He opted instead to unscrew the axle from its moorings and take both it and the gear out as a unit.

It was slow work. The Scientist had built their parts to fit so tightly they'd be unlikely to loosen on their own. 5 silently thanked the human for having screwed so much of their bodies together instead of welding them- how he would have to do this repair if the axle had been welded to 7's internal structure made him shudder. As it was it was taking all the controlled force 5 could muster to unscrew the part at all. 7, for her part, stayed mostly still, mouth clenched shut to stifle the little moans and growls in the back of her throat.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry..." he muttered at every noise she made.

"Don't apologize, just finish it!" she snapped, then firmly shut her mouth to silence a yelp.

"I'm sorry!" he all but wailed, then the parts came loose in his hands. Her left leg spasmed as 5 finally pulled the offending parts free, but 3 kept her from kicking either of them.

"I can't feel my leg," she said.

"That's because the parts aren't connected anymore," 5 told her, trying to sound soothing though he couldn't keep the anxiety out of his voice, "Once you've got new ones it'll be good as new."

The axle separated easily from the gear now that they were connected to nothing else.

"3,4 I have a job for you."

Both twins released 7 and looked at 5 expectantly.

"I need parts exactly like these," he said, holding a broken part in each hand, "Only straight. Bring back anything you find that's close."

Their shutters flickered as they analyzed the parts, then they bounded from the room.

"I'm really sorry about that," 5 said as he put down the parts and took 7's hand.

"I told you not to apologize," 7 admonished him, then smiled, squeezing his hand in response.

"I've missed you."

"I've missed you too," he replied. His single optic met hers. He could almost feel himself melt as he held her gaze. He'd missed her so much. 5 found himself leaning forward, bringing his face close to 7's. Tilting his head slightly, to avoid their optics colliding. She wasn't pushing him away, he realized suddenly as he tried to find the courage to bring their lips together.

"So," she said, their lips almost touching "Now that you know where we've been hiding are you going to stay?"

5 pulled back, flustered, and released her hand to play with his fingers nervously.

"I, uh, well..."

He trailed off, his optic coming to rest on her injury. He left his spot near her head to lean over the split seam instead.

"I should fix those other gears."

7 let him fiddle with her gears as she stated, "Answer the question. Are you staying here or not?"

"You know I couldn't leave 2 there alone with 1 and 8," he replied, tilting a gear back into alignment, "And who'd look after 6?"

7 bit back a hiss, then said, "So bring them. There's lots here for 2 to tinker with, and we could all take care of 6."

5 glanced at 7's face sadly, then turned back to his work.

"2 won't leave 1. I honestly don't get what 2 sees in him, but 2 won't leave 1 and I won't leave 2. I'm really sorry."

"You say sorry way too much," 7 replied sullenly, shuttering her optics. 5 sighed, silently correcting the remaining gear. He withdrew his hands.

"It's best to leave the seam open until all the parts are fixed- unless it's hurting you too much."

"I'm fine," 7 growled, then opened her optics. She just couldn't stay mad at 5.

"I'm fine, really," she told him in a softer voice, "I trust your judgment."

They were silent a moment, then 5 asked, "How'd you get hurt like this anyway?"

"I got on the wrong end of the cat beast's claws."

5 gulped, trying not to picture a massive claw skewering 7's midsection.

"I wasn't aware there was a right end to the cat beast's claws. How did you escape from it?"

7 smirked, "I'd already crippled one of its paws. I crippled the one it got me with before I got the damned claw out of my gears. It's not a fast runner with two broken paws. If its medic is half as good as mine though it'll be back soon."

5 blushed at the compliment, "2's much better at this stuff then I am."

"That doesn't diminish your skills any," 7 replied, then the twins burst into the room. 3 had a pile of gears in his arms stacked to his optics and 4 carried so many lengths of fine metal posts that he was having trouble not dropping them.

"Perfect! Right over here guys!" 5 told them, and started picking through the pieces the twins placed at his feet. Most of the gears were too big, but halfway through the pile he found one with the same central circumference and same sized hole for mounting onto an axle. The teeth were too long, but he could alter those. It was the best fit of all the gears the twins had salvaged. Most of the metal posts they'd brought had no threads for screwing them in to 7's structure, but he'd already resigned himself to having to custom carve the threads anyway. He selected a sturdy bar of the right width that was three times the necessary length.

"I'll have to modify this stuff to make it work properly. Unless you've built a work shop here I'll need to go back to the Sanctuary."

"If that's what it takes," 7 replied, "But don't tell anyone you saw us. Not even 2. The last thing we need is 8 tromping in here to drag the twins back there."

"I won't, I promise. I'll be back soon!"