A Series of 9 One-Shots by Digitaldreamer
Well, I'm sure you'd all much rather see me update Track Listing, but darnit, I came into this fandom to write crazy character studies, so that is what I'm going to do!
...Yes, I know none of you care. Shut up.
So right, this one is for 2... you know, obviously. He was considerably harder to write for than 1 since we see very little of him, but I do enjoy his character. I think the relationship he has with the others is very interesting, he strikes me as the awesome grandfather type. What I find especially compelling is the relationship between him and 1 since they're both so old. Considering 1 sent out 2 to die, it seems to me there must be an interesting history there that I'd like to write on someday.
But no, not today. Today our focus is just 2 and his awesomeness. Hopefully I got the old guy right, let me know!
There were possibilities everywhere.
That was the first thing 2 had realized when he'd come into being. His golden-rimmed optics had gazed across the cluttered room the scientist called home, and almost instantly things began to come together. Objects that to others seemed like little more than nick-nacks were pieces of a puzzle to him. Each could be used for something new, could be combined. From the ashes of something old, something new could always be created. The world was a mess, of course, but in that mess there was always something useful and good to be found.
He and 1 had never really agreed when it came to matters like that.
Really though, he and 1 had never entirely agreed, though it was rare that they openly argued. It was something 2 found interesting, the way they had been born mere days apart and yet could be so fantastically opposite. When 1 looked to the sky, he saw nothing but dark, looming, ominous clouds. 2 not only saw the silver-lining, he saw a way to take it down so he could tinker with it and make some sort of new gadget.
Their differences were not something 2 ever bemoaned his elder brother for. After all, if they had been made exactly the same, what would the point have been? 1 would grumble on and on about how no one understood, but 2 was glad for their differences. Being different and finding a way to see how those differences fit together was a part of what made this world so interesting, after all. He and 1 would discuss it again and again, 1's voice raising to a shout while 2 had simply smiled. The world was dangerous, yes, but it was so much more than that. The world was not just about surviving, it was about thriving, it was about looking out and finding a way to make things better. It was about keeping your chin up and trying to spot the little things, trying to improve! It was about seeing the possibilities and pushing forward.
1 had never really understood that... but 2 supposed that was alright. The world took all types, after all, and they did need a leader. It had been clear from the beginning who that would be, whether it was due to stubbornness or wisdom. 2 had been willing to stand aside and let 1 do his job. After all, the inventor was aware he really wasn't leader material. The others would argue, but 2 knew better. He would bow and let 1 do his job, though of course he'd argue when it was necessary. He had no intention of being walked all over, it had always only been to help, never to take what wasn't his. He had his own place, and it wasn't on that overly elaborate throne.
That was perfectly fine, since 2 had his own job.
And so he tried. While 1 focused on protecting them, harshly if necessary, 2 strived to make their world better. He began to put things together, his eyes always bright, always seeking out something new that could be used to make their lives easier. A bucket and some string made an elevator, a cigar box and a pin cushion made a bed, a candle and a spoon made a useful hat! He couldn't help but be excited every time they came back from exploring the emptiness with new things, showing the others with an exuberance that could only be matched by the twins and their books.
But of course, there were more possibilities than those of the world around him. The things he created were important enough, but what were they without the individuals around him?
5 was brilliant, of course. Brilliant but shy and unsure, and it was 2 who did his best to work with the one-eyed stitchpunk. He slowly coaxed 5 from his broken shell, did what he could to teach him all the older stitchpunk knew. He tried to build 5 up, to help him understand that he was so much more than a burden. The twins were brilliant as well but withdrawn within their world of pages and text. It was 2 who got their attention, his genuine interest in their knowledge persuading them to share, to teach him what he himself could not understand. 6 was something entirely different, of course, and it was 2 who observed that this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. He eagerly tried to get 6 to connect with the rest of them, excitedly glancing over each drawing and trying to decipher the meaning behind the artistic stitchpunk's cryptic words. 7 was powerful but rebellious and hotheaded, and it was 2 who did his best to reign her in, who tried his best to make her see that violence wasn't always the answer. He even did his best with 8, using his talents to craft armor and weapons for their simple-minded defender even as the large stitchpunk blinked in confusion at his long-winded explanations.
He saw them all as individuals, individuals with personalities and strengths and weaknesses... and above all else, possibilities. And so, true to his nature, he did what he could to help them all see that. He was always there to talk to, always willing to set whatever he was working with aside so he could help. He was always there to listen, was always there to offer bits of advice and help them see the right path. He was always there to argue with 1 when it was really necessary, always there to help. While 1 was there to protect them and to provide the bigger picture, it was 2 who always helped them see the reasoning behind it, 2 who inspired them to see individual talents.
He supposed he wasn't surprised when it began to catch up with him. He had carefully inspected the others and how they were built, and he knew for a fact he was not as well built as they were. It was the natural law of things, he and 1 were the oldest, and so as time wore on they were the first to show the weight of age. And of course, while 1 spent his days seated on a massive throne, 2 had been working. He had worked and worked, and of course the old stitchpunk supposed his chronic bad luck on his and 5's numerous adventures into the emptiness hadn't helped. While 1 merely showed signs of a bad back, 2 quickly began to show signs of fading away.
He was getting old and he was quite aware of it. Even so, he made the best of it. He continued with his job in spite of everything, even as he found his fingers weren't as nimble as they used to be. He began to wear his glasses lens more often as his vision faded. He made a cane for walking around, excusing it with claims of poor balance in spite of the fact that he'd never really had problems before. He began to subtly push 5 toward doing more things on his own. He continued to work and try to make things better even as his joints creaked and ached, even as he grew weaker and weaker and others begged him to rest.
He had a job to do. He wasn't going to let something like age stop him.
He kept going. He continued to try to encourage them all with words and actions, continued to put things together, continued to try. However, it couldn't be denied that this was starting to become more of a hinderance than a help. He did his best on his own, but it was growing increasingly clear that age was catching up with him. He did his best to compensate but having the others do simple tasks for him was becoming unavoidable. He couldn't work with his own inventions as well as he used to, and when he and 5 went on scouting missions they very nearly didn't return simply because the older stitchpunk could not keep up.
At last there was no getting around it. He was holding them back. The older stitchpunk had to admit that to himself as he finally had to step back and let 5 do the job for him. He was getting old and weak, and there was simply no denying that in their dwindling numbers it was hardly an asset.
He supposed that was alright, however. As he watched 5 go through all the motions with ease, as he watched 6 begin to venture out of his corner with more wild hope in his mismatched eyes, it became clear he wasn't needed like he used to be. 7 and the twins were already gone, as the inventor had expected they would... and that was alright, because he knew they were out there doing as they should. He'd pushed them toward their purpose and now he had to trust that they could take care of themselves. He had to trust that they had all seen his vision and could follow the path he'd set now.
And so, when 1 finally gave the order for what they both knew was not just a simple scouting mission, the old stitchpunk felt oddly calm.
5 didn't think it, but 2 knew he had taught him all he could. 7 and the twins had followed their own paths and he was glad for it. 6 was breaking out of his own little world. 8 was strong, and while 2 wasn't entirely pleased with how the large stitchpunk handled things, he knew 8 would keep them all safe. And 1, of course... 1 was just doing what he thought was best. Perhaps there was more to it than that, but 2 wasn't the type to go picking at darker motives when he knew there was some good behind it.
It was the duty of the eldest to allow the younger generation to surpass them when they weren't needed anymore. 2 supposed he was alright with that.
And so when he gazed out at the ruins of a broken world, the soft golden rays of sunset reflecting off of shattered legacies, 2 wasn't scared. The others didn't really need him... and besides, he trusted them. If he was really still needed, if he really knew them like he thought he did, he was sure he'd see them again anyway. There was really no point in worrying about them, or what would happen to him. Certainly, there were monsters, and certainly he was a bit scared of that, but what was that fear in comparison to all that stood before him? He had done all he could do... now all that was left was the unknown, really.
He'd never thought The Emptiness was a proper term for their world anyway.
With that thought 2 gave a smile and pulled his lens into place, his aged hand tightening around his cane and wagon of nicknacks. Slowly, carefully, he made his way out into the world, a few simple words on his lips.
"Possibilities, old chap. Possibilities."