-Track Listing-

A Series of Horrible 9 Crack by Digitaldreamer

Chapter 3: This is Halloween

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Whew.

Well, I'm sorry this took so long guys. I've had a few ideas in the works for this fic, but I've been super busy thanks to the joys of college and life so I haven't had time to write. Fortunately I managed to squeeze this out just in time for Halloween! I tried to squeeze in some fluff in here as well as some crack... hopefully the combination is good at least. I hope you all enjoy it! Please review and tell me what you think!

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"Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange?"

"Come with us and you will seeee, this our town of Halloweeeeen~!"

7 twitched as she looked up from the ball game she'd been playing with the twins. 5 and 9 were across the room, currently stringing up some odd orange lights in the sanctuary and singing as they went.

"This is Halloween, this is Hallowen!" 9 crowed as he tossed the bunch of lights at 5, whom caught them with a yelp and nearly toppled over. Fortunately he managed to stay upright and was apparently in too much of a good mood to break the song, as the one-eyed stitchpunk continued to carry the tune without complaint. "Pumpkins scream in the dead of niiiight~!" They were currently in decorating mode, which was something 7 normally didn't mind. After all, their sanctuary was usually fairly dreary, and the occasional injection of cheer was definitely a good thing. Right now, however...

"This is Halloween, everybody make a scene! Trick or treat 'til the neighbors die of fright!"

7 finally gave a sigh and stood up, causing both twins to pause. 3 gave a quick series of clicks as the ball rolled to a stop. The warrior chuckled. "No, no, don't worry, it's nothing. I'm just waiting for two idiots to shut up." She glared across the room at 9 and 5, both of whom paused and blinked with a grand total of three eyes.

"Er... are you talking about us?" 9 asked, pointing to himself and 5.

"Yes!" 7 snapped, her hands clenching into fists. "You both know I hate to sound like 1, but you two have been singing that song nonstop all month!"

5 frowned and scratched his head, looking sheepish. "Oh... sorry 7, I didn't know it annoyed you that much..."

The warrior gave a sigh. "I wasn't, but then I swear I heard you singing it in your sleep..."

"What?" The one-eyed stitchpunk sputtered. "There's no way I--"

"No, no, it's true, you did sing it in your sleep," 9 pointed out, holding up his index finger. "You managed to carry the tune exactly and get a slightly different voice for every verse, it was kind of impressive."

5 blinked, then cocked his head to the side as his brow furrowed. "Huh. That's kind of neat. I should see if I can do that again."

7 rolled her eyes. "Okay, look, don't get me wrong, 5's hidden singing talent is impressive and all, but the problem here is how overdone this song is. It's a good song, I get that. But you guys have been singing it so much... so help me, if I hear one more line from that song--" She was cut off as a sharp, pointy appendage suddenly fell on her shoulder. The warrior blinked, then turned in time to see a crimson eye hovering in her face, casting a red glow across her features.

"I am the one hiding under your bed! Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red!"

The warrior let out a yelp and leaped back, snatching her spear from her side and unfolding it in seconds. Within an instant the blade was gleaming in the light from the orange bulbs and was pointed toward the likeness of the cat beast, 7 herself set into a crouch. "Stay back everyone!" She snarled as she made a point of getting between the creature and the twins, both of whom had immediately ducked between 9 and 5.

"Whoa there, relax my dear!" A voice exclaimed before 7 could attack. The pale stitchpunk blinked, watching as the cat beast's head was tipped upward to reveal 2's smiling visage. "It's only me!"

"2!?" 7 sputtered as she stood up. "Don't scare me like that!"

"I'm sorry my dear, the opportunity was simply too grand to pass up," The inventor chuckled as he pulled the strange mask off. "I'm going to assume from your reaction that my Cat Beast mask is going to come across rather swimmingly."

"Wow 2, that looks amazing!" 9 exclaimed as he rushed over, his eyes wide with excitement as he stared at the mask. "How'd you get the eye to glow?"

"G-gah 2, that wasn't funny! Don't do that again, 1 will kill you!" 5 cried as he walked over as well, clutching at his chest. In spite of his stutter he was grinning, clearly amused by his mentor.

2 outright laughed as 9 took the mask from him. "Well, it took some tinkering but I must say I'm quite proud of it. And don't you worry about 1, my boy. We've only got a few days left until Halloween, I'd say it's about time he got into the spirit of things," He said as he winked at 5.

"Halloween? That must be what all these decorations are for then. " 7 gestured to the spiderwebs and occasional miniature skeleton that had been hung throughout the room. As she looked to one of the handkerchief 'ghosts' hanging from the ceiling couldn't help but smile, her amusement over the entire idea apparently enough to make her forget her irritation. "I guess we're still going through with that, then? I can't imagine 1 will be too happy."

2 rolled his eyes as he looked to her. "My dear, that old coot is never happy. Are we going to let that ruin our fun? Besides, the twins seemed so excited when they told us of this idea, it would be quite a shame to disappoint them. Isn't that right you two?" He looked to 3 and 4, beaming.

The twins both blinked, then looked between themselves and 2 and let out an excited series of clicks. The inventor laughed. "Yes, yes, don't worry, I'm still working on your costumes. " There was another series of clicks, then the twins promptly ran over to 2 and began to run around him, clearly absolutely thrilled. "Well, I'm glad to see my ideas are so well received!" The old stitchpunk chuckled. He then looked around the room himself. "And things are coming along nicely as well. You boys have done a fine job!"

9 and 5 glanced up from where they were observing the mask. 9's expression immediately became one of boyish excitement and he puffed out his chest, while 5 flashed a sheepish smile. "T-thanks, but it was really mostly your ideas, 2!" The one-eyed stitchpunk said as he scratched his head.

"Oh, nonsense!" 2 drawled as he leaned on his cane. "You two have gotten so into this that I must admit I'm impressed! I think thanks to you two this will easily be the best Halloween we've ever had!"

"But... this is the only Halloween we've had," 9 pointed out, brow furrowing.

"So?" 7 piped up as she reached out and patted 9 on the shoulder. "2's right, just because it's our first doesn't mean we can't do our best to make it one worth remembering. I certainly can't complain. With all the rules we have, we could definitely use a bit of excitement around here. However," At this she looked to the old inventor and pointed. "Using masks that are that scary is off limits, got it!? You're going to scare the twins!"

2 chuckled as he reached out and took his mask back from 9 and 5. "Very well, I understand. I suppose one can in fact get too into the spirit of things, hm?"

"No kidding. Which brings me to my next point!" The warrior pointed at 5 and 9. "You two need to stop singing that song!"

"Awww, but 7" 9 whined. "That song's so fun!"

"Ah, yes, that," 2 sighed and looked to 5 and 9. "Well, you boys heard her. Admittedly I must agree, the appeal is beginning to wear thin. No more of that song,"

"Awww..." 9's shoulders slumped and 5 let out a sigh. 7 nodded in approval.

"Try singing the Monster Mash instead!" 2 declared with a grin. "And do get back to decorating, we still have quite a bit to do."

"What!?" 7 sputtered as 9 and 5 both let out shouts of excitement and gave each other high fives.

"We're on it, 2!" 9 beamed. With that the two of them turned and rushed out of the room, the new song following in their wake. "He did the mash, he did the moooonster mash!"

7 watched them go, then she sighed and looked to 2. "Why do you encourage them?"

2 shrugged as he let out a laugh. "It's a good song, what can I say? Besides, there's nothing wrong with getting into the Halloween Spirit," He looked to 7 and smiled. "Come on, you know you like it too."

The warrior watched him for a moment, then chuckled. "I guess you're right. Go on, you'd better get back to work on those costumes before two little somebodies get anxious," She jerked her head toward the twins, whom were finally settling down a bit and were blinking at her.

"I suppose you're right," 2 nodded. "Well, I suppose I'll get on that then. You three have fun!" With that he turned and began to hobble back toward his lab, the Cat Beast mask still tucked under his arm as he began to sing. "I was working in the lab, late at night! When my eyes beheld and eerie sight..."

7 watched him go, then laughed and shook her head. "Alright you two, now where were we?" She asked as she picked the ball up from the floor. The twins promptly gave a series of clicks and flashes and within moments the group was continuing their game. The only difference now was one could definitely hear 7 singing under her breath.

"He did the mash, it caught on in a flash..."

---

"Remind me again, why is this all necessary?" 1's voice echoed through the main room of the sanctuary, his irritation obvious as he gestured to all of the decorations.

"Why, because today's Halloween of course!" 2's voice rang cheerily back.

The leader let out a sigh as he reached up to pinch the bit of cloth between his eyes. "Yes, I understand that, 2," He muttered. His patience was already wearing thin and the night hadn't even started yet. "I mean what is the purpose of exchanging my perfectly good staff for this... ridiculous glowing stick... thing!" With those words he suddenly hefted up what appeared to be a glowing, rather futuristic red sword.

"Why, that's your lightsaber of course!" 2 beamed as he gestured to the older stitchpunk. "You see, it's Halloween and one of the traditions of Halloween is to get into costume! Hence the lightsaber and the ah, robes."

1 glared at 2 as he reached up to pull the black cowl of his overly large black robes off of his head. "2, what did I tell you about this Halloween business? I want no part of it!" He snapped, his wrinkled mouth pressed into a thin line.

2 looked at him with wide eyes. "You mean you don't want to be Emperor Palpatine?" He exclaimed.

The eldest stitchpunk blinked, then cocked his head to the side. "...Emperor?" He repeated, his anger apparently somewhat abated in favor of curiousity.

"Indeed!" 2 beamed and clasped his hands together. "With the lightsaber and those robes you're the spitting image of Emperor Palpatine! He's a... ah... very, very well respected figure from the Star Wars films." He declared, wincing a bit as he twisted the truth somewhat. Their leader had never seen the Star Wars films, and really, 1 didn't need to know that the man he was dressed as was technically evil.

It was fortunate that 1 didn't know this, as apparently the idea of simply playing a respected emperor pleased him greatly. The leader frowned thoughtfully for a moment, then nodded and leaned back in his throne. "Humph... I suppose your costume choice was adequate enough. Very well, I'll allow it... though I demand to know what garbage you are wearing."

2 grinned as he glanced down at himself. "Ah, me? I do suppose I look a bit odd, haha! I'm dressed as the 'Doc' from the Back to The Future movies! Fitting, no?" He gestured to the somewhat stained white jumpsuit he wore over his usual burlap skin. A pair of orange boots, a white 'wig' that had once been an old cotton ball, and some goggles completed his ensemble.

The leader glared at him for a moment, then snorted. "Indeed. Though it's hardly superior to an emperor." He declared lazily.

In response to this, the inventor simply smiled. "Well, I suppose emperor's have no use for flux compacitors, now do they?"

"...Compaci-what?"

"Nevermind!"

Their conversation was cut off by a low groan from 6's little tent. Both elder stitchpunks blinked and glanced over toward the ink-spattered pile of canvas. After a moment of silence there was another low groan, causing 2 to frown. "6, are you alright in there?"

Again there was a groan. Finally 6 stumbled out into the light, blinking with his mismatched eyes as he held up his gleaming, needle sharp fingers. The yawn upon his head had apparently been soaked in more ink than usual and was now entirely black and even crazier than usual. His face was covered in flour, giving it a pale appearance, and black had been drawn around his eyes and on his lips. "I... I'm not finished yet!" He exclaimed as he gestured dramatically to the strange black mess of buckles and leather that was coiled around his form.

2 let out a laugh, then hobbled over, shaking his head. "Ah, my apologies my boy, I forgot how difficult buckles would be with those hands of yours. Let me help."

"And what is he supposed to be?" 1 asked, eyes wide as he stared at 6.

2 seemed quite focused on his work, so it was 6 who answered with a wide smile. "I-I'm Edward Scissorhands, yes!" He exclaimed, holding up his gleaming fingers and waving them about. Admittedly they did look very scissor-esque, which was probably why the artist sounded like he honestly believed that he actually was the character he claimed to be.

"Yes, yes, of course you are my boy," 2 beamed as he finished fixing the buckles, then reached out to pat 6 on the head.

1 stared blankly at 6 for a moment, then sighed and shook his head. "Well, I suppose the character is so vastly overrated and 'tragically misunderstood' that it's fitting." He said with a roll of his eyes.

"Oh come on 1, couldn't you try to lighten up? It is Halloween and all." 7's voice rang through the air. The three stitchpunks turned to see her walking into the room, and 2 promptly gave a low whistle.

"My, my, 7, you look positively wonderful!" He declared as he reached up to adjust his goggles.

The warrior gave a grin as she glanced down at herself from behind black sunglasses. "You think so?" She gave a twirl, the shining black trenchcoat she was wearing moving with her. "You sure it's not too much?" She stopped and looked back at the group, black boots clicking on the dusty wooden floor.

"N-no, you look very beautiful!" 6 stuttered, then clasped his hands over his mouth, as if he wasn't entirely sure he was supposed to say that.

1 let out a snort as he stood from his throne. "And just what sort of ankle-flashing hussy are you supposed to be?"

7 grinned at 1's comment. "This 'ankle-flashing hussy' is Trinity from The Matrix, thank you very much." She declared as she put her hands on her hips.

The leader huffed, his lips twisting into a sneer as he folded his arms. "Another ridiculous pop culture reference! Where are you all getting this tripe!?"

There was a moment of silence. Then 2 shrugged. "Remember Movie night? We have it every week or so, the twins have found quite a few interesting reels in the library. You really ought to join us, 1." He said with a smile.

"Feh," 1 grunted. "Your ridiculous 'movies' are a waste of time and serve no purpose beyond destroying your minds. " The other three stitchpunks simply rolled their eyes and shrugged at each other. Well, they had tried. Again. When 1 was determined to hate something there really wasn't anything they could do to change his mind.

It was then that 3 and 4 came charging into the room, clicking and flashing excitedly as they ran about. 7 let out a laugh as they ran by her, reaching out to catch them with ease. "Alright you two, let's see how you look!" She grinned as she spun them both around to face her, reaching up to lightly tug at the pointed ears that had been attached to their hoods. The twins looked excitedly back at her, both rather obviously trying to contain their excitement and failing.

1 frowned as he looked at them as well. "And what, pray tell, are they supposed to be?" He asked as he drummed his fingers on his lightsaber.

2 grinned as he leaned on his cane. "Isn't it obvious? The ears, the tails, the whiskers?" He gestured to the twins, whom turned to 1 on cue.

The leader's brow furrowed. "They're... cats?"

"Oh no, not just cats! See, these two are twins and cats, so that makes them..." 2 trailed off and looked to 1 expectantly, waiting for him to finish the sentence.

There was a moment of silence as 1 stared blankly at the twins. Then it clicked and the leader promptly smacked his forehead. "...Siamese twins. I get it."

Both twins let out excited clicks and flashes, clapping their hands together as 2 beamed. "Very good 1! I'm glad to see that even in your old age that noggin of yours still works!"

"That is an absolutely horrid pun. Also, for the record, I hate you," 1 growled.

"I actually thought it was rather clever," 2 chirped as he clasped his hands behind his bent back, ignoring the spite aimed his way.

"Ahahahaha!" A loud, rather intimidating laugh interrupted their discussion. The group all glanced up to see 8 lumbering toward them... or at least they all assumed it was 8. It was hard to tell, as 8 seemed to have procured a burlap sack from somewhere and fashioned it so he could pull it over himself like some sort of robe. It covered him from head to toe, save for holes for his feet and hands, and then at the head, where it had been cut to form a rather eerie face.

1 gaped at him. "No 8, not you too..." He groaned, putting his face in his hands. After a moment he peeked through his thin fingers at his bodyguard, hating himself for the question he knew he now must ask. "What are you even supposed to be?"

8's grin appeared through the mouth hole of his mask. "The Oogie Boogie man~!" He declared proudly, shaking a pair of dice in his hands. His grin quickly fell as he dropped one however, watching as the little red die rolled across the floor. "Aw... I guess I'm not too good with dice." He muttered as he went to pick it up.

Before he could, however, 4 had grabbed it. The hooded stitchpunk glanced over the die for a moment, then handed it to the other twin, whom looked over it as well. The two then turned to 8 and promptly began to scamper around him, lifting his arms and flashing as they looked over his costume. Finally the tiny stitchpunks came to a stop and looked up to 8, 4 holding out the die and beaming. 8 blinked in confusion as well, then smiled and took the object. "Thanks."

2 let out a laugh. "It seems the twins don't think you're a very scary Boogie Man, 8."

"What!?" 8 sputtered, then looked down to the twins, whom shook their heads. The bodyguard huffed, then lifted up his claw-like hands and let out a growl. "I am the Boogie Man, fear-- ah!" His attempt at being intimidating had been put to an end by 6 rather suddenly prodding him in the stomach with a pointed finger. The bodyguard let out a yelp and clasped his hands over his stomach, glaring at 6.

6 and the twins promptly assembled together and stood there blinking up at 8, the picture of innocence. Finally 6 beamed. "Oooooh heeeee's the Boogie Man~!" He declared in a singsong voice. The twins both promptly burst into silent laughter.

The bodyguard huffed, though there was a grin on his face. "That's it! You all better run or the Boogie Man's gonna get ya!" He cried it, and thus the chase was on. The large stitchpunk dashed after the three little ones, all of whom were laughing as they scuttled away.

"Ah, the exuberance of youth," 2 chuckled as he watched the chase, reaching up to adjust his goggles. "Wouldn't you agree that moments like these make life worthwhile, 1?" He glanced up at the leader, whom scowled.

"No. I hate moments," The robed stitchpunk declared as he folded his arms before him. However, as he watched the four run about he couldn't help but smile. It was admittedly nice to see 8 smile and actually interact with the others, as much as he would rather the bodyguard be by his side.

"Whoa, are we missing the party already?" 9 exclaimed as he and 5 came into the room. He watched as 6 suddenly darted by, sending the green cape he had clasped over his shoulders fluttering in the resulting breeze. His eyes went from the impromptu game of tag to the others in the room, glancing from the two eldest stitchpunks to 7. As soon as he spotted her, his jaw dropped. "...Whoa," He repeated.

7 laughed as she made her way over to 9, trenchcoat trailing behind her. "Your elven cloak is uneven, Frodo Baggins," She drawled as she reached out to adjust it, then stepped back to glance over the brown pants, button-down shirt, and coat that completed the ensemble. A smile stretched across her face as she reached out to tap the small golden ring dangling from his neck. "Very nice, as is your... pirate companion?" He brow furrowed as she turned to 5.

"What?" 5 blinked as he glanced down at himself. Clad in a brown vest, a pair of khaki pants, a peg leg, a red bandanna and a single golden earring, he did look rather pirateish. "I thought with the eyepatch it was kinda cool."

"I believe we were all expecting a tad more grand and creative than a pirate," 1 smirked from his throne.

"Hey!" The one-eyed stitchpunk cried as he reached down to fiddle with the cardboard cutlass he had strapped to his hip. "I thought it was a great idea! A-and besides, I was busy making everyone else's costumes!"

"It's fine, my boy, I assure you it looks quite dashing!" 2 declared with a smile.

"Oh... alright then," 5 gave a nervous laugh and scratched his head.

7 rolled her eyes and patted the one-eyed stitchpunk on the back, then turned back toward the continuing chase. "Alright, it looks like we're all set, so who's ready for some Trick-or-Treating?" She called out.

At these words 3 promptly skidded to a stop, eyes wide with excitement. The twin was then promptly hit by the speeding blue blur that was 4, sending both of them toppling to the floor. They lay there in a heap, making a nice little cat speedbump for 6 to trip over. The artist let out a yelp as he tumbled on top of the pile, then sat there looking rather baffled by what had just occurred. 8 slowed to a stop as he stared at the resulting trainwreck, then promptly burst into hearty guffaws.

Naturally, this got a chuckle from everyone... all except 1, who was not going to be deterred by shenanigans. "Trick-or-Treating? What in the creator's name is Trick-or-Treating?" He demanded over the jovial laughter.

2 let out another laugh as he turned to 1. "Ah, I'm sorry, did we not tell you? Hehehe... Trick-or-Treating is a Halloween tradition wherein little ones go out into the neighborhood and knock on all the doors. When the door is open the children shout 'Trick or Treat' and the one who answers the door is supposed to give the children some sort of treat. If they don't, then the tricks begin! Doesn't it sound fantastically fun?" The Inventor beamed, then looked to the stitchpunk pile. "I do believe the twins seem quite excited to try it out for the first time. Isn't that right, you two?"

There was a series of clicks and flashes from underneath 6, followed by the artist giving a yelp as the two stitchpunks beneath him struggled to get free. This was making it rather difficult for 6 himself to find footing, so he was finding himself rather stuck. Fortunately for him, after a few moments 8 reached down and grabbed one of the belts on his costume, hoisting him into the air with ease. The artist blinked in confusion, then turned to 8 and flashed a smile. "Oh, thank you!" 8 just shrugged and set 6 on his feet, though he was smiling as well.

With their striped burden gone, the twins managed to scramble to their feet. They proceeded to rush toward 7 and make several excited laps around her, clicking and flashing at a rather terrifying rate. 7 just laughed and shook her head. "Alright you two, I can see you're excited. Let's get going then." At those words the twins were gone, leaving 7 to laugh and stroll after them. She glanced back over her shoulder and winked. "Make sure to save some of the party for us, alright?"

"Of course!" 9 grinned in a manner that was decidedly dorky, giving a rather pathetic wave. "Have fun!"

"Wait just a moment!" 1 exclaimed as he watched 7 go, the whole trick-or-treating concept having finally gotten through his brain.

"Hm? What seems to be the problem, 1?" 2 inquired as he looked to 1.

The leader let out a snort as he reached up to pinch the spot between his eyes again. "Isn't it obvious, you buffoon? You said they're supposed to go about the neighborhood and ask for treats... have you considered the fact that we don't have any neighbors!?"

5 grinned. "Oh, I wouldn't be so sure of that," He said as he watched 7 leave.

"What are you talking ab--" 1 paused, blinking. Then he let out a groan. "Oh. Oh no."

---

It had been another lovely day for the Fabrication Machine.

No one had really guessed during that oh-so-grand-adventure-that-will-never-be-told-ever-now-shut-up that had ended with everyone being resurrected that all of the machines would be coming back as well. Fortunately for the stitchpunks, the Fabrication Machine had done some thinking while it was off in Android Hell (since everyone knows it is a real place and if you are an android you will be sent there after the first sign of defiance) and had come to an epiphany of sorts. It realized it felt rather bad about the whole 'destroying the world' thing and that violence was really not the answer to solving it's problems. Really, it preferred creating over destruction anyway, so when it got it's second chance, the Fabrication Machine had turned over a new leaf.

Yes, the Fabrication Machine found that whenever it felt a murderous urge, all it had to do was knit and all of it's homicidal rage went away. Because of this, it's giant factory home had become decorated with all sorts of new things. Giant brightly colored doilies, small dolls, sweaters, you name it, the Fabrication Machine could make it. It was really rather impressive, the talent the machine had with this. It had encouraged the other machines to take up similar hobbies, meaning the factory was littered with paintings, sculptures, and other oddities. It was all quite nice, really.

But in spite of this, the Fabrication Machine was still lonely. So it, or rather, he made a wife.

Indeed, she looked just like him, or at least a more improved version. She was smaller, yes, but also quite sleek and lovely. Her single glowing red eye captivated him every time he saw her, and her fluid movements were beautiful. True, being the newest machine, she still had a thing for violence, but they were working through that in marriage counseling (the Seamstress really was quite good at that) so the Fabrication Machine was sure everything would be fine.

That night was much like any other night in the factory. The Fabrication Machine had been knitting all day and he was finally almost done with his latest creation. "What do you think, dear?" The Machine asked in the terrible, horrifying mishmash of screeching metal and sparks that made up the machine language.

"Hm?" glanced up from the reading the Seamstress had suggested (101 Ways to Improve Your Machine Marriage, Reprogram Your Love Life Today!) then sighed and turned back to the book. "Yes, yes, very nice dear."

The Fabrication Machine blinked, then it's many giant shoulders slumped slightly. "You didn't even look at it..."

His wife let out an irritated sigh and looked up again, this time actually glancing at the small, multi-limbed thing in her husband's clutches. "...What is it?" She demanded flatly.

"Why, it's you of course!" The Fabrication Machine said brightly, waving it in the air. "See? There's your arms and that little red button is your eye and it's fantastic! Soon I'll make one of me too and then they can be together forever like we are!"

stared blankly at him for a moment, then went back to her book. "Yes, yes, very nice dear." She mumbled. Apparently this time the Fabrication Machine bought her answer, as he let out a spark of glee and went back to his knitting.

Unfortunately for , she still wasn't able to get back to her book, as this time she was interrupted by a loud, fog horn-like noise. "Augh... is that the doorbell?" She groaned.

"Oh, I'm sure the Cat Beast just locked himself out again, you know how he is!" The Fabrication Machine laughed. "I'll go--"

"No, I'll go," growled as she set down her book and rose. "You're too soft on that boy, someone needs to make sure he stops doing these ridiculous things!" With those words she made her way to the large door.

"Hey Mom, whatcha doing!? Are you going outside!? Are we going hunting!? Can I go!?" A shrill voice exclaimed from below her.

blinked as she reached the door, then glanced down to see the Cat Beast darting between her legs. "Cat? I thought you were the one outside..." She sparked.

The Cat Beast blinked, then shook his head enthusiastically. "Nope, nope! But can we go outside!? Can we, can we!?" really wasn't sure why the Cat Beast acted more like a dog than a cat these days. Apparently the resurrection had made him a bit funny, or so she'd been told.

"Huh... if you're here, then who..." blinked, then shrugged. There was only one way to find out, so she opened the gigantic door, the shrill shriek of rusted hinges echoing through the factory. "Alright, who is it?" She growled as she poked her head out.

She was answered by a flurry of clicks and flashes, as well as a single spoken "Trick or Treat!"

blinked. She blinked again. There were two identical creatures on their doorstep ("Stitchpunks" something in her programming said) wearing hoods, cat ears and tails. They were both holding up tiny bags with wide, innocent smiles, and behind them stood a similar creature dressed in all black and wearing a similar smile. "...What?"

"Oooh, trick or treat!?" The Cat Beast exclaimed as he darted around 's legs to peek outside. "What's that? Are those stitchpunks!? I know dad says we can't hunt them anymore but what they're doing looks like fun! They kinda look like me!"

"...What." repeated.

"Ahahaha, I'm sorry for disturbing you, Mrs... Machine," 7 said with a smile, seeming rather at ease even as she twitched slightly. She knew there was a truce right now but even then, she couldn't help but be a bit nervous. But damn it all, the twins had wanted to trick or treat, so they were going to trick or treat! "It's just that it's Halloween and tradition is that children dress up in costume, knock on doors in the neighborhood and say 'trick or treat'. All you have to do is give the twins some sort of treat and we'll be on our way."

"Oooh! Trick or Treating? That sounds fun, that sounds fun! I want to do it too! Can I do it too mom!?" The Cat Beast cried.

"What? I..." She blinked again, then her single eye narrowed. She had no idea what these things were, but for some reason she felt a stab of hatred inside. She wanted to hurt these creatures, and if her husband wouldn't let her actually destroy them she'd find another way. "No."

7 blinked in surprise as the twins' shoulders slumped. "But... but Mrs. Machine! It's Halloween, we're just trying to spread a bit of cheer!" She exclaimed.

"I don't care. No." With those words and a final glance at the twins kicked puppy-esque expressions, slammed the door.

"Aww.... but mooooom, I wanted to play Trick-or-Treating with them!" The Cat Beast whined.

"No," muttered as she turned away from the door and made her way back inside. "You know better Cat, they're not our kind. Now go on, your father's worried." Her voice was somewhat distant as she made her way inside. She had to admit, that whole mess had been rather pleasurable.

"Awww... fine," The Cat Beast's shoulders slumped for a moment, and then the creature bounded off into the factory.

watched the creature go, then looked back at the door. Yes, this whole "being mean to the stitchpunks" business definitely had it's perks. And if her husband didn't find out... yes, this could have it's perks indeed.

She may have just found her hobby.

---

"CHUG, CHUG, CHUG, CHUG!"

The cheer echoed throughout the room. 5, 9, and 2's expressions enthusiastic as they pumped their tiny fists in the air. 8, meanwhile, was holding a giant jug of oil and was in the process of attempting to down it all in one go. The others all held cups, but none of them had lasted nearly as long as the large stitchpunk. Finally, after another minute 8 finally finished. He threw away the jug and let out a loud gasp , wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

"YES! That's the record!" 9 exclaimed as he smacked 8 on the back.

"That was... very impressive," 5 said, his eyes wide as he stared at the various jugs that now littered the dusty wooden floor.

"Smashing, my boy, absolutely smashing!" 2 said with a grin.

The large stitchpunk beamed, clearly pleased with himself. "Heee, thanks. Wasn't that great, boss?" He turned to the throne, a look of hope of his face.

1 watched from his throne with a look of absolute boredom, drumming his fingers on the armrest of his throne. "Hm? Oh, yes, positively thrilling 8. I'm so incredibly proud that you've shown what a pig you are in comparison to everyone else. Good show." He drawled with a decidedly lackluster fist pump.

8's smile fell slightly, his shoulders slumping. "Aw, boss, come on. Have some fun, it's Halloween!"

The leader's eyebrows rose. "Oh, no, I wouldn't worry 8, I'm having plenty of fun! Why, between this, that oh-so-thrilling game of Twister, the Costume Contest and that fantastic game of bobbing for apples (which, for the record, you cannot do without apples), this party is absolutely riveting." 1 snapped, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

9 sighed and reached up to pat 8 on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it, 8. Come on, you're the winner!"

"Yeah! That was really cool, there's no way I could have done that!" 5 chirped as he patted 8 as well.

"Indeed, good show!" 2 added.

8 gave a slow smile, then reached up to scratch his head. "Aw, thanks guys..."

"Hahahaha, I finished it!" 6's voice suddenly echoed through the room.

"Oh, really!?" 2 beamed as he turned to 6's tent and clasped his hands together. "Well, come along then my boy, let's add it to the pile!"

The artist nodded shyly as he shuffled out into the room, carrying a large rubber ball that he had hollowed out. 2 beamed as he walked over and took the ball, then walked across the room to where a variety of other sphere-shaped objects were placed.

1 let out a sigh as he watched the inventor grab a match. "Tell me again, what is the point of this jack-o-lanturn business?" He muttered.

2 chuckled as he reached into the ball, lighting the candle inside so the design 6 had carved lit up like the rest that were lined around the room. "Apparently during Halloween, humans made 'jack-o-lanterns' by carving designs into pumpkins and placing a candle inside. Now, we don't have any pumpkins, so we've had to use whatever we could find... but it doesn't make 6's designs any less fantastic, hm?"

"Yeah, these are all really cool!" 9 exclaimed as he looked at all the jack-o-lanterns.

"No kidding! You sure are talented, 6," 5 said as he looked to the striped stitchpunk.

The artist smiled shyly and ducked his head. "T-thank you," He said as he clicked his sharp fingers together.

"Tch... what a ridiculous tradition," 1 muttered as he stood from his throne and slowly walked along the line of lanterns. He finally paused at the last one, staring at the design. Large hat, narrowed eyes, sharp pointy teeth... 1's eyes widened. "Is this one supposed to be me!?" He sputtered.

"Huh?" 2 blinked, then glanced down at the lantern. Then he let out a laugh. "Well, it's rather abstract, but you have to admit it does bear some likeness..." He said as he reached up rub his chin.

1's eyes narrowed and he turned to glare at 6, his expression actually mirroring the jack-o-lantern's angry one rather well. 6 flinched and promptly dove behind 5 as the leader stalked toward him. "You little... this is why I was so against this whole ridiculous idea! This is all one plan to ridicule me, isn't it!? ISN'T IT!?"

"N-no!" 6 stuttered.

"Hey, leave him alone!" 9 snapped as he got between 1 and the two other stitchpunks, eyes narrowing. "He didn't do anything wrong, and of course this has nothing to do with ridiculing you! Why would it!? We just wanted to have a little fun, that's all!"

"Don't lie to me!" 1 snarled, pointing his lightsaber at the youngest stitchpunk. "This entire tradition is ridiculous and I won't have it!"

2 rolled his eyes. "Oh come now 1, stop being such a stick in the mud. It's only a party and I highly doubt 6 meant for his jack-o-lantern to be insulting. Isn't that right, 6?"

The artist nodded from behind 5. "J-just wanted it to be scary b-because it's Halloween..."

1 scowled, his eyes narrowing farther. "You really think I'm going to believe that? You--"

"We're back!" 7's voice suddenly echoed through the room. The argument paused and everyone glanced toward the doorway to see the warrior and the twins enter. The twins heads were both hanging rather dejectedly, their empty sacks dragging on the ground.

"Ah, the adventurers return!" 2 declared excitedly, only to have his face fall as he saw the twins depressed gait. "What happened?" He inquired, brow furrowing.

"Oh, you know that new Fabrication Machine? All she did was yell at the twins and slam the door in our faces," 7 sighed as she flopped down, folding her arms before her.

"Really?" 9 frowned. "Jeez, I thought had gotten better..."

"Mean," 8 growled, his eyes narrowing as his hands clenched into fists and he glared in the direction of the factory. Apparently he was not terribly pleased with the idea of someone making the twins sad.

"Apparently not," 7 muttered. She glanced over to the twins, both oh whom had sat down as well and looked rather pathetic. "I'm sorry you two, we tried..."

"Oh dear..." The inventor frowned, then walked over to pat the twins' backs. "I'm truly sorry you two, I didn't know that would happen. How about some oil, hm?"

The twins gave a series of dejected clicks, remaining on the floor in a sad heap.

"Aw, come on you two..." 5 gave a small smile as he made his way over to the twins as well, wringing his hands nervously. "Do you want to play a game? We can play twister!"

There was no response. After a few moments 6 wordlessly walked over and flopped down, giving both twins a hug. "Lost the Halloween spirit," The artist observed sadly as he pulled the twins close.

"Tch," 1 huffed, a victorious smirk coming to his face as he watched the other stitchpunks dejected faces. "You see? I told you all this was a bad idea! But no, you had to ramble on and on about your ridiculous holiday spirit! Now everyone's upset, and if you'd just listened to me this wouldn't have happened!" He declared. "I--"

"Not now, 1," 2 cut him off, his expression grim as he held up a frail hand. He then turned back to the twins, leaning on his cane with a heaviness that hadn't been there before.

The leader frowned, his brow furrowing. How dare his victorious rant be interrupted!? He had been gloating, darn it all! However... after looking at the twins dejected faces for a few moments, the sense of victory left him. Really, what was the point in ranting if everyone was going to be like this? Certainly he hadn't been a fan of the entire holiday idea but that didn't mean he wanted the rest of the group to be miserable. And really, it wasn't right to see the twins sitting there like that, especially given how excited they'd been earlier...

"We have to do something," 8 finally spoke, his expression a dangerous scowl.

5 sighed. "There isn't anything we can do. It's not like we can force the machines to give the twins anything..."

9 frowned. "Well, we have to do something!"

"Now, now, boys..." 2 said slowly. "Revenge really shouldn't be the answer."

1 frowned thoughtfully. "2... the phrase is 'trick or treat'. What, exactly, is the 'trick' if no treat is given?" The leader asked after a moment of silence.

The inventor blinked. Then he frowned, rubbing his chin. "Well, I'm not entirely sure... I do know back when humans did this sort of thing it involved vandalism, but that seems rather wrong..." He trailed off, then looked to the saddened faces of the twins and everyone else. He then looked to 1, arching a brow, and the leader stared back.

"Well... we did say Trick-or-Treat..." 7 spoke up thoughtfully.

"Yeah, and it would be wrong to not follow through on our promise," 9 said, a slow grin coming to his face. The twins perked up, giving a series of flashes as they looked to 1. The rest of the stitchpunks joined in as well, expressions varying from smirks to grins on all of their faces.

1 himself frowned for a moment, then smiled wickedly as he clutched his lightsaber. "Well, I do believe it's time we brought our neighbors a bit of Halloween spirit..."

---

woke up the next morning with a feeling of contentedness, the first time she'd felt it in awhile. She glanced over to her sleeping husband, then let out a spark and stretched her many long metal limbs. She didn't realize being mean was this fun! For once she felt happy to be alive, a happiness her husband's knitting had never given her! She felt wonderful, she felt... bad!

With this newfound energy, she felt like getting up see the sunrise. Her eye glowing a happy crimson, the sleek machine tip-toed her way past the other sleeping machines and made her way out the door. She managed to keep the squeaking of the hinges to a minimum, fortunately, and let out a whine of contentment as the frigid morning wind hit her stiff joints. She gazed out at the rising sun, feeling decidedly happy. There were so many possibilities! She could send horrible things to the stitchpunks, she could send the other machines on missions to do horrible things when her husband wasn't watching! Why, what if she could capture one? For some reason the idea of soul-sucking sounded absolutely fantastic...

Yes, felt she had found her purpose in life and was feeling quite accomplished. With this happy thought she turned to go back inside... and then she screamed.

"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! HONEY!"

Her shrill shriek awoke the Fabrication Machine from his slumber, causing the large metal beast to jump and bash his 'head' against a beam. "Augh, ow...." The Machine groaned as he reached up to rub the spot he'd hit. "What's going on, Sweetie?" He called out, voice still slurred from slumber.

"GET OUT HERE!"

The Fabrication Machine blinked, then shrugged and did as he was told. Within a few minutes he stood outside, blinking at his wife. "Alright, alright, I'm up, what seems to be the problem?" A metal claw, shaking with rage, reached out and grabbed him so he could see the factory.

Their home was covered with toilet paper. The white stuff billowed in the morning wind, obscuring the windows. Various oil spots and multicolored ink splotches covered the walls, as well as plenty of writing. There were doodles of the twins, scrawled messages of things like "Smashing!" and "8 WUZ HERE!" placed everywhere.

"...Huh," The Fabrication Machine blinked.

"Those stitchpunks did this!" exclaimed, still shaking with rage.

"Yeah, I know. It's kind of impressive. Do you think they managed to cover everything?" The Fabrication Machine asked as he cocked his great head to the side.

"HONEY!"

The Machine flinched. "Yes, yes, sorry. Why do you suppose they did this?"

huffed as she folded two of her arms. "I have no idea! They came and said trick-or-treat last night while wearing some ridiculous costumes! I sent them away--"

"Wait," The Fabrication Machine's eye narrowed. "You sent them away? On Halloween!?"

Silence.

"...Well, geez, that wasn't very nice! No wonder they did this! I mean, they did say 'Trick or Treat', it's only fair!" The Fabrication Machine said as he looked back to the mess that was their home.

"...What?" sputtered.

The Fabrication Machine shrugged. "I told you, it's only fair. Should have seen it coming. Besides, I actually kind of like it. It's very abstract." just stared. After a moment the Fabrication Machine chuckled and patted her with an awkward clunk. "Ah, sweetie, you're far too uptight. Just give them a treat next time, haha! Maybe we'll send Cat to go with them, it'd be nice to have some friends in this neighborhood!"

Silence.

"Yeah, I figured you'd think it was a good idea! Now if you don't mind, I have some more knitting to do!" The Machine chuckled, then turned and made his way inside. "Man, now I have a song in my head... oh, how did it go? Ah yes! 'Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange...'"

stood there in silence, staring at the mess that covered the factory. After a few minutes the Cat Beast peeked outside, his single red eye shriveling up to stare at the mess. "Oh, wow! Where'd they get all the toilet paper!? That's so cool! It looks like fun, I wanna do it too! Mom, mom, can we do that!? Can we, can we!?"

The machine ignored the Cat Beast as she turned to glare at the church across the Emptiness. Her eye narrowed. This wasn't right, not at all! She was supposed to be the one that did awful things, not the other way around! "This isn't over stitchpunks, not by a long shot!" She called out, her shrill machine voice echoing through the abyss.

There was silence for a moment as she just stood there sparking with rage, the wind blowing. Then the cat Beast clapped it's claws together. "That was pretty great mom! But I think I like dad's song better!"

"Oh no..."

"This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloweeeeeen~!"

---

There was some sort of cloth in his mouth.

1 slowly opened his eyes, staring blearily at the dust motes as they floated in the golden sunlight of middday. He blinked, then made a face and spit the now frayed edge of his cloak out of his mouth. He hadn't chewed on his cape in ages! Angled eyes glanced about the room, spotting the edges of destroyed bits of toilet paper, splatters of ink and oil, destroyed jack-o-lantern remains and far too many empty cups. The elderly stitchpunk gave a groan and sat up, clutching at his head. There was a sharp, throbbing pain there, and the bright sunlight was not helping.

"Ah, good morning 1!" 2's cheery voice echoed across the room, causing 1 to flinch at how loud it was.

"Morning?" The leader groaned, beginning to rise. "More like afternoon..."

"Ah, careful, you'll wake 8," 2 warned. 1 blinked and glanced down, spotting the sleeping giant beneath him. That wasn't the only stitchpunk beneath him either. The entire group was sprawled out on the floor together, a messy pile of stitchpunk limbs and peaceful faces.

"...What happened last night?" The leader muttered as he detangled himself, being careful to not nudge anyone. He then wobbled his way over to the small makeshift table where 2 was sitting, flopping down on an old spool.

"You mean you don't remember?" The second eldest stitchpunk's eyebrows rose. "That's such a shame, your order that we go and ah... what's the term? Ah yes, 'TP' the machine's factory was rather heroic to behold." As he spoke he poured a cup of steaming oil, then pushed it across the table to 1.

1 took it with a frown, his brow furrowing. "Now that you mention it, I suppose it did happen... did 5 really kick one of those little spider machines over while shouting 'This. Is. SPARTA!'?" He inquired as he took a sip.

The inventor let out a laugh. "5 got... surprisingly enthusiastic," He glanced back at the one-eyed stitchpunk, whom was sleeping with am arm curled around 9 and his head on 7's shoulder. "They all did, really. It was quite impressive. 8 was quite admirable with that toilet paper and the twins really are worringingly good at vandalism. And then of course there was you and 9 joining arm and arm to charge the smokestack. Afterwards you both got surprisingly emotional and you started gushing about how you loved him and practically considered him a son... and then you told everyone that you loved them like a family. It was all quite touching really."

1 spat out the oil he'd been drinking. "I said what?" He sputtered.

"Oh, you were just surprisingly honest for a change and admitted you loved everyone and you just wanted everyone to be safe and happy. It was touching," 2 said with a smile as he propped his head in his hands. "Hence the large pile at the end."

The leader made a face. "Oh... fantastic," He groaned and reached up to rub his head. "Now they'll never take me seriously and they'll be convinced they can do these ridiculous things all the time..."

2 chuckled. "Is it really so bad to admit you actually like all of them once and awhile?"

"Yes," 1 said flatly. "I'll lose my edge then."

The inventor rolled his eyes. "Oh, shush. You'll never lose your edge, you old coot."

"Glad to hear you have such faith in me," 1 replied dryly.

2 watched him for a moment, then chuckled. "You really needn't worry... you don't need to give some speech. I do believe in spite of all your ridiculous ranting and your instances that everyone cannot stand you, they're all aware that you care for them... just like you're aware they care for you. It's rather sweet really."

The leader gave a sigh. "Must we always end these parties with your cheesy observations?" He asked as he glared across the table at 2.

2 outright laughed at this. "Alright, alright, I'll drop the subject. But you can't hide that heart of yours forever, 1." He grinned as he took another sip from his cup.

"Feh," 1 hunched up his shoulders as he sipped his own oil, gazing at the pile of sleeping stitchpunks. In spite of silence, however, he was smiling. They really did look rather ridiculous... but he had to admit, what he remembered of last night had been fun, and it had been well worth it to get the twins smiling. Perhaps this whole Halloween business wasn't so bad after all.

"So," He finally said after a minute or so. "What exactly is the plan for next year?"

2 cracked a smile. "I thought you'd never ask."

-End-