Disclaimer: All characters and the world portrayed is (c) to Shane Acker and Focus Features. I am not writing for profit, simply for fun. Thank you.
9 fanfiction by Littletiger488
The first night after they had left Sanctuary was one that would be burned into 7's mind for all of eternity. The experience was beyond anything she could ever hope to forget, to erase, to delete.
It was horrifying.
She had had enough of 1. Not that 7 had ever really agreed with the self appointed leader of their stitchpunk clan. From the moment she met him their views clashed and unlike her fellow numbers, she had no problem letting 1 know exactly what she thought of him. He was a coward. Through and through. And she would say it to his face every chance she got. It was why he kept them in hiding. Why he ignored the war that they were quickly losing. Why he said it wasn't their battle to fight. He blatantly ignored his purpose.
It would ruin his power; distract them from him.
It was wrong.
And she hated him for it.
His ridiculous rules, made only to benefit himself, not their family. It was ironic that he was the one who started calling them that. What did he know about families? It was almost insulting that he referred to them in such a caring manner while at the same time shaking his iron fist and demanding respect.
What made him capable of the title 'leader'? Because he was the first? All of them knew that only made him the more flawed, 'the first attempt'. He knew it too, she was sure of it; but he'd never admit it.
2 was the only other one who attempted to make their 'leader' see reason, but the kind hearted inventor hated confrontation and would usually fold as soon as 1's voice would rise. She respected his effort though.
5 was easily manipulated mostly because he just wanted to be liked. She understood that of his character, his need for approval. It made it hard for her to try and convince him otherwise. "A group needs a leader" was explanation enough for him.
6 would never dream of challenging 1. His self esteem was beyond repair, no matter how many encouraging words she directed towards the artist. 1 and 8 had found him before anyone else and whatever little time they had spent before meeting the others had shattered the seer's willingness to speak out.
8 needed no explanation. The mindless twat.
For a long while 7 was sick of being the only one to challenge their leader. She'd spit the title at him, voice dripping with venom and optics fixed in a hard glare whenever they passed each other. His selfish motivations had driven her to her breaking point. She would no longer be told what she could and could not do from the old git.
That very morning she finished construction on her fondly named 'skull-met'.
Freedom was upon her. To do as she pleased, go where she wanted, and most importantly, focus on what had to be done. 1 could be afraid of the fight all he wanted to, but 7 relished it. It was addicting to say the least, the adrenaline, the knowledge that if she didn't fight, who would? Couldn't they all see that a life in constant fear and hiding was a life not worth living?
Her mind was made up, her goals set. But as she made her way to the rectory of the old chapel, an unaccounted for roadblock stood between her and her escape.
They stared at her, standing poised, hands wringing nervously, hiding guilty but pleading looks behind the hoods that fell just slightly over their optics.
Her insides crumbled.
3 and 4, the mute twin digits. She had found them cowering in the bottom of a discarded coffee can, scared, rattling, little figures absolutely terrified of the massacre unfolding around them. It took some coaxing to get them to follow her that first time they met, but almost immediately after they attached themselves to her hips.
The twins were a curious sort, so much innocence and wonder went into their creation. Everything was worth a second look to them, everything so exciting, no matter how trivial. 2 adored them, but 2 adored everyone. She felt as if 5 only laughed whenever the twins were around, darting to and fro in the workshop and 'discovering' things they had already seen before as if they were a fresh find. 6 smiled a lot more, the two catalogers always pestering him to show them every picture he drew. They indulged the artist's need to show off.
But it was 7 they favored. It was her they ran to, her they wanted to be near, and her they needed approval from. Their first night at the chapel had them taking up residence in the nook she claimed as her bedroom, pulling an old match box into the opposite corner to serve as their sleeping arrangements.
She didn't mind really, it was flattering to have someone who wanted to be so close, who looked up to you.
Someone to protect.
Someone who wanted protecting.
That's why 7 wasn't too surprised when she found them waiting for her at the backdoor. Guilt washed through her in waves. She complained about 1 being selfish and here she had completely forgotten to take into account what her leaving would do to 3 and 4.
Their eyes flashed earnestly, begging for her not to go.
But if she needed to…
…to take them with.
How could she deny such a request? She didn't want to at first, too many worried thoughts of the consequences. She was heading out into a war, understanding the risk she was putting herself in and willing to take it. But all 3 and 4 knew was she was going and they wanted to be with their chosen protector. She couldn't knowingly bring them into danger they couldn't comprehend, make that life threatening decision for them just because it was something she wanted to do.
Not to mention they would slow her down. They didn't have the mindset for fighting, the heart of a warrior, much too timid to help in combat.
But the desperate tone of their blinking. She couldn't turn them away. She hated 1, but they were frightened of him, his booming voice, his harsh words, and the fact that he never once had a kind look or word to share with them. The way he would send the massive 8 in their direction would often have them fleeing behind 7. If it was anyone that 8 would back off from, it was 7.
He was a moron, but he wasn't suicidal.
This was also not to mention their constant need for new things. Their attention spans could rival light speed, it was only a matter of time before their exploring brought them outside the chapel and head first into danger. At least this way she could keep an eye on them.
7 gave in.
Her first mistake.
They needed to leave just as much as she did. It wasn't ideal, but she would figure something out.
And so the three left… and did not look back.
From the get go 3 and 4 followed her blindly on her trek. They would stop momentarily to catalog and inspect various piles of rubble, but they would always scamper back to 7's side faster than she could call for them to stay close. She couldn't move at the pace she'd like to with them trailing behind, but their company kept her smiling.
The land around them was even more devastated since she'd last been outside the chapel. It was disheartening. Especially as the day light started to fade and shadows crept across the rotting race that was all but annihilated.
It only made her disdain towards 1 stronger.
By dusk, 7 had realized her second mistake. Had she been mad? Thinking she could just continue on forever? She wasn't picky when it came to finding means for herself, but she now had the twins to accommodate for. Lacking her stamina, 3 had long since been hoisted onto her back and 4 was clinging to her side, stumbling with each step, using her staff for support. Locating proper accommodations for her charges was essential.
She stopped to survey the landscape, a set of broken gates catching her attention. Shifting the weary 3 higher up on her back, she took 4's hand in her own and urged him onward and they made their way inside the decrepit remains of a courtyard.
Statues of human females towered over them, the last rays of sunlight dancing across their marbled surfaces, stone arms extended towards the heavens. 7 marveled at them. She allowed her mind to paint a picture of what this place was… what it looked like before.
As the sun finally set, she managed to settle them all into the inner sanctum of the building attached to the courtyard. Exploring the vastness of the new building would have to wait. Sleep would come first. With a little quick scavenging and a bit of luck, 7 found an old lantern. It was filthy and cracked in several places, but the candle inside was still intact and didn't take long to light. It would do.
Her body ached and the pain from walking such a distance slowly started to surface when she sat down. She leaned up against the glass casing of the lantern, tipping her skull-met up and releasing a tired sigh. Almost immediately after, the twins flanked her, 4 crawling into her lap and 3 curling up against her opposite shoulder.
Amongst her poor tired gears and sore stitching, 7 somehow found a smile. She relaxed slightly and wrapped her arm around 4, her free hand clutching her staff. She watched as the twins talked to one another in their unique blinks, shutters clicking in rapid succession of each other, seemingly answering before one brother could finish their initial question.
She loved watching them communicate. She couldn't understand them fully, but some things she'd begun to pick up on. They turned their strobe like gazes towards her. She had to squint in order to make out what they were saying while also trying to avoid being blinded. But the familiar pattern of 'goodnight 7' was translated with little difficulty.
She held them close for a moment, happy they were there, happy to be needed.
They entered their resting state faster than they ever had, beyond exhausted from the eventful day. 7 stroked 4's hood and leaned her head back against the warm glass, heated from the flame trickling inside the lantern. Her optics slowly closed.
… only to flutter back open.
Silence… it was deafening. Unnaturally quiet. But it was only that way for a few moments. Suddenly everything was intensely loud to 7; every creak, every clatter, every noise that filtered through her senses. What was making them? Who was making them? Her mind tried to categorize every noise, detail it, give it a source.
If she knew what made those sounds she could rationalize. She wouldn't have to guess. She wouldn't fear what they could possibly be. But finding the sounds would mean moving… moving away from the twins. Into danger. Leaving them in the path of the noises. Her only option was staying as still as she could. To wonder. To simply imagine what was out there and try not to picture a horrible outcome.
The contemplation and assumptions were slowly driving her insane.
Her head jerked about at every moment, trying to follow all the sounds. Did something just dart over near that shadow? It was hard to tell with the flickering flames' light, it gave everything an eerie glow. But for certain, things were out there. Things she dare not ponder. Things that destroyed one race…
…and that were out to destroy another.
When had she ever been this jumpy? This unsure of herself? This paranoid? The exhaustion, the need to sleep but the fear of cutting off her vision was messing with her thought process. Closing her eyes only made the mental images more intense. Gave more images to the creaking and cracking. Surely the twins heard all this. But no… deep in recharge they both stayed, safe and assured while in her embrace.
But safe and assured she was anything but.
She couldn't wake them; burden them with these thoughts and this kind of responsibility. No, she was their defender.
Sleep was therefore impossible. In the chapel it had been easier, she would now admit. More eyes watching for danger. A constant vigil of 8 at the doorway. A scouting 5 in the watch tower. The phrase 'safety in numbers' came to mind. She might have even been amused at the irony of that statement, had she not been absorbed in how incredibly petrified she was at that moment.
She no longer had the luxury of numbers. The comfort that she had others watching her back. Realization that she never would anymore drove itself through her mechanical mind, into her human soul. If she slept they were unprotected.
No one to defend them.
Her third mistake.