"Goodbye, my lover. Goodbye, my friend. You have been the one for me."

---- James Blunt, Goodbye My Lover

Goodbye My Friend

The group of ragged stitchpunks stood aside the corpse of the most beloved among them. 5 was still carefully arranging his fingers, he seemed unable to let them go, and the sorrow hanging over them was palpable. Perhaps it was a good thing they could not cry, because not one of them doubted the tears would be endless. There was not a single being present that did not mourn his passing save 1. The cantankerous leader turned from the funeral with what the others hoped was some shred of guilt or shame. 5 stood from his old friend at last, fingers lingering just a moment longer; only a moment longer. They slid away slowly. It was difficult for him. They all saw it. There was a moment when no one breathed, and then they all bent over him at once. There was a united push, a united farewell, and everyone watched as he floated away, shoulder to shoulder as though they sought the comfort of one another's touch. But it was not the touch of the one beside them that they sought, and, so, none but 3 and 4 reached for the other. Not a life standing on that shore was left untouched by the one who passed away from them. Not a single soul radiating with the agony of loss could be consoled. It was not possible.

7 could not bear the guilt and regret that stirred in her chest. So long, she had been preoccupied with her war – her rebellion – not knowing it had cost her the love of an irreplaceable friend – a father. He had been there for her from the beginning. He had been there for her in times of pain, anger, joy, failure, hopelessness. He had consoled her, comforted her, validated her, loved her. She had done nothing but abandoned him in return. Her hand rose to her chest as though to conceal the weakness his loss had left in her; to cover the gaping hole he had once filled in her heart. It had only been this day that she found him again. The joy was immeasurable. There had been so much to say, so much to say. And now…. "Goodbye, my friend." was all that was left.

Silently, 4 placed her arms around 3 to comfort both herself and her brother. Their eyes remained dim, but deep inside they were communicating with one another. He could feel the sadness that pulsed through his sister as she could feel his. They could not look away from what they knew to be nothing but a floating corpse, because something that fought against all their logic told them, they were only just now losing him. He had been a friend, a companion, a mind in common. They had taught him, and he had taught them. He still taught them. He was teaching them this very moment that the loss of one you loved was the most unbearable pain a living creature could face. The identical faces that stared out over the corpse, unable to really focus on it, were heavy with utter disconsolation. "Goodbye, my friend," the blank stares said. "Goodbye, my friend."

6 placed his inky fingers around the heavy key that hung about his neck, gripping it tightly for consolation. He turned his eyes away as the body of his closest friend floated away into the night. His mind was clear; it so seldom cleared this way. He wished it hadn't. He wished he could hide away in that fog until the pain had passed. No. That would not be fair to his memory. He closed his eyes as his grip tightened. No one had believed in him like the older stitchpunk. No one had taken him so seriously, given him such kind smiles, praised his drawings whether useful or not. Not one of them had understood him as the inventor had. Not one. His fragile mind had thrived on the attention given by such a kind hand; it had survived thanks to it. He dropped his hands suddenly and looked off into the distance. His mind was slipping away into that fog again, try as he might to resist. He could stand the agony no longer. It was time to say, "Goodbye, my friend."

It was all 9 could do not to scream out his self-abuse. It was all his fault. It was all his fault. If he had never awakened, if he had never left that room, the cold body floating away from him would still be warm with love and compassion. That benevolent stitchpunk's existence was worth ten times his own. He would never be able to express his regret, his contrition. He had stolen a dear friend from those around him. How could he ever repent for such an atrocious sin? How could they ever forgive him? How could he forgive himself, when the older stitchpunk had given his very life to save him? It had all happened too soon. He had barely gotten to know such a true friend before he lost him. It was too soon. It was too soon. He had not wanted to say, he did not want to say, "Goodbye, my friend."

It was 5 who stood the most alone. He was lost without him. He was lost. He gripped the strap across his chest, eyes never leaving the fingers of his mentor. They were so still. When had they ever been so still? Never. He could still see them in his mind, delicately pressing a component into place, brushing across his own fingers, reaching up for his face. And now….they were so still. For a moment, he couldn't remember why they had grown still, but it came rushing back before his mind could find true relief from reality. He was gone. Even his corpse was disappearing into the distance. He was gone. 5 felt something inside him snap, break, crumble into dust. He didn't know what it was, but he knew that it could never be repaired. It was something secret inside him that had belonged to 2 and only 2 could fix it. It still belonged to him, broken as it was, and, as much as it pained him, there was no time to mourn. It was time to say, "Goodbye, my lover. Goodbye, my friend."

[I hope you listened to Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt while reading this. You'll have cried if you did, I swear. ;___; It's what made me write this. *is still crying* Anyways, I know 7 shouldn't be there, but let's just pretend the Seamstress didn't take off with her. … Like anyone'd go back to save 8. XD I apologize to 1 fans, as well, but I did not think he would have too much to feel on the death of someone he had sent out to die in the beginning anyways. Cept maybe, "Finally. Your old ass was supposed to be dead a week ago." X3

…Also, I'm crouching by a tree at 5 in the morning, stealing a neighbor's internet to post this, so review if you like it. ^^; Make my effort worthwhile, so I have just arguments against my calf muscles when they scream, "Why did you do this to us?!" later. ___; ]