"For you know, once even I was a
little child, and I was afraid
but a gentle someone always came
to dry all my tears, trade sweet sleep for fears
and to give a kiss goodnight."

---- Lullaby for a Stormy Night, Vienna Teng

Lullaby for a Stormy Night 2

7 leaned back against the edge of the doorframe, staring out at the cloudy night with anxious, fearful optics. A loud booming sound rang across the calm of a post-battle city. She watched the clouds swirl and accumulate in the sky. She wasn't sure what the sound was, but she'd only heard one like it before: the sound of bombs and bullets and screaming and dying. War. She was on edge, ready at a moment's notice to dash off and fight for the safety of the others. She shivered inside, frightened. Not that she would ever let anyone see. No, she was the defender. Fear was not in her nature, right? She sighed shakily, placing a hand to her chest.

"It's just thunder," a soft voice whispered to her from the darkness. "There's no need to frightened."

She turned on him, optics filled with defiance. But it was 2. She felt she could be at ease around 2. He wasn't like 1 with his demanding, calculating gaze. How much were you worth to him? What could you do for him? How could he use you? But with 2, it was always about you. How were you feeling? What could he do for you? How could he make things better for you? She relaxed at the sight of his smile as he approached.

"Thunder?"

"Yes, it's fascinating, really," he continued, stopping at her side to stare up into the sky. "You've never seen a storm, have you?"

7 shook her head.

"Yes, they've grown rather rare. The pollution, I think," he mumbled. "It's nothing to worry about. You should be resting up for your shift."

"I'm alright."

2 gave her a knowing smile as she stared out at the sky. She was still worried. He could imagine the way her brain worked, running over the possibilities, her reactions, mock battles with enemies that did not even exist. She probably worried that if she let herself feel at ease with the sound of thunder she wouldn't recognize the sounds of war if they came. He placed a hand on her shoulder gently, sending a kind smile up at her. She smiled back a little, and he felt her stiff shoulders relax just a little. She gave in.

"Okay."

She walked over to a nearby book, propped up against the wall. The room they were inhabiting for the night was empty, broken, open to the elements. It must have been for a long time. There were no signs of life. She felt the wind rush in as she leaned against the book and slid to the floor, making herself comfortable. 2 groaned as he joined her. She smiled at him. She wondered where 1 was sleeping. He was somewhere in this darkness, alone. She wondered if he liked it that way. Another explosion of sound rang through the night, and she jerked her head to the door again. 2 laughed a little.

"Nothing bad will happen if you relax, my girl," he whispered.

"I can't," she responded without thinking. "It will."

2 looked away, smile fading slightly. So young and already so jaded. He didn't know what say. There were no words to comfort someone who had been thrown into war at birth. The younger ones hadn't had the benefit of peace that 1 and he experienced in the Scientist's home. It was birth and war. And just because 7 had been built to fight that didn't make it any easier. He placed his arm around her shoulders gently. It was all he could do for her. It was enough. Her shoulders relaxed completely this time, and her eyes left the door. She stared down at him with a look of gratitude, leaned against him, slid down into him, and let him hold her. She placed her head against his chest and sighed softly.

"Thank you, 2."

"Goodnight, Seven," he replied simply, shuttering his optics.

7 couldn't sleep right away, but it wasn't from the anxiety of war. She felt very comfortable for once in her life. In a way, she didn't want to miss it by sleeping. She placed a hand against 2's opposite shoulder and squeezed him lightly. He chuckled but didn't open his eyes. His fingers caressed her back gently as his head slowly fell to hers. It was very comfortable. She shuttered her eyes at last, the sound of rain hitting the tin roof of the shack not causing a single jerk in her usually tense body. She rubbed her cheek against the leather of his chest as she situated herself. She felt safe with 2. She felt safe in his arms. It was the first time she'd had someone defend her. And, though 2's embrace did not defend her from machines or bombs or humans, it did defend her from her own doubts and fears. That's was perfectly fine. 7 didn't need defense from physical enemies.

She let the rain become soothing, calming, and it put her to sleep. 2's head remained on hers, 7's arms held onto 2 like a life-preserver. And, somewhere in the darkness, 1's eyes watched them. Outside, the rain pelted the soldiers in the city, drenched their fox-holes, drove them into meager shelters. It was a miserable night for the humans, and a miserable night for 8 who stood guard outside. It was most definitely a miserable night for 1 who glared his distaste across the room, but two stitchpunks slept peacefully in one another's arms.

[Bah, this one isn't as good as the other one, but it snuck up on me while I was listening to my MP3 player and staring at the wall because I have insomnia but didn't have my computer that day. That's right. This song came on again. Then I put it on repeat and got the image of 2 and 7 instead of 7 and the twins. So, here it be. Days later. Which means it isn't as good. The relationship between 2 and 7 is supposed to be father and daughter, of course, in coupling with the previous chapter. But whazzat? A little jealousy on 1's part? X3 Oh, my. But jealous of who? 2 or 7? I'll leave that up to you. ]