AUTHOR'S NOTE:

Just a short oneshot with 7x9 fluff. Please enjoy and comment! All characters belong to Shane Acker.

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She was all he could think about.

The stitchpunk lay on his pile of rags, hands behind his head, and staring unblinkingly at the wood ceiling. It was well into the night, possibly the morning, and 9 hadn't gotten a wink of sleep. He shifted onto his side uncomfortably and closed his eyes, trying to will himself to shut down. Things were reeling inside his head, bouncing off walls and bumping into each other. He constantly looked over to his left where another pile of rags was piled and a shadowy figure laid silhouetted and facing the opposite direction. 9 sighed. Why couldn't he get 7 out of his head?

He remembered earlier that day when things really started to click. Both 9 and 7 had sat peacefully on a tattered book, the sun setting slightly, casting dark shadows around the earth, as they watched the twins chase each other in a game they called "tag." 3 was running frantically from his younger sister, ducking behind piles of debris, but always giving her time to catch up. 9 looked over at 7 as she covered her mouth in fits of giggles. Her quiet laugh was so funny sounding; it always made 9 laugh, himself. He smiled slightly. She looked really pretty in the sunlight reflecting off of her pale skin. 7 was a beautiful contrast to the dirty, chaotic earth around them. She always stood out as a reminder of the good things in this world. 7 turned to look at him, snapping him out of his thoughts, and he whipped his head away, realizing that he had been staring. 7 smiled at him and leaned in closer.

"What are you thinking?" she asked him in that playful tone of hers. It was amazing at how blunt she could be. 7 always knew when something was wrong.

"Nothing," 9 said, pretending to watch the twins again. 7 raised a stitched eyebrow at him. You could never get anything past her. She nudged his shoulder.

"Be honest," she smirked. "I know that look."

9 sighed and rested his chin in his hand. "I guess I was just wondering," he said. "Well, I was in the library yesterday, and I kept coming across a certain word, and now it keeps bugging me. I looked it up in the dictionary, but it still didn't make sense. So I was wondering…what does a kiss mean?"

9 obviously thought he had said something inappropriate, because 7 had gone rigid and hadn't blinked once. 9 put up his hands.

"D-did I say something wrong?" he asked urgently. "I'm sorry, 7 – I was only wondering…I mean I kept reading that word in books and stories and…" 9 looked away, feeling his face grow hot. Had he upset her?

He felt something enclose around his hand and turned to look at her. 7 was shaking her head.

"No, no, 9," she reassured him. "You just caught me off-guard, that's all."

9 sighed, a bit relieved, but still anxious. What was so wrong about what he had said?

7 seemed to be thinking the same thing for a moment, stroking 9's hand softly as she pondered over his question. 9 felt very secure at her touch. The female stitchpunk finally looked up.

"I think…" she said. "I think that a kiss is a way to symbolize a certain…affection for a person." 7 thought a bit more. 9 hoped she wouldn't let go of his hand.

"You give someone a kiss when you want them to know you love them. A kiss can be given to your children, family, your friends…I think it is meant to tell someone you love and respect them." 7 cocked her head. "Does that answer your question?"

9 pressed his lips together in thought. That wasn't the definition he had thought he'd receive, because he was thinking of something else.

"Er…" he fingered his zipper. "Well…yes, it helps, but…I had heard of a different kind of kiss." 7 looked confused. He tried again. "I mean, I was thinking of…er…" What was he trying to say? He had read something in a book once that described a man and a woman who were deeply in love, and they "shared a kiss." Was a kiss just to be given to anyone, like family? Was there a special kind reserved for one person?

7's eyes widened a bit as she came to realize what he was trying to say. "I think I know," she said. "Yes, a kiss can be given to someone you love, like a child or friend – " Wow, she could read him like a book " – but there's a kiss that should be saved for one special person. Someone whom you love and admire and want to spend the rest of your life with…"

All of what she was saying made 9's face grow very hot. This all seemed quite awkward and personal, but he still enjoyed listening to her.

"…pure, romantic love, I guess you'd call it," she finished with a sideways glance at him. "Does that help?"

9 nodded hesitantly. "Yeah…yes, thank you."

They sat in awkward silence for a little while longer, watching the twins grow weary and the sun set even lower. 9 finally stood up a little suddenly and picked up his staff, turning the bulb and letting it emit a glowing light. "We'd better get back," he said, offering a hand to 7 and helping her up, not that she needed it.

9 snapped out of his trance when he heard a shuffle from across the room. 7 had shifted in her sleep, but that was all. 9 continued to stare up at the ceiling, pondering over all he had learned that day, and 7. She was actually very pretty, for a stitchpunk, and she always had a way to make him smile. As 9 thought about all the times she buried her face into his chest and how he felt as though things were flying around inside him, he sighed to himself.

The stitchpunk sat up and looked over to the female across the room. He had a sudden urge to go see her, even if she was asleep. At first, he argued with himself, saying what a bad idea it was. What if she woke up and saw him sitting there, staring? Then again, he knew he wouldn't be able to fall asleep without satisfying the image in his mind. It wasn't like he was going to get to sleep, anyway. As quietly as he could, he swung his legs slowly over his "bed" and tiptoed over to hers, moving as if he were in a dream. It was all very strange. He carefully sat on the edge and folded his metal hands in his lap, just watching her sleep peacefully. He wished he could explain the feeling welling up inside him.

Was this what love was supposed to feel like?

Suddenly, she stirred. 9 froze to the spot, as stiff as a board as 7 blinked wearily and turned her head to look up at him. They sat there, staring at each other for what seemed like hours, until finally she smiled serenely.

"Hi," she whispered, eyes at half-mast.

9 returned a smile; giving her the crooked one she loved so much. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"

7 shook her head and slipped her hand over the rags until her small, metal hand rested on his knee. It made him blink, but he recovered and leaned in a little closer. He slowly bent down until his head rested in between her shoulder and neck. He suddenly realized how tired he was. 9 was very grateful that 7 was half-asleep, otherwise they would both probably find this incredibly awkward. But at the moment, he just felt very peaceful as he carefully slipped his arms underneath her and hugged her close. 7 closed her eyes at 9's warmth and snuggled into him as much as she could without moving her tired arms. She seemed like she was enjoying the closeness. 9 realized that he had wanted to be close to her for a long time, and now that he was there, he felt himself relax.

The male stitchpunk lay there for a few more minutes, not wanting to get up, worrying that if he didn't, she would eventually wake up herself and find the situation embarrassing. But she didn't, and that gave 9 a bit more courage. He turned his head over to her hearing sensor again and gave her a barely audible whisper,

"I love you, 7."

At first he was afraid she hadn't heard him, or comprehended. Her eyes were still shut and her expression hadn't changed. But after a few motionless seconds, she turned her head to face his, eyes open, – they were an inch apart and his face heated up again – and leaned in, brushing her lips against his and giving him the softest kiss.

At first, 9 didn't have a clue what she was doing. But her lips were so gentle on his that his eyes began to droop against his will and he sank into her deeper. It sent shivers up and down his body – like when 7 embraced him with a hug, only ten times more pleasing. When they at last pulled apart, all they could do was stare at each other with those lazy eyes and peaceful smiles on their faces. 9 knew he probably looked stupid, but this was the happiest he had ever been.

7 leaned in slowly one more time and whispered so her lips brushed against his, "I love you."

She scooted over to make room for 9, and he lay down next to her. She drowsily snuggled up next to him and placed her hands on his chest, sighing with content. 9 lay his head on top of hers and relaxed the gears in his body, wondering when he had ever felt this at ease, and fell asleep.

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