The Real Fool
1 watched as 9 approached 5. The one-eyed creature was crossing his dead mentor's arms over his chest. Gently, he lifted 2's face.
"I can't let this happen to them," 9 said softly.
5 turned to look at him and nodded sadly.
6 had finally caught up with them. At the sight of 2's dead body, he trembled and let out a strangled sob. The twins rushed to comfort him burying their faces into his arms. They sobbed as well, for 2 and for 7. 7 had been taken by the Seamstress and the twins were frightened for her safety.
1 folded his arms across his chest and scowled. 5 wanted to do something for 2 before they left to go save 7 and 8. The twins' heads perked up. They had an idea. 6 followed them as they rushed off into a dark corner of the library. 9 was about to follow them when he realized 5 had not yet gotten up.
"I-I'm gonna stay here, alright?" he asked.
9 nodded sympathetically and walked after the others.
1 watched as 5 stood up. He wandered over to where 1's penny now lay. During the Seamstress attack it had fallen off his hat. 1 twitched as 5 picked it up and walked back over to his fallen friend. The leader supposed it was 5's way of getting back at him.
Technically 1 had stolen the penny from 2. Once 2 and 5 had returned from one of their excursions in the Emptiness (it was quite some time before the group realized the Cat Beast was out there) and 2 had found the penny. 1 had barged into their workshop, ranting and raving about how there was nothing out there but garbage. In his heated speech, 1 swiped the penny off the counter and waved it in their faces. Secretly, he actually liked the penny. Partially because it had his number on it but there was something else about the coin that attracted the eldest to it. When he had finished yelling, he left the workshop without another word, carefully concealing the penny underneath his cape. When he had attached it to his crown, he could see the look of rage in 5's eye. 2 didn't seem to mind (too much), but 5 was furious. 1 didn't care though. He knew that 5 wouldn't have the guts to approach him about it.
Now, 5 rested the penny beside 2 and he knelt down. He carefully closed 2's mouth and took the elder's face in his hands. Resting his forehead against 2's, 5 whispered: "You were always number one to me." Then he placed a small kiss on 2's lips.
1 cringed. Making a face of absolute disgust he moved away from 5. 2 wasn't number one, that why his name was 2. He was second. Second best. Not first. That was 1. Right?
As the others returned, 1 caught 9's eye. He scoffed and turned away. 9 shook his head and helped 6 and the twins bring a wooden plank over to 5. When 5 realized the others were watching him, he stood up and wrung his hands nervously. 9 stepped forward and placed a hand on 5's shoulder. Finally, 5 couldn't handle the pain anymore and threw himself into his friend's arms. 9 embraced him and patted his back.
1 didn't understand 9. He was a fool who asked too many questions that was for sure. Also, he contradicted 1 regularly since the moment they met. He reminded 1 a lot of 7 because of that. But there was something different about 9. 1's attitude towards 7 had repelled her, caused her to run away. But 9, even after their argument in the bell tower, 9 tried to help 1. Still, that attribute reminded 1 a lot of 2 so he scorned 9 despite his acts of kindness.
2. Now there was a fool if 1 had ever seen one. So fascinated by pretty much everything, 2 was. Always probing, pushing. Always wanting to know pointless things. 2's questioning had gotten to a point where he began to question 1's rule.
"I know what I'm doing!" 1 had shouted.
"Do you?" 2 had asked. "Honestly?"
He had said it so quietly it was haunting and those words still rung in 1's head like a bell. Of course he knew what he was doing. He was the first. He had been around the longest and had seen the most. He knew the most, he had to. 1 was the leader after all. Of course, he had in fact labeled himself the leader. Once he had heard 7 talking with 2. She said he would make a much better leader. At the time, 1 had half a mind to walk up to 7 and smack her across the face for saying that. 2 wouldn't make a better leader. 1 even heard 2 say (in the same conversation) that he didn't want to be leader. He didn't want to control anyone.
1 laughed bitterly. 2 was so weak. No wonder he let 5 follow him around like a helpless puppy. That explained why he believed every ridiculous thing that came out of 6's mouth. Of course it was his disgustingly kind nature that made everyone like him.
1 had split off from the group as they lay 2's lifeless body on the wooden plank. They brought it over what 1 assumed was a pond in the library. The leader watched as 9 rearranged 2's hands across his chest. 5 reached over and picked something up. It was the penny. 5 placed the coin over 2's eyes.
Growling in his throat, 1 turned away. What was so special about 2 anyway? Nothing that was what. Oh, sure, 2 was nice to everyone (he had actually been very pleasant towards 1 and 8 for a while until they really starting treating him (and 5) like dirt), but what else? What did he do that was so fantastic that required a goddamn memorial service for him?
2 had come up with the lifts. It was because of 2's excursions in the Emptiness that they group always had what they needed and because of one in particular they were aware of the Cat Beast's presence. And because of 2's telescope (well, 5 had helped but 1 didn't care about 5) they were able to keep watch if the Beast was close.
Still, 1 shook his head and mumbled angrily. There was still something about 2 that bothered 1 immensely. He just couldn't put his finger on it. Was it his cheery, hopeful disposition? Was it the way he always questioned their way of life (possibly)? What was it that angered 1 so much and eventually caused him to send 2 out to his ultimate demise?
1's mind wandered back to what 5 had done not 3 minutes ago. "You were always number one to me." Then he placed a small kiss on 2's lips. 1 still remembered when 2 had first convinced 6 to start drawing what he saw. He recalled how 2 always encouraged 7 to just keep believing in what she believed in and how he made 5 believe he was actually worth his time (since day one, 1 had thought 5 was nothing more than dead weight) and how he would spend time with the twins just for the heck of it. After everything 2 said and did for the others, they would beam; there would be this glow around them. Everyone liked 2 (even 8 seemed a bit drawn to him although his allegiance lied with 1).
Deep down, 1 thought, that must've been his motive. He didn't want to accept the fact that the group preferred 2 to himself. 1 didn't want to see 2 as the better man. He watched as 2 floated away down the lake and through the bars in the wall into the unknown. 2 really wasn't bad at all. He had been a better friend and an all around better person than 1 had ever been. Perhaps, 1 realized with grief, 1 was the real fool.
He didn't want to admit it, but maybe it was true. But 2 was a fool. His obsessive need to keep others alive was one of the things that almost killed him. 1 had yelled at him not to go back for 5. There was no reason to, he hardly knew the new comer at the time. Still, 2 was persistent and went after him anyway. If it weren't for 7 he could have died.
And now he was dead, and it was 1's fault. Well, 9 was the idiot that awakened the machine in the first place but 1 had still sent 2 out into the Emptiness. As the others turned around 1 could see how broken they all looked, especially 5. Seeing how upset this travesty had made everyone made 1 realized what a horrible leader he had really been. He was tempted to go hide somewhere until the others came back, if they even would come back. 1 didn't really cared at this point. He knew they didn't want him.
Suddenly, 9 approached him. "We're going."
1 stared at him. 9 was really so much like 2. It was almost sickening. There was a certain look in 9's eyes that told 1 something. Something along the lines of: "8 was your friend, right? Don't you want to save him?"
Although neither of them said a word to each other, they both understood. 1 knew 9 was right. Although he had never been able to admit it out loud, 1 had always considered 8 his friend. He decided that he should go with them to show he cared about a t least one person, even if he would never say it verbally. But actions always spoke louder than words.
It's fun to write for 1 8) Well, I hoped y'all like it. Sorry if it seemed like I was bashing 5, but that's how I figured 1 feels about 5. So yeah, I don't hate 5 ^^. So uh….yeah. Enjoy.