Chapter 13

A few hours later 1 was seated on the floor of the scientist's office once more, staring at the mummified corpse of his creator. He'd gone up there to be by himself after 7 had refused to release the souls of their friends once more. They'd gotten into an argument about that and he'd walked off before he'd said something that would destroy the foundation for the new life he was trying to create with her and the twins.

"She's still being stubborn," he said to the body, which now no longer horrified him. With the things he'd gone through the past few days dead bodies no longer affected him, though it still made him sad. "Doesn't she realize how selfish she's being?"

Maybe she didn't. Maybe she was holding onto the souls for a different reason. They both knew once they were released the souls would take to the sky and be gone. They wouldn't be coming back.

"She doesn't want to lose them," he said to the body after realizing this. 'That has to be the reason. She wants them to stay here." He also wanted them to stay but there was no way to make that happen. releasing them had to happen."I don't think that was part of your plan, was it? You didn't want any of this to happen. We were supposed to be what's left of humanity. Did you want the machine to kill us or did you want 9 to prevent it from waking?"

The body lay cold and lifeless on the floor, giving him no answers to his questions.

1 sighed, looking down at his mangled hand. Maybe the only one who he'd meant to kill was 1 himself. His inquiries would never be satisfied with an answer. There just weren't any.

"But there are four of us left," he stated. "What are we going to do? What do you want us to do? We can't reproduce and when we die there will be nothing left. Nothing at all..."

Of course the body didn't comment on this fact either. He didn't expect one anyway. 1 stared down at his mangled hand, rubbing the fingers of his good one over the damage. His entire life story could be told just by looking at his hand.

"But now I don't know what to do with myself," he went on. "She's forgiven me and so have the twins. I guess it's time to move on but there are still things that haven't been resolved."

He thought about what 9 had told him in his dream. About himself and 7. 9 had told him he should be there for her, that he should comfort her and help her. He'd been allowed to live for these things but... the older stitchpunk could still feel an icy wind coming from her.

She'd forgiven him, but not completely.

That made him feel worse.

He just wasn't sure if they would ever be totally fine with each other, there would always be a rift between them...

"9 said I should be there for her now," 1 said to the scientist. "But I'm afraid she doesn't want me to do that. If I tried she would probably reject me because I'm not what she wanted." he curled his ruined fingers into a mangled fist. "She wanted 9, not me. I think all she wanted me to do was die and maybe I should have."

"Don't say that, 1." a voice spoke up behind him.

1 jumped to his feet, startled by the voice. He turned, expecting to see one of the ghosts of the others standing behind him.

But it wasn't any of them.

"7?!" he exclaimed, surprised to see her there. "What are you doing here?"

The female stitchpunk remained in the doorway as she explained. "You didn't come down so I got worried, I figured you'd be up here." she looked over at the corpse laying on the floor. "and I wasn't disappointed."

The older stitchpunk looked away from her, suddenly feeling insecure. She was worried? He was having a hard time believing that. "What is it 7?" he asked her. "Did you want me for something?"

"I wanted to talk to you," she said, starting to walk toward him. "You ran off after our argument and I thought you might have gone and done something..."

"Foolish?" he finished for her, raising a brow.

She looked away.

"You seem to think everything I do is foolish, 7," he went on, now looking away and refusing to look at her. "I wouldn't do something like that, it wouldn't accomplish anything."

She nodded in agreement. He was right.

"But why shouldn't I have done anything, 7?" he asked after a moment. "You were being stubborn. If you continue holding them inside the talisman they will become bitter toward you. They will hate you for what you're doing."

She frowned, obviously not liking his words.

"I'm not lying," he said. "Remember how I kept everyone in the church and refused to let them go out? You didn't like that and accused me of keeping us all in a cage. Isn't what you're doing kind of the same thing?"

7 didn't respond.

"You're being a hypocrite."

The female stitchpunk's frown deepened.

1 didn't care that he was making her upset. He just wanted all of this to be over so they could finally move on.

"It's wrong, 7," he said. "We both know it's wrong. You can't keep them,. I'm not saying this because I want to control you or tell you what to do, I'm saying this because I don't want you to go through the loathing and hatred I've had to deal with most of my life." 7 refused to look at him but she didn't say a word either so maybe she was listening. "Do you want that, 7? Do you want people to hate you? Do you think the twins will understand this choice you've made? I don't even understand it."

7 still made no comments which frustrated him. Couldn't she at least listen? Why did she have to be so pig headed?!

"I'm not trying to tell you what to do because I think its for your own good," he spoke up, feeling like he was repeating himself. "I'm just trying to help you make the right choice. I know you don't want to listen to me but would you rather know you did the right thing by letting them go or hold onto them because it's what you want and risk them hating you?"

"I don't know..."

"I think you do know, 7," he responded. "But you're too afraid to admit it."

"I don't want-"

"No, 7, I don't want to hear that excuse again." he turned away from her. "Maybe you should just go back outside before we get into another fight. I'm tired, too tired, and I don't have any desire to repeat this discussion again."

"1..." her voice had gotten quieter.

He looked back at her briefly. "Please, let's not talk about this anymore."

But the female seemed to want to continue. "1.." she said again, now walking toward him.

He frowned, watching her. He was tempted to move further away from her and therefore distance himself from her approach. But he didn't. That would have been something the old 1 would have done in the past but he'd vowed he would listen now and do his best to change so he stayed still.

When she was close enough to him she gently put her hand on his shoulder. "I'm not going to fight with you about it either," she told him quietly. "Because you're right."

1's optics widened, startled. Was she actually admitting she was wrong for once? "I am?"

She nodded slowly. "you are."

Now he didn't know what to say. Usually he would have gloated and held it over her for admitting such a thing to him but this time he held his tongue, making no comment at all. He could tell it had taken a lot for her to admit such a thing and acting high and mighty about it wouldn't be a good idea. He could be secretly satisfied that she'd admitted she was wrong about something but he wasn't going to go any further than that.

"I've known you were right for awhile," she went on, looking away. "But I was too stubborn to admit it to you and myself. I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping them here with us but I've discovered I was making a terrible error."

1 slowly turned to her now and gently place a hand on her shoulder. When she looked at him he spoke. "I only wanted you to do the right thing," he said slowly. "I'm glad you realized what you're doing is wrong on your own..."

"But what am I going to do without them? Without 9?" she asked. "I didn't want this to happen, I didn't want to let go."

"I know..."

"I don't know what to do, 1!"

Now he put both hands on her shoulders. "Look at me." When she did he said. "I think you do know what to do. But you're having a hard time convincing yourself it's the right thing." She didn't pull away so he continued. "if you want I will do it for you and you won't have to be burdened with this task. Did 9 say it had to be you?" 7 shook her head. "Then allow me to do this for you," he said, putting out his hand. "I'm sure they will understand."

"Why would you do this?" she asked him.

"Because, I don't want you hurt more."

She looked at him in surprise.

"Yes, 7, I told you before, I do care about you, I care a lot," he said slowly. "I always have, I just didn't know how to show you. Whenever I tried to it always went wrong and I drove you further away."

"I didn't know..."

"How could you?" he asked her. "I never told you and my actions said the opposite. I should have treated you better, like a princess..." he stopped himself, as if realizing he might have said the wrong thing.

7 just stared at him. She seemed to be allowing herself some time to let his words sink in. The longer the silence lingered the dumber he felt. Why had he said that? She probably thought he was a huge ignoramus now. A princess! She didn't want to be treated like that!

"I..."

"I'm sorry!" he exclaimed. "I shouldn't have said that. It was thoughtless of me to-" she was cut off when 7 pulled him into what he could only describe as a kiss.

1's optics widened in surprise at the kiss. What was she doing? Why was she doing it? This wasn't something he'd expected from her, especially after all they'd gone through.

After a moment she pulled away from him and stared at him as he gazed at her with large optics. "You have nothing to be sorry for." she told him softly.

"But but..."

She covered his mouth with a hand. "Don't," she ordered. "Just let it go."

1 chose to do just that deciding it was best that way. But his mind was still trying to process what had just happened, especially the kiss. Why did she do that? But he couldn't answer that because just then 7 took his hand. He looked at her in surprise and confusion.

"1," she said. "We have plenty of time to fix things between us," she told him. "I wish things could have been done differently in the past but we can't change it. The best we can do is move forward and that means..." she held up the talisman. "It's time to let it go."

He looked at the device then at 7. "Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked her cautiously.

7 nodded. 'Yes," she said. "It's time. I should have done it awhile ago but I was too stubborn and hard headed to realize this. Now I have to do what's right. I can't hold back any longer.

1 nodded, agreeing with her words but saying nothing.

Now she looked at him again. 'Come on," she said. "Let's get this over with, for the future."

He nodded, squeezing her hand. "For the Future."

The End.

A/N: thank you all for reading and enjoying it.