Yay! School's out! And as such, because it's summer, I will be bringing some summer stories to you, like this one.
Now, I'm not sure how this one got into my head, but I've been pretty obsessed with it. I guess it was because I was listening to a bunch of songs by a band called July Skies. Anyways, I've also been meaning to write something for a while that involves 6 ('cause I luvz him~). Originally, this was going to be a two-shot, but then I elaborated on it a bit more in my head.
Enjoy~! Feel free to leave a reveiw. And, I do not own 9.
Chapter 1: So Alone
Up in the alcove, in the shadows of the library, there was a semi-dark room. All of this dark haunted every square inch, every nook and cranny. Ink and papers litters the wood floor and countless drawings hung on the walls, mostly of one thing. It was circular in shape and was engraved with odd symbols. Often, ink would drip from the sketches, not that the ink stood out. There was much in here, in inkwells and stains in some areas. The artist who sketched these, he too bared the marks of his work.
Speaking of which, there was only one residence of the room, and said resident was just waking from a fitful nap.
His ink-stained fingers twitched, and his mismatched eyes of different sizes clicked open, slowly but surely. The small stitchpunk let out a low groan and pushed himself up into a sitting position on his makeshift bed. He had been thankful he had even gotten any sleep. With visions constantly bombarding his mind, it was hard to sleep with out being trapped in any delusional nightmares.
The name of this stitchpunk, this wandering artist, was as clear as day; 6. His name was clearly marked on his back, everyone knowing his name. This small stitchpunk- not much taller than certain twin scholars- was made of a striped flannel. There were tuffs of yarn sticking atop his head, which served as his hair, a characteristic none of the others had. No one else held a key around their neck ether though, one that had stayed with 6 for as long as he could remember. Well, he was meant to be unique, the last of the Scientist's creativity.
However, would you call unique what he calls a terrible gift?
6 could see, and by that meaning he could see things no one else could. The seer was the only stitchpunk like this, isolated in his own little world of visions and drawings. Whenever, wherever, the visions came, he would draw them. The intricate patters formed in 6's mind, and he would grab paper and ink, dipping his hands in the black liquid and draw what he saw on paper. Funny, and perhaps ironic, thing was, 6's fingers were pen nibs, which aided in his process of drawing. This way and no other was the artist's way of interpretation.
Oh, but time and time again, he would try so hard to make them see. He wanted the others to understand, but yet they didn't. They just ignored him, almost as if he was invisible to the world. 6 had tried over and over, through so many different ways, to show them. He needed to show them. Each failed attempt however would only break the small stitchpunk further. After a while, he started to think it was hopeless. They thought 6 was crazy, and he knew it, but he couldn't help it. He was telling them the truth! The things to come were right there, but they refused to listen to anything he had to offer! Sure, 6 might admit that he was a bit childish, but he didn't want to be seen as insane. Many a time had insanity threaten to trap him inside his torn mind, but 6 never gave into it, thinking, believing…hopping, that there will be a time when they'll have to listen to him. But when would that day ever come? Would it ever come?
Rubbing the back of his head, the young striped stitchpunk stretched his stiff limbs, the mechanical joints coming to life once more. Afterwards, 6 yawned and pushed his blanket from him, swinging his legs out over the bed.
"Nnn…" The artist's voice was soft and quiet. "W-what time is it?"
Ah, now he remembered. 6 had taken a nap, exhausted from drawing for so long. You couldn't blame him, it wasn't like he could help it. This habit, this impulse, it was like an uncontrollable urge. The things he saw inside his head needed to be draw, lest he be devoured by them. It hurt to try and keep them bottled up inside his small, frail body. Even if 6 tried with all his might to hold them in, it would only build to a point where they would start to cause the seer pain; Internal pain that crippled him.
Looking over at the stack of paper, 6 frowned and stood from his bed, walking over to it.
"Small. Getting fewer." He said, with only himself to hear. "I need more."
6 then checked the ink while he was at it. The ink, on the other hand was alright, plenty left for him to work with when he needed it. How is it that he was well stocked on ink, but not paper?
Lowly sighing in frustration, 6 knew he would have to venture out to find more, not like anyone would notice at all. The trouble was of where to find it. Perhaps the twins, 3 and 4, could be of some help to his mission. They would simply show him without hesitation, and then return to their studies, soon forgetting that 6 was there. 3 and 4 did show some sense of paying attention to the artist, but, like the others, 6 knew that they didn't fully acknowledge him and saw him as just a weak sitichpunk who was nothing but insane. Sometimes 6 did feel like he was drowning in his lost sanity.
Nervously, the striped stitchpunk poked his head out from the doorway, looking out into the space before him to see if there were any others outside. It wasn't like he was intimidated by any other member of his family, but two certain stitch punks did frighten him a bit; 1 and 8. They seemed to be the one's who detested him the most, especially since this battered artist served as 8's personal punching bag.
Assuming that there was no one around, 6 took a careful, hesitant step out of his shelter and walked out into the expansive library.
Judging by the light as he walked along, 6 could only assume that it was mid-afternoon. How long had he been napping? Then again, the artist would lose track of time very easily. The only thing he did in the alcove was draw and try to sleep, so it was only natural he didn't have a fix on time.
As he continued on, finding his way down to the lower floors, his steps made quiet echoes on the cold floor, whether it be wood or stone. Thus far, he had not encountered any of the others, which, to 6, meant he could enjoy this silence a bit longer. He did always like it when things were quiet. The silence seemed to comfort him, the only other invisible, undetected presence around him. Sometimes, 6 did feel invisible, only because he could go unnoticed. A person might say that his seemingly invisible presence was more stealth. One day, such a skill might serve him good. It might even save his life.
"Where to search?" 6 said to himself, wandering into another room. Around him, books littered the floor. These would not do, for the pages were filled with words and 6 would not dare to defile such things.
Rounding a corner, he saw the twins gazing in wonder at an odd shaped light bulb. And, much to his surprise, 9 was there too. 6 turned his eyes downward, but not before 9 and the twins saw him.
"Hey, 6." 9 called over. The artist just waved his hand slightly in reply. "How are you?"
"Fine." 6 solemnly answered. "Just searching."
"Paper. Running low."
9 chuckled. "Oh, I see. I'll help you find some."
The twins nodded vigorously, putting in their services as well, and 6 smiled. "Thank you."
With 9 leading point, 3 and 4 dragged 6 onward as they began the search for the paper the artist was so desperately in need of.
For the next half hour, up and down the library, the small group searched for paper. 6 was awfully glad for this help. While he didn't need new paper just yet, but this would provide a good stock of it until the day came when 6 would have to get more. This was merely postponing the task of finding new paper once he ran out. Judging by the rate of drawings the seer interpreted and made on white paper, and how much paper himself, 9, and the twins were collecting, he would have about two weeks worth, maybe even a little less.
Eventually, they were able to gather enough pieces that would last 6 for a while. 6 said nothing the whole time, even when 9 had tried to start any sort of conversation with him. As always, the artist stayed his usual silent self. It wasn't unusual that he barely conversed with anyone, but 9 often wondered if the smaller one beside him ever got lonely.
At one point, 6 knew this was enough and stopped, catching the other's attention.
"6?" 9 asked cautiously.
"Um…thanks." 6 said sheepishly.
"No problem at all."
Suddenly, 3 and 4 took the pieces of paper from 6, and, along with all the other pieces scurried away, leaving 6 confused. "Ah! W-wait…"
"Don't worry." 9 reassured him. "They're probably just taking that stuff up to your room."
"Oh. Of course."
"Well, I should probably go get that book for the twins. They were looking for more stuff about human society before you came along."
For a moment, 9 thought he saw a slight grin cross 6's face. Now that was…rare to see.
He smiled back, then starting to walk away. 6 turned his eyes downward and walked off as well, heading back to his room to draw. There was no mistaking it, 9 had seen a grin on the striped stitchpunk's face. Knowing how 6 always tended to be isolated from everyone else of this clan, remaining by himself as he drew endless visions, seeing him smile like that, it was a wonderful sight. Perhaps he had enjoyed this search after all.
'It's good to see you're smiling.' 9 thought. Hopefully, this venture had cheered 6 up and erased some of that constant darkness that surrounded him.
All of a sudden, 9 felt someone grab his arm. He thought it might be 6, but before he could find out, he was dragged away into another room.
Silence feel across the area, but no one knew someone poked their head out from around a corner, hearing a sudden noise and quietly rushing back to see what it was.
Meanwhile, as for 9 being dragged off into another room…
"Come on, let go!" He exclaimed. When he finally broke free from this person, 9 whipped around to face 8, looking intimidating as usual- although 9 didn't really fear the strongman. Before he could even demand an explanation, he caught sight of 1 also.
'Oh great. What do these guys want now?'
"Great. I've been looking all over for you." 1 said.
9 sighed in frustration. "What is it you want?"
"You're going on the next patrol with 5, and then you're taking the night shift in the watchtower."
"Fine. I'm okay with that."
9 wanted to just be on his way, but then 1 brought up another topic. "By the way, where were you?"
9 blinked once, then narrowed his optics slightly. "Nowhere. Just helping out 6 with something."
The elder scoffed. "That fool."
"What do you mean by that?"
8 chuckled, but 1 then silenced him with a gentle flick of his hand. "I simply mean what I said. He only wants attention."
"Don't say that." 9 said in a lower voice.
The conversation continued, however, they were unaware of a presence fright on the other side of the wall, one who was hearing everything through a nail sized hole.
For he had been curious about that sound and where 9 had suddenly disappeared to. He found out soon enough.
…And 6 sat on the floor next to the hole, able to hear every word.
His striped, ink-stained face was contorted into confusion. 'They can't possibly be talking about me, can they?' He wondered.
"He acts so much like a child." The voice of 1 spoke. "You know that as well as anyone else."
"You've always thought of 6 as a loner and you know it!" 9 shot back.
"Ha! He's lost in his own world. Do you know what he was like when we first found him? He was mumbling all these things, saying things no one would understand. We took him because we had to. All he does is sit and draw, not bothering to do anything else!"
6 brought a hand to the key that hung from his neck. 'They…they are talking about me.'
"Hey, what's going on!"
'5?' Some kind of flicker of enlightenment sparked within him. 'Yes, yes! He'll reassure them. Him and 9 will tell them I'm not crazy!'
"Don't talk about 6 like he's insane!" 9 continued, seemingly oblivious to 5's presence.
"You know as well as I do that he is!" 1 retorted.
"Enough!" 5 suddenly shouted.
6's eyes shifted towards the hole, yet he was breathing very slowly, waiting for the conversation to continue.
"1, please don't talk about 6 like that." 5 urged. "He's one of us all the same."
"Even you have to admit, he is unhinged." The elder continued on.
And then silence fell upon them.
'Huh? They couldn't have been stopped by that.'
"Well," 5 started.
'Come on.' 6 silently begged. 'Shoot back some witty remark.'
"Yeah, he is a bit childish and…not all there."
Time seemed to stop all at once for 6.
'What? What is he saying.' He thought, this crazy notion flashing wildly through his torn mind.
"I know." Now it was 9? "I mean, at first, I kind of thought the same, at least till he mentioned the source. I'll admit it too, he is a tiny bit eccentric."
'No, not you too!' 6 couldn't bear to hear anymore, his own friends agreeing upon the fact he was insane.
"None of you care at all." He whispered, so soft only himself could hear.
Weakly, his shaky legs barely supporting him, 6 got to his feet and ran off back to his room. His feet sounded softly on the wood, so no one heard him running, even though the wood was creaky. At one point, he nearly ran into the twins, but he pretended not to notice. 3 and 4 only looked at him after he ran off, then looked at each other and shrugged. They then went back to finds some more books to search through.
No one could really understand the emotional state of 6 right now though. His heart was just hurting too much at this betrayal.
All the artist wanted to do right now was be alone.
However, after running off, as the conversation continued still…
"But he's helped us quite a lot. We shouldn't treat him as if he's nothing to us." 9 said.
"9 is right." 5 agreed. "6 is just as valuable as anyone. He has a purpose like all of us, and it wouldn't be right to shun him. We just need to take things easy with 6, because he's very fragile. However, I'm glad he's around."
"Good point, 5. It wouldn't feel the same if 6 wasn't here."
"Whatever you two say." 1 finally spoke, not pushing the subject any further. "Both of you are still doing the next patrol."
"We know that." 9 said. After that, the small group finally parted ways, leaving 9 and 5 by themselves.
"Wait. Since when did he put you on the next patrol?" The guide asked.
"Since just now, apparently." 9 replied.
"Huh. Well, good thing I'm not going out there alone."
They both laughed in spite of this, knowing very well there could be machines still roaming the deserted earth. Even though the factory, and soon after, the Fabrication Machine, had been destroyed, that didn't mean not all of the machines were gone.
They could still be out there, waiting to strike. That possibility was all too real.
Soon enough, 9 caught sight of the twins again, who enthusiastically waved back. "Hey there. What's new with you guys?" 5 greeted.
3 and 4 looked at each other and then imitated what had happened only moments ago. 4 stood to one side while 3 ran past him. 4 staggered back slightly and then looked at the other two shrugging their shoulders.
5 was puzzled for a moment, but the was quickly able to figure out the secret meaning. "Oh no."
"What?" 9 asked his friend.
"Nothing. I'll be right back. It's just I need to take care of something first."
5 walked off, feeling slightly nervous; because if what he had guessed was true then who knows how much 'he' heard. Who knows what that could of done, broken that artist further perhaps.
No one can really picture what kind of turmoil 6 goes through anyway.
And yet, the sun of the afternoon sky shone through the mist all the while.