A/N: Happy 9-Day, everyone! Wow, this is REALLY REALLY short, mainly because I just wrote it up last night, but I wanted to have something done. Holy guacamole, this is a VERY sort of odd one-shot, so be ready for a weird theory. I don't really know where all this came from, I guess it's just me over-thinking the movie. And, this also mean that my writing-break is over! I'll be posting a few Deception-based one-shots eventually, and maybe even a few more about the canon characters! Ok, enough of me talking. Hope you like it!
Listen to the Rain
It was pouring now. The twins, 7 and I had sought shelter in the dilapidated house that had been the Scientist's. The stairs were harder going up than going down, but with some help from 7, we all made it up. The roof had quite a few leaks, but it was better than staying outside.
Once we had settled in for the night, the twins ran towards me, flickering at a rapid pace. 3 clutched the talisman in his hands, holding it protectively to his chest. 4 looked longingly at the alchemical device in her brother's possession.
"You should keep this safe," 3 slowed down his flickering so I could understand him. He pushed the talisman into my hands, much to 4's discontent. "We've seen what it can do."
"Then I'm not sure I'm the best person to keep this," I laughed a bit. "You guys definitely know more about it than I do." I extended my hands to 4, who cautiously took back the talisman. "I'm sure you'll find some way to keep it safe."
Both the twins bobbed their heads in unison before scuttling back to the pile of rags 7 had set up for them to sleep on. Said female walked towards them, hands on her hips.
"All right, you two. It's getting late. Time for bed."
I watched from a short distance away as 7 took the talisman from them, set it down on the ground next to them, and pulled the blankets up to their chins. The twins themselves seemed quite tired; it had been a long day for all of us. 7 bent down, pushing their hoods back just a bit so she could gently place her lips on their forehead.
As she walked away from them, the two little blue stitchpunks cuddled instinctively together, sinking into their newfound bed. 7 sat down on the edge of a book near by, staying close enough to the twins that she could reach them at a moment's notice.
I glanced up at the window. Smoke from the graves was still billowing up, and the fire continued to burn, regardless of the rain. I found my way back up to the window where I sat down cross-legged.
In the distance, soft thunder rumbled. The twins slumbered surely on throughout the storm, but I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep tonight.
I was just settling in when I heard a voice from behind me. "9?"
I turned to see 7. I smiled, masking my inner feelings and waving a bit to her. "Hey," I kept my voice low, so as not to wake the twins. "Come on over here."
7 walked over, almost hesitantly. She continued to smile and met my gaze, letting me know that her hesitance wasn't my fault. She sat down next to me, letting her legs hang out over the edge of the window. "I just need to talk."
I scooted a bit closer to her. "I'd be happy to listen."
7 exhaled slowly and removed the skullmet from her head, placing it in her lap. She stared at it for a while, until she finally spoke. "It was all an act."
We sat in silence some more. I was expecting her to say more, but she didn't continue. "Uh… what was an act?" I asked.
She sighed and leaned onto my shoulder. "Can you keep a secret?"
"Um… I don't usually," I confessed, rubbing the back of my neck. "But if you really want me to, I will."
"Ok, here goes…" It was clear that this was mentally difficult for her to admit, to me and to herself. "I'm not really a warrior."
"What do you mean?" I asked, confused. "You… you killed the Cat Beast, and…"
"It was just by coincidence that I knew how to kill the Cat Beast," she conceded. "Ages ago, when the war was still on, I watched humans kill another Cat Beast by chopping off its head. It's easy enough to do, you don't need to be a warrior to do that."
"But you can do all that flipping around in the air type stuff," I encouraged her.
"I was built with a gymnast's body," she told me. "All that stuff comes naturally. It took some time to master it, but that still doesn't mean I'm a warrior. Remember, the Fabrication Machine and the Winged Beast and the Seamstress almost caught me. If it weren't for you, and… and 8, and all the others, I wouldn't even be here right now."
It hurt me to see 7 beat herself up like this, but I didn't know what to do. All I really could do was sit and stare. She kept going, "I'm not really all that brave, either. I don't want to die, it's as simple as that."
We sat in silence for a few more minutes, watching the rain fall down. "7, listen to the rain."
She looked up at the sky, tuning out and focusing on the drops hitting the ground. "It's beautiful," she whispered. "I've never seen rain before. It's so quiet and… I don't know the words to describe it."
"It's peaceful," I offered. "Unlike everything else in this world, the rain stays untouched by war."
"Why are you saying all this?" 7 asked, tucking her knees into her chest and hugging them. "It isn't really helping."
"I… I don't know," I admitted. "I mean, even if you aren't a warrior, you still saved 2 and 5 and me. You're like a mother to the twins, and you know so much more about the world around us than I do. Warrior or not, you're still 7, the amazing beautiful girl that I fell in…" I trailed off, realizing how mad I must sound, just pouring my heart out like this.
"Fell in what?" 7 questioned, cupping my head in her hands and forcing me to look into her eyes.
"Fell in love," I whispered. Before I could stop myself, I leaned in and pressed my lips to 7's. I think that my actions had been a shock to her, and I'll be honest, I hadn't really known what I'd been doing, either. It just felt right.
We stayed this way for a few seconds, and then it was over. I pulled back, my eyes still closed. I opened them slowly, almost afraid of what I might see. 7, to my content, was beaming. "Oh, 9," she wrapped her arms around my neck. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for you to say that!"
After a moment of embrace, 7 released me and stood. "I'm going to keep this," she told me, holding her skullmet under her arm. "You never know when I might need to play the warrior again."
"You can fake it pretty good," I joked. "You definitely had me fooled."
She laughed. "Thank you," was all she said before leaping back off the desk and settling into the pile of rags next to the twins.
I looked back out the window. The rain was letting up a bit now, but it still came down pretty heavily. Though I was still just a child at heart, I was old enough to know what true love felt like.
I glanced back down at the pyre. I regretted all the stuff that I'd done in the past few days, but that was behind me now. I turned my gaze over my shoulder at the twins and 7. It's a lot of work to be me, and it definitely isn't for everyone. But with those three by my side… it was all worth it.