A/N: Cutting it close today, but I still managed to get it in. As I hope you know, today is October 10, or 10/10. Since Freida Right has been asking me to do a follow-up to my story /10/ for a while, this appeared to be the perfect chance to do it. First off, for those of you who haven't read my other fanfiction, I'll give you a brief recap on the main OC of this story, 10:
She was created by the Scientists daughter, and her clan (stitchpunks 10-15) joined what remained of 9's clan after a return of the Cat Beast. A bunch of stuff happened, blah blah blah, and basically, she and 9 ended up a couple. At the very end of the story, they adopted a child, 19 (who also plays a major role in this fic) who was actually made with the recycled soul of 10's brother 12, who died during the prequel.
Ok, I hope that's enough. Disclaimer, I don't own /9/, yadda yadda yadda, let's just get to the story!
A shrill cry rang out through the cold winter night. My optics blinked blearily open, taking a moment to adjust to the dim light.
My mate shifted next to me, folding the covers back and swinging his legs out onto the floor.
"9," I mumbled his name, reaching out and gently grasping his arm. "Stay here. I've got it this time."
He turned, cupping my face in his hand. "It's all right. I don't mind, really."
"This is the fourth time tonight," I sat up, a concerned expression overshadowing my face. "You need your sleep just as well as I do."
9 sighed and sat down. "You're sure it's no trouble?"
I was adamant. "He's my son just as much as he's yours." I stood, giving his hand an encouraging squeeze. "I'll be back in ten minutes, at the most. I promise."
9 slipped back under the covers with a look of resignation posted to his face. "All right."
I wrapped the extra blanket that rested on the foot of our bed around my shoulders like a shawl. The dark pleated fabric was thick and heavy, providing great warmth in this cold and wintery season.
"19," I quietly said, gently pushing the beaded drapes that served as his door aside. "It's ok, I'm here now."
The six-year-old had been sleeping in his own room for about a week now, and it wasn't working very well at all. Every few hours, his bawling would summon either 9 or me to his side. He told us he had nightmares, and none of us really knew for sure what truly ran through his head under the darkness of night.
"Momma," he reached up for me, grasping his hands in the air. "Momma, w-where are you?"
"Shh, shh, I'm right here," I sat down on the edge of his bed, hugging his frail form to my chest. He was shivering, partly from the cold, partly from the fear.
I swaddled him in his blanket, holding him close as I always had when he was a infant. "It's all right, my little kitten," I stroked his head, standing slowly. "Nothing can ever hurt you while I'm here."
I carried my baby out to the front entrance of the Library where the first pinks and purples of dawn were streaking their way through the sky. A sleeping 11 was curled up, resting against the wrought iron gates. She constantly insisted that she was well capable enough to take the night shift, but it still seemed she was a little too young to be doing adult's work.
I fondly wrapped the blanket that still rested around my shoulders over my little sister, brushing her hair back and out of her face.
19 began to whimper, reminding me that he was still there. I shifted him so he rested on my hip and walked a few feet out in front of the gates of the Library. I sat down on a snow-covered brick, tucking my knees up beside me and placing my kid in the crook that my body formed.
"Momma," he whispered, clutching gentle at my hair and pressing his face into my chest. "I'm s-scared..."
I rubbed his back and tried to stop his shuddering. "Did you have another nightmare?" I kept my voice low, not wanting to alarm him. The question was partially rhetorical, I knew very well that the only thing that could induce so many tears were his nightmares. However, we both knew very well that did you have translated very easily into can you tell me about.
"Fire," he shared, "And 'splosions. I-I was trapped i-in a burning building and I-I just..." he trailed off, slowly becoming still. "Daddy was there. And Auntie 7. And the twins, and another guy I didn't know. T-they were all gonna die, and I couldn't do nothing but watch."
"Oh, sweetie," I hugged him. "It's ok, it was just a dream."
"I've been having these dreams forever," he quietly admitted. "Daddy says some of them happened in the past. He thinks some of them might happen in the future. I'm scared, 'cause they're all really creepy."
"Let's think about something else," I told him. "Look at that," I turned him around so he could see the sky. "Even in this terrible, cold and bleak season, the sunrise is still beautiful." The sun was still below the horizon, but the sky was all ready dyed with the colors of dawn.
The colors reflected down on the icy land out in front of us, turning the snow into a mirror. The wispy clouds that all ready rested high in the sky were deep blue on top and deep red below. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
"Not more beautiful than you," 19 smiled softly at me over his shoulder.
I was touched by my son's compliment. "Why thank you," I kissed his forehead. "That's really sweet."
"It's true," 19 looked back to the sky. "Daddy says he's really lucky to have you. He really loves you."
"I love him, too," I dreamily said, rubbing 19's shoulder. "And I want you to know that I'll always love you."
All of a sudden, 19 turned to me, his eyes wide with what may have been fear. He placed his hand on my stomach, where the soul of my second baby was just starting to grow. "Momma, how's my little brother doing?" he asked with concern. "I hope he's ok. Mrs 26 said that you should tried to sleep more while you're growing him, but you had to get up and see me tonight."
"I'm sure he or she is doing just fine," I petted his head. "And of course I had to get up to see you. Your Daddy didn't want me to come out here either, but I wasn't going to let him stay up all night for you. I love you enough to do anything for you."
"When my baby brother is born... will you love him more than you love me?"
That had come out of nowhere. We both remained silent for a moment. I didn't know what to say. When I did speak, my voice came out shorter than I'd planned. "Why would I ever love him more than you?"
"Well, you know, I'm... well, adopted, and your other baby will actually be a part of you. So you and Daddy will have all kinds of things in common with him. I'm just recycled, the echo of someone else."
He blinked and looked back to the horizon. "I can see it sometimes. When I say some things, you look at me like I'm someone else." He rested his head on my shoulder. "You really miss him, don't you?"
"I..." I didn't really have anything to say. The way the six-year-old crafted his words was a lot better than what I could do most of the time. He was very perceptive, and all that he said made sense. "Well, I just have to promise you that I won't ever love a real child of mine more than you. Even if you truly are a second personality on one part of soul, you are more original than anyone thought possible."
"I really love you, Momma, and I don't want to give you up," he wrapped his arms around mine, and I shifted so he could sit on my lap.
"You won't have to give me up," I told him. "There's enough of me to go around. When your little baby brother or sister is born, don't think of it as someone you have to fight with for my attention, think of it as your newest friend."
"Momma, what's my baby brother's name gonna be?" 19 asked, moving to a slightly less sensitive subject.
"Hmm... I have no idea," I admitted. "Do you have any ideas?"
"Mrs 26 was teachin' me multiplication the other day, and she said that 9 times 10 equals 90... so could we name him 90?"
"19 and 90... I like it," I kissed his non-existent nose. "You're really smart, you know that?"
19 laughed and wrapped his tiny arms around my waist. "You're really smart, too, Momma. I learn all kinds of stuff when I'm around you! You make me feel like I'm really special, not just another John Doe. When I'm with you, I'm not scared no more. You... you mean so much to me. And I love you so much."
I hugged him too, closing my eyes. "I'll always love you, little kitten."
We remained in embrace for a moment of peace, and when I opened my eyes, the sky had exploded with color. Pinks and purples and oranges of all shades lit up the horizon and shone down on the snow. The tip of the sun just barely peaked over the horizon, looking like a red ball of flame, so very far off.
"Even through the darkest of times, beauty can blossom," 19 poetically mumbled, staring off towards the sun but shielding his eyes. "Someday, this world will be beautiful again, I can feel it."
"As long as you keep that in your heart, it will always come true," I told him. "I promise."
Two and a half months later, I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. I decided to name her 90.