A/N: Okay. I had a little epiphany on how to start this, and... well, sorry for not updating recently. I had a hand injury, but it's mostly better now, so here I am! Sorry if there's not much in this chapter, but at least it's a start.

For those of you just now joining, hello, my name's Qille, this story is a sequel to "Fever" which can be found on my profile page... thingy. Also, this is NOT A SLASH! Just wanted to remind everybody that I don't do stuff like that. So. Enough of my ranting. Here we go!


Infection

The air was cold and the sky was a dreary gray color. Summer had disappeared overnight, and the cold rains of fall had set in. The wind blowing out of the north was cold and constant, and it kicked up dust storms all across the Emptiness. Almost every night, freezing rain would fall from the sky in a constant, unyielding drizzle.

None of this affected the nine stitchpunks in the Library.

3 and 4 stood on a table, looking out the window. They watched as the wind blew stray papers across the ground. Occasionally, the wind would gust or change directions and blow right in the twins' faces. Whenever this happened, they would duck down out of sight until the wind returned to it's original course.

After a while, they started to get sleepy as the hypnotic rhythm of the wind lulled them to sleep. Also, they didn't know it, but the sun had started to set, hidden behind the cloud cover. Slowly, they sat down against the wall, leaning against each other. A moment later, they were asleep.

The sleeping twins didn't go unnoticed. Across the room, 7 had been explaining to 9 the fundamentals of a front flip when she noticed the twins sleeping curled up under the window.

"I'll be right back," she said to 9, who only nodded tiredly in response. As 7 walked off towards the table under the window, she couldn't help but feel a bit worried about 9. He had been incredibly quiet and lethargic lately, seeming to have almost no energy. Her worries disappeared, however, when she climbed up onto the table and gently walked over to the twins. They were small enough for her to carry, so she picked 3 up with one arm and picked 4 up with the other. She then carried them down off the table and to the elevator, where she gently set them down and activated the lever on the now automatic lift.

The hidden gears that were activated by the lever started whirring quietly, and a moment later, the bucket started rising. 7 silently admired the work 2 had done on it. It must have taken him all day to finish automating it.

A moment later, 7 stopped the elevator when it reached the next floor. After she activated the breaks, she picked the twins up, but when she opened the door and stepped out, she stopped.

8 was frantically rummaging around, looking under several of the books the twins had collected. He was breathing hard as if he had been at his search for hours.

"8..." said 7 quietly after a minute of watching.

At the sound of her voice, 8 jumped and stood to attention, his eyes wide and his hands behind his back respectfully. "Yeah...?" he mumbled.

7 raised an eyebrow. "What are you doing...?"

8 gulped. "Just... l-looking for... something."

7 growled a bit. She walked right past 8 and towards the twins' room. She walked in and laid the twins down on the large fluffy pillow that they used as a bed. They instinctively snuggled up together like puppies.

Quietly, 7 walked out of their room to see 8 still standing at attention, most likely too afraid to move.

"Now..." said 7, "what are you really doing?"

8 looked down and nervously shuffled his feet. He muttered something unintelligible.

"I'm sorry, what was that...?" asked 7, leaning forward and narrowing her eyes menacingly.

8 gulped. "I was... looking for my magnet..." he whispered.

7 rolled her eyes. "How many times do I have to tell you to just forget about the magnet!" she exclaimed. Before 8 could answer, 7 began ranting, and any chance of 8 defending himself was lost.

At that moment, 2 and 5 walked down the stairs and heard 7 giving 8 an ultimatum. They glanced at each other once before running the rest of the way to the ground floor.

When they reached the ground floor, they stopped, barely able to hear 7's shouting.

"Any idea what she's yelling about?" 2 mumbled to 5 as they walked into the main room.

5 shrugged. "Probably about 8 and his magnet again."

"That's the third time this week!"

5 shrugged again. "She's probably just tired and cranky."

"Speaking of tired and cranky..." muttered 2 under his breath. He didn't finish his sentence, and 5 looked up to see 1 approaching. He looked angry about something, but it was difficult for 5 to be truly scared because of the arrow.

Nearly two weeks ago, they had battled the Scorpion. Near the end of the battle, the Scorpion had tried to kill 5 with an electrified arrow, but 1 had pushed 5 out of the way. When he did that, the arrow skewered his hat, and once the battle had ended, 1 refused to take it out. He thought it made him look more heroic, but 5 thought it simply made him look even more ridiculous.

"What is it this time?" asked 2 tiredly as 1 approached them.

"What did you do with my cape?" he demanded.

2 and 5 glanced at each other.

"We saw it on the roof," said 2. "Not sure how it got there, though."

1 snarled, looking so angry that 5 thought he was going to bust a gasket.

2 rolled his eyes. "C'mon, I'll help you get it back," he said, trying to hide his laughter by clearing his throat.

As 2 lead a livid 1 to the staircase, 5 turned and looked around the Library. He saw 9 up on the table under the window, but he didn't see anyone else. Slowly, he started to walk towards the table 9 was on, but something rolled across his path and stopped at his feet. It was a small, pink rubber ball with a small piece of string attached. 5 remembered the twins showing him something like it, only the string had connected the ball to a paddle.

Before 5 could wonder how the ball got there, something charged out of the shadows, and 5 barely jumped back fast enough to avoid being run over.

It was 0, 6's pet cockroach. The little bug grabbed the string attached to the ball before running back off into the shadows. 5's eye widened. He knew that 0 never strayed too far from his master...

5 rounded the corner and found an opening between the mountains of books. Beyond that opening was a large circular clearing. Near the center of the clearing stood 6. The smallest stitchpunk was leaning on his crutch, but he was smiling. 0 ran up to 6 and dropped the ball at his feet. 6 stooped over, leaning heavily on his left leg, the one that wasn't crippled. He picked up the ball in his dominant left hand and, standing up, he weakly threw it across the room for 0 to fetch.

The ball stayed in the air for less than half a second before dropping to the ground and rolling to the other side of the clearing. 5 gave a small sigh, knowing that 6 was still recovering, trying desperately to regain his strength after the Fever took it all away. At least 0 was being patient, waiting for the ball to roll to a stop before running to fetch it. 5 was glad to see that 0 was helping 6 in any way that he could.

5 watched silently as 6 continued to play fetch with his pet. However, after 6 threw the ball for the third time, he staggered backwards a bit and collapsed on his knees. 0 immediately saw this and ran to his master's side, completely forgetting about the game. 5 also emerged from his hiding place and ran to 6's side. He quickly picked 6 up and carried him to the edge of the clearing, where he leaned him up against one of the many piles of books. 6's eyes were completely unfocused and he was trembling. 0 sat right next to him, whimpering.

"C'mon, 6, you're okay," whispered 5, gently rubbing 6's shoulder.

After a minute, 6 stopped shaking and his eyes refocused. "I'm fine..." was the first thing he muttered as he came back to reality.

5 sighed. "That's the third time today..."

6 shrugged guiltily. He had only woken up a week ago, and ever since then, he had been having those episodes where he would black out for a minute or two. It was clear that the Fever had crippled more than 6's leg, but 2 thought that the blackouts would eventually stop. However, instead of stopping, the blackouts were getting longer and more frequent. It seemed like, even though he had been cured, the Fever was still trying to take his life.

Without another word, 6 quickly scrambled to his feet. However, since he had dropped his crutch when the blackout hit, he had no support for his crippled leg. The second he put pressure on it, a white hot shard of pain shot through his entire leg, and he cried out in pain, crumpling back to the ground.

"Here," said 5, quickly running and grabbing 6's crutch and bringing it back to him. 6 snatched his crutch away from 5.

"Thanks..." he muttered venomously.

His tone caught 5 by surprise. "6...? What's wrong...?"

"Nothing..." snarled 6, turning away from 5 so that he couldn't see the sadness in his eyes. He didn't like snapping at 5, but he had had a long day, and sometimes he felt useless because he couldn't even walk on his own. He knew he didn't have any right to be mad at 5.

5 must have sensed 6's mood change, or maybe he saw how 6 was more hunched over than usual. Either way, he cautiously approached the striped stitchpunk and gently put his hand on 6's shoulder. 6 slowly turned, his eyes wide and sad. 5 could tell that the blackout had terrified him, but he could also see something else. Guilt...?

Slowly, 6 turned and limped away with 0 right on his heels. However, right before he disappeared from sight, he stopped and turned back to 5.

"Something's coming..." he gasped out, choking on his own voice.

5's eye widened. "What do you mean...?" he asked, quickly walking over to 6. Once he was close enough, he saw that 6's pupils were no more than pinpricks. He was having another vision. "6... what is coming...?"

6 didn't answer. Instead, he closed his eyes and shook his head a bit. When he opened his eyes, his pupils were back to their normal size.

"What did you see?" asked 5 nervously.

6 blinked a bit as if confused. And instead of answering 5, he simply turned his head, staring off at something in the Library. 5 quickly looked to where 6 was looking.

6 was looking right at 9, who was still on the table by the window. They both watched as 9 jumped onto a large pile of books and started to climb down.

And then 5 could do nothing but watch as 9 suddenly went limp and collapsed, tumbling down the rest of the pile and landing unmoving on the ground below.


A/N: I have no clue how to end this story. No idea. I was taking a risk by starting this chapter, but I really didn't wanna keep you guys waiting... so... muahaha. ;)