2 sighed, dragging a hand across his face and turning the broken end of a pencil between his thin metal fingers. He straightened his back, aching joints protesting the action, and exhaled slowly. For the first time in quite awhile, 2 felt as if his soul was as tired and weary as his body. It seemed he was trapped in this perpetual state of fatigue, iron chains dragging him down. The elder stitchpunk knew if he'd been resting as he should, he wouldn't feel nearly as weak. However, sleep had evaded him these past few days. The inventor would lie down only to end up sitting of the edge of his bed with his head in his hands. That flickering flame within him, bright and happy, had been snuffed out for the time being.
2 shook his head in despair, bending over the desk he and 5 had cobbled together and closed his eyes. His poor, poor boy. His boy
A soft rapping came from the other side of the door, asking permission to enter. 2 lifted his head and assumed a gentle expression, taking a deep breath before calling out softly, "come in, come in."
The door was pushed open and, to 2's slight surprise, his fellow elder quietly entered the room. 2 shakily stood, immediately on guard but reminding himself he no longer needed to be. 1 approached him slowly, wearing a tired frown. He had only donned his ruby red cape this morning, and his normally regal figure seemed wilted and worn.
"Are you alright, 1?" 2 asked mildly, tilting his head in concern. The pale stitchpunk waved a dismissive hand as he stood beside the desk.
"Fine, I'm fine. But 6 appears to be inconsolable. He's completely silent and will not leave the damned corner. I've tried to snap him out of it. Unsuccessfully. Where is 5? I know he can sort him out." 1 said gruffly, keeping his optics fixed on the desk beside them.
"He is tending to 7 at the moment," 2 replied gently. "I'll go see to 6, perhaps I can soothe him. And you - when was the last time you slept, 1?" As the inventor collected his cane, 1 turned his head away and did not answer. Instead, he began to mutter crossly, "they need to begin picking themselves up and stop this moping about..."
"Grief manifests itself in many different ways, my friend. You must give them time to adjust, to heal." 2 took a deep, steadying breath that 1 did not fail to notice. "What they need at this time is an understanding leader."
"Yes, but we must keep moving forward. We must look to rebuilding our lives, and we cannot forget that, despite the end of the war, the world we live in is still incredibly dangerous. We must begin to take proper precautions - "
"You cannot expect that of them right now," 2 said, looking icily at the other man as his tone became stern. "This is not the time to ask them to completely move forward, considering what has been left behind. "The elder stitchpunk steadied himself with another breath. "I will ask you extend kindness towards them. I understand you may not grieve as heavily as they, which is perfectly in your right. But I implore you to practice some empathy while they find their footing once again."
2 paused, dropping his eyes for a moment. "Especially with 7. This is going to take a great toll on her spirit."
1 dropped his own gaze for a moment, brows furrowing as he regarded 2's words. "I cannot say I understand what the rest of you feel. I was a hardhearted, cold man, and I will not deny such." His soft words were laced with regret, and 2 looked up. "This loss is going to affect us all for quite some time. But sitting around forlorn will do nothing to help us find our footing. You know that's not what 9 would have - " 1's gentle command was abruptly cut off as 2 whirled around, face twisted in anguish.
would have wanted?! You don't know what he wanted! You never took the time to get to know him! To understand what he felt, to understand his struggle to forgive himself, to understand how he changed all of us." 2 trembled on the spot, chest heaving and lower lip trembling. His fierce tone dropped into one of deep sorrow. "I had so much I wanted to tell him, to show him. I was going to take him scouting, show him to best places to find supplies. I was going to teach him all that I knew about life. He...he was such a smart boy. A fiercely intelligent young man, and so eager to learn. He was going to live the life he deserved. He was going to be happy
2 gripped the edge of the desk tightly, closing his eyes and giving a small shake of his head. "I loved that boy. I loved him as my own son. He was such a smart, wonderful lad, so kind, compassionate...and, damn it
, I miss him so very much
." He covered his eyes with a hand, falling silent but trembling deeply.
1 blinked, staring impassively at his fellow elder. The inventor had been a beacon of light in the storm, offering words of comfort and reassuring his despondent clan. He'd helped 5 heal the injured, unconscious 7, then held the mechanic as he sobbed in his arms. 2 had been trying his paramount best to keep some semblance of hope alive within the clan. And he'd been strong for everyone else when he missed 9 too.
Reaching up, 1 hesitantly laid his sharp, claw-like fingers upon 2's shoulder, giving a gentle clap. For one of the few times in his life, the leader of the stitchpunks was lost for words. 2 understood nonetheless and gratefully patted his fellow's hand, taking a deep, shuddering breath and straightening.
"I shall tend to 6. If you see 5, please let him know where I am." 2 said softly, once again taking his cane and hobbling out of the room. 1 gave a nod, looking after 2 as he disappeared around a corner. Silence fell upon 1, but instead of following the grieving man, he instead looked down the floor. He could nearly feel the grief left beside the desk, waiting for 2's return. Quite suddenly, the room felt much colder.
Semi-quick, sloppy-ish work. Trying to get back into the groove of things, playing around with colors and the whatnots.
After 9's death in 9TSR, 2 takes on the role as the calm in the storm for his grieving family. His empathy and warm kindness is invaluable to those who have been deeply affected by the loss of their friend. I love working with 2 as a character with multiple faces and aspects to his personality.
I do wish his role in the film had been a little stronger - its obvious he takes an immediate liking to 9, and takes him under his wing fairly quickly. After he returns, 2 quickly grows more and more attached to 9 as he finally gets a chance to know the young man, already with so many burdens on his shoulders. And when that chance gets ripped away from him, 2 quite suddenly understands the pain of losing a son.
Nevertheless, a father must be strong for his family. (semi-sequel to this fic here)
(sorry bout the accidental upload lol DA bugged out)
Art (c) 2018
9 and all characters (c) Shane Acker, Tim Burton, & Timur Bekmambetov