Disclaimer: I don't own 9 or any part of it, just the OC I'm finally introducing to the written form, 27! Her image is on my tumblr page and anyone wanting to see her I'd be happy to supply the link, just PM me!
A request from my AWESOME friend Mable, go check out her 9 fics, they're AMAZING! Especially 'Souls Run Deep'! I hope you love this, Mable, and that I made it sweet enough!
Ok enough pimpin' out my friend and her awesomeness lol Enjoy the story and Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
"Ugh…" 8 groaned as he finally came back to the waking world. What had happened? His back hurt a bit, but other than that he felt fine, if really cold. He lifted his chest from the snow, being on hands and knees, and rubbed at the back of his head with a soft curse. He looked around, noticing that he seemed to be in a hideaway of rubble and, listening close, he could hear the soft patter of the rain outside. Given the snow from the days before 8 could easily guess that now it was a simple bought of freezing rain. But what was he doing lying down unconscious in the cold snow in the first place?
He gasped out as his memory returned in a flash. He'd been sent out to gather any useable wood to burn for everyone in the sanctuary and 27 had went with him, 1 claiming her sensitive hearing would be needed in the event a machine tried to use the wind as a cover to sneak around. It didn't seem to matter to the beast, though, whether it was detected by the stitchpunks before it struck or not because when it hit, it hit HARD. Knocking back the two 'punks, it was a large beast resembling the cat beast, yet smaller than one. The snow must have knocked around its mind, as from the beginning it wasn't acting right and must have just been operating on its basic instincts.
8 had gotten 27 to run and hide, seeing as she was near defenseless like the twins, and did his best to defeat the beast. He'd gotten at least a few good swipes at its back leg, making it near immobile when it suddenly reared back and flung him away with a vicious swipe of its front paw. It must have lost him in all the snow if he was still here though.
"Damn it all…" He groaned again as he stood, quickly looking around. He needed to find 27 and make sure she was alright, and it slightly worried him that he wasn't found by her after the attack. This could mean either she listened to him and wasn't coming out of hiding until he found her, or something else did…
He hurriedly climbed out of his hideaway after moving around the rubble and into the freezing rain. He was lucky indeed, he'd be in worse shape if any of the rubble had actually landed on him, especially with the group's only two healers back at home. Taking another look he realized it was nighttime, and this only furthered his want to find the smallest of their group in a hurry. Being in the freezing rain at night wasn't a good idea, at all.
"27!" He called out, huddling into his bright orange coat. It was much colder now than earlier thanks to the missing sun. The little one was out with a coat like he was, so if the cold was enough for him to finally take notice, then she was definitely in trouble if she was out of this weather.
"27! 27, where are ya?!" There, he swore he heard a light melody floating through the gentle wind around him. That was her, he knew it had to be. 27 wasn't like himself or the others, or rather her voicebox wasn't. It was a special one, modeled after a human's radio in fact, if he understood 2's description correctly. In fact there was a multitude of things different between her and the others.
She had long oyster-whitish tassels for hair, only three fingers total on her hands, and metal toes that extended instead of wooden block feet in order to climb around expertly. She was mainly canvas but thanks to the incident that led to them meeting her she had leather from an army boot around her hips and leading down her left leg; all topped with a shoelace matching her tassel hair put through the shoelace holes in the leather.
But her voicebox had to be most special about her; according to the his father, the Scientist Julius, her voicebox was created in order to preserve the music from life before the machines and therefore could play many songs from the world. Not only that, but she could play any number of frequencies, which could come in handy when facing off against a machine…if she knew how to properly control her powers, that is. There was even a possibility that there was more to her voicebox than even Julius knew of, and had been going on day to day trying to help her master her abilities.
But one thing she immediately had a hold of was the power of playing melodies and music, like the one 8 knew she had to be playing out now in order for him to find her. Judging the wind's direction led 8 across to the decrepit buildings on the other side of the dirt road. Looking around, he felt real concern beginning to bubble. If 27 were fine she'd be running to his voice, rambling on loudly (though 8 never minded her rambling, at least not too much) how worried she was about him and hoping he was alright and if the machine was really gone. But instead she was only playing a simple, soft tune, the music itself sounding weak and strained.
"Keep playin'! I hear ya!" He didn't need to hear much longer though, for turning a corner around some large concrete he saw her, stumbling just a bit as she attempted to walk over to where she heard him. He quickly made his way over to her, letting out a silent gasp as he beheld the tiny icicle droplets around the bottom of her optics, as well as what appeared to be a sheen of light ice over her tassels, hands, and feet. "27, are ya alright? That machine didn' find ya, did it?" He kneeled down to look her over better and felt some relief when she weakly shook her head, her body trembling from the cold and the light sheen of ice on her, as well as the freezing rain that continued to pour on top of them both.
"N-N-No, M-Mister 8, it d-didn't." She looked into his optics, a small smile gracing her face as she looked him over. "A-Are you a-alright?" Her smile disappeared then, replaced with a worried frown, "A-After the mach-chine left I-I c-came out t-t-to look for you, b-b-but I couldn't…c-couldn't f-find you and I-I g-g-got s-s-o worried I-I-I…" Her voice died then as her body tried even harder to huddle in on herself for warmth.
"Yeah, I'm fine, the thing knocked me back into a wall and I was out…Wait," His optics widened in alarm as he looked her over again, "Have you been lookin' for me this whole time?!" When she nodded shakily again he groaned out, "27! I had ta have been out for an hour or two, and the sun probably set only thirty minutes into that! You shouldn't have been out in this weather all that time!" He sighed out, his worry for the smallest doll of their group growing.
"C'mon, we gotta get you outta this weather. Now." With that he scooped her up into his arms, holding her close against his coat and chest, feeling her continue to tremble in his arms. Her body immediately sought out his warmth, digging itself into his body in hopes to escape the cold.
It was worse than he originally thought when he finally found a suitable shelter from the rain and wind of the storm. When he set 27 down in order to get a fire going he'd realized she wasn't just lightly iced-she had a whole layer of frost around her, the ice crystals attached to the fibers of her fabric, though thankfully not enough that staying in front of a fire for enough time wouldn't solve the problem. If she had been out there just a while longer she could have very well been encased in ice, leaving 8 to never find her until it was too late.
Had she continued on, she wouldn't have survived much longer, much less the night.
It actually hurt to know she got this way looking for him, making a swell of guilt well up in his frame. He knew he couldn't control being knocked out, but maybe he could've fought better, or something. All he knew was he was to protect those in his group, to be their guard, and yet here was one of his own, shivering, covered in ice, and most likely going to be very sick for the next few days. All because he couldn't prevent a beast attack.
"Stay right here. I'm gunna get a fire goin'." She nodded, shaking as he carefully took off her own coat, placing the soaking icy garment away from her before taking off his own, draping the inside over her as a blanket; it was thicker than hers, a little more insulated, so it would work better than her own coat at the moment.
After finally getting the wood he'd need—even breaking apart some decayed floor boards to use—and starting the fire, he looked to grab any cloth he could find around the living quarters they inhabited. There was a large couch in front of the broken fireplace they were sitting in front of, and thankfully the humans that once lived there chose to decorate it with a throw. With his large knife 8 cut off a long length of the thick fabric, more than enough for them both, and a another of a slightly shorter length, and after pushing them off the couch dragged them over to where 27 lay.
Carefully he picked her up again, putting her in his lap as he brought shorter length to wrap around her frame. He then took the second, longer blanket and wrapped it around them both, knowing she needed to get all the warmth she could get. 27 herself was more alert and aware now since being taken out of the cold and around a fire, but still easily dug into the warmth around her. At least her shivering had stopped, but her fabric was beginning to dampen from the light layer of frost melting off her.
It was quiet for a little while as the two simply tried getting warm before 8 spoke, his voice firm. "You shouldn' have stayed out in the rain like that. It was stupid. I mean look at ya now! Yer probably gunna start overheating before morning." He looked down at her, and didn't understand it, but when he saw how close they were it made his cheeks heat a bit. He was merely helping her get some warmth back into her system, so why did he feel that? The thought was lost when she gave a gentle cough as a means to 'clear her throat' and cuddled closer to him, but slowly looked up, confusion etched on her face.
"Overheating. It means yer gonna get sick an' not feel good." He thought she was confused over what overheating meant, seeing as she lived on her own for so long it made sense for to be confused.
"Why a-am I in the w-wrong for worrying about you, M-Mister 8?" Her soft voice surprised him and his optics widened at how innocent she sounded, as if she truly didn't understand why what she did was bad. "I-I was so scared f-for you, I-I thought you were badly h-hurt or worse! I couldn't j-just sit around. I mean I kn-know you're strong a-and tough and can beat m-machines, but…" She sniffled there, looking away as she rested her head against his front and gripped the piece of throw around her tightly. "B-but I heard it, I heard y-you get tossed and collide with the wall, it sc-scared me and I thought we'd l-lost you…th-that I'd lost you." She nuzzled her head into his front some more, now seeking comfort as well. She had truly thought when she heard the crash of his body with the wall of rubble that he'd been seriously hurt, and she'd been determined to find him.
The guard looked down at her with wide optics, his face heating up more as she talked. He wasn't sure as to why…though it did feel good to have her nuzzle against him, again without his understanding it. He was honestly at a loss for words, never having seen anyone but 6 this worried about him. But 6 worrying didn't make him feel strange like 27's did. With 6's worry, 8 didn't feel this warmth heating up his insides, and was now confused. Seeing her looking ready to cry though sprung him into action, wanting to prevent it and before he knew it his arms found their way around her middle, stroking the fabric on her back softly (though form enough to be felt) as he held the fabric around them.
"Hey, don' get upset. I'm here, I'm alright. S'gunna take more than simply tossin' me to take me down. Just next time ya worry about me, since I know ya will no matter what I say, do it in a way that ain't gunna wind up with you as an icicle." He gave a little smile at his attempt to lighten the mood, even though he was serious in his last sentence, and felt even more warmth in his system when he saw that smile begin to form on her face. He took his hand from her back then to feel her forehead, judging to make sure she wasn't getting too warm too quick. "You're feelin' a little warmer now, that's good. Though I'm still sure yer gunna wind up sick by tomorrow."
27 smiled a little wider, though couldn't deny the slight warmth and surprise as her words finally reached her mind, or rather the last sentence. Why did she mention that she'd lost him? It had just…come out, really. She didn't take long to dwell on it, or very well she couldn't, as her mind seemed to freeze when she felt his large hand not only stroke her back gently, but quickly move back and was now resting on her forehead. Her body stilled, optics widening a little as the warmth again grew in her cheeks from the contact, again with her not knowing why.
"W-Well, it doesn't matter to me, I-I'm just upset I won't get to keep my promise." She said it without even thinking, this time her stuttering not being from the cold.
"Promise?" 8 removed his hand, looking down at her in confusion, helping her break from her own stupor enough—after blinking a couple times to come back—to continue on, her voice soft as she looked away with a little frown.
"Mmm-hmm." She nodded, "I promised 21 I'd play him a little lullaby for bedtime tonight, but with us stuck here for the night I won't be able to. Ooohh, Mister 1 will probably be mad that I broke my promise to his son too. He'll probably never let me play lullabies for him ever again! Oh if he does that then he'll probably say the same about his other baby inside 2's middle, and if he does that then they won't get to learn music and singing and if they don't get to do that then they'll never try singing themselves and wind up blaming me and then they'll grow up hating me and it'll be all my fault and-!"
"WHOA! Whoa! 27!" 8 quickly took her shoulders to lightly shake her out of her current ramble, her voice having gotten more panicked, loud and fast the more she talked until he could barely understand her. "Calm down, ok? First off, 21's a baby. He doesn't even understand that ya promised him anythin'. Second, yeah 1 won't be happy, but he won't be happy that we're out here tonight instead of back at the Sanctuary, so don't go beatin' yerself up over this, ok? 'Sides, 21 has gotten ta sleep without music since he was born, another night of it won't hurt." He pat the top of 27's head in what he hoped was a comforting manner.
"Well…Yeah, maybe you're right." She still felt a little bad she wouldn't be able to go through with her promise, but 8 did have a point. It wasn't like 21 wouldn't be able to go to sleep without her music. His parents could put him to bed in plenty of other ways; maybe he would even go to bed on his own.
The two sat by the fire, still cuddled next to each other to keep the warmth there as they listened to the freezing rain come down harder outside. They stayed like this for a while, 27 looking over to stare at the fire with her thoughts. She certainly felt better now, her body damp still from the rain, but she not being as cold as before. She could very well sit on her own now and the thick fabric and fire would be enough to keep her warm, yet she couldn't find it in herself to make any move to leave the giant's lap. She didn't understand why, but…she liked sitting with him like this. It made that warmth return to her insides, and she liked it. She didn't understand what it was, but she liked feeling it. She was about to cuddle a bit deeper before 8's voice broke through the silence.
"What were ya gunna play for him?"
"Huh?" She looked up at him, brows slightly raised as she turned from the fire.
"21. What were ya gunna play for him for tonight?"
"Oh! I was just going to pick a simple tune, I really like this soft melody, it sounds like a music box, so it's really gentle but carries on nicely." She gave a little giggle, smiling as she thought to it. Maybe she'd play it tonight anyway, just for 8 instead. The idea warmed her cheeks as she smiled wider.
"Huh…Why don't you ever sing instead?" 8 looked down at her, his own brows now raised in curiosity. Her optics widened at the suggestion as she felt her nerves begin to give. "W-What?"
"Yeah, I've heard ya hum sometimes. Ya sound nice." Without realizing it 8 released a small smile as he looked down at her, actually finding her surprised expression…cute. Funny, he'd never thought of anything as cute before, at least not in the way he thought she was being cute, if that made any sense.
"O-oh no, no I couldn't. I don't measure up to the music I play. It's sweet of you to say that, b-but no, no." She looked down with a bashful smile, messing with her tassels as she often did when bashful or nervous.
"Yer not a professional, like the people or melodies ya play, but ya still sound really good. I'm sure 21 an' even the others would really like yer voice." 8's comment sounded off-handed, but it was his honest opinion. He thought her youthful voice was sweet and gentle, though he'd probably never outright admit this. He couldn't understand why she'd only sing or hum to herself in private. "I like yer voice."
"…R-Really?" She smiled hopefully, looking up at him.
"Yeah, a'course. Wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it." He shrugged like it was no big deal. Yet somehow giving the comment caused that same warmth from earlier. Weird, complimenting the others never caused that. Maybe it was the weather; maybe he was getting a little sick too. Of course he'd be hesitant to admit the light of the fire against her made her look prettier than usual.
In fact he'd even go so far as to say she looked kind of beautiful in it. Funny, 8 didn't even realize he'd thought she looked pretty to begin with. Not that he thought she was ugly, he just… he was discovering a lot of new thoughts tonight, it seemed, as well as this new warm feeling that kept springing up with these thoughts about 27.
27 wasn't too far from the same, in all actuality. She couldn't remember a time when 8 had been so nice, or gentle, or caring. It made her cheeks flare in heat as she also noticed how…well how handsome he was in the glow of the soft firelight.
Without realizing it the two began just staring at each other in silence, smiling small smiles and both feeling their cheeks flare a bit in heat. Suddenly, as if realizing what they were doing the littler stitchpunk coughed, looking away quickly with that small smile still over her face as she spoke quietly. "W-Well, thanks, Mister 8. That's very kind of you."
Realizing himself what they'd been doing he looked away as well, muttering out a simple 'yer welcome' as he rubbed the back of his head. Hearing her cough a little, even if it was gentle, made him remember how she needed her sleep and he decided that it was time for them to rest. Carefully he pulled 27 from his lap and wrapped the longer throw piece around her, standing and heading for the fire.
"Mister 8?" She looked a little surprised at the sudden move. "What are you doing?" As she was saying this she couldn't help the slight yawn that broke through, covering her mouth with a cloth-covered hand. 8 looked over, knowing that he was definitely right now, as he could see how tired she really was. "Puttin' out tha fire. Well, most of it so it ain't a problem; we gotta get some sleep." With that he began poking at the fire enough that it began to dwindle in strength, just enough that he felt comfortable leaving it for the night. After making sure both his and her coats were at a safe range to continue drying without risk of catching fire he walked back over and picked 27 up in his arms. He knew they needed the fire's residual warmth for the night to keep the room somewhat warm, but staying next to it for the night wasn't exactly the safest plan. If a machine for any reason came to investigate it'd be better if it believed that whatever was there at the time had moved on instead of sleeping next to it in plain sight.
Before he could figure out a simple way up the couch while holding the little 'punk safely 27 wiggled in his grasp enough that 8 put her down, a brow raised in confusion over how flustered she seemed to be.
"I can climb fine, Mister 8, it's ok!" She said it quick with a little smile and before he could respond she had already extended her toes and began climbing up the couch, easily reaching the top with little effort, if a little slower than usual. 8 couldn't help but feel a bit upset that she didn't let him take her up, he kinda liked holding her. He didn't think about it too much and with a shrug climbed up himself, reaching the top with a slight grunt.
After climbing he quickly grabbed the remaining fabric of the throw and started making bedding with it, with plenty left over to act as a blanket for the two for the night. With a small, tired giggle 27 quickly jumped into the pile of thick fabric, somehow still having enough energy to do so. 8 merely gave a grunt at the action, not surprised in the least as he climbed in as well; she was a bundle of energy as far as he was concerned. It certainly wasn't a bad thing.
What DID surprise him, however, was 27 immediately cuddling in close against his side with that same little smile, giving out a sigh against him. "What're ya doin'?" There it was again, that budding of warmth against his cheeks; he was starting to get a little annoyed at it happening without him fully understanding why.
"Hmm?" Tired optics blinked as she looked up at him before she smiled a little wider. "What? I'm still kinda cold and you're so warm, Mister 8."
Well, she did still feel damp, so he shrugged it off and wrapped his arm around her back, both to help her body temperature and also because it was really the only comfortable position for it, not that he minded.
He had a moment he has everytime he's put close to 27, where he realized just how big a size difference they had between each other. She was easily able to fit her head on his shoulder with her body encased between the fabric of his arm and his body, and if he moved his hand he'd be cupping her legs and her…well best not to think about that, especially when it sparked that heat in his cheeks again. "Alright, jus' do me a favor and stop callin' me 'mister'. Makes me feel old." He couldn't help the tiniest of smiles when he heard her give a tired giggle again.
"Well ok, but what do you want me to call you then?"
"Don' matter ta me, just as long as it's not Mister, or Sir, er nothin' insultin'." He shrugged again, and couldn't help a yawn of his own from happening. Sleep was close upon them both.
Before it could claim 27, however, she offered one last smile, optics closed as she snuggled deeper into the giant stitchpunk next to her and the blankets surrounding them. In a tired whisper she called out to him softly. "Ok then…Big Guy." With that 27 was soon softly snoring into his side, her hand not underneath her on top of 8's chest gently as she slept.
8 looked to her in surprise at the nickname, but was too tired to give it much thought and merely shrugged once again. Though when morning came, and he would wind up carrying her back due to the fever she'd be running and the coughing, leading to bedrest for the next week, he thought it over more and more, and found out he didn't mind it—he liked it, really. He couldn't expain it, but being someone's Big Guy sounded nice. What confused him even more was the fact that being HER Big Guy sounded nicer.