Author Notes: I do not own any part of the entire 9 verse. The only thing I own 9 wise is a bought copy of the movie from Target, a 9 shirt, and the 1 and 9 action figures! All legally bought. The creator and proper owner of all things 9 is Shane Acker, to whom I personally thank for such an amazing movie that I both love AND dread to watch at the same time... I know I don't get that either, XD.

Hoo! Haven't posted here in a while! Only now it's a 9 story! Centered on 2 and 9, for there are NOWHERE NEAR enough fics of these two as friends or more or whatever! And also, I have no idea where this idea came from either, but I'm really happy with what came of it! I hope you all enjoy this ficcy! And be sure to R&R!


Slowly the waking world came to him. His optics were closed, and stayed that way as he gradually came to reality. A dull throbbing sent waves through him, mainly his back as he silently felt the rest of himself. He had a mild headache as well. He was lying down on a bed, he realized, feeling a make-shift blanket draped over his prone form, most likely to keep him warm. He also realized a moment later that the bed wasn't his own. Of course it wouldn't be. If it was his wouldn't he remember getting in it and going to sleep in the first place? No, this wasn't his bed, it was another; meaning he lied somewhere that wasn't his own room. But why would he be doing so in the first place? Just what happened?

It was then his hearing came completely to him, allowing him to listen for any noise to indicate just where he was. Silence greeted him unfortunately, leaving him clueless and confused. But wait. He COULD hear something… it was soft and muffled, but he could hear it nonetheless.

The soft sound was off to his left, he could tell, continuing in a steady rhythm. He listened more in hopes of the sound getting louder and more decipherable, but it just continued on slow, soft, and steady. It almost made him fall back into slumber again as it was soothing to hear. Just what could that be?

As if wanting to help clear his puzzled mind his optics slowly began to open, only to shut tightly back in a soft moan. Those lights were so bright! Waiting a minute he slowly began opening them again. Blurry vision greeted him as he blinked to make himself more use to the light shining down on him. Swirls of color began making his headache worse, and so he closed them both just as the blurriness in his sight began to sharpen back into proper focus.

He turned his head, pleading mentally for the light to just somehow fizzle out to leave him and the mystery noise in darkness, but he knew then he wouldn't be able to see just what the noise was in the first place… unless there was some hope to the outside somewhere along the walls or ceilings to the room he was in. There was little chance of that due to 1's paranoia about something easily getting into the room and taking what it wanted, including themselves, not to mention it was uncomfortable staying somewhere where the outside's rough weather could get to you.

Carefully he opened his left optic, partly shielded from the brightness by having his head turned. He blinked once, twice, three times before finally having the world come into focus before him. With his sight restored, it wasn't hard to figure out he was in 2's workshop, sometimes dubbed the infirmary anytime an ailing stitchpunk needed help. The scraps littering the floor next to papers filled with plans rather than 6's drawings (2 had a special cubby for those now, and they were always kept neat within it), some paper tacked to the wall above a little doll-sized desk taken from an abandoned dollhouse a month earlier… He randomly thought of how he needed to tell 2 that his new pink desk just didn't seem right in the wooden room altogether like his old wooden desk did; it needed to be painted or something.

Continuing his observations he kept his optic out for the noise. He got confused again as nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Isn't this where it was coming from? He was sure it was, it sounded closer than it did just a few seconds ago when his face was towards the ceiling. His optics roamed the room again, determined to find the soft sound that made up the infirmary. It was then that the source of the sound was seen right in front of him. Really he couldn't believe he missed it in the first place at all and had to mentally chuckle at his obliviousness.

There, upper half lying on the skate bed with him and lower half set in the chair he'd just realized was missing from the bright colored desk, coming as close to a human's soft snoring as possible for their kind, was 2. He had his head propped on his left arm, which was curled beneath it. His right arm was fully extended towards him, making him believe that before he fell into his own dream world 2 must've been gripping his hand, as his hand was also lying within the inventor's palm. How had he not noticed that?

2's chest went slowly up and down, up and down with his deep breathing, creating this sound as if air was being vented through him, which it was actually. It was slow, calming, and before he knew it he was fighting to stay awake a little longer to smile at the aged man before him. Whatever had happened, it worried 2 enough to keep him at his side this whole time…. However long this time has been, he wasn't sure, but he knew it was long.

He smiled, not wanting to disturb the elder when he seemed so peaceful, but he'd waited right here all this time, possibly hoping he'd wake up soon so he didn't wish to worry him any longer than he already had been. Besides it was a good chance that the way 2 was positioned wasn't exactly the best one to be in for sleeping, especially with his joints being so horrible to him on a regular basis.

With a small movement he had 2's hand now in his own and gave it a gentle squeeze. With his back protesting any movement it was the only thing he could do really, and at first it seemed it had no affect on the laced up 'punk. He gave it another squeeze, this time a bit firmer while still being gentle, as well as rubbing his thumb against the top of his hand, albeit a bit weakly.

"2?" He called to him, voice hoarse. His voice box protested sound from escaping it due to it being unused for however long he slept… or did he use it too much before he went unconscious…?

His thoughts were interrupted as he heard a soft groan leave 2's mouth. Soon the elder was blinking rapidly to clear his vision as much as he could, lifting and shaking his head. He put a hand behind it and rolled it for a moment, grumbling about "rusted old joints" and how "Creator just loves to make me feel old". Watching his friend he laughed quietly at his words, finding the inventor rather amusing. This of course prompted said inventor to jerk his head sharply towards the skate bed with wide optics. The next instant, however, his face lit up with an overjoyed smile at the sight of the younger finally awake.

"9! Oh you're finally awake!" He took the neophyte's hand into both of his, holding it with one, and grasping the top of it and patting the top with the other. He leaned close, that same smile on his face that made 9 happy he was the cause of it. "Oh, my boy, we were all starting to get a bit worried there." He chuckled in relief.

"What-" he felt his voice box throb in protest to being used and had to stop for a moment. But 2 didn't allow him to continue by placing his fingers over the young one's mouth.

"Ahh-ah-ah," He shook his head, "mustn't speak just yet, your voice needs a bit more time to get into tune." He looked 9 right in the optics, much the same as he did when they first met, and just like the first time, he seemed to know exactly what he was saying without saying a thing. "You want to know what happened." It wasn't a question. It was a plain statement, as if it were an obvious fact, which it probably was, but 9 couldn't really care at the moment. He nodded slowly and 2 took in a deep inhale, looking away from the neophyte.

"It's my fault, really." 9's optics widened in surprise. Had his voice been in good condition he'd already be questioning the elder. Nothing was ever 2's fault! And that's not anyone bragging, it was an honest fact—as if he knew just what could cause potential trouble and stayed away from it. The only thing to jeopardize his blame free record was his love to mess with and tease 1.

"I mean, if I hadn't mentioned that confounded rock…" 2 looked downcast, a sad frown pulling at his features and guilt shining brightly behind his optics.

Like that, everything seemed to come into focus. Yes, he remembered now…

"Oh my!" exclaimed 2, "Would you look at that gem! Talk about a diamond in the rough boys! Am I right?" He chuckled. It was a sparkly little thing, shining brilliantly in the newfound sunlight beginning to peek through the clouds in their new world. He, 9, and 5 had left early morning in hopes to find something grand, as was always their hope when exploring. And today it'd seemed they'd struck gold. Sure 1 might be a bit miffed at their sudden departure, but he'd get over it.

Eventually…

"Oh wow!" 5 yelled back, a smile of awe lighting his own face. "It's so beautiful 2! The twins would love to catalogue that! But… how do we get to it?" He looked down, showing the moderately deep fall below. They could climb down it—in fact climbing it is what got them up there in the first place—but falling would hurt. Bad.

A thin but wide piece of wood answered his question as 9 placed over the hole, creating a make-shift bridge of sorts with a bright smile full of unbridled enthusiasm.

"Don't worry. I'll go across and get it!" He handed 5 his light staff before making his way back over to the wood.

"Be careful dear boy!" 2 smiled, though you could see the worry behind that happiness. "Wouldn't want your bad luck to show itself!" He chuckled at 9's playful glare.

"Hahaha, very funny 2." With that he cautiously stepped onto the board. 5 and 2 watched him intently, both hiding worry behind their glances. 9 didn't always get into trouble, but he did have a knack for it.

When he crossed the way and picked up the rock, the neophyte put it in more light. All three gasped at the colors it sparked around them and even on their bodies. It was absolutely beautiful.

"Oh we mustn't let 8 or 1 near this, or we may never see it again!" 2 laughed out. It was true. Now that 8 had given up his magnet, he'd been seeking something else to occupy his time with, and this would be perfect. 1, for all intensive purposes, would confiscate it, saying it was a distraction to everyone's duties. Of course everyone knew that was just in excuse he used when he wanted something for himself. That cape of his was a good example.

Bringing it out of the light, 9 unzipped himself and placed the gem inside before zipping back up. Giving one more look around for any other similar riches and finding none, he stepped back onto board.

Yeah…. He was making his way back… something creaked…. he heard 5 shout something… and then nothing…

"The wood was decayed. I should've seen that clear as day, but… You hit your head a quarter of the way down rather hard against the wall." He offered a weak chuckle, humorless in all aspects of itself. "Seems not even your thick head could stand against a firm dirt wall… You hit the bottom, your back taking the brunt of the blow off some rubble along the ground and your voice box was hit with the gem as it clattered around inside yourself. Merely a scratch but… well let's be thankful that's all that was done to you."

Suddenly the inventor lifted himself from the chair, stretching his back quickly and bringing his chair back to his doll house desk. He wouldn't meet optics with 9 the entire time.

"There were at least three or four ribs were knocked loose and cracked—one even broken off entirely, not to mention two disks in your back were knocked into you, but nothing 5 and I couldn't handle with some very delicate use of superglue and a few simple 'pop's back into place. I've fixed your voice box of the scratching as best as I can, but it'll need at least another day to heal as best it can. And no worries, you're head seemed to have managed the fall quite nicely, seeing as you only have memory loss of our trip outside a couple days ago. I did check around however, just to be safe." 9 could faintly hear 2 muttering something about being blessed that his head hung over the rubble, making the youngest think that his noggin come too close for comfort to hitting the ground itself full force.

"I'll go get 5… He'll be happy to know that you're alright." 2 made his way for the door, determined to leave the poor boy in some peace when he heard some noise. He glanced over to the skate cot and saw 9 trying to move to sit up, an expression of pain overpowering his features at the agonizing process. The elder's optics widened and he was instantly at 9's side, gently forcing him back down.

"9! You mustn't move, dear boy! Not yet! Your back will still feel—!" He felt a trembling arm securely wrap itself around his waist, bringing him down closer to 9. When he was closer in reach 9 grunted in pain, slowly bringing his other equally trembling arm up to wrap 2 in a hug.

If anyone were to walk in, they could've compared the moment to a parent hugging their child comfortingly, hoping to drive away their nightmares and leave them in peaceful slumber, and 2 could only stare blankly forward towards the pillow 9 lie his head upon. The arm around his waist pressed it's palm flatly against his back while the other maneuvered upwards to have its palm pressed against the back of his head and he was held there, tightly and warmly by a trembling 9.

"N….n-not your…f-faallt….t-2… I should've…b-been smart….'bout it…" A hoarse chuckle accompanied these words as his arms brought 2 even closer, making sure not to crush him however.

2 just lay there in that hold for a moment, stunned and immobile. But only for that moment. The next one his face changed to one of such relief it looked like he would cry if he could as he fit his hands through the embrace, then his arms, to wrap around 9's head and neck gently yet firm. He dug his head into 9's shoulder and the two remained that way for a time neither one of them counted the seconds for.


A/N: Well I hope you liked! ^w^ Remember, be sure to R&R!