Hey, everyone! Remember me? I've been getting a lot of sad letters because I had to take 9: The Savior Returns down. I'm so truly sorry everyone. So, I dedicate this story to all my Savior-fans. This takes place three months after the second war ended. Enjoy!

P.S. If you're all good, Santa might jsut bring Savior back if she gets enough reviews!

~Your loving author, Cel.

Part 1: Prepare

Something was in the air. Something new. It was sharp, piercing. It ripped through the city unmercifully. The whistling winds howled hollowly through the destroyed city. The temperature of the air dropped, slowly at first, and then rapidly. The world was usually cool and brisk, but this was different. For the past few weeks, the air was sharper, and much colder. The stitchpunks didn't know what it was at first. 2, being the intelligent old man he was, immediately went about doing research. The twins joined him, and eagerly ran through their mental files for anything on what was happening to the world around them. Mostly, their files were about the war, but 4 managed to uncover something from the cobwebs of his mind.

He had excitedly shown his family what was happening: it was called winter. He showed an old video from his eyes – there was a male and female human all dressed up in fluffy, fancy clothing. The two were holding hands, the woman's head on her mate's shoulder. They were enjoying a ride in a fancy carriage, which was pulled by a pretty horse that was all dressed in jingle bells. The man held the reins in one mittened hand. All around them, there were beautiful evergreen trees and the land was filled with something that was bright white and sparkling. The scene was set at night, so the moonlight reflected off of the white powder. Little tiny flakes of it were falling slowly and gently through the sky. It was a beautiful scene, and it intrigued all of them. 2 explained that the white powder was called snow. Snow was frozen rain, and it was thick and fluffy. It fell during the season winter.

You see, the world had seemed to stop during the war. The continuous black cloud from the Machine's enormous factory spewing into the air erased all sense of season. The gas the Mech-Walkers emitted into the world to eradicate the humans had killed all of the plants and trees. The land became so twisted and warped into something terrible, that it just stayed one season. And it was almost like the fifth season – where nothing happened. There wasn't the freshness of spring, or the comfort of summer, or the beauty of fall. But all the Machines were gone now. The world was empty and silent. This gave the world a chance to heal itself. It rained now. The trees were beginning to turn brown again. Tiny little tendrils of grass sprouted out in the badlands. Everything, including the stitchpunk coven, was healing.

However, with the breathtaking, intriguing idea of winter, 2 also explained that there were dangers that came with the snow and cold. Strong snowstorms were called blizzards, and if any one of them was caught in a storm ("Yes, 8, even you,"), there was the danger of being rapidly buried by the quickly accumulating snow. Humans who got buried often died because of lack of oxygen. Not only that, but the temperature could easily slip below zero. The stitchpunks could freeze to death. Because their skeletons, as well as their optics and hands and feet were made of metal, the metal could freeze so horribly, their frames would crack and fracture. Everybody thoroughly understood the dangers. They all agreed to take scouting duty to prepare themselves for the approaching winter.

Despite the dangers, the idea of winter delighted the stitchpunks, especially the younger members. They talked about what they would do once it snowed. Humans played a game where they would pack small balls of snow together and throw it at each other. The snowballs usually didn't hurt, and it was fun. They also used slabs of wood or plastic to slide down hills really fast. 5 and 9 especially wanted to try this. So, everybody went out in groups of two to four to gather supplies. Lots of candles and matches were found. Thick woolen cloths, soft flannel sheets, fluffy fleece blankets, and silky cotton fabrics were all found and taken home. They made great blankets and soft material to sleep on. 9, 5, 6, and 8 even went out to a dead forest far from home. They gathered little twigs and small branches that had fallen from the trees. These would make for great kindling in the fireplace.

2 and his boys also tinkered with the furnace. It was a large thing all by itself in one room. Large and black, the boys thought they could almost see a scary face in the grates of the furnace. 2, 5 and 9 fiddled with the thing for about a week, trying to figure out how to make it work. 5 found a loose bolt and tightened it. A small closet nearby held some black, smoky rocks called coal. They set fire to the rocks, and the house immediately began to heat up. The less coal used, the less the heat. At first, 9 worried about the smoke coming from the chimney. He worried that a Machine, if there was one out there, would see the smoke and it would be led right to the coven. Everybody understood his fear – the Spine Machine had literally come out of nowhere, and it had nearly caused the demise of the entire coven. That was three months ago now, but the war was still hard to forget. The ever-cautious coven let the smoke rise into the air for a few days, preparing for a fight. For three days a tense aura hung in the mansion, but when the world stayed silent, everybody became calm and cheerful once more. They were alone.

A few weeks passed. Using an old, fancy calendar, 2 and 1 estimated that the time was set in a month called November. Of course, the stitchpunks were smart enough to understand months and years. November was a late month, and when winter really began to start.

5 began to do something peculiar – he began to use a yellow tape with all kinds of numbers on it to measure everybody's height, as well as how "round" they were. 9 and 7 had asked him why he was doing this, and he said it was because some of the stitchpunks had thinner skin than others. 6's soft flannel skin and 7's soft, durable canvas skin were much thinner than 9 and 5's rough, and much thicker, burlap skin. He was making something like clothes, but not clothes exactly. Stitchpunks didn't need to wear clothes, nor did they want to. Everybody knew that, silly.

5 set immediately on making the "clothing" that would keep his family warm. 9 helped immensely. He was good at sewing. They made 2's garments first. Using a thick, black wool, they made him a charming little jacket. They used two little plastic buttons to keep it together. 2 looked quite handsome in it, as a matter of fact. It would help him stay warm quite well. Then, the two boys made 1's outfit. They had tried their best not to laugh when 1 crossly requested them to also make him a hat, for his head got cold easily. The fact was understandable, of course. Humans had hair to keep their heads warm. With the exception of 6's wild rope hair, and the twins' corduroy hoods, the stitchpunks pretty much had bare heads (unless 7 decided to put on her skullmet). Using a deep mahogany, silky fabric and lacing it with a faux black fur, 1 was made a nice coat and hat. Of course, regal and noble 1 must look so, even in this silly garb. When he tried on the outfit for the first time, he had actually smiled and warmly thanked the two boys. Now that 1 was satisfied, 9 and 5 asked the others what they wanted to keep warm.

Burly 8's skin was made of something like thickly woven cotton. He didn't really get cold, so he merely requested a scarf, because his oversized chin often got cold in these recent months. So, with a thick, woolen, red scarf, 8 was satisfied. The twins also requested scarves – ones that matched, of course. They were made out of garden gloves, and the soft fabric was also very durable. They wouldn't get cold unless it was really freezing outside. They were made simple, woolen scarves that were a pretty grey-blue. The twins, delighted with their presents, hugged 9 and 5 very tightly and went around wearing the scarves even though it hadn't snowed yet. What a pleasure it was to have something new!

6 didn't really have an opinion upon his article. He didn't request anything outright, but 5 had seen him admiring a silky cotton cloth. It was a gentle, light brown. 5 and 9 made him a little jacket, and when presented with his new item, 6 had beamed and threw his arms around his brothers, squeezing tightly. You must have very good brothers to make something this nice for you.

Tough, stubborn 7 refused anything at first. 5 and 9 gently coaxed her to wear a silky beige scarf that 9 had made especially for her. She surrendered to her boys with a sigh. Then, with a little more gentle persuasion, 7 found herself wearing a little dark brown coat that was the same color as 9's eyebrows. At first, 7 didn't want to wear such silly apparel, but when 9 had called her, "very, very pretty," she accepted the article of clothing with a smile.

This left 9 and 5. 5 had said for 9 to not worry about this – he'd take care of it. 9 didn't know what he meant by this, but he let him work on what he wanted to. He needed to make sure a few other things were in order. It was the next day when 5 had presented 9 with what he had made. He had stayed up all night fashioning thick, woolen cloaks. One was a dark, dull green, and the other was a soft grey-blue. They had hoods on the back. The cloaks were fastened with brooches. But they were absolutely beautiful. 5 had made them himself – they were silver, and using a bright green glass, they made two leaves with the silver surrounding them. 9 absolutely loved his cloak, and had hugged 5 in thanks. It was sure to keep him warm, he had said. 5 smiled and hugged his brother back.

The stitchpunks felt well-prepared for what lay ahead. They had very little fear, for they had faced much worse. They were smart enough to handle a little snow. However, three weeks passed, and not one snowflake fluttered to the ground. The temperature stayed about the same. The prospect and excitement of winter fell from the atmosphere of the coven. They went back to their daily lives – scouting, scavenging, fixing things, reading books, and hanging out with one another. Life was very peaceful, and wonderful. Everybody was free of the Machines, and the fear of war. They were all together now, nine once more. Nothing would change that, and everybody was contented in knowing that fact.

Days passed. Laughter and smiles became common. Hardly anyone cried anymore. Nightmares became something of the past. Even 6's violent visions became gentle dreams. He hardly thought about the bad things of the past anymore. Something new and different happened each day. Everybody had a good time with one another, and a great love was formed between each member of the coven. 9 and 5 enjoyed finding all of 7's ticklish spots and making her giggle. The three enjoyed playing hide-and-seek with the twins. Whenever 9 would find them, curled up in whatever place they managed to hide, they would always jump on him and try to knock him over. In revenge, he would tickle them gently, and everybody would laugh. 6 liked drawing pictures for everybody. Many of them thought that he could only draw pictures of violent evils, but they were proved wrong when 1 was presented with a beautiful picture of a forest. It looked so real, and serene. 6 liked giving 9 pictures especially, and he would tack up every single one on one of his walls. 6 even coaxed his brothers to try to draw something. They both tried drawing 6. They had all laughed themselves silly when they had seen each other's final product. 9 and 5 weren't the best artists, but 6 kept the drawings anyway. They were very special.

One night, around the middle of November, it was colder than usual. The warm blankets were passed around, and everyone gathered in the furnace room to warm up a little before heading to bed. Once they were nice and warm and sleepy, the fire was extinguished, leaving a nice warmth in the house. Everybody exchanged "good nights" and "sleep wells" as they did every night. The dark night sky was very cloudy, and a gentle mist was rolling through the city. 9 went up to his room, but he didn't go to bed right away. He sat on the edge of his bed, gazing out of the window and into the world.

Everything was so quiet and peaceful, and he loved it. 9 had rarely known serenity. He had immediately been thrust into war, and many things happened. He had brought back his deceased friends, only to encounter another war. 9 was injured, and had finally died in the end, his life being taken by the Fabrication Machine. However, the coven's guardian, who turned out to be their very own Scientist, had allowed 9 to stay. He had healed completely, and was walking and moving like he had never been hurt in the first place. He loved all of his friends, his family. He got a brother in 5. He got a special mate in 7. Everything was nice. 9 caught himself smiling as he looked out the window.

Maybe it would snow soon. That would make everything even nicer. Everybody would love it. The bond between the coven was slowly becoming unbreakable. In the war, nearly everybody had broken away from each other. But no more. They were a family. They had a father in 2, a grandfather in 1, a daughter, sons, brothers, and even a nice couple (they could possibly be called "married." Stitchpunks didn't really acknowledge much about marriages or nuptial things of the sort). 9 had read somewhere that winter brought everyone closer together.

With this thought in his head, it made 9 feel extremely at ease. He stretched and yawned, crawling into bed. He curled up under the warm covers, closing his eyes. He fell into a deep, peaceful sleep almost immediately. Everybody slept peacefully that night…so peacefully, that nobody noticed a few small, white flakes that drifted slowly through the night sky, settling on the ground far below…

"WAKE UP! WAKE UP!" A shrill, excited voice rang through the house. 9's eyes snapped open. Weary and unfocused, he blinked a few times, trying to figure out where he was, and who was screaming. His lenses focused, and the blurriness of his vision disappeared. Yawning widely and stretching, 9 rubbed his optics. He had slept very deeply last night, warm and content in his bed. He was still quite tired, and the shrieking confused him. Suddenly, somebody ran up the steps and into his room, and jumped on him.

"Wake up, wake up! 9, 9, 9, wake up, I say!" 6's sharp voice rang in 9's hearing sensor. He laid on 9, poking his shoulder with one finger, trying to wake his brother up. 9 blinked, staring up at 6 for a moment, dazed.

"Wha…what's wrong, S-s-s-si…" 9 said, trying, and failing, to stifle another large yawn. "What is it, 6? Is something wrong?" 6 shook his head rapidly, his wild hair flaying back and forth. He had a wide smile plastered to his face, rearranging the faded black stripes around his mouth. His large, bright, mismatched eyes glowed with excitement and delight.

"No, no, no! Nothing is bad! Look, look!" 6 said, shaking 9 persistently. He laughed lightly, amused by the striped ragdoll's enthusiasm. 6 clambered off of 9, succeeding in his mission to wake him up. 9 stretched greatly, spreading his fingers wide, before relaxing and sitting up. 6 tapped his fingers against his key, something he did whenever he was nervous or excited. 9 got to his feet, looking to 6.

"What's happened? Show me." 9 said, and 6 seemed delighted to do so. Seizing his little brother's hand, he dragged him to his window. 9 was reassured that there was no dire emergency, and he allowed 6 to pull him to the window that overlooked the drawing room. 9's room was upon a large windowsill, placed on one side of the large, elaborate drawing room of the mansion. The window, however, was fogged over. 6 didn't seem fazed, however. Lifting his forearm, he hurriedly wiped away some of the icy condensation. 9 and 6 peered out into the world together. 9's eyes widened, but then he smiled widely.

Everything in the world was softly blanketed with sparkling, white snow. The fresh, powdered snow was just as beautiful as it was in the picture 4 had shown his family. Small white flakes still drifted serenely from the sky. The clouds were a gentle, white-grey, and a mist covered the land.

"Wow. It came." 9 whispered, putting an arm around 6's shoulders. 6 looked very pleased with himself, hands clasped to his chest and a wide smile on his face. The first snows of their world had come! It was now absolute proof that the world was healing itself. The snow was pure-white. It was just absolutely beautiful.

"Hey, guys!" 5 called from below in the drawing room. 9 and 6 turned around to see him waving to them, his cloak fastened around his shoulders. 7 stood beside him, in her scarf and jacket. She was smiling, looking very excited, her black eyes shining brightly.

"C'mon, guys! Let's go outside!" 5 called, looking very happy, a wide smile on his face. 9 felt the same energetic excitement. He felt something sweet and soft filling him up to the very brim. Something new had happened! And it was something good, something fun. Grinning, he grabbed his cloak off of its hook as 6 scrambled to his room, eager to join his friends outside. 9 fastened the cloak around his shoulders, and ran towards his two best friends as they eagerly approached him. The three smiled at one another, filled with an energy and excitement to venture into a world unknown to them.

"Let's go!" 5 said, turning and running to the front door, waving his friends forward. 7 took 9's hand, and the two followed 5. They were quite ready for another adventure.