Ollo, peoples! Guess...whooooo's...baaaaaaack! I know, I know, I've been gone, ever. But you need not worry, your Cel is here to stay. And for some strange reason, she is on a Megamind high.

This story was and idea given to me by Tattooedxdemon. How much this person has helped with this story, I cannot fathom. Aiden, you are wonderful, spectacular, you fantastic fish, you.

This story is mainly a spin-off of Chapter 4, 5, 6, and 7 from 9: The Savior Returns. Oh! I almost forgot! To those who loved that story, I'm putting it back on Fanfiction this summer. :)

Without further adieu, here is a story. :D

P.S. Chapter 7, please, Aiden.

Part One: The Beginning

9 walked around slowly, completely and utterly lost. He looked up to the sky around him, but saw no familiar landmarks of any kind. He was surrounded by dead pine trees, their trunks blackened. The wood was peeled, and the spindly branches were completely bare – there was no sign of life. As he looked up to the dark clouds above him, his heart compressed and he sighed.

A day ago, he'd been washed away in a terrible flash flood. He and 7 had gone to look for the twins, who'd wandered off to explore. A storm had come, and 9 had found them trapped in a dry riverbed. He'd gone down to them when a sudden flash flood hit. 9 had gotten the twins to 7, for they couldn't swim. However, despite his struggles, he'd been washed away from the others. He'd gone over a waterfall, which had knocked him unconscious. He'd floated down the river for a very long time until he woke. Now, he was just trying to find his way home.

As he walked around, his shoulder still in pain, he couldn't stop thinking about 7 and 3 and 4. Oh, how he missed them. He hoped they were safe and sound in their little home, a small cabin he'd found. He wanted nothing more in the world than to go back to them…to play with the twins, and see 7's beautiful face again…

Completely submerged in his thoughts, he walked forward, feeling more alone than ever, he didn't see the trench looming in front of him. It was virtually impossible to spot in this darkness. 9 stepped on the rocky edge and gave a cry as he lurched forward. The world around him pitched and spun as he nearly fell headfirst into the trench. He fell backwards onto his back, head spinning and heart thumping. Shaking his head, 9 looked up, getting to his feet. He peered hesitantly down into the ravine. It was about eight feet deep, carved into the deep earth by a slow-moving river. 9 was studying the other side, trying to see if there was another way to get up the other side. There was a thin path that worked its way up the steep side. As he studied the path beyond the trees, he suddenly spotted something – walls. The city! His home! 7, the twins! He gasped happily, relieved that he'd found the path. The river he'd been trapped in must've washed him very far from the city and turned in on itself.

9 carefully slid down the side of the ravine. As he touched the ground once more, he looked around for some sort of branch or stick. Spotting one near the river that was about as long as his arm, he took it in his hands. Lowering it into the river, he pressed the end to the bottom. He'd be able to wade through easily. Leaving the stick to the water, he stood straight again. However, as he did so, something glinted off of his wet hands. It startled him, because there was no light around him. The sun had already set, and he didn't have his light staff any longer. He moved his fingers again, the glint flashed into his eyes again. Turning slowly, he spotted a very dim light, flickering feebly off in the distance. It was beside the river, and it was an orange color.


9 froze, gasping. He turned quickly to run away, but his foot slipped in the mud. With a cry, he tumbled into the water. The icy water flooded his mouth and forced his eyes shut. He hit the riverbed hard, knocking the breath out of him. Gasping and sputtering, he struggled to lift himself out of the water. His shoulder seared with pain, and he winced, clutching it. Sighing, he looked up again. The fire hadn't moved. It was probably very far away, just an illusion. Shaking his head and dripping wet, 9 got shakily to his feet and walked out of the river.

"Hello?" The call reached him faintly. 9 started, whirling around. The voice was no more than a mere echo. He couldn't even distinguish if it was from a male or female. But…wait…he was the only male left on Earth with a voice. The twins were mutes.

"7?" He cried, his heart leaping with joy. "7!"

She'd found him! She must have started a fire to keep herself warm. Maybe the twins were with her, too. Filled with a newfound energy, 9 ran as fast as his legs could carry him. Rushing in the direction of the light, he could only think of taking 7 and the twins in his arms and holding them tightly and never letting go. They were all he had left, and he was going to protect them no matter what. But that meant he had to go to them. He had to be with them. The light began to come into focus, and so did the objects around it. There was a large, lumpy bundle on the ground. A brown shred of fabric was draped over the lump. There was another shred of fabric, lying beside the lump, but this was burlap. Small stitches of red thread lined one end of it. It looked vaguely familiar, but 9 didn't think about it.

"7! 7, it's me, it's 9! I'm okay, I'm here!" He cried, rushing towards the brown bundle. He stopped before it, heart thumping wildly. He couldn't keep his wide, happy smile from his face as the bundle moved. He must have woken the female stitchpunk up, but at the moment, he didn't care. He was far too happy to see her. Suddenly, the person under the bundle of blankets coughed hoarsely. 9 froze in horror. That wasn't 7. That was nowhere near 7. 9 slowly backed up, trembling from head to foot. Dismay crashed over him. He hadn't found 7. She wasn't here. His longing for her only intensified, mingled with a great fear. Who had he found? What had he found? The blankets fell away slowly from the figure. It groaned lightly, moving slowly and stiffly. It looked like the person was struggling to at least sit up. It coughed again, its face shadowed by the blanket. Then, with a hand, it took away the blanket, and looked up…

"No," 9 whispered to himself, turning away and covering his eyes with his hands. "No, no, no, no. No, it's not real. It's not real." He whispered in agony. The hurt in his shoulder was nowhere as much pain as was in his heart. He didn't look at the horrible hallucination. No, he wasn't crazy. He couldn't succumb to this. His mind couldn't go on him. He must find 7, and the twins. He needed them just as much as they needed him. He heard a happy gasp behind him, then more hoarse coughing. 9 struggled with himself not to turn around. His kind nature mustn't take hold. This person wasn't real. He'd been dead for three months, at his hand. It wasn't real.

"9," the person spoke with love, happiness, and relief in their voice. The voice tugged at 9's broken heart so much he finally turned around, unable to take it any longer. His eyes immediately fell upon the person, but he didn't move any closer. The person he thought he was hallucinating was 2. The old inventor, his first friend, the first to be killed by his hand, was sitting before him. He looked just as 9 remembered, but like he'd aged five years. He looked more frail and decrepit than from when 9 had known him. The hand he held out to 9 was trembling. But the love and happiness in his face, his sweet golden eyes, was more real than anything.

"9, my dear, sweet boy. You brave, wonderful young man. Do not be afraid. Please. I'm here. I'm alive." 2 spoke softly, extending his hand even further to 9. 9 didn't want to approach at all. He wanted to turn away, and run as fast as he could. 2 was dead, like all the others. And it was all 9's fault. However, as 9 looked upon him, he noticed several different things. 2's right leg had a huge rip in it, and it looked very painful. He'd wrapped it with a piece of burlap. A piece of red thread stuck out from his hip, something that wasn't there before. 9 looked at the scrap of burlap lying on the ground beside 2. It had the red thread too...

It was the tail of the Seamstress. The monster had sewed 2 to the end of its tail to lure the other stitchpunks to it. The monster must have slashed 2's leg in the process, and 2 must've cut it from his waist himself, freeing his legs. 9 would hallucinate a healed, alive 2. The old man before him was decrepit and very weak, and from the looks of it, ill. 9, as he looked at the old inventor, realized that it must be the real, alive, 2. No matter how impossible, how unreal, it was real and possible before him.

"2!" 9 cried out, dropping to his knees before 2. Reaching forward, he took 2 in his arms, hugging him tightly. He was solid and real as 9 himself, and it was too much. 9 didn't think about how 2 could possibly have come back. He didn't think about how long 2 had been out here, weak and ill. All he could think about that he was here, with him, alive. 9 buried his face into 2's shoulder, uncaring about his reaction. He didn't know if 2 was going to push him away and hate him for his mistake, but he didn't care. He sobbed, his chest heaving, into 2's warm leather shoulder. He forgot that he was supposed to be a man, he was supposed to be strong for 7 and the twins.

"Oh, my dear boy. Don't cry. Everything will be alright." 2 said softly, his grizzly, happy old voice just as 9 had remembered and thought of so often. 2 stroked the back of his head, rubbing his back weakly, just like a father would do for his son. The two stitchpunks sat by the fire for a few more minutes, 2 comforting the crying 9. He then withdrew and looked down at the older man.

"2, I-I'm so sorry – I mean, I didn't know…I didn't mean to…I'm so sorry." 9 stammered, bending his head. He felt horrible. 2 however, put a knuckle under his chin and gently tilted his head up.

"My boy, everybody makes mistakes in their life. I will always love you. I saw how you fought to try and free us, even when 7 and 1 didn't want to help. And I've been watching. I see how terrible you feel, and I don't want you to." 2 said gently, patting 9's shoulder. 9 gave him a smile, though his lips trembled. 2 had forgiven him. He was forgiven. 9 was then struck with the actual shock of 2 being alive.

"2, how…I mean, you were…" 9 struggled to ask, each word burning like he'd fallen in a batch of coals. Though 2 had forgiven him, his heart still refused to mend. 2 sighed, sitting back against the wall.

"I don't know what's happened, 9. Once we were moved from Earth, somebody stopped us. He told us that we couldn't move on to where we were meant to be – not yet. For three months, we've been trapped in the Second World, or the World Between. We've been watching the four of you. And then, after you had the dream, I suddenly found myself on these banks. Since then, I've tried to figure out how to get out of here. I can't walk. These old legs are too weak to get me up these cliffs. Then…then you came. Oh, my dear boy. How I've missed you." 2 finished his story, taking 9's hand and squeezing tightly. 9 smiled at him, his heart filled with love for the old man that was like his father.

"However, what are you doing so far out here, in these woods? How did you come to find me?" 2 asked.

"The twins fell into a river." 9 began, and 2 gave a gasp of horror. 9 patted his hand reassuringly. "Don't worry, they're fine. I managed to get them to 7 before…before the flood came. I couldn't get out of the water fast enough, and I was swept away. When I woke up again, I had no idea where I was. I was trying to find my way out of here when I came into the ravine, and saw your fire." 9 finished, biting his lip for a moment as he remembered that he was still a long way from home, and his family.

"Oh, 9. Are you alright?" 2 asked, his expert eyes looking over 9's body.

"I'm okay. My shoulder hurts a little, but other than that, I'm fine." 9 said, trying to shrug. However, even this little action put his shoulder back into agony. He struggled not to show any of his pain to 2. He knew he had to get to old inventor home and heal him.