Hey guys. Oh my lord how I have missed you all. I've been battling with my relapse into depression and the finishing of high school. Its been one hell of a ride but now everything is looking up in my favor. Here I present the last chapter to 9: The Savior Returns. Its been such a wonderful experience again, you guys welcoming back these guys and this story with open arms. I've learned so much throughout the five years this story has been in production. Now it is finished and is being printed out to go on its final journey.

I thank all my readers with all of my heart for giving me such positive feedback and lifting up my spirits even when they were at the lowest point. I adore you all, and will not be absent for so long ever again. My story with 9 here ends, but my experience with him and the crew are most certainly not over. Keep your eyes peeled for more stories coming soon! My inspiration is making a comeback and you guys will most certainly see it. Again, thank you guys for taking this ride with me and 9 himself. Until next time, my friends.

~Raindrops to all, Celestial

Epilogue: This World Is Ours Now

As time passed, the world began to heal. It rained frequently and the weather was gradually becoming colder. Two weeks after the final defeat of the Fabrication Machine, the stitchpunk coven was having a pleasant evening outside in the courtyard. The bright golden sunlight was just barely filtering through the dark, thick grey clouds as it was nearly set behind the distant mountains. The clouds above nearly promised an evening shower later that night. However, at the moment, the twins were playfully chasing one another across the paths and bridges, eventually getting 6, 8, and 7 to partake in their game. The air was filled with shouts and laughter and bright flashes as the twins laughed in their own way. 2 was watching, laughing heartily as he watched the young stitchpunks play.

Walking across the courtyard towards the others were 9 and 5. 9's injuries had completely healed and he was no longer limping. The pain in his body had completely disappeared. The only remnants of the injuries were the scars along his body. However, 9 had never felt happier. His heart soared as he watched his family playing, reveling in their freedom. Each smile 9 saw made him all of the more joyful. For a moment, the two male ragdolls paused, just watching their coven joyfully play. For the pure joy of it, 5 began to hum a nonchalant tune, swaying back and forth. 9 joined in, trying to match the harmony. However, both boys ended up with a completely different song and dissolved into happy laughter at their silliness.

Behind them, there was a shuffling sound and 9 and 5 turned to see 1 walking towards them, rubbing the back of his neck jadedly. 9 couldn't help but notice that 1 was walking oddly – he was stiff and off-balance. Usually the older man held himself with regality. Now he looked old and careworn, his crimson cape shredded and hanging limply around his shoulders.

"Ah…oh, damned…" he muttered to himself in irritation, stumbling and finally being able to sit down upon an empty, deep green whiskey bottle. He dropped his head into his hands, sighing.

"Are you okay?" 9 asked him, quirking a questioning brow. 1 nodded, rubbing his forehead with his metal knuckles.

"N-no, I-I-I'll manage. Just getting a bit old, that's all." 1 stammered, waving a reassuring hand to the two young men. 9 glanced at 5 and shrugged. The two then turned away to head towards their friends, leaving 1 behind.

"Er, 9? Eh – wait." 1 said from behind them, and 9 and 5 turned around to see him looking anxiously up at the young male ragdoll. "Can I have a word with you?" 1 asked suddenly. 9 and 5 shared a glance before 9 tilted his chin in the direction of the others. 5 nodded in understanding, turning away and heading for the others, leaving 1 and 9 to speak alone. 9 turned to 1 with a small smile, the older man patting the space next to him. As he sat, 1's eyes caught sight of the long, jagged scar on 9's side. He grimaced, then sighed.

"I've been a bitter old pill, haven't I?" 1 said to him as 9 sat down. When 9 didn't answer, he said, "No, much worse than that, I fear. You were right. I see so much clearer now. What horrible things I've done." He took a breath, and continued, 9 watching in awe. 1 looked at him as if to beg forgiveness.

"I'm sorry, I…I lost sight of everything." He said, bowing his head in shame, looking down at the dusty ground beneath them. 9 looked down at it as well, trying to find what to say to the elder. However, before he had a chance to speak, 1 continued, looking ahead at the rest of his coven. "9, I cannot fathom my appreciation for your creation. I'd cast you off as a curse that plagued our coven. I was so very wrong, so very blind to the truth. I'd been frightened of the Machines for so long that I…I closed myself off from the world we were meant to protect. For eleven years I kept everyone locked away, forgetting those who needed my protection the most.

It took me so long to realize that you were the one meant to bring us back together, willing to give your life to do so. Your bravery, young man, is what truly saved us and helped me discover the family I'd had all along. Yes, I say young man because I've watched you grow from a boy, naïve and lost, to a young man, strong and brave. 9, I hope that in time, you will come to forgive me and realize that you helped me finally see the light." 1 finished softly, looking down at his clasped hands. 9 watched 1 for a moment, staring at him in disbelief. He dropped his gaze for a moment, thinking of his next words.

"Look. We've both made mistakes. What's past is past. But now we can learn from them, learn to finally be a family." 9 put a comforting hand on 1's shoulder, smiling softly. "Perhaps some good has come from all this. It's brought us all together, and nothing is going to tear us apart." 1 looked up at 9, then smiled softly at the young man, knowing that the boy was now his friend, and nothing was going to change that.

"Now, let's go join the others," 9 said, getting to his feet and offering his hand to 1. 1 placed his hand inside of the younger stitchpunk's and he helped him to his feet. Before releasing his hand, the older man gave 9's a gentle squeeze, affirming their friendship and accepting 9's forgiveness. 1 then tiredly ran his hand over his head, making his pony-tail like knot bounce back up. 9 looked at the knot, hesitated, then couldn't help but chuckling. 1 glanced at him and he immediately cleared his throat in embarrassment. 1 then glanced up at the knot then laughed as well with 9.

The two then walked over to the others, the twins spotting 9 and immediately racing for him. The older stitchpunk opened his arms, smiling widely. The boys leapt into his arms, bringing 9 to the cobbled ground, laughing heartily. As the three play, 3 and 4 trying to wrestle 9 to the ground, 1 walked over to where 2 was sitting. He sat beside his fellow elder. The inventor looked up at the other man and the two shared a soft smile, finally friends once again.

Sitting on the edge of the bridge were 7 and 5, watching 9 play with the twins, blowing raspberries into their bellies and pulling their hoods over their eyes. Then 7 put her hand on 5's shoulder tenderly. The one-eyed stitchpunk looked up at his younger sister in question. She was smiling softly at him. "5, I wanna thank you for all you've been to me." 5 grinned widely, reaching up and squeezing her hand. She swiftly leaned in and kissed his cheek before leaping from the bridge to the ground below. 5 grinned and shook his head before getting to his feet and walking down the bridge.

As soon as the twins saw her, they rushed towards their older sister. She embraced them tightly before she lifted 4 into the air, twirling him around while he giggled uncontrollably. 5 heaved 3 up onto his shoulders, holding his hands and watching as 4 stumbled around dizzily. 9 laughed as he got to his feet, watching his friends play. As he looked upon 7, he couldn't help but smile widely. He felt like the luckiest man in the world right then. After all, he had his family back, the woman he loved, loved him as well, he had been granted a second chance, and his world was at peace. Nothing could be better.

Suddenly, two wide, large hands snatched him around the middle and lifted him from the ground. Before 9 knew it, 8 had slung him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry, the large ragdoll carrying him across the courtyard. 9 looked over his shoulder to 8 in question, about to ask why 8 suddenly felt the need to pick him up. However, 8 then picked him back off his broad shoulders and set him on the ground directly in front of 7. She gave a small noise of surprise as 9 suddenly appeared in front of her. 9 blinked and gave a nervous laugh, glancing up at 8. He winked slyly before turning and picking 3 up, giving the young boy a ride on his shoulders.

9 looked back at 7, smiling tenderly at her. She smiled back, adoring 9's crooked grin. Together, they leaned forward and touched the tip of their optics to the other's, sharing a tender moment. 7 reached forward and took his hands in her own, squeezing tenderly. He smiled even wider at her, vaguely wondering however he came to be so blessed that she had come into his life, that he belonged to this gorgeous, courageous, strong being. Closing his eyes, 9 knew that in those moments, his life was perfect. Absolutely perfect. A little ways away, 5 was watching the tender scene, smiling widely. Finally, the ragdolls he called his brother and sister realized what they meant to the other and their happiness was contagious. All the one-eyed Healer knew was that there was a bright future ahead for all of them.

Then a huge crack of thunder rolled across the sky, strong enough to shake the ground. The stitchpunks looked up to see a white bolt of lightning dance across the dark clouds. It was definitely time to head in for the night. The coven began to walk towards the porch, quite ready to turn in for the night. 9, however, paused while the others walked ahead. He looked to the ground, then bent down on one knee. Unzipping his chest, he reached inside and pulled something out before zipping himself back up. 7 and 5 stooped beside in curiosity. 9 opened his fingers, and in his palm was the shard of the talisman. With his other hand, he dug a small hole in the dirt. Placing the shard gently into the hole, he covered it with dirt. With it, he buried the nightmare that was finally over. The only thing ahead was their future together as a family.

As the three stitchpunks stood, 9 looked to his two best friends, his expression soft. "I could never have done this on my own. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you." He spoke softly. 5 and 7 smiled widely at him.

"No. We couldn't have done this without you. Look at us. We're all free now." 7 said. 5 nodded in agreement.

"You saved us. Thank you," The older male stitchpunk said, smiling at his brother. 9 smiled back. In those moments, he couldn't ask, hope, or pray for more. In those moments, the world was just as it should be. For him, the world was perfect. The three stitchpunks began to walk back towards the house, 9 and 7 walking hand-in-hand. Soft, serene raindrops began to fall from the clouds. However, this storm was slightly different. The others all stood on the porch steps, marveling at the strange phenomenon. 9 reached up to the sky, opening his fingers. As he brought down his hand, the other two peering down into it, they saw a softly patterned crystalline speck. A snowflake.

The flake quickly melted, but many more were to follow in the sleet. 9 smiled up to the sky, blinking as the raindrops fell upon him. He closed his eyes, letting the raindrops run down his cheeks. His, their, world was healing. Everything was changing for the better and he simply couldn't wait. The others approached, watching the frozen rain with awe. Suddenly, 9 opened his eyes as a strange green light appeared in the mists.

The coven watched in confusion and slight fear as the light, blending with the swirling mists, approached them slowly. 9's brows furrowed as he placed himself protectively in front of his family. However, the green wisp was nothing to be feared. It was the exact size of the ragdolls, yet, was not one. As it got closer and closer, the green light began to take a distinct shape. Glistening particles, reflected off of the rain, surrounded the light until it transformed into a familiar being. It was a human soul. As it came closer and closer to the stitchpunk coven, their eyes all widened and their jaws dropped in disbelief. The soul was an old man named Alan, with a long, ragged, wrinkled face and soft, wrinkled eyes underneath bushy eyebrows. His hair stuck out in all directions. He was dressed in a long, flowing robe that billowed delicately around him in the wind. He was smiling softly as he approached the stitchpunks.

It was the Scientist.

9 stared at the soul, awestruck. He simply couldn't believe it. A fragment, so small, but still there, of the Scientist's soul had managed to make it into the Land Beyond. 9 then realized it was the Scientist who had looked after him while he was dead, who had given him the choice to be resurrected, who had sent him back. As the Scientist approached the nine, he looked at each stitchpunk, studying their faces closely.

He came to stand in front of 1, his first creation. The two men looked at one another for a moment before 1 dropped his gaze in shame. His creator had seen all he had done and all the mistakes he made. Reaching forward, the Scientist placed a finger underneath 1's chin and tilted his head up, looking into his eyes. There was something on the soul's face that made the oldest stitchpunk smile. Forgiveness. The Scientist nodded proudly, placing a hand on 1's shoulder. The oldest stitchpunk silently mouthed the words, "thank you."

The Scientist then walked to 2, greeting him like an old friend. He patted the inventor's shoulder, squeezing tenderly. 2 grinned widely at his creator, reaching up and placing his hand on the soul's. The Scientist patted his shoulder, then looked down at the little twins. They beamed up at him and he laughed silently, reaching forward and ruffling their hoods playfully. They silently giggled, smiling widely up at their creator, as they had always loved him. The Scientist looked to 6 then, nodding at him proudly. 6 grinned, looking down sheepishly. The soul patted the striped soothsayer's shoulder, letting him know how proud he was that 6 had led his coven in the right direction. Looking up to 8, the two shared a soft smile.

The Scientist then looked to 5. The Healer was grinning widely, overjoyed to see his creator one last time. The soul reached forward, taking 5's hands in his own and squeezing gently, very proud of the Healer. 5 beamed as the Scientist reached forward, studying his fifth creation's face gently, touching his fingertips to 5's cheek. He finally turned to 9 and 7, looking at the two young stitchpunks with a soft smile. His eyes trailed down to their intertwined hands, then back up to them. He wore a sly smile before laughing gently, though silently. 9 and 7 both beamed, glancing at one another in joy. The Scientist smiled at them, nodding his approval. Reaching up, he lay his hand on 7's cheek, gently brushing her face with his thumb. The warrior reached up and covered his hand with her own, smiling softly.

Finally, the Scientist turned to his final creation. The two had never met, but Alan knew all about the young man that had the last piece of his soul. 9 smiled at his creator, finally meeting the man he thought he never would. The Scientist reached down and took 9's free hand, holding tightly. Everything they ever wanted to say to one another was conveyed in one look. 9 knew that Alan forgave him and was also quite proud of him for his bravery and sacrifice. Then, he reached up into his robe, bringing out something clenched in his wrinkled hand. He held out his hand to 9, looking as if he wanted to give the young man something. 9 opened his hand and the Scientist gently placed something in his palm, closing 9's fingers around it. The two shared one final smile, knowing that this was goodbye. The Scientist looked to the rest of his creations, nodding in farewell.

Looking to the sky, the Scientist then became no more than a wisp of bright green smoke. It lifted into the air, then circled the ragdoll coven once. They looked on in awe as their creator went back to the place he belonged. The soul then lifted into the sky, finally dissipating into the dark clouds and frozen raindrops. 9 smiled after him, then looked down and opened his fingers. The Scientist had gifted him with a small piece of parchment, burnt at the edges. 9 studied carefully, seeing that there were four small letters on it.


9 smiled softly and closed his fingers around the ember. He looked to the sky, watching the world around him heal. Not only the earth, but his family as well. Their journey had been a long one, their mission testing of strength and, yet here they were. Nine ragdolls, who had been entrusted with the protection of the future, finally succeeding in their mission, had finally become a family. There was nothing but a bright future ahead together. For now, the nine stood in their perfect moment of forever.

Not too far away from where they stood, something was growing up slowly through the moist soil. It was a tiny plant, bright green and surrounded by a tendril of dark green grass. It was growing right above the shard of the talisman. Running off the leaves of the plant and into the soil were the raindrops. Inside each one were the miniscule fragments of bright green souls, swimming around serenely. One day, they would be ready to return.

"What happens now?" The young woman asked.

"I think…we will do what fate needs us to." He answered kindly. "For now, the future is ours. We will protect it."

The rain pattered tranquilly and serenely in the country that night. For now, everything was silent, watching their protectors heal. The future was just waiting to be lived, and so it shall.

The End.