Ancient story I found and decided to repost. I hope you all enjoy this blast from the past!

~Cel

Thunderstorm Showers

There was another roll of thunder that shook all of the old, cracked windows within the old and frail house. Exactly half a second later, a bolt of lightning danced across the sky, illuminating the destroyed realm of London far below the clouds. Another set of clouds crashed together, and the thunder shook the city below once more.

Within an old, two-story manor that once belonged to a wealthy soldier and his family, the windows shook so hard, it was a wonder they didn't fall out of their panes. Rain drummed hard against the roof high above the young male ragdoll's head. However, he liked that sound, but the thunder worried him. He was anxious that the windows' sheets of glass would fall out of their panes. But they didn't. Although old, they were like resilient old men.

9 shook his head and stretched. He was doing one final patrol of his home, and then he was going to retire for the night thereafter. He had visited everyone, and now was heading for the twins' room, which was a small section concealed beneath the shattered staircase. There was no door; only a heavy velvet curtain concealed them within their own little corner of the world, as 9's was. He carefully pulled the curtain back, unknowing if the twins were asleep or not.

9 gave a small yelp as he was nearly knocked backwards when two little bodies were flung upon him. 9 quickly recovered himself, regaining his balance and looking down; the twins, both 3 and 4, had hid their faces into his chest and were trembling violently.

"Hey, are you two okay?" 9 asked them, soothingly stroking their backs, trying to calm them. 3 shook his head, not looking up at 9; 4 kept his face concealed away into 9's chest, as if trying to disappear into the adult stitchpunk. Then, another great, windowpane-shaking clap of thunder rolled through the sky above. Both 3 and 4 jumped and pressed themselves into 9 even further, each quiver going through their small, blue-grey bodies becoming increasingly severe. 9 patted their hoods in reassurance.

"Are you two afraid of the thunder?" He asked. They both nodded, extremely frightened as the rain continued to beat against the roof and tap against the windows.

"Thunder won't hurt you. It's just very loud." 9 explained to them. They looked up at him, their large, orbital eyes riddled with fright, and then the two brothers exchanged a glance. 4 then withdrew from 9 as they walked into the small boys' room. 9 secured the curtain behind him. 4 faced the opposite wall, blinked, and two bright beams of light protruded from his eyes, 3 covering the small bottle with a flickering candle inside with a blanket, darkening the room.

On the wall opposite, there was a newsreel picture of the Fabrication Machine, its red eye glowing forebodingly, shrieking, its screams mingling with many explosions erupting around its factory. 9 presumed this was before his life, for it was nothing he could remember. The video then grew dark, and morphed into a thunderstorm above the city, explosions below sounding much like the thunder. 9 could easily hear the screams of the humans and the shrieks of the Machines. Once again, the picture promptly changed – this time, it was into a video of the Fabrication Machine chasing the twins through the destroyed city and trying to catch them in its vindictive and merciless iron claws. The great Machine was roaring, dripping rain from the thunder above – when it roared, it roared the thunder above, reaching out with its claws, trying to crush the small, delicate bodies of the twins, trying to kill them.

Then, suddenly, the lights extracted from the wall, and it went dark for a moment. 3 yanked the blanket from the makeshift lamp as the lights returned to 4's eyes, and he blinked, sighing and recovering himself quickly. He straightened and looked over his shoulder to 9, his pale face crumpled as his and his brother's fears were explained.

"I see now. It's okay, we all have bad dreams from time to time," he said, offering his hands to the twins. They took them, squeezing hard and huddling beside him. The young man thought for a moment before saying;

"Do you two need 5 or 7 to come in? I don't think they're asleep yet. Or maybe 2…I think he's up, finishing that…" he said thoughtfully, but the twins shook their heads in unison, rejecting the offer. Instead, they gave little, gentle tugs to 9's hands.

"What is it?" He asked them, jerked out of a thoughtful reverie. They continued to tug, and he watched them patiently. 4 turned, looked at the large cot he and 3 shared at night, then back at 9. The young man gave a soft, understanding "Oh."

He allowed the twins to lead him to their soft, comfortable bed. He sat onto it, the twins crawling beside him. Another crack of thunder shook the house, and the two jumped and hid their faces into his chest, shaking intensely, and 9 could hear their small, trembling breaths.

"Hey, it's okay. It's alright, I'm here," he consoled them, wrapping his arms around their shoulders, pulling them closer to him. They huddled into his warm body, trying to get as close to him as possible. 4 looked up at him as they leaned into him, and reached up, gently touching the corner of 9's mouth. This simple gesture was the twins' request for 9 to sing to them. They often did this with 5, 2 or 7, maybe even 6 at times, for they were all good singers, but they requested 9 more often; he was the most excellent vocalist in the coven, something he had discovered not so long ago.

9 smiled as 4 tapped his cheek again.

"Alright. Which one?" He asked. There were many lullabies and songs he sang for the two. 4 looked at 3 and they shared a knowing smile. Looking back up at 9, 4 tapped his chest number. Because his number faced the west, he wanted 9 to sing their favorite song; "Into the West."

9 playfully rolled his eyes, as if he was tired of the song, but the twins knew otherwise. It was his favorite as well, and they often looked over him humming to himself when he was reading or helping 5 with building something and so forth…

"Lay down your sweet and weary head. Night is falling; you have come to journey's end. Sleep now, and dream of the ones who came before. They are calling from across the distant shore. Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face? Soon you will see, all of your fears will pass away, safe in my arms. You're only sleeping. What can you see, on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea, a pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home. And all will turn to silver glass. A light on the water, all souls pass."

The twins smiled at him tenderly and nestled down into his body, listening to his soft voice as it carried across the room.

"Hope fades, into the world of night. Through shadows falling, out of memory and time. Don't say we have come now to the end. White shores are calling. You and I will meet again. And you'll be here in my arms. Just sleeping. What can you see, upon the horizon? Why do the white gulls call? Across the sea, a pale moon rises. The ships have come to carry you home. And all will turn to silver glass. A light on the water, grey ships pass. Into the West."

The final soft note hung in the air for a moment before dissolving into raindrops on the roof. 9 looked down at the twins, who were now sleeping soundly, their small chests rising and falling softly. He leaned down and kissed their foreheads gently. They stayed well asleep, and his heart filled with love for the two little ones. He listened to the tranquil and serene pattering of the rain, and the occasional roll of thunder. However, the twins didn't wake again, and soon, 9 dozed off. The three ragdolls continued to sleep for the rest of the night, even though the storm rolled on.

The old curtain was slowly lifted as the first grey lights of the morning flooded the house, the storm quieting, now only the patter of raindrops and the soft thunder now.

The familiar face of the solitary female ragdoll peered into the room what she saw made her smile.

Her mate had both of their little brothers curled up into him, nestled in his arms. All three were still soundly asleep. 7 sighed happily, her smile widening. 9 then awoke, and looked up at her. He smiled as well, lifting one of his hands and putting a finger to his lips. 7 nodded and walked in softly, her feet making almost no noise at all.

"Hey," she greeted her mate, and she stole away a small kiss. She then lifted a nearby thimble; one of the many bobbins used as chairs, and set it beside the bed.

"Hey," 9 replied, and the two then looked down at the deeply asleep twins.

"And how did you end up in here last night?" She asked, raising a playful brow. 9 explained all of what the twins had showed him, and 7 nodded in understanding, making small sympathy noises in her throat for her two little ones.

"I know exactly why they wanted you," 7 began, and 9 gave a small, noncommercial shrug.

"I was just checking everyone last night, as I do every night, and they showed me what they needed to say," he said humbly, and 7 shook her head in exasperation. 9 smiled.

"What?" He laughed.

"9, they wanted you because they feel safe with you. You know that. They knew you'd comfort them, because you're very kind, and very safe with them." She said, putting a hand upon his shoulder. 9 smiled back at her.

"These two boys are extremely lucky to have a brother like you." 7 said, patting 3's shoulder gently.

"They also have 5 and 6. And they have a wonderful big sister." He said, giving her a meaningful look. She suppressed a giggle, rolling her eyes at him.

"6 is insane," she said.

"Yes, he is. But looking past his insanity, he has a quite a good heart and is quite gentle to them. He's a really good guy." He replied. 7 smiled at him.

"Yes, he is." She said. She leaned forward and kissed 9's cheek. He returned it, and smiled at her.

And so, the twins slept on, their dreams untroubled and their hearts full of love for their elder brother.

As she often was, 7 was right.