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Rust In Peace

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Song: Hanayou
Artist: Elfen Lied OST

Song: Invincible
Artist: Muse

Song: Fire Fire
Artist: David Michael Bennett

“Rabbit you need to calm down. Both of you.” Spine warned, rustling his newspaper and trying not to be too overly protective of them. Rabbit and Jon were running circles around the kitchen table.  It was a very hard habit to break. Especially after doing it for the last 2 weeks. His voicebox seemingly fixed in that an authoritative tone.

“I am the mayor of biscuit town!” Jon screamed as he zoomed past, holding a cardboard crown high above his head. Giggling as he was being chased.

“Give me that crown! THATS MY CROWN OF AWESOME!” Rabbit pretended to be angry, willing to continue the chase as long as Jon was willing to run.

Spine let out an annoyed huff, then chuckled slightly. He couldn’t stay too mad at them. This was actually a somewhat quiet moment, or at least quieter. They had fallen back into their usual patterns. Sure Rabbit wasn’t 100% yet, but he improved each day. 

“You should let them have their fun the Spine.” Hatchworth said softly from the sidelines, making sandwiches for the humans before their tv show started. If Spine was watching Rabbit, Hatchworth was watching Spine. 

Spine let out another puff of steam and shook his head. “You two really need to slow down.” He growled as Rabbit made another pass by his chair, almost knocking his newspaper out of his hands. “I’m serious here!”

“Hey Spine...” A soft voice tried to chime over the chaos, Michael appearing from the doorframe. Spine raised his eyes to the human, it had been days since he had seen him. He practically had disappeared straight after the party. He looked ragged, exhausted and emotionally drained. Peter said he had business to tend to outside of the manor, but having him leave after everything that had happened worried Spine. “Can I... talk to you?”

“Of course Michael.” Spine said with a quick nod, pushing out one of the empty kitchen chairs. Waiting for Jon to make his run past and forcing it the rest of the way out.

“In... in private if thats alright.” Michael tugged at the bottom of his t-shirt, shifting his weight nervously from foot to foot. He raised his head slightly and watched as Jon and Rabbit ran another lap. His eyes staying glued on Rabbit. The subject matter was obviously distressing. 

“Oh...” Spine turned back to the others in the kitchen. Hatchworth gave him an affirming nod that he would keep an eye on things, and he returned a thankful smile. “Of course Michael.” He stood from his chair, tripping as Rabbit and Jon made another circle around the table and into him. “You two be careful!”

“I’m sure they’ll be fine...” Michael whispered, already moving out to the hallway.

Spine let out a sigh and stepped out after him. Where as the kitchen was bright and bustling with life, the hallway outside was darker and quiet. It made it feel like the news was dire and grievous. “What... did you need to speak with me about?” 

“I’m sorry I had to  pull you away from everyone.” Michael apologized, keeping his eyes down. Even after all this time, he still could not look Spine in the eyes. Was he still blaming him? Blaming himself? “I know you... want to keep an eye on Rabbit.”

“Usually yes but, this seemed important. You’ve been gone the last couple of days. Peter said it was business but-”

“I just... I couldn’t talk to you about this. In front of Rabbit.” Unconsciously Michael had placed a hand over his chest. He was never a nervous person, but he seemed more cautious since the accident. He was feeling his own heartbeat, making sure to stay calm, and now Spine was watching too.

“Michael tell me what’s wrong? Are you alright?” 

Michael raised his pooling blue eyes, took a deep breath and released it slowly. “The lawyer that kept calling me.” He took a long pause, biting his lower lip and furrowing his brow deep in thought.

“Yes?” Spine tried to encourage.

“I had business in Washington....” He turned his head slightly away, staring at the carpeting. “In Seattle.”

Spine thought about it a moment. That was where their show was, where he had fallen from the needle monument. Where all of this had started 4 months ago. “Did we cause too much property damage? Leave pieces behind?”

“No no nothing like that.” Michael tried to calm him. “Listen. I couldn’t say this in front of Rabbit because I don’t want him to have one of those attacks.”

“Then this must be about Holly.” Spine cursed her name, clenching a fist and releasing an angry puff of steam. Michael simply nodded. “What about her this time?”

“Well....” Michael shifted nervously, running both hands through his hair and letting out an aggravated sigh. How could he explain it? “You see... She-”

He was interrupted by Rabbit screaming from the kitchen. It was a high pitched agonizing howl that drowned out into muffled sobs. Spine’s eyes went wide and he immediately dashed back into the kitchen. His glare piercing and fixed on Jon who was standing on one side of the kitchen table with his arms up in the air.

“I DIDN’T DO IT!” Jon tried to yell over Rabbit’s pained screams. “I DIDN’T TOUCH HIM! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT SPINE!”

“What happened!” Spine was in no mood for games. Following the sound to the table, not caring about the plates and things stacked on top. He put a callous hand underneath and flipped the table over. His angry expression quickly softening as he saw his brother. Rabbit was curled into a tight ball, holding his pained arm tightly as he cried in agony. His entire copper frame shaking as he gasped for breath.

“I told you guys to be careful...” Spine bent at the hip, wrapping a careful arm under Rabbit’s good one and pulled him to his feet.

“I was careful!” Jon tried to speak for the incapacitated Rabbit. “I crawled under the table and he came after me. I only tugged on his arm once.”

“You know you can’t touch it!” Spine growled, helping Rabbit into a seat and trying to calm him down. With one graceful foot he pulled the table back to its upright position, leaving the fallen kitchenware to the floor. “Go in the living room.”

“But I-” Jon protested.

“NOW! Haven’t you done enough Jon?” Spine snapped, yelling over the sobs and moans in pain. He walked to the sink, filling a large glass of water. Giving Jon that angry glare. “I told you to be careful. And you wouldn’t listen. Are you happy now? Now I have to-”

“Spine!” Hatchworth finally spoke up from his spot at the counter. He set his mustard knife down and gave him a threatening glare. “That’s enough. Jon said he was sorry. Right?”

“Y-yea... I’m Sorry.” The gold bot hung his head, shuffling his feet behind him.

Spine turned from Hatchworth to Jon. Not apologizing, keeping that angry glare as he walked back to the table and sat next to Rabbit. Sliding the water glass in front of the hysterical automaton. He carefully raised a hand and rubbed his back, hoping the touch would help him escape the pain. 

Hatchworth bent his brow and walked to Jon, taking his hand. “I know you worry about Rabbit, Spine. But you have other brothers too.” His natural intonation made the words sound harsher than intended. “Come on Jon, the show is going to start soon.” He marched out, leaving the kitchen, and dragging Jon behind him.

Spine waited till the two of them were alone in the room before letting out a long sigh. He rested his chin in his hand, his elbow on the table, as he continued to rub Rabbit’s back. Watching his brother double over, rest his head on the table, and moan in pain. Doing whatever he could to try and ease his pain.

Spine counted the time as it ticked by on the clock. Four minutes had passed and the wailing had stopped. Now more like a quiet moaning. 

“You need to sit up.” He instructed, only getting pleading whimpers in response. “You need to sit up straight. And you need to drink this water.” He pushed the glass closer, trying to ignore the series of muffled whines. “You know as well as I do this will help.”

“I’m... not... even t-t-thirsty...” Rabbit pouted, only wanting to curl up more.

“Its not for the thirst. Its for the distraction.” Spine grabbed Rabbit’s good arm gently and forced the cup in hand. “You know the routine. Slow and steady, and time your breaths.”

Reluctantly Rabbit followed his advice. He leaned back in the chair, trying to take deeper breaths and slowly began to sip at his water. Wincing slightly but the tactic worked. Soon the circuitry pain faded, only leaving throbbing after currents trying to repair the damage. 

“It wasn’t his f-fault.” Rabbit finally managed to mouth out. His breath still heavy.

“I told you to be careful.” Spine leaned back, still watching intently.

“I know I... I g-got carried away.” He took a staggering breath and covered his eyes with his good hand. Now that the pain was gone, the realization came back once again that he was still broken. “I’m sorry. I should have listened... I don’t know why I d-do this to myself.”

“Rabbit. Listen to me carefully.” Spine arched forward, sticking his chest out as he bellowed that authoritative tone. “You feel well, until something like this happens. Its easy to forget. You want to act the way you used to, play the way you used to. Its okay to forget sometimes.”

“You don’t think Jon is.... upset do you?” He lowered his hand and turned to his other arm. Shaking it out at the elbow. He winced as sparks flew between his joints with each flick, but he was getting his movement back.

“Hatchworth should have calmed him down. I’m sure he’s fine.” Spine scoffed. Shrugging off the words, clear his worry and focus were on Rabbit instead. “Are you feeling up to joining the others?”

“Yea I... think so...” He followed Spine’s example and stood from the table, following him to the counter where the the platter of sandwiches were. He gave his arm one last fling, sending out the last spark before stealing the plate from Spine. 

“Rabbit don’t strain-”

“Don’ worry Spine.” Rabbit gave that happy tone again, carrying the large tray in both hands. “I gotta do stuff too still. Ya know. As a distraction.”

Spine let out a sigh and watched as the copper bot led the way to the living room. Still stubborn as ever. A true sign that, whatever this was, they could overcome it. He chuckled under his breath, carrying the rest of the plates as he followed behind.

“Did it start yet?” Rabbit laughed as they stepped in the living room. All heads fixated to the screen. Mouths dropped open in shock, humans and robots. Something had happened that they weren’t aware of. Rabbit frowned confused as he wasn’t met back with cheers. “Spine what happened?”

“Spine you should get Rabbit out of here.” Michael warned from his seat in the recliner. His eyes wide and uneasy.

“What happened?” Spine leaned forward, noticing the tv screen from the corner of his eye. It flashed some static and returned to a sort of news broadcast. “This isn’t our show.”

“Spine please.” Michael leaned forward in his chair, hand hard pressed against his chest as he started to breath heavier. “Get him out of here.”

“What’s happening?” Rabbit asked confused, looking for a place to set his platter down. “Is the show late?”

“Once Again we return to our special broadcast. Today we spend an hour looking back on the life of a very important person to the science community and ask the hard questions. For those of you tuning in just now.-”

“Spine. Get him out of here.” Michael’s hand clenched into a fist, hissing the words through clenched teeth.

“Why?” Spine frowned, watching the panic wash over the human’s face. Worried he would suffer another arrhythmia.

“Last week, famed daughter of Science. Doctor Holly Eleanor Cooper, was found dead in her home.”

There was a crash, Rabbit dropping the tray in his hands. His arms falling limp at his sides as he stared at the screen. Spine almost thought he saw a spark flash in the automatons eyes. All sound was sucked from the room. You could hear a pin drop, everyone holding their breath and staring at the screen in shock. The moment felt unreal. Like a lie, it couldn’t be true.

Holly Cooper. The one that had attacked them, nearly killed them all. 

Was Dead.