Author's Note: Well, I couldn't help myself. Does anyone else think Ziggy and MOMO are the cutest characters ever? *beams* So, of course, I had to write something with them in it. This is set right before being sucked into Cathedral Ship so sorry, no Jr. folks. If you haven't gotten that far in the game, please beware there are spoilers in this fic. The title come from the old saying that girls are made from sugar, spice, and everything nice, for your information. Have fun and happy readings!
Disclaimer: I do not own Xenosaga. That is why I'm reduced to fan fiction, sheesh.
And Everything Nice
"Mmmmmm, they smell good!"
Pressing her face against the cool glass of the oven's window, MOMO's golden eyes widened as she watched the cookies rise and turn a soft brown under the super heaters inside. Her operating system processed the fact that they gave off a warm, sugary scent that would be noticeable even to humans. She couldn't actually smeel them the way a normal person would, but she like to pretend sometimes. Her system was so amazingly fast that she might as well as smelled her cookies anyway.
She and Shion had been cooking all morning, the flour dust in both girl's hair attesting to the fact that more had gone on than strictly cooking. Shion was a good teacher and MOMO was a fast learner, though she did have a minor setback interrupting what a "pinch" was. She had finally decided that it was approximately 1.025933 mL and had proceeded to put the corresponding amount of vanilla into her batter. Shion had then mixed everything together and brought out what she called "cookie cutters" in the shapes of stars, moons, and flowers. MOMO grinned as she watched her cookies. She had made them and was proud of herself for doing so. It made her wonder briefly if the person that had made her was proud as well.
"Of course they smell good," Shion said, opening the oven and pulling out the hot sheet with an insulated mitten. "They're perfect."
MOMO brightened and clapped her hands together. "Really?"
Shion lowered the tray slightly. "Look for yourself."
"I guess they are," she said happily, watching as Shion began to place them delicately on a plate. The Vector scientist hummed to herself as she did so, seeming to be in a happier mood since her excursion to the Dock City. Just tall enough to peer above the edge of the marble table, MOMO stayed quiet as Shion arranged in the cookies in a small, neat tower, laughing a little as she finished.
"What do you think?"
MOMO tilted her head. "They look good! Do you think anyone will want to eat them?"
"I'm sure they'd love to. I know for a fact that Captain Matthews will. Allen, too."
MOMO blinked, registering a slight dip in the other woman's vocal patterns. She had noticed it before, recognizing that it occurred whenever anyone mentioned Allen. Lately the man had seemed depressed and even MOMO's attempts to get him to talk had fallen flat. It had surprised her. To human eyes she was a child, with the personality component of one. Usually everyone on the Elsa was comfortable around her, she had almost grown used to it. So it hurt her that Allen seemed to be retreating. For Shion's sake too, for no matter how the Chief Engineer tried to hide it, Realians saw everything.
"Are you mad at Allen?" she asked, still focused on her cookies. It was really a shame she didn't need to eat.
"Mad?" Shion's tone rose slightly. "Why would I be mad at him?"
MOMO bit her lip, realizing she must have said something wrong. "I'm sorry. I guess I was wondering why he was acting so strange. He doesn't like it when you don't pay attention to him, so I thought maybe the reason you were avoiding him was because you were mad at him."
Shion was looking at her with wide green eyes, seemingly speechless. MOMO bowed quickly.
Protocol error recorded…
"Please forgive me. I didn't mean to be rude, Shion."
After a moment, a hand patted her head hesitantly and MOMO straightened slowly, hoping she hadn't made too big of a mistake.
"No…no, it's okay, MOMO. I…I just was… Have I really been avoiding him?"
"My archives say that your encounter rate with Allen Ridgeley is currently 10%, opposed to the 60% recorded during my first few days about the Elsa."
Shion looked thoughtful. "I've been so busy that I barely noticed. I wonder if he thinks I've been purposefully avoiding him too?"
"I don't know."
Shion snapped her fingers. "Well, there isn't much I can do about it now. I need to tune my A.G.W.S." She handed the plate of cookies to MOMO. "Why don't you take these to the crew? I'll be down in Hanger 1 if you need me. Talk to you later MOMO."
Shion hurried out of the galley, the heels of her boots clicking again the smooth, tile floor. MOMO stood, her mind whirling. Looking through her data she realized she had seen a lot of instances similar to ones between Allen and Shion. Maybe she should do something about it? She shook her head, tendrils of silky auburn hair tickling her skin. Shion had gotten upset when MOMO had asked about Allen. Maybe humans didn't like to be reminded of their shortcomings? Shion really should have had a cookie.
Walking carefully out of the galley, MOMO held her plate securely going down the steps. Her mother had always taught her to be careful. Passing the beverage machines, she spotted Allen standing in front of them despondently, looking at the choices as if he was decided how he would die. MOMO tilted her head.
"Hello, Allen. Do you want a cookie?"
The engineer jumped and swung around, clutching his heart. "MOMO! You almost gave me a heart attack!"
A thermal scan revealed no such thing so she relaxed, offering her plate of goodies again. "I'm sorry, but I'm suppose to give everyone cookies."
"Ah, no thanks, MOMO. I'm not really…"
"Shion told me to ask you."
The other man straightened, peering at her more closely and hurrying to her side. "Really? She told you to ask me?" He looked at the cookies.
"Yes, she said you would want one." MOMO smiled. "Me and Shion made them. I'm sure they're delicious. They're the first cookies I've ever made!"
"Hmmmm." Allen choose a star-shaped one and took a small bite. MOMO waited anxiously. "Hey, you're right, they are delicious! Shion wanted me to have some?" He took two more.
"Yes, she might have come with me to see you but I think I upset her. She's down in Hangar 1 fixing her A.G.W.S."
"Really?" Allen said seriously, "She would have come with you? Do you think I should check to see if she is alright?"
"I'm sure she would like that, Allen."
The engineer ruffled her hair. "Thanks for the cookies, squirt. They were great."
MOMO turned to watch him practically run for the elevator and giggled to herself. Humans really were funny, sometimes. A streak of sadness ached within her but she pushed it away. There was nothing she could do about it anyway.
On the bridge, Captain Matthews was yelling at his crew as usually. Unperturbed by the commotion, she skipped softly up to him and stood just in front of him, looking up at him happily. The Captain stopped in mid-shout and watched her for a moment before folding his arms across his chest.
"Aw, come on, kid, don't stand there and look at me with those big eyes. Whadya want?"
She lifted her plate. "Do you want some cookies?"
Hammer was suddenly beside her. "Cookies?"
Matthews arched an eyebrow. "Humphf. As if anyone can cook on this ship." He took five and stuffed them into his mouth. "Yup, horrible. Why can't I ever eat anything decent?" Two more disappeared. His words were eased by a wink from Hammer.
"Good job, MOMO. That means they're excellent."
Matthews hit his fist against the console. "Get back to work, slacker. I want gate jump plans ready in one minute."
Hammer hurried back to his station and MOMO quickly left the bridge, taking a brief look at the vast array of stars over her head as the hydraulic doors whished shut behind her. She really didn't have that many cookies left, just a few flowers and moons. Who else would want some?Searching…
Walking quietly down the steps to Cabin 1, she let the door open to her presence and peeked her head inside. Just as she had sensed, Cherenkov sat in a corner of the darkened room, seemingly oblivious to anything around him. There was no one else but him and the fact that he was sitting in the dark was a bit unnerving. There was something not quite right with Commander. She wasn't sure what it was but he was human, after all. Hard to understand at the best of times.
He didn't move and she stepped all the way into the room, her pupils refocusing to the change in lightning. She made her way to Cherenkov's side carefully, blinking up at him to determine what was wrong?
"Commander, would you like some cookies? They're fresh."
This time he looked at her, really seeing her. He was quiet for a moment. "A Realian making cookies?" He laughed harshly. "What's the world coming to?"
Unable to determine if he was teasing, she tried again. "Do you want one?"
"All I want is for everything to be finished. I want to be done." He gazed at her emotionlessly. "Isn't it the same way for you? Aren't you tired of being stuck between life and death?"
"I'm not dying," she replied automatically, although the situation was starting to make her afraid. She didn't understand what he was trying to do.
"Yes, but you're not alive either, are you." It wasn't a question and she took a step back from the darkness that seemed to surround him. Those words, so close to her secret wish, lanced her heart and she set the plate of cookies on the table near him.
"I'll just leave these here," she said softly, "Maybe you'll be hungry later." She turned and ran then, almost blindingly, doors opening for her without pause. She was in the elevator before she knew it and running through the corridors of B1. Only when the door to the B2 lounge slid open did she realize where she was and halted abruptly. The light in the room was dim but still bright enough to make out Ziggy in his maintenance bed, reclining quietly as his parts were updated. He seemed asleep as she watched him but she knew he was not. She could hibernate too, but she was still aware of her sensor readings.
"What's wrong, MOMO?"
His deep voice resonated through the room though his eyes remained closed, and she sniffed to herself and rubbed her own eyes to rid them of a peculiar prickling.
His eyes opened then, his blue gaze resting on her gently as he turned to regard her. She sniffed and came towards him as he sat up slightly.
"You were with Cherenkov."
Of course he would know. Even when he wasn't with her, he still tracked her. He took his duties as her bodyguard quite seriously and he seemed to understand her too, and to trust her. She was the only one he let work on him and his words about her purity still managed to warm her. If no else did, Ziggy would always care for her. He, too, was stuck somewhere between life and death.
He tilted his head at her. "He said something to you."
She nodded and then did something she had done with her daddy a few times when she needed comforting. She came to him and crawled into his lap, settling herself against his chest.
"I'm sad," she repeated. For a moment he sat stiffly as if afraid of her, or perhaps he was remembering something long ago. He sometimes had a far off look in his eyes when he was with her, as if memories were coming back to him. She simply sat quietly, listening to his heart beat in his chest, lulled by its rhythm. Then his arms slipped around her shoulders to hold her as he leaned back in the chair again, and she closed her eyes, content at last.
Half an hour later, they were found by Shion and Allen on their way back up to the main deck, both engineers watching the two quietly from the doorway.
"You know, I never would have thought it, but it somehow makes sense." Shion whispered, so as not to distract the hibernating cyborg and Realian.
"What does?" Allen asked, scratching his head. "I mean, he's her bodyguard, right? He's supposed to stay with her."
The Chief shook her head and nudged him with her elbow. "Oh come on, Allen, you don't believe it's just that, do you? They need each other. Especially MOMO, I don't think she's ever had a real family."
"So, what's the point?"
Shion smiled. "Cookies."
Allen felt a headache coming on. "What?"
"I'll explain it to you later, Allen."