Informations: This is a story written for one of those fiction challenge communities on livejournal called 10 hurt/comfort. My claim was teh Ziggy, because he is a cute little bucket of angst. This will contain ten chapters, some of them fall into their own arcs. Everything will be posted in the order that I write it. This means any and all arcs will be posted one after the other.
Anyway, the only definate pairings that take place in this story are JulixZiggy or SharonxJan. Some Doctus and Ziggy angst are hinted at at some points. Lots of fluff and squee. Read with caution. ;)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, kthx.
What makes a smile?(#5 - Emotion)
The only sound that could be heard in the room was the quiet hum of the equipment within it. The door slid open, and the silhouette of a small figure stood at the doorway. Usually, this room was bustling with activity, but now, at this late hour, the usual laughter and insanity that took place here was missing. It was silent, and dark for the most part, save for a few lights on the terminals around the room.
The figure took a step inside, as a pair of amber eyes fixated on a point on the other side of the room. Leaning back in chair-like object, the blonde cyborg was resting. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be completely still. Disheartened, the realian hung her head, and folded her hands in front of her. She knew this was bound to happen. She had left the women's quarters, unable to sleep at around three in the morning. She knew that everyone would be asleep at this time, but somehow she had hoped that he would still be awake.
She turned to the door, her small footsteps barely audible on the cold metallic floor. For a moment, she lingered there in the doorway, wondering if she should wake him, or try to sleep. She knew it was best to choose the latter of the two. She let out a small sigh, and took a step out of the room.
"You're still awake?" She heard a quiet, low voice from inside the room. She twirled around to see that he hadn't moved.
"Um, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you." She apologized. "I can leave you alone if you want."
He opened his eyes and frowned at her. "It's fine." He said, simply. "Is there something wrong?" His voice carried a hint of concern. He knew that it wasn't like her to wander the ship so late at night.
MOMO slowly approached him, while looking down at her hands. "It's nothing really. It's just that... since the Gnosis Terrorism, and all of the things happening lately, we really haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time together."
His expression softened slightly. "I see." Ziggy paused for a moment, unsure of exactly how to respond. He hated that he always gave the impression that he was cold and uncaring. Even when it came to MOMO, he had a difficult time showing that he cared. "Is there something you'd like to talk about?" He asked, deciding that would be the best method to show his concern over the issue.
MOMO nodded, and then came closer. She found a seat on a nearby crate, and she folded her legs under her. "Um... I've been wondering. What's going to happen to you after all of this is over? I--I overheard Mommy say something once about you wanting to erase your memory after you're finished with this mission." She wanted to look at him, but she was afraid to see his expression.
Ziggy frowned, and examined his metal hand. "I'm not sure what will happen to me, but-- I can assure you that I no longer wish to erase my memories. Technically, that mission ended one year ago, I'm currently working with the Kukai Foundation..." It was almost too matter-of-factly, and he mentally kicked himself for that. He wondered if she would be able to understand the meaning he tried to imply by his statement. Then, he figured that she probably wouldn't.
"Oh..." MOMO trailed off, sounding a little sad. Then, she brightened. "I'm so glad. I don't think any of us would want you to do that."
Ziggy tried his best to give her a gentler expression. Although he had an easier time talking to her than anyone else he knew, he still struggled with expressing his emotions. It had become increasingly difficult over time as he found himself becoming more attached to her.
"I... I think it would be great if you could stay with me and Mommy." She murmured, almost under her breath. It was as if she was afraid to tell him this, yet she wanted him to hear.
He looked at her then, feeling genuinely touched, although his stoic expression said otherwise. He became very quiet, and he averted his gaze for a moment. "I-- I would like that too." Although he knew that things had never worked out the way he wanted them to. He knew that if he were to be permanently separated from both of them, he would have no reason to live. Simply clinging to a hope that maybe, somehow, he would get to see them again, didn't seem--
His thoughts were stopped short as he felt a pair of small arms wrap around his neck. He hadn't expected her to hug him. Usually he hated the unexpected. Yet, he liked it when MOMO hugged him. Somehow, it was different. Although given his location, it was very hard for her to do so.
"Ziggy, I--" MOMO started, her voice unsteady. She pulled away, and then turned to sit on the crate where she had been before. "I'm sorry."
Ziggy looked over at her, feeling bad that he hadn't responded in a better way. "There's nothing for you to be sorry about." He told her, managing to make his voice take on a gentler tone. Somehow, he knew that there were more reasons for her behavior than simply worrying about where he'd end up. He hated to bring things out of her, but he knew that she had a tendency--much like himself--to not share her problems with others. He got up then, and kneeled next to her, placing his metal hand on her shoulder. He examined her expression, as if trying to read her the best that he could. She looked down, and her fingers were curled into the fabric of her bunnie-print pajama pants. Ziggy could tell that she was trying so hard to keep whatever it was inside. "You can tell me anything, you know?"
"How do you do it, Ziggy?" She met his eyes. "How can you stay so calm, not bothered by anything? I've only seen you get angry before... but I think I understand why." She looked away again, and bit her lip. "I.. I want to be strong like you are. But, sometimes I don't think I can."
Ziggy found himself frowning again. Not exactly sure how to respond, he took another moment to think through his words carefully. "I think you should just be yourself." He said as softly as he could. "Just because I don't show what I'm feeling, or share what I'm thinking, it doesn't mean that I don't have emotions. I feel afraid, upset and sad too..."
She looked up at him again and bit her lip. "You do? When did you feel that way, Ziggy?"
"I remember feeling scared when you disappeared on the Kukai Foundation, I was upset at what Albedo had done to you, and... I was afraid I had lost you during your analysis on Second Miltia." He explained carefully.
"Really?" Her expression brightened, and then, she frowned again. "I'm sorry that I scared you, or made you feel sad, Ziggy. I never meant to."
"I know." He nodded. "Sometimes, we hurt the people who are important to us without realizing it in the process." He remembered the time when he had attacked Voyager on the Omega System, and how he had been hurt. He remembered MOMO pleading with him to not move, but he did anyway. Then, as he lied there on the ground covered in the rubble of the fallen wall, he looked up and saw her over him, fighting back tears, trying to help him stand. He felt miserable for doing so, but there was no one else who could've broken through that wall. Although he had never said it, he did it to save everyone, and foremost, her. "I'm sorry for the times I've upset you too."
MOMO sensed the sincerity and tenderness in his voice. She gave him a sad smile, and then touched his metal hand, which was still firmly but gently placed on her shoulder. She knew that he couldn't feel it, but she hoped that it would mean just the same to him. There were times when she was afraid to touch him too much--she knew that he liked his personal space. "It's okay. I'm just glad that you're all right."
Ziggy slowly placed his other hand on her shoulder. "Are you going to be all right?" He asked. "After what we saw today?" He hated to bring it up, but he knew that if he was still shaken and disturbed, she must be feeling horrible. "I'll understand if you don't want to talk about it."
MOMO found herself biting her lip again, and she glanced up to meet his gaze once more. There was something calming and gentle about his eyes. They told her more about how he was feeling than any attempt at words. She could feel all kinds of emotions boiling up inside her, anger, grief at the loss of her sisters, and a place that had held so many memories, worry for Jr, and what he must've been feeling throughout the whole ordeal, and happiness that Yuriev had gotten what he deserved, and that her friends were all okay. "Ziggy..." She murmured, clutching onto his metal hand. "I-- I..." She fought the stinging sensation that burned in her eyes. She hadn't had the chance to react to the whole ordeal. But now, she found herself on the verge of tears when thinking about it.
He had known MOMO for a year. Even though they had spent time together on their journeys, he rarely saw her this upset. He knew that she didn't want to burden others with her problems. Yet, here she was, clinging onto his left arm, trying not to cry--trying so hard to mimic his stoic reaction to pain. All of this, after he had told her that there were times when he too, hurt. He couldn't help but feel moved. How anyone could look up to him so much, after all of his mistakes and failures, was beyond him. Something very familiar and distant tugged at his heart. Was this how it had been with him? Didn't he look up to his father this way too, even though he had never been there? Was this how MOMO saw him?
"MOMO..." He spoke her name quietly. "If it bothers you this much, you shouldn't keep it bottled inside." He never spoke of his past with anyone, nor did he want to bring it up at this time. Somehow he hoped that his encouragement would help her. The last thing he wanted was for her to end up a shattered shell like he had become.
She couldn't hold it back any longer, not with the person she trusted the most coaxing her to let it go. A few tears managed to fall from her eyes. Then, she shook as a sob rose from her throat. "My sisters... they... they're all..." She didn't want to cling to him, out of fear that he'd somehow push her away. It suprized her when he pulled her close to him, and patted her on the back. After the initial shock wore off, she burried her face into his shoulder and cried over everything that came to mind.
"It's all right." Ziggy said. "Just let it all go. I'm right here." Somehow the words were coming much more naturally when he didn't think about them. He couldn't help but feel saddened as well, but tears never formed in his eyes. He had long since forgotten how to cry. He had trained himself not to, a very long time ago--long before he was in the state he was in now. Perhaps one day, he'd be able to. But now, he knew he just needed to support her.
After a few long minutes, her sobs had not subsided. She continued to cling to the fabric of his clothing while wiping tears with the other hand. Ziggy had long since loosened. He suddenly didn't mind that MOMO was holding on to him, or the tears that soaked through the fabric of his clothing. His thoughts wandered to her reactions, what he could remember of his stepson, and the blurry memories of his childhood. He knew that MOMO's real "father" hadn't had the chance to comfort her like this. He wondered if there was anything else he could do to make the situation better for her.
"Ziggy..." MOMO managed through her tears, as she tried to hold them at bay so she could speak. "Do you remember your daddy?" It was almost as if her question was on cue.
Ziggy shook his head. "No. I don't have any memories of him." He gave himself a moment to think and explain himself better. "It's not only because the memory of my past life is hazy. It's because I never had the chance to know him." He frowned and then patted the back of her head. "Still, I remember that I looked up to him..."
"Then..." MOMO sniffed, and leaned into him a bit further. "You're just like me. Even though I never really met Daddy... I still love him."
"I suppose so." He responded.
"So, I guess we don't really know what having a daddy is like." MOMO sniffled again, but her tears had subsided.
Sensing this, Ziggy let her go, but still remained close. With his gloved hand, he wiped away the remaining tears. "Do you feel better now?"
MOMO smiled and nodded. "Yeah. Thank you, Ziggy."
Ziggy remained there, unsure of what to do next. He kept his eyes on MOMO, who was still looking at her hands, fidgeting slightly. "Is something else bothering you?" He asked.
"Um..." MOMO glanced up at him. "I'm not sure if I can go to sleep tonight. Not after everything I just saw."
"I understand." He said. "Though, you should probably still rest. We'll be arriving at Mictham soon."
"Okay... but..." MOMO began. "Is it okay if I stay here with you?"
Ziggy frowned a little and looked around the room. It was a mess, boxes, crates, robot parts, bottles of empty soda, and random odds and ends were scattered everywhere. It was hardly an ideal place for a girl to get some rest. He looked back at her, realizing that he couldn't refuse her request. Then, quite suddenly, he had an idea. He wasn't sure why he had thought of it. Perhaps it was something that he remembered from a long time ago. He stood up, and went back to his maintainance bed, and sat down. "Can you get up here?" He asked, tapping the metal surface of his lap.
MOMO looked at him a little quizzically for a second. "Um, okay." She said, getting up, and rubbing her eyes. She carefully climbed onto his lap, and then sat there, unsure of what to do. This was something that he had never done before.
"I may not be very comfortable." He told her. "But you can rest here until we arrive." Ziggy felt a little awkward, but he knew that anything could happen at this last place. Even though he knew that he wasn't her real father, and he may not have the same opportunity he had in life, somehow, he wanted to give her a chance to know what having one would be like.
MOMO smiled and then leaned against him, resting her head on his shoulder. Sitting in his lap was a strange combination of cold metal and warmth, much like his personality. She let out a quiet sigh and closed her eyes, just as his right arm wrapped around her, in an attempt to keep her warm, and somewhat comfortable. She could hear the sound of his breaths, and if she listened hard enough, she could hear his synthetic heart. It was much more silent than that of hers or an ordinary human's. Even so, it was just as comforting.
He simply sat there quietly, once again finding himself deep in thought. He wondered for a moment about all of the possibilities. What would happen after this, should they succeed? Where would they go? Would Juli ask him to continue to stay with MOMO? He wanted to remain hopeful, but at the same time, he couldn't deal with having his hopes shattered that way. He knew far too well that reality was harsh and cruel. He wanted, above all else, for her happiness. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head against the top of hers.
"Ziggy?" MOMO whispered to him, breaking the silence.
"I know what makes you sad, but... what makes you happy?" She asked him, tugging on his uniform. "I never see you smile, so I don't know..."
Ziggy thought on it for a moment, realizing what brought him the most happiness. Although she couldn't see it, the corners of his mouth had loosened, pulling into an inkling of a smile.The answer was simple. "You."
MOMO giggled and snuggled into him. "Me too."