Konnichiwa Minna-san! I'm back with the final installment of this little fic. I really like the way this chapter turned out. It takes place during season two but I'm not sure when exactly but whatever. I don't have much to say about this so after the disclaimer you can get started right way! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Gundam 00 or the characters. Veda and Tieria are just allowing me to borrow them for a while.
Chapter Three: Don't Be Ashamed to Cry
"Noriega-san!" Mileina cried, "The E-Sensor has detected several enemy mobile suits in the airspace!"
"Alright," Sumeragi said, "Feldt order Setsuna, Allelujah and Lockon to sortie. Mileina start initiating the launch sequences for their Gundams."
"Ryoukai," The two girls responded.
"Ano, Noriega-san," Mileina said, "What about Erde-san? The repairs to the Seravee have been completed. Do you want him to sortie as well?"
"No Mileina," Sumeragi said softly, "Tieria's not feeling well today. He contacted me early this morning saying that he was feeling ill and was probably going to stay in bed all day."
Feldt sighed. She knew why Tieria wanted to stay in bed today. Today was March third, Neil and Lyle Dylandi's birthday. For the past four years Tieria had spent this day on earth in Ireland. However, this year they were too far from earth for him to get there in time. Feldt also had a feeling that Tieria hadn't slept at all last night. He never did around this time of year.
Tieria normally kept very good care of himself. He always got about nine hours of sleep a night. He would eat three balanced meals a day and he would exercise almost daily. However there were two times a year where Tieria would abandon his routines. The first one spanned from March second to March fourth or fifth, the time around Lockon's birthday. And the second was the anniversary of Lockon's death. During these times Tieria wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep and he would spend the entire day in bed. He normally worried everyone around these two dates however no one had the courage to try and get through to him.
"I hope he's alright…" Mileina said.
"I'm sure it's probably just a little cold," Feldt said, "Tieria will probably feel better in a day or two."
"Beginning the launching sequences for the Arios and Cherudim!"
Tieria sighed as he listened to the rest of the crew prepare for a battle. He felt bad for not participating however he hadn't been able to sleep the night before and trying to fight in his condition would definitely be against his better judgment. He wanted to help but for now, there was nothing he could do except hope for the safety of his comrades.
He knew that if Neil had seen him in this state the man wouldn't be happy. He could almost hear him in his head chastising his behavior but Tieria just couldn't help it. He was certain that if Neil was still alive the man would be practically forcing food down his throat, but Neil wasn't alive anymore. Neil had died in battle five years ago. And to this day, Tieria still blamed himself. If he hadn't been trying to connect with Veda after their Gundams' connection had been cut, then his Gundam at the time, the Virtue, would have taken to the new operating system. And therefore, there would not have been a reason for Lockon to lose his good eye protecting him. He knew that it was foolish of him to keep blaming himself but he just couldn't justify that it wasn't his fault.
"Transferring timing to the Double-0!" Mileina's voice came, "You are clear to launch!"
/Please/ He thought as he shut his eyes, /Let them come back alright…/
"Tell me if this makes sense," Lyle said as he entered the prep-room after Allelujah, Setsuna and Saji, "Today is my birthday and Tieria gets the day off? Just how the hell does that one work?"
"Tieria wasn't at breakfast this morning," Setsuna said, "He might be ill."
"I think that's the case," Allelujah said, "Tieria never skips a meal let alone breakfast. Plus Sumeragi-san told me not to bother cooking a portion for Tieria. So he must be sick."
"So he's "sick" huh?" Lyle asked, "I find it very convenient that he happened to fall ill on my birthday…again."
"What do you mean again?" Allelujah said.
"Well, on my twenty-sixth birthday I went to the cemetery to visit my parents and little sister like I did every year since they were killed and Tieria was there," Lyle said, "My friend and I watched him for a bit and he just collapsed. We came to find out the kid was running a seriously high fever and had fainted because of it. So I'm wondering if it's just coincidence or something more. I mean he was obviously sick that time on my twenty-sixth but...I don't know, it's just a little too odd."
"Tieria blames himself for your brother's death," Setsuna said, "He still hasn't come to terms that it wasn't at all his fault."
"Heh," Lyle scoffed, "Maybe we could try talking to him in a little bit."
"You really shouldn't," Allelujah said, "At the point he's at, it's best to just let him be."
"Oh come on now," Lyle said, "I'm sure the kid wouldn't object to having his comrades check up on him when he's sick…you know to make sure he's alright."
"You don't know Tieria," Allelujah said, "He doesn't like being bothered. When he gets like this he tends to lock himself in his room and refuse to talk to anyone."
"Geez," Lyle said, "If I didn't know any better I would think you're all afraid of him."
"You didn't know Tieria four years ago," Allelujah said, "He's changed for the better but it's still rather intimidating to talk to him sometimes."
"Alright fine," Lyle said, "I'll prove that Tieria Erde isn't as bad as you all make him out to be."
"Good luck with that," Allelujah said.
Tieria must have dozed off because he woke to a hand on his forehead. He stirred a bit but did not open his eyes hoping that maybe the person there would get the message and go away.
"For someone who claims to be sick, your forehead isn't warm at all."
Tieria nearly opened his eyes at the sound of the man's voice. But he just wanted to be left alone so he remained still and tried to regulate his breathing without the man noticing. He turned on his side so his back was to the man.
"You're awake aren't you?" The man asked, "Come on, I want to talk."
Tieria was now in a tough spot. He really didn't feel like talking to anyone, let alone Lyle Dylandi. He also knew that Lyle wasn't just going to leave, the man was going to get him to talk whether he liked it or not.
"I don't feel like talking," Tieria said in a low voice trying to sound as sick as he possibly could, "I just want to be left alone."
"I can see that," Lyle said, "That's probably why you locked yourself in your room and told everyone you were sick." He pulled the covers from Tieria's face, "You don't look all that sick to me."
"I was up all night…" Tieria muttered. Trying one more excuse to get the man to leave.
"Not sick obviously," Lyle said, "I don't see any signs that you were up all night sick…So, does your "illness" have anything to do with the fact that today is my birthday?"
Tieria gasped as his eyes widened.
"I'm right aren't I?" Lyle asked, "It's the same reason my friend and I found you collapsed in front of my family's grave on my twenty-sixth birthday."
Tieria gasped again, "That…was you…?" he asked. He couldn't really remember what had happened that day. A combination of a high fever, extreme exhaustion and suffocating grief left things a little hazy. But he could remember hearing the man's voice and seeing the man's face before losing consciousness.
"Yeah," Lyle said, "My friend brought you back to the hotel you were staying in. You called me by my brother's name before you passed out. I've seen you at the cemetery every year on my birthday since the year I turned twenty-six. And I'll bet it has something to do with my brother."
Tieria sighed and nodded. But he didn't speak. He could feel the corners of his eyes stinging and he wasn't sure if he would be able to talk without completely breaking down.
"Come on," Lyle said, "Let's talk for a while. I think it'll do you some good."
Tieria nodded and sat up in bed.
"Why is my brother so important to you?" Lyle asked.
Tieria sighed, "You're brother was injured…trying to save my life…" he muttered, "Because he protected me…he lost his right eye…and…because of that injury…he was killed in battle…"
"That sounds like Neil alright," Lyle chuckled, "Always putting others before himself. He was almost hit by a car once when we were kids because he protecting our young neighbor who had run into the street after her cat."
"I tried to lock him in his room…to keep him safe…but he went out anyway…" Tieria muttered, "And…he saved me again…"
"Neil was always stubborn," Lyle said, "Nothing could stop from doing something he wanted to do."
"I just wish…I could have done more…" Tieria muttered. He could feel the tears threatening to fall as his will faded with each word he spoke. "He saved my life twice…and I couldn't even lock him in his room…"
"It obvious that my brother cared for you very much," Lyle said as he placed his hand on Tieria's shoulder.
"But to throw his life away for someone who has no reason to live…for someone who's denying his reason for existence…someone who's not even human…someone like...me..." Tieria whispered, "Why would he do that?"
"Because Neil was a selfless idiot," Lyle said, "Hell, he nearly threw his life away for a cat. Therefore he wouldn't have hesitated for a person he cared about." He looked over at the smaller Meister and sighed. He could tell that Tieria was trying very hard not to cry, "If you want to cry you should," He said, "It'll help you feel better."
Tieria nodded but didn't let the tears fall. He didn't like crying in front of others. He saw crying as weakness and he didn't want to be seen as weak.
Lyle sighed, "Alright look," He said, "I'm not going to view you as weak if you start crying your eyes out on my shoulder. Hell, I view you as one of the strongest people here and that's not going to change because you decided to cry on me. I mean, based on what you told me about how you viewed my brother, just seeing my face must tear you apart. So go ahead, cry."
He watched as Tieria gripped the quilt on his bed and his lithe body began to shake as he cried. Lyle sighed as he put his hand on Tieria's shoulder then gently embraced him. Neither Lyle nor Tieria spoke for quite some time. Lyle just gently rubbed Tieria's back as the boy silently sobbed.
"Are you feeling better now?" Lyle said as Tieria finally stopped crying. He handed the boy a few tissues and Tieria nodded, "Good. I don't think Neil would want to see you in that state. I'm pretty sure he'd yell at you if he did."
"I think you're right," Tieria whispered, "Thank you Lyle."
"Well I'm sure you're tired from all that crying you just did and after not sleeping last night, so I'll let you be." Lyle said, "But everyone else is worried about you so you should try to show your face a little later on, maybe at supper perhaps?"
Tieria nodded and rested against his pillow again. He would have never guessed that the person who could make him feel better was the one person on the ship he couldn't bear to look at. He decided to try to get a bit of sleep then he would head to supper with the rest of the crew.
"Lyle," Allelujah said as the green-clad man walked into the dining hall for supper, "How did your talk with Tieria go?"
"Surprisingly well actually," Lyle said, "I really think I got through to him. He did tell me to leave him alone at one point but that was about it."
"Were you really able to talk some sense into that boy?" Sumeragi asked, "He really needs to stop acting like this around this time. It gets really annoying."
"Well," Lyle said, "We'll find out in a little bit if I was able to get through to him."
About five minutes into dinner the door opened and everyone minus Lyle was absolutely shocked.
"Tieria!" Feldt exclaimed as the boy walked into the room. Tieria never ventured out his room during this time, let alone venture out of his room to eat something.
Sumeragi looked at Lyle in shock, "How?" Was all she was able to say.
"We just talked for a bit," Lyle said, "That's all he really needed…well, that and a good nap. Are you feeling better now Tieria?"
"Yeah," Tieria said as he grabbed a tray, "I slept for a few hours and I feel a lot better."
"That's good," Lyle said, "You shouldn't keep things to yourself so much. If something's bothering you, you should talk with one of us about it."
Tieria nodded and started to eat his supper, while the others still stared at him in shock.
When supper was finished, Allelujah walked into the kitchen and came out with a cake.
"Happy birthday Lyle," Allelujah said as he placed the cake in front of the man.
"Geez, you didn't have to do this," Lyle said, "I haven't had cake on my birthday since my parents were killed."
"We do this for everyone," Sumeragi said, "Even Tieria, though we usually can't get him to eat any of it. He doesn't like celebrating his "birthday.""
"It's not really a birthday," Tieria said, "It's just a day that was assigned to me based on my personality."
"It happens," Lyle said, "Are you going to have a piece?" He asked Tieria, "You haven't eaten much in the past few days, your blood-sugar is probably low."
"His blood-sugar is probably always low," Sumeragi said, "He doesn't eat sweets."
"There are other ways to get sugar into one's diet," Tieria said, "Carbohydrates turn into sugar when digested and there is natural sugar in all fruit. I get enough sugar in my diet."
"Enough about sugar!" Lyle exclaimed, "Can we just get to the cake? So, Tieria, do you want a piece?"
Tieria sighed, "I guess," He said, "But just a small piece." It was another battle that he wasn't going to win. So rather than try to fight his comrades he just gave in.
"You must be some sort of miracle worker," Sumeragi said, "You got through to Tieria and you got him to eat cake."
"Perhaps I'm channeling my brother's spirit for the day," Lyle said, "Because I'm sure he was throwing a fit when he saw what Tieria was doing. Right Tieria?"
"Probably," Tieria said softly as he took a small bite of the piece of cake that had been handed to him. He had no idea how he had done it but Lyle managed to ease the pain he had been suffering from since Neil had died. It no longer felt like someone was stabbing him in the chest when he heard Neil's name. He could also look Lyle in the eye with wanting to cry. And he realized that maybe Lyle wasn't as bad as he thought he was.
"Lyle," Tieria said after the others had left, "I really need to thank you. You really helped me out today and I think now, after five years, I can come to terms with your brother's death. So thank you."
"It was nothing really," Lyle said, "It just seemed as though you desperately needed someone to talk to that's all. I was also under the impression that the others were afraid of you."
"I was a much different person five years ago," Tieria said, "They still can't separate the person I was five years ago and the person I am now."
"It happens," Lyle said as Tieria yawned, "You look tired, you should probably go to bed early tonight."
"I will," Tieria said as he headed for the door, "Thank you again."
"You're welcome." Lyle said, "And Tieria, don't be ashamed to cry okay?"
Tieria nodded then returned to his room. And for the first time on that date since Neil's death, he slept undisturbed by the events of the past.
Yay! It's done! It was a cute little fic wasn't it? And Lyle wasn't an ass in this… normally when I write him he's just an asshole but I found him to be tolerable in this. And I'm sure the rest of the crew thanked him for what he did. So what did you think? Let me know okay! See you all around in my other fics! Arigato Gozaimasu Minna-san!