Aline S Reunion

[15:24] <Aline> » There was a sort of funny noise coming from somewhere in Aline's battleship quarters. Inaudible from the hall thanks to the Irrepressible Swankitude of Silas's creation having amply made considerations for mild soundproofing, but once inside, the girl's activities were clearly heard, and… revealed, soon. Aline was in old, over-loose soft pants and a matching T-shirt (grey and white
[15:24] <Aline> respectively, so not winning much in the fashion department either), cross-legged on the bed in spite of having a perfectly servicable desk, her now-oldish laptop she got on some birthday or Christmas after signing on with NERV sitting where a laptop's name suggests it belongs. The sound was the telltale noise of a late-90s soundchip being emulated by the modern hardware. After all, illegal
[15:24] <Aline> as it often was, recovery of caches of game roms from the internet was one of the prime methods for retro gaming in the post-Impact world. The girl herself was playing some terribly obscure Japanese RPG at the moment. "Mou… If I grind here the enemies'll scale again." As the first word suggested, she was actually speaking Japanese, because reading the text had already made her 'mode-switch'
[15:25] <Aline> for it.
[16:04] <Minaplo> [This room, like all the quarters on the Battleship, had a single door to the corridor- an electronic sliding door that automatically locked from the outside after five minutes of idleness. The small light on the computerised console to the left of the door was red- locked.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> [A few minutes after Aline made her proclaimation of grinding, there was a beep- someone ringing the electronic doorbell.]
[16:09] * Aline paused the game, at that point, and set the laptop off to the side. "On my way~" Despite the soundproofing, it was only mild so… Whatever let's run with it. Aline soon reached the door, and… screen? Peephole? Or just… "Who is it?"
[16:14] <Minaplo> [There was in fact a little digital monitor that Aline could look through, revealing…-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [5'7", dark brown hair and big blue eyes. A chin that stubbornly refused to grow anything more than a few sparse hairs. Wearing a white shirt, black trousers and a long navy blue knee-length jacket that looked like he'd grabbed a NERV uniform at some point and torn off the insignias.-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [He didn't reply, he just waved at the camera, giving it a little smile.]
[16:18] * Aline actually smiled pretty broadly back. "Just a sec then~" …And the girl worked the console to unlock the door, the light outside likely turning to green!
[16:28] <Minaplo> [And indeed the door light turned green, and it slid open. There he was, in the flesh.-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["… Hi." Said Shinji, his smile widening a little.]
[16:33] * Aline stood there for a moment. Quivering. Shaking her head a little… then, just like that, she walked over and hugged him. "You've been cooped up way too long." Aline told him, almost breathlessly.
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["P-Probably." There was a brief moment's hesitation as Aline held him before he returned it- but he did.-
[16:46] <Minaplo> [There was strength in his arms- she felt it in the embrace, gentle but firm. And there was a pleasant pinkish tinge to his face, and he felt warm- he felt healthy.-
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["Surprised you didn't try to break me out."]
[16:51] * Aline held on a little bit longer. "S… so many reasons." Aline actually chuckled a little. "Earlier, I was just scared I couldn't help you at all, and that it wouldn't matter what I did. And now, well. It was… just observation. I'm usually a good girl and wait out my observation periods. I'm no Sera, running out of the hospital to rappel across rooftops and do amazingly dumb things."
[17:03] <Minaplo> [He let out a short laugh- Aline could feel it reverberating against her own body. "I can't deny that." He said. "It was probably for the best."-
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["D-Do you mind if we move inside…?"]
[17:05] * Aline pulled back at that request… though on some level, she almost tugged him with her before realizing that yes, she should end the hug. Soon, though, the girl was wandering in and shutting the laptop and moving it over to the desk… before sitting on the side of the bed, where the machine had been sitting just a tiny bit before. She nonetheless had her gaze focused on him and a warm
[17:05] * Aline smile.
[17:16] <Minaplo> [Shinji stepped over the threshold of the room, the door closing shut behind him.-
[17:17] <Minaplo> [He sat down on the bed, on her side, although not right up next to her. His hands were in his pockets. "Sorry I worried you."]
[17:20] * Aline nodded her head gently, sitting as she was. Her hands were folded in her lap. "It's going to happen, just be glad you're okay now and I don't have a reason to be worried about you at the moment."
[17:27] <Minaplo> ["Well…" He raised his left hand, holding it in the air for a few seconds, then letting it flop.]
[17:37] * Aline stared at said hand, and… well, she didn't /laugh/, but did put on something of a slightly-nervous smile. "It's not great, but you're acting like yourself again, you're healthy. With luck, we'll have time to spare so things will be… uh…" Another focus on the hand. "Sorted."
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["Sorted? Ah… Y-You want to do something with it."]
[17:43] * Aline blinked. Blinked again. Then realized her mistake. "Oh god, I… not time to spare… wow." She shook her head. "I couldn't figure out how to say that the war is, allegedly, getting closer to 'over' in one way or another, so we'll have /enough/ time to eventually /fix/ it." She was looking down embarrassedly now!
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["…" Shinji stared at her for a moment, before his eyes fluttered; he looked away for a moment, before looking back.-
[17:45] <Minaplo> ["Do you think it can be fixed?"]
[17:46] * Aline finally looked up from his lowered hand. "It has to be somehow. I mean, it might literally take Third Impact itself to both get it out /and/ keep everyone safe /and/ not risk letting someone else take it… but. Yes."
[17:49] <Minaplo> [He rubbed the palm of his left hand with the thumb of his right, his expression quiet and thoughtful.-
[17:58] <Minaplo> ["My dad… He wouldn't have given it to me if he thought it couldn't be fixed, right…?"]
[18:00] * Aline did pause. She still had enough preconceptions about the man to do that much. "I don't think he would've. In fact…" She closed her eyes for a second and turned her head down. "I meantioned Third Impact because I figure that's when you'll be free of it. And that he knew and /planned/ for that. Your dad not having a plan seems almost nonsense, so…"
[18:09] <Minaplo> ["H-Heh. He probably anticipated that you'd do whatever you could, too."-
[18:10] <Minaplo> ["You… Ok. My dad said he couldn't fix it, but he was probably referring to himself. I'm gonna put my trust in you over him in this."]
[18:14] <Aline> "Yeah… I still think there's a way. I wouldn't just let having it kill you and do /nothing/." A distant sigh. "Adam's done quite enough as-is."
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I heard about… Things." Said Shinji. "About Isaiah…"]
[18:18] <Aline> "…At least it's over with." Aline looked up, now. "For it to have been like that. For it to have… for all this time…"
[18:22] <Minaplo> ["D-Did anyone know? Or even suspect…? What was it like, to meet -it-?"]
[18:28] * Aline thought about that… "I… Weird. You hear roughly how it went, right? The actual encounter."
[18:29] <Minaplo> ["I heard some things. I know you guys fought over Niagara Falls, and you wrecked the area, and there was a weird space-time thingy, and 05 was there…"]
[18:42] * Aline nodded. "Basically… it was only the tail end that I'd really call 'meeting Adam'. I looked and just saw Isaiah - Well, Isaiah and 05 - until then. Adam was /felt/, Adam was /there/. But Adam wasn't met. That it then made the Egg with 04, and… it was only after I realized we needed to go in that I could have truly met Adam. And even then… Me, Sera, and Asuka were hardly there…
[18:42] * Aline everyone else but us, though."
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Everyone else? What happened?"]
[19:17] * Aline tried to recount now, patience in her voice. "…The three pilots I mentioned, myself included, were watching and encouraging Yanmei to fight Adam. But when we all did what we could to help her… she grew strong. When Isaiah was brought back, there were two people in addition. Elisha - or, well, a part of him - and Rei. I'm… I'm going to be honest. That actually stuck out in my
[19:17] * Aline mind a lot more than meeting Adam."
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["Elisha and R-Rei?"]
[19:32] <Aline> "Yes." It was said by Aline with clear firmness! "04 was being used for the egg, but apparently 05 had managed to come in. So… While me and Sera and Asuka were getting Yanmei and Isaiah out… Elisha and Rei fought Adam themselves. That's how they managed to give a part of Adam to 04." But Aline… gave Shinji a bit of a look. A distant look. Yet it wasn't sad or harrowed. "When I
[19:32] <Aline> acknowledged her, she smiled back. No matter how much pain she might be in now… she hasn't given up. I thought… I thought you should know that."
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[19:37] <Minaplo> ["D-Damnit."-
[19:40] <Minaplo> [For Shinji had, at Aline's words, suddenly gone still. He clapped his right hand over his eyes, and bowed his head.-
[19:43] <Minaplo> [For a few minutes, he was like this, not moving much or even saying anything, his shoulders still except for the odd tremor now and then.-
[19:43] <Minaplo> ["Aline? Did… Did I give up? Earlier?"]
[19:55] * Aline looked at him, a sad little pout on her face. She forgot… it had been so long with him in a ward of one sort or another, that she forgot his self-doubt. "Not yet, you haven't." She finally said. "You considered it… I can't lie, you got close to it. If you had really given up, we wouldn't be here talking." There was a long sigh. "I kinda know the feeling, but… neither of us
[19:55] * Aline ever took the last step that would've meant turning our backs on everyone. We might've been fools. We might've run away. But something kicked us back into gear."
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["What… Was it for you?"]
[20:08] * Aline got this nasty twist in her stomach. "…Y… you… I… The…" She nervously tugged the T-shirt, and looked /tremendously uncomfortable/ now, yet at the same time like she had regathered enough will to speak with. "My greatest mistake, that I needed you to pull me back from before I ruined… not some war, but you. Kaworu."
[20:17] <Minaplo> [Shinji was quiet.-
[20:20] <Minaplo> ["Kaworu, huh." He said after a minute. "If I hadn't- if… What would've happened if you hadn't been pulled back? You would've just…?"]
[20:30] <Aline> "…n-… I… I was really naive and stupid and almost thought that both would work out? But that's stupid, selfish, and even if it literally hurt me, you were right to knock some sense into me." Now /Aline/ was shaking. She remembered the incident. She remembered the… the feeling of his hands around her neck. A bit more recently, the outbursts. But… it wasn't completely fear of being
[20:30] <Aline> hurt. It was shame that she did something that made him that way. "I d-didn't mean to dredge it up, but… You're not the only one who's fallen."
[20:42] <Minaplo> ["… Your great moment of weakness, right?" Said Shinji quietly. His face was unreadable.-
[20:43] <Minaplo> ["You know, my father talked about it."]
[20:45] * Aline nodded. "…Ah…?" Aline sort of sounded like she was ready at /any moment/ to apologize all over again.
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I remember, he was all casual about it. It was after we made up. I was cooking breakfast, and he just laid it out there out of nowhere. 'So Aline slept with-'" He paused, frowning down at the ground. "'Nagisa.' I nearly dropped the skillet."]
[20:50] * Aline felt her right eye bug and twitch. "…Just like that. All the… and the… and how much it hurt, and…" Aline wasn't angry, as much as she was completely taken aback.
[20:52] <Minaplo> ["Just like that." Said Shinji. "Yeah, didn't care how I felt, just pulled it all up- I was trying to forget it."-
[20:52] <Minaplo> ["Didn't even know how to respond, really. I just stared at him."-
[20:53] <Minaplo> ["Then he said, 'You hurt Aline because of it?'"]
[20:55] * Aline blinked a few times. "…What was he even getting at?"
[20:55] <Minaplo> ["Well, uh… That came next." Said Shinji.-
[20:55] <Minaplo> ["I- I didn't say anything, I just nodded."-
[20:55] <Minaplo> ["Then he stood up and punched me across the face." He said quietly. "It hurt. A lot."-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["And then he said, 'If I'd hit you every time you had a moment of weakness, I'd have beaten you to death years ago'."]
[20:58] * Aline cringed. Even heavily. "…Your dad has a singular gift for imparting life lessons in the harshest possible way."
[21:01] <Minaplo> ["You're not wrong there." Shinji smiled a little, before his expression crumbled for a split second. He looked away, blinking back tears.-
[21:08] <Minaplo> ["It hurt, and it -was- way too harsh, but he was right. I hurt you for being weak, for your moment of weakness as he said. It wasn't fair. And all I was doing was hurting a victim."]
[21:12] * Aline slowly set one hand on the bed. In the gap between them, but far enough that it wasn't really a 'threat' of contact, as much as it was just a gentle approach. "I understand… I'm… I'm glad, at least, that we're learning from these mistakes." Her tone was certainly 'down', but not depressed or hopeless, as much as it was just a bit melancholic.
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. That's the best we can do." He didn't move to take her hand, not yet. He turned to look at her. "We can't undo them, unless you've learned to go back in time…?"]
[21:19] * Aline had a strange look on her face when she looked back at him, her /other/ hand also planting itself on the bed and even holding onto the sheets a bit. Strange, maybe, definable as amused but not quite up to an actual smile. "…Oh god. Time travel. Just… …" A little weird twist of her facial features. "…Yeah. Er. It sucks but… that's what we have to do."
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. You can't redo, huh?"-
[21:31] <Minaplo> [He sniffled a little, looking away again. "And… My mistake. What was it really, Aline? Was it just giving up? Or was it not having faith in Rei? Or…?"]
[21:41] * Aline looked down, rather than try to stare harder at him. "You let the pain take over. I don't think you… didn't put faith in her, I don't think you left her behind. You just… like…" Aline clenched the hand farther from Shinji, as if she needed to grip hard to keep it from flying away to madly gesticulate. "Felt some kind of thing about not hurting people more and not wanting to
[21:41] * Aline be hurt more and it kinda became some kind of escape and… uh… Sorry. That's the best I can think of."
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["I… I see." He said quietly.-
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["It hurt." He muttered. "I felt like I was just- unravelling from the inside, and seeing her, seeing Rei like that, all I could think of is just how wrong it was, and this idea that if I had to be a part of it again, to see things from the inside- it felt wrong, scary, like I was- I dunno, like I was taking pain and using it to hurt others."-
[16:56] <Minaplo> ["What do we do now, Aline?"]
[17:03] * Aline breathed out a little. "…I… I know what unraveling feels like. I can't say I felt anything else you did but that, but…" A long sigh. "In a way, you almost are. It's all fucked up. Elisha, even the chill-as-hell side in 00, is still a literally broken man, I can't /forget/ that. Rei didn't ask for this, and neither did you. We're all crying on the inside in one way or another,
[17:03] * Aline and we're all hurting and killing because of a thousand things that are just not being understood, not being accepted. I just… I just want to flail that last bit until I can get out."
[17:17] <Minaplo> ["How do we get out?"]
[17:20] <Aline> "…I wish I didn't have to sound so follow-the-leadery… but I'm thinking Elisha's plan - the plan your father seemed to have hopes for - is how. Not because I have especial faith in Elisha. Because it sounds like it gives humans, angels, even whatever Lilith wants to do, a place in the universe. Even if we have to kick and scream at everyone to get them to stop pushing their /own/ plans
[17:20] <Aline> long enough to let it go through."
[17:40] <Minaplo> ["So it leads back to that too."-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Then- this is our only real hope, isn't it? There's nothing we can really do except keep fighting to fulfill this one last goal."]
[17:44] * Aline looked positively depressed. "I know. I'm… sick of fighting. I'm a lot more sick of seeing you forced to fight…"
[18:00] <Minaplo> ["…" he looked over at her.-
[18:06] <Minaplo> [He reached out with his right hand, placing it over her own. "You won't have to for much longer. We should- need- lean on each other, make it through this…"]
[18:10] * Aline curled the hand under his a little. "…Yeah. Bend, not break. Bounce back with the other as the spring… Then we'll finally be free. Even if it's a silly hope. Even if other people call it crazy… Even if we fail and die?" Aline sighed, yet had this bittersweet smile on her face. "Even if that happens, I'd rather go having known neither of us stopped hoping for happiness."
[18:14] <Minaplo> ["H-heh. So long as keep hoping, we'll find heaven?"]
[18:17] <Aline> "Even if we have to build it here on earth brick by brick." Aline said, maybe missing any reference Shinji might be making.
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["Then let's start here." He said softly, wrapping his fingers around her own and tugging her closer.]
[18:27] <Aline> "Yeah…" Aline wrapped and tightened right back, before nudging closer to Shinji, as well.
[19:00] <Minaplo> [He pulled himself higher up on the bed, falling back, a perfectly snuggleable target.-
[19:00] <Minaplo> ["I've been so… Out of it all." He sighed. "Tell me- everything. What you've been doing, how you've been spending your time- everything about you."]
[19:16] * Aline for now… flopped down next to him, but leaned close. "It's been pretty crazy…" She began. Solomons and diversions and battles between newborn would-be-gods and so many things dramatic… yet things down-to-earth like dealing with Little Aline being nigh-murderously aggressive (and her constantly getting /schooled/ by Navah), her woes with Surov and Dr. Clement, even the bizarre
[19:16] * Aline spectacle that was Blue's So Many Things At Once Establishment (Aline's actual term for the place). Time melted away, even as Aline proceeded to her own thoughts and feelings, until they were calm, peaceful… and for once, together again.

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