Aline S Revelation

[08:01:51] <Raphael> By the time Raphael emerged from the battleship's interior some hours later the light was already beginning to fade overhead as the late afternoon sun cast long shadows across the deck and painting Paris in orange light. The Group Captain wasn't paying attention to the sights as he begins the walk across the deck, though, and his eyes are fixed on the ground ahead of him as he makes
[08:01:51] <Raphael> his way towards the boarding ramp.
10[08:08:45] <Aline> But there /was/ a sight. Or at least, something that wasn't the familiar expanse of Paris in the sunset. There was also a sound. Footsteps coming closer to him, a light clomp belonging to likely a more comfortable than formal pair of shoes. Then it stopped, from the sound of it right in front of him. Would he pay attention…?
[08:19:56] <Raphael> Sure enough he does, aware of a faintly familiar shadow on the ground ahead. "…?"
10[08:22:01] * Aline folded her arms a bit… And looked over at him. Her expression was a hard-to-read mix of emotions. It trended towards the negative. "…Raphael. Before you left, or… going somewhere, or, uh…" Her fingers messed around a bit, playing along each other. "Well, I wanted to talk."
07[08:32:34] <Raphael> It had since their last one-on-one meeting that Raphael had almost begun to hope that he had gained enough control over the inclinations of this shape to ignore whatever it seemed to feel for Aline, but one look at her in the afternoon light is enough to disabuse him of that notion. "Aline-… Pilot Blanc, I… erm." He blushes helplessly before giving up and glancing away. The pressure
[08:32:35] <Raphael> eases almost at once. "… O-of course, ma'am. We can do that."
10[08:41:52] <Aline> Hope, as they liked to say, springs eternal. But sometimes eternity isn't enough. Aline herself is looking a bit more bashful now, though still upset (that broken-moe…!). "T…thank you. Preferably somewhere safe from prying ears, if you… understand. Though not all of it was… uh, serious. I also wanted to just… just talk normally."
[08:45:17] <Raphael> "Of course." He mumbles, taking a moment to get his bearings as he fiddles with the edges of his uniform. When he speaks again he's managed to force his voice into some measure of steadiness. "Did you have anywhere in mind?"
10[08:49:22] * Aline looked around a little bit. "Well, either here or somewhere in the Geofront wilderness. Those are the, uh… only really good places."
06[08:53:54] * Raphael chuckles, his earlier conversation with Yanmei about surveillance coming back to him. "Well, there's no point heading all the way back to the Geofront when we're already here, I suppose." He says, making a tentative motion towards the bow.
10[08:59:08] * Aline followed along, holding her hands down. Worth noting, she was in a red shirt with a khaki skirt, and was briefly playing with the skirt out of what was probably nerves. "I was… sort of wondering how people were doing. Thruster Team, Suzanne…" A pause. "Rei and the other Ayanamis you might've heard stuff about…"
03[09:02:13] * Retrieving #nervfrance2 modes…
[09:16:49] <Raphael> "Mmm, Rei was staying with us for a few days after the fight with Silas Caine, and I've spoken to Chiisana on the phone. They're both recovering as well as can be expected." He says. "The others… Well, you know the Thruster team. Mr. Lafabre is busy with some prototype positron weapon they found on the battleship at Surov's request."
10[09:23:05] * Aline gently nodded, walking along with Raphael. "Prototypes… it's almost a bit of a pity how far behind we got compared to the tech on the battleship… Hrm." But that didn't last too long as a topic, because she immediately latched onto the other side of it. "Yeah, Yanmei was… hanging out with Chiisana a bit. But it's good to hear that Rei stayed with you for a few days. After all, you're like a father or brother or something to her…"
07[09:30:27] * Raphael glances at Aline out of the corner of his eye, not quite sure how to respond to that. Admittedly, how /would/ one define his relationship with the Ayanamis? "… Or something, ma'am, yes."
10[09:38:09] * Aline didn't chuckle per se, but did sort of… pause. "Well, yes. It must be both stressful and nice, to have to watch over so many people in a familial… sorta… way."
06[09:55:13] * Raphael /does/ laugh now, although it's the awkward, teenage variety. "It is. I originally expected my relationship with the Ayanamis to only extend as far as Rei, but… well, they're all needed help to adjust to the world. I don't know why they thought I was the best person to come to for help in that respect, but I could hardly turn them away."
10[10:04:12] * Aline walked closer to him - a possibly uncomfortable motion to him, and… from how she seemed to shake a little, it was a bit uncertain for her too. "Ah… Well, it's a… family, isn't it? They're all… sisters, after all." Closer still, but she stopped only one step in. There was a light sniff of some sort from Aline. "You might be wondering why I'm talking about them so much, huh…""
[10:14:09] <Raphael> "N-no, not really." He mutters, and he certainly /sounds/ a little uncomfortable. Still keeping his eyes averted, he tries not to be too conspicuous about taking a slight step back. "Was there a reason, ma'am? I assumed you were just making conversation."
10[10:16:34] * Aline sniffed again. "I'm sorry. I was being presumptuous. It's… maybe I…" She shook her head, looking a bit worried or maybe confused. "Nn. Soon enough. I have been thinking more about them lately. It's sorta become important to me… There's a secret. That I think, your relationship to them makes you the right person to tell. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to… say… it." As the lingering pauses became longer, Aline began to shiver, and look away.
07[10:27:16] * Raphael glances up suddenly, his concern overwhelming the fear of the effects that come with it. Now it's Raphael's turn to take an uncertain step forward. "Aline…?" He asks gently. "Are you-… just take your time, ok?"
10[10:34:30] * Aline lowered her head. "…It's… it's… silly. My reaction's silly. Sera's just fine with something similar. The Ayanamis were okay. They knew straight-up. I should toughen up." Aline spoke in a muttered tone, and from the way she was speaking, it was like she was talking to herself as much as Raphael. "It's… it's not fair."
[10:43:58] <Raphael> "… H-hey." He mutters, still looking at her with obvious worry. He takes another step. And then, without him quite realizing what he's doing, he reaches out to put an arm around her.
10[10:48:45] <Aline> That was all Aline needed. She was already upset, but with the way he gripped her, she just… suddenly felt a lot safer, more free to let it out. And let it out she did - mere sniffles and mopeyness became outright tears. "I…" She began to choke out. "I'm an Ayanami." It was scarcely a whisper, but at this range…
07[11:01:11] * Raphael 's grip becomes just a little tighter as his breath catches for a moment with surprise. Still, he doesn't pull away. "Aline… how is that possible? Are you sure?" He murmurs, his own voice not much louder than her own whisper.
10[11:05:07] * Aline made quick breaths, but with some came words, in harsh, quiet bursts. "They're… A2. Project A2. There was an A. A1. I learnt about what was within my soul. Voriel found out, too. He used it. He used it to hurt them. Used me. And I found out then. And I know it happened. I lost myself but she's still there, waiting. /She/ is watching me intently because I'm her vessel. The perfect receptacle, just like he… she, he-she said."
<Raphael> "Hey now… Aline, you need to slow down. It's ok." He says, a little more force behind his words now even though he doesn't pull away. "Take it slow, hmm? Who's 'she'? I don't quite understand…"
*Aline whispered a bit, though unfortunately for clarity, the 'she' was not the first name she said. "Kaworu… Gina, both… either of them told me before about the receptacle thing." She wasn't sobbing, but was still crying. "It's… Lilith. Half of Lilith."
<Raphael> Images flashing in his mind: The great, alien body impaled on a bident beneath the Geofront, followed almost immediately by the thing that had emerged from 00 during the battle with Azrael. His shiver is a small one, but it was hard to miss when they were this close. "… Ok. It's alright, Aline." He murmurs, trying his best to soothe her with words he knows are meaningless.-
<Raphael> "This is NERV's work?" He asks, his voice quiet and tightly controlled.
*Aline leaned in a bit closer. "I d-d-don't know. It might be." Was the somewhat shaky response. She herself was thinking of something she didn't experience - what it must've been like for them to fight whatever was unleashed.
*Raphael nods slowly, a hundred questions jostling for attention in his mind. But for now… "So… you're an Ayanami." He says gently. "Do you know what that means? Are you like Rei and her sisters, or…?"
*Aline shook her head a little bit. "It… means I'm… artificial." She had kept herself from using 'fake', because that would be insulting and, even as upset as she was, she still had some level of politeness. "Voriel called me something else, so I /think/ I have my own soul, and… and Lilith's is /contained/. But even so, it means I was created and lied to and had my memory messed with
*Aline like William seems to prove and… and…" She had nothing more after that. Yet.
<Raphael> "…" Raphael hugs her a little tighter without seeming to realize it. "… It doesn't matter how Sera or Rei reacted to their own problems, Aline. Nobody would expect you to 'suck it up'. Whatever gets you over this… well, that's just what you need to do."-
<Raphael> "… But I'm glad you're not just bottling it up."
*Aline looked up at him slightly, her face red from crying so much, and no doubt part of his uniform a bit wet now. "I… understand… it's just hard. It's… I don't know." She was starting to run into mental blocks, just, difficulties expressing her feelings. "I just feel lost."
<Raphael> "… Yeah." He stares down at her… and the longer his expression shifts to resemble Shinji's. "Something like this… it'd take a lot of effort to reevaluate who you are, huh?"
*Aline honestly didn't know how to react to that shift - on some level she didn't care, but on another level she knew this was Raphael. So there was a very mixed look on her face, though it was still mostly dominated by sadness. "You're right… And I don't know where to begin."
*Raphael seems to recognize what's going on, perhaps due to her expression, and after looking away for a moment his normal persona seems to reassert itself.-
<Raphael> "… And I don't know whether I do either, ma'am." The last word is emphasised to a noticeable degree. "Though maybe the first part is recognizing what -hasn't- changed. All your experiences as a pilot, the friendships you've made here… those are yours. And they're all as important to who you are as your origins."
*Aline craned her head backwards a little bit then, getting enough room to nod. "…They're mine, yeah… It's hard to get over, but I'll try to look at the present…" There was a certain firmness in Aline's voice, but it was relatively vague still, like a distant feeling not yet realized completely.
*Raphael gives her a faint smile. "And while I wouldn't recommend making it widely known you're aware of all of this, you may want to try finding some more evidence to make sure you have all of the facts."
<Aline> "I… know. Er." Aline was starting to calm down, though it was only partially-so, because she still wore the expression, even if the tears were no longer flowing and her voice was starting to normalize. "Well, I know not to talk to everyone about it. Thanks for listening and giving advice, though. I knew you would be someone good to turn to…"
<Raphael> "Well, I'm glad to have helped a little. Are you going to be alright, ma'am?" He asks.
*Aline began to… well, try to disengage from him, but blushed significantly. What necessarily that /meant/ was uncertain. "I should be better now… I needed to let it out, you were right."
*Raphael nods. "Well, if you need to… ah." A pause as they both pull apart - Aline wasn't the only one blushing. "If you need to talk again, you know where to find me."
<Aline> "Mm." It, when Aline said it, had a more affirmative tone than normal. "Anyway, we should, uh…" She pushed her fingers together. "Go."
<Raphael> "… Y-yeah." He says, clearing his throat a bit. "I have… I mean, Suzie is…"
<Aline> "It's… uh, okay." Aline quickly said, sounding pretty awkward herself. "I'll, uh, let you… disembark first." …And with that, she stepped off to one side.
*Raphael gives her one last nod and a thankful smile before heading back down the deck, to the loading ramp hiding just out of sight.

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