For Dining Over Serious Matters

[17:13] <Alexandre> [The 3rd of November, 2015. A Tuesday.-
[17:18] <Alexandre> [The Blossom Restaurant had been levelled and rebuilt since Alexandre's visit to the place with Yanmei, Isaiah and Dorian, but this didn't prevent the restaurant from being a fine spectacle of class and elegance… Even the clientele had increased ever since Paris-2's population boom. Alexandre was within already, in a private parlour- a room entirely private and closed off from the rest of the restaurant. Just the fine seats and the pretty table, with a painting or two on the walls.]
[17:24] * Aline marched in with a sense of purpose - grim purpose, judging from the worry on her face - even as she wore a rather delicate blue dress with a somewhat asymmetrical angular black one over it. No matter the delicacy or prettiness of her outfit, Aline's demeanor spoke of a mood embodying the utmost of /BUSINESS/.
[17:26] * Sept arrived last. He had had some difficulty finding the parlour itself, but had finally been directed to the right place after stalking around long enough looking for Alexandre in his own Subtle way. "Ah, h-hello. Aline, Alexandre." Sera had clearly made an effort to blend in, wearing… some jeans and a hoodie. That was what normal people wore. Right?
[17:29] <Alexandre> Not in the Blossom. Alexandre was wearing a very neat collared white shirt, with a black vest and a very thick black overcoat with a powder blue scarf. He waved lazily at them both.
[17:31] * Aline took the initiative, as she sat, to be the one to get everything in motion. "I had told you to come join us for this, and I'll admit that the original idea was Sera's. But… It is certainly more than a mere talk." Aline turned to Sera, still looking so serious. "That said, maybe you should start us off with your questions? I'll stand by."
[17:36] * Sept couldn't help but look a little fake-surprised at Aline, in a sort of "what I had nothing to do with this" way. He fidgeted in his seat for a few moments, and spoke. "R-right. Alexandre, I. We, I wanted to, if it's alright, talk about E- talk about y-your father. It'salrightifyoudon't, but. It's sort of important."
[17:37] <Alexandre> "My father?" Alexandre quirked an eyebrow.
[17:38] * Aline nodded. "Yes. Though I will end up speaking of other things… it's just better for the flow of things for his questions to go first." But that nod gave way to a still, unmoving gaze. "That said, things have been getting progressively more serious, so this isn't just some idle curiosity."
[17:40] * Sept lowered his voice, not to keep the conversation discreet, but more out of an increasing sense of shame. "A-about what he was like, before and after…" Even lower, now. "the accident."
[17:40] * Aline took her turn to quirk a brow, but let them talk.
[17:42] * Alexandre leaned forward now, clasping his hands. "The 'accident'?"
[17:44] * Aline tilted her head, then made it a sort of 'nudge nudge' gesture at Sera. "You should explain, no?"
[17:46] <Sept> "A-ah, the. The imprint. Th-they say something went wrong, and he. Elisha wasn't himself after it…" A careful look at Alexandre, begging him to understand so he wouldn't have to say more about it.
[17:48] <Alexandre> "That's right. They say it made him go insane."
[17:49] * Aline bridged her hands, and rested her chin on them, waiting calmly. Almost /too/ calmly.
[17:51] <Sept> The last word made Sera wince. "Mmh. What I wanted to ask was… when he was like that. Was there anything th-that seemed to get through to him? That seemed like it might have some chance of, of restoring him?"
[17:54] <Alexandre> "Hmph." Alexandre frowned. "There's something you need to know."
[17:55] * Aline leaned in, and had a knowing… not smile, but just a look that she knew /something/. "Hm?"
[17:57] <Sept> "Oh..?"
[18:01] <Alexandre> "The truth is, the process didn't exactly make him 'insane'. Not in the sense that it changed him, but rather…" Alexandre sighed. "All the 'accident' did was strip away parts of who he was- what he was left with wasn't added, but rather existed in him anyway. The violence. The hatred- the capacity for murder."
[18:04] * Sept just looked on with a face of… not quite shock or sadness, but pity, empathy perhaps. As far as Sera was capable of such.
[18:05] <Aline> "Of course." Aline said, finally… seeming to do something other than just lead on. "I had sort of suspected that based on things I had been told by… someone, but now it's clear." She shook her head sadly. "Splitting of the soul."
[18:05] <Alexandre> "Oh?"
[18:08] * Aline exhaled a bit, not a sigh but close enough to one. "Yes. It's something that can happen, and when it does… Parts of the personality, aspects of what they know and are capable of and so on… divide, to go with either of the 'new' souls. Given time, they'd eventually recover the missing parts, though obviously this was a more… tragic case." She looked into the distance for a
[18:08] * Aline second, before turning back to Alex. "If you know anything about cell division, it'd be an excellent analogy."
[18:09] * Sept had his attention split between the two now. It was like she'd hijacked his question. "So… you think it's possible, sometimes, to recover from it?"
[18:10] <Aline> "It'd take time and probably… therapy. I think 01 got a lot more of him than his original body, though…"
[18:11] * Alexandre had left his clasped-hands pose, instead leaning his head on his hand- elbow on the table. "So they took what they wanted from my father for 01, and left the remains behind." He said dispassionately.
[18:13] * Aline sighed. "…I don't know the technology. It could have been that they tried to make a copy in a case when a copy just wasn't possible - and ended up fudging it. Horribly."
[18:14] * Sept started, glancing at Alexandre in half-panic. It took him a few moments to realise that this was nothing new to him. With a look of mixed confusion and guilt, the boy stammered. "No, that's not- He's just… I'm sorry."
[18:17] * Alexandre hardly reacted. "It's fine. Keep going, Sera. You had other things to ask."
[18:18] <Aline> "…Probably. I'm again holding off on mine for now." Aline did visibly frown now. "And I'm trying to make sure he goes through with it without messing up - you can tell the boy's nervous."
[18:23] <Sept> The process was clearly almost physically painful for him. Aline's commentary didn't particularly help. "Wh-what about his siblings. Azariah and Mary..?"
[18:24] <Alexandre> "What about them?"
[18:25] * Aline returned to silence for now.
[18:27] <Sept> "Did you ever meet them? Or, or is there anything you know about their, uh. How th-they got along with Elisha?"
[18:28] <Alexandre> "I met them." Said Alexandre quietly. "Father got along better with Mary than he did Azariah."
[18:28] * Aline bit her lip a few times, and even fidgeted. "Not surprising."
[18:29] * Sept turned towards Aline again. "It isn't?"
[18:30] <Alexandre> "Father considered Azariah to be weak-willed."
[18:30] * Aline closed her eyes. "What I want to say and ask has to do with Azariah, but again… it'll… It'll distract from what you're trying to say."
[18:33] <Sept> "But, I was sort of thinking." His voice lowered again. "That that'd be all…" A glance at Aline, with a hint of pleading.
[18:34] * Alexandre stared at Sept, waiting. "Spit it out, Sera. For crying out loud."
[18:34] * Aline lowered her head. "…Yeah, uh…" That whole calm facade basically entirely broke - Aline now looked rather 'what do I do'-ey.
[18:38] <Sept> "A-A-Alexandre." Sera tried his best to look him in the eyes.
[18:38] * Alexandre looked back.
[18:40] <Sept> Sera's eyes were moist, now, and he trembled, ever so slightly. "H-he s-s-still loves you."
[18:42] * Aline …actually stared in shock between the two.
[18:45] * Alexandre froze up for a moment- his fingers, tapping his chin, stopped- and he stared. Then, he suddenly sat up straight, staring at Sept. "I-Is that so?"
[18:50] <Sept> "Yes. He… thinks of you, of you both. Family, -his- family. It's what he wants to protect… Even if he can't be there." Less guilt and nervousness now, more plain melancholy.
[18:52] * Aline didn't want to interrupt, so she just sat there, looking rather upset.
[18:55] <Alexandre> "…" Alexandre bowed his head, his fringe hiding his eyes. "Do you know what the last thing he ever said to me was?"
[18:56] <Sept> "…n-no?"
[19:02] <Alexandre> "He told me that he wanted me to wait for him. He told me he couldn't even hate me, because I wasn't worthy of hate- the only emotion he had left. He told me that when the day came that I'd be worthy, that I'd grown sick and tired of everything, he'd come and we'd destroy everything together. The entire world. He never said that he loved me…"
[19:05] <Sept> "But that's…" Sera looked down. "I'm sure he." Speech circuits shutting down, diverting power to disbelief units.
[19:10] * Alexandre looked up, smiling slightly. "But that was the broken man after the imprint accident, wasn't it? The words you just told me were how he really felt."
[19:11] * Aline interjected. "The splitting of the soul. You were speaking to a shadow of your father…" She shook her head violently. "I know it sounds clinical and stupid and halfhearted but I think that is what it is. Bodies… bodies are what we see, but the soul is what matters." Aline then turned to Sera. "You never met him, yes. The largest part of Elisha's true self…" She finally smiled,
[19:11] * Aline first time during this meaning. "Is the one that told you that."
[19:13] * Sept nodded to himself. "Y-yeah… That's right. That's the real one. The real One."
[19:15] * Alexandre blinks for a moment, before turning to Aline. He just sort of stares at her for a moment.
[19:18] * Aline stared back. "…That second part was about Sera. Er…" She reached back and scratched behind her neck. "Sorry… sorry for… for… I don't know?" She looked a bit sad again, but also nervous.
[19:20] <Alexandre> "You have an expositionary fetish, my dear Aline." Said Alexandre with a dry smile. "You seem to delight in telling me things I already know." A wink- to let her know he doesn't mean anything by it.
[19:22] * Aline …collapsed, not in the despair-ridden way she had yesterday, but in a sort of… taken-almost-by-surprise way. "G-ga… Right. Sorry. I… I guess I do, though. I mean I like learning things then telling people things. But…" She drummed her fingers a bit against the table. "I have some news with questions wrapped in them. And I know with certainty that the news… /is/ news."
[19:23] <Alexandre> "Oh?"
[19:23] * Sept was mostly back to normal, now, having finished with his own business. He waited.
[19:24] <Aline> "Let's get the baseline out of the way. Do you two know what's happened involving unit 05 and its… pilot…?"
[19:26] <Sept> "Ah. Shinji, yeah…"
[19:26] * Alexandre nodded slowly. "Yes, I do. You have my condolences." He said. "I knew Shinji a little myself… I can't say I'm not worried."
[19:28] * Aline drooped, her sort of 'getting it over with' attitude losing weight. "It's more than that. We know the circumstances. And who's responsible. That's… only the beginning, but I need to take small steps." She swallowed air. "It's Azariah."
[19:30] <Alexandre> "Yes. I assumed as such."
[19:30] <Sept> "Azariah Caine… took 05? Was he involved in the attack on the school?"
[19:30] <Alexandre> "That's what I suspect as well."
[19:33] <Aline> "More than likely, Sera, yeah." Aline shifted her lip around between her teeth nervously. "Furthermore… Alexandre. You know of Silas Caine, right? Who'd be your cousin by dint of Azariah. Well…" She got a /very/ hurt-looking expression at this. "I've spoken with him."
[19:36] <Alexandre> "…!" Alexandre stared at Aline. "Big Brother Silas? But- but…" Alexandre frowned. "… Shinji."
[20:23] <Sept> "Azariah's son..? He wasn't involved in the attacks too, was he?"
[20:25] * Aline craned her head over at Alex, then stared at Sera. "No. He - or let me rephrase, his body - is dead. Azariah's scientific field is neurology - working with the brain. He managed to salvage Silas' soul… and put it in Shinji's body." Aline looked glum, but not nearly as much as she might have. "Partly."
[20:27] <Sept> "…oh, dear. And. Shinji..?"
[20:28] * Alexandre closed his eyes. "Of course. He'd use Big Brother Silas's personality- his imprint- on Shinji's mind, but do it in such a way that EVA-05 would still recognise Shinji's AT Field…"
[20:32] <Sept> "So, Azariah is just ignoring… the importance of the pilots. And 05… wouldn't it notice? I mean, it's deeper than just the AT field, right?"
[20:38] * Aline slowly nodded. "Yes, so… there's more to it, actually. And yes, it might, if it spoke to him." Aline drummed on the table. "I also spoke to Lauren… I assume Caine, as well. She told me that Azariah was using something called a 'Suppression Headset' to keep the imprint stable - apparently, the Silas-imprint has to be gentle or Shinji would resurge and erase it entirely." Aline
[20:38] * Aline paused. "This means that Shinji is still, technically, alive. His soul is still there, and his personality isn't eradicated. Silas… doesn't realize that, but for me, that gives me some hope. If… if people are given a life after the one they already had, it shouldn't be at the expense of someone else. So I fully intend to try to disable 05, and then destroy the imprint of Silas."
[20:41] * Alexandre frowned, clasping his hands together. "…"
[20:42] <Sept> 'We herd u liek imprints so we put a pilot in yo pilot' is essentially the extent Sera can currently process this to. "Another battle like that..?" He was openly disappointed.
[20:46] * Aline twitched. Then twitched again. "Sera. /Try/ not to sound so disappointed at having to be careful to not kill my boyfriend."
[20:50] * Sept jolted into apologies. "A-ah! I'm sorry I'm sorry I didn't mean to I just with Solace and everything uh. Sorry?"
[20:51] <Alexandre> "You'll not find it an easy task, either way. Not if Silas is controlling it."
[20:56] <Sept> "You don't mean… can he actually use the AT field properly? It… it took us -months-."
[20:57] <Aline> "It's okay, Sera. Just… realize what you're saying and wanting, right? As to the difficulty… I can imagine. And 05 itself… could pose a problem." Aline folded her hands together. "Either way, I have a pretty clear idea on what I need to do to disable an EVA unit, though." She smiled - it was forced, but Aline was trying! "Thanks for listening and understanding… brother." Okay, maybe
[20:57] <Aline> it wasn't as forced as it seemed.
[21:01] <Alexandre> "…" Alexandre seemed perturbed, nevertheless.
[21:02] * Sept looked between the two. "Brother..? Alexandre? What's this about?"
[21:06] * Aline looked… well, a bit amused, but only a bit. "He wouldn't know. I… I have to admit I've been waiting a while to spring that. Probably felt a bit secret to me, but…" She unfolded her hands and leaned back. "Let's just say I was talking a bit with a certain commanding presence, and learnt enough to make me make an offer. My… biological mother… hardly is one so I actually
[21:06] * Aline don't mind having another."
[21:11] <Alexandre> "…"
[21:11] <Sept> "O-oh? Huh. ..Congratulations? I guess?" Proper way of going about this: Footage missing.
[21:14] * Alexandre sipped a glass of wine, his eyes narrowing into a glare.
[21:14] * Aline blushed heavily and pushed two fingers together. "Look, I'm trying to make things better for you too. Don't think I don't know the relationship is strained! Seriously I uh…"
[21:18] <Alexandre> "… It doesn't concern you." Said Alexandre curtly. "No matter your intentions, good or ill. And its irrelevant. What's relevant right now is Silas."
[21:21] <Sept> "R-right… do we know anything about what they're planning?"
[21:23] * Aline remained silent for a good few minutes. "…Not short-term. But it… probably… attack here eventually. Maybe with other…" She was getting less and less capable of talking, and had never stopped blushing either. "EVA derivative… things."
[21:25] <Alexandre> "If we assume that Azariah is connected to the Liberated Nations, then he might use EVA-05 in the LN's attacks throughout Africa, first."
[21:29] * Sept looked dispirited again. "If he is connected to them… They'll do something to Viviane, too, won't they..?"
[21:29] <Alexandre> "… Probably."
[21:30] * Aline looked left and right. "Mm."
[21:30] * Sept …said nothing, and just sank into his seat, depressed.
[21:39] <Alexandre> "Silas won't let anything bad happen to her."
[21:43] * Aline simply nodded, no longer really saying anything.
[21:47] <Sept> "Ah… Maybe. He was. Was he like that, before..?"
[21:53] <Alexandre> "Was he like… What, exactly?"
[21:54] <Sept> "That seems really… honest of him. I guess I would've expected him to be more like… Azariah?"
[21:55] <Aline> "He is honest." Aline's tone was flat, delivery… pained.
[21:58] <Alexandre> "To expect Silas to be like his father is to expect any one son to be like their father: a reasonable assessment, but often proven wrong." Said Alexandre, with a piercing gaze at Sept. "Back in the Academy, Silas was our leader- the very first official 'NeoSpartan', and a proof-of-concept of the entire project. He was 'NeoSpartan 00', to use Gehirn's typcial terminology. We just called him Big Brother Silas. Because he looked out for each of us, and we all looked up to him."
[22:04] <Sept> "Ohh. And that's why he wouldn't let them." Sera nodded. After a polite pause, he continued. "So… what happened to him? A NeoSpartan is trained to survive, right?"
[22:04] * Aline frowned, and all she did was tense up, as if she were bracing herself for something bad.
[22:10] <Alexandre> "Yes…" There was a sad, forlorn look in Alexandre's eyes. "But none of us are invincible. There was an incident. Atticus… He tried to escape, tried to escape the barracks, break into the armory and blast his way out of the camp. Silas knew of it in advance and went after him, because he was afraid of the boy's punishment if he was to be found out by the guards." Alexandre bowed his head. "But the guards caught on, and it was a confusing mess in the nighttime- and at one point, a guard shot at Atticus. Silas was killed trying to save Atticus from the shots."
[22:13] * Aline …stared out into nowhere. "…He probably knew…"
[22:15] * Sept had had his right hand on the table. It was now in a tight fist. "Atticus… He -was- punished for it, wasn't he?"
[22:18] <Alexandre> "Yes." Murmured Alexandre. "But the punishment granted to him by the administration was nothing to what Atticus did to himself…"
[22:19] * Aline nodded again, with a long sigh. "I can imagine."
[22:20] * Sept wasn't content to just imagine. "What was it, Alexandre?"
[22:26] <Alexandre> "First he tried to kill himself. But when that failed, he took to self-mutilation. Barbed whips across his own back was the start- I remember by the end he was throwing spent bullet casings into fires, and then applying the metal to open wounds on his body. Every day, whilst begging for forgiveness from Silas."
[22:27] * Aline was now rather taken with the floor now. Yay floor.
[22:32] * Sept frowned, surprise mixed in with the contempt. "At least he has the decency to try to atone." He scoffed. "But it's nothing if he keeps doing what got him there in the first place."
[22:34] <Alexandre> "Atticus has long since given up that life, Sera." Said Alex sternly.
[22:35] * Aline looked up from said floor very slowly. And stared at Sera with… an almost empty, but somehow clearly furious, look in her eyes.
[22:36] <Sept> "What if he has? Does he still get to act as if it never happened? Other people are still suffering -because- of him. Why should he get a normal life?"
[22:38] * Aline was twitching forcefully. "Because it was… that… or… the… kind of thing… that happened to Shinji…"
[22:39] <Alexandre> "Would you take away his normal life, no matter how precious or rare that thing might be, because of the past? A past with nothing to do with you?" Asked Alexandre patiently.
[22:44] <Sept> "If it meant Tsubaki could live without fear…" Sera replied, equally patiently.
[22:45] * Aline let herself stew. There was little more she could gain.
[22:46] <Alexandre> "Small words. Atticus is no danger to Tsubaki now despite what she might think; you might as well dedicate yourself to destroying beds to banish boogymen, Sera. To destroy what Atticus possesses now is to deny all he has done to atone, and if you do that then you condemn everyone in this room to a life steeped in sin, without forgiveness from what we have done. Is that what you want?"
[22:57] * Sept looked away. "No, of course not. Hmph. You're not supposed to forget those things. You carry them with you and avoid them at every step. But what would you know about failure?"
[23:01] <Alexandre> "Far more than you do, I suspect." Said Alexandre, pouring more wine into his glass.
[23:02] * Aline stared at Sera, then… sighed. "You're surprisingly patient. With him anyway."
[23:14] <Sept> "Everyone says that. Yet you keep living like this. Popular at school, goals for your future, fancy restaurants…"
[23:22] <Alexandre> "… Rejected by EVA-04, unable to fill the role I was bred for my entire life, unable to help my best friend when she fought Qaphsiel alone, rejected by his mother, living without a father, popular at a ghost school, goals set for me by other people, dining at empty restaurants, criticised by a dining partner who was content with a life that asked only that he exist." Alexandre drained his glass, throwing a glance toward Aline. "My dear Aline, I had to live with Asuka for half of my life. I am nothing if not patient." He cracked a smile.
[23:24] * Aline frowned back, having had enough time to just look… well, depressed. "Dear. I doubt I'm even that much. I really screwed this up anyway…" She didn't have wine, but dejectedly took a sip of her soda as if it was indeed more potent than that.
[23:25] <Alexandre> "Oh, stop feeling sorry for yourself, you made a gaffe, now get over it…"
[23:29] * Aline responded with staring back down at the floor.
[23:32] <Sept> "Hmmh." Sept looked back to the table and snatched his soda off it, drinking deeply. "Fine." That was all he said.
[23:33] <Alexandre> "Hahahaha." Alexandre chuckled, reaching over the table to simultaneously ruffle Sera's and Aline's hair. "Look at the two of you, so serious. I know things have been down lately, but you can't let it get to either of you. You need to keep those spirits up- for Shinji's sake, and for Viviane's sake."
[23:36] * Aline sighed. "…I… guess. I should try to keep these kinds of talks more…" She tried to glare at Sera again, but didn't have the energy to. It was just a mild dirty look. "…Private."
[23:38] * Sept pouted just a bit less at Alexandre's comment, disregarding Aline's. "Mmh. Thank you, for the answers, Alexandre."
[23:40] <Alexandre> "Not a problem. I don't mind telling stories about my father." Said Alex- before he sidled over to Aline. "Look at this gloomy gus, Sera. Dear Sister Aline's not paying attention. Guess I'll have to make her-" Aline would be beset by that most darknest of nemeses- tickles. Furious tickles!
[23:43] * Sept …smiled a little. Alexandre wins. The pilot refrains from joining in on The Tickles, though, and is content to just sit there trying to suppress a grin, and then hiding it in his soda.
[23:45] * Aline tried her hardest to resist! There were a few little inadvertant giggles, but she just… …well, 'her hardest' was somewhat so-so. "H-h-hey, stop! Aaaah!" She flailed a bit more, but… eventually the poor girl just… fell over backwards in her chair. "Right, right… sorry…" she managed to murmur from her sort of awkward position of trying to extricate herself from the fallen
[23:45] * Aline seating.
[23:50] <Alexandre> "Guh." Alexandre had had enough presence of mind to -not- tumble, but he nevertheless was a little unbalanced, and it was only with a deft hand and a slight concession to gravity that he managed to catch his tumbling glasses. "Now now, up you get." He said cheerfully, offering a hand. "Its time we made an actual food order."
[23:53] * Aline took that hand, pulling herself (and the chair) up… and opening the menu in front of her, that had laid on the table the whole time. "Ah… yeah… should be pretty good, though…"
[23:54] <Sept> "Ah. I guess it is." Sera opened a menu, leafing through it quickly, then shutting it again. "I'm ready!"

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