For Facing What Lies Beyond

[20:58] * @Aline had found herself in the most active of Paris-2's shopping malls today, this time shopping to look for maybe some kind of good computer she could get with her October allowance… after all, the one she used earlier was getting pretty old. And to adorn her today was a light and fold-y white dress underneath a black over-dress, tied in front by matching black ribbons that crisscrossed
[20:58] * @Aline between the two sides of the upper one - and of course, little black slippers and a tan purse (Aline ultimately had less purses than, say, Yanmei, so she ultimately didn't have as many matching ones. She made do, though.)
[21:01] <GMHaplo> [It was a rather cool day, too. The warmth of summer was already long dead at this point.-
[21:03] <GMHaplo> [Paris-2 was a weird city in some ways. The mall was busy, busier than it usually was. The battle with Samandiriel had not been seen favourably, yet the population of the city had received a rather large intake of people- they were starting to average about 1,200 people a day. Yet the city hardly changed, considering how it was basically overinfrastructured- a city built for two million and currently home to 260,000.-
[21:03] <GMHaplo> [There was a light buzz of chatter- some people even recognised Aline and she might've been approached at some point.-
[21:04] <GMHaplo> [But a different noise reached her ears now- the crying of a child.]
[21:04] * @Aline …Aline was unsettled by that! She had to do something, though, so… She rushed over towards the source, concern coloring her features…
[21:08] <GMHaplo> [A child. A boy that might've, if he were lucky, be about just above waist height on Aline… He had blonde hair and adorably big blue eyes, and he was sobbing his heart out. He would've been around Rei's age…]
[21:11] * @Aline looked around, a bit, as she started to get closer to him. She wanted to see if there was any obvious parents looking for him or somesuch. But in the mean time… "Hey… What's the matter?"
[21:13] <GMHaplo> [No… No one seemed to be looking for the kid.-
[21:14] <GMHaplo> [He looked up at her, eyes full of tears. "I-I…"]
[21:15] * @Aline crouched down to get to his height, and… stared back. "You…? Come on, I'll try to make things better…"
[21:17] <GMHaplo> ["I-I c-can't f-find my m-mama…"]
[21:18] * @Aline frowned really deeply, but… "Okay, I'll try to help you find her, okay? What's she look like?"
[21:21] <GMHaplo> ["S-She's really tall." Said the boy, who was short and probably though Aline was tall. "W-With hair like mine, and e-eyes like mine…"]
[21:23] * @Aline nodded at him, and then… well, alright! Time to get moving then. "Okay! Take my hand so neither of us gets lost, okay?" She held out her hand, of course… and then she set out into the mall to look for someone who matches that description - there probably were at least some multiples vis a vis that, so she'd have to ask him from time to time when she ran into such people.
[21:25] <GMHaplo> ["O-Okay." Said the boy, taking Aline's hand. "What's your name?"]
[21:26] * @Aline blushed at the question for a moment, but… Well, what the heck. "Aline. What's yours?"
[21:26] <GMHaplo> ["Oh, Aline…" The boy frowned for a moment, trying to think, before he shrugged. "I'm Sam. My mama calls me Sammy."]
[21:29] * @Aline smiled at that… and slightly sighed in relief. She didn't need to be ~famous~ right now. "Okay then, Sammy. Let's go look for your mom!" …So Aline lead the way forward!
[21:33] <GMHaplo> [And on they went! It was a vast shopping mall, filled with a lot of shiny stores ranging from electronics to comic book shops to fashion and clothing- and Sammy seemed like a distractable boy. And now that Aline was there, she seemed to cheer up pretty quickly. "Wow." Said the boy, stopping suddenly, staring at a toy shop.]
[21:36] * @Aline stopped too, and turned… "Ah… uh. I know it's pretty, but… we need to find your mom. I can tell her about that place though, maybe?"
[21:37] <GMHaplo> ["A-awww, but…"]
[21:38] * @Aline tugged a little, playfully. "Hey, tell you what. I could even go with you and her for that, you know? If she's okay with it, anyway."
[21:39] <GMHaplo> ["Aww, ok…" Said Sam, seeming a little putout, but quickly finding something else to distract himself with. "Hey, Aline?"]
[21:40] * @Aline looked down at him. "Ah, yes, Sammy?"
[21:40] <GMHaplo> [The boy giggled. "You're really pretty~"]
[21:41] * @Aline /blushed/ at that. "Aww… uh… thanks."
[21:41] <GMHaplo> ["Hehehe." Sammy tugged at -her- hand now. "Aline, look! Can we go to the milkshake cafe? Please?!"]
[21:44] * @Aline …Okay, she relented. "Okay… okay! We'll look at it a little. I'm only gonna get you a real little one - don't want to make your mom mad at you for spoiling your dinner!"
[21:45] <GMHaplo> ["Yaaaaaaaay~ You're the best~ <3"]
[21:46] * @Aline smiled a little, at that, but… onwards, to the cafe! She could get a nice and tasty vanilla one for herself too.
[21:50] <GMHaplo> [The cafe! It was only lightly patronised today, and before long they're sitting at a table… Was Aline capable of resisting Sammy's calls for a big triple caramel-and-vanilla thickshake?]
[21:51] * @Aline was!… It was her money, after all. And his diet and she still had to find his mom and and aaaaa. …But she did get caramel on it. She was not heartless.
[21:51] <GMHaplo> [Sam was happy with that. He drank away cheerfully.]
[21:54] * @Aline herself had just a plain vanilla, though she knew it was a good place so she got something /good/ back. Ahhh, dessert.
[21:54] <GMHaplo> ["Hey, Aline?"]
[21:55] * @Aline turned over to him, questioningly. "Yeah?"
[21:55] <GMHaplo> ["Are you smart?"]
[21:56] * @Aline blinked at that question… but then answered truthfully. "Ah, yeah, I am. Pretty smart. Why you ask?"
[21:56] <GMHaplo> ["You look smart. You have glasses."]
[21:57] * @Aline giggled softly. "Ohhh, right. I guess the two do come together, don't they?"
[22:03] <GMHaplo> ["Uh-huh. Why do you have glasses?"]
[22:04] * @Aline sorta… well, looked a little confused at that. "Near-sighted. Can't see further than a few meters before everything turns blurry without them. I forget why glasses and smartness go together though."
[22:06] <GMHaplo> ["Ohhh." Drink drink. "I bet they get annoying."]
[22:06] * @Aline shook her head. "Nah. I'm so used to them that it feels a bit odd if I don't wear them."
[22:08] <GMHaplo> ["Ohh." Sammy stared at Aline's face for a minute, tilting his head curiously.]
[22:09] * @Aline tilted her head to match. "Why, they weird to you?"
[22:09] <GMHaplo> ["I don't think you should wear them."]
[22:10] * @Aline seemed pretty surprised at that, maybe even a bit… how to put. Like she wondered why he said that. "Wh-why not?"
[22:10] <GMHaplo> ["They hide your face." Said Sammy seriously. "You'd be much cuter without them."]
[22:14] * @Aline looked a bit nervous. "I… ah. But I… I kinda like wearing them anyway?… Er…"
[22:15] <GMHaplo> ["I bet you'd be happier if you didn't have them." He stared down at his thickshake, which was… Empty. And back at Aline with big, pleading eyes.]
[22:17] * @Aline shook her head, starting to get a bit stressed out, actually. "Er… please, could we stop talking about that? I hardly know you and you're trying to change how I look…" She did acknowledge the depleted shake, but seemed to show a 'you've already had enough' look on her face. Hers was done too, anyway.
[22:18] <GMHaplo> ["H-Huh?" Sammy blinked, his eyes filling with tears. "I-I-I'm s-sorry…"]
[22:18] * @Aline looked even /more/ stressed, and then… quickly hugged him. "S-s-sorry…"
[22:21] <GMHaplo> [The boy sniffled, hugging Aline back tightly. "N-No, it's ok."]
[22:22] * @Aline kept it up for a little bit… "Right… uh… how… how about we get to looking again…?"
[22:22] <GMHaplo> ["O-Ok."]
[22:23] * @Aline patted him on the head, then pulled back. She still looked pretty nervous, though.
[22:25] <GMHaplo> [To the outside! More looking about… After maybe an hour or so, they didn't seem to have any luck, but Sammy didn't seem deterred. Tug tug. "Hey, Aline!"]
[22:25] * @Aline …stared down. "…Ah?"
[22:26] <GMHaplo> [Sammy pointed at a pair of people… Youngsters barely older than she was, holding hands and giggling as they stared through a jewellry store's display window. "Do you think they're together?"]
[22:27] * @Aline felt… okay, the relief on her face was obvious. "Ah… Ah! I think they might be. I mean if they're looking at jewellry, they're probably even feeling pretty excited about it."
[22:28] <GMHaplo> ["Huh." Sammy rubbed his cheek, looking a little disquieted. "Are you together with anyone, Aline?"]
[22:29] * @Aline sorta… stared… but then put on a little smile. "Oh… er, yeah. Yeah I am."
[22:30] <GMHaplo> ["What's it like?" He asked, staring up at her.]
[22:31] * @Aline blinked, breaking her stare, but… well, she oblidged. "Oh! Well, it's… really nice, it's like knowing they won't hurt you, and then being happy just by being with them and also just little feelings that I don't really know words for, but are also good."
[22:32] <GMHaplo> ["Huh?!" The buy stared, his face utterly surprised. "T-They don't hurt you?!"]
[22:34] * @Aline suddenly turned, surprised at his surprise! "W-w-well, you have to make sure it's pretty clear, like, true love. But… the one I'm with… I know him so well, that I can tell how it is. Not everyone's lucky enough to have that, but… I found it, you know?"
[22:40] <GMHaplo> ["B-But mama says there's no such thing. She says people only hurt each other… W-When they're like that."]
[22:42] * @Aline now looked practically baffled at that. "What… What? That doesn't make sense! There's lots of different people. Some of them do do that, you know. But… I know in my heart there's some that don't. It's just…" She sighed, pushing up her glasses a little. "Some people aren't smart about things, like knowing how other people feel. They mess up when they do that… That's probably
[22:42] * @Aline why your mom thinks that way."
[22:43] <GMHaplo> ["O-Oh." The poor boy seemed… A little confused. "M-Mama says that n-no one loves me except her…"]
[22:45] * @Aline frowned at that… "Well… you got to remember that you have to meet and get to know people, before they'll pay attention. Can't love someone you don't know anything about, right?"
[22:45] <GMHaplo> ["I guess…" The boy frowned, thinking… Then suddenly looked up to his right. "M-Mama?!"]
[22:47] * @Aline turned to look in that direction! She was maybe glad to finally finish helping the kid~
[22:47] <GMHaplo> [She was too late to see, but… Sammy was pointing at a woman's toilet. "I-In there…"]
[22:49] * @Aline nodded at that! "Okay! Since you're small, this should be okay for you… let's go, then!" …Hopefully the other women in there agreed. TO THE BATHROOMS
[22:51] <GMHaplo> [Sammy stopped at the door. "E-Er, are you sure…?"]
[22:52] <@Aline> "Y-yeah. I'll cover for you if it somehow isn't okay. Okay? I mean, I don't wanna lose sight of you suddenly right when we're about to find your mom!"
[22:53] <GMHaplo> ["Ah, ok…"-
[22:53] <GMHaplo> [It was quite a large bathroom, and mostly empty. The stalls were all open, and at the end of the room was a woman with her back turned to them- with long blonde hair.]
[22:55] * @Aline started to move closer to the woman! "Hello? Uh… I think this is your son, ma'am?"
[23:07] <GMHaplo> [She didn't move…]
[23:09] * @Aline moved closer, and tapped her on her shoulder. "Excuse me…"
[23:10] <GMHaplo> [The woman toppled backwards, onto the floor- thudding hard, staring up at Aline with dead, blue eyes.]
[23:13] * @Aline backed away with a start, looking pretty horrified! "Oh god oh god oh god…" She looked between the mom and the son and and and… reached for her phone, thus rummaging through her purse.
[23:14] <GMHaplo> [Sammy reached out calmly for Aline's hand- the one going for her purse- holding it tight. "Look what you did to my mother."]
[23:19] * @Aline shook violently. "I-I-I didn't do that! It… I just tapped her on the shoulder. That doesn't do that!…"
[23:20] <GMHaplo> ["Look again…"]
[23:21] * @Aline …did. She wasn't sure she wanted to, but she did.
[23:21] <GMHaplo> [The woman was… Pinned against the wall, now, pinned in place by a shard…-
[23:22] <Samandiriel> "See what has become of my mother?" Murmured… A cold voice. It sounded like scraping glass.
[23:25] * @Aline …turned. Now she realized just what the situation was. "I… see." It was halfway a true statement, and halfway the use of that phrase as a flat reaction of surprise.
[23:26] <Samandiriel> Sam… He was still a little boy, but his hair had turned to glass, as had his eyes. "You killed me." He said calmly. "You destroyed me…"
[23:28] * @Aline nodded. This, this at least was… distressingly familiar. "When I spoke to you before… You couldn't understand. Despite everything I said, you felt incapable of it! Don't you know what will happen to me and the people I love - even the people I don't - if you just went ahead with what you were doing instead of giving me a chance?"
[23:30] <Samandiriel> "But what about me?!" Shouted Sam. "What about my brothers that you killed?! We never had even the smallest chance!"
[23:36] * @Aline stared. "Before I met you, I didn't even know enough to say what I had. Before you it was just… being told that your brothers would not listen, would not reason with anyone, just… just go forward. It's a sad law of reality… When two kinds, whose lives will /all/ end if the other gains control, meet, and desire that control… they must fight. I doubt you heard me, but I
[23:36] * @Aline said… I said that 'one must fall'. There are still billions of human souls in this world. Even if they don't have such glory, even if they are but small ones… that's more wants and hopes and needs than I can even imagine, and I can't forsake all of them, for beings that, before you spoke to me, would have ignored me outside of that shell, that living breathing shell that lets me bring
[23:36] * @Aline to bear that power. You would've thought me a pathetic little thing, a tiny soul not even aware of what it could do. And every single human, again millions more than your brothers… they would be treated the same. I at least tried to speak! Even if I failed, I tried to actually consider what it was you wanted!…" She looked… very affected. Angry, yet… upset.
[23:41] <Samandiriel> "YOU ARE PATHETIC!" Screamed Samandiriel, raising a hand to strike Aline… Before changing course at the last moment, smashing into a basin, splitting it in half. Streams of LCL started to gush out of the hole… And Samandiriel started to tremble. "It's not fair…"
[23:46] * @Aline jumped back a bit in surprise, but… looked down. "…Don't think I don't know that… I've tried to hope that there was some way to end this, to actually share some part of… I don't know, this solar system? Some way for humanity and the Angels to both live. But… but it isn't happening. I can't even begin to figure out how to do it. How to be able to make that happen. We'll
[23:46] * @Aline keep fighting, because nobody will listen." Aline looked rather sad, herself.
[23:49] * Samandiriel shakes his head furiously. "This world is… Chosen. It's… Rich. It bears life… I don't know. I can't remember all of what Mother said." He turns to Aline. "I don't know… This thing. This thing that you showed me."
[23:52] * @Aline frowned heavily. "…So even though our kinds require worlds that can't sustain one another… there's still something you need from Earth, too. It's a matter of changes, maybe, on a level I can't grasp." She seemed upset about that, definitely. "I… which thing? Sorry, sorry, I'm… I'm still a bit confused and upset." She did briefly peer at the LCL, but… eh. At this point it
[23:52] * @Aline didn't matter.
[23:54] <Samandiriel> "When I cry for Mother, when I cried for her- when we fought, you felt… Something odd. An emotion that wasn't hate or the desire to hurt…"
[23:58] * @Aline closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "It's because I know. It… it might have been concern. Sorrow at what I had to do. Or it may have been that memory… But any of them is driven by the fact that… you or your brothers, they only hate us either because they don't know… or can't do anything about this war we're all stuck in. My friends, the others who pilot those things…
[23:58] * @Aline they probably only hate you because they don't know, or might not listen. It's… it's like I said earlier. Not everyone's the sort to have that kind of love. People are sadly, quite complicated. That possibly goes for your kind as much as mine."
[00:01] <Samandiriel> "I wouldn't know." Murmured Samandiriel. "I know only of Mother… She does not hate me. That is love, yes? To not hate."
[00:03] * @Aline sighed. "It's… the opposite of hate. If hate is… a deep want to hurt someone, to be angry at them and consider them lesser than you… Love is deeper than that." She tried to remember Shinji, to awaken that feeling. "Because then, loving someone… means you want to help them. To make them not hurt. To devote a part of your own self to them."
[00:06] * Samandiriel tried to consider this… It frowned. "I… find it hard to understand. That is, I suppose, because I have nothing that loves me."
[00:09] * @Aline frowned deeply… "It's something you learn as you begin to meet people… To open up to them, to be kind to them. Some will still be angry. Some might have been hurt so far that they won't let go of their hate. But… there remain those capable of love. But you can't be alone. I've learnt that myself - it doesn't happen when you're alone, and finding people is… something you
[00:09] * @Aline have to do yourself. Given who you are, who your brothers are… It may be very difficult." Aline… paused for a short while, pursing her lips. "Yours seems to be a lonely kind. I have not once seen two of your brothers at once."
[00:13] <Samandiriel> "We are outnumbered by your kind by a hundred million to one." Murmured Samandiriel. "I have never met another of my brothers." A sigh. "I exist now only because a scrap of my own self was unwittingly transferred when we spoke. Your AT Field is…" He shuddered. "It is so very easy to get lost in it."
[00:14] * @Aline looked sort of wide-eyed at that. "…So I've heard… I apparently have something different about myself that lets others in easier. But to hear of it that way…" She actually blushed. "I don't know what to say about that. It almost sounds like a compliment."
[00:20] <Samandiriel> "I suppose, in a sense, it is." Said Samandiriel listlessly, turning to a mirror. His true form was reflected within. "I enjoyed the experience. In some strange way, it made me not want to kill you. Rather the opposite. But now… It is time for me to collapse this little pocket in your AT Field."
[00:23] * @Aline stared at him, but then nodded succinctly. "If it means that you're going to go for good, now… I just want you to know… Now that I got to have this without the terror of battle, to speak to you more completely… I'm glad. And I'm sorry it has to be this way."
[00:25] <Samandiriel> "I am…" He frowned for a moment in contemplation. "I am glad, too." He stared at his reflection. "Thank you for the thickshake."
[00:25] * @Aline bowed, and… she had too much melancholy in her tone to giggle, but it was a sort of weak laughter. "You're welcome."
[00:26] * Samandiriel nodded, and turned back to the reflection. "I feel hesitation. I do not want to die. I do not want to cease my existence. What happens to those who have no AT Fields? What comes after?"
[00:29] * @Aline frowned, unsure. "I… I think that… well I know that when humans die, we… return. We return to the cycle of souls. I don't know if what's left of you can hold together enough, but…" The frown turned into a slight, tearstained smile. "Maybe you'll return to your mother. If not… I don't know, and I'm… I'm terrified of that alternative for myself, too. Let's hope that my
[00:29] * @Aline guess is true, huh? Even if we're stuck in this war for survival, I'd at least be happy if your spirit could rest, maybe even see a new life some day."
[00:31] <Samandiriel> "Then I suppose that will have to do." Murmured Samandiriel. He stared at his reflection for a moment, before he lifted his right hand, a spike forming from the flesh. He pulled his hand back.-
[00:31] <Samandiriel> Aline would see a single glimmering tear on his cheek, catching the light, shedding a rainbow pattern across the room a split second before the blow landed.-
[00:33] <Samandiriel> [Aline awoke.]
[00:35] * @Aline awoke from one of these dreams… for the first time, not yelling in fear. Not feeling broken. But… she was sad. Even if it was a bittersweet sadness. She looked up, to see if anyone had come in to help her or something like that.
[00:36] <Samandiriel> [Strangely, it seemed… Peaceful and quiet. The only other person there was Shinji- having left only for a few days for his sister's funeral before returning- curled up at her side, arms around her, gently asleep.]
[00:38] * @Aline smiled again, now, and… clutched his arm. It felt better to know he was still there.
[00:39] <Samandiriel> [He was warm and alive and full of love, even asleep…-
[00:41] <Samandiriel> [It was a beautiful night outside. The stars glimmered like a billion crystals- the most beautiful and precious crystals in existence. The moon burned with the light stolen from the sun, shedding its light on the world gently and quietly.-
[00:41] <Samandiriel> [God was in his heaven, and all was right with the world.]

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