For Finding Hope In Despair

[17:10] * Aline certainly had had better days, at least as much as it came to her body. She had spent a few days of recovery after the (thankfully short) operation to get the bullet out of her leg, so at least she wasn't hopped up on anesthesia… But she felt rather off regardless, because… because of so many things. Wearily, she reached for the doorknob… remembered the lock… used the key…
[17:10] * Aline then opened the door with a biiiig sigh.
[17:19] <Ikari‘Shinji> [The apartment was empty…-
[17:19] <Ikari`Shinji> [… Although there was, after a few seconds, a noise. A bleary shape emerged, huddling in the doorway to Aline’s bedroom.]
[17:22] * Aline wasn't able to tell who it was, but… it didn't seem hostile. She was still a bit paranoid, but… surely they wouldn't be moping if they were? She decided to quietly close and re-lock the door… then stepped over to the wall (the wall the sword was hanging from, so maybe more paranoid that she gave herself credit for). Her voice weakly issued out. "H-h-hello?"
[17:23] <Ikari‘Shinji> "Aline…" Murmured… Yes, it was Shinji. He emerged slighly from the shadows… And he looked an utter mess. His hair hadn’t been brushed in -days-, his face was bleary and pale. He… Couldn't look her in the eye. He stared down at the ground.
[17:24] * Aline then… walked closer to him, and crouched down. She hadn't been told straight-up, but she had definitely pieced it together from what she heard on the phone. "Shinji…" Aline nudged closer. "…It's terrible, isn't it…"
[17:30] <Ikari‘Shinji> "…" Shinji didn’t seem to know how to respond. It was like he simply wasn't equipped to handle these emotions. He stared at Aline… And… He sort of slid down the wall, his eyes wide with despair. "I…"
[17:32] * Aline was already looking really sad herself. "I don't… know what to say. We were… stuck apart from one another. Things might've been different but… but I…" Okay, forget that sad bit. She was already crying lightly. "I wasn't there for you. I'm sorry…"
[17:36] * Ikari‘Shinji shakes his head at Aline, unable to speak. He shakes his head even more furiously- trying to dissuade her… The tears that were building in his eyes start to course down. He reaches for her.
[17:37] * Aline reached back. If it was a hug he wanted, it was a hug he’d get. She didn't need to say anything for that. Even if she was going to get him soaked in her own tears too.
[17:42] * Ikari‘Shinji didn’t hug Aline so much as cling. But even then his grip was weak. Everything about him seemed… Weak, tired. Like he wanted to just give up.
[17:45] * Aline continued to hold on, but… spoke up. "I… I've been here before, Shinji… Different times, but…" Sniffle, sniffle. Her crying was starting to interfere. "…But but I've felt this. Or something like it. But I'm still here… I-I-I-I'm still here."
[17:49] <Ikari‘Shinji> "I-I just want to be happy again." Mumbled Shinji. Then… The tears came in torrents as Shinji broke down, burying his head in Aline. "I-I-I w-was h-ha-happy h-here…"
[17:54] * Aline looked… well, heartbroken at the sheer /tragedy/ inherent, but also… unsure what to do. Unsure how to… oh screw it. "I… I know… it’s going to take time. It's going to take a long time… but in time things will be better. We just have to… h-have to deal with them as they come…" She grabbed his head with her arms, focusing the embrace at that point. "Wh-wh-when you're
[17:54] * Aline ready you can tell me… anything. I really have been here before…"
[17:56] * Ikari‘Shinji sank into that embrace. "I-I-I f-feel l-like I-I wa-want to die, Aline… T-That… Horrible, gut feeling…"
[18:01] * Aline could just /feel/ her face contorting in utter terror. Thaaat was pretty bad. "I used t-to-to be like that. It’s… you need time to… let the reason… go, and th-then you have to uh… you have to find a new reason to w-w-w-want to live…"
[18:03] * Ikari‘Shinji -clung-. "A-Aline…"-
[18:03] <Ikari`Shinji> "M-Make me w-want to live again…"
[18:06] * Aline stroked a hand through his hair. "…I’ll do my best. A-a-and my best is pretty damn good… Especially if it's for you." And she grabbed on just as hard as he did.
[18:08] <Ikari‘Shinji> "S… So selfish…" Mumbled Shinji.
[18:10] * Aline seemed to pause, though she made it work like she was pushing tighter. Wanted to try to conceal that kind of gesture. Confusion colored her voice. "S… Selfish?"
[18:12] <Ikari`Shinji> "I… s-so s-selfish to a-ask… T-that of people… N-Now…"
[18:14] <Aline> "Whaaaat?" The sheer confusion in Aline’s tone rose to a dramatically high level. "You're suffering, your… your family's had a horrible loss and you feel bad. H-h-h-how is asking for help being too selfish?!"
[18:42] <Ikari‘Shinji> "T-That’s right. E-Everyone e-else is s-suffering t-t-t-too, a-and I h-h-hid here l-like a c-coward…"
[18:47] * Aline got even more frantic… she couldn't even begin to get angry, but her shock and dismay at what he was saying was /clear/! "But but you came here to wait for me. Your mom has to know that that'd be a sure way to make you feel a little better! I… I-I-I don't know what else to say, uh… you… you can't… you can't do everything for someone else… Then you'd just burn out and
[18:47] * Aline feel even worse…"
[18:52] <Ikari‘Shinji> "I-I know. E-everything y-you say is right, b-but I hate myself so much… Right now…"
[18:56] * Aline nodded. "It’s… something you'll just have to fight. It's going to hurt the most now… But look. I can… I can at least hurt with you, right? I miss her too… I have my own things to be afraid of… That I want to hide from but can't. I might even have reasons to hate what I am, but… I won't!" She stared into his eyes with /very/ worried determination. "I'll feel terrible and
[18:56] * Aline it'll pass. I'm sad and it'll pass. Just… stay together. Just keep your mind together with mine… okay?"
[19:03] <Ikari‘Shinji> "… A…Alright, Aline." Whispered Shinji. "Alright. F-For you… I-I’ll…" He shuddered, sobbing painfully. "I-I just want to run away… To hide, but… But I mustn't… Run away…"
[19:09] * Aline curled up close enough to wrap her legs around him too - a slight wince as the bandages on her right leg slid against him. "Run far enough and you won't know where to go… I've been there, I've been there too. I ran. I ran from bad to worse… But on that… that same day I called you, I remembered what I had to do. I-I went back and stayed." She sighed deeply. "…I'm talking
[19:09] * Aline about my mom. I… I couldn't stand living with her, and I… the moment NERV offered the job, I… I still hurt so bad from when those… those /bastards/ took me back then. The same ones. I ran and I got this apartment and I stayed away from being alone in the same room as my mother. B-but I came back. I talked to her. I tried to do it. It took me months but I tried to do it. Shinji,
[19:09] * Aline it's… it's okay to fail. As long as you have hope."
[19:21] <Ikari‘Shinji> "I-I want to hope." Mumbled Shinji. "I-It s-seems so d-dark right now, a-and the only hope I have is in you… A-and I’m scared. I-I'm scared you'll be hurt, a-and I w-want to run a-away f-from that p-ossible pain, b-but I have to c-cling tighter, n-not less…"
[19:31] * Aline hugged tighter, and… through the tears she gained some kind of… clarity? It was as if her voice was a lot more confident than before, but… protective. Motherly. "I'll… I'll be your hope. And… you can't hurt me, Shinji. You would have to raise your hand and try to kill me to even come close. I know you. I /love/ you. Those two together… those two make me sure you can't.
[19:31] * Aline I know you better than anyone else even though it's only been a few months." She didn't have absolute poise, though, because even in that protective smile, she still flowed with tears, still drooped a little in sorrow.
[19:35] * Ikari‘Shinji started to gasp. His fears remained, his worries remained, his pain and grief ached, but he embraced Aline without hesitation. "I-I love you too." It was stronger than the other emotions, that love.
[19:38] * Aline let it stay like that. Let them stay on the floor together like that. Close. A tiny part of her mind was make-believing that her and Shinji’s AT Fields were coming close. They were the embodiment of their souls… it'd be an approrpiate metaphor. "Y-yeah…"

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