For The Love Of Strawberry

[17:05] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> At a special table in the resort’s fantastic restaurant sits a special young girl, with long white hair and big blue eyes. Akagi Tsubaki- pilot of EVA-03- sips on a strawberry milkshake. Below her is a bowl of strawberry ice cream, topped with strawberry topping, laden with strawberry wafers and fresh strawberries. She stares out at the pristine whiteness of the mountain view.
[17:15] <Sept> Soon, a certain other pilot would join her, but not before ordering a strawberry milkshake for himself as well. He sat down in the chair next to Tsubaki's. "Hello, Tsubaki. How was your exploration?"
[17:17] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "Oh, Nii-san~" Said Tsubaki, looking up from her strawberry armageddon. "We saw animals! There was an ibex! And lots of birds. And little bunnies, and we saw foxes and a -bear-." She took a mouthful of strawberry. "Not together, though, they were spread out."
[17:22] <Sept> "Ib— A bear? Did you have to fight it?" There was concern in his voice. He should’ve gone with them!
[17:23] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "No. It was just sitting by a lake, looking sleepy and lazy." Said Tsubaki. "Why would a bear attack me? I’m not full of honey."
[17:28] <Sept> "…oh. I guess so. I just saw a marmots and some birds… and a hart, I think? And we played music with the wind…" Sera's thoughts drifted away for a few moments as he remembered those precious minutes.
[17:29] * Akagi‘Tsubaki tilted her head. "What’s a marmots? And why was there a heart?"
[17:36] <Sept> "This little furry thing… you know squirrels? Like a big squirrel. It was eating a spider. And I don't know, I think it heard the music we were playing. Or maybe it used to come to the valloh! I mean, a deer. With antlers." Sera tried to further demonstrate the last point by the art of mime.
[17:37] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "Ooh." Tsubaki’s eyes lit up as she stared at Sept's… Antlers. "Did you feed it?"
[17:42] <Sept> "No, a VTOL scared it away… I thought it was supposed to be peaceful out here." Sadface, and a sip from his newly-arrived milkshake.
[17:42] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "Aw." Tsubaki matched Sept’s sadface with her own. "That was probably Atticus arriving…"
[17:46] <Sept> "Oh..? Oh. Everyone else seemed to be having fun with him, though… Maybe it's alright. What do you think of Atticus? Did you meet him yet?"
[17:49] * Akagi‘Tsubaki glowers. "H-He was a NeoSpartan…"
[17:51] <Sept> "Neo-, oh, that. Is that bad? Doesn’t it make him part of the family?"
[17:51] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "N-Not him." Tsubaki’s face seemed equal parts angry and upset. "H-He was cruel."
[17:53] <Sept> "!" Sera turned on his chair to face Tsubaki, and leaned toward her. "Did he… hurt you?"
[17:55] * Akagi‘Tsubaki … Averted her gaze, staring down at the strawberry mess. "…"
[17:59] <Sept> "…it’s alright. Sister. I won't let him do anything to you again. I promise. Alright?" Was he supposed to hold her hand? Or maybe hug? Wracked by uncertainty, Sera ended up just patting Tsubaki's shoulder.
[18:01] * Akagi‘Tsubaki turned her gaze back to Sera, patting his hand sadly. "Don’t let him… D-Don't let him break my fingers…" She trembled slightly…
[18:07] <Sept> "B-break..?" Sera made an effort to contain the terror and anger on his face. "Don't worry. I won't. It's alright."
[18:08] * Akagi‘Tsubaki nodded quickly, shakily. "I-I shouldn’t worry. I-It was a long time ago and I'm safe now. Nii-san, you'll p-protect me, so…" She looked back at her ice cream and took a mouthful. "The others… Were family, though."
[18:14] <Sept> "Y-yeah. Safe now. Were the others all kind to you..? I mean, were they like Asuka. I mean, not that she's mean but I uh." Another sip from his Strawberry Solace. The best flavor for awkward teens.
[18:18] * Akagi‘Tsubaki sips from her’s as well! "Usually. Alexandre took care of us, and he didn't let Atticus get away with what he did." A sigh. "I miss Mana."
[18:23] * Sept was relieved she had taken no offense at the question, and gladly took the straw offered. "Mana? Another one of the family?"
[18:31] * Akagi‘Tsubaki nods! "Mana and I were trained the same way! So we were both really good friends. Kinda lonely…"
[18:34] <Sept> "That’s good! Do you have any idea where Mana is now..?"
[18:36] * Akagi‘Tsubaki shook her head. "Mana was taken out of the program near the end. We dunno where she went." Some more strawberry. "A lot of kids had that happen."
[18:44] <Sept> "That’s… too bad. You still have the memories, though. I'm sure Mana does, too… I guess I'm lucky to always have had Freya… And now all of you." After a moment of thought, he added, "And One. To help keep us all safe." He smiled sincerely.
[18:46] * Akagi‘Tsubaki beamed. "It’s what you deserve, right? Lots of friends and family." She took a sip from her milkshake. "What's One like?"
[18:54] * Sept blushed. "R-really..? But, uh. One. He just wants everyone to be safe… we both do. Having him there is always just, comforting. I'm afraid of the Angels less, and, I don't think we could've made it through the last fight without him…" Sera fell into a thoughtful silence. "He must be lonely." he finally concluded.
[18:55] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "One doesn’t have any family, huh…?"
[19:05] <Sept> "He does, but I don't think they can talk. I'm not sure if they've tried, but, I get the feeling it wouldn't work. It must be so hard for Alexandre and Ginevre, too. Knowing he's right there, but…"
[19:31] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "H-huh?" Tsubaki blinked. "Alex and Miss Fontaine are One’s family…?"
[19:37] <Sept> "Yeah, that's right… At least he'll be able to know they're safe, even if they can't be a family like before." A contemplative sip.
[19:41] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "…" Sip. "… One loves you, right?"
[19:43] <Sept> "…" Sip. "I think so."
[19:49] <Akagi`Tsubaki> "I wish I could meet One." Said Tsubaki wistfully. "I saw One when I was at Paris-2, but we weren’t allowed to touch One or anything…"
[19:55] <Sept> "Yeah…" Sera remembered a promise made what seemed like a lifetime ago. "One day." he simply said.
[19:58] * Akagi‘Tsubaki nods slowly. "One day…~"
[20:14] <Sept> "How is Tokyo-2, by the way..? Is it as busy as Paris?"
[20:14] <Akagi`Tsubaki> "Um. Paris is pretty quiet." Said Tsubaki cheerfully. "Tokyo-2 is a lot busier. Too busy for me."
[20:20] <Sept> "…oh. I’m sorry. I heard you don't stay out a lot. I understand. I don't think I'd like Tokyo much either… But your sister works with NERV too, right? Do you get to spend a lot of time with her?"
[20:21] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "Not enough." Pouts Tsubaki. "She tries really hard. But… I think sometimes she tries too hard, and…" Tsubaki frowns. "And sometimes I don’t…"
[20:27] <Sept> "Don't worry, it's not your fault… I guess there's just some things that we can't have as long as we're pilots. But I wish you didn't have to be alone. If there was just some way to know where the next Angel would come, we could all be together…"
[20:30] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "What if we thought like an Angel?"
[20:30] <Sept> "…how could we do that?"
[20:31] * Akagi`Tsubaki stares at Sept as though he were a foolish fool. "… By -acting- like them, of course. With costumes."
[20:38] * Sept considered this. "…oh. But. We can only have costumes for the ones we’ve already fought? Would that be a problem?"
[20:39] * Akagi‘Tsubaki tapped her chin. "Um. Well, we would be able to think like -similar- sorts of Angels." Said Tsubaki. She liked this logic and went with it. "So I bet there are some similarities anyway."
[20:52] <Sept> "Hmm." Anything to get everyone together for good! "I couldn’t act for my life, though… There's a drama club at school, maybe we could ask- no, they're not NERV staff, they'd never let us do that."
[20:55] * Akagi‘Tsubaki frowns. "We need to find drama-people from the NERV staff… But you should make Meimei do it anyway."
[21:04] * Sept nodded. "Yanmei probably knows all about that stuff. We’ll have to ask her."
[21:18] * Akagi‘Tsubaki nods! "I wonder what it’s like to be an Angel." She stared at her ice cream. "Are Angels lonely, too?"
[21:25] <Sept> "They might be… but that's still no excuse for attacking us! And there's pretty many of them. The rest of them might all be together. Somewhere out there?"
[21:26] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "Then why do they attack alone?"
[21:32] * Sept pondered this for an exceedingly long time. "I… don’t know. It's strange. I guess it seems like, like a competition. With every one of them taking their turn…"
[21:32] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "… A game…?" Tsubaki frowned. "B-But that’s not fair!"
[21:46] <Sept> "…but it really isn't, is it? It's not fair that we have to fight them where other people will likely get hurt, and it's not fair that we can't fight them together… The whole thing isn't fair, and, I don't think we can do anything about it!"
[21:48] * Akagi‘Tsubaki seemed to deflate a little. "Stupid Angels."
[21:51] <Sept> "Stupid idiot Angels." Sept agreed.
[21:52] * Akagi`Tsubaki sighed. "Nii-san, why can’t we all just be friends? People and Angels and everything."
[22:01] <Sept> "Maybe-" Sept began to formulate another theory, but soon gave up. "Ehh. I don't know, Tsubaki. We can't understand everyone."
[22:04] * Akagi‘Tsubaki pouted. She finished up her milkshake, looking sad. "It’s stupid, though."
[22:09] <Sept> "It is." Sept finished up his as well. "Hmmh. But we shouldn't be worrying about those things now… This should be a time for -fun-, after all."
[22:09] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "-Fun-!" Said Tsubaki cheerfully. "We should do something together."
[22:13] <Sept> "Yeah! You’re probably done with Exploring for now. Did you have anything special you wanted to do?"
[22:14] <Akagi‘Tsubaki> "We can’t do the springs… Um… Skiing!"
[22:19] <Sept> "Ah, yeah! That sounds great!" Sept got up from his chair.
[22:20] * Akagi‘Tsubaki got up, too! "Bet I can go faster than you, Nii-san."
[22:21] * Sept grinned. "Faster than me? I don’t think so~"
[22:27] * Akagi`Tsubaki was already running for the door!~
[22:28] * Sept uses Sprint to catch up! The two run off into the sunset~

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