For The Question Of Patrimony

[17:53] * Sept was surprised at how worn out he was. Who would've thought that sliding downhill on pieces of plastic was such hard work? And his companion's equally surprising adeptness and sudden competitiveness hadn't really helped. "This is your room, right, Tsubaki?"
[17:56] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["That’s right!"]
[18:00] <Sept> "Well, I should probably be going."
[18:04] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Nii-saaaaaaan." Tsubaki latched onto her ’brother'. "No hug for me?"]
[18:10] <Sept> "Ack." The sudden latching surprised Sera, if somewhat less than the previous times. "Of course." He embraced the girl tightly. "Goodbye, Tsubaki."
[18:11] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Byeeee~"-
[18:11] <Akagi`Ritsuko> The door opened. Sept would find himself looking up into the curious face of Akagi Ritsuko. "…"
[18:13] <Sept> "Oh. Hello, Ak—" Sept shook his head. "Ritsuko."
[18:15] <Akagi`Ritsuko> A furrowed brow at Sept’s utter lack of etiquette. "I'm glad to see you've brought Tsuchin back." She taps her sister on the shoulder. "Tsuchin, why don't you go have a bath before dinner?"-
[18:15] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> ["Bath~" Tsubaki disengages from Sera and runs inside.-
[18:15] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "And why don’t we walk and talk, de Pteres?"
[18:22] <Sept> "Sera." The boy cut in resolutely, before nodding. "If you insist."
[18:52] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Sera-kun, then." Said Ritsuko, nodding. "Let’s go. Are you hungry?"
[18:54] <Sept> "Hmm. I suppose so. Restaurant?"
[18:55] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Sounds good." She starts heading off.
[18:58] * Sept follows. "You also wanted to talk?"
[19:03] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "I did. You’re a curious individual, Sera-kun."
[19:03] <Sept> "Thank you."
[19:04] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Did you know that you’re becoming famous in my country?"
[19:06] <Sept> "In… Japan? N-no, I didn't. Why?"
[19:06] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Why are you becoming famous?"
[19:08] <Sept> "Yeah, I mean. If it’s just the Evas, Yanmei and Aline are much better at… at being famous."
[19:12] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "You don’t need to be 'good' at being famous. It's just something that happens. Like with you and EVA-01." Ritsuko looked at him from the corner of her eye. "Even if you only show your face once, that is enough. You're a hero."
[19:15] <Sept> "A… hero." Sept looked worried. Yeah, this kid isn't going anywhere near Japan in a long time. "Well, thank you for telling me, at least." After a moment of thought, he added, "Isn't Tsubaki a hero in Japan?"
[19:17] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Mmm, not exactly. She’s a notable figure, but she isn't one of the 'Paris-2 pilots'. You three are held in high esteem for your victories."
[19:25] <Sept> "That's too bad… She's the one who should be celebrated, protecting her city alone…"
[19:28] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Perhaps she will be, if Tokyo-2 is ever attacked." Ritsuko opened a door- the door leading to the restaurant.
[19:31] * Sept entered. "But with what happened to Asuka… I don’t know. I just wish there was some way for all of us to stay together."
[19:32] * Akagi‘Ritsuko entered afterwards. "An impossibility. The Vatican Treaty forbids it." She heads over to a seat- one near the window!
[19:34] <Sept> "The Vatican what..?" Sera takes the seat opposite Ritsuko.
[19:35] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "The Vatican Treaty is a UN treaty that limits the amount of Evangelion units alloted to any one nation to a maximum of three." Said Ritsuko tersely.
[19:39] <Sept> "But… they aren’t owned by France? It's just NERV, and the pilots, isn't it?"
[19:47] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Even though NERV is controlled by the UN, countries are still leery about the organisation. What if one country was able to take over its Evangelions? What if the UN used the Evangelions to take over that country by force? It’s all politics, really. The IPEA is rather stringent about its enforcement, nevertheless."
[19:50] <Sept> "Hmmmm. But they need the pilots for that. I'd never do something like that, and I'm sure Aline and Tsubaki and everyone wouldn't, either!"
[19:51] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Politicians are a distrustful bunch." Said Ritsuko, her tone dubious.
[19:54] <Sept> "I’ve noticed… Stupid politicians."
[19:55] * Akagi‘Ritsuko chuckled. "What will you have?"
[20:00] <Sept> "Ah. Maybe… the day’s soup? Nice and simple. Yeah, I'll have that."
[20:13] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Then I will, as well."-
[20:13] <Akagi`Ritsuko> [They’d be served, together, two rich, creamy bowls of pumpkin soup- hot and delicious, as one might expect.]
[20:20] * Sept wasted no time taking a spoonful, inspecting it briefly while gently blowing on it to cool it down, and gulping it down. He nodded, satisfied, and continued his meal.
[20:21] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Who are you, Sera-kun?"
[20:25] <Sept> The spoon stopped mid-transit. Briefly, the boy looked worried, before reverting to the expected pure confusion. "I’m sorry..?"
[20:28] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> The intended response. "Let me rephrase that question. Sera-kun, I want to know who you are. Is that alright?"
[20:30] * Sept mulled this over. He nodded. "It’s alright. What would you like to know?"
[20:31] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Well, should we start from the beginning? Where did you grow up, Sera-kun?"
[20:33] <Sept> "Paris-2. It’s the only place I know, and the only place I can honestly call home."
[20:33] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Really? What are your first memories of the place?"
[20:42] <Sept> "It’s hard to say. There isn't much separating the days. I remember the clearing of construction equipment from the Bastille in the sunset. That was in… that was late summer. 2010."
[20:46] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Five years ago?" Ritsuko quirked an eyebrow. "That isn’t very long ago…"
[20:49] <Sept> "No, I don't suppose it is for you. But I'm not very old either, am I?"
[20:53] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No. But most people can remember fragments, at least, of how they were when they were 4 or 5. Don’t you remember your parents?"
[20:54] * Sept looked down at his soup. He shook his head slowly.
[20:54] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No?" Disappointment. "Not even a voice?"
[21:01] <Sept> "No, I… I don’t think so. No. Nothing I could hope to identify."
[21:01] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Please try to remember. For Tsubaki."
[21:15] * Sept fiddled with his spoon. "For Tsubaki..?" The boy fell silent for a moment, deep in thought. "…do you think I haven’t -tried-? Do you think I haven't spent days, weeks, -months- just wandering, trying to find something that's, that's somehow more familiar than anything else?" He put down the spoon and leaned back on the chair, staring past Ritsuko into the great white beyond outside.
[21:15] * Sept "For Tsubaki? What does she have to do with this? She -has- a family. She has you, she has a mother. Where is this all coming from?"
[21:20] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "From a sister’s love." Said Ritsuko quietly. "Tsubaki wants to make you happy. She wants you to have a family as well. So I'm trying to fulfil her wish."
[21:24] <Sept> "…oh." Sept leaned forward again, facing Ritsuko. "I guess you're just wasting your time here, then. I'm sorry."
[21:25] * Akagi‘Ritsuko frowned. Not taking no for an answer, she put a hand inside the thick black coat that she wore, and took out a picture, pushing it towards Sept. "Does this man look familiar?"-
[21:25] <Akagi`Ritsuko> It was a man with a serious face, dark hair- a beard across his chin and blue eyes- behind a pair of glasses.
[21:40] * Sept took the picture, and examined it at length. "I… think so. But where..?" Sept tried to think. He looked around the restaurant, as if he could find a clue there. Taking another idle spoonful of his soup, he suddenly remembered the taste of curry. "Ginevre’s office! There's a portrait of him!" Quite pleased with himself, the boy went on with his dinner. "Who is he?"
[21:46] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Ah…" Ritsuko’s shoulders sagged a little. "That's Ikari Gendo. Head of NERV Japan. Ikari Shinji's father. You know Shinji-kun?"
[21:53] <Sept> "I do. Aline's, uh. I know him. Head of the Japan branch… Yeah, I've heard of him before, too."
[21:54] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Hm…" Ritsuko frowned, and pocketed the image. "Perhaps you’ll meet him one day. He's rather close to Tsubaki, too."
[21:57] <Sept> "Oh? That's good. I don't think I have any business in Japan, though…"
[21:58] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Mmm." Ritsuko frowned. "How’re you liking your soup?"
[22:00] <Sept> "I'm liking it." Sept took another spoonful to demonstrate. "You?"
[22:01] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "It tastes good. Creamy." A pause. "Hm. I’m worried about something."
[22:02] <Sept> "About the soup?"
[22:03] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "No, something else." A frown. "Do you speak to Commander Fontaine often?"
[22:07] <Sept> "We meet every now and then… She understands the Evangelion the best, so it’s good that she knows what's going on with them."
[22:10] * Akagi‘Ritsuko nods. "What’s she like?"
[22:13] <Sept> "She takes care of us. And the Evas." Pause. "She's kind."
[22:15] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Some people think her to be very cold."
[22:16] <Sept> "Some people think me to be a hero."
[22:19] * Akagi`Ritsuko chuckled. "Well played."
[22:21] * Sept smiled. "Thank you, Ritsuko."
[22:23] * Akagi`Ritsuko sipped at her soup. "If I told you Gendo was your father, what would you say?"
[22:27] <Sept> "What…" … "I’d ask for an explanation. How, and why, and what makes you think that?"
[22:28] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "It’s your eyes." Said Ritsuko quietly. "There's just… They have that same look to them."
[22:35] <Sept> "My eyes… So that's what it's about. But. Are you sure it's just that? It… seems like a pretty simple thing to base something like that on. I'm sure a lot of people have eyes that look the same..?"
[22:38] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "It’s hard to explain." Said Ritsuko. "Scientifically speaking, what I say is absurd- to judge your patrimony just by your eyes is irrational. Yet, there is some logic to it. I might be responding to unconscious cues in your face…" Ritsuko frowned. "… Or maybe I'm just pandering to my own hopes. I had hoped you might be his son, because… It would've made Tsuchin happy."
[22:46] * Sept sighed. "I'm sure it would've. But… it's asking too much of me. I can't cling to something like that… not now. I've learned to live without that knowledge, and. And I'm d-doing alright. So maybe when all of this is over, I can try and figure it all out again. Or we can do it together. Right?"
[22:47] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "Alright then. Do you promise?"
[22:50] <Sept> "…I do. For Tsubaki, right?"
[22:51] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "Right."-
[22:51] <Akagi`Ritsuko> [The rest of the evening passed well. Idle chitchat- as best as they could manage- dominated, and their soups were quickly eaten. Eventually, Ritsuko would stand up.]
[22:54] <Sept> "Going?"
[22:55] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "Mmm. I’m meeting Ms. Langley-Soryu for a hot springs session in a few minutes, so…"
[22:56] <Sept> "Ah. Say hi for me!"
[22:56] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "I will." A pause.
[23:00] <Sept> "And to Tsubaki."
[23:01] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "I will." Another pause. Eventually, a sigh. "No hug, Sera-kun? Am I not a ’sister' too?"
[23:04] * Sept thought about this. "I guess you are." He concluded with a laugh. A hug was shared.
[23:05] * Akagi‘Ritsuko hugged! She ran a hand through his hair fondly. "You’re a good boy, Sera-kun. You're a hero to the Akagi family."
[23:07] * Sept laughed. "I can take that. Thank you, Ritsuko. Take care."
[23:08] * Akagi‘Ritsuko seemed to be holding on rather firmly. In fact it was as if she wasn’t intending to let go.
[23:10] <Sept> "Ritsuko..? What about Asuka..?"
[23:11] <Akagi‘Ritsuko> "R-Right." Her firm grip seemed to reflexively strengthen for a moment- to the point of being a little painful- before she stepped back. "Right. I’ll leave you to it."
[23:13] * Sept frowned, but still kept up his smile. "Right. Have fun!"
[23:13] <Akagi`Ritsuko> "Right." Ritsuko turned- and finally left.

  • Sept glanced back toward the table. No, he wasn't in the mood for strawberry. This required a different kind of thinking. A rooftop kind of thinking. And so, Sera de Pteres was off again. To mull over uninvited thoughts of a family that could've been.
  • Akagi`Ritsuko was also off. She was powerwalking through the corridors of the resort, a mission of utmost importance on her mind.-

<Akagi`Ritsuko> She opened her hand. Within her palm lay a few little strands of loose hair.

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