In The Alleys Of The Quiet City

[23:56] <Sept> [May 7th. One of the narrower side-rues of Paris-2. Usually the street would be alive with traffic, mostly patrons visiting their own little secret corners of the city, or particularly adventurous newcomers. But the evacuation orders had reached this place, like most others, and only a few of the storefronts and doors bore any sign of anything beyond the norm. One had a hastily put together
[23:56] <Sept> sign warning looters that the video from the cameras was being uploaded to a safe location live.-]
[23:59] <Sept> [Evangelion Pilot Sera de Pteres now sat on the edge of the sidewalk, holding something in his fist. His head was still bandaged from the incident earlier, and there were clear signs of fatigue and shed tears on his face.-]
[00:00] * Sept threw one of the small rocks in his hand at a storefront window on the opposite side of the street. The impact left a small dent in the glass, and the sound echoed on the building walls for all too long.
[00:11] <Freya‘Solheim> The sound brought people, however. At the end of the side-rue was a girl, with blonde hair, wearing green fatigues and a fatigued expression. Freya stared down the alleyway at Sept, sighing sadly. "Sept…"
[00:18] <Sept> The word mingled with the earlier noise for a few moments, before fading away. "Hello, Freya." Sera examined another rock, as if weighing its worthiness for the task at hand. Without any separate expression of satisfaction, he threw it in the same direction. There was another dent on the glass. "The last Angel. Everyone said we did so well. That it was as close to a perfect victory as we
[00:18] <Sept> could ever get with Angels." Another rock. There was a thin line connecting two of the dents. "They were idiots. We were idiots. What’s the point of saving it if we're just going to kill it ourselves?"
[00:21] * Freya‘Solheim walked quickly down the side-rue. She looked down at Sept, pity and affection mingled for a moment; before sitting down next to him. "Kill what, Sept? The city?"
[00:29] <Sept> "Yeah. What does it look like to you? I could never be here normally. Remember that corner? There’s always a crowd from that bar there, harassing passers-by. Chaotic noise from the clubs." … "I shouldn't be able to be here. Paris-2 is dead. It doesn't feel anything any more. Look." Sera made to throw the last of the rocks.
[00:35] * Freya‘Solheim reached out now, grabbing Sept’s hand- the one that held the rock. "No more rocks, Sept." She said quietly but firmly. "Is this how you treat the city just because everyone's gone?"
[00:43] * Sept fought back for a few moments, but then relaxed his hand and let the rock roll onto the pavement. "I can't feel anything, Freya. I thought maybe if I caused someone trouble… maybe someone would come. Maybe I'd feel again."
[00:46] * Freya‘Solheim was silent for a moment, her expression… Troubled. "I came, Sept. Isn’t that enough…?"
[00:56] <Sept> Sera's expression faltered. "It should. But. I don't think I can do it, Freya. I c-can't fight this time." … "Let's just go. We'll go wherever the others went. Stow away on a military truck. Let it die without pain."
[00:58] <Freya‘Solheim> "Y-You can’t really mean that." Choked Freya, hating the surprise in her own voice. She could feel her control slipping. "You can't. Sept… This… This isn't about Paris-2 anymore."
[01:04] <Sept> "Then what is it about, Freya? Paris-2 was all we ever had. Did you forget? We survived and lived ther— here. Together. If we couldn't keep it alive, how could we ever hope to protect anything else?"
[01:05] * Freya‘Solheim stood up, now. She walked forward, into the middle of the road. She was quiet for a moment- just a moment- before she whirled around and faced Sept. "This city isn’t -dead-, Sept."
[01:13] <Sept> "But everyone's given up on it… just because Ginevre said so. If it'"
[01:13] <Sept> 's just the two of us… what are we supposed to do?"
[01:17] <Freya‘Solheim> "The first thing we’re supposed to do is make you realise something: no one's given up on this city, Sept." Said Freya desperately. "What are you asking, Sept? That these people sit here in their bunkers whilst the battle rages ahead, with an Angel that just wiped out an entire city? What good is a bunker going to do, Sept?" Freya shook her head.-
[01:18] <Freya‘Solheim> "I don’t get you, Sept. You say this city's dead, but it's nothing like that at all! Do you remember when EVA-01 was destroyed during your second battle? Do you? Did you ever think to yourself 'EVA-01 is dead'?"
[01:28] * Sept lowered his gaze. "They've always been here, Freya. Always. I'm afraid that if we win, they still won't come back. I'm afraid that if we win, I'll come back and it'll still be all wrong." He stood and looked up at the only other person on the entire street. "I'm so afraid, Freya."
[01:31] * Freya‘Solheim had fully been intending to be stern on him. To firmly press him back into service, but… Her heart melted. She stepped forward, kneeling down until her eyes were on the same line as his own. "Sept. Sept, look at me."
[01:32] * Sept was clearly startled by the sudden act. "Freya..?"
[01:36] <Freya`Solheim> "I know you’re scared, Sept." She said, her tone plaintive. "I know. I know because I'm scared, too. I'm terrified. I don't think I've ever been more scared than I am -right now-. But I need to tell you something important. Will you listen to me?"
[01:42] * Sept kept staring into her eyes, afraid to even look away. He was fighting back tears, but seemed to keep himself under control for now. "Y-yeah."
[01:44] <Freya‘Solheim> "There were soldiers brought in today. Surely you saw some in the streets? Tanks, men with guns, rocket launcher things… A lot of men, Sept." Said Freya, keeping Sept’s gaze. "C- Ginevre talked to them. She told them to quit. She told them to leave, to give up, to save themselves and flee. Do you know what they did, Sept?"
[01:47] <Sept> Soldiers. The soldiers they had failed before. Those who had already given up lives so that he and his friends could fight. "No, Freya. What did they do?" His voice wavered.
[01:50] <Freya‘Solheim> Freya split a little grin. "They told her to respectfully go to hell. They told her that they’d stay and fight, to a man, for this city. They told her that they didn't care if they couldn't hurt the Angel. They didn't care if each and every one of them died fighting something they couldn't hope to beat. They -did not care- that it was fruitless. They told her, Sept, that they were willing to die-
[01:51] <Freya‘Solheim> "- that’s right. Willing to die for this place. Even though, to a man, they can't win… They'd fight anyway. Because they believe this place is -worth fighting for-, no matter what. They believe the people are worth dying for. They believe, each and every one of them, that Paris-2 will survive and live again, and if they die pursuing that goal, then so be it."
[02:04] <Sept> "Th— They did..? But, but there's nothing they can do…" That's right. He was the only one who could. Him, and Aline Blanc, and Yanmei Zhang. Together. Still lightly sniffling, Sera mumbled. "I'm s-sorry. Can you tell them I'm sorry, Freya? That I'll, I'll try my best to h-help them to see it alive again and…" A short pause. "…do you think it's what Asuka would've w-wanted?"
[02:06] * Freya‘Solheim beamed warmly. There was the boy she knew. She reached out, put a hand on his cheek. "She would’ve wanted her brother to fight 'til the very end. She would've wanted her brother to promise himself that he wouldn't run away. For us. For the family."
[02:25] * Sept reached out and wrapped his arms around Freya. "Thank you." He was silent, but his hands were not quite steady, betraying a certain lingering unrest. But he seemed happy enough to be there. "You're snuggly." he concluded confidently.
[02:29] <Freya`Solheim> "A-ah…" Freya actually blushed slightly at that. Blushing in such a way came rarely to Freya, but then again, Sept rarely said such things… She put her arms out, and embraced the boy right back. "Oh, Sept." She said, happily. Her Septy- no matter what.

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