Sera S Special Place

#1[19:15] <AdEvaGM> [A heavy snowfall had fallen the night before.-
[19:18] <AdEvaGM> [The sun shone brightly now, warming the area only a little- people were out, wandering the nature tracks and playing in the snow.-
[19:20] <AdEvaGM> [In one relatively secluded little patch, Natasha Volkova was sketching, sitting on a fine pine bench, one leg tucked against her as she sketched on a drawing pad- the image she drew was one of the view- snowy hills, descending into endless sullen pine forests under a sky of cloudless blue.]
[19:24] * Sept had been looking for a specific trail, one he'd traveled long ago, in a time when fighting monsters from outer space had been such innocent fun. Sera had managed to slip away from spectating the others' fights, displaying his disapproval in absentia and relaxing for a moment at the same time.-
[19:27] <Sept> Yet that plan had crumbled when he'd noticed her. Sera hesitated for what seemed like several minutes. He called out with uncertainty, and maybe a hint of sadness, in his voice. "Natasha..?"
[19:38] <AdEvaGM> [They weren't exactly alone, and yet they were. Off in the distance, a quartet were putting a giant snowman together- Terry gathered up the largest, Rei the middle, Eevi the smallest, and Suzanne supervised.-
[19:39] <AdEvaGM> [But the four were too wrapped up in their game to pay attention to something so far off. Natasha paused, and turned around to look at Sera. "Hi."]
[19:44] * Sept fiddled with his hands, looking slightly downward. "We… should talk."
[19:47] <AdEvaGM> ["What about?"]
[19:54] * Sept cast a glance at the snowman and turned back to face her. "About… well, I should explain. Apologise. At least."
[19:56] <AdEvaGM> ["… Yeah. That'd be nice."]
[20:00] * Sept stood there for a moment in silence. He refrained from approaching, keeping his more-than-polite distance. "Where do I start… Uh. Do you remember Elisha Caine?"
[20:02] <AdEvaGM> [She shifted a little in her seat. "Yeah. A little."]
[20:06] <Sept> "There's no way to make this simple… I'm… sort of his son. And sort of him. NERV made me, like they made the Ayanamis. But not like them. Of course."
[20:11] <AdEvaGM> [Natasha stopped shifting about, and turned, slowly, to look at him. Her expression was one of mildly exasperated surprise, like the expression someone would wear if they realised that this was impossible, if they hadn't spent a year in the company of two other impossibles. "You're… A clone of -him-? Why?"]
[20:16] <Sept> "Well. He had a plan. He had a lot of plans. But… that's not getting us anywhere. A lot happened, and I… remember, or know a lot of what he did. And I've come to realise he made a lot of mistakes. Like when Azariah started doing things… differently. I- he, no one stopped him."
[20:18] <AdEvaGM> [Natasha didn't say anything there. She let him continue.]
[20:26] <Sept> "I've seen a lot. I have the opportunity to fix some of his mistakes, maybe all of them if I work hard enough. But I can't do a lot of that, not alone. Elisha could… But he didn't."-
[20:29] <Sept> "I want you to see what I see. I want you to understand how much more we could do if we really worked together, as individuals, and not just in a fight. I desperately want you to see that and make it through this. I'm sorry we let Azariah do what he wanted. I'm sorry I hurt you."
[20:32] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Natasha was quiet for a few seconds as she mulled over this. "Thank you." She said eventually. "A lot of people have hurt me and never said sorry. B-But I… Can forgive you." She sighed.-#
#1[20:33] <AdEvaGM> ["It'll be ok." She said. "It'll be ok in the end."]
[20:37] <Sept> "You really think so?"
[20:37] <AdEvaGM> [Natasha nodded. "Even if we all have to work together, or face something impossible, or… Whatever. Even if we die, everything will be ok in the end."]
[20:42] <Sept> "That's right. But… I didn't know you felt that way…"
[20:46] <AdEvaGM> ["I didn't. Not for a long time." Natasha pulled her other leg up to her chest. "Andrey- Captain Orlov- was the first one who told me that, back when I was first assigned to Leningrad and we met. If I have nightmares or I'm afraid or I feel gloomy about stuff, he's always the first one there telling me. Tomorrow will be a good day, and it'll all be ok in the end. So I have to believe him."]
[20:49] <Sept> "I… see. But now you know you don't just have to take his word for it. You can make it be a better day, right?"
[20:50] <AdEvaGM> ["I… I know. I know I can, but there are times where it's still very hard to believe that I can do so. But I'm trying…"]
[20:56] * Sept hazarded a little smile. "Of course. Do your best. It'll be enough." Pause. "Do you think I could sit with you for a moment?"
[20:58] <AdEvaGM> ["Um… If you want to." She shifted over a little.]
[21:09] <Sept> "Thank you." Sera walked the distance between them, and sat down beside her.-
[21:11] <Sept> "I used to think you were all so perfect. I wanted to be one of you."
[21:12] <AdEvaGM> ["A Neospartan?" She was clearly surprised. "Why did you think we were perfect…?"]
[21:16] <Sept> "You were different than all the others. And that didn't matter because you'd always have each other to rely on. No one in Paris really ever… We had friends, but no trust. And then we… found Viviane, and saw Skald, and…"
[21:16] <AdEvaGM> [Natasha shivered. It wasn't due to the cold. "That place…"]
[21:20] <Sept> "I'm sorry. I… can't imagine."
[21:22] <AdEvaGM> [Natasha shook her head. "Not many people can."]
[21:23] <Sept> "Can I ask you something, Natasha?"
[21:23] <AdEvaGM> ["What?"]
[21:24] <Sept> "Why do you care about your performance in the Thunderdome? What's in it for you?"
[21:33] <AdEvaGM> ["A few things. I want Captain Andrey to be proud of me. I -like- it when he's proud of me." Said Natasha, a gentle fondness creeping into her tone. "And I feel like… Like maybe, if I perform really well, and do the right things, people out there will see it. And they'll feel- something good." Natasha looked up towards the distant forest, stretching out as it did. "I think it's important for me to always give it my all. Even in a simulated battle, in a sparring match, or the real thing, I have to put all of myself in there, and… When I do that, when I take it all back in, I'll be better for it."]
[21:40] * Sept looked at her long and ponderously. "I see…"
[21:42] <AdEvaGM> ["Did I make sense?"]
[21:46] <Sept> "Y-yes, of course. I was just thinking about… about our fight. I was upset about it, but I can't figure out why. I don't care about the tournament. I have no reason to."
[21:47] <AdEvaGM> ["Maybe you do and don't know yet." Said Natasha. "Sometimes it's ok to care about something simply because you care about the people who do. And I think maybe you do, because you're a caring person."]
[21:50] <Sept> "…" Sera stared down at his hands. "Maybe."-
[21:52] <Sept> "There's something I'd like you to see, Natasha. It's a bit of a walk from here, but do you think you'd have time to come see it with me sometime?"
[21:55] <AdEvaGM> ["A walk…? Um, ok. What is it?"]#
[21:59] <Sept> "One of the most beautiful places I've seen."
[21:59] <AdEvaGM> ["R-Really?! Is it… Like, a crystal cave?"]
[22:02] <Sept> "Well, it's close. It's a valley."
(14:24:17) AdEvaGM: [It took, all together, about 45 minutes for them to get ready- to pack heavier clothes, just in case; backpacks; trackers and a panic button; a pair of flashlights; and for Natasha, a semiauto pistol holstered on the hip. They reassembled where they'd met, near the chair.]
(14:48:13) * Sept showed up in much the same gear. He wasn't carrying a firearm, but that wasn't to say he didn't bring any security - there was a particularly familiar axe tied to the backpack. "Hi. Ready?"
(14:48:41) AdEvaGM: ["Yeah."]
(14:51:49) Sept: "Let's head out, then. While the weather's still bearable."-
(14:54:12) Sept: As they set out, Sera managed to stick well enough to the path he knew, winding his way through clearings and thicker woods. "Have you done a lot of this? Outside of training?"
(14:57:50) AdEvaGM: ["Nature walks? No…"]
(14:58:33) Sept: "You aren't that excited about exploring?"
(15:04:35) AdEvaGM: ["Uh…" She seemed momentarily wrong-footed. "I-I don't know. It's not something I do."]
(15:10:34) Sept: "I guess this is a possibility to see if it is? What do you usually spend your time on?"
(15:11:35) AdEvaGM: ["Training, or reading, o-or spending time with Captain Andrey and the Ayanamis…"]
(15:11:55) Sept: "What do you read?"
(15:18:20) AdEvaGM: ["Books, uh… Magazines and journal articles. A lot of them have to do with history or reports or research or things like that, recently a research team in Russia recently tried to trace the heritage of a whole catalogue of looted artifacts in Moscow- it was really pretty fascinating."]
(15:24:01) * Sept laughed a little. "Coming from you, that's quite impressive."
(15:28:05) AdEvaGM: ["W-what do you mean?"]
(15:30:41) Sept: "You're modest, and I think you must have really high standards for something like that."
(15:37:09) AdEvaGM: ["O-Oh. I see…"]
(15:47:46) Sept: "Yeah. You shouldn't sell yourself short. If you spend that much time on something, you're probably really knowledgeable about it by now." Sera gazed up through the thickening canopy. "We should be getting closer. Hold on a second, I'll check if we've been going in the right direction." Sera set down his backpack and set to climbing one of the taller trees.
(15:53:49) AdEvaGM: ["Be careful!"]
(16:01:10) Sept: "Of course!" A tree, these days, wasn't an obstacle anymore. But he clearly still remembered the time when it had, a time when he would've had to -think- about where to put his feet. And once he got up, the scenery was still just as he remembered. Sera had known exactly how close he was to the valley. "Would you like to see?" he yelled down.
(16:03:31) AdEvaGM: ["Uh… I'm alright, thank you. Is it ok up there?"]
(16:04:50) Sept: "I wish you could see what I see."
(16:09:08) AdEvaGM: ["I-It's ok. I'll take a look later from a skilift."]
(16:12:30) Sept: "Alright." Sera took one last deep breath and descended from his vantage point. "Just a little bit further."
(16:12:58) AdEvaGM: [Natasha nodded, and moved to follow on.]
(16:21:24) * Sept stayed quiet for a while as the two continued their trek. "Did you meet William yet?"
(16:29:06) AdEvaGM: ["William? Oh…" She nodded. "Your fourth pilot."]
(16:29:20) Sept: "Yeah."
(16:31:03) AdEvaGM: ["I met him earlier."]
(16:31:48) Sept: "What do you think?"
(16:34:08) AdEvaGM: [Natasha thought. "He's nice. Polite and kind. And he knows how to use a gun well." She nodded approvingly.]
(16:37:52) Sept: "You don't feel it's rude toward those with Neospartan training?"
(16:42:43) AdEvaGM: ["Rude?"]
(16:45:09) Sept: "You've been training to become pilots your whole lives, and instead they keep giving units to these kids they pull out of nowhere."
(16:48:49) AdEvaGM: ["Like you or Zhang?" Natasha shrugged. "I honestly don't care who they make a pilot. I didn't ask to be a NeoSpartan. I didn't enjoy it. All it does is prove that all we went through was wrong- that isn't rude, that's an exoneration."]
(16:58:39) * Sept nodded slowly. "I see what you mean. That's very reasonable. Ah… Here we are."

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