Your Soul Is Oftentimes A Battlefield Upon Which Your Reason

[21:21] * Aline stared at the phone in her hands, thinking to the events of the battle she was in… and Shinji's own performance in a similar one. And now… after tapping through the menu and opening the call, she took a deep breath. This wouldn't be easy.
[21:30] <Elisha> [It rang. And rang…-
[21:30] <Elisha> [Finally it was answered in Japanese. "Hello? Lieutenant Hyuga Makoto speaking!"]
[21:34] * Aline consciously switched to Japanese to match, though her French accent naturally shone through. She wasn't /that/ good. And even so, there were a few wavering 'ah's and 'ano's as she tried to be awkward in two languages at once, before finally speaking. "It's Pilot Blanc. Would you be able to connect me to Pilot Ikari?… Yes, in the brig if need be."
[21:38] <Elisha> ["Ah… Ahem. One moment, please." A hand covering the receiver…-
[21:38] <Elisha> ["Hello? Pilot Blanc?" It was the voice of Captain Katsuragi. "You're calling for Shinji-kun, right?"]
[21:42] * Aline nodded, then subconsciously muttered a soft 'enh' at nodding on the phone. "Yes, I am."
[21:47] <Elisha> ["Good." Said Misato wearily. "I have to warn you, he's in a bad way. We didn't throw him into the brig just to punish him. We did it for his own safety."]
[21:48] * Aline twitched her hand, a brief shudder of noise coming over the line from the gesture. "…I'll try to be ready for that, then. Thanks for the warning."
[21:54] <Elisha> [Misato didn't reply, but Aline could hear her walking- the sound of a door opening.-
[21:54] <Elisha> ["Shinji-kun? There's a phone call for you."-
[21:54] <Elisha> ["…" The sound of the phone changing hands.]
[21:56] * Aline had no reason to be overly cheery - instead she just paused, thought of the time briefly, then just politely greeted him. "H-hello…"
[22:05] <Elisha> ["This is Shinji Ikari." He said dully.]
[22:10] * Aline tapped her tongue against the roof of her mouth for a second. "It's me, Aline. I heard it was terrible. Was there anything I could do to help? …Even if it's just letting you yell and cry and rage at what you were being made to do? I… I could even talk about the bad things I've been through before, or try to distract you with happier things or… or…" She was blowing through
[22:10] * Aline the list quickly, but couldn't quite finish.
[22:17] <Elisha> ["Aline… You shouldn't have called." He said quietly. "I was an idiot."]
[22:21] * Aline stared into the phone. "That…" And in a strange moment, she got a twinge of some unusual feeling. A way of dealing with this that was unfamiliar. "That's no excuse! You haven't suffered half as much as others have, you haven't been broken and battered and left with only the core of your being. You still have some of your /innocence/! The only idiot I'm talking to is the one that
[22:21] * Aline forgot how precious that is!"
[22:34] <Elisha> [There was a silence…-
[22:36] <Elisha> [When he started speaking again, his voice was pleading, pathetic. "Don't you know what I've -done-?! Because of me, Tsubaki could die! She was relying on me- they were all relying on me!" He shook his head furiously. "I-I couldn't take life, Aline, I couldn't- I-It wasn't worth it- but- but the Eva-!"]
[22:41] * Aline shuddered. "The berserker EVA. It's… you did your job. I hope she pulls out fine, I…" The anger broke. She sounded sad, and maybe almost… alone. "Sorry. I… shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I… I was weaker, even if I fought. I ran around like a fool. I forgot my own strengths. I almost got myself killed, and without me the others… You can fall back on your EVA
[22:41] * Aline like that. It's disturbing but… it's how it works. I just hide behind weapons, and then cower away from everything, hoping I'll live. The first human I killed… I hid behind a weapon. I was so angry but I was hiding behind a big gun. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for getting mad. I… I get caught up in me."
[22:53] <Elisha> ["A-Aline…" Unseen to Aline, Shinji pulled his legs up onto his seat, arm over knees. "I-I dunno what to do anymore. I'm sorry…"]
[23:03] <Aline> "…Think." Aline said after only a second's pause. "Think about who you really are. You're… well, I see someone gentle enough to only lay a hand on someone who's already hurt him or the ones he loved too much, or who wouldn't even acknowledge that he was anything but an ant to trample. Everyone defends their family, and everyone realizes what it means to defend your entire kind. Those
[23:03] <Aline> are the times I've seen you hurt. If it means letting your EVA be the howling rage of war, then that's what'll be." A deep breath, which made more noise on the line, as she reclined backwards. "But that's what I see. No matter how cowardly or weak you think you are, I see kindness in the same things."
[23:15] <Elisha> ["Is… I-I dunno if it's a good thing or not anymore!" Shinji's voice was changing, becoming genuinely hysterical at this point. "You say you see kindness in me, b-but… But I… I was so proud of everything, my Ratio, Misato-san's praise, but at the end of the day, even if I was kind, I… I still couldn't do anything important… They don't need me."]
[23:17] * Aline leaned forward again. "They do! You get up and you try again. This was just one thing. You can learn from your mistakes - target only parts of enemy craft that're likely to leave the pilot alive. Try to move to defend your allies more. S… something, anything. The only time they don't need you is when you're dead and gone. Even if it's just to bring your EVA out, that's something
[23:17] * Aline you're needed for!" This time, despite her louder tone, Aline sounded desperate, not angry.
[23:33] <Elisha> ["S-So I'm only good for making the Eva berserk?!" Shinji's voice. It was so hard to pull him out of the despair he was in…-
[23:34] <Elisha> ["I want to do all these things- I want to fight properly, b-but I can't trust myself to hit the mark! I-I wasn't cut out for this…"]
[23:37] * Aline paused for a bit longer. "We should try to practice together. Use those simulators if we have to, but to have a hand guiding you, one that knows what you can do. I said I'd be there for you for everything I'm remotely allowed to! If it means that I'm right behind you guiding your aim, then that's what I'll do… okay? Okay?"
[23:42] <Elisha> ["… You… You really think… I-I could… I could do that?"]
[23:44] * Aline sat up straight, and continued on. "Yeah. I really do. You're already strong enough to pick me up and carry me around, so you must take to training pretty well! It's the will, the focus, and the ability to keep on that I can help you with too. You know I've seen a lot, and I can help you learn how to keep your head."
[23:47] <Elisha> ["Aline…" There was a clatter as the phone was dropped.-
[23:50] <Elisha> [A minute or so later he managed to find it again. "I… I-I can trust you… But… B-But please forgive me for being so weak…"-
[23:50] <Elisha> [His words dissolved into sobs.]
[23:51] * Aline stared into the distance for what seemed like a whole minute. She mouthed words, but they came out quietly - the phone picked them up all the same. "We're all weak…"
[00:00] <Elisha> ["A-Aline…"]
[00:04] * Aline widened her eyes. Something about that tone got to her. "Shinji…"
[00:10] <Elisha> [He rubbed at his eyes. "I miss you…"]
[00:11] * Aline stared down. "I… know. I do… too." Sniffle.
[00:14] <Elisha> [He didn't say anything, but as she started to sniffle his own sobs redoubled.]
[00:17] * Aline let herself cry. It was a softer, quieter little trickle, but she still sniffled to match his sobs, all the same…
[00:20] <Elisha> ["I don't want to hurt anymore…"]
[00:21] <Aline> "I… know. I'm doing all I can…" Somber.
[00:32] <Elisha> ["I… I need to do more. I have… An evaluation in a few days. If I get out I'll call you."]
[00:33] <Aline> "Okay." Aline nodded to herself again. "I'll make sure I'm ready."
[00:38] <Elisha> ["A-Alright. I… I'm going to give the phone back to Misato-san…"]
[00:39] * Aline had her turn to rub her eyes. "Got it… 'bye."
[00:41] <Elisha> ["I love you."]
[00:41] <Aline> "Love you too." Quick, but heartfelt. That's all it needed.
[00:46] <Elisha> [He nodded to himself, then…-
[00:47] <Elisha> ["How did it go?" Katsuragi's voice.]
[00:49] * Aline took another second. "Better than I was afraid of. He…" A lingering sniff. "…needs time still, that much I know."
[00:51] <Elisha> ["Yeah, that isn't surprising. I think he's calmed down a little now that he's talked to you though."]
[00:53] <Aline> "Mmn. That's right. I just hope it lasts."
[00:56] <Elisha> ["So do I. Still. He doesn't think so, but he's actually pretty resilient."]
[00:59] * Aline scooted backwards in her chair for a moment, but continued again. "…He is. It's a good trait to have."
[01:04] <Elisha> ["Yeah… Anyway. I'd best get back to work. I'll call you if anything happens, ok?"]
[01:06] <Aline> "Right, thanks for helping me with the call." She'd wait for Misato to hang up first, out of politeness.
[01:06] <Elisha> ["That's alright. Hang in there, ok?"]
[01:08] * Aline let herself brighten a little at that. "I will!"
[01:08] <Elisha> ["Right! Goodbye!" A click.]
[01:09] * Aline paused for a long moment, taking a deep, deep breath… before setting the phone down on a nearby desk. "I hope it all works…"
[01:11] <Elisha> [And that's when someone behind her spoke. "Shinji?"]
[01:12] * Aline quickly wiped her face - again - and turned around. "Yeah."
[01:13] <Elisha> [It was…-
[01:13] <Elisha> [Nagisa Kaworu, dressed plainly as usual, a gentle, sympathetic smile on his face. "How is he doing?"]
[01:14] * Aline had responded by instinct, but when she saw him. "Y…Wha… Er, he's…" She blushed intensely. "He's really shook up about the battle against the LN. Because he froze up, though."
[01:26] <Elisha> ["That isn't surprising." Said Kaworu. "Killing doesn't come naturally to him."]
[01:27] * Aline almost looked sulky. In a rather… well. Depressive variant thereof. "I know that, but that's him…"
[01:32] <Elisha> ["It rather begs the question as to why he's being asked to do this in the first place."]
[01:36] * Aline sighed, leaning back into her chair yet again, almost slumping. "My guess, is that a bunch of factors made all the military stuff needed to actually oppose that level of force fall down to relying on a small number of EVAs, many of them now piloted by those neither trained for it all their lives, nor hardened by battle with Angels." A wave of her hand. "As to the war itself…
[01:36] * Aline power plays. Personal goals. The giant game board with Paris-2's secrets as its goalpost."
[01:43] <Elisha> ["I see. But think more elementally. Why make Shinji a pilot in the first place?"]
[01:47] * Aline narrowed her eyes. Not from anger, but more of speaking an uncomfortable but firm truth. "Ikari Rei."
[01:47] <Elisha> ["Right. And why was -she- chosen as an Evangelion?"]
[01:49] * Aline shrugged. "…To give her some semblance of continuation to her life? …Or to give her that /and/ the power of an Eva to ignore a lot of bounding factors like fate?"
[01:51] <Elisha> ["Reasonable answers. But what if there's another purpose?"]
[01:52] * Aline frowned at that, making a sort of defeated little sigh. "I wouldn't know. This is the part where, if I were talking to Gendo himself, he'd say 'because she was meant to' or something like that. I'm… having trouble making the leap. Is there some kind of special soul quality I'm missing?"
[01:53] <Elisha> ["No, it's not about Ikari Rei herself. The important connection here is Gendo Ikari." Said Kaworu. "Let me put it like this. What does turning his daughter into an Evangelion do for Ikari?"]
[01:55] * Aline suddenly raised a brow. "…An Evangelion that harbors love for him in its soul. And a berserker unit, one /meant/ to stir more often…"
[01:59] <Elisha> ["Ultimately, the only thing that -could- stop 05…?"]
[02:01] * Aline slowly nodded. "If you mean, on its own… right. Family. It…" She blinked a bit, but it passed. "It was like what I told him just a bit back. He'd only truly want to hurt someone who threatened his family, or who cared not for all humanity. She'd only stop if she threatened her family by not…"
[02:11] <Elisha> ["That's right. Why would Ikari -need- that?"]
[02:14] * Aline scratched her head. "…Sera may have only meant the Elisha Three, but he said that there was a sort of special incontrovertability-" …the awkward adaptation of a word made Aline stumble slightly on the last syllable. "-to Evas. Like… that they're not just beyond destiny, but hard to sway otherwise. Of course, at the time, I cynically popped back that the weakpoint is the pilot,
[02:14] * Aline but… That's not really relevant anymore."
[02:18] <Elisha> ["If you have an Evangelion that's fully awake, then… No, it's not." Said Kaworu. "That makes 05 reliable. If Ikari needs it to do something, for some ploy, she's the one thing he -can- rely one above all else."]
[02:21] <Aline> "…And chances are, we won't even see this until after the last Angel drops. Like allll the other plots and ploys." Aline started to tap a finger on the hand opposite it. "It's such a mess, being in the middle of this."
[02:22] <Elisha> ["You don't know the half of it." Said Kaworu, sighing.]
[02:24] * Aline switched to a very light, sympathetic smile. "No. I probably don't, actually. Whatever it is you do all day… to think that you're even /more/ mired in all of this. Ugh."
[02:29] <Elisha> [He smiled.-
[02:29] <Elisha> ["I think I need to show you something, just so you realise what it is I do."]
[02:30] * Aline stared back at him, smile eroded by sheer quizzicalness. "…Ah?"
[02:31] <Elisha> ["Trust me?" He held out a hand.]
[02:32] * Aline - shakily - took his hand. "Okay…?"

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