Evangelion Third Genesis: Interlude (Part 5.5)
Asuka Langley strode down the hallway, ignoring the turmoil going on not far behind her. A muffled voice was bleating something about a lawsuit, and reassuring words were being spoken. Then there was the sound of heels on the polished floor.
"Asuka," Ritsuko cried out, running to catch up with her, "what happened?"
"I punched that stupid psychiatrist in the face, is what happened," Asuka growled out. The young woman's single eye glittered with rage as she continued, "I was in there to talk about what happened at the end, not to discuss my mother!"
Ritsuko winced. "Obviously he took a look at your personnel file," she sighed. She ran a hand through her blonde hair, "I'll tell him to stick to the job, next time."
"There won't be a next time," Asuka said simply, her red hair flowing around her shoulders.
Ritsuko made a face as she reached out to Asuka, "You don't have to deal with everything alone, you know."
"It works for me," Asuka answered calmly, She started off down the hallway, "I'm going to go check on Rei, if you don't mind."
"All right," Ritsuko said softly, her expression sad.
Asuka walked through the facility, her thoughts in turmoil. 'Why the hell did he have to bring that up?' she thought. 'Of course I know my mother's suicide effected me,' she strode through a door, 'what sort of fool does he take me for?'
The medical wing had that odd scent of disinfectant and a hint of blood in the air, and she frowned at the memory. Asuka slowed down a bit, pausing to look into a room where Rei sat on a table, her expression only mildly curious. Beside her a woman with darker blue hair asked her questions, her expression gentle.
Rei looked up, seeing Asuka standing there at the medical laboratory door, and she gave her a little smile and wave.
Asuka nodded back, forcing a fleeting smile before she headed off down the hallway. There were chairs, one would assume for family or friends to wait, and she flopped down with a sigh. To say she was confused about Rei would be an understatement.
Asuka hadn't really liked the original Rei very much. 'Scratch that,' Asuka could admit it to herself, even if she didn't tell anyone else, 'I hated her.' Rei had been the perfect doll, the hope of NERV and the focus of it's hopes and dreams. Looking out at the world through those emotionless eyes, she instantly rubbed Asuka wrong.
'And then there's my mother,' Asuka thought, feeling that familiar surge of anger. Madness and suicide were her inheritances from her biological mother, while neglect and indifference were her gifts from her step-mother. 'Dolls,' she closed her eyes thinking of her mother, of her fascination with those emotionless things, 'always the dolls.'
The first Rei Ayanami.. she had been far too much like those dolls for Asuka's comfort. So she poked and prodded at her, trying to spur any emotional reaction, even as she felt her contempt for the girl rising. 'Yeah, in the end,' Asuka thought, 'I hated her.'
Asuka rubbed at her eyes, feeling a rush of weariness. 'But is this Rei the same?' she wondered. Clearly the body was different. A faint blush marked Asuka's cheeks, she had gotten a good look at that healthy form when they released her from the capsule. Darker hair, healthy, even the proportions were subtlety different.
But it was the red eyes that really did it. They were so clearly alive as Rei looked all around her eagerly, soaking up the world surrounding her. Emotions flashed in them, happiness, sorrow, pain, grief, they seemed to shine out. Rei wasn't an empty, emotionless doll, the world touched her even as she touched it back.
"So what do I do about it?" Asuka muttered to herself softly.
"Do about what?" the unfamiliar woman's voice asked.
Asuka's eyes shot open in startled surprise. Rei stood there, the lady doctor beside her, both looking down at her curiously. "Sorry," Asuka bounced to her feet, "I was just thinking aloud."
"Dark thoughts, it seems," the dark blue haired woman noted. She extended her hand, "My name is Ami Mizuno."
"Asuka Langley," she introduced herself, looking down at the shorter woman warily through her right eye.
Ami looked at her thoughtfully a moment, then turned to Rei and asked, "Could I talk to Asuka alone for a moment?"
"Of course," Rei agreed, and with a happy smile she walked over to gaze out a window at the city all around them.
"What ..." Asuka started.
"I've seen your personnel file, of course," Ami said conversationally, "it was part of my briefing before I came in here."
Asuka blinked in surprise. Having it stated so bluntly made it difficult to get angry about the woman looking into her life that way. "And?" she asked her, knowing this was leading somewhere.
"Just this," Ami fixed her with a gaze that was both compassionate and oddly stern as she said, "I spent years trying to be my mother, and even more trying to rebel against her. I wasted a lot of time doing it, time I could have spent doing other things."
"I'm not my mothers," Asuka bit out, "my one mom committed suicide, the other one didn't give a damn about me."
"So you've committed emotional suicide," Ami countered, "and don't care about anyone." The scientist paused, "Or that's what you'd like people to think."
Asuka opened up her mouth, trying to make something, anything come out, but she couldn't quite manage it. She almost felt like she had been punched right in the gut, it was so startling.
"I've got to bring this report to Commander Misato," Ami Mizuno held up a file of papers as she added, "think about it, please. Good luck." With that the woman dressed in the labcoat strode away, that aura of calm still around her.
"Are you all right?' Rei asked softly, returning to stand at Asuka's side. Asuka turned to meet those eyes, seeing gentle concern in them.
'She doesn't even know me yet,' Asuka thought wonderingly, 'and she still worries about me.' She cleared her throat nervously, "It's all right, she just startled me."
Rei looked up at her, and it seemed that she wasn't convinced by that reassurance. "If you say so," she finally said tentatively.
Asuka looked away, feeling uncomfortable. "You asked about the EVAs earlier. We have simulators here," she said quietly, "would you like to try them?"
"Yes, please," Rei smiled, her eyes lighting up. Together they walked towards the elevators, then rose it down to the lover levels of NERV. The simulator was eerily familiar to them both, but Rei seemed comfortable donning the plugsuit and climbing inside.
Asuka almost cringed, watching her. The memory of the mass production EVAs descending on her, her screams as her EVA Unit-02 was dismembered with her inside... Asuka shuddered, turning away from the view of Rei. Instead, her mind was turning to what Ami had said.
'How much of what I did was defined by them?' Asuka wondered. How much of her fury had been fed by their shadow over her life. She looked back at Rei, the newly born young woman. 'Reborn,' she thought, 'free of the weight of the past. Can I do that?'
Asuka reached out to lay a hand on the wall, letting her weight rest there. "I am not my mothers," she said to herself softly, "I don't have to be my mothers' daughter any more." Was it going to be that simple? Probably not.
Looking back she saw Rei fighting on eagerly in the simulator, her eyes lit up with eagerness. Asuka felt herself smiling slightly. It wasn't going to be easy, letting go of the habit of hatred, letting go the rage that had driven her for so long. But she thought it might be worth it, as Rei looked up at her and smiled.
Asuka activated the communication system and said, "I'm going up to see Misato, but I'll be back to get you later."
Rei smiled as she simply said, "I'll be waiting."
Asuka smiled back, feeling a tightness in her chest easing, an oddly comfortable feeling. "See you later," she said.
To be continued...