The bag of delicacies is retrieved from his doorway with an amused smile.Idly he wonders what in particular has brought this on. Something pleasant, one hopes.
"You are welcome, Shinji-kun," he murmurs quietly to the heavens, as if expecting his words to reach out across the timelines that separate them.
Tetsuo Shima… is that name supposed to have particular meaning to me?
The issues Nagisa brings up are relevant, even to him. He has moved something large like an Evangelion into other worlds, sure, but how many times has he ended up off the mark? Landing in an exact location is a game of Russian roulette sometimes. Just a few hours ago, he had woken up in another world he hadn’t meant to travel to. The LCL sea has failed him before, enough times to make him wary of this mission he considers. Moving an Evangelion is one thing. A moon is another thing entirely.
On the ceiling, the projection fizzles until the image of a dark planet is a light spot. The technician comes in a few minutes later to inspect the projector. He’s just as confused as the rest of the staff and audience. Shrugging, the narrator continues her speech. Through the rest of the presentation, Shinji is quiet. He remains secluded in his silence even as people get up to leave. He’s still trying to figure out if he has failed.
Once more the murmur of voices rises around them. The projection flickers, the stars stirring and once more returning to their natural positions within the program. The narration begins once more.
At his side, the other boy sinks into a shadowed silence. He understands. The depth of this problem, a hope that appears impossible, is why he has never broached the subject before.
And so he half listens and half watches, his gaze far more often upon the boy at his side than raised properly towards the false heavens above them.
Amongst the flurry of activity around them, as audience members trudge away and technicians continue to prod at the projector in puzzlement, he patiently waits, continuing to hold unto the other boy’s hand.
"…Shinji?" he finally murmurs and leans in to press a kiss against a distracted head, lightly ghosting lips against the other’s temple.
Yes, I am aware of that mangaka. Gyo was quite popular amongst some of my fellow students when I was attending school for a few months.
His specialty appears to be fantastical body horror, which dovetails quite elegantly with his drawing style. Quite a few of his works have scenarios that descend into apocalyptic settings, with an interesting peek into the psych of survivors in said milieu. Usually such endings contain a small hope spot as well.
[text]I have brushed up against the former, though as yet I have only ventured deeply in to two such Worlds. I have not yet encountered the latter, however. Do those Worlds flourish with New Life?[/text]
[text] The former can be quite eye opening when it comes to seeing new opportunities or old opportunities in a new light. The latter… [/text]
A pause. For a moment a pure silence reigned within the mind.
[text] It was a fellow dimension traveler who spoke of them. He said that they existed in an axis completely opposite from the timelines where I wandered. Something very beautiful, but lacking in… cultivation, one might say. [/text]
Nagisa has this thing about always touching him. Shinji isn’t complaining, but he can’t help but feel it’s a compulsion of his. Liquid digits poke the angel’s side. “It’s nothing. You look out for- are you taking pictures?” Photography isn’t an unrealistic hobby for Nagisa to have, especially when most of his interests skew toward the arts. “… Don’t take a picture of me.”
If he has to have his photo taken by his boyfriend, it won’t be of him looking like a pile of gunk. Before the other boy can answer, Shinji swerves to the left to circle over the moon’s surface. Hills, valleys, and craters are unoccupied, as far as he can tell.
The darker half of the moon is a different story. Shinji peers at the glowing print appearing on the display. Unit 10’s heat sensors pick up a signature. “Hold on. What’s this?”
A figure levitates over Oceanus Procellarum, its head lowered to better survey it. In his throat, his heart hit the brakes.
The figure came down from the sky and the Lances of Longinus came falling down like sharpened shooting stars.
It begins beating again when he realizes the frame doesn’t match the rogue’s slender silhouette. Its build is thicker and taller. The display zooms in. Filters are applied to the screen, and then Shinji sees the outline of a beard, glasses, and a lump stuck in its hand. Gendou Ikari comes prepared.
Silence reigns for a moment as Shinji’s hand slowly swipes over his face and hair. His voice returns for him to respond blandly with, “Are you serious right now?”
Carefully, behind the pilot’s seat, a series of flashes continues, taking in every minutiae of the display and controls.
"No need to worry. You will not appear in any of these photos."
The smile that briefly flits over his face has a razor’s edge. One must not do things halfheartedly. If— when— he finally betrays them, it will done so utterly. Hopefully the design specs between this Eva and the Mass Production Units in assembly upon his own world do not differ so greatly.
After all he has determined, above all, for the happiness of the Ikari Shinji-kun of his timeline, he must protect her.
His attention thus thwarted, it is the other boy who first spots the figure that should not be there. That had no right to exist within this world. He frowns as the image clarifies, frowns further at what he senses himself.
"I suppose it would not be a proper if we threw a Lance of Longinus at him in greeting?" he murmurs in reply to the other boy.
"I don’t care. Whatever you can get your hands on."
The alleyway was definitely not cozy, but it was better than sitting out surrounded by lights and noises that would only worsen his chronic headaches.
He crouched down, rubbing his head and whimpering like a puppy. Whoever that guy was, Tetsuo hoped that he would actually come back, and would have something good with him.
Those who knew the exact directions to the Sun Pharmacy would have been surprised at the speed of his return. Somehow he doubts that the other boy will notice nor complain at the difference.
He returns bearing two small bags in hand, one discreetly plain, the other neatly marked with warnings and directions. He takes one look at the other boy, crouched down amongst the alleyway shadows in agony, and pulls forth a clear satchet of granules from the marked bag.
It is a prescription of a common enough drug he recognized as ibuprofen in a high enough dose that only a doctor could order. He had swiped it while the pharmacist had been distracted with his purchase of EVE-A, the milder over the counter version of said drug.
Headaches that make lights explode count as emergencies, he deems.
"Here…" His voice remains soft and soothing as he stoops down next to the other boy, offering the satchet. "Be careful, this one is a high dosage."
"That is a frightening possibility," she decides. Anything could exist. There could be worlds where she never becomes friends with Ikari-kun. Worlds where she is truly, completely alone. Worlds like hers, where she has been forced to take Lilith’s place in Yggdrasil. Worlds in which Ikari-kun did instead. Worlds in which her friends are miserable. No matter how many good possibilities come with it, she would prefer the bad ones not even have a chance to exist.
Without reserve, Rei takes his wrist in one hand and runs her hand up the inside of his forearm with the other, curious about the material, its texture. The piece on his chest seems harder. She knocks lightly.
"Is it flexible? What sort of liquid do you pilot in?" She lifts his arm and brings it back down. Though she knows she should be more respectful and not touch others without permission, she’s perhaps become too comfortable with Kaworu, who has practically become her brother. That comfort seeps through here.
The buttons on his wrist catch her eye, but she knows better than to push buttons for which she doesn’t know the function. Rather than a press, they receive a hard stare. “What do these do?”
"Wearing a plugsuit has often been described as a feeling of wearing nothing at all. I must agree with that description. Only the chest and backplates have any true heft to them."
He allows the girl to do as she pleases, his arm unresisting to her exploration. Her touch is gentle. He is amused.
Only Ikari Shinji-kun has been so bold in physical interplay with him before, and even then it had taken many conciliatory gestures and encouragement on his part to induce such a daring.
"The liquid that we pilot in is called LCL. The primordial soup of life. The blood of the progenitor," he replies, although how many true answers can be gleaned from such strangeness he does not know.
The others who dared, the scientists and doctors of SEELE, had always known in the back of their minds what he truly was, and so an underlying tenseness that verged on hesitation always marked their interactions.
And so he has, in his own way, always liked Ayanami Rei. Even if suspicion did cloud most of his interactions with many of them.
"And this is the wrist interface." Lightly he touches the span of material between the two red buttons on the wrist the girl still holds. "It monitors life signs amongst a host of other functions, but its most common operation is to allow entry and removal of the plugsuit."
A heartbeat of pause. As long as he is careful, there should be no problem in offering.
"Would you like to see?"
"I’d find a way," Shinji insists. "I- I’d use… I’d go to L- Lilith! I would… " But what once was steel is in fact iron. The confidence he had seized when Nagisa had faltered goes limp. He scrabbles in despair at the edge of a cliff for a foothold. "You- You said something about technology! I could bring that over, couldn’t I? I can use that, can’t I?"
Lips tickle his palm, like little butterflies landing in the center of his hand. He feels their wings erupt in his stomach. Shoulders lower as his anxiety is briefly abated. “By ‘cumbersome’, do you mean they’re physically too much for you, or- or the fabric of the world you’re entering?” He should probably clarify the points he’s a little hazy on. Yeah, that’s a good start.
"No cat. I wouldn’t do that to you." Hardened by the grim reminder, the steel in his voice returns. "Not ever. I’d be angrier."
"That technology exists within a different timeline. A lilin ship nearly as massive as a moon. I suppose such a thing would be easier to drive, yet in size and scope, it presents the same problem as the FAR solution to interplanetary travel.”
He smiles softly, wistfully, as the boy before him flits from hope to despair then back again. A pale thumb gently trails over the delicate skin of the other boy’s palm that he has so recently kissed.
A difficult task to try and constrain a concept of such a grand scale into a few simple words that one who has not experienced it can understand.
"In this form, something akin to a moon would be too monumental for me to control. But the greater problem lies in passing something that size from one timeline to another. Unlike some of my other selves, I am no true dimension traveler. I can only slip in-between worlds now as I do, due to the current unstable condition of the continuum.”
His own smile brightens, losing its shadows of melancholy, as the strength within the other boy’s voice returns. Yes, keep that strength. Even if it is impossible.
"I am glad we are in agreement. I would hate to behold the Witch created by that wish.”