Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy
Episode II: Attack of the Seeds
Chapter 12 – Alone in the Abyss
Unknown Time and Place
Mari was floating inside nothingness. Her face was covered in dry tears from all the crying she had done. Being alone did not suit Mari, even though she had some introverted tendencies, she liked being around people. She was all alone, and she had been for as long as she could remember. She had no concept of how much time had passed since she was absorbed into the Core.
One of the only thoughts that consumed her was the last thing she heard before coming to this strange place. "I'll always remember you Mari. I'll never let go of our friendship, no matter what. Thank you, Mari Makinami for being a great friend." The voice of her friend, and love interest Yui Ikari, reached out to her before she came here. Every time she thought about this, her response was the same. Mari would whisper. "Yui, please don't forget me." She sang to herself to lament her loss, and her sad fate of being alone.
Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your heartbeat with mine
Softly you whisper, you're so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are, by my side
So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home
Now that you've come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay
So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
All she wanted to do was to go back, but she couldn't, she was trapped in this hell, with no way out. 'I'm alone in here, no one can save me. I can't even save myself.' Mari thought. 'I don't deserve this. What did I do to deserve this?'
Mari remembered her last hours on Earth in vivid detail, watching them replay in her mind with nothing else better to do, trying to understand why she was here, she watched as she was swallowed up over and over into the nothingness again and again.
September 14, 1998 – Gehirn, UK Branch, Project Alcion Hangar
Mari was stepping inside the Link Tube for the first time, with the assistance of two technicians. Once inside, Mari saw she was sitting in a seat with two armrests, and no visible controls. Mari was handed a headset by one of the technicians, with the control room telling her it would facilitate a link between the Tube and the sphere. 'Bullshit.' She thought. 'It looks like some kind of demented virtual reality helmet.'
Mari put the heavy headset on. It was like half a helmet with a visual display visor attached to it. Mari felt uncomfortable in the tube, until she heard the hatch above her close. She screamed. 'Why the fuck is it so dark?' She thought as she pounded on the hatch above her.
A voice came over the intercom, the head technician spoke. "Ms. Makinami, the test will be commencing in a few minutes. We will now be filling the Link Tube with a substance that will better connect you to sphere. Are you ready?"
"Is 'No' an acceptable response?" Mari said, semi–sarcastically. 'Stupid fuck' Mari thought. 'I'm in here, let's just get it over with.'
"Unfortunately, no." He replied. "Begin fluid transfer, just breath normally, Ms. Makinami, this stuff is oxygenated, and once it's in your lungs, you'll be able to breathe normally. Good luck, Ms. Makinami."
The Link Tube filled from the bottom, and Mari recognized the smell. 'Life Creation Liquid?' She thought. 'Kyoko came up with this stuff for her experiment. What the hell is going on?' The LCL covered her face and she gasped, letting in a huge gulp, she coughed for a bit unable to breath, before it settled into her lungs and she took a deep, wet, breath. 'Why would they need to use LCL? It doesn't make any sense.'
Mari could feel her heart beginning to race as she resisted the urge to breath with the smelly liquid. If she wasn't covered in LCL she would have been visibly soaked from her sweat.
"Ms. Makinami? Please calm down, the test can't be stopped at this point. It must be carried out." The intercom chirped.
"Ya know, when someone is having trouble relaxing, telling them to relax does the exact opposite." Mari said. She thought it was weird to talk with her lungs full of LCL, but at this point, nothing would really surprise her anymore today. "Well, I guess let's get this over with" she said, rolling her eyes. 'Asshole, I'm freaking out and all he can say is "don't freak out" he should try breathing with this shit, it tastes like blood.' She thought.
Mari heard the intercom again, but the words weren't directed at her.
"Begin startup sequence, initialize connection from Link Tube to Object."
"Link up complete, beginning induction."
"Vital signs are normal, LCL pressure nominal, Brainwaves within theoretical limits."
'Theoretical limits?' Mari thought. 'I have a bad feeling about this.'
"Connection between Subject–00 and Object is 42%… 55%… 76%… 83%… "
"Is it stable?"
"Yes, the connection is stable so far."
"Good." The lead technician said. "Ms. Makinami? Can you see anything, or feel anything?"
"It's cold." Mari replied. "And dark, where I am feels empty. What's going on? Is this thing on? Can you hear me?"
After Mari responded her intercom shut off. It was replaced by static, however, the Link Tube suddenly lit up in a swirl of light and sound, Mari's eyes hurt from the rapid adjustment. 'I guess the test is working.' She thought.
However, when the Link Tube was finally active, it only showed a glowing symbol with seven eyes set on a triangular mask, and a single word beneath it. "SEELE?" Mari said aloud, unable to be heard. "I'm locked out, I can't do anything." Mari said, starting to get worried. "There should be a status display up here, but it's all blank, except for that symbol. Can you assholes hear me out there?"
All of a sudden, the Link Tube started to shake, hard. "What's going on?!" Mari screamed. "Somebody talk to me! Somebody help me!"
Mari felt the Link Tube start to move, and as it ripped free of its supports, Mari could see a blood red shimmer appear in the bottom of the Link Tube. "WHAT'S HAPPENING?! SOMEBODY HELP ME, PLEASE HELP ME! I'M AFRAID!" Mari yelled at the top of her lungs. She heard two heavy thuds outside, like something had been thrown against metal. The closer the blood red shimmer got to her feet, the more the Link Tube shook, which was making an already queasy Mari more nauseous than she had been in the last few minutes. "Please, help me!" Mari scrambled from her seat and moved away from the advancing shimmer, as she swam towards the top of the tube in the hopes that she could be saved by some sort of emergency hatch. "HELP ME!" Mari pounded her fist on the Link Tube's top, hoping someone would hear her pleas and save her. "PLEASE, I'M AFRAID, SOMEONE, PLEASE SAVE ME! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" Mari could feel the shimmer reach her feet, and it felt like it was grabbing her, and squeezing her. The sensation frightened her further, and she felt a warm sensation on the inside of her legs as she wet herself out of fear. "I DON'T WANT TO DIE! GET ME OUT OF HERE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! HELP ME PLEASE!" By this point Mari was both desperate and frantic, and then she realized there was no hope of escape as the shimmer reached her thighs. 'It's too late.' She thought. 'This is the end, and I can't even be rescued, I'm going to die in here. I guess it's my time, death has finally caught up to me after I survived that night in the car with my parents, but I'm not ready to die yet!' She thought. "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" She screamed.
As the shimmer reached her chest, Mari started to have trouble breathing, but Mari could hear something, it was Yui's voice. "I'll always remember you Mari. I'll never let go of our friendship, no matter what. Thank you, Mari Makinami for being a great friend."
"Yui, please don't forget me." Mari gasped as she was swallowed inside of the Core in a burst of light, and then she was enveloped into the darkness.
Unknown Time and Place
"Still thinking about your old life, Mari?" A voice asked. It sounded unfamiliar to Mari, and she was worried that she was now hearing voices. She decided to ignore the voice. It spoke again however. "Still brooding as to why you were sent here? I'm not sure either, but it's nice to have the company." The voice said menacingly.
"Leave me alone!" Mari yelled into the nothingness.
"Well, you're not very polite, are you?" The voice quipped.
"Go fuck yourself!" Mari retorted. "Then leave me alone and fuck off some more!"
"Well, now, I see this will be difficult, but I guess I'm going to have to teach you some manners, girl…" The voice said.
"Just fuck off, I don't need you or your lessons, I'm an adult and can make my own fucking decisions! Now leave me alone!" Mari screamed.
"If you won't believe that I'm going to teach you some manners, I guess I'll have to show you the hard way." The voice said menacingly.
…Mari noticed a truck coming at them from the driver's side. She yelled, but her parents were so deep into their argument they didn't notice until it was too late. All Mari could remember after that was the sound of crunching metal, the car flipping over several times, her parents' screams, and something warm running down her forehead before she passed out.
Mari started to cry as the memory of her parent's death was force to the surface of her mind. "Who the fuck are you!" Mari screamed into the nothingness.
"I'm your worst nightmare girl…" The voice said, and then she mimicked a young Mari's voice and began to mock her. "They are dead aren't they? I remember the crash! My father got crushed by the truck and my mother's head went through the window in the door as we were rolling! Just tell me!"
"Stop it!" Mari yelled. "Get out of my head, you motherfucker!" Mari then, as she always did, tried to cope by humming to herself.
It's all the same, only the names will change
Every day, it seems we're wastin' away
Another place where the faces are so cold
I drive all night just to get back home
I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive
"Stop that incessant humming, girl, or I will make this worse for you!" The voice warned.
Sometimes I sleep, sometimes it's not for days
The people I meet always go their separate ways
Sometimes you tell the day
By the bottle that you drink
And times when you're all alone all you do is think
I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted (wanted) dead or alive
Wanted (wanted) dead or alive
Oh, and I ride
Oh, and I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted dead or alive
"End this nonsense! NOW!" The voice repeated.
I walk these streets
A loaded six–string on my back
I play for keeps 'cause I might not make it back
I been everywhere, still, I'm standing tall
I've seen a million faces
And I've rocked them all
I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I'm wanted (wanted) dead or alive
I'm a cowboy, I got the night on my side
I'm wanted (wanted) dead or alive
And I ride, dead or alive
I still drive (I still drive) dead or alive
Dead or alive, dead or alive, dead or alive, dead or alive
"Still not learning I see, well let's go deeper shall we." The voice said.
Mari writhed in pain as her mind was assaulted by the voice, bringing back more memories, her aunt dying, kids teasing her calling her names, and then another horrible instance of Mari's self–loathing.
"The reason I was in the lab was because my research has stalled. I haven't made any progress in weeks! I'm falling behind, and I hate being behind!" Mari started to cry, but continued anyway. "I just don't want to be seen as the failure of our group! I just don't want to disappoint anyone! I don't want to look like a… A STUPID KID!" She stopped talking as she continued to sob. Yui and Kyoko looked at each other, and were confused by her outburst. They knew she was young, but they treated her like an adult because she acted like one. 'Does she really view herself as a kid?' Kyoko thought. 'She's way smarter than I was at her age. Maybe this has something to do with her past she doesn't like talking about.'
Yui however was the first to react, she grabbed Mari and hugged her tight, letting the younger girl cry onto her shoulder. "It's ok, let it all out Mari." Yui hugged her tighter. "It's ok to cry sometimes, and I know working on a thesis is tough, but sometimes you have to know when to take a break before you burnout. And neither of us want that to happen."
"Yeah, you mean a lot to me, and to Yui, we just don't want you to cry." Kyoko tried to sound more compassionate, but she was still confused as to why Mari was crying.
Yui continued while still letting poor Mari cry on her shoulder, but her tone was more serious and motherly. "So here's what's gonna happen. You're not going back to that lab until after New Year's. You're going to take a break and get some sleep, and a new idea will come to you."
"No it won't." Mari sobbed. "I suck at this."
Yui released her from the hug, but held her so they faced each other. "Mari, you don't suck, you're the smartest person I know, you'll find a solution, you just need to take step back and it will come to you."
"But… " Mari started, but Yui cut her off. "No buts, Makinami. No lab work for now, and as for tonight, because of what Kyoko said, you're not sleeping alone, you're staying here tonight, and tomorrow, we can talk about everything that happened, ok?"
Mari stood there, wiping the tears and snot from her face. "Ok…" Was the only response Mari could muster.
"Just stop! I can't take anymore!" Mari bellowed as the pain she was experiencing from the intrusion increased, her chest was tightening and she was having trouble breathing. "JUST STOP, PLEASE!"
"Ah, now I've gotten through to you. My children can be so difficult to communicate with, so stubborn." The voice said.
"What are talking about?!" Mari asked, as the pain lessened, she was at least able to breathe now. "Stop speaking in riddles you fucking bitch and tell me who you are!"
"You are my progeny, you are my legacy." The voice said. "I am Lilith."
"Who the fuck is Lilith? Stop lying to me! Who are you?!" Mari demanded. "Tell me the truth you fucking bitch!"
"The truth, you ask? Can you really handle the truth? Very well then, seeing as you are trapped in here, you may as well understand a few things. I am the creator of mankind, the Seed of Life bearing the Fruit of Wisdom, I am of the Black Moon, I am Lilith." Lilith explained. "This Core you are trapped in was once my being, my soul. I battled with another Seed of Life long ago, before your race, the Lilin, inhabited this planet. I defeated Adam in a test of wills and buried him with my spear in his chest. Not long ago, my soul was extracted from this Core, and taken away. What you are speaking with is merely a fragment of my former self." Lilith laughed at the confused look Mari had on her face. "You don't understand what I'm saying do you? I created humans after fighting for the right to have you live on this planet. If it were not for me, some other class of being with eternal life would be living here. Instead, I gave you the gift of cognitive thinking, the ability to learn and adapt, of which your society has done well up to this point. You even figured out the secrets of the Light of the Soul. But you are a poor example of humans, Mari. You're crass and uncouth, and not very kind to strangers. It's a wonder the Lilin survive, if any of them are like you, you should have all been wiped from the Earth eons ago."
"I only talk to strangers handing out candy from white panels vans, bitch." Mari said sarcastically. "But you want me to be kind to you, do you? Here's a tip then. Don't violate my mind and force me to remember all those things, you stupid fucking idiot!"
"Hmm, I can understand your point, but can you please back off the crass language?" Lilith asked.
"I'll try my best." Mari snapped. "So, what's this Light of the Soul you're talking about?" She asked tersely.
"It is the barrier that separates all being on the planet, the thing that allows for individuality and separation." Lilith replied. "Without it, all life would be one, and the one would be many."
"You mean the A.T. Fields?" Mari said, with a raised eyebrow. "That's what you're talking about, right?"
"Yes, I believe you refer to them as Absolute Terror Fields which is quite an interesting name for something so beautiful. Why were they named that?" Lilith asked.
"Well, my friend named them that because people are terrified of being truly vulnerable with one another. I guess the way you described them, it is an appropriate name dealing with that fear." Mari said. "People are afraid of lots of things, especially each other, deep down anyway. No one really wants to admit it."
"You have a lot of fears too, Mari." Lilith said. "Why do you have so much fear and guilt and regret? Is that normal for humans, to feel so…depressed about things?"
"What are you talking about, guilt over what?" Mari asked incredulously.
"The guilt and sadness in your memories, over your parents, your fronds, yourself." Lilith responded "Why do you feel that way? Why do you fee guilt over your parent's deaths? Why do love someone who is never going to love you the same way? Why do you feel inadequate about yourself? What makes you feel this way?" Lilith materialized out of the nothingness, and she looked remarkably like Mari, but pale white, and nude.
"I don't feel guilty about of my parent's deaths!" Mari shouted.
"I seem to have touched a nerve, Mari." Lilith said. "You said the exact thing in your memory, the one I forced you to relive, the one with you in a hospital bed."
"Stop it!" Mari shouted. "I don't want to talk about it!"
"How will you ever get over the feelings if you won't confront them? You have to get over these long feared feeling, Mari, you can't keep hiding from your past. You must embrace it and move forward." Lilith said.
"Do you really want to know why? Why I blame myself? Because it was my fault! It was all my fault! I made them argue, I distracted them from the road, and they paid for it with their lives. I saw what happened to them, I can still see the blood in my nightmares! These are things I can never forget, and that I certainly can never live with! I KILLED THEM!" Mari roared.
"You did not kill your parents, it wasn't your fault Mari. You were only a child when it happened, clearly your parents were having issues with their marriage, and it was their own fault for not paying attention, that's what got them killed. Not your poor table manners. There was no purpose for an eight year old to feel the guilt and burden of her parent's deaths. You should have known better, but you viewed it as your own fault, not because it was, but your intelligence and naiveté made it believe it was your fault." Lilith replied calmly. "Simply put Mari, it's not your fault. Your parents got themselves killed."
"Yes it is! I could have stopped them from arguing!" Mari retorted.
"Again, you were eight years old, it was not your responsibility, no matter how intelligent you, to intervene in your parent's bickering. It was their responsibility to protect you. Not the other way around." Lilith replied.
"Well that's your opinion!" Mari shouted back defiantly. "And it's a stupid ass one!"
"Is it also just my opinion that you seem to feel as though you are less than other people? Don't you have just as much worth as everyone else? Isn't all life equal, no matter who or what you are, you are alive, you exist, and you feel pain and happiness?" Lilith asked. "I created all of you to be different, but equal, as you are all the same on the inside, even if it doesn't show on the outside."
"What are you rambling about, Lilith?" Mari said, sounding frustrated with her unsolicited companion. "Are you going to make a point or not?"
"It appears, as smart as you are, missed my point, child. You feel like you can never compare to someone else? Why is that?" Lilith started bluntly.
"I'm not as good as anyone else. My two friends got hired as scientists. I was hired on as a glorified research assistant, to assist someone with my research. No one could trust a kid with an adult's work. That's all I was to them, a fucking kid. I was treated like a fucking kid, no one wanted my opinion!" Mari shouted.
"Mari, I believe you are incorrect in that assessment." Lilith said plainly. "As I was going through your thoughts, I noticed your two friends, Yui and Kyoko, always treated you as an equal. I seem to believe that Christmas Eve where you finally broke down and admitted you felt less able then they were at research. Should I show you your memory again?"
"Fuck no!" Mari shouted. "Once was enough for a lifetime, I'd rather not relive another low point in my life…" Mari muttered.
"Still you have not answered my question, why did you feel less than?" Lilith pressed.
"I… I guess…" Mari struggled to admit something she had never really wanted to admit. "I guess it was because I should never have rushed through school to get into a doctoral program so soon. I was way too young and immature. I cried a lot back then, and I guess I did right up until I ended up in here. What I did before the test that got me here? I cried because I felt alone, when I was surrounded by people, and I've been crying in here, because there isn't anyone around. I'm pathetic, I haven't ever been happy, I just seem to cut myself off from the world, no matter what happened, every loss I experienced, I retreated a little more into myself to avoid being hurt again." Mari stated. "And you're right Lilith, I may be smart, but I'm pretty stupid for never noticing Yui and Kyoko were always treating me with respect, as an equal. They both helped me that night, and I don't think I ever gave them a proper thank you for it. I regret that now."
"You should regret that, not saying thank you is impolite, and you've once again proven my point that you are not polite." Lilith said, trying to get Mari to react.
And boy did she. "Listen, Lilith, I don't give a flying fuck what you think is impolite or not. People haven't exactly been polite with me because of how smart I was! People treated me like I was diseased because I was smart, because I was different! So don't go being all high and mighty about being polite when the world is full of hypocritical fucking assholes!"
"Well, well, well, another nerve I see. Let's talk about that instead, it makes you much more volatile." Lilith said with a sickening voice. "Let's talk about how people treated you, specifically, Yui Ikari. What made her so special?"
"What the fuck are you talking about? What about Yui? We were friends, best friends!" Mari said, as she was much more interested in what Lilith meant by "much more volatile" so Mari glossed over her feelings for Yui.
"What I mean is, this introspection of yours is not to help you, it's for my amusement. So either comply with what I ask you to answer, or we go back to forcing the memories from you." Lilith said, sneering at her.
"Eat a bowl of dicks, you self–righteous bitch!" Mari yelled back.
Lilith laughed. "Well, that was unexpected, a little crude, but still quite insulting. But now you're testing my patience. What was it about Yui Ikari that made her so special to you?"
"GO TO HELL!" Mari bellowed, and she slapped Lilith across the face.
Lilith was shocked and knocked off guard by Mari's reaction, Lilith had found the one thing that would make Mari lose her shit, Yui Ikari. Now it was time to dig into that particular wound. "So that's what the pain of unrequited love feels like. How enticing." Lilith mocked Mari openly, and decided to shift her form to a more appropriate visage, that of Yui Ikari. "As punishment for hitting me, let's take a look at memory lane, shall we?"
"FUCK YOU!" Mari shouted moments before the pain struck her down again, constricting and contorting her body until she could hardly breathe, and then the flood of memories regarding Yui were forced to the surface…
As Mari got to the bottom of the stairs she saw a beautiful young girl with shoulder length brunette hair. 'Wow she's so pretty.' Mari thought as the two girls passed each other. The pretty brunette smiled at her as she walked by. Mari saw the girl walk toward the science building she had just left. 'I wonder if she is one of the other two doctoral candidates. I guess I'll have to wait a few weeks to find out.'
"Yeah, yeah, sis, come on." Shinji started, but he noticed Mari behind them. "Hey, who's the kid? Isn't she a bit young for college? She looks like she's 12 or 13."
"Shinji, don't be rude!" Yui cried out. "She's going to be my other neighbor, so be nice!" Yui sounded a bit angry so Shinji backed off.
Mari, after hearing the exchange, felt a bit down. She knew she was young, but no one had ever really mentioned it in front of her, let alone that loudly. Her head slunk down, and her cheeks became flushed. She felt like crying. 'But, wait, that girl, Yui, defended me. No one's been that nice to me since my parents died, or my aunt even…'
Yui turned around after putting her stuff down and saw Mari's head slunk down, and she rounded on her brother. "Look what you did!" Yui yelled. "You made her sad! Now apologize to Mari and make her feel better!"
Shinji had never seen his sister actually be mad at someone, so he was caught a little off guard. "Hey, um, kid… sorry, I mean, Mari." He smiled while he talked to her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to call you out or anything. I mean, I should know that age and intelligence don't mean crap together, my sister over here is the smartest person I know, and has been way smarter than me since she was like five. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."
Mari stood there, the sad look on her face had been replaced by a look of shock. Yui had defended her, and made her brother apologize. Even more confusing to Mari was that she was actually apologized to. 'I haven't been treated this nicely in a long time.' She thought. It took Mari a moment to realize what she should do. She lifted up her head and walked toward Shinji and hugged him. "You don't have to apologize, I just got wrapped up in my own thoughts." She smiled at him and then walked over to Yui and hugged her too. "Thank you for sticking up for me though, I hope we can be good friends."
… Mari looked at the clothes Yui had left on her bed. There were a few sweaters, a pair of sweatpants, some high cut shorts, some socks, and a few t–shirts to choose from. Mari realized however that there were no panties in the stuff Yui had given her. Mari had to think. 'I guess I'll use these as panties.' She thought holding up the shorts. 'It's not like I have any other choice. Plus, I'm starting to get cold and should get dressed.' Mari picked out what she wanted to wear and put it on. She moved the remaining clothes on top of Yui's dresser. While she was doing that, she started to feel tired. Mari walked over to Yui's bed and flopped down and fell asleep quite quickly. But before she drifted off to sleep she muttered. "This smells like her too."
"The reason I was in the lab was because my research has stalled. I haven't made any progress in weeks! I'm falling behind, and I hate being behind!" Mari started to cry, but continued anyway. "I just don't want to be seen as the failure of our group! I just don't want to disappoint anyone! I don't want to look like a… A STUPID KID!"
…Yui grabbed Mari and hugged her tight, letting the younger girl cry onto her shoulder. "It's ok, let it all out Mari." Yui hugged her tighter. "It's ok to cry sometimes, and I know working on a thesis is tough, but sometimes you have to know when to take a break before you burnout. And neither of us want that to happen." … Yui continued while still letting poor Mari cry on her shoulder, but her tone was more serious and motherly. "So here's what's gonna happen. You're not going back to that lab until after New Year's. You're going to take a break and get some sleep, and a new idea will come to you."
"No it won't." Mari sobbed. "I suck at this."
"Mari, I asked how you were doing. We can talk about your research in a few minutes. I haven't had much time this semester to check up on any of you girls, or your research." Fuyutsuki said kindly.
Mari was taken aback, the professor was asking about her, and not just her research. 'He really is a nice guy.' Mari thought. 'He's as kind as Yui is.'
Mari looked like she was going to cry. She had been caught with Yui's glasses, and to be honest, Mari only took them out of convenience, and for nothing else. At least nothing she wanted to admit anyway. But if the previous day's overheard conversations had taught her anything, waiting to tell someone something only led to further pain and suffering. So, Mari sucked it up and spoke. "I hate you, Yui."
Yui dropped her glasses when Mari spoke, but she said noting and let Mari continue.
"You're so beautiful, and cute, you have the most brilliant mind I've ever seen, and you're always kind to others, no matter how they treat you." Mari closed her eyes to keep the tears from rolling down her face. "You're everything that I'm not, and I hate that you act that way, even after you realize how I feel. You must have put it together at Christmas, right? The way we woke up with me cuddling you like that? You can't be that dense Yui, not if you can get someone like Rokubungi to admit he likes you."
Yui looked at her in silence, trying to comprehend what Mari was saying. Thankfully, for Yui, who had been confused by almost every conversation she had with someone within the last 24 hours, Mari spelled it out for her in no uncertain terms.
Mari, despite her best efforts, had tears rolling down her cheeks, her eyes looked quite sullen, and the light from within them had faded. "Yui, you understand what I'm saying right?" Mari's head drooped so that her bangs were now obscuring her eyes from view. "Don't you realize that I… that I love you?"
"STOP IT YOU EVIL FUCKING CUNT!" Mari gasped, using what little air she had in her lungs to yell at the one causing her immense pain.
"Why would I go and do a thing like that? I'm having too much fun at your expense. Have you experienced enough now? Will you tell me what I want to know?" Lilith asked, increasing the pain Mari felt to elicit a response.
"Why do you want to know?!" Mari screamed. "Why do you need to know all this?!"
"Quite simply, because it's fun to make people tell you things to make themselves vulnerable, because inside this Core, no light protects our soul, we are one." Lilith said.
"I WILL NEVER BE PART OF YOU!" Mari roared.
Lilith simply laughed at her. "It's cute you think you have a choice in the matter."
Mari screamed again as Lilith flicked her hand forced Mari to feel all the pain she'd ever felt all at once. It was indescribably overwhelming. Mari could feel tears welling up in her eyes, and she broke down and cried over her parent's deaths all over again, like it just happened. She felt the pain and shock as harshly as she did all those years ago in the hospital. She felt the inadequacy of herself compared to her friends, they were so much smarter and mature than her, and she could never measure up. She also felt the pain of never being able to be truly in love with Yui. Yui would never be able to return her feelings in kind, and Mari would be left alone, without anyone to love her. "I don't want to feel this anymore!" She yelled into her hands.
"Part of being human is to feel these emotions, is it not? The other part is being able to cope with them as best you can. They will always be there, but you have to manage them, you must fight and subdue them. Your emotions should not control you, but you need to be in control of your emotions." Lilith said. "If you don't want to feel this pain anymore, then join and become one with me."
"I'D RATHER DIE THAN BECOME A PART OF YOU!" Mari yelled back. "I WAS WRONG, THE PAIN IS BETTER THAN BEING LIKE YOU!"
Lilith decided it was the time for an ultimatum. "Well, either join with me or answer my questions, it's your choice." Lilith smirked manically. "Now decide."
Face with a decision akin to a rock and a hard place. 'Fuck, I can't become a part of her, I don't want that. I guess… I guess I'll have to tell her about Yui.' Mari thought sullenly. "Fine, you win either way." Mari said. "But I'm not going to become any part of you, so I'll tell you what you want to know. Just make it stop!"
"Well, look at that, an empty threat got you to talk… how interesting. I think I'm going to enjoy spending time tormenting you while you're in here." Lilith said with a sick grin on her face. Mari looked at Lilith, she was still shaped like Yui, and found it hard to speak. "Ah, you can't admit the reason to her face, so how about hers." Lilith changed her form again, this time to look like Kyoko. "Is that better?" Lilith said mockingly.
"Yes." Mari said quietly, still reeling from the torture she had endured, she wasn't quite ready to do this, but didn't have any other alternative. "There are a lot of reasons I like Yui." Mari said. "But after I tell you, I want to ask you a few questions."
"Well, I see you're trying to bargain with me now. What a smart plan, Mari." Lilith sounded impressed by Mari's chutzpah. "I'll let you ask two questions, because I'm such a benevolent being." Lilith said.
"Fine, it's a deal." Mari said with satisfied look on her face. "Now, I don't know why I started to like her, but I remember when. The day we were moving in, she yelled at her brother, she defended me, someone she had just met, and she made him apologize, and no one was ever that nice to me. I felt something that day, something I hadn't felt since my parents died. My parents and my aunt were the only people I ever knew who were nice to me, let alone tolerated me, everyone else that I'd met didn't like me at all. They said I was too smart, and that I was weird for knowing so much. They made fun of my glasses and made fun of my personality. School was never fun, I only kept learning so that I wouldn't have to deal with those kids anymore. I skipped junior and senior high school and went straight to college, and it got no better. People were avoiding me because I was so young. But when I got to the University of Kyoto, things were definitely different. Yui was the difference. Kyoko was nice, but Yui, she acted like she truly cared. The first couple of weeks were hard to adjust to. But Yui made an effort to make sure I was doing ok, she would come to my room and take me to the cafeteria to eat, and it was during our third month of school that the three of us found a nice spot to relax in, a hill overlooking the school, it was peaceful up there, our special spot, the three of us. By the time Christmas rolled around, we were going home for the holidays if we wanted to, but because I didn't have anywhere to go, Yui forced me to come with her back to her house. I stayed there with her for a week, and I think that's when I started to fall in love with her. Her family was so nice to me, I felt happier than I had in a long time, happier than I thought possible." Mari said, trying not to cry while she explained everything.
"That's good, but I'm assuming there's more?" Lilith asked.
"Yes, I just needed to stop… for a second." Mari replied, and then she continued. "After that Christmas, I knew I liked her, but I was so afraid to say anything that my feelings for her just kept me up at night. The next Christmas we all decided to stay at school to work and relax while the campus was deserted. So on Christmas Eve, I came up with a stupid plan to get hurt, and then I'd try to tell Yui how I felt about her on Christmas Day. The plan worked ok, I got hurt, and she took care of me, but Kyoko ruined it when she interrupted us, and my stupid outburst killed my confidence to tell her. I ended up being a jerk and copping a feel off her while she slept, and I felt horrible about that, I even pretended that it was an accident. A few more months went by, and I started to hate her for not realizing that I loved her. I was being stupid, and I hated her for my own inaction. Then I found out about her and Gendo, and Kyoko and Gendo, and it was all so confusing, when I walked by her the next day, I stole her glasses for being so forgiving to Kyoko for having dated Gendo before her. Then later that day, Yui caught me with her glasses and I finally told her how I felt, that I hated her for not realizing that I loved her. She looked at me funny we talked. She never really acknowledged what I said to her, but she told me that she would never forget me no matter what. The following month, left for London, and when we said goodbye, she kissed me on the cheek and told me to be careful. I got so flustered and nervous that when I tried to kiss her back, I tripped and ended up on top of her and kissing her on the lips. I was so embarrassed, but it was the happiest moment of my life. I think I just started to love the first person who made me feel like I meant something to them, it was like the only response that made sense to show her how special she is to me. But now she's so far away, I'll never be able to see her again, and now all I want, more than anything, is to see her again just so that I can tell her how much I love her…" Mari trailed off and began to cry again, with the fact that she was trapped finally sinking in, she realized she would never be able to see Yui again.
"Stop crying, so what, you'll never see your lover girl again! There are worse things to go through in life, like losing your body and having your soul taken from you. You have no idea what loss is!" Lilith screamed, finally losing her composure. "I have lived for millions of years alone! When that happens to you, then you're allowed to complain, until then, deal with it!"
Mari wiped her eyes and stood up, she was still sniffling a bit, but she had mostly stopped crying. "I'm sorry, I'm just tired of losing people that I love." Mari said, wiping excess snot from her nose away. "Can I ask you my questions now?"
"Go ahead." Lilith said.
"How long have I been in here? It feels like an eternity, but I don't know how long it's really been." Mari asked politely.
"To be fair, I don't know how long I've been in here either, but seeing as you Lilin have evolved so much, it must have been a pretty long time." Lilith said. "Time in this place, does not exist. The construct of time is artificial in nature, and thus, in a place devoid of any signs of time passing, nothing can change, as the past present and future all exist at once. We are in a dimension that does not exist in your world, the 0th Dimension, a single point that cannot pass in time, but outside, is in a four dimensional space. We exist separately from your world, yet we are in your world. Does that make sense?"
"Mostly, yeah, metaphysics went over some of this stuff time is a construct stuff, so I won't age then?" Mari asked.
"No, you cannot age here, it is not possible, you can live here indefinitely, and still be the same you were when you entered this place." Lilith said. "I'll assume that was just a follow up question, and not your actual second question, correct?" Lilith asked.
"Correct." Mari replied. "I was wondering if there was a way out of here."
"Well, well, not liking the company you have, Mari? Am I not good enough for you?" Lilith changed her form back to that of Yui. "You don't have to go back you know, I can stay like this and love you the way you wish Yui would love you."
"No!" Mari shouted. "I just want to know if there's a way out of here, even if it's temporary, I just want to see Yui and Kyoko again." Mari blushed. "Well, mostly Yui, but I'm sure they are both broken up about whatever happened to me."
"I'm sure they are, or are you lying to yourself to feel better." Lilith asked.
"I know they still care about me! I haven't been forgotten!" Mari shouted, remembering Yui's parting words.
"Well then, I'll tell you a little secret. From this space you can project yourself out of here to visit those you are connected to. You can contact them in their dreams, when the Light of their Souls is at its weakest. But you can never escape from here, you are trapped, like me to live out eternity in this place." Lilith sneered, as she turned away.
"So, you're telling me I can visit the outside world, but I'll always be trapped here?" Mari asked.
"Precisely, you won't be able to escape. Now as fun as this repartee has been, I have a prior engagement. Be seeing you, Mari." Lilith called as she dematerialized and left Mari once again, alone in the nothingness.
"Fine, be that way!" Mari shouted at Lilith's disappearing form. "I guess I need to figure out a way to get into Yui and Kyoko's dreams to visit them. I just need to show them I'm ok, I know Yui's worried about me, that's just how she is, and I promise that I'll see her again." Mari said to herself as she settled back into the quiet loneliness that was now her existence. "Even if it kills me."
End Episode II
A/N: I do not own Evangelion or any of the characters, GAINAX and the other distributors of NGE related material do. I am simply using them as a backdrop for my fanfic.
As for the songs used in this chapter, I don't own them either, and they're listed below in order of appearance:
Journey – Open Arms (1981)
Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive (1986)
Ah, Mari. Even when trapped with a demigod, she's still snarky. I decided to use this chapter to give some background on Mari about her motivations, in that personal hell we all know and love that exists in Evangelion. I know it's not a demonic train car, but being trapped in the Core of an Evangelion doesn't seem like much fun either.
So I started this chapter off with a brief intro into being trapped in nothingness, than a POV from Mari's perspective of the failed experiment. I figured I couldn't just do a story from inside the Core, as it would be much too short, and it also gives a bit of a refresher for what happened to her. I went to town on including whole songs, because, well, it's Mari.
As for the multitude of flashbacks, this being an introspective chapter, forced on by Lilith, I decided to incorporate what I've written in Episode I here to tie Mari's memories of the events and force her to explain (and clarify) some stuff that was left blank, specifically, what attracted her to Yui in the first place.
Now, to clarify, Lilith's soul, who will become Rei I was removed from the Core by the order of Naoko Akagi. What Mari is interacting with is Lilith's imprint left on the Core after she was removed, a minuscule fragment of the whole. Now what the fragment was doing to Mari can only be described as Schadenfreude, a German loan word that translates as pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.
So that's it for this episode. The next episode is the conclusion of the Origins Arc, and starts off with a chapter dealing mainly with SEELE and one long conversation with them, and maybe some other small stuff to fill in a few gaps. Following that one, there will be a WAFF chapter (or at least a happy chapter based on your preference) before the contact experiments occur, and everything hits the fan again. I did keep that fairly spoiler free, I think… yeah I read it over, it's good, no spoilers, as ideas are not content.
Next up! Neon Genesis Evangelion: Legacy – Episode III: Revenge of Ikari.
Please read and enjoy!
As I said before, and will always say at the end of chapter, please leave comments, as I would like to try to improve the story going forward any way I can. And, hell, constructive criticism is a good thing.