An Injection of Angst

Disclaimer: I own neither Xiaolin Showdown nor Neon Genesis Evangelion.

A/N: Meh, more messing with Jack's poor, widdle head. Yay-ness.


Part Two: Balderdash

"What is 'evil'?"

Jack snapped his head up, lifting up the protective mask that he always wore when he was working with metal. "What did you say?" His tone was, mildly put, incredulous.

"What is 'evil'?"

The strange, blue-haired girl had been staying with him for the better part of three days, and during that time she had barely said a word. Even when she had spoken, it had always been a concise response to a question that Jack asked her. So the query was doubly perplexing simply for the fact that she was the one asking it. Jack suspected, in the part of his mind that he had set aside for his limited sensitivities, that she had to be very curious for her to make any kind of inquiry at all.

"What kind of question is that? Everybody knows what 'evil' is…" he trailed off as his features contorted into a frown. "…Right?"

"I have heard the word used, but I do not understand it."

By this point Jack was thoroughly confused, and the frown on his face was even more pronounced. This was saying something, as it took a great deal to upset the boy's balance when he was working with his machines. "Don't understand it?" How could that be? "And why do you want to know, anyways?"

The girl lifted her head from its place on top of her knees, shifting slightly before answering, "You often talk of how 'evil' you are--" in Rei-speak, 'talking' was synonymous with 'excessive ranting' "—as though being such is innately positive. However, in my experience, 'evil' carries a negative stigma. Thus, I must have come to the wrong conclusion."

Jack was seriously freaked now. So far, Rei had said a veritable sermon by her usual standards.

But she still wasn't done. "Please define 'evil'. I am very…" she struggled to find a word "…confused."

Jack blinked comically, taken aback. "You expect me to define evil?" he asked, voice thick with disbelief.

Rei looked slightly puzzled by this response, so apparently she did expect him to define it.

Jack sighed, pulled up a nearby stool and sat on it. He then bit his bottom lip in concentration. After a few moments he said, "Evil is…the opposite of whatever most people say is 'good'. Like, if people on the whole think that stealing is bad, then people who steal become 'evil'."

Rei cocked her head to the side. "Do you steal, Jack Spicer?"

"No!" exclaimed Jack, offended. "Of course not! What do you take me for?"

"But yet you say that you are 'evil'."

Jack flushed, realizing that he had overreacted. He had also only confused her more. "Okay," he said. "Let's try this again. You see, I have this big ambition to take over the world, right?"

Rei nodded.

"Right. So," he continued. "People in general view an ambition like that as something 'bad'. I also use unfair tactics while fighting for my ambition. It's because of that that I'm considered 'evil'. See?"

Rei didn't 'see'. "I…do not understand."

Jack sighed in exasperation. "I gathered." He stood up and made his way back to his work desk. He then flipped down his mask again and prepared to continue with his self-assigned task. However, before he could re-ignite his blowtorch, Rei spoke once more.

"Why is it that you wish to take over the world?"

Jack hesitated, completely at a loss for what to say. Why did he want to take over the world?

"Because I can." The reply sounded pathetic, even to him. "Why does it matter, anyway?"

"I have heard the proverb that states that 'the ends justify the means'. Surely that sentiment must hold some sway over what is defined as 'good' or 'bad."

Jack was bereft of a reply, and an uncomfortable silence filled the room.

Jack turned to his work once more.

Rei continued to watch.

And, as he began to weld together the parts of his newest creation for defeating the Xiaolin Dragons, Jack felt suddenly, inexplicably depressed.