The task before them was perhaps more daunting than any other. Over the past few months, Re-l and Vincent had gone through their own personal battles, and together, many more. It felt like several lifetimes had passed since Re-l investigated those first murders and Vincent walked into Rondeau. One would think that defeating Proxy One, defeating several more Proxies, overcoming personal demons, and travelling all this way for so many months would be the hard part of whatever their lives were to be, but no. The task before them now was far more daunting, yet was so simple, it could be summed up in two words:
Where would they even start? Go across the world scrounging up survivors? Build a little shanty town like the Commune? Somehow find the materials to build a whole other Dome? Vincent technically did that once, right? It had to be possible, he did it already.
Why could the most difficult of tasks always be summed up so simply?
"...is the ceiling really that interesting?" Re-l asked, snapping Vincent from his thoughts.
"Oh! Uh... not really." Vincent said sheepishly, sitting up.
Vincent had been laying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. With Kristeva at the helm of the Rabbit and Pino currently recharging, Vincent had been alone in the room before Re-l walked in.
Re-l gave a small smile. She had been worried that, now that Vincent knew what he was, he would become a different person in terms of his personality. But nope, same old Vincent Law.
"...something up?" Vincent asked.
"No." Re-l said simply, maintaining her smile for him. "But it's getting late, so let's turn it in."
"Heh, yeah." Vincent replied. "Wow, I'm gonna sleep like a log tonight."
Re-l gave an understanding nod, and walked to the bathroom. She was just brushing her teeth, not in the mood for a pre-sleep shower, so she left the door open. Vincent laid back down and glanced at the open door, unable to see Re-l from this angle. He then resumed looking at the ceiling, thinking about what was to come, all that they had to do.
But something else crossed Vincent's mind now.
Would Re-l accept him, now knowing what he was?
Granted, the fact that Vincent was a Proxy was old news to Re-l at this point. She had since smiled at him, hugged him, clearly showed a willingness to accept him despite what he was. But that was before everything was actually stated, made so clear for Re-l. Vincent's origins, purpose for existing, what exactly he was the Proxy of, it was now all laid out on the table for Re-l to inspect. She seemed like it didn't bother her, but she was always a hard one to read.
The sound of the scraping toothbrush against Re-l's teeth began.
"...Re-l..." Vincent began, but his voice trailed off.
The sound stopped.
"You say something?" Re-l asked.
"Oh, uh... no, nothing." Vincent replied quietly.
There was a short pause, but then the brushing continued.
Vincent sighed. Today was harder than any day in either of their lives, but it ended on such a high note. He wanted to keep that note high, not go to bed on the heels of an awkward conversation that gave him an answer he wouldn't like.
After a few minutes, Re-l emerged from the bathroom, in her usual white undergarments. Her clothing already neatly folded, she opened a drawer and tucked them in. She slid it shut, and from the corner of her eye, caught Vincent staring at her, with that usual look of deep thought on his face.
"Seriously, what is it?" Re-l asked.
"Oh! Uh..." Vincent stuttered, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly.
Re-l walked up to him, giving him a smile.
"After all we've been through, you still can't talk to me?" She asked, rather accusing in her tone but maintaining her smile.
"I can talk to you!" Vincent protested. "I just... uh... well, you know what I am now, right?"
"You've Vincent Law." Re-l said simply. "That's what matters."
"But you do know, right?" Vincent asked again.
Re-l sighed, her smile fading.
"You're Ergo Proxy, the emissary of death." Re-l answered. "Why?"
"And you know why I was created, right?" Vincent continued.
"Vincent, please, just get to the point." Re-l said, growing slightly annoyed.
"W-well..." Vincent stuttered, both from Re-l's irritation and the subject matter he was about to approach. "I was just wondering, now that you know all this..." His voice trailed off.
Re-l didn't say anything. She just looked at him, waiting for him to continue.
"I was just wondering..." Vincent continued. "If you..." His voice grew quiet. "...can still love me..."
Re-l didn't move. She just looked at Vincent, taking in this information, then sighed.
"Damn it, Vincent." She said.
Vincent's heart sank. This was the response he feared more than anything. Re-l never said she loved him, and now, she was going to tell him this flat out.
"...sorry..." Vincent said quietly.
"Damn it." Re-l repeated. "After all the things we've been through, all the months I've already known this about you, and now after today, you're still acting like this is the first day you confessed to me?"
"...I just figured, you know, hearing all this from Proxy One might... I dunno, make you realize it... more clearly, or something..." Vincent said awkwardly.
"I don't need things spelled out for me to understand them." Re-l replied.
"I didn't say that!" Vincent stammered.
"I know." Re-l replied.
There was an awkward pause, as they both knew the question was still on the table.
"Vincent, let's think about this." Re-l said. "You're a Proxy. Despite everything that went wrong with the plan, you, as a Proxy, were created for the purpose of preserving and rejuvenating humanity. Is that right?"
"...yeah." Vincent said tentatively.
"And now, here you are, with me." Re-l continued. "I don't know how we're going to do it or where we'll even start, but our only thing to do now is to gather what people we can and do our part in keeping the human race alive. You, knowing everything that you know now, could just go off and do whatever you wanted. But you're here, with me, helping me. Is that right?"
"...what are you saying?" Vincent asked.
Re-l's face remained stern.
"Now who needs everything spelled out for them?" She asked.
And with that, she grabbed Vincent and pulled him to her, locking her lips with his.
The first time she had done this, it was just pressing her mouth to his, nothing more. And just like then, Vincent was too paralyzed with surprise to really add anything to this. But this time, Re-l made sure move her lips, and gently, tentatively get her tongue involved. Nothing close to a makeout session, of course, but just enough to let Vincent know that this was real. Her hand moved from his collar to the back of his head, holding him in place for this.
After a few seconds, she broke the kiss. She went into it stern and serious, but was now smiling, and even blushing slightly.
"Does that answer your question?" She asked coyly.
Vincent looked at her with a face full of surprise, then began to blush profusely. He chuckled awkwardly.
"Heh, yeah..." He said, a shy smile on his face.
Re-l smiled, and walked across the room. She got the lights, and the room became pitch black. With no windows in this room and the door closed to an overcast night, it was too dark to even see your nose in front of your face. Re-l carefully made her way to her bed, and climbed in. Vincent slipped under his own covers as well, and the two closed their eyes.
"Vincent?" Re-l suddenly asked.
"Yeah?" Vincent answered.
"Remember that couple weeks where there was no wind, and we were stuck in here?" Re-l asked.
"Yeah." Vincent replied.
"Well I was just wondering, during that whole time, what did you think of me?" Re-l asked.
"...what do you mean?" Vincent asked.
"I mean everything." Re-l replied.
"Uh..." Vincent said, confused. "I don't know, I liked you all the same. You were kind of... short with us, but I guess you were just stressed, right?" He chuckled nervously.
"Short with you?" Re-l asked. "When?"
"...why?" Vincent asked, growing more confused.
"Just answer the question." Re-l said flatly.
"Well, uh..." Vincent said, stuttering a little. "I guess... well, the dressing on the beans thing is what I remember the most... hole on the sock..."
"Anything else?" Re-l asked, her tone not wavering.
"Well I don't know..." Vincent began.
"Vince-" Re-l began to admonish.
"I mean!" Vincent interrupted quickly. "I... I just mean that there aren't too many, you know, specific examples. It was more, just, how you reacted to just... everyday events, everyday conversation. You always spoke with such small, impatient sentences. But it wasn't just that. It was the bemused look on your face when you were observing Pino, the fact that you were openly writing about us like we were an exhibit in some zoo, how you didn't want to play with Pino and I, how you were always holed up by yourself unless you wanted food, or a hair combing, or to ask us some weird question to write in your book. The times when you yelled at me for not planning as much as you like to weren't my favorite parts of those days, but it was more those tiny, everyday things, things you probably didn't even realize you were doing, that got to me."
And silence followed.
Vincent quickly covered his mouth, realizing everything he just said.
"Oh... oh god, Re-l, I'm sorry!" He stammered.
Re-l said nothing. She just laid there, on her back, taking in this information. She already learned that she could be far too brash at times, and she paid dearly for that with Iggy, but she had never been called on things like this before."
"Nobody's ever said something like that to me, Vincent Law." Re-l said slowly.
"I-I'm so sorry! Really, I am!" Vincent stuttered.
"Damn it, Vincent!" Re-l said, growing impatient with his pleading apologies.
Vincent opened his mouth to speak, but instead just closed his mouth, clenching his teeth and awaiting her response.
"Have I ever apologized to you for this?" Re-l asked.
"...sorry, I'll stop apologizing so much!" Vincent stuttered.
"Not what I meant. I was really asking." Re-l said. "Did I ever apologize for anything during that windless time?"
"Oh, uh..." Vincent said quietly. "...no, not really."
Re-l paused, then slowly pushed herself to her seat. She looked in Vincent's direction, unable to see him in the darkness, then got out of her bed, and slowly made her way across the room to Vincent's. Vincent couldn't see her, but he heard her approach.
"...what are you doing?" He asked.
"Well, I apologize, I really do." Re-l said. "It was stress, boredom, the fact that I still didn't really trust you then, but I know that none of those are excuses."
"...it's okay." Vincent said carefully.
"That was an unpleasant situation, but I suppose how I acted just made it worse." Re-l continued. "We are the sum of our experiences, and I guess I really was a different person then."
"I know." Vincent said. "So you really don't have to apologize. It's fine."
"Thank you. But I do apologize, Vincent. You deserved better." She said. "And... your dressing's not that bad, either."
"Yes it is. It just added some different flavor." He said with a smile.
These beds weren't really designed for two, but at least for one night, Re-l decided they could make it work. She did love Vincent, despite how she tended to come off to him, and she wanted to make sure this fact would never again be in doubt. Without a word, and with her blush and her smile masked by the darkness, she gently pushed Vincent to the far side of the bed.
"Huh?" Vincent exclaimed.
And Re-l gently climbed into the bed, pulling the covers over them.
It was fairly cramped, especially with Vincent pushed up against the wall, desperate not to touch and inadvertently offend her.
"...don't you dare let those hands wander." Re-l said sternly. "Not for a... just not now."
"...I... I won't...?" Vincent stuttered.
Re-l smiled, and grabbed his hands, tugging him closer and moving his arms around her. Vincent couldn't have been more thankful for the dark, as his face was beet red. But he got the message, and adjusted himself, holding Re-l close. She snuggled into his arms, and let out a happy sigh.
"I love you, Vincent Law." She whispered.
"I love you too, Re-l Mayer." Vincent whispered back.
And they drifted off to sleep together.