The wind was light and the Rabbit skimmed along the expanse. Re-L had one hand on the steering mechanism and the other one flipping the pages of a journal. Vincent was in the cabin sleeping, she could hear the muffled rumbles of his snoring. Pino had powered down and would probably need another hour or two to recharge. For the moment, Re-L celebrated the peace and relative quiet by getting lost in her own thoughts.
The questions she turned over in her mind were the same as when she left Romdo Dome… What are Proxies? Who is Vincent? Who is Ergo Proxy? She had so few answers. The ink was still fresh on her latest entry, the answer to the question that she had asked, demanded -- screamed at Vincent so many times, “Why does the Proxy only appear when you’re around?”
She had settled on the probability that Vincent and Ergo Proxy were one and the same more often than not since she and Iggy left Romdo. She has asked Vincent and he told her, but she didn't believe or understand. She couldn't understand until she saw Vincent -- meek Autoreiv Disposal Technician, immigrant to Romdo, erstwhile fugitive -- transform into Ergo Proxy. In her journal she had called him The Monster.
Re-L had been her Romdo apartment, unguarded and alone and just about to take a damn bath. But it all started with a word written in the fog in her mirror… She only had enough time to form the thought gunclosetgun before The Monster crashed into her bathroom.
The thunder of her heartbeat almost drowned out the sound of her ceiling caving in. She flung herself backwards to the wall. The Monster towered over her. It was red and shadow and a bone white mask with a cracked smile. Eyes that seemed to be lit by far away lightning. The same lightning she felt sparking beneath his skin when he touched her.
Tears fell from his eyes. But she couldn’t bring herself to even blink away the tears in hers until after… Another Monster. Fight. Shattered glass. Stand-off. Nothing. Her legs gave out and she slid down the wall. The tears streamed down her face then. And they didn’t stop until Iggy lifted her out of the rubble.
That word: Awakening. She had written and rewritten it dozens of times in her journals. And she was only now starting to understand what it meant for her and for Vincent.
Vincent who was Ergo Proxy who was The Monster who terrified her, who saved her.
Re-L had been so lost in her thoughts, she didn’t even notice that Vincent had emerged from the cabin. He was tugging at his uniform, trying to work out some of the wrinkles. It didn’t help. Nothing ever helped with that uniform.
“Re-L…” His voice was soft now. “Did you want me to take over?”
Re-L gave control of the Rabbit over to Vincent and leaned against the rail. She flipped a few more pages in her journal and tossed it to where Pino sat. She scanned the horizon and found nothing interesting.
Re-L wasn’t certain she was ready to talk to Vincent. It hadn't even been a day since he had told her that he loved her. Which was inconvenient. And then she kissed him to distract him because she’d dropped her gun. Which didn’t help. And then he’d turned into the Proxy. Which was even more confounding.
She listened to the wind rushing past her ears for the length of ten breaths. Maybe it was best to go start from the beginning and work from there.
“Do you remember what you do when you're Ergo Proxy?”
Vincent was caught off guard. She was always catching him off guard. “Wha?…No. Yes... I do now, but before it just seemed like a dream... If I remembered anything at all.”
“Do you remember Ergo Proxy dropping into my bathroom?”
Vincent looked horrified. His eyes darted sideways in thought. Re-L thought she could see the actual gears turning in his head. His eyes went wide in realization and his face went as red as his uniform.
“I'll take that as a yes.”
“Re-L. I'm so sorry… I--”
Re-L waved her hand. “Look. It's not as if you had anything to do with that. Really. No harm done.”
Vincent went still and his eyes rested on the faint line of a scar on Re-L's cheek. She had completely forgotten about that one wound she'd incurred from the glass that had shattered when Ergo flipped the other Proxy through her window.
Vincent closed the distance between them and raised his gloved hand to trace the scar with his thumb. Re-L hadn't even realized she'd been holding her breath until his hand dropped away and he said again, “I'm sorry.”
Re-L took his hand and pulled the glove off. She turned it over in her hands, examining the paleness of his palm and flexing his fingers. He watched her work, growing embarrassed at how clinical this had become. She took his hand and raised it to her face again. Re-L caught Vincent's gaze, letting herself hold it for a breath. She curled his fingers in and placed his thumb at the top of the scar.
Vincent drew his thumb down her cheek and Re-L let herself sink into the gentle friction. She watched him through half-closed eyes and caught his gears turning again - remembering, thinking, reconsidering, and resolving. He traced a line to her lips. Her eyes widened at how much was the same from what she remembered… The feeling of lightning just beneath his skin, how he smelled of rain on rocks, that her pulse thundered in her ears.
Vincent watched Re-L carefully. Re-L watched Vincent freeze as she pressed forward into his hand. She darted her tongue to taste him and his look darkened. Before she could even process what was happening, she found her back pressed against the door of the cabin.
All of a sudden, Vincent seemed taller and his skin was a few shades closer to slate. His face hovered inches above hers. Still too far, Re-L thought. She grabbed the collar of that awful uniform and pulled him to her.
Pino was playing Vincent a tune on her melodica when Re-L would later note in her notebook: After some inquiry, V remembered our first encounter with him as E Proxy in my bathroom. Resumed encounter where we left off. Result: Success. Would encounter again.