So, I revised the first part, just tweaks really, and wrote the next section. Like the first part, the second went on to the page as something quite different from the thoughts that had accumulated in my head. I guess that when I write, the writing forges its own path, and all my ideas and plans are just a background against which it takes shape. I had expected Rei's thoughts to be much more terse than they turned out.
Eventually they came to a stockade of some kind.
It seemed to him that Asuka left them and went in, but he had no idea for how long. Time had stopped for him; all moments, past, present, and future, were the same as far as he was concerned. She reappeared, presumably after an interval, with three horses and a meagre supply of rations to enable them to continue their journey.
She didn't explain, and he could not have understood, that they had come to a settlement of survivors who had found ways of scratching a living from the remains. The settlers had helped out the travellers simply to enable them to be somewhere else when either rescue or capture caught up with them, in the hope that the settlement itself would not be noticed by Nerv or Wille - which they presumed would be the end for them.
He was on the back of a horse. Presumably Asuka had put him there. He'd never been on one before. He did nothing, and the horse moved, and was warm; and that was enough. He could see the other pilot on a horse as well. Presumably she had also never ridden horseback before, but she sat there with an air of accepting that people did this, and it worked, and there was nothing more to consider. Had Rei, his Rei, ever sat on a horse? Perhaps there had been an opportunity for her at school; but then, what did he really know of her? Had she also been a clone, like this other pilot? What would that mean? After all, his Rei wasn't like this other one. But what did it mean to be a clone? Were they human? Was he human himself? If he had spent fourteen years inside Unit-01, that was surely not anything a human could do - so what was he now?
They travelled on. He stayed alive, if this was life - he could no longer tell. The other pilot seemed to be more human than he himself. She silently followed Asuka's instructions, and led the horse that he couldn't conceive of controlling. But he still couldn't be sure what she was, really; he couldn't even be sure that Asuka herself was human, after what had happened to her so recently, as it seemed to him - but so many years ago in fact. He recalled that her eye seemed strange, even with the patch, but knew nothing more than that.
Thinking, if we may call it that, of eyes brought his mind round to Kaworu. Kaworu, whose eyes had looked deep into his soul and shown him trust. Kaworu, who had started to fill the void in his heart that the other one, so reminiscient of Rei, had failed to do. Was he starting to recognise some greater similarity between Kaworu and Rei, he wondered, and, the thought struck him, did that mean that perhaps Kaworu was a clone, if Rei had been? His heart quickened for a moment, but then he was overwhelmed again by despair - if there were to be another Kaworu, a clone, would that one be like... no, he couldn't bear that. Better not to think than to have thoughts like that.
They travelled on. It is not recorded whether he stayed on the horse himself, or whether the others had to keep putting him back up. It didn't matter to him.
I exist to obey orders.
That had been all she had known: obey orders. But she was becoming aware that there were other things. After all, someone gave those orders; she didn't know why, and had no interest in that - but giving orders was different from just obeying them. The red one ordered her to get on a horse, and she obeyed; the red one ordered her to lead the horse bearing Shinji, and she obeyed. It was natural, it was the way of things.
I exist to obey orders.
She had been ordered to fetch the one called Shinji from where he had been. The pink one had tried to stop her, but she had not allowed that to prevent her from carrying out her order; she presumed the pink one had been ordered to stop her, but that was of no consequence to her. She had fetched Shinji, as she had been ordered to, and he had come without resisting. Shinji had been ordered to stay, to resist being fetched. She had heard the order being given. But if he had resisted, she would still have fetched him, as that was her order.
I exist to obey orders.
Shinji puzzled her... What was this puzzlement anyway? It was something that she had not experienced before fetching Shinji. This was the source of her puzzlement: he had not resisted - he had not obeyed the order. Although he had been ordered to stay, he had come with her willingly. There were those who gave orders, otherwise there would be no orders; there were those who obeyed, otherwise the orders would not be carried out. That was her world, but Shinji didn't fit into it. He had been given an order, but he had not carried it out, he had not obeyed. The pink one had been given an order, and had attempted to carry it out, though it had been necessary to ensure that she didn't succeed; the red one now gave her orders, but this was not so puzzling as receiving and giving orders were both parts of the world she knew.
I exist to obey...
But Shinji was different; he had not obeyed. He had been different after they had arrived as well. He said strange things to her; he gave her books; but he didn't give her orders. And yet he seemed puzzled - upset, was that the term? - when she didn't read the books even though she had not been ordered to, and when she didn't say things to him. He called her by her name, Rei Ayanami, but seemed to expect her to be someone else, even told that she was not Rei Ayanami. But what should she say? She had no orders to speak to him.
I exist to?...
During the fight the other pilots had spoken to her the same way that Shinji had done. So she had asked for an explanation, asked what "Rei Ayanami" would have done, but received no answer. She was Rei Ayanami; but like Shinji, the others seemed to be expecting a different person, even referring to "the original", another Rei Ayanami, as he had done. So when the end came, she survived. She had not been ordered to; but she had not been ordered to let herself be destroyed either. She had made a choice. She had acted without an order. This was strange, but it had seemed fitting, and it was why she had survived.
She had seen Shinji with the music player. She supposed it gave him pleasure, though this was a remote concept for her. He had dropped it, which she had not expected him to do, because he always carried it. Why had she picked it up? So that he could have it again, the thing that gave him pleasure? At the moment of doing it she had felt a flicker of... familiarity? As if it was something she had done before. But she couldn't have; she remembered what orders she had been given, and that had never been one of them. So, what?...