It was the first place Gendo took the girl once was she well enough to leave the laboratory. He hadn't wanted to go back (and hovered near the exit), but he felt she should see it. The Evangelion. What would be her Evangelion. And the place where her... no, mother wasn't the right word. Donor, perhaps. Yes, Gendo could use that word without guilt.
He felt Rei should see the place where her donor died.
Like most young couples, they had fought before making love (he hated that phrase, it seemed so sentimal, but even though neither of them were sentimental people it was what Yui preferred). From everything he had heard from others, Gendo knew that this was normal, especially for young couples with children. But it bothered him.
"How horrible," Yui said in that cheery voice of hers. "Most women would be complaining 'he won't be gentle', 'he's so cruel', but you..." She snuggled against him, laying a hand over his chest. It still fascinated him, they way she'd stay so close to him even after they'd been beyond close. No, especially after that. "I know your gentle side, so it's like you're scared to show me that monster you show to everyone else."
He stared up at the ceiling. "I'm afraid of losing you."
She was quiet for a long time. He almost thought she'd fallen asleep listening to his heartbeat, until she said, "We all have monsters, even me. I never told you - I thought you were so cute under those bruises, despite what everyone said - so shy. You remember those rumors? 'He's seducing her because some shadowy motive', that nonsense. As if you knew how. You're so horrible with people."
Despite the insults, he smiled. Was this really her idea of a compliment?
"But, that wasn't all."
"Do you... really mean that?"
"Yes, I do." She chuckled. "You'd better not fall asleep on me now! I'm not done with my story yet, Horrible Interpersonal Communicator Gendo Rokubungi-kun."
"Rokubungi-kun. Been a while since you've called me that. How does the story end, Yui-kun?"
"'Yui-kun'. You shouldn't tease me-!"
"But, you did it first."
"Anyway! The end of the story of this: everyone thought the monster was seducing the princess for his own shadowy reasons, but, what the princess found was that the monster was just a cute young man underneath it all. Someone who could understand the monster underneath the cute young woman."
He looked at her again. Gendo couldn't stop looking at her. Not for long. "There's a monster here," he muttered, tracing her body with his lips. "How horrible..."
"Hmph. It's true after all. Men don't care what you say so long as-"
He pulled away from her after a moment. "Don't leave me alone."
She kissed him back, but it wouldn't be until years later that Gendo realized she no longer looked him in the eye. "You'd have Shinji."
"I couldn't - I'm even worse than the man you were told about. If you-"
Her kiss was more gentle than it had ever been before. Considering this was Yui, that was saying something. He didn't realize, then, that she'd been shuddering. Even though they should have still been warm. "I'm going to take him tomorrow. It will be all right."
"But, he's just a kid, he won't even understand... Yui, what-"
"Our son's sleeping soundly for once. We should take advantage of it. Besides, don't you think he should see the bright future?"
That was the last time they made love. Because Yui died the next day.
Still, Gendo wanted Rei to see her future. And although the girl didn't know (couldn't know, he reassured himself), Gendo wanted her to see her past as well. Even if she wasn't reacting to it like he'd... expected. Hoped, perhaps.
Gendo had wanted to see Yui's smile on her lips as she looked through the glass at Units 00 and 01. That was the smile he imagined he'd see every time he saw her, all those long nights in the lab, watching as man created a girl against the will of God. When she'd be able to smile, he was sure it would be Yui's smile.
But it wasn't Yui's smile he saw when she spotted Unit 00. That was something foreign, almost frightening. And it wasn't Yui's smile he saw as she stared at Unit 01. No, that was another smile. One that made him look at his watch instead of Rei. It was the first time, since he'd seen Rei, that he had been able to look away.
He had to look away. Looking at her would have meant looking at that smile. The one that wasn't Yui's, nor the one he couldn't comprehend, but instead the other smile Gendo knew too well. And at the sight of it, all he could do was run away.
"Shinji!" He calls out to the girl, like a stern-but-loving father would, not realizing his mistake until the name has left his lips. She doesn't seem to hear him. But knowing what he knows of her, Gendo wonders.
He pushes his sunglasses up with an unsteady hand, hiding his frown, and tries again. Softer this time. "Rei. Come."
She turns to him at this time. A pleased look in her eyes. A small smile. Yui's eyes, under the red. Yui's smile. This time. But, Gendo thinks to himself, he should have remembered. This girl wasn't the only one with Yui's smile.
Gendo imagines it's an accident that she digs her fingernails into his hand, as she clutches it the way Shinji used to do. Yet, part of him - the part that generates the nightmares about Yui - wonders.
And she looks up at him with his wife's eyes and smiles.