A Mind At Peace With All Below A Heart Whose Love Is Innocen

[13:49] <Minerva‘Linden> [The room is essentially a rather small apartment- in fact, it’s more than a little similar to his own, except it lacks all of the 'homely touches' that differentiate someone's home from, say, someone's pit stop.-
[13:53] <Minerva‘Linden> "Is that you, papa?" That same voice, now touched with excitement. From the kitchen comes a girl- she’s about Raphael's height, with straight black hair that falls past the jawline; she's wearing a dark blue long sleeved dress; in her hand is a wooden spoon. Raphael would identify her immediately as Minerva Linden.-
[13:53] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh." She stops dead when she sees Raphael. She stares.
[13:59] <Raphael> "… Ah." Raphael says slowly. He was prepared to meet her, of course, but that stare was too intense for his taste. He coughs gently, giving her a respectful nod that borders on a bow. "My apologies for intruding, President Linden. I was hoping to speak with your father, but I take it he’s been… ah, borrowed for questioning?"
[14:04] <Minerva`Linden> "Um…"-
[14:08] <Minerva`Linden> Minerva averts her eyes now, suddenly aware of her staring. The creeping signs of a blush appear on her cheeks. "Um, yes. T-that’s right. Questioning. Because he's a soldier. He should be back soon, though…"
[14:12] <Raphael> "… Right." Raphael says, trying to avoid rolling his eyes. This was ridiculous. "Well, I'll try to return later, then. Would you be able to pass on a message to your father in case I can't make it back, ma'am?"
[14:14] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, I can do that, Pilot Ikari. Erm… What do you want to say?"
[14:15] <Raphael> "… oh, uh." He really did hate this part. "I’m not Pilot Ikari, ma'am. This shape is… uh, something of an accident."-
[14:16] <Raphael> "But please let him know that Raphael sends his thanks. Your father helped me save someone who's very important to me."
[14:17] <Minerva‘Linden> "Alright, I can do that…"-
[14:18] <Minerva`Linden> She looked back at him now, slowly. "… You’re really not Pilot Ikari?"
[14:23] * Raphael shakes his head. "No, ma'am. Just a NERV officer, I'm afraid. This is the work of the last angel." He says, giving her a very thin, tired smile. "There's a far taller Frenchman in here somewhere, if you can believe it."
[14:30] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, I see." She says, curiously, tilting her head just a little. "Raphael, did you say your name was? How did you meet my father, exactly? I’m very curious, so please forgive my asking."
[14:35] <Raphael> "Yes ma'am, Raphael Guillory. But… your father managed to catch me off guard after we both lost our T-RIDEN-Ts during the battle." Raphael says, not showing any hint of ire. "He was planning to take me as a captive, as is only fair."
[14:36] <Minerva‘Linden> "I see. You must’ve escaped somehow?"
[14:40] <Raphael> "Not quite. I was on my way to the Minifront at the time to help in the rescue of Pilot Rei. After hearing that he simply… He simply let me go." Raphael says with a smile. "Rei would have died without that help. Your father's a good man, and regardless of the sides we're on he has my gratitude."
[14:50] * Minerva‘Linden smiled warmly. "I’m very glad to hear that. He -is- a very good man. Too good to waste in war… In that case, why don't you stay and have lunch with me, Mr. Guillory? I'm sure he'll be back by the time we're done."
[14:51] * Raphael glances back towards the door uncertainly. "… I wouldn't want to intrude, President."
[15:06] <Minerva‘Linden> "You wouldn’t be intruding, Mr. Guillory." Says Minerva. She claps her hands together and beams. "I like meeting new people. But I've had barely a chance for ages, especially here, and to be honest I sort of feel lonely and… Cooped up. So you'd be doing me a favour in the long run…"
[15:09] <Raphael> "… Mmm." Raphael murmurs, still looking a little unsure. "Well, I suppose that's alright, ma'am. I don't have any other duties to deal with right now."
[15:16] <Minerva‘Linden> "Thank you!" Minerva says delightedly, before vanishing into the kitchen- to return with a large, fresh-from-the-oven apple and raspberry pie, along with a canister of vanilla ice cream. She beelines for the table.
[15:21] <Raphael> "I see you’ve been rather busy, Miss Predisent." Raphael says with a small smile, following her over to the table as he looks around the apartment. It's so strange… even on a different continent, every one of these units manage to be utterly identical.
[15:26] * Minerva‘Linden let out a little inadvertent giggle, before coughing and continuing on. "A little. Actually, papa prepared the pie." Before long she’s scooting off to grab a pair of plates, which she lays out on opposite sides of the table.
[15:31] * Raphael frowns at the sudden giggle, not sure of what there is to laugh at. But he waits politely to take his seat until Minerva's settled in her own. "I didn't take him for a cook."
[15:33] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well, of course not!" Said Minerva with a smile. "It’s hard to get a read on someone's hobbies when you're in a situation like you were in, Mr. Guillory."
[15:36] <Raphael> "True enough." Raphael nods. "I hope they've been treating you both well enough, ma'am. I know Captain Wellesley will do his best to treat you fairly, but there's always the question of the rest of his troops."
[15:38] <Minerva‘Linden> "Yes, I’ve been treated alright. I can't… Quite leave, exactly, but otherwise I'm fine." She cuts herself a slice of pie, and places it upon her plate, along with a generous helping of ice cream.
[15:46] <Raphael> "That's to be expected." Raphael says, waiting his turn before cutting a fairly small slice of his own. "… For the record, ma'am, while I feel that you and your father are deserving of my courtesy and respect, I'd like to make it clear that I still disagree with what you've done here today."
[15:47] <Minerva‘Linden> "Today, Mr. Guillory?"
[15:48] <Raphael> "Mmm. Today, and during the rest of this war if I need to be more explicit."
[15:49] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, I see." She said quietly. "Would you please elaborate for me, Mr. Guillory?"
[15:54] <Raphael> "I’m no stranger to the situation in the US. While I think your overall goals are admirable, ma’am, I respectfully feel that siding with the LN and engaging in a war that has, in the end, done little more than destabilize an already weakened nation has done a great deal to undermine them."
[15:58] <Minerva`Linden> "What would you have done, Mr. Guillory?" She asked, sounding genuinely curious.
[16:17] * Raphael drums his fingers. "I’ve spent my life carrying out these orders, ma'am, not issuing them, and there's good reason for that. But assuming I /was/ in your shoes, I would have been certain that the people of this country wanted exactly what you did before I engaged in a war to carry out those ideals."-
[16:17] <Raphael> "To speak plainly, ma’am: As well intentioned as this war was on your part, you’ve cost up to ten thousand people their lives on an uncertain victory because you thought you knew best."
[16:19] <Minerva‘Linden> "Do you know where the fighting was most fierce, Mr. Guillory?"
[16:25] <Raphael> "From what I’ve read in the reports, Miss President, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington were the hardest hit."
[16:33] <Minerva‘Linden> "That’s right." Said Minerva sadly. "All of these cities were within a small corner of the United States, all of them wealthy- relatively- and new. The great pioneering rebuilt metropolises. The centre of the Government's power."-
[16:44] <Minerva‘Linden> "Texas was once the wealthiest state in this country, Mr. Guillory. And we marched through it in a week because no one really bothered to fight us outside of the Evangelions. We’d march through towns and we'd distribute rations, and supplies, and it'd just be… Face after face of people without homes, without hope. So -many- people are like that, Mr. Guillory. Not just with what I've seen from my eyes, but from what I've read and been told from others, as well. A lot of people in the United States -were- upset. They -were- angry. They wanted change. They didn't want a dummy President dominated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Even if the victory was uncertain, it was a victory I -had- to strive for, or else how could I expect anything to change? Even the hope was enough." She shook her head. "Not every decision I made was the right one, Mr. Guillory. And that up to ten thousand people have died is a fact that brings me a lot of sadness." She looked down at her pie sadly. "America was falling apart by the time we arrived. We wouldn't have arrived if it hadn't, and I don't believe it'd simply stop falling apart."
[16:56] <Raphael> "Well, ma’am, I’m not asking you to substitute your opinion for my own. And as I said, for the most part I believe your goals were the right ones. If you believe in what you did that strongly and are willing to accept the consequences…" Raphael trails off with a very slight shrug and takes another bite of pie. His voice remains utterly calm and polite.
[16:57] <Raphael> «My opinion for your own*»
[17:00] <Minerva‘Linden> "… How old are you, Mr. Guillory?"
[17:04] * Raphael takes a moment to chew, looking at her thoughtfully. "… Thirty-four in June, Miss President."
[17:07] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, I see. I guess that explains an awful lot." She giggled a little, now.
[17:08] <Raphael> "… Such as?"
[17:10] <Minerva`Linden> "Well, you’re very polite, and you have a lot to say about things whilst at the same time actually knowing a bit about them. It all comes off as very…"-
[17:11] <Minerva‘Linden> She mulled. "Gentlemanly. I guess I was expecting you to act differently. More like someone my age."
[17:12] <Raphael> "I was rather poor at acting sixteen when I -was- sixteen, ma’am."
[17:16] * Minerva‘Linden lets out a full laugh at that.-
[17:17] <Minerva`Linden> "I think I know how you feel."
[17:22] * Raphael gives her a sad smile. "Yes, I’m sure. So many of the young people I know have been robbed of the chance to experience their youth. The Pilots, Captain Wellesley, Rei. It's…" He looks down at his plate for a moment and shakes his head. "I had hoped it would be different for the generation after Second Impact, but sadly it doesn't seem to have gone that way."
[17:27] <Minerva‘Linden> "It’s too hard to forget about all that's happened. And what happened then is influencing what happens now. Mr. Guillory?"
[17:27] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[17:29] <Minerva‘Linden> "What -were- you like when you were sixteen, then?"
[17:39] * Raphael stares for a minute before letting out a quiet laugh. "From what I remember I was much the same. I recall people giving me grief about being so quiet… they thought I was shy, I suppose. People always seem confused by the idea of thinking before you speak." Raphael says, smiling slightly. "… If you asked my brother I imagine he’d tell you that I wasn’t as tightly-wound, but
[17:39] * Raphael you can’t trust the word of a younger sibling."
[17:44] <Minerva`Linden> "Heehee. Well, there’s nothing wrong with being quiet. -Or- thinking before you speak. Alphonse was always pretty quiet when he was a kid."
[17:50] <Raphael> "That hasn't changed much. The only time that really seems to change is when he's in command of an operation, or with Re—" He pauses, remembering who he's talking to. No matter her age, or how good natured she appeared this girl was, she was still an enemy prisoner for the foreseeable future. "… With friends."
[17:52] <Minerva‘Linden> "His friends?"
[17:52] <Raphael> "Yes ma’am."
[17:56] <Minerva‘Linden> "I’m glad to know he has friends. I mean, I knew he'd make them, eventually, but I suppose it's like… You can never be sure until you're sure."
[18:02] <Raphael> "I know what you mean, but you can rest easy. The Captain has plenty of people who care for him." Raphael says. "… what about you, ma’am? So long as I’m not prying, of course." He adds quickly.
[18:25] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, well… I have papa." She says warmly. "I don’t really have too many other people that are really close to me. I told Ms. Blanc-"-
[18:25] <Minerva‘Linden> "… Well, it’s not important." She mumbles, staring down at her pie with burning cheeks and a firm frown.
[18:27] <Raphael> "Of course, man." Raphael nods, showing no reaction to the obvious blush.-
[18:32] <Raphael> "Well, Miss President, as excellent as I'm sure your father is, I hope you can find a few people your own age to grow closer to. There are plenty of them here in Boston, after all. It's a shame the situation here is all so…" A vague wave of his hand. "Or I'd offer to introduce you to Pilot Rei."
[18:33] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, yes. She’s very important to you, isn't she?"
[18:39] <Raphael> "… Yes, ma'am, I suppose she is." Raphael says hesitantly.
[18:42] <Minerva‘Linden> "She’s given me a lot of trouble." Says Minerva happily. "Capturing her was a priority, but we could never… Quite… Pin her down. She drove papa half-mad sometimes with it."
[18:47] * Raphael laughs, a gentle, lilting sound that's rather pleasant to listen to, and utterly unlike the gruff barks of his old body. "That does sound like Rei, yes."
[18:49] <Minerva‘Linden> "What’s she like? In person, I mean."
[18:53] <Raphael> "Probably one of the most kind and generous young ladies you're ever likely to meet." Raphael says with a smile. "She's forever trying to find the best in everyone and everything."
[18:54] <Minerva‘Linden> "Now I really would like to meet her." Says Minerva, a little enviously.
[18:56] <Raphael> "You probably will sooner or later. She’s never been one to hold a grudge."
[19:08] <Minerva‘Linden> "I’m glad." She took another mouthful of pie. "Hey, Mr. Guillory…"
[19:08] <Raphael> "Ma'am?"
[19:11] <Minerva‘Linden> "What are you going to do, now that you have that body? You said it isn’t your original, so…"
[19:14] * Raphael shrugs. "There's not really much I can do. NERV either can't or won't fix things any further after their last attempt went awry, so I've got no choice but to learn to live with it."
[19:18] <Minerva‘Linden> "I understand."-
[19:18] <Minerva`Linden> "… But would you like to hear my point of view?"
[19:20] <Raphael> "…" Raphael’s eyebrow lifts the barest fraction of an inch, but he's still smiling. "I see no reason not to."
[19:23] <Minerva‘Linden> "I think it’d be jarring, having to handle something like this, but it'd be a real opportunity, too. You're experiencing something that no one else has ever experienced before- being in a body entirely different to your own- so it's a good chance to explore. To see life from a different angle, and maybe do things you'd never do before."
[19:29] * Raphael nods slowly. "Yes. The last few days have been chaotic to say the least, but that's something I've considered. Although if I may be honest, I'm not really sure what I've missed in my life."
[19:30] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well, you couldn’t have done -everything-. You're older than you look, but not that old."
[19:30] <Raphael> "True. It's something to think about, certainly…"
[19:35] * Minerva‘Linden nodded! "Imagine what it’d be like to go back to school again, for example…"
[19:37] * Raphael made a sour face. "… Maybe not that."
[19:38] <Minerva‘Linden> "Were you popular at school? Probably not, right?"
[19:41] * Raphael chuckles. "It wasn’t as bad as you might expect. I had friends and was quiet enough to be left to my own devices."
[19:42] <Minerva‘Linden> "Did you…" She coughed. "You know- have a girlfriend?"
[19:44] <Raphael> That eyebrow raises another notch. "Why, Miss President?"
[19:45] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, erm." She coughed, again. "J-Just curious? I don’t know…"
[19:46] <Raphael> "… Mmm."-
[19:47] <Raphael> "There were one or two, yes. Typical silly teenage romances."
[19:50] <Minerva‘Linden> "What was it like?" There was a sudden light of deep interest burning in those blue eyes.
[20:07] <Raphael> "Not to my taste, really. Relationships can be intense and all-consuming to an adult, let alone a teenager. At that age it’s typically just a storm of hormones and unstable emotions masquerading as an emotional connection." … And only saying this does he notice that look of curiosity in her eye and feel a little bit of shame. He coughs. "… Of course, saying that I'm surrounded by young
[20:07] <Raphael> people who are proving my assessment quite wrong. Perhaps you should speak to Pilot Zhang about it…"
[20:08] <Minerva‘Linden> "Pilot Zhang? Oh right! She’s with that cute 08 pilot, right?"
[20:09] <Raphael> "Isaiah Gabriel-Wei, yes."
[20:10] <Minerva‘Linden> "Are they… Not a storm of hormones?"
[20:12] * Raphael lets out a rather loud laugh at that. "Oh, no, they are. They’ve just managed to build a mature relationship within it."
[20:12] <Raphael> "… although I'd prefer that you never repeated that to her."
[20:13] <Minerva‘Linden> "… Why not? What does that mean?"
[20:14] <Raphael> "It means that Pilot Zhang prefers people to think she’s long outgrown such childish influences as teenage hormones, largely."
[20:18] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, I see." She rubs her chin. "So are you in a teenage hormone storm romance currently, Mr. Guillory…?"
[20:20] <Raphael> "… I’m not sure if this is an appropriate conversation, ma'am."
[20:24] <Minerva‘Linden> "O-oh. I’m sorry! I didn't mean any offense, it's just…"
[20:26] <Raphael> "No, it's… uh, it's fine. It's just that with my age and your current situation here…"
[20:30] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well- that’s… that's probably true." She mumbled. "If we were like this outside, someone would probably think we…" She coughed, reddening to a lovely strawberry complexion. It was rather impressive.
[20:32] <Raphael> "…"-
[20:35] * Raphael does not blush - If anything, he's paled a little at the comment. He absently adjusts his collar. "… Perhaps I should be going, ma'am. I can speak to your father another day."
[20:36] <Minerva‘Linden> "Um… Are you sure?" She stares down at the pie forlornly, sitting in the middle.
[20:38] <Raphael> "It might be best."
[20:41] <Minerva`Linden> "Well, alright. Thank you for staying so long, at any rate. It was really lovely talking to you."
[20:43] <Raphael> "Not a problem, ma’am. And it was lovely to meet you as well."
[20:45] <Minerva‘Linden> "Thank you. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk again some other time."
[20:47] * Raphael nods and stands. "I'm sure we will sooner or later. Thank you for the delicious pie, Miss President."
[20:48] <Minerva‘Linden> "You’re welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Even if now there's no one to share it w-"-
[20:48] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh! Why don’t you take some with you?"
[20:50] <Raphael> "Uh… certainly, ma'am. If you'd like."
[20:50] <Minerva‘Linden> "Take as much as you like."
[20:57] * Raphael cuts a slice large enough to be polite and grabs a small freezer bag from the kitchen to take it with. All told it’d be a few more minutes of chatting and pleasantries before he made it to the door and, with a quick goodbye, disappeared back into the hall.
[20:58] <Minerva‘Linden> Once he’s out the door Minerva sighs and tucks the pie away in the refrigerator. It's only once she's absolutely certain that she's alone that she glances about, then giggles into her hands.-
[20:58] <Minerva`Linden> "Eeee, he was so cute~"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License