Asuka S Frustration

[14:36] <@Raphael> There was something about Raphael's posture and expression that seemed to keep the more familiar denizens of NERV at a distance as he departed the medical wing and began wandering the halls without any conscious purpose. It wasn't outwardly aggressive, or even stressed, but there was something about how rigidly he held his composure that communicated how weak his grip on it might be.-
[14:36] <@Raphael> Ten minutes passed that way, wandering from section to section in silence and lost in his thoughts. It was only when he arrived at the doors of the gym that he realized where he had been headed.
[14:48] <Minaplo> [The sound of a rapid thwack-thwack-thwack filled his ears. If he looked over he'd see a distinctive young woman hammering away at a punching bag. Asuka, her hair tied back, her eyepatch clearly visible, wearing a singlet and a pair of tracksuit pants. She looked utterly focused. She also looked as though the punching bag had done her a deep personal wrong.]
[14:55] * @Raphael watches her quietly for a moment, before seeming to discard the idea of interrupting her. Instead there's a stretch of lockers in the corner, and it doesn't take long to find the one marked with his name. Pulling a key from his pocket, he opens the door with the accompanying wrenching squeak of worn metal hinges.
[14:57] <Minaplo> [Whack whack whack whack. She didn't pay him the slightest bit of attention. She was hitting that punching bag with such force and speed… How long had she been going like this straight? Raphael had only ever seen Frederic go that hard before, and that was for a bet.]
[15:04] <@Raphael> Hmm. He unbuttons his shirt quickly, revealing his own singlet underneath. The uniform itself is left carefully on one of the locker hangers. "I don't think you're going to get whatever you're after from that punching bag, Pilot Langley-Soryu."
[15:09] <Minaplo> [She doesn't respond, except to start hitting the bag with even more force and speed. She is sweating profusely at this point.]
[15:13] * @Raphael takes the hint without any visible irritation. Still, he fetches a water bottle and a clean towel from the locker, refilling the former with cold water from a nearby tap before leaving both on the floor near Asuka's workout space before departing for the changing rooms.
[15:17] <Minaplo> [There's a god-almighty -CLANG- few minutes after he enters the rooms.-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [When he returns he'd see Asuka, clearly worn out, hunched over, one hand on her knee, the other rubbing her chest gingerly, panting like a dog after a sprint. The punching bag is a mess. It has somehow split straight through the middle- he now sees where the crash came from, as the split sent fifty pounds of sand and wood chips wrapped in a small package into a pile of heavy weights at a rather high speed.]
[15:24] * @Raphael shakes his head gently, abandoning his uniform pants (Now replaced by a pair of tracksuit pants not dissimilar to Asuka's, apart from the NERV logo near the ankle) to wander over to where she's standing. He fetches the water bottle and holds it out to her. "Here. Drink."
[15:28] <Minaplo> [It goes without saying that the water bottle and the towel were untouched. She stared at him, clearly trying to muster up a solid ferocious glare but being too worn out to refuse him. She takes the water bottle, unscrews the cap and begins to quaff it. After several seconds of this impressive drinking display she coughs and wipes her mouth, pouring the rest of what's in the bottle over her head.]
[15:32] <@Raphael> She'd quickly find the towel being offered to her as well. He seems to be allowing her this moment of 'weakness' without being observed, paying more attention to the damaged punching bag than he does her.
[15:34] <Minaplo> [Asuka dries herself off with the towel quickly, giving Raphael a darkly thoughtful look.]
[15:38] * @Raphael glances back, raising an eyebrow. "Are you alright, ma'am?"
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["Just wondering something about you."]
[15:41] * @Raphael gestures for her to ask, moving away to refill the bottle.
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["If I were to punch you hard enough that you ripped in two, would the normal you come out?"]
[15:43] <@Raphael> "Forward the theory to Surov. I'm sure he'll add it to the list." Raphael says smoothly.
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Care to test it now?"]
[15:44] <@Raphael> "The punching bag didn't give you enough fight, I take it?"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["No. I just wanna see how hard I have to hit you before you piss off."]
[15:57] * @Raphael actually seems more bemused than anything. After the past few days, something as basic and easy deal with as aggression comes as something of a relief, especially when it's as direct as Asuka's.-
[15:57] <@Raphael> "I'm happy to leave you to pass out in peace without you needing to resort to violence, ma'am."
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Do you mean that, or are you just being a smart prick?"]
[15:59] * @Raphael shrugs. "Both, if you put it that way."
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["Oh yes, very funny, very funny, I'm Raphael Guillory and I'm made of steel. Where are your fucking chocolates, then?"]
[16:02] * @Raphael is busying himself tidying his locker, his back to the abuse, but he turns his head enough for her to see his raised eyebrow.
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Asuka has her hands on her hips, and is leaning forward, glaring at him fiercely. It has the unintentional side effect of giving Raphael an eyeful of cleavage that he really doesn't need right now.]
[16:05] * @Raphael turns back to his locker rather quickly, shaking his head. "I'm afraid I don't know what you mean."
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["… You didn't bring me any chocolates?" She seems confused.]
[16:06] <@Raphael> "Why would I bring you chocolates?"
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["… Did you actually come in here to use the gym? Like, seriously?"]
[16:06] <@Raphael> "…"-
[16:06] <@Raphael> "/Yes/." He says tersely.
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["Ugh." Asuka falls backwards, plopping down on the ground and covering her face with her hands. "I'm such a moron!"]
[16:09] * @Raphael doesn't bother to deny it. He lets out a harsh breath and shuts the locker a little harder than necessary, stalking away towards the treadmills.
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["Look at this!" She gets to her feet and stamps off to her own locker, taking out what appears to be a stack of chocolate boxes that'd see Suzanne turn into a frothing wolverine.-
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["All day people have been all 'Oh no, Asuka lost so she's gonna be a powderkeg'! I wake up and bam, baka-Shinji is sneaking into my room trying to leave a stack of boxes on my bedside table secretly. Belgian chocolates. Where did that idiot get these?"-
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["I go for breakfast, and Gosselin is like 'Oh hey, how're you going? Here, have some chocolate.'"-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["I can't even go for my morning jog without having Major Harken drop by, giving me the world's most dramatic peptalk before he loads me down with his -own- chocolates."-
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["You can't blame me for assuming!"]
[16:15] <@Raphael> "I'm glad to see they were wrong about the powderkeg situation, at least." Raphael mutters.
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["Yeah yeah. So I leapt to conclusions." She walks over and holds out a box of chocolates to him. Shinji has inexpertly tried to scrape off the little price sticker- Raphael can still make out the '25 franc' number on it. "Have a chocolate, it'll make you feel better." She says sweetly.]
[16:23] * @Raphael sighs, popping one into his mouth without further prompting. Most obvious signs of anger faded when he realized /why/ she assumed he would be bringing chocolates. "… Not bad."
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["The chemicals in the chocolate stimulate a mood-lightening effect." Said Asuka. "Explains a lot, huh?" She took out a tiny little chocolate Evangelion (EVA-04) and bit its head off, settling down against the closest wall to Raphael. "I wonder if I should go drop some of these on…"-
[16:32] <Minaplo> ["You know. Your little girl. The one who hit me with her chair this morning."]
[16:34] * @Raphael peers over, warming up the treadmill. "… Suzie hit you with her chair?"
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I was like, 'Hey, I bet you can't hit me with your chair!'"-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["In my defense, she moves way too fast in that thing. Something that bulky shouldn't move as fast as it does."]
[16:41] * @Raphael smirks slightly as he begins to work his way into a jog. "A lot of strange things about that chair are easily explained by the fact it used to be Colonel Lachapelle's."
[16:42] <Minaplo> ["Right, his 'battlechair'? Doesn't it have guns? How come she got it?"]
[16:45] <@Raphael> "I couldn't say, it was just there in his will after the funeral. Perhaps she was the only one he knew who had a use for it." He says. "… We did make sure the ammo was removed, though. We tried to remove the guns themselves, but there were… countermeasures."
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["No kidding? That thing looks like it could take care of itself easily." She pulled a corner of her pants down, revealing a large black bruise on her upper thigh. "Look at this! I'll have this blotchy thing for weeks. What's it made out of, titanium?"]
[17:05] <@Raphael> "Mostly it's plated with the same armour they use on Evangelions, I'm told."
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Eh?"-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["That would explain a lot." She said dubiously. "I'm surprised she hasn't knocked out any of your walls. You Paris-ites live pretty cramped-like."]
[17:12] * @Raphael rolls his eyes at the derogatory demonym. "I suppose you get used to it. Which reminds me, did they set you up in an apartment, or are you being kept in the Geofront?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Geofront, but they gave me a room on the battleship that I use, mostly. I have a few clothes and stuff down here, though."]
[17:23] <@Raphael> "Can't say that I blame you. I've seen the rooms on the battleship." He's pushing himself harder by now - not to the state Asuka was, but certainly not a gentle jog.
[17:27] <Minaplo> ["I bet you have. With Major Katsuragi, right~?"]
[17:31] <@Raphael> "-No-."
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["Pff."-
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["So, how's ol' Katsuragi these days?"]
[17:40] * @Raphael looks at her curiously out of the corner of his eye. "She's doing fine. Not particularly pleased about the fact that they had to put her arm in a cast after the attack on the Battleship, but apart from that…"
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Who is?" Snorted Asuka. "And you? Aren't you a busy boy these days?"]
[17:55] <@Raphael> "I am." He says between breaths. "I just needed… a bit of time before heading back up to HQ."
[17:57] <Minaplo> ["I'm surprised you don't just sprawl out on a couch for an hour or so and take a nap."]
[18:01] * @Raphael lets out a short laugh. "I need something more active when I'm worked up like this, I'm afraid." He gestures back at the punching bag. "I assumed you'd understand."
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah, that's just 'cuz I'm pissed. You're just overworked."]
[18:07] <@Raphael> "I'm both, actually."
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah?"]
[18:10] <@Raphael> "More or less." He shrugs, breathing hard enough now to make proper conversation difficult.
[18:20] <Minaplo> ["What's up?"]
[18:22] * @Raphael looks over and slows the machine down a fraction, wiping his face on the shoulder of his singlet. "Are you interested, ma'am, or are you just being polite?"
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["The name's Asuka, and yeah, I am." She said frankly. She took out a chocolate and slowly ate it, staring him square in the eye.]
[18:39] * @Raphael gauges her reaction for a moment before nodding slightly. He slows down a little more. "I just had to stop a sobbing Rei from dragging herself out after Pilot Wellesley on a broken leg, and right now I'm powerless to go after the people who hurt her." He says, jaw clenching slightly. "I'm also unable to do a thing to help any of our Pilots in the Synfront."-
[18:39] <@Raphael> "Meanwhile I've spent three days cleaning up the bodies of men and women who died under my command, and despite my best efforts I have no idea how to approach the matter of the Spectre."-
[18:39] * @Raphael sighs, trying to force his hands to unclench as he continues jogging. "It has been a long few days."
[18:46] <Minaplo> ["That it has." Concurs Asuka, stretching above her head. "And we just had an Angel attack that left the Geofront completely defenseless for nearly forty-five hours. You should be shitting yourself. But you're not, even though it's all eating up at you like anything, so y'know, it could be worse. You haven't snapped yet."]
[18:53] * @Raphael laughs. "Sometimes that's the closest thing to a silver lining, I suppose."
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["For what it's worth, I think you didn't screw up." She said. "It was a bloody battle! All in all you did good by merit of the world not having ended yet."]
[15:51] <Raphael> "Oh, I know, I know." He waves his hand vaguely. "I'm aware of that objectively, ma'am."
[15:53] <@Minaplo> ["But you still feel shitty about it nevertheless."]
[15:54] <Raphael> "A failing of mine, I'm afraid." He smiles. "It just takes time to deal with."
[15:55] <@Minaplo> [Asuka popped another chocolate. "You're like Alex right now."]
[15:56] <Raphael> "Is that so?"
[15:56] <@Minaplo> ["You heard about his mother?"]
[15:57] * Raphael nods silently, looking suddenly grim.
[15:58] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, see? Exactly." Asuka pointed at him. "That's exactly what he did."]
[16:03] * Raphael is obviously caught off guard by this as he glances over at her, letting out a short, surprised laugh. "I suppose you might be right about us, then."
[16:05] <@Minaplo> ["Of course I am." She said haughtily, crossing her arms. "I said to him, look, Caine's wanted your mother dead for years, probably. And she tried to do it and got away, so obviously she has some powerful friends and plans, and even better, now Caine doesn't know where she is, so in that sense she is actually -safer- now for Caine trying to kill her." She tossed her hair. "He said I didn't get it."]
[16:08] <Raphael> "I doubt it's a problem of logic for him. He's just concerned about his mother."
[16:17] <@Minaplo> [Asuka frowned as she leaned against the wall. "It's not like I don't know that. But I'd be glad to have an enemy in the open instead of in the shadows myself."]
[16:23] <Raphael> "Quite." He nods, turning off the treadmill and coming to a stop before taking a long sip from his water bottle. He leans against one of the machine's handrails, catching his breath. "How are Hachi and Go lately, if I may ask?"
[17:13] <@Minaplo> ["Eh? They're fine. Same as always."]
[17:18] * Raphael nods, a frown working it's way onto his face as he considers something. "… You were with Pilot Zhang and the others during the early part of the attack, weren't you? Before you arrived at the Geofront?"
[17:26] <@Minaplo> ["Yep."]
[17:29] * Raphael nods. "So you saw the Spectre…" He trails off, gesturing towards his face.
[17:30] <@Minaplo> ["… Unmasked?"]
[17:31] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[17:32] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah. We ducked into an apartment building and were ambushed, and an Annihilator struck her and knocked her into a burning room. We thought she was dead, and then she flips out of a wall later on, practically nude, and beheads two men with a single strike."]
[17:43] <Raphael> This only seems to make Raphael's frown worse. "What do you think of all of it?"
[17:49] <@Minaplo> ["I don't know! It's weird. She dresses up in some weird liquid armour, fights like a monster, and has an AT Field… I'd say she was some kind of super-hero if it didn't seem stupid."]
[17:50] * Raphael shakes his head. "I admit, I'm still not sure how to deal with it. I know that I should try to speak with her, but as I understand it she hasn't been particularly cooperative so far."
[17:51] <@Minaplo> [Asuka shrugged. "She never said a word to us, but she sent us text messages on our mobiles."]
[17:54] <Raphael> "I… see." Raphael considered this. "How did you all meet with her in the first place?"
[17:55] <@Minaplo> ["Yanmei called me to her apartment, told me to come armed, and the Spectre was waiting there."]
[17:57] * Raphael absently lifts up the hem of his singlet to wipe his face. "… Strange. She'd probably be able to answer some of my questions, if she were here."
[17:58] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, probably. It was a pretty impatient thing. Put several holes in Yanmei's wall."]
[18:01] <Raphael> "Hmm." He shrugs and pushes away from the railing, stretching his shoulders. "I suppose I'll need to talk to the Spectre myself to really understand any of this."
[18:02] <@Minaplo> ["Maybe you should bring her some chocolate." She asks teasingly.]
[18:03] <Raphael> "Yes, because that seems to work so well as an icebreaker." He smirks.
[18:05] <@Minaplo> ["Hey, chocolate's fine as an ice breaker! It's just, when you're wearing nothing but a sheer night gown, finding a weird idiot sneaking into your room at 7 in the morning, the last thing you're thinking is 'Hey, chocolate!', it's more 'Concussion time'."]
[18:11] * Raphael laughs, glancing away awkwardly. "I suppose I'd react the same way in truth." He says, only to pause and glance at the girl curiously.-
[18:11] <Raphael> "I think today was the first day you've avoided mistaking me for Pilot Ikari, by the way."
[18:13] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, I nearly did, but there were two reasons why I didn't, one of them pretty obvious, one of them pretty weird."]
[18:14] <Raphael> "Go ahead."
[18:15] <@Minaplo> ["The first is that if you were really baka-Shinji, you'd have run away the moment you saw Asuka the Great."]
[18:16] <Raphael> "Based on the way I've seen you treat him, that's hardly surprising." He says mildly, although there's a hint of disapproval in his voice.
[18:17] <@Minaplo> ["The second reason," She continued on, heedless of Raphael's disapproval, because Raphael looked like Shinji and thus was not worthy of disapproving anything she did, "Was your smell."]
[18:20] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stared at her blankly, suddenly worried about the direction this conversation was taking.
[18:21] <@Minaplo> ["You have that weird pheromone thing, right? Where girls around you go all stupid?"]
[18:21] <Raphael> "Right…" He says, awkwardly. "I admit, I didn't think it was something one was… conscious of."
[18:28] <@Minaplo> ["It took me a few tries. It's… Ech, smell isn't the right term for it, it's a bit like a… It's not like you -stink-, or anything, but it's like, you know how sometimes you smell food or whatever and it makes you think of something really clearly? Like the first time someone offered you a chocolate?"]
[18:33] * Raphael nods slowly.
[18:34] <@Minaplo> ["It's like that. Whenever you show up, I find myself thinking of Alex and stuff like that. It fades after awhile but at first it's really heavy."]
[18:36] * Raphael frowns deeply, considering this in silence for a moment. "… I apologize for that. I know it's not within my control, but I don't like doing that to people."
[18:37] <@Minaplo> ["Pff. Did I say I blame you?" She asked, seemingly irritated. "It just happens. Lots of things aren't in any one's control. Am I supposed to hit Alex because I find myself-"-
[18:38] <@Minaplo> [She coughed, going red, but giving him a fierce look nevertheless.]
[18:39] * Raphael chuckles awkwardly, looking away to give the girl a moment. "Fair enough, ma'am." He nods. "… Although it certainly seems to bother you less than some people."
[18:40] <@Minaplo> ["What, you mean I don't go stupid, or are people actually blaming you for it?"]
[18:42] <Raphael> "The former, really."
[18:49] <@Minaplo> ["Well, since you can't control it, I can only assume it really -is- because of me." She smirked and tossed her hair. "Maybe you're not my type? Or perhaps you're too boring…" She scowled. "Although Alex can be pretty boring too when he's being all steady and measurrrrrred."]
[18:50] * Raphael laughs softly. "I wasn't exactly /complaining/, ma'am."
[18:51] <@Minaplo> ["So you -don't- want me attracted to you? How weird…"]
[18:52] <Raphael> "Well you are nearly half my age…"
[18:55] <@Minaplo> [Asuka scowled furiously. "Age age age. I hate that word. I've done shit at the age of seven that most people never do- no one gets to talk to me about -age-."]
[19:07] <Raphael> "Ah, right. I forgot this was an issue for you." He says, scratching his chin as he takes another sip of water.
[19:22] <@Minaplo> ["-Issue-. It's the world that has the issue."]
[19:44] <Raphael> "So that I'm uncomfortable with the idea of being involved with a teenager half my real age is an issue to you?" He asks, raising an eyebrow. "Most people would consider that the appropriate response."
[19:52] <@Minaplo> ["I'm not saying you should be out seducing schoolgirls or whatever." Said Asuka. "But you don't turn around and say that I- -I- can't sleep with whoever I want because I'm too damn young for them."]
[19:56] <Raphael> "Well, no. You're perfectly welcome to choose your partner, but surely that partner has to be equally willing." Raphael says, sitting on the edge of the treadmill to bring himself roughly level with her.
[19:57] <@Minaplo> ["Right, it's not like I'm keeping Alex against his will. Although if I -did- we might've actually done something by now." She seemed dangerously thoughtful for a second before continuing.-
[19:57] <@Minaplo> ["But it's not fair for that other person to disregard me because of something superficial like biological age."]
[19:59] <Raphael> "Biological age -is- superficial. I'd understand that about as well as anyone, I think." He says with a small smile. "Although I will note, it's still something Misato and I had to have plenty of discussions about, even when she -knew- the real me. It's a complicated issue."
[20:00] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, like, you went into -that- looking like one person then you were transformed into someone else, who she also worked with. It'd be complicated even without the baka-Shinji thing."-
[20:00] <@Minaplo> ["Like, have you ever wondered what'd happen if you'd been turned into Katsuragi?"]
[20:03] <Raphael> "I…" Raphael stares blankly. For a moment his gaze goes distant and hazy - The sort of expression unique to teenage boys, in Asuka's experience - in a way that distinctly suggests if he hadn't before, he certainly was now. "… n-no."
[20:06] <@Minaplo> ["At least it'd be convenient. She'd be able to take you shopping for clothes. She'd know how to find the right bra… I mean, if you look at it like that, if you were being turned into a woman, being turned into her would be the best situation for you overall, you know. Better than being turned into Blanc."]
[20:08] <Raphael> "Erm…" He manages, blush creeping higher and higher.
[20:09] <@Minaplo> [The lion strikes as the prey shows weakness. "And she'd know exactly where to touch you, too…"]
[20:12] * Raphael shifts awkwardly in his makeshift seat, opening his mouth dumbly for a moment before closing it again, not quite able to find any coherent words. He's blushing scarlet now.
[20:15] <@Minaplo> ["Say, you'll be talking to Katsuragi later, right? Remember me and have fun, ok~? <3"]
[20:17] * Raphael 's response is more like the last, desperate gurgle of a drowning man.
[20:18] <@Minaplo> [Asuka rolls her eyes. She finds her water bottle and throws it at Raphael, hitting him squarely on the forehead.]
[20:23] <Raphael> … That seems to knock him out of it, leaving him to splutter and draw a slow breath. He grabs the bottle before it rolls out of reach and takes a long, long gulp. "… Thank you, ma'am."
[20:23] <@Minaplo> ["Wow. That was terrible."]
[20:24] <Raphael> "You have no idea."
[20:25] <@Minaplo> ["Does that happen all the time?"]
[20:28] <Raphael> "More than I'd like." He grumbles. Another sip. "The personality is still mine, but the body and brain it's working through isn't. And unfortunately the way they were made shapes how I interact with them. It's… complicated."
[20:28] <@Minaplo> ["And that pervert Blanc made you extra-spicy, huh."]
[20:30] <Raphael> "… I don't think I'd put it quite like that."
[20:31] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. Well." Asuka tosses him a chocolate box. "It has to suck. I mean, you're at the mercy of external influences, right? Way more than usual, and that'd drive me up the wall."]
[20:33] * Raphael eyes it for a moment, looking as though he's preparing to throw it back, but he just opens it with a shrug. "It is -extremely- distracting." He nods. "Although I'm far better at dealing with it now."
[20:34] <@Minaplo> [Tiny little chocolate pilots stare up at him. There's a chocolate Yanmei, and a chocolate Asuka, a chocolate Aline… There's a chocolate Shinji, the head neatly bitten off.-
[20:34] <@Minaplo> ["You know who that reminds me of? Yanmei."]
[20:40] * Raphael doesn't seem quite ready to select any of those just yet, bar one. He pops the half-eaten ChocoShinji into his mouth easily, even as he gives Asuka a doubtful look. "Really?"
[20:42] <@Minaplo> ["Like, I'm not saying Yanmei flips out like you do. But if there was anyone who was at the mercy of external influences, it's her."]
[20:42] <Raphael> "I don't flip out…" He mumbles
[20:43] <Raphael> "I don't 'flip out'…" He mumbles, but he shakes his head. A hopeless argument, that. "… How do you mean?"
[20:46] <@Minaplo> ["Yanmei is always worried about what people think of her, so for ages she built up this big old shell that's made entirely up of how people expect her to respond. PR prattle and stuff like that. It's totally fake, but over time it feels like it's become part of who she is. Even with friends like me, getting -real- truth out of her can be like giving a cat a bath."]
[20:51] <Raphael> "So I've noticed." He nods, smiling slightly. "I can understand her reasons, though, with the position she was placed in. At that age, reacting to so much responsibility is always going to be a challenge." Without any conscious thought, Raphael's hand seeks out a chocolate Aline. He chews on it thoughtfully.
[20:53] <@Minaplo> ["Also because the truth would probably piss a bunch of people off."]
[20:55] <Raphael> "There's that too." He says with a small grin.
[20:56] <@Minaplo> ["So does Aline taste good in your mouth?"]
[20:58] * Raphael promptly chokes on a mouthful of chocolate, spluttering wildly.
[21:01] <@Minaplo> [Asuka smirks. It is an evil smile. "This is fun. I can see why Misato makes fun of you!"]
[21:05] * Raphael wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "I'm so pleased you're enjoying yourself." He muttered sourly.
[21:06] <@Minaplo> ["I'm here -permanently-, no boyfriend, no Yanmei, stuck with baka-Shinji and his pervert girlfriend for squad members. I'm going to find all the fun I can get and feel not a lick of remorse for it."]
[21:08] * Raphael rolled his eyes. "You're all lucky I'm not the type to tease back."
[21:08] <@Minaplo> ["Maybe you should, then. Yanmei does, it'll be like she never left."]
[21:15] * Raphael continues working his way through the chocolates for a few moments, careful to stick to the far rarer ChocoShinjis. "… Are you worried about her?"
[21:22] <@Minaplo> ["Eh? Well." Asuka coughed. "Yes? A little? It's not like I'm worried about her -per se- or anything, it's just all wrong."]
[22:32] <Raphael> His mouth is still full, but Raphael motions for her to continue.
[22:36] <@Minaplo> ["Like, Yanmei's always come back. Even when everything's fucked, like in Italy, she's the one who comes back. Somehow she always makes it through, but she's… Not here this time, and ugh. It pisses me off." Asuka glowered at the floor. "She's my friend, and it's -stupid- that she's not here when I want to talk to her, and it's stupid that she's in the hands of that puffed up old troglodyte."]
[22:51] * Raphael nods. "I do know what you mean." He says gently. "Still, it's as you said. I trust Yanmei and the others to find their way back here, one way or another. I just wish I could do something to help them…"-
[22:51] <Raphael> "If I'm worried about anything, it's about Isaiah's condition, and how Yanmei would take him being injured."
[22:52] <@Minaplo> ["Terribly, of course! She's attached to him at the hip, in more ways than one."]
[22:54] <Raphael> "It always comes back to that with you, doesn't it Pilot?" He says blandly.
[23:08] <@Minaplo> ["What? No, idiot."-
[23:09] <@Minaplo> ["I mean she has that libido thing going on, but if he's hurt she -hates- being anywhere but near him. It's like…" She tried to find the right words. "If Alex is hurt, sure, that's bad, but I'm not going to stop and just spend -every- second I have mooning over him."]
[23:14] <Raphael> "Hmmmm." He murmurs, nodding. "I see what you mean. That would certainly be a problem when she has so many other things to worry about."
[23:15] <@Minaplo> ["She'll be scared and desperate, too."]
[23:18] * Raphael nods, tapping his fingers on the outside of the box. "We'll just have to trust her." He says eventually. "Her and all the other pilots."
[23:26] <@Minaplo> ["If she pulls any shit off, it'll be pretty dramatic. I might even have to admit that she did good."]
[23:28] <Raphael> "No need to go overboard, ma'am." He says with a smirk.
[23:37] <@Minaplo> ["Hah."-
[23:37] <@Minaplo> ["… Hey, why do you do that?"]
[23:38] <Raphael> "Do what?"
[00:06] <@Minaplo> ["'Ma'am'."]
[00:11] <Raphael> "To you specifically, or in general?"
[00:14] <@Minaplo> ["Both."]
[00:25] * Raphael nods easily, looking up at the ceiling while he gathers his thoughts. "To you and the other pilots, it's because I believe that you're worthy of my respect, just as any other military officer would be. So I treat you all the same way I would treat any other respected peer."
[00:25] <Raphael> "On a more basic level, disregarding obvious military regulations, it comes down to habit and something of a preference for keeping a bit of distance between myself and others." He looks back at Asuka, eyeing her thoughtfully. "Does that help?"
[00:29] <Minaplo> ["So you want to keep a bit of distance between you and me?"]
[00:31] <Raphael> "There's a lot of reasons for it. Some of them are just practical command issues. Some of them are older."
[00:39] <Minaplo> [Asuka folded her arms, scrutinizing him. "Well, I'm gonna be here for awhile, since I'm now part of the Paris-2 squad. So I'm not going to bully you into doing it, but I prefer my real name to titles, unless the title involves words like 'Great', 'Beautiful' or 'Magnificent'."]
[00:41] * Raphael laughs. "You know, not even the Major has managed to get me using her first name consistently."-
[00:42] <Raphael> … and then his grin broadens, becoming almost mischevious. It's one of the few expressions he's used that fits his body's age. "All though most of the time that's just to annoy her."
[00:45] <Minaplo> [Asuka stares- and then she smirks, amused and surprised. "And I almost thought you didn't have a mischievous bone in your body."]
[00:46] <Raphael> "I'm capable of surprises from time to time." He grins.
[00:52] <Raphael> «Although*»
[00:56] <Minaplo> ["You know, I think I misjudged you overall. You're a lot less boring than you look."]
[01:02] <Raphael> "Ah. Well I'm so pleased to measure up to your lofty standards, Pilot." He mutters.
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["You're surprisingly sarcastic! It must be Misato's influence…"]
[01:06] <Raphael> "Not as much of it as you might expect."
[01:07] <Minaplo> ["I suppose working for NERV gives a person a dry nature…"]
[01:15] <Raphael> "Something like that." He gives the girl a smile as he gets to his feet, folding one arm over the other and stretching out tired muscles. "I suppose I should be heading back upstairs. I'm sure the Colonel could use the help."
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. What, are you organizing patrols or something?"]
[01:28] * Raphael nods, offering her a hand up. "Even with 01 and 05 on site again, that breach is a security nightmare. Trying to keep up a cordon -while- keeping the Geofront security running on a skeleton crew has us pushing things."
[01:30] <Minaplo> [Asuka took it and pulled herself up. "Yeah, I saw it. It's pretty impressive. I'm sure the head office was -thrilled- when they heard 00 went nuts and blew a giant hole in the ground."]
[01:32] <Raphael> "Quite. I don't even want to know what the damage bill looks like."
[01:34] <Minaplo> ["The damage bill?" Asuka smirked and piled her things together, slinging her workbag over her arm as she started for the exit. "The Geofront is a cinch. In 2015, a wrecked Eva, properly wrecked, like EVA-01 or something after one of Sera's usual joyrides would bankrupt anything poorer than Australia. You get it easy."]
[01:36] * Raphael shudders.
[01:36] <Raphael> "The things we do to protect the world, hmm?"
[01:42] <Minaplo> [Asuka laughed as she threw on a shirt on her way to the door.]

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