Cherry Blossom Procession 4 2 30

[13:14] <Minaplo> [It was an overcast day today; a carpet of uniform white covered the sky. It didn't seem as though it'd rain soon, but it kept the glare of the sun away.-
[13:15] <Minaplo> [Nonetheless, the threat of rain had kept people off the deck all day. Which was just how Ayanami Go wanted it.-
[13:16] <Minaplo> [She sat by herself, lounging on one of the bench seats, legs up and everything. In her hand was a book; on the table were several more books and a chilled drink container. Every so often she glanced up at the vista, dominated by Ramiel, but before long she was back to her book. She was alone, it was quiet, and she could not be more content.]
[13:20] <Yanmei> But who, among any of us, is truly alone? -
[13:23] <Yanmei> Another presence suddenly made itself known after a little while. One that interfered with her nice reading light and blocked her view of the UEF's newest Angel friend. A very curious presence. -
[13:25] <Yanmei> "Hi Go~~~" Zhang Yanmei, dressed in full uniform, tilted her head slightly, beaming. "What are you up to?"
[13:27] <Minaplo> ["Huh-!?"-
[13:28] <Minaplo> [Go started, catching her book with the barest edge of her fingertips. "W-W-What are you doing here?!"-
[13:29] <Minaplo> [She scrambled to hide her book amongst the stack, but as she turned to her right she came across a new threat: Misato Katsuragi, sitting directly opposite, leaning across the table, head resting on both hands; she was beaming innocently. "Hi, Go!"-
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["Aaaaah! No no no-"]
[13:39] <Yanmei> "What the… You'd think we were monsters or something." Yanmei remarked, looking casually over at Misato.
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["It's very rude." Said Misato. "The monster is over there," she said, gesturing at Ramiel. "We're just extremely charming, beautiful mentors here to check in on our little sister Go!~"-
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["W-Why…"]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Because it's been a while? Besides, we cherish our time with you, you know~"
[13:51] <Minaplo> [Go eyed Yanmei with a mix of caution and suspicion. "W-Well…"-
[13:52] <Minaplo> [She glanced longingly back at her book, the cover of which depicted an extremely handsome man in an official-looking silken Chinese robe, which had been torn open to reveal an incredibly sculpted physique.-
[13:52] <Minaplo> [But she sighed and pushed the book into the stack. "Okay."]
[13:57] <Yanmei> The cover of the book was not lost on Yanmei! She eyed it with another growing smile as Go put it away. -
[13:59] <Yanmei> "So! What have you been doing in your spare time lately? Made any new friends?"
[14:00] <Minaplo> ["Um… I-I've been reading." Said Go. "And… Eating at Roku's…?"]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "And chasing Rustami around, right?" Yanmei winked.
[14:04] <Minaplo> ["Wh-what? I guess…" Said Go, looking utterly lost. "I'm supposed to make sure he keeps clean…"]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "W-wait. 'supposed to'? Like you feel obligated to?"
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["H…uh? Well someone has to!"]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "Why is that? Not that I'm complaining."
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Well… If he doesn't get clean, he'll smell and no one will take him seriously." Said Go, seriously.]
[14:15] <Yanmei> "So you want him to be taken seriously and to do well~"
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["W-Well I don't want him to fail. If he does, people could die." Said Go.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["Oh? Is that the whole story, though~!?" Asked Misato cheerily.]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "You can be honest with us!"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["I am being honest!" Said Go desperately. "I don't know what you're going on about!"]
[14:33] <Yanmei> "Is it true that you… strip him down for these baths of yours~~?"
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Um… Yes?" Said Go, still looking extremely lost. She glanced over at Ramiel as though hoping it would do something to distract them. "Isn't that how you usually take baths?"]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "So blase~ You must have done it so many times already that you're used to seeing him in the nude~"
[14:39] <Minaplo> ["Well, it was a little awkward at first, I guess…?" Said Go. "But he knows the score now, and it's not like it's anything special…"]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "But if he were to ask you to join him when bathing…?"
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["W-Well, that might be too far." Said Go, blushing bashfully. "He's kinda said stuff like that before, and I've had to be pretty firm with him about it."-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["I mean… It's a bad time for him to be around naked girls, isn't it?" Said Go. "Shin-chan tells me that puberty can make boys go a bit crazy like that."-
[14:45] <Minaplo> [Misato… Tilted her head curiously.]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "Go… you know he's well into his twenties, right?"
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:47] <Minaplo> [Go squinted at Yanmei. "Don't be dumb. He's smaller than I am. He's gotta be about 13 or 14 at best." Said Go. "That's why I'm so firm on him! Because he's just a little kid who needs to be made to wash- I was the same way when I was little, and dad used to just dump me right in."]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "No. See… just ask him then next time you see him? He's an impact survivor! Tell her, Katsuragi!"
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, it's true, Go." Said Misato. "Kou's 27, he was born before Impact, he served with Dorian in the post-Impact war, he knows Mary Caine and von Brandt and a whole bunch of other people…"-
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["H-haha. No. That…" Go looked between the two of them.-
[14:55] <Minaplo> [And she knew the truth.-
[14:55] <Minaplo> [Her eyes widened even as her pupils seemed to shrink. She went pale, and her jaw fell.-
[14:56] <Minaplo> [And then the colour returned to her face all at once, sending her crimson. "I-I've been stripping a fully grown man?!"-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [She clapped her hands over her face and screamed. "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"]
[15:06] <Yanmei> "There there, Go. It's not like you even did it that often? Maybe half a dozen times so far?"
[15:06] <Minaplo> [She stared at Yanmei in horror and blankly shook her head.]
[15:13] <Yanmei> "Plus, it's not like everyone knows about it. Only a lot of people. Because you were actively chasing him around or something."
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["I-I had to." She whispered. "He kept running away, so I had to drag him back every time…"-
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["How many times has this happened?" Asked Misato. "It's… More than six, isn't it?"-
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["It's closer to sixty." She breathed in abject humiliation.]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "Go… we're going to assign the man a different caretaker, okay?"
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["We… Are?" Said Misato. "Why?"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Because some should do it? Unless Go's going to stubbornly insist on continuing~"
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["I-I-"-
[15:25] <Minaplo> [But Misato cut in. "In these situations, we have to think of the patient first." She said firmly. "Go already knows what he looks like nude, so giving him a new caretaker would only increase his humiliation, right?"]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Maybe. But I think what he really wants is someone who will bathe with him?"
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Why?" Muttered Go. "I just thought he was a horny little kid, but is it because he's really a dirty old man?"-
[15:32] <Minaplo> [Misato frowned, just a little.]
[13:14] <Yanmei> "Nope! I had a meeting with him the other day? He said he did it because you were treating him like a kid, although he didn't know why. At least if you were bathing together, you'd be at the same level, you know?"
[13:15] <Minaplo> ["Oh." Said Go.-
[13:16] <Minaplo> [She looked down at her hands, a little shamefully. "W-Well obviously I have been treating him like a kid. Which was kind of rude of me, wasn't it?"]
[13:17] <Yanmei> "Even if it was, you didn't do it on purpose. Maybe you could apologise, or write him a letter about it."
[13:18] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[13:18] <Minaplo> ["Why's he so afraid of bathing, though? Shouldn't he know better?" Said Go.]
[13:20] <Yanmei> "It's a phobia, and it's totally irrational, as phobias often are. It's water specifically that he has in issue with?"
[13:21] <Minaplo> ["Water, huh? D-Did something happen?"]
[13:23] <Yanmei> "Yes, when he was very young. Maybe you could ask him to explain it."
[13:24] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, maybe… Is that why he wants someone to bathe with him? To make him feel better about it?"]
[13:28] <Yanmei> "Maybe! You know, he was with his brother before he came here. If he needed someone to bathe with him for comfort he always had someone available."
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. But now he's away from his family, and it's not like he has any friends here." Said Misato lightly.-
[13:30] <Minaplo> ["… Hrm." Go frowned thoughtfully.-
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["And you're sure he isn't saying it because he wants to see my naked body." She asked doubtfully.]
[13:35] <Yanmei> "Pretty sure. Kourosh Rustami is a battlefield genius? But he's an idiot when it comes to talking to people sometimes. Like… a complete idiot."
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["You can say that again." Said Misato happily.-
[13:41] <Minaplo> ["… Geez." Go rubbed her face. "Why didn't he just say that in the first place? All this time I thought…"-
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["… It sucks to be afraid of something no one else is." Muttered Go. "And it's even worse to put someone in that position when they don't want it. Asuka and Hachi made me do that all the time, and it was really awful. They thought it was helpful, but they didn't understand how frightening it was to be made to talk to people."-
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["I… I guess I can bathe with him." Said Go, looking up. "But I'll wear a swimsuit. That should be fine, right?"]
[13:47] <Yanmei> "Are you comfortable with that? You could make him wear one too. I'm sure Blue's got a spare somewhere in that shop of his."
[13:49] <Minaplo> [Go shook her head. "No, it's okay. It's important he actually gets clean. I don't really see anything anyway since I always fill the bath up with soap and bubbles."]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "All right, then. You're the boss!"
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah." Said Go, giving Yanmei an actual smile.-
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Just make sure you wear a cute swimsuit~" Said Misato happily.-
[13:54] <Minaplo> [… And the smile turned rapidly into a scowl as Go blushed. "S-Shut up, Misa-bachan. I'm not gonna listen to you and you're definitely not gonna give me swimsuit advice."-
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Why not? It could be a thing. The three of us, looking for a nice swimsuit for Go~"-
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["No way." Said Go, shaking her head furiously. "You two are the last I'd go to for swimsuit advice."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "She doesn't trust our taste." Yanmei huffed. "I'll have you know that mine, at least, is excellent~"
[13:58] <Minaplo> ["Nope." Said Go firmly, staring at Yanmei. "You'll make me look like Ayla of the Cave Bears has just skinned a leopard, and you," she said, turning to Misato, "Will make me look like I'm desperate and from the eighties."-
[13:58] <Minaplo> [Misato stared.]
[14:01] * Yanmei did more than stare. She glared. "And what, you think you can do better? What sort of silly little number did you have in mind, huh?"
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["I-I'll show you!" Said Go fiercely. "I'll ask Sho to make me a custom swimsuit, and I'll look amazing!"-
[14:10] <Minaplo> ["Wow, a custom swimsuit just to impress some no-good hermit? And I'm the desperate one?" Said Misato, her smile cruel.]
[14:13] <Yanmei> "Oho~ I guess she really does have a soft spot for Rustami~"
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["S-shut up!" Said Go, scowling, her face going redder and redder. "This isn't about Kou, this is a-"-
[14:16] <Minaplo> ["Oh, it's Kou now, is it? Cutesy nicknames already~?" Trilled Misato vengefully.]
[14:17] * Yanmei giggled, clearly amused.
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["S-Stop it!" Pleaded Go. "It's not like that, I-I'm only trying to help…"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "Aw, Go." Yanmei reached out to gleefully mess her hair. "We're just having a bit of fun? And also eagerly waiting to see if this turns out like one of your novels. Or, even better, like one of the movies Katsuragi probably drags her boyfriend to."
[14:28] <Minaplo> [Go fell silent, accepted the mussing without complaint, and gave Yanmei a glum look.-
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Misato cheerily, picking up the book with the handsome Chinese robed-man. "I mean, well. He doesn't look like this, admittedly…"]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Not yet." A sudden gleam came to Yanmei's eye. "We can't make him grow, but we can at least put him through a training regiment. Maybe get Blue to upgrade his robes."
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Go could make him grow, I bet." Said Misato, her eyes gleaming.-
[14:35] <Minaplo> ["…" Go went flame-red, possibly burning a fate point in shame. She did her best to ignore Misato. "Y-You mean like a makeover…?"]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Of course!" she said gleefully. "It'd be fun!"
[14:36] <Minaplo> [But Go frowned, looking down at her hands again.]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "Ehh, what's the problem?"
[14:37] <Minaplo> ["I… I'm not shallow, am I?" She mumbled.]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "Why would you think that?"
[14:49] <Minaplo> "Well, you know…" She said, glancing at her books. "I don't read many books about scrawny guys like Kou. Most of them are big, handsome hunks who can sweep you off your feet and have rippling bodies."-
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Like Armin?" Said Misato.-
[14:50] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah, like Armin." Said Go awkwardly. "B-But… Now we're talking about giving Kou a makeover so I'll like him more or something, and I just, I- do I come off as shallow…?"]
[14:57] <Yanmei> "Nah. I just think you like cute guys? A lot of people are like that. But you're not mean to people who aren't cute, right?"
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["I-I try not to be mean to anyone." Said Go.]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "See? That makes you a good person, not someone who's shallow."
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["It's okay to have a physical type you're attracted to, Go." Said Misato. "That's just part of human sexuality. Like, you're very attracted to Armin, aren't you? But I bet you're not really considering doing anything romantically with him, are you?"-
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["N-No." Said Go. "He's, y'know… He's sexy, and he's very kind, but he's also not going to be around for very long, and I don't think we really share many interests, and he can often be really loud, and a little annoying at times…"]
[15:12] <Yanmei> "You're not gonna go on a date with him before he leaves? Not even once?" Yanmei pouted.
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["I don't think so." Said Go. "D-Did you want me to…?"]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Of course! With all the flirting you you guys were doing while we were on Mars, I thought it would be a sure thing?"
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["W-We weren't flirting." Muttered Go. "He just likes to overshare."]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "Uh huh."
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei would know all about that." Said Misato. "She flirted with Isaiah for a year, pretending it was platonic~"]
[15:24] <Yanmei> "We were platonic! Ask anyone!"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Oh please." Said Misato. "You were platonic. Yeah, right, okay. Maybe you thought you were, but on the outside…? No one bought it for a second, with the way the two of you talked about each other and played house and snuck off to love hotels~"]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "There were no love hotels!! Stop making up lies!"
[15:31] <Minaplo> [Misato merely beamed.]
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Go!" She glared at the girl, determined to change the subject. "If Armin isn't your dream guy, then who is?!"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Huh-?!"-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["Um, well, um." Go spluttered for a few seconds. She glanced around desperately, took a mouthful of her drink, then continued.-
[15:44] <Minaplo> ["Well, he… It's no one specific. But… He'd have to be very sensitive, caring and respectful." Said Go. "If I were upset, he'd be able to comfort me properly. He'd know when to give me my space, but also know when I want him in my space. Ideally I could spend alone time with him and feel really safe and comfortable… He'd always know what was bothering me and what would make me happy. He wouldn't be loud and he wouldn't embarrass me or make me do things I didn't want to do. He'd pay attention to what I said and wouldn't just forget about it either. He'd be considerate, careful and would be able to work together with me as a team really naturally… He'd be really smart, and he'd also have to like books and reading. He wouldn't make fun of my books either…"]
[15:49] <Yanmei> "Hmm. Is there anyone on the ship like that…?"
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["The only ones I know who are like that are also taken." Said Misato. "Like Isaiah. But realistically, there are probably plenty of young men who are like that. All you have to go is give it time and get to know them, Go."]
[13:27] <Yanmei> "Or we could spy on some endlessly until we have a better idea of who's a potential boyfriend."
[13:29] <Minaplo> ["Is that how you won Isaiah…?"]
[13:31] <Yanmei> "Huh? No, that just sort of… it just happened, you know?"
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["Did you want to spy on him…?"]
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Of course not!"
[13:38] <Minaplo> ["W-Why not?"]
[13:39] <Yanmei> "Because… I mean, I wanted to protect him, but I didn't want him to feel self conscious about it? And spying on him would have led to that."
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["Well I don't want anyone I'm with to feel self-conscious because I'm spying on them." Said Go firmly.]
[13:43] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Fiiine." Yanmei huffed and folded her arms. "I can't even spy on him now either? He always knows what I'm up to and he tells me I'm being silly."
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["Is it hard, having a partner who knows everything about you?" Asked Misato.]
[13:50] <Yanmei> "Yes," said Yanmei firmly. "He teases me about stuff I haven't even told him about yet? And he's always worried, like he thinks I'm dealing with too much stress. And sometimes he complains about things I haven't even done yet! I haven't told Tsubaki to trap even one couple in the ship's elevator with romantic mood lighting and music, but he's always scolding me about even just getting into
[13:50] <Yanmei> the planning phase for it! It's a tough life."
[13:52] <Minaplo> ["Well, Tsubaki's doing that anyway, so…"]
[13:52] <Yanmei> "I heard! I have some suggestions for her. When she's feeling better, anyway…"
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Yeah… Poor Tsucchin." Said Go sadly. "I don't know what happened really, but it sounded like she snapped pretty hard."-
[13:53] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Misato gloomily.-
[13:53] <Minaplo> [But she tried to take back the conversation, eyeing Yanmei speculatively. "I don't envy you, no~… There's plenty of things I wouldn't want Raphael to know."]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "Like how you fantasize about kissing him literally all the time? Everyone already knows about that."
[14:01] <Minaplo> [Misato rolled her eyes. "Why wouldn't I want him to know that? Unlike you, I'm an adult, so I'm comfortable with my sexuality."]
[14:02] <Yanmei> "So then you want to do more than kiss him literally all the time~?"
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["… Yes?" Said Misato, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. "How is this a surprise?"]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Grr…! It's no fun if you admit it!"
[14:08] <Minaplo> ["What were you expecting? It's not like I've made a big secret of it." Said Misato, shrugging her shoulders in bafflement. "Especially not to Raphael. Here's a relationship tip: it usually makes the other person feel better when they know you want to have sex with them on a regular basis."]
[14:11] <Yanmei> "I don't remember mentioning that I needed relationship advice, thanks?"
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["Well you don't, not now that Isaiah can see your every fantasy~ but it's useful for Go." Said Misato, turning toward a bashful Go. "Here's some advice for you, hon: don't go around telling people you and your partner are platonic, don't go around pretending like you and your partner just enjoy tea and biscuits behind closed doors. It makes you look dumb. You don't need to trumpet it
[14:14] <Minaplo> to the heavens, but you should be free to own your sexuality without worrying what other people might say or think."-
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["Um, ok…"]
[14:18] <Yanmei> "Tea and crumpets… You're totally exaggerating!"
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["Am I? What sort of blushing bride says on the day of her wedding that she's going to be 'totally professional' with her husband afterwards, huh?" Said Misato airily.]
[14:24] <Yanmei> "A bride surrounded by people who were making a big freakin' deal of it!"
[14:25] <Minaplo> ["Well how could we not?" Said Misato with a laugh. "If you get embarrassed, that means you have a weakness?"]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "And what's your weakness, huh? If it's not Guillory, it must be something else?" Yanmei narrowed her eyes.
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["My weakness is cute little girls like you and Go, obviously~"]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "Liar!"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Hmph, you're right. No one could ever find you cute!"]
[14:29] <Yanmei> "Double-liar! Everyone finds me cute!"
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Like who?!"]
[14:32] <Yanmei> "Like everyone~~ Even you."
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["I thought you said I was a liar?"]
[14:35] <Yanmei> "You were lying about that being your weakness. It doesn't mean that the cute part itself was a lie?" she tossed her hair.
[14:36] <Minaplo> ["Then what do you think is my real weakness?"]
[14:38] <Yanmei> "Is it Rustami?"
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["W-What?"]
[14:42] * Yanmei smirked knowingly. "You're being awfully helpful to him for someone who spent his entire introductory meeting grinding her teeth in rage. Which means… you either like him, or he has something over you. Like blackmail!"
[14:43] <Minaplo> [Misato stared at Yanmei- and then she sighed.-
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["Alright. First of all, I'm a little grumpy that you even floated the idea that I'd 'like' him." Said Misato.-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Second of all, no, he doesn't have anything 'over' me. He just- he did me a favour is all."]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "So… he blackmailed someone for you?"
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["No, god, Yanmei." Said Misato exasperatedly. "Can you stop acting like a young yakuza punk trying to be hard for just one second?"]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "I don't sound like that! Right?" She glaced at Go for a confirmation.
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["U-Um, you… K-Kinda do…"]
[14:50] * Yanmei glared.
[14:50] <Minaplo> [Go wilted for a second then, in a moment of mad courage, glared back. "I-I don't negotiate w-with yakuza punks." She said, almost firmly.-
[14:51] <Minaplo> [Misato smirked for a moment, then coughed. "Do you want to hear the whole story or not?"]
[14:53] * Yanmei curled her hand into a fist as she contemplated bopping Go on the head in retaliation. Eventually she decided against it. "Go ahead, Katsuragi."
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["So you know Rustami's from the Shangri-La settlement." Said Misato. "… And you know Elisha Caine went through the place just before Impact, right?"]
[14:59] <Yanmei> "Yeah," she said slowly.
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Well, you know I was, um. I was there… At Impact, right? In Antarctica?"]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Yeah…" Yanmei's voice was starting to get a little quieter now too.
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Well… It turns out that Caine and Rustami visited a little bit before Impact happened. And I met them." Said Misato.]
[15:04] * Yanmei blinked. "He never mentioned anything like that before!"
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["Well of course not. If he told everyone he met me there… A-Anyway."-
[15:05] <Minaplo> ["The-there's something I haven't really told anyone about." Muttered Misato.]
[15:06] * Yanmei leaned closer to catch it, her face a mask of concentration.
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["I… I'm an A-Type. That much is known. But when I was really young, I somehow awakened to my gift." Said Misato. "My dad… I dunno how he knew, probably through a colleague- knew what it was, and he dubbed it Universality. What it meant was that I had this… This ability to understand living things, to form powerful connections with them on a deep, emotional level. It-it even gave me
[15:13] <Minaplo> a degree of control. I remember as a kid taking in a hurt bird. I cradled it for hours, and… After that, I could make it take its medicine. It was sort of like synchronisation, except with anything."]
[15:15] * Yanmei was silent. Staring. Not sure of how much to believe.
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["So that was my role in the Katsuragi Expedition." Said Misato. "… Connecting to Adam."]
[15:29] <Yanmei> "That's absurd! And dangerous!" Yanmei snapped. "What were they even trying to do?!"
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Well… Heh." Misato let out a half-hearted chuckle. "The idea was that I could connect to Adam. First I'd understand what she was and how she ticked, then eventually I could soothe her, make sure she stayed asleep for the extraction. Possibly… Even control Adam in the end, but full control was never anything more than a secondary objective."-
[15:33] <Minaplo> ["They built- well. Calling it an Eva is misleading. It wasn't an Eva. It wasn't even a prototype of an Eva. But it was a sign of things to come. An Eva predecessor. They called it the Universal Device."]
[15:40] <Yanmei> "I don't believe this," she muttered. "Wasn't it terrifying?"
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["Of course it was scary." Said Misato. "But my dad said he knew experts, people who'd helped design the machine. He said it would work, and I believed him…"-
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["… I fucked it up. Instead of soothing Adam, I woke her up, and she nearly destroyed the world." Said Misato dully.-
[15:41] <Minaplo> ["… Or at least, that's what I've believed for eighteen years, until Rustami told me what really happened."]
[15:44] <Yanmei> "What do you mean…? What happened?"
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["Caine… He forced Rustami to gain info on the machine, and on me, then bring that info back to Caine. So… So Caine could reconfigure the machine to deliberately trigger Adam's awakening."]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "Did… did he say why Caine would do that?" Yanmei was trying hard not to glance in Go's direction.
[15:56] <Minaplo> [Go's expression was one of horror; wide eyes, yet staring at Misato with painfully rapt attention.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["He said… Lilith was buried beneath the earth, and so Caine needed a big enough disaster to make it possible to force Lilith to the surface." Said Misato.]
[12:50] <Yanmei> "Was he himself at the time?" Yanmei asked slowly, as if trying to wrap her head around it.
[12:55] <Minaplo> ["Well, I don't know. I didn't know Elisha." Said Misato with a small shrug. "But he seemed friendly and charming to me, or so I felt at the time."]
[13:00] <Yanmei> "Of course he was," Yanmei muttered bitterly. "Are you okay? I mean, how do you feel?"
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Well… I dunno. For some dumb reason I still feel a little guilty, even though I shouldn't, but mostly I feel angry at Caine for what he did." Said Misato quietly. "It should make me feel better, knowing it wasn't my fault, and it does- to an extent. But there's a part of me that wishes Second Impact could've been an accident instead of a deliberate case of sabotage."-
[13:07] <Minaplo> ["… I thought I killed my dad because I screwed up." Said Misato. "But Elisha Caine knew that my dad would die, but he did it anyway. He just didn't give a shit about us."-
[13:15] <Minaplo> ["My dad- all he wanted was to succeed. He could be kinda careless, distant and didn't know how to show his love most of the time. But he really wanted that project to succeed, to revolutionise humanity. To make the world a safer place." Said Misato. "I thought I'd let him down, but… Caine took that dream and turned it into hell on Earth."-
[13:16] <Minaplo> ["I…"-
[13:17] <Minaplo> [For a moment, Misato's expression was twisted into a grimace, one of real pain; she looked as though she were about to cry.-
[13:18] <Minaplo> [But before Misato could do or say anything, Go had leapt from her chair, crossed the table, fell into the seat to Misato's left, threw her arms around Misato's chest and squeezed tightly.-
[13:19] <Minaplo> ["H-Huh?" It seemed to shock Misato out of the moment. She looked down at Go curiously, and a little smile formed on her face. "Hey, don't worry. I'm tough, ok?"-
[13:19] <Minaplo> [Go simply squeezed tighter- and she gave Yanmei a very firm look that seemed to suggest Yanmei join her.]
[13:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was quite a bit more awkward about it, but she allowed herself to follow Go's lead just this once by leaning in and giving Misato a hug and a pat on the back.
[13:29] <Minaplo> [Misato pulled them both in closer, resting her head against Yanmei's. "This is nice, though~ I should ask for cuddles from my little niece-chans more often."-
[13:31] <Minaplo> ["But… This is kinda what I meant when I said I had things I didn't want to tell Raffy." Said Misato, more seriously. "Raffy's a sweetheart, but he can be kind of like you, Yanmei- when he decides he dislikes or distrusts someone it can be pretty hard to jolt him out of that. Not to mention that he hates anyone who had a hand in bringing about Second Impact, like Seele."-
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["He doesn't really like Rustami as is." Said Misato. "And he sure as hell doesn't think much of Elisha. If Raphael were to find out about their role in it… He would be pretty pissed. I think it'd scrap any chance of him having anything to do with either of them unless forced."-
[13:34] <Minaplo> ["B-But Kou was a kid." Said Go. "And coerced."-
[13:37] <Minaplo> ["Luna Riel was coerced into collapsing those NeoSpartans into tang, but it didn't mean much to Raphael." Said Misato. "I can't really blame him for that… Maybe Kou will get a pass because he's a kid, but remember that they did this by hurting me- which isn't going to impress him either."]
[13:39] <Yanmei> "Do you think you'll ever tell him the truth about it…?"
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["Heh. Maybe." Said Misato awkwardly. "After this is all done, I might. But the truth is that I'm afraid. Afraid of what he might think of me if he knew my role in Impact."-
[13:40] <Minaplo> ["But it wasn't your fault." Protested Go.-
[13:43] <Minaplo> ["I'm hoping he'd see it like that too, hon." Said Misato. "But… It's hard to explain, Go. The history books say Impact happened in September 2000, but for most of the earth's population it's still happening. It echoes in our actions, and it echoes in our heads and our hearts. That's why the Japanese call the 21st century the "Impact Century"- one day's events taking a hundred years to
[13:43] <Minaplo> resolve."-
[13:45] <Minaplo> ["I don't think young people like you can understand the pain." She said. "People like Raphael came to the knife-edge of oblivion. They lost nearly everything. They might be safer now, happier now, but they lost a part of themselves that day, and something filled that gap- something painful and grieving and vengeful."-
[13:46] <Minaplo> ["It's the same thing that's happening to Marianne now." Said Misato quietly.-
[13:47] <Minaplo> ["So in truth, I see Raphael, the… The contempt he has for people even like your grandpa, who was tricked into creating a piece of the Eternity Drive, and I just… I become scared, that's all."]
[13:54] <Yanmei> "I might not be able to grasp the loss… but I can understand some of the rage and vengence well enough," said Yanmei quietly. "Go. Let's keep this a secret, okay?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["O-Okay."-
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["Thanks, girls." Said Misato, fondness creeping back into her voice.]
[13:57] * Yanmei reached out and tried to ruffle Misato's hair now. "Leave it to your two big sisters!"
[13:58] <Minaplo> ["Oh, don't even start."]
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Hehe~" Yanmei pulled back now. "It does explain a few things, though? Like why you hate Rustami less now."
[14:05] <Minaplo> ["Exactly. And I had a think about it, and a talk with some other people, and kind of realised that a lot of that was just him waltzing in around the time I was smarting over my defeat in Belgium." Said Misato. "I… Heh, I'm bad at losing."]
[14:08] <Yanmei> "Yup." Yanmei nodded a firm confirmation. "It was like that time with Wellesley all over again?"
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Heh, that time was different!"]
[14:15] <Yanmei> "Not by much! You were totally out to get him because he was trying to show you up."
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["Kind of! But he also made an effort to try to show me up deliberately, unlike Kou who didn't really care." Said Misato.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> ["Also, he was trying to make the moves on one of my adorable Ayanami nieces. What sort of Auntie would I be if I didn't test his mettle a little?" Said Misato piously.]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "Please. It took a long time for either one of them to put the moves on anyone. There was so much blushing and stammering, it was incredible."
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["T-That sounds cute." Said Go, her eyes lighting up. "I never got to see them like that- tell me more!"]
[14:32] <Yanmei> "For some reason, I wasn't the one Rei was always running to for romantic advice? Although she did come to me when she wanted to impress him. Like with a pretty new outfit, or a swimsuit…"
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Poor Rei!"]
[14:36] <Yanmei> "W-what?! Grrr…! I picked out a beautiful one for her! I think was pink, and it complemented her a lot?"
[14:41] <Minaplo> ["Hmmmm."-
[14:41] <Minaplo> [Go eyed Yanmei suspiciously, but nodded. "Did… It work?"]
[14:42] <Yanmei> "Of course it did! I'm sure he couldn't take his eyes off her? And they probably ended up kissing right away."
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["O-Or more!" Said Go breathlessly.]
[14:43] <Yanmei> "Or more," Yanmei agreed with a firm nod.
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Oh my gosh." Said Go, squeezing her eyes shut. "I hope something like that happens to me one day-"-
[14:44] <Minaplo> ["Aaaaand we've gone too far down this rabbit hole." Said Misato suddenly.]
[14:47] <Yanmei> "We could make it happen with a swimsuit of your very own~" Yanmei ignored Misato. "C'mon, let us help you pick one~"
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Do you mean it…?!" Said Go, her cheeks growing red; her eyes were still shut.]
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Yup! Shall we take a field trip to the shops in the Promenade?"
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["Only if Sho can come too!" Said Go. "I still want her to make me a custom swimsuit, but we can take inspiration…"]
[14:54] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Fine, fine. Katsuragi, you're in on this too, okay?"
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, yeah, okay." Said Misato. "But you have to call me 'Misato'~"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "Katsuragi Misato," said Yanmei stubbornly.
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["Just Misato. Or I'll spend all day calling you Mini-Misato."-
[14:58] <Minaplo> [Go froze- then she started to giggle. "Mini-Misato! That's so good!"]
[15:01] <Yanmei> "It's not! What's so funny about it?!" Yanmei glared at them both. "Fine, Misato. In exchange, you can call me the Amazing Chancellor Goddess."
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Nope."]
[15:02] <Yanmei> "Yes! It's not even fair otherwise!"
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["Are you saying my name is equivalent to 'Amazing Chancellor Goddess'? You sweet-talker~"]
[15:15] <Yanmei> "That's not what I'm saying at all! If I have to call you by a new handle, then you should call me by a new one too?"
[15:17] <Minaplo> ["It's not a new handle, it's my name! It's older than you are!"]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "Well, the words 'amazing' 'chancellor' and 'goddess' are way, way older than you too? If you put them together, it's a really old handle. Use it well."
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["Hmph. We'll ask what Go thinks, then?"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "Fine! Go!"
[15:24] <Minaplo> [But Go wasn't paying attention, her eyes dreamily closed, an expression of bliss on her face.]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "Go!" Yanmei nudged her. "Wake up and tell Katsuragi that I'm right!"
[15:26] <Minaplo> [Go shook her head. "Huh? What?"]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Shh. Look. Just repeat after me. 'Yanmei is right'. No need to know the reason behind it."
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["N-No way. You could be saying something weird."-
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["She wants me to call her 'Amazing Chancellor Goddess' in exchange for her calling me 'Misato'." Said Misato. "How ridiculous, right, Go~?"-
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Oh. Um… That's pretty strange." Murmured Go.]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "I-it's perfectly logical. It suits me after all?"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["I think your name suits you better. It's such a pretty name…" Said Go.]
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Oh." Yannei cleared her throat. "W-whatever! Let's just forget it this time."
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Sure." Said Misato wryly. "C'mon, let's go find Go her super-sexy swimsuit, then."-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [Go beamed. "Wouldn't it be amazing~"]
[15:42] * Yanmei stood up to lead the way, pointing dramatically at the nearest door. "Let's move out, you two!"
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, yeah." Said Misato, getting up and stretching.-
[15:44] <Minaplo> [Go leapt up too, but she took both Yanmei and Misato by the hand, with herself in the middle. She gave them both a shy smile. "Lead the way, Amazing Chancellor Goddess…"]

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