Deep In Heart Wrung Tears I Ll Pledge Thee Warring Sighs And

[20:19] <@Marianne‘> [When the rescue teams had found Raphael, he’d had a broken knife to his chest, trying in vain to cut the coins from his chest. His responses were less than calming.-
[20:24] <@Marianne‘> [And thus, he was moved to the psychiatric wards- sedated for a day whilst NERV medical studied him. At the end of the day, their responses were simultaneously astonished and dismayed. NERV doctors had had to deal with a lot of impossible things after the Omniel battle. After all, there were more than a few of those strange warping blasts that had missed their marks entirely.-
[20:25] <@Marianne`> [But none of the pilots -or- the collateral damage cases had been this drastic, where a person had changed completely into someone else. The changes were very deep- his entire body had changed, as had certain qualities in his blood and DNA. Not enough to make him a clone of Gendo Ikari, but…-
[20:26] <@Marianne`> [But they couldn’t keep him sedated forever, and thus eventually, Raphael would find himself waking up in a hospital bed…]
[20:35] <Raphael> He'd been awake for some time before he was truly aware of it - eyes open and staring at the sterile white tiled ceiling almost without blinking. But slowly the the recognition seeped down deep enough for Raphael to begin to stir. His motions were as slow and groggy as his thoughts, and the discovery that his hands were tied down only made him feel dull confusion…
[20:37] <@Marianne‘> [Hands that were slightly hairier and a little darker- and softer- than he recalled…]
[20:45] <Raphael> "Whu…" But that voice was different too. Even through the drugged haze a little edge of panic begins to sneak in to join the confusion. Raphael’s struggle against his bonds becomes a little fiercer as he tries to sit up.
[20:49] <@Marianne‘> [It’s fortunate, then, that at that moment the door opens. "Sir Guillory?" Asks an old, genteel man, standing in the doorway of the (reinforced) door.]
[20:55] <Raphael> … Was that right? For some reason he feels a brief moment of uncertainty about how to answer that, but it's brushed aside. Why should there be any doubt about something so basic? "… Yes." Raphael says, and it's a struggle to get even that much out as he works to shake off the sedation. "What's… what's going on?"
[20:59] <@Marianne‘> [The old man smiles. He has a very gentle look about him, and he closes the door behind him, grabs a chair and sets it down next to the bed, and then carefully undoes Raphael’s restraints. "You were in a very bad state when we found you, Sir Guillory. We had to restrain you for your own safety."]
[21:04] * Raphael gladly accepts the help - He was certainly getting nowhere on his own - and pulls himself up a little straighter before massaging his wrists… and staring as he gets a better look at those hands. Someone else's hands. Memories are trying to come back too him, but he can feel some part of his mind attempting to keep them away, if only for a little while longer…-
[21:04] <Raphael> "What happened?"
[21:08] <@Marianne‘> ["Let’s start with what you remember. What was the last thing you can see in your mind with clarity? Let's see… A scene where you can confidently remember at least five details."]
[21:24] * Raphael movements become a little more agitated at the request, and there’s a tight frown on his face that he would normally take every effort to hide. "I don’t see…" But he shakes it off, and at least tries to find some composure even if it’s a pale shadow of its normal self.-
[21:25] <Raphael> "Pilot Zhang had been pinned by the Nineteenth, and I… think my unit had been struck, because I remember the pain. But I managed to get the positron cannon going quickly enough to free her. It looked like a bomb went off inside the angel’s arm…" He let’s out a low, harsh laugh.
[21:25] <Raphael> «lets*»
[21:31] <@Marianne‘> [The old man nods gravely. "As it turns out, the Nineteenth hit you with an unusual attack that physically changed your entire body, shaping it into an almost identical copy of someone else: Commander Ikari."]
[21:42] <Raphael> And that’s enough to bring everything rushing back: Memories of the pain, dully recalled glimpses of his recovery by the ground crews, and most of all the memory of that face in the mirror.-
[21:42] <Raphael> Whatever reactions would try to show on his face disappear behind that calm mask that comes up on reflex like some sort of emotional shield. But it doesn’t hide the horror and agitation in his eyes, which are now flitting around to take in every part of the room. The reinforced doors and the bars on the windows are enough of a hint as to his new home. "… Where’s Suzanne?"
[21:46] <@Marianne`> ["She’s safe. For the day after you were hurt, she was taken in by Dr. Paget. Ever since this morning, however, she's been in the care of Pilot Ayanami Rei, who rushed to Paris-2 after she was informed of what had happened."]
[21:49] <Raphael> "You told them?" He asks. Even with the sedatives still in his system there's a level of raw hurt and anger in his tone that he would never normally allow.
[21:51] <@Marianne‘> ["Suzanne hasn’t been told any details- only that you've been harmed. It'd be rather hard to hide, what with you now out of sorts for a few days." Says the old man calmly. "Rei, however, is -not- a six year old girl, and will not be satisfied with vague answers."]
[21:58] <Raphael> "It doesn't -matter- what she's satisfied with! She didn't need to know. Her of all people…"
[21:59] <@Marianne‘> ["Then you have my apologies." Said Dr. Castillo-Delgado. It wasn’t what he wanted to say, which was significantly more cutting. However, the good Doctor had decades of experience at controlling what he said.]
[22:18] <Raphael> Raphael’s breathing slows a little with the apology, and his hand loosens a little around his wrist where they’d been curled tight enough to slow the supply of blood. "… I’m not able to see them like this, Doctor. Suzie will have to be taken care of until we can fix this. My brother’s details are listed in my file, and I know I can trust him to take care of her."
[22:24] <@Marianne‘> ["I understand." Said the doctor. "I’ll make the arrangements."]
[22:35] <Raphael> "Good." He mutters, his old serious look sitting strangely on his new features. He blinks hurriedly to try and keep his eyes in focus as the drugs try to renew their grip and only partially succeed. "Ngh… not that I'll be like this for long. NERV wouldn't let a security risk like me back out into the open, one way or another. What are our options, Doctor…" He frowns for a moment,
[22:35] <Raphael> sorting back through hazy memories. "I'm sorry, sir, did I get your name?"
[22:36] <Raphael> «Succeeds*»
[22:38] <@Marianne‘> ["Doctor Felix Castillo-Delgado, head of NERV psychiatric." Said Felix gently. "As for our options… Ultimately, if we’re careful, your professional career won't be in too much jeopardy." He folded his hands together. "However, I'm more worried about how you're going to handle this, if you don't mind me saying."]
[22:43] <Raphael> "I'll be fine, sir." Raphael said, a hint of that anger creeping back in like a warning. "And options… I meant options to fix this. The medical staff here has dealt with stranger things."
[22:49] <@Marianne‘> ["I’m very sorry." Said Felix, and he sounded genuinely concerned. "Medical doesn't even know how to start. Excessive plastic surgery is a possibility, if a clumsy one, and they aren't sure it'll provide you with the result you need…"]
[23:04] <Raphael> "… Oh."-
[23:05] <Raphael> His voice was merely controlled before, but now there’s not even that small scrap of emotion or strength to be found there. It’s a dead sound. And if Castillo Delgado were to look, he’d notice that one of Raphael’s hands had found its way further up the forearm to one of those strange silver coins. "You should probably go, Doctor."
[23:08] <@Marianne‘> ["I’ll give you time to think." The doctor stood. "As a note… There are two people who want to see you when you feel ready."]
[23:11] * Raphael simply shuts his eyes and waits for the doctor to leave. He doesn't trust himself to talk.
[23:12] <@Marianne‘> [Felix looks on Raphael sadly, then, turning around, he leaves.]
[00:44] <Raphael> And so it goes…-
[00:44] <Raphael> Time passes strangely in a room like this, especially with no way to measure its passage. He could have spent hours after the doctor left staring blankly at the flat white walls, or perhaps only a handful of minutes. But eventually his mind is ready for something slightly more active, even if that only happens to be pacing around the tiny little room he’s been sealed within.-
[00:45] <Raphael> He’s quick to find that even this is a bigger challenge than anticipated - Walking around in somebody else’s body poses a dozen new challenges, and even half an hour after beginning he’s stumbling every now and then…
[00:47] <@Marianne`> [Eventually, there’d be a knock on the door.]
[00:49] <Raphael> No answer from within. Raphael was quite deep in concentration… and even if he hadn't been, he was hardly ready for visitors. Step… and step… step…
[00:52] <@Marianne‘> [Knock knock knock!]
[00:53] <Raphael> Step step step.
[00:57] <@Marianne`> [The door opened.-
[00:57] <@Marianne`> ["Raffy-kun…"]
[01:10] <Raphael> Step step ste-
[01:10] <Raphael> That moment of hesitation at a familiar voice leads to a stumble, and it’s only a quick grab for the bed that stops him from taking a fall. "… Rei." He says, still turned away from her. The voice is her father's, but the intonation is different enough to set them apart.
[01:11] <@Marianne‘> ["I brought you some food, Raffy-kun."]
[01:15] <Raphael> "You shouldn’t have come here."
[01:16] <@Marianne‘> ["Yes, I should have." She said firmly. "You were hurt, Raffy-kun. We help each other when we’re hurt."]
[13:44] <Raphael> The figure by the beside makes a pained sound and shakes his head. "This is different." He mutters, slowly turning. "I’m not ready."-
[13:44] <Raphael> For someone so familiar with both Raphael Guillory and Gendo Ikari, looking upon this new figure is unsettling in the extreme. Watching her father’s features perfectly mimic all the expressions and facial tics of the Group Captain… it’s an imitation gone too far, taking a bullet train deep into the uncanny valley.
[13:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> Rei doesn’t look away. She just looks him straight in the eye.
[14:08] * Raphael breaks first, looking away easing himself down onto the bed with far more caution than normal. There's pain in his hands that was never there before. "What is it, Rei?"
[14:15] <@Ayanami‘Rei> She placed the food down on the bed, then sat down next to him. "It will hurt very much at first." She said quietly. "None of your clothes will fit, and only those who know you very well will recognise you. Those who knew the old you might become angry or upset. You might try to reach out to other people, and you’ll feel alone and sad." She looked at him. "So I'm going to make sure you don't feel alone."
[14:27] <Raphael> Raphael looks up at her then, and there’s a flash of wild anger in his eyes utterly unlike anything she would have seen on him before. But anger at her? Somehow she wouldn’t get that impression. "… Why do you bother with me, Rei?"
[14:34] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "Because you’re Raffy-kun." She said gently. "You saved my life and the life of my best friends. Because you fought to protect everyone, even though you were in so much danger that no one would ever blame you for turning and running away. You protected Suzie and took her in, even though you didn't have to, because your heart was so kind that you simply -had- to do it. You reached out and took me into your heart without question. You showed me kindness and love at a time when many others might have called me a monster, when at times I wondered to myself whether they might be right. Because once there was a time when I was sad and alone, and scared, and didn't know whether I was worth the time people offered to me, whether I was just a monstrous puppet." She shook her head. "You never once thought of me like that. You treated me as I wanted to be treated, and you loved me, and to me you became a friend, and a protector, and a father, so for that I'll never let you be alone, especially when you're hurting, and I'll always protect and love you even if you think you don't deserve it. Because you can't look at yourself like that. You're not a monster, Raffy-kun. You're a knight."
[14:50] <Raphael> He stares at her for a long time at that, a familiar look of love in those new eyes. But then he makes a sad, choked chuckle and shakes his head. "You misunderstand my love, Rei."
[14:52] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "What do you mean, Raffy-kun?"
[15:04] <Raphael> "Do you know much about the Bible, Rei? About Judas? It’s hardly as well-known in Japan, I know, but with your father…"
[15:05] * @Ayanami`Rei shook her head.
[15:14] * Raphael is tearing at the weak cloth of the hospital gown now, ripping it open around his chest to expose those perfectly circular silver coins. A little embossed face of Ayanami Rei smiles up at her original. "I only know a little, from when I was young, but I remember this: Judas was a man who traded away the people who loved him - who trusted him - on a whim because that trade earned
[15:14] * Raphael him what he wanted. Thirty silver coins was a fair trade for the blood of a friend, he thought." Raphael says, growing almost frantic the longer he talks as though he’s desperate for her to understand. "Do you see what I’m saying now?"-
[15:14] <Raphael> "Right now I love you with all my heart, but only until someone tells me that you need to suffer for the world to survive; Only until someone offers me the right trade. I didn’t love you enough to protect you from the harm of piloting, like Yanmei does for Isaiah. I don’t even love you enough to think it’s wrong like Wellesley. I love you, but I’d trade you away for a better world
[15:14] <Raphael> in a heartbeat. That’s what this means. You’re one more thing to barter. That’s not real love, Rei."
[15:20] <@Ayanami`Rei> She searches his eyes for a minute, her own eyes intense, yet gentle. There’s some emotion swirling within there that he can't recall ever seeing before. Eventually, she looks away.-
[15:21] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "You’re complicating things, Raffy-kun." She says eventually, quietly. "And you're lying. Not about everything. But…"-
[15:27] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "I know you would sacrifice me for a better world. I… I would sacrifice -myself- for a better world, because making the world a better, happier place is all I’ve ever wanted, even when I was a little girl, when I used to watch my lonely brother sit in his room by himself. All I ever wanted was to make him happy, and then I'd make papa and mama happy, and I'd make the world happier. I wouldn't be the first to sacrifice themselves for that. And I think it'd be very much worth the price." She turned back to him now, her eyes glimmering with fierce emotion. "So how should I blame you for wanting that, Raffy-kun? And how can you expect me to blame you for sacrificing me, when you're lying?" She looked away again. "I'm -not- one more thing to barter. I'm not a good to you. I know you would do it, within a heartbeat, but I wouldn't be just another thing to give away. You would realise you'd be giving away your Rei. And you'd cry, and you'd hate yourself, even though you'd know it was the right thing to do. And that's all I expect." She said quietly. "I didn't ever ask you to protect me from my duty, from my purpose. All I asked for was your love, and you've given me that, and you're still giving that to me right now. You haven't given me away yet. So don't tell me to throw you away for something you haven't done. Because I won't."
[15:43] <Raphael> "Why can't you just…?" That agitation was beginning to return and it’s stronger this time without any of the drugs to keep it at bay. It finds its way into his chest, and suddenly it’s hard to breathe. He stands and hurriedly makes his way towards the window with those ungainly strides. "Go and look after Suzie for me, Pilot Rei… That's all I need from you right now. Captain
[15:43] <Raphael> Wellesley will take care of you."
[15:46] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "Alright, Raffy-kun." Said Rei softly. She wouldn’t lie to herself- it hurt to see him like this, to speak to her like this, but she… Understood. And so she could forgive. She stood up and followed him, and put her arms around him, hugging him tight. "You stay here and eat, and rest. I'll look after everything for you until you're alright again."
[15:51] <Raphael> The unexpected contact makes his whole body tremble for a moment, but then he's as still as stone. Even with her pressed this close it felt as though the old Raphael Guillory worlds away. "… Just go, Rei."
[15:51] <Raphael> «was worlds away*»
[15:52] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "I love you, Raffy-kun." She said quietly before she let go. With one last look she finally turned and left, the door closing behind her.-
[15:53] <@Ayanami`Rei> It was only after she was out the door and far out of Raphael’s eyesight that she dug into her pocket for her phone, punching in a number, the display blurred by the tears in her eyes.
[16:18] * Raphael doesn’t turn to watch her go.-
[16:19] <Raphael> That comforting blank feeling has fallen over his mind again like a blanket, protecting himself from the swirling feelings of pain and anger that are so eager to swallow him up. He wraps himself up tightly within it and lets time pass, staring out the window to survey his room’s laughable excuse of a view…
[16:20] <@Ikari‘Gendo> The door opened.
[16:30] <Raphael> "…" Raphael was slow to stir from his stupor, but at least this time he reacted… if a little unwillingly. He takes a moment to blink away his drowsiness and then turns to face his visitor.
[16:30] <@Ikari`Gendo> The face of his torment.-
[16:30] <@Ikari`Gendo> Gendo Ikari is standing there, in his unfastened uniform, hands in pockets, face impassive behind those orange glasses.
[16:45] <Raphael> "… Ikari." It comes out almost like a snarl. He suddenly feels a rush of adrenaline hit him like a blow to the chest and knows he’s waiting for a fight, but he’s genuinely unsure who he expects to start it. "What do you want, Gendo?"
[16:46] <@Ikari`Gendo> "I wanted to talk. Sit down, Guillory."
[16:50] <Raphael> "I’m quite happy here." He says, drawing some perverse joy from such a pointless bit of contrarianism.
[16:51] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "Very well." Ikari doesn’t move to sit, either.-
[16:51] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "I ran into Rei on the way here. She was quite upset."
[16:54] <Raphael> "…" Enough of the old Raphael is still alive enough to look ashamed at that, but the look is accompanied by a slow shake of his head. "She shouldn’t have come here. I told them not to let her see me like this."
[16:58] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "They didn’t. She commandeered a food trolley and snuck by. She is quite devoted to you."
[17:05] <Raphael> "… Yes." He says, watching those glasses with as much of his old focus as he can manage.
[17:07] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "I know better than to blame you for her tears." Said Ikari. "After all, you’re in pain."
[17:10] * Raphael stares at Gendo blankly for a moment, feeling a rising wave of hatred for the man before him like bile in his throat. "… Tell me what you want, Gendo."
[17:11] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "I want exactly what you want." Said Ikari. "I want to undo your curse."
[17:12] <Raphael> "Why?"
[17:14] <@Ikari`Gendo> "Because I am uncomfortable with it." Said Ikari. "Because it creates problems for you -and- for me that I would rather do without. Because I don’t need another Ikari Gendo. I need Raphael Guillory."
[17:26] * Raphael is dimly aware of the weakness in his legs, his muscles disagreeing with his earlier decision to stand after several days of being unconscious and filled to the brim with drugs. But he had no intention of going back on his earlier answer. "And suppose I'm not interested in your help?"
[17:27] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "But you are. I can see it in your eyes. Eyes I know far too well." Said Ikari. "You hate this. You would have to hate it, for what else would make Raphael Guillory refuse the company of Rei?"
[17:34] <Raphael> "The fact that she deserves better?"
[17:34] <@Ikari`Gendo> "I haven’t time for your childish self-loathing, Guillory. I suggest you grow past this phase -very- quickly, for your sake."
[17:42] * Raphael feels that hatred rise again, blotting out all other thought. His hands have curled into fists without him being aware of it. "Go to hell, Commander."
[17:45] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "I’m quite happy here." Echoed Ikari. "Calm yourself, Captain. Look at you, fists clenched like a tantruming adolescent. Is this what you are on the other side of sanity…?"
[18:02] * Raphael is already trying to slow his breathing when Gendo speaks - Even in this state he's stunned that he said such a thing to a commanding officer - but the Commander's words don't exactly help his efforts. Still, eventually his hands would begin to unclench as his breathing took on a more normal rhythm. "… What's your solution?"
[18:03] <@Ikari‘Gendo> "There are two solutions that I can see currently."
[18:04] * Raphael simply waits.
[18:05] <@Ikari`Gendo> "The first is nebulous. We suspect that what happened to you was a forced physical conversion as a result of an AT Field. Angels use their AT Fields to shape and mould their own bodies, but it seems that they can do the same to sufficiently weak opponents like an unprotected human being. Ergo, we could try to reverse the process through the use of an AT Field from an Evangelion unit."
[18:11] <Raphael> "And the second?"
[18:14] <@Ikari`Gendo> "We have samples of your blood from before you were changed. You spend six months in that body whilst we grow an empty clone of the old, then when it is fully matured we kill your body and transfer your soul."
[18:20] <Raphael> "…" He felt no real anger this time, merely a sort of detached bemusement at the depths of absurdity his life had reached. "… So who would be in charge of this AT moulding?"
[18:21] <@Ikari`Gendo> "Probably Blanc. Alternatively we could use Chiisana or San."
[18:26] * Raphael nods. "Alright, then."
[18:27] <@Ikari`Gendo> "Very well." Ikari turned towards the door.
[18:40] * Raphael ’s breathing quickens for a moment as Gendo's back turns, a dark look slipping across his face like a storm cloud. But lucidity returns quickly enough, and he forces himself to begin carefully making his way back to the bed on these strange new legs.
[18:44] <@Ikari‘Gendo> Before long, Ikari’s out the door, shutting it carefully behind him. Raphael is once again alone.

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