For A Meeting In The Bar

[10:40] <Yanmei> [It was a while after lunch and at least several hours before happy hour, and as a result, the ski resort's bar was more or less deserted. Sitting atop a stool at the distinguished wood and gold counter, an underaged pilot with bobbed violet hair drowned her sorrows in a sweet red drink that didn't contain any of the bitterness of alcohal. She had, however, requested that it be poured in a stem glass.-
[10:40] <Yanmei> If she was going to sit here, she wanted to at least match the sophisticated atmosphere.]
[10:53] <Asuka‘> Yanmei’d hear the sound of wheels… And someone groaning. An unsteady shadow would fall over Yanmei, and if she turned, she'd see Asuka Langley-Soryu, having just pushed herself out of her wheelchair, grit her teeth and sit down on the stool next to Yanmei.
[10:56] * Yanmei raised her glass slightly as a greeting. She never knew how to take the other girl, since she was apart of Alexandre's group and both incredibly grating in her own right, and yet she also knew that lashing at her outright without provocation was a quick road to looking like an immature villainess. -
[10:57] <Yanmei> "You're not looking for me, are you?" she said, striking a thin line between surprise and joking amusement.
[11:05] * Asuka‘ shrugs. "I wouldn’t say 'looking', Third Child. I saw you in the bar and figured, what the hell?" She tapped the bar. "Bartender- glass of wine?"-
[11:05] <Asuka‘> ["What type?"-
[11:06] <Asuka`> "Let’s try something Rhinelandy."
[11:24] <Yanmei> "Well, thank you for the company?" she offered her warmest, sweetest smile. "There's only so much a person can do for fun alone around here. I've been confined indoors while my fever drops down some more, so that makes it even harder."
[11:28] <Asuka‘> "Fever?" Asuka quirked an eyebrow.
[11:33] <Yanmei> "I ended up with one the night before last night somehow." She swirled her drink, smile quirking slightly. "It’s gotten better, though? So sitting around like this outside my room is okay."
[11:34] <Asuka‘> "Huh. Shouldn’t someone as frail as you be in bed, though, Third Child?"
[11:38] <Yanmei> "You can call me Yanmei, if you'd like. Or Zhang." Smile. "And I don't think my health is quite that bad right now. Besides, bed is boring."
[11:44] <Asuka‘> "Hah." Asuka’s glass of wine arrived, and she started to drink. "Bed's boring, huh? Well, that's pretty true. Just laying in bed, staring at the roof… Bah. No thanks. Not when you have a day like this." She nodded towards the outside, where snow was falling prettily downwards. "Ah, to be skiing again~" She stretched her legs out, wincing a little. "Stupid Angel. I was really looking forward to this and everything."
[11:50] <Yanmei> "At least they didn't leave us behind in Paris," she pointed out, taking a sip from her drink. Her thoughts circled the attack itself, the agony of… of… she took another drink, much longer than the first.
[11:55] * Asuka‘ turns, facing Yanmei head-on. Her single eye wide and bright. "So what was it like for you, Third Child?" She asked head-on. Apparently ignoring what Yanmei said regarding names.
[12:00] * Yanmei stared back for a few moments, but she was the first to look away. "The treatments? A little uncomfortable. But they were also obviously something I couldn’t refuse, so… Anyway, I think I getting used to hospitals."
[12:02] <Asuka‘> "Not the treatment, Third Child. Don’t be dense." Asuka folded her arms, scowling.
[12:07] <Yanmei> "You should know," she was still looking away, and trying to make it seem casual, "what it was like…"
[12:11] <Asuka‘> "What, do you mean…" Asuka swivelled around on her stool, leaning back against the bar. "The sensation of the boiling LCL, searing skin, burning away whole layers- the suffocating feeling of having that burning feeling in my lungs…" Asuka sipped her wine. "The feeling of having something rip up your arm, or looking in a mirror and seeing one less eye? Like that?"
[12:18] <Yanmei> "…" There was no way that this could get less awkward. "Those first parts, anyway. You had it worse than I did, obviously? They said I should have been killed instantly. If its aim had been just a little lower…"
[12:21] <Asuka`> "Yeah? That close, huh?" Said Asuka, sipping at her wine. She seemed utterly relaxed. "Did you ever wish, in the weeks after, that it -had- aimed a little lower?"
[12:25] * Yanmei ran a hand through her hair - which felt short, still alien to her. "There are people profitting from me still being alive." Her smile had turned a little morbid now. "As long as that’s the case, I don't think I'm allowed to think about dying."
[12:26] <Asuka‘> "Tch. That isn’t an answer, Third Child."
[12:31] <Yanmei> "It was a joke. You should smile more, Langly-Soryu." She placed her empty glass on the counter, aimed a bright look at the barkeeper to get his attention. "I was humiliated… and it hurt so badly that I wished I couldn't feel anything anymore. But I don't think I ever wanted to die."
[12:33] <Asuka‘> "Is that right?" Asuka looked over at her now, quirking an eyebrow. "Why not?"
[12:36] <Yanmei> "It would have been disrespectful to the people who risked their lives to save me while the battle was still going on." Pure PR. She waited a moment to see if it would piss her off before continuing.
[12:40] <Asuka`> "Urgh." Asuka glowered at Yanmei irritably. "Seriously? You know, I was hoping to -know- you here, but if all you really are is a big -doll-" she spat the word- "For other people, then I shouldn’t bother."
[12:46] <Yanmei> "It doesn't take much to set you off, does it?" She broke off briefly to pleasantly thank the bartender, who had refilled her drink from a pitcher of juice that had been resting in ice beneath the counter. "Even if there are no cameras around, talking frankly about this sort of thing is… hm. -
[12:49] <Yanmei> "No. I'm being rude here, aren't I? After all, you did decide to join me, even if on a whim?" She closed her eyes briefly. "The reason is simple. I've been humilated before, and I've been in agony before. No matter how intense they are, they'll get better. Usually." She picked up her glass again. -
[12:51] <Yanmei> "Anyway, as many times as I'd said 'I won't die' and 'We'll save everyone' before jumping in the entry plug, I wanted to back it up. Some things are a matter of pride, you know."
[12:54] <Asuka‘> "Pride, huh…" Murmured Asuka. "Pride in what? As an Eva pilot?"
[12:59] <Yanmei> "Pride in my own words, not as a pilot. They’ve already started looking for backup pilots, you know," she added, not particularly knowing why. "Even before that Angel showed up, they were doing that."
[13:03] <Asuka‘> "Hmph." Asuka folded her arms. "They won’t get anyone else into my EVA. Not whilst I'm still alive. I'll beat anyone who tries." She drained the rest of her wine. "But… Is there a reason beyond your own words that you wanted to live? I want to know."
[13:10] <Yanmei> "Not really? There were a lot of people going back and forth too. That helped. It helped a lot. Reminded me that there were people waiting on me to get better. But~" she stretched. "There I go, being a 'doll for other people again,' hm? That's fine. I don't care."
[13:15] <Asuka‘> "Hmph. Whatever, Third Child. How can you ever realise yourself if you never go looking for yourself? ’I want to live for other people' doesn't work. It's not like anyone else is ever going to live for you." Asuka nodded firmly. "You should think about something -you- want to live for, for yourself. That's what I'm doing."
[13:18] <Yanmei> "Oh? That 'I want to be the best' stuff? Mr Fontaine mentioned it once."
[13:24] <Asuka‘> "Eh…" Asuka rubbed her chin. "You know, after the fight? I -did- want to die. It was humiliating, but worst of all, it showed me that I… Wasn’t the best. I think Blanc visited me at some point. She told me that I was still the best, but…" Asuka frowned. "That made me feel a little better. But then I realised I'd been chasing that for the wrong reason."
[13:26] <Yanmei> "Huh?" Yanmei blinked in surprise. "What do you mean?"
[13:27] <Asuka‘> "Why do you think I wanted to the best, Third Child?"
[13:31] <Yanmei> "I don’t know. I only care about that stuff when I'm involved in a competition or something. Like back at those games they made us take part in? Could you have seen this piloting thing as one big competition?"
[13:32] <Asuka‘> "Let’s go with that for now. Why do you like -winning-?"
[13:33] <Yanmei> "Because it feels good. It proves how strong you are, and makes people admire you."
[13:40] * Asuka‘ nods firmly. "That’s right. When you win a competition, everyone loves you for it. Or even if they don't, they acknowledge your worth. Everyone puts you up on their shoulders and says, 'This person is a champion, so we should love her'." Asuka frowned. "I wanted that. I… I hated the idea of being worthless. The NeoSpartan project took in worthless kids, you know? Orphans and unwanted kids.-
[13:41] <Asuka‘> "I was five. I was going to be an EVA pilot, I was told." Asuka shrugged. "It was a way to prove that I wasn’t worthless. So everyone'd see me, and they'd know."
[13:44] <Yanmei> Unwanted orphans. She thought back to Alexandre Fontaine with some confusion. "But… you think differently now?"
[13:48] <Asuka‘> "Mmm, kind of, Third Child. I keep wondering…" She frowned. "Trying to be the best so other people will notice me… Will praise me… What would I do if there were no one else in the world? If I were totally alone? Well, I’d want someone else to exist. But I realised that if it were just two people, I wouldn't want that person to be my doll and praise me, because it just… Doesn't mean anything." She folded her arms.-
[13:52] <Asuka‘> "I’m different. If there were a million worlds, and one person on each world, I would still want to be the best, even if they never knew. Because really, in the end, I don't need to be the best to be liked. Blanc proved that. I -want- to be the best because that's what I -should- be. Because it's -worthy-."
[13:58] <Yanmei> "Blanc. Usually, she's so painfully idealistic." Yanmei closed her eyes briefly. "However. What you said just now actually makes sense. Even I can't deny that it's a more positive outlook."
[14:03] <Asuka‘> "Of course it is, Third Child." Said Asuka, smirking. "So who knows. Maybe if you try hard enough, you’ll find some reason like that too." Asuka grinned at Yanmei.
[14:07] <Yanmei> "You're presuming that I'm not comfortable with my own reasons." She gave another little hair flip.
[14:08] <Asuka‘> "It’s not that. I just think your reasons suck, Third Child."
[14:08] * Asuka‘ is, at least, still grinning. Maybe she’s just playing. Who can honestly tell…?
[14:13] <Yanmei> "Aww. You think I'm so easily influenced that I'll change them just because you think I should. That so cute~" She fixed her with her sweetest, most charming expression.
[14:16] * Asuka‘ shrugs. "Have it your way, Third Child." She gets another glass of wine from somewhere. Sips it. "Alex was pretty messed up, huh?"
[14:17] <Yanmei> "Try not to scare him like that again. He’s -quite- attached to you."
[14:21] * Asuka‘ started to laugh. "Yeah, I realised that. He visited me in hospital. It was a little weird… I wasn’t expecting that. I didn't feel like he'd come- I felt as though he'd think like me and think 'She's too worthless'… But, he visited anyway." Asuka gave Yanmei a grin. "Other people are alright, huh?"
[14:25] <Yanmei> "You see?" She grinned back. "They're not all bad."
[14:30] <Asuka‘> "Heh. I never said other people were bad, Third Child! You can love them and work with them and all of that. That’s fine." She tossed her head. Her own, vibrant red hair had received a cut, too… "You just need to know when to draw the line between living for your own reasons, and living for others. That's where I look at you. If you say, 'I live for humankind!' … That's ok.-
[14:31] <Asuka‘> "But if you say, ’I live because other people want me to live'… You're weakening yourself. You're not an extension of other people, Zhang Yanmei. You're not a doll. If you -are- gonna live like that, live because you love 'em, or something. Not because you're a puppet."
[14:41] <Yanmei> More inspirational words. For someone who had apparently just only been lectured to about these sorts of things on her hospital bed, she certainly made herself sound like a pro. Yanmei listened calmly. "It's not something I've given a lot of thought to before," she admitted carefully. "That distinction, I mean."-
[14:44] <Yanmei> "It's also easy to become a puppet through other means if you're not careful? It's so easy to decieve other people and twist their motivations, or even just ride out those motivations if they benefit you. Not that I'm making excuses? I suppose I'm just saying."
[14:53] * Asuka‘ nodded. "It is. That’s why it's a struggle, then. It's a struggle to keep true to what you want to achieve- to remain independent of those who'd control you like that. You need to focus on that. You need to think about -why- you do things. That's where it starts. Start with the 'Why do I do this' and work back, and do it over and over, and you'll keep yourself."
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Hmm?" for a while that was all she said, leaving a certain silent thoughtful note in the air. But would doing even something like that work? "You're full of surprises today. I'd never thought that I'd be getting lessons on self-will from anyone. The only person who came close to calling me out about it before was your Fontaine."
[15:07] * Asuka‘ snorts. "He’s not 'my' Fontaine. Don't disrespect him so. And that shouldn't be surprising." Asuka winked. "All the NeoSpartans were taught to value self-will. But." She nudged Yanmei with her hand. "I want something from you."
[15:07] <Yanmei> "Yes? What's that?"
[15:08] <Asuka‘> "You have burns, right? Can you show me one of them?"
[15:09] * Yanmei hesitated. Looked around. Same old quiet, deserted bar?
[15:09] <Asuka`> [That’s right. Except for the bartender, but he was harmless. Surely.]
[15:13] * Yanmei tried to avoid looking at him regardless. Slowly, she peeled off the sweater she was wearing, revealing a t-shirt. Most of the scars on her arms had faded, but her hands, fiddling with the bottom of the shirt gave away the presence of less discreet ones even before she lifted it. -
[15:16] <Yanmei> This was another burn victim. Another pilot that had been hurt just like she had. Even if she judged, there wasn't much she could say that Yanmei couldn't throw back at her. It took coaching herself for a few more moments before she could show it - blotchy, darkened scar tissue running along the left side of her torso, and seeming to spread to the center of it. -
[15:19] <Yanmei> It extended beneath the waistband of the skirt that she was wearing, and she wasn't willing to raise her shirt high enough to show where it ended up top. She lowered the shirt quickly again. Face tense, and slightly red.
[15:22] * Rynol has quit IRC (Quit: )
[15:23] * Asuka‘ watched. Frowning, but there was a strange sort of triumph in Asuka’s eye. When Yanmei finished, Asuka nodded. "Those are pretty bad." Asuka reached to the top of her own shirt, now- she unbuttoned the top two buttons, revealing her neck and the top of her chest, which bore similar darkened and ugly scars. Then, like Yanmei, she showed off her stomach- then, buttoning her shirt up again, she reached for her face, and grabbed her eyepatch.-
[15:25] <Asuka‘> She shifted the eyepatch aside, revealing… A horrible, scarred, burned out wound, a mess of scar tissue and savaged flesh. She didn’t show an ounce of shame. Asuka held out her other hand. "We've both got scars, Zhang Yanmei. I'm not letting mine stop me from doing a damn thing I want. I'm not letting yours stop me either- so will you please be my good friend?"
[15:30] <Yanmei> "That…" she was certainly taken aback by it. Yanmei hadn't been able been able to spot an ounce of embarassment from the other girl, even after revealing all that she had just now. How was that possible? She hadn't even checked the area for prying eyes the way she had. And that request… -
[15:33] <Yanmei> "I can't believe you're asking me that," she muttered. She let a few beats tick by before causually adding. "I thought it was assumed that we were friends now, after this. And because you finally started calling me by my actual name." She reached out to accept the handshake.
[15:39] * Asuka‘ shook! It was a firm shake. "Hah. What can I say, Yanmei? I’m starting to respect you a little." Asuka tossed her hair airily. "It must be the little bit of me I see in you, I guess~"
[15:43] <Yanmei> "Shouldn't it be the other way around?" Yanmei tried to beat her with her own hair-toss. "Apparently, you have a bit of charm to you after all."
[15:44] <Asuka‘> "Eh? Of course I do! I’m Asuka the Great! You're just her understudy~" Asuka stretched luxuriously. "Let's go do something."
[15:46] <Yanmei> "Seen the gift shop yet? They have dumb gifts and everything, but lots of regular clothes too. There was this pink men's shirt I spotted that would great with the Major's skin tone~"
[15:49] <Asuka‘> "The gift shop?" Asuka stood up unsteadily. "Not the Hot Springs~?"
[15:52] <Yanmei> "That’s… a little hot though? Don't tell me you want to?"
[15:54] * Asuka‘ folded her arms. "Didn’t I just say my scars won't stop me from doing what I want?" She announced… Then shook her head. "… No. Let's leave that until the -next- vacation." She falls into her wheelchair. "We can get together and revel in our newfound ability to enjoy hot springs. Until then- to the gift shop, dear fool Yanmei~"
[15:59] <Yanmei> "I'm a fool? Why?" She sighed and shrugged with exaggerated hopelessness. "What a childish thing to say~"
[15:59] <Asuka‘> "Hmph. You’re a fool because you only want to embarass your major, when you have a perfectly good source of ways to embarrass Alex right here~"
[16:04] * Yanmei brightened. "WHile that's an excellent point, I never said I wanted to embarass the good Major. Oh, he'll bitch about it at first, but it'll totally compliment him!"
[16:05] <Asuka‘> "That’s sadistic." Said Asuka approvingly as she started to roll on. "Lead on!"

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