For A Reconciliation Of Sorts

[14:22] <Yanmei> [September 17th, 2015.]-
[14:24] * Yanmei walked slowly back to her perch by Isaiah's side. She had spent some time rotating today between it and Marianne's room, but now the latter was dozing, so it was time to come back here. Resting on her face was something that had become more common with her as the week had dragged on - a pair sleek, blue-tinted sunglasses.-
[14:26] <Yanmei> It matched the sweater that she wore, and the long boots that she had pulled on for the day as well. She turned the knob to his door, and let it open slowly, cautiously, least he be in the middle of a treatment from one of the nurses. "I'm back~"
[14:27] <Alexandre> [Isaiah remained quite asleep, but unusually this time, he wasn't alone.-
[14:27] * Alexandre was sitting at his bedside, leaning on the railings of the hospital bed, a book in his hand. "Who indeed k-" Alexandre paused, looked up at the door.
[14:29] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared. She might have bristled under normal circumstances, but this was… what? Sacred ground? It felt too weird to do it here. "Fontaine," she said instead, a little stiffly.
[14:31] <Alexandre> "Hello, Zhang."
[14:34] <Yanmei> "…" She continued staring. Then her eyebrows lowered a little over the sunglasses, and her voice darkened. "Please tell me you're not doing something as tasteless as bullying a poor guy who isn't even awake."
[14:37] * Alexandre glowered. "Who do you take me for? There's no fun in that, anyway. No, I'm just keeping him company." He waggled the book. "Reading him a story."
[14:41] <Yanmei> "…oh." There wasn't much to say to that, was there? She had read him stories herself. Silly little novels that she'd had lying around the apartment. Their math textbook from school, too, although that had put her right to sleep, unfortunately. -
[14:46] <Yanmei> She averted her gaze, feeling suddenly as if she'd walked in on something private. The room had taken on a lot more color since she had first arrived, much of it red - things also from home. Like the throw now on his hospital bed, and the vases by his bedside filled with colorful flowers of all sorts. There were throw-pillows around too, and an inoffensive cartoony frog plush resting next to him. That last one, she had bought herself. "I'll leave you alone,
[14:47] <Yanmei> ^then, I suppose?"
[14:47] <Alexandre> "Why would you do that?"
[14:50] * Yanmei regarded him with some surprise. "Because I don't want to interrupt? You're actually being nice to him. It's a rare enough thing that it makes me want to run out and grab a camera."
[14:51] * Alexandre sighed, closing his book and putting it aside. "It's tradition."
[14:53] <Yanmei> "Huh? What is?"
[14:55] * Alexandre folded his hands together. "NeoSpartans fight together. The injuries of one weaken the whole group, and it falls to his brothers and sisters in arms to keep the wounded company and guide him back to the world of the living." Alexandre looked down at Isaiah. "He's no NeoSpartan. He's not even very good at fighting. But he ran -upstairs- instead of down. He ran towards you instead of to safety. It takes bravery to do that. I can respect that."
[14:58] <Yanmei> "I wish… in this case, he had been a little less brave." She glanced at him, and away, the guilt and sadness in her eyes concealed by the blue lenses.
[14:58] <Alexandre> "Sit down, Zhang."
[14:59] <Yanmei> "I'll stand, thank you," she said to show that she didn't have to take orders from him. And she did so, leaning against the wall by the door.
[15:01] * Alexandre sighed. "I want to talk to you. Is this really how it's going to be for the rest of our lives? You being contrarian like this? I want to talk to you. Please, sit down."
[15:05] <Yanmei> "I am not being contrarian," Yanmei frowned, looking away again. "I just feel like standing, that's all. But since you said 'please'…" she moved toward a spare chair of her own, pulling it closer a little reluctantly.-
[15:06] <Yanmei> "What is it?" This was the first time they had spoken since the incident at the school, wasn't it? She remembered the bloodshed, and chagrin ran through her, hot and unpleasant.
[15:08] <Alexandre> "Don't blame yourself."
[15:14] <Yanmei> She hadn't been expecting that. She looked at him directly now, heart clenching. "Don't say something like that so easily," she muttered at last, angrily. "I never said I was blaming myself."
[15:14] <Alexandre> "So you blame him?"
[15:17] <Yanmei> "What? No!" She shook her head. "He was the victim here! He wasn't the one that triggered that hysteria attack. He wasn't the one who dove behind shoddy cover. He didn't shoot himself, that's for certain."
[15:18] * Alexandre sighed. It… Was exasperated, but also sympathetic. "So you -do- blame yourself."
[15:20] <Yanmei> "…" She rested her hands in her lap. "I can't ignore the effect my direct actions had. And I can't ignore that it was me being a pilot that got him into this mess. How could anyone ignore that?"
[15:22] <Alexandre> "No one can, Zhang. If I were you, I'd blame myself, too. But I'd also be an idiot."
[15:24] <Yanmei> "You wouldn't be wrong on either count," she remarked, and then, after a moment or two, found it surprisingly inappropriate for once. She turned away, irritated at herself, mumbling a little. "Sorry. Old habits?"
[15:25] * Alexandre snorted. "Apology accepted. But really, Zhang. I'd like you to listen to what I have to say. How on Earth could you have changed this situation?"
[15:30] <Yanmei> "I could have kept him calm. I could have kept myself calm. I could have been more alert. I could have ditched school with him that morning, regardless of mandatory attendence. I could have done -anything-. Anything is worth a shot, isn't it?"
[15:31] <Alexandre> "How could you have kept him calm? He's not a solider. He isn't trained in combat. He's a civilian. The same goes for you, sort of. You can't really expect yourself to be that alert. And ditched school? How would you have known about the attack?"
[15:37] <Yanmei> "I don't know?' She glared at nothing. "But I should have protected him better. You just don't -get- it."
[15:38] <Alexandre> "Of course I don't. I've never, ever had to protect anyone in my life." Muttered Alexandre. "And I've certainly never ever said to myself, 'If I were just a little smarter, a little faster, a little stronger, this person would be awake and we'd be laughing together right now instead of lying in this bed'."
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Protecting someone who's defending a city in a separate country is a bit different from watching them get shot down right next to you." She closed her eyes for a moment. She was tired. She knew that she should have felt like crying just then, but she was just too tired.
[15:49] <Alexandre> "Is it, really? If I were faster or stronger, or smarter, then maybe I would've been chosen for an Evangelion. She wouldn't have had to fight alone. I could've protected her." Alexandre sighed. "But you're wrong. I -do- get it. And that's why I'm here now. You shouldn't beat yourself up over this. Try to look at the good side."
[15:51] * Yanmei chuckled ruefully. "Good side! There's a good side to this?"
[15:52] <Alexandre> "Of course." Said Alexandre. "If you had the choice between running to safety, or running to protect Isaiah, what would you do?"
[15:54] <Yanmei> "I'm surprised that you even need to ask that question." Her memory blinked back to the fight, to that horrible moment when she'd heard his scream and dashed blindly forward.
[16:04] <Yanmei> "…I might have done some reckless things myself that day. But I don't regret it?"
[16:07] * Alexandre waves his hand. "That's not what I meant. What if the situation had reversed? What if you'd run out to save him and been shot? What if you were in the coma? Would you want him to blame himself?"
[16:10] * Yanmei looked again away, staring bitterly at the red-colored throw blanket. What sort of person would she be if she did want that? "Stop being a jerk and making -sense-," she grumbled.
[16:13] <Alexandre> "What, so you can mope about how horrible you are and how it's your fault and blah blah blah?" Alex rolled his eyes. "No. It's not your fault. Like I said. Focus on the good things."
[16:18] <Yanmei> "Hmph." She shifted her gaze down at her hands now.
[16:19] <Alexandre> "You should be thankful." Murmured Alex softly. "He must really love you to act like such an idiot."
[16:23] <Yanmei> She couldn't exactly figure out why, but that was not something she would say out loud. Not now. "I'm always hurting him," she muttered instead. "Back then, during that knifefight… the way Isaiah -looked- at me."
[16:24] <Alexandre> "What do you mean?"
[16:27] <Yanmei> "When he started crying and stuff." She closed and opened both hands, and then lifted her gaze again, leaning back in her chair, face set in determination. "I'm not a monster," she said quietly, as if to herself.
[16:30] * Alexandre sighed a little. "Of course you're not a monster. No person could be a monster -and- attend to this boy's care like you do." Alexandre picks up the frog plush idly, puts it down again. "It's been known to happen. He's… A civilian. He killed for the first time. He was being shot at. He was covered in blood… It just adds up. He probably won't even remember it when he wakes."
[16:35] <Yanmei> "Yeah." She sounded convinced of it herself. She -made- herself sound it. "Yes, of course. Ugh. Hopefully it's not on film somewhere, though. That would be horrible."
[16:42] <Alexandre> "It is." Muttered Alex. "We've been watching the films over and over for tactical reasons. But that's not important." He waved a hand. "I want to ask you something."
[16:45] * Yanmei grimaced at that. Openly. Dammit. If only she had contacts in Section-2. Or… the tactical planning division, if NERV even had one. Dorian's mind? "What, then?" she muttered distractedly.
[16:45] <Alexandre> "How far would you go to protect Isaiah? If you had to, say, sacrifice your life as a pilot. As if you'd never ever signed up- never even joined NERV or met him in the first place, would you do it?"
[16:47] <Yanmei> "That's a weird question." she eyed him critically. "Where are you going with this, anyway?"
[16:49] <Alexandre> "I just want to see." Said Alex softly.
[16:52] <Yanmei> The tip of her tongue was heavy with an absurd amount of public relations rubbish. 'Being a pilot is the most exciting thing I've ever done! I don't hate it at all! How could I miss the opportunity to work for NERV?' and so forth. But she couldn't bring herself to say any of it.-
[16:53] <Yanmei> Instead she stared at the edge of Alexandre's seat. "I don't know," she lied.
[16:56] * Alexandre stands up. "That's a better answer than I was expecting. I'm pleased." He walked around the bed, putting a hand on Yanmei's shoulder. "Please look after him. It sounds weird, hearing it from me, I know. But I actually enjoy seeing this now."
[16:59] <Yanmei> "Are you?" she sounded mildly irritated at the fact that she didn't know what he was talking about.
[17:02] <Alexandre> "Yeah." He sighed. "These are dark days for NERV. There are spies in our midst. Traitors. Someone wanted the pilots captured or killed and knew how to go about it, and furthermore had the NeoSpartan training to organise it. And my mother's… Upset." For a moment, Alex's face nearly broke. "She was- well. She was fond of Rei." Patted her on the shoulder again. "Seeing some love around his miserable little place might really lighten it up."
[17:07] <Yanmei> "That's an awfully sweet thing for you to say." She examined him closely. "Are you sure you're not running a fever or something?"
[17:09] <Alexandre> "No. I'm feeling pretty clear-headed. Maybe a little more clear-headed than usually." He started to head for the door. "I'll see you later, but, Zhang…"
[17:09] <Yanmei> "Yeah?"
[17:11] <Alexandre> "…" he opened the door, looking a little hesitant. "Sorry."
[17:13] <Yanmei> "Don't be. It doesn't suit you at all," she scoffed, and turned slightly away from him.
[17:14] <Alexandre> "Heh." he stepped through the door… And it closed.

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