For Breaking The News

[21:46] * Yanmei wondered if she had gotten the timing wrong. She lingered at Isaiah's bedside in the midst of NERV's medical department hospital. Balanced on one hand with surprising ease was two or three plastic sealable food containers, and there was a much smaller gift bag dangling from the other hand. -
[21:48] <Yanmei> He had been waking up around this time fairly regularly lately, so she naturally, she had planned to be here. But… Patiently, she slid the containers onto a bedside table, and took a seat, waiting for the next time that he would awaken. She ad given herself all day to burn, but hopefully it would be a short wait.
[21:50] * @Isaiah rolled over slightly in his sleep. It was odd how he slept, nowadays. Sometimes he was… Gentle, relaxed. he'd turn a little, move about, sometimes mumble or dream. But sometimes he slept like a rock- like… How he used to back when he was in a coma.-
[21:50] <@Isaiah> Today was not one of those days. "H-hehe, s-stop it…" He mumbled, giggling a little.
[21:59] * Yanmei grinned a little at that. At least someone around here was having good dreams. For a little while she quietly watched him, ignoring the usual hospital backgound noises of rattling metal trays and carts, pages by announcement speaker, and pacing footsteps that were sinking in beyond the door. Then she got up and decided to set up. The first order of the day was to retrieve the wolf from Isaiah's old office and to co
[22:00] <Yanmei> to coax him into wearing one of the party hats she had brought. So she did just that, setting out and returning with the wolf on leash -
[22:01] <Yanmei> Then, retrieving a paper hat from one of her back pockets, she knelt down to look Lupe in the eye. "Now hold still…"
[22:02] <@Isaiah> ["?" The wolf tilted its head at her.]
[22:04] * Yanmei stretched the hat's elastic band, and made an attempt to slide it around Lupe's head, to secure the hat in place. It was a pink one, with the words 'happy birthday' repeatedly across it.
[22:05] <@Isaiah> [The wolf stared at her with those big, yellow, cunning eyes of his. He didn't move as Yanmei humiliated him.]
[22:08] * Yanmei nodded in satisfaction, and then stood again. There were a few more things to do. Cupcakes to set up, each with a little wax candle stuck in them. The rest of the food she could leave until later, since it would probably need to be heated again. All that was left was to wait for the guest of honor to wake up.
[22:09] <@Isaiah> [The wolf sat dourly in the room. If he could speak, he would let Yanmei know that it was only thanks to Isaiah that she wasn't donating a leg or two to his impressive diet.-
[22:10] <@Isaiah> "Mmmm." Isaiah yawned now, rolling over, his eyes starting to flicker open.
[22:12] * Yanmei brightened, leanin over him with a grin! "Morning, Isaiah. And… happy birthday!"
[22:12] <@Isaiah> "Buh-wha-huh?" Isaiah blinked, staring up at Yanmei with wide, sleepy eyes, his fluffy bedhair all flyaway over his face. "H-Happy birthday to you too!" He said on reflex.
[22:16] * Yanmei snickered a little at that, and leaned back, gesturing to the pastries. "You're a few weeks too early. But actually… I suppose I'm a few weeks too late?" She shook her head, and the gestured to the pastries. "I wanted to do something nice, so I made these. Try one and tell me what you think, okay?"
[22:17] <@Isaiah> "O-Oh. You didn't have to go to all that trouble…" Said Isaiah, blushing as he sat up and reached for a pastr- wolf. "Y-You put a hat on my wolf." He stared, halfway between astonishment and amusement.
[22:18] <Yanmei> "That's right." She seemed especially pleased about that. In fact, now she was pulling out a small camera and aiming it at the poor wolf. '
[22:19] * @Isaiah giggled, as he bit into a pastry. "I really, really appreciate it. I…" He beamed.
[22:19] <@Isaiah> [Lupe stared at Yanmei. Your days are numbered.]
[22:22] <Yanmei> Unafraid, Yanmei simply beamed back at him as she took the picture, and then turned that smile to Isaiah. "It was no trouble at all. It's okay if it's just the three of us for now, isn't it? I thought we could also… talk."
[22:23] <@Isaiah> "Mmm." Isaiah nodded, his mouth full of pastry. "These are good!" He said happily, putting it back on the plate. "And… Talk? Sure." Said Isaiah cheerfully. "Actually, I wanted to show you something."
[22:24] <Yanmei> "Hm? What's that?"
[22:26] * @Isaiah reached over to grab what looked like a yellow folder. He held them out to her. "Kaworu came around earlier! He brought me these. They're photos of the holiday we took in the mountains- they came ages ago, but were overlooked until he delivered them." Said Isaiah fondly.
[22:28] * Yanmei took the folder with a smile, but her heart had suddenly leapt into her throat. "How kind of him," she said, opening it. That tone he was using… was it because of the photos, or because of Kaworu? "What do you think of the guy?"
[22:29] <@Isaiah> "I think he's very sweet." Said Isaiah, his cheeks still rather red.
[22:32] <Yanmei> "I see…" She nearly hung her head. Inspiring this sort of reaction already. She glanced through the photos without really glancing at him. "He's actually been not so sweet to me…"
[22:34] <@Isaiah> [Images of herself. Isaiah. A few others. Rei…-
[22:34] <@Isaiah> "… Huh? What do you mean?"
[22:35] <Yanmei> "H-he…" She stared down at Rei, remembering that Isaiah had lost her too. "…"
[22:36] * @Isaiah reached out and took her hand. Instinctively, knowing, almost, that something was wrong. "What happened, Meimei?"
[22:38] * Yanmei looked up at that, the corners of her mouth firming a little. Hastily, a businesslike air slipped over it. "I'm going to tell you a story, Isaiah. Do you remember Captain Nelson?"
[22:38] <@Isaiah> "Yeah…?"
[22:41] <Yanmei> "Kaworu Nagisa is infactuated with him. He's got his bad points, but Captain Nelson has become a friend of mine as well. We talked together during the Alpine vacation. And again later, at a different event. I showed you the footage of the Thruster Solace that I got, right? That was the event."
[22:42] <@Isaiah> "That fight? Yeah, I remember." Said Isaiah uncertainly.
[22:46] * Yanmei nodded. She tugged absently at the strap of the camera, shortening and then lengthening it. "He was concerned about me then. He'd heard about you, and about Marianne, and was worried, so I had to assured him that I was okay and asked for his support with… with challenging Fontine. I thought we were friends, but…"
[22:47] * @Isaiah frowned. "He said no?"
[22:49] <Yanmei> "No, no. He was happy to offer his support. But…" She shook her head, nerves spiking, although she was struggling to keep them off her face. "He also made a pass at me. I declined, but Kowaru found out about it. He's had it out for me ever since."
[22:51] <@Isaiah> "A-Ah." Said Isaiah. "I see." His voice was carefully neutral.
[22:52] <Yanmei> "…there's more."
[22:52] <@Isaiah> "… Oh?"
[22:56] <Yanmei> "You remember when Nagisa and I went off together during the costume party, don't you? It was only for a few minutes, so I dont blame you if you don't. At that time, he made it clear that he would pay me back. Make me feel how he felt when he discovered Nelson's latest affections."
[22:57] <@Isaiah> "… So that's why you were so shaken up after…"
[23:01] * Yanmei nodded. The strap had grown taunt in her hands. She steeled herself. Raised her dark eyes to Isaiah's pale ones. "Please be careful, Isaiah. If… if you fall in love with someone and want to run away with them, I can figure out some way to cope. But it has to be genuine! You can't be manipulated into it."
[23:03] <@Isaiah> "…" Isaiah stared at her in confusion for a moment. "… Wait." He blinked. "Wait, are- are you saying…" Isaiah gaped.
[23:05] <Yanmei> "Nagisa's targetting you deliberately." Her voice was quieting.
[23:06] <@Isaiah> "T-That…" Isaiah seemed stunned. "A-are you sure? He seems- I- isn't he my friend?"
[23:07] * Yanmei shut her eyes for a moment. God, this was hard.
[23:09] * @Isaiah let out an uncertain little chuckle. "T-That's kind of melodramatic, isn't it? That he's only trying to- to seduce me to get to you…? W-Would he really do that?"
[23:15] <Yanmei> "I wouldn't lie about this, Isaiah." She kept her voice quiet, calm, looked away to prevent him from seeing the pain in her eyes. "I want you to know so that you can make your own decision of what to do. You can still be friends with him? But… be aware of what's happening."
[23:16] <@Isaiah> "…" Isaiah let out a long, tired, tired sigh. "… Abandoned again."
[23:17] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry. Really, I'm sorry…"
[23:18] * @Isaiah looked… Miserable. He was hanging his head, and his hands were balled into fists. "It… It -isn't fair-, Yanmei."
[23:20] * Yanmei edged forward. She wanted to hug him, but she knew that even that wouldn't make him feel better.
[23:21] <@Isaiah> "… Were you worried it'd work?" He whispered.
[23:24] * Yanmei stopped short. "I didn't know what to think." She looked away again. "This guy… he's… You didn't know him that long, but he made you happy, right? You called him your friend."
[23:26] <@Isaiah> "He was charming and gentle." Said Isaiah, his voice containing a disturbing level of… Weariness? Misery? "But… Look at me."
[23:26] * Yanmei did look at him, collecting herself quietly.
[23:28] <@Isaiah> He beckoned for her to come closer, still staring down at his sheets.
[23:29] * Yanmei did that too, resting the camera on the bedside. "What is it?" she said gently.
[23:32] * @Isaiah reached out with his hand. He took ahold of her wrist.
[23:33] * Yanmei went along with it, drawing closer still. Now she was getting a bit puzzled, but she would do whatever he wanted.
[23:35] * @Isaiah guided her hand until it sat on his chest. On his heart. "I'm not sure how much more I need to show you." Mumbled the boy. "My heart. Can you feel that, Yanmei? Don't you know that no matter what, it's always belonged to you?"
[23:40] * Yanmei stared at him. She blinked rapidly, fighting back something. Tears? "I keep hurting you." Her shoulders trembled a little. "Even just now, during your own birthday celebration, I hurt you. So I wouldn't blame you if…" she couldn't finish that thought. Instead, she felt the throb of his heart, and tried to collect herself yet again. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for hurting you and for doubting you."
[23:50] <@Isaiah> "…" Isaiah stared up at Yanmei. "You -idiot-." He mumbled, his own eyes filling with tears. "You… you -idiot-!" He said it louder, enough for the wolf to start. "I can't believe… You would even…" he started to cry. "I -love- you! Why would I love someone who hurt me for no good reason?!" He shouted. He gripped her hand tightly. "You make me -happy-! All the time! You've given me s-so much happiness… A-All I can do is love you for it."
[23:54] <Yanmei> It left her stunned. Slowly, numbly, she moved in, her free arm slipping around him in an embrace. He loved her, even after all that? She… made him happy?
[00:00] * @Isaiah gripped her tightly. He was fully weeping now. "I-I want to see you -happy-. B-Beyond anything else, s-so I t-try to help a-and protect you, a-and make sure I'll always be around… B-But you… You want -the exact same- for me, don't you?"
[00:04] <Yanmei> "Yes." Determination shone through in her voice, and she hugged him tighter. "I'll… I'll protect you always, Isaiah! No matter what anyone else says! You deserve to be happy, and I'll make sure you are!"
[00:06] * @Isaiah clung to her, his head nestled into her shoulder. "T-Tell me something." He said, his voice muffled.
[00:07] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[00:08] <@Isaiah> "Do you… Suppose I can ask you something selfishly?"
[00:09] <Yanmei> "You can ask me anything," she murmured. It didn't seem like she would stop hugging him anytime soon, either.
[00:12] <@Isaiah> "Does your heart belong to me, Yanmei?" He asked. His tone was gentle, almost shy. "I… Even with what we've said before, and what we've done, I… I don't know…"
[00:16] <Yanmei> "Huh?" she blinked in surprise. "Of course it does. No one holds a bigger place in my heart than you do, Isaiah." It sounded cheesy out loud - enough to make her flush slightly. Still, she nodded with conviction.
[00:18] <@Isaiah> "That makes me happy." He smiled, even through his tears. "B-But… There are things I want to say…"
[00:19] <Yanmei> "Things?" Happy things, she decided. He was smiling, so there was no need to be frightened of what he had to say.
[00:19] <@Isaiah> "Things I feel bad about. Things that worry me." He mumbled.
[00:21] <Yanmei> "…" She drew back now, looked at him seriously. Maybe she spoke too soon. "All right, then." Remembering the pose they had adopted for this thing before, she gathered his hands gently between her own.
[00:24] * @Isaiah smiled a little, and let Yanmei take his hands. "I'm scared. I… Yanmei, what happens in ten, fifteen years? What happens if you find someone you want to marry, or the other way 'round?"
[00:26] <Yanmei> "I'm… I'm not sure," she admitted. "I haven't thought too hard about it? But maybe I should start."
[00:27] <@Isaiah> "It's… A weird situation." He said. "I don't think it'd be fair for either person if we tried to sustain both at once."
[00:31] <Yanmei> That… caused a flash of outright fear to flash across her face. She grappled with it, letting her head bow slightly. "What d-does that mean?"
[00:33] <@Isaiah> "If you're going to marry someone, you should do it with your whole heart." Said Isaiah. "But right now, I wouldn't be able to. It sounds silly, but I love you too much- it wouldn't be fair for that person, and I know I might end up hurting you, too."
[00:36] * Yanmei nodded slowly. "Taking a conventional boyfriend now would be unthinkable, yeah. I don't really -want- one, but…" she gazed at him worriedly. "What should we do?"
[00:36] <@Isaiah> "We should marry, obviously."
[00:41] * Yanmei felt a part of her mind explode from the back of her skull, and her entire face reddened instantly. "Whu-what? M-m-marriage? Proposal?!"
[00:42] <@Isaiah> "Bahahahahahaha-hahahahaha-." Isaiah fell backwards into the bed, cackling.
[00:43] <Yanmei> "…" Redness this intense didn't fade instantly. Nor did -shock-. She stared blankly at him. "Y-you!"
[00:44] <@Isaiah> "Your -face-!" Isaiah clutched his stomach. "You're like a tomato-~"
[00:49] <Yanmei> "I'm… I'm not…" Yanmei discovered that it -was- possibly to redden further still, as till more warmth rushed to her face. Her cheeks started to look a bit -purple- in fact. "I already knew you were… It's not like I was taking you seriously!"
[00:52] * @Isaiah took a while to calm down, before he looked at Yanmei fondly. "Liar." He said, taking out and holding her hands again. "But I really wasn't joking. At least, not fully. If we don't know what to do, and we can't… You know, really think of being with anyone… Then getting married doesn't sound like a bad idea, does it? Even if it's within five or ten years." He giggled a little.
[00:56] <Yanmei> "O-oh…" She bobbed her head a few times, trying not to look more ridiculous, but failing. "W-we can do that. But what happen of one of us finds someone before then?"
[00:56] <Yanmei> ^happens
[00:57] <Yanmei> ^happens if
[00:58] <@Isaiah> "… Hm." Isaiah frowned. "I'm not sure. Maybe…" He looked at Yanmei. "I don't know how likely it is for you, but I can safely say that the chance of -me- finding anyone else is pretty low. I meant what I said that night when I said you were perfect. No one can measure up."
[01:02] <Yanmei> "I wish I could agree with you, but… I'm no where near perfect, Isaiah." Yanmei sighed. "And you… you're such a sweet and gentle and smart person, and each day you keep getting bolder and more radiant. I would be shocked if you didn't start attracting romantic attention."
[01:05] * @Isaiah blushed. "I… Well. You flatter me. I don't feel anywhere near as radiant as you say I do." He said, and he squeezed her hands. "But… Well. That does remind me of something else I wanted to say."
[01:07] <Yanmei> "Yes?" she tilted her head a little. "Something else that's worrying you?"
[01:08] <@Isaiah> "I punched someone at school awhile ago. You didn't hear about it, I don't think, but I did."
[01:08] * Yanmei let her jaw drop open a little. "Punched? You got in a fight?"
[01:09] <@Isaiah> "Um. Sort of." He blushed. "It was about you."
[01:12] <Yanmei> "Ehh…" A weird feeling was creeping over her. She could remember how -angry- Isaiah got when they were with people who were insulting to her… like Alexandre had been. "What if you'd gotten hurt? You shouldn't…"
[01:15] <@Isaiah> "Yanmei, it's fine." He said patiently. "It was some smart aleck in Math club. He…" Isaiah coughed. "He was being pretty lewd- and, you forget. I'm combat trained now." He said, squeezing her hands. "The Math club people are not usually known for their ability to hold their own in a fight, you know."
[01:25] <Yanmei> "Lewd, huh?" Yanmei thought on that, but she shook her head. Gross. "That's right. You've been getting training too. Did you… get in trouble for it? I hope not."
[01:26] <@Isaiah> "I was supposed to get detention, yeah." Said Isaiah. "But, well, the teacher… You know half of them are S2 agents, right? He just winked and pretended to see nothing."
[01:30] <Yanmei> "Those guys again? Really, they're everywhere! I really was surprised about Mr. Martin."
[01:32] <@Isaiah> "Yeah. I never thought…" Said Isaiah… Before shaking his head. "But… Well. I felt pretty good at the time, you know? But then I got to thinking. Was I just… Protecting you? Or was it something else? I… I felt pretty angry when you said Atticus made a pass at you." Admitted Isaiah. "I don't want to be one of -those- people, Yanmei. Who aggressively try to fend off anyone who might show interest in you. You deserve better."
[01:34] <Yanmei> "Heh. It's funny." She reached for a cupcake. "I was worried that you might see me the same way when I brought up those things against Nagisa. That it would look like I was being childish and jealous and stuff."
[01:35] <@Isaiah> "Really?" Isaiah smiled. "… He wanted to hurt you by taking me away from you, huh?"
[01:37] <Yanmei> "Hmph." She took a bite. "What a cunning guy. If it had worked, it would have hurt a lot. Maybe more than he imagined."
[01:43] <@Isaiah> "I can't condone what he did." Said Isaiah. "But it's… It feels nice to know that I mean so much." He shifted over a little, and patted the side of the bed. "You're the same for me, too. It'd hurt to have that happen to me. It'd kill me."
[01:48] * Yanmei handed him a cupcake before sliding back onto the bed. "Yeah… I know what you mean," she said, a little soberly. She thought of Aline Blanc and de Pteres. "Lately… a lot of people have been losing loved ones too."
[12:56] * Isaiah took the cupcake, methodically peeling away the paper. "… Have you spoken to Aline? About… You know. Losing Shinji."
[12:57] <@Yanmei> "I haven't," she murmered. "I haven't spoken to de Pteres either."
[12:59] <Isaiah> "We should do something to cheer her up."
[13:00] <@Yanmei> "Like what?" She peered down at her half-eaten cupcake. "I don't even know what she's into anymore?"
[13:01] <Isaiah> "Sometimes, people just need love." Said Isaiah, taking a bite out of his cupcake. He chewed thoughtfully before swallowing. "Something to say, 'We're here for you'."
[13:06] * @Yanmei sighed at that. If it was her, she would have wanted to be left alone to cry about it in private where no one can see.
[13:06] <Isaiah> "You don't agree?"
[13:10] <@Yanmei> "It's not that. Different strokes for different folks? Is that the saying? I thought I was being considerate, but I guess not." She nodded. "I'll say something to her. Do you want to too?"
[13:11] <Isaiah> "Yeah. We can do it together." Said Isaiah, idly laying his head on her shoulder. "Some people deal with it differently. But Aline is a very emotional person who likes being comforted, I think." A frown crossed his face. "… I wonder how Rei's doing. I wonder if they even told her?"
[13:12] <@Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shifted a little at that. "Rei…"
[13:13] <Isaiah> "Such a happy little girl. Even though she's always teasing him, I know she'd be heartbroken if her big brother vanished…"
[13:15] * @Yanmei …looked away from him now, pained, fingers curling into fists. This… she couldn't bear this.
[13:16] <Isaiah> "Hey, did you see that picture? The one with us, and she was on my shoulders…?"
[13:17] <@Yanmei> "I did. Is that your favorite one?"
[13:18] * Isaiah giggled. "It is. It's very cute. We look so happy and… Well." He blushed a little. "-Whole-."
[13:18] <@Yanmei> "Like a family."
[13:19] <Isaiah> "Yeah."
[13:20] <@Yanmei> "Isaiah?"
[13:21] <Isaiah> "Yeah?"
[13:22] <@Yanmei> "Would… would ou like to see the gift I got you?"
[13:23] <Isaiah> "Ooh, you got me a gift?" Said Isaiah, his eyes widening.
[13:24] * @Yanmei found the small gift bag that she had been carrying before, now nearly lost in the tousled bedsheets, and held it out to Isaiah.
[13:26] * Isaiah took it carefully. "I wonder what it is?" He opened it, peering inside eagerly.
[13:26] <@Yanmei> A small blue velvet box. Small enough to house a ring inside?
[13:27] <Isaiah> "O-Oh my." He whispered breathlessly, opening the box.
[13:29] <@Yanmei> There wasn't an engagement ring inside. It was a locket! Plain, oval-shaped, and silver, the size of a large coin. Isaiah's full name was engraved on the back, and of course it could open up so that he could place a small picture inside.
[13:31] <Isaiah> "Oh-" His eyes lit up. "A locket? Yanmei, this…" He gently picked it up by the chain, holding it suspended in the air, the light glinting off the silver. "This is -perfect-…"
[13:33] <@Yanmei> "I'm glad you like it. Talking about those pictures and stuff made me remember that I had brought it along, so." She gave him her brightest smile. "Happy Birthday, Isaiah."
[13:35] <Isaiah> "Awwww." Isaiah curled his hand around it protectively, before pulling Yanmei into a tight, tight embrace. He kissed her on the cheek tenderly. "I'm… So happy. This is wonderful. You're wonderful. Thank you."
[13:37] <@Yanmei> So happy and smiling. Yanmei grinned back at him. She wanted him to stay that way a little longer. President Mazarin had been right about the gift. "You're welcome. I'm just happy that you're happy. Gonna try it on?"
[13:37] <Isaiah> "Sure. Would you put it on for me?"
[13:40] * @Yanmei promptly extended her hand. "To be honest? I was worried you wouldn't like it. It's not as fancy as the other ones in the shop. I remember seeing one with diamonds embedded in it. …a little above my allowance, though."
[13:43] <Isaiah> "I don't need fancy, Yanmei." Said Isaiah honestly, depositing the gift into her hand and turning around, the back of his neck to her. "I don't… Really need money or anything like that. This makes me happy, because… Well. I've never been given something quite so personal before. Something special like this."
[13:44] <@Yanmei> "Really? Well. It's my pleasure, then!" She looped it around his neck, and fastened the little clasp quickly an efficiently. "There!"
[13:45] <Isaiah> "Thanks." Said Isaiah happily, turning around back to Yanmei and opening the oval. "I think… Maybe, one of you and one of little Rei? What do you think?"
[13:47] <@Yanmei> "Ah… A fine idea!" she tried to smile. It hurt more than she thought it would, and it came out a little stiff.
[13:49] <Isaiah> "… Aw, what's the matter?" He said teasingly. "Don't want to share with Rei?"
[13:51] * @Yanmei shook her head. Her shoulders sagged a little. "There's something you need to know. But it's a painful thing. I… didn't want to have to share it with you today."
[13:52] <Isaiah> "Huh? What's wrong?" Isaiah blinked.
[13:54] <@Yanmei> "You missed the news because you were sleeping for so long. We found it out right after the terrorist attack on the school."
[13:54] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah paled.
[13:55] <@Yanmei> "Th-there was another attack. The same shopping mall where the Ikaris were visiting."
[13:56] <Isaiah> "… N-No." Murmured Isaiah. His eyes were staring at Yanmei unblinkingly, a building panic rising within.
[13:58] * @Yanmei was not looking at him. She -couldn't-. She stared at his locket instead, the shiny new trinket. "Rei… she didn't make it."
[13:59] <Isaiah> "-" Isaiah… Couldn't speak. His eyes, once boring into Yanmei's head, started flicking across the room frantically. "N-no-" he choked. He started to tremble. "N-No, t-that- impossible…"
[14:02] * @Yanmei reached for him. Moved in to wordlessly embrace him.
[14:07] * Isaiah … Shattered. He collapsed into Yanmei's arms, grasping tight, like a dying person. He didn't speak- he gasped in pain.
[14:09] * @Yanmei just clung to him in turn. She was here. She would let him cry on her. She waited for the tears to come.
[14:10] <Isaiah> They splashed against Yanmei, hot and furious, as he sobbed, his gasps turning into sobs- and his sobs turning into screams.
[14:11] <Isaiah> [Lupe started, staring at them both with wide alarmed eyes.]
[14:14] <@Yanmei> They would draw nurses or doctors if this kept up, but she didn't care. She didn't dare silence him. He had the right to scream, to feel the pain. Her own chest was all knotted up, and it was hard to speak past the lump in her throat. She could only whisper sorrowful apologies and stand as strong as she could.
[14:16] <Isaiah> The screams reached their peak, vibrating the walls- before they died out, replaced with broken, helpless sobbing. He curled up in her arms, still unable to speak. Lupe was whining, crawling over to the bed.
[14:20] * @Yanmei would never get that sound out of her ears. The sound of him screaming in unbearable pain. It made her shudder. Why couldn't she do anything more for him? Why couldn't…
[14:22] <Isaiah> "Hurts…"
[14:24] <@Yanmei> "I know," she whispered. "It hurts." She clung tighter. Some protector she was. Her own tears started to brew, but she was fighting them off valliantly. She wouldn't make this situation worse. "Cry. It's okay to cry. I'm here for you."
[14:27] <Isaiah> "Nnnn…" Isaiah continued those heartbroken sobs. "D-Don't leave me… P-Please…"
[14:29] <@Yanmei> "I won't! For as long as you want. I…" She swallowed hard, something in her gaze firming up. "I'll stay here with you."
[14:31] <Isaiah> "Need you." He mumbled. "Need you." He repeated the phrase over and over, like a sort of mantra.-
[14:31] <Isaiah> And… It took some time, but eventually his sobs ended. The poor, broken boy slipped into sleep.
[14:33] * @Yanmei held on to him all that time, easing onto the bed along with him when he started to fade. Alone, except for the wolf, she struggled with something intangible, her own eyes shut against the pain. Why had she done that?
[14:35] <Isaiah> [Isaiah didn't wake for twelve hours.-
[14:36] <Isaiah> [But… When he did, it was obvious that all that sleep hadn't healed his incredible wound. He still clung to Yanmei, compulsively holding her hand for a whole day without letting up, becoming agitated and panicky if the gesture was broken. It… Was no doubt confronting, and stressful. He refused to see anyone except Yanmei.-
[14:37] <Isaiah> [Fortunately for her, he slept often- so she wasn't imprisoned within the room endlessly.-
[14:37] <Isaiah> [It was the fourth day since Yanmei told Isaiah. The boy was asleep, in bed. He'd be waking, soon.]
[14:41] * @Yanmei sprawled in a bedside chair, as she had for most of the past few days. She had done what she could when the boy was asleep. Trips to the bathroom and showers. Phone calls. Grabbing food. Reporting what she could to Dr Clement. She had left it to poor Ariadne feed and walk Lupe, or to more realtistically, find someone brave enough who could.-
[14:44] <@Yanmei> Now, she was clutching at a cell phone, a hollow gaze centered on it. Unlike her regular one and her NERV phone, there were no decorations on it. Not even a brand or company logo.
[14:46] * Isaiah stirred. Reaching up, he groggily rubbed at his eyes, eyelids fluttering. "Mmn…"
[14:49] <@Yanmei> The phone vanished into a pocket, and Yanmei stirred as well, edging closer to the boy. She looked as if she had seen better days. Her hair and clothes were unkempt, the latter being NERV brand sportwear that she had asked Marianne to bring for her. And she… moved with a certain sort of tension now. A jitteryness that was hard to miss. "Good morning."
[14:51] <Isaiah> "…" He rubbed his face a little more, and looked over to her. He frowned slightly, as though only seeing her for the first time. "… Yanmei." He started to sit up. "I…" He hung his head. "Sorry."
[14:52] <@Yanmei> "…?" Something was different now. She could tell. "Isaiah?"
[14:52] <Isaiah> "You… You shouldn't have had to deal with this."
[14:55] * @Yanmei let a brief silence settle between them. It was as if she was trying to work out what he was saying through some language barrier. It was so different than the way he had acted during the past few days. "I said I would stay," she mumbled at last, and sat up a little straighter.
[14:56] <Isaiah> "… Thank you." Said Isaiah, fresh tears- never far from the surface- sprang into his eyes. "I… I really don't know what to say. You must be going insane, but you… You really did stay with me. I-I don't know… W-what…"
[15:00] * @Yanmei smiled now. For the first time in ages, she felt the urge to do so genuinely. Tentatively … half frightened of him grabbing her and continuing to cling endlessly as he did before … she reached for his hand and grabbed and squeezed it. "Because I care about you," she said.
[15:02] <Isaiah> "Too much." He said, but he didn't mean it. He took her hand, and held it. "Yanmei?"
[15:02] <@Yanmei> "Yes?"
[15:03] <Isaiah> "I'm…" He rose out of bed, shakily. "I'm -done- with hospitals. I want to go home."
[15:04] * @Yanmei blinked and stared. So unexpected. "Doctor Clement has to clear you first. You know that."
[15:06] <Isaiah> "Then I'll speak to him…" He said, sighing a little in what seemed to be weariness. "I just… Can't stay here. All I can think about his how much it hurts, and… I don't want to think about that right now."
[15:09] <@Yanmei> "Should… sh-should I get him?" She held her breath for a moment. Would he lapsse back to the way he used to be? Breaking into a fullblown panic when she moved for the door.
[15:11] <Isaiah> "Ah… That… That would be good." He took a deep breath, forcing himself to let go of her hand. "Sorry. Such a mess…"
[15:15] * @Yanmei took her hand back with another small smile, and climbed to her feet slowly. She backed away, a little uncertainly. "I'm going, then," she announced, and squared her shoulders, adopting a new pose. One that was unflustered, devoid of exhaustion. One that was okay to show beyond this room.
[15:16] <Isaiah> "I'll see you soon."
[15:18] <@Yanmei> "Right!" And out she went, into the equally artficial lights of the hospital hallway. Her destination - Dr Clement's personal office. She flashed smiles to the people she passed, as usual, even stopping briefly to exchange a few lines of small talk with a nurse along the way.
[15:19] <Isaiah> [It wouldn't be long, of course- despite Yanmei's brief detours- that she'd find herself outside the plain door with a plaque reading 'Dr. Clement: Head of Medical'.]
[15:20] * @Yanmei knocked, of course. Hopefully he would be in? He was such a busy guy.
[15:21] <Isaiah> ["Come in!"]
[15:21] * @Yanmei obliged, politely shutting the door behind her. "Good morning, doctor. I have some good news."
[15:22] <Isaiah> ["Ah, Yanmei!" Dr. Clement smiled, but his eyes were concerned. "Is that so?"]
[15:23] <@Yanmei> "It looks like he's snapped out of it? He's actually requesting to see you. Says he wants to go home."
[15:24] <Isaiah> ["Ah…" Dr. Clement's eyebrows rose. "Does he, now? Hm… What do you think?"]
[15:26] <@Yanmei> "A change of scenary would be good for him," she said quietly. "But wouldn't he need someone to look after him? He's still not fully recovered."
[15:27] <Isaiah> ["That's true…" Said Dr. Clement. "And I imagine you must be pretty worn out by him, no?"]
[15:30] <@Yanmei> "What would you suggest, Doctor?" She was collecting herself. Mustering the will to volunteer regardless of how she felt at the moment. Something in her gaze faded out a little, and it became a touch more vacant, more zombielike, despite the otherwise pleasant expression on her face.
[15:31] <Isaiah> ["I think you two need a break from each other." Said Dr. Clement. "But I'm not sure sending him home- as in, home home- is a good option. Dr. Gabriel has been…" A frown. "Well. Anyway, you can see I'm sort of in a quandary here. Do you want me to speak to him? If he goes home and stays with you, I want him to be a little less intense for awhile."]
[15:34] <@Yanmei> "I see." She nodded a few times. "By all means, if you think talking with him will help, then certainly. Should I come too?"
[15:35] <Isaiah> ["That might be a good idea." Dr. Clement ran a hand through his hair. "If he's feeling better, then maybe he might be a little less… Mm. Anyway, let's go."]
[15:37] <@Yanmei> "Yes, Doctor." Yanmei led the way, since she was in front of the door anyway. Back down the hallway, to Isaiah's room again, although she was short on pleasantries for the support staff this time around save for a few smiles.
[15:43] <Isaiah> [It wasn't long, of course, before they returned to the room. Isaiah was within, sitting on the bed, the locket hanging around his neck. He had it in his hand.]
[15:46] <@Yanmei> "I brought him!" Yanmei swept inside. She had done her best to keep the small room tidy during her stay, bundling up any spare clothes in a rumpled duffle bag of hers in the corner, and despositing garbage in plastic bags that she had also gotten courtesy of Merianne. The air, unfortunately, was still a bit stuffy in here.
[15:46] <Isaiah> "Thank you." Said Isaiah. His tone was meek, even apologetic.-
[15:46] <@Yanmei> ^Marianne
[15:47] <Isaiah> ["Hey, Isaiah. I hear you want to leave?"-
[15:47] <Isaiah> "That's right, Dr. Clement. I… I don't feel like I want to be here anymore."-
[15:47] <Isaiah> ["Yanmei told me, yes." Said the Doctor. He turned to look at Yanmei. "But there's something we should sort out first, I think."]
[15:53] * @Yanmei blinked, and nodded a little. A touch uncertainly. "He said it was okay for you to stay with Marianne and me."
[15:54] <Isaiah> ["Not that I think you need my permission to stay with Yanmei." Said Dr. Clement. "But Marianne will be your caretaker for now, alright?"-
[15:54] <Isaiah> "… Um." Isaiah looked down at his feet ashamedly. "Yanmei? Are you alright with that? I-I mean. If you would rather I didn't…"
[15:55] <@Yanmei> "I've told you before that you could sleep over whenever you want." She grinned at him. "This is no different. I'll have to get Marianne's approval, but it shouldn't be a problem."
[15:56] * Isaiah gave her a small smile in return.-
[15:57] <Isaiah> ["… Of course, Yanmei needs some help, too, Isaiah." Said Dr. Clement. "You've been in a really bad state, young man. It's been confronting, and horrifying, and she's been here for you the entire time. So I think she deserves to have a bit of a rest."]
[15:59] <@Yanmei> "It's…" she looked a little chagrined, "it's not that bad. Of course I would stay with him."
[16:02] * Isaiah stood up. "It's true, Dr. Clement. She really would." He walked over to her side. "But… Be honest, Yanmei. You must be a little worn out."
[16:03] <@Yanmei> "…I just need a day or two to sleep, that's all," she admitted at last.
[16:05] * Isaiah took her hand, and gave it a squeeze. "I know. I can tell." He pulled her into a gentle hug.
[16:08] * @Yanmei hesitated, but then he started hugging her, and she hugged back on instinct. "All right," she relented, and let her shoulders sag with tiredness a little, regardless of Dr Clement's presence. "I'll rest up then. Pilot's honor?"
[16:19] <Isaiah> "Alright." Said Isaiah. He pulled back a little, but he continued to hold her hand. "Dr. Clement. Yanmei and I have been having a running disagreement for awhile now… One I hope you can clear for me."
[16:21] <@Yanmei> "Eh?" Yanmei blinked between the two of them, taken off guard.
[16:21] <Isaiah> "She refuses to believe she's perfect." Said Isaiah, his tone fond and affectionate beneath his weary sadness. "What do you think?"-
[16:23] <Isaiah> ["… Hm." Dr. Clement smiled slightly mischieviously, and tapped his chin. "I'd say she's not, but she's pretty close. She's a perfect companion, at least."]
[16:26] * @Yanmei turned slightly pink and made a face. "Guh. I'm a little too tired for teasing, I'll have you two know." She still took a moment to go with the flow of the light mood and lightly pinch Isaiah's cheek. "Though I'll thank you for the compliment~"
[16:29] * Isaiah reddened a little himself. "It's the truth…"
[16:34] <@Yanmei> "Heh heh." It felt good to have him back. She didn't know if he was completely all right, but he wasn't the broken panicky Isaiah that she had stayed with lately. She felt… freer somehow. "We'll try to clean up before the discharge, of course. Should I give you two some space for a final examination? I should call Marianne, anyway."
[16:36] <Isaiah> "Alright." Said Isaiah. "Sounds fair…"
[16:37] * @Yanmei nodded one last time, turned a grateful glance to Dr Clement, and then briskly made her departure.
[16:39] * Isaiah let out a long, tired sigh after Yanmei departed. "Dr. Clement… Was it wrong of me to rely on such a kind person? She was so willing to help and I feel like… I abused that a little."-
[16:39] <Isaiah> ["… It's fine, young man." Said Dr. Clement, patting his nurse on the shoulder. "It happens. When we're grieving, we'll take whatever we can get. You're only human, after all. Just be thankful you have such a person. Not everyone does. In fact, I'd daresay what you two have is pretty rare."-
[16:40] <Isaiah> "… You're right." Said Isaiah, rubbing his eyes. "I'll make it up to you, somehow, Yanmei." He mumbled to himself, before turning to the doctor. "Alright. What do we need to do?"

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