For Dreams And A Morning Park

[07:35] <Yanmei> [On an early November morning, as Paris-2 stirred with citizens going to work, a figure in a dark jogging suit leaned against a bench in a small corner of the city that the rush hour foot traffic had skipped over. She was coughing rather hard, and it took a few minutes for it to subside and for her to catch her breath normally. -
[07:39] <Yanmei> When she had, she sat on that very same bench, and heaved a frustrated sigh at the brown flower stalks and bare trees of the park around her. Ending up like this after only twenty minutes or so of exercise. Well… so much for burning up frustration that way. She would just wait here for a while.]
[07:53] * Sept landed with a roll, managing to keep just enough momentum to clear the next wall and make it out of the courtyard before anyone noticed. Then just follow the alley, one corner, a low chainlink fence, and… he was out into the park. Sera's sprint turned into a lighter jog as he meandered through the dying and dead greenery. He searched for an empty bench, but had little luck. A
[07:53] * Sept young couple, an elderly couple, a purple-haired girl, all conspiring against him to occupy all of his benches. Wait. "Yanmei?"
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[07:58] * Yanmei stiffened a moment at her name, drew on a brilliant smile as she turned… and found one of her fellow pilots instead of a good member of the public. "Ah." the smile eased into a different expression. More… normal. "It's just you, de Pteres."
[08:01] <Sept> "It's just me, Yanmei!" Sera had a light sweat despite the cool weather, but his voice bore little, if any, sign of exertion. "What are you doing here?"
[08:03] <Yanmei> "Just, ah, getting some fresh air?" No need to relay how badly her run had gone. "Wish I'd picked somewhere warmer," she added as a joke. "What about you? Out for a run?"
[08:10] <Sept> "Yup! Don't you just love this time of year? Everything's a bit slower, people stay indoors…" He sat down at the opposite end of the beach, looking away. "This place is always full of picnickers in the summer, too…"
[08:13] <Yanmei> "But it probably looks a lot nicer then, I'll bet." Yanmei eyed a nearby clump of dead, shriveled flowers. "A little life here and there? Plus," she dug her hands into her pockets, "it took a really long time to get used to this European weather."
[08:17] <Sept> "Oh?" With Sera's experience, China might just as well have been a magical land where the ground was bamboo and it rained rice. "What kind of weather did you have before, then?"
[08:21] <Yanmei> "Warm," she said. "Hot weather, mostly. Not a cloud in the sky, most days."
[08:26] <Sept> "Ohh." A hint of disappointment and pity. "But I'm sure there were things to do to cool yourself down?"
[08:31] <Yanmei> "Air conditioning when it got too bad?" she tried to sound amused about his reaction. Honestly, though, it was hard to know what to make of it. "There were frozen desserts, too. My friends and I used to stop by the store after school sometimes to…"-
[08:33] <Yanmei> She stopped herself. Glanced away. She remembered this feeling she was getting twinges of. It had lasted for weeks at a time just after she'd moved here. "Let's talk about something else."
[08:37] * Sept nodded satisfiedly at the beginning of the answer, and once more, a bit more hastily, as she changed the topic. "O-oh. Okay. Have you, uh. Recovered from the last Angels alright?"
[08:39] * Yanmei blinked at him again. Out of the frying pan and into the fryer? She answered carefully. "Of course. What about you and… Unit-01?"
[08:45] <Sept> "We're… good, in that regard. I made it through that encounter pretty much intact." He hesitated for a moment. "Just some bad dreams, again. That's what the whole battle seems like, now."
[08:51] <Yanmei> "Bad dreams," Yanmei echoed. In her pockets, her hands squeezed into fists. Mouth sightly open, she hesitated, looking at him, looking away, looking back at him, and pressing her lips together briefly as she came to a decision. "I had a dream. During the battle? After I was incapacitated." How she hated applying that word to her combat performance again. She tried to ignore the feeling it gave her.
[08:53] <Sept> "Oh? Mine was just… it was an old dream. Just, more real." Sera looked at Yanmei cautiously. "Would you like to talk about yours?"
[08:55] <Yanmei> "I think… I would have to, sooner or later." Yanmei nodded resolutely. "Of course, you can share yours too, if you want?"
[09:02] <Sept> "I-I've talked about it enough. Just… Paris, all twisted and wrong, and One, angry. That's all." His tone made it clear "that" clearly wasn't "all". "I'm here, if you want to discuss it. I'll listen."
[09:06] <Yanmei> "You really like Paris, huh? And 01?" She sounded just a little bit rueful, but it passed. She cleared her throat. "04 showed me things. Its memories? I dreamed that I was Elisha Cane."
[09:09] <Sept> "..!" Sera edged closer to Yanmei on the bench and leaned in.
[09:11] <Yanmei> "But… I was shut up in a room in the Geofront. I was wearing a straightjacket. Jerkface Alexandre was there, except that he wasn't so much a jerkface as he was a sniffling little kid. He said I was there because I stabbed someone. Mr… Georges?" She tried to remember if that was the right name. -
[09:14] <Yanmei> "Then I had him sent away, and demanded to see the person in charge. It…" anger came rushing back to her, but she tried to throttle it down and to continue with her usual voice. "It was -her-."
[09:17] * Sept paled. Why was it suddenly so cold? He stared at the girl, mouth open. There was a silence before he breathed the word. "G-Ginny?"
[09:22] <Yanmei> That he was using the same nickname that President Mazarin had used for her during previous discussions was not lost on her. Yanmei looked away from him again. "In the flesh. We talked. She told me things. That Elisha Caine had been successfully tranferred to 01. That there were other people lined up for Units 02 and 03. That… what remained of Caine would be used for 04."
[09:27] * Sept stared on in terror. "N-no, Elisha was, he was shot. I -know-. It was just a dream."
[09:31] <Yanmei> "They divided him into AT Fields." Yanmei pressed on. "His… his protectiveness? His genius? That went to 01. The insane man left behind when they stripped that away… the one locked up in that room, was imprinted into 04. It was his plan. Caine did it deliberately, to create a monster that wants to destroy everything!"
[09:33] <Sept> "They said it was an accident…" He was staring down at the ground now, arms hanging limp.
[09:36] <Yanmei> "It was no accident." Yanmei scowled, but not at Sept. "It wasn't an accident at all."
[09:38] <Sept> "D-did the others know..? He, he did it secretly, right?"
[09:42] <Yanmei> "Commander Fontaine knew. That's all I can say for certain?" Yanmei shrugged and made some aimless gesture with her hands that ended up being brisk and angry. "If you two are on such good terms, maybe you can ask her to tell you why she did that in her own words."
[09:52] <Sept> "…I will. I probably know what she'll say, but… I'll ask her. She must've had a reason, Yanmei. There's no way we wouldn't find out about it eventually…"
[09:57] <Yanmei> "Her reason… I only know what I've been told by 04. It's not pretty." Yanmei let her hands settle beside her now. "There was more to the dream after that. Everything shifted to a new place, but…" she shuddered, remembering. "It wasn't a memory. And… I don't want…"
[10:06] * Sept looked at Yanmei for a moment, at a loss. Then, he edged closer again, and, a bit awkwardly, put a hand on her shoulder.
[10:13] * Yanmei let her head snap back a little, startled at the gesture. And then, after a few beats, embarrassed. "Ah… S-sorry." She tried to straighten her shoulders. Cleared her throat again. "I met with someone who said he destroyed worlds so that new ones could be built. And… some very bad things happened after that. And after that, I woke up."
[10:18] <Sept> Sera removed the hand, but didn't retreat. He fiddled with his hands. "…'someone'? Could you, maybe, describe him more? It's fine if you don't want to."
[10:19] * Yanmei hesitated. She was fairly certain that he would laugh. That is, if he wasn't de Pteres. She mumbled something.
[10:22] <Sept> "Uh, I'm sorry, Yanmei, I didn't hear. Could you..?"
[10:24] <Yanmei> "He was blue," she muttered, just a slightly louder, and then felt her face grow warm. "Not an EVA or an Angel or a normal human, although he was humanoid. He called himself the Destroyer?"
[10:30] <Sept> "A-ah." The wind blew leaves past them as the words hung in the air. Sera opened his mouth at one point, but soon closed it again.
[10:39] <Yanmei> "… N-never mind that!" Yanmei shook her head. Stupid EVA, blowing her credibility. "I'm certain that it was just some disguise that 04 was borrowing. But, if you want to know what he looked like when he was alive… black hair. Blue eyes. Cruel, cold blue eyes. He looked refined on the outside, but…" Yanmei shook her head. "He appeared in another dream of mine. Let's say that, ah… he was handy with knives."
[10:45] * Sept had no immediate reply to this, either. He just kept staring down at his hands, a smile creeping up on his face. "Yeah, he'd have to be. Thank you, Yanmei."
[10:48] <Yanmei> There was more that she wanted to say on the appearence of Elisha Caine and the insane man that he turned into, but she held back on it. It wasn't something she herself had caught, after all. "You're awfully calm about this," she remarked.
[10:55] <Sept> "I knew about Elisha, and the rest of us have seen 04 in action… It's not much of a leap, I guess. It's sad, and horrible, but. It's true, isn't it?"
[11:01] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei nodded slightly. "I guess I should be thanking you for listening, too? So… thanks. Somehow I feel a little calmer now."
[11:07] <Sept> "It's nothing, really… If we can trust each other in an Angel battle, we have to be able to trust each other with this stuff, right?"
[11:09] * Yanmei hesitated. Then she told herself to just say 'yes'. "Right. i suppose that's true."
[11:13] <Sept> "I… I heard Isaiah's recovered. I'm not sure what you're supposed to say for something like that, but… it must be a relief."
[11:14] <Yanmei> "He's not completely back, but he's certainly much better. He's staying at my place. You should drop by and say hello sometime."
[11:23] <Sept> "Uh. Yeah. I should." Sera scratched the back of his neck.
[11:25] <Yanmei> "Well…" Yanmei eased off the bench, and stretched her arms a little. "That's enough fresh air for now. I'll see you later?"
[11:28] <Sept> "Y-yeah. I have to finish my run, too. I'll see you around!" Sera… vaulted over the bench and bolted.
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