For The Caged Bird Sings Of Freedom

<Kaworu‘> [January 16th. The day before, Yanmei had been sent a text message: it contained orders to go to a certain bar in Paris-2 at 4 PM. And to go alone.]
<Yanmei> And alone she went, clad in the simple elegance of a white blouse and black skirt that made her feel sophisticated. She was, of course, wearing both glossy violet stilletos and a long violet coat as well, and she walked with the brisk air of a person who knew exactly what she was doing.
<Kaworu`> [The Bar Lorraine wasn’t a dive, at least; it wasn't the most glittery place in Paris-2, but it was nevertheless a place of subtle sophistication. Solid, attractice wooden tables, a long mahogany bar- quiet jazz played in the background as patrons sipped wine and beer in plush burgundy chairs.]
<Yanmei> Once past the front doors, Yanmei blinked, a little surprised, and then settled again, strolling up to the bar to share in the sophistication by smiling sweetly at the bartender and ordering a glass of moderately-priced white wine.
<Kaworu‘> [The Bartender didn’t seem too bothered by her age, instead pouring her one right away.-
<Kaworu‘> [There was a man sitting next to Yanmei. Was he sitting there before? At least, Yanmei couldn’t remember seeing him sit down. He wore a long, heavy black coat, one sleeve of which was empty; he had a stubbly face and long hair, and a bowler hat was pulled down over his face, hiding much of its detail.]
*Yanmei glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, and flashed a quick, brilliant smile before trying her wine. Missing arm… probably an unfortunate soldier. If he was keeping to himself, however, then he probably wasn't the person who contacted her.
<Kaworu‘> [He didn’t say much, not until Yanmei's wine arrived. Then, he shuffled over ever so slightly.-
<Kaworu‘> ["You Zhang Yanmei?" He mumbled.]
<Yanmei> "That’s right~" The smile made a reappearence. "How can I help you?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Yer to meet us in 10 minutes in t’ private parlour, number one." He mumbled.]
<Yanmei> So he was with him after all. With… them? "I understand," she said in a quiet voice.
<Kaworu‘> [A few minutes later, he shambled off, vanishing through the door to said parlour.]
*Yanmei gulped down some more of her wine rather hastily after he left, but not yet being of Ariadne’s or Misato's caliber, she had to stop that pretty soon. She even still had enough of it left over after that to nurse for the remaining ten minutes. Then, she stood up, left her payment and tip at the bar, and followed the one arm man.
<Kaworu‘> [The parlour was rather spacious, and quiet; it was hardly occupied. It was also quite comfortable, having a couch and a dining table as well as the usual chairs. A fire roared in the fireplace, giving the room warmth and ambience.-
<Kaworu`> [The one-armed man was sitting at a chair, and now that his coat was off, Yanmei could see that he wasn’t, in fact, missing an arm at all.-
<Kaworu‘> [There was a roguishly handsome man, sitting opposite him, with black hair and a ponytail. He wore a collared shirt- the top button undone, of course.-
<Kaworu`> And lounging on the couch was a familiar face- white hair, white skin, red eyes. Kaworu. He was reading a magazine or a comic of some kind.
<Yanmei> "Hello gentlem-" She cut herself off to stare at Kaworu incredulously. What was he doing here?! "Gentlemen," she tried to resume. "Thanks for inviting me? This is a pretty nice place."
<Kaworu`> "Hello, Zhang Yanmei." Said Kaworu cheerfully, waving and quietly dropping the comic out of sight.-
<Kaworu`> ["Nice to meet you." Said the ponytailed man. He stood up, offering Yanmei a hand. "Kaji’s the name. Kaji Ryouji. You've… Probably heard of me."]
*Yanmei shook it. "Ah, yes. Misato Katsuragi's acquaintance. She may have mentioned you during a trip to Tokyo that I took a while back. Did you know that she shares her apartment with a penguin?"
<Kaworu‘> ["I do, yes." He chuckled, before gesturing to the not-one-armed man. "This is James. Introduce yourself, James."-
<Kaworu`> ["Oh, right." He looked up from the mobile phone he’d been toying with, holding out a hand to Yanmei. The little finger was missing. "James Riel, freelance hacker and seller of questionable Japanese comics."]
*Yanmei shook his hand without hesitation, but the finger was hard not to note. Better a finger, however, than an entire arm. "Hello, Mr. Riel. Ah… questionable comics?" She glanced at Kaworu again, but of course, his reading material had slipped out of sight.
<Kaworu‘> ["Let’s just say, your breasts aren't as big as I had been led to believe."-
<Kaworu‘> "James! Don’t be rude." Snapped Kaworu. "You'll weird her out, and she's my friend."
<Yanmei> A little late for a warning like that. Still, she plastered on a smile to gloss over how utterly creepy this guy suddenly was. "It's okay, it's okay. It's good to see you, Nagisa. You're looking pretty well."
<Kaworu‘> "Thank you. Don’t mind James. He's really not -that- bad. He only pretends to be a creepy pervert because he finds the reactions amusing. That just makes him a troll."-
<Kaworu‘> ["You watch your tongue."]
<Yanmei> "Hm… a pretty bad habit, Mr. Riel. No hard feelings, though?"
<Kaworu`> ["Right, right, sorry." He grinned, sitting back down.-
<Kaworu`> "So, what’ve you been up to recently, Yanmei?"
<Yanmei> "The usual. Schmoozing, working, fighting giant horrors… You?"
<Kaworu‘> "The usual." He sat up. "I’m sorry you're involved in this."-
<Kaworu‘> ["Trust us. None of us -like- being here." Said James.]
<Yanmei> "…she got you guys too, huh?" Her smile turned rather wry now, and she moved to take a seat herself. "What are your stories? If you want to pass, that’s fine too? I'm just curious."
<Kaworu‘> ["My story’s kind of complicated. I'll leave it to last." Said Kaji.-
<Kaworu‘> ["I’m here because, well…" James coughed. "You know my sister, right? Luna Riel?"]
<Yanmei> "So you -are- related to her…"
<Kaworu‘> ["Right. Well…" James leaned back in his chair. "Caine has a long history of messing with us. A long time ago, she wanted Luna to do something, and she refused four times." He held up his other hand, which was missing its little finger as well. "They took my toes, too, before she caved, so when Caine says, ’do this or I'll hurt your sister'…"]
*Yanmei grimaced. "Yeah, I get it. God, that's sick…"
<Kaworu‘> "I’m here because there's something I need from her." Said Kaworu.
<Yanmei> "Yeah?"
<Kaworu‘> "That’s a secret, though~"
<Yanmei> "Aw… well, that's okay too?" She -had- said that it was okay to pass. "What about you, Mr. Kaji?"
<Kaworu‘> ["I’m here because I 'want' to." Said Kaji with a rueful grin. "The best way to spy on someone is to become a spy for them, right?"]
<Yanmei> "Eh~ That's interesting. So you're, like, a veteran spy?" No point in asking why he wanted to spy on her. Caine no doubt had an army of enemies screaming for her blood if stories like James' were commonplace. "Any tips for a novice?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Always have a backup plan." Said Kaji with a grin. "And be one step ahead of everyone you can."]
<Yanmei> "You say that so easily," she grinned. "So if some dangerous guys came busting through the door right now looking for us, you’d have an escape route whipped up by memory?"
<Kaworu‘> [Kaji threw a finger out towards the window.]
<Yanmei> "…naturally."
<Kaworu`> ["That’s tip number 3: take any opportunity you can get."]
<Yanmei> "Going to be keeping that one in mind, no doubt about it," she sighed and leaned back in her chair. "As for me? Caine's the head of the Human Instrumentality Committee, and as I'm a peon of a peon organization, she can make my life a living hell pretty easily.-
<Yanmei> She was threatening some of the people I'm close to, including one golden threat on a little baby's life. She wasn't even two years old yet…" Yanmei folded her arms. "I didn't think she was bluffing. So here I am?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Welcome, then." Said James.-
<Kaworu`> ["Want to eat before we get to the briefing?" Asked Kaji.]
<Yanmei> "Sounds good to me?" Yanmei nodded. It wouldn’t be drugged, would it? But that made no damned sense. These guys were in a fix, anyway, just like her.
<Kaworu‘> ["Alright." James took out a wallet, taking out a few notes. "I can only spare 15 francs on you all, so make your choices -carefully-. Money is precious."]
<Yanmei> "We could split a big tray of appetizers?" Yanmei suggested. Solidarity!
<Kaworu`> ["Yeah, that works." Said James-
<Kaworu`> ["Alright, fair."-
*Kaworu` merely nodded.
<Yanmei> "Right, then! Let’s go for a big plate of mini-pizzas! Want me to place the order?"
<Kaworu‘> ["If you wouldn’t mind!" James held out the notes to her.]
<Yanmei> "Back in a minute~" And with that, she was gone, with the notes, back to the bar to order their meal. It wouldn't be long before it was spread before them, a good number of bite-sized pizza with a variety of toppings, from pineapple to regular cheese arranged on a large tray, with four small plates and a heap of napkins.-
<Yanmei> "I'm a little relieved? No initiation rites, like buying meals for the group, or hazing pranks?" Yanmei helped herself, her voice amused.
*Kaworu‘ picked up a slice of pineapple pizza delicately. "What were you expecting?"
<Yanmei> "Who knows? I’ve never been in this situation before."
<Kaworu‘> "You’re relieved that this is so casual, though… Were you expecting something like S2 Agents?"
<Yanmei> "That's not a stretch, is it? But even they seem kinda lax sometimes…"
<Kaworu‘> "Lilim are lilim, Yanmei. They can’t be automatons all the time."
<Yanmei> "Oh, I know." She tried to act like his casual use of that word wasn't jarring. "People aren't tools. They're people."
*Kaworu‘ smiled.-
<Kaworu`> ["So." Kaji stretched. "What does Caine want from you?"]
<Yanmei> "Information. About the EVAs, mostly. She wants me to talk to people to collect said information for her. She also seems interested in getting data from certain superpowered computer systems."
*Kaworu` nodded. "We have been tasked with the same, but it can be difficult for us to achieve these goals."-
<Kaworu`> ["Sis barely leaves the Geofront nowadays…" Muttered James. "I can hack into almost any computer system, including some of the other MAGI systems, but not the Paris-2 ones. Sis has them too well hardened."]
<Yanmei> "I was going to speak to Doctor Riel about access passwords. Caine also demanded a blood sample?"
<Kaworu`> ["Yeah. Most of the MAGI systems require a blood sample as part of the logging in process, so we need her blood for that."-
<Kaworu`> ["We also need it to enter Terminal Dogma."]
*Yanmei raised an eyebrow. "Terminal Dogma…?"
<Kaworu`> ["Caine’s paranoid that Ikari might've altered or changed whatever's inside, so we're going to have a peek." Said Kaji.-
<Kaworu‘> "Yanmei?"
<Yanmei> "Yes?"
<Kaworu`> "How exactly were you planning on getting the codes from Dr. Luna Riel?"
<Yanmei> "…I don’t know yet. She has no reason to cooperate. Because of that? You would think that someone who had a deeper emotional bond to her would be better for getting this information." She glanced to James.
<Kaworu‘> ["I’ve been trying." Said James helplessly. "I've even applied to become a Tactical Operator. But I think she suspects that I'm working for Caine, so…"]
<Yanmei> "So her guard is up." Yanmei looked down at her pizza. "I don't blame her. I wouldn't want to help Caine in any way if I was her. Wait… Tactical Operator?"
<Kaworu‘> ["That’s right~ They're gonna make me 04's Tac Op." Said James proudly.]
<Yanmei> "I heard we were getting someone new for that." She grinned. "Pleasure to be working with you."
<Kaworu‘> ["Thanks for the welcome."-
*Kaworu` nodded slowly. "All said, we need some other reason to make her give up her codes."
<Yanmei> "Would it be enough if we made her believe that someone else’s life was being threatened by Caine for this?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Maybe. Maybe not." Said James slowly. "Depends on the life…"]
<Yanmei> "…there were a good many children who the good Doctor conducted experiments on at Eden Base who are currently in Paris. Some easily accessible to unscrupulous overlords with a taste for coercion?"
<Kaworu`> ["That would work… Maybe." Said James, his expression clouded at the mentioning of Eden Base.-
<Kaworu`> "There is also Elizabeth." Noted Kaworu.
<Yanmei> "There is," Yanmei admitted, her own face clouding.
<Kaworu`> ["What about the blood sample?" Asked Kaji.]
<Yanmei> "Riel should know that the codes are useless without the blood sample too. Maybe she’ll give them both up. If not… well, you'd thing there would be something like in a lab somewhere, on in NERV's medical facility."
<Yanmei> ^think
<Yanmei> ^or in
<Kaworu‘> Kaworu nodded. "That’s true. You could also try stealing it during the fortnightly medical examinations. Or ask Isaiah to do it…"
<Yanmei> "Isaiah isn't getting involved in this. Ever."
<Kaworu‘> "You haven’t told him about this, have you?"
<Yanmei> "…" Yanmei coughed daintily. "Let's… try to keep on the subject, okay?"
<Kaworu‘> "He should know." Said Kaworu quietly.-
<Kaworu`> ["She’s right. Let's stick to the subject." Said Kaji.]
<Yanmei> "Thank you." Yanmei nodded. "And on that note, I'll let Riel know about Elizabeth. It's not that far from the truth, after all? If I have to resort to stealing the sample, I'll do it myself."
*Kaworu‘ nodded. "Fair enough."-
<Kaworu`> ["Now, about the Evangelions." Began Kaji.]
<Yanmei> "Yes?"
<Kaworu`> ["do you know what she wants, yet?"]
<Yanmei> "Hm… I was hoping that you had a bit more insight. Her questions on them have centered around evidence of their sentience and capability of reasoning and planning. I’m missing details, though?"
<Kaworu‘> "She assumes that Elisha Caine’s soul in 04 has been speaking to you."
<Yanmei> "She'd be right."
<Kaworu‘> [Kaji shot Kaworu a quizzical look.-
<Kaworu`> "It’s imperative that she not learn about whatever Elisha says. If she did, she'd have insight into his plans, which would be unfortunate. That's why James is becoming your operator, so he can help corroborate with you on cover stories."
*Yanmei looked surprised. "What. Wait. Is that your objective here? To keep her from finding out what's going on?"
<Kaworu‘> "to try to -delay- it. Eventually, we -will- have to provide her with truthful information, the trick is to stretch it out so that by the time she gets it, it’s useless."
<Yanmei> "…" She scrutinized them one by one. Was this some sort of trap? "Alright," she said, evenly. "I don't know what's going on here, but I'll go along with it?"
<Kaworu‘> "Good, good. Simply put- when 04 has another of its ’moments', you will speak with James on fabricating the evidence."
<Yanmei> "Is that all right, Mr. Riel?" she scrutinized him for any of the surprise that she felt.
<Kaworu‘> [James nodded. "No problem with me."]
*Yanmei nodded again. She let a gaze flick to Kaji as well, before turning it to Kaworu. "Is there anything else?"
<Kaworu`> "Is that -all- Caine has asked you?"
<Yanmei> "…no. She’s looking into Rei Ayanami as well. Apparently, she's worried because the Ayanami project didn't turn out as she expected."
*Kaworu‘ looked up sharply.-
<Kaworu`> ["Again with the Ayanamis. She wanted me to speak to Sho in Japan. What a nightmare." Kaji shook his head.]
<Yanmei> "Her too, huh? What did you tell Caine?"
<Kaworu`> ["Nothing. I wasn’t able to answer any of her questions. All Sho did was take me to clothes stores for four hours."]
<Yanmei> "Huh? Lucky! I bet she has great taste."
<Kaworu‘> ["Uh… Sure." Said Kaji. "She definitely knows a lot about fashion. And spending five hundred francs’ worth on it in forty minutes."]
<Yanmei> "Impressive~" An entire month's salary? There was no way that she could match that. "I couldn't tell her much about Rei either, and she didn't tell me to pursue it again. I doubt she's given up, though?"
<Kaworu‘> "She will continue to pursue it, although it’s important that she not learn too much."
<Yanmei> "What do you think she'll do if she does get the info she's looking for on them? Seems like she's looking for control."
<Kaworu‘> "Control, partly. But I think what she -really- wants is insight into Ikari’s plans."
<Yanmei> "Hm. I wish they'd just settle it between themselves. Dragging the Ayanamis and everyone else into it is just plain annoying?"
*Kaworu‘ smiled. "Ultimately, the Ayanamis are needed for Ikari’s plan, whatever it is."
<Yanmei> "So you don't know what it is either?"
<Kaworu‘> "Of course not."
<Yanmei> "You seem to know a ton about a lot of other stuff~"
<Kaworu`> "Ikari’s plans are a mystery to me."
<Yanmei> "Hm. Oh. About the MAGI plan again?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Yeah?" James this time.]
<Yanmei> "What sort of information is Caine trying to get at by accessing the MAGI? Does this feed back into her curiosity about what 04’s up to? Or is it a secret?"
<Kaworu‘> ["Almost certainly about what Elisha was up to." Said Kaji.]
<Yanmei> "I thought so. Well." She gave another grin. "Any more questions I can answer to help you gentlemen out?"
<Kaworu`> [Kaji looked around the table.-
<Kaworu`> ["I think that’s just about everything."]
<Yanmei> "Same for me. Since we'll be working together for a while, I hope we can all get along."
<Kaworu‘> "I hardly think that will be a problem."
<Yanmei> "Glad to hear it." One last parting beam, and a bob of her head while she stood. "I’ll be on my way out than. Thanks for the meal and conversation."
<Kaworu‘> ["You’re welcome." Said Kaji.-
<Kaworu‘> ["Good to meet you. Y’know, in person." Said James happily.-
<Kaworu‘> "Would you like me to walk you home?"
<Yanmei> "Sure. We can catch up a little more."
*Kaworu` stood up, smiling. "I’ll see the both of you later, then."
<Yanmei> "Bye~" Through the establishment and out onto the pavement. The sun was starting to turn orange as it dipped into the horizon when they started off. Yanmei's pace was leisurely and relaxed. "So."
*Kaworu‘ had his hands casually in his pockets as he walked. "…"
<Yanmei> "…come on. You’re not going to walk me home without saying anything?"
*Kaworu‘ smiled. It was a subtle, catlike little grin. "What do you want me to say?"
<Yanmei> "I would have thought you’d be all curious about Isaiah, at least. He wasn't in the best state the last time we were all under the same roof."
*Kaworu‘ started to laugh.
<Yanmei> "W-what?"
<Kaworu`> "It’s just funny, that's all. It'd take too long to explain. Nevertheless, I hardly need to ask about him. Everything I need to know I can tell just by looking at you."
<Yanmei> "Oh yeah? Like what?"
<Kaworu‘> "Let me see. You’re wearing violet stilettos, which unless I'm -very- mistaken were the ones you wore the night he was shot, which suggests that you took my advice and didn't allow memories of that night to disrupt your relationship." He leaned forward towards her. "Lilac perfume, your favourite flower, and I am quite sure this is from a rather prestigious perfume store in the downtown, and who else is quite capable of spending so much money on you freely unless it's Isaiah? Which means he's still very much in love with you- and, that means he's happy. And let me see… Your clothes are well-kept, which along with the other factors, imply that you still care about your appearance, so you're either happy or the same as usual, which of course is Isaiah's job. And…" He leaned back, eyeing her collar. "A blouse, but with a collar- to look stylish, but also perhaps to hide something? Like a love bite?"
*Yanmei self-consciously pulled her collar a bit tighter around her neck. "I don't know what you're talking about? …The rest is true, though. Perceptive. Things have been pretty happy for us. We're even taking care of a little kid for a while. Ah… Elizabeth? She goes back to her real mom pretty soon, though."
<Kaworu‘> "Which will break your heart."
<Yanmei> "…" Yanmei took a low breath. "I knew it was coming."
*Kaworu` didn’t say anything to that. He just waited for her to continue.
<Yanmei> "It'll hurt him too. This was his dream. You should have seen how carefree he was when he was playing with her! He was like a kid himself."
<Kaworu‘> "You don’t want to give Elizabeth back, but you hate yourself for even entertaining such reluctance."
*Yanmei winced. "Don't…"
<Kaworu‘> "You’re not wrong for thinking that, you know."
<Yanmei> "Maybe not. But she needs to be with her mother. And it's safer where she's heading, anyway. So I've been told, anyway."
<Kaworu‘> "Do you really believe that?"
<Yanmei> "I don’t know. I do know that she's not safe here. She'll never be, as long as Caine's around."
<Kaworu‘> "And that, more than anything, is why you hate Caine so much, why you were so -relieved- to see that we weren’t your enemy."
<Yanmei> "Heh. Was it that obvious?" She lowered her voice further. "I don't know what you three are really going after? But as long as you're not enforcing her reign of terror, I'm happy."
<Kaworu‘> "I can promise you that."
<Yanmei> "Thanks. You know…"
<Kaworu`> "Hm?"
<Yanmei> "Is this really enough?"
<Kaworu`> "As far as resistance goes?"
<Yanmei> "Yes." She glanced at him too. "After all she’s done, and everything she's threatening, it's frustrating to think that this is all we can do."
<Kaworu‘> "You could always defect to the Liberated Nations."
<Yanmei> "Har har." Yanmei tossed her hair a bit. "I’d love to see how that would work out."
<Kaworu‘> "Poorly, yes, as the Liberated Nations are destined to die."
<Kaworu`> <is*>
*Yanmei blinked. "Lots of faith in the UN’s chances, I see?"
<Kaworu‘> "No. It isn’t a matter of chance."
<Yanmei> "No?"
*Kaworu‘ didn’t explain further.
<Yanmei> "…" Yanmei tossed her hair again. "Anyhow, you're looking a little better than the last time we talked. I'm glad. Been up to much"
<Yanmei> ^?
<Kaworu‘> "Actually, are you familiar with that W chap?"
<Yanmei> "Strange detective guy with a cane? I am, yeah."
<Kaworu`> "I was assigned to assist him."
<Yanmei> "Really? Wait… so that means you’ve been in Paris for a while?"
<Kaworu‘> "Oh, yes."
<Yanmei> "What do you think of him?"
<Kaworu`> "He’s adorable. Especially when he's flustered or angry. Rather confident of his own abilities. Of course…" Kaworu leaned in and smirked. "I left a very deep impression upon him."
<Yanmei> "Is that so?" Yanmei smirked. "Well, congratulations. Wait… him? Adorable? Really?"
<Kaworu‘> "Oh yes."
[23:14] <Yanmei> "He was snooping in private personal stuff way too much. And he messed up my literature class notes." She looked a little petulant. "Are you sure about this?"
[23:16] <Elena`> ["Trust me on this."]
[23:20] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei sighed. "Well, your taste is your taste? Good luck. Still, I’m… I'm glad, I guess."
[23:22] <Elena‘> ["Glad?"]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "That you’re meeting new friends. That you haven't given up?"
[23:27] <Elena‘> ["Ah. You hope that I’ve managed to move on somehow. Perhaps hoping that in some way, it makes what you did less of a sin."]
[23:31] * Yanmei gave a grim smile. "That's what I'm hoping, but I know that that has no basis in reality. Atticus was someone special. I don't think anything will make it less of a sin."
[23:35] <Elena‘> ["Thank you."]
[23:36] * Yanmei laughed a little. "For what?"
[23:39] <Elena`> ["For understanding what it feels like. For accepting the blame, for never trying to cast it aside. For punishing yourself. For taking responsibility. It’s a very mature thing to do."]
[23:47] <Yanmei> "You're giving me too much credit." Her gaze sank. "Maybe you were right before. Maybe I do deserve to have Isaiah taken away. But when something threatens him with that, I can't help but dig my heels in and fight it. What I really am," she smiled again, faintly, without humor, "is a big hypocrite."
[23:51] <Elena‘> [Kaworu moved without warning. He turned and grabbed Yanmei by the collar, tightly- with surprising strength he lifted her a few inches above the ground.]
[23:54] * Yanmei let him… because she simply didn’t have time to react outside of gaping after she realized her heels were no longer on the ground. "Wh-?!"
[23:56] <Elena‘> ["Don’t -ever- say that again." He said, his voice quiet and hard. "It is -never- hypocrisy to protect someone you love. Never."]
Session Time: Mon Jan 02 00:00:00 2012
[00:03] <Yanmei> Her eyes widened. "B-but…" But she didn't know what to say. Bring up a dream as evidence of her misdeeds? She came close, her lips quivering a little before she dropped it and felt utterly stupid. Why was she so effected by that thing? Why had the wounds it reopened hurt that much more?
[00:04] <Elena‘> ["Tell me. If you were to see two people who loved each other like you and Isaiah loved each other, would you strive to protect their love in and of itself?!"]
[00:08] <Yanmei> "Of course I would! But…" The words made her feel cold all over, and she clasped his wrist and struggled a little. "Stop it! Put me down!"
[00:08] <Elena`> [His hands were vicelike. "Then if you can protect someone else’s love, then there is nothing wrong with protecting your own!"]
[00:16] <Yanmei> "…" It hadn't been what she had expected to hear next. Her own grip slackened a little, but she didn't let go either. "I should know that. I -used- to know that. But… why am I so confused?" She shook her head, pained.
[00:19] <Elena‘> [He put her down, at that. Let her go- then he pulled her into an embrace.-
[00:21] <Elena`> ["Because you feel like you deserve to be punished by some sort of justice- but with no spirit of justice to punish you, you turn to punishing yourself."]
[00:30] <Yanmei> "Is that right?" she murmured. The hug was maybe just as shocking as the previous hold, but at least it was marginally more comfortable. "I was making myself hurt because there was no one else to do it for me…"
[00:32] <Elena`> ["Do you feel guilty, sometimes, when Isaiah holds you, kisses you, makes love to you? Because -he’s- there, and someone else- myself, for example- does not have that?"]
[00:33] <Yanmei> "When he's there, I just think about him. It's when I'm alone. That's when those thoughts come up?"
[00:36] <Elena‘> ["Then that is how you’re -supposed- to feel, Yanmei." Said Kaworu sadly. "I forgive you."]
[00:41] <Yanmei> "Th…" she kept herself collected by a thread. "Th-thank you, Nagisa."
[00:45] <Elena‘> [He didn’t say anything to that. He just held her.]
[00:50] * Yanmei hugged back with a little more firmness now, but she couldn't make herself say anything else either. Her mind was a whirl.
[00:53] <Elena‘> [Finally, after a few more minutes, he released her, stepping back.]
[00:58] <Yanmei> "Um." She idly straightened her clothing. "We should probably get a move on, huh? Where are you staying these days? At the Geofront?"
[00:59] <Elena`> ["Oh, you know, around."]
[01:00] * Yanmei nodded. "Drop by for dinner sometime if you want. You can meet Elizabeth."
[01:00] <Elena`> ["Would Isaiah welcome me?"]
[01:01] <Yanmei> "I think he would. As a friend."
[01:03] <Elena`> [He smiled.-
[01:04] <Elena`> ["Then perhaps I will, one day. But for now…"]
[01:08] <Yanmei> "Got other plans?"
[01:08] <Elena`> ["Sadly, yes."]
[01:09] <Yanmei> "I see. Well, it can’t be helped."
[01:10] <Elena‘> ["Indeed. Do you mind awfully if I leave you to walk the rest of the way? The time has caught up to me…"]
[01:11] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I’m okay with that. I'll see you around?"
[01:11] <Elena‘> ["I will. Goodbye, Yanmei."]
[01:12] <Yanmei> "Later, Nagisa." And she was on her way, briskly rounding a corner out of sight.
[01:13] <Elena`> [About 40 minutes later, Yanmei would get a phone call.]
[01:15] * Yanmei was at home, still warm from a nice shower, a towel draped over her damp hair. She hesitated, heart pounding a little, and picked up her phone. "Hello?"
[01:16] <Elena`> ["Yanmei~" Eugenia’s voice. "Where are you?"]
[01:17] <Yanmei> "Uh, home?" She relaxed a little. "You're in a good mood. I should be asking where -you- are…"
[01:18] <Elena‘> ["I’m at the shops!"]
[01:19] <Yanmei> "Oh? Buying something nice~?"
[01:20] <Elena‘> ["Oh yes. I’m buying the key to Zaizai's heart~ <3"]
[01:22] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei flipped her hair…towel. "That's funny. I don't think I'm for sale~"
[01:23] <Elena‘> ["Are you sure? I mean, I read this comic the other day…"]
[01:24] <Yanmei> "What? What comic?! Don’t buy any of those!"
[01:24] <Elena‘> ["The ones with Isaiah in them are really good, too~ <3"]
[01:26] <Yanmei> "No…!" Goddamn James Riel and his foreign contraband of questionable taste! They were -spreading-. "Quickly. How do I convince you to set fire to the comic shop were you found those?"
[01:28] <Elena`> ["Give me a night with Isaiah and unlimited wine."]
[01:31] <Yanmei> "Never!"
[01:32] <Elena`> [A giggle. "Alright, alright. I actually need a favour."]
[01:33] <Yanmei> "What?" A little caution. "Need to borrow some cash?"
[01:34] <Elena`> ["No no. Would you be able to give me a lift home?"]
[01:36] <Yanmei> "Zhang Taxi fleet, at your service." She smirked a little. "Need me to come now?"
[01:36] <Elena`> ["Yeah, if that’s ok."]
[01:38] <Yanmei> "Yeah, yeah. Let me throw something on and get out there."
[01:39] <Elena‘> ["You’re a sweetie. Thanks~"]
[01:40] <Yanmei> "Hang tight. See you soon~"

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