For The Love Of Life 1 4 4

[20:05] <@Minaplo> [Suzanne was scowling malevolently at the waiting shuttle VTOL as she squirmed in her chair, luggage on her lap.-
[20:11] <@Minaplo> [The 'discussions' had been aired, they had been shared, they had been fought, and now they were done. No, Suzie could not stay behind. No, she could not just sit inside the Raffy-bot. No, she could not 'provide covering fire' with her chair. No, she could not even stay behind to help in the triage. She was going to be evacuated, and that was that.-
[20:12] <@Minaplo> [Suzanne didn't tantrum, usually, but she did fight. And she had -fought-. Her terrible mood at the moment was simply the price to be paid.-
[20:14] <@Minaplo> [She wasn't alone, of course. Raphael had been the one to bring her here, but Misato had come along, too, and of course so had Rei. Now it was mostly just marking time, waiting for the final call…]
[20:30] <Raphael> More than anything at that moment, Raphael looks -tired-. The fighting had only grown worse as the moment of evacuation had approached, as it became less and less likely that she could make him crack in time. It was something he had expected, but the ferocity of it had been enough to surprise him.-
[20:32] * Raphael glances over sideways to try and get a look at Suzie's face, trying to assess whether any break in the silence was likely to trigger another fight. What he saw wasn't exactly encouraging.
[20:36] <@Minaplo> [Rei, standing on the other side, was doing the same. She caught Raphael's eye, giving him a slow shake of the head, her eyes downcast, her mouth a thin straight line.-
[20:39] <@Minaplo> [("Arrivals for Shuttle C-33 departure, please make your day to Landing Pad V-21… I repeat…")-
[20:39] <@Minaplo> [The message had been sounding continually for the last hour, drawing passengers to the landing pad waiting zone. At the sound of it, Suzie looked up at the roof and let out a big sigh.-
[20:41] <@Minaplo> ["This is dumb." She proclaimed, lowering her head again to glower at her bags. "When's it even leaving?"]
[20:46] <Raphael> "Half an hour." Raphael says, folding his arms. "There's still plenty of people to get on board."
[20:49] <@Minaplo> ["It won't be a long trip, either." Said Misato, her voice cheery. "Just up you go, then poof! All done."-
[20:50] <@Minaplo> ["Just think, Suzie. It'll be your chance to see a real Eva in action." Said Rei. "07, too, the biggest of them all!"-
[20:51] <@Minaplo> [Suzie didn't respond to that, just looked back down at her bags. She was still frowning, although not as fiercely.-
[20:51] <@Minaplo> [Rei gave Raphael a small shrug over Suzie's head.]
[21:06] * Raphael gives Rei a tight smile in response, knowing that this is the second rebellious girl she's dealt with in as many hours; Eevi had been jaunted on an earlier shuttle, and in her way she had fought just as fiercely. "It'll be fine, little one. Really."
[21:17] <@Minaplo> ["But I don't -want- to leave you behind! What if something happens and I'm not here?!" It all came out in a rush, her bottom lip trembling, tears stubbornly held back.]
[21:21] * CakeyCake is now known as Yanmei
[21:23] * Raphael sighs. It's the same argument again, the same difficult truths. "Then you're safe, even if we're not." He says, not unkindly.
[21:24] <@Minaplo> ["That's what they used to say, too! I don't to be safe! I want to be with you!"-
[21:25] <@Minaplo> [Then it began, big fat tears bursting from already red-rimmed eyes. She stuffed her hands over her eyes and tried to choke down the sobs.]
[21:33] * Raphael shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath, reaching out to pull the girl into a hug - if only to hide her from view so that she might cry as much as she needs to. "I'm sorry, sweetheart." Another firm denial, even if he doesn't quite have a way to assuage her fears. The mention of her parents feels like a weight on his chest.
[21:37] <@Minaplo> [She grabbed him around the neck, sobbing into his chest. Her grip was strong, despite her little, battered body…-
[21:37] <@Minaplo> ["Don't die… P-Please…"-
[21:38] <@Minaplo> [Rei looked away at that, biting her lip as though trying to fight back her own tears. She kneels down next to the chair, reaching out to put an arm around Suzie's chest.-
[21:40] <@Minaplo> [Misato stepped forward. She wasn't like Rei or Raphael here, people who'd lived and shared their space with Suzie for a great deal of time… Even so, she put a hand over the back of the chair, stroking Suzie's hair.]
[21:46] <Raphael> "Mmm. Still have too much to do to allow a thing like that, kiddo." He says, smiling a little. "You three keep me busy."
[21:51] <@Minaplo> ["I-I try." Said Suzie, trying to fight back the tears, now. Rubbing at her eyes.-
[21:52] <@Minaplo> [By the main entrance to the pad, Raphael would see arriving the tall, thin, blonde Julien LaFabre, who quickly caught his eye, tossing him a big cheery wave.]
[18:55] * Raphael glances up just in time to catch the full force of the man's slightly unnecessary cheer, offering Julien a slightly more restrained wave with one hand while he keeps another around Suzie. "I think your ride's here, sweetheart."
[18:58] <Minaplo> ["Huh?" She looked up, confused, at the shuttle.-
[19:01] <Minaplo> [So she didn't see Julien until he was practically on top of them, walking past the chair. "Hey there, little trooper."-
[19:02] <Minaplo> ["Julien?" Suzanne looked up at him, a little confused.-
[19:02] <Minaplo> [He grinned. "Hey, what's the matter? Looks like you've been crying…"]
[19:27] <Raphael> "Julien's promised to keep an eye on you for me while we're away." Raphael confides. "It sounds like he's going to try and give you a look at some of the cool stuff they've got hiding away at Asgard, too."
[19:48] <Minaplo> ["A look?" Julien scoffs.-
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["I've told my crew that I'm bringing a double-A+ test pilot along to help us calibrate some of our prototype modular fighters. I mean, if you'd rather I get a dumb pilot instead…"-
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["Huh? N-no no." Said Suzanne quickly. "Don't do that."]
[19:55] * Raphael smiles a little at that, glancing at Rei and Misato.
[19:56] <Minaplo> [Misato shook her head slowly, grinning nevertheless. Rei took a little step back and gave Raphael a relieved look.-
[19:58] <Minaplo> ["I should probably load some of this crap." Said Julien. "Don't worry, I've got you a seat with me. See you on the flight, Suzie~"-
[19:58] <Minaplo> [The moment he was gone, Suzie whipped her head around towards Raffy. "Am I really gonna get to test pilot a robot?!"]
[20:04] <Raphael> "So long as you promise to listen to -every instruction- Julien and Mr. Misra give you." Raphael says, his voice stern. "I've made sure that Isha will be the one with the shutdown privileges in case you put a toe out of line. If you're going to do it, you have to be -safe- about it, ok?"
[20:07] <Minaplo> ["Toe, huh." She looked down at her feet. She wasn't walking naturally just yet, but nevertheless…-
[20:07] <Minaplo> [She wiggled her toes a little, just for the hell of it. She looked up at Raphael and beamed, the tears starting to bubble again.]
[20:13] <Raphael> "Toe," Raphael agrees, nudging the tip of her foot with his own boot-covered toe. The pride and warmth in his expression at that moment is a startling contrast to his usual stern expression.
[20:17] <Minaplo> [The tears were running again, but they were softer now. She sniffled and rubbed at her eyes.-
[20:18] <Minaplo> ["(Shuttle C-33 departing from Landing Pad V-21 is now boarding. All passengers for Shuttle C-33 should make their way to Landing Pad V-21 and begin boarding the craft. I repeat…)"-
[20:19] <Minaplo> [Of course, it wasn't the final call yet, so they had a bit of time…-
[20:22] <Minaplo> [In the distance Raphael would espy a man who could only be Isha Misra, a thin Indian man in a white double-breasted coat, surrounded by children- some as young as six or seven, and the oldest- a tall, gangly brown-haired teen boy who kept glancing towards Raphael's group- looked to be almost sixteen or seventeen. He was organising them, there with a data tablet, checking their names off…]
[20:28] * Raphael hugs Suzie for a moment longer before holding her out at arm's length and giving her a quick kiss on the forehead. "That's you, sweetheart. Are you ready?"
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["N-No." Said Suzie, her lip trembling. "B-But I'm going to go anyway…"]
[20:31] <Raphael> "That's my girl." He smiles. "… I'm very proud of you, you know."
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["I-I know." She began to sob again, even though she still tried to smile.-
[20:36] <Minaplo> ["We all are." Said Rei with a wide, gentle smile, reaching down to give Suzie her own kiss. "You'll be back here before you know it, Suzie, don't you worry."-
[20:39] <Minaplo> ["Pen-Pen will be with you too. Look after that old grump for me." Said Misato, grinning. "Don't worry about a thing on our end."-
[20:40] <Minaplo> [This only made Suzie sob even harder, to the point where she was almost unintelligible. "I-I l-love you a-all…"]
[20:48] <Raphael> "Love you back." Raphael says softly, before giving the girl a (Gentle) clap on the shoulder. "Now dry those tears, hmm? You don't want to let Simon see you all red-eyed, I bet."
[20:49] <Minaplo> ["I-I bet Simon t-totally cried nine times more than I did." Said Suzie, scowling fiercely through her tears.-
[20:50] <Minaplo> [But nevertheless she rubbed at her eyes with the sleeves of her shirt and dried what she could of the tears. "S-So I just go over to them and they'll tick me off?"]
[20:52] <Raphael> "That's right," he smiles, "Nothing to it."
[21:02] <Minaplo> ["A-Alright." She took a deep breath.-
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["R-Rei, can you come with me?" She asked quickly and quietly.-
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["Of course."-
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["O-Okay."-
[21:03] <Minaplo> [Suzie began to move forward, the chair motor kicking into gear. As Rei escorted her away, Suzie turned around and gave them a final wave, fighting back tears.-
[21:04] <Minaplo> ["B-bye, Misato! B-Bye, dad… P-Please be careful…"]
[21:13] * Raphael blinks twice in quick succession, the comforting smile remaining steady on his face. "We will. You be good!" He calls back, watching as she disappears into the small crowd around Isha, her position marked only by her proximity to Rei.
[21:15] <Minaplo> [They saw Isha turn towards Rei- and by extension, Suzie- nodding and giving them a warm smile, tapping something on his tablet. That teen boy from earlier approached, saying something as well.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> ["Hee hee." Misato beamed. "Look at this. Papa Raffy, so proud of his girls… You're not thinking of crying a little, are you?"]
[21:17] <Raphael> "Absolutely not." Raphael says, drawing himself up a little straighter.
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["Go on. I won't tell if you don't." Said Misato, snaking an arm around Raphael's shoulders. "I mean, I'll tell Suzie and Rei, but I won't tell anyone else. -Maybe- Marianne. And Yanmei. But that's it, promise."-
[21:19] <Minaplo> [In the distance they saw Rei speaking with the boy, before he said something apparently quite shocking, as Rei slapped a hand over her mouth and took a startled step back.]
[21:23] <Raphael> "It's a trick of the light." Raphael says stubbornly, even as he leans a little closer to Misato.
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Who knew light could so emotional?"-
[21:26] <Minaplo> [They saw Rei kneel down- saying one last goodbye- before she emerged from the crowd, heading back over towards them, her cheeks a bright pink. "T-There we go."]
[21:29] <Raphael> "Rainbows were the giveaway." Raphael murmurs, surreptitiously blinking a couple more times for good measure before Rei makes it back into earshot. He frowns a little at the colour in her cheeks, raising an eyebrow.-
[21:29] <Raphael> "Everything ok?"
[21:31] <Minaplo> ["Y-Yes. Um. Yes. Suzie's fine, um…" Rei shook her head. "It's silly, but that boy over there just asked me out without even a warning!"]
[21:41] <Raphael> "…" Raffy peers over Rei's shoulder, trying to pick out the boy from within the group departing for the shuttle. "… Oh, Jules? Hmm. Didn't think he had it in him, to be honest with you. What'd you say?"
[21:43] <Minaplo> ["I… I told him I couldn't." Said Rei bashfully.]
[21:46] * Raphael finally cracks a smile, any evidence of ocular moisture hidden away. "He's Security Chief Vimes' eldest - I've been told he's had a crush on you for a while. I doubt he really expected you to say yes, sweetheart."
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["O-Oh." Rei's cheeks reddened even further. "I get it…"-
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["Poor boy." Said Misato with a grin. "I bet he doesn't register anywhere near as high as Al does on your yumminess scale, does, he, hm?"-
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["S-Stop it."]
[21:51] * Raphael nudges Misato in the side with an elbow, still smiling. "Don't be mean."
[21:52] <Minaplo> ["Thbbt." She poked a tongue out at him.-
[21:54] <Minaplo> ["A-Anyway." Rei shook her head. "Now that Suzie and Eevi are safe and gone, I have a bit of time to myself. I think I might go, Raffy."-
[21:54] <Minaplo> [Misato's eyes were already twinkling mischievously.]
[21:57] <Raphael> "Of course." He smiles, breaking away from Misato to give Rei a quick hug. "Thank you for staying, Rei. Really. I know you had a hard time with Eevi, but I appreciated the help."
[21:58] <Minaplo> ["It's no worries." Said Rei with a warm smile, returning the hug enthusiastically. "Suzie wasn't half as bad as Eevi ended up being, so it was ok in the end."]
[22:00] <Raphael> "Never underestimate a girl with a tiger." Raphael says solemnly, offering a quick squeeze before letting Rei go. "Now go and get some rest. I'll see you in Command for the briefings."
[22:00] <Minaplo> ["Mmhmm. Bye, Raffy. Bye, Misa-bachan!"-
[22:00] <Minaplo> [And with that, Rei was heading quickly away. She was gone within a minute.-
[22:01] <Minaplo> ["And off she goes." Said Misato with a cheeky grin. "And it just so happens that Mr. Wellesley's non-essential right now, too…"]
[22:04] <Raphael> "I do not need to know that. It is non-essential knowledge." Raphael says. "Besides, she wanted time alone." There's a certain level of stubborness in that last phrase that's almost admirable.
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["No-o-o, she said she had some time to herself. It's not the same thing~"]
[22:09] <Raphael> "It almost certainly is." He mutters, his eyes on the VTOL beyond the window and the Eva that was standing alongside it.
[22:14] <Minaplo> [The children were being loaded on, now, in pairs, heading to the back of the VTOL. There were a few faces Raphael recognised there. Jules Vimes, of course, along with two younger girls who could only be his sisters. Rosalie Paget, Suzie's friend, who was standing beside her and chatting, their individual sorrows apparently forgotten in the face of company. She could see the doleful expression of Simon Beringer, who was being spoken at by a tall-for-her-age black-haired girl with her hands on her hips that was unmistakeably Henriette Mazarin.-
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["Whatever helps you sleep, sweetie." Said Misato cheerfully. "I know what -I'd- do if I had some time to myself, though…"]
[22:18] <Raphael> "Crocheting and silent contemplation." Raphael nods.
[22:22] <Minaplo> ["Well, in that case, I invite you to come see some of my sweaters."-
[22:22] <Minaplo> [Suzie was boarding, now, but she wasn't heading towards the rest of the kids. Isha directed her towards a seat near the front, where Julien was waving her down.-
[22:23] <Minaplo> [The crowd was thinning considerably now, the divide between passengers and stayers obvious.]
[22:25] <Raphael> "… Not your greatest pick-up line, ma'am." Raphael says, smiling faintly.
[22:27] <Minaplo> ["What did I have to work with?" Muttered Misato. "What would you prefer? 'You, me, a three course meal and a movie, hanky-panky possible'?"]
[22:31] <Raphael> "Hmm. Not as punchy." Raphael admits.
[22:44] <Minaplo> ["That's what I thought." Said Misato loftily.-
[22:45] <Minaplo> ["So what -are- you up to now, anyway?"]
[22:50] <Raphael> "Me? I believe I have some time to myself, Admiral."
[22:51] <Minaplo> ["Is that so?"-
[22:51] <Minaplo> [The last of the passengers were boarding the shuttle, now. Its cargo compartment ramp had already closed.]
[22:52] <Raphael> "It is." Raphael says solemly, only to let out a little sigh.-
[22:53] <Raphael> He eyes the VTOL warily. "… All of a sudden I'm having my doubts about this, ma'am."
[22:53] <Minaplo> ["About the evacuation?"]
[22:54] <Raphael> "She's right, you know. She's already had to deal with her parents dying…"
[22:57] <Minaplo> ["She has." Said Misato quietly. "But you know how it goes. She'd only be a distraction to you if she stayed behind."]
[22:58] <Raphael> "Of course. It's not as though we could do anything else."
[23:02] <Minaplo> [Misato reached out, taking his hand in her own, squeezing it gently. "It's ok to have doubts."]
[17:37] <Raphael> "Not right now, I'm afraid." He murmurs, giving the hand a grateful squeeze in return. "There's a reason I waited for her to be on the VTOL."
[17:47] <@Minaplo> [Misato nodded. "No turning back, right?"]
[17:48] <Raphael> "Right." He sighs.
[17:57] <@Minaplo> [There was the sound of a high-powered jet engine. The shuttle was warming its engines, the landing pad elevating towards the roof, which was opening. Raphael saw, through the gap, the massive, hulking form of EVA-07…]
[18:11] <Raphael> "… Why do I feel guilty?"
[18:19] <@Minaplo> [The VTOL, with a muted roar of its engines, took into the air. The Eva reached out towards it. A ripple of blue and grey suddenly emerged from the Eva, spreading wider and wider, suddenly surging, engulfing shuttle and Eva both- before retracting into nothing but a twinkle. They were gone.-
[18:19] <@Minaplo> ["Lies to children." Said Misato softly.]
[18:26] <Raphael> "Yeah." He says, staring at the place where the VTOL had vanished, the colour still draining back into the sky where the Jaunt had taken it.
[18:28] <@Minaplo> [Misato was quiet as the landing pad slowly retracted down, the roof doors closing.-
[18:29] <@Minaplo> ["I do have some good news for you." She said gently, a little smile playing on her lips.]
[18:31] <Raphael> "Oh really?" He asks, tearing his gaze away from the narrowing patch of sky and allowing a small - if feigned, at least for the moment - smile to come to his face.
[18:32] <@Minaplo> ["As you, and most people, know, you have to enter orbit before you reach the moon. You'll be able to see outer space, be in outer space. See if that space job Linden offered is your taste or not. Y'know, for after the war?"]
[18:35] * Raphael lets out a short bark of a laugh, his smile becoming a touch more genuine. "I'd almost forgotten about that with everything that's happened…"
[18:38] <@Minaplo> ["Wow. It must be hard to have so many awesome opportunities that you forget being asked to be an astronaut by the President of the United States."]
[18:39] <Raphael> "It's my burden, ma'am."
[18:43] <@Minaplo> ["Please. You want to know about burdens? I'll tell you about burdens." Muttered Misato. "Next time, why don't you sit in on one of my joint meetings with the heads of the navies of six different countries. I'll show you a burden."]
[18:56] <Raphael> "No thank you." Raphael shudders. "There's a reason I limit myself to tactical command."
[18:56] <@Minaplo> ["Sensible man. I knew there was a reason I liked you beyond the smouldering, brooding good looks."]
[18:59] <Raphael> "A shame you have to refer to photos in my record to remember them." He says wryly.
[18:59] <Raphael> "… Unless you have something you'd like to tell me regarding you and Pilot Ikari."
[19:01] <@Minaplo> ["That's enough of your cheek." She said, shaking her head. She took a step forward, tugging on his hand. "C'mon, Raffy."]
[19:02] * Raphael 's smile fades a little, glancing back towards the landing bay one last time. "Right… Right, of course."-
[19:02] * Raphael allows himself to be led.
[19:06] <@Minaplo> ["So, I managed to finagle something for myself for all this." She said. "I mean, you probably know, but I managed to get away with having Hyuga posted on this mission, with that… Orlov taking his place at Asgard…"]
[19:11] * Raphael glances across, looking a little unnerved. "… You left control of Asgard to General Orlov?"
[19:15] <@Minaplo> ["-I- didn't. Marianne put him there." Said Misato, a little defensively. "Don't worry, he doesn't have that much power. I mean, his job is that he doesn't touch anything and lets the team there do their job, how can he screw that up?"]
[19:17] * Raphael shakes his head, frowning. "Sorry, ma'am. I didn't mean to be-… sorry."
[19:20] <@Minaplo> ["Pff." She prods him in the chest. "It's fine. You're worried, that's understandable. Besides, we put Sssss- Sorry, Vercingetorix in -real- charge just in case."]
[19:21] <Raphael> "Ah." He said, not looking particularly relieved. "Good. Excellent."
[19:21] <@Minaplo> [Misato tched. "Fine, fine. Deny me my fun. Just for you, we broke and asked Linden to be in -double- real charge."-
[19:22] <@Minaplo> [She smirked, just for a second.]
[19:23] <Raphael> … This, against all odds, -did- seem to make him relax a little. "Sensible."
[19:24] <@Minaplo> ["Mmm. I thought you'd think so."-
[19:25] <@Minaplo> ["But, there was actually a point to all this. With Hyuga around, I've managed to offload a bit of work. I have a window of free time open. Probably no more than two hours or so…"]
[19:37] <Raphael> "For your crocheting."
[19:40] <@Minaplo> ["No crocheting." She said sternly. "That sounds like a christmas cake joke. I'm hurt."]
[19:41] <Raphael> "The last thing we need to bring into this relationship is fear about our respective ages, Admiral."
[19:44] <Raphael> Even as he says it though, he's squeezing her hand. "Seriously, though… some time away from all of this sounds /excellent/. Even two hours."
[19:47] <@Minaplo> ["Doesn't it?" She lets out a half-relieved sigh. "C'mon, let's not waste it. I can have room service brought up to my quarters, we can share a meal, pretend you're not a hot-shot commando and I haven't been given command of the naval forces of most of the world."]
[19:52] <Raphael> "Wonderful." Raphael smiles.-
[19:58] <@Minaplo> […-
[20:00] <@Minaplo> [The moment Misato and Raphael arrive back at Misato's sumptuous, utterly-unspartan quarters, Misato kicks off her shoes, literally and metaphorically. Her actual shoes end up in a haphazard pile near the corner, her dark red officer's jacket is unbuttoned and tossed onto the chair- she's wearing a long-sleeved black turtleneck underneath- and she begins roughly pulling her hair out of the bun it's so often in these days.-
[20:01] <@Minaplo> [Her black hair is still quite long, of course, and now that its free of its bonds it falls down about her back and shoulders. With a groan, she sinks into one of the plush leather-upholstered armchairs.-
[20:02] <@Minaplo> ["God, you have no idea how long I've been wanting to do that." She muttered, stretching her arms up above her head. "Pass me the phone?"]
[20:07] * Raphael , unsurprisingly, doesn't quite go to the same lengths to get comfortable as Misato does, but she would see him loosening the top buttons of his own shirt as he walks over to the phone, revealing the very top of a white cotton undershirt beneath.-
[20:07] <Raphael> "Catch," he calls, tossing the phone over the couch in a neat arc.
[20:09] <@Minaplo> ["Ta." She grabs it with her right hand. "What'll it be for Commando-kun?']
[20:35] <Raphael> "Just get two of whatever you're having. I'm not exactly feeling choosy." He admits, scratching at his cheek.
[20:35] <@Minaplo> [Misato punched in a number.-
[20:39] <@Minaplo> ["Hi, this is Admiral Katsuragi. I'd like to place a food order? Mmhmm, that's right. Two bowls of chicken shio-katsudon, two bowls of miso soup- the good kind-, four servings of kare-pan, a bottle of champagne- no, hold on, make it two bottles of German lager- eh, make it both… Right, and a platter of sushi. Uhh, chicken, salmon, sardine, avocado-sardine, tuna-wasabi-avocado…"-
[20:40] <@Minaplo> [She glanced up at Raphael.-#
[20:41] <Minaplo> ["And prawn. Thanks!"]
[20:43] <Raphael> "… Wow."
[20:44] <Minaplo> ["What?"]
[20:45] <Raphael> "That… sounds like a lot. Is that a lot?" Raphael says, seemingly entirely genuine.
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["Japanese cuisine." She says with a grin. "In Japan, meals tend to involve four or five small bowls of different things instead of just a single plate like the undisciplined, decadent West."-
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["I mean, the portions here are a little bigger than usual, but…"]
[20:53] * Raphael chuckles, easing himself into the sofa in a motion that seems very strange on a teenager's body. "Don't act as though you don't adore the decadent West, Admiral."
[20:58] <Minaplo> ["It has its charms." She says with a grin, tossing the phone onto the bed. She gets up out of the armchair, stretching on tip-toe for a second, before bounding over and onto the couch in a motion that would, conversely, be totally at home on a teenager's body. Her feet end up on the armrest farthest from Raphael, whilst her head ends up smooshed into his chest.]
[02:11] <Raphael> "Oof," he grunts, breath coming out in a sound that's part emptied balloon and part laughter.-
[02:11] <Raphael> "… Judges give that one eight points."
[02:16] <@Minaplo> [He receives a firm headbutt to his chest for that. "Only eight?"]
[02:20] <Raphael> "A flashy landing will only get you so far, ma'am."
[02:26] <@Minaplo> ["What's the rest, then? Technique?"]
[02:27] <Raphael> "Of course."
[02:29] <@Minaplo> [There was a moment of stillness, before she simply headbutts him again.-
[02:29] <@Minaplo> ["Meh, that sounds like hard work. Can I just seduce the judge instead?"]
[02:34] * Raphael makes a thoughtful noise and allows one hand to play lightly across Misato's ribs. "Any show of technique would suffice, I think."
[02:42] <@Minaplo> [She giggled, but it wasn't at all a flirty, coquettish giggle.-
[02:42] <@Minaplo> ["Oh god, we're cheesy as hell tonight."]
[02:43] <Raphael> "Not our finest work, no." He snorts, making her head bounce on his chest. "It's an odd night, though, I suppose we're allowed."
[02:44] <@Minaplo> ["Odd's one way to put it. The night before we fly into space to pop a giant angelic moon zit."]
[02:51] <Raphael> "I love that your nerves don't hamper your way with words, Admiral."
[02:52] <@Minaplo> ["Makes it sound non-threatening." Said Misato with a wry grin. "As opposed to a super-concentrated gravitational anomaly that's going to explode in two days and wipe clean two-thirds of the world's surface."]
[03:07] * Raphael 's quiet at that, his hand resting against her side. "… True."
[03:09] <@Minaplo> ["… Sorry, I killed the mood a little, didn't I?"]
[03:10] <Raphael> "Not your fault, ma'am. It was always going to be a bit fragile."
[03:14] <@Minaplo> ["And I've always been the proverbial bull." Said Misato, chuckling wryly. She squirmed a little, making her way along the sofa until her head was more securely in under Raphael's chin.-
[03:16] <@Minaplo> ["We could try a different tack." She said hopefully. "Just think- this time tomorrow, the Angels will be -done- for good."]
[17:31] <Raphael> "…" He considers that in silence, a hand finding its way onto her hip. "Do you believe that? Honestly, I mean."
[17:33] <Minaplo> ["… Do you mean do I believe killing Metatron will end the Angel threat, or do you mean do I believe we can kill Metatron in the first place?"]
[17:34] <Raphael> "Both, I suppose."
[17:36] <Minaplo> [She was quiet for a moment.-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["I don't know what it'll feel like to live without it over our heads, or how the world'll look after it, but… Yeah, I guess I do. To both of those."]
[17:42] * Raphael nods gently, his chin bumping lightly against the top of her head. "Alright," he says simply, the lack of either agreement or argument weighing heavily on the word.
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["I wonder how long I'll have to manage the Navy before they let me go." She mused.]
[18:04] <Raphael> "Keen to get out?"
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Maybe! It'd be nice to have a job that wasn't… You know. Super busy."]
[18:06] <Raphael> "So you'd prefer to go run NASA." He says wryly.
[18:09] <Minaplo> ["Hey, last I checked, NASA had like, what, six working spacecraft? Yesterday I had to sort out like thirty aircraft carriers. I'll take NASA anyday of the week."]
[18:10] * Raphael laughs. "Fair enough."
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["You given much thought to the post-Angel world, anyway?"]
[18:17] <Raphael> "It's…"-
[18:18] <Raphael> "Yes. No. I don't-…"-
[18:21] <Raphael> There's a hard, almost frustrated silence, Raphael frowning deeply with his gaze fixed on some point ahead of him. "I don't really know." He sighs. "I never expected to see one, and I suppose I still don't. Every time I try it feels as though… as though it's some sort of mask I'm putting on, some role I don't really expect to play. -Everything- in my life has been Second Impact, in one way or another - until you, until the girls.
[18:35] <Raphael> -Everything- in my life has been Second Impact, in one way or another - until you, until the girls. I don't… I /can't/ seem to see the end of it and believe it." The words come out in a rush, sounding fierce to the point of anger.*
[18:57] <Minaplo> [She went a little still. After a few moments Raphael would feel a ticklish sensation under his chin as Misato nodded several times, her hair brushing up against his sensitive skin.-
[18:58] <Minaplo> [A few seconds after that she slowly turned around, pulling back a little to look him in the face. "… It's alright."]
[19:00] <Raphael> "Is it?" He asks, a frustrated frown still fixed on his face.
[19:04] <Minaplo> [Misato took his hand in her own, gently guiding it to her chest, where, if he concentrated for a second, he'd feel the distinctive bumps and unnatural edges that formed the damaged tissue of her scar. "This kept hurting a long time after I got it, too."]
[19:09] * Raphael 's eyes widen for a moment, the frustration dropping out of his expression - he's left looking shamefaced. "… I'm sorry. You're right, I'm being-… I'm not sure. Selfish."
[19:11] <Minaplo> ["Th-that wasn't what I meant." Said Misato, frowning a little. "What I meant was… It's alright. I know how it feels. That's all."]
[19:17] * Raphael runs thumb along the edge of the scar. "… I know. It's… I am not good at this, I suppose. Paying attention to my own feelings, my own future. I feel like it's a mistake on my part."
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["I can get that." She said softly. "I, uh… May not be very good at this, but if you want to… Speak about it…"]
[19:23] * Raphael smiles faintly. "You don't give yourself enough credit."
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["I don't -feel- like I am." She said with her own little grin. "Not to Rei-like levels at least…"]
[19:33] <Raphael> "Rei is possessed of magical girl wisdom." Raphael says seriously. "She's beyond us mortals."
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["Oh, so… Maybe I should be -your- magical girl, then?"]
[19:39] <Raphael> "Is it that easy?"
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["All you have to do is believe with your heart~"]
[19:43] <Raphael> "Hmmmmm. Not bad."
[19:45] <Minaplo> ["Am I sparkly yet? We could be sparkly together…"]
[19:48] * Raphael snorts. "I think you're beginning to drift, ma'am."
[19:48] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[19:51] <Raphael> "Don't worry," He smiles. "I might take you up on your offer, though. On the wisdom, not the sparkles."
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Well, feel free."]#
[20:09] <Raphael> "What I mean… I guess I'm saying I'll put my trust in what you're saying. About what comes after - about there being an after." He says slowly. "I guess I need you to be my better judgement for that."
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["I… I hope I can live up to that."]
[20:12] * Raphael looks momentarily worried. "Too much?"
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["No. Not at all." She smiled. "That's how it goes, right?"]
[20:16] <Raphael> "… I guess so."
[20:17] <Minaplo> [Her smile grew a little wider. "Permission to be corny?"]
[20:18] * Raphael 's smile is a little slower, but just as genuine. "I'll allow it."
[20:21] <Minaplo> [Misato tapped her chest again. "This hurt less after you entered the picture, so I'll do my best."]
[20:33] * Raphael puts his arms around her, pulling her a little closer. "That means a lot, Misato."
[20:36] <Minaplo> [She let herself be pulled closer, lowering her head and closing her eyes. "You better believe it."]

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