For The Love Of Life 1 5 8

[15:32] <@Minaplo> [It had been a pretty chaotic few hours. There had been tears. There had been angry words. There had been property damage, even.-
[15:40] <@Minaplo> [A new bookstore had opened up, to the surprise of many. Situated on the promenade and run by one of the Marines assigned to the ship, the bookstore had opened after a cargo crate in one of the less-used storerooms- a crate from the Silas days- had been opened, revealing thousands of books from all different sorts of genres and cultures. This clever Marine had sold the books off and, using the money from the proceeds, had begun offering to buy back all the various books people owned or brought with them on deployment. And thus had been born Jose's, a second hand bookstore with the occasional influx of local literature whenever the Battleship was at harbour.-
[15:44] <@Minaplo> [Ayanami Go had been in this bookstore for about ten minutes, three or four books picked out, when she'd seen one of her sisters enter: light red-haired Ayanami Roku. Roku had entered quickly, had gone still as though having forgotten what she was looking for, then had turned and headed over to a small selection of books dedicated to spy thrillers and crime novels. A little while after she left and headed over to the sci-fi section, then to the (unsurprisingly large) manga section, taking out a cooking-themed manga, flipping through it quickly, and throwing it back into the pile.-
[15:45] <@Minaplo> [Go had watched all of this, and had surmised that Roku didn't have a clue as to what she wanted. She approached Roku and asked if she needed help, to which Roku had shook her head, saying she had been wasting time. Go didn't question this, since it was obviously true.-
[15:46] <@Minaplo> [Go and Roku had gotten along quite well in the past, and so Go didn't feel nearly so timid around her as she did with, say, Hachi. Enthusiastically (for Go), Go asked if Roku was interested in lunch, maybe even -cooking- it since she was so good at it. Roku had stared at Go in alarm, then had, with a sigh, accepted the proposal.-
[15:47] <@Minaplo> [They had gone to the Officer's Mess, which had its own kitchen open to guests who wished to use it. Go had set about preparing their meals…-
[15:48] <@Minaplo> <Roku*>
[15:54] <@Minaplo> [But it seemed as though Roku had lost her edge. She overcooked the noodles;, nearly cut the tip of her finger off whilst cutting up the lettuce; had gone to seek a bandaid for her rather severe cut, leaving her eggs to overboil, hot water flooding everywhere; had slipped and dropped the pot when trying to get it off the stove, sending waves of cascading heat all over a scalded, hapless Bruce Savage; had, whilst trying to help a screaming, flailing Bruce, neglected to take the battered pork out of the deep fryer, burning it to a crisp and ruining the oil; whilst changing said oil, had taken the super-hot pot of tomato soup off the stovetop and onto a nearby benchtop, forgetting about it until it had left a massive black burn in the acrylic surface; then finally, had tried to quickly rush the soup pot off the benchtop, tripped on a small puddle of hot water, and had fallen to the ground.-
[15:55] <@Minaplo> [And so Go, waiting out in the dining area, had entered the kitchen to find Ayanami Roku kneeling on the ground sobbing into her hands, liberally splashed with tomato soup.-
[15:58] <@Minaplo> [Go had quietly taken her sister away, gave her a chance to wash and then, to calm her down, took her over to Mr. Blue's, where Mr. Blue gave them both a strawberry milkshake to go for free out of pity. Go and Roku then headed off, milkshakes in hand, towards the observation deck…-
[16:00] <@Minaplo> [Only for them to be caught in a rush of civilians and children on their way to a scheduled evacuation flight. A young child, no more than four or five, hadn't been watching where he was going and had rushed straight into Roku at top speed, knocking her off balance, causing her milkshake to go everywhere. Roku had snapped, shouting at the child and pushing him away, where the child had slipped on some errant milkshake and bowled over a pair of adorable toddler twins that had been clumsily running after their father…-
[16:01] <@Minaplo> [Go had led a red-faced, raging Roku away from the endless screams of crying children, taking her to the old Brother Cafeteria, where her strawberry milkshake had been replaced with a strawberry ice cream.-
[16:01] <@Minaplo> [They now sat in the very corner of one of the stands overlooking the ornate swimming pool in the Swimming Room…-
[16:02] <@Minaplo> [But hidden or no, a thoroughly deflated Roku and Go had left a distinct trail of misery and destruction behind them that would make them extremely easy to find.]
[16:24] <Raphael> Extremely easy indeed. It had been quite easy to follow the trail from a still reddened and glum-looking Bruce to Blue's, where Blue had (After a sufficient amount of cursing), pointed him in the vague direction of their final destination…-
[16:24] <Raphael> And so it was that a slightly wary Raphael arrived at the Swimming Room. He straightened his collar, reconsidering his mission - Speaking to Go would have been simple enough, but whatever was going on with Pilot Roku seemed to be something else entirely.-
[16:24] <Raphael> And yet he doesn't waste time in entering the Swimming Room, glancing around until his gaze fell on the pair huddled in the corner. The sheer -misery- of their combined expressions is enough to make the hesitation return.-
[16:24] <Raphael> "Uh, excuse me. Go, Roku? Is everything alright?" He asks, loud enough to carry to their side of the room but only just. He closes the distance a little, ready to leave if they said the word. Something was obviously going on here.

[16:35] <@Minaplo> ["Uh…" Go stared at Raphael, before her gaze flicked back to Roku, then back at Raphael. She had Heard Stories about Raphael, of young nubile women going mad with desire at his sheer presence, although that seemed unlikely because he wasn't really all that hunky.-
[16:35] <@Minaplo> [Roku, for her part, didn't respond. She resolutely licked at her ice cream, staring at Raphael.]
[16:36] <Raphael> "Uh." Raphael agrees, looking between the two. This was going well.-
[16:37] <Raphael> "… I was actually looking for you, Pilot Go, but I heard there had been some… problems. I thought I should make sure you two were alright."
[16:39] <@Minaplo> ["I-I'm ok." Said Go meekly. Her gaze only briefly settled on Raphael before moving away back to Roku.-
[16:39] <@Minaplo> [Roku kept staring at Raphael. She licked her ice cream again.]
[16:41] <Raphael> "I… hmm." He frowns, trying to match that stare - maybe even to work out what was going on behind it.
[16:43] <@Minaplo> [Roku licked her ice cream for a third time, then stood up. "Where is Aksel Heiden?" She asked shortly.]
[16:52] <Raphael> … Raphael's posture shifts fractionally, as though he'd finally found his mental footing. He didn't understand the whys - he didn't need to - but he knew enough to understand where this conversation was headed. "Imprisoned." Raphael says, just as shortly. "Why?"
[16:53] <@Minaplo> ["Where?"]
[16:53] <Raphael> "Why?" Raphael repeats.
[16:54] <@Minaplo> [Roku's expression becomes a glare. Her hands curled into a fist.-
[16:55] <@Minaplo> [The ice cream cone collapsed, crushed together, robbing the scoop of ice cream of its support. It came loose, rolling over Roku's hand before falling and splatting against the round, where it slowly began to forlornly melt.-
[16:55] <@Minaplo> ["I need to see him." Said Roku.]
[17:01] <Raphael> "Alright. That can be arranged." Raphael said, forcing his voice into a more gentle register. That glare… unnerved him. "But he's a high value prisoner, and right now your… vehemence is going to raise some questions."
[17:05] <@Minaplo> ["When can I see him?"]
[17:06] <Raphael> "That will be up to your commanding officer."
[17:06] <@Minaplo> [There was a pause.-
[17:06] <@Minaplo> [Go was looking to one side, frowning in thought.-
[17:08] <@Minaplo> ["It. It has to be soon." Said Roku. There was a new tone to her voice now, higher, fearful. "Please."]
[17:17] * Raphael is quiet for some time. "As soon as this battle is done I'll speak to Colonel Amatore-DeForest. I can't do anything before then. If you could tell me what was going on…" He lets it hang, watching Roku carefully. "… Anyway. It would help."
[17:19] <@Minaplo> ["Before the battle."]
[17:23] <Raphael> "Impossible." Raphael says simply.
[17:30] <@Minaplo> [Roku trembles for a second, and the way her face draws together suggests that she's about to burst into tears.-
[17:30] <@Minaplo> [But she doesn't, at least not yet. That glare returns, and she marches over to Raphael until she's mere inches away from his face.-
[17:31] <@Minaplo> [With remarkable speed and strength, she backhands him across the right cheek- before turning and running off at top speed.]
[17:34] <Raphael> His feet had been braced. He'd been ready to accept the hit. Even in those circumstances it's enough to knock him to the ground, the other side of his face striking the floor to be punctuated by a grunt of pain.-
[17:35] <Raphael> He lays there for a moment, listening to Roku's footsteps depart, before letting out a simple, eloquent groan.
[17:37] <@Minaplo> [Go had withdrawn, shrinking away from them both at the moment of confrontation… But now that Roku is gone, Go stood up, hurrying over to Raphael's side and offering a hand up. "S-Sorry. She's a little edgy today…"]
[17:38] <Raphael> "I… didn't notice." He says, gratefully accepting the assistance in hauling himself back to his feet.-
[17:40] <Raphael> He stares at the empty doorway thoughtfully, rubbing his cheek. "A good strike, though." He adds with forced casualness.
[17:44] <@Minaplo> ["S-She shouldn't have hit you." Mumbled Go.]
[18:10] <Raphael> "Probably not." He nods.-
[18:10] <Raphael> "… I don't know Pilot Roku very well, as far as the Sisters go, but I know that was a long way from normal for her."
[18:13] <@Minaplo> ["It was." Said Go sadly. "I-I wonder why she was worried so much about this… A-Aksel person."-
[18:13] <@Minaplo> [She looked over at Raphael again. "Oh! Y-You have ice cream on your face."]
[18:18] * Raphael frowns, glancing down at his hand to find that, indeed, there was an accompanying smear along the back of his knuckles where he had rubbed at his cheek. "So it would seem," he says, giving Go a quick smile as he pulls a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. "Thank you very much, ma'am. Best that I don't wander off with that all over my face."
[18:21] <@Minaplo> ["Y-You're welcome." Said Go awkwardly, looking about.]
[18:24] <Raphael> "Seems there's been a lot of uncharacteristic anger going around." Raphael says conversationally, wiping at the bright red mark on his cheek with a slight wince to clear away the ice-cream.
[18:24] <@Minaplo> ["O-Oh?"]
[18:26] <Raphael> "Lieutenant Archibald from the bridge crew said you had a little… incident after your mission with the Emissary." He nods. "We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, but I thought I'd at least offer."
[18:32] <@Minaplo> ["O-Oh, that." She mumbled. She looked down towards her feet… And curiously enough, her cheeks began to burn red. "It… I-It was pretty scary at the time."]
[18:36] * Raphael nods. "It was a long mission. It's natural for tensions to run a little high, but that doesn't help the people who suffer from it.
[18:36] <Raphael> "*
[18:37] <@Minaplo> ["I-I don't think… Um…" She shifted uncomfortably, looking around.-
[18:38] <@Minaplo> [The swimming room had been mostly empty… Mostly. There were still seven or eight people around, either swimming in the water or taking drinks from the bar. And most of them were looking over at them, their attention caught by the altercation.]
[18:55] <Raphael> "… Ah." Raphael murmurs. How had he missed that…?-
[18:55] <Raphael> "Perhaps we should move this conversation elsewhere?"
[19:17] <@Minaplo> [She nodded quickly. "W-We could go to my quarters."]
[19:18] * Raphael nods in turn. "If you'd like, ma'am."
[19:20] <@Minaplo> ["P-Please don't call me that."]
[19:20] <Raphael> "Sorry?"
[19:21] <@Minaplo> [She shook her head quickly. "'Ma'am', please…"]
[19:23] * Raphael hesitates. "… Alright. I'll try, but I might slip up now and then. Old habits."
[19:26] <@Minaplo> [She nodded quickly before she began to hurry off, sipping away on her milkshake.-
[19:28] <@Minaplo> [About 15 minutes later, they'd arrive at the door outside Go's quarters.-
[19:29] <@Minaplo> ["S-Stay here." Said Go in a tone almost approaching firmness as she opened the door, stepped inside and closed it.-
[19:29] <@Minaplo> [Raphael would be left outside by himself for six, seven minutes until the door would slide open again, revealing Go. "You can come in now…"]
[19:37] <Raphael> Raphael, for his part, bore the wait placidly, leaning against the wall opposite the door and staring fixedly at the opposite wall. There was more than enough to occupy his thoughts for a few minutes. Every now and then he would unconsciously work his jaw, testing for damage.-
[19:38] <Raphael> And still he's ready with a bright smile when the door opens again, pushing away from the wall. "All neat and tidy?" He asks as he steps through the door.
[19:42] <@Minaplo> ["Y-Yeah."-
[19:45] <@Minaplo> [Her room wasn't much different to any other set of quarters on the ship, except perhaps for being a little smaller and lacking any conspicuous artwork. Go wasn't an officer, after all. Nevertheless, the quality of the room was still quite above that of military fare, featuring a plasma television, large double bed, several bookcases (which were full), and a small dining table with three comfortable chairs around it.-
[19:46] <@Minaplo> [Go hurried over to the bed, sitting on it up against the pillows… Only to scurry off again to pull out a chair for Raphael before climbing back onto her comfortable perch.]
[20:09] * Raphael 's attention drifted over the room, breaking away briefly to give Go another smile for the chair she offered, only to inevitably find his attention drawn towards the bookshelves. "You're quite a reader, hmm?"
[20:14] <@Minaplo> ["Y-Yes." She said. "I… I read a lot. Do you read…?"]
[20:20] <Raphael> "Not as much these days. Not unless you count the mountain of reports that comes with work - and I certainly don't." He chuckles. "When I was younger, though, it was a different story. Do you mind if I have a look?" He asks, gesturing towards the nearest shelf.
[20:29] <@Minaplo> [A split-second moment of horror crosses Go's face, but she nods nevertheless. "F-Feel free…"]
[20:32] * Raphael waits a moment longer in an obvious, silent offer to let her reconsider.
[20:34] <@Minaplo> [But of course now she -realises- Raphael saw her true response, and now she feels guilty for being a bad host. Of course, Raphael doesn't know that- all he sees is her rapid nod and a single wave of the hand at the bookcase.]
[20:35] * Raphael nods slowly and turns towards the nearest bookshelf, running a finger along the spines as he checks the name.
[20:35] <Raphael> «the titles*»
[20:50] <@Minaplo> [The first four shelves or so seem to be dominated by romance novels, culled from over two hundred years of literature. There aren't many surprises here- he can see Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility… At the very least, it's interesting to see the covers transform from the simple duochrome affairs of the earlier books into the colourful, risque works of the modern era. After that, a small section has been chiselled out specifically for Anne of Green Gables and its sequels. Below that, the careful organisation goes to hell, and Raphael can see an eclectic mix of fantasy, science fiction, more romance, detective stories… At this point it's obvious that Go has, at some point, simply developed a habit of buying six or seven books at once from whatever she could reach that looked interesting. Even Tom Clancy has one or two books in this mess.-
[20:51] <@Minaplo> [And that was just one bookshelf!]
[21:00] <Raphael> "Have you really read all of these?" Raphael asks, and even with his back turned she could tell he was a little impressed. By the sheer -volume- if nothing else.
[21:01] <@Minaplo> ["Not all. Most…"]
[21:05] <Raphael> "It's an impressive collection." Raphael says, turning away from the shelf and seating himself.
[21:07] <@Minaplo> ["T-Thanks. I was reading at an early- time."]
[21:09] * Raphael nods, barely even reacting to the slip. "You all found something to ground you, and you could find a lot worse things to use than books."
[21:10] <@Minaplo> ["L-Like violence!"]
[21:13] <Raphael> "Uh. Yes, like violence." Raphael agrees slowly. That was worryingly specific.
[21:14] <@Minaplo> ["Like… Like going out in a costume!" She continued, her hands balled into fists, a firm frown on her face. "And beating up criminals!"]
[21:15] <Raphael> "Uh."
[21:19] <@Minaplo> ["That would be really unhealthy!"-
[21:19] <@Minaplo> [Her eyes suddenly widened, and she looked at Raphael, panic-stricken. "N-Not that anyone does that…"]
[21:20] <Raphael> "No?”
[21:22] <@Minaplo> ["N-Nope."]
[21:24] <Raphael> "Because it sounded like someone did." Raphael said mildly.
[21:26] <@Minaplo> [Go buried her face in her hands.]
[21:33] <Raphael> "It's ok, ma'am. You didn't -really- say anything."-
[21:34] <Raphael> "Go." Comes the delayed correction. "It's ok -Go-."-
[21:34] * Raphael chuckled. "See? We can both have our slip-ups."
[21:35] <@Minaplo> [She let out a short giggle obviously despite herself. She lifted her head a little.-
[21:37] <@Minaplo> ["But, uh… You wanted to talk about Ezekiel…?"]
[21:46] * Raphael shrugs. "I'm concerned about you, not Ezekiel. I just wanted to make sure the Emissary hadn't shaken you too badly, but it seems like Isaiah did a good job calming you down."
[21:46] <Raphael> «Pilot Gabriel-Wei*»
[21:48] <@Minaplo> [Go nodded, beaming. "He's very soothing. The way he talks, his whole air, he's like a kitty cat or a massage…"]
[21:51] * Raphael chuckles, only sounding a little awkward. "He's a good man. I get the impression he cares about you girls a lot - It's certainly true for Rei."
[21:54] <@Minaplo> ["Rei's probably his favourite. Lucky Rei…" Said Go dreamily.]
[21:56] <Raphael> "Well, he's spent a lot of time with her over the years." Raphael says, glancing away.
[21:58] <@Minaplo> ["Just like you."]
[22:00] <Raphael> "Like me." He agrees.
[22:03] <@Minaplo> ["You and Rei probably do all kinds of things together." Said Go, who was still smiling dreamily. "Like cook dinner for each other, or go out to parks or movies or circuses, or play games together… And when she gets married, she'll name a baby after you, and then everyone will call him Raffy Ayanami, and you'll babysit him, and change his nappies, and he'll throw his bottle at you, but you'll still love him…"]
[22:13] <Raphael> "…" These conversations were so strange. At times like this it was like seeing Rei from another side, variables changed but the core personality remaining the same. That made sense to him, but at other moments (His mind flashed back to the earlier conversation with Roku) it was like dealing with a different person entirely.-
[22:14] <Raphael> None of which made it easier to find a good response to this… diversion. "That'll be up to Rei, when the time comes." He hedges.
[22:17] <@Minaplo> ["But it would make you happy… R-Right?"]
[22:20] <Raphael> "… Yeah." He said eventually. And he knew it was true - he'd felt the little stirring of pride in his chest at the very idea. "I suppose it would."
[22:24] <@Minaplo> ["I hope it happens, then! I'll remember this if Rei ever asks for baby names!"]
[22:27] <Raphael> … She'd do it, too. He stifled a sigh.-
[22:28] <Raphael> "-Hopefully- that's a long way off yet. She's still so young."
[22:36] <@Minaplo> ["I-I think it'll be ok." Said Go quickly. "Rei's responsible, isn't she?"]
[22:40] <Raphael> "Very. As is the Major, I would add, but the two of them are young and in love. Things happen."
[22:45] <@Minaplo> ["So very in love." Sighed Go. "A-And all it could take was one night where the passion was too heady, the desire too great, and…" She hugged herself, as though half terrified, half tantalised at the thought.]
[22:46] * Raphael grimaced. "… I-I suppose that was the point I was making, yes. Minus the… rest."
[22:47] <@Minaplo> ["Huh? O-Oh."-
[22:50] <@Minaplo> ["A-Anyway. Don't worry." Said Go hurriedly. "I know things will… Be ok. With all that."-
[22:51] <@Minaplo> [Go paused, her cheeks flushing quickly, before she moved on. "B-But what… We were talking about earlier, with Ezekiel… W-well, it was very… Scary." She said. "He can be pretty i-intimidating… I r-remember crying a little, and all the things he was saying made me feel like an awful person."]
[22:53] <Raphael> "What -did- he say, exactly?" Raphael asks, more than a little grateful for the shift in topic. "I'm struggling to imagine what could have happened to make him that angry."
[22:54] <@Minaplo> ["Uh… H-He said I nearly destroyed the universe."]
[22:58] * Raphael opens his mouth and slowly shuts it. It's a moment before he tries to do it again.-
[22:58] <Raphael> "… That… would do it."
[23:00] <@Minaplo> ["Y… Yeah." She looked glum, looking down at her hands. "And he was really angry and scary, and then de Pteres said something and he became even angrier…"]
[23:03] * Raphael sighs. "Pilot de Pteres tends to be good at that, yes."
[23:03] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah. I… Uh, I've heard."-
[23:04] <@Minaplo> ["B-But then, as Ezekiel was getting really angry, Armin appeared out of nowhere and flying kicked Ezekiel across the room!"]
[23:14] <Raphael> "That's the Lance, correct?" Raphael asks. "Lieutenant Archibald mentioned him as well."
[23:15] <@Minaplo> [Go nodded. "We repaired him in the thought place Ezekiel took us. De Pteres has a lance copy that's our scale, except that's really the avatar of Armin, and he can swap between being Lance Armin or being Armin Armin."]
[23:17] * Raphael squints, but nods. "I… think I understand. So it's sentient?" A slight frown. "Or he's sentient? I'm not really sure which is correct."
[23:20] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah. He's like Ezekiel in all of that sense."]
[23:31] * Raphael rubs his sore cheek idly, frowning. "I think I understand." He says, with a tone that seems to indicate this is only barely true. "He's a construct built by you Pilots?"
[23:33] <@Minaplo> [Go shook his head. "His current form is, uh… Influenced, I think, by our thoughts and knowledge, w-which is why he can speak our language and why he looks human, but he's actually billions of years old. His s-spirit was in the Lance, still, and we reforged his 'body' and rekindled his spirit. E-Ezekiel could probably explain this better than I could, because they knew each other from way back! Isn't that crazy?"]
[23:35] <Raphael> "It's fairly crazy." Raphael agreed.
[23:36] <@Minaplo> ["B-But then, he did a big backflip off Ezekiel, and landed in front of me, and-" Go paused, her eyes darting left and right nervously as a huge bloom of red filled her cheeks.-
[23:37] <@Minaplo> ["H-He told me that it was alright, and Ezekiel was only trying to s-scare me, and then he wiped my tears away with his long hair~"]
[23:40] * Raphael raises an eyebrow, looking slightly bewildered. "… Why his hair, of all things? He couldn't use a sleeve, or anything else, really?" Raphael asks.
[23:40] <@Minaplo> [Go clapped her hands over her cheeks, letting out a horrified moan.-
[23:40] <@Minaplo> ["H-He wasn't- w-wearing an-anything at all!"]
[23:40] * Raphael stares at Go, his expression suddenly stony.
[23:42] <@Minaplo> [Go stared back, her eyes wide, her cheeks burning red. "I-I'm sorry! I-I didn't m-mean to look, b-but I did!"]
[23:43] <Raphael> "I… no… that wasn't really what I was saying." Raphael says quickly, his own cheeks going a little red.
[23:43] <@Minaplo> ["I-I wasn't t-trying to perv! H-Honest!"]
[23:45] <Raphael> "I believe you!" Words. More desperate words to stop this conversation, true or not.
[23:46] <@Minaplo> [Go peeked slowly over her hands.-
[23:46] <@Minaplo> ["R-Really…?"]
[23:48] <Raphael> "Of course." He says. There was no sigh of relief yet, but she at least seemed to be slowing down.
[23:48] <@Minaplo> ["O… Okay."]
[23:49] <Raphael> "Okay." Raphael agrees, slumping in his chair a little.
[23:51] <@Minaplo> ["B… But yes. A-After that, Isaiah led me away, and they took Armin off to find him clothes and send him to Sera." She sighed. It sounded suspiciously disappointed.]
[23:58] * Raphael fights the urge to groan. "Yes. Well. There's… uh, a lot to prepare for, ma'am."
[23:58] <@Minaplo> [Go nodded slowly.-
[23:59] <@Minaplo> ["D-Did you know he smells like warm cinnamon up close?" Blurted out Go all of a sudden. "B-Because… He does. That."]
[00:03] <Raphael> "I'm very happy for him, ma'am." Raphael says, retreating still further into Professionalism. Why was this happening again?
[00:03] <@Minaplo> [Go stared at Raphael.-
[00:04] <@Minaplo> [… Then it seemed to click. "W-What am I saying…?" She murmured in horror.-
[00:04] <@Minaplo> ["A-A-A-Anyway, after the briefing, Ezekiel came over to my quarters in person to apologise for his actions…"]
[14:57] <Raphael> With a truly heroic burst of willpower, me manages to force back the laughter that wells up in him during Go's moment of horror. No matter how he might feel about it, he got the feeling that the poor girl was more skittish about all of this than he could ever hope to be.-
[14:58] <Raphael> "He did, did he? I'm pleased to hear it. He was good with you? No more incidents?"
[15:19] <Minaplo> [Go shook her head. "H-He was very calm."]
[15:19] <Raphael> "That's good. So you two are alright now…?"
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["I-I think so!"]
[15:22] <Raphael> "Good. I'm glad Ezekiel took the initiative. He always seemed reasonable enough."
[15:23] <Minaplo> [Go nodded several times. "I-I am, too…"]
[15:26] <Raphael> "Naturally." He smiles.
[15:29] <Minaplo> [There was a pause.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Um… Sorry about today." Said Go sheepishly. "Roku isn't gonna get in trouble, is she?"]
[15:38] <Raphael> "… No." Raphael says, the response coming a little slowly. "No, whatever's going on I don't think that's likely to help. There was no harm done, not really."
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["But you are gonna do something…?"]
[15:42] <Raphael> "I'll have to. The last time I know of one of your sisters lashing out like that, Rei was court martialled. It's one thing if it's me, but if she's that close to the edge…"-
[15:43] <Raphael> "… I'll have to bring it to the Colonel. Maybe Doctor Delgado. I'll make sure she's not punished, but there are too many warning signs. Not to mention who she was after."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Hmm… I see." Said Go quietly. She was fidgeting with her hands.]
[15:46] <Raphael> "You don't approve?" Raphael asks.
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Huh? N-no, no…"]
[15:52] <Raphael> "… Alright." Raphael says after a moment. "If you don't mind my asking, how close are you two? Did she tell you anything?"
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["We got along, but she went to Eden and I went to Berlin, so we haven't spent much time together." Said Go. "She hasn't told me anything about that Aksel guy, though…"]
[15:57] * Raphael nods slowly. "He's one of Caine's Solomon Captains. A clone." A shadow crosses his face at that last statement, there and gone. "My unit captured him during an op in Africa."
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Oh. Ohh. If… If he's important to her…"-
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Go gave Raphael a dubious look.]
[16:08] <Raphael> "He's an enemy agent, Go. A relatively high-ranking one." Raphael says, sounding a little tired now.
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Maybe…" Go frowned.-
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Maybe ask -him- about Roku…?"]
[16:20] <Raphael> "A good idea, and one I'll probably look into, but he's not on the ship." He sighs.
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Oh. Right, he's elsewhere, that's why Roku can't see him…"]
[16:39] <Raphael> "Right." He says with a little sigh. After a moment of consideration he pulls himself to his feet. "I should go speak to the Colonel. Roku's Evangelion may be disabled, but I don't like the idea of her being sent into combat without people knowing about this."
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["You're leaving?"]
[16:42] * Raphael tilts his head. "You need me to stay?"
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["N-No, no… I…" Her gaze flitted from one side to the other nervously.-
[16:47] <Minaplo> ["I-I was just going to watch a movie, a-and I didn't k-know if you'd like to stay or n-not…"]
[16:59] * Raphael looks at the girl for a moment, trying to find a reason to say no. Those eyes, though… they're too much. It's been years since he could say no to that expression with any regularity.-
[17:01] <Raphael> … and besides that, he could hear that advice resurfacing in his mind again. The source was just as unpalatable as ever, but the advice itself? Hard to deny.-
[17:02] * Raphael wanders over to the edge of the bed and sits down, careful not to block Go's view of the television. "What are we watching, ma'am?"
[17:17] <Minaplo> [She beamed. "Anne of Green Gables. A-And please… N-no 'ma'am'…"]
[17:18] <Raphael> "Sorry." He smiles.-
[17:18] <Raphael> "… Is this the old film? Pre-Impact?"
[17:19] <Minaplo> [Go nodded several times.]
[17:27] <Raphael> "I know the one." He says, the smile becoming a little distant.
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh, good!" Go's smile became wider, a little easier, as though relieved.-
[17:33] <Minaplo> [The DVD goes in, and the television goes on. Go settled back onto the bed, lying against her stacked pillows.-
[17:39] <Minaplo> [Raphael could probably guess the appeal. An un-asked for orphan, sensitive yet headstrong, who stubbornly refuses to be anything other than she is, and is accepted for it…-
[17:40] <Minaplo> [The movie plays out, set against the gorgeous pastoral landscape and countryside of Prince Edward Island- a silent poignance to the images of a place that had vanished beneath the waves eighteen years ago, along with many other things.-
[17:41] <Minaplo> [Go is clearly familiar with the movie, but furthermore she's comfortable and the soothing imagery seems to lull her deeper and deeper into a sense of security. Before an hour has passed, Raphael would turn to find Go, head lying back against the pillow, quite asleep.]
[18:02] <Raphael> To say the movie had the same effect on Raphael would be an overstatement, but it had been… calming. It had allowed him to be alone with his thoughts for a time - and his doubts. About the mission, about the evacuation that had carried Suzanne away. About Lucas, ensconced safely within Asgard-
[18:02] <Raphael> But that advice kept coming back to him, gnawing at him. If he really was to believe there was a future, what did that mean for these girls…? They had come this far on their own determination, their natural willpower, but they needed more than that. And if this war really did have an end, what would they be left with?-
[18:02] <Raphael> It's with that thought that he turns away from the TV to find Go fast asleep, curled with her knees against her chest. The sight seems to bring him to some decision.-
[18:02] <Raphael> Moving gently so as not to disturb the bed he stands, crossing around to the other side of the bed to pull a blanket gently over her. A moment later the door is opening with a hiss as Raphael sets a course for the bridge.

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