For The Safety Of A Boy

[22:06] * Yanmei had calmed down a great deal. It had taken a shopping trip and a morning of idle silliness, but she was confident in her ability to detach herself from her feelings with a smile again. If she hadn't been, she wouldn't have accepted her current mission. -
[22:10] <Yanmei> The Commander was still here on the resort somewhere. She knew this because she had spotted her from a distance this afternoon, and had promptly fled in the opposite direction before instinct could take over. One way or another, this had to be done, however. She smoothed down the dress she was wearing - vivid violet and white striped - before pressing onward, her dukes metaphorically up and ready.
[22:15] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> The resort had a fantastic restaurant that occupied part of the large veranda that took up the facade of the entire building. However, above this veranda were a series of balconies that were catered to by the restaurant as well.-
[22:16] <Ginevre`Fontaine> It was on this balcony that Ginevre Fontaine sat, watching the waves as the light grew more duskier and red. She was dressed in a long, beautiful dark blue dress that seemed to soften the otherwise-harsh woman’s body- it was rare that the Commander demonstrated that she did, in fact, -have- curves at all.
[22:20] <Yanmei> "Hello Commander~ Lovely view, isn't it," she called out conversationally. This was after she had dodged the host on duty. After she had mounted the stairs to the balcony at a fast clip, and had settled down before climbing the last few so that she would look more composed.
[22:22] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "It is." Said Ginevre. She didn’t turn.
[22:28] <Yanmei> "…" Less than a minute into the conversation, and she was already feeling angry. She was careful to keep it from building on her face, at least. "May I join you for a moment?"
[22:29] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "You may." The woman gestured toward a free seat directly opposite to her- on the far side of the table.
[22:32] <Yanmei> So Yanmei sat, crossing her legs and readjusting the skirt of her dress when it shifted to show a patch of darkened skin on her upper thigh. "So! How was your trial?"
[22:32] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "Short." The Commander was wearing black glasses that his her eyes.
[22:34] <Ginevre`Fontaine> «Covered her eyes completely*»
[22:36] <Yanmei> "I see, I see," she said pleasantly. "We ran into anothe NERV affiliate at the lodge who suggested as much. Apparently you gave quite a performance?" Dark glasses. Maybe she should have thought of that, given how difficult it made it to tell what the wearer was thinking.
[22:37] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "No more than necessary." Said Commander Fontaine with a hint of distaste.
[22:45] <Yanmei> "But you did make a point of acting concerned about the well-being of Isaiah Gabriel-Wei - when someone brought up that security breach on the day of that last Angel attack." She rested a casual elbow on the table, smile turning sweeter with the upcoming praise. "From what I’ve heard, I think I would be impressed with your acting abilities."
[22:48] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Isaiah is a special young man." Said the Commander. "What he did was extremely brave. Of course I would protect him."
[22:52] <Yanmei> "By… subjecting him to sync tests?" Yanmei chuckled. "There’s a difference between protecting someone that you admire, and protecting a potential business investment."
[22:54] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Oh?"
[22:56] <Yanmei> "You disagree?"
[22:57] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "You seem to imply that I see Isaiah merely as a business investment."
[23:02] <Yanmei> "I don’t think that's an unreasonable assumption, given precedents? Obviously, you suspected that he had the potential to become a pilot. What would you have done had he actually synced with Eva Unit-04, I wonder…"
[23:03] * Ginevre‘Fontaine stared at Yanmei coolly. She didn’t respond.
[23:07] * Yanmei stared back, forcing herself not to look away under the scrutiny. It was alarmingly difficult. "Well," she finally said, amicably. "I'm concerned with his protection as well. Although, that stems from friendship as opposed your motives."
[23:10] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Admirable. But you do of course agree with my course of action."
[23:13] <Yanmei> "In the courtroom, yes. And I thank you for that." She closed her eyes serenely. "In the entry plug, however… that’s a different story."
[23:13] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "A different story? Enlighten me."
[23:21] <Yanmei> "I had hoped to put this more elegantly, but…" her eyes opened again, "Exposing someone to Eva-04’s… disposition is not something that you should take lightly. I was also dismayed that he had been instructed not to inform me about the tests? Although naturally, I found out anyway."
[23:26] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "It was not a decision I made lightly. EVA-04 underwent an independent activation event in response to Isaiah’s presence. Just as we did for de Pteres, I ordered a synchronisation test." The woman… Didn't shrug. But you could -sense- the action anyway. "He synchronised three times. Each time was momentary, but long enough for us to get a ratio reading. I felt more than justified."
[23:29] <Yanmei> "-Excuse- me? Independent activation event?" She was struggling to swallow back some acute sense of horror. Composure, though. Composure… "So you're saying that you would feel justified in subjecting them to more tests?"
[23:33] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Independent activation event. EVA-04 activated of its own accord and watched Isaiah for a total of four minutes, 22 seconds before deactivating. And yes, I would." Her posture hardened. Yanmei could -feel- the scathing glare behind those eyes. "I am the Commander of NERV. My mandate is to defeat the Angels wherever they may lie, by any means necessary. If those means involve making Isaiah pilot, then so be it."
[23:40] <Yanmei> "Even if EVA-04 keeps attacking him?" Beneath the table, her hands balled into fists. What the hell, 04? It had never even done that for her! "If this is what you mean by protecting him, then I shouldn’t be surprised."
[23:41] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "No. It was only after the third test that the extent of 04’s backlash became apparent. I would not subject Isaiah to 04 again. Nevertheless if the need arises I would not hesitate from making him a pilot of another Evangelion." She was cool and calm, and seemingly ignored Yanmei's insult.
[23:44] <Yanmei> "If the need arises," she echoed. So if one of the three of the original pilots were taken out.
[23:49] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Zhang, I am not indifferent to what you are feeling." She said, and her tone was… Softer. Gentler. It was more motherly- a sort of wistfulness tinged its edge. "He saved you from the Plug and now you intend to save him from it, too. Trust me when I say that I have been in your place before."
[23:56] <Yanmei> "Is that so?" Her voice was shot through with skepticism. This kinder, gentler Fontaine was probably just an act too. "Then you understand that I will do everything in my power to see that he stays out of harm’s way, correct?"
[23:57] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "No. I understand that you will, in time, understand that if you must choose between someone you love and the fate of the human race, you will follow in my footsteps and choose the latter."
[00:05] * Yanmei formed a hard, tense line with her mouth. Was she implying something about her level of duty? Then saying something to denote her loyalty would be a good idea. -
[00:10] <Yanmei> Disgusting, though. Did she really think that making sacrifices for this damned war like that was natural for everybody? "I think I’ve been sufficiently obedient to the organization until now? I don't see that changing. But I don't intend to back down from this either. It's too important."
[00:11] * Ginevre‘Fontaine leaned forward, now. "Zhang, I would like you to answer a simple question."
[00:11] <Yanmei> "Certainly, Commander."
[00:12] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "How long have you known Isaiah?"
[00:13] <Yanmei> "Six months."
[00:14] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "Would he die for you?"
[00:16] <Yanmei> "…I don’t know." That made her look uncomfortable, actually. He had been willing to put his life in danger for her, certainly. That was… probably a hint to the real answer.
[00:17] * Ginevre‘Fontaine didn’t hesitate for a second. "Would you die for him?"
[00:19] <Yanmei> "I don't know that either," she admitted.
[00:21] * Ginevre‘Fontaine leaned forward, now. "In six months, has he told you his hopes? Has he shared his dreams with you? Have you explored each other to the point where nothing is a mystery?"
[00:25] <Yanmei> "…" An obvious no to that one. She gathered her resolution. "That doesn’t matter. He's my friend, and I will protect him."
[00:26] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "…"-
[00:27] * Ginevre`Fontaine reached up and took off her glasses. Her blue eyes, usually icy cold, were burning. The sheer hatred and anger that burned in those eyes was… Astonishing.
[00:34] <Yanmei> Blue eyes full of rage and hatred. She had seen this before. But… she didn’t even know what she had done to set her off. The unflappable Commander Fontaine. Not so unflappable now, was she? "Well?" A hidden note of… actual superiority.
[00:39] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "You do not know who he is. You do not know if you have it in you to die for him." The Commander rose, now, towering over Yanmei at her full, incredible height. "You have known him for all of six months. How many mornings have seen you wake at his side? How many challenges have the two of you faced? How many plans have you -made- together? How many successes have you shared?"-
[00:42] <Ginevre`Fontaine> Some invisible line had been crossed. "Is he invaluable to you? Has he fathered your child? Is he so integral to your life that without him, happiness is impossible?" Her shadow was massive against the wall.-
[00:43] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "I knew a man who would die for me. I knew a man who fathered my child. I knew a man who was so integral to my life that happiness would be impossible for me without him." She leaned over the table. "And I -sacrificed him- in the name of humanity and I would do so again. You do not know one tenth of what I have done for this species."
[00:53] <Yanmei> "…" What could someone say to that? She had avoided her eyes from the full fury on exhibition, eyes lowered slightly as if staring at something on the table. This was…actually -worse- than EVA-04’s rages, and she could not put her finger on how.
[00:58] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "The salvation of this species is all that matters." Said Fontaine, her voice starting to quieten, now. "Risking the life of a boy you hardly know is a small price to pay for that objective."
[01:09] <Yanmei> Some sort of apology should have been in order. Yanmei gazed at the tablecloth for a time, unhappily. Saying I’m sorry to someone who was telling her to give up on Isaiah, on herself, was not something that came easily. Even if she said it, would she have meant it? "I wasn't thinking." she said instead, her voice little but a mumble.
[01:11] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "…" The sound of a chair being shifted. Yanmei would find the Commander sitting down once more- but now at her side, instead of opposite. "… No. Don’t worry about it. -I- wasn't thinking." Murmured the Commander apologetically.
[01:18] * Yanmei tried not to look at her directly. The proximity did make her a touch uncomfortable, especially after that outburst, and she was worried that some little lingering germ of resentment in her own eyes would set off the power keg again. Head lowered slightly so that her bangs veiled her eyes, she started rise. "Maybe I should go."
[01:19] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "Zhang… Wait. Before you go."
[01:20] <Yanmei> "Yes, Commander?"
[01:24] <Ginevre`Fontaine> "…" The Commander looked a little uneasy for a moment before she spoke. "I’ve felt pain every day since my husband died. I have nothing left now but the struggle. I… Should remember that others have more to live for." She looked up at Yanmei now. "He is a very special boy. Fight to protect him, as hard as you can, even against me, but know that if I have to make the decision, I will. I know you don't like to hear that.-
[01:25] <Ginevre‘Fontaine> "But I understand you."
[01:34] <Yanmei> "Yes, Commander." That was something of an apology too, wasn’t it? It was suprising. Remembering the discarded Alexandre Fontaine on the beach by the VTOL, she wondered if she really did understand or if she was just saying that. She resumed standing started walking off. "Please enjoy the rest of your visit." -
[01:37] <Yanmei> She paused, both with her feet and her voice. "There is… someone else besides the struggle, though? He's probably hoping you remember him too." Such a clumsy delivery. And she couldn't believe that she was wasting energy on that guy of all things, after a conversation like this one. "Anyway. Goodbye for now."
[01:38] * Ginevre‘Fontaine carefully put her glasses back on. "Goodbye, Zhang. Please send my wellwishes along to Isaiah."
[01:40] <Yanmei> "Of course." With that professional parting phrase, she continued her departure. Suddenly, she really did want to find Isaiah and… what? Should she tell him about what they had talked about? She still needed to decide on that.
[01:41] * Ginevre`Fontaine waited until Yanmei was gone before returning to her own seat. In the privacy of her own voice and her own space, she murmured to herself. "… I feel sick."
[20:21] <Isaiah> It’s at this moment, as Yanmei leaves her meeting with Commander Fontaine, that Isaiah Gabriel-Wei returns, carrying several bags in his hands and, on his shoulders- an adorable brown-haired girl, cheerfully fluffing his already fluffy hair up with her hands.
[20:24] * Yanmei had intended to flee to the beach for a while. To spend the moments after the meeting brooding while searching the sands for Isaiah. As it was, he marched through the doors of the resort just as she was on the verge of exiting, and she stared at him in silent astonishment for a few beats.
[20:29] * Isaiah doesn't notice Yanmei at first, his attention being on Rei… But he's drawn to her when Rei points her out. "Meimei~" Cries the girl happily- drawing Isaiah's attention. He looks over and quickly blushes.
[20:31] * Yanmei …collects herself. Because adorable Rei was there, and there was no need to look miserable in a place where she and everyone else could see it. "Afternoon~ I see you two have been busy?"
[20:34] <Isaiah> "H-Hey." Said Isaiah, smiling somewhat sheepishly. "Yeah. We've had a good day, haven't we, Reirei?" He looked up at the little girl fondly for a moment, before looking back at Yanmei. "Have you had a good day?"
[20:37] <Yanmei> "Well, it's been an educational day," she admitted. "Where are you off to now? To find Dr. Ikari?"
[20:38] <Isaiah> "Actually, I was going to take Reirei to her room before seeing what you were up to."
[20:40] <Yanmei> "Perfect timing, then. I'll come with you."
[20:42] <Isaiah> "Alright then." Said Isaiah cheerfully.-
[20:44] <Isaiah> [It wasn't a very long trip. In fact it took about five minutes. Isaiah walked Rei to her room, setting her down finally, and putting her incredible amount of new shiny toys on the bed. (Yanmei would be able to see what was, without a doubt, a plushie of EVA-01, along with an action figure set of all three Evangelions (Isaiah stared with a frown at 04 for a moment before shakily putting it down).-
[20:45] <Isaiah> After a final hug from Rei, Isaiah finally stepped out, closed the door to give Rei privacy with her expensive new toys, and gave Yanmei a smile.
[20:47] <Yanmei> "So they really are producing toys of them," she murmured, watching the door close with an unreadable expression. "Blanc would be interested in this. You know, she and Dorian and I were having a conversation about this very thing a few days ago?"
[20:48] <Isaiah> "You mean, NERV merchandising?" Asked Isaiah.
[20:50] <Yanmei> "Well, yes. Sort of? Marketing the Evas and pilots. I said the former would never work, and it looks like I've been proven wrong," she chuckled.
[20:53] <Isaiah> "You'd be surprised." Said Isaiah wryly. "They're expensive, too…"
[20:55] * Yanmei nodded, perhaps a little absent, turning slightly as if to walk away. "So I had a talk with the Commander this morning," she said casually.
[20:56] <Isaiah> "Oh?" Asked Isaiah curiously. "Was she in a good mood?"
[20:57] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei nearly winced at that. "While was impossible to tell that at the start of the conversation? I'll say that when I left she was not in the best of moods."
[20:58] <Isaiah> "… Oh." Isaiah put a hand on her shoulder. "Do you want to go somewhere quiet?"
[21:00] <Yanmei> "Let's," she agreed, and patted the boy on the hand.
[21:02] * Isaiah gave her a supportive little nod. "Alright." He let her lead on- to wherever she felt comfortable.
[21:06] <Yanmei> That wherever was back at their room, where she sat down on one of the beds and kicked off her sandals. She regarded him quietly for a moment, trying to get her barings. "How do you feel about the Evangelions, Isaiah?"
[21:07] * Isaiah sat down on the other bed, frowning slightly at Yanmei's question. "Well. Remember when we first met?" He smiled bashfully for a moment. "I found them scary, and that never really changed. Even though they were protecting us, I still found them to be scary. But…"-
[21:08] <Isaiah> "After… That time, I… I find myself… Really terrified of 04, at least."
[21:13] * Yanmei nodded, silently affirming something. "That's not too surprising? I thought you might feel that way. The Commander, though… doesn't really care about those things when it comes to making decisions. Personal feelings. Personal relationships." She frowned.
[21:14] <Isaiah> "She just… Does whatever she feels she has to, huh?" Said Isaiah quietly. An expression of dread crossed his face momentarily.
[21:16] <Yanmei> "I won't let her," she said firmly. It was to hard to ignore his expression. She turned away, glowering. "I told her as much today. She was not pleased."
[21:22] * Isaiah seemed taken aback. There was a moment of horrified surprise in his eyes before he finally spoke. "You told her… You told her that?" He said softly.
[21:27] <Yanmei> "Yes." She wondered if he realized just how few resources she had to back that up. It made her depressed when she thought about it. "I've done everything they told me to. I've been as loyal and reliable to NERV as I can, even when I've felt like… well." She switched gears. "Even if I get a few metaphorical bruises for this, I don't care."
[21:30] * Isaiah stared at her affectionately. Helplessly. "… But… But you'll be punished. I-I'm not worth that, Yanmei."
[21:35] <Yanmei> "You are!" There was anger in her voice. Controlled, but still present. "You don't have to get swept up in this if you don't want to. You shouldn't have to deal with the Evas if you can have a normal life. You shouldn't! It's not fair!"
[21:39] * Isaiah was trembling, looking at his feet. "I don't… I don't want to…"
[21:42] <Yanmei> "Then I'll fight her. I'll fight Eva-04 too, if it comes down to it." She already had some harsh words in mind for the machine when she got back to Paris-2.
[21:43] <Isaiah> "H… How?"
[21:44] <Yanmei> That was the question, wasn't it? A thin wave of despair rolled over her. "I don't know yet. But there must be a way."
[21:46] * Isaiah looked downcast. "It sounds like a hard fight. A… A fight for me…"
[21:49] <Yanmei> "She's expecting a fight now, anyway. It would be a shame to disappoint her," she said bitterly.
[21:51] * Isaiah stood up, a little shakily. The conversation had been… Heavy.-
[21:52] <Isaiah> But he walked towards Yanmei, coming to a stop about half a metre away. He looked at her with eyes that seemed surprisingly keen.
[21:53] * Yanmei blinked at him a few times, a little startled. "What is it…?"
[21:54] <Isaiah> "Why are you fighting so hard for me, against someone so powerful?" He asked softly. "Do you hate her so much?"
[22:01] <Yanmei> "…yes." She looked down, seething. "I need to protect you, first and foremost, but they… -she- treats everyone's lives as if they are of no consequence, for the sake of one objective. She'll sacrifice us without a second thought if it will make it come true, and she expects us to do the same. She made that clear today. Yes, I hate her!"
[22:03] <Isaiah> "I…" Isaiah lowered his own head for a moment. There was a look of apprehension on his face. An awareness of… Fate, perhaps. Her hate affected Isaiah deeply, whether she knew it or not. "Yanmei… Look at me."
[22:07] * Yanmei does look at him, trying to push her rage back far enough to see -him- and not the Commander.
[22:09] <Isaiah> Perhaps he sensed something of that nature, looking into her eyes. His own were worried now. -Worried-. He reached out to gently brush her cheek.-
[22:10] <Isaiah> "I'm here." He murmured softly. "Let me help you."
[22:15] * Yanmei had only recently started letting her guard down for things like physical contact. This gesture - the simplicity and intimacy behind it - startled her into some semblance of clarity. She was still furious, but she could see straight, at least. "That… was an unbecoming thing to say," she said at last, some hint of apology there.
[22:17] <Isaiah> "I… Prefer unbecoming." Said Isaiah gently, smiling a little. "Or at least, I prefer it when you say what you want to say. It makes me feel… Good, even if it makes me feel bad."
[22:25] <Yanmei> "…I'm not sure I get it?" she admitted. "But, all right." She pulled back a little then, examining him from a slight distance. "You're so calm now. Why aren't you angry too?"
[22:26] <Isaiah> "You're fighting for me." Said Isaiah gently. "So I know I don't have anything to worry about. I'll be safe." So much trust in that face.
[22:29] * Yanmei gazed back and somehow found a smile for him. "Right!" she nodded. "I'll find a way. Count on it!"
[22:31] <Isaiah> "You always do." He murmured.

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