He Said My Name Is Wei Hongling

[13:08] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei… Woke.-
[13:09] <AdEvaGM> [But it wasn't in her bedroom at Marianne's apartment.-
[13:10] <AdEvaGM> [It wasn't even in a hospital bed.-
[13:10] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei… Woke up in her bedroom. -Her- bedroom.-
[13:10] <AdEvaGM> [The one she had lived in…-
[13:10] <AdEvaGM> [When she had lived in Beijing-2.-
[13:11] <AdEvaGM> [… Had lived? She was living there now, wasn't she?-
[13:11] <AdEvaGM> [Her leg… The sore one… Was completely absent of pain. Sore one…?]
[13:13] <Yanmei> "Sore one?" she echoed her thoughts aloud. She scrunched her brow, trying to remember. Some… kind of dream, wasn't it? A nightmare. Wasn't she supposed to have a meet coming up? -
[13:14] <Yanmei> The Captain of the team would have a heart attack if she ended up hurting her leg after all the practice they'd done. …maybe that wasn't so bad, though? Snickering to herself, she unfolded her limbs and climbed out of bed. Time to get dressed!
[13:15] <AdEvaGM> [Her body was smooth and unharmed. … Of course it was. Why would it be anything else?-
[13:18] <AdEvaGM> [Dressed! Of course, before the meet she had to go to school. So into the uniform she went.-
[13:18] <AdEvaGM> [Her ponytails were long, glamourous- that she could see in the mirror…]
[13:22] <Yanmei> She sang idly to herself as she brushed her hair, some lame pop song that she'd picked up from the radio. A catchy one. "…let me sleep by your side. Any place will do~ Beautiful Wor-" She stopped suddenly. Turned a little, expecting to see something.
[13:31] <AdEvaGM> [Nothing…-
[13:31] <AdEvaGM> [A knock at the door.]
[13:34] <Yanmei> "Coming~" She set her brush aside and patted her hair before whisking through the house. She did pause one last time before leaving the room, haunted by some lingering uneasiness… but that passed.
[13:35] <AdEvaGM> [Knock knock kn-
[13:36] <AdEvaGM> [Two girls were standing there. One of them was short, in a lithe, compact sort of way, with a short, boyish black bobcut. The other was taller, with long legs and brown hair tied back into a pony tail.-
[13:38] <AdEvaGM> ["Morning, Yanmei!" Said the tall one- Lanfen. The short one was holding a handful of brown paper bags- breakfast? "We came to walk you to the bus stop~"]
[13:41] <Yanmei> "Ehhh? You guys are way early? I'm not even finished putting on my-" She trailed off, catching a glimpse of a hallway clock. "Y-your joking! How can it be this late?!"
[13:42] <AdEvaGM> ["She slept in." Lanfen clucked her tongue.-
[13:42] <AdEvaGM> ["She's so hopeless~ What does Liwei see in you anyway?" Teased Ju, the short one, holding out a paper bag. The smell of a delicious meat pie rose to Yanmei's nose.]
[13:46] <Yanmei> "Hngh, don't tempt me! Those things are a million calories-" She was climbing into her shoes, rather stylish knee-high boots. "-If you keep eating them? Who knows what captain Fei'll do to you~" She snatched her bags from some mounted hooks - her school bag and a gym bag, her laundered uniform neatly folded inside. "Better be careful, Ju."
[13:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Humh." Ju took the bag back, grabbed the pie and started biting into it whilst Lanfen led them away.-
[13:50] <AdEvaGM> [They emerged into the main street now, walking along the sidewalks as cars and bicycles flew past. It was a sunny, bright day.-
[13:51] <AdEvaGM> [There were a few people on the side walks, of course- there always were- but none of them really stood out- except for one.-
[13:52] <AdEvaGM> [He was tall and gaunt, the sort of strange, stretched look that suggested he was so tall only because he was so thin. He had dark brown hair, and was wearing a patchy brown coat. There was a necklace around his throat, within which sat a red gemstone- one that looked quite expensive.-
[13:53] <AdEvaGM> [He was staring at Yanmei. It was a cold, threatening look.]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "You didn't have to eat it in front of me," she was complaining, but the look the stranger was giving her made her pause. "The heck…?" She stared back, bewildered.
[14:01] * Yanmei let her eyes lock onto the jewel. She was scowling, now. What… what was it? Something had happened, but…
[14:08] <AdEvaGM> ["…?" Ju looked over at him.-
[14:09] <AdEvaGM> ["… Creepy." Said Lanfen, redoubling her pace. With her in the lead they passed the man by…-
[14:10] <AdEvaGM> [And before long were heading to the bus stop. There were a few other Deng Xiaopeng students around, too…-
[14:11] <AdEvaGM> [There was also… Someone else. Another man who stood out, differently this time. He was very handsome, with Western features- black hair, and glittering blue eyes. He wore a crisp suit and a small smile. He looked over at them.-
[14:11] <AdEvaGM> ["Oh, more Deng Xiaopeng students?"]
[14:16] * Yanmei tried not to fidget. When those eyes passed over her, it was like being trapped under a microscope. But he was good-looking. And unlike the last guy, he didn't seem like he meant any harm. "And who might you be, sir?" She tried to place his accent, if he had one. He certainly didn't look like he was from around here.
[14:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Chaise Anlei." He said with a smile. "I'm a new teacher at your school."-
[14:19] <AdEvaGM> ["What do you teach?" Asked Ju.-
[14:19] <AdEvaGM> ["English. And science."]
[14:25] <Yanmei> "Really?" Wouldn't it be great if their own science teacher suddenly ran away, and this new guy was a replacement? It would have made those hard lessons at least a little more bearable… at least, that's what she could think when he was shifting that gaze to other people. "Welcome to our school, then! We're happy to have you, so do your best."
[14:26] <AdEvaGM> ["Thank you." Said Chaise. He peered at her for a moment longer before looking away, a curious little smile on his face.-
[14:27] <AdEvaGM> [Before long, the bus came. Lanfen got on first, then Ju, and finally Yanmei and Chaise.-
[14:28] <AdEvaGM> [The bus driver today… He was tall, had a look about him that spoke of intelligence. As he held out a thick hand for Yanmei's money, there was the impression there of great strength…-
[14:29] <AdEvaGM> [Someone who, if he were to grab Yanmei- she'd never be able to shake him off by herself. The hint of a shiny red birthmark peeked out over the top of his shirt.]
[14:33] <Yanmei> Shiny red… it was a moment before she reached out to hand him her money. Like he'd actually do anything on a bus full of witnesses. Why would he, anyway? She tossed her hair before turning to more important topics. "Hey, guys!" she called after her friends. "What do you want to do next weekend? The week before we have to settle down for midterms. Our last taste of freedom~"
[14:35] <AdEvaGM> [Ju hmmed to herself. "We could go all out, hit up one of the local malls and go wild. Clothes~ and a buffet! A real restaurant~"-
[14:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Geez, Ju. It's always about the food with you." Lanfen crossed one long leg over the other. "I think we should hit up a spa. Something nice and relaxing."-
[14:37] <AdEvaGM> [Chaise sat in the seat in front of them, placing his suitcase on the empty seat. "What, no studying?" He added wryly.]
[14:41] <Yanmei> "Of course we'll study, Mr. Teacher." She had grown… a little pale at the mention of a buffet. Queezy. But that was so weird. Just a few minutes ago, she'd wanted breakfast. "It's just that we should try to enjoy ourselves too, since we'll also be studying the rest of the week?"
[14:43] <AdEvaGM> ["Of course." Said Chaise with an indulgent smile. "I remember being your age and being much the same way. I suppose that sort of behaviour is…" He turned to smile at Yanmei, his eyes glittering.-
[14:43] <AdEvaGM> ["In the blood."]
[14:48] <Yanmei> Again, that feeling of scrutiny. She wouldn't let herself grow uncomfortable, though. Or at least, not show it. "Hm, well, yeah, I suppose so?" She smile back. Blood red shiny. Lots of weird guys today.
[14:49] <AdEvaGM> [The rest of the bus trip passed without issue.-
[14:52] <AdEvaGM> [Deng Xiaopeng High School was busy and bustling- they'd arrived during the peak. Chaise headed off, leaving the three girls to travel to homeroom together.-
[14:53] <AdEvaGM> [Of course, there was a certain handsome young man waiting at the lockers, looking just a little untidy, leaning against them as though he owned them. Shao Liwei grinned.]
[14:55] <Yanmei> "What's with that expression?" Yanmei winked at him, as she started to meander slowly past. "If you don't hurry, you'll be late again~"
[14:57] <AdEvaGM> ["That doesn't sound so bad." He said, smoothly turning and putting an arm around her waist. It was a pretty daring thing to do in public- no less a school corridor. Ju tittered.]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "Oho. You're in a mood today? The hall monitor's probably gonna show up any minute, y'know."
[15:08] <AdEvaGM> ["Tch." He smirked, but let go- a brief second before the gaze of a wary hall monitor raked over the couple.-
[15:10] <AdEvaGM> ["Thaaat was close. Come on. We'd best get to homeroom before Ju twists her panties into any more of a bunch."-
[15:10] <AdEvaGM> [Ju scowled at his back.-
[15:11] <AdEvaGM> [Home room was starting to quickly become packed in. Liwei headed lazily over to his desk, and a moment after, Ju and Lanfen did the same.]
[15:13] * Yanmei found her desk too, tucking both bags under her desk, and dropping into her seat with a sigh. And thus the new day started…
[15:14] <AdEvaGM> [Her homeroom teacher took up his desk. "Ahem. Attention students… We have a new student in today."]
[15:18] * Yanmei had pulled out her notebook, although it wasn't flipped to anything interesting. A few awful doodles and the space to write a note or two. A new kid seemed like an excellent thing to write about, so she glanced up to see who it was.
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> [A boy entered.-
[15:19] <AdEvaGM> [He was a little shorter than Yanmei, and he wore his uniform in an utterly textbook fashion. He had medium-length blonde, fluffy hair, and a pair of deep blue eyes.-
[15:20] <AdEvaGM> ["…" He stared out at the class. "I-I'm…" His eyes roamed the classroom- met Yanmei's- and he froze.]
[15:21] <Yanmei> "…" She flashed her prettiest smile at him. Wouldn't this make Liwei jealous? But something was starting to sink in. Her smile faded. Confusion. "I…saiah?"
[15:22] <AdEvaGM> ["…" He was stunned.-
[15:23] <AdEvaGM> [The class watched, a faint air of irritation setting in. He looked away towards them and bowed fretfully.-
[15:23] <AdEvaGM> ["My name is Wei Hongling." His eyes flickered back towards Yanmei. "I-I have a Western name, but it's pretty dumb, so…"-
[15:24] <AdEvaGM> [The class remained silent. There was a spark of panic in the boy's eyes as he hurried to his seat- 2 seats to the left of Yanmei, on the other side of Lanfen. On the other side of Yanmei, Liwei's eyes narrowed.]
[15:27] * Yanmei stared at him. Her confusion hadn't left. Something important. Something… she rubbed her head. She knew him.
[15:29] <Yanmei> Liwei was momentarily forgotten about. As was the note she was planning to write.
[15:31] <AdEvaGM> [Hongling stared back, and Yanmei could see in his face many of the same questions she herself now possessed.-
[15:31] <AdEvaGM> ["… You know that kid?" Asked Liwei, trying to sound nonchalant and failing.]
[15:34] <Yanmei> "I'm not sure?" she didn't glance back at him. "No, that's wrong. I'm sure I have, but I don't know from where. It's foggy." She paused and snapped her fingers. "Like… retracing your last steps when you misplace your keys or something. Or having a dream you can't recall, even though it's important."
[15:36] <AdEvaGM> [Ju turned to grin at Yanmei. "Maybe the two of you were lovers in a past life~ Soulmates even after death!" She turned her grin into a smirk towards Liwei, earning a scowl from him. "Well. It's not too important, I guess. Maybe you just saw him at the shops or something."]
[15:39] <Yanmei> She was almost a little disappointed. Liwei turned into such a kid when he got jealous. It was kinda funny, and kind of annoying, and kind of endearing all at once. "Soulmates?" she muttered under her breath. She felt weird again. That queasiness. Did she smell… blood?
[15:41] <AdEvaGM> [Hongling stared for a moment more, then looked away, disquieted.-
[15:42] <AdEvaGM> [The first two periods passed altogether quietly. Chinese studies and mathematics- what a start to the day.-
[15:42] <AdEvaGM> [Eventually, there was a ringing of the bell, calling the students to lunch time.]
[15:44] <Yanmei> "Hey, Wei." She called out to him before he could leave, standing at her own desk slowly. "Eating alone? You can join us if you feel like it~"
[15:49] <AdEvaGM> ["Er…" He paused. He seemed a little skittish, almost. "Is… That ok?" A pause. "N-No, I'd better not. Sorry, Yanyan." He gave her an apologetic smile and started to head off- before suddenly stopping as he realised what he'd called her.]
[15:51] <Yanmei> "…?" That only served to confuse her more, and to earn another long, curious stare. "Yanyan? What's up with that?" she laughed.
[15:52] <AdEvaGM> ["Er…" He blushed, shaking his head. "S-Sorry. I have… Sorry." He said, flustered, quickly backing out and disappearing into the corridor.]
[15:55] * Yanmei could not stop giggling after that. What a stupid slip-up. But it was more funny than annoying. More… what, endearing?
[15:57] <AdEvaGM> […-
[15:58] <AdEvaGM> [Ju and Lanfen would already be waiting for Yanmei when she emerged, sitting at a bench. Liwei had rushed off to grab his from the school shop.-
[15:59] <AdEvaGM> ["He should bring a packed lunch." Muttered Ju.-
[15:59] <AdEvaGM> ["He did. But there was some kid who forget their's, so he gave it away." Said Lanfen loftily.]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "Wait, he did that?" Yanmei blinked, and then beamed. "What a mature thing to do! This is a side of him that he should show more often."
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> ["Clearly you're rubbing off on him a little. About time." Said Ju.-
[16:05] <AdEvaGM> ["…" But Lanfen was distracted, peering over their heads at a commotion near the lockers. Four students had surrounded a fifth and backed him up against a wall. Yanmei knew the type. Petty. Cruel. A-class bullies.]
[16:07] <Yanmei> "Hm?" She craned her neck, trying to get a better look at the participants as well. "Hey, hey… looks like something going on."
[16:08] <AdEvaGM> ["Someone being shaken up for money again. It's sad." Said Lanfen irritably.-
[16:08] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei could see a clump of hair in between the bullies… Blonde hair…]
[16:11] <Yanmei> "The new kid. It figures?" Yanmei started to unwrap her own lunch. "Too bad for him~ But he -is- pretty scrawny."
[16:15] <AdEvaGM> [The shakeup started to become more involved. Hongling was resisting- and he received a punch to the gut for his efforts.]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Survival of the fittest. If you're strong enough to get by, or if you find strength in numbers, you'll get by." She looked uncomfortable. "He should have sat with us. Why didn't he sit with us?" The discomfort deepened. She struggled with it, confused. "I wanted him to sit with us." She stood up.
[16:21] <AdEvaGM> ["Yanmei…?!" Lanfen looked up at her, confused.-
[16:24] <AdEvaGM> ["People like that are too weak to do something like accept your offer." Said a voice- Chaise, standing behind the bench, his arms folded. When had he arrived? "For them, every day is a nightmare, repeated over and over, something they don't know how to break. All they know is that any path they take might lead to pain, and even the possibility of that is enough to make them shy away, to hide until the nightmare passes, only for the next one to begin." Said the new teacher airily, seeming at peace with the world. "Weak people like that are slaves to destiny."]
[16:32] * Yanmei stared at him. "I don't know about that? Destiny and stuff. But I always thought that something fixed like that didn't exist. That it's up to a person to make their own destinies with hard work." She picked up a nearby lunch tray and gave it a few practice swings. -
[16:36] <Yanmei> "That's why I wanted him to sit with us. I think? Well, whatever. I like the kid! So I hope he can make a better destiny for himself. And I'd like to help him."
[16:38] <AdEvaGM> [Chaise smoothly slipped onto the bench, taking Yanmei's seat. "Off you go, then." He said brightly, turning to Ju and Lanfen, who were staring at him warily. "She's always been like this, you know. I can always rely on her to give me the match point."]
[16:43] <Yanmei> "One favor, though?" An apologetic bow and grin. "Bail me out if the principal tries to suspend me or something? I have a track meet this weekend, and it's super important." She turned away without hearing his answer, assuming that it was a 'yes'. Why wouldn't it be? She tossed her hair… and charged!
[16:44] <AdEvaGM> ["You'll have a lot more to worry about than a track meet, my dear Zhang Yanmei." Said Chaise quietly. He smiled.-
[16:46] <AdEvaGM> [The bullies weren't expecting Yanmei. Actually, that was an understatement. As the lunch tray slammed into the face of one of them, he let out a cry and stumbled backwards, tripped over one of his companion's feet, and slammed into the ground.-
[16:47] <AdEvaGM> [Hongling reacted immediately, turning to one of the bullies and snapping him in the face. A quick, tight punch. It was practiced- it flowed into a second punch, before a kick to the groin sent the bully squealing backwards. Leaving the last two.]
[16:49] * Yanmei blinked in surprise at that. Wei was better than he let on! Her tray suddenly felt inadequete. "There, now. Don't you guys feel ashamed of yourselves?" Yanmei put a hand on her hip. "Just hurry up and leave the guy alone. You remember what it was like to be new, right?"
[16:51] <AdEvaGM> [The two who were still standing looked at each other, then back at Yanmei. "We'll get you for this, Zhang. Shao will hear about this!" They collected their injured and made a quick escape.]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "Shao?" Yanmei tilted her head. Of course he would hear about it. She intended to tell him about it later. But… he would probably have some questions because of it. She'd never saved -him- from a hoarde of bullies before. She'd never saved anyone before. She sighed. "How awkward…"
[16:58] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Hongling watched them go, then turned to look back at Yanmei. He smiled. "Thank you, Yanyan. That… That was really pretty close." He let out a sigh. "I'm pretty used to it, though. … But I can't say I'm used to being saved."-
[16:59] <AdEvaGM> [Yanmei would see, barely discernible, a glimpse of silver peeking out from under his collar, which had been loosened in the fight.]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "You saved yourself there at the end. You're pretty strong!" The silver caught her eye, and she blinked at it.
[17:01] <AdEvaGM> ["I-I find it pretty hard to work up the courage to fight, though." He noticed her looking, and reached for it.-
[17:02] <AdEvaGM> [It… Was a locket. A locket that looked strangely familiar.]
[17:04] * Yanmei stared harder at it… and then suddenly remembered herself, pulling back a bit. "Ah. It's really pretty! A present from a girlfriend?"
[17:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Ah…" he looked down at it. "I-I don't know, actually. I don't even remember opening it, or getting it. All I know is that it's really, really special for some reason." He looked up at her. "I've never had a friend, so…" … He looked away, then back at Yanmei. "Hey, um… Do you think we could have a word? O-On the roof, maybe?"]
[17:10] <Yanmei> "Is it that prvate?" She glanced back at the table where she had been sitting with her friends. And Chaise.
[17:11] <AdEvaGM> [Chaise waved back cheerfully, then returned to teaching Ju about her role in the grand scheme of destiny. The girl had a sour look on her face that would've curdled milk.-
[17:12] <AdEvaGM> ["I-It's… Um. Things we probably shouldn't discuss with other people. Weird things." He said. "Like how you knew my Western name. Or why… Mm."]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "Yea, I don't really get it either?" A pause. "So that -was- your name after all!"
[17:18] <AdEvaGM> ["Y-Yeah. My… My name's Isaiah." He said. "But… I get made fun of for it here a lot, so I just use my Chinese name."]
[17:23] <Yanmei> "That makes sense." Yanmei nodded thoughtfully. "It's better to blend in. Ah… before you get the wrong idea? I'm so not the sort of girl who runs headlong into a brawl like that. People are probably spreading rumors about it even now. How embarrassing." She cringed, eyes flicking around the lunchroom.-
[17:24] <Yanmei> "But for some reason, that fight felt… well. It was like something I had to do."
[17:26] <Isaiah> "You know, you say that, but to me it felt strangely natural." He said quietly with a little smile- but he too glanced around the lunch room. "… So many eyes. W-We should probably be getting a move on."
[17:30] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Let's." She started to lead the way. "Let's try an empty classroom. The rooftop is a little too -far- removed. Although I guess a lot of couples go up there."
[17:36] * Isaiah smiled a little, but didn't add much to that. He simply followed on after.
[13:10] <Isaiah> [They arrived at a classroom, one that was seemingly deserted. Slipping in…-
[13:11] <Isaiah> "Alright. I guess the first-"-
[13:13] <Isaiah> [… There was a girl in the corner, staring at them, her face cold and chillingly blank. She had long brown hair, and desolate eyes; her shirt was half-open at the bottom, a shiny red stud in a belly-button piercing catching the light. She swallowed something, and the way she stared at the pair…-
[13:13] <Isaiah> [… Seemed to imply that she would quite willingly eat them next as well.]
[13:18] <Yanmei> "Ah…" Yanmei tittered. "Sorry, sorry! We're interrupting your lunch, right?" She didn't want to stare directly at the piercing. That would be rude. And anyway, she had the feeling that if she let her guard down enough to do that, the girl would try something strange. "Listen, do you think you could give us a minute? We would so so~ appreciate it!"
[13:20] <Isaiah> "Er, yeah…" Agreed Isaiah.-
[13:20] <Isaiah> ["…"-
[13:21] <Isaiah> [The girl stepped forward and grabbed Isaiah by the scruff of the neck. Before the surprised boy could respond, she started dragging him towards the door- he grabbed a desk. She was surprisingly strong.-
[13:21] <Isaiah> "Ah- hey! Stop it-!"
[13:22] <Yanmei> "Hey!" Yanmei recovered in time for a chance to reach for the girl's shoulder. "You could just say 'no' if you didn't feel like it? Let go!"
[13:23] <Isaiah> [The girl slapped Yanmei's hand away and continued to pull.]
[13:28] * Yanmei took a half step backward, startled. Then, a shadow crossed her face. Musclebound zombie freak… She moved to block the door with her own body. "We'll -leave-, okay? Just quit it! God, you seriously know how to piss a person off!"
[13:30] <Isaiah> ["…" The girl released Isaiah.-
[13:30] * Isaiah stumbled backward, readjusting his uniform. "W-What's your problem…?"
[13:31] <Yanmei> "Ugh, forget her, Wei." Yanmei threw the door open. "Let's just find someplace else?"
[13:31] <Isaiah> "R-Right." He moved to walk around her.-
[13:32] <Isaiah> [She moved to block him.]
[13:36] * Yanmei tossed her hair, shut the door to prevent witnesses, and moved forward. Closely. "Look. I don't remember seeing you around her before? But you're seriously getting in our way." Her dark eyes narrowed, hardening. "Get out of the way. If you have some problem with him, you can sort it out on your own time, but we're -busy-, understand?"
[13:38] <Isaiah> ["…" She held up her hands, as if in surrender…-
[13:39] <Isaiah> [She started walking towards the door- only for, at the last minute, to grab Yanmei's pigtails. She pulled as hard as she could, snapping a kick into the back of Yanmei's left knee.]
[13:44] * Yanmei gave a piercing scream! It hurt, it hurt! Not her scalp, but… With her eyes watering, she tried to stand back up, to face her properly. "You bitch." That -sounded- like her voice, but it was hard to recognize. "I'll kill you for that! Kill you!"
[13:46] <Isaiah> [The girl didn't say anything. She just… Grabbed Yanmei's arm, pulled it up…-
[13:46] <Isaiah> [And bit into her hand. Hard. Enough to draw blood.-
[13:46] <Isaiah> [Then… Release.-
[13:47] <Isaiah> Release as Isaiah grabbed the girl, pulled her physically away from Yanmei. With a yell, he pulled open the door and pushed her out, receiving a deep scratch across his arm for his troubles. He slammed the door behind her- which rattled for a few seconds more as the insane assailant beat upon it, before it went quiet.
[13:49] * Yanmei was… tearfully nursing her hurt leg instead of the bloody hand. She was muttering to herself.
[13:50] <Isaiah> "H-Hey, are you alright?" Murmured Isaiah, quickly wiping away at his arm. He walked over to her, taking her hand gently and inspecting the vicious bite- before realising what she was nursing. "Your leg? D-Did she break it?"
[13:52] * Yanmei tried to find out… by standing and testing her weight on it, if the pain allowed it.
[13:54] * Isaiah watched cautiously.
[13:55] <Yanmei> "She did… something." She sounded angry. "Not a break, but… I should see the nurse. Maybe go to the hospital. Damn. Damn!" She slammed a hand against a desk, but it felt like a futile, silly thing to do.-
[13:56] <Yanmei> After all, desks couldn't feel pain, even if she pretended that it was the girl she was hitting instead. "The meet. I was supposed to…"
[13:56] * Oat (~491.511.9.012|oaT#491.511.9.012|oaT) Quit (Ping timeout)
[13:57] <Isaiah> "D-Do you want me to take a look at it? I-I'm a nurse…" He frowned a little, as if somehow the revelation was a surprise to him too.
[13:58] <Yanmei> "You are?" She stared at him. "But you're just a kid."
[14:05] <Isaiah> "W-Well…" He tried to give her a reassuring smile. "I-I know. But… Can you trust me to help you, Yanyan?"
[14:07] * Yanmei hesitated. But after a moment, she hobbled closer to the desk she had struck and sat on it. She was staring at him, puzzled. "Did… did your mom teach you?"
[14:08] <Isaiah> "Y-Yeah. How did you know that?" He wrapped a makeshift bandage- a handkerchief- around Yanmei's hand, then bent down a little to gently lift her leg up so he could look at it.
[14:10] * Yanmei grimaced, brow crinkling again. "I don't know. I think we must have known each other, though, because I remember things about you, and you have a familiar look to you."
[14:15] <Isaiah> "Weird." Murmured Isaiah. "I'm trying to figure out where I met you. You… I -know- you, but…" He frowned at her leg. "I-It's strange. When she kicked you, I realised… That this was your 'bad' leg. But your leg was fine, so…" He hesitated for a moment, then he began to massage the leg, mostly around the calf and to the back of the knee. "Permanent muscular nerve damage." He murmured.
[14:18] * Yanmei tried not to squirm, but whatever he was doing was making the pain go away. Whatever he was doing was… familiar, comforting. "Permanent muscular nerve damage. That sounds bad." She sounded nervous. "But… I've never had something like that before. And you don't get something like that from a little kick, right?"
[14:20] <Isaiah> "No." Said Isaiah. He felt very comforting, too. Very warm. "If it had, you wouldn't be able to walk at all. You'd probably have blacked out from the pain. It's like…" He frowned. "It's like you've had this injury before, and her kicking it caused the muscles agony. That's probably what happened, but you said it was fine…" He was quiet, almost meditative as he rubbed the pain away.-
[14:21] <Isaiah> "She wasn't the only person to attack me like that today. I don't mean the bullies, either. There was a girl in the street- really thin, emaciated almost, who had a red tattoo on her chest. She threw a jacket at me and I ran."
[14:24] <Yanmei> "Red." Yanmei closed her eyes, troubled. "Look. I know I wasn't much help just now? But why don't you hang out with me and my friends for a while. You might get fewer threats if you were with a group."
[14:25] <Isaiah> "I don't want to cause you any trouble, though."
[14:27] <Yanmei> "It's no trouble. And anyway, I'm grateful for you helping to fix my leg." She opened her eyes and peered down to see what he was doing, exactly. "Nurse training and martial arts. You're amazing…"
[14:28] <Isaiah> It wasn't much. Just a simple- if oddly familiar- set of rubs to the leg. Sometimes the pain sprung up again as his hand moved, but it ebbed down a moment later.-
[14:29] <Isaiah> The boy himself blushed a little. "It… W-Well. It's just some combat training. Combat nurses need to get it." He said mindlessly. "Besides, I don't think I would've had the courage to fight back if you hadn't helped me."
[14:32] <Yanmei> "I didn't do much." Yanmei grinned. "I've never even fought before. I'm impressed, though. Are your parents military combat nurses? Or did you enlist early for reserve duty?"
[14:33] <Isaiah> "…?" Isaiah stared at her.-
[14:33] <Isaiah> "What-?"-
[14:33] <Isaiah> "…" It clicked. "… Combat nurse." He stared at Yanmei, his brow knotted.-
[14:34] <Isaiah> "… I'm your nurse." he said wondrously. "I'm your combat nurse. Medical Team 03…"
[14:36] <Yanmei> "…My…?" she stared back. Seemed to recall something, and shook her head. Team 03 for for the Third Child. "…I don't understand…"
[14:38] <Isaiah> "You… I had to keep you safe. I had to protect you. Because… Because you were important. Because I loved you." He murmured, his eyes wide.
[14:40] <Yanmei> "Eh…?" Yanmei's face flushed red. Could Ju have been right? Lovers from a past life? "W-what a line. You're more sly than I gave you credit for being?" She shouldn't fall for this. She already had a boyfriend!
[14:44] <Isaiah> "I-I'm not being sly." Said Isaiah, looking her in the eye. "I can't know for sure, and I don't know how I know what I do, but…" His eyes flicked towards her collar. "I didn't see it before, but your locket is just like mine."-
[14:44] <Isaiah> [… When had Yanmei put a locket on? Did she? She thought she might recall, but… Nevertheless, it sat there now.]
[14:46] * Yanmei stared down at it. The same pretty little locket as the one he wore. "Now I really don't understand? This day… this entire day is full of things I haven't been getting."
[14:47] <Isaiah> "Do you know whose pictures you have in there?"
[14:47] * Yanmei tried to remember, her fingers on the clasp. She thought deeply.
[14:49] * Isaiah moved to take his own. "P-Perhaps we should see."
[14:51] <Yanmei> "My mother. And someone. Someone who was going to be hurt and I had to save at all costs." She closed her eyes again, and opened it, a determined expression on her face. She opened the locket.
[14:51] * Isaiah opened his as well.-
[14:52] <Isaiah> [Yanmei's displayed… Her mother, a mild smile on her face, a hint of pride in her eyes, her dark purple hair tied in a businesslike bun. And…-
[14:52] <Isaiah> [It showed a smiling face, belonging to a very gentle boy with soft, blonde hair and clear blue eyes…-
[14:53] <Isaiah> Whilst Isaiah's showed a smiling child with brown hair- and a pretty, cheerful girl with violet hair.-
[14:53] * Isaiah looked up to stare at Yanmei, his eyes widening.
[14:56] * Yanmei had a light go off behind her eyes. She stared, not at him, but through him as memory after memory poured into her mind. She was quiet for a long time, and finally, she shifted her focus back to Isaiah Gabriel-Wei. "Did we die?" She was still confused, but it was a different confusion. "Is this heaven? Hell?"
[14:57] <Isaiah> "I… I don't know."-
[14:58] <Isaiah> [Then, quite suddenly, the door exploded.]
[15:00] * Yanmei scrambled to her feet! Arm over her head to protect herself. She tried to put herself between Isaiah and whatever it was that had done that once she could actually get a glimpse of it, but she was also aware of how unarmed, she was.
[15:00] * Isaiah moved quickly as well- trying to do the exact thing Yanmei had done. Only a split-second adjustment of movement saw him shift to her side as opposed to knocking her straight over.-
[15:01] <Isaiah> [Shao Liwei stood in the doorway.-
[15:01] <Isaiah> [… Or was it? His eyes smouldered with a dark red hue.-
[15:03] <Isaiah> [He spoke. But whatever he said caused the room itself to shake. He didn't even open his mouth, just…-
[15:03] * Isaiah let out a horrified gasp.
[15:07] * Yanmei …narrowed her eyes, and her hand, closed around a nearby chair, and gripped it hard to keep it from shaking openly. She thought back to the terrorist attack at St. Louis and then sprang forward, raising it, desperate, -angry-.
[15:08] <Isaiah> [Liwei dodged to the side nimbly, a lash of fire snapping out of his sleeve and engulfing the chair. He spoke again.]
[15:14] <Yanmei> The chair clattered to the ground, and Yanmei stared at the burning instrument of her resistance in despair. "Why did you…?" A terrible -hurt- was growing. "His face… those memories…" her shoulders trembled. "And it turned out to be fake."
[15:15] <Isaiah> Behind her, Isaiah was… Something. Murmuring under his breath, shaking his head furiously, tears starting to build.-
[15:16] <Isaiah> [Liwei spoke once more.]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "Why did you even do this?" Yanmei mumbled. The hurt was still there, raw as ever, though she was able to blink back tears, at least, by some miracle.
[15:23] <Isaiah> "I-I was a coward." Murmured Isaiah. He was trembling, shaking- he fell to his knees. "I-I didn't… Even try…"-
[15:23] <Isaiah> [Liwei spoke once more…-
[15:23] <Isaiah> [And a shape appeared in the doorway.-
[15:24] <Isaiah> ["Yanmei! Isaiah! Let's go!" Said Chaise. But this wasn't the teacher she knew. This… This was someone else. The ferocious, anticipatory grin on his face was all too familiar.]
[15:30] * Yanmei jolted slightly, staring at him in a new light. She didn't shy away from that expression… but his even being there sent a sharp stab of humiliation through her. The sense that she had been seen completely naked, hideous burn scars and all. "Damn. Showing up wherever and whenever you like…" For a minute, she was nearly overcome… but then she ran her sleeve under her eyes, and threw her head back, and started fo
[15:30] <Yanmei> -started forward.
[15:32] * Isaiah bit his lip, trying to halt the tears and sobs as he got to his feet, rushing after. Liwei's eyes were on Chaise- or rather, Elisha- as they left.-
[15:33] <Isaiah> [The moment Isaiah and Yanmei were out the door, Elisha started to powerwalk down the corridor, beckoning them to follow.-
[15:37] <Isaiah> ["This is an illusion. More than that. A full-scale mental contact between Angel and human. No human mind can adequately comprehend an Angel' s presence. Whatever the result- whatever we see is nothing more than a piece-by-piece reconstruction, and an inadequate one at that. This was Malchediel's attempt to assault you with a very brutal attack. He was drawing upon some of your darkest desires, your regrets…" Elisha turned to look back at them. "And he isn't finished. He also nearly, very nearly, succeeded at destroying you both." A smug little smirk. "As… Unappealing as the situation is, the two of you somehow managed to counteract that. The two of you… it's rather ridiculous, really, but no illusion of life can be forced upon either of you without the both of you, deep down, in your subconscious, asking where the hell the other one is."]
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Just cluing us in now, are you?" Yanmei couldn't resist a glance back at the crying Isaiah, her own face knotted in concern and sadness. "You could have let us know from the beginning? Or were you having too much fun flirting with the imaginary constructs of my classmates?"-
[15:42] <Yanmei> She gazed back at the personification of her EVA, now so familiar and obvious that she could only wonder how she had missed it before. "You totally have a thing for Ju, don't you?"
[15:47] <Isaiah> ["She -is- pretty cute. She has that thing going on where she's sort of a little angry -all the time- and she doubts everything I say and she's -such- a critical thinker. It's pretty sexy." Said Elisha, his face lighting up a little. "I'm a married man, of course, but there's plenty of Elisha Caine to go around." He smirked maliciously, enjoying the moment, before his face became serious.-
[15:54] <Isaiah> ["But no. There was a reason I held off." Said Elisha. "I wanted- no. I -needed- you to see what Malchediel could do. I needed you to become immersed in the illusion, to believe it- and then dismember it from the inside. I needed you to -reject it-. To look into the very face of your desire, and see not a wish fulfilled, but the dangerous intent behind it. I needed this, because…" He turned to stare at her, straight in the eye.-
[15:57] <Isaiah> ["I chose you, two years ago, because more than anyone else I believed you had the strength of will- that force that humans alone seem to possess, deep within their souls- to look into your own heart, be offered a quick opportunity to achieve your strongest, most yearned-for desire… And realise that it was false. But more than that, to realise that accepting the falseness was -wrong-." He smiled. "Malchediel came very close to breaking you. I could've stopped him. But I didn't, because I had faith that you'd pull through for me."]
[16:01] <Yanmei> Charming bastard. Every now and then, he did something that really touched her, whether she liked it or not. This was one of those times. And it happened so abruptly, that it took her by surprise.-
[16:04] <Yanmei> "…" She looked away, embarrassed, thinking of something to say. "Thanks," she said lamely at last. "And thanks for trying to find us? Ngh. What do we do now, though? The quickest way to stop this would be to off him, wouldn't it?"
[16:05] <Isaiah> ["I'm working on it." Said Elisha. "Trust me on that."-
[16:06] <Isaiah> ["But the key here is to pull apart his assault piece by piece. And to do that, you're…" He turned to look at them both. "You're going to need to find where he's gripped your dark little secrets and pry them out of his grasp."-
[16:06] * Isaiah had stopped crying now, a level of fatigue showing on his face as he caught up with Yanmei, standing to her side.
[16:11] * Yanmei patted Isaiah gently on the shoulder. "He won't stop. So it's not like we have a choice?" His words, the pain of having her happy life snatched from her all over again were still fresh. As was the terror that the future promised to bring. She steeled herself, though. She would protect herself, and Isaiah.
[16:11] <Isaiah> ["No, he won't, but there is one thing I have to warn you about."]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "What? How could this possibly get worse?"
[16:14] <Isaiah> ["One of the greatest protections you have is each other. Malchediel has learned this the hard way." He stared at Yanmei. "The secrets he digs up will be used to try and tear the two of you apart. Ugly, dangerous stuff. Unfortunately, a lot of it will have a kernel of truth to it as well."]
[16:19] <Yanmei> "Fantastic," she said grimly. "And if we fall for this strategy of his, we'll die."
[16:19] <Isaiah> ["Yes." Said Elisha.-
[16:19] <Isaiah> "I-I see." Said Isaiah, paling.-
[16:20] <Isaiah> ["I can offer only one piece of advice."]
[16:20] <Yanmei> "Stick together?" Yanmei guessed.
[16:22] <Isaiah> ["No, more than that." Said Elisha. "Keep in mind that whatever you're shown, you're being shown for a reason. It's the truth being perverted to be as dangerous and ruinous as possible, and the answer- the real, unaltered truth- is probably different. Remember that the love-" his face seemed genuinely pained as he said it "that the two of you share isn't something that should be ruined by some bitch Angel."-
[16:25] <Isaiah> [He placed a hand on Isaiah's shoulder, albeit with a hint of distance. "Isaiah, I'm not going to lie, you disappoint me. You're an intelligent young man who throws himself into an emotionally-mired wreck of a mindset with all the vigour of a World War 2 Japanese kamikaze pilot. But you've become a little stronger since we've met, and whilst you continue to deny me the strength that comes with a fully focused Yanmei, you nevertheless keep her protected, and you keep her grounded, and you keep her sane, as well. I hate to admit it, but I -do- owe you for that. I guess." He shrugged.-
[16:28] <Isaiah> ["Malchediel's going to throw the worst at you. So… Here's the best, I guess: you're Yanmei's world. Yanmei, you're -his- world. And he also thinks you look amazing in a plugsuit, although a little distracting." He smirked and stood up tall- he was about 6'3, so this was quite the impressive action.-
[16:29] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah wasn't quite sure what to say, between the surprising kindness and the embarrassing aside. He blushed brightly and stared at his feet.
[16:34] * Yanmei was working on picking her jaw up from the floor, as she stared back and forth between the two, her eyes round. Finally… "Well… I guess I do look pretty amazing?" She gave an uncertain hair flip. "You sound like you're going to be skipping out on us, though. This almost feels like a goodbye."
[16:35] <Isaiah> ["Yes. That's because I am. In a sense."-
[16:38] <Isaiah> [There was a flicker of darkness, and… When it withdrew…-
[16:39] <Isaiah> [The path behind them was inundated with… Things. Most of them were 'students' from the school, bearing zombie-like expressions and red eyes.-
[16:39] <Isaiah> [At their forefront were four people. Two of them Yanmei had met earlier that day- the man in the coat, and the busdriver. The other two… That vicious girl, and a thin, tall stick-figure like girl, with a red tattoo and a giant coat.-
[16:40] <Isaiah> ["In lieu of an easy, quick victory, Malchediel is just trying to bludgeon your minds to death." Said Elisha, stepping between Yanmei and Isaiah and the horde. He started undoing his tie.]
[16:45] <Yanmei> Unsettled. Yanmei had taken a step back, feeling slightly dizzy at the obsticle, until the Destroyer made his move. "Um. I know you're supposed to be amazing and perfect and everything?" Tiny eyeroll. "But…this is a bit much, don't you think?"
[16:46] <Isaiah> ["Oh please." His suit jacket was flung against a wall.-
[16:46] <Isaiah> ["Trust me. I can handle this. -You- have a job to do. Go do it."]
[16:46] * Isaiah turned to Yanmei. He reached out and firmly grasped her hand warmly. "He's right."
[16:49] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Yeah, I know. Get ready, Isaiah." Sounding cool and professional. "We'll see you soon, got it?"
[16:50] <Isaiah> ["Stop trying to sound hard and -go-."-
[16:51] <Isaiah> [He turned back towards the Angels. "Do you know what pisses me off about you guys? What -really- gets to me, over everything else? It's the arrogance." Elisha didn't bother unbuttoning the shirt as he ripped it off his body. His body was one that could compare well with that of an olympic athlete's. Muscular, lean and toned.-
[16:52] <Isaiah> [The Angels drew weapons. All of them, at once- knives, swords, clubs. The four at front- the one with the gemstone drew dual sickles. The thin girl drew flails; the one who'd bitten Yanmei had long knives attached to her arms, and the bus driver had a pair of whips.-
[16:53] <Isaiah> ["You show up out of nowhere, and you act all almighty, like you own the goddamn place." Elisha cracked his knuckles. "You act like you -know- you're the biggest, baddest thing there is. Well you know why that pisses me off?" He started walking towards them.-
[16:53] <Isaiah> ["Because you assholes are only the biggest, baddest thing there is -until I wake up. And then you're all dead."-
[16:53] <Isaiah> [Elisha charged straight into the mass.-
[16:54] <Isaiah> "Yanmei-!"
[16:57] * Yanmei put her track practice to good use, still clinging to Isaiah's hand. She beelined down the half of the hall that remained clear to them.
[16:58] <Isaiah> [Behind her, the sounds of combat were loud and clear as Elisha launched a spin-kick into a small clump of 15 Angels.-
[16:59] * Isaiah ran along, fortunately a fast runner himself. He looked back over his shoulder, but didn't dwell on what he saw.-
[17:00] <Isaiah> [Eventually, they ran down the hall- and into a room. The lunchroom where Yanmei had invited Isaiah to in the first place. It was completely empty…-
[17:01] <Isaiah> [Except for, in the very middle, there was a pool of LCL. A literal pool, about five metres wide by five metres long. It looked deep.]
[17:06] <Yanmei> "Ugh, why?" She stopped short for a moment, remembering the LCL-filled pods that had filled the tunnels beneath the city of Paris. Was there anywhere else to run?
[17:10] <Isaiah> [Everything else looked like a dead end.-
[17:10] <Isaiah> "… Always with LCL." Muttered Isaiah.
[17:16] <Yanmei> "Sorry. Looks like we'll have to bear it." She strode for the pool, and frowned down at it before kneeling at the edge and sliding into it. "Let's go."
[17:18] * Isaiah nodded gingerly and slid in with her.-
[17:19] <Isaiah> [For a moment, they were immersed in the orange liquid…-
[17:19] <Isaiah> [And then their vision 'cleared'.-
[17:20] <Isaiah> [They stood in an empty, endless field of white and grey, surrounded by a faint tinge of purple and blue foggy light.-
[17:20] <Isaiah> [In the distance they could see two invidividuals, just barely.]
[17:22] * Yanmei stared. Another trap. She wondered if they could just go around it or something, but for now, she squinted, trying to see if they were coming closer or staying away.
[17:22] <Isaiah> [… They vanished.]
[17:23] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah tightened his grip a little and looked around cautiously. "They might reappear…"
[17:23] <Yanmei> "Do we want them to?" Yanmei frowned, looking around too. "Let's try to look for a way out?"
[17:24] <Isaiah> "I don't know if we should." Said Isaiah slowly. "Look at this place. This might be what Elisha meant."-
[17:24] <Isaiah> [… Some of the fog parted. From a different angle, the two faint phantoms stared at them. One of them had faded purple pigtails, the other, faded, nearly white, blonde hair…]
[17:26] <Yanmei> "Then… this is what the Angel will try to use to drive us apart." She stepped forward, still frowning.
[17:27] <Isaiah> "Ourselves." He took a deep breath. "Whatever happens here… Just know that Elisha was right, ok? You -are- my world, and I love you." He looked pale, but… He wasn't backing away from this new challenge.
[17:28] <Yanmei> "The same is true for me," she said firmly, and she smiled at him. "We'll be okay."
[17:28] * Isaiah nodded, and returned the smile.-
[17:28] <Isaiah> [The two shadows smirked.-
[17:29] <Isaiah> [Above Yanmei and Isaiah, a small dark cloud was forming…!]
[17:30] * Yanmei lunged at Isaiah, trying to push him free along with her, out of the way.
[17:30] * Isaiah looked up, and-!-
[17:31] <Isaiah> [The bolt narrowly missed them, but some force caught Yanmei and flung her firmly forward. She overshot Isaiah and landed roughly 10 metres away.]
[17:34] * Yanmei blinked, face-down for a second, before collecting her wits and climbing to her hands and knees. "Isaiah? You okay?" She couldn't explain what had just happened at all, but that wasn't the main thing on her mind just now.
[17:34] <Isaiah> "Y-Yeah." He shook his head vigorously and climbed to his feet.-
[17:35] <Isaiah> [There was a crack in the air, and in the space between Yanmei and Isaiah appeared… The shadows.-
[17:35] <Isaiah> [The shade of Isaiah stood 5 metres from Yanmei, staring at her- whilst the shade of Yanmei stood at an identical distance from Isaiah.]
[17:37] * Yanmei stared at the not-Isaiah, her eyes hardening. Whatever it was going to do next would probably hurt. She was on her feet in a split second, bracing herself.
[17:39] <Isaiah> "Get out of our way." Said Isaiah firmly to the shades.-
[17:39] <Isaiah> [The shades didn't do anything. However, the foggy light darkened, making it even harder to see. Yanmei could barely see the real Isaiah at all.]
[17:41] <Yanmei> "H-hey. Isaiah, say something. Let me know you're still there."
[17:41] <Isaiah> "I-I'm here."-
[17:41] <Isaiah> ["I'm heeeere." Mimicked Isaiah's shade.-
[17:41] <Isaiah> ["Say something~ I'm so scared~" Came Yanmei's shade, her voice singsong and coquettish.]
[17:44] <Yanmei> Annoyed. More than annoyed. She tried to make her way to where she had heard the first voice. If they were just going to stand there and act like jerks, that was fine with her!
[17:44] <Isaiah> [The fog moved with her and, through some trick of light and movement, she didn't seem to be moving any closer.-
[17:44] <Isaiah> ["Are you looking for me, Yanyan?"]
[17:47] * Yanmei stopped suddenly. That was -her- Isaiah, wasn't it? But why would he announce that plan to the world when there were two enemies between them? How could he even see her searching?
[17:48] <Isaiah> [The Shade smirked, as if reading her thoughts… Wait, that was probably it, wasn't it? It was tricking her with Isaiah's voice- it's voice.-
[17:51] <Isaiah> ["You know, all those years of suffering- why did I wait so long to break out? Why did I wait until -you- came along?" Asked the Shade. "I have all sorts of reasons, you know. People tried to help- but I didn't want to 'get them into trouble'. I was such a coward- so despicably without bravery that I invited the suffering I earned. And I knew that, too- but suffering was so much better than biting a bullet and trying to -act-."]
[17:56] <Yanmei> "But he did that eventually, even if it did take a while." Yanmei shook her head. "It takes a while to raise courage, and he has a lot of it now."
[17:56] <Isaiah> ["Courage?" rang out a voice at the other end- her own shade.-
[17:56] <Isaiah> ["Why, I'd know all about that." It said with a grin. "I'm so -courageous- in battle."-
[18:01] <Isaiah> ["Well, no." Said the Shade. "It's hardly courage. Courage is noble? Oh, you'd be ashamed to see what a bad girl I am, Isaiah~ When I run into battle it's not about the bravery. It's not about protecting anyone~ it's all about the blood. The blood and the carnage, to feel my chainsword -dig- into the meat of my opponents and rip it from the bone and splatter the blood in pretty patterns all~ across~ the ground~ and~ my clothes~ and everything~" She sighed pleasantly.-
[18:04] <Isaiah> "T-That…" Isaiah's voice. "T-That's ridiculous. I've seen Yanmei fight. I've seen her risk her life to try to save me from bullets. She -does- fight to protect." He said, his voice growing in conviction. "Bloodlust… is natural in combat. It happens to anyone. I-It's even happened to me a few times. But when you're hooked up to a monster that thirsts for it every second of the day… No. That's not anything."
[18:06] <Yanmei> Yanmei's face burned in the darkness, and she clenched her fists a little harder.
[18:11] <Isaiah> ["Ashamed." Isaiah's shade grinned. "Oh, if you could just see, Yanmei…"]
[13:09] <Isaiah> ["What, did you think you were alone in having such perversions? Oh no." Said the Shade. "The want for actions taken to excess beats in everyone's heart, but just as you lust for blood, I have my own desires that I'd rather you- especially you- not see…" He sighed theatrically. "But I guess it's time to bare all."]
[13:09] <Isaiah> "N-No!" Shouted Isaiah, his voice horrified beyond belief.
[13:13] <Yanmei> "…" The images that flashed through her mind were… things she could have gone without seeing. Especially those featuring Eugenia and Misato. "He's a guy, after all," Yanmei muttered. "I already expected that. Wants and… needs. Everyone has them. It's not like he can turn them off like a lightswitch."
[13:15] * Isaiah let out a sort of horrified groan.-
[13:18] <Isaiah> ["Don't worry, Isaiah~?" Came the irritating voice of the Yanmei shade. "At least your desires…" There was a pause, as if she were savouring the moment. "Don't lead you to hurting anyone else, unlike me…"-
[13:18] <Isaiah> "W.. What do you mean?"
[13:20] <Yanmei> "I haven't!" she insisted. Her changrin was rapidly changing focus from Isaiah's revelation to her own.
[13:20] <Yanmei> ^chagrin
[13:22] <Isaiah> ["Oh, I have. Do you remember Natasha?" Said the shade. "How you asked me to help her? Well, I did. But believe you me, I was ~so~ close to just breaking her. Just… Hurting her, thumping her into the ground for being pathetic and irritating. But it's ok~ I made up for it~" A giggle. "Poor miserable Elena Clement~ Remember that time she came to you crying, Isaiah? Because she'd been bullied~? And you helped her, and gave her a hug and promised her it'd all get better~?"-
[13:22] <Isaiah> ["That was me."-
[13:23] <Isaiah> "…" There was a shocked, miserable silence as Isaiah swallowed the disgusting news. "N… No." He shook his head. "No… Yanmei. Y-You're hurting, that's all. I know it. I know you are… I-It's wrong to hurt others, but… But I know why you do it, I know it's because you're hurting yourself all the time. You suffer too. I-It's alright." His voice rose. "I-I promise you it'll get better."
[13:27] <Yanmei> "I…" She wanted to explain, to make herself look better in his eyes. She didn't know if she could do it. Not at the moment. Maybe when they were alone? He didn't hate her, though…
[13:33] <Isaiah> ["That's just like you though, isn't it?" Snapped Isaiah's shade. "Saying one thing to me. Acting differently… Which is the real Yanmei? I know. But I'm special. Not special enough to make you change, of course." He was growing angrier. "Always hiding under the mask, always pretending to be someone you're not the moment you're out of my sight. It… Makes me so -angry-. Every time you pretend. Every time you put on that stupid mask, every time you try to act like what you think an adult is. You try to hide yourself away, the self only I see. It's ridiculous- anyone could see that if you just -grew up- and stopped pretending, let people see your true face, they'd actually like you -more-. Because right now, I can see through your mask. Everyone can. It just looks pathetic."]
[13:35] <Isaiah> "D-Don't, don't listen to it." Muttered Isaiah miserably. "I -understand-…"
[13:41] <Yanmei> "Everyone, huh?" Yanmei said quietly. Her voice was thin, pained. "Even if that's true, I can't shed that mask for just anyone. For you, Isaiah, because you're special. Because I can trust you. Because you won't despise me, even if I'm pathetic sometimes, right?" She tried to break into a smile.
[13:43] <Isaiah> "Yanmei…" The boy was crying a little. "I know. I'll never hate you." He murmured. "I… I just wish sometimes others had the chance to see the beautiful girl behind the mask."
[13:49] <Yanmei> "I… don't know what to do," she admitted softly. "It's hard. I can try from now on, but I…" she sounded nervous now. That thin voice wavered.
[13:50] <Isaiah> "It's alright, Yanmei. It'll be alright, because I'll be there with you, ok?"
[13:51] <Yanmei> "All right. If you're there…" she said at last. She tried to collect her resolve.
[13:53] <Isaiah> ["Or I could do what I always do." Said The Yanmei shade maliciously.]
[13:55] <Yanmei> "You shut up," she said irritably. It was a start. She was saying what she felt, at least…
[13:59] <Isaiah> ["Not this time~" Said the Shade. "You see, Isaiah… You say others should see my face but… I~ Don't~ Care~." She said. "Paris-2? I don't give a damn about Paris-2. The buildings, the people in it… Hell, I barely give a damn about the people of the world. The truth is, I don't really care about trying to save them. I don't fight for -them-. There are really only a few people I care about at all- they're the only reason I even bother getting into that disgusting plug."-
[13:59] <Isaiah> "…" Silence from the other end…
[14:05] <Yanmei> "…" That… didn't sound good. She collected herself. "When I say I fight to save everyone, it's another mask that I wear. Because that's what everyone expects a pilot to say. Not 'I do it to protect my loved ones'. Or 'I do it to make their dreams come true'." She shut her eyes a moment.-
[14:08] <Yanmei> "I'm a selfish, cruel woman, Isaiah. But I can do that. It's worth fighting for."
[14:09] <Isaiah> "Yanmei…" He started to speak.-
[14:11] <Isaiah> "… No. No, that's not it, Yanmei. Lots of people march off to fight for reasons like that. To protect the ones they love, or to achieve their ambitions." He paused. "We're… We're just human beings. We can't be expected to form such lofty ideals when only a year or so ago we were just… Living normal lives. Yanmei- please, you… You fight to protect me. You saved Rosalie and Suzanne in the tunnels. I know you would've died to protect me every time I was in danger."-
[14:11] <Isaiah> "So please, don't call yourself selfish! It's ok to fight for the ones you love!"
[14:14] * Yanmei stared into the fog in silence for a few moments, a little shocked. Then a huge wave of relief came crashing down on her. "It's okay to fight for the ones you love," she repeated to herself.
[14:22] <Isaiah> ["Well that's nice." Muttered Isaiah's shade bitterly. "Maybe, just maybe it'd go some way to making this whole thing a little more equal. Maybe I won't be the one sacrificing parts of my soul for your happiness." Snapped the Shade. "Even from the very beginning, it was -me- who had to make the leaps, me who had to make the choices. Small, cowardly, weak little Isaiah had to bite the bullet and reach out. And even then it didn't stop. Every step of the way led by me, me, me, every time. You've always been content to just sit back, never taking control, never ever showing that you'd want more than you have, filling me with insecurity and fear eery step of the way. Every gunshot, every attack- me thinking it was worth it, me hoping it was worth it, me wondering, just how much, how much more am I going to have to give for you? My ambitions? My dreams? My life?!"]
[14:26] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was silent for a very long time after that. Her fists had gone limp by her sides. "Isaiah," she began at last.
[14:29] <Isaiah> "…"-
[14:30] <Isaiah> "W-Worth it." Spat Isaiah. "Every bullet wound, every slash, every moment of pain and worry and sacrifice was worth it to let me live by your side."
[14:35] <Yanmei> "Even if it turns out that we want different things?" she asked softly. "I have always, always been aware of your pain, Isaiah. I have never stopped worrying about it. But when I wonder why you don't hate me, you say things like that. And I believe you. I know you love me. And I love you. More than anything, I want to be by your side too."-
[14:40] <Yanmei> "But, if you want me to step aside someday… if it turns out that our dreams are incompatible, or you can't wait for me to make up my mind, then I'll stand aside. Your happiness is important to me too! So much so, that I'll give up something that brings me joy, like being with you, so that you can reach it." -
[14:41] <Yanmei> She almost hung her head a little. "I'll make the sacrifices too. Whatever it takes."
[14:43] <Isaiah> "Yanmei…" His voice was soft, wondrous. "Yanmei… The sacrifices we'll make, we should make them together. T-Trust me. Nothing… Nothing ever brings me more joy than being with you."
[14:46] <Yanmei> "Isaiah…" she murmured, and the pain she was feeling eased up a little bit.
[14:48] <Isaiah> ["~Isaiah~" Yanmei's shade smirked, with all the air of someone about to pull out a trump card.-
[14:51] <Isaiah> ["You really ought to know that this isn't going to be the way you like it~" She said in her singsong voice. "Those dreams you have, that oh-so-perfect vision in your head… A pretty house, somewhere, a adowable widdle family, with lots of kids~ Maybe some would have violet hair, or blonde, or maybe they'd have daddy's eyes or mommy's personality~ That wonderful, gorgeous widdle dream?"-
[14:51] <Isaiah> ["… I don't know if I really care for it at all."-
[14:55] <Isaiah> ["Honestly, it sounds like something that just really, I dunno~ do I want it? Do I really have the time or energy to give that much for your happiness, when it's -such- a big cost to me? It means -so- much to you, doesn't it? But…~" She shrugged. "I don't really know if I have it in me to start a family with you at all…~"-
[14:55] <Isaiah> "…" There… Weren't any words from the other end of the fog. Simply… A sound. The sound of something or someone hitting the ground hard…
[14:58] <Yanmei> "No… no…!" Yanmei resumed her search, frantically, hands feeling the air in front of her in hopes that they would hit something. "Isaiah! Say something! I don't -know- what I want! That's… that's why I said I would step aside if you wanted me to!"
[14:58] <Isaiah> [The Shades were all she could see…-
[14:59] <Isaiah> "S-Step aside…?" Murmured Isaiah. "Yanmei- I-I can't -see- myself with anyone else but you…" … "A-Are my dreams that awkward?"
[15:02] <Yanmei> "There's nothing awkward about starting a family." She kept up her flailing, useless as it was. "It's a fine dream. It's a beautiful dream. It's me who's wrong!"
[15:03] <Isaiah> "We'd… We'd be happy together." Said Isaiah miserably. "We would, Yanmei, I know we would…"
[15:07] <Yanmei> "We would. But me…" her flailing slowed, "I'm my mother's daughter after all. I can handle marriage. Children, though… could I be a good mom? Could I still do the things I want to do too? If there were kids, I wouldn't want them to be alone. I just… don't know about anything…"
[15:07] <Isaiah> "…"-
[15:08] <Isaiah> "Yanmei… When you said… You'd marry me, was it out of pity, or guilt, or fear, or love?"
[15:10] <Yanmei> "I said it because I want to be with you." Her arms dropped to her sides again, and her face turned miserable.
[15:10] <Isaiah> "Then…" A pause.-
[15:12] <Isaiah> "Then I'm… Going to take the risk. I'm going to be brave, like you taught me." Leaden, booming sounds as he got to his feet. "And… I'm going to say right now that it doesn't matter… I'm going to trust you, to put my soul into your hands… Whatever path we take, we're going to take together, making decisions together, as one- and if that ends up deciding that I don't have the family I want, then so be it! But I love you too much- you make me too happy- then to throw away the love I have for something that's just a dream!"
[15:12] <Isaiah> [The smirks vanished from the Shades' faces.]
[15:20] <Yanmei> "Even if I have my ugly sides, and you yours? And if we run into more horrible things?" She was reaching out again "We'll do it together."
[15:23] <Isaiah> "Together…!"-
[15:24] <Isaiah> [The fog… Cleared. Enough for her to see him, standing there, trembling and shaken, but not yet bowed, not yet broken.-
[15:24] <Isaiah> He looked to her- and started to run towards her.
[15:25] * Yanmei hurried toward him too, smiling a real smile since the first time Elisha had revealed the nature of this world to them.
[15:25] * Isaiah didn't hesitate. He threw his arms around her, pulled her in tight and kissed her.
[15:27] * Yanmei returned it all - the embrace, the desperate kiss - with equal measure, shutting her eyes tightly.
[15:28] <Isaiah> ["…" The Shades looked at each other. Any pretense of subtlety or grace was lost- their arms crackled with energy, their hands turning into massive blades.-
[15:29] <Isaiah> [They swirled around each other, before launching themselves straight at the couple…!-
[15:29] <Isaiah> [… But this time, they weren't defenseless. Isaiah had, suddenly, on his hip- a knife. A very special knife. One he reached for and grabbed.-
[15:30] <Isaiah> [And in Yanmei's hand, the comfortingly heavy weight and the purring rumble of a chainsword.]
[15:34] * Yanmei …wrestled with the urge to step in front of Isaiah, but he had his own strength in this world, as he had demonstrated earlier. Anyway, there wasn't enough time! With a shout, she lifted the rumbling cainsword over her head, and tried to bring it down on the closest shade!
[15:35] * Isaiah lashed out, a long diving thrust towards the other-
[15:36] <Isaiah> [Yanmei ripped her blade through her own Shade, and Isaiah pierced the heart of his. They flailed for a moment, before being pushed back- slamming into each other, morphing, stretching- into an alien shape.-
[15:36] <Isaiah> [That of Malchediel.-
[15:36] <Isaiah> "Now! You take it from the right! I'll take it from the left!"
[15:37] <Yanmei> "Got it!" She was already streaking forward, her path curving to the side and stretching toward the monster. She sprang!
[15:38] * Isaiah kept low to the ground, unleashing another diving thrust-!-
[15:39] <Isaiah> [The chainsword ripped through a defending arm, embedding itself into the beast's chest before cutting itself down towards the Core. Isaiah's blade dug into the Core straight to the hilt. The two blades met-
[15:41] <Isaiah> [And with a horrible, dying scream, Malchediel's illusion… Burned. The beast itself burst into flames, staggering backwards from the blows, the Core turning to ash. The fog closed in around them, turning everything dark…]
[15:42] <Isaiah> [And then…-
[15:44] <Isaiah> [Yanmei would awake. Dark and quiet, peaceful- clothed in soft hospital gowns, covered in sheets. The sound of a machine going 'ping' in her ears, and the presence of something- something incredibly warm- in her arms…]
[15:47] <Yanmei> Warm. She knew where that warmth was coming from. She savored it for a few minutes, listening to the steady ping… ping… ping of…whatever that was. Soon, though, her dark eyes opened and a hooded gaze found the ceiling above them.
[15:48] * Isaiah was at her side, in her arms, his own wound around her. As her eyes opened, his did too. Finding her first, smiling- then looking up too. Although he would see something altogether different…
[15:50] * Sept was staring back into his eyes from not all that many inches away, blinking at him in open-mouthed surprise. "Isaiah… And Yanmei, too! You're awake!"
[15:51] <Isaiah> "-!" Isaiah's reaction was almost identical to that of a startled cat, suddenly reeling away from him and staring with wide eyes. "S-Sera?!"
[15:54] <Yanmei> "Npmh?!" Yanmei had reacted more to Isaiah's scrabbling than the blurry face that seemed to be hovering right next to her, rubbing her side a little from an unintentional blow. Blurry. So… groggy.
[15:55] <Sept> "You're both awake!" Sera was practically jumping by the bed, on Isaiah's side. "I thought I heard you say something, but I didn't expect you both to..!"
[15:58] <Isaiah> "!!!!" Isaiah clung to Yanmei even tighter, trying to force an apology out of his fog-filled head whilst simultaneously trying to get away from the madman. "Whaddyou?!"
[16:00] <Sept> "-! Oh, s-sorry..!" Sept backed up to a less creepy distance and just stood there, marveling.
[16:01] * Yanmei sort of rolled over, as if she was going back to sleep. But that was impossible. Because now he was staring. She opened an eye. "Hello de Pteres," she mumbled.
[16:02] <Sept> "Hello, Yanmei!"
[16:03] <Isaiah> "H-Hullo, Sera…"
[16:03] <Sept> "-Hello-, Isaiah."
[16:05] <Yanmei> "Energetic today, huh?" She stirred. Made an attempt to sit up, if her body was willing. "If you're still here, and we're still here? Then we must have just won."
[16:06] <Isaiah> [She didn't seem all that sore…-
[16:07] * Isaiah was, admittedly, somewhat more heavily bandaged than Yanmei was. He tried to sit up too, unwilling to relinquish his cuddly hold on Yanmei. "T-That's good."
[16:09] * Sept nodded. "…yeah, we won. And we probably wouldn't have, without the copilots! So… thank you, Isaiah. You did well. Thanks for keeping her safe."
[16:10] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah sort of stared in mute surprise, before nodding. "T-That's- you're welcome. I-I mean, she's very special…"
[16:12] * Yanmei eyed them both, noting Isaiah's surprise, and trying to determine the cause for it. "You look like you were kept safe too, huh, Sera? I-" She stopped. Squinted for a closer look.
[16:14] * Sept looked over at Yanmei. "She really is. And yeah, I'm… fine, this time. I got lucky~" He shifted his footing a bit. "D-do you think you want to, um. Catch up, or could I… talk about something?"
[16:16] <Yanmei> "…how long were we out for?" Yanmei mumbled to herself, sinking back down a little, more for Isaiah's sake than hers. "Answer that much and then… go ahead, I guess?"
[16:19] * Isaiah sank back into the bed with relief, and nodded his assent.
[16:21] <Sept> "O-oh, yeah." Sept glanced at the clock, ticking away in silence. "I guess it was… just over three days ago, now..? We were getting worried about you."
[16:23] <Yanmei> "Three…" her eyes opened wider. "Three -days-?"
[16:23] <Isaiah> "Is that all?"
[16:24] <Sept> "W-what do you mean, that was a long time! I was watching the both of you, that's like, six days' worth of watching! Or… something."
[16:25] <Isaiah> "S-Sorry. It felt longer…"
[16:26] <Sept> "Oh. I… guess I wouldn't know. Sorry, it probably wasn't a pleasant sleep, then…"
[16:27] * Isaiah glanced at Yanmei knowingly.
[16:28] <Yanmei> "There were… some parts of it that were." Yanmei let her gaze stray up toward the ceiling again wistfully. But soon, they returned to Sept. "Did you really watch us for all that time? Thank you…"
[16:33] <Isaiah> "I-It really is very kind of you…"
[16:34] <Sept> "I know how that feels, though. You know, how, sometimes when you wake up, it feels like you've been asleep for -so- much longer than what your watch tells you..?" He nodded to Yanmei, again. "You're welcome. But… I felt like it was the least I could do, with the both of you in that condition." Sera hung his head just a bit. "L-look, Yanmei, Isaiah… I've been acting stupidly toward you.
[16:34] <Sept> You were so close, and I… didn't know how I could approach that while still helping keep you safe, and, and it was stupid and I should've talked to you about it instead of yelling. I just wanted to say I'm sorry, and do this the right way, for once. So, i-if there's anything I can do to help you feel safer, o-or if you want me to look into something, I'll do it." A nervous attempt at a
[16:34] <Sept> smile. "…please?"
[16:38] <Yanmei> "You want to make ameds?" She sounded surprised. Looked it too, although she -also- looked pretty torpid. She glanced at Isaiah.
[16:38] <Isaiah> "…"-
[16:42] <Isaiah> "Alright, Sera." Said Isaiah, smiling a little. It was a sad smile, but… "It's alright. I'm not going to be angry with you or anything. But… But if you end up running into things that you think are a danger to either of us, please speak to us, alright?"
[16:45] * Sept breathed a sigh of relief. "-Thank you-. A-and, I will. I promise. Thank you. Now… you want to rest, and probably talk with just the two of you, right?" He made for the exit, and stopped there for a moment. "I'm happy for the two of you."
[16:45] * Sept (~if.atsiakajaal-asile.271-231-351-19a|nys#if.atsiakajaal-asile.271-231-351-19a|nys) Quit (Quit: - nbs-irc 2.39 - www.nbs-irc.net -)
[16:46] * Yanmei nodded to him in parting, and smiled a little. Her eyelids were starting to flicker and droop now.
[16:47] * Isaiah smiled politely until Sept was definitively out of the door. It fell quickly. Much like Yanmei he didn't feel like staying awake. Instead he snuggled tighter into her side. "… So we made it through ok, huh?"
[16:49] <Yanmei> "Somehow." She enjoyed his warmth in silence for a few beats. "Guess we're back to speaking French for a while, though?"
[16:50] <Isaiah> "It seems like it. Although they do say it's the language of love." He smiled a little. "Yanmei?"
[16:50] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[16:52] <Isaiah> "I know it really hurts." Said Isaiah quietly. He reached up and ran a hand through her hair. "But I promise I'll give you the happy, peaceful life you want."
[16:54] <Yanmei> "'s something we're supposed to work for together, remember?"
[16:55] <Isaiah> "Right." Said Isaiah, smiling. He kissed her gently, before resting his head back down on the pillow. "So tired…"
[16:57] <Yanmei> "Sleep tight, Isaiah." Her own voice was drifting away into stillness again.
[16:58] <Isaiah> "Sleep tight, Yanyan…"-
[16:58] * Isaiah was asleep almost immediately.

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