He Said Thanks For Waiting For Me

[17:04] <Dorian> ["What? I should be the one to direct the ground forces!" Said Misato hotly. "I've had more experience with the Evangelions, especially Shinji!"-
[17:06] <Dorian> ["But I've had more training and I've been immersed in this since I was a child." Replied Alphonse coolly. "It's public knowledge that I'm more capable-"-
[17:10] * Dorian sighed. This debate had flared up several times over the week, and now as it was coming close to go time, it was really pouring out. He glanced towards the grizzled older man to his left- Captain Harker, the OD for Germany. "What do you think?"-
[17:15] <Dorian> ["This really isn't something we should leave to chance." Said Harken slowly. "Of the two of them, Captain Katsuragi is the more proven candidate. So I would choose her."-
[17:23] <Dorian> "Yes. I agree." Dorian would be the first to admit that the situation wasn't nearly so clean cut, but rarely had he been forced to endure bickering within his staff during his many years of service; his patience had run out. Best to give a ruling now and get it over with. "Katsuragi leads the ground defense from the Geofront. Wellesley, you will be my second in command in regards to directing the space force after we relocate to the Secondary Command Centre by the Bois de Boulogne."
[17:24] <Dorian> ["Yes, sir!" Said Misato.-
[17:25] <Dorian> ["… Yes, sir." Said Alphonse quietly, his expression carefully neutral, which by now Dorian recognised as a sign of irritation.-
[17:26] <Dorian> "Now that we have that sorted, can we please get back to the planning?" Said Dorian irritably.-
[17:26] <Dorian> ["Right! Yes, sir." Said Misato.-
[17:28] <Dorian> [The rest of the session took about 45 minutes; it was, all things considered, a fairly productive and blessedly calm 45 minutes. Nevertheless, when Dorian dismissed the staff, Alphonse left a little too quickly, not at all assisted by a comment wishing him luck from Misato. Even if she were being sincere, the boy's attitude towards her meant that it didn't matter.-
[17:28] <Dorian> That annoyed Dorian. He disliked it. The rivalry- more than that. The -attitude- at present.-
[17:33] <Dorian> He was still mulling on it twenty minutes later, as he sat on an outside balcony of the HQ building, staring out sullenly at the green grass and the lake. He wasn't the only person out here; Alphonse stood on a different balcony, on a lower level, leaning against the railing with a dark expression. Dorian sighed.-
[17:34] <Dorian> [Behind him, a door opened. "There you are."-
[17:48] * Dorian looked around, and saw Ariadne standing in the doorway, carrying a small paper bag. "Oh, it's you, Ariadne."-
[17:50] <Dorian> ["I heard you were out, so I thought I'd grab you some coffee." She said, giving him a little smile and handing him a paper cup. It was hot to the touch.-
[17:52] <Dorian> "Thanks." Said Dorian gratefully, taking it and pulling off the stryofoam lid. He began gulping it down. It was hot, but he didn't care too much. "That's -good- stuff." He said approvingly. It was just cafeteria-bought, but for some reason he felt a lot better.-
[17:52] <Dorian> ["How did the meeting go?" Asked Ariadne, leaning against the railing.-
[17:56] <Dorian> "It was ok." Said Dorian. Once upon a time he would've kept it at that, but this time he added a little more. "Annoying in some ways. Alphonse and Misato keep bickering." Dorian rolled a little ahead, to the balcony edge, peering down at Alphonse.-
[18:00] <Dorian> ["They both want the same job. It's awkward." Said Ariadne, smiling a little and peering over as well. "Did you make a decision?"-
[18:01] <Dorian> "I chose Misato. I figured she was the better choice. Still…"-
[18:01] <Dorian> ["Hm? What's on your mind?"-
[18:04] <Dorian> "I'm just wondering to myself. I know Alphonse feels like we overlook him because he's a kid." Dorian chuckled. "It's not entirely untrue. Misato hates the idea of being replaced by a teenager."-
[18:04] <Dorian> ["Is that your reason, too?"-
[18:04] <Dorian> "Heh, no. He's good, but he's not as good as I am." Said Dorian, gulping down more coffee. "He's just…"-
[18:04] <Dorian> ["Just what?"-
[18:06] <Dorian> "He's just a cocky young man with a lot of intelligence and skill but he doesn't know what it's like to actually -do- all of these things he says he's good at. Not really." Said Dorian gruffly. "He's got the talent, but I don't think he has the heart."-
[18:07] <Dorian> ["You don't think he has the heart?" Asked Ariadne. "… or is it that you hope he doesn't?"-
[18:07] <Dorian> "…"-
[18:09] <Dorian> [Below on Alphonse's balcony, a door opened- the boy stood up from his moody slouch, turning around as Ayanami Rei stepped out to meet him. Despite the boy's mood, it wasn't long before the two were quickly chatting and talking animatedly.-
[18:11] <Dorian> "The latter, I guess." Said Dorian. "I dunno. This isn't a job a kid should do."-
[18:11] <Dorian> ["It isn't." Agreed Ariadne. "But I'm intrigued that you think that."-
[18:11] <Dorian> "Oh?"-
[18:14] <Dorian> ["When you were his age, I don't think you ever wanted to do anything else." Said Ariadne, smiling gently. "Actually, he reminds me of you a little."-
[18:15] <Dorian> "Yeah?" Dorian frowned. "Yeah, he does, huh?"-
[18:15] <Dorian> ["Mmhm." Ariadne nodded. "You… Don't regret the choice you made, do you?"-
[18:18] <Dorian> "You know, in some ways I actually do." Said Dorian. "I think it's a pretty damn awful that after experiencing Second Impact, I then spent the next eleven or so years killing even more people." He sighed. "Shit like that gets you down. It makes you wonder how things would've turned out if you'd done something different."-
[18:19] <Dorian> [Ariadne seemed surprised. "Yeah? What… What did you come up with?"-
[18:20] <Dorian> "Eh." he waved his hand. "I figured maybe I could've become some kind of businessman, or a politician. Some job that didn't throw me at people to kill. A job that kept me home, perhaps a job that kept me a little closer to you."-
[18:20] <Dorian> ["…" Ariadne stared at him, then chuckled bashfully. "I thought you couldn't stand me?"-
[18:24] <Dorian> "Humph. I can't." He muttered. "But the truth is I actually stand a lot better in general with you around." He stared down at Alphonse and Rei below, watching but not quite listening to their words and giggles. "I figure… Well. If Second Impact hadn't happened, maybe you and I could've had a different life. We could've been married. Or had a bunch of kids or somethin'."-
[18:54] <Dorian> ["… You're being awfully forthcoming today." Said Ariadne lightly.-
[18:56] <Dorian> "Heh. Yeah, I know, huh?" He looked up at the Geofront's distant roof. "A battle's coming. I mean, I know that. But I feel it in my bones, Ariadne. This is going to be a big one." He said quietly. "Really big. I doubt everyone's going to come back alive." He turned his gaze back towards Alphonse and Rei. "See? That's what I mean. He wants desperately to see battle, but he doesn't realise how carefree his life really is. I think Rei realises that more than he does."-
[19:01] <Dorian> ["He sees it as his purpose." Said Ariadne, leaning over and wrapping arms around Dorian's neck. "He's been trained for it his whole life, after all."-
[19:02] <Dorian> "Mm. True." Said Dorian, reaching up to pat at Ariadne's hands. "But that doesn't mean he can't wait and enjoy himself. Rei knows that. She hasn't let the purpose she was given define her. He could learn a thing or two from her."-
[19:03] <Dorian> ["Let's hope he does." Said Ariadne warmly.-
[19:03] <Dorian> "Let's." A long silence settled between them.-
[19:03] <Dorian> "Ariadne?"-
[19:03] <Dorian> ["Mm?"-
[19:03] <Dorian> "… Thanks for waiting for me."

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