I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You I Go From Loving

[15:40] <Mingzhu> [Christmas Evening. Everyone was getting ready for the Christmas dinner at the Ikari house- or at least, Rei and Misato were. Suzanne was flitting from room to room, chasing Pen-Pen, who was desperately trying to flee from her chariot of death.-
[15:42] <Mingzhu> [Everyone except Alphonse Wellesley and Raphael Guillory. They sat upon the couch, watching some mindless Japanese game show. A man in a fat Evangelion suit had shoulder-charged a man in a fat Gazardiel suit into a pool of water, which was at the top of a ramp. They were now both sliding down said ramp dangerously fast.-
[15:43] <Mingzhu> [… Or at least, one of them was. Alphonse was continuing a story that he had been enthusiastically telling for about twenty minutes now. "And, well, then after she put the locket on around my neck we finished off dinner and then headed towards the park. I tried to take her hand on the way but it didn't quite work out…"]
[15:49] <Raphael> "Mhmm." Raphael said, continuing to nod and murmur at all the right moments. There were only so many things ones could say during such a breathless report, and he'd run out of them about ten minutes ago.
[15:50] <Mingzhu> ["W-Well, we went to the park, and we talked for a little bit, and I gave Rei her present- her new shoes, you see. Then, well, it's exactly as you said, Sir Guillory." Said Alphonse admiringly, as if Raphael were some kind of prophet sent by God to enlighten the masses. "We just both sort of leaned in and…"]
[15:52] * Raphael clears his throat gently, giving the boy a rather awkward and hurried pat on the shoulder. "Well, I'm glad it worked out for you both, Captain."
[15:54] <Mingzhu> ["Thank you, sir." Said Alphonse happily. "She really is quite something, isn't she? She's so gentle and sincere, a-and she really isn't like anyone else I've ever met-" He gushed.-
[15:57] <Mingzhu> ["Warrrrrk!" Pen-Pen rushed across the room once more, sounding harrassed and irritated.-
[15:57] <Mingzhu> ["Alphonse is in wuuuuuuuuuuuv~" Cooed Suzanne as she charged by. "Rei Wellesley~ Rei Wellesley~~~~"]
[16:01] <Raphael> "Leave him be, Suzie." Raphael says, not glancing away from the TV for something as mundane as a wheelchair-bound samurai pilot chasing a penguin. "And stop waving that sword around!"
[16:04] <Mingzhu> ["Awwww." Suzanne pouted, sadly lowering her katana.-
[16:04] <Mingzhu> [Alphonse, however, was utterly unassailable now, and he was mumbling to himself- most distressingly, he seemed to be trying out how 'Rei Wellesley' sounded under his breath.-
[16:06] <Mingzhu> [Pen-Pen took the opportunity to escape back into his room, the door locking behind him. A minute later, the door to Misato's room would open- and out came Misato herself, dressed smart-casual in a snappy black miniskirt and black top. "Suzie, were you chasing my penguin again?"-
[16:06] <Mingzhu> ["… Maybe…"-
[16:10] <Mingzhu> ["Well, be careful, alright? Pen-Pen's under my protection, so if you're too rough you'll have to answer to me~ <3"-
[16:12] <Mingzhu> [Rei came out shortly after, wearing a short-sleeved yellow button-up collared shirt and a white knee-length skirt. "There! I'm all ready. Do you think I look ok?"-
[16:12] <Mingzhu> ["You look beautiful as always." Said Alphonse unabashedly.-
[16:12] <Mingzhu> [Rei blushed, and Misato shot Raphael a look that clearly said 'If this keeps up for the rest of the night, I'm holding -you- at fault'.]
[16:19] * Raphael shrugs at Misato, giving her a quick smirk before getting to his feet. He's dressed in a pair of dark grey chinos with a smart white button-up shirt on top. "Is that everyone ready, then?"
[16:26] <Mingzhu> [There was a general chorus of agreement. Misato flashed the car keys. "Then let's not waste anytime! I'm sure we're all dying to see Commander Ikari again."]
[16:28] * Raphael gives Misato a dark look, reaching for the coat hanging over the back of the couch. "… Of course, Captain."
[16:28] <Mingzhu> [Rei reaches out and takes Alphonse's hand. "I can introduce you to Mama!"-
[16:29] <Mingzhu> ["G-great!"-
[16:30] <Mingzhu> [Misato gives Raphael a sweet look in return before leading them out. "See you later, Pen-Pen!"-
[16:32] <Mingzhu> ["Wark!"-
[16:38] <Mingzhu> [The roads of Tokyo-2 were a little more crowded than usual. That said, they still made good time, pulling into the Ikaris' driveway. It was a homely house, well maintained, with a little front porch and a small yard. Pretty flowers grew in rows along the fenceline.-
[16:39] <Mingzhu> [Misato climbed out, stretching as she did so. "Never thought I'd be spending Christmas Night here of all places."]
[16:43] * Raphael gave the house a curious look, lingering by the car as Rei helped Suzanne into her chair. After a moment something seemed to strike him, and he glanced over at Misato with a worried look in his eye. "Uh… ma'am?"
[16:44] * Misato‘ looked at Raphael, her eyes narrowed. "Ma’am is even worse than Captain… What is it?"
[16:47] * Raphael let's out an irritated noise, but shrugs it off hurriedly. "What we discussed last night… you know it was -private-, right?"
[16:48] <Misato‘> "…?" She considered this for a minute.-
[16:49] <Misato`> "Oh, damn! That’s right!" She snaps her fingers irritably. "Raphael! Why aren't you wearing your tie?!"
[16:51] <Raphael> "I think you put it into the wash while you were cleaning, Captain."
[16:55] <Misato‘> "…" Misato frowned. "Damn, you’re right. Oh well! Let's go~" She says hurriedly.-
[16:57] <Raphael> "… you -will keep it quiet, though, right Captain?" He asks, following close behind with the girls in tow. "… Captain?"
[16:57] <Misato‘> [Rei, pushing Suzanne, flanked by Alphonse, headed off towards the front porch after Raphael and Misato.-
[16:58] * Misato` is decidedly not responding as she pushes the doorbell. Possibly because Raphael isn’t calling her by her name, and she is nothing if not petty.
[17:00] * Raphael does not give in this time, though. Not if that's the way she's playing it. He simply fires a sour look at her back, checking his shirt and smiling over at Suzie as they wait for the door.
[17:01] <Misato‘> [The door opens, revealing the face of Ikari Yui, wearing (thankfully) a simple light blue long-sleeved shirt and light brown skirt. "Oh! They’re here! Hello, Misato!"-
[17:02] <Misato‘> "Hi, Dr. Ikari!"-
[17:03] <Misato`> [Rei has, at this point, moved past the group to pull her mother into a tight, tight hug. Unlike Gendo and Rei, Yui and Rei are far closer in height. "Mama~"-
[17:03] <Misato`> [Yui returns the hug tightly. "Oh, my dear Reirei~ Merry Christmas~"]
[17:08] * Raphael stands back in silence for now, one hand resting on Suzanne’s shoulder as he watches Yui with a cold look.
[17:12] <Misato‘> [Rei pulled back. "You remember Raffy-kun, right?" She smiled, gesturing towards him.]
[17:15] * Raphael manages to force a vague facsimilie of a smile onto his face as Rei turns, giving Yui a nod. "Dr. Ikari. I hope you’ve been having a pleasant Christmas?"
[17:19] <Misato‘> ["I have, thank you very much." Said Yui, giving him a little bow. "It’s even more pleasant now that you've brought my dear Rei back home for it, Sir Guillory."]
[17:21] <Raphael> "…" His hand upon Suzanne's shoulder tightens ever so slightly, but the smile remains as he returns the bow. "My pleasure, ma'am."
[17:23] <Misato‘> [She gives him a quiet little smile before turning her gaze towards Suzanne herself. "Hello, sweetheart. Are you having a good Christmas?"-
[17:23] <Misato`> ["I am! You look after the Evas, right?"-
[17:23] <Misato`> ["I do."-
[17:24] <Misato`> [Suzanne nodded slowly at that. "Good."-
[17:24] <Misato`> [Yui chuckled. "Have you seen them, yet?"-
[17:25] <Misato`> ["Tsuchin showed me." Suzanne’s face brightens. "She also gave me a sword for Christmas!"-
[17:25] <Misato‘> ["R… Really?"]
[17:28] <Raphael> "She wants to be a… what did Pilot Akagi call it, little one?"
[17:30] <Misato`> ["A Samurai Pilot!" Said Suzanne enthusiastically. "I’m going to pilot a giant robot, and I'll have a giant sword, and it'll go -fwoosh-!, and then it'll set on fire!"-
[17:30] <Misato‘> [Yui began giggling. "That’s quite the goal, Suzanne."]
[17:36] <Raphael> "She's a rather exceptional girl." Raphael says, his hand easing a little now.
[17:36] <Misato‘> ["So it seems." Said Yui, still giggling.-
[17:36] <Misato`> [It was at this that Alphonse finally stepped forward, a little awkwardly. "D-Dr. Ikari…"-
[17:38] <Misato`> ["Ah… Merry Christmas!" She smiled. "Captain Wellesley… Yes. Rei’s mentioned you quite a bit recently…"-
[17:39] <Misato‘> ["…" Rei glanced at him, then back to her mother. "T… This is my… my boyfriend." She admitted, her cheeks once again burning.-
[17:40] <Misato`> ["…" Yui stared at that, as though not quite hearing what she said- before finally smiling. "W-Well! What a surprise that is…" Despite the shock, there was something very genuine about that smile. "Why don’t you all come in? Please. I shouldn't leave you all on the threshold- especially my little Reirei's boyfriend."-
[17:40] <Misato‘> ["Ah…" Alphonse coughed a little.]
[17:44] <Raphael> Alphonse would feel a gentle hand pat him on the back, offering some slight support. "Thank you, ma’am." Raphael says, giving her another small bow.-
[17:44] <Raphael> He lets Rei and Alphonse take the lead, but he and Suzanne would be close behind.
[17:46] <Misato‘> [The inside of the Ikari household is warm and spacious. Pictures adorn the walls of family and friends- pictures of Yui and Gendo, Shinji- both as a young boy and the young adult he was now- and pictures of a young, brown-haired girl that had an unmistakeable resemblance to Rei…-
[17:47] <Misato`> [There were pictures of Rei as well. Rei in her plugsuit, next to her smiling father with an arm around her shoulders, Rei herself looking very happy and proud. Rei and the other Ayanamis.-
[17:48] <Misato`> [Yui took them past the living room and its pictures, and into the dining room, where Commander Ikari himself was sitting at one of the chairs, a hamper of goods in front of him. He was peering through them speculatively when Yui spoke. "Our guests are here, Gendo~"-
[17:48] <Misato`> [He looked up. "Ah. Merry Christmas."]
[17:50] <Raphael> "And to you, sir." Raphael says… and after a moment of consideration he steps forward and offers a hand to shake.
[17:51] <Misato`> [Ikari stands up, taking Raphael’s hand and shaking it. "Have you had a good week?"]
[17:54] <Raphael> "We have." He says simply. "It was very generous of you to allow us here tonight."
[17:54] <Misato‘> ["Christmas is the time for giving."-
[17:54] <Misato`> "Yes, yes, giving!" Says Misato, clapping her hands together and peering around Raphael’s shoulder. "You're looking good as usual, Commander~"-
[17:55] <Misato‘> ["Thank you. You look well, Captain Katsuragi."]
[17:57] * Raphael takes the opportunity to release Gendo’s hand and step back into the group.
[17:58] <Misato‘> [Which gives Rei the chance she wants to run up and cuddle her father. "Papa! Merry Christmas~ Ooh, you got a present?"-
[18:00] <Misato`> ["Yes. A… Going away christmas present from the Tokyo-2 staff." Said Ikari, patting Rei on the back. "I’m at a loss as to why they put body lotion in amidst the typical sauces and chocolates…"]
[18:03] * Raphael goes perfectly still for a moment, head slowly turning to eye Misato.
[18:05] <Misato‘> "…" Misato gives Raphael a half-innocent, half-apologetic broad smile.-
[18:07] <Misato`> ["Maybe they’re afraid your skin will become all hard and icky in France." Said Rei curiously. "Oh! Papa-" She pulled away from him and, in one smooth motion, reached for Alphonse. The boy literally took a horrified step back for a second- but it was no use. Before long he had been snared. "Tell him the good news, Al-chan~"-
[18:07] * Misato‘ sidled up to Raphael, whispering. "That’s just cruel."
[18:08] <Raphael> "… oh, Rei…" Raphael murmurs, looking a little horrified himself. But it was time to sink or swim.
[18:10] <Misato‘> ["Uh…" Alphonse stared at those glasses. Those unfeeling, cold glasses. "…"-
[18:10] <Misato`> [Ikari quirked an eyebrow.-
[18:10] <Misato`> ["… I- That is to say, we… Um. We are together now."-
[18:10] <Misato`> [The other eyebrow.-
[18:10] <Misato`> ["Romantically."-
[18:10] <Misato`> ["Indeed?"]
[18:14] * Raphael can’t quite bring himself to look away. He tries to catch Rei's eye, willing her to help the poor boy out somehow…
[18:15] <Misato‘> [… But Rei just isn’t looking. Instead she simply wraps her arms around Alphonse and squeezes tight, sheer innocent joy and happiness radiating from her face. "We're in love, Papa~ <3"-
[18:16] <Misato‘> [’Love' is the last word a person would use to describe Alphonse, whose expression tests the boundaries between a smile and a rictus of horror.-
[18:16] <Misato‘> ["That’s good." Says Gendo simply, nodding. "I'm glad for you, Rei. Isn't that good, Yui?"-
[18:16] <Misato‘> ["Yes, it is!" She calls from the kitchen. "I’m so proud of my little Reirei~"]
[18:23] <Raphael> "She's certainly worth being proud of." Raphael says, smiling a little at the sheer happiness on Rei's face even while Alphonse seemed to be edging towards some sort of terror aneurism.
[18:25] <Misato‘> [Suzanne fearlessly wades into this with all the tact of a hot springs penguin. "They’re going to get ~married~." Says Suzanne. "And I'm gonna wear a pretty dress!"-
[18:25] <Misato‘> "Oh no…"-
[18:26] <Misato`> [Alphonse turns a brilliant shade of red. "L-Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A-ha-ha-ha. K-Kids say some wacky things, don't they?"-
[18:27] <Misato‘> [Suzanne’s interjection does, however, shock Rei into realising just what poor Alphonse is going through. "Um…" She giggles nervously, her cheeks burning. "I-I'm going to help Mama prepare…" She mumbles before she essentially vanishes.-
[18:28] <Misato‘> [Ikari takes all of this in stoically, before nodding. "Might I suggest you start saving for the ceremony, then, Wellesley? You should be able to manage your finances, unlike some Captains."-
[18:28] <Misato`> "…"
[18:32] * Raphael takes the opportunity to bend down and hurriedly mutter something in Suzanne’s ear.
[18:33] <Misato‘> [Suzanne looks up at Raphael sheepishly. "Sorry, Raffy…"]
[18:34] * Raphael just gives her a gentle smile and kisses her on the forehead. "No harm done."
[18:35] <Misato`> [Suzanne grins at him whilst Alphonse shakily slides into a chair.-
[18:35] <Misato`> ["Would any of you like a drink?" Asks Yui, peering out from the kitchen.-
[18:35] <Misato`> "Yes please~"
[18:36] <Raphael> "Uh… a glass of water would be fine, thank you."
[18:37] <Misato`> "Oh, being dry tonight, huh~?"
[18:38] <Raphael> "Tonight was quite enough for a while, I think." He says mildly.
[18:38] <Raphael> «Last night*»
[18:39] <Misato`> "Uh-huh."-
[18:39] <Misato`> ["Do you have juice?" Asks Suzanne eagerly.-
[18:40] <Misato`> ["We sure do~ Would you like apple, orange, mango or pineapple?"-
[18:40] <Misato`> ["Pineapple!"-
[18:40] <Misato`> ["A glass of mango for me, thanks." Said Alphonse.-
[18:41] <Misato`> [Before long, those sitting at the table were served their drinks- juice for Alphonse and Suzanne, water for Raphael, and a glass of wine apiece for Gendo and Misato.-
[18:41] <Misato`> ["So. Sir Guillory. Has Tokyo-2 been to your liking?" Asked Gendo.]
[18:47] <Raphael> "Yes, Commander. It’s quite a change from Paris-2, though. I'm not used to seeing so many people on the streets. It's almost like it was before…" He catches himself there, managing not to look over at Misato. "Well, when I was younger, sir."
[18:49] <Misato‘> [Ikari nods. "Tokyo-2 has been a very successful city. Part of that is due to it being in NERV’s area of interest, of course."]
[18:51] <Raphael> "I can imagine." Raphael nods, taking a mouthful of water. "Still, the population growth here is admirable."
[18:53] <Misato‘> ["Yes, it is." Ikari takes a mouthful of wine.-
[18:53] <Misato`> "Still, I think Paris-2 has more character. Don’t you agree, Raffy-kun?"
[19:01] * Raphael chuckles slightly at that. "I would say so, but I admit some bias; I've too many memories of that city to provide an objective view. Your home always seems a little grander in the mind's-eye, I think."
[19:02] <Misato‘> "I guess you’re right~" Says Misato cheerfully. "What kind of memories, Raffy-kun, hmm? Proofs of your playboy nature, perhaps~?"
[20:22] <Raphael> "Not in Paris, ma'am."
[20:25] <Misato‘> "…" Misato -almost- reacts to that, which is in itself a reaction. She looks not quite directly at him as she takes a sip of wine, the tiniest of blushes on her cheeks.-
[20:25] <Misato`> ["Hey, Raffy?" Suzanne was piping up.]
[20:27] * Raphael seems faintly pleased about something as he glances over at Suzanne. "What’s up, hon?"
[20:28] <Misato‘> ["What’s a 'playboy', anyway?"]
[20:31] <Raphael> The look of self-satisfaction is gone in a flash, and he glares over at Misato for a moment. "… it's nothing you have to worry about, kiddo. Just Captain Katsuragi's little joke."
[20:32] * Misato‘ smirks evilly and leans forward. "A playboy is someone who smooches lots of girls."-
[20:32] <Misato`> [Suzanne -gasps-. "On the mouth?!"-
[20:32] <Misato`> "On the mouth."-
[20:32] <Misato`> [Suzanne gasps again, staring at Raphael.]
[20:35] <Raphael> "The Captain," he says, placing careful emphasis on the two words, "Doesn’t know what she's talking about, Suzie. Don't pay her any mind."
[20:37] <Misato‘> "Remember, this playboy lied to you about smooching me, so can you really trust him~?"-
[20:41] <Misato`> ["I wouldn’t listen to her, Suzanne." Says Alphonse loftily. "Sir Guillory had to go a little crazy before even he dared to smooch her."-
[20:42] * Misato‘ bristled. "Yeah? Well, ignore him. Alphonse is just a playboy looking out for other playboys."-
[20:42] <Misato`> ["Huh!?" Suzanne turned towards Alphonse. "Alphonse smooches lots of girls too?!"-
[20:42] <Misato`> [There is a crash from the kitchen. Alphonse shoots Misato the darkest of looks. "I do not."-
[20:42] <Misato`> ["You do!"-
[20:42] <Misato`> ["I don’t!"-
[20:42] <Misato‘> ["You did last night!"-
[20:42] <Misato`> ["Once. I smooched -one- girl, you harpy."-
[20:43] <Misato`> [Gendo remains ignored during this exchange, his hands steepled together.]
[20:50] * Raphael is watching too. He looks… placid. It’s not the grim neutrality he normally wear, but just a look of remarkable calm. "Misato." He says, taking a sip of water. "You should stop."
[20:54] <Misato‘> "Eh-?" She looks at him straight on for a second- then has the good grace to look ashamed. "Ahem. Sorry, Alphonse."-
[20:54] <Misato`> ["That’s fine." He sips his juice smugly.]
[20:57] * Misato‘ shoots Alphonse a dark little look at the sheer smugness of his drinking habits. "Playboy."-
[20:57] <Misato`> ["Harpy."]
[21:00] <Raphael> The calm on Raphael’s face doesn't shift in the slightest, but something in his eyes does. He gently places his glass back on the table and leans in a little. "So what do we call you, Misato?"
[21:03] <Misato‘> "Huh? There’s no need to call -me- anything." Says Misato. "Especially not harpy." She glowers at Alphonse.
[21:03] <Raphael> The rest of the table seems almost forgotten to him, that odd, intense look aimed right at Misato. "Well, I'm a playboy for kissing you, correct?" He says calmly. "So what do we all get to call you? What's the fun term?"
[21:08] <Misato‘> Misato’s gaze flicks back towards Raphael, and as she catches that look, something in her expression- that little spark of enjoyment, of fun present even when she's glowering at Alphonse- vanishes. The look she gives Raphael has more than enough force behind it to match his own. "I suppose there are a lot of things you could call me."
[21:14] <Raphael> "No, really, I'm curious. I happen to kiss you and suddenly I'm 'playboy' to everyone in bloody NERV, but strangely you don't seem interested in letting the reverse happen. Strange thing, that."
[21:20] <Misato‘> For a second, Misato’s hand quivers, as though she intends to just throw a punch. But with remarkable self-control she reaches out and picks up her glass of wine, draining it.-
[21:22] <Misato‘> "Alright, you win, Raphael." She says quietly, as she puts the glass down. She smiles in a peculiar way. "It’s only fair. If you're a playboy, then I guess that makes me your disgusting slut."-
[21:23] <Misato‘> ["That’s enough." Gendo's voice cuts through the air with incredible sharpness. "If the two of you can't control your own personal problems under my roof, then leave."]
[21:25] <Raphael> "…"-
[21:26] <Raphael> "My sincere apologies, Commander." Raphael says calmly, but that harsh light has left his eyes now. "I… think I might step outside. I believe I need some fresh air." Without saying another word he stands and heads for the nearest available door to the outside world. Any one will do.
[21:30] <Misato‘> [The front door.-
[21:30] <Misato`> [It’s rather dark, although the porch itself is lit up. At the least, it's cooler outside than inside.]
[21:32] * Raphael steps to the very edge of the little pool of light and stares up into the sky, face set, watching the stars. He's dimly aware he's shaking, but he's not sure why.
[21:42] <Misato‘> [Minutes pass. 5, 10…-
[21:43] <Misato`> The door opens, then closes. Someone’s behind him.
[21:44] * Raphael doesn't turn. Doesn't even move.
[21:44] <Raphael> "Hello."
[21:45] <Misato‘> "…"-
[21:45] <Misato`> "H… Hello, Raphael." Misato’s voice.
[21:54] <Raphael> "…" Raphael sighs gently. It takes him a minute, but he turns to face her. The lines of his face are harsh in the porch light. "… That was an absolutely disgraceful thing I just did in there, Captain Katsuragi. You have my unreserved apologies."
[21:58] <Misato‘> "No, no… You don’t have to apologise. If anything, I should be the one to apologise. I didn't realise how upset it was making you. I let the joke get out of hand. I was impulsive, and I was childish, most unbefitting of a Captain, or even a friend. I'm sorry."
[22:05] <Raphael> "…"-
[22:07] <Raphael> He just watches her in silence for a moment chewing that over behind a mask of impassivity. "That was a terrible thing I made you say, Misato."
[22:13] <Misato‘> "It was. But it’s hardly something you made me do." Says Misato. She heads over to the edge of the porch, next to Raphael, holding her arms over the railing. "It doesn't even hurt to say it, really. Mostly. I've said it a lot." She stares out at the manicured grass of the Ikari residence. "So I don't let it hurt me anymore. Not even when that Angel said it."
[22:16] <Raphael> "… Angel?" He says, and that mask finally cracks enough to let a bit of worry show through. "It hurt you too." He says gently, more a statement than a question.
[22:22] <Misato‘> "Yeah." Says Misato quietly. "It… Called me disgusting. A weak coward who was so unable to face her father t-that she’d even stain herself, ruin herself in order to get away from his memory. That I was so pained just to think about him that I… I'd try to just run from his memory, but the more I did, the more I found myself facing it again. I was always trying to be a 'good girl' because of him, so… So I did a lot of things to get away from that. I slept with Kaji, but… The closer I got to him the more I saw how much he was like my father." She lowered her head. "So I ran again, and I found myself working for the same people my father did, fighting the Angels, the problem -he- created, the thing that killed him. I've spent all this time just… Running, and running, and I've gotten nowhere. All I have is my legacy as a weak man's disgusting, defiled daughter."
[22:31] * Raphael joins her in leaning against the railing, not quite touching her as he stares out into the night. The hum of cicadas fills the air. "It's not true." He says.
[22:35] <Misato‘> "I don’t want it to be true. I've… Been trying hard, ever since August, to… To try to undo it." She sighed. "I'm sorry, Raphael. You said that last night, as well… Could you tell me again? I want to hear it."
[22:47] <Raphael> Without even being aware of it, he's leaned over ever so slightly until the two of them are touching shoulders. Out in the street a car sweeps by, headlights washing over them for a moment before moving on. "You aren’t a bad person for doing whatever you can to push through the pain of your past, Misato. You’ve dealt with things other people couldn’t dream of. But you can’t let
[22:47] <Raphael> yourself wallow in it, and you definitely can’t just shut it out. You need to deal with the problems one step at a time. And I think you are doing that. But if you need help with, there are people who care about you, whether you believe it or not."-
[22:47] <Raphael> "… and please, don’t ever use that awful word for yourself again."
[22:56] <Misato‘> "…" Misato smiled a little. She shifted a little- a little closer. "I won’t, but only if you're one of those people who care about me."
[23:02] <Raphael> "It's a possibility, ma'am." Raphael says, with a faint smile on his face.
[23:02] * Misato‘ smiles playfully up at him before looking away.-
[23:02] <Misato`> "Hey, Raphael?"
[23:05] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[23:05] <Misato`> "A-About last night…" She coughed. "I wanted to say something."
[23:07] * Raphael shifts a little at that, the smile fading. "… you don’t have to."
[23:09] <Misato‘> "… Uh." She glances at him. "A-Are you sure? What… What do you mean?"
[23:13] <Raphael> "The way you brushed it all aside, I thought…" He hesitates, meeting that look for a moment before returning his stare to the street. Shifts his tone to something a little less uncertain and a little more professional. "You’re still my CO."
[23:14] <Misato‘> "… W-Well." She looks away again. "I-I just needed some time to think about it. I-I realised something, but… If you’d rather I stay quiet…"
[23:16] <Raphael> "…" He still looks a little uncomfortable, but after a moment's thought he shakes his head. "No, it's ok. Say what you need to say."
[23:18] <Misato‘> "Well…" She looks down at the grass again. "Last night… Last night was a mistake."-
[23:19] <Misato`> "B-But despite that, I… I felt really happy last night. With the present, I felt respected. I felt like I was worth something again. I really didn’t feel so disgusting, for the first time in a long time. So… So I don't regret what happened, and it's a mistake I'd feel comfortable making again."
[23:26] <Raphael> That seems to catch him completely off-guard. For a moment he just stares at her, his brow creased with an almost comical degree of puzzlement before he lets out a long, exhausted sigh. "… I don't know what to do." He says, voice quiet as though he's admitting some crushing secret.
[23:28] <Misato‘> "I don’t either." Mumbles Misato sheepishly. "What do you want to do?"
[23:31] <Raphael> "… I want to be happy." Raphael says. "I want to hold on to that feeling for as long as I can."
[23:34] <Misato‘> "I want to be happy, too." She agrees.-
[23:34] <Misato`> A tentative hand on his arm.
[23:37] * Raphael hesitates for a moment or two before covering it with one of his own.
[23:47] * Misato` doesn’t shift from the position for a long time. But she does lift her head up, now- no longer low and hung.-
[23:48] <Misato‘> "You know, if we’re out here too long, they might start dinner without us."
[23:50] <Raphael> "… I'm not sure if I can go back in there. I don't know if you noticed, but I may have made an ass of myself in front of three of my commanding officers." He says with a slightly dismayed look.
[23:52] <Misato‘> "Rei’s in there petitioning on your behalf, though. She was the one who actually told me to come out here. Not that I wouldn't have myself, but she gave me a push…" She glances up at Raphael. "And let's be honest, those three commanding officers can't really say no to Rei, can they?"
[23:53] * Raphael sighs, nodding slowly. "Well, I suppose I can't let her go to all that trouble for nothing."
[23:54] <Misato‘> "Besides, it’s chicken curry."
[23:55] <Raphael> "… hmm." He murmurs. "I -do- enjoy curry."
[23:58] <Misato‘> "Who doesn’t? I love a bit of curry myself."
[00:00] <Raphael> "…" He casts a worried glance over at the door and gives Misato's hand a brief squeeze before pulling away. "We should go, then."
[00:03] <Misato‘> "Yeah." She gives him a warm smile, that little spark of joy back in her eyes. "Let’s go."

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