In The Dismay Of A Friend

[13:44] * Yanmei cradled a cell against her ear, listening to a busy signal with a sharp, sad feeling in her heart. She couldn't recall when she had passed out last night, only recalling the long hours that she had spent lying in her own bed after her visits with Alexandre Fontaine and Marianne. She had woken up past noon, cleaned herself up as best as she could, and dressed in a NERV-issued utility suit-
[13:47] <Yanmei> had made her way here, bypassing the hangar where the Evas were kept on purpose. It was noisy, and she had to tuck herself out of the way on a mostly unused catwalk, but it felt somehow… appropriate.
[13:51] <Isaiah> [Here, in this case, was Equipment Hangar 001: half of it was a depot, giant 'lockers', each one taking up a third of the depot space, each one marked: '00' '01' '04'. It was where the Evangelions stored their weaponry when not in use. The lockers themselves extended even beyond the wall, into Equipment Depot 001, which was dedicated to the gigantic weaponry and the ammunition they consumed, which would invariably be a lot.-
[13:52] <Isaiah> [The other half of the room was taken up by magnetic launch bays and elevators. An item would be ferried onto the elevator, and launched upwards on the magnetic rails to the surface, to one of the supply caches or ports that dotted Paris-2.]
[13:55] * Yanmei tried dialing again, not expecting much. 'Think,' she warned herself. Due to the attacks on Berlin-2, there were probably all sorts of last-minute requests going out to NERV China. Replacement parts, weapon upgrades, and so forth. She was probably swamped with work, so… She raised the cell to her ear again, and met with the expected. -
[13:59] <Yanmei> She took it stoically, instead of dropping the phone off the side of the catwalk, as she was initially compelled to do. That would have been childish. And anyway, it couldn't be helped. She stared out over the lockers for a moment, trying to look thoughtful, and then dialed a different number this time.
[14:03] <Isaiah> The phone rang. It rang, and rang, and rang again… For a moment, it seemed as though this would be a fruitless call as well.-
[14:04] <Isaiah> But, eventually, Yanmei heard the familiar click as the signal was answered… And a voice spoke back. "Hello?" It was Isaiah's voice, sounding a little uncertain.
[14:05] <Yanmei> "Isaiah!" For someone who had called -him- she certainly sounded surprised. "It's Yanmei. You… haven't evacuated?"
[14:10] <Isaiah> "Yanmei!" Replied the boy, relief and surprise flooding into his voice. "I'm so glad you rang- I was going to call you later, but… It's good to hear from you." He said quickly, then- a pause. "Ah, no. I haven't evacuated."
[14:12] <Yanmei> "But you've heard? About the news, I mean." She gripped the handrail uneasily. "I haven't been on the surface since it broke, so I don't know how bad it is up there. Are you okay? Are you at home now?"
[14:20] <Isaiah> "Yeah. I heard." Said Isaiah grimly. "Berlin-2… It… No one deserved to die like that." He said, a tone of anger in his voice. But he had to stay on track. "I'm alright, Yanyan. I'm at home- er, your home. With the spare key Marianne gave me. I was waiting for you to come back." Isaiah paused.-
[14:21] <Isaiah> "It's pretty ugly up here, Yanyan. There are soldiers in the streets. It's really quiet and lonely, too- there're hardly any people left in a lot of places. But…" Isaiah sighed. "Everyone's running away in the same direction, and there're huge problems. Bottlenecks, people getting hurt… It's really bogged down, to the point where the people who have gotten out have just started sitting in camps outside the city."
[14:25] <Yanmei> "Oh… oh no," she whispered. Why weren't things more organized? This was terrible! "Isaiah, I don't want you getting hurt out there. But at the same time, people have the right idea about leaving! If we screw up…" She caught herself, amended that. "No. We won't screw up," she said firmly, for his sake. "But it's still safer outside the city!"
[14:31] <Isaiah> "But…" Began Isaiah, a note of desperation in his voice. "But… Yanyan…" There was a pause. "I don't know. It… I can't leave yet, Yanyan."
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Yes you can! Why can't you?" She paced. "You're at home, aren't you? I'll come there. Escort you out personally. Maybe grab some military guys on the way there? You'll be safe!"
[14:38] <Isaiah> "It's… It's not a question about being safe, Yanyan." Said Isaiah softly. "I can't leave. It's… My place is here."
[14:39] <Yanmei> "What if I promised you it would still be here when you got back? Isaiah, please… please think about this!"
[14:41] <Isaiah> "I -have- thought about it, Yanmei." Said Isaiah. "I don't care about the city, Yanyan. My place is here because you're here." There was a pause, and a faint sound as if he'd opened something.
[14:52] <Yanmei> "Wait… what are you doing over there?" She could help but notice the sound, even in her growing frenzy.
[15:03] <Isaiah> The sound of something closing now. "I'm closing all the windows." Said Isaiah, in a polite tone. "Then I'm going to close the doors and lock the apartment up."
[15:07] <Yanmei> "…" He'd be about as safe in there as he would be a regular bunker, but… this was no ordinary fight. She leaned on the railing now, her grip having tightened. "I appreciate you taking the time to defend against looters? But…" A desperate strike of inspiration. "Does your father know where you are? He… would probably want you to leave the city as well."
[15:09] <Isaiah> "…" There was a pause, now. The sound of another door opening. And a door closing- and a clicking sound. "He took my wallet." Said Isaiah, suddenly sounding extremely upset.
[15:10] <Yanmei> "What?! Why?"
[15:13] <Isaiah> "I-I don't know!" Said Isaiah, in an almost panicky tone. "He just said it was best if he held onto it in case I lost it or it got damaged… B-but I can look after it!" Footsteps. "M-My mum's in that wallet…"
[15:15] <Yanmei> "Do you need me to talk to him?" A fierce scowl graced her face now. "Even if he doesn't have a picture of his own, that's just unfair."
[15:20] <Isaiah> "I-I…" Isaiah paused. "Would you even be able to get it to me? You-you're busy, aren't you? Maybe it's best j-just to leave it…"
[15:22] <Yanmei> "I can try," she said, straightening up again. Get the damn wallet back. If she did, maybe he would calm down and think a little more clearly. "But you have to promise to do something for me."
[15:23] <Isaiah> "What's that?"
[15:25] <Yanmei> "You have to keep yourself safe, okay? Whether it means fleeing the city or staying where you are. I'm going to ask around on which course is best right now, and then talk to your father, and then call you back."
[15:25] <Isaiah> "A-alright, Yanyan." Said Isaiah. "I'll… I'll do what I can to keep myself safe. I wish they'd let me in down there…"
[15:28] <Yanmei> "I don't know how safe NERV is anymore? But I will ask about that too. How does that sound?"
[15:35] <Isaiah> "Alright." Said Isaiah quietly. "I'd feel better if I were closer to you."
[15:37] <Yanmei> "And -I- would feel better if you were out of harm's way," she sighed. She stared out over the weapon's hangar again, a small frown still lingering. "Stay strong for me, Isaiah."
[15:39] <Isaiah> "I will, Yanyan." A moment passed. He was still walking. "I'm sorry…"
[15:41] <Yanmei> "Sorry for what? It's a crazy situation out there. I'm not even sure what I would do if the situation was reversed? Just hang tight, and I'll see what I can do."
[15:43] <Isaiah> "I wanted to help you, not get in your way." Said Isaiah quietly. "But… But I will. Thank you."
[15:50] * Yanmei stopped again at that, blinking. "… you're not in my way either. Don't ever think that." Why did he pick her home? Because it felt safe? Because he had that much faith in her? God, she was so worried. Maybe this was what Marianne felt a lot of the time.
[15:54] <Isaiah> "A-alright." He said quietly. "I won't. Where should I go if you get my wallet back?"
[15:56] <Yanmei> "I'll call you first. Depending on what I find out, I'll either go to you, or have you come to NERV HQ, or have it delivered to you someplace else. There's plenty of time before the battle, so I can do this without problems."
[15:59] <Isaiah> "Alright. Thank you, Yanyan."
[16:00] <Yanmei> "Anytime, Isaiah. I'll keep in touch. Please make yourself comfortable in the meantime, okay?"
[16:01] <Isaiah> "Okay. Goodbye, Yanyan!"
[16:03] <Yanmei> "Goodbye, Isaiah!" and she pulled the phone away from her ear, snapping in closed for now. She took a deep breath. First thing was first - find Dorian. Quickly, she began to make her descent.
[20:26] * Yanmei stepped off the elevator, heading into the Science Division's Weapon Development Department at a fairly brisk clip. She had just spoken to Dorian, and was on her way to a discussion with Dr. Gabriel, against all odds. Hopefully they would be finished enough with that Positron cannon thing to make getting in to see him less of an issue than she was anticipating.
[20:29] <Isaiah> [The Weapons Development Department was quite abuzz. People in coats and jumpsuits were running to and fro, some of them carrying equipment, others carrying paper or instructions. A holographic map of France hung on a projector at the end of the room, filled with unlit lightbulbs. Next to it was a 'tournament' or 'roots-to-canopy' graph, with the canopy named 'GPC' and the roots being power stations.-
[20:30] <Isaiah> [In the midst of all this was, of course, Dr. Gabriel, staring up at the map, before looking down at his computer console.]
[20:34] <Yanmei> There was the sense of very much being out of her league, here amid the chaos of preparation. Nevertheless, she pressed on, and was rewarded for it, taking advantage of the opportunity to step up behind Gabriel in a way that made her shadow fall over his console. She cleared her throat.
[20:36] <Isaiah> [Dr. Gabriel froze, glowering at the shadow as if he were confused by its presence. Finally, he turned around, staring at Yanmei- his expression flickered slightly as he looked at her, with either annoyance or apprehension. "Can't it wait for a minute, Pilot Zhang? I'm in the middle of some calibrations."]
[20:38] <Yanmei> "Oh, this will only take a moment itself," she said smilingly. "At least I very much hope so? It's about Isaiah. I think you can guess at what I'm about to ask you."
[20:40] <Isaiah> [Dr. Gabriel sighed. "Enlighten me."]
[20:42] <Yanmei> "I am asking for the wallet you're carrying. On his behalf, of course." She extended a hand. "I would also like to know why you took it from him? He's very upset. When I talked to him recently, he was barracading himself inside my apartment."
[20:45] <Isaiah> ["Did you really come all this way to interrupt me to ask for the little milksop's wallet back?" Asked Dr. Gabriel scornfully.]
[20:48] <Yanmei> "Yes. I did." She didn't move her hand. She stared at him. "Taking it from him was mean. I thought we'd already talked about not being mean to him. I'm very disappointed in you, Dr. Gabriel."
[20:50] <Isaiah> [Dr. Gabriel sighed once more. "We did. I didn't take it from him to be cruel." Said the Doctor, his tone less antagonistic and more quieter… Not quite reconciliatory, but almost. "I took it for protection. I was afraid he might lose it in the mess."]
[20:55] <Yanmei> "I see. But he really clings to that thing for comfort? Surely you must have realized that. And why." she frowned a little bit. "I think he really needs comfort right now. And neither of us are in a state to give it to him."
[21:00] <Isaiah> ["Really?" Said Dr. Gabriel. "Considering you came over here to argue about his wallet, I thought you'd have more than enough time to give him hugs, hold his hand, kiss his hurties better, whatever it is you do to make him stop whining." The scorn was back in force now.]
[21:03] <Yanmei> "You don't get it, do you?" She flourished a hand. "I'm trying to get him to calm down enough to get out of my apartment and to someplace where he won't be killed. I consider that a fine use of my time. What are -you- doing for him?"
[21:05] <Isaiah> ["Helping to set up a weapon capable of killing a nearly-unstoppable Angel." Said Dr. Gabriel promptly. "You know, my -job-. Besides, won't he be fine in a Geofront apartment…?" There was a little note of unease in Dr. Gabriel's voice now.]
[21:08] <Yanmei> "I don't know. Major Lachapelle said that it was better to either get out of town or to come here. The former's difficult. It's supposedly chaos out there."
[21:08] <Isaiah> [Dr. Gabriel considered this for a moment. "Fine. Then you want the wallet?"]
[21:09] <Yanmei> "That's right." She extended her hand again, expectantly. "Thank you for your cooperation~"
[21:10] <Isaiah> ["Not so fast. I want a favour." Dr. Gabriel smirked. "I want you to convince me that you can win."]
[21:15] <Yanmei> "Convince you? She blinked in confusion at this unexpected twist. With what, a debate? "I'm positive that we can. I stayed here all night instead of going home and visiting loved ones because I know that we could, and that there would be a chance for me to later."
[21:17] <Isaiah> ["Knowing full well that the boy would panic and wait for you to return before leaving?" Asked Dr. Gabriel coolly.]
[21:19] <Yanmei> "I did not manipulate him into doing that, if that's what you're implying," her voice dropped a few degrees. What that hell was this? He wasn't supposed to be twisting -her- words and motivations around. "What are you getting at, anyway?"
[21:21] <Isaiah> ["I'm not implying or 'getting at' a thing." Said Dr. Gabriel, taking out his wallet. "Are you telling me that you -didn't- expect the boy, who idolizes you to an embarrassing degree, would put -your- safety over his own, and thus inadvertently imperil himself waiting for you?"]
[21:27] <Yanmei> "Of course I didn't?" She shook her head, perhaps a touch more frantically than her usual demeanor allowed, until she herself noticed and stopped. "I thought that he would get someplace safe. I'm -trying- to make sure that he does that now. If I thought he would do this, I would have taken action earlier."
[21:29] <Isaiah> ["Hmph. Then it's obvious you don't know the boy nearly as well as you think you do- or should." Said Dr. Gabriel coldly, putting the wallet into Yanmei's hands.]
[21:30] <Yanmei> "Says the man who took his wallet without realising that he would freak out about it." Her hand closed around it. "Or perhaps without caring."
[21:31] <Isaiah> ["My fault for assuming you would've assuaged his fears." Said Dr. Gabriel coldly. "Good day, Pilot Zhang. Don't die out there. It would be a great pity."]
[21:34] * Yanmei turmed away shortly. There was nothing left to say. Although she did walk off with the sense that she had just lost some other very important battle, and for the life of her she could not figure out how it had happened.
[21:37] <Isaiah> [The Doctor did not turn around again. So Yanmei left the room, feeling conflicted, perhaps- but she left holding what she had came for: a wallet with a very special cargo. And now…?]
[21:40] <Yanmei> She thought about returning to the equipment hangar, but thought better of it, instead beelining for one of the elevators that would take her to the surface. She dialed the number for Isaiah's cell phone.
[21:41] <Isaiah> [Ring ring. The receiver answered far quicker this time.-
[21:41] <Isaiah> "Hello…?"
[21:42] <Yanmei> "I have it!" She tried to make herself sound cheerful. "Come to NERV, okay? It's supposed to be a little safer here than it will be over there."
[21:43] <Isaiah> "R-really? You managed to get it?" The boy's tone was relieved and overjoyed all at once. "Alright, I'll be there at once! Thank you, Yanyan. You're the best." The sound of a door opening, then closing. Then, footsteps.
[21:46] <Yanmei> "I'll meet you outside the entrance. We should be able to slip in together?" She would really have to turn on the charm if they got noticed. Heaven help them if that happened…
[21:47] <Isaiah> "… Okay, Yanyan." Said Isaiah quietly. "Thank you again. I'll see you soon."
[21:47] <Yanmei> "Of course!" she smiled out of habit. "I'll see you in a little while. Stay safe."
[21:48] <Isaiah> "I will. See you in a while." The phone went quiet.
[21:51] * Yanmei pulled it away from her ear and examined it uncertainly. What the hell was she doing? Was this even the best route? She couldn't think of anything else, and his safety was completely in her hands at this point. Was this just another screwup? She couldn't tell now. -
[21:55] <Yanmei> She waited for him, as she said she would, outside the security gates of NERV's surface entrance. Every now and then, she dialed another number on her phone and listened to it ring endlessly without really knowing why. Maybe she was hoping for some guidance? Well, in any case, the minutes ticked by.
[21:56] <Isaiah> Eventually, a shape appeared.-
[21:56] <Isaiah> It was, of course, Isaiah. He was walking along very quickly towards Yanmei, and she could see that, the moment Isaiah saw her, he had to restrain the urge to run. He was smiling a lot, nevertheless.-
[21:57] <Isaiah> He was also… Wearing something odd. It looked like one of Yanmei's NERV uniforms- the khaki coats they wore over their tunics when they weren't piloting. But he'd worn a normal pair of black trousers, giving it a mismatched look. Besides, the coat was rather long for him.-
[21:58] <Isaiah> "Yanyan." He said with relief as he came close. "It's really good to see you. Really good."
[21:59] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Likewise!" She had kept herself from giggling at his approach, but now that she thought about it, a disguise wasn't a terrible idea? She just wish he had been a little more thorough! "Good thinking with the jacket. Here." She offered him the wallet.
[22:03] <Isaiah> "Ah…" He stared down at the wallet, and took without hesitation. He took a deep, deep breath, opened it, and took another breath. "Thank God." He looked up at Yanyan with intense gratitude. "I'm really glad you did this, Yanyan. You didn't have to. I… I don't even know what to say…"
[22:09] <Yanmei> "You don't have to say anything. I know how important it is to you." She wanted to apologise, too. God, how could he smile at her, after what she had put him through… "You might want to open it, too. There's my security card inside. You can use it to get through the turnstiles, and hold it up to the security guards when you pass them - ah, covering the photo with your thumb, of course. I'll have to take a slightly different route inside, though."
[22:14] <Isaiah> "Er… Ok. I won't get lost, will I?" Said Isaiah, opening his wallet. He looked down at the picture of his mother - a pretty woman with black hair and violet eyes- with obvious love and tenderness, smiling gently at it. You could almost see the boy's nerves soothen over time.-
[22:15] <Isaiah> Slowly, he turned his gaze towards the security card, slipping it out of its pocket. He stared at it. "Interesting."
[22:16] <Yanmei> "Just keep with the crowd, and act natural. I'll find you." Yanmei stared back at him from the security card. She was smiling in the little photo displayed on it, and winking too. The real life Yanmei clapped him lightly on the shoulder. "It'll be okay, so don't be nervous!"
[22:21] * Isaiah smiled a little, and looked back up at Yanmei. "I'm not." He said simply, in a sort of tone that suggests that, photo in hand and Yanmei nearby, he felt completely and perfectly safe.
[22:26] <Yanmei> "Attaboy! I'll see you inside." He looked more confident than she actually felt, but she couldn't let him in on it. Strolling away and leaving him to his own devices, she headed toward the nearest security guard, with something akin to embarassed hope.
[22:27] <Isaiah> "Ok!"-
[22:28] <Isaiah> [There were two security guards on duty, in full armour with assault rifles. NERV didn't usually have guards posted- only in emergencies. The guard turned towards her. "Pilot Zhang."]
[22:30] <Yanmei> "Hello gentlemen. Ah…" she rubbed the back of her neck. "I'm afraid I wasn't really thinking and left my security card somewhere. Do you think you could let me through just this once?"
[22:32] <Isaiah> ["A poor time to leave your security card lying around, Pilot Zhang." Chastised the security guard. He reached into a pocket, and took out his card. "We can let you in this once. You'll need my card to activate the elevators and all that, so bring it back as soon as you can."]
[22:36] <Yanmei> "Thank you so much!" She let a shining smile flourish and bowed gratefully. "Yes, sir! I promise that I will!" Quickly, she pivoted, and started to head through the security checkpoint herself.
[22:37] <Isaiah> ["Hhn. Be careful."-
[22:38] <Isaiah> [Through the security checkpoint! After slipping the security guard's card through a turnstile, she'd find herself in the area beyond- now with access to the elevators.]
[22:43] <Yanmei> She took a quick look around, trying to spot Isaiah. He hadn't gone down in an elevator already, had he?
[22:45] <Isaiah> [It took a while. In fact, it took a good fifteen minutes!-
[22:46] <Isaiah> [But eventually, she found him, staring in apprehension at an elevator console. He looked a little shook up, but otherwise fine.]
[22:48] * Yanmei strode over to him with a sigh of relief, reaching over to swipe her newly acquired card in order to open the elevator. She smiled at him wordlessly.
[22:49] * Isaiah looked up at her with relief, then stepped in, smiling back at her.
[22:56] <Yanmei> Down they would go! Far enough to reach the level where some of NERV's more comfortable amenities were - like the cafeteria and guest offices. Yanmei stepped out first. "Have you eaten? I can show you where the cafeteria is. If you want to watch what's happening when… when it's time, you can slip in there. It's where a lot of the crew goes to see what's happening. In the meantime, you'll be staying in my guest office. It's nice, and there's no one a
[22:57] <Yanmei> no one around in there."
[22:58] * Isaiah it must be noted spends a good deal of time looking around. He's positively fascinated by the place, although whenever anyone walked past he'd shrink into Yanmei's shadow- which probably wasn't an awful idea.-
[22:59] <Isaiah> "I see. That sounds good." Said Isaiah, nodding. "I… Er, I haven't eaten recently. I was kind of preoccupied…" He frowns a little. "Is it ok if we grab some food and take it to your guest office?"
[23:05] <Yanmei> "I think that can be arranged~" There were certain people she was keeping a wary eye out for. Marianne, for one, who she did not want to get involved in this. The other pilots and Alexandre Fontaine, and Freya as well. She led the way, "Let's pick up some drinks and some sandwiches. And some magazines. They are usually a few lying around in there? But they're awfully… scientific."
[23:10] <Isaiah> "Scientific, huh…?" Isaiah blinked. "Eh… I should be able to handle those. But is everyone here really a scientist?" He asked curiously.
[23:14] <Yanmei> "Nah. There are lots of military guys too. Electronic and computer specialists, ground crews, maintenance people, medical staff… ah, and us, the pilots." Entering the cafeteria, she peeked around to see how many people where there. Not too many, she hoped. "There -are- a lot of scientists, though, with many different specialies."
[23:16] <Isaiah> "Ah… I guess that makes sense." Said Isaiah quietly. "It seems to take a lot of people to keep the Evangelions operating, huh? For something so powerful, they sure do require lots of support."-
[23:16] <Isaiah> [It was hard for Yanmei to get a good fix on the number of people; there were plenty of people going through the room, but few stayed.]
[23:23] * Yanmei snagged a tray from the a stack of them that was waiting to to be used - still warm and rather damp from a thorough cleaning. "They're powerful because they have some much support. None of the fights we've been in would have been possible without all these people helping together." she felt like - and probably sounded like - some sort of promotional brochure. It was scary how normal that was starting to get for her. -
[23:25] <Yanmei> Picking a turkey sandwhich for herself as she skimmed along peering at the selection of food on display, she gestured for Isaiah to pick something out too. She would pay, naturally.
[23:27] * Isaiah promptly put a bowl of butter chicken onto the tray. Looking up at Yanmei, he smiled. "Just like the pilots need all -their- support too, right?" He said softly.
[23:38] <Yanmei> "Something like that," she said quietly. "You've been a very goof friend, Isaiah, and I really do appreciate your support."
[23:39] <Yanmei> ^good
[23:40] <Isaiah> "It's the least I can do for someone like you." Said Isaiah, smiling up at her, blushing slightly.
[23:47] * Yanmei wondered again if she should despair at that smile. Shouldn't she be apologising? In any case, she paid for the food, stopped by the vending machine for drinks, and then circled the area for reading material, snagging some older issues of "Physics Illustrated" and "Guns Weekly" that were scattered at various tables. Finally, she nodded to Isaiah, ready to proceed to the office. "Let's go!"
[23:49] <Isaiah> "Right!" Isaiah quickly grabbed a drink- momentarily despairing over the rather prodigious amount of orange-flavoured drinks in the machine- and headed off after Yanmei with a cola.
[23:53] <Yanmei> The office/bedroom was, as mentioned before, rather quiet. The area in general was probably like that, what with it being nearly 3 pm in the afternoon and all. Yanmei signed in, and took Isaiah back with her, and picked worriedly at the sandwich while they peered at the magazines and chatted with each other.
[23:56] * Isaiah would seem fairly relaxed. He eagerly ate up his butter chicken, chatting a little with Yanmei as well. But eventually, he fell silent, pushing his plate aside onto the desk and fidgeting a little.
[00:01] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She peered at him expectantly, sensing that something was on his mind. She had been staring blankly at a pinup of some sort glowing celestial object, but she let that fall by the wayside.
[00:04] <Isaiah> "I had a dream last night." Murmured Isaiah.
[00:06] <Yanmei> "Was it a good dream or a bad one?" She'd had her share of bad ones. Stupid 04.
[00:07] <Isaiah> "Really bad."
[00:08] <Yanmei> "…it wasn't about the battle was it?" she peered down at her barely-touched plate. It wouldn't have been surprising.
[00:09] <Isaiah> "No, it wasn't about that exactly…" Murmured Isaiah. "Or… Well. Sort of. May I tell you?"
[00:15] * Yanmei nodded, gesturing for him to go on. She looked a little worried. If not the battle, then what?
[00:16] <Isaiah> "I dreamed I was walking through the streets of Paris-2. And the ground shook." Said Isaiah. Not surprising, considering how it'd shook last night… "… So I ran, and ran, and I ran to your apartment. And I opened the door…"-
[00:18] <Isaiah> "The balcony door was open, and the curtains were wide. And- that Angel was out there, in the sky, near the moon, and everything was on fire. And I saw you, on the ground of the apartment. You were dead." He said softly. "It looked like you'd been cut and slashed, and you were bleeding, and your clothes were ripped… I was really terrified, so I ran to grab some water. But instead of water, some orange gunk came out."-
[00:19] <Isaiah> "Then you got up, even though you were dead. But you were really… Angry. Your eyes were red, and- and you hurt me." He went quiet.
[00:22] * Yanmei stayed quiet too. She had gripped the edge of her chair, and now her knuckles were turning pale. "It's just a dream." She was determined not to look scared. At least not while in front of Isaiah. "I wouldn't hurt you, and I wouldn't rise from the dead either."
[00:23] <Isaiah> "I know." Said Isaiah quietly, and he gave her a little smile. "My mother always told me, if I had dreams about a person, I should talk to the person… I think she found it curious." Isaiah shrugged. "But… That dream had my worst nightmare in it."
[00:29] <Yanmei> "It's not a pleasant dream," she concurred quietly. She tried not to look at him. "I hope you don't have any more of them. That would be awful."
[00:32] <Isaiah> "I don't either." Isaiah stood up from where he was sitting. He walked over, and sat on the desk itself, looking down at Yanmei now. He reached out and gently touched her cheek. "I'm scared." He said, in a calm voice that belied the words.
[00:37] * Yanmei stared at him now. He didn't -sound- scared. He sounded oddly serene for once. "I don't know how to protect you from dreams? But I can protect you from things in the waking world," she vowed. "And I'm going to. You and as many other people as I can." She had no choice but to do so. That's the way it was now, anyway.
[00:39] <Isaiah> "I know." Said Isaiah quietly. "Even though I'm scared, I feel safe. I know you'll be fighting, and I'm scared that you'll be hurt… But… I have faith in you. More faith than I've ever had- that you'll protect us." Isaiah smiled. "So I'm going to ask you a special favour you can't say 'no' to."
[00:41] <Yanmei> "What's that?" she ventured into a small smile.
[00:45] <Isaiah> "I want you to take this." Said Isaiah, reaching into his coat. He pulled out a little picture- it was of himself. "Marianne took this of me awhile ago, and she had it developed and gave it to me… It's a picture." He smiled, and offered it to her. "I want you to take it with you, ok? Put it in your cockpit. That way, I'll be with you even though I'll be here. So if you're ever scared or feeling weak up there…-
[00:45] <Isaiah> "Look at it. And think of me."
[00:49] * Yanmei examined the picture with some surprise. She hadn't expected something so simple as a gesture. "I'll do that." She reached out to take it. Another way of showing support. She probably didn't deserve it, but… "Thank you, Isaiah. It doesn't often get scary up there," she added hastily, "but this will help when it does."
[00:50] <Isaiah> "I'm glad." Said Isaiah, smiling.-
[00:50] <Isaiah> [A voice came over the PA Speaker. "Attention to all pilots. Pre-battle preparations are beginning. Please report to the Command Centre immediately." It was Dorian's.]
[00:56] * Yanmei almost let her finger tighten further around the edge of the picture. "That's my cue," she murmured, and stood slowly. Was there a certain reluctance to her movements? Perhaps it was his imagination. "Thank you for everything Isaiah." She smiled at him. "I'll be back as soon as I can. Will you be okay in here?"
[00:59] <Isaiah> "I'll be fine." Said the boy. But tears were starting to form in his eyes. He hopped off the desk, putting his arms around her. "I'll be here when you get back. W-We can have d-dinner." He said, trying to be strong; the tears starting to fall.
[01:03] * Yanmei hugged back with one arm - placed a comforting hand on his head. Her own eyes were dry for now. "We sure can. Don't worry. It will be okay." She swallowed quietly. "No one else knows that you're here. The Major might suspect it, I think, but… be careful if you're sneaking around the base. Security spotting you would probably mess up our dinner plans." She chuckled softly.
[01:04] <Isaiah> "Y-yeah. I-I don't want to be thrown into some s-stupid room." Said Isaiah, the tears still spilling. He was breathing a little oddly, too. But he looked up at Yanmei. "I…"
[01:04] * Yanmei gazed at him, encouraging as always.
[01:05] <Isaiah> "Somuchtosaymightnot-" Isaiah gasped out, before moving quickly.-
[01:06] <Isaiah> He kissed her. It was full of the desperation of a wildly scared boy near the end; it was brief and very gentle, to the point where it seemed to almost didn't happen.
[01:12] * Yanmei stared at him, eyes widening in shock. She didn't know what to say to that. What -could- she say? She just hugged him again, a little tighter this time, a small laugh escaping. "You're something else, you know?"
[01:14] * Isaiah was in shock himself. The action seemed to surprise -him-, too… And now the reaction caught him off-guard. It wasn't what he expected (Yanmei storming out of the room) and it wasn't what he hoped (a desperate kiss in return), so it managed to add another emotion to his melange of feeling: utter emotional confusion.-
[01:16] <Isaiah> "I… I am…?" Murmured Isaiah, but he clung to her tightly nevertheless. His mind scrambled to make sense of what'd just happened and he really wasn't doing a good job of it. "Y-you're… Something else… Too…" He mumbled. "P-please come back." A whisper.
[01:23] <Yanmei> "Of course I will?" She whispered into his ear. "And I'm sorry about before. I should have called you earlier." Stupid Dr. Gabriel. More guilt wound up along with her feelings from their discussion, and the dream. She was… a horrible person, wasn't she? As if she couldn't help but hurt Isaiah even when she didn't want to. Even now…
[01:25] <Isaiah> "It's alright." Said Isaiah, whispering back. "It's alright. It's alright. Y-you called and came, anyway, and…" That hug tightened. Oh, this moment! "I-I knew you would. I knew it." He swallowed, still crying.-
[01:26] <Isaiah> "W-with you, I'm not… Left behind. And… And with me, you are not alone…"
[01:30] * Yanmei would not cry. How would it look if she showed up for preparations crying? "Thank you. It means so much to me to me too."
[01:32] * Isaiah nodded slowly. He didn't have anything to say to that- he'd said everything he could. As long as she knew that he'd be there… That was ok for now.-
[01:32] <Isaiah> ["Second call for pilots to the Command Centre for pre-battle preparation."]
[01:33] * Yanmei pulled away reluctantly, sighing. "They'll get mad at me if I wait any longer."
[01:35] * Isaiah stepped back, just as reluctantly. Tears stained his face, but he was battling like mad to keep them in check. "R-right." He said, nodding. "I-I'll be watching. I'll be here when you return." He bowed his head. "I'll always be here. No matter what, you can always rely on me being here when you get back."
[01:39] * Yanmei smiled at him again, placed a hand on his shoulder, and squeezed it. "I don't doubt it, Isaiah," she said. And then, throwing her shoulders back, turned to answer the call.
[01:42] * Isaiah watched as she left… He tried not to let his mind say 'for the last time'.-
[01:43] <Isaiah> After she left, he stood there for awhile, before, with forced calmness, he walked over to the bed, sat on it, tucked his knees under his chin- and sobbed. Real hard, long sobs, an ultimate cathesis for a very distressed, turbulent boy.-
[01:44] <Isaiah> Eventually, the sobs stopped. Minutes had passed - 20, 25 minutes. The facility was on high alert.-
[01:45] <Isaiah> The crying gave him a clarity, a forged purpose. He stood up, and make an educated guess- a guess that was proven right. He flung open the wardrobe- and found what he was looking for. A full NERV uniform; trousers, jacket, tunic, everything. He quickly changed. It didn't fit him perfectly, but it worked.-
[01:46] * Isaiah took a deep breath. He opened the door of the guest offices and headed outside. A quick investigation, and he was off to a particular area of the facility-
[01:47] <Isaiah> NERV Emergency Response and Damage Control teams. Isaiah would help out, one way or another. And if it meant running out onto the battlefield to save someone… Then so be it.

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