In The Doubt Of An Officer

[06:17] <Yanmei> The time was now 1:30 AM, and a figure in NERV brand workout attire was quietly skulking back to the guest offices. She was beginning to feel tired, and her head was very full. A faint draft rushed along the hallway from somewhere or another, making her shiver. Finally, she stopped in front of one of the rooms, checked her fuzzy memory against the number on the door, and knocked quietly.
[06:21] <Marianne> It took a minute before the knock was acknowledged. "Coming…" Said a weary voice, barely audible through the door. It opened, revealing Marianne. Her uniform's outer jacket was undone, and contrary to the woman's usually well-kept appearance, her clothes were rustled and she was sporting an impressive head of bedhair. Her eyes were red-rimmed, like so many were today.-
[06:21] <Marianne> "Oh, Yanyan… Is something wrong?"
[06:26] * Yanmei felt suddenly… rather silly. Aware of the late hour, and perhaps a little annoyed at herself for bothering Marianne during it. "Not exactly? Just… I thought that if you felt like having company tonight…" she trailed off with an unusual amount of awkwardness, fidgetting a bit.
[06:30] <Marianne> "Oh… Oh! No no, that's fine- I mean, come in, Yanyan." Said Marianne, who decided to defuse the awkwardness by pulling Yanmei into the room. It was much like every other guest office Yanmei'd been in (including her own); sparse, with a desk, a bed, and a small bathroom and kitchen.
[06:34] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry. I should have dropped by earlier? You were probably sleeping." She settled on the edge of the bed herself, leaving plenty of room for Marianne to sit or sprawl down on it as well. Of course, there was always the desk chair too… "I couldn't sleep," she admitted after a moment. "And then I went out, and bumped into Alexandre Fontaine, and now I -really- can't sleep? The guy's a wreck…"
[06:40] * Marianne sat down on the bed next to Yanmei, waving away Yanmei's apologies, flashing her a smile to let her know it was fine. But the smile quickly faded into a downcast look. Marianne reached out, absently stroking Yanmei's hair. She wasn't the only one who couldn't sleep.-
[06:41] <Marianne> "I suspect that sleep's going to be hard to find tonight, for anyone here." Said Marianne sadly. "Do you think he'll be alright?"
[06:44] <Yanmei> "I don't know. Maybe he just needs more time to calm down?" A slight pause. "There must be a lot of people staying here overnight. The Major and the Commander probably are too, right?"
[06:47] <Marianne> "Yeah." Said Marianne. "Dorian's still awake, making phone calls. He's just strongarmed the Technical Division into reassembling their prototype Positron Cannon for the mission. The Commander's speaking with all the military leaders she suddenly has to handle." Marianne cracked a little smile. "It's a hell of a job. They're trying to organise defenses -and- get the civvies out."
[06:51] <Yanmei> "Positron? So that means Isaiah is probably home alone tonight." She frowned at that thought. She wished he were here. Even if the atmosphere was fairly tense now, at least there were people around. "That's weird, though? What would he want a prototype for? I thought Blanc had an actual working Positron weapon now."
[06:53] <Marianne> "Dorian doesn't think it's got what it takes." Said Marianne, smiling wryly at the situation. "The Positron Rifle Blanc has can be fired off of her own power, but the Prototype, in its current state, requires nearly 92% of France's entire power grid. -That's- the difference."
[07:00] <Yanmei> "That much?" Yanmei blinked. "Won't the rest of the country have a problem with that? Although maybe there are people sorting that out too…"
[07:02] <Marianne> "NERV doesn't really have any problem about just shutting down the country's power grid for an hour or so to power the cannon, Yanyan." Said Marianne. "That's how we work in situations like this: we do what we have to do, everything else be damned. But…" Marianne shook her head. "I don't care about this right now."-
[07:03] <Marianne> "How're you doing, sweetheart? I'm… Well, I know I'm fussy and like a mother hen all the time, but I'm worried about you."
[07:08] <Yanmei> "Me? I'm okay!" she beamed at her to show her that it was true… even if it was -actually- debatable. "I'm more worried about the others? De Pteres was in pretty bad shape. And Blanc…" she actually winced, remembering. "Blanc and me haven't been getting along well recently. I need to talk to her before we launch tomorrow."
[07:12] <Marianne> "Really?" Marianne frowned. "What's wrong with you and Blanc?"
[07:18] <Yanmei> "It's stupid," she mumbled. "I left a party that she was holding a little early, even though I should have stayed. Been getting the cold shoulder ever since, so I guess she's still mad?" She shrugged.
[07:20] <Marianne> "Ah." Said Marianne sympathetically. "Wasn't your scene?"
[07:23] <Yanmei> "It's not that. I like parties! But there were some things that were bugging me at the time, that's all. Anyway, it all seems pretty trivial now, what with tomorrow and all…"
[07:27] <Marianne> "I would've thought she'd understand." Said Marianne sympathetically. "But, you know. You'd be surprised at how important things seem until something puts them into focus. People get a bit weird in times like this, you know."
[07:33] <Yanmei> "Yeah, I guess." She traced an aimless pattern on the floor with the toe of her slipper. "The Major said not to leave behind any regrets if we could, so… well, what about you, Marianne? You're going to be okay too, aren't you?"
[07:35] * Marianne sighed a little. Pulling her legs up, she swung around and flopped on the bed, head on her pillow, gazing up at the roof. "I… I don't know, sweetheart." She said, uncertainly.
[07:39] <Yanmei> "…" She felt now a faint twinge of guilt for leaving her by herself for so many hours. "We'll protect everyone, like always," she mumbled, trying to assure her.
[07:42] <Marianne> "Oh, I know, sweetheart, I know. I wasn't saying anything else." Said Marianne quickly, reassuringly. "It's just… Well. I feel a little… Is it ok if I dump this on you?"
[07:45] * Yanmei nodded quickly. "I'm always happy to listen! You know that."
[07:50] * Marianne lifted her head a little, smiling at her, before dropping back down. "Berlin-2 was destroyed today… I lost friends there, Yanyan. People I knew, people I'd talked to… They weren't serious friendships. But they were still people, and…" Marianne took a deep breath. "They were just wiped away. Just like that. They never had a chance. Everything hinged on one person, and…" She shook her head.-
[07:51] <Marianne> "And now that same Angel is coming here. There's not a damn thing we can do to keep it away, so we have to kill it… But that's the thing. Everyone keeps saying 'we have to kill it'. But I'm not the one out there, Yanyan. I'm not the one risking my life. It… I -want- Paris-2 to live, Yanyan. I love this city. But right now, I feel so… Small."-
[07:52] <Marianne> Marianne lifted herself a little. "Do you get what I'm saying, Yanyan? It feels like events are so huge and so… God, so -massive- that I'm nothing. Like nothing I can do can really change anything. Like I could die right now, and a Hare would take over and not a damn thing would change. And the worst thing?-
[07:54] <Marianne> "I don't feel like it's because of me. I don't feel like it's because I'm too weak. I feel like this is happening- like I feel this way- because we're fighting something that's… Like a -god- in its ability to take and give. It doesn't care if I give it my 100% or not. It doesn't care that we really want it dead, it just… Wipes us away, like we never existed.-
[07:54] <Marianne> "I feel… Irrelevant…"
[08:01] <Yanmei> "But you're not!" Yanmei insisted. "Everything depends on everyone helping out. That's the way it's always been!"
[08:08] <Marianne> "I know, I know." Said Marianne quickly. "But…" Marianne seemed to be struggling to put it into words. "I don't know, Yanyan. I just don't know. It's like… Like I said, about the important situations giving everything perspective? This whole thing makes me feel a little meaningless. I don't feel… I don't feel unique. I just feel like someone else who'll wake up, press the buttons, and the event will run its course."
[08:16] <Yanmei> "It makes a difference to me?" Yanmei said. "Whether or not I hear your voice when I'm in the entry plug. But…" She trailed off. Was this one of those grass-is-always greener moments? If only they could trade places for a little while.
[08:20] <Marianne> "Does it really?" Murmured Marianne. "I… Yanyan. I feel like nothing's going right anymore. In -anything- I do. I mean, look at me. I'm… No, I shouldn't. Nevermind."
[08:22] <Yanmei> "You're what?" she pressed gently. She was trying to keep herself from looking too worried, but doubted that it was working.
[08:27] <Marianne> "I…" Marianne bit her lip, and, with clear hesitation, pressed on. "Yanyan, I… I wake up and I work, and I live, and there are things I try to do. I try to be a good officer, and right now I'm afraid that's not enough. I try to be a good person, but here I am, venting on someone who has her own problems…"-
[08:28] <Marianne> "And… I've been spending a lot of time on…" Marianne averted her eyes. "I think of you as a daughter, Yanyan. I don't mean that figuratively. I really, really do. I love you like a daughter, and I'd give so much for that to be true, but… But I'm not your mother, and the harder I try, the more I'm reminded that- that I'm…" She fell silent, closing her eyes. She exuded a real worry.
[08:38] <Yanmei> "But…" There was no concealing it now - her own anxiety creased her brow and turned the corners of her mouth firmly downward. "Everyone's flawed. And so what if you're not my real mother? I still… I cherish the time we spend together. Without you, I'd be alone here! I don't… I don't want that…"
[08:45] <Marianne> "I don't either, Yanyan." Said Marianne quietly. "But that's just it… You're all the family I have, and yet I'll never feel anything but second best."
[08:57] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked down now. "My mother barely writes back to me or returns my calls. She's always so busy. But she's still my mother," she acknowledged slowly. "That much is true."-
[09:02] <Yanmei> "But sometimes I wonder just how strong bloodties are? She never… well. Nevermind." She shook her head. "I've never measured you two against each other, but… you're… a kinder person, Marianne. You're reliable. You're actually -there-. Even if we aren't related by blood." She was full of awkwardness tonight. This was probably going no better than her discussion with Alexandre Fontaine.
[09:07] * Marianne was quiet at that, letting out a momentary sniffle. For a moment, it seemed as if she was about to cry, but… "Ugh, this is stupid. Everyone's crying today." She said, in an admirable attempt at dryness. Nevertheless, she looked over at Yanmei, and gave her the best smile she could in the circumstances.-
[09:08] <Marianne> Still lying down, she held out an arm to Yanmei.
[09:12] * Yanmei went to her, of course, and bent over and hugged her. "Thank you," she mumbled. "For everything."
[09:17] * Marianne hugged the girl- her precious Yanyan- back, clasping her hands around the girl's stomach. "Anytime, sweetheart. Anything for my little girl." Said Marianne, trying desperately hard not to sniffle. "Have I… If she wasn't… Er… Have I succeeded at being a good mom?"
[09:21] <Yanmei> "You have." Yanmei's own eyes were dry, but her smile was warm. She felt tired again, but was determined not to show it now.
[09:24] * Marianne beamed, honestly and gratefully. "I'm happy. I really am." She stared at the roof for a few more seconds, her tiredness really showing. She turned back to Yanmei. "Yanyan, I'm… Gonna try and sleep now. You wanna stay for a bit? Until I snooze off, at least?"
[09:27] <Yanmei> "Of course I will." She snuggled closer, trying to make herself more comfortable, which felt like an odd thing to do. Still, this would be a request that she would not - could not - ignore.
[09:29] * Marianne smiled. She, too, snuggled closer, and, for now, just settled down- tried to silence the doubts and fears that raged in her mind- and tried to simply take pleasure from the warmth of someone else. Because, at the end of the day, if you couldn't do even that, then what -could- you do?-
[09:29] <Marianne> "I love you, Yanyan. I'll see you when I wake up." Said Marianne quietly.
[09:30] <Yanmei> "I love you too," she whispered back. And then, "Sleep well."
[09:33] <Marianne> All in all, it wouldn't take long for Marianne's eyes, already heavy, to close… And not long after that, for her to fall into a genuine sleep.

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