In The Eyes Of Isaiah

[21:38] <GM> [The Date: The 8th of March, one day after the battle with Iadiel. It's a rather overcast, cool day in France's capital city. It's a quiet day as well.]
[21:41] <Isaiah> 6:58… 6:59… Isaiah Gabriel-Wei woke up, looked over at his clock. Unthinkingly, he reached over and turned off the alarm. Every day, he did this- he woke up a minute before 7 and turned off his alarm. It was a hateful little machine, after all.-
[21:46] * Isaiah got out of bed, stretching a little. He peeked through the dark purple curtains that hung over his window. An overcast day, just like yesterday. He sighed, turned around and headed off to the shower. It was looking to be a gloomy day.-
[21:50] <Isaiah> The morning ritual was more or less identical to everyone else's. Shower, wash hair, brush teeth, brush hair. Look at reflection. After that, he threw on some clothes. Nothing too extraordinary- a pair of white trousers and a purple shirt. He took a peculiar, deep breath, then headed out into the living room of the apartment.
[21:53] <GM> [Isaiah, of course, wasn't alone. He lived with his father. Dr. Elijah Gabriel sat on a stool at the kitchen bench, looking a right mess on this day of days. He hadn't slept- there were dark bags under his eyes, and his blonde hair was a shambled mess. He held in his hand a bottle of wine, from which he was taking rather inappropriate swigs.]
[21:56] * Isaiah stared at the sight. It… Was somewhat more familiar than he would've liked. "Dad?" Asked Isaiah, crossing the room over to the kitchen. "… Dad, why are you drinking? It's 7 AM."
[21:58] <GM> ["Fuck NERV." The man grumbled. "Fuck the Evangelion." He turned a bleary eye to Isaiah. "They- They expect me to help on that bullshit thing. They want me to- ugh." He coughed. "Do you know what a Positron is?"]
[22:01] <Isaiah> "Uh…" Isaiah blinked. He did. He probably shouldn't have. "Uh, Paul Dirac's antiparticle electron? That…? Right?" Was this a test?
[22:01] <GM> ["Hmmf. That's right." Muttered Dr. Gabriel. "They- They put me on the Development Team."]
[22:02] <Isaiah> "D-Development Team?" Asked Isaiah, confused.
[22:02] <GM> ["To make a Positron Cannon." The man spat angrily. "A big fuckoff Positron Cannon. Put-a-hole-in-the-moon bullshit."]
[22:04] <Isaiah> "Ah…" To some, the idea of their father helping to build a literal -laser cannon of death- would be the coolest thing ever. But Isaiah was different. His father was, beneath his coldness and general anger, a philosophical pacifist. A pacifist who'd sold himself to NERV because killing Angels wasn't -quite- like killing human beings, was it? But displeasure was written all over Elijah's face.-
[22:04] <Isaiah> "W-well, it'll help, right?"
[22:06] <GM> [Dr. Gabriel stared at Isaiah for a moment. Quite slowly, he reached forward, grabbing the boy's collar and tugging him forth roughly. He glowered into the boy's face. "The Evangelions don't -need- more weapons, boy. The… The freaks don't -need- anything else. You- You shoulda -seen- it." Said the doctor, shuddering to himself.]
[22:06] * Isaiah yelped a little at the roughness of the gesture. "S-seen what?"
[22:07] <GM> [Dr. Gabriel stared, then… Let the boy go. He looked away. "I-I'm not saying. If you wanna find out, go ask Zhang Yanmei." He said bitterly. "Go ask her what happened."]
[22:10] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah frowned. But he didn't push the point. If something had happened to Yanmei- he felt an odd sickness in his stomach-… Instead, he tried to focus on other problems. "Here. You shouldn't be drinking. Let me take this and I'll make you breakfast." He offered in what he hoped was a kind tone, reaching for the wine bottle.
[22:10] <GM> ["Leave it!" Snapped Dr. Gabriel, grabbing Isaiah's wrist tightly. "Leave it alone, boy."]
[22:11] <Isaiah> The grip was tight- too tight. It was hurting. "Ow. Ow- dad, let me go…" Whined Isaiah, his hand on the bottle.
[22:12] <GM> [The Doctor twisted, prying Isaiah's hand free- before finally letting go. With that, he grabbed the bottle and turned away.]
[22:13] <Isaiah> "O-ow…" Isaiah looked down at his wrist, already purpling with a bruise. "F-fine. I'll see you later." He said angrily, ignoring the sensation he felt. (Cry, cry.) He wouldn't cry today, no matter how much it hurt, he thought firmly. Instead, he stalked back to his room, and immediately rustled through one of his drawers.-
[22:15] <Isaiah> He pulled out a small jar of some sort of ointment. Unscrewing the top, he smeared a thick, orange paste onto his bruise. He sighed quietly to himself. His mother's ointment. She'd been a doctor- and a good one, too. No one knew of this special ointment she'd made- that she'd taught Isaiah to make. It'd fix up bruises and pain like nothing else. The bruise would be gone in a few hours.-
[22:16] <Isaiah> The actual sensation of being hurt by his father would take somewhat longer to fade. But- Isaiah thought he had the ointment for that, too. He threw on some other clothes- a long-sleeved shirt, a thick coat- and headed out into the streets.
[22:17] <GM> [It was lucky he'd grabbed that coat. Paris-2 was cold and chilly today, a biting wind whistling through the quiet and still streets. Would it rain later? Maybe.]
[22:21] * Isaiah looked up at the sky for a moment. A more poetic person would equate the grey sky with the doubt in their soul. Isaiah just equated it with rain- and potentially, America. Living for a few years under a sky of ash left something of an impact on the boy. But no time to dawdle!-
[22:23] <Isaiah> The first location he hit up was a noodle shop that had just opened. He grabbed two boxes (fresh and hot!), paid the money (from his allowance. Dr. Gabriel was, at least, generous with the money, if not the love) and headed out. He had a simple goal in mind.-
[22:25] <Isaiah> He'd grabbed a handful of movies on the way out of the apartment. He had two boxes of noodles, and furthermore, knew where to go. It was early in the day, but surely Yanmei'd be awake by now? Who'd ever sleep past 8 AM?-
[22:26] <Isaiah> So he started to walk. A part of him was acting out of concern for his friend. His father's words left him with an ominous feeling- and after the fight that had occured yesterday- the fight about which NERV released only the vaguest of details, like 'The Angel was defeated' and 'Half of the Ardennes forest is now on fire'.-
[22:27] <Isaiah> It was only natural to be concerned. Nevertheless… That wasn't the entire reason. The truth of the matter was, just as he went to check up on Yanmei, he went because he himself wanted to be checked up on. Because -he- wanted some comfort after his despondent morning.-
[22:29] <Isaiah> The apartment building was rather tall, but like most apartment buildings in Paris-2, mostly deserted. The city was built to accomodate over two million people; right now it was home to maybe 150,000. There were -lots- of empty apartments around.-
[22:30] * Isaiah took the elevator up, getting out on Yanmei's floor and heading to her door. This was it, right? … Yes. It was 9 AM. He rang the doorbell.-
[22:30] <GM> [No response.]
[22:31] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah rang the doorbell again. He rang it a few times- before he started calling out. He really didn't know what was expected of him in this situation. He honestly should've called ahead.-
[22:37] <Isaiah> "I-I brought breakfast." He called out nervously. Noodles were the best gift, right? … Wait, what if she were asleep? What if he woke her up? Dread filled his thoughts. Quick! "I'm sorry it's early, but the noodle place is freshest in the morning…"
[22:41] <Yanmei> It's a few more minutes before the sound of footsteps are heard. "Gabriel-Wei, is that you?" The door unlocked and opened a bit, so that he could see Yanmei! There was a blue towel hanging from around her neck, and her face and hair were damp. The clothes she was wearing - a skirt and frilly blouse - were very badly wrinkled.
[22:44] * Isaiah had been staring up at the roof. When the door opened, he started to look down. "Yeah. I-I figured you might want some company, and it's a Sunday…" He looked at her, giving her a smile… For a moment, his eyes focused on her damp hair, and the towel around her neck. He immediately looked away. Oh no. What had he done? What had he- don't panic.-
[22:45] <Isaiah> "You were showering. Forgive me. I chose a bad time." He said quickly. It took him a second for it to click over that the assumption actually didn't quite make sense. She was, for example, wearing clothes. He quietly cursed his ridiculous mind.
[22:47] <Yanmei> "It's okay." She peered past him oddly for a moment, and then shook her head. "I'm sorry. I wasn't feeling too well this morning. It took a while for me to answer."
[22:50] * Isaiah allowed himself to look back at her now, his panic replaced with that awful dread from earlier. "Yeah?" He asked sadly. "Are- are you ok?" His father's words rung in his head. If she'd been hurt, or… Or something… He gripped his shopping bag a little tighter.
[22:52] <Yanmei> "Of course I'm okay? It's very nice of you to worry, though." She opened the door a little wider, and smiled at him. "I think I just need to get some rest. You… y-you can come in for a moment, though, if you want."
[22:56] * Isaiah stepped inside quickly. He tried not to let his spirits sink at the 'for a moment' part. He was sort of hoping to be here for more than a moment. Was it just something that people said?-
[22:58] <Isaiah> He tried not to focus on it. Instead he looked around the apartment. The layout was somewhat familiar- it was much like most Paris-2 apartments. A nice, even design. He eyed Yanmei's decorations… White and black motifs everywhere. It appealed to him on some sort of level.-
[22:59] <Isaiah> "I think your apartment looks nice." He said, turning back to her. It's well-built, and it's very even." He nearly added something else. Something like 'I think you're well-built and even too!' … But either his courage gave out or his common sense took over. Instead, he held out the bag. "I… Noodles!" He announced.
[23:01] <Yanmei> And with that, she invited him into the kitchen, making polite conversation along the way about where he lived. She was pleasant, as usual, smiling, but… distracted. Or maybe tired? She said she hadn't been feeling well, after all…
[23:05] <GM> [And so, they'd conversed! Yanmei was a little off-form, perhaps, but then again she said she'd been ill. They ate noodles- Yanmei very hesitantly, or not at all- and watched one of the movies, an animated movie about a purple-haired biker named Sakuya. A few hours passed.-
[23:05] <GM> [Finally, the movie's credits were rolling…]
[23:06] * Yanmei stood up and stretched, seemingly satisfied. "That was really good!"
[23:08] <Isaiah> "Yeah." Said Isaiah, his tone happy. "It was pretty relaxing." The movie was one of his favourites. There was something appealing about the freedom and self-confidence Sakuya possessed. Perhaps it appealed to Isaiah's wants.
[23:09] <Yanmei> "Yeah," she agreed. "But now I'm a little tired…"
[23:10] <Isaiah> "Ah." Isaiah stood, his plate in hand. He tried to ignore the sudden stabbing emotion in his chest. 'But I'm not ready to go yet!' He wanted to say, but… "You want me to go." It wasn't a question.
[23:12] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry, Gabriel-Wei. I'll make it up to you next weekend?" She gave him another smile, but this time her tiredness showed plainly. "I want to thank you for bringing the noodles too. Next time, I'll have something ready for you."
[23:14] <Isaiah> "It's alright! I don't mind." He smiled, even though secretly he kind of -did- mind. And… He tried not to flinch. She still wasn't using his name. Surely she was just being polite? But… "But I do have a favour to ask." It would be only polite to let her know where she stood.
[23:15] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[23:16] <Isaiah> "Ah…" He looked down at his shoes, extra-nervous. He regretted eating all those noodles now, but he looked up. Come on, come on… "Please call me Isaiah." 'It's a perfectly good name.'
[23:17] <Yanmei> No problem, apparently! She nodded as if it was the most natural request in the world… if fact, it probably was. "Of course, Isaiah. I'll try not to be too formal?"
[23:19] <Isaiah> "Hehe. Thank you." A little bit of relief at -that- resolution. But now he had to go, right? Or… Something. How did someone end this sort of thing? And after all this time he still hadn't asked her about anything… Or told her anything either! He reached out, put a hand on her shoulder. That… Was ok, right?-
[23:19] <Isaiah> He recalled back to the first day of school, looking for Malachi. She'd put her hand around his shoulders, so this shouldn't be a problem at all. "… I was praying for you yesterday." He admitted.
[23:23] <Yanmei> She hesitated in responding. There was that distracted look again, but there was something mingled in it that hadn't been before. Fear? Anxiety? It made her shoulder stiffen ever so slightly. These were details for a keen eye, however. On the surface, she played it off with her usual smile. "Thank you. It looked like those prayers worked?"
[23:26] <Isaiah> "Hehe." Isaiah laughed, mostly to cover up. If he was being honest with himself, he felt disappointed. That admission had been important to him- a secret detail, and he'd been hoping for a different kind of response. Not the smile. He let go, and started gathering up his things before he left.-
[23:27] <Isaiah> "Ah… Tomorrow, I was thinking maybe we could think about something to suggest for drama club or- or something." He said quickly. "I'm still finding it really scary, so…"
[23:28] <Yanmei> "It'll be okay. I'll help you. We can can think of a few things at lunch?"
[23:30] * Isaiah nods. "Thank you, Yanmei." He forced out a smile. "I'm going now. If you feel sick or anything, please lie down or call someone." 'I'd be happy to stay and look after you. 'He opened the door halfway, about to leave. But he waited, waited for her to say something. Something like 'Please stay', or even just 'Goodbye'.
[23:33] <Yanmei> "…" Nothing. She stood where she was, waiting patiently and politely.
[23:34] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah slips through the door, shutting it behind him. He starts to walk. If anything, that entire experience actually left him feeling even more dejected than when he arrived.
[23:40] <GM> [Isaiah would walk. And walk. He wouldn't stop for nearly an hour.-
[23:41] <GM> [Quickly leaving the apartment, heading out under the grey skies of Paris-2, he'd keep walking until he found himself standing in a quiet, introspective little spot. The place a person might stand to admire the river Seine, or alternatively, have a moment of self-reflection.]
[23:44] * Isaiah stared down. He wondered for a moment what had actually -happened-. He'd bought some food, visited Yanmei, and they'd had a seemingly nice time there. Right? It -had- been a nice time, hadn't it?-
[23:47] <Isaiah> "…" No. Or rather, it had been nice- objectively 'nice', in that there hadn't been any arguments or anything. But for Isaiah, it'd been a painful experience. He knew Yanmei wasn't feeling well- she'd said as much. And he had the feeling something had happened, but… He bent down and picked up a rock.-
[23:50] <Isaiah> Isaiah was smart enough and 15-year-old enough to realise that he was more than a little infatuated with the violet-haired pilot. She was intelligent, in a good way, and… Heroic. But furthermore, she had been willing to be his friend. Only, today, it hadn't felt like that.-
[23:51] <Isaiah> Today he felt less like a welcomed friend and more like a mildly unwelcomed guest. A person tolerated instead of actually wanted. It was because she felt sick. She felt off. That was it, right? Or… Maybe it wasn't. He was, after all, an idiot in these things, so it was probably his fault somehow. Maybe he'd been trying too hard, or expecting too much. He honestly didn't know.-
[23:54] <Isaiah> What, exactly, had he been expecting? Something warmer, perhaps. She was still using his family names- something he'd had to specifically ask her not to do. She'd been a little standoffish, perhaps. Would it have killed her to -say- something on the way out? Something nice? Was it so hard to show a bit of affection? His face coloured with anger, and he threw the rock into the river.-
[23:55] <Isaiah> "I hate you, Yanmei!" He yelled, resentment bursting out of him. He grasped the railing in front of him shakily. The moment passed. Something told him he should get over his histrionics- he promptly ignored it.-
[23:58] <Isaiah> "…" He bowed his head. He didn't really hate her. But that anger had to go somewhere. He just simply didn't understand. He felt like it was his fault- but then that didn't stop him from being angry. But he knew he hated feeling like this. He hated being -unsure- of what he felt, and how she thought!-
[00:00] <Isaiah> "It's… Not fair." It's not fair to hold her to some invisible checklist. It's not fair that he couldn't say how he felt, either, without feeling like a petty idiot.-
[00:01] * Isaiah let himself cry. A few minutes of tears, providing catharsis, and he'd be as good as new. And… Well. He wasn't as good as new. But he felt a little better after that. Still isolated, but better.-
[00:03] * Isaiah took out his wallet, opening it up. In one of the inserts was a picture- a pretty woman, Chinese, with dark brown hair. "Mum, I'm going to say a prayer to you, alright?" He whispered. "Can you pass it on to God and the angels in Heaven? And all the other people there with you? I know you're not lonely, so…" He paused. "I don't know what to do, mum. But I want strength. Strength to forgive Yanmei-
[00:04] <Isaiah> ", because it's not really her fault. And strength to forgive dad, too, because he really misses you."
[00:05] <GM> [There was, of course, just silence to that.]
[00:06] <Isaiah> "…" Isaiah shut his wallet up, and slipped it into his coat. He took a deep breath. "Today I'm going to practice my fencing." He said quietly, resolutely. "I'm going to do so well, I'll make you proud, and Yanmei proud, too. Five touches on Alexandre Fontaine by the 15th of March." He promised to himself.-
[00:06] <Isaiah> He smiled a little to himself. And with that, he turned from the river and walked away.

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