In The Halls Of The Medical District

<Dorian> «12th September, 2014. The location: NERV Medical District, NERV HQ, the Geofront.»
<Dorian> [The NERV Medical District is a cold and sterile place, as befitting a hospital. But even hospitals have life in them, some movement, people, doctors. But the Medical District sits almost empty, for lack of patients. After all, there are so few occasions for NERV employees to be hurt… Yet.-
<Dorian> [Of course, there are some patients, and where there are patients there will be other people- doctors, nurses, or visitors- wandering those cool, white halls…]
*Yanmei makes her way slowly down one such corridor, her face a mask of concentration, her normally styled hair hanging limp around her shoulders. Step, crutch, hop. Step, crutch, hop. Step, hop… damn. She wasn't used to these crutches just yet, but if she practiced a bit more, she was sure she would get the rhythm down eventually.
<Dorian> [Step, hop. Step, hop. It had only been a week or so since that horrible accident. Ever since the hand of an Evangelion had slammed into Yanmei's leg, panicky during an emergency. The doctor had reported how lucky she was to have kept it at all.-
<Dorian> But soon, however, the awkward rhythm of the crutches would be met by the sound of wheels, slow wheels sliding along the ground. Yanmei was not alone in the corridor, it seemed, as the wheelchair-bound Operations Director emerged from an elevator at the end of the hall, in a lobby of sorts. "…"
"…" Yanmei's concentration starts to crumbling away, and she stares blankly. There's a very odd pang of embarrassment there, and it takes her a moment to figure out why. She was used to dressing up for work - makeup, hair, even nails when she had the time. How weird it felt to be without those things now. Vulnerable, maybe?-
<Yanmei> In any case, her composure kicks in soon enough, and she smiles. "Good morning, Captain," she says, a sweet receptionist's tone lifting above her heavy accent.
<Dorian> "…" Dorian rolls forward toward Yanmei. His wheelchair is special in that it's half wheelchair, half computer- the wheels are electric powered, and he controls its movement with a little stick. Meanwhile, a retractable desk can slide in and out, a laptop built into its surface. "How're you doing, Zhang?" He asks quietly, his hard voice mellowed with concern.
<Yanmei> She laughs and shifts to get a better grip on the crutches. She wished *she*could roll around on something that convenient. "A little bored, maybe. You know, my room doesn't even have a T.V? What's up with that?"
<Dorian> A little smile spreads over Dorian's lips at that. "A little bored? What, you don't have any books or anything? Maybe someone can go bring your schoolwork along." The smile turns into a momentary smirk, which fades away. "How're the crutches?"
<Yanmei> "Mmph." A little frown of displeasure starts to form when he mentions the crutches, and she tosses her hair. Stupid, lame crutches. "I'll get used to them. I wish the doctors would hurry up and tell me when I can stop using them, though…"
<Dorian> "It'll take a few weeks, probably." Says Dorian. "At least it's a good way to build up your upper body strength." He starts rolling forward, slowing down as he passes Yanmei. The implication- 'follow me' is pretty implicit. "You're lucky, you know. It might not seem like it, as it is right now, but you very nearly lost your leg."
<Yanmei> "They already told me that." She's following, carefully, trying not to make a fool of herself along the way. She managed to keep the bitterness out of her voice, at least, or at least to cover it with a matter-of-fact tone. "Some of the muscle damage 'won't just be temporary,' they said."
<Dorian> Behold the power of the Evangelion, thought Dorian wryly to himself. "I heard. All I can say to that is not to get too discouraged. Give it a few years, and they'll develop something or other to fix up that leg of yours." He glanced down at his own legs, then looked back up. "Have you spoken to Pilot Blanc yet?"
*Yanmei shook her head. "If you see her, make sure she knows it's not *her*fault." She didn't comment on Dorian's own lack of mobility. With all the research and technology being poured into those abominations, couldn't NERV spare a few scientists to solve issues like these?
<Dorian> But then, where would they get the money to waste on EVA 01's ridiculous colour scheme, hmmm? "Certainly. I think she'll be pleased to hear that…" Dorian glances back at Yanmei now. "…" He looks forward. "You must hate the Evangelion, huh?"
<Yanmei> "I don't know what you mean." As far as lies went, it was smooth-sounding. "They're just machines. It must have just malfunctioned."
<Dorian> "… Just machines." If only it were that simple. The nature of the Evas hadn't been something that NERV had been quick to elaborate upon, even to the pilots. So far, most tests with with pilot-Eva interface had been dumbed down, more of a proof-of-concept than a legitimate attempt to operate them fully. Dorian sighed, changing the subject. "You hungry?-
<Dorian> "I could go grab something for us to eat."
<Yanmei> "Sounds good!" Yanmei chirped. "The food here's a little better than expected. Maybe they have a private chef stashed away somewhere in this department?"
<Dorian> "Aren't you lucky." Grumbled Dorian good-naturedly. "Maybe you're just being given special treatment. I mean, you're probably the only patient they've had recently." Said Dorian, smirking to himself. "If you want to go head off to your room, I can grab the food. Anything you want in particular?"
<Yanmei> "Fruit would be good." She shifts directions, as instructed. "No dessert, though? I have to start watching what I eat for now."
<Dorian> "Got it." He comes to a stop, then starts rolling off toward a nearby elevator. Before long he's out of sight…
*Yanmei gives one last wave as the doors close… and then lets her shoulders sag, somehow feeling more exhausted now. Just machines that sometimes malfunctioned. That was what the scientists in this place had said to calm her down, but… She starts hobbling back toward her room, shaking her head.
<Dorian> [And so, Yanmei returned to her room, slowly and potentially painfully as she went. However, upon her arrival, she'd notice fairly quickly that she wasn't alone.-
<Dorian> [A young boy, around Yanmei's age, was walking around her room, poking about in a most nosy little manner. As Yanmei returned, he turned. "Eh…?" … The coldly handsome, bespectacled face of Alexandre Fontaine. Who else?]
<Yanmei> "Ah, good morning!" she smiles at him, her receptionists' voice taking on an edge that was difficult to discern. "If you're looking for something, I don't think you'll find it in my suitcase? I only have spare clothes in there."
<Dorian> ["Er, right." He peers at her with a scrutinising look. "Zhang Yanmei, yes? The pilot Zero-Zero injured? My name is Alexandre Fontaine." He takes the time to emphasise the 'Fontaine'.]
<Yanmei> "Ah, Mr. Fontaine. I knew you seemed familiar." She hobbles toward her bed, and slid down on the edge. Too much time standing up, and her leg started to ache terribly, she was learning. "What brings you here?"
<Dorian> ["Well, my mother…" He straightens up fully, his hands behind his back. How very military! "Sends you her condolences for the accident. Via me, of course. Also." He points over to one of those little hospital bed tables, upon which sit a small pile of textbooks, writing books and a few other sheets of paper. "Schoolwork. Assignment on French Enlightenment writers is due in on the 1st of October, you know."
<Dorian> ]
<Yanmei> "…" Yanmei is less than happy to be reminded of that assignment. Still. "…How… kind of you. Thank you. And it's also kind of your mother to send those words along instead of visiting herself or writing a letter or sending someone actually affiliated with NERV to express them. Yes, very kind." She leans the crutch against the edge of the bed. "Did she really offer her condolences?-
<Yanmei> Or are you just covering for her? You can tell me." She winks.
<Dorian> [Alexandre sniffs haughtily for a moment, folding his hands behind his back once more. "The welfare of the pilots is my mother's highest priority. She is merely… Too occupied to come in person. Besides, she felt that you could, ah, use a friend."]
<Yanmei> "Ahhh, I see," she says amicably. "But that's… a little strange? If it was her highest priority, she would be here, wouldn't she? Although I appreciate the thought, whether it was hers or not."
<Dorian> ["You're safe, and you're obviously not dying, so she doesn't need to come in person." Clarifies Alexandre. "Anyway, I will pass on what you said to my mother when I see her next. How's the leg?" He asks, his tone a little careless now.]
<Yanmei> "Oh, it hurts a lot," she says, still smiling. "How's your elbow?"
<Dorian> ["My… Elbow?" He unconsciously tucks his arm in a bit further behind. "Don't know what you mean."]
<Yanmei> "Hm? You don't?" she tilts her head innocently. "So there was another Alexandre Fontaine watching from one of the observation windows when the quake hit? He was flailing around like this-" she demonstrated. "And he was running in circles. Maybe yelling things? Those booths are soundproof from the outside, you know. It looked like he hit his elbow pretty hard against one of the chairs while he was doing that."
<Dorian> ["I-I did no such thing." Said Alexandre, his face flushing an unpleasant red colour. "And even if I did, it doesn't matter- it was an earthquake! It's typical for people to sometimes lose their cool in an earthquake."]
<Aline> Quite suddenly, a noise resounded through the hallways. That of a sudden impact against a hard object. That hard object being Yanmei's doorway - and the impacting force being a certain white-haired girl's hand. "Whew, that's lap 10 and done! Hi Yanmei!~" …Aline had not yet noticed Alexandre until after that, though she did catch the tail end of his sentence. "Ah? Someone lost their cool
<Aline> in that earthquake?" She got a big nervous blush. "…Other than me?"
<Yanmei> "Yes, that's true! Although everyone else who was there managed to not 'lose their cool'. Well… maybe not -everyone- else." She stroked her chin. "The three of you were pretty similar-" the thump and voice drew her attention sharply - she actually started. "Ah… Ah, Blanc! Is that you?" She hadn't really dropped her pleasant voice for this conversation, but now it sounded less biting somehow.
*Aline nodded curtly, and quickly too. "Yes!"
<Dorian> [Alexandre also started suddenly, looking over. "Yes. I mean no! No." He glowers.]
*Yanmei looks as if she's on the verge of laughing at that.
<Yanmei> "Please come. What brings you here?"
*Aline walked into the room, and… leaned against the wall. She had to suppress the urge to make a flying leap onto Yanmei's bed. She was all sweaty anyway! (And currently wearing very simple black shorts and a light-blue sport tee. No reason to mess up her normal clothes!) "Not much, just wanted to say hi, because I do kinda miss doing the daily jogs with you." She briefly tilted her
*Aline head at Alexandre. "Why's he here?"
<Dorian> [Alexandre does an epic head toss. "I had a message to bring from the Commander! Also, schoolwork."]
*Aline appeared not to react at all… instead still looking at Yanmei.
*Yanmei winces slightly as Aline mentions jogging. It would be a while before she could start doing that again. "Yes, that's right," she affirmed. "Mr. Fontaine's visit has been a great pleasure for me today."
*Aline drummed a finger against the wall. "…Ah. Guess so." She looked curious. "Ah, about that earthquake thing, uh…" She made a little confused pout, obviously letting her guilt still sort of hang. "…Who was the third one that lost their cool?"
<Yanmei> "Hm? Third one? Ah…" she closed her eyes, and made a slight face. "I think I lost my train of thought! Were there three people? I wonder…"
<Aline> "…Oh. Sorry… I thought you said… I mean I could guess the other two…" She sighed, and leaned a bit further back. …And sorta slid down against the wall.
<Yanmei> "Hm…" Yanmei observes the girl quietly for a moment, and then turns back to Alexandre. "Thank you for your lovely visit, Mr. Fontaine. I wonder, though, if you could give us a few minutes alone?"
<Dorian> [Alexandre folds his arms. "Let me guess. 'Girl stuff', right?" He waves his hand carelessly and starts to leave. "See you back at school, you two." And before long he's out of the door and goooone.]
*Aline sorta let her head traiiiil to the right as he walked out. …wait for it… waiiiiit for it… And a little smirk.
*Yanmei blinks in surprise.
*Aline managed to notice the surprised blink. "…Ah?"
<Yanmei> "What's that expression for?"
*Aline shrugged her shoulders just a little, pushing off the wall. "I can't play-act around him like you can, that's why."
<Yanmei> "Play act?" That was an interesting way to put it! She shook her head. "How do you know I wasn't being sincere?"
*Aline tapped a finger against her lip a few times. "Changed your tone a bit when you talked to me. I might not be in the SA club but I -do- still have some savvy for society. I've been a bit more… uh… worried about you, so I've been paying more attention to your moods and little gestures and stuff anyway."
<Yanmei> "You have…?" That could be rather… er… "Listen. You shouldn't worry about me so much. I'm fine, you know."
*Aline slowly nodded. "Sorry… I still feel guilty for it! If she hadn't needed to protect me right there you wouldn't have gotten hurt, and I know you'll keep saying it's not your fault but I think it'll still take a while for me to stop being sorry." She did the lip-tap thing a bit more… and ended up briefly chewing the fingertip. "…And being sorry about being sorry… and probably
*Aline eventually sorry about being sorry about being sorry… uu, I should stop while I'm ahead."
*Yanmei …can't help but break down into chuckles at that. "To be honest, you're a little more energetic than I thought you'd be? But that's good!" She nods. "Maybe we should both just try to forget what happened."
*Aline slowly, slowly nodded. "Right… Probably should. But…" That comment about energy seemed to strike her. "I have on days and off days. God, I forget which thing psych said I had…"
<Yanmei> "Psych…? Like psychology…?"
<Aline> "Mm-hm."
*Yanmei stares curiously for a moment. "Is it… anything serious?"
*Aline had a bit more of a grim look on her face. "…Somewhat… I guess on my off days I just feel different. Don't really care. And there's the other thing…" While she had not spoken too much about a clinical diagnosis - probably came up during the checkups after the earthquake incident - it was common knowledge about her 'incident' with the terrorists a number of months back. And
*Aline it was probably clear she was referring to that, too.
*Yanmei nods. That 'incident' was always an awkward discussion point. It was probably a good thing that the girl was seeing someone about it. "The people around here sure are nosy, though. At the same time, though, they're pretty good at dodging questions." She pauses. "So… 'she,' huh? You're pretending your Evangelion is a girl?"
<Dorian> [Squeak squeak! The telltale signs of an approaching Dorian! He's not quite here yet though.]
<Aline> "Ah, they are. And uh… yeah. Feels like a girl anyway. Not sure why, I just… get that sort of feeling, you know? It can't be too crazy to do that, right?" She did slightly notice the squeaks, but seemed to just keep going. "But… mm, nosy. I know the guys in charge can get in anyway, but I usually lock my door when I'm out."
<Yanmei> "Uh, I don't even bother anymore? If they can get in, then there's no point in locking it." Feels like a girl. She frowns a little at that. Whatever they were, they weren't even human. What did they need gender for?
<Dorian> [Squeak squeak squeak- and then, the door being pushed open. Dorian was revealed, a small platter of food (including a fair bit of fruit!) sitting on his laptop/desk. "Here we go. Hello, Aline."
*Aline waved. "Hi Dorian." …And she turned to Yanmei. "The trick is that they, are not him. That's why I do it. But… no, no need to be too much of a bother about that for."
*Dorian quirks an eyebrow, but remains quiet.
<Yanmei> "All right, all right. That's a fine point." She does gesture to the food, however, finding it to be a great change in subject. No need to go complaining about company invasiveness in front of one of the bosses. "You'll join us for lunch, won't you, Blanc? And thank you, Captain, for bringing it."
<Dorian> "Not a problem. You can repay me by getting lots of rest." He says.
*Aline smiled lightly. "Ah, I wouldn't mind… though I don't think you'd have brought a third person's worth of food, so… I guess I'll just chat, no?"
<Yanmei> "Yes, of course." He sounded like one of the doctors now, and it was very hard to resist rolling her eyes a bit. "Here. You can have some of my fruit at least…"
<Dorian> "Actually, you can have this. I have an appointment with someone soon to get to anyway, actually. I can grab something for myself later." Said Dorian, putting his food- a bowl of curried sausages- onto one of the desks. "That reminds me. Zhang- I met Dr. Clement in the cafeteria. He'll be up in 15 minutes to do a few tests, so…"
<Yanmei> "Ah, of course…" Yanmei nods. "More tests. I'll be ready by then."
*Aline had to shift between smiles and frowns at that. "Ah, thank you." Smile, there. "…Aw, tests already?" Frown. Rather pathetic-looking, in the "so sympathetic" sense. But she did begin to work at the curried sausages!
<Dorian> "Right, I'd best be off. And…" As Dorian's wheeling away, he smirks a little. "Zhang, I have a favour to ask before I go."
<Yanmei> "It's not so bad. Probably more x-rays." She turns to the wheeling Dorian, then, best pleasant smile. "Yes, Captain?"
*Aline remained quiet! Okay, not quiet. Omnomnom~
<Dorian> "I met a certain young man on the way back here." He said. "Please refrain from troubling young Mr. Fontaine here in HQ. He is, after all, the son of the Commander, and if he's agitated it can have a trickle effect upwards, so to speak." A smirk. "You can irritate him somewhere else, like school, if you simply cannot resist."
<Yanmei> "Sir?" she blinks, feigning surprise to her very best abilities. "I don't know what you mean. Why would I trouble Mr. Fontaine on purpose?"
<Dorian> "Either way, try to avoid irritating him even accidentally. Teenagers…" Snickered Dorian to himself, wheeling away. Before long, he was once again gone, and only a bowl of curried sausages and some fruit remained as evidence of him even being there.
*Yanmei collects her fruit and nibbles at it. What was with everyone being perceptive today? It was grating…
*Aline was about to say something, but actually managed to bite her tongue (slightly literally) on the matter. "…And I was about to say something, too!"
<Yanmei> "Oh?" She looks a little worried. "You don't think I was trying to bother him on purpose too, do you…?"
*Aline shook her head. "No, no. It was more that I was pretty sure he was trying to bother you. He's so stuck-up…"
<Yanmei> "No, no, that wasn't the case at all. He was here on the behalf of his mother and the school. Even if he has a bad personality, his intentions were noble?" She jabbed a chunk of pinapple with her fork. "Anyway. I didn't know that you were all that acquainted with him."
*Aline waved her hand slightly. "He likes getting acquainted with people." She was busy wrestling the wild sausage! "Maybe it's immature but I just won't stand for someone who behaves like that. He should learn not to be such a jerk, before he starts wondering why nobody seems to take his claims seriously."
<Yanmei> "I see where you're coming from, but the Captain is right?" She shakes her head. "We should try to be the bigger adults and not bother him when we're on the job. It seems to only lead to problems."
*Aline sighed. "I wish he'd get that hint."
<Yanmei> "We'll just have to be patient. Maybe someday, someone will smack some sense into him." She speared another pineapple chunk, this time more violently than before, a smile still plastered across her mouth.
*Aline seemed the model of decorum in comparison!… … … …not. She wasn't as violent though. More playful, like swirling the speared sausage around a few times first. "Maybe~"
<Dorian> [The tap tap tap of shoes reached the ears of those inside Yanmei's room, before a gentle-faced man peered inside. As expected- the head of NERV's Medical Division, Dr. Victor Clement.-
<Dorian> ["Yanmei? It's time for us to do a few- oh, hello Ms. Blanc." He said warmly. "As I was saying- It's time for some tests, Yanmei."]
*Aline nodded politely. "Right. I guess I should be going then…"
*Yanmei nods as well, and starts to stand with the help of her crutch. "Thank you for coming by. I'll be back in action soon, so…"
*Aline smiled. "Yeah. And I'll wait for that time~" …and she headed off. Skipping off was cancelled due to prior energy expenditures (see: Jogging)
<Dorian> [Dr. Clement stepped aside, allowing Aline to pass, before turning and smiling at Yanmei. "She's a nice girl, isn't she? Now then, let's get going…"]
*Yanmei waves her off, and regards the doctor with another smile. She wasn't sure if she should feel resentment for him too at this point, but she went with the flow regardless. "Yes, Doctor."

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