In The Haze Of A Fragile Mind

[14:16] <Yanmei> The first thing that Yanmei noticed when she opened her eyes, was the chill drifting in from across her bedroom. She identified where it was coming from by the way her blue curtains swayed to and fro.-
[14:20] <Yanmei> For a few blissful moments, she curled up under her blanket, trying to ignore it and to drift back to sleep… but it nagged at her. So she eventually unfurled herself with a grumble, and plodded across the room to see to it. She was still in her civilian clothes, her face smeared with makeup from the day before, her head foggy. She lingered at the window,-
[14:20] <Yanmei> peering blearily through it at the morning Geofront landscape, trying to collect her thoughts.
[14:22] <GM> [Paris-2 spread out below her. The city itself had, of course, been completely untouched by the raging battle that had taken place yesterday in the Ardennes. In fact, over the past five weeks, people began to slowly trickle back into the city.]
[14:26] * Yanmei rubbed her eyes. It was a nice morning, at least. Too bad Marianne was probably missing it by going to work. She closed the window, and instead of wandering back toward her bed, began drifting toward the apartment's kitchen instead. Yesterday's battle… her stomach clenched just thinking about it. She couldn't remember how she had gotten from her plug to her apartment, but she assumed that NERV had something to do with it.-
[14:32] <Yanmei> God, yesterday… she paused in the hallway, chagrin and -curiously- a sudden stab of fear sinking in. She was alive, in any case, and the people of Paris-2 were safe, so maybe she should have considered it a successful mission. It was worrying how *blurred* some of it was, though. Something terrible had happened, but… she rubbed her head and resumed her trip to the kitchen, and most importantly the fridge.
[14:33] <GM> [Ding-dong! The doorbell rung out. It was painfully loud…]
[14:34] <Yanmei> "Nngh." She changed directions without thought. Patted her cheeks before swinging open the door, and flashing her brightest smile. "Yes? Who is it?"
[14:35] <GM> ["Um…" It was Isaiah, standing in the door way, a little red-faced.]
[14:38] * Yanmei stared a moment… and then scrubbed at her face briefly with the back of her hand, suddenly acutely aware of her appearence. "G-good morning! Here…" She stepped aside, and gestured for him to come it. "Sorry. I'm not really fit for company right now? But… you can come in! Do you want something to drink?"
[14:39] <GM> ["Um… Sorry." He blushed a little more, stepping inside timidly. "Er… Yes please. Uh." He held out something to her, staring at his feet. A clump of purple lilacs. "I wanted to see if you were ok…"]
[14:41] * Yanmei closed the door behind him, and forced a brighter grin. "Of course I'm okay? I'm a trained pilot, you know. It was very nice of you to worry, though." …what would make him worry like this? Enough to bring get-well flowers? She accepted them, and jerked her head a little bit. "Let's go to the kitchen. I can put these in water and pour you a drink at the same time."
[14:42] <GM> ["Okay." He said meekly, following onward.]
[14:44] * Yanmei lead the way, beelining for the faucet when they got there. "Won't you have a seat, Gabriel-Wei? Heh. How did you know that I liked lilacs? Have you been talking to Aline?"
[14:45] <GM> ["I…" He blinked. "I just knew." He said, awkwardly.-
[14:46] <GM> [The faucet didn't seem to want to work, however. As Yanmei turned it, nothing came out at all.]
[14:49] <Yanmei> "Oh, what a bother," she sighed down at the faucet, and then opened a kitchen cabinent, searching for something to arrange the flowers in, even if they were still dry. "Sorry about this. It looks like there's something up with our plumbing today? Need to get the management on that." She half-turned to flash him another winning smile. "Luckily, we have milk, and orange juice, and filtered water in the refrigerator. Do you have a preference?"
[14:50] <GM> ["Just water will be fine." He said, looking down at his shoes. Luckily for Yanmei, there seemed to be an empty vase in the cabinet.]
[14:55] * Yanmei took care to arrange the flowers in said vase before pulling out some glasses and heading to the fridge. The flowers remained on the counter. She tried to make conversation. "You know, Gabriel-Wei, I've been thinking about the drama club? They perform plays periodically, and I was thinking about some to suggest. Drawing up a bit of blank, though?"
[14:57] <GM> ["Yeah?" He replied quietly. "Maybe we can think of some. M-maybe something from China, like a play or an opera. I bet it'd be new." … Why were they speaking French, exactly?]
[15:02] <Yanmei> Practice? Practicing French was always important? "That's a good idea. Anything in particular come to mind?" She handed him his glass, and poured one for herself before joining him on the opposite side of the table. She was conscious of it now, however, so she decided to slip into Chinese. "It would have to be a modern play. Let me think…"
[15:03] <GM> [… Isaiah stared at the glass.-
[15:03] <GM> [It wasn't full of water, like Yanmei had thought. But a thick, orange liquid, the notable scent of rusty, iron blood emanating into the air. The glasses were full of LCL.]
[15:06] * Yanmei nearly dropped hers. What the hell?! For a very awkward moment, she could think of nothing to say. And then she tittered. "Ah… sorry about that! I think my housemate must be playing a joke on me." She reached over to retrieve his glass, her heart pounding. "I'll find something else."
[15:06] <GM> [Isaiah shakily pushed his glass forward into her hand. For a moment, his hand touched hers.]
[15:11] * Yanmei recoiled, suddenly much paler than before. The LCL sloshed onto the kitchen table between them. "Ah… sorry. I think. I'm not feeling as well as I thought today." She was trying not to stare at him. This feeling… this horrible feeling!
[15:13] <GM> ["Y…Yanmei?" He reached out, taking a hold of her arm. "Yanmei, you- let me help…"]
[15:21] <Yanmei> She… was having a nervous breakdown, wasn't she? It wasn't normal. It wasn't -right-. But she was so so hungry… and he was so close. And he would hardly feel it if she reached out, and grabbed him by the throat, and…
[15:23] <GM> ["Yanmei? Y-Yanmei, can you hear me?"]
[15:27] * Yanmei stared at him, unfocused, struggling to resist. She wanted to tell him to run, but something new was already drowning out that warning. Loud noises. A roar! It seemed to tear through her mind, and shake her to the core. Core. Kill. Break. Destroy…
[15:29] <GM> [The faucet started gushing, a stream of thick LCL falling into the basin. Somewhere, a doorbell was ringing. Isaiah was backing away now, his eyes wide with fear. "Y-you…"]
[15:34] * Yanmei pursued as he started backing away, her pace measured to match his. -[Feast]- She could do that. No one - her hands lashed out for his throat - no one would have to know!
[15:36] <GM> [Isaiah screamed.-
[15:37] <GM> [It was quickly cut short, his throat crushed easily beneath Yanmei's grip. He fell backwards, onto the ground, his body limp.-
[15:38] <GM> [She ripped him to pieces. Every limb, every scrap of meat, ripped apart, pulled apart, thrown across the walls and the ground. He was quite dead, but that didn't stop her. His organs- his heart- she held them in her hand as they bled. She could -taste- him. He tasted good.-
[15:39] <GM> [She'd catch glimpses of herself in the reflection of the window. A nearby mirror. In the pool of spilled LCL. A big, purple creature, with white highlights, its claws flashing endlessly in the morning sun. Rip. Rip. Yanmei-04 looked up at herself. She stared at that purple helmet. With one, swift movement, she grabbed it, pulled it off, and…-
[15:40] <GM> [… Yanmei would open her eyes at that point. She would be in bed, quite unbloodied, quite untouched. The distant sound of someone ringing the doorbell to her apartment.]
[15:45] <Yanmei> Yanmei's view of the room spun as she snatched off her sheets, scrambling upright. What… what the hell? Where? It took a moment to figure out where she was, exactly, and that none of that had happened, and that she could stop shaking. Words alone, however, could not stop the terrible chain reaction that the dream has set off… clapping and hand over her mouth and ignoring the doorbell entirely, she whirled for the bathroom.
[15:47] <GM> [The bathroom was there, clean as usual. The doorbell rung out again.]
[15:51] * Yanmei kicked the lid of the toilet up and leaned over it in one fluid motion, gagging hard. She stayed there for a while after she had done the obvious. "Go away…" she whispered to the doorbell. She started to tear up in spite of herself. "Go away…"
[15:52] <GM> [Ding dong! "Y-Yanmei?" The tentative, distant voice of Isaiah Gabriel-Wei.]
[15:55] <Yanmei> Isaiah. Oh god, of all people! She wiped her face. Thought better of leaving it like that, and splashed it with water, yanking a towel from a rack to wipe herself off with. He wasn't going to go away, was he? She gulped down a few breaths of air.
[15:57] <GM> ["I-I brought breakfast." Came his muffled voice. "I'm sorry it's early, but the noodle place is freshest in the morning…"]
[16:01] <Yanmei> She approached the front door, shivering at first, practicing a smile tha looked more like a grimace before she stretched it into an actual smile. Why did he have to… have to bring food? No, no. She couldn't think about the dream. She could do this. "Gabriel-Wei, is that you?" She unlocked the door. Opened it just a little, her towel hanging from around her neck.
[16:02] * GM is now known as Isaiah
[16:03] <Isaiah> "Yeah. I-I figured you might want some company, and it's a Sunday…" He said, smiling bashfully as he looked over at the crack in the door. He looked at her face for a moment, then down at the towel. … He blushed and looked away. "You were showering. Forgive me. I chose a bad time."
[16:07] <Yanmei> "It's okay." She peered beyond him, wondering briefly what time it was, as if she could tell that just by looking in the apartment hallway outside. She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I wasn't feeling too well this morning. It took a while for me to answer."
[16:11] <Isaiah> "Yeah?" Said Isaiah, slowly turning back to look at her. "Are- Are you ok?" He asked, his voice sad. He was genuinely concerned!
[16:15] <Yanmei> "Of course I'm okay? It's very nice of you to worry, though." That made her give pause, and she nearly grimaced again, but the moment passed. She opened the door open a little wider, even though she didn't feel like it. "I think… I just need to get some rest. You… y-you can come in for a moment, though, if you want."
[16:18] * Isaiah slips inside! He's carrying a shopping bag in his hands, idly. He looks around the apartment curiously. "I think your apartment looks nice." He says quietly, before turning back to her. "It's well-built, and it's very even." He pauses. "I… Noodles!" He holds out his shopping bag.
[16:20] * Yanmei simply gestured for him to follow her to the kitchen, leading the way past many black and white interior design motifs. "I'm a little surprised? I didn't realize you lived around here too, Gabriel-Wei." This was reality. Not some stupid dream. She was sure of it!
[16:24] * Isaiah follows along! "Oh, I… Kind of don't. Well. I live in one of the nearby Arrondissements, so everything is close anyway." He followed her into the kitchen, putting his bag onto the table. "W-would you like me to get you something to drink, Yanmei? I can take care of things if you like."
[16:26] <Yanmei> "That's fine." She grabbed two glasses and two plates. "There should be a pitcher of filtered water in the fridge."-
[16:27] <Yanmei> She paused at the sink. Stared at the faucet for a moment. Then, testing it, she turned it on and off for just a moment.
[16:33] <Isaiah> [Splish splish! Nice, clean water.-
[16:33] * Isaiah had, meanwhile, grabbed two glasses and filled them equally with fresh, clean water. -Exactly- equally. He put them down and started doling delicious-smelling noodles onto the plates.
[16:37] <Yanmei> Relaxing a little, Yanmei sank onto her chair. She tried not to look at him. Normally she would have loved a big plate of fried noodles, but today… "Hey Gabriel-Wei? You've lived in a lot of places, haven't you?" Time to change the subject.
[16:39] <Isaiah> "Mmm. Lots of different places in China with my dad, then America for a bit, then here." He said quietly, taking out a pair of chopsticks and breaking them open. He slowly started! He had a peculiar way of curling the noodle around his chopsticks before eating.
[16:41] <Yanmei> "America, hm? I met someone from there recently. Not Malachi Ansel, but someone else. An actual adult." She broke her own chopsticks, but didn't really eat. Instead, she toyed with her glass of water with her free hand. "I wonder if I could take a trip there on vacation someday…"
[16:43] <Isaiah> "Why?" Said Isaiah curiously.
[16:45] <Yanmei> "I don't know? It's someplace far away that I've never been to before." she shook her head, and forced a little laugh. "I guess I'm just being silly."
[16:47] <Isaiah> "Oh. Well." He shook his head. "That's not silly! Seeing new things is good." He said firmly. "I didn't like America much, though."
[16:48] <Yanmei> "Why not?"
[16:49] <Isaiah> "The sky was filled with ash back then." Said Isaiah quietly. "I didn't have any friends, and my dad was always either angry or sad. He had even less time for me than usual…"
[16:51] <Yanmei> "Ash?" that was pretty puzzling. But then again, so was this entire conversation. Were they really just sitting here chatting peacefully after… after everything?
[16:52] <Isaiah> "It was before the ash from the Yellowstone Volcano eruption had cleared. Back then, a lot of the sky over North America was dark and filled with ash. It was very dark, and very cold."
[16:54] <Yanmei> "Oh. I get it." She nodded and took another drink. "It's probably better than living here, though. Less dangerous, anyway."
[16:56] <Isaiah> "I… I think I would prefer to live here though." He turned to Yanmei with those admiring eyes of his. "This place has you to protect it, so I don't think it's that dangerous."
[16:59] <Yanmei> "…" She didn't know how to respond to that this time. Instead, she distracted herself with the noodles, taking her first bite of them despite her lacking appetite.
[16:59] <Isaiah> [They -were- delicious noodles, all in all. Isaiah knew how to pick 'em.-
[17:00] <Isaiah> "So, um." He paused. "I brought some movies."
[17:01] <Yanmei> "Movies? That sounds like fun." She nodded, almost pushing her plate away in haste. "Want to watch them?"
[17:02] <Isaiah> "Yeah! A-actually, that was the idea." He said, turning. "I- I mean, if you're not feeling well, I don't want to be a bother though."
[17:06] <Yanmei> "Watching one won't hurt." It was better than eating, anyway. She stood up to lead the way once more. "…you can bring your plate with you if you'd like?"
[17:08] <Isaiah> "Okay." He said with a smile, picking up his plate. "I know a bit of medicine, since my… My mother was a doctor. So if you feel too bad I might be able to help!" He said hopefully, before offering Yanmei her choice of movies.-
[17:11] <Isaiah> [The first one was a Chinese drama. "Dream of the Red Chamber", based off of the classical novel. The second was some animated movie, about a … A girl with purple hair (Isaiah had smiled sheepishly at this) called "Wandering girl-Biker Sakuya". The last one was called "Lost on the Wind", a supposedly true story about a family surviving Second Impact.]
[17:12] <Yanmei> In a surprising and unsophisticated move… Yanmei scooped up the animated movie, cracking open the case and slipping it into Marianne's dvd player.
[17:14] * Isaiah settled down on the couch, plate on his lap! He was a very neat eater despite the awkward positioning. "I like this one." He said helpfully.
[17:17] <Yanmei> "I'm sure it will be good, then." Yanmei kept her distance from him, curiously, lingering on the far end of the couch. She didn't think that anything would happen, but it made her feel better.
[17:18] * Isaiah didn't seem to particularly notice.-
[17:19] <Isaiah> [The movie itself was fun! It went for about two hours, and was simple but heartwarming fare. A wandering biker girl named Sakuya drove from town to town, taking in the sights, and trying to keep to herself, only to find her heart unable to keep her from helping the suffering people around her. By the end, she'd found her place in the world as the 'Wandering Helper', and made that her life goal.]
[17:22] * Yanmei only ended up half-watching it, sadly. Her thoughts kept drifting back to places she'd rather it didn't. Still, she kept her nerve. When the ending credits rolled, she stood up an stretched. "That really was good!"
[17:26] <Isaiah> "Yeah." Said Isaiah happily, having finished off his noodles. He turned towards Yanmei, watching as she stood and stretched. "It was pretty relaxing."
[17:28] <Yanmei> "Yeah," she agreed. "But now I'm a little tired…"
[17:30] <Isaiah> "Ah." He stands up, holding his plate. "You want me to go."
[17:33] <Yanmei> "I'm sorry, Gabriel-Wei. I'll make it up to you next weekend?" She gave him a tired smile. "I want to thank you for bringing the noodles too. Next time, I'll have something ready for you."
[17:37] <Isaiah> "It's alright. I don't mind!" He said, with a smile. "But I do have a favour to ask."
[17:38] <Yanmei> "Hm?"
[17:40] <Isaiah> "Ah…" He looked down at his shoes, before looking back up, trying to be bold. 'Trying to be bold' was written all over his face. "Please call me Isaiah."
[17:42] <Yanmei> "Of course, Isaiah," she said with a nod, quickly adapting. "I'll try not to be too formal."
[17:42] <Isaiah> "Hehe. Thank you." Another pause. "… I was praying for you yesterday." He reaches out and puts a hand on her shoulder.
[17:45] <Yanmei> It was so hard not to tense up that that. Yesterday… "Thank you. It looked like those prayers worked?"
[17:47] <Isaiah> "Hehe." He gathers up his bag and movies, and heads for the door. "Ah… Tomorrow, I was thinking maybe we could think about something to suggest for drama club or- or something. I'm still finding it really scary, so…"
[17:48] <Yanmei> "It'll be okay. I'll help you. We can can think of a few things at lunch?"
[17:49] * Isaiah nods! "Thank you, Yanmei." He smiled. "I'm going now. If you feel sick or anything, please lie down or call someone." He opens the door, but is taking his time leaving- in case she wants to say something.
[17:51] * Yanmei stays oddly quiet, waiting for his departure.
[17:52] <Isaiah> "…" Click. He slips through the door, which closes behind him.
[17:55] <Yanmei> …that was bad. She should have said something to see him off. "Have a nice trip, or I'll see you to tomorrow." But she wasn't thinking straight. If she had been, maybe she wouldn't have invited him in in the first place. -
[17:57] <Yanmei> Now she could tend to her frayed nerves without pretending for a change. Closing her eyes, she wandered back over to the couch and flopped down on top of it, face-down. "What's wrong with me?" she muttered. And of course, the empty apartment gave no reply.
[17:57] <Isaiah> [If the apartment -did- reply, she probably would not have found it very consoling.]

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