In The Meeting Of Two Old Friends

[21:58] <Dorian> [The Date: 14th of February, 2015. The location: a cafe in Paris-2's 13e Arrondissement.]
[22:00] <Dorian> [The cafe is rather spacious, and like most establishments in Paris-2 nowadays, a little empty. The exterior had been blackened and burned by the destruction of Gazardiel, yet the walls had been restored to their original classical white within days.-
[22:01] <Dorian> [The inside was especially classy; dignified white marble floors, with stained wooden tables and a well-stocked bar, as well as an outside setting overlooking the Seine from a palatial balcony.]
[22:03] <Maximilian> It was towards this balcony that Colonel Maximilian von Leitzkau now headed, a small, slender box in his hands. He'd worn his uniform- a snappy, dark blue deal, one that certainly drew the eye of many a passers-by; to the pleasure of the handsome Mr. von Leitzkau, he noted a few of the eyes belonged to women.-
[22:04] * Maximilian stepped out onto the balcony, his shiny black shoes clacking on the floor. "Well, I certainly do like the view. Cannot recommend the atmosphere much, though." He said.
[22:19] * Dorian had indeed been sitting out on the balcony, his wheelchair next to a small round table, upon which a bottle of amber liquid -some sort of alcohol, no doubt- sat. "Neil Armstrong, 1969." Said Dorian dryly, wheeling backwards slightly to look at Maximilian. He cracked a grin. "You silly bastard. You should've told me you were coming."-
[22:19] * Dorian was wearing a far less eyecatching outfit. Just a white button-up shirt with black trousers- and his sunglasses.
[22:23] <Maximilian> "And ruin a perfectly good surprise? No no no." Said Maximilian, dragging a chair over and sitting down next to Dorian, with only the table between them. "I brought cigars."
[22:25] <Dorian> "No shit?" Said Dorian, grinning. "I brought my -other- old friend along with me, as you can see." He nodded towards the alcohol. "How've you been, Max?"
[22:26] * Maximilian placed his box on the table. "I cannot complain, Dory. I've been worked -hard- recently. The Angel has sent half of the UN into panic mode. Germany included." He said wryly. "Yourself?"
[22:27] * Dorian shrugs. "Same as ever. Wake up early, go to bed late, wonder how I got myself into this mess. Drink?"
[22:28] <Maximilian> "Please." Said Max mildly, nodding towards the liquor. "I myself sometimes wonder how you got into this mess. There are others who might envy your position, Dory, but I cannot be counted amongst them."
[22:30] * Dorian slowly unscrewed the cap off of the bottle, pouring it into two small glasses. "Heh. Gotta be honest, I figured a lot more people would be envious of your cushy little position. How're the kids?"
[22:33] <Maximilian> "They're fine." Said Max calmly. "Wilhelm is rather down at the moment. His girlfriend broke up with him, the poor boy." Said Max, tittering slightly. "Beatrix is doing well in school. She is rather excelling, I think."
[22:41] <Dorian> "S'good to hear." said Dorian, pushing one of the glasses towards Max. "Shame about Willy. S'never nice when a relationship ends. What about Beatrix? She have a boyfriend?"
[22:41] <Maximilian> "No." Said Max, picking up the glass and eyeing it. "She's not really into boys right now… Dory, what's this?"
[22:41] <Dorian> "Never you mind." Said Dorian hastily. "Down it on three?"
[22:42] <Maximilian> "Tch, if you say so. On three?"
[22:42] <Dorian> "Une, deux, trois!"
[22:42] <Maximilian> "Eins, zwei, drei!"
[22:42] * Dorian downed the glass unhesitatingly! Like a real man should.
[22:43] * Maximilian also downed the glass… Somewhat more reluctantly. He almost immediately started to cough. "Shit, shit!" He growled, slapping his leg. "Dory, I did not come all the way from Berlin-2 so you could off me with your ridiculous booze!"
[22:44] <Dorian> "Hey, hey. It's not ridiculous!" Said Dorian, in between bouts of laughter. "This is certified NERV Liquor Division booze."
[22:44] <Maximilian> "… You're kidding, yes?"
[22:45] <Dorian> "Guaranteed to ensure you forget all about the insane bullshit you've been putting up with. NERV!" Said Dorian, laughing.
[22:46] <Maximilian> "Tch. Whatever you say, you madcap. Get us another." He said, sliding the glass back over. "On the topic of children, though- looks like you've a fine batch of kiddies yourself."
[22:46] * Dorian started pouring a second set of drinks. "Hm? What do you mean?"
[22:46] <Maximilian> "The pilots." Said Max, opening his box and taking out a pair of finely-crafted cigars. He offered one to Dorian.
[22:54] * Dorian took it. "Oh. Right. Well, they're not really my kids, y'know."
[22:54] <Maximilian> "I know that." Said Max, smirking. "It was a figure of speech."
[22:58] <Dorian> "Right." He took a lighter out of his pocket- an old zippo-, flicked open the lid and lit his cigar, before reaching over and doing the same for Max. "Well…" Dorian shrugged. "They're good kids, I guess."
[22:58] <Maximilian> "'Good kids'?"
[23:00] * Dorian shrugged. "I dunno. I mean, what else am I gonna say about 'em?" Dorian leant back in his wheelchair, taking a quiet puff on his cigar. "S'a good cigar. American?"
[23:00] <Maximilian> "Yes. And you're being evasive, Dory." Admonished Max lightly.
[23:01] * Dorian sighed, but was silent for a few seconds. "Right, right. I mean… I wish I could say they're just three normal kids. I mean, I wish I could talk about their grades or shit, or their love lives, but they're not normal. Hell, you could take away the whole saviours-of-mankind thing and they still wouldn't be normal."
[23:01] <Maximilian> "What do you mean?"
[23:03] <Dorian> "Well, I mean… Aline's this real science geek. I mean, shit, I'm not kidding around- she really knows her science stuff. Those questions she answered? The ones she got from Ikari Yui? Yeah, she wasn't rote-speakin'." Another puff. "Then you got Sept- er, Sera. The boy."
[23:03] <Maximilian> "I would not have guessed from just the name, but I -am- well-versed on the sex of the pilots, Dory." Said Max dryly.
[23:05] <Dorian> "Oh, shut up. Anyway. I mean, the boy's like, an orphan, a real street urchin, and he just comes off the street and -touches- the damn Eva, and hell, it's like he's obsessed with the thing. He actually sort of -volunteered- to do this." Said Max. "Then you got Yanmei, who's, well, she was probably pretty normal before NERV fucked around in her life…"
[23:06] * Maximilian winced slightly in sympathy. "I see. I guess it's not really fair, is it?"
[23:06] <Dorian> "Hell no." Grumbled Dorian. "It's not a kid's job to have to do such a damned dangerous task, Max. It's not a kid's job to have to become a warrior."
[23:07] * Maximilian was quiet for a few moments at that. "It's not something a child should have to bear. But, children have been bearing things they shouldn't have had to bear for fifteen years straight now, Dory."
[23:12] <Dorian> "Ffff. That doesn't make it any -better-, Max." Said Dorian curtly. "You saw the pilots on stage, right? You remember Yanmei? You remember what she was like?"
[23:12] <Maximilian> "I do. Composed, focused. It was mildly scary. She was very much playing the room, I feel. I would know." Said Max, taking a puff of his cigar. "Very well, I might add."
[23:16] <Dorian> "Heh. Well, yeah. You see that, right? That girl, so calm and so easily managing a shitstorm of journos and the like…" A puff of the cigar. "I saw her in battle. I saw her freeze up and start mumbling to herself, Max. And I remember her cryin' out when she got hit. Can you imagine that? That composed young woman, just panicking? It's…" Dorian shakes his head. "It's -wrong-, Max."
[23:16] * Maximilian fingered his cigar quietly, his face contemplative. "She reminds you of Nadia, doesn't she?"
[23:17] * Dorian groans. "Don't start that bullshit, Max, please. I get it enough from ol' Felix."
[23:17] <Maximilian> "Just play along with me, Dory. I'm German. It's in my blood to psychoanalyse you whilst holding a cigar."
[23:17] * Dorian let out a quiet snort of laughter. "And I suppose it's in my blood to just do whatever you say, you bastard?"
[23:17] <Maximilian> "You learn fast, Dory."
[23:19] <Dorian> Another snort. "Fine, alright. The truth is, yes and no." Dorian took a puff from his cigar. "… I see Nadia's face everywhere, Max. It doesn't matter who. I guess she's -kind of- like her, but it doesn't matter. When I heard her cry out- when I heard any of them cry out, it just…" Dorian sighed. "Don't wanna talk about this shit, Max…"
[23:20] <Maximilian> "… Alright, Dory. We don't need to talk about it." Said Max placatingly.
[23:21] <Dorian> "Good." Said Dorian, taking a sip from his drink. "Hey, Max. Mind if I ask you a private question?"
[23:21] <Maximilian> "What is it?"
[23:22] <Dorian> "Do you, er…" He looked over at Max. "Do you still think of Victoria?"
[23:23] <Maximilian> "… I do." Said Max reluctantly. "It's hard not to- Beatrix looks very much like her mother, you know. I think it's the hair. And the glasses."
[23:23] <Dorian> "You never thought of settling down with anyone else?"
[23:25] * Maximilian shook his head. "Yes and no. God knows there've been other women, but they haven't lasted very long. Make no mistake, Dory- I still like the ladies. But… The women I'm with, they're just friends. Well, more than friends, obviously. But none of them will ever be Victoria. We were made for each other, Dory. And there won't ever be anyone else who can fill that niche."
[23:27] * Dorian nods slowly. "Yeah… Yeah, I guess that makes sense." Dorian turned to Max. "Hey, I'm not too old to settle down, am I?"
[23:28] * Maximilian let a small, wry smile emerge on his face. "You should know better than to ask me that question, Dory."
[23:29] <Dorian> "… Heh. Bastard." Dorian tapped his cigar ash into an ashtray. "Hey, I have a question for you. If Beatrix or Wilhelm were called up by NERV to become a pilot, how'd you feel?"
[23:30] * Maximilian gave Dorian an odd sidelong glance. "This is just a hypothetical, right?"
[23:30] <Dorian> "Sort of. They -are- on the list."
[23:30] * Maximilian blinked at that. In fact, he scowled, moments away from taking a gulp of his drink. "T… They -are-?" He said, alarm obvious in his voice.
[23:31] <Dorian> "Yeah." Said Dorian. "It's no coincidence that your boy Wilhelm knows Langley-Soryu, Max. Surely you don't believe in coincidences when us fig-leaves are involved."
[23:33] <Maximilian> "Well, I… Well." The colonel's calm facade was somewhat broken. "I… In some sense, I'd be proud. Not many people can boast fathering an Eva pilot- someone with incredible power! But… I would feel very scared, too. I feel that my fear would outweigh my pride in that manner…"
[23:33] * Dorian nods slowly. "Yeah, that makes sense. Hey, Max, your dad was a soldier, right? You guys had that whole 'warrior ethos' going on, right?"
[23:35] * Maximilian nods firmly. "That's right. Serve the Fatherland, be brave and fearless, no steps back, be prepared to sacrifice your life for the greater good… So on and so forth. Why?"
[23:36] <Dorian> "Do… Do you still think like that?" Asked Dorian. "Do you still think it worth it if your son were to sacrifice himself for the greater good of humanity?"
[23:36] <Maximilian> "… Bullshit, Dory." Grumbled Max. "You know that's a bullshit question. I don't want my son to be hurt, but if humanity's at stake then there's no choice, is there?"
[23:38] * Dorian snorts. "Congratulations, Max. Now you know how I feel about those kids." Said Dorian, taking a puff on his cigar. "At least they've -got- a fighting chance. Imagine if your son were one of the needless dead, Max. Shit, those tanks, they didn't do a -damn thing-. Couldn't even scratch it. De Poitou was shittin' himself."
[23:39] <Maximilian> "Hahaha. I would've loved to have seen the look on that pompous old de Poitou's face when he saw his tanks and VTOLs rendered useless. Bastard needs to be taken down a peg." Another mouthful of drink! It was nearly empty.-
[23:39] <Maximilian> "But, friend Dorian, this worries me. I have always desired that the soldier one day become obselete, but being rendered so by the Evangelion makes me wonder if we're trading the horrors of the past for unimaginable ones of the future."
[23:40] <Dorian> "A good question, my friend. A good question." Dorian drained his glass- quickly getting to work refilling it. "But I can tell you one thing. There won't be much of a future left without the Eva, Max."
[23:40] <Maximilian> "I… Guess that's true." Said Max reluctantly. "You're such an apologist, Dory. You're a cynical old goat about NERV but you really do like working there, don't you?"
[23:41] <Dorian> "I wouldn't say -enjoy-, Max." Said Dorian. "I think it's just… There's something satisfying that, at the end of the day… With my shattered body, my nonexistent family, no wife, no kids, my friends hardly seeing me… That despite all that shit, I'm still -useful-. Still -necessary-." Dorian smirked.-
[23:42] <Dorian> "Also, it's particularly gratifying to know that I've proven those Saint-Cyr bitch cadets wrong once again."
[23:42] <Maximilian> "Oh?"
[23:42] <Dorian> "Oh yes. Remember back at Saint-Cyr what my boast was? The one everyone thought I was arrogant about. Short-sighted bastards."
[23:43] <Maximilian> "Oh, you said something arrogant? That really narrows it down." Said Max sarcastically. He peered at Dorian. For some reason, he started to imagine Dorian slipping a hand into his shirt… Wearing a silly hat… It clicked.-
[23:51] <Maximilian> "Right. You said you were going to be the next NapolĂ©on. You were gonna be the most powerful man in the - oh God…"
[23:52] * Dorian started to laugh. "I was right. I was right! They said I was arrogant! They said it couldn't be done!" He cackled. "Well I showed the bastards, didn't I?"
[23:52] <Maximilian> "Ugh. The awful truth. Come, let us get drunk. Maybe this nightmare will have faded by tomorrow."

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