In The Search Of New Furniture And Clothes

[11:42] <Marianne> [The date: the 10th of February. The location: Montrouge-2 Central Shopping Mall. A red 1981 Alpine A310 pulls up into the sparsely-populated undercover carpark. Montrouge-2, a suburb of Paris-2, was spared from the damage that wrecked a good deal of Paris-2's central, un-recessed buildings… But nevertheless, it had become far more quiet and empty since. No one wanted to live near a seemingly random warzone.-
[11:44] * Marianne took off her sunglasses, folding them up and putting them into her coat. The pretty blonde was wearing civilian clothing, naturally: Black trousers, a white shirt and black woolly coat- it was still a chilly winter, after all. "Well- we're here."
[11:48] * Yanmei is also dressed in civilian clothes - her favorite plaid wool coat, yellow skirt, and matching yellow scarf. She had been watching the deserted sidewalks on the way there with a distinctly eerie feeling. She'd never seen them so quiet before. -
[11:51] <Yanmei> "Yeah, looks that way." She threw open the car door, and stepped out into the parkinglot, waiting for Marianne to do the same. "Hey, Marianne. About this moving stuff?"
[11:53] * Marianne steps out as well, locking the car with a remote. Okay, so maybe it was a -modified- A310. She turns to Yanmei. "Yeah? What's up?"
[11:57] * Yanmei was not one to fidget. Still, she couldn't help but busy her hands with adjusting her scarf. "I know the decision has already been made, and I understand the decision why. But don't you think we should pick our own apartment instead of letting NERV decide everything?" Those guys meddled too much. She held back a critical frown as she led the way to an escalator.
[12:07] <Marianne> "Hmmm…" Marianne stretches a little as she folllows on. "Yeah. I mean, in a perfect world, I'd love it if we could pick our -own- stuff. But… Well." Marianne gave Yanmei a helpless smile. "At least our apartment isn't in danger of being blown up now, right?"
[12:17] <Yanmei> "Yeah, but, that was an accident?" Yanemei flips a pigtail. There's a sharp twinge of guilt there, but she repressed it as well as she could. It wasn't her fault things had gotten so out of control in the last battle. "It wouldn't happen again unless some crazy odds came into play. Maybe if it was far away enough from the city… in the suburbs, or someplace outside of Paris?"
[12:20] <Marianne> "I'd like to agree, Yanmei." Said Marianne lightheartedly. "But NERV wants us to be close to the middle just in case we need to move quickly. Besides, it's close to school, right? It's not a bad place, overall. Just 'cause NERV chose it doesn't make it automatically bad." She said, nudging Yanmei playfully with her elbow.
[12:27] <Yanmei> "Huh? Would I say that?" She blinked at Marianne with the utmost innocence. "'NERV cares deeply about its employees and takes care to ensure that they have the very best in relocation assistance'." Likely a quote from a pamphlet or a human resources video. "Well… like I said, the decision has already been made? So I guess there's nothing we can do now."
[12:29] * Marianne grins. "There's nothing we can do, that's right- except let NERV pick up the bill for our refurnishing~" A cheeky little grin. "Here, Yanmei- I'll let -you- pick out the furniture. I bet you have a better eye for what's hot than I do."
[12:37] <Yanmei> "You mean it?" She brightened! Although she hadn't exactly been downtrodden before now either. "Zebra stripe are in this season! And I think some lighting fixtures that have a blue-tinged cast would be pretty good. It's supposed to be relaxing and stimulate feelings of generosity." Reaching the top of the escalator, she stepped off, taking a look around to see how many of the shops were still actually open. -
[12:41] <Yanmei> "If NERV is taking care of the bill, we can splurge on beds that were nicer than the ones we had before, too. I want a round one! They look so cool. You should get one too, Marianne. Maybe the sort that rotates around, too? Hm… it will be hard to find bedsheets for them, though? But that's okay."
[12:59] <Yanmei> "The kitchen and dining area will be the hardest to decorate, but I'm sure we can find someone to paint more of those black and white tiger stripes on a few tables and chairs for us. And instead of traditional hanging art pieces, we can paint the walls themselves: two black, and two white for each room. It will look very sophisticated and stylish," she assured her.
[13:04] <Marianne> "Er…" Marianne blinked a little, suddenly nervous. Zebra stripe? Rotating round beds? Black and white walls… For a minute, Marianne pondered reining the girl in before she unleashed Tackygeddon on an unsuspecting populace.-
[13:05] <Marianne> But for some reason, that smart, grownup, moderating part of her brain that was excellent at keeping Gosselin in line and making sure she herself always appeared clean and well-looked after just totally broke down around Yanmei. "Sure! Anything you want." She instead said cheerily. "We should grab some lunch too~"
[13:10] <Yanmei> "A good idea!" Yanmei beamed. "And I just had a good idea myself? We should get a few things for school, too. Ugh… there must be some way to liven up those unforms? I just need to figure out how…"
[13:12] * Marianne reached out, running a hand nonchalantly through one of Yanmei's violet pigtails. "Why don't we get you some fancy hairclips for a start~?"
[13:20] <Yanmei> "I think that will be a very nice start!" Yanmei nodded, running her own hand through her hair after Marianne. Those little unconscious touches of… what, affection? almost always stirred up faint feelings of discomfort. They reminded her of her mother, and she was not completely certain why, as her mother had never actually *done* those sort of things. Sweeping a hand through her bangs and pigtails, or giving hugs…
[13:21] <Yanmei> Simply not the lady's style.
[13:24] * Marianne nods, a cheerful grin on her face. "I wonder what else, though? We can't go too overboard…"-
[13:25] <Marianne> [The interior of the mall was wide- like most things in Paris-2, it was built to be very spacious, built to accomodate a population that never quite materialised fully. Normally, a mill of people would be wandering about- a fair few people, but never enough to make the mall feel crowded. But today even that mass had thinned. It was, however, very clean- and the businesses (the remainders at least) were having "We're still alive!" sales.]
[13:27] <Marianne> sales.]
[13:32] <Yanmei> "We could visit a tailor, and see about getting the skirt shortened a little?" she suggested slyly. "And add more colorful tights too. Ah, like those!" she hurries a few steps ahead to a window displaying a number of shoes and various other footwear, hovering before a pair of glossy blue stilettos - clearly not school appropriate by any stretch of the imagination - and matching blue and black star-pattered tights.
[13:36] * Marianne gives Yanmei a smirk and a little sidelong glance. "Shorten the skirt, huh…?" The cold, cold chill of responsibility sweeps over Marianne for a moment as she considers the implications of the attention-drawing, attractive Zhang Yanmei in a school alongside 15 year old boys- but this is quickly dashed as her attention is drawn to the tights.-
[13:37] <Marianne> "Ah… I don't think the school would allow those." Not in a million years. Good lord. "But… I mean, there's nothing against wearing them elsewhere, right?"
[13:38] <Yanmei> "Well… I suppose," she relented. Then, testing the waters… "The shoes are pretty nice too…"
[13:41] * Marianne smirks mischievously, but quickly tries to turn it into a friendly, curious grin. "You're right! What do you think? Would I look good in them?"
[13:45] <Yanmei> "H-huh?" she hadn't been expecting that! "Well, I guess? Should we get matching pairs?" Yanmei slid into deep thought, tapping her thumbnail against her lower lip a few times. "Actually… yes! NERV uniforms are so bland. You could buy a pair, and a nice blue silk scarf and wear them to work! You should do it, Marianne!"
[13:47] <Marianne> "Oh, you cheeky girl~" Says Marianne, putting an arm around Yanmei's shoulders. "I have to wear regulation shoes to work, unfortunately. And for good reason, too." She peers down at Yanmei mildly. "But I like the idea of the scarf… What about matching scarves? I wear one to work, you wear one to school?"
[13:54] <Yanmei> "One out of two isn't bad?" She tried to relax under her guardian's arm. Lousy NERV regulations. It was as if they had some blanket policy against fun in general! "May I ask you something?"
[13:55] <Marianne> "Sure. What is it?" Asks Marianne, looking back at those stilettos. Recent self-defense memories come back to her mind: ('a stiletto's spike contains roughly a kilogram of force per half inch…')
[14:02] <Yanmei> "Do you ever get tired of them? NERV, I mean." She shifted her gaze - and her body, walking her hands along the glass window to a pair of more school-appropriate Mary Jane shoes. "They can decide where you live, what you can wear? A lot of adults wouldn't be used to that."
[14:09] <Marianne> "Ah… Kind of, you know." Said Marianne calmly. "I mean, other places get you to wear a uniform, too… And I guess I do feel kinda annoyed a little at being assigned where to live. But… I dunno, really. My dad used to tell me that, in the army, you simply bore all the discomfort because whatever you felt would be better than what'd happen if you didn't fight. Sacrifice and all that, you know?"
[14:15] * Yanmei nodded. She knew that well, yes! "It was the same back home. Although there was less to fight against, I suppose?" she shrugged. "Even though I'm used to it, I didn't know what your circumstances were? Your father was military. I didn't realize that."
[14:19] * Marianne peers back at Yanmei, nodding. "Yeah. With the French army. Assigned to a UN Peacekeeping force in the Congo, back when they actually were peacekeeping forces." Said Marianne sardonically. "And it was the same for you, huh? Gotta fight to protect your home and that sort of thing?"
[14:24] <Yanmei> "I do now, at least?" She took her hands from the glass, and folded her arms across her chest. "Don't worry. I'll make sure to protect our new apartment, and all of its nice furniture!"
[14:26] * Marianne beams, so obviously charmed by her charge. "That's the spirit! And we can claim vengeance for making us wreck our old one!" A fistpump… Although a bit of that smile faded. She quickly changed her tack, instead folding her arms and mimicking Yanmei's posture. "Alright. Let's get those scarves- and what about shoes? We should get you something cute for school."
[14:31] <Yanmei> "If the blue ones won't work, these will do just fine." She jerked her head in the direction of the Mary Janes. "They aren't amazing? But they will be easy to walk in."
[14:33] <Marianne> "Haha. They remind me of my own school shoes. Although mine were less well made, I think. Let's go in~"-
[14:34] <Marianne> [The shop they'd entered was a sort of half-shoe shop, half general accessory shop. Shoes of all kinds were being sold, as were hats, scarves, shawls, ties, socks… All sorts of little trinkets. It was mostly empty, except for the store clerk- a middle-aged man with thinning hair- and a young, blonde-haired boy wearing black trousers and a white coat.-
[14:35] <Marianne> [He was staring up at a television mounted on the wall, where grainy, out-of-focus footage of three large, monstrous shapes- the shapes of the Evangelion- sparred with a grotesque scythed- snakelike thing. One of the Evas- a purple and white one- stabbed into the core with a long sword, and an explosion had happened…]
[14:38] <Yanmei> So that was how it had looked. Yanmei was mutely staring now, too, fascinated. From the outside, as well as the inside… those Evas were truely monsterious things
[14:43] <Marianne> "How about these? Yanmei? Yan-" Marianne looked over, holding a pair of 8-size Mary Janes- and saw what Yanmei saw.-
[14:45] <Marianne> ["This amateur footage recorded the inexplicable foe that attacked and killed over 900 French soldiers from Normandie to Paris-2, being fended off and attacked by three large mechanical weapons of a humanoid shape, first unveiled last month- called 'Evangelions'…"-
[14:45] <Marianne> [The boy repeated the word. "Evangelion…" Although, he said it with a hard g- the newsreporter had used a soft g. Presumably he was correcting her.]
[14:47] * Yanmei turns her attention to the boy now, warily at first, but shifting into a cover that was akin to friendliness. "They really are something, aren't they?"
[14:50] <Marianne> [The boy turned. He had rather large blue eyes, to match his blonde hair- yet, a few of his features portrayed a less European influence than that of his hair. He blinked at Yanmei for a moment, before nodding shyly. "… Yes."]
[14:53] <Yanmei> "You should be careful, though," she chuckled. "If there's another fight like that one, one of those big things might step on your house."
[14:54] <Marianne> ["…" The boy looked up at the screen, then back at Yanmei, his eyes a little wider, as if the idea hadn't occured to him. "I would be crushed." He said sadly, pouting slightly.]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "That's right," she said without missing a beat, still cheerful. "Doesn't that scare you?"
[14:57] <Marianne> [The boy fidgetted slightly. "Yes…"-
[14:58] * Marianne peers over at Yanmei and her conversation partner. "What's this now, Yanmei? Making friends~?"
[15:00] <Yanmei> "Hm? We're just talking a little." She eyes the shoes in Marianne's hands. "Ah… I think I need a pair that's a little smaller. Let me find it." She cast one last smile at the boy before turning away. "Take care, now. And don't get crushed, okay?"-
[15:02] <Yanmei> Odd. The poor kid was obviously uncomfortable. She could tell by his fidgetting and the slight worry in his voice when he'd answered her just now. So why didn't she feel the least bit remorseful? Her smile lingered a little bit as she started to sort through shoeboxes.
[15:02] <Marianne> ["Seven and a half." Murmured the boy.]
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Eh?" Her smile almost broke at that, and she looked back at him again. Mind-reading…? No, don't be ridiculous!
[15:04] <Marianne> ["Your feet. They'll take a seven and a half." He said, his face reddening slightly.]
[15:05] <Yanmei> "Well, yes, I knew that already? But how did you know?"
[15:07] <Marianne> ["I… I guessed, by assuming that your feet would be in proportion and measuring the length of your arms and hands, then comparing them to your legs, so…" He lowered his head slightly.]
[15:07] * Marianne quirked an eyebrow slightly at that.
[15:10] <Yanmei> "Hm?" Yanmei can't help but act surprised too! "Uh, that's a really weird talent? So, can you do that with anyone? Even those thing?" She jerked her head toward the tv footage of the Evas, a faint mocking tone seeping into her voice.
[15:13] <Marianne> [The boy looked back up at the television screen. "… By comparing it to the buildings nearby, I would estimate that the Evangelions stand at an average of 40 metres, whilst the… The alien thing stands at… 65 metres, from the base of the tail to the head."]
[15:13] * Marianne folded her arms, frowning. She wasn't going to say anything to that.
[15:21] <Yanmei> "You don't say. Well, that's pretty interesting, I guess?" Yanmei shook her head, finally digging out the size seven that she was searching for. "If I could offer a little advice?" She pauses, remembering that Marianne was there and that she shouldn't try to take things too far at the moment. "Well… no, nevermind. We'll just pay and be on our way."
[15:22] <Marianne> [ The boy blinks. "… Sorry." He mumbles.-
[15:23] * Marianne looks over at Yanmei, giving a little smile. What an awkward moment. "Anyway, those are the ones you want, Yanmei? Well, why don't we pick out a pair of scarves, too?"
[15:25] <Yanmei> "Sure! Is blue fine, or would you prefer yellow?"
[15:26] <Marianne> "I don't mind blue. Yellow would clash with the uniform." Says Marianne cheerfully. "And it'd go well with your blazer."
[15:28] <Yanmei> Blue it was, then! She selected two without much of a fuss draping them over her arm as she headed toward the counter. Maybe she could come back soon for more accessories, when she got another paycheck from NERV
[15:34] <Marianne> [And thus it was that a pair of scarves and shoes were purchased! Marianne also threw in a pair of attractive white butterfly clips for Yanmei's hair, using her own money. Before long, the two ladies had left the store, leaving behind the shy boy and the clerk, and carrying a new bag or two.]
[15:35] <Marianne> "Damnit." Mumbled Marianne irritably once they had left the store's earshot.
[15:35] <Yanmei> "What's wrong?" Yanmei tilted a glance at her.
[15:38] <Marianne> "Damnit." Said Marianne again, peering back over her shoulder before looking at Yanmei. "I can't believe some jerk took a video of the battle! Everyone was supposed to be in their bunkers…" She sighed.
[15:42] * Yanmei went quiet at that, at least for a few moments. "It's to be expected? And why is it such a bad thing, aside from people being nosy. So they know about the mon- I mean, the Evas and the Angels, and how the battle went. It doesn't matter, right?"
[15:44] * Marianne sighed a little. "Because now that people've seen them in action, they're going to want to know more about them. About their -pilots-."
[15:46] <Yanmei> "Oh?" she doesn't seem to worried. "So that means Public Relations will have to do some quick thinking? That's their problem, anyway."
[15:48] <Marianne> "Well, I guess. But…" Marianne frowned. "I dunno. I get the feeling that it's not something you guys should have to handle…"
[15:52] <Yanmei> "You know, I doubt we will?" said Yanmei cheerfully. "It's probably something they'll manage with a small newspaper article. A 'spin'? Isn't that what they call it when you're not truthful in the news?" She chuckled. "'Our pilots are all adults with lots of training and experience.' And then everyone will be happy."
[15:53] * Marianne bites her lip. "Well, let's hope so." She says with a small smile.-
[15:53] <Marianne> "Alright! Where do you wanna go next?"
[15:54] <Yanmei> "Let's order that furniture! And afterward we can grab lunch?"
[15:57] <Marianne> "Sure!" Said Marianne, putting her arm around the girl and pulling her in a bit tighter. There wasn't anything wrong. Going out and shopping for furniture with Yanmei- it was a good, lovely experience, and yet…-
[15:58] * Marianne couldn't quite explain why she felt uncomfortable. But she did. Seeing that footage, seeing the Evangelions fight… Something had changed, and not for the better.

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