Isha S Gifts

[15:06] <Yanmei> There wasn't much to do here besides lying around and thinking and sleeping. -
[15:11] <Yanmei> Earlier, one of the nurses has brought her a flimsy hospital gown so that she could get about, but exhaustion and cold had eventually forced her back to her designated bed after just a short while. -
[15:13] <Yanmei> ^had
[15:14] <Yanmei> Maybe it was more than that. The Synfront had never had much of a friendly atmosphere, but now it felt downright threatening, even in this little sterile corner of the place. She'd found Lizzie, at least, and after checking her over carefully, had brought her back with her for the sort of comforting that ice cream couldn't provide.
[15:16] <Minaplo> [And so Lizzie lay at Yanmei's side, clinging tightly to her mother, General Bear wedged tightly between them. The girl had been terribly frightened by all the events of yesterday, but it seemed as though being with her dear mother was helping.]
[15:22] * Yanmei stroked her hair absently. For a while, she'd entertained her with stories of dashing politicians battling evil on horseback, and shifty toy and merchandise manufacturers, and other things. For now, however, she'd run out of things to say, and was lost in her throughts. Stroke, stroke. She moved her tightly bandaged arm experimentally.
[15:24] <Minaplo> [It hurt less, now. A dull ache ran through the arm, but it was better than the sharp pain that came with moving it.-
[15:24] <Minaplo> [But before long, she'd hear a knock at the door…]
[15:25] <Yanmei> "…" She collected herself carefully and methodically. "Yes~?"
[15:28] <Minaplo> [The door opened, revealing none other than Junior Magistrate Isha, wearing his uniform, large parcels under his arms. He looked tired and forlorn, but he put on a brave smile for Yanmei and Lizzie. "It's me."]
[15:31] <Yanmei> "Mr. Isha!" Yanmei sat up slowly, scrutinizing him. He -did- look tired. But had he gotten the same treatment as Hohenzollern or Liu Lin? She tried not to frown. She hadn't heard news of either of them, come to think of it…
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Ishish!" Said Lizzie, peeking over.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> [Isha's smile became a little more genuine. He grabbed a chair and pulled it over to the side of the bed. "I am sorry I could not come earlier. I was- delayed."]
[15:41] <Yanmei> Yanmei's gaze shifted, as she took that to mean the very worst thing. Her shoulders tightened by a degree or two.
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["They put me in solitary until about two hours ago. Then they put me on probation and docked my pay."]
[15:43] * Yanmei blinked. "What? -Why-?"
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Conduct unbefitting of a Magistrate." He shrugged. "It's not much of a problem. It's not like I haven't been saving most of my pennies for seventeen years…"]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "Absurd! Another trumped up charge?"
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Not quite. I may have lost my cool in threatening the High Magistrate… Either way, that's behind me now."]
[15:52] <Yanmei> "Oh." Him? Losing his cool? If it hadn't been so fresh, she might have teased him about it. "I'm sorry. It really sucks?"
[15:52] <Minaplo> ["Not as bad as what happened to Hohenzollern…"]
[15:53] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shifted uncomfortably. "I heard something bad happened. I never found out what."
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["She was sent back to Paris and told that if she 'disappointed' the Tribunal again they'd have her shot immediately."]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "They'd seriously do it, too? Or worse. Major Liu…"
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Has been sent back to Beijing…"]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "They were doing terrible things to her." She dropped her voice.
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["I can't begin to imagine. Nor should I." He said quietly. He reached out and patted her hand. "I am sorry. You have been through much, I see."]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "I got off lightly." She glanced down at Lizzie to avoid looking at him. "I remembered what you and Mr. de Orleans told me? But…"
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Isha looked down at his knees. "You understand that whatever happened to you down there… It wasn't your fault."]
[16:06] <Yanmei> "I can't accept that," she said bitterly. "But I don't understand how I could have made it turn out better either."
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["No, no." He reached out and took her shoulder, trying to catch her eyes with his. He had a commanding stare when he wanted to. "Blaming yourself is exactly what they want. You did -nothing- wrong. Don't say that you did. If a person is holding a gun to someone's head, and says that it is your fault if they get shot, just remember this."-
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["They are the ones who decide to pull the trigger."]
[16:15] * Yanmei let him catch her eye. "I'm not dense? I know how thoroughly she set it all up to work against me. But… B-but." She checked herself again, carefully. "But accepting that means there was -nothing- I could do to stop her. I don't know if that's any better…"
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["Sometimes we face unwinnable battles." Said Isha. "It is not all bad. I have something that might cheer you up."]
[16:16] <Yanmei> "You do?"
[16:17] <Minaplo> [He placed the two parcels he was holding on the bedside table. "I bought some clothes. There are certain malls in the Synfront that sell them. They may not be a perfect fit, and there were some things that were too awkward to buy, but they will keep you warm."]
[16:20] * Yanmei blinked and then softened. All that, and when he was on a diminished salary too. "You're always so nice to me…"
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["You are worth being nice to, my dear Lieutenant." Said Isha. "Let's see. There are seven shirts, seven trousers, seven pairs of underwear, three skirts…" He mulled. "Seven pairs of socks, a pair of sports shoes, three woollen sweaters, four pairs of mittens, a normal coat, a long trench coat and some ribbons for your hair."-
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["And a few things for dear Lizzie as well."]
[16:27] <Yanmei> "You really went all out! Hair ribbons too?" A subdued twinkle in her eye.
[16:28] <Minaplo> ["Of course. I used to buy ribbons for my little sister, once upon a time."-
[16:31] <Minaplo> [He looked at the parcels with faraway eyes for a second, then continued with a smile. "In any case, that ought to do it."-
[16:31] <Minaplo> ["Secondly, there have been some developments from the outside. I wasn't supposed to find out, but I know a few people who know a few other people…"]
[16:33] <Yanmei> "What sort of developments?" Not long ago, she had been dying to hear them from Hohenzollern and Liu. How many days had gone by without news? Trying to ignore the pain in her arm, she shifted forward a little, eagerly.
[16:34] <Minaplo> ["President Mazarin has offered an ultimatum: return yourself, de Pteres, Weiss-Xylander, Akagi and Mr. Gabriel-Wei to their respective branches, or the UN Security Council will move to dissolve the Human Instrumentality Committee and NERV."]
[16:36] <Yanmei> Her jaw nearly dropped. She had to sort it out in her mind for a few moments, and when she had, a rather grave expression took hold of her. "Would they really do that?"
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["President Mazarin has a reputation of avoiding bluffs or idle threats. He does what he says he will."-
[16:40] <Minaplo> ["Some people are saying it could lead to another separatist war, like with the LN, but I think…"-
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["I think they'll just cave in and return. It's too much hassle right now with the Angels. And the HIC is probably afraid of rebellion within NERV itself. I think they'll just cave."]
[16:44] <Yanmei> "I hope you're right. The thought of retaliation concerns me a little? Mazarin is a tough man, but the HIC is extremely powerful."
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["It's taken a few hits recently." Said Isha. "And there are other rumours… You didn't hear it from me, but an aide to Washington says that the Americans have been building secret weapons."]
[16:45] <Yanmei> "Linden's orders? Very interesting…"
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["It's just rumour, of course. It could be a bluff. But if we're lucky you could be off home within a few weeks."]
[16:50] <Yanmei> "Remind me to give Mazarin a kiss if that does turn out that way." She chuckled. "The charges against me? I imagine that they would either rapidly push through a resolution for them or push it back until things are less chaotic."
[16:52] <Minaplo> ["The former. They're sentencing next week."]
[16:52] <Yanmei> "Ah. I see."
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["And they've announced that our presence won't be required, either." He admitted grudgingly.]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "What…? What are they trying to pull?"
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["They know we'll have a defense, or try to dispute their evidence." Muttered Isha. "They've done this before."]
[16:57] * Yanmei held Lizzie a little closer and carefully set her face. "There must be something we can do."
[16:58] <Minaplo> ["Wait, unfortunately."]
[16:58] <Yanmei> "…"
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["I am sorry." He sighed.-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["Doctor Stimms wants to do a full checkup on you tomorrow morning, at any rate."]
[17:08] * Yanmei went along with the change in topic a little grudgingly, hesitating before her reply. "Because of my arm, I guess."
[17:08] <Minaplo> ["And other things. You've been under an extraordinary amount of stress. And you've been sick, too…"]
[17:11] <Yanmei> "Despite my inclinations, I can't exactly argue with that?" she sighed. "I'll be ready for him."
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["Good. I can look after dear Lizzie during that time if you so wish me to."]
[17:13] <Yanmei> "That you so much. And thank you for the clothes? Lizzie, what do we say to Mr. Isha for bringing gifts?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Thankoo, Ishish~"]
[17:14] * Yanmei beamed at her. "There's my big girl!"
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["Big girl~!"-
[17:15] <Minaplo> [Isha laughed. He reached out to ruffle Lizzie's hair. "Look at the two of you. Perfect mother and daughter."]
[17:19] * Yanmei chuckled, letting Lizzie loose to play or to have a go at the parcels. Something distant lingered in her eye as she watched her, but she blinked it away. "She's been really quiet since yesterday."
[17:20] <Minaplo> [Lizzie ran over to the parcels, lifting one up and shaking it around.-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Well. She seems to have her spirits back now…"]
[17:22] <Yanmei> "Yeah, fortunately!"
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Now to give the mother back her spirit as well. Have you worked out a way to use 08 yet?"]
[17:29] * Yanmei frowned. "You heard about it, did you? No, I haven't. Or maybe I'm just being too cautious? The only idea I have is dangerous and I don't want to be charged or interrogated for something else."
[17:33] <Minaplo> ["Forgive me. I am well-trained in lip-reading." He patted her hand apologetically. "Do you want me to look into possible ideas? I was toying with a few myself…"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "Would you?" She blinked at him, and her mouth quirked slightly. "You're full of all sorts of surprises."
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[17:45] <Yanmei> "Like knowing people who know people and reading lips and wooing bakers for desserts and being able to yell at soldiers and make them back down? You're like some Super-Magistrate~"
[17:47] <Minaplo> [Isha blushed. "You're flattering me."]
[17:52] <Yanmei> "Am not! Anyway, it's a better sounding title than 'Junior Magistrate,' don't you think?"
[17:53] <Minaplo> ["Well, perhaps it is. Are you then a Super Lieutenant?"]
[17:54] <Yanmei> "Well… Wouldn't a Super Lieutenant be more like a Captain or something…?"
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["I suppose, but what would that make me?"]
[17:56] <Yanmei> "Depends. Would the High Magistrate get pissed if we stole his rank?"
[17:57] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely."]
[17:57] <Yanmei> "Tch. Super-Magistrate it is, then!"
[17:59] <Minaplo> ["Very well." He chuckled. "I doubt I will ever make a full Magistrate…"]
[18:02] <Yanmei> "I don't think that's true at all!"
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["You have too much faith in me." He said, laughing.]
[18:07] <Yanmei> "I don't know about that~" She reached over to gently pull a package from Lizzie's hands. "Here. Let's open it up and see what's inside?"
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["Pressie~"]
[18:10] <Yanmei> "Right, right!" While they watched on, she neatly pulled the paper away. For a little while, at least, she could pretend that things weren't so desperate.

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