Know That You Aren T Alone The Whole World Shares Your Tears

[20:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> [[Session 36: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. Date: 24th of December, 2016. Episode Title: Know that you aren’t alone, the whole world shares your tears; some for two nights or one; and some for all their years.-
[20:31] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Christmas Eve. It’s noisy in the Katsuragi apartment. This is impressive, because there's no one in the living room or the kitchen- no one except a penguin, and a certain French chevalier…]
[20:38] * Raphael is sipping wine on the couch, watching TV with as much focus as he can muster - which isn't much, honestly, because his grasp of the language is… minimal. At some point Pen-Pen has found his way on to the lounge beside him, and now appears to be drinking his own beer as he watches some sort of Japanese soap opera.
[20:41] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Wark."-
[20:42] <Ayanami`Rei> [Raphael’s grasp of the language is indeed minimal, but as he watches the soap opera he no doubt hears a word he has become accustomed to over the last week: Idiot!-
[20:43] <Ayanami‘Rei> [The door to his room- currently loaned out to Alphonse to get ready- opens, and the boy himself steps out. His hair is immaculate as usual, and he is wearing a soft silk dress shirt and vest, with long black trousers, shiny black leather shoes, and a black coat. "Sir Guillory…?"]
[20:48] * Raphael has built up a reflexive cringe every time he hears that word over the verbal skirmishes over the last few days, and with some melodramatic argument raging on the screen it’s giving his eye a mild twitch as he turns. "Ah… you look very smart indeed, Captain."
[20:54] <Ayanami‘Rei> [The boy lets out a sigh of relief. "Thank you. I have to make tonight count." He look a breath, taking the seat next to Raphael. He’s rubbing his hands together nervously. In fact, now that he's so close Raphael can smell the nerves- as well as a handsome cologne.]
[20:56] * Raphael smiles faintly, his attention back on the squabbling housewives (Desperation not guaranteed). "Speaking as someone with an objective view, I don't think you have a great deal to worry about."
[20:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Right, right…" He continues to rub his hands. "How’re you feeling?"]
[21:02] <Raphael> "Me? Fine, Captain. It's just dinner and a movie, after all." He continues chipping away at that wine.
[21:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["M-Movie?" He utters the words as though it were a life sentence as Misato’s maid. "You're going to see a movie?"}
[21:03] <Raphael> "… That's something people do!"
[21:03] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh God, is it?" He says, panic rising. "Oh God, I only decided to take her to dinner!"]
[21:05] <Raphael> "Captain…"
[21:06] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Quick, I need the movie guide. Hand me the-" Horror. "Wait, I can’t read Japanese! And if I ask Rei I'll look unprepared!" His eyes were darting left to right wildly.]
[21:06] <Raphael> "Capta-"
[21:08] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Wait, wait, it doesn’t matter, I can just buy tickets straight from the booth, right?" He turns to Raphael, looking him right in the eye. "But what if I pick the wrong one?! I need your help, Sir Guillory! What can I do?!"]
[21:11] <Raphael> "/Alphonse!/" Raphael says sharply, voice slipping into command tone for a moment. "Listen to me. The only way you are going to screw this up is by overthinking it. The two of you are crazy about one another, and she will -love- a quiet dinner. Now buck up and focus on that before you panic yourself into a corner."
[21:12] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…"-
[21:12] <Ayanami`Rei> [Alphonse stares at Raphael for a moment, before he turns his head and replies in a dignified tone, "-Ahem-. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that, Sir Guillory. I am entirely fine. And we are not crazy. About anything."]
[21:13] <Raphael> "Certainly." Raphael says easily, not even moving to argue the point. "But -did you hear what I said-, Captain?"
[21:17] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yes, sir." Says Alphonse, clearing his throat. "A quiet dinner will be fine." He says quietly. "I just hope what I have planned afterwards is alright, too. Do you mind…?"]
[21:17] <Raphael> "Certainly not."
[21:19] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Well. After the dinner, I was going to take her out to this lovely park I saw, which has this massive christmas tree. They light it at 11 PM, so I’ve decided, if we can get there early enough, we can watch it light up. Then, well, we're fairly close to the sea, so perhaps we could take a walk along some of the seaside parks and watch the fireworks."]
[21:21] <Raphael> "If we were not discussing two Entirely Sane individuals, sir, I might note that it sounds quite romantic."
[21:26] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Good, good." Says Alphonse, nodding enthusiastically. "Hypothetically speaking, of course." he adds.]
[21:28] <Raphael> "Of course, Captain." Raphael agrees, matching the boy’s nod with his own.
[21:45] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Of course."-
[21:46] <Ayanami`Rei> [A door opened- the door to Rei’s room. Out came Suzanne. "Here comes the pretty princess~"-
[21:50] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Rei followed her out, wearing a dress- the same dress Raphael might remember her wearing during her birthday. This was the first time Alphonse had seen her in it, however… This time, she didn’t wear many of the dress-up accessories she had this time. No cape; no gloves; no tiara. Her locket glimmered on her throat, noticeable even against her pale skin. It was simple, elegant. It suited her, and it suited the occasion.-
[21:52] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Alphonse stood up, smiling. "H-Hi, Rei."-
[21:52] <Ayanami`Rei> [She smiled, a little bashfully, clasping her hands together. "A-Al-chan… You look handsome…"-
[21:54] <Ayanami`Rei> ["S-So do you." He said, before coughing. "I-I mean, you look lovely. Very lovely."]
[21:55] <Raphael> "You’d have to be crazy to think otherwise." Raphael says from his chair, giving Rei a big, proud grin.
[21:58] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["T-thanks, Raffy-kun." Says Rei, plushing a pleasant pink.-
[21:58] <Ayanami`Rei> [Alphonse smiled dreamily for a second, before snapping to. "Right. Um… Right. We should probably be moving. Or else we’ll miss our movie. I-I mean, dinner. Miss dinner."-
[21:58] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["We’re going to see a movie…?"-
[21:58] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["N-No. No. J-Just dinner. A-And something later."-
[21:59] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh. That sounds good!" Says Rei cheerfully. "There aren’t any good movies out now anyway, Al-chan."-
[21:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I-I know, it’s very sad." He smiles, offering her his arm.-
[21:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She takes it shyly, shooting Raphael a grateful smile.-
[22:00] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Have a good night, Sir Guillory. Suzanne." Says Alphonse.-
[22:00] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Bye Raffy-kun! Suzie-chan~"]
[22:02] <Raphael> "Goodbye you two. Stay safe!" Raphael said, giving Rei one last smile before forcing himself to nonchalantly return his attention to the television.
[22:02] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I will~"-
[22:02] <Ayanami`Rei> [… And then they were out the door.-
[22:03] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I hope they have a good night." Says Suzanne.]
[22:05] <Raphael> The soap opera has now moved to some sort of screaming confrontation by the beach just to mix things up. Raphael grabs the remote from the chair next to him and flips through the channels. "I think they will. It all sounds very romantic, as much as Captain Wellesley suggests otherwise."
[22:05] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Ro~man~tic. Do you think they’ll smooch -this- time, Raffy?"]
[22:06] <Raphael> "I think that's none of our business."
[22:07] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne pouted. "You want them to smooch, don’t you?"]
[22:10] <Raphael> "I want her to be happy." Raphael says mildly, lingering for a moment too long on a channel featuring an (Utterly ridiculous) anime Suzie and Rei had shanghaied him into watching a few months ago before moving on. "Beyond that, why should I mind?"
[22:11] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["True." Says Suzie. "Hey, Raffy-kun?"]
[22:14] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[22:14] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Do you think I’ll be like that one day?"]
[22:15] <Raphael> "… Yeah, hon. I have no doubt."
[22:15] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["What?! Really?" Suzie frowned.]
[22:18] * Raphael lets out a good natured chuckle and reaches back to ruffle Suzie’s hair. "Oh yes. Some heroic gentleman in a golden battlebot will come and sweep you off your feet…"
[22:21] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Eurgh." Suzanne bats at his hand. "No way! I won’t let anyone sweep -me- off my feet. He'll show up all tough and strong and then I'll kick his butt and make him my maid!"]
[22:23] * Raphael 's chuckle rolls right on into full-blown laughter at that. "You know what? You're probably right. But there'll still be someone~" He says, even down to the tilde. It's worth it for Suzie.
[22:24] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne pouts, blushing. "H-Hmph."-
[22:25] <Ayanami`Rei> [There was the sound of the door opening. "Tadaima!" Misato’s voice.]
[22:29] <Raphael> "Ohkeerin…" Raphael began, before stumbling and letting out a small, defeated noise. "Not yet, it seems. Welcome home, Captain."
[22:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Okaerinasaiiii~" Said Suzie flawlessly, poking her tongue out at Raphael.-
[22:31] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Thanks." Said Misato, walking in, putting a thick bag of groceries on the kitchen table. "Traffic’s a -mess- out there-"-
[22:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She catches sight of Raphael and quirks an eyebrow. "What’s up, playboy? Did you snare Ibuki into a date?"]
[22:38] * Raphael , for the record, is wearing long black slacks and a rather nice blue button-up shirt, freshly polished dress shoes protruding from below the hems of his trouser legs. "Ibuki?" Raphael asks, one eyebrow raised. "Oh, the nice young lady from your Bridge Crew? No, actually…"-
[22:39] <Raphael> "I was going to ask if you'd like to go see a movie, though. Maybe dinner, as well?"
[22:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Eh…?"-
[22:42] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato paused and blinked, staring at Raphael. "… Raffy-kun, you sly bastard. Are you asking me out on a Christmas Eve date~?" Her tone was suddenly far warmer.]
[22:43] <Raphael> "I was told there was some sort of tradition. It seemed like the thing to do…"
[22:46] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Heh heh." She smirks for a second, before nodding. "Alright. Give me half an hour to get ready, ok? Oh, er…" She looks over at Suzanne.]
[22:54] <Raphael> … which Raphael catches easily enough, just smiling in return. "Oh, it’s handled. I was going to have to call in a favour with one of my friends in the local NERV forces, but… Your Pilot Akagi managed to track me down and ask to spend some more time with Suzie. I'm not really sure how." He frowns ever so slightly. "… She -is- trustworthy, right? She seemed like a nice girl, just a
[22:54] <Raphael> bit… …"
[22:57] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["A bit spacy? Yeah, that’s Tsuchin. She's fine. She's got a big heart, and she's pretty wired when it comes to important stuff."-
[22:57] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Tsubaki said that one day, she’s going to buy EVA-03 a giant milkshake." Said Suzanne. "Raffy, -I- want a giant milkshake one day too."]
[22:58] <Raphael> "So long as you eat your dinner." Raphael says, stretching a little.
[22:58] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I will~"-
[22:59] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Excellent. Alright! Be back in a bit~" And then she was off into the shower.-
[22:59] <Ayanami`Rei> ["She said yes~" Cooed Suzie.]
[22:59] <Raphael> "Dinner with a friend is hardly a big deal, little one."
[23:00] <Ayanami`Rei> ["She said it was a date." Pout.]
[23:00] <Raphael> "Yes, well…" … "… yes."
[23:01] <Ayanami`Rei> ["That means it’s a date." Said Suzanne matter-of-factly. "Which means…?"]
[23:01] <Raphael> "… not smooches. Don't even start."
[23:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Raffy and Misa~ Sittin’ in a tree~"]
[23:02] <Raphael> "Stop it, Suzie."
[23:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["K-I-S-S-I-N-G~"-
[23:02] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Wark!"]
[23:05] * Raphael covers his face with his hand and focuses on the soothing sounds of japanese verbal abuse. It seemed Pen-Pen had seized the remote in his few moments of distraction.
[23:17] <Ayanami`Rei> [The teasing continued gleefully for a few moments. About eight minutes later, the shower turned off, and a minute later the lights went out. "Sorry, sorry!" Came Misato’s voice as she hurriedly made her way through the living room. Raphael would barely be able to see her, but what he did see was bereft of anything but a towel.-
[23:17] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Then, after that, the doorbell rang.]
[23:20] * Raphael managed to pull himself out of the remarkably comfortable couch (Alphonse hadn’t had too bad a spot, it seemed) and opens the door with a smile.
[23:21] <Ayanami‘Rei> [And came face to face with a pair of bright blue luminous eyes. "Oh. You’re Raphael Guillory."]
[23:23] <Raphael> "And you're…" An ever so slight pause as he checks this face against the one he'd glimpsed in a few NERV documents and Rei's photos of home. "Akagi Tsubaki. Nice to meet you, ma'am. Suzie seems very taken with you."
[23:24] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["She isn’t taken with me yet. I haven't even seen her today." Tsubaki frowned.]
[23:25] <Raphael> "… That's true! We should remedy that." Raphael says slowly, putting that smile on again as he turns back towards the main room. "Suzanne!"
[23:26] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yeeeeees?"]
[23:26] <Raphael> "Your friend’s here."
[23:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Tsuchiiiiin!" Suzie rolled out towards the front door. "Hiya, Tsuchin!"-
[23:32] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Hello, Suzanne. You look very mobile today."-
[23:32] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Thanks." Suzie giggled. "Come on! Let’s go~ Let's go!"-
[23:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Tsubaki looked up at Raphael. "I am taking her now. You should be told that."]
[23:33] <Raphael> "… probably, yes."
[23:34] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Come on, Suzanne! Mr. Bunny is waiting for us." Tsubaki took command of Suzanne’s wheelchair and began pushing her down the hallway.-
[23:34] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yay! Mr. Bunny!"]
[23:37] <Raphael> "Stay safe, little one." Raphael calls after them. "Did you remember your phone?"
[23:38] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I sure did!" Calls Suzanne.]
[23:39] <Raphael> "… alright." Raphael says, quieter now. He watches them disappear into the elevator before shutting the door.
[23:39] <Ayanami`Rei> [An avian head appeared from around the corner. "Wark?"]
[23:40] <Raphael> "We’ll be out of your hair soon enough, Pen-Pen." Raphael says, straightening his shirt as he heads back through the kitchen.
[23:40] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Wark." Says Pen-Pen, satisfied, grabbing another beer and a pack of doritos from the pantry.-
[23:42] <Ayanami`Rei> [About fifteen, perhaps twenty minutes later, Misato appeared again- her hair washed and combed until it shone, wearing snappy black high heels and… Well, a very attractive little black dress that quite accentuated her abundant natural curves. "Oh Mr. Knight~"]
[23:52] * Raphael has managed to scavange up some sort of dodgy-looking action film in the interim, which he’s been watching with Pen-Pen in companionable silence. The voice makes him turn, though… and he pauses for a moment. "… you look rather lovely, Captain Katsuragi."
[23:55] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Thanks. I haven’t worn this dress in ages." Said Misato. "It still fits me pretty well, huh~?"]
[23:57] <Raphael> "I'd certainly say so. I feel a little underdressed." Raphael says with a smile, standing again as he does the standard check through his pockets for his wallet, phone… he's left fumbling for a minute before he remembers his house-keys are partway across the world.
[23:57] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Nicely done."]
[23:59] * Raphael gives her a sour look, before offering his arm in an unconscious mimicry of Alphonse earlier in the evening. "Shall we, though?"
[00:04] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I thought you wouldn’t ask~ I even have your present." She tapped her handbag. "Lead on, playboy."]
[00:08] <Raphael> "Oh! Right, I… actually have one for you, too, but I might have to save it until we get home." But still, he's gently leading her towards the door.
[00:09] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oho, Raffy-kun is prepared~ So… Who’s driving?"]
[00:10] <Raphael> "Taxi, maybe? Especially with dinner on the cards." The elevator is called~
[00:12] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ah. The fabled yellow chariot of the Guillory dynasty."]
[00:13] <Raphael> "Indeed."
[20:29] <Raphael> The first destination for the evening was a small cinema only a short taxi ride away. It’s a smaller venue, not associated with any larger chain but very cozy and well taken care of, without the crowds a larger place might attract on a Christmas Eve.-
[20:30] <Raphael> Alphonse was right about the lack of ‘good’ films on offer, but that doesn’t slow them down too much. The movie they end up seeing certainly isn’t going to be winning any awards - it’s some goofy action flick imported from Hong Kong. Still, ridiculous John Woo-inspired gunfights, explosions and car chases abound, and the acting is cheesy enough to earn a few laughs from Raphael
[20:30] <Raphael> even though he couldn’t understand the dialogue.
[20:35] <Ayanami`Rei> [No doubt helped by Misato, who routinely goes to tears of laughter to any action scene that lasts longer than five minutes; at one point, during a particularly egregious car chase scene, her breath is literally taken away by laughter. She assures Raphael that he’s missing out on absolutely nothing by not understanding the subtitles.]
[20:46] <Raphael> It’s growing colder by the time they leave, at least by Tokyo-2 standards, and the stars are just visible through the fluorescent glow of the city. This taxi ride takes a little longer, but eventually deposits them in front of a neat-looking restaurant. The façade of the building showing onto the street conceals an indoor garden, surrounded on all sides by a wood-floored patio upon which
[20:46] <Raphael> the tables are arranged. There’s a bar at the back, the kitchen hidden away behind…
[20:46] <Raphael> They’re quickly led to a table - reservations made well in advance - and as the waiter disappears for a moment they’re left to their own devices.
[20:50] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato seats herself, sitting back in her chair and crossing one leg over the other. She looks around at the restaurant that Raphael has brought her to, her expression betraying the fact that she’s impressed with the setting. "This didn't set you back too badly, did it?"]
[20:57] * Raphael shakes his head, smiling as he folds his hands on the table. "Not really. For all its other problems, NERV pays well enough."
[21:03] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hehe. Well, that’s good at least~" She picked up the wine list, peering at the drinks for a moment.-
[21:04] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["You know, Ibuki really was hoping you’d ask her out~"]
[21:06] <Raphael> "Maybe some other time." Raphael says lightly, staring over at the garden with that same soft smile.
[21:11] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato narrows her eyes for a second, her gambit foiled, before she shakes it off with a smile. "Wellesley and Rei are out too, huh? Think they’re having fun?"]
[21:13] * Raphael nods slowly, that smile widening just a little bit as he returns his gaze to his companion. "… yeah. I'm sure they are." He says. "He makes her so happy…"
[21:20] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Heh." Misato smiles warmly. "You’re very fond of Rei, huh? Sometimes, the way you act, you almost remind me of a father."]
[21:25] <Raphael> Something in his expression flickers for a moment at that, but there's little time to identify it before the smile's back in place. "I'm just someone who cares about her, that's all."
[21:26] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["You do that a lot, Raffy."]
[21:27] <Raphael> "It’s a bad habit, Captain."
[21:30] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I think it’s sweet~"]
[21:33] <Raphael> "Perhaps." Raphael says with a small shrug, leaning gently into the table. "She's worth it, though."
[21:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["They’re both worth it. You have very special girls there, Raffy. It sounds like a wonderful little family."-
[21:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> [… She sounded a little wistful, at that.]
[21:45] * Raphael notices the tone, but for a moment all it seems to do is make him hesitate before moving on. "… Yes. I suppose it is." He says gently. "You know, I’m glad you suggested this little adventure, Captain."
[21:45] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh~?"]
[21:48] <Raphael> "W-well," he says quickly, the little sing-song tone immediately setting him on alert, "I mean, Suzie’s made new friends, and it's been just what Rei's needed…"
[21:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Mmmhmm." Says Misato with a grin. "And what about you, Raffy? Have you gotten what you need yet?"]
[21:51] <Raphael> "I’m not sure what you mean, Captain."
[21:51] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She folded her arms. "Stop calling me Captain!"]
[21:54] <Raphael> "…" Raphael just stares blankly for a moment, replaying the conversation in his mind for a brief second before letting out an awkward, halting chuckle. "Pardon. More bad habits."
[21:54] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato smiles. "It’s alright. But still, Raffy. The question was pretty simple. Have you gotten what you need yet? Are you happy yet?"]
[21:56] <Raphael> "… heh. I guess that's not something I'm used to thinking about." He says, and for a moment he just considers it in silence as he watches the waiters bustle along the edges of the garden.-
[21:57] <Raphael> "… You know? I suppose I am." It sounds as though the answer comes as something of a surprise.
[22:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato smiled, about to add something- when a waiter cunningly slipped towards the table, prim writing pad at the ready. He asked something in Japanese.-
[22:02] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh, he wants to know what we want, Raffy~"]
[22:13] * Raphael reaches for the menu of italian dishes (Thankfully written in both Japanese and English to accomodate tourists), and though it takes him a few long seconds to search the italian dishes with his slightly rusty English, he eventually asks Misato to translate an order for the fettuccine carbonara and a bottle of the house’s red wine to share.
[22:20] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato makes her own order, as well as Raffy’s, and before long they're quite alone again- although the wine is quick in coming, with two glasses. "Shall we?"]
[22:25] <Raphael> "Absolutely." He says with a nod, pouring a healthy serving into each glass. "Hopefully it's acceptable. I have a friend who recommended this place…" He pauses for a moment to sample his own. "… hmm. Not bad."
[22:30] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato… Didn’t quite throw back the whole glass this time. Actually, she drank it in a rather ladylike fashion. "Hey, this is actually pretty good, Raffy. Who knew you had such good taste~"]
[22:36] <Raphael> "It comes with being a gentleman of class and sophistication, ma'am." He says, utterly deadpan as he takes another sip.
[22:43] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato giggled, pushing a strand of her hair back behind her ear. "Oh, oh, actually… That reminds me. I suppose you’ll be wanting your shiny present soon, huh?"]
[22:45] <Raphael> "… you didn't need to get me anything, Misato."
[22:45] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I didn’t. But I wanted to, anyway. I mean… This has been a really fun christmas for once." She admitted. "I actually felt happy."]
[22:49] * Raphael looks her in the eye in silence for a moment, a slow smile blossoming across his face. "… alright, then. I hope it's nothing too extravagant, though."
[22:49] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["1900 French francs isn’t too extravagant, right…?" She asked curiously.]
[22:50] * Raphael 's jaw slides open ever so slightly. "…"
[22:51] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ahahahahahahaha." Misato dissolves into laughter. "Oh wow. Is that how gentlemen of sophistication respond~? Ahahaha."]
[22:53] <Raphael> "I think it’s perfectly reasonable in this circumstance!"
[22:53] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It’s alright, Raffy. I didn't -really- spend that much on you."]
[22:55] <Raphael> "… Good. That's… uh, I'm glad, Misato." He says slowly, trying to regain composure as some of the tension eases out of his posture. "For a second I was worried my gift would look a little paltry."
[23:05] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I’m sure whatever you get me, a discerning and smart man like yourself will make sure it strikes true~ no matter how cheap it is."]
[23:07] * Raphael acts as though he hadn't heard that last part, of course. "Thank you, Captain."
[23:17] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ahem."]
[23:18] <Raphael> "Thank you, Misato." Raphael says, not missing a beat.
[23:18] <Ayanami`Rei> ["There we go." She says happily. "So! Tell me. What did you and Wunderkind discuss in the spring the other day?"]
[23:20] * Raphael raises one eyebrow, and seems to pause to consider for a moment. "… Social protocol, ma’am."
[23:21] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Social protocol~? Oh, I bet he was totally asking you how to pick up girls. From one playboy to another, huh?"]
[23:23] <Raphael> "He seems to have that part of things down pat, if you’ve been watching."
[23:25] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh, so you admit to teaching him?"]
[23:27] <Raphael> "I admit nothing."
[23:27] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Come on~" Misato leaned forward, smirking. "You can tell a friend, right?"]
[23:31] * Raphael leans in to match, his face neutral. "So that you could hold it over his head?"
[23:32] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Why on earth would innocent little me ever do that?" Asked Misato, trying to turn her smirk into an innocent smile and failing miserably. She leaned forward a little more in return, inadvertently revealing perhaps a little too much cleavage to the Group Captain. "I’m just curious is all~ It's my job to protect Rei too, you know."]
[23:43] * Raphael 's gaze continues to lock unwaveringly on Misato's eyes… although now he's doing it almost pointedly. "Well, you can trust me to guard her best interests."
[23:45] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato finally leaned back, laughing. "Alright, alright. Fine~ I understand. But I think I am entitled to know one thing, though."]
[23:46] <Raphael> "What’s that?" Raphael says, leaning back as well and recovering his near-empty wine glass.
[23:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["What was it like sharing a pool with Ikari~?"]
[23:47] <Raphael> "Deeply uncomfortable."
[23:47] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato -beamed-. "What’s he -like-? You know, naked."]
[23:47] <Raphael> "…"-
[23:47] <Raphael> "You can't be serious." He's not even bothering to hide his staring now.
[23:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Are you kidding? This is gold. Come on. Did he do the hands thing? Tell me he did the hands thing. Did he wear his glasses?"]
[23:50] <Raphael> For a long moment he seems genuinely unsure of what to do. It was his commanding officer. Basically anything he told her -would- be spread around. And all of it could be traced back to either him or Alphonse.-
[23:50] <Raphael> On the other hand, Ikari was…
[23:50] <Raphael> …
[23:51] <Raphael> "He seemed to enjoy the skin lotion." Raphael says slowly, downing the rest of his wine and reaching for a refill.
[23:51] <Ayanami`Rei> [That was the end of it. Misato dissolved into a mess of laughter and tears.]
[23:52] * Raphael just lets her go, staring grimly into his wine and considering his epitaph.
[23:58] <Ayanami`Rei> [Her laughter continued for a good long while, of course. But eventually she had to come up for air, even if she was wheezing a little. "Hey, hey, it could’ve been so much worse."]
[23:59] <Raphael> "I'm not sure how."
[23:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Rei could’ve asked her -mum- to go instead…"]
[00:01] <Raphael> "That would have been worse for -you-, not me." Raphael says with a scowl.
[00:01] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Until I implanted the mental image of Ikari Yui lathering herself with body lotion into your head…"-
[00:01] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Oops."]
[00:02] <Raphael> "…"-
[00:02] <Raphael> "You are terrible." Raphael says flatly, finishing his second glass of wine in record time.
[00:03] <Ayanami`Rei> ["All’s fair in love and war. That's why I'm the OD~"-
[00:08] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Luckily, Raphael would be given a distraction by a timely delivery of a plate of irresistable fettucine carbonara. Misato had ordered a ’genuine' Italian pizza, although the genuine part was undermined by the Japanese fish and the chicken coated in teriyaki sauce.]
[00:14] * Raphael twirls his fork through the pasta, scooping up just enough for a taste test and finding it largely to his liking. "Again, not bad. This place seems to have worked out well…" He says, eying Misato's pizza curiously. "I hope yours is ok?"
[00:14] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Mmfmf." She gives him a peace sign.]
[00:15] <Raphael> "I suppose that passes for a yes." Raphael says, but he’s grinning as he refills both their glasses before digging into his own meal in earnest.
[00:16] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Sorry. Sorry." She said, swallowing. "It’s actually really really good. I'm a little surprised that the Italians invented Teriyaki, though."]
[00:19] <Raphael> "Genuine Italian cuisine is a learning experience for us all."
[00:19] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato giggled. "Have you ever been to Italy?"]
[00:27] <Raphael> "Not long enough for it to actually count." Raphael says thoughtfully. "NERV had my team shuttle VIPs down there every now and then, but that doesn’t leave any time for exploration. And it was one of the few places I didn't wind up visiting with the UN. You?"
[00:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Nope." She leans back in her chair. "I’ve been to a fair few places, but never Italy. I went to Switzerland with Kaji once." She says nonchalantly. "That's the closest I've gotten."]
[00:30] * Raphael nods, not reacting to the name in any visible fashion. "Is there anywhere you want to go?"
[00:37] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato looked out to the garden contemplatively.-
[00:38] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Maybe. I dunno. There were once a lot of places I wanted to go, but now I’m not so sure."]
[00:44] <Raphael> "…" He falls silent at that, his fork even pausing in its ceaseless twirl. "It sounds like you need to try and find what you want, Misato." He says gently.
[00:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yeah." She says quietly. "I really do, huh. I’ve… I've been sort of trying, actually."]
[00:47] <Raphael> "I know." He says, scooping up a forkful of pasta without looking away. "I think you're doing a damned good job, for what it's worth."
[00:51] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Y-You do…?"]
[00:53] <Raphael> "Absolutely."
[00:59] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…" Misato stared long and hard at her pizza.-
[00:59] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Raphael-…" She frowned, as if trying to work up the courage to say something.]
[01:02] * Raphael waits quietly, knowing better than to interrupt.
[01:02] <Ayanami`Rei> ["… Do… Do you think I’m a bad person?"]
[01:06] <Raphael> "Not in the slightest." Raphael says quietly, without even a hint of hesitation. He sets down his fork and folds his hands on the table, his full attention on her.
[01:06] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["But…" She frowns.-
[01:10] <Ayanami`Rei> ["But… But I drink myself silly. I can’t even -look- at Alphonse without feeling angry and weak, but then I feel so -wrong- for acting like a child. I don't respect myself. I'm not… Happy." She hung her head a little. "Everyone around me seems so much happier, and… They're off in their own worlds, falling in love and whatnot. Hell, even Shinji… And where am I?" Her right hand was balled into a fist. "Just a lonely, disgusting wreck."]
[01:19] * Raphael listens to all this in utter silence, letting it all spill out without interuption. His expression… would be neutral if not for the obvious sadness in the way he was looking at her. Only when she's done does his hand move to refill their glasses. "Do you want to know what I think?"
[01:22] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["… Yeah. I do, Raphael…"]
[01:27] <Raphael> "I think…" he says quietly, one hand slipping into his pants pocket and pulling out a clean handkerchief. He reaches across the table… and wipes it gently along the edge of her mouth. "I think that the only thing about you I could ever call disgusting would be your table manners." He pulls the cloth away, and Misato would see a glimpse of tomato and teriyaki sauce smeared across it
[01:27] <Raphael> before it’s folded away again.
[01:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Misato is quiet for a moment, staring in a sort of mute surprise at the handkerchief- and Raphael as well.-
[01:29] <Ayanami`Rei> ["……."-
[01:29] <Ayanami`Rei> [Eventually, she cracks a smile, a shaky laugh. "Y-You playboy…"]
[01:37] * Raphael shrugs slightly, smiling right back with that sad look still lingering.-
[01:38] <Raphael> "Look, Misato… before I stumbled into this life I’ve found with the girls, I don't think I was honestly happy for a day of my life since the Impact. Anyone who lived through that has to work through things. Lots of things, in some cases." He says, reaching over to lay his hand on hers. "Right now I still drink too much, and I'm still scared of… well, a lot of things. But that we're all
[01:38] <Raphael> dealing with things in our own way doesn't make us bad people. But we /do/ have to make an effort to deal with them. You understand?"
[01:40] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She was quiet… Quiet for awhile. Eventually, she nodded, her hand twisting around, her fingers grasping his hand.-
[01:40] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I understand. I’m… Pretty scared though. Just like you…"]
[01:42] * Raphael squeezed back. "I know. But you'll get through it, Misato. I can see it in your eyes."
[01:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["… Thank you, Raphael."-
[01:46] <Ayanami`Rei> [She was quiet, just sort of staring down at his hand.]
[01:46] * Raphael didn’t show any signs of moving away just yet.
[01:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["You have nice hands, you know that?"]
[01:51] <Raphael> "…" Something about his posture changed, even before she spoke, and at her words he lets out an awkward little laugh and disentangled his hand with as much grace as he could manage. "T-thank you, Captain." He says cheerily, and a moment later he’s downed most of his wine.
[01:51] <Ayanami‘Rei> [A little giggle.-
[01:51] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Of course, it would be wrong of you to be seen doing untoward things with a CO, right~?"]
[01:53] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stares at her for a moment. It’s only interrupted when he moves to throw back the rest of his glass.
[01:53] <Raphael> "I would never, ma'am."
[01:53] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh, I know." Misato giggles.-
[01:54] <Ayanami`Rei> ["I’m just wondering what Rei's excuse is, that's all~"]
[01:55] <Raphael> "Young love, I suppose."
[01:55] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["And thirty-five year olds can’t have love?"]
[01:55] <Raphael> "There are laws, I believe."
[01:57] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She eyed him. Then, she reached over and patted him on the hand.-
[01:57] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Don’t worry, Raffy-kun. Being a christmas cake isn't that bad~"]
[02:01] * Raphael blinks at that, frowning slightly. "… being a what?"
[02:02] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["… Oh, right." Misato blinks sheepishly. "You know what a christmas cake is, right? A cake you buy around christmas?"]
[02:02] <Raphael> "… is this a sex thing, Misato?"
[02:03] <Ayanami`Rei> ["What?! No." She frowned. "A christmas cake. You buy a christmas cake, but no one ever wants to eat it past the 25th. So, you know, once a woman passes that age…"]
[02:04] * Raphael ’s frown eases slightly, but he still seems a little perplexed. "… oh. Oh, I see."
[02:06] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It’s not a very nice thing, huh?"]
[02:07] <Raphael> "25 hardly qualifies as /old/, surely…?"
[02:08] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It doesn’t!" Said Misato fiercely. "Why would a woman lose her allure just because she's 26?!"]
[02:11] <Raphael> "What a strange idea."
[02:12] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I know!" Said Misato irritably. "You think I’m still beautiful, right, Raffy-kun?"]
[02:26] <Raphael> "… uh." Said Raphael. He looks more slumped all of a sudden, as though the air had suddenly been punched out of his lungs.-
[02:27] <Raphael> "I do, yes." He says, shooting for nonchalant and missing by a ways.
[02:27] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["You’re so sweet, Raffy-kun~"]
[02:30] * Raphael lets out another chuckle and stares out at the garden while his composure reasserts itself.
[02:31] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato smiles for a minute, before she lets out a chuckle. "I think… Now might be a good time to give you that present of yours."]
[02:33] * Raphael glances back around, looking almost back to his regular self again. "Are you sure? I mean, if you’d prefer to wait until we got home…"
[02:33] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It’s ok. I don't mind! Besides, this way you have plenty of wine on hand if you don't like it."]
[02:34] * Raphael blinks a little at that last part, but nods regardless. "Alright, then."
[02:35] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Heehee." Misato reaches into her purse, taking out a small box, about half a foot wide and long. She hands it to him. "Merry Christmas!"]
[02:39] * Raphael takes it carefully, giving Misato a warm smile before he sets about opening it.
[02:40] <Ayanami`Rei> [It’s a tie. A nice, dignified purple tie.-
[02:41] <Ayanami‘Rei> [… Except that it features three specific characters patterned into it, drawn in the anime style…-
[02:43] <Ayanami`Rei> [… A second of observation would reveal that they were, in fact, one of Raphael, looking serious and -very- pretty; one of Suzanne, looking energetic and cheerful, throwing a peace sign; and one of Rei, smiling gently and looking happy and beautiful.]
[02:43] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato stares at him expectantly.]
[02:50] * Raphael stares for a long few seconds. And Bishy Raffy stares right back with anime seriousness.-
[02:50] <Raphael> "This… is…" He pauses. Coughs. Tries again. "This is really lovely, Captain."
[02:51] <Ayanami`Rei> ["… You don’t like it, huh." Misato actually deflates a little.]
[02:55] <Raphael> "…" He looks up at her and frowns, faint panic showing through in his eyes. But then… he steels himself. "… Are you joking? Misato, this is wonderful." And without consideration for colour-coordination, or personal taste, or the fact that he was in a restaraunt full of people with working eyes, Raphael begins to put the tie around his neck.
[02:55] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Misato stares.-
[02:56] <Ayanami`Rei> ["… Oh, Raffy-kun~ you really do like it!"]
[02:58] <Raphael> "Yes ma’am." He says, tightening the knot. Bishie Raffy glowered down at the remnants of his fettuccini.
[02:59] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She -beams-. "You look so good in it. You really do! I figured you’d like it, since you're with your girls."]
[03:03] * Raphael is smiling again now, maybe because of the sheer infectious happiness. "Where'd you get this, Misato?"
[03:04] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["There’s a place I pass on the way to work that does custom ties. Not just ties, either! Handkerchiefs, gloves, socks, shirts…"]
[03:05] <Raphael> "And they do all the art themselves? Impressive."
[03:09] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It didn’t cost too much, either. We could go down at some point in the week and give you a full set…"]
[03:10] <Raphael> "… Maybe! If we find the time!"
[03:11] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh, hehehe." Misato starts giggling. "I need to show you some of the standard designs they have there. You could get a Yanmei hat."]
[03:14] <Raphael> "… Oh dear."
[03:18] <Ayanami`Rei> ["… Or a pair of Shinji briefs."]
[03:19] <Raphael> "Pilot Blanc may protest there…"
[03:19] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Or buy a pair for herself."]
[03:20] <Raphael> "Also possible."
[03:20] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Who would you wear on -your- briefs, Raffy-kun~?"]
[03:24] * Raphael looks thoughtful at that. "… do you have a picture of Commander Ikari I could borrow?" he asks seriously.
[03:24] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…" Misato begins, once again, to giggle horribly.-
[03:24] <Ayanami`Rei> ["O-Oh! P-Perhaps… Alphonse briefs.. Rei…"]
[03:26] <Raphael> The first cracks begin to form in his composure. "Or a selection of different Angels."
[03:27] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato begins shaking uncontrollably. "A-Asmodel briefs. U-unleash the beast!"]
[03:34] <Raphael> "Qaphasiel briefs for your own one-eyed mo-" He trails off, beginning to laugh as well now and just barely holding himself back. "… We’re going to disturb the others at this rate."
[03:35] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato can’t offer any coherent reply. Tears run down her cheeks.]
[03:37] * Raphael just grins, raising his hand to a passing waiter to ask, over the sound of helpless giggles, for their cheque.
[03:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> [If the waiter felt any sort of contempt for these giggling children he hid it well. A check was soon presented, and paid for, and before long they were on their way…]
[03:45] <Raphael> Their meal done, the evening draws to a close. It’s another long taxi ride home, the back seat filled with animated chatter, but eventually they would find themselves standing in front of the apartment door once more as Misato scrambles for her keys.
[03:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Where did I… Aha." A second later, she’d put the keys into the lock…-
[03:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["…"-
[03:48] <Ayanami`Rei> ["It won’t unlock." She frowned.]
[03:50] <Raphael> "… hmm. Well, let's hope the kids are already home." He says, rapping his knuckles against the door.
[03:52] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Shh-hh-hh." Misato gave him a look, before experimentally testing the door. It opened. "It wasn’t locked at all! Idiot door…"]
[03:54] <Raphael> "… So the OD of Tokyo-2 doesn't know how to operate a door."
[03:55] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["-You- don’t know how to operate a door. Jerkface." She muttered, kicking off her shoes and stepping inside.]
[03:58] <Raphael> "… I'm not a jerkface." He mutters, following her in and removing his own shoes. He even makes sure the door is locked before he leaves the entryway, checking his phone for any word from Suzanne.
[04:00] <Ayanami‘Rei> [No word from Suzanne, exactly, but Tsubaki had left a text message on his phone. "Suzanne fell asleep. Mr. Bunny offering to drop off, otherwise, can sleep here with Tsubaki."-
[04:02] <Ayanami`Rei> [Misato heads into the kitchen, and is just about to turn the light on when she spots the couch, illuminated in the moonlight. Silently, she taps Raphael on the shoulder and points.]
[04:04] * Raphael has just hit enter on a return text to Tsubaki asking her to keep an eye on Suzie until first thing in the morning when he feels the poke to his shoulder. He blinks, eyes still adjusting as he follows her direction.
[04:05] <Ayanami`Rei> [Clear on the couch are Alphonse and Rei- both sound asleep, Rei curled up with her head on Alphonse’s shoulder- they're still holding hands.]
[04:11] * Raphael lets out a gentle breath, almost a sigh, as a wide smile spreads across his face. He looks… proud.
[04:14] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Misato looks towards him, smiling a little. "Heh. It’s cute."]
[04:15] <Raphael> "Yeah…" He says slowly. "I guess it went well."
[04:19] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She nodded quietly, her eyes still on the young couple, her expression unreadable.]
[04:21] <Raphael> "Come on." He says, tapping her on the shoulder and pointing back the way they came. "Let’s leave them in peace. Can you wait for me in the kitchen while I collect something?"
[04:23] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Eh? Oh, sure." She smiled and headed into the kitchen.]
[04:25] <Raphael> It takes him a couple of minutes to return, but when he emerges back into the kitchen he’s gripping a thick black plastic bag. "Since I already have my present…"
[04:25] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ooh. A plastic bag! I’ve always wanted one of those~"]
[04:26] <Raphael> "Well, if that's all it takes I suppose I can still get a refund…" Raphael says thoughtfully, turning on his heel and heading back for the door.
[04:26] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["H-Hey, wait, playboy. I was just joking."]
[04:27] <Raphael> "Oh. Pardon, Captain, but your mastery of humor is beyond mere mortals."
[04:28] <Ayanami`Rei> ["You’re making fun of me."]
[04:32] <Raphael> "What gave it away?" Raphael says, setting the bag down on the kitchen table. He glances down, seeming ready to step back and let Misato have at it when he hesitates. "… now, I understand if this is a bit too corny, but we were taking a gamble, so…" He trails off with a tiny little cough.
[04:33] <Ayanami‘Rei> [She blinks at him curiously for a moment, before she heads to the table and opens the bag, taking out the contents.]
[04:43] <Raphael> What she found was probably the last thing she would have expected from Raphael Guillory. For a moment she would likely only notice that the penguin plush toy she drew from the bag bore an extraordinary resemblance to Pen-Pen himself, even down to the collar.-
[04:43] <Raphael> But once the surprise passed, she would begin to notice the signatures and notes. There were dozens upon dozens of them, most of which would recognize as NERV employees, both from Tokyo-2 and farther afield. There were messages wishing her well, generic notes for a happy holidays, a handful of more personal signatures and everything in between. Whatever the form, they seemed to cover every
[04:43] <Raphael> available surface.
[04:44] <Ayanami`Rei> [When she first saw the penguin, a smirk came to her lips. "Aha. A penguin plushie. This is pretty cute-"-
[04:45] <Ayanami`Rei> [Then, as her eyes fell on those words, the smirk dropped from her face. She started to read them, one by one, with serious eyes. She turned the penguin over, canvassing the messages, absorbing their contents. As she read, her eyes became wider, then started to narrow.-
[04:46] <Ayanami`Rei> [Quite suddenly, the penguin was dropped on the table, her head hung. Her fringe dropped to cover her eyes, and her hands were shaking a little.]
[04:50] <Raphael> This… didn’t seem to have a positive effect on Raphael's quite obvious nerves. "Captain…?" He mutters, leaning in to lay one hand on her shoulder. "… Misato?"
[04:53] <Ayanami‘Rei> [He’s close enough to hear what clearly passes for sobs, but there's something else, too, which quickly becomes obvious a second later when she unabashedly throws her hands around his neck and kisses him. It's not the shy gentle kiss of teenagers in a budding romance; it's the full, passionate kiss of a woman who won't look back, either because she's sick of looking back- or because it hurts too much.]
[05:00] <Raphael> "Misato, what-" And that's all he gets out before he's pushed back against the fridge, arms scrabbling for purchase. Arms… What's he meant to do with those? He's not responding yet, caught in some sort of bewildered indecision from which he couldn't quite get free, but he's not exactly pulling away, either…
[05:07] <Ayanami‘Rei> [… A second passes. Five seconds… Ten. Misato pulls back- kisswise, at least. Physically she’s still very close. Far too close for colleagues. "… I…" Her voice seems as mystified as Raphael's thoughts.]
[05:15] <Raphael> "…" Definitely too close for colleagues. And… he wasn't sure what to make of that just yet. But still, as she stares at him she'd be able to see the flicker of some decision being reached. A moment later she would feel his arms around her waist, and then he was leaning in to her again…
[05:17] <Ayanami‘Rei> [… It was all Misato needed, and the kiss is rejoined, and redoubled.]
[05:21] <Raphael> He didn’t know how long they lingered there. He certainly didn't know who initiated the stumbling, fumbling walk out of the kitchen and towards the bedroom. All Raphael Guillory knew right now was that, for the moment, he was happy, and that just this once?-
[05:21] <Raphael> He would sort the rest out later.

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