No No She Cried Indeed I M Not I M Feeling Devilishly Hot

[15:02] <Misato‘> [April 22nd, a Saturday afternoon. The sunlight streamed in through the broad windows in Charles de Gaulle International Airport; through those same windows sat a collection of aeroplanes, including one that would especially catch Raphael’s eye- a Lufthansa jet, one he knew had very precious cargo aboard- it'd just docked…]
[15:21] * Raphael spent a good deal of time trying to look his best for this meeting, and he’s still not entirely happy with the results. It’s remarkably hard to find anything that measures up in respectability to a nice military uniform, and people tend to give teenagers dressed in those some odd looks. So instead he’s had to settle for a reasonably dressy set of black pants and a collared
[15:21] * Raphael white shirt.-
[15:21] <Raphael> He’s fidgets slightly as he waits at the gate. After a handful of attempts to still himself proved to be nothing but wasted effort he’s settled for simply folding his hands and trying to keep calm. Damn this body…
[15:26] <Misato‘> [A few agonising minutes pass as people stream out of the gate- people he doesn’t recognise. And then…-
[15:27] * Misato‘ finally appears, clad in her black sleeveless shirt and miniskirt, her red jacket slung over her shoulder; she’s walking in black high heels. Unfortunately, any attempt at a classy walk up the ramp is slightly ruined by her rubbing at her eyes vigorously- she's clearly just woken up.-
[15:28] <Misato‘> But eventually she passes through the gate, and she scans the crowd for him…
[15:30] * Raphael waits a moment - for some reason he’s found himself desperately hoping she’ll spot him without help - but a moment later he raises his hand and waves.
[15:33] <Misato`> That catches her eye, and she looks over- and Raphael can see her gaze shift, barely visibly, the few inches down- from his old height to his new height. However, her first reaction is to smile brightly, and she heads over. "Hello, Raffy-kun~"-
[15:34] <Misato`> It’s a little strange- she's basically the same height he is now…
[15:44] <Raphael> "H-hi—" No, Raphael, try again. "Hi, Misato." Better.-
[15:44] <Raphael> He returns the smile with enthusiasm. For a moment it looks like he’s going to reach out and embrace her… but he hesitates at the last moment, giving her a nervous look before moving his hands back to his sides.
[15:46] * Misato‘ chuckles, and no matter what the situation or how awkward he is… Well, she’s happy to see him, and she overrides him this time by pulling him into an embrace instead. "You didn't call me by rank this time~" She coos happily.
[15:50] <Raphael> It's the first time since they met that Raphael seems to show no hesitation at reciprocating even this basic display of affection - the hug is tight and fierce. "… I guess not." He says with a little chuckle. "I must have missed you, ma'am."
[15:50] <Misato‘> She jabs him in the ribs.-
[15:51] <Misato`> "So you’re going to keep playing that game, huh, Raffy-kun? The most -dangerous game-?"-
[15:51] <Misato‘> But when she pulls away, she’s still smiling. "… I missed you too."
[15:59] <Raphael> "What game?" Raphael says innocently as he pulls back - a little reluctantly, it must be said. "Thank you for letting me meet you here, Major. Are you sure you don’t want some more time…?"
[16:02] <Misato‘> "Hehe, no. I’m ok, Raffy-kun." She says. "I really -was- looking forward to meeting you too, you know. But, ah…"-
[16:02] <Misato‘> She coughed. "We should really be getting to my luggage."
[16:04] <Raphael> Luggage…? Oh. "Ah, yes. Of course, ma’am. We can talk somewhere else."
[16:09] <Misato‘> "Mmmhm!"-
[16:09] <Misato`> She heads off towards the luggage compartment, turning to talk to Raphael as she goes. "So… You’ve been ok, I hope."
[16:24] <Raphael> "It’s… been a very confronting few weeks." Raphael says carefully, looking out the window for a moment as they walk. "But we made it through Boston, and Rei’s recovering…"
[16:26] <Misato‘> "Yeah, I heard about that." She said quietly. "She’s lucky you were there. Although I guess it's hard to keep Papa Bear away~"
[16:34] <Raphael> "I was just doing my job, Major" Raphael says seriously, but a moment later he's smiling again.
[16:39] <Misato‘> "Your job." She snickers. "Was she happy to see her Raffy-kun there, hmm~?"
[16:41] <Raphael> "… A little." Raphael admits. "Although she was fairly upset about Ban-Ban being hurt."
[16:45] <Misato`> "I didn’t hear about that. What happened to him?" They're out near the conveyor belt now…
[16:48] <Raphael> "He got caught up in HMG fire while fighting some Iron Guard and lost both legs and an arm." Raphael says quietly. "Rei seems to think they'll grow back with time, though."
[16:49] <Misato‘> "… Will they? Those are pretty… Although I -guess- it’s basically an Angelspawn, huh?"
[16:50] <Raphael> "Yeah…" Raphael mutters, frowning slightly. "I don't really know, though. Rei seems fairly sure."
[16:51] <Misato‘> "Hm. I guess she’d know best. Ah…"-
[16:52] <Misato‘> Misato’s eyeing a particular pair of objects going along the conveyor belt now. One is a luggage bag that Raphael would find all too familiar.-
[16:52] <Misato‘> The other was a rattling animal cage.
[16:53] * Raphael stares blankly at the cage before turning back to the Major. "Misato, did you really…?"
[16:59] <Misato`> "He wanted to come this time." Says Misato, slightly defensively. "Besides, he misses you."-
[16:59] <Misato`> "I think… A-Anyway, come help me with this." She leans over the conveyor belt and grabs the cage by the handle.
[17:08] * Raphael raises an eyebrow at that, but quickly pulls her bag from the conveyer before it disappears again and then quickly takes the other side of the carrier, lifting with more strength than his tiny frame should really allow.
[17:11] <Misato`> "Hut! There we go~" A second later the cage’s front pops open…-
[17:12] <Misato‘> [And out tumbled… Pen-Pen, looking extremely ruffled and upset. "WARK!" He ran around in furious little circles around the two. "Wark -wark-!"-
[17:13] <Misato`> [Before… Coming to a stop and staring at Raphael in abject confusion.]
[17:14] * Raphael stares back for a few moments before looking helplessly at Misato. "… I’m not really sure how to explain this to a penguin, ma'am."
[17:16] <Misato‘> "He’ll figure it out soon enough. This is Raffy-kun, Pen-Pen."-
[17:16] <Misato‘> [Pen-Pen shot her a look that, despite the fact that he was a penguin, clearly read to human eyes, ’I'm not -that- stupid'.]
[17:18] <Raphael> "He will, hmm?"
[17:20] <Misato‘> "Once he’s being chased around by a little girl with a sword, he'll connect the dots. Anyway, let's get going, hmm~?"-
[17:20] <Misato‘> [The scene was inevitably attracting a fair few eyes as people turned to stare…]
[17:27] <Raphael> "Mm…" Raphael says. Crowds had never really bothered him, but since his latest transformation he’d been growing increasingly wary of attention being placed on -him-. "Where do you want to go first?"
[17:28] <Misato‘> "Well, the more I can put off being cooped up underground, the better."
[17:29] <Raphael> "My apartment, then?"
[17:31] <Misato`> "Yeah. You don’t mind?"
[17:33] <Raphael> "Y-yeah, it's fine." He says, though a little more effort goes into keeping his voice steady. "Come on, you two, my car's outside."
[17:39] <Misato‘> "You… Er, got here ok, right?"
[17:42] * Raphael looks momentarily confused before his expression registers understanding… and just a little bit of hurt. "… Yes, ma’am. NERV was kind enough to arrange a custom permit and deal with all the red tape."
[17:45] <Raphael> «were kind enough*»
[18:06] <Misato`> "Ah, good!" Says Misato happily. "I suppose it’s partly their mess to clean up too, huh…"
[18:11] <Raphael> "I don't know if I'd put it that way, ma'am, but I appreciate it all the same." Raphael says, grabbing Misato's luggage. "Come on, then. No sense lingering here."-
[18:13] <Raphael> And sure enough it wouldn't take them long to get outside and find their way to Raphael grey four-wheel drive. As Raphael loaded in the bags Misato would be able to see that the driver's seat was a lot farther forward these days, but the vehicle was otherwise unchanged.
[18:15] <Raphael> Eventually their parking ticket would be paid, and they'd be on the fairly familiar path to Raphael's building…
[18:17] * Misato‘ is sitting up next to him in the passenger’s seat, toying a little with the hem of her skirt as she goes. She's not fidgeting- not exactly. It's a sort of slow-burn fidget.-
[18:17] <Misato‘> "So how’s Suzie been?"
[18:22] * Raphael lets out a quiet laugh, shaky enough to betray his nerves. "The same as ever, really. I was worried about how she would react to all this, but in the end she just hit me in the arm for leaving her out of it, pronounced me… erm, ‘pretty’, and then it was all business as usual."
[18:24] * Misato‘ laughs. It’s a happy sound- she's clearly relieved that Suzie reacted as she did. "She's a damned good little girl. Oh! I brought her a shirt and everything, by the way."
[18:28] <Raphael> "Really? You didn't have to, Major."
[18:37] <Misato‘> "Heh. Suzie’s a friend, you know~"-
[18:37] <Misato‘> "… besides, I got you and her matching shirts, so she’ll love it extra."
[18:56] * Raphael sighs, but it sounds as much like he's playing along with his role as anything else. "What sort of shirt?"
[18:57] <Misato‘> "It’s got a samurai robot on it, it's so adorable~"
[19:01] <Raphael> "… Maybe on /her/."
[19:02] <Misato‘> She reaches over and takes hold of his hand playfully, beaming up at him. "And on you too~ Don’t deny it. Put on that tie and…"-
[19:02] <Misato‘> [Pen-Pen watches from the backseat. Just staring.]
[19:09] * Raphael shifts in his seat, suddenly blushing very brightly as he works to maintain composure. "I… Um, will trust your judgement, ma’am."
[19:12] * Misato‘ blinks and stares. "Am I making you uncomfortable, Raffy-kun?"
[19:20] <Raphael> "N-no, Major." Raphael says quickly, shaking his head. "Nothing like that."
[19:24] <Misato`> "it’s just that… You're all red, Raffy-kun~" She leans over towards him, her face rather close. She puts a hand to her forehead. "Are you alright…?"-
[19:24] <Misato‘> [In the rearview mirror, Raphael would see Pen-Pen’s gaze lower…]
[19:24] <Misato‘> «To his* forehead»
[19:34] <Raphael> The road (Thankfully mostly empty) seems to becoming a bit of a secondary concern as Misato gets closer - indeed, his eyes seem to be taking in a good view of everything -but- the road now. And then, mostly by accident, he gets a look at Pen-Pen in the mirror. "…!"-
[19:35] <Raphael> And then suddenly they’re making a sharp left-hand turn into the parking lot of some run-down grocery story, with enough force to likely swing Misato back into her own chair as he pulls into the first space available. "I-I…" Cough. "I just remembered I have to pick up something for Suzie. Food. For dinner. I’ll be right back!"
[19:35] <Raphael> He barely waits for an answer before departing rather hurriedly.
[19:37] <Misato`> Misato goes for the door’s armrest when that sharp turn is made, looking a little shellshocked (although honestly, it's not like she hasn't been through worse). "Um… A-Alright, Raffy-kun…!"-
[19:37] <Misato‘> "… Did I do something weird, Pen-Pen?"-
[19:37] <Misato`> ["Warrrrk."]
[19:45] <Raphael> It’s almost ten minutes before he emerges, looking downright dejected and seeming to be in no hurry as he walks back. Even after all this waiting he’s carrying nothing but a small package of bacon wrapped in butcher’s paper. Opening the door and climbing into the driver’s seat, he throws his loot onto the back seat and lets out a sigh. He makes no move to restart the car.-
[19:45] <Raphael> "This is more difficult than I thought."
[19:46] <Misato`> [Pen-Pen pokes at the bacon curiously.-
[19:46] <Misato`> "What’s up, Raffy-kun?"
[19:49] <Raphael> "… I don't really know where to start, Major."
[19:50] <Misato‘> "Well… Start anywhere." She shifted in her seat. "I’m listening."
[19:57] * Raphael looks at her for a long time in silence, and the way he looks at her speaks of fear - Real, adult fear not influenced by this shape. It was the fear of loss. "… I’ve been having some problems with this shape that go beyond just the physical. It’s been difficult to cope with them. Less ability to control my emotions, a higher reaction to… romantic stimuli, that sort of thing."
[19:59] <Misato‘> "Ah…" She nods slowly, clearly comprehending. "Teenage stuff, right?"
[20:04] <Raphael> "Mostly. It’s stronger than I expected, though, and more… directed. Few problems with anger or moodiness beyond what would be expected of a teenage body, and I'm able to keep those under control. Captain Wellesley thinks Aline managed to imprint me with her image of Shinji on a level that went beyond just appearance…"
[20:04] <Misato‘> "I see… So what does that mean, then, exactly?"
[20:20] * Raphael is silent for a long time as he tries to find a way of phrasing this next point that didn’t sound like grounds for an instant breakup. "Beyond those emotional quirks? He thinks that by shaping someone into her personal image of Shinji, with all of the intense emotions that come with that, that she’s tapped into some sort of… near-universal romantic ideal. And yes, I’m absolutely
[20:20] * Raphael aware how ridiculous and conceited that sounds, Major."
[20:27] <Misato‘> "…" Misato leans back and mulls over this for a few minutes. She doesn’t say a word as she holds her chin and ponders. In the backseat, Pen-Pen stares at them both.-
[20:28] <Misato‘> "I admit, the idea of Shinji-kun being some sort of near-universal romantic ideal -is- pretty ridiculous." She admits after awhile. She looks over at Raphael with a tiny little smile. "But I think I understand…"
[20:30] * Raphael finally draws breath again when she smiles, and he’s not really sure how long he's been holding it in. "Y-yes, I know what you mean." Raphael says, with a very tiny laugh. "… I'm so sorry, Misato."
[20:32] <Misato‘> "Hah. Why are you apologising to me?" She reaches about to rub the back of his neck gently. "I know you, Raphael Guillory. The idea of being a near universal romantic ideal- to teenage girls, no less- is probably a nightmarishly confronting existence."
[20:37] <Raphael> "It is!" He says, bursting out laughing. He’s unfathomably relieved, and it's not due to the unexpected lack of anger. He's simply happy that she /gets it/. "It really is."
[20:43] <Misato‘> "So… How bad has it been, exactly? I mean, I can’t really imagine this somehow giving you wooing ability over -all- girls…"
[20:47] <Raphael> "I don't exactly have precise figures, but I can tell you that it's been bad enough. Sergeant Kirishima was one of them…" Raphael mutters, covering this newest blush with one hand. "… And I'd like to note, these aren't my fault either. Does Pilot Ikari really show embarrassment this easily? If so I have no idea how he gets through the day."
[20:49] <Misato‘> "… Yeah, he really does." Says Misato, snickering happily. "He wears his heart on his tight little plugsuit sleeve, that one. It’s amazing. Still… I suspect it was that little trait of his that helped Aline and he along. She seems to like the shy boys."
[20:54] <Raphael> "…" For a second there it had seemed as though Raphael had finally been beginning to relax, but at the mention of Aline's attraction Raphael winces and glances down at his hands. "… There's one more thing I should tell you."
[20:56] <Misato‘> "Oh…?"
[20:59] <Raphael> "Captain Wellesley also suggested that whatever Aline had done to reshape my emotions might have -also- imprinted me with some shadow of the attraction or love the real Shinji has for her. Whether I wanted it or not… whether I /felt it/ or not." He manages to keep his voice level through this, but he does not look up. Even if he had full control of this shape he wasn’t sure if he could
[20:59] <Raphael> have.
[21:01] <Misato‘> "… Is that so?" Her eyes narrow dangerously. "Damn her." She mumbles under her breath. Apparently one Shinji wasn’t enough! Oh no, little miss AT Field had to have all the chocolates…-
[21:01] <Misato‘> "Still, I’m right in thinking that that scares you as much as the other stuff, huh? I mean, it's basically creepy unintentional conditioning…"
[21:08] * Raphael looks up, frowning again as he looks her in the eye. "Yes." He says slowly, surprised when he can’t find any anger directed at him. "Yes, ma’am. That’s exactly what it felt like."-
[21:09] <Raphael> "I thought it would be one more thing about this shape that I could ignore or will myself past as long as I kept my wits about me, but…" He shakes his head again. "It’s not. It wasn’t until I’d gotten away from her that it stopped feeling real. I felt sick from it."
[21:11] <Misato‘> There’s a sympathy in those eyes, he'd soon realise. Almost- but not quite- as if she knew what he was feeling. "Well. You probably won't have to be too close to her very often, so you can avoid that. Oh, Raffy-kun… How do you get yourself into these situations?"
[21:20] * Raphael stares for a moment, and then without warning he begins to laugh again. "I really wish I knew." He manages, finding her hand with his own and running his thumb along the back of her fingers.-
[21:20] <Raphael> "… I wasn’t sure whether I should tell you all of this, you know, but you needed to know the whole truth if we were going to make this work. And I want that more than just about anything in the world right now, Misato."
[21:23] <Misato‘> Her eyes widen for a moment, and she looks away, clearly blushing- she doesn’t pull her hand away, though. "H-Hmph. Have you always said such charming things, Raffy-kun? Because *mumblemumble*…"
[21:28] * Raphael smiles a little. "Sorry, what was that?"
[21:28] <Misato‘> "I- hmph. Stupid *mumble*-"
[21:29] <Misato`> "What I mean to say! Is that… Well, you’re not alone in wanting this to work. And I might not be the best partner in the world. There will be times where I might not… You know." She coughed. "I have failings, Raffy-kun, but if you're willing to make this work, then I am too."
[21:36] * Raphael 's hand squeezes a little around hers. "Even if I look like this? Be honest, Misato. There's no telling when it will change. Or /if/ it will." He says sadly. "I may want to be with you, but it's not fair to either of us if we're not honest about the realities of this."
[21:40] * Misato‘ sighed a little, even as she squeezes back. "It… There are some things about it that do make me uncomfortable, Raffy-kun. But I’m not going to be fairweather about this, either. And don't even say this isn't a fairweather thing." She frowns. "You- make me feel happy, and that's a terrifying thing to admit. I don't really know how to handle it even before this, and I don't know how to handle it at -all- now, but…"
[21:47] * Raphael nods slowly. "… Alright. But can you promise me that if how you feel about all of this changes you'll just tell me, openly and no matter how painful it might be? So that we can work it out together?"
[21:48] <Misato‘> "…" She gives him a mildly pleading look. But she acquiesces soon enough. "Alright, Raphael."
[21:55] <Raphael> "Thank you." He says, reaching out to place his free hand on the curve of her neck.-
[21:56] <Raphael> "Can I tell you something that you might think is silly, Major?"
[21:56] <Misato`> "Of course, Raffy-kun."
[21:59] <Raphael> "So much about what I’ve felt from this shape has been infuriating or embarrassing or just -wrong- to me. But when I saw you coming off the plane… well I never had any great teenage love affairs like some children do. Certainly nothing like some of the Pilots have found. Nobody who could make my heart miss a beat just by smiling at me." He leans across the centre of the car and plants
[22:00] <Raphael> a gentle kiss on her cheek. "I know what that’s like now. And that’s one thing I'm thankful for."
[22:05] <Misato‘> It’s a cheek that's glowing finely by the time he kisses it. "… R-Raphael." She doesn't turn away now, instead looking at him fully in the eyes. "If you -really- feel like that, then kiss me properly, you silly boy."
[22:10] * Raphael is well into the heart of Blush Valley by now, of course, and his hands have picked up a slight tremble from his sudden helpless burst of nervous energy. "B-but I wasn't sure you were ready to-… actually, nevermind." He says quickly, and leans over and presses her into a truly breathtaking kiss. Had he as good at this the last time…?
[22:11] <Misato‘> "Mm-" he might actually be better at it this time. It seems to possess a curiously new eager quality to it that takes Misato by surprise. But a second later she leans into it, returning the kiss…-
[22:11] <Misato`> ["Warrrrrrrrrk."]
[22:17] * Raphael ‘s eyes widen slightly, swivelling to take in the penguin that… had been watching them from the back seat the entire time. He springs back, breaking the kiss and bringing the hand that had been stroking the soft skin of her neck away in the same movement. The blush that’s risen on his cheeks seems almost luminescent, and the kiss had stretched out to the perfect point to ensure
[22:17] * Raphael that he’s now breathing rather hard.-
[22:17] <Raphael> "…"
[22:18] <Misato`> [And not a second too soon as a pair of elderly ladies walk past the car, their eyes casually sweeping the front seats as they go.-
[22:19] <Misato`> "…" Misato, rather breathless herself, bows her head and starts to shake. At first it sounds like she’s crying, but it's obvious a second later that she's laughing as hard as she can. "B-Bird-"
[22:23] * Raphael is still too stunned by the sudden shift in mood for him to stare from Pen-Pen, to Misato to the slowly retreating backs of the older women… but slowly the shock begins to pass, and it's then that he finds himself joining Misato in her helpless bout of laughter.
[22:24] <Misato‘> "At… At least…" Gasps out Misato, "At least… W-We’re an entertaining lot."
[22:26] <Raphael> "I-I guess… so." Raphael manages. "Do you think… Pen-Pen believes I'm not Shinji yet?"
[22:26] <Misato‘> "I -hope- so…"
[22:28] * Raphael grins, still breathing rather fast. "S-so we should… erm, probably get back home, huh?"
[22:29] <Misato`> "Y-Yes, we should." She lets out a long breath. "You’re -definitely- not Shinji. I can't imagine sweet little Shin-chan kissing like that."
[22:32] * Raphael snickers and turns the key in the ignition, trying to get comfortable in his chair. "So, uh, Major…" He mumbles, peering at her as he checks his rearview mirrors.
[22:32] <Misato‘> "Yes, Raffy-kun?"
[22:36] <Raphael> "W-what you said on the phone about not sleeping with a teenager…" He says, that blush somehow managing to rise even higher.
[22:37] <Misato`> "…" She stares. "…" She looks away. "… Oh right, teenager. I guess I should’ve realised." She mumbles.
[22:37] <Raphael> "… Huh?"
[22:40] <Misato‘> "Well, I mean, you know. Your body’s that of a teenager, so… You know."
[22:41] <Raphael> "…" Raphael coughs and stares out towards the grocery store. "… A little, yes."
[22:42] <Misato‘> "Let’s just… See how things go, ok?"
[22:44] <Raphael> "Yes, ma'am." Raphael says, obviously wishing he'd kept his mouth shut. "… Yes. Well. Let's get going."-
[22:46] <Raphael> And on that note he begins to pull out of the carpark, a little slower than normal until he's certain of his hands. Only as they merge back into traffic does he seem to remember one last important thing. "A-and Misato? Can you keep in your own chair while we're driving this time?"
[22:47] <Misato‘> "…"-
[22:47] <Misato`> She lets out a giggle. "It all makes sense. Sorry, Raffy-kun~ I’ll try not to titillate you too much."
[22:47] <Raphael> "Last time you bent forward a little too far." Raphael notes. "… I think I nearly crashed the car."
[22:48] <Misato‘> "Wahahahahaha." That just sees her dissolve into laughter. "I’m- I'm so sorry- I don't- mean to laugh-"
[22:50] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael mumbles, but he's helpless to do anything but grin after a moment. Because that sound is enough to make this new heart soar.

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