Over A Cup Of Coffee Or Sitting On A Park Bench Or Walking T

[23:24] <Raphael> The morning after his dinner with Rei and Chiisana happened to be a free one for Raphael. A good deal of the week’s paperwork and meetings had been done the day before, leaving this morning for maintenance and general Thruster busywork. And so he was free to make a visit that had been lost in the shuffle over the past few weeks.-
[23:24] <Raphael> After a brief detour to the Geofront - and its Technical division - to discuss some issues, Raphael arrived at Yanmei's shared apartment in a neat set of jeans and a tidy black polo shirt. After checking his watch, he raised his hand to knock. Hopefully she'd be home…
[23:28] <Yanmei> A minute or two passed silently. Then, a groggy voice from within. "Yes~?"
[23:31] <Raphael> "… Ah." Comes the sheepish response. "Yanmei, it's Raphael. Would you like me to come back later?"
[23:35] <Yanmei> "…" There was a slight flurry of movement on the other side of the door. The sound of feet moving quickly back and forth, and then heading to the door. When it opened, Yanmei was standing there in surprisingly plain clothing - a white t-shirt, and a pair of red workout shorts. -
[23:36] <Yanmei> "Hello Group Captain! Marianne isn't in right now? But could I offer you a drink or something?"
[23:43] <Raphael> "Well, I was actually here to speak to you, ma'am." Raphael says slowly. "If that's alright, at least. I don't want to intrude."
[23:48] * Yanmei motioned him in with a relaxed handwave. "You have good timing. Lizzie's down for her nap, and I wasn't doing much of anything myself." The apartment looked a little messier than usual, but it wasn't too bad. A rumpled throw on the couch, and some magazines that were stacked messily on the coffee table, and a few dishes in the sink.
[23:54] * Raphael doesn't pay too much attention to the mess, because yes, it's not too bad. One always has to factor in the chaos a two year old can cause. Still, he doesn't move to sit just yet, preferring to stand by the couch. "I apologize for arriving without notice. I tried to call ahead, but I'm afraid the line was busy…"
[23:57] <Yanmei> "That was my fault," Yanmei winced a little. "If you're sticking around, some food should be delivered in, oh, about fifteen minutes or so?" She wandered over to the kitchen to find some glasses. "You like beer, right? Marianne just bought some. There's wine, too."
Session Time: Thu Mar 08 00:00:00 2012
[00:07] <Raphael> "A beer would be fine, thank you." Raphael says, smiling a little. "How's Lizzie doing? I haven't seen as much of her since Rei moved away…"
[00:12] <Yanmei> "Oh, she's pretty energetic. Heh. If you weren't on a lot of our missions already, I'd probably be recruiting you for babysitting duty right about now. As it is, I'm asking an old friend of mine to look after her when I'm away."
[00:23] <Raphael> "Oh really?" He asks, leaning against the back of the couch. "I'm glad you have someone to help. I really wish I was able to do more, but right now It's a struggle just to keep up with Suzanne."
[00:27] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah? It's been a while since I've seen her too, come to think of it. How is she?" Was that a toy block by the corner of the sofa? Whatever it was, Yanmei smoothly kicked it under the sofa upon her approach, a glass of beer in one hand and wine in the other. "Here you go!"
[00:36] <Raphael> "Thank you." He gives her a smile as he accepts the glass. "She's a handful, although I can't say I really mind. She met Rei's sister Chiisana last night, and I don't think it did much to dissuade her from her dreams of becoming some sort of swordswoman Thruster pilot…"
[00:38] <Yanmei> "That one, huh?" Yanmei sank down on the couch, glancing left and right. "She may look elegant? But don't be fooled. The other day she was totally going to beat up de Pteres. In front of children, no less. And sheep."
[00:41] <Raphael> "… Sheep?" Raphael says slowly. "We're… not talking about the -other- scuffle she had with Pilot de Pteres at the Geofront, I assume?"
[00:42] <Yanmei> "This was at that amusement park," she said matter of factly.
[00:43] <Raphael> "I guess those two simply don't get along. Not that that's too surprising…"
[00:48] <Yanmei> "Oh yeah?" Yanmei frowned thoughtfully. "Why do you think that is? It's not like he gets into fights with the rest of her sisters? Often."
[00:56] <Raphael> "Often." Raphael agrees with a small grin. "Mr. de Pteres can require a bit of… compromise in social interaction, I think. You have to accept the odd social misstep. I don't think Miss Chiisana is capable of that."
[01:03] <Yanmei> "I guess that's true? She's pretty stern. At the same time, though? She was willing to go on a silly ride with us, and ended up dancing with de Pteres at that party. She can loosen up if she tries."
[01:05] <Raphael> "Quite. Under all the haughtiness she's still Rei's sister. And she's quite a nice girl if you're willing to put in the effort." He says, sipping at his beer.
[01:17] <Yanmei> "Hm." Yanmei looked down into her glass quietly for a moment. "Speaking of Rei, I wonder how her job's going these days."
[01:24] <Raphael> "Oh, you know Rei. She had her problems after the battle in Boston, but she bounces back faster than anyone else I know." Raphael says, moving to take a seat on the chair opposite the couch. "Did she tell you? She was involved in the latest round of promotions. Rei's a Sous-Lieutenant now, and Captain Wellesley is now Major Wellesley." He beams with obvious pride.
[21:44] <Yanmei> The cushion squeaked loudly when Raphael sat down in the chair, made even odder by the fact that it was covered in soft cloth upholstery. If Yanmei noticed, she didn't show it. -
[21:45] <Yanmei> "How about that?" she said smoothly. "The two of them are doing pretty well for themselves?"
[21:49] <Raphael> "So it would seem." Raphael nods, just as smoothly shifting his weight to let him remove the little rubber elephant from beneath him and set it on the table without comment. "… She's convinced him to grow out his hair to suit his new rank, I'm told. The poor boy is under her thumb."
[21:52] * Yanmei chuckled. "I see! I guess it's supposed to make him look a little cooler? Or authoratative?" Her grin spread. "What do you think, Group Captain? Will you be growing your hair out too one of these days?"
[21:53] <Raphael> "Absolutely not." Raphael said flatly. He has been forewarned about this… bishounen.
[21:56] <Yanmei> "What a shame! I'm sure all your new fans at NERV would love it~"
[21:59] <Raphael> "…" Raphael slips into a dangerously impassive stare that would have done his old shape proud, his eyebrow raising just a little. "… Speaking of fans, ma'am, I've heard the wonderful news. Congratulations."
[22:03] <Yanmei> "Hm? Which news are you talking about? The engagement?" To her credit, her tone remained rather cordial. For the most part. A slight edge was starting to form within it.
[22:21] <Raphael> "Of course, Yanmei." Raphael says with a pleasant smile. "Some people will question the timing, of course, but I know you and Isaiah are very much in love…"
[22:30] <Yanmei> "Of course we are." Despite her efforts, there's something genuinely sad and bitter in that reply, but perhaps realizing it herself, she gave it the brushoff as hastily as she could. "Anyway, speaking of timing, why do you suppose all these weird rumors are popping up the minute your girlfriend swings into town?"
[22:38] * Raphael is silent for a moment, the hard look vanishing as he realizes he's made a serious misstep. He gives her an apologetic look before continuing on. "Perhaps that Misato’s arrival happens to coincide with putting together as many NERV VIPs as we could fit into the cafeteria, ma’am. Those meetings just seem to generate rumours of their own accord."
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[22:42] <Yanmei> "Tsk. You shouldn't try to protect her from blame, especially when it's obvious?" Yanmei tossed her hair, and gave a little grin. "Although it's nice for you to indirectly admit that it -is- a rumor."
[22:44] <Raphael> "Of course it's a rumour." Raphael said, grinning along with her. "Most stories I hear from the Geofront are until proven otherwise. I've been on the recieving end enough to know that, hmm?"
[22:45] <Raphael> «Receiving*»
[22:49] <Yanmei> "I suppose that true! I'm surprised there haven't been more around recently? Like, about… you know…"
[22:57] <Raphael> "… Yes, I have to agree. It's been something of a pleasant surprise." He says slowly, folding his arms. "Maybe people have simply chosen to have a little tact for once, but I wouldn't bet on it."
[23:04] <Yanmei> "Maybe there are just a lot of people around who are hoping that there's nothing fishy going on in regards to the change itself and possible resulting pairings. Wishful thinking, in other words." Yanmei took a sip of her wine. "There's some weirdness about this that you're not so good at hiding, though?"
[23:14] <Raphael> "… Is there, ma'am? I'm sure you're just imagining things." Raphael says calmly, although the change in topics that follows is a little too hasty. "Still, there was a point to my visit before we went so far off track. I just wanted to make sure that you and Lizzie were… managing without Isaiah here." Even if the topic had been changed for hasty deflection, there's real sympathy and
[23:14] <Raphael> worry in his voice.
[23:20] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei leaned back. "Of course we're managing! Luckily, we don't have to pay our own rent, and my salary's big enough to pay for most things that she needs. She's well fed, and I've saved up enough to buy her some new summer clothes. But…" She frowned a little. "She still misses him, and I don't think I can fix that."
[23:22] <Raphael> "Right." Raphael nods, looking down at his own glass for a moment. "It wasn't really the money I was worried about, Yanmei…"
[23:33] <Yanmei> "No. No, I suppose not." She quietly set her own glass on a coffee table, her gaze slipping away from him. "Heh. After everything I said after that Angel attack in Boston, things still turned out like this, huh? If I were in your shoes, I would be laughing at me. You're a really nice guy, Guillory."
[23:39] <Raphael> "Laugh? No, I couldn’t do that. I’m someone who knows it hurts, though I’m sure your pain is on a different scale…" He says quietly. "I hope you aren’t blaming yourself for this."
[23:50] * Yanmei shook her head. "I know who's to blame for it. The complicated thing? Is that I can't even get mad at the Committee as a whole, because there were some among them who were on my side. Even some among the people who weren't…" She frowned. "How much do you know about NERV's Beijing branch?"
[23:51] <Raphael> "Not a great deal."
Session Time: Sat Mar 10 00:00:00 2012
[00:00] <Yanmei> "My mother is currently the Director for it. After the facility was blown apart by the Sixteenth Angel, all of her superiors died, so… command fell to her. But she's a really capable person. So much so that she was offered the Committee's vacant seat."
[00:08] <Raphael> "… Ah." Raphael says slowly, nodding a little. "So she was one of the ones who voted to…?"
[00:14] <Yanmei> "That's right. She voted to make him a pilot. Her reasons weren't malicious, but…" Yanmei ran her hand through her hair and groaned softly. "It was a 5-3 vote in favor of him piloting. If she'd sided with us, I could have made it turn out like the last time."
[00:23] * Raphael sighs. "I'm sorry, Yanmei. That's an awful situation to be put through. Are you two still talking?"
[00:31] <Yanmei> "Yes. I called her not too long ago to talk. She explained herself and everything. She wouldn't do something like that for a bad reason. She just wouldn't." Yanmei shook her head. "I think she had our well-being in mind, even if it doesn't look like it at first glance."
[00:42] <Raphael> "I don't envy her situation, either. To have to try and make a judgement like that while she knows how much you care about him must have been very difficult."
[00:45] <Yanmei> "She, ah… actually didn't seem that conflicted?"
[00:45] <Raphael> "… Ah."
[00:46] <Raphael> Still, he rallied quickly. "… Well, like you said, I'm sure she has your best interest in mind."
[00:50] * Yanmei nodded feverishly. "She really is a good mom. Maybe you'll get a chance to meet her someday. I feel like you'd get along?"
[01:01] <Raphael> "I'm sure we would." Raphael said, managing to keep most of the uncertainty about that sentiment at bay. "… but really, I just wanted to make sure you weren't trying to take too much of this weight on yourself. I know you try to keep this sort of pain out of sight, but this is a very difficult thing to deal with. I’m happy to do what I can to make it easier, even if that means finding
[01:01] <Raphael> time to take care of Lizzie."
[01:08] <Yanmei> Yanmei's face softened. "Glad to hear it. Not that I can't take it on by myself? But some of my other babysitters have turned out to be… unreliable. My primary one is good, because his insurance can handle a destructive two year old, and he has a ninja maid that can keep up with her easily. But sometimes his professional life makes it hard for him to watch her."-
[01:10] <Raphael> "… he has a what?"
[01:14] <Yanmei> "I know, right? It's weird." Yanmei nodded, "having such an amazing insurance plan at his age. If only we were all so lucky? Sophie Gagnier's my backup, but she's busy herself. Probably with smooching her boyfriend. God knows how much she's run up our phone bill talking to him." Yanmei rolled her eyes. "And then Gina…" she turned suddenly sober.
[01:30] <Raphael> "… Eugenia? Did something happen to her?"
[01:32] * Yanmei figetted with the collar of her shirt. "Sometimes she takes off for a while. Couple of days at a time. Not much warning or explanation. It's just taking her a little longer than usual to get back this time."
[01:34] * Raphael frowns. "Well… I'm sure she's fine. Have you spoken to anyone about it? S2, maybe?"
[01:35] <Yanmei> "Marianne said that she'd ask about it, but nothing's come up."
[01:42] * Raphael nods slowly. "Again, let me know if there's anything I can do. She seemed like a nice girl."
[01:48] * Yanmei nodded too. "Watch. She'll probably show up tomorrow, walking in, tossing her stuff down, and hogging this couch like she never even left. Or something like that."
[01:49] * Raphael grins. "I certainly hope so."
[01:09] <Yanmei> "Though I'd be careful if I were you? She'd probably try to get snuggly if she saw you like this~"
[01:13] * Raphael groans, the grin vanishing almost instantly. "I'll keep that in mind."
[01:18] * Yanmei giggled. "Not enjoying your newfound popularity, hm? Have you thought about, well, wearing sunglasses or something to tone it down?" She stared intently at him. "It's the eyes, you know? Partly."
[01:27] <Raphael> A look of genuine unease settles on his face once she begins staring. "… Is that right? Still, from what little I understand it still wouldn't help." Raphael mutters, looking away. "And no, I haven't exactly enjoyed the past few weeks. This isn't exactly a form that commands respect for a ranking officer."
[01:32] <Yanmei> "You're seriously not using this to your advantage? You could be all, like, 'oh I'm taking some time off now,' and flutter your eyelashes, and all the ladies under your command would throw themselves at the chance to cover for you."
[01:41] * Raphael stares at her blankly for a moment. "… You don't know me very well, do you, ma'am?" He says. "Although now that I think of it, Sergeant Herriot made the same suggestion."
[01:48] <Yanmei> "Yeah, yeah. I know it's not quite your style, but it doesn't hurt to creatively turn this unexpected scenario into an advantage? Hm… speaking of which…" She fluttered her eyelashes at him. "Group Captain? Could you speak to the Colonel about getting me a new millitary tactics tutor? She'll listen if it's you…"
[01:55] * Raphael keeps his expression steady, even rolling his eyes a little, but there's a very faint rise of colour in his cheeks. "I didn't even know you had a military tutor to begin with, Miss Zhang."
[01:58] <Yanmei> "It's a new development. They're making me study for a huge test against Asuka Langley-Soryu, and whoever wins will become Queen of the EVA pilots." She could sense her plan working a little, in spite of the initial resistance, and she flashed her glitziest smile. "Don't you think I'd make a good Queen~?"
[02:01] <Raphael> "Well, who's your current tutor?" Raphael asks, not-so-deftly sidestepping the question.
[02:03] <Yanmei> "Um… Major Katsuragi?"
[02:06] * Raphael 's lip twitches for a moment before he gives up and lets out a gentle laugh. "I don't think there's much I can do then, ma'am. A pretty smile will not make me forget the wrath of an angered Misato."
[02:07] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
[02:15] * Yanmei dropped the smile, and a subdued sullen air began to slip from her. "I can't tell if you're too chivalrous, or not chivalrous enough. you should at least think about it a bit more?"
[02:22] <Raphael> "Why's that? No matter what you think of her gossiping, Misato's one of the best tactical tutors you could hope for."
[02:24] <Yanmei> "It's not just the gossiping? I doubt she'll hold back on the teasing either. Of course," she tossed her hair. "I'm used to taking the high road when she does."
[02:25] <Raphael> "… Yanmei, have you ever heard of the phrase regarding people in glass houses?"
[02:30] <Yanmei> "You'll notice that his apartment is made of very solid material Group Captain~"
[02:33] <Raphael> "Naturally."
[02:45] * Yanmei finished the rest of her wine and sighed. "You're lucky. You don't have to go through this stuff yourself, and you still manage to be a good officer."
[02:50] <Raphael> "Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen, Yanmei. Although Second Impact did give a somewhat abbreviated version." Raphael says with a small frown. "And besides, you're a fine officer."
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[02:54] <Yanmei> "Thanks. Well, we'll see how it goes? Thanks for the support."
[03:01] <Raphael> "Quite welcome, ma'am. And while I won't necessarily help you avoid Misato's tutelage entirely… let me know if she gets /too/ out of line, hmm?" He says, smiling a little.
[03:14] <Yanmei> "I'd like that, Group Captain." She started to relax now, grinning back. "And of course, if there's anything I can do in return…"
[03:16] <Raphael> "I'll let you know if I think of anything."
[03:20] <Yanmei> "Excellent!" Yanmei beamed. "Can I get you another beer for now?"
[03:28] <Raphael> "Actually, I should probably be going. I've got a few more things I need to deal with today, and I don't want to keep you." Raphael says, setting down his glass and standing. "I just wanted to check in."
[03:31] * Yanmei stood along with him, politely, to see him out. "Did I assuage your concerns?"
[03:35] <Raphael> "As much as you could, I suppose, but I wasn't really expecting you to. I just wanted to offer what assistance I could." He says as he reaches the door. "Remember my offer to look after Lizzie, alright? Suzanne always enjoys the company."
[03:40] <Yanmei> "Of course! It'll be fun for her to play with you guys again." She extended a hand to the man. "…you really won't consider the sunglasses? Maybe if you grew a moustache or a goatee…" … "-Can- you grow a moustache?"
[03:42] <Raphael> "I cannot." Raphael says with a sigh.
[03:43] * Yanmei gave him a sympathetic look. "Maybe someday."
[03:44] <Raphael> "I can only hope." He says, managing a little smile as he shakes her hand. "And I'll take the sunglasses under consideration, ma'am."
[03:45] <Yanmei> "Good, good. Have a good afternoon, okay?"
[03:49] <Raphael> "The same to you, Sous-Lieutenant."

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