Raphael S Reunion

[18:49] <Raphael> "- Major, I’m fine. Honestly."-
[18:49] <Raphael> Night is already beginning to fall in Paris-2, the sun dipping behind the tallest of the buildings and leaving Raphael’s apartment building in shadow. Raphael himself is still behind the wheel of his (Parked) car, a phone wedged up against his ear as he watches a nearby tree with tired, unfocused eyes.
[19:22] <AdEvaGM> ["If you weren't, you'd tell me, of course."]
[19:25] <Raphael> "…" A few seconds of awkward silence are the closest she gets to an answer. "… I'm sorry to have worried you, Misato."
[19:28] <AdEvaGM> ["Apology accepted. I- I wasn't -really- worried, of course~ I always knew you'd pull through. You always do."]
[19:33] <Raphael> "Oh of course, Major." He says with mock seriousness, smiling a little despite his exhaustion. "What about you? The Colonel told me about the lockdowns…"
[19:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Eh. It's not like I was doing much topside anyway."-
[19:36] <AdEvaGM> ["Also, don't call me Major."]
[19:39] <Raphael> "As you wish, ma'am."
[19:40] <AdEvaGM> ["Grr. Keep it up and I'll buy Suzie forty pounds of bacon."]
[19:47] * Raphael laughs, leaning back a little in the car seat and shutting his eyes. After everything that happened in the days after Chengdu, this sudden sense of lightness comes as a shock… and yet he still finds himself trying to cling to it. "… Alright. I suppose I should collect what I need from the apartment and get back to the Geofront before the Colonel sends Section 2 after me."
[19:48] <AdEvaGM> ["Heh. Let's hope this lockdown doesn't last too long for you, huh? Prowling tiger Raffy-kun can't remain underground forever~"]
[19:51] <Raphael> "It's not as though I mind the break. Although I'll need to speak to someone about Suzie staying with me…"
[19:52] <AdEvaGM> ["That shouldn't be a problem. NERV employees usually have their rights to protection extended to their families."]
[19:55] * Raphael nods - a particularly useless gesture in this scenario, but still a difficult habit to break. "I'd assumed as much. It's just a matter of arranging it…"-
[19:57] <Raphael> "… It's good to hear your voice, Misato."
[19:57] <AdEvaGM> ["Heh." A pause. "I wish we could see each other some time soon- but, you insist on being French and all…"]
[20:01] <Raphael> "Well, I -am- open to persuasion."
[20:01] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmhmhm. Well, you'll have just as many fangirls in Japan as you will in France~"]
[20:02] <Raphael> "Please don't call them that…" He mutters sourly.
[20:02] <AdEvaGM> ["But it's so fitting!"]
6[20:07] * Raphael grumbles, but offers no real argument. The faint sound of a slamming door carries over the phone as Raphael steps out of the car and locks it behind him.-
[20:07] <Raphael> "I’ll do my best to call again soon, Major. And again, I really -did- plan on letting you know I was back."
[20:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Mmmhm." Murmured Misato. "You also planned on getting back in less than two weeks…"]
[20:10] <Raphael> "An entirely different situation." He says stiffly, brushing through the apartment doors and heading for the elevators. "I'd only been back for three hours!"
[20:11] <AdEvaGM> ["And you won't make that mistake again~"]
[20:17] <Raphael> The faint ding of an elevator opening. "I'll be sure to correct Captain Gosselin on which debriefing comes first next time."
[20:22] <AdEvaGM> ["Attaboy."-
[20:23] <AdEvaGM> [The corridor was mostly empty except for an unknown tenant, apparently having just got home, opening her door, her arms full of plastic bags.]
[20:31] * Raphael gives the tenant a passing glance on the way to his door, but his attention is quickly diverted to trying to dig out keys from his pocket - a task which his aching muscles were making unnecessarily difficult.-
[20:32] <Raphael> "Stay safe, Misato. I… love you." The words are getting smoother these days. The pause is barely there at all, and he's finally shed the need to work himself up to it.
[20:33] <AdEvaGM> ["… I love you too, Raphael. I'll see you whenever I see you, alright?"]
[20:43] <Raphael> "Yeah." He mutters, smiling a little. "Say hi to Pen-Pen for me."-
[20:43] <Raphael> A few seconds later the phone would be stowed away safely in his pocket and the keys finally retrieved, allowing him to step inside the familiar apartment. The air is a little stale after two weeks of being locked up, but as much as he would like to air the place out he really only has time to throw his essentials into a bag before heading back to the Geofront.-
[20:43] <Raphael> … Although upon consideration he doubted anyone would begrudge him a few extra minutes for a hot shower.
[20:49] <AdEvaGM> [If they did, no one came out to comment.-
[20:49] <AdEvaGM> [And so, he would head back to the Geofront and guided into its cavernous hallways and corridors, and led to a compact, spartan barrack room- a bed, a table, a wardrobe. All a real soldier needed.]
[21:01] <Raphael> And as far as he was concerned, he could have managed with just the bed. The moment his guide is dismissed, Raphael shuts the door and allows himself one small sigh as he considers the past few weeks, setting the backpack that passes for his luggage on the table as he begins to undress. It doesn't take long for him to find his way into bed, with sleep swallowing him up almost immediately…
[21:05] <AdEvaGM> [… And then it was morning, with the Geofront sunlight streaming into the window. In that light it was obvious that the room had been cleaned specially before he had arrived; there was no dust or dirt on any surface.]
[21:32] * Raphael groans quietly at the pounding in his head, burying his face in the pillow like the teenager that he (At least physically) was. He maintains that position for some time, until a mammoth act of will finally sees him swing his legs out onto the floor.
[21:45] <AdEvaGM> [Someone had sent him a message on his phone during the night- an outline of a 'day plan' that meant he had to get ready for a briefing at 11 AM. It was currently eight by the clock.]
[21:58] * Raphael rubs fiercely at his face in an attempt to wake himself up as he begins pulling on the first of his clothes. He finds a new, freshly cleaned uniform in the wardrobe, and after fishing the toiletries bag from his backpack he opens the door to the hall, headed for the communal showers.
[22:01] <AdEvaGM> [But the path is blocked. Standing there, looking nervous and a little worried, is a certain young blue-haired girl. Rei. She stares up at him with wide eyes.]
6[22:14] * Raphael comes to an abrupt halt, a combination of fatigue and surprise throwing him brutally off-balance. Two months spent wondering how he would deal with a situation like this are rendered useless in an instant. "Rei…"
[22:26] <AdEvaGM> [Those big wide eyes of hers start to fill with tears, now, and in a split second her head's buried into his shoulder, her arms tightly around him. "I'm s-so sorry, Raffy-kun…"]
[16:01] <Raphael> He doesn't say a word in response. The hug, though… that is returned with interest, with none of Raphael's usual awkwardness or uncertainty. He's unwilling to let her go, and for the moment that's the best response he can offer.
[16:04] <AdEvaGM> ["F-Forgive me, Raffy-kun, I-I didn't know what to do…"]
[16:09] <Raphael> "You don't have to-…" He begins weakly, brushing her hair, before cutting himself off with a cough. When he begins again his voice is stronger, and he shifts his body to tuck one arm over her shoulders. "Why don't you come on inside? It's not much, but there's no reason we need to do this out in the hall."
[16:25] <AdEvaGM> [She nodded quietly and followed him in, wiping away tears from her eyes with the heel of her hand. "R-Raffy…"]
[16:30] <Raphael> "Shh." He murmurs, shutting the door behind them with his free hand. "You have nothing to apologize for."
[16:36] <AdEvaGM> ["But… I was being selfish. I-I hurt you, I…"]
[16:41] <Raphael> "You were scared." Raphael says plainly, giving her a sad smile. "I understood."
[16:42] <AdEvaGM> [Rei sat down on the end of Raphael's bed, folding her hands together on her lap. "…"]
[16:45] * Raphael stands against the wall, watching her carefully as if afraid she'd run at any moment. "… But how are you now?"
[16:48] <AdEvaGM> ["… I… I've talked to the right people, and I… I've grown to accept it, even if I don't want it. The only person left is you…"]
[16:55] * Raphael nods slowly. "Well, you know I'm here for whatever you need…"
[16:57] <AdEvaGM> ["I know." Rei nodded. "I wanted to speak to you- I really did, the whole time, but I was afraid of what I might say, of what… What might happen. It sounds dumb, but it took a lot of effort to accept… This." Said Rei quietly, hanging her head. "I hurt a lot of people."]
[17:04] * Raphael shakes his head, tentatively taking a spot beside her on the bed. "An identity crisis isn't 'dumb', Rei, whether you've dealt with them before or not. It took so long to build yourself up from the first time that… well, I can't imagine how scary this must have been for you. Taking time to accept that is /normal/."
[17:07] <AdEvaGM> ["Normal…" Rei smiled a little. She took a deep breath. "Do you think people like 'normal', Raffy-kun?"]
[17:13] <Raphael> "… I think it's only natural that they do." He says after a moment of thought. "It's more comfortable for them."
[17:15] <AdEvaGM> ["But sometimes people have to hurt, right? For the right reasons, I mean."]
[17:19] <Raphael> "That's right."
[17:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Hmm…" She took another deep breath. "I came to realise something, Raffy."]
[17:20] * Raphael looks over at her. "Mmm?"
[17:23] <AdEvaGM> ["I don't think I want normal."]
6[17:34] * Raphael allows himself a small smile at that - a proper one this time, with more than a hint of relief within. "You don't, huh?"
[17:41] <AdEvaGM> ["I want some things that are 'normal', I think." Said Rei, frowning. "I want to marry Al-chan, and I want to be a mother one day, but…" She looked up at Raphael. "I have qualities no one else does, Raffy-kun, and if I want to use them- if I want to really beme- I can't be normal. I don't want it."]
6[18:07] * Raphael leans over and gives her a quick kiss on the forehead. "That's right. No matter where they might have come from, those things that make you so special can be a gift. You've already shown that." He smiles. "And you can have both, you know. I don't think Alphonse minds whether you're normal or not."
1[18:13] <AdEvaGM> [She smiled back, sweetly. "I know, Raffy-kun. He's done a lot for me…"]
[18:17] <Raphael> "Have you… spoken to him?"
[18:18] <AdEvaGM> [She nodded.]
[18:18] <Raphael> "How did he take it?"
[18:19] <AdEvaGM> ["He was very supportive." Said Rei quietly. "He was worried because he knew something was wrong, but…"]
[18:25] * Raphael nods again. "… Good." He says slowly, before nodding a little more forcefully. "Good. I would have hated to cause any pain between you two."
[18:27] <AdEvaGM> ["Al-chan's lovely like that~" Said Rei sweetly, a veritable coo entering her voice.]
[18:31] * Raphael laughs gently, his gaze shifting towards the floor as the sudden silence begins to stretch out. "… You understand that Misato and I only told you all of this because we wanted to keep you safe, don't you?"
[18:33] <AdEvaGM> [Rei nodded. "I know. S… Sometimes people have to hurt for the right reasons."]
[18:36] <Raphael> "…" Raphael moves to put an arm around Rei. "I've missed you, sweetheart."
[18:43] <AdEvaGM> [She leans into him, head on his shoulder. "I missed you too, Raffy."]
[18:54] <Raphael> "I should warn you, though, Suzie might need a little more than an apology. She's a bit put out over it all… you know how she gets."

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