Recovered Mini S4 45 2

[14:30] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Raffy-kuuuuuun~" Came Misato’s relaxed cry from the living room. "Is lunch nearly ready yet~?"-
[14:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [It was a breezy, sunny Sunday noon. The blinds were open. Misato had arrived early this morning, Pen-Pen in tow- and because it was the weekend, Suzanne was home. Suzanne’s reaction to seeing her favourite little penguin was obvious, and before long the living room was full of squawks and giggles of joy.-
[14:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [Of course, in the midst of this it was Raphael’s duty to cook, of course.]
[14:51] <Raphael> Of course. And to his credit it was a duty he took on without complaint, and by now the smell of cooking food wafting from the kitchen was rather appetizing. Thankfully Raphael had anticipated the visit and taken the opportunity to prepare something special.-
[14:58] <Raphael> He pokes his head into the living room, giving Misato a stern look. "You’re welcome to come and help if you’re that eager, Major."
[14:59] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You don’t want my help, Raffy-kun." Says Misato, poking her tongue out at him. "Your cooking is clearly better~"]
[15:00] <Raphael> "Oh, quite. But I do need someone to carry the plates." He smirks.
[15:02] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Pffff. Fiiiine." She stands up. "French TV sucks, anyway. It’s all weird dramas I can't understand…"]
[15:04] <Raphael> "Clearly you need to take the time to learn French, ma'am." Raphael calls as he returns to the kitchen.
[15:07] <Minerva‘Linden> ["But effort." She grumbles. She heads out into the kitchen. "Mm… What are you cooking up anyway?"]
[15:13] <Raphael> "Chilli garlic prawn stir fry." Raphael says, already beginning to dish out servings of rice onto the plates set out on the bench. The smell is even stronger here, wafting from the pan on the stove. "I wanted to try something new. I hope that’s alright?"
[15:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Ooh. Fine by me! It smells great~"-
[15:15] <Minerva`Linden> [There’s a knock at the door.-
[15:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Huh? Hm. Do you want me to get it?"]
[15:16] <Raphael> "If you don’t mind. I'll finish this while you're gone."
[15:19] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Right~"-
[15:19] <Minerva`Linden> [She headed out. There was the sound of a door opening. "Hel… lo…?"-
[15:20] <Minerva`Linden> "Hi!" A voice. A vaguely familiar one… "I’m Minerva. Is Mr. Guillory here?"
[15:28] <Raphael> "…" Raphael stops so suddenly that half of the rice he's spooning onto the last plate spills onto the bench and floor. This… was not good. But all he could think to do right now was to set down the spoon and hurry towards the door…
[15:31] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato is standing besides the door, her face clearly asking a thousand questions that she wasn’t able to articulate properly. She turned towards Raphael. "… The President of the US is here to see you for some reason." She said, baffled.-
[15:32] * Minerva‘Linden on the other hand was standing in the doorway, wearing a clean white dress and a bright smile, a large brown paper bag in her hands. "We meet again, Mr. Guillory~" She says delightedly.-
[15:32] <Minerva`Linden> ["Again…?"]
[15:36] <Raphael> "Miss Linden!" Raphael says, trying for a bright, nothing-is-wrong-here tone and overshooting the mark by quite a distance. "What… erm, what are you doing here, Miss President?"-
[15:36] <Raphael> And how did you find my apartment?
[15:37] <Minerva`Linden> "I was transferred to Paris-2 for negotiations, and I thought I’d drop in to say hello to my favourite Parisian~ I brought a pudding."-
[15:37] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato’s eyebrows are rising, in ways that remind Raphael of very fast, aggressive VTOLs…]
[15:41] <Raphael> Rising panic. This shape wasn't built to handle the strain of these situations. The strain of keeping his expression polite and neutral has given his eye a very slight twitch.-
[15:41] <Raphael> "That’s very kind of you, ma’am, but I do have company right now and we were just about to have lunch…"
[15:49] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh." Says Minerva, and there’s a clear disappointment in her voice. "Well… I-I mean, I'm sorry. I just… I don't know anyone else in the city, and it's lonely by myself. Can I at least leave the pudding with you? I don't think it'd be very good if it went cold…" She looks up at Raphael with those big, wholly too innocent eyes…
[15:52] <Raphael> "…" Raphael winces, and very slowly his gaze turns towards Misato, trying to get a read on her reaction.
[15:53] <Minerva‘Linden> ["…" Misato looks over at Raphael, then back at Minerva, then back at Raphael. "… I guess we -do- have four seats at the table, and the pudding will make a good dessert." She admits.]
[15:57] <Raphael> "Mm." Raphael nods, letting out a relieved breath. He turns back to Minerva and smiles. "Well, ma’am, as long as the Major doesn't mind you're welcome to stay for lunch."
[15:59] <Minerva‘Linden> "Alright! Thank you, Mr. Guillory!" She says and suddenly that dazzling smile is back. She leans back out into the hallway. "I’m sorry, Mr. Vimes, I might be awhile. Please take care of yourself, alright?"-
[16:02] <Minerva‘Linden> A second later she’s standing in the living room once again, looking around at the decor- as it is- and smiling, this time over at Misato. "Thank you, too, Ms. Katsuragi."-
[16:03] <Minerva‘Linden> [But it’s Suzanne who asks the important question, staring over at the door from the table, locked in an arm wrestle with Pen-Pen. "What -kind- of pudding?"-
[16:03] <Minerva‘Linden> "Sticky date! The best kind."
[16:10] <Raphael> … Raphael coughs.-
[16:11] <Raphael> "Well. Misato, would you mind entertaining our guest for a moment? I should probably go and lay out a new plate."
[16:15] <Minerva`Linden> ["Eh? Oh, alright." Says Misato. There’s the sound of the door closing.-
[16:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["So when did you arrive in Paris, Ms. Linden?"-
[16:15] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, a few days ago, actually. I’ve been really busy up to now…"-
[16:16] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh. I would’ve thought you'd have a lot more time on your hands, what with your army destroyed."-
[16:16] <Minerva‘Linden> "Aheh. No, sadly not. A president is never really free…"
[16:26] * Raphael emerges a little over five minutes later, making a few trips to set all four plates out on the table along with a variety of drinks. It really does look delicious, although there are a few spots where the prawns have begun to burn due to Raphael’s detour to the door. The time alone seems to have gone a long way to getting him past the initial surprise of Minerva’s arrival.-
[16:26] <Raphael> "The food is ready, everyone. Shall we eat?"
[16:35] <Minerva`Linden> ["Absolutely~" Says Misato, beaming- she takes the time to help Raphael with the plates, however. But before long she’s sitting once again, taking the taste test…-
[16:35] <Minerva‘Linden> [As is Suzanne. "… Mmm." She nods solemnly. "I like it, Raffy."-
[16:36] <Minerva`Linden> ["Yeah! It’s really balanced, actually, between the chilli, prawn and garlic…" Adds Misato. "Far better than what I usually eat."-
[16:36] <Minerva‘Linden> "I had no idea you were such a lovely cook, Mr. Guillory." Says Minerva glowingly.-
[16:36] <Minerva`Linden> [Pen-Pen stares at them from the couch, before he goes back to his French drama an beer.]
[16:39] <Raphael> "Well, I lived on my own for years before Suzie came along." Raphael says, testing out a hefty forkful from his own plate and nodding slowly as he chews. "I had time to learn."
[16:40] <Minerva`Linden> "I see…" She turns to Misato. "Are you a good cook as well then, Ms. Katsuragi?"-
[16:41] <Minerva`Linden> ["Er…" Misato glances at Raphael. "I have… Been known to prepare unique meals."]
[16:42] <Raphael> "She’s very skilled at inventing new flavours." Raphael nods, meeting the glance.
[16:43] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Like that time you poured soy sauce into the instant noodles…" Says Suzanne. "That was definitely a new flavour." There’s a sour undertone. Suzanne had not been amused by Misato's 'inventiveness'. At all.-
[16:43] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, I see."-
[16:43] <Minerva`Linden> ["… But it’s not all bad. Is it, Raffy-kun?" Asks Misato, giving him an urgent look.]
[16:45] <Raphael> "Not at all, ma'am." He says with a quick, firm shake of his head. "That chocolate was amazing, wasn't it Suzanne?"
[16:46] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh yeah!" Says Suzanne. "The penguin chocolate was yummy~"-
[16:46] <Minerva`Linden> "Penguin… Chocolate?"
[16:49] <Raphael> "A gift from Misato, ma’am. She made a big block of chocolate in the shape of Mr. Pen-Pen's head." He says, gesturing towards the couch.
[16:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Warrk."-
[16:53] * Minerva`Linden looks over at the penguin, now, as though only really seeing him for the first time. "… That penguin’s drinking beer."-
[16:53] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yeah. That’s a habit he picked up from me!" Misato chuckled.-
[16:53] <Minerva‘Linden> "How cute!"
[16:55] <Raphael> "Yes, well…" Raphael says quickly, grabbing a jug of water from the centre of the table and filling his glass. "If anyone is still hungry let me know. There’s plenty more."
[16:59] <Minerva‘Linden> "I’ll keep that in mind."-
[16:59] <Minerva‘Linden> ["So who are you?" Asks Suzanne, staring at Minerva.-
[17:01] <Minerva`Linden> "Me?" Minerva giggles. "Well, now I talk about important stuff to world leaders, but I’m actually a leader myself! I used to lead a big army…"-
[17:01] <Minerva‘Linden> ["An army…?"-
[17:01] <Minerva`Linden> "Yeah. An army of robots."-
[17:01] <Minerva`Linden> ["An army of -robots-?!" Suzanne’s eyes are like saucers.]
[17:04] <Raphael> "Miss Linden was in charge of the army I fought in Boston, Suzie." Raphael notes matter-of-factly. There's a distinct lack of any judgement or reproach in his tone.
[17:04] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Ohhh." Suzanne nods sagely. "So you don’t have your army anymore."-
[17:05] <Minerva‘Linden> "No, I don’t." Minerva chuckles. "I guess I wasn't that good of a leader in the end."-
[17:05] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Aww, don’t say that! Just because Raffy beat all of your robots up doesn't mean you're a bad leader. He's just awesome."]
[17:08] * Raphael let's out a choked laugh that's muffled by the mouthful of prawns and rice he's trying to swallow. "… Well, it was the Pilots that did most of the work, little one."
[17:11] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Raffy." Suzanne turns her eyes of command onto him. "You need to blow up more robots."]
[17:13] <Raphael> "I will do my best." Raphael nods solemnly.
[17:14] <Minerva`Linden> ["Good."-
[17:17] <Minerva`Linden> ["So." Misato pops a prawn into her mouth, chews, then washes it down with some beer. "With the 2nd and 3rd down, I guess your LN’s firmly on the back foot now, huh?"-
[17:17] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well…" Minerva shifts in her seat. "I wouldn’t say -exactly- that."
[17:18] <Raphael> "What /would/ you say?"
[17:21] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well, the UN’s position has certainly improved, but you can't really declare victory until the First Regiment has been taken out, and that's not something I think you can guarantee you can pull off…"-
[17:21] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Heh heh heh. It won’t be that hard~ We'll take that gaudy ol' battleship down in no time, easy. And then it's just sweep away~"]
[17:25] <Raphael> "…" Raphael glances from Minerva to Misato, and then finally down at his meal as a frown takes hold on his brow. Whether he disagreed with Misato’s assessment or not, he had no intention of saying so here.
[17:26] <Minerva‘Linden> "What do you think, Mr. Guillory?"
[17:32] * Raphael glances up, the frown disappearing behind the best attempt at inscrutability his new face could manage. "I respect Major Katsuragi’s tactical acumen, ma'am." He says. "She’s more qualified to provide an assessment than I am."
[17:36] <Minerva‘Linden> "Hmm… Well, I guess it isn’t too important. How have you been going with rebuilding after your last defeat, Ms. Katsuragi?"-
[17:36] <Minerva‘Linden> ["It- Ahem." Misato’s just-for-you smile at Raphael is quickly wiped away. "It wasn't a defeat. It was tactically unresolved."]
[18:07] <Raphael> "And besides that, even the best leaders have their own setbacks. Isn't that right, Miss President?" Raphael says politely.
[18:08] <Minerva‘Linden> "That’s perfectly true." Says Minerva, giving him a warm smile- that quickly fades. "But has Pilot Akagi recovered from her injuries yet?"-
[18:09] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato shook her head. "Not yet, but… She opened her eyes for the first time about three weeks ago. She can’t walk yet, but everything else…"-
[18:09] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Raffy, who are they talking about?" Asks Suzanne.]
[18:21] * Raphael falls silent, lowering his gaze for a moment before he looks over at Suzanne. "… Tsubaki, sweetheart. She was hurt during one of the recent battles, but you heard Misato. She’s beginning to recover now."
[18:53] <Minerva`Linden> ["…" Suzanne’s expression darkens, and she nods. "Good. Maybe we could see her sometime and help cheer her up?"]
[18:57] <Raphael> "Maybe." Raphael says, nodding slowly. "I'd like to, but we'll have to see how my schedule looks before we make up our minds, hmm?"
[18:58] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Okay."-
[18:58] <Minerva`Linden> "Why don’t you send her something, little miss?" Says Minerva gently. "Like a get-well basket. You can take it back with Ms. Katsuragi."-
[18:58] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Ooh. Can we do that, Raffy?"]
[18:59] <Raphael> "Absolutely." He gives Suzie a warm smile. "I think that’s an excellent idea."
[19:01] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Alright!" Suzie gave a firm little fistpump, then went back to her meal, her brow knotted in thought.-
[19:02] <Minerva`Linden> "I’ve done the same." Said Minerva, looking up at Raphael and Misato. "They let me visit one of the captured pilots. Mr. Chevalier. He's taking his injuries well."
[19:10] <Raphael> "Is he? That’s good to hear." Raphael nods, smiling a little at some secret thought. "From what I heard he was remarkably optimistic about the whole situation. I hope he can hang on to that."
[19:13] <Minerva‘Linden> "Edgar is tough. And probably the most well-balanced of Silas’s pilots…"
[19:15] <Raphael> "… Yes." Raphael says quietly. "I've seen the transcripts from Almeria."
[19:15] <Minerva‘Linden> "… Fournier is a lot scarier in person."
[19:16] <Raphael> "Is that right?"
[19:16] <Minerva`Linden> "She plays with knives. Whilst she’s talking to people, like she isn't even paying attention."
[19:18] * Raphael is quiet for a few moments at that, pushing a clump of rice around his plate with his fork. "Giving those children control of war machines like the T-RIDEN-Ts is certainly an interesting choice."
[19:19] <Minerva‘Linden> "It’s the wrong choice."
[19:20] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[19:22] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You say that, but you also fought with the LN." Says Misato.-
[19:22] <Minerva`Linden> "Yeah. But I didn’t employ any child soldiers in my army."
[19:32] <Raphael> "In this case… well, I disagree with what the LN has done, and I disagree with Miss Linden’s choice to join them, but placing yourself under a particular banner does not necessarily mean you agree with every action that faction takes. We’ve both experienced that often enough to know, Major."
[19:34] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato peers at him, then nods slowly. "Yeah, you’re right…"-
[19:34] <Minerva‘Linden> "Anyway. I’d rather not talk about politics or stuff like that now." Says Minerva, sitting up straight and smiling. "Let's talk about something else!"
[19:36] <Raphael> "If you insist, ma'am. Any suggestions?" Raphael asks, carefully working his way through the scraps of his meal.
[19:37] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well. I wanted to ask you something during our little pie date the other day, but wasn’t able to. I want to know about your hobbies, Mr. Guillory!"-
[19:37] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato’s eyebrows come together with impressive speed.]
[19:46] * Raphael ‘s lets out a forced, awkward chuckle that would likely do very little to ease Misato’s nerves. "W-what Miss Linden -means- to say is that she was kind enough to invite me in for a snack while I was waiting for her father. Speaking of which, did you pass on my message, ma’am?"
[19:48] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh yes, I did. He was very happy to hear it." Says Minerva happily. "He actually asked me to pass a message on to you. He’d like to meet up with you at some point. He's in town… Still under more guard than I am, though. But… Well, I'm sure you could work something out."-
[19:48] * Minerva‘Linden turns to Misato innocently. "We talked about a lot of things. But you still didn’t get around to telling me about your hobbies…"-
[19:49] <Minerva‘Linden> ["A-heh…" Misato drains the rest of her beer before turning to Raphael. Her eyebrows slowly unknot.]
[19:59] * Raphael seems to relax a little at that, and takes the opportunity to take a sip from his own glass. "Well, ther-" A pause and a blink as if caught off guard. It’s only a split-second of hesitation, but when he starts up again he seems a little more distracted. "There's… uh, not much to tell, Minerva. Most of my time is taken up by work and looking after Suzie. There's not really any time
[19:59] * Raphael for anything else."
[20:01] <Minerva‘Linden> "Oh, really…?" She seemed disappointed.-
[20:02] <Minerva`Linden> ["You watch shows with me sometimes, Raffy." Noted Suzanne.-
[20:02] <Minerva`Linden> [Misato, however, merely let the conversation continue, flicking her eyes towards Raphael, her smile widening a little.]
[20:09] <Raphael> "That’s part of looking after you, though." Raphael notes, giving Misato a quick, playful smile of his own.
[20:11] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh."-
[20:11] <Minerva`Linden> "Well… What about you, Ms. Katsuragi? Do you have any hobbies?"-
[20:13] <Minerva`Linden> ["Me? Of course! For me it’s cars. Driving, tinkering, repairing- of course, you wouldn't know it just by looking at me, buuuuut I'm pretty handy with a wrench."-
[20:14] <Minerva‘Linden> "Hmm… Actually, I think I can see that. You feel like you’re pretty hands-on."
[20:25] <Raphael> "She is." Raphael says fervently… and then catches himself as a blush begins to rise. He takes the opportunity to concentrate on his plate.
[20:30] <Minerva‘Linden> "Ah, look at that~" Coos Minerva, completely forgetting herself.-
[20:31] <Minerva`Linden> ["Hmm…?" Asks Misato, a mild dreamy edge to her words- before she looks over at Raphael, blinking quickly. "What? What did I do?"]
[20:34] <Raphael> "Would anyone like another drink?" Raphael asks quickly, raising his voice to cut in above the both of them.
[20:34] <Minerva`Linden> ["Why don’t I help you?" Asks Misato, standing up.]
[20:37] <Raphael> "Erm… c-certainly, Major." Raphael says after a moment of hesitation, before getting up and heading towards the kitchen. It may be notable that he doesn't stay to hear anyone else's answers.
[20:38] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato heads out with him. She quickly fetches another beer.-
[20:38] <Minerva`Linden> ["Naughty little Raffy-kun~" She sings under her breath.]
[20:40] <Raphael> "Hush." Raphael mutters, quickly finding any amount of busywork to avoid looking at her. "I just got a little carried away…"
[20:41] <Minerva`Linden> ["Well." Misato smiles. "It could be worse. I mean, it’s not like you were doing something cliche like slipping me notes or playing footsies…"]
[20:46] <Raphael> "…" Buried in the fridge almost up to his shoulders, Raphael is suddenly absolutely still. "… I'm… … I'm sorry, ma'am?"
[20:48] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I said, it’s not like you were doing something cliche like slipping me notes or playing footsies. Although." She peered down at her beer can thoughtfully. "I'm a little surprised you didn't. I mean, this skirt, the table…"]
[20:48] <Raphael> "…" … "… What -was- I doing?"
[20:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Blushing for no reason and making naughty comments."]
[20:50] <Raphael> "… Oh. Yes."-
[20:52] <Raphael> He’s running the conversation on autopilot now. Most of his brain is firmly devoted to estimating whether he could crawl inside this fridge, shut the door and never emerge again.
[20:52] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato puts the beer aside, turns around, and slips her arms around his waist. She leans over his shoulder and whispers in his ear…-
[20:52] <Minerva`Linden> ["Only joking, Raffy-kun~"]
[20:54] <Raphael> "…" He should be angry. Really he should. But he’s too busy feeling relieved to work up any true anger. "… That was an awful trick, Misato."
[20:56] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Heeheeheehee." She kisses him on the cheek. "I’m sorry. But it just… Heee." A squeeze. "I guess I have other hobbies other than what I told little miss President, huh? I think she's rather fond of you."]
[20:57] <Raphael> "Yes. I've noticed." Raphael says with a little sigh.
[20:59] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Well, don’t worry about it. There isn't a lot she can do whilst I'm here, and she probably don't be here for long."]
[21:03] * Raphael nods slowly and emerges from the fridge, pulling her close with a dangerous look in his eyes. "There will be retribution for that little joke, ma'am."
[21:03] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh really?"]
[21:03] <Raphael> "Oh yes. Just you wait."
[21:05] <Minerva`Linden> ["Don’t make me destroy you, little boy. I can do it!"]
[21:06] <Raphael> "We'll see." He says, grinning as he gives her a quick kiss. "Should we head back?"
[21:07] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Absolutely."]
[21:07] <Raphael> "… I didn’t expect you to be so eager to do it."
[21:08] <Minerva‘Linden> ["This is a cramped kitchen, Raffy-kun. Can you blame me? You really need to get a new apartment- this one is actually smaller than usual…"]
[21:09] * Raphael frowns and looks around. "… I suppose. I’ve grown rather used to it."
[21:16] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Hehehe. Whatever suits you, of course. Some people like the smaller apartments."]
[17:09] <Raphael> "Mmm. I’m happy with it for now. After all, it's just Suzie and I here, right?" He asks, smiling as he gives her a little squeeze.
[17:16] <Minerva‘Linden> ["For now." She snickers. "Personally, I’m waiting for Papa Raffy to reach critical mass. One summer it's just Suzie and Rei. Then the next it's Suzie, Rei and Juu. Then it's Suzie, Rei, Juu, Chiisana… THen it's Suzie, Rei, Juu, Chiisana, Rei's kids… It'll just be an endless tidal wave of Ayanamis, everywhere. It'll be a mess."]
[17:20] <Raphael> "Rei's kids…" An odd look comes over his face at that. "Now that's an odd thing to consider."
[17:21] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh yeah?"]
[17:26] <Raphael> "Mmm. Nothing specific. Just… odd. Odd to think of her like that." He says quietly, and eventually the look passes. He smiles. "Not entirely unpleasant to imagine, though."
[17:34] <Minerva`Linden> [Misato chuckles. "Imagine it. Rei in an apron, carrying a little blue-haired baby in her arms…"-
[17:34] <Minerva`Linden> ["… Ban-Ban behind her, also in an apron, carrying the other four…"]
[17:38] <Raphael> "Ugh." Raphael grumbles, but it’s quickly lost beneath a fresh bout of chuckling. In fact, though he himself had yet to notice, the pitch was almost enough to qualify it as a giggle… "That’s -terrible-, Major."
[17:39] <Minerva`Linden> ["You know what the cutest thing is?"]
[17:39] <Raphael> "What’s that?"
[17:41] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Imagine it. Five little girls, with their mother’s cute looks and their father's posh British accent." She begins openly giggling into her hand. "Eeee~"]
[17:45] * Raphael scrunches his eyes shut, still laughing. "… Yes." He mutters once he's fallen silent again. "That would be nice."
[17:50] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato grins. "You’re such a proud papa, Raffy-kun. Come on. Let's get back, yeah? We wouldn't want to leave Suzie alone with Miss President for too long."]
[18:00] * Raphael nods. "Probably not. Although it's not Suzie I'm worried about." He looks at her thoughtfully for a moment and gives her one last kiss, a real one this time, before letting her go. "Let's go, Major."
[18:05] <Minerva‘Linden> [She returns the kiss happily. "Lead on, Captain~"-
[18:05] <Minerva`Linden> As they emerge out into the dining area they see that they really have not been missed. At all.-
[18:07] <Minerva`Linden> "Well, we -did- think of putting a sword on the Thrusters, but they were already so big and it’d get in the way of all the gatling cannons-"-
[18:08] <Minerva‘Linden> ["They have gatling cannons?!"-
[18:08] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh yes. They’re Positron gatling cannons."-
[18:08] <Minerva‘Linden> ["What does that mean?"-
[18:08] <Minerva`Linden> "They blow up everything."-
[18:08] <Minerva`Linden> ["-Everything-?"-
[18:08] <Minerva`Linden> "Uh-huh!"-
[18:08] <Minerva`Linden> ["Positrons are awesome!"]
[18:12] * Raphael stops in the doorway. "… Oh no."
[18:15] <Minerva`Linden> "We gave them big pneumatic fists instead of swords, though."-
[18:15] <Minerva`Linden> ["Pneu…matic? They get sick?"-
[18:15] <Minerva`Linden> "No no. Pneumatic means they’re like giant hammers. Wham!" Minerva threw out a punch, then began rhythmically repeating it. "Wham! Wham!"-
[18:17] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Pneumatic fists are awesome!" Says Suzanne with wide, adoring eyes. "My robot’s totally going to have pneumatic fists with -swords-, though, and gatling cannons everywhere." She, too, began to make punches. "Wham! Pew pew wham!"-
[18:18] <Minerva‘Linden> "What about bolters? They’re like bullets with positron dynamite in them."-
[18:18] <Minerva‘Linden> ["-What-?! I want bolters!"-
[18:18] <Minerva`Linden> ["I -warned- you." Murmured Misato.]
[18:28] * Raphael just frowns for a moment before returning to his chair and attempting to wade into the rapidly flowing conversation. "Not for a long time yet, little one. There’s a while to go before you can become a pilot, mmm?"
[18:46] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Alriiiiiight. Raffy?"]
[18:49] <Raphael> "…" He gives her that same stern, fatherly look for a few more moments before breaking into a smile. "But if you’re really that keen to see it all, -maybe- I could talk Captain Gosselin into letting me give you a tour of the base. If you were a very good girl, of course."
[18:50] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Eee! Yay! And then we can fly around in a fighter jet, and blow up Angels! Vroom! Vroom! Boom!"-
[18:50] * Minerva`Linden broke out into giggles. "She’s so energetic."
[18:54] <Raphael> "You have no idea." Raphael says with a quiet laugh. "… And I said a tour, Suzanne, not a joyride."-
[18:54] <Raphael> "… Unless Mr. Lafabre's in one of his stranger moods."
[18:58] <Minerva‘Linden> ["He’s really cool! He totally talked about all kinds of stuff with me at Rei's birthday."]
[19:00] <Raphael> "… He did?"
[19:00] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yeah! Like, TV shows, and robots, and how cool you were…"]
[19:04] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael mutters doubtfully as he begins to clear up whatever empty plates were on the table. "Well, he’s a good man, I suppose. He's just very… enthusiastic."
[19:05] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Julien’s harmless." Says Misato cheerfully, clapping Raphael on the shoulder.-
[19:05] <Minerva‘Linden> ["I wanna work for him when I grow up. I can build robots and pilot them and everything." Says Suzanne firmly.]
[19:09] <Raphael> "… There would be worse jobs, I suppose." Raphael says, that tiny twitch back at the corner of his eye as he tries to keep his expression in neutral.
[19:15] <Minerva`Linden> "Just imagine, Suzanne. If you become -really- successful, they’ll even make a TV show about you."-
[19:15] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oooh…"]
[19:16] <Raphael> "From what I hear from the Pilots, having a movie made about you isn’t quite what it's made out to be."
[19:17] <Minerva‘Linden> [Suzanne frowned.-
[19:17] <Minerva`Linden> "Yeah, I’m not really sure I liked the movie." Says Minerva with a frown.
[19:21] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "You went to see it?"
[19:22] <Minerva‘Linden> "Not exactly. I had to have it essentially pirated for me, because it’s banned as UN propaganda in LN territories." She frowned. "It's… Skeevy."
[19:24] <Raphael> "So I've been told." Raphael mutters, shaking his head.
[19:25] <Minerva‘Linden> "It’s just pandering. They had a chance to tell of these young pilots' lives, experiences, hopes and dreams, and… They did, kind of, but they had too much titillation in there."-
[19:26] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yeah, I noted that myself." Said Misato. "A few of the other pilots I spoke to were unamused. Shinji was pretty unhappy with it all. Seeing his little sister on the screen didn’t help." She added dubiously.]
[19:36] * Raphael blinks and sets the stack of plates down a little harder than he intended, staring over at Misato. "… Surely they didn't go that far?"
[19:40] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yeah. She has a scene where she comes in and teases Shinji about having a girlfriend…"]
[19:43] <Raphael> "And nobody thought to warn him?"
[19:44] <Minerva`Linden> ["We had no idea it was coming."]
[19:48] <Raphael> "Mmm, I didn’t think so. I more meant that the studio should have informed him…" Raphael says with a deep frown. "That's truly thoughtless of them."
[19:49] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Yeah, no kidding." She groaned. "I hope the second one is better. Or not made at all. I can’t see it getting better." She looks over at Raphael. "What if they have Rei in it? Or me? It'll be awful. They'll probably do all sorts of creepy things, like scenes of me in the bath or at a hot spring or something…"]
[19:55] * Raphael sits back down, taking a moment to carefully consider this idea, and, with every ounce of willpower he can summon, manages to hold down the inevitable unconscious blush. "That would be terrible, ma'am." Raphael says gravely.
[20:07] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Oh really? Are you sure you wouldn’t enjoy it? Not even a little~?"]
[20:13] <Raphael> "No-" Raphael begins, only for his eyes to widen as his voice hitches suddenly, "-ooot even a little, ma’am. T-that would just be undermining your authority in the eyes of the public."
[20:14] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato grins. "Good boy."-
[20:15] <Minerva`Linden> "A hot spring sounds nice." Says Minerva dreamily. "Lots of nice, hot water, the chance to soak for an hour or so. I’d like that. Bring some bath salts and body shampoo and just relax…"
[20:28] <Raphael> "Hmm?" He asks, blinking a few times and giving Misato a sour look before his gaze turns to Minerva. "Oh. Well… I guess that -does- sound quite relaxing, ma’am."
[20:32] <Minerva‘Linden> "It does, doesn’t it?" She smiles. "Do you know what one of the advantages was of my station, Mr. Guillory?"
[20:33] <Raphael> "No ma'am."
[20:37] <Minerva‘Linden> "I was finally able to enjoy a hot bath by myself. I don’t know what it's like in your military, but when I was in the Companion training programme, we had to all shower together." She frowned. "Do you know how humiliating that is? Especially once I hit puberty. Developing breasts is bad enough without having my body routinely exposed to the gaze of overly-curious boys…"-
[20:38] <Minerva‘Linden> ["… Really?" Misato blinks, then peers down at the table, the cogs turning as a thought pops into her head.-
[20:38] <Minerva`Linden> "Really."
[20:46] * Raphael leans forward in his chair, the first hint of colour making it to his cheeks as he begins to lose the battle. Still, his gaze remains on Minerva… although it seems to drift a bit lower for a moment or two as she speaks before snapping right back to eye contact. "Yes ma’am. I’m… sure that would be quite difficult for you."
[20:52] <Minerva`Linden> "Yeah…"-
[20:53] <Minerva`Linden> ["So wait." Interrupts Misato. "If you Companions all showered together, boys and girls, and Alphonse was a Companion, then does that mean…"-
[20:53] <Minerva`Linden> "T-That has nothing to do with anything." Squeaks Minerva, a sudden blush colouring her own cheeks now.
[21:00] <Raphael> "I doubt Alphonse would have given in to such curiosity, Major."
[21:01] <Minerva`Linden> ["Are you sure? He -is- a boy, you know." Misato turns around. "And even the nicest, most controlled of boys might not be able to help themselves. Right?"]
[21:29] <Raphael> "… Is that so, ma’am?" Raphael says, looking at Misato curiously now. "So you don’t think we boys are capable of self-control?"
[21:37] <Minerva`Linden> ["Well, I think-" She pauses for a moment, and her eyebrows pull together as a reddish tinge now comes to -her- cheeks. "I -think- it’d be very hard… For someone in that situation."-
[21:42] <Minerva‘Linden> "I think boys are perfectly capable of self control." Says Minerva. "Mr. Guillory, you probably never spied on girls when you were young, did you? At least, that’s the impression I sort of got from the other day…"
[21:45] <Raphael> "Of course not, Miss President. My father was very careful to raise me as a gentleman." Raphael says.
[21:46] <Minerva‘Linden> "Did you ever -think- about doing it, though…?"-
[21:47] <Minerva`Linden> [Misato is quietly breaking out into giggles that just so happen to require her hiding her face.]
[21:53] <Raphael> "… I don’t really know, ma’am. I don’t remember." Raphael says after a moment of thought. He doesn’t look over at Misato.
[21:54] <Minerva`Linden> "Do you mind if I ask you a mildly personal question, Mr. Guillory? I’m just curious about something…"
[22:03] * Raphael frowns a little, finally seeming to give Minerva his full attention for the first time in the past few minutes. "… You can ask it at least, ma'am."
[22:05] <Minerva‘Linden> "Um…" She coughed. "Your new body. Just… How much has it changed? Do you find yourself thinking about things differently?"
[22:17] <Raphael> "…" Raphael seems to go still, and then he’s frowning… but the anger doesn't seem to be directed at her. He looks down at the table. "I do, yes. But…" The frown deepens as he searches for the right words, but he pauses to give Misato an apologetic look. "Whatever changes were made, I would expect them to have resulted in feeling like natural extensions of myself. But these feel entirely
[22:17] <Raphael> foreign. It's more like struggling against an outside influence than a change in my thinking."-
[22:17] <Raphael> "It's unsettling."
[22:19] <Minerva‘Linden> [Misato cleared her throat and sheepishly took a mouthful of beer, glancing at Minerva and Raphael as she did so.-
[22:30] <Minerva`Linden> "I see." Minerva nods slowly. "Mr. Guillory, I think it’s very impressive that you're trying so hard. And despite the challenge, I have confidence that you'll pull through."-
[22:32] <Minerva‘Linden> She gives him a very pretty, encouraging smile.
[22:34] * Raphael smiles back, although it’s a rather tired, discouraged one in comparison to her own. "Thank you, ma'am. That's very kind of you to say."
[22:38] <Minerva‘Linden> "You look like you could do with some of my pudding, Mr. Guillory." She holds up the bag. "Should I get the plates?"-
[22:38] <Minerva`Linden> ["Finally!" Suzanne looks back over at the table.]
[22:44] * Raphael looks over at Suzanne and let’s out a laugh before turning back to Minerva. "Certainly, Miss President, but let me help you at least."
[22:46] <Minerva‘Linden> "Alright!"-
[22:46] <Minerva`Linden> ["Don’t take too long." Says Misato mischieviously. "Or I might make Suzie here a backup pilot…"]
[22:48] * Raphael gives Misato a dark look that promises further retribution and leads the way to the kitchen.
[22:48] * Minerva‘Linden is soon following after.-
[22:49] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, I’ve been meaning to tell you. I had a word with Pilot Ayanami."
[22:51] * Raphael is already crouching by one of the kitchen cupboards, lifting a stack of plates onto the bench. "… About what, Miss President?" Raphael asks, before pointing to one of the drawers. "Would you mind getting out the cutlery for me, ma'am?"
[22:52] <Minerva‘Linden> "I can do that!" She opens said drawer and pulls out four spoons.-
[22:53] <Minerva`Linden> "Oh, all sorts of things. She’s pretty talkative. We talked a bit about Alphonse, actually."
[22:54] <Raphael> "Ah. Yes, she has no shortage of things to talk about when it comes to him."
[22:56] <Minerva‘Linden> "She’s pretty taken by him, isn't she?" Minerva giggled. "It's cute."
[22:59] <Raphael> "She is." Raphael nods, standing and leaning against the counter. Not that there's anywhere else to go in a kitchen of this size. "Is that a problem for you?"
[23:03] <Minerva‘Linden> "Not really. Why?"
[23:06] <Raphael> "No reason, ma’am. You and Captain Wellesley just seem to have something of a history, and I care about Rei. I thought it was best to be sure."
[23:10] <Minerva‘Linden> "Hm." Minerva pauses, frowning in thought. "No… I understand. But Alphonse and I were only ever friends. It’s like… Do you have anyone you'd trust with your life, someone who, in another time, you might've fallen in love with, but you're happier as friends?"
[23:12] * Raphael nods without really needing to consider it. "I do."
[23:12] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well, it’s like that."-
[23:13] <Minerva‘Linden> "… Or at least, I hope it is." She stares down at the spoons in her hand. "I’m not sure if he actually likes me much anymore at all."
[23:16] * Raphael considers this, tapping gently on the edge of the bench to fill the silence. "It's possible he doesn't, ma'am, but you must have been aware that was a possibility."
[23:28] <Minerva‘Linden> "You’re right." Says Minerva quietly. "I owe him a lot, so if this is the payment he wants, then that's alright. I don't want to cause him trouble." She looked up at Raphael and put on a brave- slightly quivery- smile. "Rei seems like a very sweet person. Just between you and me, I think they make an adorable couple."
[23:41] * Raphael nods slowly. "Yes, Miss President, I think so too. They're both made for each other, I think." But he's watching her rather closely now with a worried look on his face. And that smile doesn't seem to help. "… Have you tried just talking to him about this? Or even simply apologizing for the pain you've caused him?"
[23:49] <Minerva‘Linden> … And the smile fades. "I’ve tried. But in Boston, I wasn't able to leave, and he never visited, and I wasn't able to call him. The only time we spoke was after I was brought to the Minifront…"
[23:50] <Raphael> "It didn't go well, I assume."
[23:53] <Minerva‘Linden> "No. He looked at me and then told the soldiers to take me away. That… Hurt."
Session Time: Fri Mar 02 00:00:00 2012
[00:01] * Raphael nods. "Hopefully you won’t begrudge me a bit of candour, ma’am, but look at it from his perspective: You invaded his home and soldiers under your command very nearly killed Rei. I’m not surprised he was rather angry in the heat of the moment."
[00:07] <Minerva‘Linden> "Yes. That makes sense." She looks away again, and for a split second her shoulders shake and a look of deep sadness crosses Minerva’s face- it looks like she's about to cry… But a second later she's calmly looking back at Raphael with an apologetic smile. "Can you help me? You can speak to him, so if you have the chance, can you talk to him for me? Tell him I'm sorry, and I don't want to hurt him, and I wish him the best."
[00:14] * Raphael watches all of this with only a very slight wince as her shoulders shake. "… Why don't I see if he's willing to let you tell him first? I wouldn't rule it out." He smiles. "The scale of your disagreement might be an order of magnitude larger than most children your age, but that doesn't mean they can't be fixed."
[00:16] <Minerva‘Linden> "That’s Miss President child, to you, Mr. Guillory." She lets out a tiny little giggle. "But thank you. I'd appreciate that."
[19:28] <Raphael> "Of course, Miss President." Raphael says with a smirk.
[19:31] <Minerva‘Linden> She giggled again, then… Step, step. A second later he’d find himself in an all-too-cuddly embrace, arms around his chest, Minerva's head on his shoulder. This close, he could clearly smell the scent of strawberry in her hair. "Thank you."
[19:55] * Raphael was taken off guard by the gesture - so much so that it takes him a few long seconds to react. When he does it’s in the form of a gentle, slightly stiff pat on the back before gently disengaging. "You’re…" He coughs, newly red-faced now even as he manages to keep his expression neutral. "You’re welcome, ma’am."
[20:01] <Minerva‘Linden> "People like you- my friends- should just call me Minerva." She said, and despite his efforts he realised that the cuddle was slowly growing tighter…
[20:15] <Raphael> … And he was trapped in the corner. Not good. He made an attempt to gently remove her arms. "T-that is very kind of you, ma’am, but I'm really more comfortable with… 'Miss President' seems more appropriate, is what I mean to say."
[20:25] <Minerva‘Linden> "I understand…" Perhaps a little surprisingly it only takes the gentlest of efforts before she releases him. She takes a step back, freeing him. "But no one calls me Minerva anymore."
[20:40] <Raphael> "…" Raphael’s expression grows softer at that, and now that the contact is broken with her the tension that’s been colouring his responses seems to ease. "… I’m sorry. I know that must be difficult."
[20:44] <Minerva‘Linden> "Well." She absently rubs a spoon, and looks up at him, smiling. "You even call Major Katsuragi by her rank. So I’m not going to say I'm surprised by your choice of words."
[20:50] <Raphael> "Yes, ma'am." Raphael says, nodding a little. "It's just habit for me, I'm afraid. I even refer to Rei by her pilot status in formal situations."
[20:54] <Minerva‘Linden> "I see." Minerva lets out a little chuckle. "She’s a lucky girl, that Rei. To have people like you and Alphonse."
[21:03] <Raphael> "Well, she’s earned what comfort she can find." He leans back against the counter. "There’s nothing to stop you from finding the same, Miss President. You’re a sweet girl, and you deserve that sort of person in your life. You just have to be willing to take the chance."
[21:06] <Minerva‘Linden> "Yes. You’re right, Mr. Guillory." She says, chuckling and blushing a little. "But we should get a move-on."
[21:06] <Raphael> "Quite. Suzanne is not patient when it comes to dessert."
[21:07] <Minerva‘Linden> "Neither am I. If I had things my way, I’d eat the dessert before the main course…"
[21:08] * Raphael chuckles. "Can't say I blame you, ma'am. Let's go."
[21:09] <Minerva‘Linden> "Right!" They returned…-
[21:09] <Minerva`Linden> ["You’re -dumb-." Said Suzanne firmly. "EVA-04 is clearly the coolest. It's fast and strong, and it has lots of guns-"-
[21:09] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Eh? No way. -You’re- the dumb one." Said Misato, banging her beer can on the table. "EVA-05 could rip 04 to pieces with its bare hands!"-
[21:10] <Minerva‘Linden> ["But 04 could totally shoot it before then!"-
[21:10] <Minerva`Linden> ["Nuh-uh."-
[21:10] <Minerva`Linden> ["Yuh-uh!"]
[21:17] <Raphael> "Please don’t call the seven year old 'dumb', Major." Raphael says calmly, returning to his chair without further comment. Evidently he's rather used to this sort of thing.
[21:18] <Minerva‘Linden> ["She started it!"-
[21:18] <Minerva`Linden> ["Did not!"-
[21:18] <Minerva`Linden> ["Did too!"]
[21:18] <Raphael> "If you two don’t stop this nonsense there'll be no pudding for either of you."
[21:19] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You -wouldn’t-." Says Suzanne in horror and… With a threatening edge.-
[21:20] <Minerva‘Linden> ["You- Raffy-kun, I demand pudding."-
[21:20] <Minerva`Linden> "Mr. Guillory, it’d be rude for you to try to keep my pudding all for yourself."
[21:22] <Raphael> "They have to learn, ma'am."
[21:25] <Minerva‘Linden> "No one should be denied sticky date, Mr. Guillory."
[21:31] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael murmurs, giving Suzie and Misato a hard look before finally relenting. "Perhaps you’re right, ma'am. It's hardly as satisfying to eat it alone."
[21:32] <Minerva‘Linden> "You’re right. I don't think anyone really enjoys sticky date alone…"-
[21:33] <Minerva‘Linden> ["…" Misato blinks at them for a moment, then holds out her hand. "Major Katsuragi is hungry. Load it up, Group Captain."]
[21:37] * Raphael blinks, slipping from his contemplative state as a hand is shoved in front of him. "… Of course, Major." He says, seizing a plate and the bag containing their dessert and begins dishing out four servings of varying sizes. It doesn’t take too long for everyone to have one in front of them.
[21:40] <Minerva‘Linden> ["Cheers~" Misato proceeds to rip into hers with gusto.-
[21:43] <Minerva`Linden> ["Thank you, Raffy! Miss Linden!" Says Suzanne happily. Before long she has a mouthful of pudding.-
[21:43] <Minerva`Linden> "I’m glad you're all enjoying it." Minerva takes a spoonful. "Thank you, Mr. Guillory."
[21:47] <Raphael> "You’re quite welcome, Minerva." Raphael says, not even seeming to notice his slip as he digs into his own dessert.
[21:50] <Minerva`Linden> She stops at that, staring at him openly for just a second with wide eyes- before she smiles, a real, warm smile. She pops that spoon into her mouth, lowers her eyes to her dessert, and continues in peace.

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