Rei S Qualms

[13:55] * Yanmei breezed through the halls of the Dorian Lachapelle yet again. -
[13:56] <Yanmei> Her head was thrown back, and she was tossed smiles out like usual, but the atmosphere was… different around here now. More somber. More desperate. -
[14:01] <Yanmei> The long corridor where the officer rooms sat was much quieter now too, with their occupants being away at the Sick Bay and called to various meetings with frenzied technicians and top-brass types. Yanmei stopped in front of one door in particular and knocked gently.
[14:01] <Yanmei> ^was tossing
[14:02] <Minaplo> [The intercom buzzed. "Come in…"]
[14:03] <Yanmei> And so she did, slowly. "Hello Rei. How are you feeling?"
[14:06] <Minaplo> [Rei was sitting at a desk, her drawing kit out- rather expensive one, too, Yanmei would note-, one hand holding a sketch pencil over a page of drawing paper.-
[14:06] <Minaplo> ["Hi, Meimei." She smiled, a little. "I'm alright…"]
[14:08] * Yanmei smiled back at her, cheerfully. "Feel up to a nice lunch today? We could talk about a few things. If you want to talk, that is?"
[14:09] <Minaplo> ["Sure. Just give me a second to clean up here, alright?"-
[14:10] <Minaplo> [Rei put all her pencils and tools away, very neatly, and tucked the sheafs of paper away into their own compartment. She changed her shirt out to a light red button-up long sleeved one, and put on her shoes.]
[14:17] * Yanmei was a little curious. Isaiah had spoken of her drawings before, but the chance to see them up close had never really presented itself often. Still, she stood patiently by the door while she got ready, smiling again when it looked like she was finally done. "Today's special is chicken with honey," she reported, leading the way out onto the hallway. "Along with an assortment of
[14:17] * Yanmei vegetables."
[14:20] <Minaplo> ["Mm, that sounds good." Said Rei, who started to walk off towards the cafeteria. "I might have something else with it as well- I'm a little hungry."]
[14:23] <Yanmei> "Mmhm." Yanmei let silence fall over them for a little while, just taking things in and trying to gauge her mood. Then… "Have you seen Alphonse since you got back?"
[14:26] <Minaplo> ["Not really. Only a little."]
[14:27] <Yanmei> "…are you worried?"
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "Want to take a little detour, or…?"
[14:30] <Minaplo> [She shook her head, giving Yanmei a little smile. "It's ok. Let's just have lunch for now."]
[14:34] * Yanmei nodded, going along with it. "Isaiah was super worried. I wouldn't be surprised if he came by later to say hello to you too?"
[14:34] <Minaplo> [Rei smiled. "That'd be nice. I'm okay, though…"]
[14:45] <Yanmei> "Rei…" -
[14:46] <Yanmei> "It was a really scary fight? So it wouldn't be weird if you -were- shaken. We were kind of freaking out ourselves, and we weren't even involved."
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["It's ok. Really." She took Yanmei's hand and squeezed it. "Come on, let's hurry up."]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "…all right." There was no use forcing it. Away to the cafeteria they went!
[15:08] <Minaplo> [The cafeteria wasn't very busy, and it was easy for them to find a seat.-
[15:09] <Minaplo> [Rei ordered herself some lunch- that special chicken with honey and vegetables, along with a salad wrap with grilled steak.]
[15:15] * Yanmei also ordered the special, with some seasoned wild rice on the side. She had started chatting about this and that… nothing of particular importance. -
[15:17] <Yanmei> "…and then Marianne was all, like, 'You should be friends with those horrible, sinister Marketing guys, and I'm going to force you.' So that's what I have to look forward to when I get back to Paris-2," she sighed.
[15:20] <Minaplo> ["Hm… There's a lot of artists in Marketing, right?"-
[15:21] <Minaplo> [a Silas arrived, placing a tray down with their food.-
[15:21] <Minaplo> [Behind him, a group of off-duty crewmen sat down.]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "That's right? Clothing makers, and visual, and people who design toys and stuff." She tried to pretend that the Silas didn't exist.
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["I know a Marketing lady." Said Rei, warmly. "Her name's Samantha, she's teaching me how to draw."-
[15:26] <Minaplo> [Murmurs floated into Yanmei's ears, from that group of crewmen. ("Another week, another fucking defeat. Can't those Eva bitches do anything right?") ("It'll take months to fix all that damage…")]
[12:38] <Yanmei> "I can't believe Marketing's gotten to you too," Yanmei complained. She drew her plate closer. -
[12:41] <Yanmei> The chatter from the next table over drew no visible responses. If Rei hadn't caught wind of it yet, she certainly wasn't going to draw attention to it.
[12:48] <Minaplo> ["They haven't 'gotten to me', Meimei." Muttered Rei.-
[12:48] <Minaplo> [She picked up and took a bite out of her wrap.-
[12:49] <Minaplo> [("Y'know, I'm from Boston, and it really pisses me off that we could just fucking cut and run like that.") ("They said it was for 'strategic purposes'.") ("That's so much bullshit. We both know the little kid playing general didn't want his pet squeeze to be fried up.") ("If it were left to fucking adults, this crap wouldn't happen.")-
[12:50] <Minaplo> [Rei took another bite from her wrap, a little more savagely than was altogether Reilike.]
[12:52] <Yanmei> "Hey." Yanmei hoisted herself out of her chair, her voice lifting slightly. "Let's go someplace else. The crowd in this place kinda sucks."
[12:53] <Minaplo> ["They should move." Muttered Rei mutinously.]
[13:01] * Yanmei eyed her with raised eyebrows. "Do you want to make them?"
[13:05] <Minaplo> ["If they keep it up, we should tell them to cut it out." She said, taking another angry bite.-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [("Everyone goes on about this dickhead Wellesley, but he screwed up in the war, and he's screwing up now.") ("I bet we could've won if he hadn't been thinking with the wrong head.")-
[13:08] <Minaplo> [Rei squeezed her salad wrap in anger; it split in half, the bottom half dropping onto the plate, spilling lettuce and tomato.]
[13:16] <Yanmei> Welp. It looked as if they were keeping it up. She turned toward the table, jerking her head as if to indicate that Rei should follow.
[13:17] <Minaplo> [Rei slowly put down her salad wrap and stood up, nodding slowly at her.]
[13:20] <Yanmei> And so, without an invitation, Yanmei slid into one of the two empty chairs at the crewmen's table, smiling coolly. "Gentlemen~"
[13:23] <Minaplo> ["Piss off." Said one of the crewmen, the tallest and lankiest.-
[13:23] <Minaplo> [Rei followed Yanmei, not sitting on the other empty chair but simply standing behind it, looking angry.]
[13:32] <Yanmei> "Hmph. Manners? What's wrong with wanting to join in a lively conversation~?" She was still smiling, but her eyes had gone deathly cold. "Now what was it you were saying, exactly?"
[13:34] <Minaplo> [One of the crewmen- a short man with curly hair- faltered a little, but the tall man scoffed, clearly emboldened by his superior numbers. "I'll say it again- piss. Off. You think you can come over here and flex your muscles and put in a big scary show and I'm gonna run off? Yeah, right. I'm not gonna cut and run from Captain Collateral."-
[13:36] <Minaplo> ["I'm not scared of you. You fucking Eva pilots are pampered, overprivileged fucks who get benefits and little treats that you don't fucking deserve." The man took a piece of his lunch- a piece of steak smeared with gravy- and held it up. "I'm not afraid of you, I'm not afraid of that cock Wellesley, and I'm -certainly- not afraid of Wellesley's little bitch either, so why don't you just take your attitude and stick it up your own ass?"-
[13:36] <Minaplo> [And then he shoved the gravy-smeared steak right onto Yanmei's shirt.]
[13:46] * Yanmei slapped it away sharply and stood, looming, glowering. "-We're- pampered? Are you blind?!"
[13:47] <Minaplo> ["I-"-
[13:48] <Minaplo> [He didn't get the chance to finish. Rei had snapped, a look of utter fury in her eyes- stress building up over weeks of worrying and fighting… The battle hadn't been successful, they -had- failed, and Rei was scared, like so many others, that the end was starting to come. It was harder for her- and these words had touched a nerve.-
[13:50] <Minaplo> [She grabbed the back of the chair tightly and swept it up, smacking the man with enough force to give him a bit of hang-time. Then, sweeping the chair in from the side, she smashed it into the man's right arm, which snapped with a gruesome cracking sound. The man's body sailed a good three metres away, trailing blood and saliva, before he fell through another table, causing other crewmen to leap up in anger.]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "REI!" She hadn't expected that. Well, she had, but not the amount of actual -force- and not right at that moment. Out of hand. The man's bloody, broken body was getting stares, and there were murmurs and yells rising up. Angry ones. -
[14:10] * Yanmei couldn't just stand aside. She stepped swiftly forward instead, between Rei and the angry crewmen. "Stop! Rei, listen to me! I need you to-" To what? "Go to Major Katsuragi! Right now!"
[14:19] <Minaplo> ["…" Rei threw the chair aside, her expression one of fury, and skipped into the air, speeding across the room a good half metre off the surface.-
[14:20] <Minaplo> [It now left Yanmei alone with six angry crewmen, who all rushed her now, trying to grab and pin her- and one was now bearing a knife!]
[14:25] * Yanmei skipped aside, heart pounding fast with a raw adrenaline rush. Most of them didn't come close to hitting her, and the one with knife suddenly found it torn upward, away from his grip, with a precise kick. Yanmei caught it in mid-air.
[14:27] <Minaplo> [This slowed them down, but not for lack of trying. They kept trying to press on against her, trying to wear her down with numbers…]
[14:35] <Yanmei> She couldn't keep it up forever! So she caught the wrist of one of her attackers, twisted it, and slipped behind him. "You really came at me with a knife?" She raised the said weapon a few inches from his neck while he struggled. "I am asking you to stop. Right. Now."
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["She's bluffin'!" Said the man in her grip, who stamped on her foot and wrestled with her hand.-
[14:45] <Minaplo> [This only seemed to make the crewmen angrier, and now they came in force. Yanmei, occupied as she was with pinning the man, couldn't dodge- fists hit her ribs and her chest and neck, making it hard to breathe, wearing her down…]
[14:49] <Yanmei> Bastards… -a grunt-. Why were they -oof- so persistant?! -
[14:53] <Yanmei> The blow to the neck hurt most of all. Momentarily, she stepped back - and then her patience abruptly shattered. "I said STAND DOWN!" She snarled, pressing the cold knife against the hostage's own neck. Not enough to hurt him, certainly not, but her hand was shaking slightly now, her face dark with rage.
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["O-Ow, it's cuttin'-"-
[14:55] <Minaplo> [This gave the crewmen pause, at least, and they stopped, looking at each other; the seed of fear was planted and a cold-blooded teenage girl with a knife is the best sort of fertilizer.-
[14:55] <Minaplo> [They took a step back, grudgingly- one of them, who had been reaching for a bottle of beer, stopped.-
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["Fucking crazy." Muttered the man with the knife to his throat. "Let me go!"]
[14:56] <Yanmei> "Shut up. You shut up and listen." Yanmei wasn't letting go. -
[15:03] <Yanmei> "We're the ones always being shot at? By lasers, and guns, and god knows what else. We die and lose our minds, and lose parts of our bodies, and whatever else makes us whole. Even with all of that, we're still trying! We're trying our hardest! How dare you, any of you, suggest otherwise!" -
[15:07] <Yanmei> Her breathing was calming a little now, as she spoke. She took a step back, still gripping the hostage. "Rei's actions just now were wrong, but I can understand where it came from. You're not the only ones working hard. We're risking a lot too. The Operation Directors, too. How do you think -they- feel?"
[15:09] <Minaplo> [The technicians looked… Well, it was hard to perfectly describe it. They looked resentful for being so reprimanded, but they looked rather abashed, too.-
[15:09] <Minaplo> [They glanced at each other, at Yanmei. Deep breaths were taken.-
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["… Ugh, alright." Muttered one. "Look, we admit we were outta line-"-
[15:10] <Minaplo> [… But the awkward apology wouldn't get a chance to finish. The doors to the cafeteria opened, and for Yanmei, possibly the worst thing happened-
[15:11] <Minaplo> [Frederic was there, followed along by six battleship marines. They marched into the room- it looked as though Frederic had stormed down here in a hurry, grabbing whatever guards he could find on the way. As such, they were all armed- probably overarmed for the situation.-
[15:12] <Minaplo> ["Drop the knife! Hands in the air! Surrender immediately!" He barked in a sharp, clipped tone.]
[15:16] <Yanmei> "Gosselin…" It starled her, but she knew better than to turn anything other than her head at the commotion. For a second she pressed her lips together. Then, with a resigned sigh, she let the knife fall to the floor and pushed the crewman away.
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Take them away."-
[15:19] <Minaplo> [The six marines closed in, their armour and masked helmets looking intimidating and powerful…-
[15:20] <Minaplo> [Five of them rounded up the aggressive crewmen, whilst the sixth walked over to Yanmei. "Let's go, you."-
[15:21] <Minaplo> [Yanmei would see a pair of paramedics come in, too, for the downed crewman.-
[15:23] <Minaplo> [Yanmei was led off, led to an area she hadn't seen before- it was clearly a prison of some kind, with the entire area gated off with blast doors. Within there were several cellblocks.-
[15:24] <Minaplo> [Yanmei was led off to a certain cellblock, to a certain cell- the door thick metal and plastic, only a window slit at eye level proving otherwise. The slit was closed.-
[15:24] <Minaplo> [The door was opened and Yanmei was ushered inside. She wasn't alone, however- Rei was already in the cell block, sitting on a hard bench, her back to the wall, her knees drawn up to her chest, her head hung.]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Rei?" She took a few steps toward her. The trip had been a shaky one for her, first filled with anger and then, after understanding where she was being taken to, fear. -
[15:30] <Yanmei> Her… in prison. -Her-. And not just as a political prisoner, the way she had been in the Synfront, but as an actual punishment for something. What if news about this got out? What would the other workmen on the Battleship think? What would her -mother- think? -
[15:31] <Yanmei> But. Rei was here. And that at least meant having someone to talk to. a distraction, however small it might be. "They brought you here too?"
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Yeah… I-I was on my way to tell Misa-bachan, and… I ran into Frederic, who said he already knew, someone had sent an alarm up, s-so…"-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["I'm so sorry, Meimei. I shouldn't have snapped." She said, her voice full of shame. "I tried to turn the anger off, but it was so hard, and…"]
06[22:06] * Yanmei drifted closer, sinking next to her on the bench. She reached out, a little awkwardly, and patted her hand. "It's partly my fault too? For going to their table in the first place instead of getting out of there. It just escalated things. So… I'm sorry too?"
[22:07] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["It wasn’t your fault." Muttered Rei. "You said we should've moved, and…" She sighed.-
[22:08] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [She took Yanmei’s hand and held it really tightly. "You did all this to help me, and I just messed it all up…"]
01[22:12] <Yanmei> "It will be okay? It's not like it's the end of the world? We're both unharmed, and so are the rest of them… for the most part. But I bet if we apologized to that tall guy, we could smooth things over?"
[22:13] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Yeah… M-maybe."-
[22:15] <Mibbit`Haplo> [It would be about an hour before anyone came for them. The door opened, and Yanmei would see an armoured marine appear- before he stepped aside, and Alphonse walked into the cell, the door shutting behind him.-
[22:15] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Rei looked up, her face a mix of relief and horror. She squeezed Yanmei’s hand reflexively. "A-Al…"-
[22:16] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Alphonse was in his full uniform, immaculate and imposing. His hands were clasped behind his back, and he was shockingly calm. "Captain Zhang, tell me your side of the story."]
01[22:17] <Yanmei> "Yes, sir." -
01[22:22] <Yanmei> A little too calm, really. She tried to watch for hints of his true feelings. "Second Lieutenant Ayanami and myself were enjoying lunch in the dining hall, when we overheard an inflammatory conversation at an adjacent table. Rather than overlook it, we confronted the participants.-
01[22:27] <Yanmei> "Things… quickly escalated into a physical conflict. One of the offending technicians was injured, and the others were furious about it. Worried about the possibility of further escalation, I sent Rei away, and tried to resolve things myself. In fact, I had just -finally- gotten their attention and was initiating conversation when I was arrested."
[22:27] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Who landed the first blow?"]
01[22:27] <Yanmei> "…"
[22:28] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Alphonse stared down at Yanmei, not moving, not changing expression.]
06[22:32] * Yanmei shot Rei an apologetic look. "One of the men was particularly insulting. He was responsible for this, you see." She gestured to the ugly stain streaked across her blouse. "After that, Rei hit him." She paused. "It was a pretty impressive attack?" she added hopefully.
[22:33] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["…"-
[22:33] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Next to Yanmei, Rei hung her head.-
[22:34] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["I’ve just been from the hospital wing, where the technician was taken. Arm broken in three places, one rib broken and several others bruised. Utterly disgusting."-
[22:35] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Alphonse was showing his true emotion now- anger. He was still quiet, but his anger seemed to manifest almost AT-Field like, radiating off of his body.-
[22:35] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Thank you for your honesty, Captain Zhang. Your statements corroborate with other eye witness reports. It seems that you indeed tried very hard to keep the situation under control, and for that, you are to be commended."-
[22:36] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["But -you-." He turned back to Rei, and Rei started as though stung. "Never before has one of my subordinates beaten another nearly to death. He will be in hospital for weeks- if you had struck him in the head, Lieutenant Ayanami, he would be dead!"-
[22:38] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["NERV, the organisation we all work for, has a mandate to protect the planet Earth and its inhabitants. With that mandate comes powers and rights, but also duty and responsibility. Nowhere more is this manifest in our Evangelion pilots, who are given greater freedom and respect than any other military unit…"-
[22:39] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["But also have to bear those freedoms alongside their responsibilities."-
[22:39] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["In that, Lieutenant, you have -failed-. A brawl in a military outfit is one thing, but when one of our Evangelion pilots not only brawls, but instigates a fight and places another member of NERV in the hospital, that is completely unacceptable."-
[22:40] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["What do you have to say for yourself?"-
[22:40] <Mibbit`Haplo> [Rei didn’t lift her head. She didn't look him in the eye. Instead she just went, if at all possible, paler, and started to shake a little. "S… S-Sorry, Al…"]
01[22:43] <Yanmei> "They were insulting you too, Major," Yanmei blurted out. God, this was getting way too uncomfortable. "Pretty savagely? I'm sure that's one of the reasons…"
[22:44] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Alphonse tried to respond, but Rei cut in.-
[22:46] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["T-They said you were useless, and an idiot, and that you gave up Boston to protect me, and that you weren’t thinking of the battle, only about me." Said Rei, shaking her head furiously. "And they were insulting Meimei, calling her all sorts of things, saying she was 'Captain Collateral', and they insulted me, too, saying I was your 'l-little bitch'…"-
[22:47] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["That’s enough." Said Alphonse curtly. He was still angry, but to Yanmei's eyes, it seemed, as though for a second, the anger wasn't directed at anyone in the room. Actually, the comments about Rei seemed to have infuriated Alphonse nearly as much as the comments about Alphonse had infuriated Rei.-
[22:48] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Listen to me, Captain, Lieutenant- I have been insulted constantly by both superior and subordinate the moment I joined NERV, and a great deal before that as well. I have been called a jacked-up imposter, a pointless ’cerealbox', a crazed power-mad hormonal teenage fool, a wannabe Napoleon- oh, the insults I could recite!"-
[22:48] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["But never once have I beaten a man half to death over it. There’s no excuse for that."]
06[22:50] * Yanmei said nothing in response. She looked… frustrated.
[22:51] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Rei didn’t respond either. She just wrung her hands.-
[22:53] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I have spoken to the Colonel. We do not have time for this, so we are fast-tracking the process. Lieutenant Ayanami, you are to be court-martialed in three days."-
[22:54] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Captain Zhang, no punishments are being placed against you, except that you are advised to act as Lieutenant Ayanami’s counsel for this court-martial if you so choose."-
[22:54] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Unfortunately, until such a time as the court-martial is resolved, Lieutenant, our current living arrangements might be interpreted as a conflict of interest. I am afraid you will have to reside elsewhere for the time being."-
[22:54] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["…" Rei looked up, now, her face one of despair. "You’re kicking me out?!"-
[22:55] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["…" He paused. "No. I’m sorry, but this order came from the top. As your superior, I am a necessary part of the process of court-martial."-
[22:55] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["…" Rei looked away, clearly griefstricken.-
[22:56] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["Until the court-martial, you are both free to move around the ship, but Lieutenant Ayanami must have an escort at all times outside of her chosen residence. Captain Zhang, you are permitted to fill that role, but if you are unable at any time, a proxy must be chosen."]
01[23:00] <Yanmei> "I understand," she said with difficulty. "But you must know that I can’t be a witness to the case and Rei's legal counsel at the same time…"
[23:01] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["There are other witnesses." Said Alphonse.]
01[23:02] <Yanmei> "I see…" she glanced down briefly, her thoughts churning. Three days…
[23:02] <Mibbit`Haplo> [He nodded. "Then I shall take my leave."-
[23:03] <Mibbit`Haplo> [He turned for the door, which opened - before pausing. He turned back to look at Rei. "Rei."-
[23:03] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["…?" She looked up. It had been the first time he’d said her name this entire meeting.-
[23:04] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["This morning, I requested that you be promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant. I also appealed on your behalf to be awarded the de Pteres Star of Bravery, and wrote to President Linden, asking her to consider advocating you for the Congressional Medal of Honor."-
[23:04] <Mibbit`Haplo> [He looked away with difficulty. "I… Just figured you should know."-
[23:04] <Mibbit`Haplo> [And with that, he stepped out and away, his footsteps heard down the hall, then fading…-
[23:05] <Mibbit`Haplo> ["…" Rei stared at the spot where he’d been, then… Bowed her head and started to cry. Not little sobs or coughs but full, gasping -crying- with tears pouring down her face. She covered her eyes and cheeks with her hands and shook like a leaf.]
06[23:09] * Yanmei stared for a moment. It was jarring, seeing her like that… so distraught! She slowly put an arm around her. "Oh Rei, Rei. It will be okay…"
[23:10] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [Rei put her arms around Yanmei’s stomach tightly and began to sob into her shoulder. "A-Al… H-he…"]
01[23:14] <Yanmei> "He'll… He just needs a little time to think? He loves you, so…"
[23:15] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["I-I know." She shook even harder. "A-And I… I-I f-failed him! I-I f-failed his trust, I… I can’t do anything right…"]
06[23:21] * Yanmei shook her head. "Oh Rei…" But what could she even say to that? She let her cry it out. Hopefully it would clear her head.
[23:22] <Mibbit‘Haplo> [It’d take about twenty-five minutes before Rei's flow of tears eventually stemmed, and by then, Yanmei's shirt had a copious amount of water as well as steak gravy on it.-
[23:22] <Mibbit‘Haplo> ["Meimei?" She said eventually in a small voice. "C… Can I stay with you guys? U-Until the court-martial?"]
01[23:29] <Yanmei> "Of course you can? He did say that we should stick close to each other?" She was trying her hardest to ignore the damage. "Our place is small. I hope you don’t mind it."
[12:20] <@Minaplo> ["I don't mind…"]
[12:22] * Yanmei nodded. She stood up and briskly went for the door, trying the handle. "Of course, if he said all that stuff about living arrangements, it means they're going to let us just walk out of here~"
[12:28] <@Minaplo> [The door had actually not been closed since Alphonse left, so they could, in fact.-
[12:29] <@Minaplo> [Not without signing a few papers and documents first.-
[12:29] <@Minaplo> [But after that, Rei took a detour to her- or rather, Alphonse's room- where she promised Yanmei she'd only be a few minutes. Leaving Yanmei in the hall, Rei quickly grabbed some clothes and other things- although Yanmei could hear through the door Rei breaking out into more tears.-
[12:30] <@Minaplo> [By the time she was finished, Rei had two bags with her, a cat's bed basket and Nene the cat (curling up against Rei's legs). Rei's eyes were red-rimmed and puffy, and she looked utterly dejected.]
[12:37] * Yanmei tried her hardest to cheer her up. She patted her on the shoulder when she came near, and then petted Nene. "God, she's gotten big? Reminds me of…" she trailed off, finding herself facing her own unexpectedly bad feelings. -
[12:39] <Yanmei> She decided to redirect herself. "Reminds me of how much fun Lizzie and Isaiah will have with you over? Maybe we can all get some ice cream later."
[12:42] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah…" Rei smiled, although there wasn't a great deal of heart in it.-
[12:44] <@Minaplo> [Arriving back at Yanmei's apartment. It was empty, of course- Isaiah was off doing other things.]
[12:47] <Yanmei> "Make yourself at home, ok? Feel free to toss Lizzie's toys onto the big bed. Is it okay if you take hers? It should be big enough for a single adult…" -
[12:47] <Yanmei> As she chatted, she crossed the room… but she was also watching for the opportunity when Rei would turn her back to her.
[12:52] <@Minaplo> ["Alright." And Rei moved to do so, placing her bags as well at the foot of the bed, bending down- her back to Yanmei- and taking out a few things, folding them neatly and tucking them under the bed.]
[12:53] <Yanmei> Quickly, quietly, Yanmei opened the closet door a crack and peered inside.
[12:54] <@Minaplo> [Only clothes and a few odd toys…]
[12:55] * Yanmei held back a relieved sigh, and opened it up wider. "You can leave some of your things in here too, if you want? Your uniform, for example."
[12:56] <@Minaplo> ["Okay." And Rei did just that.]
[13:04] * Yanmei sat on the edge of the bed when they were done. "Want some time alone? They're jerks about you having it beyond this room, but I could always step outside whenever you feel like crying or like you want to be by yourself to think."
[13:07] <@Minaplo> ["Thanks, Meimei." Rei smiled, and sat down next to her. "But I don't want to be alone. There's only one thing I want right now."]
[13:08] <Yanmei> "…yeah?" It was easy to guess at what that was. An Alphonse to hold and forgive her…
[13:09] <@Minaplo> ["I just want Al to hold me again." Said Rei, bowing her head. "And to forgive me for screwing up…"]
[13:11] <Yanmei> Bingo. Yanmei sighed and put an arm around her the way she had in the prison cell. "I'm not him? But if you need someone to lean on…"
[13:14] <@Minaplo> [Rei leaned against her, resting her head against her shoulder.-
[13:20] <@Minaplo> ["… This isn't the first time something like this has happened." Muttered Rei. "N-Not the fight, I mean… People saying horrible things about Al and me…"]
[13:24] <Yanmei> "Seriously?" Yanmei scowled. "And this is only your first time hitting someone for it? If someone was mocking Isaiah, I'd let them have it right away."
[13:35] <@Minaplo> ["R-Really?"]
[13:37] <Yanmei> "Of course? Fortunately, they tend to leave him alone because he's pretty harmless. It's different for Alphonse because he's an authority figure."
[13:38] <@Minaplo> [Rei nodded sadly.-
[13:38] <@Minaplo> ["It… Happened a lot during the LN War, when we didn't have enough Evas and we had to fight with hit and run attacks. Because we couldn't hold the line, the LN kept advancing…"]
[13:40] <Yanmei> "I guess it effected his reputation overall, even though it wasn't his fault. Poor guy." Yanmei shook her head. There was nothing worse than that, she was sure…
[13:42] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah." Rei sighed. "He didn't want to risk us taking serious damage we couldn't repair, so at the first sign of trouble he'd order us to retreat. Some people used to say he was doing it only for my sake, and they used to call me all sorts of names."]
[13:45] <Yanmei> "What was different this time?"
[13:46] <@Minaplo> ["The last few times, I'd get angry, but either I'd calm down, or I'd get too angry and just automatically switch my feelings off for a bit." She shook her head. "This time, I got too angry, but I couldn't switch them off for some reason…"]
[13:48] <Yanmei> "…like with those mafia guys…"
[13:57] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah." Rei sighed. "For ages, if my emotions have gotten too strong, they've just turned off. It's part of my conditioning." She said. "I could resist it if I tried- like I did for my first date with Alphonse. But if it's anger or fear…"-
[13:58] <@Minaplo> ["But now it's not working properly. They don't seem to turn off automatically anymore- that fight, or in bed with Al. I don't know what's going on."]
[14:04] <Yanmei> "I don't know either." Yanmei rubbed her face. "It sounds like it'd be impossible to handle if you're not used to it?"
[14:06] <@Minaplo> ["It is." Muttered Rei. "I can handle my emotions, usually, but if they become too strong- I-I dunno how to handle it then. I'm not used to that at all…"]
[14:07] <Yanmei> "I think once you learn how to, there will be fewer incidents like this? But in the meantime we might have to get a specialist's opinion."
[14:08] <@Minaplo> ["Like who?"]
[14:10] <Yanmei> "Castillo? Or maybe someone else who knows neuroscience and psychology."
[14:11] <@Minaplo> ["Castillo-sensei, and Surov-sensei…"]
[14:13] * Yanmei made a sour face at the mention of Surov. "That should do it. Maybe ask them for an evaluation of some kind? It might clarify some things that we could use for your case too."
[14:16] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah." Rei nodded, smiling a little. "I know you'll do the best you can, Meimei. I trust you."]
[14:21] <Yanmei> "Well, I am pretty persuasive~" Yanmei tossed her hair. "I'm sure I can change the mind of any judge we'll face."
[14:24] <@Minaplo> [Rei giggled, a little. "Thanks, Meimei."]
[14:30] <Yanmei> "You don't have to thank me? We're in this together now, so you'll have to charm the pants off whoever it is too."
[14:31] <@Minaplo> ["Yanmei." Rei shoved her. "I'll only do that if it's Al."]
[14:31] <@Minaplo> <Meimei*>
[14:33] <Yanmei> "Well, I didn't mean to -literally- charm their pants off? What a dirty mind you secretly have, Rei~"
[14:37] <@Minaplo> [Rei jabbed her in the ribs. "Y-You're just teasing me to get my spirits up." She said, started to blush a little. She was smiling a little now genuinely.]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "It's not like teasing you is all that difficult?" she nudged her back. "Besides, if Isaiah came back and saw you being all gloomy, he'd think that I'd done something to cause it. Then I'd get an earful for it…"
[14:41] <@Minaplo> [… It was on that point that Yanmei would hear a knock on the door, which then opened. "I'm back- oh, Rei…"-
[14:41] <@Minaplo> [Isaiah was standing there, Lizzie holding onto his right hand.-
[14:41] <@Minaplo> ["… H-Hi, Zaizai…"]
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Welcome back." Yanmei stood up, but she didn't go to him for snuggles. It felt rude in front of Rei somehow. "It's been a long day."
[14:45] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, I heard." Said Isaiah. "Heard you guys were in a fight."-
[14:45] <@Minaplo> [Rei bowed her head. "…"]
[14:46] <Yanmei> "It's… led to a complicated situation. Rei may have to stay here for a few days."
[14:49] <@Minaplo> [Isaiah nodded.-
[14:50] <@Minaplo> [His face was hard to read, and he stepped over to them- and then he put his hands on Rei's shoulders. "It's not your fault. You stay here as long as you need to, alright? We're your family."-
[14:50] <@Minaplo> [He then pulled her up into a hug, which seemed to take Rei by surprise-
[14:51] <@Minaplo> ["… Thank you." She whispered.-
[14:51] <@Minaplo> [And there was something in Rei's posture there that finally relaxed…]
[14:54] <Yanmei> It surprised Yanmei too, but she didn't say anything about it. At least that was one comfort to come to them in the days before the trial.

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