Remember Me When I Am Gone Away Gone Far Away Into The Silen

1[15:43] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [11 AM on the 29th of January, 2017. Raphael’s apartment.-
[15:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [There was a knock on the door.]
[15:53] * Raphael glanced up from his paperback at the sound, slightly surprised by the interruption. It was his first day off in almost a month, and he’d been enjoying the relative peace and quiet of the apartment while Suzanne and Rei were shopping for last-minute supplies. Still, it's only a moment or two before he's pulling open the door, straightening his button-up shirt slightly as he does.
[15:59] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Sir Raphael! Sergeant Mana Kirishima reporting, sir~" Said Mana cheerfully.-
[16:00] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Sup, Gilly." Julien at her side, grinning. There was a long box under his right arm.]
[16:04] <Raphael> "For the last time, Mr. Lafabre, my name is not-…" He stares at them both for a moment and opts to simply shake his head. "Nevermind. What are you two doing here?"
[16:05] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Rei invited us over." Said Mana. "Oh! I took the initiative to-"-
[16:05] <@Ayanami`Rei> [She held out a handful of grocery bags… Curiously, they contained essentially everything Rei’d gone out to buy. How did she -do- that?]
[16:09] <Raphael> "… She invited you here." Raphael repeats slowly, giving the bags a suspicious look for a moment before placing them just inside the door with a frown.
[16:10] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["She did. I guess she wanted to have a bit of fun before she shipped out." Said Mana.]
[16:14] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael says, his expression softening a little at that. With a small sigh, he shifts his gaze to Julien. "You too, Mr. Lafabre?"
[16:14] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Julien nodded. "She even asked me to bring a few games and other things."]
[16:15] <Raphael> "…" Raphael’s jaw tightens ever so slightly, as if bracing for some horror to come.-
[16:15] <Raphael> A moment later he steps aside and motions them both through the door.
[16:17] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [They enter, and much like vampires Raphael should realise that he will never get them out.-
[16:17] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Nice place you have here, Gilly." Says Julien, placing his box on the dining table.-
[16:18] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Should I put your groceries away, Sir Raphael?" Asked Mana politely.]
[16:25] * Raphael shakes his head. "It’s quite alright, Sergeant. Please, go and… Help Julien with whatever it is he's got there, I suppose." He says. Speaking of which, he tries to get a look at the box he feels certain contains the tools to ruin his day off as he passes by.
[16:28] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Certainly, sir."-
[16:30] <@Ayanami`Rei> [The box itself is plain, but as Julien takes off the lid he can see the telltale sign of anime covers and decorated fantasy books…]
[16:36] * Raphael sighs through gritted teeth as he disappears into the kitchen with the bags. A minute or two later he returns, lingering in the doorway and watching the pair. "The girls should be back soon, I believe."
[16:39] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Good, good. How’s Suzie?" Asked Mana.]
[16:44] <Raphael> "She's worried about Rei leaving." Raphael says, moving into the little makeshift lounge room and beginning to clean up what little mess has accumulated since morning. "Not that I blame her. Rei's been like a sister to her over the last few months."
[16:47] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Poor Suzie." Said Mana sadly. "Maybe I should try to come around more…"-
[16:48] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Is Rei worried, too?" Asked Julien.]
[16:50] <Raphael> "Sad to leave us, maybe, but I don’t think she's actually worried." Raphael says, a smirk turning up the corners of his lips. "She's been looking forward to her new post for months."
[16:52] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["No mystery as to why." Said Mana with a grin.-
1[16:53] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["It’ll be good for her, though. Boston's a great place. She'll make plenty of friends." Said Julien. "Actually, I think I might know a few guys over in MIT who can help her out just in case."]
[16:54] <Raphael> "In case of what?"
[16:55] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Just in case she needs help. Ends up lost or feels lonely or something."]
[16:56] * Raphael gives Julien a strange look, but he nods. "… I’m sure she'd appreciate that. Thank you, Julien."
[17:04] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["It’s the least I can do. She deserves all the support she can get- I try to look out for her, you know?"]
[17:09] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael murmurs, keeping up that stare for a few more moments before continuing with his cleaning. "… Would you two like a drink while you wait?"
[17:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["I sure would, Gilly~"-
[17:11] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Yes, please~"]
[17:14] <Raphael> "Any particular requests?" Raphael says, already heading for the kitchen.
[17:18] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A beer, if you have any." Said Julien.-
[17:18] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Something soft~"]
[17:20] <Raphael> "I’ll see what I can do."
[17:21] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [By the time Raphael was pulling a beer out of the fridge and pouring a glass of cola for Mana, he’d hear two other familiar voices join those of Mana's and Julien's.-
[17:22] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "Mana-chan~ Juju-chan!"-
[17:23] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Rei! And- oh man, Suzie, what’s that you got there?"-
[17:23] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Just a few last minute things~"]
[17:30] * Raphael is there only a few moments later, setting down drinks next to Julien and Mana. "Hello you two." He says, giving Rei a stern look… that she would, by now, have enough practice to see her way past to the hints of amusement behind it. "Having a get-together, are we?"
[17:35] <@Ayanami`Rei> "We are!" She returned his mock-stern look with her own sincerely innocent smile. "You’re invited~"-
[17:35] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["I bought you something, Raffy!" Said Suzanne, rolling over and offering him a bundle of liquorice sticks.]
[17:36] <Raphael> "Attempting to bribe an officer, are we?"
[17:37] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Bribe is a dumb word." Suzanne pouted. "I think ’gift' is a lot nicer."]
[17:39] <Raphael> "Thank you, little one." He says with a grin, leaning down to kiss her on the top of her head.
[17:40] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hehe. That’s ok~" She briefly wraps her arms around his neck as best she can.-
[17:41] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["So, I think everything is about ready. Thanks for the beer, Gilly." Julien nodded in thanks. "Will you be joining us in our merrymaking?"]
[17:42] <Raphael> "… That depends on what form the merrymaking takes."
[17:43] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A friendly game?"]
[17:46] * Raphael glances past Julien and gives the anime covers a pointed look.
[17:46] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["And maybe enjoying a few choice pop culture imports."]
[17:47] <Raphael> "What do you think, Rei?"
[17:48] * @Ayanami`Rei gives Raphael a radiant smile. "Sounds like heaps of fun to me, Raffy-kun!"
[17:49] * Raphael makes a noncommittal noise at that.-
[17:50] <Raphael> "… Well, I suppose I can join this game, at least."
[17:54] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Suzanne claps quickly. "Yesssss. Eeheeeee~"-
[17:55] * @Ayanami`Rei smiles gratefully as she grabs a seat for herself.-
[17:56] <@Ayanami`Rei> [-Things- materialise from the box. Paperwork. A giant rulebook marked Dungeon and Dragons- 3rd Ed. A bulk box of graph paper. Sheets with a paper doll…]
[17:59] * Raphael eyes the rulebook mistrustfully. "This looks… rather extensive, Mr. Lafabre."
[17:59] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["It’s ok. It's all quite easy to understand!"]
[18:02] <Raphael> "Mmm."
1[18:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [About an hour later, after a lengthy and extensive rules indoctrination, they were just about ready to begin.-
[18:11] <@Ayanami`Rei> "Do you know what you’re doing now, Raffy-kun?"
[18:15] <Raphael> "I believe so." He lied.
[18:17] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["What’re you using?" Asked Mana, trying to peer over at Raphael's sheet.]
[18:28] * Raphael slides the sheet around to give Mana a better view. At the urging of the rest of the party he's taken on the role of party healer, but despite a discussion of proficiencies somewhere within the last hour's maze of rules discussion he seems to have given his human cleric a longsword and shield without the required feats.
[18:29] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hmm." Mana peers at the sheet curiously. "Hold on, Sir Raphael. You can’t take a longsword."]
[18:30] <Raphael> "… why not?"
[18:31] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["You need the martial weapon proficiency first. You only have Simple."]
[18:35] <Raphael> "…" Raphael gives her a blank look, but erases the item all the same, replacing it - and the shield - with a longspear after a few moments of flicking through the rulebook.-
[18:36] <Raphael> "How a flail is somehow a simple weapon and yet a sword is not confuses me."
[18:39] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A flail’s a martial weapon." Said Julien without looking up. He was fiddling with something behind his screen.]
[18:39] <Raphael> "Morningstar, then." Raphael says.
[18:43] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Julien grins at that, but he doesn’t take it further.-
[18:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["I’m playing a dwarf monk." Says Suzie stoutly.]
[18:46] <Raphael> "It is always best to play what you know, little one."
[18:46] * @Ayanami‘Rei breaks out into giggles.-
[18:48] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["That’s why you're playing a cleric, right? Because you always take care of people~"]
[18:53] * Raphael coughs, but says nothing further.
[18:56] * @Ayanami‘Rei continued to giggle, but she tapped her sheet. "I’m a half-elf Paladin. Does that sound ok?"
[18:57] <Raphael> "I… suppose so?"
[18:58] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Mana smiled. "Actually, that all works pretty well. I think we’re all ready, then?"]
[19:01] * Raphael nods, giving the sheet one last, doubtful read over. "It seems so."
[19:02] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "Wait, what are you, Mana-chan?"-
[19:02] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A wizard."-
[19:02] <@Ayanami`Rei> "Oh."-
[19:03] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Julien coughed. "So! You all meet in an inn…"-
[19:15] <Raphael> And so it goes. They find their way through all of the usual party introductions, although it was a struggle to make Raphael do anything more than the most basic of IC actions. The soldier seemed rather uneasy at the prospect of acting, let alone proper roleplay. Still, an hour or so later they would find themselves in the lair of a local necromancer… and battle was unavoidable.
[19:19] <Ayanami`Rei> ["And with a foul uttered word of magic, Idraley the Necromancer casts a spell of fear on Robert!" Says Julien dramatically.]
[19:22] <Raphael> It takes a bit of discussion for him to work out what this means, but soon enough Raphael would be rolling his will save… and watching it come up short.
[19:31] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Ah, too bad." Says Julien sympathetically. "Robert is hit with fear!"]
[14:08] <Raphael> And that was how he stayed for the duration of the battle. As soon as he recovered from one condition, another would land and send him cowering and forcing Suzanne’s monk to shield Robert from the necromancer's minions. He could not seem to pass a will save to… well, to save his life.
[14:08] <Raphael> But eventually, the battle would be won…
1[14:16] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["… And so Dame Cyria cuts down the foul necromancer, landing a blow for justice and holiness." Says Julien dramatically. "The darkness lifts and the battle is won!"-
[14:16] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Yay~" Suzanne reached out, giving Rei a high-five.-
[14:16] * @Ayanami`Rei giggled, returning it. "That was fun, Juju-chan. Thanks~"
[14:20] <Raphael> "I believe those dice are faulty, Mr. Lafabre." Raphael says sourly, toying with the paper doll.
[14:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Heh heh. Sorry, Gilly." Says Julien apologetically. "Sometimes the dice gods do not smile on us."]
[14:27] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael mutters, glancing over at Suzanne "Did you have fun, little one?"
[14:31] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["I did! Heaps of fun~" Says Suzie enthusiastically. "Maybe we can play more later~"]
[14:34] <Raphael> "… Maybe."
[14:37] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["But for now, why don’t we play a more traditional boardgame?" Asked Mana cheerfully.]
[14:38] * Raphael seems to brighten up a little at that, setting the doll aside. "What do you have in mind, Sergeant?"
[14:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["How about Monopoly?"]
[14:48] <Raphael> "Sounds good to me."
[14:53] <@Ayanami`Rei> "I know who can be Banker~"-
1[14:53] <@Ayanami`Rei> [The Banker turned out to be Ban-Ban.-
[14:55] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Despite this the game passed more or less smoothly. Ban-Ban sat quietly in his chair and handled the money surprisingly well, although he needed help with the amounts. Rei tried to get him to say everyone’s name as he passed out the money, which went significantly less well- after an hour and a half he'd managed "Suuuuuuzzzeee" and "Uncleeee Rafffffff".-
[14:56] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [After the game, dinner was served, cooked up by Mana- crumbed, herb pork chops with slices of bacon (for Suzie of course) and roast potatoes, with a light covering of melted cheese. It was spectacular.-
[14:57] <@Ayanami`Rei> [After that, a marathon of movies- which the others enjoyed, and Raphael endured. Or maybe secretly, deep down, he really -did- enjoy it.-
[14:57] <@Ayanami`Rei> [But before long, Suzanne was passed out on Rei’s shoulder and Rei herself was looking rather tired too. besides, the flight was early the next morning…]
[15:09] <Raphael> Raphael glanced away from the current dross that occupied his television screen - Something about princesses holding jousting tournaments in giant mecha, as far as he could tell - and watched the pair in silence for a moment with a gentle, almost sad smile. A moment later he leaned over and laid a light hand on Rei's other shoulder. "Time for you two to get to bed I think, Rei." He says.
[15:15] * @Ayanami‘Rei looks at Raphael, blinking slowly before nodding. "… Yeah, I think so too…"
[15:21] * Raphael nods. "The spare room’s set up for you, kiddo. Do you want help putting Suzie down?"
[15:24] <@Ayanami‘Rei> "Hehe. I think I can manage." Rei tucks her arms under Suzanne and lifts her up.-
[15:24] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Mmmf…"-
[15:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> "Shh, it’s ok, Suzie-chan. Come on, let's get you to bed." She turned around to smile at Mana and Julien. "Good night, Mana-chan, Juju-chan. Goodnight, Raffy-kun."
[15:26] <Raphael> "Goodnight, Rei. Sleep well." Raphael says, watching the two of them head down the hall.
[15:35] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Night, Rei~" Said Mana. "I think it’s about time I hit the hay as well…"-
[15:36] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Have a good flight, alright, Rei?" Said Julien, before turning to Mana. "Yeah? Well…" He turned to Raphael. "I think that’s my cue to head off home, too…"]
[16:09] <Raphael> "Right, of course." Raphael says, reaching for the remote and ejecting the DVD. "… Listen, Mr. Lafabre…" He says, and he gives Mana a hesitant glance for a moment before pushing on. "I wanted to thank you for tonight. I think it meant a lot to Rei."
[16:10] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hey, not a problem." Said Julien.-
[16:11] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Mana was at this point happily off down the hall after Rei, to the little makeshift bed on the floor, giving the two men a bit of privacy.-
[16:12] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Rei’s a good girl." Said Julien. "Maybe too good, actually… People like her shouldn't get wrapped up in fighting wars."]
[16:21] <Raphael> "Should anyone?" Raphael asks, staring down the hall to where the shadows of the girls were playing along the opposite wall.
[16:26] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["No." Said Julien quietly. "But it’s sad to think that she might have to take life."]
[16:32] <Raphael> "… I know." Raphael mutters, busying himself with cleaning up Julien's pile of books and DVDs that have overtaken the coffee table.
[16:36] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Julien helps, although in his case he’s cleaning up some leftover debris from dinner. "I wonder to myself sometimes whether it's worse to be a soldier, or to be the one who makes the weapons."]
[16:40] <Raphael> "Pardon me for saying, Julien, but I'm not sure how long I'd last in your career."
[16:45] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yeah…?"]
[16:49] * Raphael pauses for a moment, peering over at Julien. "… A soldier has the luxury of knowing who’s been killed at his hand. You bear the guilt, but at least you don't have to wonder."
[16:51] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["That’s about the truth." Said Julien. "Heh. Do you know what my first assignment was, back when I was a freshie?"]
[16:51] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[16:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["About eleven years ago, working with my dad and a guy called Dr. Gabriel on the earliest industrial-scale antimatter generation tech. It was my dad’s passion. See, he and Dr. Gabriel were like peas in a pod. They'd both lost their wives in Impact, and so they wanted to make the world a better place with cheap, clean and efficient energy." Julien smiled a little ruefully. "The product of their work was almost immediately turned into the N2 Weapon. My dad was horrified. They both were, actually. They tried to come up with countermeasures- I know Dr. Gabriel had a theory that a positron-charged ablative plating would nullify the effects- but they couldn't get the money. They had unlimited resources for setting up the basis of the bomb, and none to come up with the counter. Sucks, huh?"]
[17:52] * Raphael makes a sympathetic noise, abandoning his cleaning for a moment to lean against the wall. "What happened to your father?"
[17:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["He swore never to work with the UN again and accepted a professorhood at the Sorbonne." Said Julien. "He was kind of pissed when he learned that I was heading the Thruster project, but, y’know, whatever." He mumbled. "We don't talk these days, but seeing my babies protect Paris-2- including his miserable ass- makes up for it."]
[18:02] <Raphael> "You disagree with his choice?"
[18:04] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["No, his choice is fine. What gets me is that he disagrees with -mine-."]
[18:18] * Raphael nods slowly, but his eyes have narrowed a little as he stares up at the roof. "It’s a shame."
[18:21] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["That it is. Anyway." Julien offers Raphael a hand. "I’d best go before it gets too late. Thanks for the hospitality."]
[18:23] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael pushes off from the wall and takes Julien's hand. "Have a safe trip home, Mr. Lafabre. You're giving the Sergeant a ride home?"
[18:24] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [He shakes. "Yeah, once she’s done saying goodbye."-
[18:25] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ahem~" Mana cleared her throat theatrically from the hallway.-
[18:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh. Oh- right. You creep me out, how you do that. Anyway. You take care, Gilly."]
[18:26] <Raphael> "Same to the both of you. I’ll see you tomorrow."
[18:31] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Bye, sir~" Said Mana cheerfully, grabbing the game boxes and DVDs.-
[18:31] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["See you!" A door opening- then closing.]
1[17:23] <Ayanami`Rei> [The morning eventually came, sooner or later. Rei was bright-eyed and chipper as they prepared to leave- Suzanne was talking almost non-stop about one thing or another. Bags were grabbed, and beds were quickly made- showers and clothes were put on. And before long they were filing into Raphael’s car and heading for the airport. But… The atmosphere changed by then- Rei had become quieter, more pensive, and Suzanne had run out of things to say.]
[17:23] <Ayanami‘Rei> [The morning eventually came, sooner or later. Rei was bright-eyed and chipper as they prepared to leave- Suzanne was talking almost non-stop about one thing or another. Bags were grabbed, and beds were quickly made- showers and clothes were put on. And before long they were filing into Raphael’s car and heading for the airport. But… The atmosphere changed by then- Rei had become quieter,
[17:23] <Ayanami‘Rei> more pensive, and Suzanne had run out of things to say.]
[17:28] <Raphael> Raphael, meanwhile, hadn’t had much to say in the first place. Most of his attention seemed to be spent on watching the two girls talk, smiling occasionally at some silly bit of banter but otherwise remaining quiet and impassive. But now his attention is focused on the road ahead, navigating the streets of Paris-2 and turning onto the main road that lead to the Charles de Gaulle airport.
[17:28] <Raphael> Raphael, meanwhile, hadn't had much to say in the first place. Most of his attention seemed to be spent on watching the two girls talk, smiling occasionally at some silly bit of banter but otherwise remaining quiet and impassive. But now his attention is focused on the road ahead, navigating the streets of Paris-2 and turning onto the main road that lead to the Charles de Gaulle airport.
[17:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> "The roads are busy today…"
[17:35] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[17:46] <Ayanami`Rei> "…" Rei didn’t add anything to that, simply staring out the window.-
[17:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I bet you’re feeling pretty excited right now, Reirei." Said Suzanne with a grin.-
[17:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I am. It’s different to how I felt when I left Tokyo-2 for the first time, though."
[17:51] <Raphael> "Are you nervous?" Raphael asks, still not looking away from the road.
[17:56] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Yes. I was nervous back then, too, but it’s different. I didn't know what I was heading into back then, and I really didn't know what I was leaving behind. This time I know both."
[14:21] * Raphael finally looks over at that, chuckling quietly. "… You've grown up so much since then, Rei."
[14:30] * Ayanami‘Rei smiled warmly. "Thank you, Raffy-kun. I really do feel like I have, too. I think we all have."
[14:31] <Raphael> "Even me?" Raphael asks, giving her a small smile.
[14:37] <Ayanami`Rei> "Especially you, Raffy-kun!"
[14:43] * Raphael snorts, shaking his head slowly as he glances back to the road. "Be that as it may, it’s you two girls I'm proud of. Boston's lucky to have its very own magical girl, right Suzie?"
[14:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["It sure is!" Says Suzie- who had been, inquisitively, holding her hand up to the top of Rei’s head as if to measure height. Her hand snapped back to her side. "So long as they realise they're only -borrowing- Paris's." She added firmly.]
[14:47] <Raphael> "Quite right." Raphael says seriously.
[14:50] * Ayanami‘Rei giggles. "Raffy-kun, Suzie, don’t be silly." She frowned mock-seriously. "A magical girl belongs to the whole world!"
[14:51] <Raphael> "Well yes, of course." Raphael admits, keeping up that stern tone. "But to us especially, I believe."
[14:57] <Ayanami‘Rei> Rei’s frown vanished. She beamed. "Of course. A magical girl can never forget her family."
[15:04] * Raphael 's serious expression vanishes in turn, a soft smile replacing it. "… Speaking of family, did you speak to your father?"
[15:06] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I did!"
[15:12] <Raphael> "Mmm." He grunts. The car lapses back into silence for a few seconds, Raphael drumming his fingers on the wheel in that way he sometimes does when he’s tense. "I thought he might come to the airport, at least."
[15:16] * Ayanami‘Rei chuckles. "Even when I was a little girl, daddy was very busy. He was very busy today, too, which is why we said goodbye yesterday. I find it comforting, actually, because it means that even though so much has changed, a lot is still the same."
[15:19] <Raphael> "…" The drumming continues as Raphael seems to consider pressing the issue, but eventually he just nods. "I suppose so."
[15:25] * Ayanami`Rei merely smiled and looked out the window.-
[15:25] <Ayanami`Rei> [The car’s path was easy and trouble-free this morning, and before long it was pulling into the airport. Rei hopped out, put Suzie in her chair and grabbed her bags.]
[15:30] * Raphael , despite his best efforts, couldn't persuade Rei to let him help with her bags, so he's left to guide Suzie's chair gently through the carpark with one hand. She's been increasingly unwilling to let him push her wheelchair over the past few months, perhaps seeking some sense of independence. Still, this leaves Raphael rather unburdened as they cross the road and head for the airport
[15:30] * Raphael proper. -
[15:30] <Raphael> "You're sure you've got everything, Rei?"
[15:35] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded firmly as they entered the airport. "My clothes are here, my movies… My lunch. Everything I can’t or don't want to take through customs is in my Sea."
[15:38] <Raphael> "… With Ban-Ban?"
[15:39] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded. "Of course."
[15:39] * Raphael glances over at Suzie.
[15:45] <Ayanami`Rei> [Suzie giggles. "Better than putting him in a suitcase."]
[15:47] <Raphael> "That’d certainly give the baggage handlers a shock."
[15:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> "… Are you making fun of Ban-Ban?"
[15:48] <Raphael> "…" Raphael coughs gently.
[15:49] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Raffy started it."]
[15:49] <Raphael> "I was just making an observation."
[15:50] <Ayanami`Rei> "…" Rei frowns, but it’s soon replaced with a smile. "Well, they won't have to bother. All they'll have to handle is looking after little Nene." Rei beams down at her kitten's little cage. "We're going on a big flight, Nene, so please be patient."
[15:54] <Raphael> "I'm sure they'll take good care of her, Rei." Raphael says, watching the little face peering out at the airport from inside the carrier.
[15:54] <Raphael> «Him*»
[15:56] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Mew."-
[15:59] <Ayanami`Rei> "Good." Said Rei firmly. She shot a glance towards a schedule clock. "Should we check in, Raffy-kun?"
[16:01] <Raphael> "We should." Raphael says, nodding towards the desk and leading the way.
[16:07] <Ayanami`Rei> [A quick check-in, made far smoother by Rei’s credentials, led them through to the airport mall.-
[16:07] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Still another 30 minutes. I’m a little thirsty- is it ok if we find somewhere to sit in the food court?"
[16:12] <Raphael> "Of course. We'll get you something to eat as well if you'd like, Suzie." Raphael says, giving the girl a knowing look.
[16:18] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yay!"-
[16:18] <Ayanami`Rei> As they approached the food court, however, Rei’s eyes fell on a certain someone with a little gasp.-
[16:18] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Hands folded in front of his mouth, a cup of steaming coffee sitting in front of him, was her father.]
[16:24] * Raphael ’s gaze falls on him a moment later, and the sight makes something about his posture subtly shift - shoulders squared, jaw a little tighter, eyes narrowed just so… all of a sudden he looks guarded. Still, he manages to look over and give Rei a smile, showing little of the hesitation he feels. "… Maybe more has changed than you thought."
[16:30] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Yeah… Raffy-kun, let’s sit with him!"
[16:32] <Raphael> "Of course, Rei." Raphael says, gesturing for her to take the lead.
[16:36] * Ayanami‘Rei quickly headed over to the table, placing Nene on its top. "Good morning, daddy!"-
[16:36] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Good morning, Rei. How are you feeling?"-
[16:36] <Ayanami`Rei> "Excited, of course!"
[16:37] <Raphael> "Good morning, sir." Raphael says, lingering a few steps behind Rei with Suzie at his side.
[16:39] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Good morning, Guillory. Thank you for bringing Rei to the airport."]
[16:43] <Raphael> "Quite alright, sir." Raphael says evenly. He looks from the Commander to Rei for a moment, before laying a gentle hand on Suzie’s shoulder. "Why don't we see about getting you some food, little one?"
[16:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ok!"-
[16:47] <Ayanami`Rei> "See you in a minute." Rei turned to her father. "I didn’t expect to see you here, daddy."-
[16:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I have to make a flight to Hamburg, so I decided I’d drop in whilst it was on the way."-
[16:48] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Oh. Important?"-
[16:48] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Quite. How are you doing? Are you all ready?"-
[16:48] * Ayanami`Rei nodded. "I am, daddy."-
[16:53] <Ayanami`Rei> [He nodded approvingly. Quietly, he reached out, patting her on the head. "Whatever happens, I want you to stay safe."-
[16:53] * Ayanami`Rei smiled broadly, chuckling a little. "I will, daddy."-
[16:54] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Good girl." He stood up, patting her again. "Your mother’s worried. I am, too. So -be careful-. I love you."-
[16:54] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I love you too, daddy."-
[16:54] <Ayanami`Rei> ["…" He smiled. "I have to go, Rei. Take care."-
[16:54] <Ayanami`Rei> "You too, daddy."-
[16:54] <Ayanami`Rei> [A final nod- before he headed off himself.]
[17:01] <Raphael> It would be a few minutes later before Raphael and Suzie would return, Raphael carrying an extra box of chips and a bottle of orange juice that he sets down in front of Rei. He glances over at the chair Gendo occupied only a short time earlier before taking it for himself. "Your father had to go?"
[17:05] * Ayanami`Rei nodded, taking the juice gratefully. "He has to go to Hamburg."
[17:07] <Raphael> "It was good of him to come by, at least." Raphael says, checking his watch absently.
[17:11] <Ayanami`Rei> "Yeah. He told me to take care of myself."
[17:16] <Raphael> "…" Raphael falls silent at that, his fingers starting to tap against the tabletop without him even seeming to notice. "… Only a few more minutes now."
[17:19] <Ayanami`Rei> "…" Rei gripped her orange juice and took a sip. "Should we head to the gate?"
[17:21] <Raphael> "Not just yet." Raphael says gently, giving the two girls a long look. "… You’ve got someone picking you up from the airport?"
[17:21] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Al-chan was going to pick me up."
[17:22] <Raphael> "And your apartment is ready?"
[17:23] <Ayanami`Rei> "Yeah. I’m staying with Al-chan."
[17:25] * Raphael nods slowly. "And you've got your phone with you?"
[17:25] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded, taking it out of her pocket.
[17:26] <Raphael> "Ok… Good." Raphael says, looking at her and her alone now. "That’s good."-
[17:26] <Raphael> "… It'll be quiet around here without you, Rei."
[17:32] * Ayanami‘Rei looked down at her hands for a moment, being a little still, before looking up and smiling, with very gentle, sad eyes. "It’ll be very quiet without you and Suzie around, too."
[19:57] <Raphael> "Will you be alright, kiddo?"
[20:06] * Ayanami‘Rei smiled bravely. "I’ll be ok, Raffy-kun. I'll be with Al-chan, and we'll take care of each other, just like we have here. But if I'm not, I know you're not too far away. A phone call to you, Raffy-kun, or you, Suzie-chan, and you'll both be here before I can blink."
[20:09] <Raphael> "That's right." Raphael says, seeming a little more at ease for that. "Captain Wellesley is someone I trust to watch over you, but remember that, ok? One phonecall and I'm there… -We're- there."
[20:18] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Raffy-kun, please be careful, ok?" She said seriously. "I want to know that you’ll both be safe…"-
[20:19] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["Raffy’ll look after me and himself both." Said Suzie firmly. "And I'll look after him, too."]
[20:22] <Raphael> "The great samurai pilot." Raphael says with a smile. But still, his eyes are grim as he meets Rei's stare and nods.
[20:29] <Ayanami‘Rei> Rei’s, however, are… Well, not 'happy', but hopeful and warm. "It'll work out, Raffy-kun."
[20:31] <Raphael> "Of course it will." Raphael says gently, but his gaze flicks down to his watch again and he lets out a quiet sigh. "Alright. We'd best get you to the gate, hmm?"
[20:34] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Y-Yeah…"-
[20:34] <Ayanami`Rei> [Suzie was quiet, trying to fight the impulse to look down into his lap.]
[20:35] <Ayanami`Rei> <Her*>
[20:38] * Raphael gets to his feet and gives them both a sympathetic look. "C’mon, you two. It's ok."
[20:41] * Ayanami‘Rei stands, picking up Nene as she goes. "Right, Raffy-kun."
[20:46] <Ayanami`Rei> [A quick trip to the gate, putting Rei’s bag and her adorable pet into the trusty hands of the flight luggage crew along the way… Only a few minutes, now. They stood outside the gate.-
[20:47] <Ayanami‘Rei> The boarding call went over the airport’s PA. "… That's my flight."
[20:55] <Raphael> "Yes it is." Raphael says, turning away from the wide glass windows to look at Rei quietly for a moment… before pulling her into a tight hug without another word.
[20:58] * Ayanami‘Rei was already well on her way to doing exactly that in her mind, and by the time she puts her arms around Raphael she’s already sniffing. "I-I'll miss you, Raffy-kun…"
[21:02] <Raphael> "Hey now…" He murmurs, patting her gently on the back and showing very little of the awkward, stiff-armed clumsiness that had defined his attempts at comfort in their early days. "It'll be ok, Rei. I'll miss you too."
[21:06] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded a little. "You… You’ve always been so good to me, Raffy-kun… T-Thank you for everything…"
[21:14] * Raphael chuckles a little at that. "There's no need to thank me. You and Suzie have made me happier than I've been in a long time."
[21:18] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I’m glad." Another sniffle, and she shook her head, her grip tightening- before loosening a little. "Y-You're like a father to me -and- little Suzie-chan. I-I've already told the other Ayanamis that they can speak to you if they need help, because I trust you."
[21:21] * Raphael 's grip loosens in turn, but not before he gives her a small kiss on the top of her head. "… That's fine, kiddo. Happy to help."
[21:28] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I-I know that you’ll do what's best by them. They're a little fragile, so be careful, and they're very different from me sometimes. But they all mean well, and if you let them they'll grow very fond of you."
[21:29] * Raphael nods. "Don't worry. I'll do what I can for them."
[21:31] * Ayanami‘Rei nodded, blinking back tears. "I know."-
[21:32] <Ayanami`Rei> She turned to look down at Suzie now, kneeling down and pulling the girl into a tight hug. "I’ll miss you, Suzie-chan. Please be strong for me…"-
[21:32] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne was trying not to cry herself, her face screwed up- but when Rei held her the tears started to come. "Y-you come back for my birthday, alright?"-
1[21:32] <Ayanami`Rei> "I promise."-
[21:32] <Ayanami`Rei> ["And Bastille Day?"-
[21:32] <Ayanami`Rei> "Of course!"-
[21:32] <Ayanami`Rei> ["And Christmas!"-
[21:33] <Ayanami`Rei> "I’ll try! You look after Raffy-kun, alright? I'll try to send some shows home for the two of you to watch. Make sure he watches them, alright? It's important that he gets the proper diet of culture."-
[21:33] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I-I will!"]
[21:35] <Raphael> "You’re finding a way to torture me from across the sea, Pilot Ayanami."
[21:36] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzie laughed through her tears.-
[21:36] <Ayanami`Rei> "I am not! It’s important, so that when you make Misa-bachan your wife, you won't have too many problems." She said sternly.
[21:38] * Raphael sputters slightly.
[21:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> "It’s important." She added, but then giggled. "You make sure to tell me everything that goes on, ok, Suzie-chan?"-
[21:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> ["I promise. I’ll write, ok?"-
[21:42] <Ayanami‘Rei> "Ok!"
[21:44] <Raphael> "C’mon," Raphael said gently. "Rei's going to miss her plane at this rate."
[21:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne clung to Rei defiantly for another minute… Then reluctantly let go, the tears streaming down her face. "I-I’ll see you soon, Reirei." She said firmly.-
[21:46] <Ayanami‘Rei> "I know." Rei straightened up and put on her brightest smile. "Goodbye, Raffy-kun, Suzie-chan. Please keep safe!"
[21:49] <Raphael> "Of course." Raphael says, finding his way over to Suzie and giving her shoulder a squeeze. He looks Rei in the eye one last time, the sadness visible there now no matter how hard he tries to hide it… but he allows himself a little smirk. "Say hello to Captain Wellesley for us."
[21:52] * Ayanami`Rei begins to walk off- quickly having her boarding pass checked before heading down the ramp.-
[21:52] <Ayanami`Rei> She turns, once, twice, three times, waves enthusiastically over and around the people streaming onto the plane…-
[21:53] <Ayanami`Rei> Then she’s gone.
[22:03] <Raphael> The two remaining figures watch for a long time, mostly in silence. They watch the airplane taxi away from the jet bridge and down the tarmac. They watch the plane grow smaller and smaller as it accelerates away from Paris-2, before simply disappearing in a cloud bank. Finally they simply stand and watch the foot traffic on the ground below, still not speaking but managing to draw comfort
[22:03] <Raphael> from one another’s presence and from knowing that they’re sharing the same sense of loss.-
[22:04] <Raphael> But eventually there’s nothing else to watch. Rei Ayanami is on her way to Boston.-
[22:04] <Raphael> "… are you ok, little one?"
[22:06] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne watched Rei- her big sister if there ever was one- leave- leave for a faraway country, for events and reasons she only dimly grasped. She had cried for much of this, but now that Raphael had turned his attentions back towards her she straightened up, took a deep breath, and looked up at Raphael with some of her characteristic stubbornness. "Rei’ll come back, right?"]
[22:10] * Raphael smiles faintly. His eyes are dry, and will almost certainly stay that way, but he can feel the sadness like a weight on his chest. He finds it hard to breathe. But he smiles, and there's conviction there. "I'm certain."
[22:10] <Ayanami‘Rei> [Suzanne nods.-
[22:10] <Ayanami`Rei> ["Then… I’m ok." She says firmly.]
[22:14] <Raphael> "Good." Raphael says, giving the skies above Paris-2 one last look before taking Suzie by the shoulder and leading them both back out into the bright sunlight.

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