She Said But Just As Often We Coordinate And Cover Each Othe

[13:37] * Yanmei caught the familiar sounds long before she opened her eyes. The sound of conversation in distant French, the rattling of metallic carts muffled too by a door, the steady ping… ping… ping… of an electronic device to monitor someone's vitals up close to her ear.-
[13:39] <Yanmei> She was tired, and she hurt all over. Her skin felt raw against the hospital sheets, and she was vaguely aware that the tightness in her chest and burning feeling in her eyes suggested that she should cry. She had to open her eyes, though, first, to see if she was alone enough to.-
[13:40] <Yanmei> So she did. Slowly.
[13:43] <Dorian> [She wasn't. Sitting at the bedside with a haggard and worn expression was none other than her beloved Isaiah. When she woke up, he smiled, reaching out to take her hand. "Hey."]
[13:46] * Yanmei blinked fast. "Isaiah!" Of course he would be there. Her throat felt raw and itchy too.
[13:50] <Dorian> [He reached out and touched her face gently with his other hand. He didn't say anything.]
[13:52] * Yanmei smiled at him… but a little crack began to appear in it. "G-god. How bad was it this time?"
[13:53] <Dorian> ["Not too bad, sweetheart. Not too bad at all."]
[14:00] <Yanmei> "Hah," she whispered bitterly, and shuddered. "Seriously? Well, even if that's true…"
[14:02] <Dorian> ["It-"-
[14:02] <Dorian> There was a knock on the door.
[14:03] * Yanmei glanced over at it. Dr. Clement, perhaps? She decided to try sitting up. "Come in!"
[14:03] <Dorian> The door opened to reveal a certain OD sitting in a wheelchair. "I see you're awake."
[14:05] <Yanmei> W-whoops. This was a little awkward. For a moment, she almost considered playing dead, but now that he had seen her awake and talking that simply wouldn't work. She tried on a smile. "Hello, Colonel."
[14:08] <Dorian> "Yanmei. How're you feeling?"
[14:10] <Yanmei> "Just fine, of course." She sat up a little straighter as if to prove it, trying to douse that feeling of shame that was starting to burn through the center of her chest. "How… ah. Are things?"
[14:11] <Dorian> "We'll talk about that in a minute. Isaiah, could you leave us?"-
[14:12] <Dorian> [Isaiah glanced back at Yanmei worriedly. It was obvious he'd only leave if she were willing to let it happen.[
[14:12] <Dorian> ]
[14:14] * Yanmei hesitated, and then nodded, giving his hand a quick, reassuring pat and smiling. It wasn't as if Dorian would throttle her while he was gone or anything. Heh heh… heh.
[14:15] <Dorian> ["Alright. I'll see you in a minute, ok?" He bent down and gave her a firm kiss.]
[14:16] * Yanmei kissed him back. "Of course! See you later." She waved him off cheerfully.
[14:17] <Dorian> [He dithered for a moment, then glanced at Dorian before he left.-
[14:17] * Dorian rolled over to Yanmei's bedside. He was quiet.
[14:19] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei was quiet too. For a little while, anyway. "Colonel?"
[14:19] <Dorian> "Yes?"
[14:20] <Yanmei> "There's something you wanted to say?"
[14:21] <Dorian> "You first. Anything you want to say?"
[14:26] <Yanmei> "Me?" She was carefully avoiding looking at him. Her mouth tensed a little. "I… don't know what to say? Isaiah said things turned out okay, but… honestly, how bad are they?"
[14:29] <Dorian> "Not as bad as they could have been. The Angel was defeated." He paused. "Or rather, EVA-04 ripped off the parasite Angel, and Blanc made contact with the main host and persuaded it to act peacefully. It fled soon after. EVA-04 then resolved to destroy the other Evangelions. It failed, although it did significant damage to Unit 01's new F-Type equipment first."
[14:32] <Yanmei> "Oh. Well. That's not too bad," she said a little stiffly. "It… was convinced to act peacefully? Really?"
[14:33] <Dorian> "Yes. I'm rather dubious myself." Said Dorian. "But apparently it was rather dazed and off-guard by the events. I can't be convinced that it won't return to attack us at some later point, but for now it seems to be keeping away."
[14:39] <Yanmei> "Hm." She drifted back into silence, imagining the things the higher ups would have said about this before gathering her resolve again. "Does the Commander know about what happened?"
[14:39] <Dorian> "Yes."
[14:40] <Yanmei> "Her reaction?"
[14:42] <Dorian> "She felt it was fortunate that the damage hadn't been more significant. Even the repair bill was better than expected. Nevertheless, she's given orders that should Shoftiel reappear within a hundred miles of Paris-2 we shoot to kill. She expressed concern for your well being."
[14:44] * Yanmei snorted loudly. And then caught herself too late. "I mean, how nice." She smiled
[14:45] <Dorian> "We're lucky." He didn't comment on her disrespect.
[14:53] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glimpsed down at her hands. "About the promotion," she said at last.
[14:54] <Dorian> "What about it?"
[14:59] <Yanmei> "It wasn't, well…" she toyed with her words, trying find a good fit and failing. "Would it be considered a mistake?"
[15:01] <Dorian> "Why do you say that?"
[15:07] <Yanmei> "As far as debuts went, it was chaotic at best? The berserking, the awful teamwork, the…" she remembered her own screaming horror at the point that her memories cut off, "…other things?"
[15:09] <Dorian> "What could you have done better, Yanmei?"
[15:12] <Yanmei> "I don't know? Something…" she said vaguely.
[15:14] <Dorian> "I want you to think hard about that. Think back to the very start of the mission, as the three of you put down. What could you have done better?"
[15:24] <Yanmei> "Um." She frowned down at her hands, thinking in earnest now. "We didn't really test it to see what it was capable of? Blanc had what was effectively a sniper rifle, so we could have retreated as far as we could and tried a test shot before advancing on it. It wouldn't have made us aware of -everything-, but we at least would have known that it could teleport and could have planned our cover better."
[15:28] <Dorian> "That's one way. A good idea." Said Dorian, nodding slowly. "Ultimately, Yanmei, that sort of thinking is important. You need to be able to think like that. You need to be able to realise the situation and see how you can use your resources to overcome the enemy. You need to know your own abilities and limits, as well as the abilities and limits of the enemy, and how to use that to your advantage."
[15:31] <Yanmei> "It's easy to come up with something like that in hindsight, though," she mumbled. "At the time? It never occurred to me at all."
[15:51] <Dorian> "It'll come to you in time." Said Dorian. "I wasn't expecting you to become Sun Tzu in your first battle. That's why I'm here." He reached out and patted Yanmei's shoulder. "The most important thing you can do is to make sure you coordinate your team."
[15:57] <Yanmei> "Easier said than done," Yanmei murmured, although she brightened a little at a thought. "Would it be appropriate to make Blanc and de Pteres dress alike and sleep together and perform dance routines over and over for this?"
[15:57] <Dorian> "Hah. Maybe. We'll see. But Yanmei, you can't be afraid to give orders, even something like 'let's pull back', or 'pin it down'."
[16:02] <Yanmei> "I guess." she frowned a little. "Somehow, though? We've always gotten by without one person giving orders over everyone else. So it's a little strange."
[16:03] <Dorian> "And you can't say, throughout your entire career as a pilot, you have at some point been frustrated by that? Everyone doing their own thing."
[16:10] <Yanmei> "That… happens sometimes," she admitted grudgingly. "But just as often, we coordinate and cover each other without being asked. Like a natural thing? Well… maybe not -just- as often. But it happens."
[16:11] <Dorian> "Then you need to have the courage to make sure that when it doesn't work, you'll be the one to bring the cats together."
[16:15] <Yanmei> Her frown had turned less thoughtful and more doubtful now. "I can try?"
[16:17] <Dorian> "You'll do it."
[16:21] <Yanmei> That jolted her back to reality, in a sense. She had already taken the position, and there were people who had vouched for her in order to make that happen. She couldn't back out now, even if she wanted to. "Yes," she said finally. "I'll figure it out."
[16:22] * Dorian nods slowly. "I know. You remember what I said about knowing the abilities of your own people, yes?"
[16:24] <Yanmei> "Yes?"
[16:25] <Dorian> "Exactly." He took off his sunglasses. "I wouldn't have chosen you to be the team leader if I didn't think you could do it. I know my people."
[16:31] <Yanmei> "Heh. After hearing something like that, I think I'm -obligated- to say that I won't betray your expectations." She looked up and focused on him. "But I do mean it. I won't mess up again."
[16:40] <Dorian> "Good. I know you won't." He smiled. "I suppose I should let you rest now? I know Isaiah's eager to get back in here."
[16:43] <Yanmei> "If he were a shadier person, I'd suspect him of hovering outside the door and eavesdropping." Yanmei sighed. "He's terribly innocent, though? Would you let him know that it's okay to come back in?"
[16:45] <Dorian> "Of course." He nodded. "Get some rest. Dr. Clement will let you go soon, but he wants to make sure it's alright." He wheeled about and headed through the door, calling out to Isaiah as he did so.-
[16:47] <Dorian> [And a few seconds later, he was back, closing the door behind him. "How'd it go?"]
[16:49] <Yanmei> "Better than expected. Not that I was worried? I knew he'd understand."
[16:52] <Dorian> [Isaiah sat down on the bed, swinging his legs up, putting an arm around her. "You -were- worried. Don't be silly."]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "Hm." A noncommital sound. She moved in a little closer to him. "He didn't demote me or anything. Actually… do you think my mother will be proud when she hears of this?"
[16:57] <Dorian> [Isaiah smiled. "But of course she would. I am."]
[17:00] <Yanmei> "Then I'll have to do my best for her too. And you, naturally~"
[17:01] <Dorian> ["Of course." Isaiah smiled, laying his head on her shoulder. "I was… Worried."]
[17:03] <Yanmei> "Sorry." she seemed a little sad at that, as a matter of fact. She ran a hand through his hair.
[17:05] <Dorian> ["It's not your fault." He said, nuzzling into her neck. "I just… It felt… The berserk. It…"]
[17:06] <Yanmei> "You felt it that time?" She raised her head, alarmed.
[17:10] <Dorian> ["Yeah…"]
[17:12] <Yanmei> "How… h-how intensely? I thought that because I was knocked out…"
[17:14] <Dorian> [His grip tightened. "…I felt everything. I felt… I felt so incredibly, incredibly lonely that all I wanted to do was kill."]
[17:16] <Yanmei> "N-no.' She shook her head. "No, y-you can't!" Her own grip tightened. "You can't be able to…"
[17:23] <Dorian> ["It… it's alright." He said. "It… It passed. I'm normal now. I'm ok." He mumbled. "Nothing bad happened…"]
[17:25] <Yanmei> "It's not alright! It's not!!"
[17:26] <Dorian> [Isaiah shrank back for a moment, shock and worry written on his face. "Y-Yan…"]
[17:29] <Yanmei> "I'm s-such an idiot!" She didn't withdraw herself, but she covered her face briefly with her hands. "Everything… e-everything we worked so hard for with de Orleans and Mazarin… after all that, you're still…?"
[17:32] <Dorian> ["Sweetheart…" Isaiah put both arms around her and held her tight. "Yanmei. I'm -safe-. I'm ok. I felt that, but it's been the only time so far." He rested his forehead against her hands. "Please…"]
[17:35] <Yanmei> "N-no. During Eden, you also got hurt. I -know- you did."
[17:37] <Dorian> ["N-No…" Isaiah shook his head. "I was worried during Eden, but I wasn't hurt, Yanmei. I was fine…"]
[17:40] <Yanmei> "No?" She dared to look at him again, wondering if it could be true.
[17:42] <Dorian> ["I felt you panic, at one point. Really, truly panic. You were so… So worried about me. I concentrated as hard as I could on good things. On our love, the time we've spent together, so you'd feel all of that and calm down. A-And you did. You did, you felt it and calmed down." He murmured, taking her hands away from her face. "S-So if… If it happens again, I'll try to do the same thing, ok? And maybe you'll feel it again."]
[17:46] <Yanmei> "Yeah.. yeah," she was struggling to transplant some of his calmness into herself now. "I'm such a… a wreck today. Yeah. Yeah, you're right."
[17:58] <Dorian> [Isaiah merely cuddled up to her. "Let's get some rest, alright? It'll be ok in the morning." He gave her a very long and gentle kiss, focusing as hard as he could on tranquility and peace. How he hated to see her so upset and agitated…]
[18:02] <Yanmei> "Rest. Yeah." Maybe she would feel better. She was already starting to calm, and… she tried to reciprocate, drawing on as much warmth and concern for him as she could. "Let's sleep a while?"
[18:03] <Dorian> ["Yeah." He reached about, flicking off the light switch at the side of the bed. The room was shrouded in darkness- she could feel him and his warmth yet. "Goodnight, sweetheart."]
[18:05] <Yanmei> "Goodnight, Isaiah." For a while she stared into the darkness trying to think around a small seed of a concept that was forming itself around this conversation, but then sleep took her before she could properly make much sense of it.

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