She Said Sisters Against Seele

[13:36] <Yanmei> It was cold. Cold enough to see vapors in the air when she breathed.-
[13:41] <Yanmei> Still, Yanmei did the best with what she had, curling up on the backseat of her car and and staring ahead at the dim country scenary visible through the windshield ahead. Clutched in her hands was an open cell phone, the only light in the car. She had been staring at the picture displayed as the wallpaper.-
[13:43] <Yanmei> It was of a deceptively dignified looking fellow in an air force jacket and glasses. "Am I a coward?" she mumbled to herself. Why couldn't she be more like him?
[13:44] <Ariadne> [… A phone rang. Not the one she was holding. A different one.]
[13:46] * Yanmei winced. Someone from school? NERV? If it was, she should act like it was all right. She snapped her first phone closed, and sat up to retrieve her bag and rummage through it. Which phone? Her personal one, or NERV?
[13:50] <Ariadne> [Her personal one.]
[13:56] * Yanmei took a deep breath. Flipped it open and pressed the little talk button. "Hey~ This is Yanmei! What can I do for ya?"
[13:56] <Ariadne> "Yanmei?" Ariadne's voice. It sounded a little worried.
[13:58] <Yanmei> "Ariadne? Hi." She didn't like the concern in her voice. It made her nervous, as if she already knew that something was up. "It's pretty late at night for a phonecall, you know. Aren't you disturbing Dorian with it~?"
[14:00] <Ariadne> "Yanmei." Said Ariadne tightly. "Where are you?"
[14:03] <Yanmei> "…" There was an extended pause on her end. So much for that. "It's not like I'm running away or anything?" she mumbled. "I just needed a night to think."
[14:04] <Ariadne> "D-Did something happen? Dorian said you vanished off half the surveillance maps…" A pause. "H-He didn't tell Marianne, but he told me to go see if you were ok."
[14:07] <Yanmei> "I guess I'll have to apologise to him later, huh?" Guilt. She started to move around, opening her car door. "Look, I'll drive someplace less rural. Less difficult to watch. I don't want you guys worrying about me."
[14:09] <Ariadne> "…" A pause. As if Ariadne didn't want to be overheard. "Look… Why don't you stay where you are, and I'll go drive out to you and keep you company?"
[14:11] <Yanmei> "You want to?" She looked around at her cramped surroundings, and felt a brush of shame.
[14:14] <Ariadne> "Sure, hon. I'll bring us some wine or something."
[14:15] <Yanmei> "A-alright." She began to mumble the directions.
[14:21] <Ariadne> [About 30 minutes later, Yanmei would hear… And feel, in some ways, Ariadne and her car pull up next to her's. A few minutes later she'd receive a rap on the window.]
[14:28] * Yanmei stirred again, and sat up, a dark shape in the car's interior, squinting through the window at the figure lurking outside. For not the first time since coming here, she remembered the people who had been trying to hurt her lately, and hesistated. Finally, she gathered her nerve, and opened the door. "Ariadne?"
[14:32] * Ariadne was standing there, in a NERV uniform, the jacket buttoned up due to the chilly cold. "Heya, hon~" She had a few bottles of… Stuff in a plastic bag. "Mind if I come in?"
[14:33] * Yanmei moved over to make room, patting the space she left with a hand.
[14:35] * Ariadne stepped inside, sitting down and putting the bottles down by her feet. "Whew. Kinda chilly, huh?"
[14:42] <Yanmei> "Sorry. I could turn on the heat for a bit?" She wasn't being a very good hostess, was she? If only she had a blanket…
[14:42] <Ariadne> "Aw, it's ok! It's up to you. I'm happy with whatever."
[14:44] <Yanmei> "Hm. Give me a minute." She looped her bag over her shoulder and opened the door on her side. A moment later, and she was in the driver's seat, turning the key and touching a button or two on the dahboard. Glorious warm air whooshed from vents in the front and back interior of the car.
[14:46] <Ariadne> "Ahhh~ That's -much- nicer." She shed the jacket now, revealing her simple black t-shirt. A moment of rustling later, and Yanmei would find two cups full of brandy sitting in the central compartment. "Miss Ariadne's medicine for a broken heart~"
[14:49] * Yanmei helped herself. "Broken heart, huh?" She sipped, and gave a small, grateful smile and uttered a 'thank you'. It did feel warm going down. Suddenly the unbearably cold car felt much better.
[14:52] * Ariadne shuffled, slinking into the front seat with perhaps a modicum less grace than she would've liked. "So…"
[14:57] <Yanmei> "So." She swirled her glass just a little. "I guess you're curious."
[14:57] <Ariadne> "Curious?" Ariadne seemed indecisive. "Not exactly. I -am-. But I'm more worried, you know? You don't usually react like this…"
[15:02] <Yanmei> "… no. I guess I don't." She didn't quite flush with embarassment, but she looked… uncomfortable. "I'll head home soon. Just… not tonight. I can't. And I didn't want to barge into someone else's place either. I suppose maybe I should have tried. Rei would probably let me stay with her but…"
[15:04] <Ariadne> "Nah, I get it. You just want a bit of time to yourself." She sipped at her glass. "You and Isaiah didn't have a fight or anything, did you?"
[15:06] * Yanmei shook her head. "He's been great to me. Incredibly cheerful lately too." So depressing. She shook her head, trying to break free from those feelings. "It's not because of him. But it concerns him."
[15:13] <Ariadne> "Yeah…?"
[15:22] <Yanmei‘> "…" Yanmei hesitated again. "You’re a UN attache. How much do you know about the upcoming pilot selection decision?"
[15:23] * Ariadne scratched her chin. "I heard they'd started candidate selection…" She frowned. "Oh God, it's him, isn't it?"
[15:25] <Yanmei> "It's not as big a shock as that. Remember a while ago, when I -begged- you to take me with you to work so that I could meet some of your bosses? There was a reason for that."
[15:26] <Ariadne> "…" A mouthful of brandy. "You wanted to figure out how to stop 'em."
[15:29] <Yanmei> "There's a way, but I suffered a major setback tonight. Commander Fontaine…"
[15:30] <Ariadne> "Oh no…"
[15:33] <Yanmei> "Oh yes." She took a big swallow. It burned her throat now, and she almost coughed. "Now I…" she cleared her throat uncomfortably. "Now I don't know… Ugh. I can't face him like this."
[15:35] <Ariadne> "…" Ariadne put her cup down, reached over and grabbed Yanmei into a hug. "You have nothing to be ashamed of, hon."
[15:40] * Yanmei shifted to keep her drink from spilling at the jolt. "It's not shame. Not shame alone. I could handle that. But this…" she grit her teeth.
[15:41] <Ariadne> "… I get it. You're scared…"
[15:44] <Yanmei> "Shame. Fear." She acknowledged them with nods, her gaze lowered. She swallowed hard. "Also… a-also failure. I tried, Ariadne, I really did! I tried my hardest, but I couldn't do anything!"
[15:46] <Ariadne> "…" Ariadne held Yanmei a little tighter, pulling her a little closer. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I really, really am. If I'd known, I'd try to help out…"
[15:56] <Yanmei> "I had help. From President Mazarin and Gilles de Orleans, but it wasn't enough…"
[16:07] <Ariadne> "It isn't fair." Said Ariadne, suddenly angry, her voice fierce. "This stupid fucking war takes the people we love and ruins them. They go away and come back broken or worse. Why Isaiah? He's such a sweet boy. W-Why the goddamn hell do they have to ruin him too? Why can't they leave enough alone? It's not fair. It's not fair!" She downed her brandy angrily.
[16:14] <Yanmei> Yanmei took another long drink herself… although… it couldn't really compare to her guest's. "There's still the selection meeting itself, but… the odds are against success."
[16:17] <Ariadne> "The Council all vote the same way." Muttered Ariadne. "Assholes… Is there any chance you can be transferred to wherever he's going?"
[16:19] <Yanmei> "I don't know. I'd be surprised if they'd let me get away with that. They'd have to switch 04 out with another unit and pilot."
[16:20] <Ariadne> "What about one of those Reis?"
[16:21] <Yanmei> "Yeah, whenever their EVAs are completed. The one that Isaiah's using? It's nearly completed." Her gaze hardened. "They'd likely send him out right away."
[16:23] <Ariadne> "Ugh." Ariadne poured herself another cup of brandy. "Not. Fair." She downed it with shocking speed, giving a certain Captain a run for her money. "Is there anything we can do?"
[16:29] <Yanmei> "Hm." She sagged. "I'd have a shot if I could convince de Orleans to vote differently. Fontaine too…"
[16:29] <Ariadne> "Could we speak to 'em?" She topped up Yanmei's cup.
[16:32] <Yanmei> "That… didn't work so well with her. With him?" she looked away. "If it goes wrong again, it'll be over…"
[16:32] <Ariadne> "We can't do nothing…"
[16:35] <Yanmei> "If you fall off a bike, you get right back on again." A fresh wave of fear rolled over.
[16:36] <Yanmei> ^over her
[16:36] <Ariadne> "That's right. If even we have a tiny chance…"
[16:39] <Yanmei> "…" In the dim lighting of the parked car, Yanmei suddenly looked haggard. "I have to try," she mumbled to herself.
[16:44] * Ariadne nodded firmly. "We promise to do it, right? To look those assholes in the eye, and say, 'Piss off. These are -our- loved ones, go away'." It was almost as if she was talking to herself.
[16:47] <Yanmei> "You'll back me on that, huh?" Yanmei grinned a little, searching her face for sincerity.
[16:47] <Ariadne> "'Course." Said Ariadne. "We're the SAS! Sisters Against Seele!"-
[16:48] <Ariadne> "… Er, seals? I dunno why I said that, seals are cute." She giggled sheepishly.
[16:48] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei stared. "…" She placed her empty glass down carefully. "You… know about Seele?"
[16:50] <Ariadne> "Huh? What?" Ariadne stared at Yanmei. "… No?" She tried hopefully.
[16:52] * Yanmei tsked and gazed at her expectantly.
[17:03] <Ariadne> "… Shit." She rapidly started to drink another cup of brandy. "Listen, just… Just forget that. We can be the Comrades against the Committee instead." She nodded firmly. "W-We need to focus on protecting Isaiah and Dorian."
[17:05] <Yanmei> Diversion successful. "W-wait a minute. What's this about Dorian and needing protection…?"
[17:06] <Ariadne> "Hey now, don't be cheeky."
[17:08] <Yanmei> "You really set yourself up for it you know," she grinned a little bit more and leaned back in her seat. "More seriously? Isn't he, ah… safe right now?"
[17:10] <Ariadne> "Ah, well…" She stared at her mysteriously full cup of brandy. "The Committee-" She stressed the word- "Have put him on review because they want to hold an inquiry to see if he's doing a good enough job. If he isn't…"
[17:14] <Yanmei‘> "What review? Why?" she was a little alarmed now. More than a little. "Haven’t we been winning?"
[17:16] <Ariadne> "We have. It's just this general review, you know?" Said Ariadne. "Like, a yearly progress check where they go over everything. But I'm kinda worried still…" She frowned. "So much damage recently, and it's piling up on the checkbooks…"
[17:18] <Yanmei‘> "Like…" Yanmei frowned. "Like a regular evaluation? But what about us, the people working under him. Won’t we at least get interviewed about it? We could support him."
[17:19] <Ariadne> "Right. Right. Marianne is gonna put in a good word." Said Ariadne. "But I asked him if I could help…"
[17:21] <Yanmei‘> "Let me guess. He declined?" Yanmei sighed. Clueless Dorian. Some of the things he did almost went beyond the symptoms of unresolved sexual tension. Almost.
[17:24] <Ariadne> "’What? Get your help? You don't know anything about warfare though'." Mimicked Ariadne. "'Stop hovering over my shoulder like I'm some weakling! I don't need help!'" She growled. "I lost my virginity to that asshole and this is how he treats me? I should put laxatives into his drinks." She sighed. "I don't get it. We almost made up in Tokyo-2."
[17:29] <Yanmei‘> "I knew it! You two were missing all the time, so naturally, it wasn’t hard to put together what happened." Yanmei frowned a little. "Seems like you've fallen for a pretty insecure guy, though, just stating the obvious."
[17:31] <Ariadne> "Yep. A jerk too." She downed another cup. "I tried -really really- hard in Tokyo-2, you know? Restaurants and movies and stuff, just doing what he wanted or just being together and we were -this- close…"
[17:32] <Yanmei‘> "What… what happened?"
[17:35] <Ariadne> "He heard about the dumb stuff that happened in the MP-Pilot room and freaked. I told him that it wasn’t his problem and we should just relax, but no, he had to go -right then-. Yelled at me for being frivolous…" She stared down at her feet.-
[17:35] <Ariadne> "I wasn't being frivolous at all…"
[17:37] * Yanmei‘ reached out and patted her hand sympathetically. "Sorry for that. Is it a pattern you’d say? Him getting into a foul mood because of his job? We were supposed to be on vacation, but it just seems like he got stressed out anyway…"
[17:41] <Ariadne> "Yeah. It's like…" She sighed. "It's like, so much of him hinges on that job, you know? It's a lot of what he thinks is his identity, so for him it's really important. He doesn't ever want to risk being seen as bad or incompetent, because to him it'd just ruin his whole… Yeah…"
[17:49] <Yanmei‘> "Hmmm. So this review. If it goes badly, it’d pretty much wreck him?"
[17:49] <Ariadne> "Yeah…"
[17:53] <Yanmei‘> "And if it goes well? Maybe he’ll loosen up a little. I don't think he's done anything to suggest that he's not a good Operations Director."
[17:54] <Ariadne> "I don't either, but he's one of those people who sees success as the norm, so…" She sighed, but smiled at Yanmei. "Sorry. This was supposed to be me cheering you up."
[17:58] * Yanmei‘ shook her head, smiling back. "You already did. Thank you for the liquor. And the company."
[17:59] <Ariadne> "Hehe, it’s ok, hon." Said Ariadne. "So… Are you gonna spend the rest of the night out here, or are you feeling good enough to head home?"
[18:02] <Yanmei‘> "…" She almost cringed. "Home, huh? Um…"
[18:03] <Ariadne> "It’s pretty cold." Observed Ariadne. "I bet it'd feel really nice to just snuggle up to Isaiah, nice and snug and warm…"
[18:06] <Yanmei‘> "M-maybe tomorrow. And we don’t snuggle."
[18:09] <Ariadne> "Well you totally should." Said Ariadne firmly. "Anyway." She leaned back in the chair. "If you're not going home, then… Do you wanna crash at my place? Or do you want me to go away?"
[18:10] <Yanmei‘> "You… don’t mind?" she gazed at her with widening hopeful eyes, the chill and loneliness of the backseat still fresh on her mind.
[18:11] <Ariadne> "'Course not. It's just me and my good friend Jack back at the apartment."
[18:12] <Yanmei‘> "Jack? Oh, you mean…" Yanmei smiled a little. "Er. Are you sure you’re okay to drive?"
[18:12] <Ariadne> "… Aw, shit." Ariadne stared at the half-full brandy bottle. "…" She grabbed her mobile phone, dialled a number.-
[18:15] <Ariadne> "Gosselin, you busy?" … "What? Since when have you and Gagnier been dating? Why did no- oh, right, right, ok." She hung up, opened it again and dialled another number. "Heeeey~ Felix! You're a lonely old man, right? Can you do me a favour?" … "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. I'll give you the directions. I'll leave 'em under the front left tire. Thanks~" She hung up. "Dr. Castillo-Delgado's gonna drive my car home. So you can drive me home~"
[18:18] <Yanmei‘> "Can do!" She brightened a little at the thought of it, and turned around in her seat. "So you’re on good terms with the good psychologist, huh? Don't you think that'd come in handy?"
[18:18] <Ariadne> "He knows how to drink like a veteran."
[18:19] <Yanmei‘> "He… does? Huh."
[18:19] <Ariadne> "He’s a pretty sweet old guy, though." Said Ariadne cheerfully. "Take me homeeeeee~"
[18:22] <Yanmei`> "Okay, okay." She turned on the engine, and shifted gears, and messed around with her mirror. "Next stop: home."
[18:23] <Ariadne> "Music time~"

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