Take Down The Love Letters From The Bookshelf

[16:37] <@Alphonse> ["… And it was only after S2 called that someone went around and let Hyuga out."-
[16:38] <@Alphonse> [Raphael's car sped along the road, Misato behind the wheel, grinning. Raphael was in the passenger's seat. It was night out, the stars twinkling in the clear sky.]
[16:45] <Raphael> "I'm surprised he wasn't demoted after all that." Raphael is smiling as well, keeping his eyes on the road ahead without any hint of fear at Misato's slightly wild style of driving… although his hand is wrapped around the armrest rather tightly. "I almost feel sorry for him."
[16:49] <@Alphonse> ["Well, he has friends in high places~"-
[16:50] <@Alphonse> [She missed a turnoff, and resolved this issue by making a shocking sudden swerve that broke all of the road rules. All things considered, it's fortunate the road was mostly deserted.]
[16:55] * Raphael 's grip on the armrest tightens even further, and he winces as they come within a meter of sideswiping a parked van. "… Maybe I should have been the one to drive."
[16:55] <@Alphonse> ["Relax, I have it under control~"]
[16:56] <Raphael> "So I see."
[16:56] <@Alphonse> [It wasn't long before they were back on the intended path.-
[16:56] <@Alphonse> ["So, what's this about a paintball match then? I keep hearing about it."]
[17:01] * Raphael lets out a low laugh at that. "It was a team-building exercise the Colonel and I drew up for our respective units." He says with a smirk. "Or it started that way. By the end I think a few of us may have become a bit too involved in it all…" But his expression seems to suggest that he doesn't consider this a bad thing.
[17:05] <@Alphonse> ["Oh…?"]
[17:06] <Raphael> "I believe the Colonel attempted to pistol-whip Sergeant Kirishima at one point."
[17:14] <@Alphonse> ["…?! That's extreme, Raffy-kun."]
[17:21] <Raphael> "… Mmm. But there was no harm done." Raphael murmurs. "You know, on any other day brawling with my superior officers would have seemed unimaginable, but at the time it just felt…" A frown as he tries to find the right words. "Perhaps it's just been a long time since I let myself play."
[17:23] <@Alphonse> ["Hmmhmm." She grinned, leaning over to pat his thigh. "Raffy-kun, finding how to have fun again~ That makes me happy. The idea of you also trying to punch a superior officer also makes me happy. You'll forgive me if I try to picture you roundhouse kicking Ikari, right?"]
[17:24] <Raphael> "Just this once." He says, giving her a smile.
[17:31] <@Alphonse> [She grinned. "You know, if you're into that sort of thing, you should come by Tokyo-2 sometime and play with our local security chief. She and her team are big fans of the game."]
[17:35] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "Is that so? I'll keep it in mind, but I wonder if we'd ever be able to find the time."
[17:36] <@Alphonse> ["Of course we will. Once everything's a bit quieter."]
[17:37] <Raphael> "… Right." He says, suddenly a little more subdued.
[17:42] <@Alphonse> ["…" She snickers. "Lighten up, Raffy-kun~ We're almost there.-
[17:43] <@Alphonse> [Before long, they're coming up onto the destination- a bar/restaurant, more a restaurant with an extremely well-stocked bar, called Chez Demesne. "Ooh, it looks nice."]
[17:46] <Raphael> "It does, doesn't it? I've driven past it once or twice before, but I've never visited. Captain Gosselin says it's one of the nicer venues in the city."
[18:43] * Raphael shakes his head. "Why don't you just drop me off here? There's no sense in you going to all the trouble of finding a space."
[18:44] <@Misato‘> "Hm, why not?"
[18:45] <Raphael> "Well it’s not as though you're staying…" Raphael says, glancing over at her with a perplexed look.
[18:46] <@Misato‘> "I’m not…?"
[18:52] <Raphael> "You're-…" He peers at her closely, looking for that giveaway glint in her eye… and finds it after a moment of searching. He sighs. "… You set me up, hmm?"
[18:58] <@Misato‘> "It was Captain Gosselin’s idea, actually~"
[18:59] <Raphael> "… And how did he know about the two of us, exactly?"
[19:01] <@Misato‘> "… Oh, well, you know." Misato fiddled slightly with the steering wheel. "That Sophie Gagnier is just so good at finding things out."
[19:02] <Raphael> "And you like to gossip." Raphael added, with the barest hint of a smile.
[19:04] <@Misato`> "Oh, well… It- well, a double date sounded like a good idea! Definitely."
[19:07] <Raphael> "A double date." Raphael says flatly, feeling his heart sink. Still… well, he supposed it could be fun, even if the idea of publically dating a superior officer sent a portion of his brain into a frenzy of disapproval. "… There are worse ways to spend a night, I suppose."
[19:10] <@Misato`> "Gee. You make a woman feel so wanted." Said Misato, equally flatly.
[19:16] * Raphael coughs, and points to an empty parking space a short distance ahead. "… Pardon."
[19:17] <@Misato`> "Aha! Excellent~ You’re forgiven. But I'll have my eye on you~" She pulled the car smartly into the space and stepped out.
[19:23] <Raphael> "Naturally." Raphael murmurs as he follows her out, locking his door behind him. He's dressed for the evening in a pair of neat, dark jeans and a pale blue dress shirt patterned with white pinstripes.-
[19:25] <Raphael> He steps up onto the pavement behind her and seems to wrestle with himself for a moment or two before he reaches out and gives Misato a quick hug around the shoulders. "I didn't mean anything by it. You know I'm happy to spend time with you."
[19:35] * @Misato‘ beams, any sort of threatening expression vanishing at Raphael’s hug. She's wearing a smart red coat over a tight black skirt and dress button-up shirt. "I know you didn't. It's ok, Raffy-kun~ I'm not mad."-
[19:36] <@Misato‘> "… You -are- very cute when you’re scared though."
[19:36] <Raphael> "… I was hardly -scared-, Major."
[19:38] <@Misato‘> "You totally are. I can smell it." She coughed. "’Oh I hope no one sees me dating my superior~'"
[19:39] <Raphael> "…"-
[19:39] <Raphael> "We should probably get inside." Raphael mutters.
[19:42] * @Misato‘ giggled as they went.-
[19:46] <@Misato`> [On the inside, their ears were proverbially caressed as gentle ambience music played. The restaurant was comfortably peopled- enough to feel warm, but not so many as to feel crowded.-
[19:46] <@Misato`> "Do you want to talk to the maitre’d, or should I?"
[19:57] <Raphael> "I'll handle it."-
[19:57] <Raphael> Raphael steps up to maitre'd's podium and gives the headwaiter a nod. "Good evening, sir. We're here for… Well, I -believe- we should have reservations." He says, glancing back at Misato for confirmation.
[19:58] * @Misato‘ nods.-
[19:58] <@Misato`> ["And under what name is your reservation made, sir?"]
[20:00] <Raphael> "Raphael Guillory."
[20:00] <@Misato`> [He checks his records. "Ah, yes. A joint booking with ’Gosselin'?"]
[20:01] <Raphael> "That would be it, yes."
[20:02] <@Misato‘> ["I will lead you to your table, sir."]
[20:08] * Raphael gives the man a nod and offers Misato his hand.
[20:16] * @Misato` beams and takes it.-
[20:17] <@Misato`> [The man leads them to a table, where, quite visible, are sitting Frederic and Sophie, chatting animatedly and sitting very close together. Frederic is wearing a smart, crisp dark blue shirt with black trousers, and Sophie, a dark red dress.]
[20:32] * Raphael nods politely as they draw close enough. After thanking the maitre’d he pulls out Misato's chair and waits for her to sit before finally taking his own. "Hello Lieutenant Gagnier, Captain Gosselin."
[20:38] <@Misato‘> ["Hey, it’s Group Captain Guillory!" Frederic stood up, offering Raphael a hand. "How's it going?"-
[20:38] <@Misato‘> ["Hello, Captain Guillory. You look nice, Misato~"-
[20:39] <@Misato`> "Thanks." Misato sat, grinning. "I didn’t want to dress up too much in case Raffy-kun realised…"
[20:42] * Raphael gives Misato a dark look - the effect of which is quite muted by the smile he's still wearing - as he stands again to shake Frederic's hand. "Well, sir, thank you. Were you in on this little trap?"
[20:44] <@Misato‘> ["Yes, although it was Sophie’s idea."]
[20:47] * Raphael chuckles. "Naturally." He says as he looks over at Misato. "Lieutenant Gagnier got quite… involved in the paintball skirmish, too. I saw her physically hurl Pilot Blanc into the ground at one point."
[20:48] <@Misato‘> ["Twice." Said Sophie eagerly.-
[20:48] <@Misato`> "…" Misato’s eyebrows are raised in astonished amusement. "Sounds like you guys were playing for keeps."
[20:49] <Raphael> "There were stuffed toys to be won, ma'am." Raphael says with utter seriousness.
[20:52] <@Misato‘> "Ooh, really~? Did you win any?"
[20:55] <Raphael> "No, but Yanmei won the toy version of the Colonel, and we had no luck prising the other away from Sergeant Kirishima. It’s on her desk now, I think."
[20:57] * @Misato‘ grinned. "I see she still has a desk."
[20:58] <Raphael> "There were orders, ma’am."
[20:59] <@Misato‘> "Hehehe…"-
[20:59] <@Misato`> ["So, you and the Major, huh, Captain Guillory~?" Asked Sophie.]
[21:02] * Raphael coughs awkwardly. Straight to the point, wasn’t she? "Er…" This was it. This was where he had to admit it outright. He could show no weakness, no hesitation. "… Yes ma'am. Yes. Quite."
[21:03] <@Misato‘> ["I bet that must be fun. The thrill of dating a superior officer~ The forbidden fruit hanging over your heads as you-"-
[21:03] <@Misato`> ["Aren’t I a superior officer?" Asked Fred curiously.-
[21:03] <@Misato‘> ["You weren’t when we started dating, so you don't count."-
[21:03] <@Misato‘> ["Ah."]
[21:08] <Raphael> "Yes, it’s… certainly interesting." Raphael says carefully. This was not the topic he had wanted to open with. "Don't you think, Misato?"
[21:09] <@Misato‘> "It’s funny." She says happily, looking supremely comfortable. "Raffy-kun is like a toffee, but he's covered in sour sherbet. He gets so worried about it all~"
[21:10] <Raphael> "… I'm not entirely sure what that means."
[21:11] <@Misato‘> [Sophie opened her mouth.-
[21:11] <@Misato`> ["So! We should probably get some drinks or something. Boy, am I thirsty." Interjected Frederic quickly.]
[21:13] * Raphael glances at Sophie for a moment, giving the Captain a curious look, but he nods. "I wouldn’t mind one either, to tell the truth."
[21:15] <@Misato‘> "Why don’t you and Fred go up and fetch us drinks, hmm~? We'll stay here and talk. Chop chop."
[21:17] <Raphael> "Fine, fine." Raphael says, all mock-resignation. "Did you want something in particular, Majo-… no, pardon. A silly question."
[21:19] * @Misato‘ gives him a look that would no doubt be familiar to him now. "Some red wine, actually~"
[21:20] <Raphael> "Fair enough." Raphael nods. He gets to his feet, waiting a moment for Fred before heading off to the bar.
[21:21] <@Misato`> [Fred gets up too, taking Sophie’s order ('They sell martinis, right?') before following on.-
[21:21] <@Misato‘> ["I hope Sophie isn’t making you too nervous."]
[21:23] <Raphael> "No, no. It's not her fault." He says with a shake of his head. "The idea of becoming involved with a superior officer just required a lot of work to even consider. It's just taking a while to get used to it."
[21:31] <@Misato‘> ["Well, she seems pretty forgiving." Says Frederic with a smile. "And I wouldn’t worry. NERV's fairly forgiving of that kind of thing too."]
[21:33] <Raphael> "They'd have their work cut out for them if they wanted to be strict, from what I've seen."
[21:36] <@Misato‘> [Fred chuckles. "What can I say? NERV employees are a different sort of person. I think people are a little surprised when they see how, well, irreverent and flippant we can be. But it’s precisely because we have such harrowing duties that we're like that at all."]
[21:42] * Raphael nods. "It's a perfectly reasonable reaction. It was a common enough reaction for the people I worked with during my UN service, but I must say that the NERV staff really have it down to an artform."
[21:44] <@Misato‘> [Fred laughs. "It’s either that or go insane, I guess. I admit, sometimes I think we go overboard, but what the hell. We're NERV! We save the world, now give us our drinks… Or something."]
[21:47] * Raphael lets out a snort of laughter as they draw up to the bar. "I can't say you haven't earned them, sir." He says, nodding as the barman looks his way. "And on that note, would you like to order first?"
[21:48] <@Misato‘> ["I certainly would. Could I have one martini, please, and a glass of scotch?"-
[21:48] <@Misato`> ["Yes, sir. May I ask your name?"-
[21:48] <@Misato`> ["Gosselin’s account."]
[21:53] <Raphael> "And I'll have a bottle of red wine please, sir." He peers at the wine list on display and points to one of the mid-range selections. "And that will be on the Guillory account."
[21:56] <@Misato‘> ["Yes, sir."]
[13:30] * Raphael watches the bartender retreat to deal with another set of customers, electing to take a seat on one of the stools while he waits. "I hope there are no hard feelings about the paintball match, Captain."
[13:43] <@Misato`> ["Ahahaha. No no, we’re cool, we're cool. It's not like you killed me or anything."]
[13:50] <Raphael> "Good, good." Raphael murmurs with a smile. "… It was rather lucky I got that shot off during our scuffle. I get the feeling I only had surprise on my side in close-quarters."
[13:51] <@Misato‘> ["You’re pretty tough, too. I was honestly expecting to drop you with that kick."]
[13:53] <Raphael> "Luck, really. Even with a glancing hit my ears were ringing for an hour."
[14:01] <@Misato‘> ["Well, I admit, that makes me pretty bloody happy." He grins.]
[14:07] * Raphael chuckles. "Happy to help. So… if it’s not too forward, may I ask where you got your training? I admit, I hadn't really expected you to be so proficient."
[14:15] <@Misato‘> [He snickered. "The kicks, the punches, the weaves come from my dad, actually. He was trained in all kinds of hand-to-hand combat styles. Boxing, kickboxing, Judo, Muay Thai- Hell, he was 40 by the time he had me, and according to mum he spent most of those years learning how to punch people real good. Everything else is Naval Commando training."]
[14:23] <Raphael> "… You were a Green Beret?" Raphael asked, obviously impressed.
[14:28] <@Misato`> ["Before NERV offered me a job, yeah."]
[14:30] <Raphael> "Did you see much combat?"
[14:31] <@Misato`> ["Yeah, I saw my fair share." Said Fred. "Naval Commando teams were a favourite for UN SpecOps. Hell, we’ve probably served together at some point and never realised it, eh?"]
[14:51] * Raphael nods slowly. "… So what made you say yes to NERV then, sir? Your bridge team is amazing, but it's very different work."
[14:57] <@Misato‘> ["You know, that may be a difficult question to answer… Maybe. Well, ok. For one, the pay’s better." Fred grins. "Secondly, it meant I could be back home with my little brother." A dark look crosses Frederic's face at the mention of that. He rallies a second later, though. "Thirdly, it was a change of pace. Now, I was good at my job. I'm not gonna lie. But when you're told that you're being asked to help out with tactics and leadership for a giant robot squad, well… There are some jobs you just cannot refuse."]
[15:05] * Raphael blinks at the momentary change of expression, but leaves it at that. Perhaps it was a question for another day. "Fair. It's certainly put you in rare company, sir." He says with a thin smile. "And has it been what you were hoping for?"
[15:05] <@Misato‘> ["Far more, Sir Raphael. Far, far more." He grins. "Oh, tonight’s going to be fantastic."]
[15:10] <Raphael> "…" Another of those sinking feelings as the finely-honed alarm bells in his head begin alerting him to incoming danger. "… Do you think so, sir?"
[15:10] <@Misato‘> ["Oh yes. You’ll see. It'll be awesome. Heehee."]
[15:11] <Raphael> "… For a moment there I thought you were on my side, Captain."
[15:12] <@Misato‘> ["Technically, I’m on my side."]
[15:12] <Raphael> "I'm noticing that now, yes."
[15:13] <@Misato‘> [He clapped Raphael on the back. "Don’t worry. Relax a little. You're at a nice restaurant with a beautiful woman, you know."]
[15:14] <Raphael> "Exactly, sir. It's the perfect trap." Raphael says grimly.
[15:14] <@Misato‘> ["Some traps are worth springing."]
[15:16] <Raphael> "… As you say, sir."
[15:17] <@Misato`> [The Barman returned, bearing a bottle of wine, a glass of scotch and a fancy cocktail glass of martini. "Here we are, sirs."]
[15:23] <Raphael> "Ah, thank you." He says, accepting the wine and a pair of glasses to go with it. "I suppose we shouldn’t leave our partners waiting, Captain?"
[15:23] <@Misato‘> ["A good idea. Let’s get back."]
[15:25] * Raphael nods, leading the way back through the other patrons with his alcoholic loot.
[15:25] <@Misato‘> [Misato and Sophie were quite into conversation when they got back, laughing openly.-
[15:26] <@Misato`> ["… And it was so cute, it had a picture- oh, you’ve probably never seen her, but I know you've seen Ayanami Rei, right?"]
[15:28] * Raphael keeps quiet as he returns to his seat so as not to interrupt the conversation, but he sets one of the wine glasses out in front of Misato and fills it without a word. The mention of Rei has his attention, though.
[15:29] <@Misato‘> "Why don’t you tell Sophie and Fred about your tie, Raffy-kun?"
[15:37] <Raphael> "Oh, uh…" Raphael rallies a little faster in the face of discussing their relationship this time. Perhaps he's improving? "Misato gave me a lovely custom tie for Christmas that has cartoon versions of Rei, Suzanne and I down the middle of it. It's wonderful work."
[15:50] <@Misato‘> ["Eee. It sounds so cute~" Says Sophie enthusiastically. "I’m kind of sad you didn't bring it, now…"]
[15:52] * Raphael chuckles awkwardly. "It didn't really match tonight. Perhaps I can show you at another time…"
[16:03] <@Misato‘> ["You should bring it into work!"-
[16:04] <@Misato`> "Hey, that’s an idea." Says Misato brightly. "Ooh, thanks for the wine~"
[17:05] <Raphael> "Not a problem." Raphael says to Misato with a smile. "And, uh… I can certainly try."
[17:06] <@Misato‘> ["That’s great~"-
[17:06] <@Misato‘> ["So. How did the two of you meet? Here you go, sweetie." Fred gives Sophie her martini.]
[17:08] <Raphael> "Well… it wasn’t really anything too out of the ordinary. The Colonel was having a small get-together at her apartment, and Misato happened to be one of the guests. And the only other one who could hold her liquor, as a matter of fact."
[17:09] <@Misato‘> "Although, she wasn’t the Colonel back then. She was just a captain."-
[17:09] <@Misato‘> ["Oh right, because…" Began Sophie, but cut off, frowning down at her drink.-
[17:09] <@Misato`> ["…"]
[17:13] <Raphael> "…" The silence drags on for a while, Raphael sipping at his wine with a neutral expression. But after it becomes clear that nobody else intends to break the deadlock, he steels himself and tries to bring the conversation back to something more pleasant - for them, at least. "… well, after everyone else had drank themselves into a stupor, we really had no choice but to talk to one
[17:13] <Raphael> another. Luckily for us both it wound up being rather good conversation."
[17:15] <@Misato`> ["… Oh yeah? What didja talk about~?"]
[17:17] <Raphael> "She was rather keen to guess at how much time Captain Wellesley spent on his hair."
[17:19] <@Misato`> "I- don’t say it like that." Muttered Misato. "I was just- he was- he's, you know. Annoying." She said firmly.
[17:19] <Raphael> "If you say so, ma'am."
[17:24] <@Misato‘> "A-Anyway. We had plenty of fun. He also- that is, Raffy-kun- got rather presumptious. Didn’t you~?"-
[17:24] <@Misato‘> ["Oooh." Sophie leaned forward, provoking a grin from Fred.]
[17:25] * Raphael winces, letting out a sigh. "… surely they’ve heard about that. Everyone else in Paris did."
[17:27] <@Misato‘> ["Ooooh." Sophie grinned. "Is this the part where you kissed her?"-
[17:27] <@Misato`> [Fred’s eyebrows rose. "Oh -right-. I'd forgotten. With the tongue and everything…"]
[17:28] <Raphael> "W-what? … there was no-" He glances at Misato. "… Was there?"
[17:32] <@Misato‘> "I remember tongue."
[17:32] * @Misato` has a deadly serious expression on her face as she says this.
[17:33] <Raphael> "…"-
[17:34] * Raphael coughs and takes another sip of wine.
[17:37] * @Misato` smirks.-
[17:37] <@Misato`> ["So… That’s where it all started? A drunken kiss?"]
[17:38] <Raphael> "… More or less. As I said, it's not much of a story."
[17:40] <@Misato‘> ["Uh-huh." Sophie grinned. "So where did it end?"]
[17:43] * Raphael sips. "With me finding Misato a taxi so that she could go home, ma’am."
[17:43] <@Misato‘> ["… What, really?"]
[17:44] * Raphael chuckles as he sets down his glass. "Really."
[17:45] <@Misato`> "That’s true."-
[17:45] <@Misato‘> ["… Huh."-
[17:45] <@Misato`> ["What is it, Sophie? You almost sound surprised he’s a gentleman."-
[17:45] <@Misato‘> ["No no, that’s not a surprise at all. You can tell just by looking, it's just- you know, the sweep of passion, the inhibitions gone~"]
[17:49] * Raphael gives Sophie a momentarily blank look, debating whether to bring up the slap that had followed before quickly discarding the idea. "… What about you and the Lieutenant, sir?"
[17:56] <@Misato‘> ["Well, we met at work, of course." Said Sophie.-
[17:57] <@Misato`> ["The Old Colonel introduced us, and with the New Colonel we just sort of worked together." Said Fred, grinning. "Of course, Marianne was busy a lot of the time, so it came down to just us two…"-
[17:57] <@Misato`> ["Lots of long, lonely hours on night shift together…~"]
[18:16] <Raphael> "… Ah." Raphael says, nodding politely and hoping that they had at least left someone else to watch the bridge.
[18:19] <@Misato`> ["Don’t worry, sir." Said Fred. "We were very responsible about it all."-
[18:20] <@Misato‘> ["We were! We’re professionals."]
[18:22] <Raphael> "Of course, of course. I didn't mean to imply otherwise."
[18:26] <@Misato‘> ["We’d just undo all the restraints on EVA-04 and hope it'd take care of any problems." Said Sophie brightly.]
[18:27] * Raphael is concentrating very hard on his wine in the hopes that Misato would change the subject.
[18:34] <@Misato‘> "W-What? Seriously…?"-
[18:34] <@Misato`> ["No, no. It was a joke." Said Sophie with a grin.-
[18:34] <@Misato`> ["That would be ridiculous."]
[18:39] <Raphael> "… More wine, Misato?" Raphael cut in, offering her the bottle.
[18:40] <@Misato`> "Yes, please~"-
[18:40] <@Misato`> ["So, what’s the Superheavy Regiment like, Raphael?" Asked Sophie curiously.]
[18:45] <Raphael> "It's definitely interesting work." Raphael says, refilling Misato's glass. "Now that we've had some time to build up a rapport with the Thruster Division the whole unit's a little less… err, chaotic might be the word. With funding from the President we've almost brought ourselves up to a complete compliment of the Dreadnaughts."
[18:50] <@Misato‘> ["Oh really? Well, that’ll be a help. I still remember how you performed in that battle with the Sixteenth. Oh, say. Did that other one turn out ok? The one who got thrown into space." Asked Sophie.]
[18:53] <Raphael> "Sergeant Favager? She was shaken up for a while after we recovered her, understandably enough, and they held her for observation for some head injuries, but she's made a full recovery. She was one of the soldiers I brought to the paintball game, in fact."
[18:54] <@Misato‘> ["Oh! Right. I remember her. She shot me."]
[18:54] <Raphael> "Me too." Raphael grins.
[18:56] <@Misato`> [Sophie giggled. "Ooh, that reminds me. I hope I didn’t come off as too crazy or anything, did I?"-
[18:56] <@Misato‘> [Fred coughed, and took a sip of scotch.]
[18:57] * Raphael follows suit and takes a quick sip of wine as a way to buy himself time. "Of course not, ma’am. Just… enthusiastic."
[18:58] <@Misato‘> ["Oh, good."-
[18:58] <@Misato`> "From what I hear, enthusiasm was the order of the day."-
[18:59] <@Misato`> ["Oh, it was." Says Fred. "I think we were all pretty damned enthusiastic about it. Especially the Colonel, frighteningly enough."]
[19:00] <Raphael> "… I noticed that, actually." Raphael says slowly. "I’d never taken the Colonel to be so competetive."
[19:02] <@Misato‘> ["She is." Says Sophie earnestly. "She pretends not to be, because-"-
[19:02] <@Misato`> ["’The enemy can't win if he doesn't know he's competing'." Finished Fred. "Goddamnit, that was a hell of a week."]
[19:05] <Raphael> "What week was that?"
[19:06] <@Misato‘> ["It was a week back when we were all Lieutenants." Said Sophie darkly. "Actually, back when the Old Colonel was a Captain, too. He wanted to see which of us had the best qualifications to be his XO. So he told us we’d be competing."-
[19:07] <@Misato‘> ["Well, we thought it’d be, you know. 'Oh, on this date and that date, we'll be together and do wargames' or something." Said Fred. "Not Marianne. So for one entire week it was goddamned -war-. By the end of it I was afraid to take a shower."]
[19:11] <Raphael> "She was that bad?" Raphael murmured disbelievingly… But then he remembered that look in her eyes on those rare occasions when he'd been subjected to her wrath and it didn't seem so hard to believe. "What did she do, exactly?"
[19:12] <@Misato‘> ["Do you know how Dr. Riel has a pet tiger cub?"-
[19:12] <@Misato`> ["More of a tiger these days. The thing’s bigger than my car." Muttered Sophie.]
[19:13] <Raphael> "I've heard about it, at least…" Raphael says, frowning a little at the mention of Riel.
[19:14] <@Misato‘> ["Well, Dr. Riel’s pretty protective of 'Felix', as the cat's called." Said Fred. "She was super protective back then. If it went out of her sight, she'd drop everything and go looking for it until she found it. So Marianne stole the tiger, continually, hiding it wherever she could."]
[19:15] <Raphael> "… What purpose did that serve?"
[19:16] <@Misato‘> ["Well, that’s just it. Eventually, Dr. Riel is talking to Marianne, and Marianne innocently suggests, 'Why don't you put a chip in it so you can track it with a computer?' So she does."]
[19:17] * Raphael winces, finally sees where this is going. "… oh dear."
[19:17] <@Misato‘> ["So I’m in the shower…"-
[19:17] <@Misato‘> [Sophie is already giggling, and Misato is grinning.]
[19:22] * Raphael is chuckling quietly in between mouthfuls of wine.
[19:27] <@Misato`> ["Now, I dunno how, but she’d snuck the tiger in before I'd gotten in somewhere… And given it a bit of meat, so it was occupied for quite awhile. Now, the damned thing was known for being…"-
[19:27] <@Misato‘> ["Sociable." Said Sophie.-
[19:27] <@Misato`> ["’Sociable'. So once it finished its meat…"]
[19:28] <Raphael> "It came to you." Raphael finished, his laughter significantly less controlled now.
[19:29] <@Misato‘> ["Yes. In the shower." Fred scowled. "So my first reaction is to just stare. It stares back. Now, it -is- kind of cute, so I picked it up. Big mistake. The damned thing bit me."-
[19:30] <@Misato`> "That’s what you get for picking up a tiger." Says Misato, her face a mess of chortles.-
[19:30] <@Misato‘> ["Quite. So here I am, stark naked, holding this tiger when the door bursts open…"]
[19:31] <Raphael> "… Wait. Had you locked it?"
[19:31] <@Misato`> ["Sadly, these were the NERV Geofront communals. And Dr. Riel outranks me no matter what."]
[19:33] * Raphael snorts. "Noted. So what did the good doctor do?"
[19:34] <@Misato`> ["Accused me of stealing her tiger."]
[19:34] <Raphael> "And showering with it."
[19:35] <@Misato`> ["Yes, exactly." Mutters Fred. "And that’s when Marianne showed her true genius. She didn't need to do anything after that. She had Dr. Riel waging her war on her behalf. It was -awful-. The shit that woman can do given four hours and a computer is horrible."]
[19:37] * Raphael 's laughter redoubles to the point where he has to set down his glass. "You are truly a master criminal, sir."
[19:40] <@Misato‘> [Fred gives him a purely flat look, but Raphael can see the laughter mirrored in his eyes. "That’s me. Do you know what I had to do to end it? Beg to Marianne. On my knees."]
[19:44] * Raphael lets out a little hiss of sympathetic pain. "I've always suspected that the Colonel was not a woman you wanted to set yourself against, but that is…"
[19:46] <@Misato‘> ["… Yeah. Well, let’s just say that when the time came, I was the first to support her when she became XO."]
[19:47] <Raphael> "It was good of you to accept defeat so gracefully, at least."
[19:49] <@Misato‘> ["I’d like to think so, yes." Says Fred with a grin.-
[19:49] <@Misato‘> "Maybe I should make my Bunnies do that…"
[19:50] <Raphael> "… I think Lieutenant Hyuga’s gone through enough, ma'am." Raphael says doubtfully.
[19:53] <@Misato‘> "Do you think so?" Asks Misato wonderingly, scratching her chin. "I dunno. Suffering is good for the soul."
[19:56] <Raphael> "If you say so."
[20:01] * @Misato` beamed, taking a sip from her drink. "I do. Say, Raffy-kun, isn’t it about time we order already? I haven't eaten since breakfast."-
[20:01] <@Misato‘> ["You too? Today was stupidly busy." Muttered Sophie.]
[18:49] * Raphael leans across the table, grabbing a pair of menus and passing one to Misato and the second to Sophie. "What do they have you doing, ma’am?"
[18:56] <@Misato‘> [Sophie let out a big sigh. "Four hours in a military conference about the state of the war, whilst also trying to manage logistical stuff at the same time."]
[19:04] * Raphael slides his chair a little closer to Misato to get a look at the menu, their shoulders touching. "If I’m not overstepping my bounds, may I ask if anything new was decided?"
[19:07] * @Misato‘ leans over a little, sharing it with him. "Ooh, maybe we should get a big bowl of spaghetti to share~"-
[19:10] <@Misato`> ["About the war, you mean?"]
[19:15] <Raphael> "Mmm." Raphael nods, quickly glancing over at Misato with a little smirk. "I think that’d be just fine, ma'am."
[19:20] <@Misato‘> "Well, too bad. I want bacon chops."-
[19:20] <@Misato`> ["Well…" Sophie frowned. "Honestly? I don’t think we did. The best we did was try to talk about ways to stop the 2nd Regiment in the States and it just went nowhere."]
[19:40] <Raphael> "You've been spending too much time with Suzie." Raphael mutters to Misato under his breath. "… The 2nd Regiment is going to cause a remarkable mess no matter what we do, I suspect. Not even Captain Wellesley could manage to be optimistic last time I spoke with him."
[19:53] <@Misato‘> "Ah, she’s a sweet girl with good tastes~ Maybe a side plate of the long noodles in the creamy carbonara sauce."-
[19:53] <@Misato‘> ["Yeah, well…" She leaned forward. "According to some rumors, the Joint Chiefs of the US are discussing surrender terms…"]
[19:56] <Raphael> "… Well that would certainly put us in an awkward position." He’s frowning now, the menu and idea of food largely forgotten. "Where would that leave our people in Boston?"
[19:58] <@Misato‘> "Oh, I know this." Said Misato. "NERV bases will retreat if necessary, but they won’t surrender. If the US gives up, then Boston will probably try to rally the cause. It'll be a little breakoff state."
[20:12] <Raphael> "…" Raphael's face takes on that strangely blank cast for a brief moment as he nods, shielding whatever other emotion wants to show through. "That's what I thought."
[20:15] <@Misato‘> ["…" Fred leans forward now. "You know, that reminds me of a story."]
[20:15] <Raphael> "Oh?"
[20:20] <@Misato`> ["You’re a military man. Do you remember the Holy Republic of the Western Suez?"]
[20:32] * Raphael lets out a bray of laughter. "The dictatorial state? I remember. Egypt wanted a UN taskforce to clear them out once that warlord had taken hold of the canal, if I recall."
[20:46] <@Misato‘> ["Mmhm. God, he was so bloody righteous. ’We will fight them until our dying breaths'- and then the army swoops in and the soldiers pretty much just go '… Yeah, we're done' and drop the guns."]
[20:50] <Raphael> "Yes, well… You know the situation in Egypt. Those refugees needed -some- stability, but I can hardly blame them for not laying down their lives for a man of such questionable sanity."
[20:57] <@Misato‘> [Fred nodded. "Aye. But, the thing is…" He leaned forward. "I read some papers about the last days of that man. Apparently he was trying to negotiate a way in which he could operate a fully sovereign state made up entirely of just his own residence."]
[21:04] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "I imagine he didn’t have much luck."
[21:07] <@Misato‘> ["Well, no." Said Fred, grinning.-
[21:10] <@Misato`> "Can you see yourself doing that, Raffy?" Asked Misato. "Just you and Suzie in some distant apartment. The Kingdom of Guilloria. Exports grumpy-wumpy military captains and imports bacon~"
[21:24] <Raphael> "I’m not… 'grumpy-wumpy'." Raphael mutters.
[21:25] <@Misato‘> "Sure you are! It’s a cute sort of grumpy-wumpy, like a scowling puppy." She says fondly.-
[21:25] <@Misato‘> [Fred began to giggle at the image, but Sophie cooed. "You’re just too cute together. It's great~"-
[21:26] <@Misato‘> "Don’t tease him too much, Sophie~"
[21:31] <Raphael> "…" Raphael looks down at the table for a moment, a faint smile forming on his lips without him being quite aware of it. "I do enjoy her company."
[21:34] <@Misato‘> "See? He can be sweet when he wants to~ Hey Raffy-kun~" She leans over to him, grinning.
[21:37] <Raphael> "… Mmm?" He murmurs, feeling that vague sense of dread that only she seems capable of engendering in him.
[21:37] <@Misato`> "I just wanted to say comfortable for helping to make me feel so comfortable."-
[21:40] <@Misato`> "And I’m -very- comfortable right now. Like a -silk-worm in a cocoon." She winked playfully.
[21:43] <Raphael> "… You're—" He stops, eyes widening slightly, and is that…? Yes, there's definitely a bit of colour rising in his cheeks. "…" He tries to cover it all by downing the rest of his wine, but fails miserably.
[21:45] <@Misato‘> "Ooh, is that a blush I see~?"
[21:46] <Raphael> "Absolutely not, ma’am."
[21:47] <@Misato‘> ["I think it is. What do you think, Fred?"-
[21:47] <@Misato`> ["Oh dear. I think they’re right, Raphael!"]
[21:50] <Raphael> "A trick of the light, sir." Raphael says, managing to look his normal calm self while lying through his teeth in a wholly unconvincing fashion.
[21:50] * @Misato‘ breaks out into a giggle, before she commits the ultimate sin.-
[21:51] <@Misato`> She leans over and kisses Raphael on the cheek in a public place.-
[21:51] <@Misato`> However, the world does not shatter. Third Impact does not yet occur.-
[21:51] <@Misato`> "A bit of blushing looks good on you~"
[21:53] <Raphael> Perhaps not, but it certainly catches him of guard and sends the warring halves of his mind into an overdrive of contradictory thoughts. But at least the colour in his cheeks advances no further. "… uh… I-If you say so, ma’am." He says, clearing his throat.
[21:54] <@Misato‘> "Raffy-kun, what did we say about that word?"
[21:55] <Raphael> "Right, Major, of course." He says instantly, but the hint of a smile on his lips gives away the joke.
[21:56] * @Misato` smiles in return, acknowledging the joke.-
[21:56] <@Misato`> [Her hand jabs him in the ribs secretly, nevertheless.]
[21:58] * Raphael laughs quietly, the sound wavering ever so slightly.
[21:58] <@Misato`> "So. Are we ready to order?"
[22:00] <Raphael> "Yes, I suppose we are." Raphael says, turning in his seat to try and spot one of the serving staff and motioning to catch the nearest one’s eye.
[22:00] <@Misato‘> [One of them soon floats over.-
[22:01] <@Misato`> ["Are you ready to order, Monsieur? Add delicious food to a night of romance~?"]
[22:08] <Raphael> "…" On any other night he might have been slightly put off hy this, but right now he can’t quite seem to mind. "Yes, sir. I'll have the…" He takes one last quick look at the menu. "The penne alla vodka, thank you. Misato?"
[22:15] <@Misato‘> "I’ll have the roast bacon chops with the creamy carbonara sauce pasta side, please~"
[22:22] <@Misato‘> ["And the roast beef medallion for me, please, with the burgundy sauce." Said Fred.-
[22:23] <@Misato`> ["I’ll have a set of grilled pork ribs, please, with the barbeque sauce, and a plate of mozarella sticks, and a side of fries with gravy." Said Sophie.-
[22:23] <@Misato‘> ["Very well! I shall return with your order as soon as possible." The waiter turned and left.]
[22:25] * Raphael smiles at the waiter as he leaves and then reaches for the bottle of wine, splitting what’s left between his glass and Misato's. "… Hmm. I probably should have ordered another of these as well.
[22:25] <Raphael> «well."*»
[22:33] <@Misato‘> "Absolutely. How else are we going to get through the night without our requisite four litres of alcohol?" She asked.
[22:33] <Raphael> "It sounds terrible when you say it like that."
[22:34] <@Misato`> "Yeah, I agree. Of course, I -am- trying to *ahem* cut down, you know."
[22:36] <Raphael> "I know." He says, taking the grand leap of laying a hand on hers. "I suppose I should aim to be a better influence."
[22:37] <@Misato`> "You and Pen-Pen both." She said sternly.-
[22:38] <@Misato`> "… Speaking of. How did you like that beer Pen-Pen got you?"
[22:39] <Raphael> "Very much so. He has rather excellent taste."
[22:42] <@Misato`> ["Pen-Pen a friend of yours?" Asked Fred.]
[22:46] <Raphael> "… Of a sort." Raphael says, suddenly grinning rather widely. "He’s Misato's roommate."
[22:47] <@Misato‘> ["Oh yeah? What’s he like?"]
[22:48] <Raphael> "Hmm. Well, he doesn't talk much."
[22:49] <@Misato‘> "He keeps to himself. Likes hot baths."
[22:50] <Raphael> "He lives in a fridge."
[22:50] <@Misato`> ["He- what?"]
[22:51] * Raphael looks over at Misato. "Would you like to tell them?"
[22:52] <@Misato`> "Sure." Misato grins and tilts her head to one side. "He’s a penguin."-
[22:52] <@Misato‘> ["…" Fred looks at Sophie. "They’re- what? Sophie, you're better at this than I am. Are they having us on?"-
[22:53] <@Misato‘> [Sophie stares at Misato. She stands up and leans over, a focused look in her eye. "… I… I don’t think they are."-
[22:53] <@Misato‘> ["What."]
[22:54] * Raphael is working hard to keep his chuckling under control. "Now I understand why you tend to tell people this way, Major. It -is- quite amusing."
[11:49] * @Misato` nudges Raphael. "Why don’t you tell them about our visit to the Hot Springs~?"
[11:50] <Raphael> "… I really shouldn't, Major."
[11:55] <@Misato‘> She smiled sweetly. "C’mon~"-
[11:55] <@Misato‘> [He received a jab to the ribs for his indiscretion.]
[12:01] * Raphael lets out a beleaguered sigh at the prodding. "While we were in Japan, Rei and Misato were quite insistent about taking us all to the Hot Springs. Of course, the Major quite neglected to tell Captain Wellesley about what one typically wears when bathing there. Purely forgetfulness and not a cruel joke, I’m sure…"
[12:02] <@Misato‘> "Of course~"-
[12:02] <@Misato`> ["What -do- you wear at a hot spring?" Asked Fred curiously.]
[12:03] <Raphael> "Very little." Raphael says flatly.
[12:12] <@Misato`> ["A-ha~" Fred grinned.-
[12:12] <@Misato`> ["Ooh, ooh. Did little Wellesley try to peek~?" Asked Sophie excitedly.]
[12:16] <Raphael> "Well, we were seperated by gender, which is probably for the best. The Captain and I probably would have been fine, brief awkwardness aside, but…" He pauses and looks at Misato. "I really shouldn’t be talking about this."
[12:18] * @Misato‘ smiled. She patted him on the arm. "If you don’t want to, you don't have to."
[12:19] <Raphael> "Thank you, Misato."
[12:22] <@Misato‘> "You’re welcome~" She grinned.-
[12:22] <@Misato‘> ["Huh? Tell us what?" Sophie looked disappointed, a little like a child being denied a treat.]
[12:27] <Raphael> "Pen-Pen was also there." Raphael said seriously.
[12:28] <@Misato`> ["…"-
[12:28] <@Misato`> ["… What’s a penguin doing in a hot spring?" Asked Fred, as though this were seriously the most important detail.]
[12:30] <Raphael> "Misato insists that he's some kind of rare 'hot springs penguin'." Raphael says. "I'm not sure whether it's true, but it's hardly the strangest thing about Pen-Pen."
[12:31] <@Misato‘> "It -is- true." Muttered Misato.-
[12:31] <@Misato`> ["What -is- the strangest thing?" Asked Sophie.]
[12:32] <Raphael> "That a penguin purchased me a Christmas gift, I believe."
[12:36] <@Misato`> ["…" Sophie looked over at Misato, then back to Raphael. "So that wasn’t some joke…?"]
[12:37] <Raphael> "I'm as surprised as you are, ma'am."
[12:41] <@Misato‘> "Hey, I should bring Pen-Pen ’round again on a trip." Said Misato brightly. "You can all meet him then~"
[12:43] <Raphael> "Suzanne would be overjoyed." He says with a smile. "She missed him terribly when we came home."
[12:46] <@Misato‘> "Aww. That’s sweet~"-
[12:47] <@Misato‘> "… I’m not entirely sure if the sentiment is shared, though."
[12:47] <Raphael> "… Yes, I'm not really sure I blame him."
[12:54] <@Misato‘> "That poor bird." Said Misato brightly. "Hey. Does Suzie still have that sword?"-
[12:55] <@Misato`> [Fred blinked flatly. Suddenly, he was crushingly aware that he and Sophie were, surprisingly, the #normal# couple.]
[13:00] <Raphael> "Oh yes. Her dream of joining the ranks of the samurai pilots is still alive and well. I’ve managed to teach her not to swing it around at every possible opportunity, though."
[13:03] <@Misato‘> ["… You two have interesting lives." Said Fred.]
[13:05] <Raphael> "… Hmm. I suppose we do, yes." Raphael says after a moment of consideration, looking as though the thought genuinely hadn’t occured to him.
[13:06] <@Misato‘> "Not that you regret that, I hope~"
[13:09] <Raphael> "No, ma’am. I honestly can't say that I do." He says with a very slow smile. And then, after a hesitation that manages to show through even his impenetrable calm, he leans over and returns the favour from earlier by kissing Misato on the cheek.
[13:13] <@Misato‘> It takes her by surprise, but it also clearly pleases her- she smiles, a little twinkle in her eye.-
[13:13] <@Misato`> "I don’t regret it either."

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