The Child S Toys The Old Man S Reasons Are The Fruits Of The

[19:33] <Alphonse> [The 29th of December.-
[19:35] <Alphonse> [An early morning wakeup and a quick breakfast, Misato piling their begs into the boot of her car. A final goodbye to Pen-Pen (complete with Suzanne pulling the protesting penguin into a hug) before they were gone.-
[19:37] <Alphonse> [They were so organised (surprisingly enough) that they arrived, all told, about twenty minutes before they had anticipated, giving them time to get nice and comfortable in the waiting area, Misato as well.-
[19:37] <Alphonse> [Eventually, of course, their flight would start to call…-
[19:38] <Alphonse> [Misato peered up at the roof, then back down at her watch. "Huh. It really is 8 already…"]
[19:41] * Raphael had been waiting quietly alongside her for the past few minutes, watching as Suzanne dragged Rei from window to window to watch incoming planes or various other sights visible frowm the wide glass windows. Only now was he beginning to stir. "I suppose so."
[19:45] <Alphonse> ["Well then!" Says Misato cheerfully, getting to her feet. "I guess I'll be seeing you again sooner or later, huh?"]
[19:49] * Raphael follows her lead, checking his pockets absently as he goes. "Of course you will. Probably sooner if Suzanne has anything to say about it…" He says, a small smile coming to his face. "Hopefully we weren't too much of an imposition, Captain."
[19:50] <Alphonse> ["Of course not. I actually had a good Christmas for once." Says Misato. "Actually, I owe you a big thanks for all of it, Raffy."]
[19:53] * Raphael lets out an awkward chuckle. "You don't need to thank me for anything, Misato. It was the best Christmas I've had in… a very long time, really."
[19:56] <Alphonse> ["Good." She says, giving him an awkward little chuckle of her own. She glances over at one of the windows. "Rei sure is keeping Suzie busy."]
[19:57] <Raphael> "The other way around, I think."
[19:59] <Alphonse> ["Huh. So it is." Says Misato. "… So, you know, I might be, ah, able to get to Paris-2 for a week or two in March. Just so you know."]
[20:07] * Raphael raises an eyebrow slightly, the smile remaining. "Is that so? And what would the aim of such a visit be, ma'am?"
[20:10] <Alphonse> ["Oh, you know." She says lightly. "Probably some NERV OD meeting. That sort of thing. Stressful and/or boring." She shoots a wary glance past Raphael, towards Suzanne, before looking back at Raphael. "But I'm sure I could find time on the side to say hi~"]
[20:13] <Raphael> "Well, if you're in the area I can't exactly say no." He says, matching her light tone. "Although the idea of dealing with you stressed and bored…"
[20:15] <Alphonse> ["Then I guess you'll just have to make me relax, huh~?"]
[20:17] * Raphael grins. "I suppose we'll see, Captain."
[20:19] <Alphonse> [She gave him a light jab to the ribs. "You have my number, so make sure you call sometime. That's an order."]
[20:19] <Raphael> "I believe that's abusing your authority."
[20:20] <Alphonse> ["The good kind, I hope."]
[20:20] <Raphael> "Perhaps."
[20:21] <Alphonse> [Misato moved to say something else…-
[20:22] <Alphonse> "Ahem." Coughed someone behind Raphael apologetically. "Sorry, Sir Guillory- Katsuragi- but our flight's boarding." He said quietly.
[20:25] * Raphael blinked, as if coming out of a daze, and by the time he turns to face the voice his face has slid back to its normal neutrality. "… Of course, Captain. Let's… ah, let's go." He says, and indeed begins to do just that.
[20:27] <Alphonse> [Misato reaches out and grabs Raphael by the hand before he goes. "Stay safe, Raphael. Alright?"]
[20:30] * Raphael hesitates for a moment at the touch, but squeezes back all the same. "And you, Misato." For a moment he almost seems to want to do something more, but nothing comes of it.
[20:32] <Alphonse> [She smiles, and lets go, perhaps a little hesitantly. "Goodbye." She gives him a little wave.]
[20:34] <Raphael> "Thanks again, Captain." He murmurs, giving her one last smile before following Alphonse towards the gate.
[20:35] * Alphonse walks at Raphael's side, and he is grinning shamelessly. "Nicely done, sir. I can see why I asked you about affairs of the heart."
[20:36] <Raphael> "I don't know what you're talking about, sir." Raphael says.
[20:37] <Alphonse> "You were flirting."
[20:38] <Raphael> "I was most certainly not."
[20:39] <Alphonse> "You were so. Ahem. 'And what would the aim of such a visit be~?'"
[20:40] <Raphael> "It was a perfectly reasonable question."
[20:41] <Alphonse> "You were -this- close from a kiss. I could tell."
[20:44] <Raphael> "With a superior officer, sir? Never."
[20:45] <Alphonse> "Of course. We don't kiss superior officers in NERV."
[20:45] <Raphael> "Absolutely not."
[20:46] <Alphonse> "No. We only kiss our subordinates."
[20:48] <Raphael> "Now you're getting it, sir."
[20:48] * Alphonse merely grins at that.-
[20:49] <Alphonse> [A quick boarding sees Alphonse's grin evaporate rather quickly, as Suzanne has decided that today, -she- will have Rei, come hell or high water. Nevertheless, Alphonse decides to be the better man and thus ends up sitting next to Raphael.]
[20:51] <Raphael> And he doesn't even have the window seat. It seems that it's not Captain Wellesley's lucky day. "… That was good of you, Captain." Raphael mutters, without any hint of a smile.
[20:52] <Alphonse> "Suzanne's been waiting to get Rei alone for days, now. I figure it's only fair."
[20:53] <Raphael> "Some matter concerning dresses, I believe."
[20:53] * Alphonse lets out a mild groan.
[20:55] <Raphael> "I think I saw a collage."
[20:56] <Alphonse> "… I deserve this, don't I?"
[20:56] * Raphael nods solemnly. "These are the dangers of smooches, Captain Wellesley."
[20:58] <Alphonse> "I suppose it's worth it, then." Says Alphonse. "To be honest, the danger associated with smooches and the act thereof has diminished the moment we left the airport."
[21:00] * Raphael gives the Alphonse a wry smile. "I think you've misjudged Captain Katsuragi's reach when she's found an amusing target. You should ask Pilot Zhang about that when you have the time."
[21:02] * Alphonse glances at Raphael. "I can handle Katsuragi. … I think."
[21:04] * Raphael just smiles and glances out the window, watching as the plane begins to move towards the runway.
[21:05] <Alphonse> "I admit." Continues Alphonse. "I'm going to be a far sight happier come February, I think."
[21:07] * Raphael nods, his grin fading slowly. "As much as Suzanne and I will miss her, I think Rei feels the same way."
[21:09] * Alphonse nods slowly. "She'll miss you terribly, I think."
[21:13] <Raphael> "We'll be be here for her whenever she needs us. Boston's not so far away these days…
[21:13] <Raphael> "*
[21:15] <Alphonse> "I'm glad." Says Alphonse, fidgetting quietly.
[21:18] <Raphael> "…" The plane continued to taxi, the airport landscape passing them with increasing speed now.-
[21:20] <Raphael> "I spoke to Commander Ikari before I left." He says slowly.
[21:20] <Alphonse> "Lucky you."
[21:20] <Raphael> "Quite."
[21:21] <Alphonse> "How did it go?"
[21:24] * Raphael makes a thoughtful noise, shrugging slightly. "About as well as could be expected." He says, and drops his voice to just above the roar of the engine. "He ordered me to protect Rei with my life. You're to do the same."
[21:26] * Alphonse glances at Raphael seriously, before crossing one leg over the other. "I can do that."
[21:30] * Raphael nods, and he gives Alphonse a look of obvious respect. "I know, Captain."-
[21:30] <Raphael> "I can carry out the order. I just wish I knew why he'd given it."
[21:33] <Alphonse> "I will admit, besides the fact that he's Rei's father, it does seem a little odd." Says Alphonse. "Rei is very, very good at protecting herself. And others, too." He says, his face softening at some memory. "Unless it's some other danger?"
[21:38] <Raphael> "I don't think there's any shortage of dangers waiting for her and her Sisters, given even the scraps I've learned about her origins." Raphael says.
[21:38] <Alphonse> "… Ah? Indeed?"
[21:43] <Raphael> "Were you aware that some sort of committee had originally… commissioned the Ayanamis to be mindless dolls under the command of NERV? Perfect pilots?"
[21:45] * Alphonse lets out a pained sigh. "Yes, I had. Trust me, Sir Guillory, this is basically a modus operandi for the Human Instrumentality Committee by this point."
[21:49] * Raphael 's eyes narrow slightly. "I'm not as familiar with them as I clearly should be."
[21:51] <Alphonse> "They're a UN organisation. NERV answers directly to them." Says Alphonse. "They're made up of five representatives, one from Germany, France, Britain, Russia and the States. They allocate our budget, unit allocations, and they decide who pilots and who doesn't. They're also responsible for the NeoSpartan Project, as well as the NeoAlexander Project that produced yours truly."
[11:49] <Raphael> "… none of which appear to have been defined by an overabundant concern for morality." Raphael finishes with a look of distaste.
[11:53] <Alphonse> "I believe Aeschylus said that the first casualty of war is truth." Said Alphonse sadly. "Ethics isn't far behind, sadly enough. And this is definitely quite the war."
[11:57] <Raphael> "Yes, well… I can make a great many conscessions for that fact - and have in the past - but what they aim to do with such perfect soldiers concerns me."
[11:58] <Alphonse> "Oh?"
[12:06] * Raphael sighs. "I'm not sure. I understand the urge to create unquestioning soldiers has existed since the first days of warfare, but to go to such lengths to achieve it doesn't exactly put me at ease. And Commander Ikari's orders don't help matters."
[12:13] * Alphonse clasped his hands neatly together over his lap. "It's almost as if… Ikari has something in mind." He frowned. "Like he has some scheme."
[12:15] <Raphael> "In NERV, Captain? Bite your tongue."
[12:16] <Alphonse> "Yes, yes." Alphonse smirks a little. "But this is different. This involves Rei." He frowns, very nearly managing a pout. "I don't like it."
[12:18] * Raphael nods, his own faint smile disappearing. "I know. We'll just have to do our best to keep her safe."
[12:18] * Alphonse nods. "Agreed."-
[12:19] <Alphonse> "… You know, there is one question I have that I haven't been able to answer."
[12:19] <Raphael> "Mmm?"
[12:20] <Alphonse> "The Committee wanted, as you said, 'mindless dolls' who would follow orders perfectly. Expendable, highly competent. Right?"
[12:50] <Raphael> "As I understand it."
[12:52] <Alphonse> "Then why give them personalities? Emotions? Feelings?" He glanced back down the central alley of the plane, to where he could barely see a pale hand sitting on an armrest. "Not that I mind." He adds.
[12:54] <Raphael> "Commader Ikari seemed to suggest it was Yui's doing. And this would have been shortly after the shooting…"
[12:55] <Alphonse> "… Ah." Alphonse coughed awkwardly. "That's… A little creepy, but I guess I could understand her grief."
[12:57] * Raphael nods. "He also implied that those personalities might be enough to let them eventually break through their conditioning. I haven't made up my mind about whether that was his way of attempting to mollify me, though."
[12:57] <Alphonse> "…" Alphonse is quiet at that, a deeply pensive look on his face.
[12:58] <Raphael> "Mmm. It's certainly something to consider."-
[12:59] * Raphael joins Alphonse in silence for a time at that, simply listening to the gentle murmur of conversation in the rest of the cabin and trying to pick out the girls' voices in the crowd. "… Captain?"
[13:00] <Alphonse> "What is it, Sir Guillory?"
[13:05] <Raphael> "Are you aware of Eva-05's situation?"
[13:06] <Alphonse> "I am."
[13:07] <Raphael> "Is Rei?"
[13:10] <Alphonse> "She is…"
[13:15] * Raphael nods, staring at the back of the chair in front of him with a fixed look. "… Would you be kind enough to answer something for me, Captain?"
[13:16] <Alphonse> "Of course."
[13:17] <Raphael> "As Captain Katsuragi explained it, we require souls to retain life and identity. Is that right?"
[13:18] <Alphonse> "I admit, I'm not an expert of Metaphysical Biology, but… Yes, I believe that's it."
[13:19] <Raphael> "And Ikari Rei's soul is in Eva-05…"
[13:19] <Alphonse> "That's right."
[13:20] <Raphael> "So whose souls are grafted to the Ayanami Sisters?"
[13:20] <Alphonse> "I don't know." Said Alphonse quietly. "Rei… Isn't interested in knowing. As far as she is concerned, Rei Ayanami is Rei Ayanami."
[13:24] * Raphael nods again, that same thoughtful look in his eye. "And that's all that matters to you and I, I'm sure. But we can't be sure the same is true of anyone else."
[13:56] * Alphonse frowns slightly. "So we're to protect Rei from those sorts of things, I take it."
[13:59] <Raphael> "Indeed."
[14:01] <Alphonse> "How far would you go to do that, Sir Guillory?"
[14:12] <Raphael> "In most circumstances, sir, I would trade my own life for those girls' without question. But there’s something you must understand about me…"
[14:14] <Alphonse> "Oh?"
[14:14] <Raphael> "I’m a pragmatic man. If the fate of the world required me to put a single person to death - whether that was you, or Rei, or Suzanne or even myself - I would do it in a heartbeat. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve seen too much in my lifetime to do anything else." He turns to look Alphonse in the eye. "Idealism is for younger men, Captain. If the day ever comes when I can’t allow myself
[14:14] <Raphael> to protect Rei, I trust you to do it for me."
[14:17] * Alphonse stared him right back in the eye. He listened, and was quiet for a moment, before he nodded, and smiled. "I'd expect nothing less. And your trust is well placed." He looked away a little, now. "There's nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for my Rei. The idealism you see may very well just be a kind of selfishness."
[14:19] <Raphael> "Good." Raphael says, a faint, sad smile tugging the corner of his lips. "… Hold on to that selfishness for as long as you can, Captain. Wisdom isn't as grand as it's made out to be."
[14:20] <Alphonse> "That's ok, sir. I've never really wanted to be wise, anyway. Alexander the Great had a lot more fun than Aristotle."
[14:24] * Raphael actually lets out a slightly surprised chuckle at that before shutting his eyes and lapsing into silence. Beyond the window Tokyo-2, with all its fond new memories, is beginning to fall behind them, with Boston still hours ahead…
[14:26] <Alphonse> [The rest of the trip passed amicably, although of course, considering its length, Alphonse eventually fell asleep. Used to having a far lovelier pillow in these situations, however, he spent those hours with his head on Raphael's shoulder.-
[14:26] <Alphonse> [Naturally, Suzanne found this hilarious.-
[14:28] <Alphonse> [But before long, they'd land in Boston, filing off the plane- for Rei, Raphael and Suzanne, this was to transfer to another. But for Alphonse, it was goodbye.-
[14:29] <Alphonse> "I'll see you when I see you, sir. I'd say something about visiting in March, but to be honest I'm sure you'll be far too busy to spend time with me…"
[14:31] * Raphael coughs awkwardly, giving Alphonse a hard look. "Yes sir, my duties do take up a great deal of my time."
[14:32] <Alphonse> "I'm sure." Alphonse holds out a hand to Raphael. "Do me a favour, though?"
[14:33] * Raphael gives the hand a firm shake. "Of course."
[14:35] <Alphonse> "Let's stick with Alphonse from now on, alright?" He shakes it back, grinning. "I think I sacrificed the right to be called 'sir' by you around the time I was panicking on that couch." … "Or sharing a hot spring with you."
[14:47] <Raphael> "By that logic I also have the right to refer to Commander Ikari by his given name, sir."
[14:48] <Alphonse> "If the world were a righteous place, Raphael, a hot bath would be all one would need to make all men equal." Said Alphonse, deliberately pompously.
[14:50] * Raphael chuckles again and gives Alphonse a quick pat on the shoulder. "Good luck, Alphonse."
[14:50] <Alphonse> "Thank you, sir. Same to you." He grins, before turning to Suzanne.-
[14:51] <Alphonse> [Suzanne was grinning at him. "See you soon, Alli-chan~"-
[14:52] <Alphonse> "Heh." He crouched down and patted Suzie on the head. "You keep everyone safe, ok? You're the samurai pilot, after all."-
[14:55] <Alphonse> ["Of course!" Said Suzanne firmly. "I bet, if we get attacked by ninjas or anything, I'll show 'em my katana rocket punch!"-
[14:56] <Alphonse> "I'd like to see that." Alphonse straightened up, turning to the last person… Rei. He shot a glance at Suzanne and Raphael.
[14:58] * Raphael catches the look and nods, glancing over at Suzanne. "Would you like to see if we can find you something at the food court, little one? It'll save you eating your next meal on the plane…"
[15:00] <Alphonse> ["Huh? But-" Suzanne looks up at him, and she finally gives a concession to decency as she smiles. "Alright. Can we get lots of hash browns again?"]
[15:01] <Raphael> "… you had ten for breakfast." He says, leading her gently away.
[15:02] <Alphonse> ["The clock says it's 6 AM." She says firmly.]
[15:02] <Raphael> "That doesn't mean…" A sigh. "We'll see."
[15:08] <Alphonse> With Raphael and Suzanne out of the way, Alphonse turned back towards Rei, smiling. "… So. I guess this is where we say goodbye."-
[15:11] <Alphonse> [Rei nodded. "Yes. Until… Next time." She smiled too. "Al-chan… You really made this christmas special for me. I felt really happy…" She smiled brightly. "I'm going to lock it away with my most precious of memories."-
[15:13] <Alphonse> "I am, too." He chuckled. "Actually, I don't have many precious memories, but most of them involve you."-
[15:14] <Alphonse> [Rei blushed. "I'm… Glad." She took a little step forward, taking a hold of his hands. "Please look after yourself, Al-chan."-
[15:17] <Alphonse> "I will." He said, before glancing off to the side. "Suzanne's still watching us, huh."-
[15:17] <Alphonse> ["S-She is?" Rei glanced as well. "What… Do we do?"-
[15:18] <Alphonse> "Give her what she wants, I guess." Said Alphonse, grinning. He leaned forward now, his hands around Rei's waist, and kissed her- deeply, this time.-
[15:18] <Alphonse> ["Raffy! Raffy!" Cooed Suzanne. "Loooook~"]
[15:22] <Raphael> "Hmm? I don't see anything, Suzie."
[15:22] <Alphonse> [Suzanne pouted. "C'moooooooooooon! Look!"-
[15:23] <Alphonse> Eventually, the kiss would come to an end, Alphonse pulling back. "… I'm going to miss you an awful lot."-
[15:24] <Alphonse> [Rei was blushing the sort of blush that clearly meant business; it was here to stay for awhile. "I am… I am too. I'll make sure to speak to you though. However way I can. It's only until February."-
[15:25] <Alphonse> "I can't wait." He said. He kissed her again, more gently- then hugged her. "I love you."-
[15:25] <Alphonse> ["I love you too…"-
[15:25] * Alphonse chuckled, taking a final step back. "Give me a call when you get home. Ok?"-
[15:25] <Alphonse> ["I promise."-
[15:25] <Alphonse> "Good. Well… Goodbye for now."-
[15:26] <Alphonse> [Rei let him go this time. Although she was clearly sad to see him go- she stayed at the top of an escalator and waved to him until he was well out of sight- by the time she returned to Raphael and Suzanne she was smiling again, her cheeks still red. "A-Al-chan's… Gone, Raffy-kun."]
[15:29] * Raphael has found a table with Suzie by the time Rei returns, the soldier staring off into the distance while Suzanne scarfs down 'breakfast'. Rei's appearance seems to bring him back to reality, though, and he gives her a sympathetic look. "… Are you ok?"
[15:29] <Alphonse> [Rei nodded. "I'll miss him…" At this she gives a longing look off into the distance before looking back at Raphael. "So I'll just have to think about him a lot until I see him again."]
[15:33] * Raphael smiles, giving her a fond look. "Only a few more weeks until you leave us, hmm?"
[15:34] <Alphonse> [Rei nodded. "I'll miss you too, Raffy-kun. And you, Suzie-chan."-
[15:36] <Alphonse> [Suzanne giggles. "Only a few weeks. So we'll really have to make 'em big weeks. Raffy~?"]
[15:38] * Raphael nods gravely. "Indeed."
[15:40] <Alphonse> ["Movies every day! And we can go to theme parks! And -parties-." Suzanne leans towards Raphael. "Oh! We can invite Mana and Julien to stay over!"]
[15:41] <Raphael> "… I… uh, believe you may be thinking -too- big, little one."
[15:44] <Alphonse> [Suzanne pouted. "Fine. Movies once a week. But I still want Mana and Julien over."]
[15:45] * Raphael gives Rei a pleading look.
[15:46] * Alphonse was chuckling, reaching over to put an affectionate arm around Suzanne. "We should worry about getting home first, Suzie-chan." She said cheerfully, sneakily nicking one of Suzanne's hash browns.-
[15:46] <Alphonse> «Rei*»
[15:46] <Alphonse> ["H-Hey! Raffy, she stole one of my hash browns!"]
[15:48] <Raphael> "You had more than enough to share, Suzie." Raphael says sternly, but he's watching them both with the look of a proud parent.
[15:49] <Alphonse> ["We still have another twenty minutes until the flight, right, Raffy-kun?" Asks Rei.]
[15:50] * Raphael glances up at the down at his watch. "It seems that way."
[15:51] <Alphonse> ["Then is it ok if I go find breakfast? I'm really hungry. I slept through lunch on the plane."]
[15:53] <Raphael> "Absolutely."
[15:54] <Alphonse> ["Alright. See you soon! Come on, Suzie." Rei took ahold of her wheelchair.-
[15:54] <Alphonse> [Giving Raphael just a moment to himself.]
[16:06] <Raphael> Perhaps his first real one since they had first left Paris-2 a fortnight ago. He waits until the two have disappeared into the crowd before reaching into his pocket to remove a battered gold pocketwatch, covered with nicks and dents and all the various wounds that come with sixteen years of wear and tear.-
[16:06] <Raphael> The seconds tick by. As he waits for the plane that will bear the three of them back to Paris-2, he sits in silence and thinks of family.

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