This Too Shall Pass 3 1 9

[07:24] <Yanmei> Zhang Yanmei was starting to become a familiar face around the medical wing of the Dorian Lachapelle. But of the many visits she had made over the past few days, this was the first in which she had looked so… nervous. -
[07:30] <Yanmei> She had lingered just outside of a certain private room for close to ten minutes, working up her nerve while pretending that there was something incredibly interesting on her phone. Eventually, she looked up from it and focused warily on the door in front of her. She couldn't put it off forever, after all. Slowly she brought a hand up and knocked.
[07:34] <@Minaplo> […-
[07:34] <@Minaplo> [About 15 seconds later, the door opened just a tiny bit.-
[07:36] <@Minaplo> [A woman, maybe about seventeen or eighteen years old, with jaw-length straight black hair and dark green eyes, stared out at Yanmei. "Yes?"]
[07:39] * Yanmei blinked. A nurse? She had to focus on not fidgeting openly. "Um. Is it okay to see him?"
[07:39] <@Minaplo> [She wasn't wearing a nurse's uniform, but…-
[07:39] <@Minaplo> [She scowled slightly, and closed the door.-
[07:39] <@Minaplo> [A few seconds later it opened again. "You're good."]
[07:45] * Yanmei nodded. "Thanks." She tried to edge in, opening the door a bit further.
[07:47] <@Minaplo> [The woman stepped back, letting Yanmei in.]
[07:52] <Yanmei> "William?" Now firmly in the room, Yanmei peered about, noting the various pieces of life support equipment. It was something of a miracle that they had survived the Mars Crash.
[07:58] <@Minaplo> [William was lying in the bed, which looked as though it had been freshly made up. He wore a thin hospital gown, thin enough that Yanmei could see the gauze wrapped around his chest and arms. Where were pads and bandages around his forehead and neck as well, and Yanmei could see large pink blotches on his face where the burned skin was healing.-
[07:59] <@Minaplo> [The rest of him was… Pale. Frail-looking. He looked thinner than he had before, and there was a weary look in his eyes.-
[07:59] <@Minaplo> ["Yanmei…?"]
[08:03] <Yanmei> "H-hey." She smiled faintly. "Welcome back."
[08:06] <@Minaplo> ["Hey.
[08:06] <@Minaplo> "]
[08:12] <Yanmei> "You've been asleep for a while?" she noted. "We were all really worried…"
[08:18] <@Minaplo> ["So it seems. Heard we killed Metatron and went to Mars."]
[08:22] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Heh. It sounds completely bizarre hearing out loud like that? But yeah." She came closer to to bed, but remained standing respectfully. "We got back to earth just a little while ago. You're lucky. You skipped through all the wreckage-clearing and food and water shortages."
[08:23] <@Minaplo> ["Looks like you carried us through, though."]
[08:28] <Yanmei> "Somehow," Yanmei muttered. "But… there were a lot of people who didn't make it."
[08:30] <@Minaplo> ["W-Who didn't…?"]
[08:43] <Yanmei> "Over half the crew were either badly hurt or died," she said softly. "It wasn't just people on the ship? A lot of civilans under our protection were also attacked."
[08:44] <@Minaplo> ["Civilians…?"]
[08:48] <Yanmei> "Families and friends of our troops. We sent a lot of them to safehouses and to Asgard, but they were found and attacked while we were in the Singularity Egg. There were thousands… tens of thousands who didn't make it. A lot of our old classmates didn't. Most UEF members stationed at Asgard didn't either."
[08:51] <@Minaplo> ["The children?"]
[08:53] <Yanmei> "Many died," she murmured. "Especially in Asgard."
[08:53] <@Minaplo> ["That's horrible…" He said softly, looking away. The index finger of his right hand began to curl inwards before unfurling, then curling in again.]
[08:56] * Yanmei noticed and eyed the strange motion, but she didn't say anything. "Th-there's more. But if you'd rather not hear it right now… I'd completely understand."
[08:56] <@Minaplo> ["Why, so I can dwell on it even longer?"]
[08:59] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei's hand tightened around the cell phone she was carrying. She glanced at the black-haired girl who had let her into the room. "Sorry. Would it be okay to have a few minutes alone with him?"
[09:00] * SyntaxPhone (~if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS#if.elibom-asile.tan-041-18-67-58|xatnyS) has joined #nervfrance2
[09:01] <@Minaplo> ["No." She said curtly.-
[09:01] <@Minaplo> ["Mee, it's ok." Said William.-
[09:02] <@Minaplo> ['Mee' didn't look at all happy about this. Reluctantly she pulled herself away from his bedside and, with a final suspicious look at Yanmei, stepped outside.]
[09:03] <Yanmei> "She's very protective of you," Yanmei noted once she was out of sight.
[09:03] <@Minaplo> ["That's because she's my sister." Said William. "Medea."]
[09:04] <Yanmei> "Wh-what?! You have a sister?!"
[09:07] <@Minaplo> ["Surprise."]
[09:12] <Yanmei> "Y-yeah. I'll say." She eyed the door once more. It was possible that after she revealed the news and made William cry, she would have to figure out a way to escape her protective sisterly wrath. But there were more important things to worry about first. Like William himself.
[09:13] <@Minaplo> ["So what was it?"]
[09:16] <Yanmei> "It's… Blanc." There was a long pause. "After we defeated Metatron, the Evas and the battleship were ambushed. We were in no condition to fight further and got thrashed pretty soundly? It's how we ended up stranded on Mars. Blanc was abducted during that ambush."
[09:17] <@Minaplo> ["Abducted by the UN, you mean?"]
[09:18] <Yanmei> "Yes. And…" She hesitated, trying to get a glance at his face.
[09:18] <@Minaplo> ["What are the hostage exchange terms?" He asked.-
[09:18] <@Minaplo> ["We do have exchange terms established, correct?"]
[09:24] <Yanmei> "We do not. They never even -attempted- to use her as leverage."
[09:25] <@Minaplo> ["They must be biding their time." Said William. "Using her as a contingency in case you're too successful here."-
[09:26] <@Minaplo> [He cracked the first smile of the conversation. "Don't worry, though. They wouldn't actually hurt her."]
[09:31] * Yanmei stared, her eyes wide with shock sudden pain. She looked away sharply and shook her head. "You're wrong. They did more than hurt her. She's… gone, William."
[09:31] <Yanmei> ^and sudden
[09:37] <@Minaplo> ["… Gone?"-
[09:38] <@Minaplo> [The smile fell from his face. A second later it returned, albeit shaky and confused. "N-Nnno. That can't be possible. You must be wrong. Or…"-
[09:39] <@Minaplo> ["Or de Pteres put you up to this." Muttered Will with sudden suspicion. "It's some kind of trick, or ploy on his part… He's never trusted me from the outset, he probably wants to see how I react."]
[09:43] * Yanmei shook her head again. "No. De Pteres has nothing to do with this? It's the -truth-. We recovered evidence."
[09:46] <@Minaplo> ["No, no no no no. There must be some mistake." Said William. "The evidence must be faked…"]
[09:49] <Yanmei> "We checked it thoroughly, over and over? Our scientists - Surov especially - wouldn't be fooled by a fake. William, I'm sorry…"
[09:50] <@Minaplo> [He shook his head, a little smile appearing on his lips. "You're wrong. You're all wrong."-
[09:50] <@Minaplo> ["She wouldn't do that. No. No no. She wouldn't. Mary wouldn't do that. That was my wish, she wouldn't. You must all be wrong."]
[09:52] <Yanmei> "Your… wish?"
[09:53] <@Minaplo> ["That's right. So there must be some mistake." He said firmly. "She wouldn't break that promise, that wish, she knows what it'd do- what I've done for it…"]
[10:00] <Yanmei> So many questions. She knew better than to press a grieving man for the answers, though. There would always be time for that later. "I don't know what sort of arrangement you two had, but she absolutely did it. We even had a verbal confirmation from that Walpurgis Night team."
[10:01] <@Minaplo> [William went still.-
[10:02] <@Minaplo> [With a slow deliberateness he pulled his sheet back and pulled himself out of bed, opposite Yanmei. "It is a trick."-
[10:04] <@Minaplo> ["Fatima wouldn't betray me like that." Said William. "Mary wouldn't betray me like that."-
[10:06] <@Minaplo> [He took a deep breath, straightening up. He looked Yanmei in the eye. "They both knew the price I paid. The hell I went through in lessons and training and the field, the things I saw. It was- it was all for the wish, for Aline, that she would be safe and I would be with her and- and- that's what this was for."-
[10:07] <@Minaplo> ["The others, they were weak. They faltered, they died, they were found wanting. But not me. Not William. I was better than them. I earned my wish. I was her Inquisitor. I-I did everything for them."-
[10:07] <@Minaplo> [A red flush was pushing into his cheeks now.-
[10:09] <@Minaplo> ["They knew it hurt. They knew it cost me things that I cou-couldn't take back. They knew I was willing to pay that price for my wish and so they would not, they could not have done this."-
[10:10] <@Minaplo> ["You're wrong! You're all wrong." He said, raising his voice for a second before dropping it. He began pacing back and forth.-
[10:11] <@Minaplo> ["I succeeded. I did everything they asked. I wasn't like the others. I was her Inquisitor. She gave me the names of her enemies and I destroyed them. I found them and took them to pieces and it hurt but I did it, because it was for the wish and so it had to be the right thing, it had to be right. I didn't fail. I don't deserve to have my wish taken away!"-
[10:12] <@Minaplo> ["I went into their homes and destroyed them, and I took their families apart and sent their children to the same hells I went through, and my hands came back covered in blood, but I felt clean because the wish made me clean." His eyes were starting to pop now as he stared at Yanmei.-
[10:13] <@Minaplo> ["It was someone else! Someone else who failed! You- you all have the wrong man! The wrong- everything!" He shouted. "I alone was right! I was pure! I succeeded where the others failed! No, she wouldn't punish the Inquisitor. He got it right."-
[10:15] <@Minaplo> ["It wasn't he who cared, who had to deal with it all. He just got the job done. He got it done whilst the others cowered in their beds, crying like babies, because they couldn't bear the screaming from the children I took back-"-
[10:15] <@Minaplo> [His voice broke.-
[10:15] <@Minaplo> [He sank back against the wall and started to sob, his hands pitifully covering his face.]
[10:25] <Yanmei> Something instinctively told her not to go to him. The wild way he had looked at her just moment before, maybe, or the confession itself. She ignored that feeling and did it anyway, trying hard to push away the shell-shocked expression on her face and kneeling down next to him. She touched his shoulder. "William…"
[10:27] <@Minaplo> [He grabbed her arm, but his grip wasn't aggressive. It was weak, clinging, desperate.-
[10:31] <@Minaplo> ["I destroyed families." Said William, his voice quiet, the tears still coming. "I found targets, sometimes warlords, sometimes just enemies, and I killed them, and I brought their families back to the Templars to face judgement. The children were drafted into the organisation…"-
[10:32] <@Minaplo> ["Every time, the children would scream for their mothers, or the fathers I'd killed, and… I would cover my ears and pretend I couldn't hear it. I told myself that the wish had to be worth it…"-
[10:32] <@Minaplo> ["That's all that kept me from killing myself."]
[10:40] <Yanmei> "You were just a child yourself," Yanmei murmured. "There's no way you're at fault? Please don't think that way…"
[10:43] <@Minaplo> ["If everyone knew about this they'd have me executed, and they'd be right to do so. Yanmei- Yanmei, please. You can claim it was my injuries that did it, if you have to…"]
[10:49] <Yanmei> "You want…" it took a second for it to sink in. She almost recoiled. "NO! William, god!" She took him by the upper arm and tried to gently pull him back onto his feet. "You have a sister! You have people who still care about you!"
[10:50] <@Minaplo> ["So did they. The children. But it didn't stop me." He said. "Why should I be spared?"-
[10:50] <@Minaplo> [He didn't resist her pulling him up.]
[10:57] <Yanmei> She tried to guide him back to his bed. "Then think. Couldn't you atone for what happened instead of… of ending it? There are a lot of orphans still under the UEF's care. And the UN's care too! You tried so hard to find homes for the reincorperated Neospartans. Couldn't you try to do the same for them? Help the children?"
[11:00] <@Minaplo> ["There are others. People who deserve atonement."-
[11:00] <@Minaplo> [He allowed himself to be put to bed.-
[11:00] <@Minaplo> ["I should be forgotten…"-
[11:00] <@Minaplo> [The door opened. Standing in the doorway was Medea, her mouth a thin line of fury.]
[11:08] <Yanmei> Yanmei looked up as the door opened. Oh great. "Um. Hello again."
[11:09] <@Minaplo> ["Outside."]
[11:11] <Yanmei> She didn't argue and gave William one last gentle shoulder-pat. "William. I'll be back soon. Just… just try to rest and recover, ok?"
[11:12] <@Minaplo> [He didn't even seem to know she was there. "I wish I could go back to Raphael's world…"-
[11:12] <@Minaplo> [Medea was waiting outside, her arms folded. As Yanmei exited, Medea moved to shut the door.-
[11:12] <@Minaplo> ["So."]
[11:15] * Yanmei eyed her in much the same way that someone might eye an approaching wild puma. "So," she echoed. "How much did you hear?"
[11:16] <@Minaplo> ["Everything." Said Medea. "Let's go talk about it. Elsewhere. Put him on a suicide watch."]
[11:17] <Yanmei> "That goes without saying." she held up her phone and started to go through her contacts in order to make the arrangement. "Lead the way?"
[11:21] <@Minaplo> [Medea led Yanmei back to her room- leaving Yanmei outside for ten minutes whilst Medea 'cleaned up'.-
[11:22] <@Minaplo> [That said, even afterwards the room was a mess, with random assortments of clothes lying in piles pushed up haphazardly against the walls; books and pencils and bags lay scattered across the right-hand gap of her bed and the wall. Speaking of the bed, Yanmei could see that the space under it was fit to burst with stuff squeezed into it.-
[11:23] <@Minaplo> [Still, it was 'clean' in the sense that there were no stains or liquids or stale meals lying around. Just untidy.-
[11:23] <@Minaplo> [Medea sat down on top of her unmade bed.-
[11:23] <@Minaplo> ["So he told you about the Templars."]
[11:27] <Yanmei> "Yes." She slipped her phone into her back pocket. The doctors, including poor overworked Castillo-Delgado had been informed of William's situation without going into specifics. Yanmei found a chair to sit in. "Were you also involved with them…?"
[11:28] <@Minaplo> ["William and I are twins." Said Medea. "Of course I was."]
[11:31] <Yanmei> "I see. Well." She sighed. "What are your thoughts on all this?"
[11:33] <@Minaplo> ["Haha, my fucking thoughts? You know what my thoughts are. My brother's in pain because that murderer in the Synfront literally killed his reason for living. I want to kill her and I want to help him."-
[11:33] <@Minaplo> ["The issue here isn't what I think, it's about what questions you want to ask."]
[11:40] <Yanmei> "Generous." A faint and short-lived smile. "Thank you. I was wondering how you two ended up there to begin with. Impact orphans, right? Not, um, kidnapped?"
[12:05] <@Minaplo> ["Just orphans. Filtered into the Templars through religious orphanages. Russian Orthodox at first, then Catholic."]
[12:12] * Yanmei nodded. "So you stuck together during that time? Forgive me for saying this but you seem a little… better adjusted than he is."
[12:14] <@Minaplo> ["I ran away." Said Medea. "Jesiah- Mr. Blue- came back and rescued some of us. I went with him before I went on any of the really bad missions. My brother wasn't so lucky."]
[12:18] <Yanmei> "What did you do after you left? Did you and Blue just, like… hang out somewhere with the other rescuees?"
[12:19] <@Minaplo> ["We took on jobs. Typically criminal ones. We had unique skills, and Blue's Blue. It paid well."]
[12:23] * Yanmei tried to imagine Blue in charge of a troupe of young children. She failed spectacularly. "Is this the first time you've contacted William since then? I mean, you seem pretty close."
[12:27] <@Minaplo> ["We've, uh, met up here and there. William's job was officially to bring us in, Blue wanted us to escape…"-
[12:27] <@Minaplo> ["Will had plenty of chances to do just that, but he preferred to talk instead. He never wanted to bring me in. I guess he didn't want to do the same to me that he did with the other kids."-
[12:28] <@Minaplo> ["So we kept in touch, clandestinely. But this is the first time I've been able to really be public about it."]
[12:31] * Yanmei nodded slowly. "Will you stick around and be with him for a while?"
[12:32] <@Minaplo> ["Blue's not going anywhere, is he? I've been serving as one of his waitresses ever since he came on board."]
[12:36] <Yanmei> "O-oh. Well, I'm glad. Obviously William's going to need you a lot after this…"
[12:36] <@Minaplo> ["You don't really grasp what happened to him. Let me tell you a little about the Templars."]
[12:38] * Yanmei nodded, waiting for her to go on.
[12:39] <@Minaplo> ["All of the kids who were taken into the Templars are told that they can ask for one thing, and if they put in hard work and prove themselves worthy, their wish will be granted."]
[12:46] <Yanmei> "And the Templars bought into it out of desperation or… -something-."
[12:49] <@Minaplo> ["We were kids. The training hadn't really started yet. We had no choice… And the idea was tempting. Imagine if you were six years old, and you were told that you could choose one thing in the entire world and, if you worked hard for it, you'd certainly get it? Consider how uncertain things were, especially for us orphans."]
[12:57] <Yanmei> "Yeah," she said glumly. "That does make sense. And the actual training…? Whatever it was, it couldn't have been pretty."
[12:58] <@Minaplo> ["Much of it was organised by Ephraim von Brandt."]
[12:58] * Yanmei winced.
[12:59] <@Minaplo> ["It was…"-
[12:59] <@Minaplo> [She shook her head.]
[13:02] <Yanmei> "Yeah, no. I have some idea of what that would have been like? No wonder you ran away."
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Medea. "No wonder."-
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["We all hated it, even the kids who stayed behind like William." Said Medea. "But the kids like Will… They took strength from their wish. It became more important with time… If you're suffering a lot, then you want to convince yourself that whatever you're suffering for is worth it, right? Because you don't want to think of your suffering as being in vain."]
[14:55] <Yanmei> "Yeah. I… picked up on that from his confession."
[14:55] <Minaplo> ["Right."-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["Because what happened to Will was, since he was so desperate for that wish to mean something… They could use him to do things. Horrible things. Even if the people it targeted were enemies. As you heard, he killed or captured his targets, then brought their families in…"]
[15:00] <Yanmei> "And the kids were forced into being soldiers the way he was. Then the cycle repeats itself," she concluded with a rough edge to her voice.
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["And now he's been told that all of that really did mean nothing."]
[15:06] <Yanmei> "Do you think he can recover? Eventually, I mean…"
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean by 'recover', exactly?"]
[15:14] <Yanmei> "Like finding another reason to live? Or at least someday getting by without his old one, sans the suicide watch." Her eyes narrowed, becoming a bit more difficult to read. "We've had too many who've taken their own lives lately? He's making me really nervous."
[15:16] <Minaplo> ["Well… So much of who he is, now, is due to his experiences- that now mean nothing. He'll basically have to reinvent himself- either way, he'll never be the same."]
[15:19] <Yanmei> "Hm." That didn't seem to cheer her up much. "I don't know how to help him."
[15:21] <Minaplo> ["Who was he close to, here?"]
[15:23] <Yanmei> "He was on good terms with most of the Bridge officers and pilots. And he lived with Marianne and me for a while."
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["So you'd say you were closest to him, then…"]
[15:27] <Yanmei> "Of those still alive right now? I think so."
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Then you and I will need to spend time with him. Give him something else to believe him. Even… If it's just revenge." She said quietly.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["He's going to become angry, soon. He's going to want to hurt those who put him through this. But not just them. He's probably going to be angry at Fatima, too, for the part she played…"]
[15:30] <Yanmei> "He doesn't know about that yet…"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["He will, sooner or later."-
[15:30] <Minaplo> [Medea rubbed her face. "That's going to hurt him. He- he really loved her. Loves? I guess…"-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["When he was with her, he nearly turned his back on the wish."]
[15:32] * Yanmei raised both eyebrows. "When she was on the ship, she was at his bedside for hours. I doubt it's one-sided?"
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["He's such an idiot." Said Medea, her voice cracking slightly. "He threw away a perfect relationship to chase fog."]
[15:45] <Yanmei> "Maybe he just couldn't help it by that point." Her voice softened a little as she heard Medea's distress. "We can blame Caine for that."
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Medea, her hands tightening.-
[15:46] <Minaplo> ["Blue says we shouldn't kill. That killing's a waste that doesn't solve any problems, it only creates them. He says the problem's with the system, the society that creates Mary Caines."-
[15:47] <Minaplo> ["But… I'm sure he won't really care if she dies." Muttered Medea.]
[15:48] <Yanmei> "He's not alone? Only a handful of people on the ship would mourn, if any."
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["You're not gonna punish him for spying?"]
[15:56] <Yanmei> "I don't think anything I do right now would actually make an impact on him? The people he was spying for blew him up and then destroyed his will to live in short order. Still, there needs to be a deterrent for other spies. Not jail time, but something."
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Ah…"-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["I think you'll find he was the one who set that bomb." Said Medea awkwardly.]
[15:57] <Yanmei> "…"-
[15:57] <Yanmei> "I… don't think I heard that right," she said politely.
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["He knew you guys were starting to sniff him out, so he deliberately set a trap for himself so you wouldn't be able to interrogate him. I'm- I'm sorry."]
[16:00] <Yanmei> "But it nearly killed him! Was he -trying- to die?"
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["I don't think he would've considered that to be a tremendous loss." Said Medea, bowing her head.]
[16:03] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei shook her head. She stared quietly at the floor for a few moments. "Still, the point about the punishment stands?"
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["Alright. What did you have in mind?"]
[16:10] <Yanmei> "I don't know yet. Anyway, he can't do anything while he's on suicide watch." She stood up from her chair with a sigh. "And, actually, I should go and relay everything that's happened to Marianne. Thank you for letting me know about his past."
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["One more thing." Said Medea.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["William's not the name he was given as a child. It's his 'Templar' name, but as a kid- as my brother- his real name was Mikhail Leon."]
[16:12] <Yanmei> "Mikhail," she echoed. That sounded vaguely familiar. "I see. Thank you. Maybe I'll ask him if I can call him that sometime."
[16:13] <Minaplo> ["Alright."]
[16:17] <Yanmei> "I'll be off then? I'm sure I'll see you again soon."
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Seeya."]
[16:19] * Yanmei nodded, and turned, quickly leaving the girl to her own devices.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License