This Too Shall Pass 3 2 26

[14:25] <Minaplo> ["… Now, you don't want to be too strong on the eye contact. It's considered too forward, and it's kind of rude, okay?"-
[14:30] <Minaplo> [Misato was sitting on their bed, wearing a pair of cut-off jeans and a loose yellow tank top. She was, unusually these days, wearing her hair down.-
[14:31] <Minaplo> [Her super-casual appearance clashed with Raphael's own- he of course was working his way into a neatly presentible white shirt and black slacks.-
[14:31] <Minaplo> [It was, after all… An important occasion.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["Also, you should be warm and engaging." Said Misato. "You're trying to have a fun night out, alright? You don't want to come over as too cold or as though you're only doing this because you've been told to."-
[14:34] <Minaplo> ["Naturally the two of you are gonna discuss the girls, so you should make sure to stick to pleasant, light topics." Said Misato. "Y'know, 'Rei sure is spending a lot of time with Wellesley', or 'Chiisana sure is unfairly stealing Katsuragi's XO basically all the time'…"]
[14:42] * Raphael gave Misato a bland look as he started buttoning up his shirt. "Still having trouble 'delegating'?"
[14:48] <Minaplo> ["Yes." Hissed Misato. "Ugh, you have no idea. Firstly, he's barely around nowadays and eight times out of ten, whenever I find him off-duty, he's hanging out with his little princess. Like, all the time! And they're so cute and sweet together and she's all bubbly and cuddly and ugh. And then you should see him even when he's on duty! He's got a spring in his step, and he's…" She waved her hands in the air. "Confident. He responds faster, he's way more stubborn, it's like she's wearing off on him somehow. Oh, and that's not even including the times where you catch him out of the corner of your eye, smiling to himself, this big dumb dreamy look on his face like all his perverted fantasies are coming true at once! He's totally not Hyuga! He's been snatched."]
[14:51] <Raphael> "And I should pass all this on to Yui? A bit of light conversation?"
[14:52] <Minaplo> [Misato gave him a black look.]
[14:53] <Raphael> "It could be worse," he pressed on, unheeding. "Hugues and Euphrasie thought he'd be dead within a week."
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["Maksym says to give it another fortnight~"]
[14:58] <Raphael> "Such optimism."
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["He just thinks Chii intends to toy with her prey first."]
[15:02] * Raphael laughed as he buckled his belt, a tie hanging undone around his neck.-
[15:02] <Raphael> "… This is a terrible idea. I hope I'm not the only one who realises that."
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["I do!" Said Misato cheerfully.-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["Do you need me to play OD for you on this mission, SOS-1?" She asked, trying (and failing) to make herself sound solemn. "We can get you hooked up so I can give directions…"]
[15:05] <Raphael> "I'd almost consider it," he muttered.
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["I want you to do it." Said Misato.-
[15:08] <Minaplo> ["I mean, only because me and Maya wanna see how it goes in real time, but…"]
[15:10] * Raphael repaid Misato's earlier dark look in kind. "You're just a boundless well of sympathy tonight, aren't you?"
[15:10] <Minaplo> ["Aw, sweetheart." Misato gave him a gentle look. "I love you, but come on."-
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["I have to balance my sympathy with you with my pride that little Rei has picked up her auntie's habit for making plans that seemed utterly doomed to fail, is all. I don't get that chance very often."]
[15:25] * Raphael groaned, his expression softening. "I know, I know. And now w- … if it fails I disappoint Shinji as well as Rei. It's a losing proposition."-
15:25] <Raphael> "… I suppose it's too late to take you to dinner instead?" He asked, looking almost pathetically hopeful.
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["D'awwww." She placed her hands over her chest. "I felt my heart melt. C'mere."]
[15:29] * Raphael flopped onto the bed next to her, pulling her into a hug.
[15:36] <Minaplo> [Misato snuggled close, thudding her head against his.-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["No dinner, sweetie." She said. "Compromise? I'll be waiting here with a crappy movie when you get back?"]
[15:45] <Raphael> "That sounds nice," he admitted, brushing back her hair to give her a quick kiss. "… I missed you."
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Hm~"-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["I missed you too, you know." She said, her eyes half-closed. "Got a little lonely for a while…"]
[16:06] <Raphael> "Remember when this sort of thing used to be the norm for us?" He asked. "It's funny how quickly we got used to this."
[16:12] <Minaplo> ["We're getting old. Time for us to retire and live out our twilight years, Raffy." Said Misato. "Running a hot springs in the mountains…"]
[16:19] * Raphael smiled. "That could be a while away yet."
[16:20] <Minaplo> ["Heehee."-
[16:20] <Minaplo> [She stayed there for a few minutes longer before pulling away. "Alright, you. Get finished here and get going. I'm gonna grab some food, then bully Hyuga into giving me that movie I was talking about."]
[16:28] * Raphael let his hand trail over her shoulder as she moved away, looking a touch disappointed. "Mmm. Would you mind looking in on Suzie for me? I know Rei's keeping an eye on her, but she was looking a little harried earlier."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Sure, I can do that."]
[16:33] <Raphael> "Thanks." He pulled his tie into a quick, professional knot and got to his feet. "Wish me luck, Admiral?"
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhmm." She leaned in and gave him a long kiss.-
[16:35] <Minaplo> ["Good luck~"]
[16:39] * Raphael gave her a loving look and, with the application of considerable effort, headed for the door.
[16:51] <Minaplo> […-
[16:51] <Minaplo> [The doorbell chime rang out.-
[16:52] <Minaplo> [Raphael stood in the hallway; before him was Yui Ikari's door. To his left and to his right were endless, desolate expanses, offering no cover or hope of escape.-
[16:52] <Minaplo> [The chime rung out like a doom bell.-
[16:53] <Minaplo> [The door slid open.-
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["H-Hello."-
[16:56] <Minaplo> [Yui Ikari wore an elegant, knee-length black sleeveless dress with matching black heels. Around her neck was a silver necklace, into which a small emerald stone had been set. she had a neat, black handbag across her right shoulder.-
[16:58] <Minaplo> [Understated, appropriate and elegant; it suited Yui well…-
[16:58] <Minaplo> [… Although standing out on her right wrist was a garishly bright blue plastic mickey mouse watch.-
[16:59] <Minaplo> [She'd had a haircut, too, her hair sitting a little shorter than usual against her neck and jawline. The Ayanamis already looked much like their mother, but the haircut made the resemblance striking.]
[17:31] <Raphael> "Doctor Ikari," Raphael said. Both his posture and the tone of his voice were a little too stiff, which stood at odds with his attempt to smile. He was painfully aware of the social and literal no man's land in which he currently stood. "I apologize for being a little late."
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["That's alright." She said, giving him her own awkward smile.-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["You look nice."]
[17:44] <Raphael> "Uh. Thank you." A pause. "As do… you."
[17:46] <Minaplo> [Yui's smile faltered for a second. "T-thank you."-
[17:46] <Minaplo> [She stepped out of the room, the doors closing behind her. "So…"]
[17:52] <Raphael> And her smile faltering seemed to be a cue for Raphael's to follow suit. He rallied quickly.-
[17:52] <Raphael> "… Would Blue's be alright, ma'am?" Raphael said, trying to inject a bit more normalcy into his voice. "I tried to ask for Ezekiel's help in taking us somewhere farther afield, but he was quite busy."
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["Oh, that's… That's fine." Said Yui.-
[17:54] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:54] <Minaplo> [She slowly, timidly extended her arm at an angle for him to take.]
[18:15] * Raphael took it. Carefully.-
[18:15] <Raphael> And once he was certain his "date" was prepared, Raphael began to lead the way to their destination.
[18:21] <Minaplo> [It was around evening, and shifts were changing.-
[18:23] <Minaplo> [The promenade was especially busy- crewmen and techies heading off-duty, grabbing a well-earned bite to eat and catching up with friends. There were soldiers too, both guards in armour and ones wearing off-duty fatigues and the blank yet slightly wide-eyed expressions of newbies to the battleship who didn't know where anything was.-
[18:27] <Minaplo> [Needless to say, there were faces in the crowd that Raphael knew. And faces that knew him.-
[18:27] <Minaplo> ["Oh, Blue's looks busy tonight." Said Yui.-
[18:28] <Minaplo> [And she was right; through the windows, Raphael could see the teeming guests, enjoying a wide variety of meals and soaking in some rather jazzy music from the band.-
[18:28] <Minaplo> [All told the band weren't particularly good, but they were definitely loud…]
(20:35) <Tao> Against all expectations, Raphael did not seem overly bothered by being seen by said familiar faces despite the circumstances. He even exchanged polite and greetings with a few of the less surprised soldiers on their walk to Blue's. "Do you mind? It looks like there's a few tables left, at least."
(20:35) * Tao is now known as Raphael
(20:48) <Minaplo> ["No, no, no, not at all…"]
(21:07) <Raphael> And so it wouldn't be all that long before they'd found an empty booth within sight of the stage, where the band seemed to be switching to a slower number. It wouldn't do to suspect them of being mocking, but…
(21:11) <Minaplo> [Yui sat, sitting in a way so that she was facing more towards the stage and not square-off toward Raphael.-
(21:11) <Minaplo> ["…"-
(21:11) <Minaplo> ["Do you… Uh, come here much?"]
(21:19) <Raphael> "Now and then, ma'am," Raphael asks, blinking a little at the way she was sitting. "There aren't a great deal of options on the ship…"
(21:23) <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see." Said Yui.-
(21:23) <Minaplo> ["I don't. Very rarely." She said.-
(21:23) <Minaplo> ["If I'm being honest, I… Well, I don't trust the owner very much."]
(21:27) <Raphael> "That's probably for the best," he admitted. As if he'd suddenly been reminded of Blue's existence he began casting his attention around the Grill in an attempt to spot him.
(21:27) <Minaplo> [Blue was behind the bar, clicking his fingers to the rhythm of the song with one hand and mixing a drink with the other.-
(21:28) <Minaplo> [But as though through some strange sense, he looked over at Raphael just as Raphael looked at him.-
(21:28) <Minaplo> [Blue shot him a smile and tipped his hat.-
(21:28) <Minaplo> ["Rei spends so much time here." Said Yui. "She's always speaking to him… I don't really like it, but there's not a lot I can do about it."-
(21:29) <Minaplo> ["I wish she'd eat better, though. There's never enough greens on her plate…"]
(21:36) <Raphael> "Is she still eating that pizza and soup mess?" Raphael asked, pulling his attention away from Blue… although not exactly to return it to Yui. He looked for the menu instead.
(21:37) <Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Yui with a sigh. "Actually, she's gone beyond just eating it. Alphonse didn't feel like going out, so she tried to make it for him…"]
(22:01) <Raphael> "… she did?"
(22:16) <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Yui with a chuckle. "She's a perfectly alright cook, but sometimes her ideas… Exceed her experience."-
(22:17) <Minaplo> ["Anyway, that's how Alphonse ended up with a shrimp, calamari and sausage pizza and a bowl of extra-spicy curry butter miso soup…"]
(22:33) * Raphael smiled a little, finally giving up the menu. No matter what Misato said, she couldn't be -that- worried about eye contact. "… He would've tried to eat it anyway, the poor man."
(22:44) <Minaplo> ["Yeah, he did. Of course he did, right?" Said Yui…-
(22:44) <Minaplo> [Who had just lifted her own menu as Raphael tried to make eye contact.-
(22:48) <Minaplo> ["Of course, we know who to blame for giving her that idea…"]
(22:54) * Raphael looked visibly frustrated for a moment, but kept it out of his voice. "Who's that?"
(22:55) <Minaplo> ["Katsuragi told her that someone told her something weird about what seafood and curry does to men's energy levels…" Yui shrugged, flipped a page over in her menu.-
(22:55) <Minaplo> ["Oh, mousse."]
(23:02) <Raphael> "… I see." Raphael was looking at his menu again so fast that those nearby might have heard a pop as air rushed into the vacated space.
(23:03) <Minaplo> ["Say, did she make dinner for you last night…?"]
(23:08) <Raphael> "Uh, no ma'am. We went out."
(23:08) <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see. She didn't try to make you eat anything weird…?"-
(23:09) <Minaplo> ["Last time she cooked for us she just poured a satchel of soggy curry into instant cup ramen…"]
(23:36) <Raphael> "… I don't think so?" He didn't sound so sure, but it was hard to say whether that was genuine uncertainty or just alarm at this line of discussion.
[14:13] <Minaplo> ["Ah…"-
[14:14] <Minaplo> ["I uh… I think I'll start with the grilled bacon chop with fries." Said Yui after a pause. "With salmon croquettes on the side?"]
[14:28] <Raphael> "The pork with sweet potatoes and salad has been nice in the past. I'll probably go with that," Raphael said after a moment.
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Ah."-
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:42] <Minaplo> ["Oh, um… How did you eat in Russia?"]
[14:46] <Raphael> "It was the choice between Russian cuisine or cafeteria food on board the Bell. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I chose the Bell."
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["Ah."-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["…"]
[14:48] <Raphael> "And how did you eat…" A beat. He seemed to have found himself in the uncanny valley of polite smalltalk. "… here?"
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["Sup, you lot?" Came a sudden voice at the table. Yui started sharply.-
[14:54] <Minaplo> [Blue was standing at the head of the table, his hands folded behind his head.]
[15:01] <Raphael> For once, Raphael actually seemed -relieved- to see the man.-
[15:01] <Raphael> "Blue," he said, giving him a polite nod.
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Uh, yes, hello…" Said Yui awkwardly.-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Ma'am." Blue tipped his hat to her before turning to Raphael. "I'm under firm orders to give y'all the Vee-eye-pee treatment t'night, so… Y'all got an order or what?"]
[15:07] * Raphael actually smiled a little at that, which had the effect of letting his shoulders relax a touch. "Uh, yes. I would like the smokey pork with sweet potatoes, and Mrs. Ikari was looking for the… bacon chop, fries and the salmon croquettes?" He glanced at her quickly to make sure he had that right.
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Yui nodded quickly.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I'll have the, erm…"-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [She flipped hastily through the menu.-
[15:17] <Minaplo> ["The… 'Simonides Sling' to drink, thank you."]
[15:24] <Raphael> "And an…" He stared at the menu for a second, "Does this really say 'Akagi Ale', Blue?"
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Yep." Said Blue smugly.]
[15:26] * Raphael stared at Blue in silence for a moment. Finally he glanced back towards Yui. "… Well, alright. I guess I'll have one of those."
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Got it." Said Blue. "Welp, I'll get right on that. Now you two have yourselves a good time now."-
[15:27] <Minaplo> [And with that, their momentary saviour left them to each other.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> [He'd taken the menus, too.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> [They were fucked.]
[15:28] <Raphael> Well and truly. "…"
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:40] <Minaplo> [Yui began to focus back on the band again.]
[15:43] <Raphael> "So…" He paused to purge the low-level desperation from his voice.-
[15:43] <Raphael> "… Chiisana sure is spending a lot of time with Colonel Hyuga, hmm?"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Huh?"-
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Uh, oh, yes." Said Yui hastily. "So I've heard."]
[15:50] <Raphael> … Possibly not the best course to chart, in retrospect. "Right. Yes."
[15:54] <Minaplo> ["I'm happy for her." Said Yui. She smiled, turning to face Raphael again.]
[15:55] * Raphael nodded carefully. "Of course. She's… I can tell you she's happier than I've ever seen her."
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Isn't that great?" Said Yui with a little chuckle.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["I know you've helped her as best you can. Thank you."]
[16:00] * Raphael hesitated for a moment before he returned Yui's smile. "Not a problem, ma'am. It was more than worth it."
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["Hm."-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [She looked away for a few long seconds. "I know it must've been a trying situation for the Colonel, too."]
[16:12] <Raphael> "Mmm. They both had their issues, but they seemed to have resolved them fairly maturely."-
[16:13] <Raphael> "… Eventually," he added.
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Ah, yes, I'd heard of some of the silliness that went on…"]
[16:20] <Raphael> "They've both made concessions, I think." He continued, "Chiisana is practicing controlling her Field, and Misato has repeatedly informed me that the Colonel is showing a bit more confidence."
[16:23] <Minaplo> ["Now that is impressive." Said Yui with a grin.]
[16:24] * Raphael nodded. "She was making great strides with it when I saw her in Istanbul. Very pleased with herself."
[16:25] <Minaplo> ["Ah… That's right, you were in Istanbul with Chii and de Pteres, weren't you?"]
[16:26] <Raphael> "Mhmm."
[16:27] <Minaplo> [Her smile faded as quickly as it had come. "De Pteres…"]
[16:28] <Raphael> Not an unfamiliar reaction. "… You're having problems with him, ma'am?"
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["He… No? I guess not. He just-"-
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["He unsettles me. I don't like him very much." Said Yui. "He came around recently asking questions about the Evangelions, and I- I was very frightened. He attacked me once, you see…"]
[16:33] <Raphael> Raphael's eyes widened, and he leaned forward a little despite himself. He seemed to be forgetting the eye contact rule again. "He what? When?"
[16:34] <Minaplo> [Yui seemed to shrink back a little. "Um… A long time ago. It was back when the Ayanamis were first introduced to everyone… Sera went berserk over it, took me hostage with a knife, used me as a human shield, and told me to destroy them all."]
[16:46] <Raphael> … another factoid to add to -that- long list of grievances. Raphael tried (not entirely successfully) to keep the sour look off his face. "Well. I think some mistrust is probably warranted, then."
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["V-Very true."-
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["I was asking around, though, and it sounded like his current, uh… Focus on the Evas is Ezra Caine's doing."]
[17:00] <Raphael> "… What's he been doing?" He asked.
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["Asking questions, trying to get as much info about the Evas as possible."]
[17:04] * Raphael sighed. "I have to assume someone would have put a stop to it if it was a concern…"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["That's the hope, isn't it…" She sighed.-
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["What a mess."]
[17:06] <Raphael> "Mmm…" What else was there to say to that? He found his attention drifting back towards the stage.
[17:07] <Minaplo> [The jazzy band was leaving the stage now, and a different group were coming on. Raphael really only recognised one of the members.-
[17:08] <Minaplo> [Viviane… Fournier? That seemed about right, with a violin, wearing smart black tails, a bowtie and shiny shoes.]
[17:14] <Raphael> "… I'm not sure if he told you, but I spoke to Shinji a little while I was stationed in Russia," he said, his eyes still on the stage.
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["O-oh?"]
[17:27] <Raphael> "Gendo… uh, asked me to do what he could for him," Raphael said, looking back towards Yui to try and gauge her reaction. "I take that seriously. I'd like to make sure he doesn't lose himself in… all of this."
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Oh…"-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:29] <Minaplo> [Yui began blinking rapidly against a sudden well of tears in her eyes. She lowered her head.]
[17:31] * Raphael said nothing. Eventually, with as little awkwardness as he could manage, he reached out to lay what he hoped was a comforting hand on her arm.
[17:33] <Minaplo> [She didn't pull away, at least, although she started ever so slightly.-
[17:33] <Minaplo> ["H-heh. Don't worry. I'm-"-
[17:33] <Minaplo> [She quickly wiped at her eyes.-
[17:33] <Minaplo> ["T-Thank you for trying to help him."]
[17:34] * Raphael waved a hand, smiling weakly. "Think nothing of it."-
[17:42] <Raphael> "In any case he was… very clear that if I wanted to help him I could start by trying to mend fences with you."
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I-I see. Yes, that's very him…"]
[17:45] * Raphael nodded. "Rei seemed to be hoping for something similar. So…"
[17:47] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I see." Said Yui, nodding a few times. She turned back to the band, which was playing a little light classical music.-
[17:47] <Minaplo> ["It takes our children to make us behave, huh?" She said with a weak little chuckle.]
[17:47] <Raphael> "Seems that way, ma'am."
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["These days, though, it feels like Rei has a few of her own to look after…"]
[18:47] <Raphael> "Mmm. Have you… spent much time with Eevi?" He asked.
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["Some. Not much time, she seems to prefer Rei and Alphonse…"]
[18:53] <Raphael> "Oh." Raphael's hands drummed against his knees. "She's… a shy girl. Give her some time. She's gone through a lot of changes in the last few months, and people skills don't come easily to her."
[18:59] <Minaplo> ["I hear she was a lot worse before Rei…"]
[19:00] * Raphael smiled. "She was. She's been coming out of her shell pretty steadily since Rei took her in, but there's still a long way to go."
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["I hope it goes well. I'm very proud of what Rei's managed to do so far…"-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [There was the very faint tinkle of the door opening; Yui didn't hear it, and she had her back to the door.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> [Raphael did see it, however. And he saw who came in…-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Chiisana walked in first. She wore a light, knee-length red backless dress, under which she'd worn a black, very sheer underlay that went to her wrists. On her feet were a pair of high heels. Her long blue hair was worn straight and free, and it swayed slightly as she walked.-
[16:02] <Minaplo> [Behind her was Hyuga, wearing a smart-casual white shirt under what looked like (although Raphael couldn't be -sure-) was a black leather jacket. He wore a pair of black trousers and leather dress shoes.-
[16:03] <Minaplo> [They began moving for a table…-
[16:03] <Minaplo> ["And she's so busy, as well." Said Yui. "Isn't she incredible? Although, I shouldn't leave out Alphonse, he's such a supportive young man…"]
[16:11] <Raphael> "Of course…" He said distractedly, trying to keep his eyes on Yui even as he kept the new arrivals in his line of sight. Assess the threat levels, plot a response.-
[16:11] <Raphael> "They're a fairly amazing pair." He added, dragging his attention back in full.
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["I was worried, you know, at first, that maybe Rei would have a hard time with love, but…"-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [Chii and Hyuga began to approach… Though if they saw Raphael they didn't acknowledge him.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [Chii had a very pleased look on her face, though, and Hyuga was watching her with a vague sort of wonderstruck look- wide eyes, permanent grin- that he'd seen…-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [… Well, on many faces. Including his own.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [Typically, though, he associated that face with…-
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["… Rei and Alphonse seem like the perfect couple despite it all." Said Yui. She was beaming happily. "They're so warm and sweet and cute together… Everything which might be a problem for a different person just slides right off Alphonse's back…"-
[16:22] <Minaplo> [Chii and Hyuga were sitting down in a booth as well… One quite close, in fact, maybe about three booths away.-
[16:22] <Minaplo> [Chii sat with her back to Raphael, thus obscuring her from view… But Hyuga sat down facing Raphael. He still had yet to see him.]
[16:46] <Raphael> "She's had her problems, I think," Raphael said, even as he subtly inched himself to one side to try and break line of sight. "Although she hasn't really spoken to me about them directly. I think she's asked for Yanmei's help quite a bit…"
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["Hmmmm, I think I might've heard of that, although- well, I mean, she relies on Yanmei quite a lot. They're a little like sisters…"-
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Here're your drinks." Said Blue cheerfully, appearing at the edge of their table just as Raphael tried to edge away. "A Simonides Sling for the lady, and an Akagi Ale for the gentleman. Careful, the ale'll leave you dazed for hours…"-
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Is that true?" Asked Yui, her eyes narrowing slightly.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> ["Naw." Said Blue.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [At the other booth, Hyuga saw Blue- then he caught sight of Raphael.-
[16:50] <Minaplo> [He went to wave-
[16:53] <Minaplo> [… Then Yui reached out to take her drink. Hyuga saw the Mickey Mouse watch.-
[16:54] <Minaplo> [It was rather remarkable, the way Hyuga froze, sudden understanding, grim and foreboding, filling his face for a split second. He glanced back up at Raphael.-
[16:55] <Minaplo> [… Hyuga awkwardly converted his wave into running his hand through his hair. For a moment Raphael could see Chii's head nearly peep out from behind the booth- only for Hyuga to say something. Distracted, Chii vanished yet again.]
[17:07] * Raphael met the other man's eyes for a moment, dipping his head a fraction in a nod of agreement. Barely looking, he reached out to grab the ale from Blue's tray and took a long gulp that… honestly, was deeper than was usually considered socially acceptable.-
[17:07] <Raphael> He looked to Yui. "… It seems to be fine, ma'am."
[17:08] <Minaplo> ["Y'sure? I mean, how can you tell with such a teeny sippy?" Asked Blue.]
[17:09] <Raphael> "Razor sharp senses."
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Welp, I hope y'all enjoy your drinkies. I'll be back with your food whenever~"-
[17:20] <Minaplo> [Blue walked away, looking pleased with himself for some unknown reason.-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:20] <Minaplo> [Yui peered down at her drink. It was… Very red.-
[17:20] <Minaplo> [She took a small sip. "…"]
[17:43] * Raphael watched Blue go with a slight frown before returning to his own drink. "Any good, ma'am?"
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["It's very…"-
[17:43] <Minaplo> ["Spicy."]
[17:45] <Raphael> "… Spicy," he repeated, eyeing the glass. Very red. "Why does he insist on adding spice to everything?"
[17:47] <Mianplo> ["Must be an American thing."]
[17:48] <Raphael> "I suppose…"
[17:50] <Mianplo> ["Then again, Rei's always liked spicy food. She used to love eating all kinds of curries with…"-
[17:50] <Mianplo> ["…"-
[17:50] <Mianplo> ["It's very strong." She managed another sip.]
[17:51] <Raphael> … Raphael glanced away, his gaze landing on Hyuga again. "Would you like something else instead, ma'am?"
[17:52] <Mianplo> [Hyuga caught his eye for a second, then quickly looked away.-
[17:52] <Mianplo> ["No no no, no." Said Yui. "I'll manage. Strong isn't unwelcome right now."]
[18:38] <Raphael> "… If you say so." Raphael said. And with that awkward silence reigned once more. It gave them time to catch up with what the band was doing, at least.
[18:48] <Mianplo> [They'd been joined by a soft-faced, bright-eyed handsome Chinese man- one of Liu Lin's Prodigies, he thought- who was starting to sing to the crowd in a melodious bedroom voice. "Before the parade~ passes by~ I've gotta go and taste Saturday's high life~"-
[18:49] <Mianplo> [It was clear that he knew the lyrics and the tune… Much better than the harried-looking in-house musicians did. Viviane was moving her bow slightly too fast…-
[18:49] <Mianplo> ["…"-
[18:50] <Mianplo> ["S-So how have you been, then, Raphael?" Asked Yui, a little haltingly. "I mean… With things in general. Suzanne, Katsuragi… I-I hear they were pretty worried about you."]
[15:50] <Raphael> "Oh." He looked back at her, obviously put off-balance by the question. "I've been… fine, thank you ma'am. Missing home." He gave her a small, hopefully sincere-looking smile.
[16:35] <Minaplo> [Yui gave him a small smile of her own… Maybe one a little stronger than before? It didn't waver, in any rate.-
[16:36] <Minaplo> ["You do seem very happy to be back… More, uh…"-
[16:37] <Minaplo> ["Relaxed?" She tried.]
[16:42] <Raphael> "Uh, thank you." He was not sure that was true in the current circumstances, but it would hardly do to say so. "I think you're probably right."
[16:43] <Minaplo> ["Must be better than the Soviet Union, huh?"]
[16:47] <Raphael> Easier ground. "Oh, you have no idea. We were fighting the Soviets as much as the UN-" He paused, a glance shot over his shoulder out of recently imposed habit, "-Figuratively, of course."
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["I heard something fuzzy about this. Please, go on."]
[16:51] <Raphael> "The Red Army High Command barely tolerated our presence, despite Premier Kuzmin's blessing. They certainly didn't appreciate being placed under the oversight of President Linden. It was all very mutinous…" he said, frowning at his ale.
[16:52] <Minaplo> ["Ugh. So they tried to work against you? Why?"]
[16:58] <Raphael> "Being under of the banner of the UEF suggests the possibility that we might ask for… reforms after the war is over. Or at least that's the belief," he said. "I obviously can't comment on the likelihood of such a thing, but the fear is that we might begin supporting the independence movements in their puppet states.
[16:58] <Raphael> "
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["That seems pretty paranoid." Said Yui. "Don't many Federation members have similar things going on themselves…?"]
[17:01] <Raphael> "They do. The Soviets just seem the least willing to put aside the concerns in the short term."
[17:02] <Minaplo> [Yui huffed.-
[17:02] <Minaplo> [She took a slightly larger sip of her Sling, winced for a few seconds, then shook her head.-
[17:03] <Minaplo> ["It's such… I don't know. Insular thinking." Said Yui. "Resenting or fearing outsiders…"-
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["I travelled a lot when I was a little girl, with my father." She said. "But you should hear some of the things I've heard from colleagues who've never stepped foot outside of Japan!"-
[17:06] <Minaplo> ["There was a woman I used to have lunch with… Sayako was her name. She was, um… A computer engineer, I think. She was in a relationship with an American, and…"-
[17:06] <Minaplo> [A pause for another sip of Sling.-
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["She told me once, she was worried about how their relationship might turn out in the long run. I didn't know what she meant, but she told me that she wanted children, only she was scared, because…" Yui's voice rose an octave. "'You know how hard it is to become pregnant to a foreigner! We're so different, genetically!'"]
[17:19] <Raphael> "Mmm," Raphael nodded sincerely, "Misato's very concerned about the possibility of extra fingers or toes or heads."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["You better hurry, then."-
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:25] <Minaplo> [Yui took a full mouthful of Sling with unseemly haste. She began coughing almost immediately.]
[17:28] * Raphael mirrored the movement almost exactly. For what felt like a full minute they nursed their drinks in showtune-assisted "silence".
[17:28] <Raphael> "… So, this Sayako," He ventured.
[17:28] <Minaplo> [Yui, her face red.-
[17:29] <Minaplo> ["What about her…?"]
[17:29] <Raphael> "Did she stay with the American?"
[17:29] <Minaplo> ["She did."]
[17:30] <Raphael> "Good for her."
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["Mmm. She conceived just fine, by the way."-
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["As I told her she would."]
[17:30] <Raphael> "Of course."
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["Um… It was a girl."]
[17:33] <Raphael> "… O-oh. That's nice."
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["I think they named her… Naomi."]
[17:36] <Raphael> "Oh."-
[17:36] <Raphael> "…"
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:37] <Minaplo> [("Give me an old trombone! Give me an old baton!")-
[17:37] <Minaplo> ["… So you and Misato have been talking about having children? I had no idea!" Said Yui suddenly.]
[17:39] <Raphael> "Oh. No. Not really, ma'am - just a joke," he said quickly, giving his fervent shake of his head. "Probably an ill-conceived one, in hindsight."
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["Hehe. Ill-conceived."]
[17:43] * Raphael winced.
[17:44] <Minaplo> [… But Yui was beyond saving.-
[17:44] <Minaplo> [She began to snicker. Then giggle.-
[17:44] <Minaplo> [Then she was clapping her hands over her mouth and shaking at laughter…]
[17:46] * Raphael elected to wait it out, turning his attention to the band and sipping on his drink.
[17:47] <Minaplo> [The band had actually just finished! The in-house musicians looked rather relieved, whilst the Chinese singer was happily soaking up the clapping…-
[17:49] <Minaplo> [("I wonder if there's any other band on tonight?") Came Chii's voice, sounding rather amused. ("These ones look half dead.")-
[17:49] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see Chii's head emerge; she was looking around, apparently for… What? The other band?-
[17:51] <Minaplo> [A second before her gaze fell on Raphael, Hyuga surged forth, grabbed Chii's drink and began downing it.-
[17:52] <Minaplo> [("Wh-"-
[17:52] <Minaplo> [("Makoto, you rogue!") Chii's head vanished once again, leaving Raphael safe… For now.]
[17:56] <Raphael> … hmm. Perhaps he had underestimated Hyuga, at least somewhat? That was truly an heroic action.-
[17:56] <Raphael> Best to use the time he had been bought. He looked back at Yui, who seemed to be slowing down. "Feeling better, ma'am?"
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["A-A little." She said, coughing slightly.-
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[18:01] <Minaplo> ["S-Sorry. I didn't mean to pry…"]
[18:03] * Raphael shook his head. "No, no, that much is fine. I brought it up."
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Ah…"-
[18:04] <Minaplo> ["Y-You know, Rei wants children…"]
[18:05] <Raphael> "Oh yes," he chuckled. "She's never been shy about that."
[18:07] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[18:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh, on the topic, do you want to know something interesting…?"]
[18:15] * Raphael nodded, though the slightest of hesitations suggested he'd had to consider it. "Sure."
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["Because of how it all works, any of Rei's children will have the same abilities she has. Not the AT Field, I mean, but the physical stuff- her reaction time, how quickly she heals, that sort of thing. In that sense, physically… They'll be as much an Ayanami as their mother is."-
[18:18] <Minaplo> ["And I'm sure they'll be as sweet as she is too." Said Yui with a bright smile.]
[18:39] * Raphael considered this in silence. "… I apologize for what I'm sure is a foolish question, but when you say that do you mean they'll be very similar aesthetically as well?"
[18:41] <Minaplo> ["Oh, in some ways." Said Yui. "But probably not as much as you're thinking. They won't be identical, not even to each other- phenotypically, they'll be a blend of mother and father and randomness as usual."]
[18:42] <Raphael> "Oh." He nodded with a little more certainty this time. "That's good to know."
[18:47] <Minaplo> ["Isn't it?" Said Yui delightedly. "I can't wait… Little blue-haired boys, or little blonde-haired girls… If they take after either of their parents, I bet they'll be gorgeous. You know what I mean, right?"]
[19:00] <Raphael> "Of course." He was smiling along with the conversation, although he didn't seem to be -quite- matching Yui's earnest enthusiasm.
[19:01] <Raphael> "She's expressed something pretty similar. And the hope for 'fluffy-haired babies' for the Chancellor."
[19:02] <Minaplo> [Yui laughed. "That's so lovely."-
[19:02] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm…"-
[19:02] <Minaplo> ["Maybe one day I'll be asked to babysit a little Raphael Ayanami?"]
[19:05] * Raphael seemed amused by the idea as he swallowed the last of his drink. "Oh, I don't know about that, ma'am. Plenty of names that should come before mine, I think."
[19:06] <Minaplo> ["There'll be plenty of kids to use them, too~"-
[19:06] <Minaplo> ["Whoa." Said Blue, suddenly appearing at the end of the table. "Guys are movin' fast."-
[19:06] <Minaplo> [Yui started again. "Ah-"-
[19:10] <Minaplo> ["Got food!" Said Blue. "Pork with sweetie taters and some greens for you…" Blue put a plate of food- five generous strips of fat, thick, juicy pork along with three dipping sauces; next to four golden sweet potatoes with butter and cream; the rest of the plate was taken up with vibrant green salad, nestling near-bursting red cherry tomatoes and slices of onion…-
[19:11] <Minaplo> ["And the grilled bacon chop with fries for the lady." Said Blue. The bacon chop smelled smoky and full… The fries were long and crisp, covered in a light drizzle of melted cheese and sour cream.-
[19:12] <Minaplo> ["And finally, these." He placed down a plate of salmon croquettes, the crumbed exterior a deep golden-brown.-
[19:12] <Minaplo> ["Y'all doin' good?"]
[19:28] <Raphael> "Oh, I… think so, yes." He buried the urge to glance at Yui for external confirmation on this. There was no shouting, and this was a success in itself. "The food looks excellent, thank you."
[19:32] <Minaplo> ["Y-yes, thank you." Said Yui.-
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["Y'know, the band takes requests." Said Blue, his tone expectant.]
[19:38] <Raphael> "… Oh, I think I might leave them to their own devices," he said. "Though I will take another drink, please."
[19:38] <Minaplo> ["How'd you like your Akagi?"]
[19:40] <Raphael> "Actually it wasn't bad," he said, only somewhat reluctantly.
[19:41] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, well, that's the thing." Said Blue. "You're never satisfied with just one."-
[19:42] <Minaplo> [Blue whistled as he collected Raphael's empty glass, completely oblivious to the stone-cold icy look that had just crossed Yui's face. "Back before you can say-"-
[19:42] <Minaplo> [… But he was already off.]
[19:45] <Raphael> "… He's far too pleased with himself about this whole arrangement," Raphael noted coolly.
[19:45] <Minaplo> ["Mmm."-
[19:45] <Minaplo> [Yui took a strong mouthful of her sling.]
[19:45] <Minaplo> [The near-cordial air seemed to have frozen…]
[19:52] <Raphael> And it wasn't his fault. Again, something of a victory if a pyrrhic one.-
[19:54] <Raphael> "…" He looked for something to say, but after a few further seconds of awkward silence he began to dig into his meal instead.
[20:03] <Minaplo> [Yui remained silent.-
[20:15] <Minaplo> [Eventually she stabbed at a fry and began nibbling on the edge.-
[20:22] <Minaplo> [The music had fallen silent at some point, the musicians having taken some kind of break, or so it had seemed.-
[20:26] <Minaplo> [The reality imposed itself on the world with an aggressively loud and harsh guitar chord. Yui screwed her face up.-
[20:28] <Minaplo> [Standing up on stage was… Raphael would recognise him: long, rather greasy black hair. Hawaiian shirt open, exposing a white singlet. Long jeans. In his hand: an electric guitar. It had browny-yellow and black stripes.-
[20:28] <Minaplo> [Even more surprising, there were people behind him. A band…?-
[20:28] <Minaplo> ["Sup." Said Aoba to the stupefied crowd.-
[20:28] <Minaplo> ["So…"-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["I had a band in Japan." Said Aoba. "Now I have a new band. Here."-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [The crowd remained silent.-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["So…"-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["Tonight, we're gonna play you something super special."-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see the look of alarm on Hyuga's face.-
[20:30] <Minaplo> [Aoba's hand tore across the strings of his guitar; a sharp discordant sound filled the air. "We're Spooky Tanuki: Anubi-ginning!"-
[20:30] <Minaplo> [… And they began to play.-
[20:31] <Minaplo> [There is such a thing as good heavy metal music, but wherever it was, it wasn't there in Blue's Bar and Grill that night.-
[20:31] <Minaplo> [They were godawful.]
[20:51] <Raphael> "Oh…" Raphael managed, a slice of pork paused halfway to his mouth as he stared at the stage in undisguised horror. "Oh dear."
[20:56] <Minaplo> [There was the clatter of cutlery from Yui. She dropped her fork and, without saying a word, stood up and stormed out of the building.]
[21:14] <Raphael> … Raphael watched her go without moving, his eyes trailing her as she rushed for the door. Only after she was gone did he set down his fork - meat still attached - shut his eyes and take five long, careful breaths.-
[21:14] <Raphael> Only when that was done did he push out of the booth and head for the door, leaving a few bills on the table between their untouched food. His face was kept neutral and apparently calm.
[19:03] <Minaplo> [Raphael might hear Chii let out a surprised squeak to see her mother rush past… Followed by him.-
[19:09] <Minaplo> [He would emerge from Blue's grill just in time to see Yui slip into a nearby storefront- the windows covered in heavy sheets, the building clearly unused.]
[19:13] * Raphael followed at a quick walk, hands jammed into his pockets. His blank expression was marred by a frown as he caught sight of her target, but he didn't alter pace.
[19:17] <Minaplo> [He'd find Yui seated on a dust-coated bench in the corner, the opaque plastic cover having long since been shifted aside. Her head was bowed, her fringe covering her eyes somewhat. It was dark; her expression was hard to read.]
[19:27] * Raphael stood by the plastic-draped doorway for a moment, assessing the situation as best he could in the dim.-
[19:27] <Raphael> "Do you want me to go, ma'am?" His voice was level and polite, although maybe not as… sympathetic as the situation required.
[19:29] <Minaplo> ["Do whatever you want." She said, her voice tight and low.]
[19:34] <Raphael> Luckily even if she were looking at him, the light was dim enough to hide the way his jaw tightened as his teeth ground together. Perhaps he was actually biting his tongue?-
[19:34] <Raphael> Eventually he broke the stillness by taking a seat on the same bench Yui occupied, heedless of the thick coating of dust against his black pants. He let the silence hang.
[19:36] <Minaplo> [Yui was silent. Silent for a long time.-
[19:36] <Minaplo> [When she spoke, her voice was hoarse and monotone.-
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["It should've been me."]
[19:40] <Raphael> "No." The word came out a little more firmly than he'd intended. "That kind of thinking will destroy you."
[19:40] <Minaplo> [Yui hastily shook her head.-
[19:41] <Minaplo> ["No. It was supposed to be me." She said. "I was supposed to be Unit 05."]
[19:46] <Raphael> That stopped him short. He turned to face her properly, eyes narrowed to better make her out. "… I'd wondered who it was meant to have been," he said eventually.
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. It was never supposed to have been Rei." Said Yui quietly. "But she was never supposed to die, either."]
[19:59] <Raphael> "I know."
[20:09] <Minaplo> ["I have fears. Had fears." Said Yui. "Fears of a parent, a mother. Fears of a spouse, adult fears."-
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["Things you never want to even consider happening, things that make you cold to think about."-
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["One by one they've been happening."-
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["I can't…"-
[20:12] <Minaplo> [Yui buried her head in her hands; her shoulders started to shake.]
[20:25] <Raphael> The bench wasn't a large one, narrow enough that they were left touching one another. He could -feel- the shaking as she began to sob.-
[20:25] <Raphael> After a moment his hand raised up, hesitated, and then finally settled on her back. A gesture of support.
[20:32] <Minaplo> [And Yui grieved.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> [After a few minutes of tears and quiet, hopeless sobs, Yui began to try to pull herself together. With a shaky hand she took out a handkerchief and wiped at her cheeks; the handkerchief came away damp with tears and smeared with mascara.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> [She wiped a little bit off her wristwatch, too.-
[20:36] <Minaplo> ["H-heh." She said, sniffling, her voice raw-sounding. "He gave me this, you know… Won it on our first date. Still works, incredibly."]
[20:40] <Raphael> "I thought it might be something like that," he said gently, returning his hand back to his own knee, "I didn't want to ask."
[20:43] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[20:43] <Minaplo> ["You know, you and he aren't so different in a lot of ways."]
[20:54] * Raphael chuckled dutifully, "I don't know about that, ma'am."
[20:58] <Minaplo> ["Well. You never really knew him…"-
[21:00] <Minaplo> [Yui let out a very long, tired sigh; she stood up. "It sounds like Aoba's band has stopped playing. I think I should head home. You should finish up your meal."]
[21:02] * Raphael followed suit, dusting off his pants as he gave Yui a long look. "… will you be alright, ma'am? Would you like me to walk you back?"
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["Thank you, but I'll be fine."-
[21:04] <Minaplo> ["Thank you for trying as you did." Said Yui quietly. "I know it must've been difficult. It felt… Alright at times, tonight. Times where it felt like the painful fakey tension wasn't so strong."]
[21:14] <Raphael> "…" Raphael let out a deep sigh. "I really -was- trying. The… pressure probably didn't help, I admit."
[21:15] <Minaplo> [Yui gave him a tiny, watery smile.-
[21:16] <Minaplo> [A second later she leaned in and gave him a small peck on the cheek.-
[21:17] <Minaplo> [… Behind Yui, however, Raphael would catch sight of something else. Someone else, standing in the doorway to the storefront: Chiisana, a thoughtful frown on her face.]
[21:23] <Raphael> Either input on its own likely would've been enough to surprise him, but together they almost cancelled one another out. He was too busy registering Chiisana's presence to really react to Yui's gesture. It was probably a blessing, in its way.-
[21:24] <Raphael> It was the latter he focused on for now, giving her a small but genuine smile as she leaned away. "Take care of yourself, Yui."
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["I will." She said, pulling away. She turned- and gasped.-
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["Chii-"-
[21:27] <Minaplo> ["It feels good to have someone walk you home." Said Chiisana quietly. "Why don't I take you, mother?"-
[21:28] <Minaplo> ["Oh, Chii…" Raphael would see the tears suddenly spring back into Yui's eyes.-
[21:29] <Minaplo> ["Come on." Muttered Chii. "Raphael, do you mind keeping Makoto company until I return?"]
[21:31] <Raphael> "Of course not, ma'am" he said. Hidden from Yui's view, he offered Chii an encouraging smile.
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["Thank you."-
[21:32] <Minaplo> [Yui walked over to Chii's side, something close to a spring in her step, now. "Goodnight, Raphael…"]
[21:35] <Raphael> "Goodnight." He gave them a bit of time to get moving, smiling a little as they went.-
[21:36] <Raphael> Then it was back to Blue's. There was no spring in his step, but it was certainly a more relaxed journey back.-
[21:36] <Raphael> […]
[21:39] <Raphael> A new plate was placed on the table in Makoto's booth: Salad coupled with what was, by this point, a fairly cool portion of pork and sweet potatoes. A moment later Raphael followed, sliding into Chiisana's unoccupied seat.
[21:39] <Raphael> "Excuse me, Colonel," he said mildly, giving the man a nod. "Orders."
[21:40] <Minaplo> ["Oh, hey, you're back." Said Hyuga. "How'd Chii go?"]
[21:44] <Raphael> "She's walking Yui back to her room," Raphael said. "She asked me to keep you company in the meantime."
[21:45] <Minaplo> ["Ahh…"-
[21:45] <Minaplo> ["Guess you're off the hook now." Said Hyuga. "Oh."-
[21:45] <Minaplo> [He handed Raphael a wad of franc banknotes. "Blue said it was 'On the house, Miss Rei's orders'."]
[21:47] * Raphael let out a laugh. "Suppose I should've expected that," he said.-
[21:47] <Raphael> "Sorry to interrupt your evening."
[21:48] <Minaplo> [Hyuga waved a hand in front of his face. "It's fine. I did my best, though!" He said proudly. "Chii remained 100% unawares!"-
[21:49] <Minaplo> ["… But it's worth it if those two can patch things up a bit."]
[21:50] <Raphael> "Mmm. That seems to be a theme tonight…"
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["… Well." Hyuga coughed. "Chii and I are together now. I feel I should thank you for what you did to help."]
[21:54] <Raphael> "Oh," Raphael said uncertainly. "I can't say I did that much, Colonel…"
[21:55] <Minaplo> ["Well, you helped Chii when I did some stupid crap. That counts!"]
[22:01] <Raphael> "… if you say so, sir."-
[22:01] <Raphael> "Regardless, she's happier now that she's with you," he said matter-of-factly, spearing a chunk of sweet potato.
[22:02] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, she is…" Said Hyuga dreamily.-
[22:03] <Minaplo> ["… Anyway. What I wanted to say was, erm."-
[22:03] <Minaplo> [He grabbed his bottle of beer and held it toward Raphael. "We good?"]
[22:07] <Raphael> "Of course, sir." He said, carefully following suit by touching it to the drink that had been returned to his table in his absence. "If I may say one thing, though?"
[22:08] <Minaplo> ["Yeah?"]
[22:08] <Raphael> "I would be very disappointed if you ever tried to repeat your imitation of the Foreign Legion." His voice grew slightly cooler, even as he gave Hyuga a friendly smile.
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["Ah, yeah, well…"-
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["So you missed something super-great!" Said Hyuga suddenly with a big stupid smile.]
[22:14] <Raphael> "Oh really?" Raphael said, not outwardly bothered by the change in topics. If anything his smile seemed to get a little wider.
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. So, you know how Aoba and his idiot band were playing, right? So they got thrown out. Literally. There was an Iron Guard in the audience, and he objected…"]

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