This Too Shall Pass 3 2 28

[14:17] <Minaplo> ["… Aaaaanyway, the house goes up in flames, right? She bails out the window of course, didn't do a damned thing to her, but now she's distracted…"-
[14:17] <Minaplo> [It was an unusually slow day in Blue's Bar and Grill.-
[14:18] <Minaplo> [The rest of Raphael's dinner party had yet to arrive, a fact that Blue had clearly picked up on. And so, after five minutes of waiting, Blue had shown up at Raphael's table with a plate groaning beneath a small mountain of food, plopped down in the neat opposite and began telling stories.-
[14:19] <Minaplo> [Regardless of what Raphael wanted.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> [Right now, Blue was deep into the tale of how he'd evaded Walpurgis Night. It was a tale that started off with tense sneaking through wartorn towns and gloomy forests, evading his highly skilled trackers… Then at some point it had taken a sharp high-octane turn into a bombastic tale filled with high speed car chases, dodging strafing runs from VTOLs and at one point, a long hand-to-hand
[14:23] <Minaplo> duel with Florence Menzies Kuti on top of a tank during a battle between two Iron Guard warlord bands along the River Congo.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["So that's when I make my escape, diving into the little river skiff. I start up the engine…" Blue made a dramatic gasp. "But it was dead!"]
[14:39] <Raphael> "Something had to be, I suppose," Raphael said blandly, picking at a plate of chips and aioli. He was struggling with the urge to check his watch.
[14:40] <Minaplo> ["You know, I don't feel like you're giving this grand tale the attention it deserves."]
[14:42] <Raphael> "I'm not entirely sure you're telling the truth," he replied. "Walpurgis Night, certainly, but were they -really- prepping to hit a shanty town with an N2 mine?"
[14:43] <Minaplo> ["Of course they were! Me, tell a lie?"]
[14:44] <Raphael> "Shocking to imagine, I know."
[14:51] <Minaplo> ["Well pardon -me-! Here then, let me tell y'all the totally accurate and not exaggerated story about that one time some jackass set fire to Valletta, jacked a tank and killed five Iron Guard, because that's believable."]
[14:53] <Raphael> "…" He frowned. "That's different."
[14:54] <Minaplo> ["Oh really now?"]
[14:55] <Raphael> "…"-
[14:55] <Raphael> "…"-
[14:55] <Raphael> The his Frown Level was bordering on Defcon Pout now. "… Carry on."
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["That actually happened, though." Shouted Kaiden Peters on the other side of the bar.-
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["You shut up!"-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["There's tall tales 'bout Valletta, but that ain't one of 'em. In fact-"-
[14:58] * Raphael shot Kaiden a smirk.
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Don't encourage him." Snapped Blue at Raphael before turning back to Kaiden. "Yeah yeah yeah, we heard it all before, blah blah blah rock of Malta blah blah crusader tabard blah blah blah. What next, gonna tell everyone 'bout the tribulations of meeting with pretty Russian generals?"-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["You're just a big ol' son of a bitch, aren't you?"-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Biggest son of a bitch on my side of the Mississippi, Fry."-
[15:00] <Minaplo> [Whilst the two of them dissolved into loud, American squabbling, Raphael would notice the door opening and the rest of his party enter- Misato and Marianne.-
[15:05] <Minaplo> [Misato was wearing a pair of tight blue jeans and a black clingy turtleneck sweater under her distinctive red leather jacket. Marianne, on the other hand, was wearing a knee-length cream skirt with a white blouse.-
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["Geez, even with so few people there's a racket." Said Misato. "I bet Blue makes a lot of noise like this to make his bar sound more full~"-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["Screw you, Lady Longshot." Said Blue, his head swivelling towards Misato like an anti-air turret tracking a jet. "I don't need such petty tricks. So long as Hohenzollern's in charge of finances and you're in charge of expensive shit, my bar's future is fuckin' secured."-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["You little shit-"-
[15:08] <Minaplo> [With the verbal melee now spilling over into three loud combatants, no one really noticed Marianne walk over and sit next to Raphael. "Hi. Sorry we're late…"]
[15:24] <Raphael> "Oh, it's not a problem, ma'am. I had-" He glanced over at the bickering, "-sufficient company."-
[15:25] <Raphael> He gave her a bright smile. "We're just glad you could come out."
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["You don't mind my being a third wheel?"]
[15:35] <Raphael> "You're not, really" he said firmly. "We've both wanted a chance to see you off-duty since we made it back to the ship."
[16:42] <Minaplo> [Marianne smiled. "I appreciate it."-
[16:44] <Minaplo> [("… Tacky as hell! Think this is some kind of hip speakeasy?!")-
[16:44] <Minaplo> [("Then why do you keep comin' here?!")-
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Just going to let them burn out?" Asked Marianne.]
[17:00] <Raphael> "Trying to interrupt would just let them reel me in. Quicker to let them get bored on their own terms." He rolled his eyes.
[17:07] <Minaplo> ["Not the first time this has happened, huh?"]
[17:09] <Raphael> "They both like pushing other peoples buttons, but Misato…" he paused, obviously being careful with his words, "Isn't necessarily as good at -taking- it."
[17:12] <Minaplo> ["You know who that reminds me of?"]
[17:12] <Raphael> "Who's that?"
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei."]
[17:16] * Raphael -grinned-. "You know," he muttered, leaning a little closer for extra conspiracy points, "The Admiral says that one of her team - Colonel Hyuga - refers to Yanmei as 'Mini-Misato'."
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["… You know, I think I remember saying something similar." Said Marianne with a smile. "You see, Yanmei had just been engaged to Isaiah. She had the ring and everything. But I think someone overheard someone… Maybe Misato, now that I think about it- talking about Yanmei being pregnant. So for the whole day, people kept wishing Yanmei congratulations, and she kept thanking them, not
[17:22] <Minaplo> realising they were talking about her nonexistent baby instead of her engagement."-
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["She was horrified when she found out the truth, then proceeded to instantly try to rewrite NERV's guidelines so that people couldn't gossip about her, but she could gossip about them."]
[17:31] <Raphael> "Those two…" Raphael was laughing even as he shook his head.-
[17:31] <Raphael> "… of course, there are governments with laws against speaking ill of their ruler. Best to keep her from stumbling onto that idea."
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, I have a feeling that lese majeste won't exactly be fun to live under…"-
[17:41] <Minaplo> [Misato finally stamped over, unceremoniously dumped Blue's plate of food on a nearby table, and flopped down on Raphael's lap.-
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["Hmph!"]
[18:09] <Raphael> Luckily Raphael had enough experience by this point to have himself braced as she stormed over, but a chip has been marooned between his plate and his mouth as she flops into place. "Are you two done, ma'am?"
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Misato squirmed and wriggled about trying to get comfortable.-
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Yep. I showed that no-good Yankee what for."-
[18:13] <Minaplo> [This instantly triggered a storm of protests from the American side of the room.-
[18:15] <Minaplo> [("Like hell you did, Longshot!") ("I'm no Yankee!")]
[18:22] * Raphael winced and began to make an attempt to maneuver his chip around Misato, partially as a way to hide the slight pinkness around his ears.-
[18:22] <Raphael> "We do have other chairs, Misato."
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["Rei tells me the comfiest chair is the one you love, though~"]
[18:24] * Raphael rolled his eyes, but he did give Marianne an apologetic look.
[18:25] <Minaplo> [Marianne's expression was a mix of sympathetic gaze and small smirk.-
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["We didn't leave you waiting too long, did we?" Asked Misato. "We got held up- ooh, thanks."-
[18:26] <Minaplo> [Misato snapped the chip out of Raphael's fingers.]
[18:31] <Raphael> "… Got held up where?" Raphael says wearily, going for another chip. "Oh, you're welcome to some of these if you want, Marianne."
[18:32] <Minaplo> ["Thanks, Raphael, but some of us know how to order for ourselves." She said, giving Misato a look.-
[18:32] <Minaplo> [Misato poked her tongue out in response.-
[18:34] <Minaplo> [Marianne rolled her eyes.-
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["There was a fight." Said Marianne. "Asari Keita was having a brawl with two of yours, actually."]
[18:51] <Raphael> "… two of mine?" Raphael said. He tried to sit up a little straighter, but his current role as a chair did not seem to allow it. "Sergeant Herriot, I assume, but who else?"
[18:51] <Minaplo> [This just seemed to prompt Misato to start squirming again.-
[18:52] * Cerise is now known as Reiska
[18:52] <Minaplo> ["Rurikovich." Said Marianne. "Apparently Keita overheard Herriot say something unflattering to Rurikovich about Mana, so Keita went after them, then Rurikovich tried to intervene and it turned into two-on-one."]
[18:54] * Raphael groaned. "Where are they now?"
[18:57] <Minaplo> ["Herriot's in the medical wing. Rurikovich and Keita were put in the brig to cool off."]
[18:58] <Raphael> "Serious injuries?"
[19:00] <Minaplo> ["Sprained wrist, chipped tooth, potentially a mild concussion, nothing they can't handle down there." Said Marianne.-
[19:00] <Minaplo> ["His ego might never heal again, though." Said Misato smugly.]
[19:03] <Raphael> "I should-" He was already partway towards moving Misato off him when he caught a glimpse of her face in his peripheral vision.-
[19:04] <Raphael> "… I should leave it until tomorrow," he said, checking again for confirmation, "right?"
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Right."-
[19:04] <Minaplo> ["Right."-
[19:05] <Minaplo> ["Meet up with Horaki tomorrow and go from there." Said Marianne.]
[19:06] <Raphael> "… Yes ma'am." He let himself fall back into his chair, bringing Misato with him.
[19:08] <Minaplo> ["I don't envy either of them." Said Misato gleefully. "Grumpy Guillory and Hellish Horaki…"]
[19:10] <Raphael> "Horaki… she's been stationed with you, right?" He asked, trying for another chip. "I never had much of an opportunity to speak to the Fox pilots before we were deployed."
[19:11] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh!" Said Misato. "Canute, Lily… Both used Fox."]
[19:19] <Raphael> "They seemed to have performed quite well."
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["They're pretty good at what they do." Said Misato. "Actually, they're practically naturals."-
[19:24] <Minaplo> ["They have their share of problems, of course." She continued. "Keita's something of a lightning rod…"]
[19:29] <Raphael> "Apparently…"
[19:32] <Minaplo> ["A few days after arriving on the Dorian for the very first time, he had a go at beating up de Pteres. Did you hear about that?"]
[19:32] * Raphael frowns. "I didn't, as a matter of fact."
[19:34] <Minaplo> ["See?" Said Marianne with a laugh. "He'd be likeable if he wasn't so full-on all the time."]
[19:41] <Raphael> "I would never approve of such a thing, Marshal," Raphael said primly… before shooting her a little smirk.-
[19:42] <Raphael> "I'm assuming it didn't stick, though."
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Unfortunately no." Said Marianne.-
[20:04] <Minaplo> ["Still, looking into Keita might be up your alley, Raphael." She said. "He's a Person of Interest to you- NeoSpartan graduate, close to Mana."]
[20:05] * Raphael leaned around Misato to better raise an eyebrow. "Really? She hasn't mentioned him…"
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["Maybe not by name, but she hasn't happened to tell you stories of a really short NeoSpartan…?"]
[16:42] <Raphael> "She… might have," he said slowly, a little bit of recognition dawning on his face. "With a slight Napoleon complex?"
[16:43] <Minaplo> ["'Slight'?" Misato laughed. "When the Dysangelion appeared in the Caribbean, Fox Squad's cockpit displays showed five horrified or grim faces… Then you had Keita at the end suddenly grinning like a slasher villain."]
[16:45] <Raphael> "… Marvellous."
[16:49] <Minaplo> ["Mind you, he's very good at what he does. Took down a harpy…"]
[16:54] * Raphael shook his head. "Sounds like he and Sergeant Herriot were made for one another."
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["Haha, well. Sounds like you should be good at handling him then, right?"]
[17:04] <Raphael> "Hopefully. Apparently I haven't taken a firm enough hand with Herriot so far," he grabbed another chip, offering one to Misato on the way in an attempt to appease his fickle queen. "I'll have to correct that."
[17:10] <Minaplo> ["Nnnom."-
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["Your squad does seem a little unsettled of late, Raphael. Everything alright?" asked Marianne.]
[17:14] <Raphael> "Mana's been struggling ever since we lost Julien," he sighed, "And you know about her problems with fighting Marshal Caine. Herriot is just… he has feelings for Mana, and she very definitely doesn't reciprocate. He's handled it poorly."-
[17:14] <Raphael> "I might have to look into transferring one or both of them if we can't resolve the situation."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["Ugh." Misato shook her head, ensuring Raphael's vision (and mouth, and nose) was momentarily obscured by the wave of her long hair. "That's what it's about, huh? Geez, I was hoping it'd be better than that."]
[17:25] <Raphael> "If only I could live up to your high standardss, ma'am."
[17:31] * Tyra is now known as Zack
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Well you have to admit that throwing a hissy fit because a girl turned him down is kinda childish."]
[17:37] <Raphael> "Oh, you won't find me disagreeing with that."-
[17:40] <Raphael> "But still," he said, with a little finality in his voice, "There's no point in the three of us taking a night off and then spending it talking about work. Even I'm beginning to think we might be missing the point."
[17:44] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm, true." Said Misato.-
[17:45] <Minaplo> [There was a short pause.-
[17:46] <Minaplo> ["So how's, ah… Suzanne going?" Asked Marianne.]
[17:53] <Raphael> "She's doing well, all things considered. She's made friends with Colonel Surova and Navah in engineering," he smiled. "They're keeping her occupied. She and Eevi were the ones who talked the other children into building that model of Zeruel on the Boardwalk, apparently."
[17:55] <Minaplo> [Marianne shook her head. "Never thought I'd see the day…"]
[17:56] <Raphael> "She's… taken quite a shine to him. She wrote him a letter," he paused and peered around at Misato. "Can Angels read?"
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["I haven't the faintest idea." Said Misato, who had started plundering Raphael's dwindling supply of chips on her own terms. "Maybe they understand semaphore?"-
[18:03] <Minaplo> ["Why don't you just ask Ezekiel?" Said Marianne. "He says he can communicate with anything alive, so an Angel should be no problem."]
[18:04] <Raphael> "That seems reasonable. Or perhaps Vercingetorix could translate it for him…"
[18:06] <Minaplo> ["Did you happen to read what it said?" Asked Misato.]
[18:07] <Raphael> "Admiral!" He said, affecting a hurt tone. "Are you suggesting I would go through my daughter's mail?"
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["Uh, yes!"-
[18:08] <Minaplo> ["… Parents do that, right?"]
[18:10] <Raphael> "… O-on occasion, I suppose."-
[18:12] <Raphael> "I didn't," he hurried on, "But she did ask me to proofread it. She thought Zeruel might have trouble reading it if the spelling was a problem…"
[18:12] <Minaplo> [Marianne giggled. "That's sweet."-
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Sooooo." Misato crowed. "What did it saaaay."]
[18:17] <Raphael> "Mostly what you'd expect. She said thanks, she wished him luck and promised she was trying to get the Chancellor to make him a medal," a little, honest smile was working its way onto his face as he spoke.
[18:17] <Raphael> «had worked*»
[18:17] <Minaplo> ["A medal? But where would you stick it…?"]
[18:18] <Raphael> "Oh believe me, we've had this conversation. Suzie insists you could pin it to the core."
[18:18] <Minaplo> [Marianne winced.]
[18:20] <Raphael> "That was how I reacted, yes."
[18:23] <Minaplo> ["If only we could create a little uniform for him." Said Misato. She suddenly brightened. "Like the way Alexandrina dresses her Friendilator!"]
[18:24] * Raphael groaned. "She's gotten to you too."
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["Have you seen how the Ayanamis treat it?" Said Marianne conversationally. "Cooing all over it like it was a little baby…"-
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["This the baby Annihilator thing?" Asked Blue.-
[18:29] <Minaplo> [Because he had suddenly appeared at the end of the table; Marianne started. "Erk-"]
[19:09] * Raphael might've been able to hide his own surprise if there wasn't someone directly on top of him, but he had no such luck. Thankfully he managed to keep the shock out of his voice.-
[19:09] <Raphael> "That's right. The Princess calls it… Margaret, I believe? No, Anita-Margaret," he corrected.
[19:13] <Minaplo> ["Yep. Anita-Margaret." Said Blue. "Couldn't ask for a more patient customer, that one. Bit of a challenge to tailor for, mind…"-
[19:18] <Minaplo> [There was the sound of the door opening and shutting; Raphael would see Ban-Ban enter, wearing a four-sleeved nursing outfit, and take a seat next to Kaiden. ("Good Evening.") ("Hey, Ban.")]
[19:39] * Raphael leaned out to give Ban-Ban a wave. "… I admit, you do good work with her," there was a slight pause on that word, as if it was a question. "I've seen some of the outfits, but I didn't know they were your work. Alexandrina… didn't seem particularly fond of you."
[19:46] <Minaplo> [Ban returned the wave with one of his hand-arms.-
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["Necessity makes bedspreads of us all." Said Blue solemnly.-
[19:47] <Minaplo> [Misato's gaze narrowed suspiciously-
[19:47] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, you got orders or are you just gonna crowd up my bar?"]
[19:53] <Raphael> "Mmm, that's probably an idea," Raphael admitted. He made a grab for a menu around his passenger and paused. "… Misato, you're going to have to move."
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["Don't wanna."]
[19:55] <Raphael> "Come on, you had your fun."
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Fiiiine. Budge up, Marianne-"-
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["I don't think-"-
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Hold on-"-
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Wait, stop-"-
[19:56] <Minaplo> […-
[19:56] <Minaplo> [Five minutes of Bavarian Fire Drill later, Raphael was now sitting in the corner chair, Misato opposite him, and Marianne to Raphael's left.-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["Earth's mightiest heroes right here in my bar." Said Blue, wiping away a fake tear. "I'm humbled."-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["Oh fuck you."]
[19:58] * Raphael had stopped trying to hide his laughter after the second minute.-
[19:58] <Raphael> "S-so, shall we?"
[19:59] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Marianne. "Blue, I'll have the… Uh."-
[19:59] <Minaplo> ["The Curly Surly Grillory Burger." Said Marianne, her voice a whisper.-
[19:59] <Raphael> "The wha-"
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["One Katsuragi cutlet with fries." Cut in Misato, her expression hard. "This had better be worth my name, Blue."-
[20:01] <Minaplo> [The door opened and closed yet again; Raphael would see Terry and Bruce enter, the former instantly obvious due to his vivid hair and his huge size. They went to the back of the room, where the extra-huge Guard furniture had been installed.-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["And anything for you, Curly Surly?" Asked Blue smugly.]
[20:07] <Raphael> "I've been meaning to ask," he countered, "Surely you need approval to profit off our names? You're not the old Marketing division."-
[20:07] <Raphael> "… And why curly?"
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["See? Surly goes unquestioned." Said Blue. "Any drinks, folks?"]
[20:29] <Raphael> "Surly I at least understand," he muttered, demonstrating his own point. He glanced at his own menu and sighed.-
[20:29] <Raphael> "I'll have the Soryu Schnitzel - really, Blue? - and a beer, thank you. And some more chips." He added, shooting Misato a dark look.
[20:29] <Minaplo> [Misato poked her tongue out at him.-
[20:30] <Minaplo> ["The Soryu Schnitzel was her idea." Said Blue. "She liked the Soryu pizza and all, but felt it wasn't… German enough. So you all get fuckin' schnitzels, I dunno."-
[20:31] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, I should have you know that most of these aren't my idea at all, actually. Most of em are Rei's."-
[20:31] <Minaplo> ["Which ones were yours?" Asked Marianne.-
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["The Duke of Wellington meal was one of them!" Said Blue.-
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["I didn't see it on the menu."-
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["Yeah… We don't serve that one anymore."]
[20:36] <Raphael> "…" Raphael kept examining his menu, trying to stop himself from wincing.
[20:38] <Minaplo> [The rest quickly made their drink orders. Blue made a retreat back to his bar, winding his way around a newly-come Eevi, Navah and Sarasvati on the way.-
[20:40] <Minaplo> ["It's a little scary to think, isn't it?" Said Misato. "Rei's behind most of this menu… Seems like she has a lot of influence over him, huh?"]
[20:45] <Raphael> It took a minute for Raphael to respond, as he'd taken a moment to greet Eevi and the others - and to give Timur a pat at her insistence. Within a few seconds, though, they had moved on to their own table.-
[20:47] <Raphael> "He's using her as a moral compass because he doesn't trust his own," he said. "And there are worse people he could look to for that…"
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["That's true." Said Marianne. "Well… It sounds like a step in the right direction. At least to me."-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["You mean, a step toward the right Rei?" Said Misato brightly.-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Ugh."-
[20:57] <Raphael> "Ugh," Raphael agreed.
[20:58] <Minaplo> ["Hehehe." Misato grinned.-
[20:59] <Minaplo> ["On the topic of moral compasses, though." Said Marianne. "Raphael, have you had much to do with Ayanami Ni?"]
[21:04] <Raphael> "Some," he nodded. "I exchanged emails with her when she was still stationed in Leningrad, and we've spoken a fair few times since she was moved to the Dorian. Why do you ask?"
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["Just curious. She seems a little tense."]
[21:07] <Raphael> "… does she?" He raised an eyebrow. "We spoke when she visited the Bell in Russia and she seemed fine."
[21:13] <Minaplo> ["It's impossible to have her in the same room with Yanmei without the two getting on each other's nerves." Said Marianne. "Admittedly a lot of that's down to Yanmei being a horrible old gossip and Ni hating that…"-
[21:14] <Minaplo> ["There was also that time she went after Rei over her relationship with Alphonse, too." Said Misato.]
[21:18] <Raphael> "It was more than once," he sighed. "Rei was rather upset about it. There doesn't seem to have been any more said about it since their last blow-up, but it's probably a matter of time."-
[21:18] <Raphael> "Ni handles it poorly, but it's not hard to see why she has something of a complex about it…"
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["She hasn't gone at you yet, has she, Raphael?" Asked Marianne.]
[21:28] <Raphael> "… no. She's not strictly my superior, so perhaps that helps," he gave Misato a sweet smile. "Really I think she reserves most of her wrath for ODs in relationships with Pilots."
[21:36] <Minaplo> ["I see. So Hyuga and Chii would get a pass?" Said Marianne.-
[21:36] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[21:36] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm." Misato let out a low hum. "You know, that's a good question…"]
[21:36] <Raphael> "I would assume so…"
[21:42] <Minaplo> ["You lot talkin' 'bout Ni?" Asked Blue at the end of the table. He was bearing three plates of food- one was a crumbed schnitzel cooked under a layer of melted cheese and tomato sauce with chips and a side of dipping sauces; one was a breaded pork cutlet, cut up into eight slices, covered underneath a thick brown curry sauce on a bed of fries; and finally, a very large burger… Thick
[21:42] <Minaplo> slices of grilled steak, chicken and bacon between piles of lettuce, tomatoes and way too much red sauce between buns toasted golden-brown; branded into the crust of the top bun was a cartoon outline of a familiar frowny face.-
[21:42] <Minaplo> [… and a small pile of curly fries encircled the burger.-
[21:42] <Minaplo> ["Because she totally came in here stirrin' up trouble awhile back." Said Blue, handing everyone their respective dishes.]
[21:49] <Raphael> "How so?" He accepted his plate with a quick thank you, only to find himself staring at the burger instead. He responded with a mute shake of his head.
[21:50] * MartiniMinaplo is now known as Minaplo
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["There was an accident, ruined her meal, and she started havin' a go about the waitress uniforms. And she made mean remarks 'bout my attire."]
[21:55] <Raphael> "… I admit, I've wondered about the uniforms myself," he said slowly, glancing at Misato and Marianne for opinions.
[22:02] <Minaplo> ["Well… You could probably do with having a more professional alternative." Said Marianne.-
[22:06] <Minaplo> ["I know Sophia Simonides likes the ones you have, so maybe keep it around for those who're willing, but yeah, you could probably do with an alternative." Said Misato.-
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["Anyway." Said Blue hurriedly. "Ni made me change the footwear rules. So now I give 'em flats. But she was real mean about it, you know, callin' me all kinds of things…"-
[22:08] <Minaplo> [Raphael would see three more people walk in- Sera de Pteres, followed by Armin Ansgar and, on his shoulders, the Little Aline clone. Armin and the clone were jabbering at high speed; de Pteres looked nonplussed.-
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["Maybe it was just the heat of the moment?" Asked Misato, glancing at Raphael to see what he thought as the resident Ayanami Expert.]
[22:16] <Raphael> "She can have more of a temper than some of the Sisters," he agreed, not breaking off the conversation for this latest batch of guests. Perhaps he'd missed them? "It's a little strange that she'd use it over losing some food. Was that really it?"
[22:24] <Mianplo> ["Weeell, it may have splashed all over the clothes Sho made for her…"]
[22:25] <Raphael> "There we are."
[22:36] <Mianplo> ["I'll be back with your drinks." Said Blue sleekly, gliding away.-
[22:37] <Mianplo> ["So a waitress trips, spills food over Ni, Ni gets angry at Blue and rallies against high heel oppression." Said Misato. "Never a dull moment."]
[22:40] * Raphael chuckled.-
[22:40] <Raphael> "Again, my time with her is more limited than with Rei or Chiisana, but in my experience Ni needs her anger to be based on a problem she can solve. High heels, the romance issue…"
[22:42] <Mianplo> ["Yeah… Say, don't suppose you've had to break up many romances recently, right?" Asked Misato, looking at Marianne.-
[22:43] <Mianplo> [There was a silence.-
[22:43] <Mianplo> ["I can't say I have, no." Said Marianne slowly.]
[22:49] * Raphael kicked Misato gently under the table. "… Yes, no real cause to worry about Yanmei on that front now. Although I suppose that's been a foregone conclusion as long as I've known her."
[22:50] <Mianplo> ["Y-Yeah." Said Misato brightly. "I mean, she's practically set, settled down with a little family…"-
[22:50] <Mianplo> ["…"]
[22:54] <Raphael> "…"-
[22:57] <Raphael> "… how is Regulus lately, ma'am?" Raphael ventured.
[22:57] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, fine." Said Marianne shortly.]
[23:01] <Raphael> Raphael lapsed back into awkward silence again, before letting out a small sigh. "… We're sorry, Marianne. We didn't mean to bring up negative feelings."
[23:02] <Mianplo> ["Don't worry about it. It can't be helped." Said Marianne. "It's not like it's easy to avoid."-
[23:06] <Mianplo> ["It's not your problem. It's pretty obviously mine. I overheard the bridge crew the other day talking about how Yanmei's family- her uncle and aunt and cousins- had flown in and how they'd had a good time, and I ended up nearly falling apart over that because heaven forbid family be mentioned around me."-
[23:08] <Mianplo> [Marianne began idly rotating her plate.-
[23:10] <Mianplo> ["It's not fair on other people that I'm like this. Look at Yanmei. She's fallen in love, gotten married, now she's looking after a child and running a world government and she doesn't even turn 18 until December. I think of that and I feel cold because it feels like she doesn't need me anymore, because now I go home at night and my house is empty except for me and a dumb greedy seagull."-
[23:16] <Mianplo> ["I'm just lonely and frail and weepy and that's not your fault." Said Marianne dully. "Don't worry about it."-
[23:16] <Mianplo> [She picked up her burger with both hands and tried to take a bite.-
[23:17] <Mianplo> [… Unfortunately, it was obvious that the burger's construction made it uneven. As she bit down on it, instead of taking a chunk of the chicken, it instead pushed the sauce-covered chicken right out of the bun. It splattered on her chest before falling into her lap, leaving a trail of red sauce and white mayonnaise as it went.-
[23:18] <Mianplo> ["Fuck."-
[23:18] <Mianplo> [She dumped the burger and the chicken back onto the plate and went for napkins. Her hand was shaking.-
[23:18] <Mianplo> ["Fuck fuck fuck."-
[23:19] <Mianplo> [She tried wiping the sauce off; all she did was smear it everywhere.-
[23:19] <Mianplo> ["Fucking useless-"]
[23:29] <Raphael> A hand settled gently around the one she was trying clean her shirt with, holding it still. "It's alright, Marianne," Raphael said quietly. "We'll get Blue to loan you something, ok? Or you can borrow my jacket if you'd prefer."
[23:31] <Mianplo> ["…" The strength seemed to leave her. Raphael felt the tension in her hand slacken. She just stared down at her plate.-
[23:32] <Mianplo> ["Yeah." Said Blue, appearing at the end of the table with two beers and a glass of wine. "C'mon, Miss Amatore, you can get all cleaned up in the tailor's shop, yeah?"-
[23:33] <Mianplo> [Marianne looked around at them all, her gaze a little unfocused. Slowly, unsteadily she rose to her feet.-
[23:34] <Mianplo> ["C'mon." Blue guided her away through to the tailor's…-
[23:34] <Mianplo> [… Leaving Raphael and Misato behind, for now.-
[23:34] <Mianplo> ["Fuck." Said Misato. "Damn, I'm sorry."]
[23:37] <Raphael> "You didn't mean anything by it," he replied. He began working through the first few sips of his beer in record time.
[23:39] <Mianplo> ["I know, but…"-
[23:39] <Mianplo> [Misato sighed. "What're we gonna do?"]
[23:43] <Raphael> "… I'm not sure. There's only so much we can do," he said, setting his glass aside to rub at his face with both hands. "I'm glad she said what she did. I didn't realize she was struggling with Yanmei's situation as well."
[23:43] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, I didn't realise… What a mess. Should we… I dunno, talk to her about it? Yanmei, I mean."]
[23:45] <Raphael> "Maybe. That part might've escaped her notice."
[23:53] <Mianplo> ["Yeah…"-
[23:54] <Mianplo> [Raphael would see Blue return from the tailor's- without Marianne. Instead he walked behind the bar and began adding sundaes to a tray already groaning with ten of them, speaking to Kaiden and Ban as he did so.-
[23:55] <Mianplo> ["It'd be nice if Marianne did have someone close to her besides Yanmei." Said Misato. "But I also feel a little unsure about just… Y'know, suggesting that right now."]
[00:02] * Raphael had to pull his attention away from Blue to reply. "… Probably not the right time for that, no."-
[00:02] <Raphael> "Nothing ever happened between her and Tobias Linden?"
[00:05] <Mianplo> ["Uh… I don't know." Said Misato. "Linden's busy and in the US a lot, Marianne's busy and not in the US a lot…"-
[00:05] <Mianplo> ["It sounds like a situation that calls for an anime tie and a stuffed penguin covered in signatures, don't you reckon?"]
[18:46] * Raphael chuckled, but there wasn't much real heart to it. "Who knows if that's what she needs right now?"
[18:49] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[18:49] <Minaplo> ["Wonder what Rei'd do."]
[18:54] <Raphael> "… That's a good question. Part of it's probably what we're doing now," he sighed, "Just listening to her and keeping her company."-
[18:54] <Raphael> "But I don't exactly share whatever bit of magic makes her so good at raising everyone's spirits."
[18:56] <Minaplo> ["Reckon we should ask her about it?"]
[18:57] <Raphael> "It couldn't hurt."
[19:03] * Syntax (~if.tenretniand.bb.631-342-571-18|xatnyS#if.tenretniand.bb.631-342-571-18|xatnyS) has joined #nervfrance
[19:05] <Minaplo> [A pink-haired waitress walked past toward the back of the room, a carefully balanced tray of 25 sundaes in her hand. Past her, however, Raphael saw the door open. In came three new guests, and speak of the devil- Alphonse in a light blue shirt with white trousers, Rei in an elegant red sleeveless dress, and little Suzie in a new chair. Suzie gave Raphael a quick wave, but didn't stop to
[19:05] <Minaplo> chat; she hurried to join Navah and the others at their own table.-
[19:06] <Minaplo> [Rei gave Raphael a smile, but she instead took a detour to speak to Ban and Blue first. So instead Alphonse was left a little awkwardly by himself; he quickly shuffled over to Raphael's booth sheepishly.-
[19:07] <Minaplo> ["Good evening, you two." Said Alphonse, taking a seat next to Misato.]
[19:17] <Raphael> Raphael had made an effort to pull himself together as this latest trio had arrived, putting on a smile for Suzie as she'd wheeled past. The effect wasn't quite complete, though, and it wouldn't take all that much effort for Wellesley to see the cracks.-
[19:17] <Raphael> "Evening, Alphonse. Very kind of Rei to abandon you so quickly…"
[19:19] <Minaplo> ["Haha." Alphonse chuckled. "Let me skip off into a different room and you'll see very quickly just how 'abandoned' I truly am. She has eyes in the back of her head when it comes to me."-
[19:20] <Minaplo> ["Besides, I have trouble speaking to Blue without smelling burning absinthe, so it's better this way. Good times." Said Alphonse, smiling to himself fondly.-
[19:22] <Minaplo> ["… But I'm not sure if I could say the same for you two. What's the matter?"]
[19:30] <Raphael> "… It's nothing. Marianne's having a difficult time, that's all." Raphael said carefully.-
[19:30] <Raphael> He glanced down at the table, only to catch sight of the two forgotten meals still sitting in the centre.
[19:30] <Raphael> "Remember when we were supposed to be eating, ma'am?"
[19:32] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah." Said Misato, promptly snatching a chip off Raphael's plate.-
[19:33] <Minaplo> [Alphonse squinted at her. "You have your own chips!"-
[19:33] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, but food tastes better when it's taken from the plate of someone you love."-
[19:34] <Minaplo> [Alphonse huffed. "Oh God. Rei says the same thing, but it's nonsense, though!"]
[19:34] <Raphael> "She's been using it as justification for everything," Raphael muttered.
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["'Showers are better when they're with someone you love'?" Offered Alphonse.]
[19:37] <Raphael> "… I think that's a separate issue, sir."
[19:38] <Minaplo> ["Of course, of course…"-
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["Oho. Is that another one of Rei's lines?" Asked Misato with a smirk.-
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["How is this news?" Said Alphonse drily, nicking a cut of Misato's cutlet and eating it.-
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["Hey!"-
[19:40] <Minaplo> [Alphonse's mouth was full of food, so he settled for smirking.-
[19:40] <Minaplo> ["Hmph." Misato turned back towards Raphael. "You should put him in his place."]
[19:43] * Raphael gestured towards his own mouth, now full of a slice of schnitzel, and shrugged helplessly.
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
[19:47] <Minaplo> ["Hiya, Raffy." Said Rei, now standing at the end of the table. "Mind if I sit for a bit?"]
[19:50] <Raphael> Surprisingly this time he had no trouble answering.-
[19:51] <Raphael> "Go ahead, sweetheart. Like I was saying to Alphonse, though, Marianne should be back soon…" He cast a glance towards the tailor door, not sounding as certain on that point as he'd initially intended.
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["Ah, okay." Rei moved to sit-
[19:51] <Minaplo> [Alphonse blocked her with his leg. "There's sauce on that seat, kitten."-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["Oh, whoops."-
[19:52] <Minaplo> [Rei quickly resettled on Alphonse's lap instead.-
[19:53] <Minaplo> ["Did Marianne spill something on her clothes, Raffy?" Asked Rei.]
[19:54] <Raphael> "Mmm," Raphael nodded, snatching up a wad of napkins and setting about cleaning up the chair. "Blue's helping her find something else to wear."
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["Ah, the Curly Surly Grillory." Said Alphonse, wrapping his arms around Rei's waist. "That thing's a mess waiting to happen…"-
[19:55] <Minaplo> ["Hm." Rei was staring seriously at Marianne's seat. "Is she okay, Raffy? Ban was saying she looked upset…"]
[20:04] <Raphael> "She's… not having an easy time at the moment," he admitted, glancing at Misato. "We're trying to help."
[20:09] <Minaplo> ["I see. Poor Marianne." Said Rei, her eyes downcast. "She must be suffering terribly…"]
[20:12] * Raphael nods. "It might sound funny, but we were actually just talking about what you might do in our positions."
[20:13] <Minaplo> ["Really…?"]
[20:30] <Raphael> "You're good at helping people who are having tough times, that's all," he said, finishing his work on the chair and setting the napkins to one side.
[20:32] <Minaplo> ["Hm."-
[20:32] <Minaplo> [Rei looked over at the tailor's door thoughtfully. "Do you think I should go see how she's doing…?"]
[20:33] * Raphael turned to look at Misato. "What do you think?"
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["It couldn't hurt, could it…?"]
[20:34] <Raphael> "I wouldn't imagine so…"
[20:38] <Minaplo> ["Okay."-
[20:39] <Minaplo> [Rei wrapped Alphonse's arms ever tighter around herself, snuggling up close to him. "Be back soon, Al."-
[20:39] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Take your time."-
[20:40] <Minaplo> [With one last squeeze, Rei slipped off Alphonse's lap and made for the tailor's shop.-
[20:40] <Minaplo> [Alphonse watched her go with a dreamy smile.]
[20:43] <Raphael> … Raphael took one look at Alphonse and shook his head, turning his attention back to his meal.-
[20:44] <Raphael> "I hope it doesn't seem like we're taking advantage of her. We didn't really intend to throw her at the problem quite so literally, but there are very few people on the ship better at this sort of thing than her…"
[20:48] <Minaplo> ["I admit, I wasn't expecting our dinner plans to start with Rei having to counsel someone." Said Alphonse, turning back to Raphael. "But I'm not bothered, Raphael. If I were, well… I wouldn't be a very good match. This sort of thing is just part of the experience of being with her, you know." Said Alphonse with a grin.]
[20:51] * Raphael smiled. "She's lucky to have you, sir."-
[20:51] <Raphael> "Still, I hope I'm not making this a habit with the girls. I accidentally interrupted Colonel Hyuga's dinner plans earlier in the week…"
[20:54] <Minaplo> [Misato's eyes twinkled.-
[20:54] <Minaplo> ["That so?" Said Alphonse curiously.]
[20:58] <Raphael> "Chiisana caught sight of me with Yui," he said, snagging a chip before Misato could eat them all. "The two of them left to talk for a while."
[20:59] <Minaplo> ["Oh! Right, right." Said Alphonse. "It seems like that all went very well!"]
[21:00] <Raphael> "It does, doesn't it? I'm glad for the both of them."
[21:00] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm. Rei seemed pretty chuffed with how it turned out. She was also appreciative of your own efforts, too."]
[21:02] <Raphael> "It… could have gone worse," he admitted. "Although I wouldn't say it's the most relaxed dinner I've ever had."
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["You should've told more Qaphsiel jokes." Said Misato smugly.]
[21:04] <Raphael> "Don't you start."
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["Heehee~"-
[21:06] <Minaplo> ["So… How bad are we talking here?" Said Alphonse. "More or less awkward than that one Ikari christmas dinner?"]
[21:06] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
[21:07] <Raphael> Raphael flinched a little at the memory. "Definitely not that bad, I assure you."
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["Well, that's a relief."-
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["You know, why didn't you take her on the date instead, Alphonse?" Asked Misato curiously.-
[21:11] <Minaplo> ["Rei feels I've got enough on my plate as it is." Said Alphonse loftily.]
[21:12] <Raphael> "Oh yes. Meanwhile I'm practically swimming in free time, sir," Raphael said, taking another chunk out of his meal.
[21:14] <Minaplo> ["Really? Brilliant." Said Alphonse brightly. "Do you mind if I offload the Soviet and Chinese air portfolios off to you? It'd be a big help!"]
[21:15] <Raphael> "We can trade. Are you interested in retaking Asgard instead?"
[21:18] <Minaplo> [Misato watched them both with interest. She took the chance to dig into her meal.-
[21:19] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely." Said Alphonse. "Why don't you come back to my place after and we can exchange papers?"]
[21:19] <Raphael> "Seems like a plan."
[21:20] <Minaplo> ["This is the dumbest game of chicken ever." Said Misato.]
[21:21] * Raphael rolled his eyes. "Don't you try claiming the high ground. I let you have your fun with Blue."
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["Oh God, they didn't go at it again, did they?" Asked Alphonse.]
[21:22] <Raphael> "Of course they did."
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["Oh for heaven's sake."-
[21:23] <Minaplo> ["Blah blah blah." Misato made yap-yap hands at Alphonse's face. "How do you even know about our skirmishes?"-
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Are you serious? Have you seen how Blue treats Rei in here?" Said Alphonse. "We literally rang ahead fifteen minutes ago and asked for our food to be ready when we arrived. This place is practically my dining room now."-
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Especially since Rei's cooking took a turn for the experimental." He added darkly.]
[21:42] <Raphael> "How was the pizza, by the way?" Raphael grinned.
[21:49] <Minaplo> [Alphonse's lip curled. "Where do I start? 'Al-chan, I know you've been really tired recently, but Misa-bachan tells me food like this can perk boys right up!'" He said in a startlingly good imitation of Rei's voice. "And she brings it out, and it's… All these delicious things by themselves but now they've been merged together into one thing. The pizza is one thing, the pizza itself
[21:49] <Minaplo> was manageable, but the soup was a mess. It has spicy curry in it, but also butter and miso, so it's at once creamy and salty and then you dip the pizza in…"-
[21:49] <Minaplo> [Misato's grin turned into gleeful laughter.-
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["And then she's watching me eat it. So I did, every little bit of it. Then at the end of it, she gives me a big smile and goes 'You didn't like that very much, did you Al?'"-
[21:51] <Minaplo> ["I admit as much, and she gives me a kiss and says 'Thank you for eating it anyway. Give me time, okay, Al? I'll try to refine the recipe just for you…'"]
[21:52] * Raphael groans. "There's nothing you can say to that. Nothing at all."
[21:54] <Minaplo> ["Nothing." Said Alphonse darkly. "For a few whole minutes, I felt totally warm inside at the idea that she was doing all this for me- I felt truly, honestly privileged."-
[21:54] <Minaplo> ["Then I felt sick."]
[21:55] * Raphael turned his attention to Misato. "I can't believe you told her that."
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["What?" Said Misato, trying to look innocent. "I was trying to help!"]
[21:56] <Raphael> He gave her a flat look.
[21:59] <Minaplo> ["She started it. 'Al's been so tired lately, he doesn't seem to have much energy as he used to'…"-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["Katsuragi, when Rei said I seemed tired, that's because I was actually tired." Said Alphonse tersely. "And I'm tired because I'm lucky to get five hours of sleep a night. It's not an indication that I need more seafood and curry in my diet."-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["… Are you sure it was just about you being tired?"-
[22:05] <Minaplo> [Alphonse gave her a look so flat, it made the walls look jagged.]
[22:07] * Raphael seemed to be focusing all his attention on his food, as though he could will himself out of this conversation.
[22:08] <Minaplo> [The schnitzel was still quite warm despite the things that had taken Raphael's attention away. The meat was fresh, tender and had a hearty thickness to it.-
[22:09] <Minaplo> [("You're so damn nosy! Are you really that obsessed with what goes on in our bedroom?")-
[22:09] <Minaplo> [("Well who wouldn't be a little curious…?")-
[22:10] <Minaplo> [The crumbed shell was crunchy and firm yet fluffy and light. It had a satisfying, reliable and slightly buttery texture to it that went well with the chicken beneath.-
[22:11] <Minaplo> [("Do you do this to everyone?!")-
[22:11] <Minaplo> [("Not everyone… Come on, can you blame me? I'm just wondering if the Wunderkind is a wunder in every kind of way~")-
[22:12] <Minaplo> [And the coating was wonderful too. Soft, hot, melted parmesan cheese which stretched most beautifully when he pulled a piece away. It kept the rich tomato sauce close to the crumbed shell, and made the whole thing melt in his mouth.-
[22:14] <Minaplo> [("Oh yes, of course! Because they decided everyone else in the programme was to be sterilised or castrated or trained to hate intimacy, they took me aside and went 'Ah, you should be our token sex god!'")-
[22:14] <Minaplo> [("… Did they really?")-
[22:14] <Minaplo> [("No!")-
[22:15] <Minaplo> [And the chips were crisp and full, too, with a delicate seasoning on the top that made it hard to stop with just one chip. And the sauces! It was really hard to stop eating once you'd started… Raphael could see why Blue's was so popular.]
[22:30] <Raphael> … well, that did it. There would be no letting the conversation burn out now that he'd piqued her interest. "Misato, leave him be. You wouldn't talk if the situations were reversed."
[22:32] <Minaplo> ["Alright, alright…" Said Misato. "Sorry, Alphonse. I don't mean to pry!"-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [Alphonse rolled his eyes. "It's fine. I know you're only doing it to annoy me. Anything you want to know you've probably learned from Rei anyway."-
[22:34] <Minaplo> ["Hm~" Misato smirked.-
[22:34] <Minaplo> ["… Oh!"-
[22:34] <Minaplo> [Raphael would receive a sharp kick to the leg.-
[22:34] <Minaplo> ["Marianne's back." Said Misato.]
[22:37] * Raphael grumbled a little, massaging his leg with the heel of his other foot as he looked in the direction Misato was indicating.
[22:49] <Minaplo> [Marianne had indeed emerged. She was wearing a short-sleeved silken azure blouse with golden hems as well as a long matching skirt which flared out near the bottom, around her calves. Over these she wore a long white sari trimmed also with gold, patterned with little flowers. She walked back to the table, looking a little embarrassed. Rei followed behind, a smile on her face.-
[22:49] <Minaplo> ["Uh… Hi." Said Marianne.]
[22:55] * Raphael 's smile brightened to match Rei's, pushing out Marianne's chair as she got closer. "Welcome back."
[22:57] <Minaplo> [Marianne sat down. "Thanks. Um… Sorry about that."-
[22:57] <Minaplo> [Rei settled back on Alphonse.-
[22:58] <Minaplo> ["No skin off our back. You look gorgeous, by the way." Said Misato with a grin.-
[22:58] <Minaplo> ["Aha, thank you."]
[23:16] <Raphael> "No need to apologise," Raphael agreed, also offering a nod in response to the Admiral's second point. "Misato found someone to squabble with, so she was fine."
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["Oh, good." Said Marianne.-
[23:20] <Minaplo> ["… So Rei and I had a talk." She said. "About some things. We're gonna try speaking to Yanmei together."-
[23:20] <Minaplo> ["We also had some ideas that I need to talk to you about later, Al." Said Rei.-
[23:20] <Minaplo> ["No problem."]
[23:23] * Raphael nodded firmly. "That's a good idea. We wondered if maybe we should speak to her, but… yes, it'd be far better and clearer coming from you, I think."
[19:41] <Minaplo> ["I… Think so too. Well, I hope it doesn't end up being too awkward." Muttered Marianne. "I don't want to come off as though I begrudge her her life."]
[19:47] <Raphael> "I really don't think she'd see it that way."
[19:50] <Minaplo> ["I hear how worried you are, Marianne." Said Rei; she flashed Marianne a warm smile. "But you know Meimei better than we do. What do you feel she'll do?"-
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["… Yeah." Marianne smiled a little more widely. "You're both right. I can trust her… Heh, thanks."-
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["Anyway." Marianne let out a cough and turned to Raphael and Misato. "I'm going to order something else to eat. This burger's nothing but a damned trap."-
[19:56] <Minaplo> ["Hm. Do you want to swap?" Asked Rei. "Blue should have my food out here soon, and I don't mind the Curly Surly."-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["Sure. What were you having?"-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["I was going to have the Langley-Soryu Pizza, of course~"-
[19:58] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. Alright, I can handle that." Said Marianne.-
[19:58] <Minaplo> ["It'd be nice if Blue offered a healthier menu." Said Alphonse with a sigh. "I mean, his food's good and all, but it's probably not great to be eating that pizza soup mess so often."-
[19:59] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I think there's plenty of healthier options available~" Said Misato. "It's little missy's preferences that are the problem~"-
[20:00] <Minaplo> ["Hmph!" Rei scowled. "There's nothing wrong with what I eat."-
[20:01] <Minaplo> ["People can't live on bread and meat alone, kitten." Said Alphonse warmly, squeezing her tightly. "Not even incredible magical girls."-
[20:01] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["Not even incredible magical girls whose beauty makes the moon hide her face?" Offered Alphonse, instantly triggering rolls of the eyes from Misato and Marianne.-
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["Better." Said Rei, beaming. She snuggled against him.]
[20:12] * Raphael tried to avoid shaming the boy any further - the looks from the other women at the table were punishment enough - but he couldn't hide his smirk as he turned to Marianne.-
[20:12] <Raphael> "On a related note, ma'am, I would like to apologise for my namesake attacking you so callously," he said gravely, raising one hand to cover his heart as he bowed his head.
[20:25] <Minaplo> ["Not the first time he's made a mess-" Began Misato, before yelping suddenly and looking down at her leg.-
[20:26] <Minaplo> ["That's quite alright, Raphael." Said Marianne with a smile. "I know you'd never condone such ungentlemanly behaviour."-
[20:27] <Minaplo> [("Here you go, Al. You take the first bite.") ("You sure?") ("Yummy food for yummy people~")-
[20:27] <Minaplo> ["Besides, I scored a free sari out of it." Said Marianne. "It could be worse."]
[20:29] <Raphael> "That much is true," he said, dropping the act to give her another smile. "Very kind of Blue, actually."
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["Maybe… We're being too hard on him?" Asked Marianne thoughtfully.]
[20:30] <Raphael> "Rei thinks so."
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["Or maybe he's hoping dressing such a high profile person like that will help sell some saris." Said Misato.-
[20:35] <Minaplo> ["I'm pretty sure if he wanted me to advertise he'd have me in a leather miniskirt wielding a mace by now, Misato."-
[20:36] <Minaplo> [Alphonse cringed; Misato giggled. "Oh man… Gotta get that back into circulation."]
[20:43] * Raphael snorted. "It will take more than a sari for him to be trustworthy, I'm afraid. Rei got a rather nice one from Brown while we were in Singapore, but that doesn't mean I'm about to trust him."
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["I'm not sure if I really like the tone of this conversation." Said Blue.-
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["Aah!"-
[20:47] <Minaplo> ["Gotcher meals, Miss Rei, Alphonse." Said Blue. "And your drinks too, although I can take 'em back if you like since apparently they might be poisoned or some bullshit."]
[20:51] * Raphael seemed rather unruffled this time - maybe even amused. "Don't get touchy, Blue. You play up the rogue angle as far as you can."
[20:54] * Zack is now known as ZackSleep
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Man, I ain't got no time to be taught lessons on touchiness from a guy who's still sore over that Brown debacle. Live and learn, amigo."-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Marianne's gonna have my pizza now, Blue. I'm having her burger, since she wanted something less messy."-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["So she went for pizza dipped in soup?"-
[20:56] <Minaplo> ["Hm."-
[20:57] <Minaplo> [Marianne scowled.]
[21:02] * Raphael 's attention had returned to his food, partially to hide the way he was mouthing "amigo" with very evident derision.
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["It's going to be a little hard for me to eat like this, kitten." Said Alphonse.-
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["Hm. You're right. Do you think we should go to our own table?"-
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["Probably wise."-
[21:04] <Minaplo> ["Okay." Rei turned to beam at the rest of them. "Enjoy your night, okay?"]
[21:05] <Raphael> "We will," Raphael said, looking back up. "You two enjoy yourselves. Thanks for your help."
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["It's alright." Said Rei. She got to her feet.-
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["See you all later." Said Alphonse.-
[21:05] <Minaplo> ["Have fun, you two." Said Misato.-
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["Thanks for everything, Rei." Said Marianne; she held her arms out for Rei, and Rei quickly jumped in to give her a tight hug.-
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["See you later, Marianne. Have a good night."-
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["I will."-
[21:07] <Minaplo> [With a final wave, Rei and Alphonse headed off, leaving Raphael, Misato and Marianne with Blue.-
[21:08] <Minaplo> ["Ah, young love." Said Blue with a grin. "Right. Here's your drinks, here's your pizza… And I should be pissing off."]
[21:13] * Raphael stabbed his fork into the final remains of his schnitzel and met Blue's eye. "… thanks, Blue."
[21:13] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[21:14] <Minaplo> [Whistling an irritating yet catchy tune, Blue headed off back to his bar, where Ban-Ban was devouring several large steaks.]
[21:15] * Raphael grumbled a little and seized his drink.
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["Ah, well." Said Misato cheerfully, taking up her own drink. "Maybe we should make a toast."]
[21:17] <Raphael> "To what, ma'am?"
[21:17] <Minaplo> ["Hm… Things working out okay?"]
[21:18] * Raphael glanced quickly at Marianne, but raised his glass. "… I could toast to that."
[21:19] <Minaplo> ["… Yeah, I can too." Said Marianne, lifting her own glass of wine. "Cheers."]
[21:20] <Raphael> "Cheers."

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