This Too Shall Pass 3 2 8

[15:49] <Raphael> The sun was beginning its descent below Istanbul's skyline as Raphael made his way back from the Dalmabahce Palace, loaded into the passenger seat of a reinforced car manned by a handful of the UEF's security team for the talks. His attention had wandered, and even though his eyes were focused on the unfamiliar scenery beyond the bulletproof glass he didn't seem to be -seeing- much.-
[15:49] <Raphael> Still, it was beautiful. Markets and mosques and busy crowds even as evening approached - it was a world away from Russia or, more literally, Mars.-
[15:49] <Raphael> He frowned to himself, bringing his attention back to the route they were travelling. He could recognise some of the landmarks now. They couldn't be far away from the hotel…
[16:51] <@Minaplo> [And indeed the hotel came into view few minutes later.-
[16:52] <@Minaplo> [Raphael would easily notice the eye-catching sight outside the front entrance, however. Chiisana Himesama, easily visible thanks to her lovely long blue hair, wearing a sky-blue sundress and simple blue heels, holding an apparently unnecessarily umbrella. As the car pulled up and everyone left the vehicle, she caught Raphael's eye, giving him a wide smile. "So how'd it go?"]
[14:25] <@Raphael> Raphael smiled back, leaving the security team to smoke by the car as he wandered over. "… it went well, I think. They seemed like good people, but I think we both know that that's what Caine hired them to be - on top of their other qualities, of course."
[14:28] <Minaplo> [Chii held her arm out for Raphael to take. "Let's go for a walk; you can tell me in more detail."]
[14:34] * @Raphael gave her a curious look, but took her arm without much hesitation. "… You seem a good deal more cuddly since taking up with Colonel Hyuga, if you don't mind me saying so."
[14:35] <Minaplo> [She began to lead him away from the hotel, on a meandering path towards the waterfront.-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["I'm in love." Said Chii with a smile. "After being stuck in that relationship limbo for so long, to be able to realise it fully… It feels good. I can't help being cuddly right now, I'm afraid~"-
[14:38] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure you were the same after you hooked up with Auntie Misato." Said Chii with a small, mischievious smile.]
[14:54] <@Raphael> "Nonsense," he said, but the smile he wore seemed to betray the lie.
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["Mhmhmhm."-
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["I can't see you being quite cuddly, at least, but perhaps you were more like Makoto?" She asked, her smile widening. "Hands full with a beautiful woman and you don't know quite what to do with it all…"]
[15:03] <@Raphael> "Do either of us really need to know this, Miss Chiisana?"
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["Oh, probably not." She said sweetly. "Still, I can definitely see you as the sort of man to crumble beneath Auntie Misato's blitzkrieg of feminine wiles…"]
[15:13] * Raphael sets mode: +o Minaplo
[15:14] * Raphael sets mode: -o Raphael
[15:17] * Raphael rolled his eyes. "You don't give me enough credit, ma'am."
[15:18] <@Minaplo> ["We'll see."-
[15:18] <@Minaplo> ["In any case, enough about me and my cuddliness," she said, resting her head against his shoulder with a little smirk. "Tell me about our enemies."]
[15:25] <Raphael> "Mmm."-
[15:25] <Raphael> "Ezra Caine and Sarah Holt-Caine. Co-directors of the Promised Land, as I've mentioned," he said. "My meeting seemed to be largely to give me some gifts to pass on to Eevi and Rei. I'm willing to believe they're in good-faith, given their history."-
[15:27] <Raphael> "Has maintained open lines of communication to Sergeants Kirishima and Fabien Awala in the past - likely closed now, but it's something I'll have to investigate. Possibly has similar contact with our other Neos."-
[15:28] <Raphael> "Marshal Caine seemed genuine in his wish to improve the lot of the Phantoms and - likely - the Solomons and Solomon Primes when I confronted him on the subject, but I don't know how much sway he holds in the organization."
[15:28] <Raphael> «They have maintained*»
[15:29] <@Minaplo> [Chiisana began to giggle.]
[15:30] <Raphael> "… What?" He asked, craning his neck in an attempt to direct his frown her way.
[15:31] <@Minaplo> ["Oh my, Raphael." Chiisana bit down on her knuckles to stop herself from laughing.-
[15:32] <@Minaplo> ["A soldier and a commander who has a history of taking in the lost and the damned, and is now trying to improve the lot of hundreds of Ayanamis?"-
[15:32] <@Minaplo> ["Why does this sound familiar?" She let out a long, facetious 'hmm'.]
[15:33] <Raphael> "Very funny," he muttered. "I'm not so blind that it escaped my notice, thank you."
[15:35] <@Minaplo> ["He he he!"-
[15:35] * CakeyCake (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC) has joined #nervfrance2
[15:37] <@Minaplo> ["Still, that's good." Said Chii. "I can't see him making any massive sweeping changes without Mary Caine strangling him out, though."]
[15:39] <Raphael> "That's the concern, yes. It's not as though she's likely to cave to pressure to weaken her army for something as mundane as human rights violations."-
[15:41] <Raphael> He sighed. "… It bothers me that their lot is the same one you girls were originally going to occupy, before Gendo and Yui intervened."
[15:43] <@Minaplo> ["Quite so." Said Chii. "What're we going to do about it?"]
[15:47] <Raphael> "I don't know that there's anything we -can- do until we topple Mary and her hold on the Eternity Drive. She exerts too much control. After that… it would seem to me from my experience with the Phantoms we captured during the battle on the Dorian that a degree of deprogramming might be necessary on top of the extensive socialisation you girls required when you were young."-
[15:48] <Raphael> "Given that we believe they number in the hundreds, you'd need a dedicated operation to try and bring all of them back into society, if it was possible at all."
[15:49] <@Minaplo> ["I'm not sure whether to be bothered or to be encouraged that the people who would have the best experience with that situation would be the Promised Landers." Said Chii. "When you put it like that, it sounds like they'd be the perfect fit…"-
[15:50] <@Minaplo> ["A little too perfect. It feels to me like someone's being played. Like Mary knows what he's going to do and is baiting him."]
[15:51] * Raphael nodded. "That's my concern. An idealist who is almost guaranteed to shake up her operation with morality. There's no way she would bring a disruptive element like that in without a plan - it runs counter to her entire strategy up until now."
[15:55] <@Minaplo> ["And if he's the idealist we think he is, there's no way he's going to settle for the status quo." Said Chii. "There's no way that duumvirate can sustain itself. It's going to collapse sooner or later, the only question is when."-
[15:59] <@Minaplo> ["But as you say, there's no reason to bring him into her organisation unless he's useful, even with his disruptiveness. Once he stops being useful, then they'll probably go at it. But the question is how he's useful to her. Is it just because he's a military leader? Something else?"]
[16:08] <Raphael> By now Chiisana's guidance had led the pair of them to the edge of a well-maintained park sitting on the edge of the water, criss-crossed by paths between the hedges and trees. The sun was almost gone, streetlights beginning to take the place of fading sunlight.-
[16:11] <Raphael> "I have no doubt he's a talented commander, but I doubt that was a factor. The UN has no shortage of access to those, most of them far more compliant," Raphael said. "If I were to guess, I'd say he's been installed to give the UN a heroic, presentable face. They know that if we position ourselves as the heroic underdogs toppling the tyrannical UN we gain support and undermine their power base, and they needed a figurehead to counter that."
[16:11] <Raphael> «position ourselves as the underdogs*»
[16:13] <@Minaplo> ["Mmm." Said Chii. She guided Raphael across the park towards the waterfront.-
[16:15] <@Minaplo> ["I hate to say it, but his job isn't as difficult as it could be." Said Chii. "The foundation states of the Federation aren't exactly the epitome of decorum."]
[16:19] <Raphael> "Quite right," he nodded. "With the right management and time we could position ourselves that way, I think, but it relies on the UN not providing a suitable enough alternative. I think that might be what Marshal Caine is intended to be."
[16:20] <Raphael> "… Actually, that he seems so opposed to Mary Caine and her establishment might even -help- that, so long as she keeps enough of a hold on him behind the curtain."
[16:20] <@Minaplo> ["… I'd like to ask you a few serious questions."]
[16:22] * Raphael raises an eyebrow. "Of course."
[16:26] <@Minaplo> ["If things turned out so that Mary Caine was toppled, but Ezra Caine took control of the UN and won the war… Assuming he's as good a man as we hope, would you be alright with that scenario?"]
[16:31] <Raphael> He was quiet for a while, trying to give the question the proper consideration. "… I only take part in this war because I believe it's the one way we can end the threat Mary Caine and her associates cause. I have no argument with the UN as an idea, and I don't strictly believe that the UEF is a necessary alternative if Caine is removed and her plans are terminated."-
[16:33] <Raphael> "If Marshal Caine was able to topple Mary - which I doubt - I would argue for peace. It would be war for the sake of war beyond that."
[16:34] <@Minaplo> [Chii sighed a little. "I thought so…"-
[16:35] <@Minaplo> ["Do you think the UEF has any real lasting ability?" Said Chii. "I know many treat the war with the UN as the final chapter, after which this whole saga can end and we can hang up our swords and go home. But will the war really end…?"-
[16:38] <@Minaplo> ["I don't know if the foundation states really have any purpose being together other than to destroy Mary Caine. Once Mary's gone, will the USSR and the US start fighting? China, the Soviet Union and France all have large occupied territories, what happens with those? How do we deal with the Non-Aligned League?"-
[16:38] <@Minaplo> ["I'm worried." Said Chii. "I'm worried that once the UN falls, we'll spend the next ten years hopping around the world, putting down revolts or threats or ending pointless wars."-
[16:38] <@Minaplo> ["I don't want to be a gaoler."]
[16:45] <Raphael> "… I know," he said gently, pulling her arm closer. "That was my life for years after Impact - all of it seeming quite right and just at the time, of course. I did it once before, and I don't intend to do it again. I'm not even assuming any malice on the part of our allies, it's simply the way these things happen - shake up the board and it takes a long time for the pieces to settle back into place, and it's rarely a neat arrangement."
[16:51] <@Minaplo> ["So we just need to hope for the best and see what happens, huh?"]
[16:54] <Raphael> "Something like that. For the moment I think we're doing the only thing we can do. If that changes…" he frowned, "We'll see. I'd like to think a lot of us feel the same way you and I do."
[16:57] <@Minaplo> ["I hope so. Then again, considering my background, I wonder how many of us aren't sure how to consider a peaceful future…"-
[16:58] <@Minaplo> ["But anyway." She shook her head a little. "You said he had something for Rei and Eevi?"]
[17:03] <Raphael> "A letter and a book from the two Marshals along with a number of well-wishes and videos from other NeoSpartans for Eevi, and a thank you letter for Rei," Raphael said. "There's also an offer of support from the Promised Land for her if she ever needs it."
[17:10] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, she'll like that." Said Chii. "It's a sweet thing for them to give."-
[17:15] <@Minaplo> ["They seem to be taking an interest in us, or perhaps that's just coincidence." Said Chii. "Arranging conjugal visits for Roku and Aksel Heiden…"]
[17:16] <Raphael> "Mmph."
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Something's bothering you." Said Chii, her tone gentle, inviting. "It's not just the idea of me and my sisters as sexual beings, either, I'm guessing…"]
[17:31] * Raphael was quiet for a moment, holding back a reflexive retort. "… No, not particularly. That he is wearing my skin when I am not is another matter."-
[17:31] <Raphael> "Nevermind that he's a sullen twit," he adds sourly.
[17:32] <Minaplo> ["Ouch." Said Chii. "You know, in all the time I've known you, I don't think I've ever heard you call someone out for being a 'sullen twit'."-
[17:35] <Minaplo> ["Have you had the chance to speak to Roku about this?"]
[17:36] * Raphael shook his head. "I haven't. Not with everything else that has happened…"
[17:42] <Minaplo> ["Why don't you tell me a little more about how you feel, Raphael?" She said, rubbing her head gently against his shoulder. "I felt my reaction to the news in real-time was a little tactless, so I want to make it up to you."]
[17:48] <Raphael> "You wanted to laugh, hmm?" he asks without much rancour. He even manages a small, if humorless, smile.
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Well, a little bit." Said Chii. "It sort of came out of nowhere, and I'll admit it took me a second to realise the real, er, ramifications. My instant reaction was essentially a clone of me is in love with a clone of you, which… I admit, it was funny at first."]
[18:00] * Raphael nods. "Don't worry. I know it's an absurd situation."-
[18:01] <Raphael> "I'd tell you more about how I felt if I really knew. I was badly shaken at the time, but I've put the worst of that behind me."
[18:06] <Minaplo> ["I see. Well, I'm happy for you, but if you do need help, don't hesitate to talk to me. Although I think talking to Roku eventually would be best."]
[18:11] <Raphael> "About what, though? 'How're you enjoying your relationship with my clone?'" Raphael asked. "It seems crass, especially when the poor girl has so many problems of her own to deal with."
[18:14] <Minaplo> ["There's a great deal to discuss, Raphael." Said Chii.-
[18:19] <Minaplo> ["First and foremost, speaking to her and just putting everything on the table is an important thing to do. You may think it seems crass, but what will cause more damage: a frank discussion now, or her finding out bits and pieces later?" Said Chii. "And if Roku only gets half the picture, she might worry that you disapprove or are angry at her. You need to lay everything out and tell her
[18:19] <Minaplo> that you're there to help her."-
[18:28] <Minaplo> ["Secondly, Roku's likely to be nervous and worried about a lot of things, Aksel included. What if he's found out she was a spy? Maybe he hates her or is hurt or something? Maybe she can at least tell you about all the reasons she does actually love him despite him being a sullen twit. It's a chance for you to touch base and get to know Roku, which you haven't really done in the past, and
[18:28] <Minaplo> she's likely to appreciate that, not fret over it."-
[18:29] <Minaplo> ["Thirdly… You need to speak to her about June sooner or later, because that's going to be a painful situation."]
[18:37] <Raphael> "That much is true, at least," he agrees, sighing gently. "I've been denied by security and medical the times I've tried to see her, but if you managed to get in…"
[18:38] <Minaplo> ["Wait for security's shift to be staffed entirely by women." Said Chii sagely.]
[18:39] <Raphael> "You know I don't care for affecting people that way."
[18:40] <Minaplo> ["I know, I know." She said, nudging him in the side. "Auntie Misato would call you a sullen twit for that."-
[18:40] <Minaplo> ["Besides." She said, leaning away slightly. "I thought you would've noticed by now. I'm a little hurt…"]
[18:41] <Raphael> "… Hm?" He asked, giving her an uncertain look.
[18:42] <Minaplo> ["Hmph."-
[18:42] <Minaplo> ["All the days we've been here and you haven't noticed the total lack of unusual male interest in me? Dear dear…"]
[18:44] <Raphael> "We've mostly been locked in a room with de Pteres," Raphael noted.
[18:44] <Minaplo> ["We've had security details!"]
[18:47] <Raphael> "And I make it a point to focus on -security-," he said huffily.-
[18:47] <Raphael> "So no, I suppose I didn't notice. You've been working on your Field?"
[18:55] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm." Said Chii with a grin. "Self discipline and all that. Keeping it from rising up automatically. I started after Makoto made me promise not to use it on him. I figured it was only fair I started to be more selective with how I used it in general."]
[18:56] <Raphael> "You're not planning to null it entirely?"
[18:58] <Minaplo> ["No." Said Chii. "There are times where it could still be useful. But I won't be using it automatically anymore, only when it's necessary."]
[19:04] <Raphael> "Good for you, Chiisana," he said. "It can't be simple to maintain, but it'd have to make life easier for you in the long run."
[19:16] <Minaplo> ["I'm sure." She said. "No more ruining the lives of princes, hm?"]
[19:19] <Raphael> "Quite."-
[19:19] <Raphael> "… Any chance you could teach me how to do the same?"
[19:23] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm." Chii rubbed her chin. "I might be able to. It'd be hard, and I can't promise success, but we can try."]
[19:24] * Raphael smiled. "I'd appreciate that."
[19:27] <Minaplo> ["On the topic, though, have you heard anymore about them giving you your old body back?"]
[19:32] <Raphael> "With everything that's happened since the battle with Metatron? No. I'd presume I'm a rather low priority in the scheme of things."
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["Hmmmm. Time to have a word with someone, I think."]
[15:34] <Raphael> "… Maybe," he said quietly. "I'm not really sure any more."
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["What do you mean?"]
[15:43] <Raphael> "Oh. Just more little worries I've been mulling over since I found out about Mr. Heiden," he said, catching sight of a bench a few steps away and guiding them both towards it. "The procedure Surov's proposing seems just as risky as the last one, with just as much potential for things to go wrong. Is it sensible to risk my life when I have a perfectly healthy body? When this is the body most of my family best knows me by? I don't really know. Maybe I should make the best of what I have."
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["Maybe." Said Chii.-
[15:56] <Minaplo> ["But would that really make you happy?"]
[15:58] <Raphael> "Again, I don't know. I'm happier now than I was in my older body. Is that to do with the body I'm in or the experiences I've had? Would I lose that if I returned to my old shape?"
[15:59] <Raphael> «would I lose some of that*»
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["I don't know either." Said Chii.-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["One thing I do believe, however, is that it'd be impossible for you to not be happier than you were before. Before Rei, Misato, Suzie…"-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["I'm pretty sure them making you happy is a constant of you, Raphael."]
[16:14] * Raphael smiled, unhooking his arm from Chii's and taking a seat on the bench. "That much I'm confident of, at least."
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Besides, think of all the benefits you'd get of having your old body back." Said Chii. "You'd be able to reach things on tall shelves. You wouldn't need to show ID in a liquor shop. You wouldn't have cops eye you whenever you drive past. You'd be able to speak English to tourists without them asking if youuuu understaaaaaand thiiiiiis. You wouldn't need to adjust your cockpit seat…"]
[16:19] <Raphael> "Ugh, that does sound nice…"
[16:21] <Minaplo> ["Also, in ten years Suzie's going to be taller than you."]
[16:24] * Raphael looked aghast. "Well, that settles it."
[16:29] <Minaplo> ["Mmmhm~"-
[16:30] <Minaplo> ["I'd suggest something untoward as well, but I'm sure you've had this conversation with Auntie Misato and I don't enjoy competitions I can't win."]
[16:32] <Raphael> "I have no idea what you are talking about, but I'm certain whatever it is is perfectly fine, thank you."
[16:33] <Minaplo> ["I wouldn't dream of commenting on such an unladylike topic."]
[16:34] <Raphael> "No, never."
[16:39] <Raphael> "Anyway," he said, a little too firmly, "All joking aside, you can understand why I might have concerns, I hope?"
[16:42] <Minaplo> ["Absolutely." Said Chii. "Your experiences are, in their own way, kin to our own. I'd always understand your concerns."]
[16:45] * Raphael nods. "And you feel like it might be for the best?"
[16:48] <Minaplo> ["I believe you miss your old body more than you think. You can make a logical argument for or against changing, of course, but deep down in your heart of hearts, you won't be truly comfortable until you're back in your own skin."]
[16:53] <Raphael> "Roku might be more comfortable if I didn't…"
[16:55] <Minaplo> ["I'd recommend not taking that into consideration." Said Chii. "If time passes and you start yearning for your old body more and more, you'll just end up resenting the people for whom you refused change."-
[17:00] <Minaplo> ["And even if taking your old form back makes Roku uncomfortable… Sorry, but that's her problem and she should deal with it." Said Chii firmly. "It'd be incredibly unfair on her part. Alphonse, Makoto, Heiden- aren't they all in a relationship with one of twelve identical clone sisters? If they can handle eleven clone sisters, then Roku can handle you looking like her boyfriend."]
[17:04] <Raphael> "I suppose," he admitted.-
[17:06] <Raphael> "… is it similarly unfair for me to feel a little unnerved by my clone being in a relationship with one of you girls?" He asked, sounding a little hesitant to voice the question.
[17:09] <Minaplo> ["Hmm. No, I think that's only natural, considering your relationship to us." Said Chii. "Our circumstances are different. We Ayanamis were raised together, and we've always known, always understood that we were all each other's clone. It's just a normal thing for us."-
[17:11] <Minaplo> ["That doesn't apply to you, so finding out that you have a clone is always going to unnerve you. Considering the rather paternal role you've played in many of our lives, then, the idea of a clone of you in a relationship with one of us was, similarly, never going to be easy for you to really accept."-
[17:13] <Minaplo> ["Different circumstances. That said…"-
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["It's fine to be unnerved, fine for you to take some time to grow comfortable at the idea, but I don't think any of us would be very impressed if you actually started believing the relationship was wrong."]
[17:15] * CakeyCake (~ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC#ten.nozirev.soif.apalhp.302-7-511-89-loop|ekaCyekaC) Quit (Quit: )
[17:22] <Raphael> "No, and I wouldn't blame you. Don't worry, I have no intention of going that far - I don't want any part of the talking-to I'd get from you and Rei."
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["But it would be a sight to behold, though." Said Chii lightly.-
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["… So, how do you feel now?"]
[17:33] * Raphael didn't reply at first, watching a stretch of waterfront visible through the trees lining the path. "I'm glad to get your advice on the subject, but I still don't think I've made up my mind."
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["That's understandable. Take your time, and let me know if you need anything else."-
[17:36] <Minaplo> ["In the meantime, though- you never did get around to telling me about Aksel's comrades. Are they all sullen twits too?"]
[17:54] <Raphael> "… No," he said slowly. "Although I think the full story there might start you laughing again."
[17:55] <Minaplo> ["Oho?"]
[17:59] <Raphael> "Heiden's squad was five-strong, all of them Solomon clones. There were clones of Pilot Langley-Soryu, Alphonse and Surov, along with a fifth who I did not recognise."
[18:03] <Minaplo> ["That sounds like a hilariously difficult group to manage."]
[18:09] * Raphael nodded."It does, on the face of it. Of course, all of them showed the same pattern of personality divergence that you and your sisters did. The Langley-Soryu was quiet and… meek, really, although I was told that she was "born" very shortly before I met her. The Surov clone was as far from Surov as you could imagine."-
[18:09] <Raphael> "Only Alphonse's clone - his name was Philippe - was close to his original. I took him for the squad leader initially, and he seemed to deal with a lot of the team's management."
[18:11] <Minaplo> ["But the real leader's Aksel. That's weird…"]
[18:15] <Raphael> "The dynamic might change in combat," he said. "I couldn't really say. I only had relatively brief contact with them - once we recognised the… conflict of interest present, command took them off my hands."
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["Ahh. That's reasonable, I think." Said Chii.-
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["I wonder… Who knows, maybe you and Aksel might become friends later after the war?"]
[18:53] <Raphael> "Possibly," Raphael said, sounding utterly nonplussed despite an effort to keep his tone light.
[19:03] <Minaplo> ["Hmhm." Said Chii, reaching up to pinch his cheeks. "Don't be such a sullen so-and-so~"]
[19:18] * Raphael brushed her hand away. "I'm allowed to not like him!"
[19:19] <Minaplo> ["Ahaha. Well, I don't suppose it's any of my business unless the two of you start brawling at a function." Said Chii.-
[19:20] <Minaplo> ["And I'm more than enough to take care of you both if that happens." She added in a sweet tone.-
[19:21] * Raphael muttered something under his breath.
[19:21] <Minaplo> ["What was that, sorry?"]
[19:23] <Raphael> "I said that your Field was hard to beat," Raphael said brightly, not missing a step.
[19:28] <Minaplo> ["Smooth save." She said, still smiling sweetly.-
[19:31] <Minaplo> ["Hmm." She stretched. "Hungry. I think I might find a restaurant somewhere tonight. Any tips on where to go?"]
[19:34] * Raphael stood, offering his arm. "That bistro I visited the other evening was nice, even if the clientele was more unusual than I'd anticipated."-
[19:35] <Raphael> "… Did I mention that Brazillian military seems to be under the impression that I eat the hearts of the fallen?"
[19:35] <Minaplo> ["What, you don't?"]
[19:35] <Raphael> "Not as a -routine-."
[19:36] <Minaplo> [She laughed.-
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["Still, that's funny." She said. "So Brazil's rumour mill says you eat hearts? That's so strange…"-
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["The AEC just thinks you steal them all the time from pretty young girls."]
[19:38] <Raphael> "Having your field under control for a week doesn't mean you get to throw stones, Chiisana."
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I'm not throwing stones, sweet Raphael, I'm just chiding you on your lack of ambition." She said. "If you had my style and my tempting wiles-" at this point, a strap of her dress slid off her shoulder, seemingly by itself- she pulled it back up with a knowing smile-
[19:39] <Minaplo> ["You'd be known by far more than just the AEC. You could be the fear of princesses, queens and leaders all over the world!"]
[19:41] * Raphael snorted, shaking his head ruefully. "Please don't say that within earshot of the Chancellor. I was worried that it could have been part of her reason for bringing me here - I was glad to be wrong.."
[19:43] <Minaplo> ["You know, considering that we both ended up on this mission, maybe…"-
[19:43] <Minaplo> ["… So did you end up stealing any hearts from the Brazilians?"]
[19:44] <Raphael> "Of course not," he said, glancing away.
[19:44] <Minaplo> ["Go on."]
[19:45] <Raphael> "She was young and rather drunk, I really don't think there's much of a story."
[19:46] <Minaplo> ["Oh, I see. So you rejected her and, in her sorrows, she turned to the water of life…"]
[19:48] * Raphael sighed. "… She hit on me when she thought I was Shinji, realised I was the 'crazy old man' and proceeded to get blind drunk."
[19:49] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[19:50] <Minaplo> [Chiisana began to laugh. Fully and loudly.]
[19:52] <Raphael> "She didn't -stop- hitting on me, either. She'd just stop to remind herself that - again - I was a crazy old man," Raphael said. "I'm really not sure how to feel about it."
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["Crazy old man!"-
[19:55] <Minaplo> [Chii wiped the tears from her eyes, still struggling to breathe from laughing. "Tell… More…"]
[19:58] <Raphael> "You're not really going to make me tell the whole story, are you…?"-
[19:58] <Raphael> He looked at her just long enough to confirm that yes, she was, and let out a groan. "She had this bowl of breadsticks…"

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