This Too Shall Pass 3 3 2

[19:40] <Minaplo> ["… Now I'm trusting you two with this place, y'hear? Y'hear me, boys? This here's me baby, you know, and if I come back and see it ruined…"-
[19:43] <Minaplo> [… Raphael had heard the word come down from Command that an action team had been assembled to assist Brazil's efforts to track down the culprits behind the recent N2 bombing.-
[19:47] <Minaplo> [No doubt some eyebrows would be raised at the two names mentioned- Brown. Blue. Now both of them were here, in Blue's Bar- as was Raphael. One of them was an untrustworthy smartarse rogue who'd skulked in unmentionable circles for years. And the other one Raphael wasn't fully sure was really there.-
[19:48] <Minaplo> [Right now, though, Blue was busy briefing the plucky young men who he'd chosen to mind his bar…-
[19:48] <Minaplo> [Matthias Holmstrom and Zhang Zhengsheng.-
[19:49] <Minaplo> ["Relax. Sound like we'll torch the place." Said Zhengsheng, shaking his head.-
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["You know I actually have things to do most of the time, right?" Said Matthias. "You should pick someone else."-
[19:51] <Minaplo> ["Nawww, how important could that possibly be…"-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["It's combat missions!"-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["Meh! Look, Zhengsheng here survived his first combat mission, you don't see him kicking up a stink-"-
[19:52] <Minaplo> ["He's a low-level technician!"-
[19:53] <Minaplo> ["Hey, techie or gunny, get shot at all the same…"-
[19:54] <Minaplo> ["Look." Said Blue. "It's not a hard job. Just tend the place when you're here and if somethin' fucks up, then you run to Raffy here, who's really in charge of the place. Ain't that right, Raffy?"]
[19:56] <Raphael> "What."-
[19:56] <Raphael> Raphael looked around from his spot at the edge of the bar, where he'd been eating a sandwich and trying to ignore the whole mess. "No. No I'm not."
[20:02] <Minaplo> ["He's only saying that 'cuz of spies." Said Blue.-
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Pff. Spies? In yer dreams." Said Brown, who was sitting two seats away from Raphael, eating a steak.-
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Wow, you're just gonna sell me right up shit creek, huh?" Muttered Blue.-
[20:04] <Minaplo> ["Blue, look, mate, we all know the owner's not going anywhere." Said Brown.-
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["You're not?" Said Matthias in surprise.-
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["I am!" Said Blue indignantly.-
[20:05] <Minaplo> ["No, she's not." Said Brown with a grin.]
[20:07] * Raphael seemed to be carefully keeping Brown out of his field of vision. He frowned a little as he went back to his sandwich.
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["But you gotta admit, Raffy's the man for it." Said Blue thoughtfully. "Bet he can whip up a cocktail or two."-
[20:10] <Minaplo> [Brown turned to look at Raphael head-on. "… Y'reckon?"-
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["I do in fact reckon." Said Blue.-
[20:11] <Minaplo> ["Huh. Mr. G, mind showing us your cocktails, mate?" Said Brown.]
[20:17] <Raphael> "I do mind," Raphael said flatly. He didn't turn to look at them. "I'm occupied."-
[20:17] <Raphael> "Blue, I've got a week before I'm deployed again and I won't be spending it minding your bar."
[20:23] <Minaplo> ["Great. Guess the future of my livelihood's now in the hands of this guy." Said Blue, gesturing at Zhengsheng.-
[20:24] <Minaplo> ["Good hands." Said Zhengsheng with a grin. "I like them. So do other people."-
[20:25] <Minaplo> ["Oh yeah? Like who?" Said Blue.-
[20:25] <Minaplo> [Zhengsheng shrugged and held them up to Matthias. "Good hands, right?"-
[20:26] <Minaplo> ["Great ones." Said Matthias. "Easily in my top ten."-
[20:26] <Minaplo> ["… You tossers." Said Blue, shaking his head.-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [Raphael would hear nearby footsteps- and then someone sat on the stool next to him. "Focus on the mission, Blue, not the damn bar. I don't feel like living through a second Singapore," She said.-
[20:29] <Minaplo> [… That voice sounded familiar, didn't it?]
[17:58] <Raphael> There was no instant recognition on Raphael's part, just a niggling sense of familiarity that made him turn his head. Even when he looked at the new arrival directly, it takes a second for him to make the connection.-
[17:58] <Raphael> "… Medea?"
[18:04] <Minaplo> [Long black hair, blue eyes behind spectacles, wearing a white short-sleeved blouse and a black miniskirt. Medea turned towards him and gave him the brightest smile she could. "Hi, Mr. Raphael."]
[18:12] <Raphael> "What on Earth are you doing here?" He said, not bothering to hide his increasingly suspicious glances at Blue.
[18:13] <Minaplo> [Blue was suddenly busy whipping together a cocktail…-
[18:13] <Minaplo> ["Well, my shift's over." Said Medea. "Thought I'd have a drink, Mr. Raphael!"]
[18:14] <Raphael> "Your shift where?"
[18:15] <Minaplo> ["Here."]
[18:15] <Raphael> "I've never seen you here," Raphael said with absolute certainty. "In fact I haven't seen you since we left Paris."
[18:17] <Minaplo> ["I've worked here since the day it opened, Mr. Raphael. Would it help if I tried on my uniform…?"-
[18:18] <Minaplo> [Now both Matthias and Zhengsheng were watching with great interest.]
[18:23] * Raphael gave her a long look. "… No, ma'am, I don't think it would. What were you saying about Singapore?"
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["I said, I didn't feel like living through Singapore again." Said Medea. "The mission, Mr. Raphael? With this jerk running us in circles…"-
[18:26] <Minaplo> [Brown chuckled.]
[18:28] * Raphael 's head swivelled slowly until he was staring at Blue. He did not seem amused.
[18:29] <Minaplo> [Blue sighed.-
[18:30] <Minaplo> ["This is Medea." Said Blue. "We go back a bit. I gave her a job here because she helps me out and she also wanted to take care of her brother."]
[18:34] <Raphael> "She was working for you." He said quietly. "Back in Paris."
[18:37] <Minaplo> ["Nnnnnnnnot exactly." Said Blue cautiously. "You're overestimatin' how often she listens to me. Rather, she sort of offered of her own free will." Said Blue, giving Medea a dark look. "I want it on fuckin' record that I told you to tell him this ages ago, you shitstirrer."]
[18:46] <Raphael> "Her own free will." His voice was still level, but onlookers might notice the way one finger was tapping against the bar with increasing rapidity.-
[18:46] <Raphael> He looked back to Medea. "Why?"
[18:51] <Minaplo> ["…" She reddened. "I don't want to talk about it. Stupid reasons."]
[19:09] <Raphael> … the tapping quickened again. "I see."-
[19:09] <Raphael> Without another word he stood, dropped a pair of bills on the bar alongside his still unfinished sandwich and headed for the door.
[19:13] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[19:14] <Minaplo> [Medea's shoulders and face fell. She stared down at her hands. "I knew this would happen. I knew it."-
[19:15] <Minaplo> ["…" Blue sighed and put aside his shaker. "Watch the bar."-
[19:15] <Minaplo> […-
[19:16] <Minaplo> [As Raphael was leaving, he'd hear the door open and shut behind him. A voice- Blue's- called out to him. "Oi, Guillory."]
[19:27] <Raphael> "What?" He hadn't turned around yet, but he was only a few steps ahead as he walked towards the Promenade.
[19:30] <Minaplo> ["How's about you cool those heels for a minute, eh?"]
[19:34] <Raphael> "No."
[19:36] <Minaplo> ["Let's try that again: Cool those heels or I'll drag you back inside with my own bare hands, eh?"]
[19:40] <Raphael> Raphael did nothing of the sort. His hands were flexing gently without quite settling into fists.
[19:46] <Minaplo> [Blue shrugged.-
[19:51] <Minaplo> [He crossed the distance between them in the second, slipping into a low crouch; in one fluid motion he grabbed Raphael's left leg and pulled it with enough force to send Raphael toppling. A moment later he was on Raphael's back; Blue grabbed Raphael's struggling arms and pinned them tightly against Raphael's back.-
[19:52] <Minaplo> [The attack instantly caught the eye of the promenade's crowds- there were shouts and yells all around.-
[19:53] <Minaplo> ["Not how I wanted this to go." Said Blue. "But I'm not lettin' you trash that girl's feelings without a few words, adult to fuckin' adult."]
[20:04] <Raphael> Raphael turned his head and spat, blood mixing in where his mouth had struck the floor.-
[20:04] <Raphael> "Didn't expect you to actually hit me." His voice was cold and furious.
[20:10] <Minaplo> ["Well guess that makes two of us with frustrated expectations." Said Blue.-
[20:15] <Minaplo> ["S'it turns out, though? I ain't got much patience for seeing Medea hurt. I'm sure you can understand."-
[20:17] <Minaplo> ["Now." There was pressure as Blue leaned forward. "Either we can return to the bar, and you will give Medea the chance to explain herself, or you can stay pinned to the fucking ground here with me trying my best to explain why she really don't deserve your righteous fury."]
[20:28] <Raphael> "…" Raphael glanced speculatively to either side, testing the leverage his arms had remaining as he examined the crowds. There was no getting out of the hold, but it wouldn't be hard to ask for help from the crowd…-
[20:28] <Raphael> "…"-
[20:28] <Raphael> "Fine. Get off me, Blue."
[20:37] <Minaplo> [Blue grunted; he pulled himself and Raphael both to their feet, Blue keeping his firm grip on Raphael's arms. "On ya go."]
[20:40] * Raphael grunted, heading back the way he came. "Get your hands off me. I've already agreed, and if you put on any more of a show they'll send the Marines."
[20:42] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[20:42] <Minaplo> [Blue slowly loosened his grip on Raphael's arms, before finally letting him loose.]
[20:45] * Raphael turned and made a vague shooing gesture to the amassed crowd before pulling open the door to the bar and stepping inside.
[16:35] <Minaplo> [That didn't exactly quiet the crowd, mind, but it didn't seem as though they were going for security just yet.-
[16:37] <Minaplo> [The bar-sitters all looked up at his return; most of them then turned back to their food or drinks, all except Medea, who watched him with lowered, worried eyes.-
[16:38] <Minaplo> ["Alright, let's take this to the private parlour." Said Blue.-
[16:39] <Minaplo> [It took a minute or so for Raphael, Blue and Medea to head into the private parlour, separated from the rest of the bar. Medea sat down on a long seat near the door, whilst Blue remained standing, arms folded.]
[16:41] * Raphael was seated opposite Medea on a bench of his own. He'd managed to seize his sandwich on the way to the parlour, and he was eating the last few bites with silent intensity. It didn't seem as though he intended to make the first move.
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Now let's start this over again." Said Blue.-
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[16:44] <Minaplo> [Medea sighed.-
[16:46] <Minaplo> ["Well. My name's Medea Leona." She said. "I used to be a Templar like Blue. Me and my twin brother Mikhail, we were both Templars, but… Sorry, you probably know him better as William Weiss-Xylander."]
[17:09] <Raphael> … All of a sudden she had Raphael's full attention as he stared at her warily. "Weiss-Xylander was with the Templars?"
[17:14] <Minaplo> ["Yeah." Said Medea glumly. "From the time we were little kids, about four or five."-
[17:15] <Minaplo> ["That's how he got chosen to be an Eva pilot." Said Blue. "He was sent to keep an eye on y'all, you know?"]
[17:17] <Raphael> "And this is…" He hesitated, still gathering his thoughts. "People are aware of that now?"
[17:18] <Minaplo> ["Yanmei's aware of it, yep." Said Blue.-
[17:19] <Minaplo> ["He broke down and confessed." Said Medea. Her hands were folded together, the thumbnail on her left finger unconsciously scraping at the right thumbnail's quick. "After they told him Aline had died."-
[17:20] <Minaplo> ["Will's history in all this goes back a long way." Said Blue. "He's known Walpurgis Night as long as I have, before they were called that. Hell, he and Fatima were lovers once… Also, the little shit were the one who set 'em on my ass, too."]
[17:27] * Raphael nodded slowly, still frowning. He looked at Medea. "… I see. But he's - you're no longer with them?"
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Blue came back for us a little while after he escaped." Said Medea. "He broke some of us out, and I went with him. I've been with him ever since."-
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["That… Was not a fun job." Said Blue gruffly. "But it was one of the first things I did after I got all cleaned up and put on the hat."]
[17:39] <Raphael> "And you stayed in Paris after he was captured?" He asked.
[17:41] <Minaplo> ["I was captured too." Said Medea.]
[17:51] <Raphael> The silence this time was a long one. He could remember a face, even if the name escaped him: a young woman with short blonde hair. The features were different, but…-
[17:51] <Raphael> "The girl from the third apartment block. Miss Red's." No discernable anger. A statement of fact.
[17:52] <Minaplo> ["'Estelle'." Said Medea. "That was the identity I used."]
[17:58] <Raphael> "Estelle," he echoed. He gave Blue a hard to read look for a second, but said nothing more.
[18:02] <Minaplo> ["I'm good at disguises." She said. "Good at- roles, acting. Estelle was a contract killer of few words, a few other things, enough to spook the other mercenaries from looking too deeply into it."-
[18:03] <Minaplo> ["Of course, there were other ex-Templars in that group too. Other kids that Blue rescued at the same time." She said. "… They didn't make it."]
[18:20] <Raphael> "… I'm sorry for that." It was unclear whether the comment was directed at Blue or Medea.
[18:23] <Minaplo> [Blue didn't say anything; he was looking in the other direction, his arms folded, his hands completely still.-
[18:26] <Minaplo> [But Medea shook her head. "It's… I've come to terms with it." She said. "People died on both sides, after all. We need to all remember that."-
[18:26] <Minaplo> ["Before that, though, my mission had been to track your movements."]
[17:24] <Raphael> She wouldn't receive a response immediately, if only because Raphael's attention seemed to be wandering. His expression was neutral - even attentive - but he kept sneaking glances at Blue. Still, her voice shook him into a response eventually. "Why me? Was I a potential target?"
[17:26] <Minaplo> ["You weren't a priority target." Said Medea. "But after Valletta the LN felt you were worth keeping an eye on."]
[17:28] <Raphael> "Mmm."
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["… But tracking you was difficult." Said Medea. "… Or rather, difficult without being affected."]
[17:33] * Raphael sighed a little. "… I see."
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["After we escaped, we, well… We weren't in the best state." Said Medea. "It was really just me and Blue. The world… Seemed a lot lonelier. It was around that time that Blue began looking for someone new to follow."-
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["That ended up being Miss Rei." Said Blue.-
[17:38] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. But… My first suggestion was you." Said Medea. "I thought you, well, fit. You seemed like the sort of person Blue was looking for, at least to me."-
[17:39] <Minaplo> ["You weren't, but Medea was pretty insistent on the whole damn thing." Said Blue.]
[14:55] <Raphael> "Yes," Raphael said. "I think it's pretty clear by now that I'm not that person."
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["But… It was nice being around you." Said Medea. "You and Cornelia…"-
[14:57] <Minaplo> ["I knew you wouldn't be happy to hear about what I'd done or who I was, but I felt comfortable for once, using my own name."]
[15:01] * Raphael let out a long breath and stared at the table for a moment, rallying his own thoughts before finally looking back up at Medea. "… You didn't intend Suzie any harm?"
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["No, never." Said Medea firmly.-
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["I ain't big on hurtin' kiddies." Said Blue.]
[15:07] * Raphael nodded slowly.-
[15:08] <Raphael> "I was angry that I invited danger into my home," he admitted.
[15:09] <Minaplo> ["I know. I'm sorry."]
[15:13] <Raphael> "…"
[15:13] <Raphael> "And I'm sorry I reacted the way that I did."
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Okay. It's alright." She held her hands out to him.]
[15:20] * Raphael took them.
[15:22] <Minaplo> [She squeezed.-
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["… Thanks."]
[15:27] <Raphael> "It's fine, ma'am," he said. He even managed to smile a little.-
[15:28] <Raphael> "Suzie's asked after you, you know. She was worried after… well, everything that happened."
[15:28] <Minaplo> ["Aw. Okay. The next time she's in and I'm here, I'll reveal my amazing disguise. It'll knock her socks off."-
[15:29] <Minaplo> ["Medea's comin' with to Brazil." Said Blue. "So she won't be around for awhile."]
[15:35] <Raphael> "… They're sending an interesting group."
[15:38] <Mianplo> ["Yep." Said Medea brightly. "Hey, have you met Martin Barrington? I bet you two would get along."-
[15:38] <Mianplo> ["Ah yes, that universal brotherhood between grumpy old soldier-mans." Said Blue sagely.-
[15:38] <Mianplo> ["Shut up!"-
[15:38] <Mianplo> ["Yeah yeah yeah. Hurry it up already, you still gotta be fitted for your armour, kiddo."-
[15:39] <Mianplo> [Medea pouted. "But I hate armour."-
[15:39] <Mianplo> ["Well that's a cryin' shame."]
[15:43] <Raphael> "We should've had proper armour in Singapore," Raphael muttered.
[15:44] <Mianplo> ["Disguises are -like- armour." Said Medea hopefully.-
[15:45] <Mianplo> ["Yeah yeah yeah." Said Blue, rolling his eyes.-
[15:45] <Mianplo> ["Tch." Medea got to her feet; she favoured Raphael with a warm smile. "I'll see you later, Mr. Raphael."]
[15:47] <Raphael> Raphael smiled right back. "You will. Stay safe, Medea."
[15:49] <Mianplo> ["I will. You too."-
[15:49] <Mianplo> [And with a final wave, she slipped out, leaving Raphael and Blue alone in the private parlour.]
[15:52] <Raphael> … Raphael watched until the door was closed, and then waited until Medea's steps had faded into the noise still drifting in from the bar. Only then did he look at Blue.-
[15:52] <Raphael> "If our situations had been reversed, I would have killed you in your sleep." His voice was quiet and matter-of-fact as he examined the other man.
[15:54] <Mianplo> ["Most lucky for me that they weren't, then." Said Blue.]
[15:55] <Raphael> "You didn't even mention it. How?"
[16:00] <Mianplo> [Blue didn't respond immediately. Instead he walked over to a different table and sat down on its surface.-
[16:03] <Mianplo> ["Dunno if it woulda helped." He said eventually. He reached into his pocket and took out a packet of jerky; he pulled out one strip and bit into it.-
[16:04] <Mianplo> ["I coulda, of course." Said Blue. "Coulda told you about Liadain who loved to sing, or Howe, who never hurt so much as a mouse, 'cuz he loved animals. I coulda told you a buncha stories about 'em, about what great kids they were and all that."-
[16:06] <Mianplo> ["But they were great kids." Said Blue. "And it seemed like a damn shame to use their names to break a person down."-
[16:09] <Mianplo> ["Way I see things, all I wanted was for you to see that the folks who got got had faces." Said Blue. "And Medea did a better job of that than I ever could. S'all."]
[16:23] <Raphael> "I can understand that." His voice didn't possess the tone he typically took with Blue; there was none of the usual suspicion or dislike. "I know it's not worth anything, but… I am sorry."
[16:24] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, well. I'm sorry too."-
[16:24] <Mianplo> [Blue's tone was solemn to match Raphael's own; the man's infamous smirk was nowhere to be seen.-
[16:25] <Mianplo> [Blue sighed. "Thanks for comin' back and listenin'. I know it's been a bit of a revelation rondo for you today, what with learnin' about Will and Medea and shit. Sorry for bustin' you up."-
[16:25] <Mianplo> [He held out the jerky toward Raphael. "Want some?"]
[16:29] <Raphael> His expression was a strange melange of confusion, reflexive annoyance and uncertainty. "… Sure."
[16:30] <Mianplo> [Blue threw the pack onto Raphael's table. "Help yourself."]
[16:31] <Raphael> "So you're shipping out?" He drew a strip from the packet and took a bite.
[16:31] <Mianplo> ["Yep. Off to Brazil to help 'em find some dickheads."]
[16:32] <Raphael> "Should be interesting."
[16:33] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, hope so." Said Blue. "Apparently we'll be helpin' that pretty Brazilian commander you lot met in Istanbul."]
[16:42] <Raphael> "Ah," He hesitated a moment at that. "Well she seems like a reliable sort, at least."
[16:44] <Minaplo> ["Good to hear."-
[17:01] <Minaplo> ["Oh, uh, so I heard something about her, by the way." Said Blue. "You know she has a kid?"]
[17:01] * Raphael nodded. "She mentioned it in passing."
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Did she happen to mention who the daddy was?"]
[17:02] * Raphael shook his head, looking curious now.
[17:02] <Minaplo> ["Remember the Brofessor?"]
[17:03] * Raphael stared…-
[17:03] <Raphael> And then he started to laugh. "I remember Arthur, yes."
[17:03] <Minaplo> [Blue grinned.-
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["Mr. Chelmondely was a Companion. In more ways than one. Apparently they got bizzay."-
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, Yanmei told me this, then told me to take the poor bastard with me to Brazil…"]
[17:04] <Raphael> "Does he know?"
[17:04] <Minaplo> ["She told me to tell 'im."]
[17:04] <Raphael> "… Did you?"
[17:05] <Minaplo> ["I'll tell 'im before we arrive, don't fret."]
[17:21] * Raphael waved a hand. "Whatever you think is best."-
[17:21] <Raphael> "… Chancellor Zhang is still playing matchmaker." He shook his head.
[17:22] <Minaplo> ["Y'know Hyuga calls her 'Mini-Misato', right?"]
[17:22] <Raphael> "I do. He's not wrong."
[17:22] <Minaplo> [Blue grinned.-
[17:23] <Minaplo> ["Well. In any case, I 'spect we'll do a little better in Brazil than we did in Singapore. 'Least we'll have support and shit."]
[17:24] <Raphael> "And a team better suited to the mission."
[17:25] <Minaplo> ["Also true."]
[17:27] <Raphael> Raphael finished chewing his mouthful of jerky, stood… and offered his hand.-
[17:28] <Raphael> "Do you need another set of eyes on the bar?"
[17:28] <Minaplo> [Blue beamed, showing off his bright white teeth. He gripped Raphael's hand.-
[17:28] <Minaplo> ["Always do."]

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