This Too Shall Pass 3 4 3

[15:52] <AdEvaGM> ["… When did our family become a chew toy?"-
[15:52] <AdEvaGM> [That had been the first thing Lucas had said since Raphael had started explaining.-
[15:53] <AdEvaGM> [He sat a little slumped in his wheelchair, his expression downcast, his head hung a little. Through the surovite window, Caitlin slept.-
[15:54] <AdEvaGM> [The two brothers weren't alone- Misato was at Raphael's side, and similarly too was Emma, her eyebrows knitted together; she kept wringing her little fingers together.]
[16:03] <Raphael> Raphael's attention was on the figure beyond the window. The few hours since the debriefing had been enough for him to assert some degree of control over his emotions, but even that was betrayed by the deepening circles under his eyes. "… I don't know."
[16:17] <AdEvaGM> ["…" Misato folded her arms against herself, biting her bottom lip slightly.-
[16:18] <AdEvaGM> ["I dunno how… Ugh." Lucas shook his head; he buried his face in his hands for a second.-
[16:19] <AdEvaGM> ["I… I feel sick and cold." He muttered. "But at the same time, Caitlin's in there. N-Not how I remember, but- but that face…"-
[16:19] <AdEvaGM> ["Shouldn't I be happy? But…"]
[16:28] <Raphael> "…" He turned and crouched, leaving him roughly at eye level with Lucas. "I know what you mean. This is- it wasn't intended to be a gift. Feeling this way… I don't think it's a slight against her. This whole thing is just wrong."
[16:31] <AdEvaGM> ["Taking what should be good things and making them weapons is one of Caine's qualities." Said Misato darkly. "It's alright to feel sick."-
[16:34] <AdEvaGM> [Emma was staring through the window. "… It hardly seems real."]
[16:40] * Raphael sighed. "No, it doesn't."-
[16:41] <Raphael> "We still don't know enough about what any of this means, or what state she'll be in when she wakes up. There's… a lot of help being offered from the people in Technical, and Rei's already rallied some of her sisters if we need them."
[16:50] <AdEvaGM> ["R… Right." Said Lucas slowly. "And… You said there was something going on there with one of Rei's sisters and Caitlin?"]
[16:54] * Raphael took a deep breath and tapped on his knee with one fingertip.-
[16:54] <Raphael> "The Roku we thought we rescued when we split from the UN was a fake. They used an Ayanami body with Caitlin's soul, along with a fragment of Roku's soul and memories." His voice strained, but he pressed on. "Nobody really knows why that seems to have affected her form now, but it clearly has…"
[17:00] <AdEvaGM> ["So… Uh, is she part Ayanami now?" Asked Lucas. "She won't… Be psychic, will she?"]
[17:02] * Raphael shook his head. "They say she's not. We have ways of testing."
[17:03] <AdEvaGM> [Lucas nodded slowly.-
[17:04] <AdEvaGM> ["Do you have any plans for her keeping yet? Probably too early to say, huh?" asked Emma.]
[17:16] <Raphael> "That's part of what I wanted to discuss. We'll obviously want to get advice from doctors before we take any course of action, but… I've made plans for her to stay with me if she needs to." He said. "I didn't want to make assumptions of you two, with the baby on the way…"
[17:19] <AdEvaGM> [Lucas and Emma both glanced down at her stomach for a second.-
[17:19] <AdEvaGM> ["You've spent a lot of time minding Suzie." Said Lucas. "I'm sure we could cope with Caitlin for the time being."]
[17:22] <Raphael> Raphael frowned, wrong-footed again. "That's a lot for me to ask. Even in the best case scenario…"
[17:25] <AdEvaGM> ["C'mon, bro…" Lucas shook his head.-
[17:26] <AdEvaGM> ["Can I say something?" Said Misato.]
[17:28] * Raphael nodded without taking his eyes off his brother.
[17:37] <AdEvaGM> ["Realistically… It'd have to be both, wouldn't it?" Said Misato. "Raffy, you've got a lot on your plate, but at the same time, Lucas, there's things that Caitlin needs would be better served here on the Dory. To my eye, the best solution would be to have her spend half her time here, then half her time with you and Emma."]
[17:44] <Raphael> There was a pause as he considered this. "Maybe," he sighed. "That's not a great deal of stability, though…"
[17:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Perhaps we'll just have to ask her when the time comes." Said Lucas.]
[17:47] <Raphael> "… R-right. Yes. I shouldn't be talking as though she doesn't have a say in things." He sighed again and frowned at the floor.
[17:52] <AdEvaGM> ["Mmm…"-
[17:53] <AdEvaGM> ["It's going to be hard for her." Said Emma sadly. "Going from being a little girl to a young woman in a world she doesn't understand."]
[17:56] <Raphael> … Raphael didn't offer a response, and although his face was still hidden the cringe that statement prompted was still visible in the way his shoulders curled in.
[18:06] <AdEvaGM> [Misato saw. She quickly, gently put an arm around his shoulders. "… Hey."]
[18:11] <Raphael> "… It's alright." He tried to straighten up a little, but he made no effort to shake off her arm.
[18:13] <AdEvaGM> [Lucas eyed Raphael, a keen look in his expression.-
[18:13] <AdEvaGM> ["… Well. You'll keep us posted if anything changes?"]
[18:14] <Raphael> "Yeah, of course." He met Lucas' stare. "… Will you be alright?"
[18:21] <AdEvaGM> [Emma put her hand on his shoulder; Lucas reached up and took it. For a moment, despite the weighty news of the day, the two shared a fond look.-
[18:21] <AdEvaGM> ["… Yeah, I'll be fine." Said Lucas. "Take a bit of time for yourself, eh, bro?"]
[18:24] <Raphael> "Sure." He pushed himself back to his feet, shooting an almost automatic glance towards the window.-
[18:25] <Raphael> "They're making the surgery to get my original body back a priority." He said. "Trying to give her one less thing to adjust to, so hopefully it'll be within a day or two. I'll let you know when I hear more."
[18:40] <AdEvaGM> ["You want me here for it?"]
[18:40] <Raphael> "It wouldn't hurt."
[18:46] <AdEvaGM> ["Not a problem. May as well stay on the ship in the meantime then."]
[18:49] <Raphael> "I'll get you both cleared for one of the guest rooms," he said as he gave Lucas a small smile. He glanced at Emma "You'll keep an eye on him for me?"
[18:50] <AdEvaGM> ["I always do, Raphael." Said Emma with a smile. "But only if you come by for dinner tonight."]
[18:50] <Raphael> "I'll see what I can do."
[18:51] <AdEvaGM> ["No problem."]
[18:54] <Raphael> "Misato'll have you authorised by the time you get to the dorms. You should go get settled."
[18:55] <AdEvaGM> ["No worries." Said Lucas. He held an arm out to Raphael. "C'mere, bro."]
[18:56] * Raphael went to him without much hesitation, leaning down to wrap his arms around his brother's shoulders.
[18:56] <AdEvaGM> [Lucas returned it, giving Raphael a tight squeeze, leaning out of his chair a little to do so.-
[18:56] <AdEvaGM> ["You take care, bro." Said Lucas. "Keep him out of trouble, Misato."-
[18:57] <AdEvaGM> ["No promises." Said Misato with a smile.]
[18:58] * Raphael offered one last pat on the shoulder before pulling back. "I'll call you later."
[18:59] <AdEvaGM> ["Righto. Seeya, Raffy."-
[18:59] <AdEvaGM> [Emma stepped in to give Raphael a hug as well. "Thanks, Raphael."]
[19:04] * Raphael returned that as well, although he seemed to be struggling to find a response to the thank you.
[19:08] <AdEvaGM> [Emma gave him a small smile- then both her and Lucas left, with a final wave.]
[19:14] * Raphael didn't watch them leave. His attention had returned to the window.
[19:16] <AdEvaGM> [Within, Caitlin continued to sleep.-
[19:16] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[19:16] <AdEvaGM> [Misato squeezed a little tighter. "Hey, hon."]
[19:20] <Raphael> "It's a good joke, you know." He didn't seem to have really heard her.
[19:20] <AdEvaGM> ["Huh?"]
[19:21] <Raphael> "Making me commit all the same mistakes I hated the Ikaris for. Pretty funny."
[19:26] <AdEvaGM> ["…"-
[19:26] <AdEvaGM> ["Don't say that, Raphael."]
[19:27] * Raphael shook his head. "Let's go home."
[19:29] <AdEvaGM> ["Okay."-
[19:29] <AdEvaGM> [She took his hand, twining her fingers around his own.]
[19:37] * Raphael 's grip was a little looser, but he held it all the same. He stole one last, long look at the sleeping figure before he finally managed to pull himself away.

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