With Sacrifice Before The Rising Morn Vows Have I Made By Fr

[06:49] <CakeyCake> The Wellesley-Ayanami household was silent. It had been packed full of guests for the past twenty hours, but the time of day most certainly factored into the contrasting stillness of previous hours: it was nearly four in the morning. -
[06:56] <CakeyCake> A light, soothing drizzle had sprung up, tapping lightly against the window in the apartment's living room. Somewhere in the darkness, a door opened, and running shoes tiptoed a path from the spare bedroom to the apartment's front door, and stopped. Conundrum. Undoing the locks was noisy business. -
[06:57] <CakeyCake> And just a few feet away, on the living room couch, was a certain displaced Group Captain who might be woken by the racket. Still, there was little to lose at this point. The skulker reached for the bolt and fumbled with it, trying to move slowly and silently, but…
[06:59] * CakeyCake is now known as Yanmei
[07:04] <Raphael> But Raphael had never had the luxury to be a light sleeper. The dark form on the couch is upright before the bolt finishes sliding free, his bleary eyes trying to adjust to what little glow from the city is making it through the apartment window. "… Miss Zhang?" He asks, slurring just a little as he tries to shake the fogginess of sleep from his mind.
[07:08] <Raphael> «Heavy sleeper*»
[07:08] * Yanmei started, hands dropping from the door, and turned. So much for sneaking. "Ah…" She tried to make her voice sound bright and carefree, as if this was the sort of thing that happened all the time. "…good morning, Group Captain!"
[07:11] * SyntaxTerror has quit IRC (Quit: I wonder what this does?)
[07:12] <Raphael> "Such as it is." He says. Force of habit has him searching for a way to tell the time, but the clock in the kitchen is hidden in shadow and there's hardly an alarm clock by the couch. "… Is everything alright?"
[07:15] <Yanmei> "Of course, of course. Just going for a little run, that's all. Have to try to keep in shape, even if I'm on vacation."
[07:21] * Raphael glances over towards the kitchen window, hearing the rain beyond even if he can't quite see it. "Would you like some company, Pilot Zhang? Or did you need some time to yourself?"
[07:25] * Yanmei seemed to be considering something in silence, her own eyes drifting toward the window. She could imagine the chill out there. "Do you need to clear your head too?"
[07:28] <Raphael> "I believe so. Sleep seems to be a losing battle right now."
[07:32] <Yanmei> "Sorry," she muttered, thinking of how still he'd seemed before she came tiptoing through. She coughed delicately. "What's on your mind, anyway?"
[07:38] * Raphael lets out a very low chuckle that still manages to sound remarkably loud in the otherwise silent house. "Don't worry yourself, Pilot." He says. "I'm worried about, Rei, mostly. And you?" As though there was any question about what she could be running from at 4am on a rainy Boston morning.
[07:46] <Yanmei> "…" She turned completely and leaned against the door, arms folded. "It's nothing major," she muttered. "But listen. Rei's a pretty resilient person. I'm sure she'll recover from this, even if she seems bad off now."
[07:50] <Raphael> "Oh, I'm quite certain of that. She's a brave girl." From his tone it sounds like he believes it to be the most obvious thing in the world. "It's just made me wonder…"-
[07:51] <Raphael> "Did the Sixteenth speak to you, Pilot Zhang?"
[07:55] * Yanmei shifted uncomfortably. "I guess you could call it 'speaking'. It's not the only one. This sort of thing happens on occassion."
[08:06] <Raphael> "Mmm." The shadowy shape on the couch stretched broadly for a moment before swinging its legs off the couch. "That's the only time I've really experienced it. Not the most pleasant experience in the world."-
[08:06] <Raphael> "It called me pathetic for serving NERV while it inflicted so much pain on others. On Rei."
[08:08] <Yanmei> Raphael had her undivided attention now. Yanmei stared. "What do you think about that, then?"
[08:11] <Raphael> A long pause. "… It's probably not the answer you'd like to hear, Pilot Zhang."
[08:16] <Yanmei> "It's natural for there to be conflicts in an organization like this one. Dissenting views over policies and…practices." Her face was hard to make out in the darkness, but her voice held traces of clear bitterness. "I don't think you're in the wrong no matter how you answer."
[08:34] * Raphael seems to consider that for a moment. "Pilot Zhang, my loyalty is to whomever offers this world the best chance for its continued survival. That's all. I'm not an apologist - many, many of the things they've done make me sick to my stomach - but I cannot make myself believe that one part of the world is worth protecting above all else. No matter how much it hurts." He rolls
[08:34] * Raphael his head back to look up at the darkened ceiling. "And please, believe me when I say it does."
[08:43] <Yanmei> "…I see. Logic and duty over raw sentimentality? I can understand that." For a little while, she lapsed back into her own silence.
[08:45] <Raphael> "And what do you believe?"
[08:52] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei frowned. "I don't know. There are certain things that I dread to relinquish, even if it's a problem for the greater whole."
[08:57] <Raphael> The shadow nods and moves to stand, shedding blankets as he goes. A few shuffling footsteps find him in the kitchen, flicking on the overhead light to finally chase away the darkness. "How's Isaiah recovering? He told me he was fine when I asked, but that's to be expected." He asks, keeping his voice low even as he opens one of the overhead cupboards for a glass.
[09:03] <Yanmei> "I think he really is okay. Maybe still disoriented? Otherwise…" She was blinking and squinting a little, drifting closer, because standing at the door now felt more unnatural when the lights were on. A knit blue hat was pulled low over her ears, and a matching scarf was around her neck. The sweatpants and shirt she had on were both plain white. "He's acting like it's all over."
[09:10] <Raphael> "You don't think it is?" Raphael seems to have simply slept in what he was wearing the previous day - Namely long navy blue pants and a collared white shirt - for want of something more comfortable. Both have been rather badly creased by the tossing and turning of sleep. He pulls out two glasses from the cupboard, raising the second in Yanmei's direction in an obvious question.
[09:18] <Yanmei> "Not by a long shot. 08 got -results-. Couple that to the fact that the region it's supposed to be defending from the Libs is currently being overrun, and the higher-ups will see it and Isaiah as an asset to turning the tide of the war over here, never mind the bigger war against the Angels." Her gaze sank. "A representative from the Human Instrumentality Committee was here within the hour after the battle."
[09:25] * Raphael nods again, setting both glasses on the table after a moment and opening the door to the fridge to remove a carton of orange juice. "But he's one of those things you refuse to relinquish."
[09:32] <Yanmei> "He's… not something that can be possessed. He's a person? So I guess it's less about relinquishing him and more that he shouldn't have to become their puppet just because they say so. It's the -principle-. But it's also…"
[09:36] * Raphael pours out two even glasses of juice and sets on on the side of the table nearest to Yanmei. "Also?"
[09:39] <Yanmei> "…it's also that he's suffered enough already." She reached out for the glass. "Piloting is just going to cause him more pain."
[09:45] <Raphael> "No doubt." He says gently, taking a sip of juice and glancing back at the window for a moment. "None of you pilots deserve the lives you lead."
[09:54] <Yanmei> "There are some perks?" She glanced back at the room where she had left Isaiah and Elizabeth cuddled up to each other and sleeping. "But they might be fleeting."
[09:56] <Raphael> "Mmm. So then, what do you intend to propose instead of him piloting?"
[09:56] <Yanmei> "I don't know yet," she admitted.
[10:01] <Raphael> "If you want to get him free of this that's what you need to consider, Pilot Zhang. Alternatives." He says gently. "Do you know how much Eva-08 cost to construct?"
[10:06] <Yanmei> "I have an inkling?" she said bitterly. "It won't accept other pilots either. So if I'm going to start somewhere, it should be there."
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[10:16] <Raphael> "Right." He nods. "For the record, Colonel Amatore-DeForest told me that the later model Evangelions cost between five hundred and eight hundred billion dollars to construct, depending on the specifics of the unit. Keep in mind that in the case of Eva-08 that's money that didn't go to, for example, stabilising Australia."
[10:16] <Raphael> "Alternatives, Yanmei. It's what these people in the Human Instrumentality Committee will want… and I believe it's something you need to consider on a personal level before you throw your weight into this."
[10:19] <Yanmei> Costs. Alternatives. Losses. Yanmei nodded. "I think I understand. It will be difficult, but let me think on it for a bit."
[10:24] * Raphael nods, looking at her closely for a few moments as if uncertain whether to continue. But then… "… Am I wrong for not protecting her like this, Pilot Zhang?"
[10:29] * Yanmei looked surprised. "Rei? Rei's a… tricky case. Just -stopping- her from wanting to pilot would be a feat."
[10:33] <Raphael> "But that's what you do for a child, isn't it?" Raphael asks. His tone isn't sad, he just seems… thoughtful. "Protects them from harm and their own poor ideas. That's what a parent—…" He frowns slightly and glances away, almost seeming surprised by that last word.
[10:36] * Yanmei couldn't help but giggle at that reaction. "When it's her, you really do turn into a dad, don't you?" she grinned. "She's lucky. So is Suzanne."
[10:50] <Raphael> "I'm not so sure about that." He says after a moment. "I suppose I don't know much about what it's like to be a father. Most of the time caring for them just reminds me of my sisters."
[10:52] <Yanmei> "Ah? You have sisters?" Yanmei eyed him curiously. Hearing about his personal life in ways that were not romantic nor linked to NERV's rumor mill was a rare thing.
[10:58] <Raphael> "… Had, pardon." He says, taking another sip of juice. "I lost them both in the fallout that followed Second Impact."
[22:34] <Yanmei> "…oh. I'm sorry." Yanmei frowned at her own juice. "It must have been tough."
[22:48] * Raphael scratched at the side of his cheek where a little bit of stubble was beginning to form, waiting for his morning shave. "It was, but it's all been a long time gone now, hasn't it?" He says, strangely matter-of-fact about the whole thing. "I wouldn't want to bore you with it all."
[22:56] <Yanmei> "…" It took a moment to think of what to say. "Does time make a difficult loss less painful?"
[22:58] <Raphael> "… No." For a moment he sounds extraordinarily tired. "I wish I could tell you something different, Pilot Zhang. You just learn to bury it."
[23:06] <Yanmei> "I thought so," she muttered. "They say that time heals all wounds, but it's actually impossible for people to let go. My mom and Colonel Lachapelle have shown me that. Even Fontaine did, to some extent." Her eyes narrowed. "It's overused at school, and people your age water it down by referring to it every chance they get, but Second Impact caused a lot of really horrible things."
[23:18] <Raphael> "That's… certainly one way of putting it." Raphael says slowly. "But in a way it's important we don't leave behind the pain of things like that. We're shaped by our losses… or at least that's been my experience."
[23:20] <Yanmei> "Ah?"
[23:31] <Raphael> "Everything I spoke of before… that willingness to sacrifice good things for the sake of the world… Losing my sisters taught me that. Because I suffered that pain I realized that there was no single thing in this world that was worth sparing thousands - millions - of people that same agony or anything like it." He pauses to take a sip of juice. "Loss shapes us more than anything else."
[23:40] * Yanmei took her hand away from the glass, leaving it on the table. "You have an interesting view of things, Group Captain Guillory. Surely, you have to believe that everyone has their limits?"
[23:46] <Raphael> "Of course they do. But -should- they? That's an entirely different question." He says. His voice is gentle as he pushes one finger around the rim of his glass. "Yamei, please understand that I admire the drive that you possess to protect what you love. That said, as far as I'm concerned there comes a point when there are no alternatives, and someone, somewhere needs to be willing to
[23:46] <Raphael> sacrifice what's necessary. Whether it hurts or not."
Session Time: Thu Jan 19 00:00:00 2012
[00:06] <Yanmei> "That sacrifice absolutely will not come from me." She was frowning, her eyes hard, although they weren't necessarily focused on him. "It should come from someone else who actually deserves it for a change. I'm -sick- of sacrifice."
[00:07] <Raphael> "And that's perfectly fair after all you've been through. I'm just telling you what I believe."
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[00:09] * Yanmei focused a little more, her guard slipping a little lower. "Right. Sorry," she mumbled.
[00:11] * Raphael nods, not showing any rancour. He’s simply watching her thoughtfully. "… I've heard about the way you were recruited into all of this, Pilot Zhang. It was a terrible thing."
[00:14] <Yanmei> "Yeah, well. it could have been worse? I could have been a NeoSpartan or a Companion. Do you know why there are so many of them following the LN?"
[00:16] <Raphael> "I have a few guesses. What have you heard?"
[00:19] <Yanmei> "That it was because Azariah Caine and his men promised them a purpose and freedom. That's more than NERV could do for them." Yanmei sighed and reached for her glass again. "Of course, that's just a generalization. One soldier's take on his defection. Even if it turned out to be a lie, what did he have to lose?"
[00:24] * Raphael frowns slightly, memories of Eden Base fighting their way to the surface. "… Not a great deal."
[00:27] <Yanmei> "Exactly. It's pitiful, the things that are done in the name of 'saving the world'." She rubbed her eyes tiredly.
[00:31] <Raphael> "Only some of them, ma'am." He says, looking back into the darkened lounge room and the door to where Rei slept. "… Are you still set on going for that run, Yanmei?"
[00:34] <Yanmei> "I might… I might postpone it for a while." She smiled at him wanly. "Sorry. I haven't been the most pleasant conversationalist tonight. I dunno, I'm usually not this… bitter?"
[00:37] * Raphael shakes his head. "Not at all. You have the right to be, every now and then." He says, returning the smile with a tired one of his own. "You're a soldier, as unfortunate as that fact may be. If you bottle up that bitterness it will be the death of you."
[00:41] <Yanmei> "Yeah, maybe you're right," she murmured, and nodded slowly. "Thank you for listening."
[00:44] <Raphael> "And vice versa." He nods. "… Why don't you go and try and get back to sleep, Yanmei? You look like you need it."
[00:47] <Yanmei> "I think that would be best," she agreed. She did hurriedly drain her glass before making her move, quietly circling around and leaving it in the sink. "Goodnight, Group Captain." She hesitated. "Sorry for waking you."
[00:50] * Raphael waves a hand. "I'll be fine." He says easily, shutting his eyes for a moment as she moves towards the door. "… Pilot Zhang?"
[00:51] <Yanmei> "Yes?" She glanced back at him.
[00:52] <Raphael> "You never answered me before. If I think of myself as a father, do you think I'm wrong to leave Rei like this?"
[00:57] <Yanmei> "I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong? I was always under the impression, Guillory, that you didn't have a choice." Her face softened a little. "You're not the sort of parent who would throw a child to the wolves easily. That you're here at all is a testament to that."
[01:00] * ChefZack is now known as Zack
[01:01] * Raphael mulls that over in silence for a few long moments. "… Thank you, Yanmei." He says eventually, opening his eyes and nodding. "Sleep well, hmm?"
[01:02] <Yanmei> "I will. You too, okay?" And she tiptoed away, trying not to wake anyone else as she opened and shut the door to the guest room.
[01:08] <Raphael> And then Raphael is alone again. He looks over at the couch, a little clearer in the darkness now as the first dawn light begins to filter through the window. But the kitchen is bright and quiet, and for the moment that's what he needs. He pours himself another glass of juice and shuts his eyes again, concentrating on the gentle sounds of softly falling rain.

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