Yanmei S Christmas

[22:18] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Christmas Eve, 2016.-
[22:20] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Once upon a time, it never snowed in Naples. Too far south, and too warmed by the Mediterranean. But a heavy volcanic cloud cover, coupled with the axial tilt of the earth changed all this. And thus it was that a certain young lady sat in Naples International, waiting…]
[22:24] * Yanmei was staring out a window as fat snowflakes fell to occupy herself. Snow reminded her of the first Christmas she had spent in Europe. It was too hot for the stuff in the parts of China that she had lived in, so it was a relatively new sight to her. Damn freezing, though.-
[22:28] <Yanmei> She buried herself a little deeper into the knitted scarf that she wore. It was brightly colored, as was the plaid coat she had on. The airport was a bustling place this time of the year, and she had wanted to stand out so that her guest would spot her easily. For now, she turned her attention back to the escalator as a fresh wave of newly arrived people made their way down it to the baggage claim area.
[22:35] <@Ayanami`Rei> [She saw her. A young woman with long blonde hair- longer than she remembered, allowed to flow freely. Green eyes… She was wearing a long, thick blue coat. At her side was a nurse, a few steps back behind her.-
[22:35] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Isabelle looked around, before her eyes focused on Yanmei. She smiled.]
[22:36] * Yanmei smiled and waved to her, and hurried forward a few steps. "Isabelle! Did you have a good trip?"
[22:36] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["It was alright." She pointed at a man walking by. "That man’s hands are covered in blood."]
[22:37] <Yanmei> "A-ah?" She whipped her head around to stare at the man in question.
[22:37] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [A tall man walked by, on his merry way. His hands were certainly not bloody.-
[22:37] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["You’ve grown, Yanmei." Said Isabelle, unpurturbed.]
[22:41] <Yanmei> "Have I?" She was still seeing things. But she looked pretty normal despite that. "Thank you? Ah, hello, Ma'am." She bobbed her head to the nurse and then smiled at them both. "You're probably hungry after the trip. Shall we get a cab?"
[22:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [The nurse bobbed back. "Zhang."-
[22:45] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A cab will be fine. Um…" She reached into her handbag, pulling out a wallet. It was a strangely normal gesture. "I’m a pilot again, so I can pay if you want."]
[22:47] <Yanmei> "But you're also my guest! So I can get this one for you." She took a step in the direction of the doors that would lead to the ground transportation area. "…they said you were okay to pilot again?"
[22:48] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["They did. Mother Eva has been repaired. Adrian and I are ready to fight the fight against God once again."]
[22:50] <Yanmei> "Then they’ll take you back to Algeria soon." She sounded the tiniest bit troubled. That damn Eden base!
[22:56] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["They will." Said Isabelle matter-of-factly.]
[22:58] <Yanmei> "You’re not scared?" The doors opened and a blst of frigid air hit them. Yanmei shivered and waved at a cab that slowly pulled up to the curb for them.
[23:01] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["How can I be scared, knowing I will soon once again be one with Mother Eva, returning to my crusade?"]
[23:05] <Yanmei> "Hm, I guess," she murmured, and held the cab door open for her. It was a moment before she joined her inside. She wanted to help the nurse load their additional bags in the trunk. Then, halting directions to Marianne’s grandmother's house, in English so that the driver would know where to go.
[23:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [The trip was not as fast as Yanmei would have liked. The streets were snowy and chaotic, and Isabelle spent the entire time staring right at her with those unwavering green eyes…-
[23:14] <@Ayanami`Rei> [But before long they would come to the Amatore house. A warm, inviting two-storey house of white brick with a stylish veranda. Out in the front yard, Isaiah was playing with Marianne’s two young cousins, Giuseppe and Pietro, making a snowman.]
[23:16] * Yanmei had spent the time making mostly useless small talk about recent news headlines and how nice Marianne's family was. At least the nurse had seemed responsive. Maybe.-
[23:18] <Yanmei> Now that they had arrived, Yanmei again helped with the bags, and then busied herself with paying and tipping the driver before waving to the three boys.
[23:23] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [They looked up and waved, Pietro- the littlest one- getting up and running over to Yanmei, hugging her. "Auntie Yanyan!"-
[23:23] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Isabelle tilted her head. "Isaiah looks so wise…"]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "Wise?" Yanmei patted little Pietro on the head with a quieter. "He’s really in his element when there are kids around, yeah. Hi, Pietro! Having fun?"
[23:27] <Yanmei> ^quieter voice
[23:35] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["I am! I am! Unca Isasa is teaching us how to make snowmen!"-
[23:35] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["That one is the oldest, even though he is small." Said Isabelle quietly, peering down at Pietro.]
[23:39] <Yanmei> "…" More puzzling things. She let it pass. "Don’t get too cold out here, okay? We're going to head in and get these two settled. Ah… this is Miss Isabelle. She's Elizabeth's mother."
[23:46] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["I thought you were Elizabeth’s mama?"]
[23:49] <Yanmei> "Not quite~" Yanmei smiled at him. "It's a little more complicated than that? But there's plenty of time to explain it."
[23:55] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh." Said Pietro.-
[23:56] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Yanmei here has been looking after Elizabeth for me." Said Isabelle, putting a hand on Yanmei’s shoulder. "Because she was the only one I could trust. I have been very unwell, Pietro. Too unwell to look after my own daughter."0
[23:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Sorry." Said Pietro, but he was bouncing on his heels. "Come on, come on, Auntie Yanyan! Grandma is waiting for your new guest!"]
[00:00] <Yanmei> "Heh heh. All right! Let’s go." She started off toward the house, glancing over her shoulder at Isabelle and the nurse. "She and Marianne are probably watching Lizzie. I put her down for a nap before I left, but she might be up now."
[00:06] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Elizabeth…" Isabelle whispered the word…-
[00:07] <@Ayanami`Rei> [But Yanmei wouldn’t make it to the door before a snowball struck her on the shoulder.]
[00:10] <Yanmei> "Eh?" Yanmei brushed the snow off and tsked, looking up in Isaiah's direction.
[00:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isaiah shrugged helplessly, pointing at Giuseppe, who pointed at Isaiah.]
[00:18] <Yanmei> Yanmei gave them a stern look! But it was something she couldn’t keep up convincingly. She waved them over!
[00:20] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isaiah grinned, and with Giuseppe at his side, headed over. "Hi, Yanyan. Long time no see, Isabelle."-
[00:20] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["You look very well, Isaiah."]
[00:21] <Yanmei> "Being a bad influence though, I see~"
[21:48] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Not that bad." Said Isaiah playfully.-
[21:48] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["You gonna come play with us later, Auntie Yanyan?" Asked Giuseppe.]
[21:50] <Yanmei> "Naturally~ Maybe Isabelle will join us too?" She glanced back at her guest questioningly.
[21:51] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["I would rather spend time with my daughter. But if she is well, then… Maybe. I am unused to snow. It’s very lovely, isn't it?"]
[21:54] <Yanmei> "It is!" she agreed. "I never got a chance to play in it when I was young. I guess maybe that's why… well." She chuckled mildly. "It's up to you, naturally."
[21:56] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Of course. Let’s go on for now."]
[21:58] <Yanmei> "Right." She parted from Isaiah with a small peck on the cheek, and turned back toward the house, hurrying ahead to get the door for the two new arrivals.
[22:03] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [When Yanmei, Isabelle and the nurse entered, they’d note with ease the delightfully warm interior- and a burst of noise, two voices speaking loudly in Italian.-
[22:04] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [An elderly lady and a tough-looking old man- or as Yanmei knew them, Papa and Mama Amatore.]
[22:06] <Yanmei> "We’re back!" she called, following the noise cheerfully and lugging a bag along with her. Italian was a mystery, so she worked with plain old English for now.
[22:09] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yanyan!" Said Papa Amatore loudly- he didn’t speak much English at all.-
[22:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [His wife, however, did. "Yanyan!" She embraced her, giving her her own peck on the cheek. The Amatores had been quick to accept Yanmei into the fold- after all, she’d saved Mama Amatore's life.-
[22:11] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Come, come, introduce your friend to us!"]
[22:15] <Yanmei> The Amatores were very affectionate. Little surprise, considering Marianne, but it took some getting used to. "Well~" she swept her own awkwardness aside before it reached the surface. "Let me present Isabelle Bellamy, the mother of little Elizabeth, and her medical attendent, Ms…?"
[22:19] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["de Rouen." Said the nurse, a little awkwardly.]
[22:23] <Yanmei> "Ms. de Rouen," she said warmly, and then gestured to the elderly couple. "These are our benevolent hosts, Mr and Mrs Amatore."
[22:26] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Ms. de Rouen smiled. "Thank you for letting us stay."-
[22:27] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["It’s our pleasure, our pleasure." Mama Amatore gave de Rouen a bright smile before swooping in to pull Isabelle into a hug.-
[22:28] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isabelle seemed, for the first time in a long time, actually surprised by the action, her eyes going wide for a second as she awkwardly returned the affection. "Thank you for keeping Lizzie under your roof." She said gratefully.-
[22:28] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh, she is such a lovely little baby girl. She reminds me a little of our dear Mary, doesn’t she, Fino?"-
[22:28] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Papa Amatore nodded.-
[22:29] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Isabelle stared at him curiously, tilting her head. "Your husband should not be so ashamed that he turned his back on God, Mrs Amatore. God will soon be dead."-
[22:29] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["…"]
[22:32] <Yanmei> "…" Oh man… Yanmei tried to step in diplomatically. "Which guest room were they staying in again? They’re both a little tired after the flight…"
[22:39] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Mama Amatore tried to recenter herself. "Oh… T-The one opposite yours…"]
[22:43] <Yanmei> "Got it. Thank you again." Yanmei bowed a little. "I’ll be around to help out with dinner in a little while if you want? Those kids outside have been playing in the snow for a while, so they'll want something nice and warm!"
[22:43] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh… Yes. I would appreciate that…"]
[22:45] <Yanmei> "Right, then!" She started to lead the way with a little nod back to Isabelle and Nurse de Rouen. "Let’s go~"
[22:47] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [the guest rooms were well furnished and very comfortable, and every feature spoke volumes about the industrious and inviting nature of their hosts.]
[22:49] <Yanmei> "Wait here. I’ll bring Elizabeth to you if she's awake." Yanmei placed the bag on the bed.
[22:51] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Alright. If she’s asleep, I still want to see her."]
[22:55] <Yanmei> "Not a problem~" Yanmei doubled back into the hallway. "I'll just be a moment!" She didn't have far to go. Her own guest room was right across the hall, after all, and in it was the baby's crib.
[22:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [For a moment, it was quiet, as though Lizzie might be asleep…-
[22:57] <@Ayanami`Rei> [… But no, the crib was empty.]
[22:59] <Yanmei> Empty? No, it couldn’t be! She checked carefully again, within and beneath the crib, and around the bed and dressers too… even the closet.
[23:01] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [And… There she was, in the closet, lost in one of Yanmei’s blouses, kicking her legs in the air. The cup of a bra peeked its way out of a sleeve. "Aaaaaaa!" She rolled around helplessly. "Aaaaaaaaa!"]
[23:04] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei gave a little sigh and knelt down. She could feel the pounding in her chest start to lessen… but honestly. "Lizzie, what are you doing here? You silly~" She tried to carefully untangle her.
[23:07] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Lizzie began to giggle the moment she was free, and frantically tried to pull the blouse back over her head. "Eeeheehee~"]
[23:10] <Yanmei> Ah, so that was it! A hiding game. "Man, where did Lizzie go? I can’t see her now!" She looked around. "Let's see, where did she go off to?"
[23:10] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Lizzie paused, then… Peeked her head out. "Aaaaa~"]
[23:12] * Yanmei made a surprised face! "There you are! You’re such a good hider~ The best hider~" She scooped the baby up and gave a little kiss and a tickle. "Too good for me. Don't give me any more heart attacks, okay?"
[23:19] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Eeheehee~" Lizzie giggled, clinging close to Yanmei lovingly.]
[23:21] * Yanmei gently tugged the blouse free and left it on the closet floor. She wanted to stay like this, holding her, for a while longer. However… "Time to meet your Momma. Maybe she’ll play with us too?" She turned and started back toward Isabelle's room.
[23:26] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Maa~"-
[23:26] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Isabelle was sitting on her bed, mumbling quietly to de Rouen.]
[23:27] <Yanmei> "We’re back!" She noticed the atmosphere, and adjusted a bit, becoming a little more subdued. "Everything okay?"
[23:30] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh, yes. We were just discussing Miss Bellamy’s medication." Said de Rouen.-
[23:33] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isabelle nodded slowly, standing up to look at Lizzie. Her eyes… Softened, and she smiled. "Lizzie… My sweet Elizabeth. Come to mother." She held out her arms.]
[23:36] <Yanmei> "Look, Lizzie! Look who it is!" She cooed, and began to pass the baby from her own arms to Isabelle’s.
[23:40] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Lizzie clung to Yanmei’s shirt defiantly. "Uuuuu…"]
[23:42] <Yanmei> "Eh…?" She tried it again, chuckling. "Come on, Lizzie. Don't you want to say hello?"
[23:45] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Uuuu…" Lizzie buried her head in Yanmei’s chest.-
[23:46] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isabelle’s smile flickered dangerously. "Elizabeth. Come to your mother. Come on." She put her hands firmly around the baby.]
[23:50] <Yanmei> "…" Something about that expression left a tight, burning ball of anxiety in the pit of her stomach. "W-wait a moment. If she tenses up, she'll only cling more."
[23:55] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isabelle paused, but she kept her hands there, less tightly at least. Instead she was gently rubbing Lizzie’s back.-
[23:55] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Uuuu…?" Slowly, Lizzie’s grip started to loosen- and then, finally, she was scooped up into Isabelle's arms.]
[23:57] * Yanmei relaxed a bit now. A good move! Of course, her mom really would know how to handle her. What was she so worried about?
[00:05] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Isabelle held her in her arms, close.-
[00:05] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Uuuu…" Lizzie was fussing a little.-
[00:05] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["I would like to be alone."]
[00:07] <Yanmei> "Um." She glanced at de Rouen almost questioningly. Between Lizzie’s clinginess and her current fussing, she felt like she didn't want to leave so suddenly.
[00:15] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [de Rouen gave Yanmei a quiet little nod.]
[00:18] * Yanmei hesitated, and then nodded back. "A-all right. I’ll be nearby if you need anything?" She waved to Lizzie in particular as she backed away. "Be a good girl. I'll be back soon…"
[00:18] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Maamaa…"]
[00:22] <Yanmei> "Bye bye sweetie~" She made it to the door, but. What the heck, she didn’t want to leave! Leaving her with regular babysitters like Rei and Group Captain Guillory and Marianne was never this difficult, so why…? She made it out into the hallway, and sighed deeply once she was out of sight.
[00:25] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [There was the sound of a front door opening- and a babble of voices. Marianne was home!]
[00:29] <Yanmei> Marianne! Where had she been, anyway? She glanced back at the bedroom door one last time. Back soon, back soon, she told herself. She started off to see what was going on at the front door.
[00:35] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Marianne’s arms were full of bags! And the moment she saw Yanmei she promptly dropped them, seemingly flash-stepping across the room to both embrace Yanmei and block her field of vision. "Yanyan~"]
[00:38] <Yanmei> "Marianne! Welcome home?" So enthusastic! Was something up? "I went to the airport like you said. Everyone's officially here!"
[00:41] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh really?" Marianne bent down and whispered. "I heard she said something weird…"]
[00:43] <Yanmei> "She says lots of weird stuff. I don’t think she's completely well, but she doesn't mean any harm."
[00:43] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ah. Is she with Lizzie?"]
[00:44] <Yanmei> "Yes. She was really looking forward to spending time with her! Her nurse is still with them both. I’ll introduce her to you later."
[00:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Oh, good good. Also, I have a bone to pick with that boyfriend of yours…"]
[00:45] <Yanmei> "Was he throwing snowballs again?" Yanmei tsked.
[00:46] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["He was. He’s got a strong arm on him, too! You'll have to discipline him, you know."]
[00:47] <Yanmei> "Looks like I have no choice." Yanmei tossed her hair. "It's a little immature, but…" she coughed. "Maybe we should team up against him and beat him at his own game."
[00:48] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["A snowball fight, huh."]
[00:51] <Yanmei> "It’s partly your responsibility too, after all." Yanmei nodded firmly. "He didn't start causing trouble until he got here. So it must be something about this place… probably this infectious Christmas spirit has him delirious!"
[00:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Of course! He’s caught it from Giuseppe and Pietro! We need to put them down too…"]
[00:59] <Yanmei> "Of course!" Yanmei make a determined face, and tried to sidestep her to the door. "Let's teach them all a lesson!"
[00:59] <Yanmei> ^made
[01:00] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["W-wait." Marianne moved to block her. "C-Clearly we should… We should uh… You can’t go out there."]
[01:12] <Yanmei> "Hmmm~?" A smile spread across Yanmei's face. "What an interesting thing to say. We can't fight them in here, can we~?"
[01:13] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Well, no, but…" She frowned. "If you do go out there I need to cover your eyes."]
[01:15] <Yanmei> Now she was really curious. What could be out there? A car? Maybe a helicopter? …could she -have- her own helicopter? "Or I could give you a bit of time to move whatever it is you’re hiding out there~ Mama Amatore said she wanted help in the kitchen. Shall we pummel those guys after dinner, maybe?"
[01:16] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["No no! Let’s go now! You just have to close your eyes. Come on…"]
[01:17] <Yanmei> "Eh…?" Yanmei frowned a little, but she did listen, closing her eyes. "Ok. I'll trust you to guide me and not let me bump into anything."
[01:17] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ok!" She covered Yanmei’s eyes as well, just in case.-
[01:17] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [She guided Yanmei through the living room, past Mama and Papa Amatore’s conversation- and out into the cold.-
[01:18] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [The door shut behind her. "Alright, guys! I brought her! GET HER!" Shouted Marianne.-
[01:18] <@Ayanami`Rei> [… Cold! Cold! Snowballs pelting into Yanmei! Savage giggles of glee!]
[01:20] <Yanmei> "W-what?! Traitor! Gah!" She tried covering her head and face as she was hit by the barrage! "You-! Quit-! Gaaaah!" A cry that promised vengence. "MARIANNE!!"
[01:21] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Marianne put her arms around Yanmei’s stomach, tackling her into the snow!-
[01:21] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Seconds later she’d be piled upon by the little kids- who would torture her with tickles.]
[01:24] * Yanmei flailed, but there were too many tickling hands! It wasn't long before she was helplessly gasping for breath in the cold, wet snow.
[01:24] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["We got her, Unca Isasa! We got her good!"-
[01:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Excellent." Isaiah’s gloating voice. "Zhang Yanmei! Do you submit?"]
[01:27] * Yanmei grumbled into the snow. "Don't think this is over just because you won one battle!"
[01:28] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Does that mean you want -more- tickles?"]
[01:32] <Yanmei> "O-of course not!" She tried to scramble into a sitting position. "Isaiah, how could you? I thought we were supposed to be a team, not fighting each other." She gave him a pouty look.
[01:33] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["A team? Whatever gave you that idea?" He laughed, bending down, picking up a snowball…-
[01:33] <@Ayanami`Rei> [And hurling it at Marianne, who squawked. He quickly grabbed Yanmei’s hand. "Run!"]
[01:37] * Yanmei followed, dumbfounded. Isaiah… so cool~! "You're just playing by your own rules today, huh?"
[01:38] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [They ran! Away from the Amatores, dodging snowballs. "I am! Today, I declare the Empire of Isaiah to come into existence! But I need an Empress to rule it with~"]
[01:41] <Yanmei> "Not a bad line. I bet you’ve been getting tips from Guillory." She tugged at him, ducking behind a tree for cover with him. Of course, it was a close fit~
[01:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [A close fit indeed! Isaiah had to basically cuddle up to Yanmei…~-
[01:44] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["From Raphael? No. I got these tips from my heart~"]
[01:47] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei simply had to give him a kiss at that. A quick one, least they be spotted an taunted by little kids, and Marianne. "Should we try to defend ourselves?"
[01:47] <@Ayanami`Rei> [He was lovely and warm in the cold air. "Perhaps we should go down together, eternal martyrs to love. They’ll write plays about the tragic Emperor and Empress of Isaiahland."]
[01:56] <Yanmei> "Well~" Yanmei gave him another longer kiss. "As long as they get a good looking pair of actors to match us.."
[01:59] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hmmhmm. But no actress could ever match your loveliness~"]
[02:13] <Yanmei> "Another line from your heart, huh?" Another kiss. "You’ve gotten good at this."
[02:14] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [He kissed her firmly, clearly enjoying the moment.-
[02:15] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["oooooooh~" A chorus of ’ooohs' as two little boys- and Marianne- turned around the tree.]
[02:16] * Yanmei pulled back a bit, startled. "What? St-stop staring!" She tossed her hair. "Hmph. You're all so immature!"
[02:17] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Of course they are." Said Marianne, grinning.-
[02:18] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Heehee." Isaiah gave her a tight squeeze. "Your clothes are all damp from the snow. You should go take a hot shower before dinner."]
[02:22] <Yanmei> "Right." She squeezed back, and then started to part. "Crap… I said I’d help out, too. I'd better hurry. You guys make sure to clean up soon too, okay?"
[02:23] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Yess, Auntie Yanyan!"-
[02:23] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Isaiah followed her a little first. "How’s Isabelle going?" He asked quietly.]
[02:25] <Yanmei> "She seems okay. Lizzie put up a fuss when it was time to meet her, though. She's usually so friendly…"
[02:26] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Huh. Maybe…" Isaiah smiled. "Maybe it’s because Isabelle just isn't as cuddly as you."]
[02:27] <Yanmei> "'Cuddly' huh" Yanmei muttered. "Oh. Did you know that Lizzie escaped from her crib? I didn't think she could actually do that…"
[02:28] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Wait, really? Where did she go?"]
[02:30] <Yanmei> "She got in the closet somehow. When I found her, she’d gotten stuck in one of my shirts. I think she was trying to hide. You know, for fun?"
[02:30] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["…" Isaiah froze.-
[02:30] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh my God. That’s -so- adorable. Did you get a picture?"]
[02:31] <Yanmei> "It slipped my mind," she snickered. "But don't worry. She likes the hiding game enough to play it again, I think."
[02:32] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Eeeeeee."]
[02:34] <Yanmei> "Although…" her face turned a little grave. "She might also hurt herself if she keeps doing it. What if she gets tangled in a way that chokes her? Or what if she stumbles across something she’s not supposed to?"
[02:34] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["… Hm." Isaiah considered this. "On the one hand, I like that she’s exploring a lot… But we can't risk her. We should just try to keep an eye on her."]
[02:37] <Yanmei> "Yeah. Nothing else we can do…" She reached the front door to the house and opened it. "She and Isabelle are in the room across from ours, by the way."
[02:38] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Ah. That’s good." Isaiah nodded. "How's she been? Isabelle…"]
[02:39] <Yanmei> "Strange." She murmured. "She's still saying strange things. But she seems like she's in a good mood."
[02:39] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["That’s good, at least…"]
[02:42] <Yanmei> "Say hello when you get the time, OK? I'm gonna go wash up…"
[02:43] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Hmmhmm. It could be dangerous to go alone, you know~" He said playfully.]
[02:45] * Yanmei chuckled a little and gave him a quik parting peck on the cheek. "It’s not good manners to do that sort of thing in someone else's shower~"
[02:45] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Fiiine." He gives her one last squeeze. "Don’t be too long, alright? I have the feeling I might need one very soon myself, if these Amatores get their vengeance…"]
[02:47] <Yanmei> "Fight hard, Isaiah!" She gave him a grin and fistpump, and was on her way.
[02:53] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [A quick trip to the shower, and a clean set of clothes… And then, Yanmei would be out in the kitchen with Mama Amatore. Mama Amatore was a very hands-on cook, and she tried to involve Yanmei as much as she could.]
[03:09] * Yanmei on the other hand was discovering just how clumsy she was at making pasta from scratch. For a while, she kept busy with chopping vegetables and making sauce and messing around with the desserts, and of course setting the table while they waited for things to bake. Before long, delicious chicken lasagna was waiting for the group, along with two freshly baked pies and lots of wine.
[03:13] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Oh wow. This looks amazing." Marianne took a seat at the table.-
[03:13] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["It really does." Said Isaiah glowingly. "Meimei, do you want me to fetch Isabelle?"]
[03:16] <Yanmei> "If you could." Yanmei was hanging her apron up and heading over to a sink to scrub her hands again. "She has to eat too!"
[03:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Sure!"-
[03:25] <@Ayanami`Rei> [And a few minutes later, de Rouen, Isabelle and Elizabeth would be assembled- a high chair was on store for Elizabeth, thankfully.]
[03:31] <Yanmei> Several bowls of steaming vegetable soup and slices of thick bread had joined the spread by now, and Yanmei was hastily distributing them. Somehow, it always seemed that she ended up doing this sort of work… but before she had much time to grumble, she was done, and taking a seat for herself. The guests could pass the other food around and take what they needed, at least that was what Mama Amatore had told her.
[03:44] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Nevertheless her job wasn’t forgotten! Yanmei would be rewarded with an extra large slice of lasagna from Mama Amatore.-
[03:44] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Before we begin, we should say grace." Said Mama Amatore.]
[03:49] * Yanmei beamed at her! She had taken a seat between Marianne and Isaiah, the latter being next to Lizzie, naturally. At that announcement, she quietly bowed her head, following the lead of others at the table.
[03:49] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Everyone did the same…-
[03:50] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Why should I say thanks to a cruel God?" Isabelle’s voice. "The only thing God owes me is his blood."]
[03:50] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["……"]
[03:54] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei thought quickly. "Ah… you don’t have to? Just a moment of silence would be okay. To think of the things you're grateful for. That's really what this is about, right?"
[03:57] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["If you say so."-
[03:57] <@Ayanami`Rei> [The awkward silence lingered, then finally Mama Amatore spoke. "Let’s dig in!"]
[04:02] * Yanmei obliged gratefully. "So Marianne, where did you go today? Did you pick up some gifts while you were out~?"
[04:02] <@Ayanami‘Rei> ["Maybe~"]
[04:03] <Yanmei> "Ooo~ How about a hint?"
[04:06] <@Ayanami`Rei> ["Hm, let me think… It’s red."]
[04:08] <Yanmei> "A helicopter?"
[04:08] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [Marianne snorted. "W-What?"]
[04:10] <Yanmei> "Hrm, I guess maybe not…" She glanced at Lizzie habitually to see how she was doing.
[04:11] <@Ayanami`Rei> [Lizzie was currently being fed by Isabelle! She was loving the lasagna- so much so that she was trying to grab the dish.]
[04:16] * Yanmei smiled and pushed her own meal around with her fork a bit. Under the table, she sought and found Isaiah’s hand for comfort.
[04:21] <@Ayanami‘Rei> [He squeezed her hand tight, turning and giving her a smile.]
[04:26] * Yanmei smiled back. Things she was grateful for… let’s see. Well, she could think of a few now. Still smiling, she took a bite.

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