Neon Genesis Evangelion
©1999 R. Alexander Spoerer
If it weren't for the moonlight streaming in through the window, she wouldn't have been able to see at all.
The incessant whirring of machines to her right brought her attention to bare. Her head turned, and she could make out the outlines of various life-support apparatus, LEDs blinking in a symphony of vital information.
She then looked upward at the ceiling, staring at it quietly as the nearby machines chirped in rhythm with her heartbeat.
Her dry lips felt as if they'd been glued together when they parted. Her voice escaped the confines of her throat not at normal volume, but as a faint whisper.
"Where am I?"
She slowly sat up in her bed and tried to look around the room to no avail, the darkness jealously guarding its secrets.
Deciding to get a better look around, she attempted to get out of bed, only to be restrained by a multitude of tubes and sensors connected to her.
Realization slowly set in that she was in a hospital, and that something horrible had happened to her to necessitate all of the equipment around her.
What had happened?
She tried to remember what might have occurred, only to find she couldn't penetrate the deep abyss that her memory had become. Even the simplest things that she should know escaped her, slipping out of her grasp like water.
Simple things like who she was...
She brought up her right hand to rub her forehead, pulling on the I.V. slightly, when she noticed just how pale it was. It had a reflective quality in the moonlight, a faint halo of light surrounded it.
Confusion seeped onto her face as she examined the ghostly hand in front of her.
"Who am I?"
Her line of questioning was brought to an abrupt end when a scream erupted to her right.
Snapping her head toward the frightening sound, she couldn't see who it was that screamed, but it sounded like a boy.
She could tell, however, that the boy was in pain from something that she couldn't begin to imagine.
Grabbing his mid-section, he screamed aloud, eliciting attention from the medical personnel who burst through the door of the room, the lights blinding him as they blazed to life.
He felt several pairs of hands wrestle him down onto the bed.
"Get me 15cc's morphine, stat!"
The bite of a needle going into his arm caused him to panic his, struggling becoming desperate.
Hospital staff held him on the bed. He couldn't break free no matter how much he thrashed about.
The sudden burst of exertion started taking its toll, as he felt he limbs getting heavier.
Before long, the full effect of the morphine permeated his body, forcing him back to sleep.
As he lay his head down on the pillow, he caught a glimpse of a girl in the bed next to him, a confused expression upon her face.
A girl with blue hair, and red eyes...
It fell in sheets, drenching the window in a blanket of little sounds, enough to wake her from her light sleep.
A couple seconds passed before her eyes adjusted to the moonlit room.
She noticed the multitude of stuffed animals perched on the windowsill, partially blocking her view of the torrent outside.
Slipping out of bed, she went to the door of her room and opened the door.
Her room? Is this really her room?
As she opened the door, she heard a soft clunk against the outside of it, near eye-level.
Opening it completely, she saw hanging on the door a small wooden nameplate in the shape of a pair of wings, with a name carved into it.
"Asuka? Is that me?"
That must be who I am... Who else could I be?
Asuka backed into her room, and closed the door behind her.
She sat upon her bed, grabbing a large teddy bear and held it close to her.
Resting her chin against the top of the bear's head, a small tear flowed down her face as she stared out the window at the dousing rain.
"Good morning, Shinji. How are you today?"
Shinji turned toward Dr. Kanemaru's voice, and smiled slightly.
The black haired doctor smiled back, adjusting his glasses as he peered downward at Shinji's chart.
"You're doing much better than a couple of nights ago."
Shinji nodded, acknowledging Dr. Kanemaru's enthusiasm, however, he couldn't help but feel lost.
He had awoken to find himself in a world he doesn't know, without any idea who he was.
It frightened him like nothing he'd ever felt before.
That is if he could remember before.
A hand lightly grasped his shoulder and squeezed gently, bringing his attention toward Dr. Kanemaru, concern radiating from his brown eyes.
"Don't worry, Shinji. It'll come back to you, just give it some time."
Shinji closed his eyes and gripped his bed sheets with both hands in frustration, "But, I don't even remember my parents, Dr. Kanemaru... I don't remember anything before waking up here. And now, there's no one..."
His sentence was cut short when he felt a hand touch his.
He looked up to see his sister with a reassuring smile upon her face.
"We still have each other, Shinji."
Shinji nodded, feeling his mood lighten because of her kind words.
"Thanks, Rei. I'm glad that you're here too."
Unfortunately, he could only vaguely remember her. He felt that they've been together for a while, but the mists of amnesia obfuscated that precious piece of memory.
He'll just have to make some new memories. Enough new ones to replace the void that the old ones left behind.
"I'm glad that your smile's returned, Shinji, " remarked Dr. Kanemaru as he replaced the chart, "Don't worry, either of you. You'll be out of here in no time."
He turned around, and started out of the room, but stopped to smile and wave at the two teens before finally exiting.
Shortly after Dr. Kanemaru departed, Shinji heard Rei sigh, and whisper barely loud enough for him to hear.
"And when it's time to leave, then what?"
It was Shinji's turn to sigh. He understood Rei's concerns. They were the same ones that have been preoccupying him since he woke up, and found out his name.
"I don't know. But whatever happens, we'll face it together."
Both teens hugged, realizing that in this world they only had each other. The old lives they had lived through have disappeared into the great maw of oblivion, never to be found again.
It was time to begin anew.
Time to live.
Dr. Ichiro Kanemaru tossed his portfolio onto the desk as he rounded it, staring at the woman who stood in his office.
The arrogance... Couldn't they wait until the bodies were at least buried?
"The Takagi children will leave when the are ready. When I say they are ready, Ms. Yamadera."
Yamadera pursed her lips, and looked at him evenly, "Doctor, the welfare of those children is our utmost concern."
As he sat, Ichiro arched an eyebrow, folding his hands together in front of him.
"Oh really? They why don't you wait at least for their parents funeral? It's in a couple of days and the reading of the Will shortly thereafter. Why is Social Services in such a hurry to spirit them away?"
"Social Services is only interested in making sure that they get the care they need."
He gave her an incredulous look, "And they'll get it in a Social Services foster home? I think not."
Yamadera closed her eyes for a second as if to compose herself for the next barrage.
"Dr. Kanemaru, regardless of whether or not you think that we're capable of taking care of them, they are to be delivered to us..."
"...Upon their medically determined release from this hospital," finished Ichiro, cutting her sentence off.
Ichiro leaned forward, and looked her right in the eye, "And you are also not taking into account the fact that the will may award custody of those children to someone other than state."
She turned around, annoyance evident in her gait, and opened the door.
"We've taken everything under consideration, Doctor Kanemaru, we do not make mistakes. Those children do not have any direct living relatives to take them in. They are orphans, pure and simple. I'll return when they are ready to leave your facility, and take them into my custody. Good day, Doctor."
As he watched the door close, Ichiro muttered under his breath.
"Like hell you will."
Those two will be somewhere they can be loved.
Their parents wouldn't have had it any other way.
In all the time he had been friends with Takehito and Sachiko, he knew that they'd want their children safe. With someone who could take care of them, not in the hands of a government agency known for their mistakes.
Ichiro promised to take care of Rei and Shinji if anything ever happened to them, just as they promised the same with Asuka.
One way or another, he'll make sure that Social Services won't get their hands on them.
Even if he has to get them away from here...
Rei looked out the window of the car as it sped by the streets of Tokyo, on its way to somewhere in Yokohama.
Her eyes stayed focused on the rapidly passing black sea of asphalt, occasionally broken by islands of white road dividers.
The last week had been pretty hectic, only now was it really starting to set in.
The funeral was a strange experience. She and her brother stood watching as their parents were slowly placed into the bosom of the Earth.
She wasn't sure what she should feel. Those two people were her mother and father, but she couldn't remember anything about them before the car accident.
She couldn't even remember if she loved them...
This lack of feelings distressed Rei the most. The people she should have loved the most were just two names on graves in a place that she would rather not visit again.
How can you love someone without knowing them?
Fortunately, she was sure of one thing and that was Shinji.
Even if she couldn't remember what she felt for her parents, she knew she loved her brother.
A small frown passed over her face when she remembered how Social Services wanted to send her and Shinji to different homes.
And if it weren't for her parent's Will, she wouldn't be here with Shinji in this car. Rei was grateful to them for that. A final gift to their children from beyond the grave.
It was like a miracle, delivering both of them from the clutches of Social Services into the hands of their godfather: Dr. Ichiro Kanemaru.
In retrospect, it made perfect sense. His being their godfather explained why he cared so much about what happened to them.
When no one else seemed to...
She blinked as she was brought out of her introspection, "Hmm?"
Shinji looked at her with a curious expression, "Are you ok?"
Rei nodded, "I'm fine, really. Just a bit nervous."
"Don't worry, Rei, everything will be alright from now on I promise," came Ichiro's reassuring voice from the driver's seat.
She wasn't sure why, but his words soothed her. She'd only known him since waking up in the hospital, but she knew in her heart that he would do nothing to hurt her or Shinji.
Rei felt safe, and most of all she felt wanted.
Her eyes started to moisten a bit, heralding what would have been tears of joy. She quickly rubbed her eyes, intercepting them, but she returned the smile that she saw in the Ichiro's eyes through the rear-view mirror.
Chop, chop, chop.
Cut, slice, trim.
Carrots, onions, lettuce, chicken, noodles...
Are they all there? Did I forget something?
Ah, yes, I'll need to make a vegetable dish for Rei, Ichiro did mention that she didn't eat meat. Strange little quirk, wonder where she developed it from?
Masami Kanemaru looked up from the cutting board to address her daughter, "What is it dear?"
"Are they coming soon?"
She nodded, "Yes, your father called from the hospital. They should be here any minute."
Masami placed a hand on her daughter's arm and squeezed gently, "What's wrong, Asuka?"
Asuka looked at Masami, and shook her head slowly, "It's nothing, Mom..."
Masami turned her around so that she faced her.
"Asuka, tell me what's wrong."
Asuka didn't respond immediately, as if she were searching for the right words.
Masami tilted her head to the right, giving Asuka a bemused look, "You're not still mad at him, are you? It's been so long since he's teased you, and besides you were just kids then."
She leaned forward looking at her daughter in the face, a small smile upon her lips, "I'll bet that you've missed him ever since they moved to Osaka, don't you?"
Asuka blinked, and then blushed, a bit surprised, "N... No, that's not it."
"Alright then, what is it?"
Asuka looked her mother in the eyes, and breathed in.
"Why do they have to come here, Mom? I mean, why do we have to take them in?"
A mixed expression of shock and disbelief appeared across Masami's face.
"Asuka! How could you say that? They have no where else to go!"
Asuka stepped out of Masami's grasp, and stood defiantly in front of her, "They could have gone to a Social Services home!"
She couldn't believe what he daughter had just said.
How could she be so callous?
Before she could continue, Masami lashed out with her hand, leaving a red mark across Asuka's left cheek.
It was the first time she had ever slapped her daughter.
Asuka looked at her mother in astonishment, cradling her left cheek with her hand.
"Wha... What was that for?"
She noticed that Masami's eyes were glistening, and a tear streamed down her face.
Masami then spoke, her voice barely a whisper, "If your father and I had ever died, where do you think you would have gone?"
Asuka kept her mouth shut, still speechless from her mother's slap.
"Their parents would have taken you in without question. It goes without saying that we would do the same if they ever died..."
She continued to stare at Masami, silent.
Why did they have to do this? Why do her parents want to take care of those two so badly?
She couldn't understand...
She wouldn't understand...
Asuka turned around, her back facing Masami so that he mother couldn't see her own tears forming.
Maybe they didn't love her... Maybe they sensed something wrong... That she couldn't remember anything except the past couple weeks.
She wished she knew.
"Fine mother... You win..."
She started to walk toward the stairs.
"Asuka! Wait a second, I..."
Asuka interrupted Masami's sentence by holding up her right hand, without turning around.
"Don't Mom. I'll be fine. I just need some time."
She continued up toward her room, and stopped briefly at her door looking down the stairs, sighing softly.
I'll need a lot of time...
The familiar greeting echoed in the foyer as Ichiro took off his shoes, Rei and Shinji following his example.
A black-haired woman glided over to Ichiro, and embraced him, kissing him briefly.
Ichiro broke the kiss, and glanced toward both of them, "Masami, this is Rei and Shinji, our new family members."
Masami then turned to look at the two teens, and smiled happily, "Welcome, both of you! It's so good to see both of you, again!"
A nostalgic expression emerged on her face, as she seemed to be remembering some long forgotten memory, "It's been so long, Ichiro. I remember a little girl and boy standing here in this house, and now they've grown up to be a beautiful young woman, and handsome young man."
Shinji felt his cheeks redden a bit from the compliment, and noticed out of the corner of his eye that Rei's cheeks also had some color to them.
Masami's smile broadened at the noticeable reaction.
Ichiro also smiled, but fortunately saved them from further embarrassment.
"That's enough teasing them, I'm sure you'll have ample opportunity to do it later on."
Ichiro then looked beyond Masami, "Where's Asuka? Asuka! Come down and say hello!"
The sounds of carefully placed footsteps could be heard descending down the steps.
Eventually a brown-haired girl stepped off the last step and looked at Rei and Shinji.
Shinji's mouth almost dropped.
She was beautiful!
As he stared at the vision of loveliness in front him, he felt a nagging feeling that he'd seen her before somewhere. He wasn't sure where, but she was definitely familiar.
Those intense blue eyes are unforgettable...
Shinji felt someone poke him in his back, and heard Rei whisper in his right ear, "Stop drooling, brother, it's embarrassing."
He gave Rei a horrified look, and blurted out a response, "I wasn't drooling!"
Shinji realized the gravity of his error when he noticed both of Rei's arched eyebrows, and the barely suppressed grin upon her face.
He also noticed a strange expression on Ichiro's face, as well as Masami's attempt to keep from bursting out laughing.
Then he noticed Asuka.
She was completely red-faced, embarrassed to the core.
He just wanted to crawl off to a corner and die, hoping no one would remember this moment.
Ichiro tried valiantly to salvage the situation, "Rei, Shinji, this is my daughter, Asuka. Asuka, this is Rei and Shinji."
Rei's grin subsided, replaced by a friendly smile, "Hi. Nice to meet you."
Shinji couldn't bring himself to look at Asuka directly, instead looking to the side, "Umm... Hi."
Asuka blinked her eyes, cheeks still red with embarrassment, "Yeah... Hi."
"So... What's for dinner?" Ichiro asked, desperate to move out of this tense moment.
Masami, still smiling widely, motioned toward the dinner table, "Chicken with noodles and assorted vegetables."
"Sounds great! Let's eat, shall we?"
Ichiro stepped out of the foyer followed by Rei and Shinji.
Shinji looked over his shoulder and noticed Asuka glaring at him.
He quickly turned forward, and swallowed.
This was going to be a long night...
"Would you like some more chicken, Shinji?"
"No thanks, Mrs. Kanemaru, I'm fine."
"Masami, please. No need to be so formal."
"Oh. Ok, Masami then."
First he practically undresses me with his eyes, and now Mom is merrily yapping with him.
Asuka silently kept her displeasure to herself, seeing no immediate need to ruin dinner over that pervert.
The thing that troubled her the most was that she felt a connection to those two idiots.
Especially with Shinji... Although, she has to admit, he doesn't seem that bad looking.
Asuka frowned, and shook her head.
Where in the hell did that come from!
She narrowed her eyes at Shinji while her parents talked with Rei.
Shinji noticed her scrutiny, and almost choked on a piece of zucchini.
There's no way I'll ever like that jerk.
No way at all!
Rei continued to munch on her salad, keeping an interested eye on the transpiring events between her brother and Asuka.
It was kind of strange, really. She could tell there was some kind of budding chemistry between the two of them, as if this had happened before. But, somehow she knew that she was also involved in some way.
Unfortunately, the small sparks of recognition were not enough to light the flames of her memory.
Shinji would more than likely agree with her hypothesis, but it seemed that his hormones were talking right now.
Rei would add to the conversation when she felt she could contribute, however, she kept a close eye on the two players sitting beside her.
Players? Hmm, appropriate analogies for those two, squaring off against each other.
At least she wouldn't be involved in that.
Shinji rested his head against the pillow, and breathed out.
"Whew... That could have gone better."
"That much is true. You've definitely endeared yourself to Asuka."
He lifted his head from the pillow to see Rei sitting on the side of her bed, which was on the left side of the room, a small smile on her face.
"Gee, thanks, sis. I'm glad that I can count on you to boost my morale."
Rei laughed, and leaned back onto her bed crossing her arms underneath her head, "Don't worry, Shin-chan. I'm sure it'll work out."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
Rei rolled her eyes, and closed them.
Shinji shrugged, he didn't even try to understand what goes on in his sister's mind.
About ten minutes passed, Rei stood up, and began getting ready for bed. She left the room, but came back after a twenty minutes, dressed in a long gray, nightshirt.
Shinji watched as she walked in, and sat on her bed, combing her wet hair.
He felt awkward about things. He knew that Rei was his sister, but it just felt wrong to be in the same room with her.
Then again, what teenage brother wants to share a room with his sister, and vice-versa?
Shifting his position to lay on his elbows, his idle thoughts eventually broke the silence in the room, "I wonder."
"About?" inquired Rei, as she continued to comb her hair, back turned to him.
"How long will we be staying in the same room."
"Not for too long. I think Ichiro mentioned they were converting a room for one of us."
"Ahh, good. Whose room?"
Rei looked over her shoulder at Shinji, "Well, the gentlemanly thing to do, Shinji, would be for you to move to the new room so that a fragile woman like me wouldn't have to break her back moving her stuff."
He looked at her strangely, "You only have a duffel bag, Rei. The rest is coming from our old house by moving van."
Rei frowned slightly, placing the brush down, "That's not the point, Shinji."
She then sighed, crossed her arms, and shook her head in disappointment, "How do you ever expect to get together with Asuka if you don't get some manners?"
"Well, that's easy. I'll just ask her..."
Shinji choked on his words when he realized what he was just about to say.
Rei pointed an accusing finger at Shinji, jumping off the bed into an offset stance, a broad smile on her face, "Ah ha! I knew it!"
"Wa... Wait! I didn't mean it!"
"Oh yeah? That sounded like a Freudian slip to me!"
Shinji just closed his mouth. He knew the cause was lost. No point in trying to dissuade the detective that his sister had become.
He hates it when she does that!
Shinji laid down again, and grumbled, "Night, Rei."
He could hear Rei giggle softly as she turned-off the lights, "Night, Shin-chan."
Must follow orders...
Whose orders? What's going on?
They're attacking... I must stop them...
Who's attacking? I don't understand!
I need to go...
I'm not going anywhere!
Rei found herself floating in absolute darkness. She looked down and noticed that she wore some strange outfit. It was a white jumpsuit, with various electronic-looking apparatus outfitted all over it. Emblazoned over her chest were the numbers "00".
A sound started to emanate all around her.
It started out at a very low volume, but continued to grow in intensity. She couldn't readily identify it, but is sounded like a cacophony of voices. They crashed into each other, producing an unintelligible jumble of noise.
They continued to get louder, the voices becoming screams.
Rei covered her ears, the voices getting unbearable.
They kept getting louder.
Rei could barely think the voices were so loud. Her ears felt as if they would burst at any second. She screamed with all her strength, hoping that would stop the voices.
The voices congealed into a single, terrible scream, and she saw materialize in front of her something horrid. A thing that she could never have imagined in all of her nightmares. A blue and white monster of incredible size, that looked covered in armor.
The monster whipped its right hand out, grabbing her.
Rei struggled, but couldn't break free of its incredibly strong grip as it brought her in front of what passed for a face.
The voices stopped.
Its mouth opened slowly, and it spoke in a raspy hiss.
Rei woke up, breathing hard, hand to her chest.
She felt her nightshirt plastered to her skin by a thin sheet of sweat.
It took a second before she realized that she was in her bed, back in the Kanemaru's house.
To her right, Shinji slept, making small noises as he breathed.
Rei shook her head side to side, rubbing her temples.
What had just happened?
She tried to recall the nightmare she had, but the memories of fear rapidly disappeared into to recesses of her mind.
Whatever it was, she didn't care to think too much about it.
As she rested her head back onto her pillow, and closed her eyes, she hoped that she wouldn't have another nightmare like that one.
Whatever it was...
Neon Genesis Evangelion
©1999 R. Alexander Spoerer
Through the impenetrable barrier of window blinds, a single bead of sunlight managed to escape, and shone on Shinji's face.
Shinji stirred from his slumber and sat up in bed, then looked toward Rei who was still asleep.
He glanced at the small clock on the night table between their beds, and noticed it was time to get up anyway.
No rest for the weary...
Shinji slid his legs over the edge of the bed and yawned loudly.
"Com'on, Rei. It's time to get up."
Rei responded with a grumble. Standing up, he walked over to her bed, and proceeded to shake her shoulders.
"Wake up, Rei. We've got to get ready for school."
She turned onto her back, and looked at him sleepily.
"Do we have to?"
Shinji rolled his eyes as he made his way over to the closet.
"Yes, we do. Even if we can't remember anything, we still have to go to school... Unfortunately..."
The closet door opened, and he found several boys and girls school uniforms that Ichiro had bought for them. He took two uniforms, and tossed one onto Rei's bed.
"I'll take the bathroom first."
Rei finally sat up at the statement, "Hey! Why can't I go first? I need more time than you do!"
"Exactly," replied Shinji as he grabbed his toiletries, and opened the door, "That's why I'm going first. I'd like to be able to take a shower today."
He smiled to Rei, as he closed the door, narrowly evading the pillow she had tossed at him.
Stupid lock... Couldn't they have made it a bit easier to use?
He grumbled as he stepped into the shower, and turned on the water.
The warm water traveled down Shinji's body like miniature waterfalls and coalesced into a small lake at his feet. The lake swiftly disappeared into the abyss that was the shower drain, and whisked the water to some unknown, mysterious place.
As he lathered himself, various thoughts floated through his mind, occasionally bumping into each other like small pieces of driftwood on a swift flowing river.
He wondered what school was like? Technically, he's gone to school for his whole life, and he can remember what he's learned, but other than that he has no idea what it was like. He may as well be a kindergartner going to preschool for the first time.
What kind of student has he been? A grad A genius or the school flunky? Was he popular, or an outcast?
All these questions beckoned to the answered, and all he could come up with was a blank.
As he drenched his head in the stream of water, another thought broke through the mists of his mind. This day should prove to be both interesting and terrifying at the same time.
Shinji wasn't so sure if he wanted to go through with it, though.
Then again, what choice did he have?
His concentration was broken when he heard the shower partition open.
Removing his head from the shower stream, he was greeted by a sight that he never thought he would see: A totally naked Asuka.
Imprinted on her face, an expression of both shock and surprise. However, in a matter of seconds that expression transformed into one of anger.
Both of Asuka's hands formed into fists, her arms locked to either side of her as she raised her voice.
"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!?"
Normally, the sight of a beautiful, naked girl would deprive his of whatever mental faculties that he possessed, but for some reason, that statement snapped him out of his stupor.
After he regained some modicum of brain power, Shinji pointed a finger at Asuka, his voice raised in accusation, "What am I doing? You're the one who walked in on me!"
The red head didn't skip a beat, as she countered, "If you would've locked the door, then I wouldn't have come in!"
Ouch, score 1 Asuka.
"Well if you weren't deaf and blind, you would have heard the water already running, and my clothes in a neat pile outside the shower!"
That was one for me.
Asuka gritted her teeth and began to yell at him.
"You pervert! You left it unlocked on purpose, just so you could see me naked!"
"No, I didn't! I just couldn't figure out the stupid lock, so I left it unlocked hoping that people would be smart enough to figure out that someone was in here!"
"Oh, so now you're calling me stupid?"
Shinji smiled, his voice filled with sarcasm, "Of course, because if I called you a bitch it wouldn't be nice."
That did it.
Asuka's eyes widened, and she screamed as she pounced on Shinji.
Shinji was caught off guard as Asuka literally jumped into the shower smacking and hitting him, pushing both of them into the water stream.
He lifted his arms to defend himself from the onslaught of the red-haired valkrie, unfortunately the water that flowed blinded him.
"Hey! Stop! Ow!"
Finally, Shinji reached out at what he thought were Asuka's arms, and grabbed.
Asuka immediately stopped.
That was weird. Her arms felt really soft, and as he moved out of the water a voice in the back of his mind tried to make itself heard, although it was still muffled by the thick layers of confusion blocking his mind. And as he moved forward, Asuka moved backward.
Why was she so quiet all of a sudden? That big mouth of hers just wouldn't stop before...
Shinji's thought was interrupted when regained his sight, and saw what he was really holding onto.
It was right then the voice punched through the confusion and cried out urgently in his mind trying to prevent something horrible from occurring.
Unfortunately, it was too little, too late.
Shinji's hands were both firmly attached to Asuka's breasts, and she had a look of shock etched on her face, as she stared at Shinji's hands.
He could almost hear the voice sigh in resignation when it realized that it failed to prevent the catastrophe that occurred.
Unfortunately for him, the worst had yet to pass.
"Umm. What are you two doing?"
Both whipped their heads toward the new voice, and saw that said voice belonged to Rei, who stood at the door with her arms at her sides.
Shinji immediately let go of Asuka's assets, and jumped behind the shower door.
Asuka realized that she was totally nude, grabbed a towel off a nearby rack, covering herself.
"We're not doing anything!" retorted Asuka, he red face betraying her utter embarrassment.
Rei crossed her arms, and a mischievous smile played across her lips, "Ah, I see. So then why are you showering together?"
"We weren't showering together!"
"Yeah! Asuka walked in on me!"
Asuka gave Shinji a look that would have sent Cerebus running away in terror.
He hoped Rei would take some mercy and stop her inquisition into the matter.
Of course, that would have been asking for too much.
"Oh, so that was when you grabbed Asuka's breasts?"
Once again, the mouth proved faster that the brain as he replied.
"Yes! I mean, no!"
Asuka's fist connected with Shinji's cheek and caused him to fall on his ass. His hand rubbed the now sensitive area.
Asuka then stormed out of the bathroom, with only a towel that loosely covered her.
Shinji looked at Rei who chuckled as she began to walk away from the bathroom.
"Hurry up, Shin-chan. I need to take a shower, too."
Before he could totally regain his bearings, he head Rei's voice once more, an amused tone to it, "Oh, and don't forget to push the small button that's beside the knob."
Shinji stood, and did the only thing he could do.
He locked the door.
"Itarashai! Have a good first day at school Rei, and Shinji!"
Shinji watched Asuka call into the house, and close the door behind her. She then took a moment to glare at him, causing a shiver to go down his spine. Asuka then broke the glare, and took the lead.
"Follow me, you two."
She walked briskly, and totally ignored Rei and Shinji, although, they did manage to keep up.
As they walked, Shinji couldn't help but think of the morning's events as he looked at Asuka.
Why does she have to be so cute, and yet be such a total pain in the...
Speaking of pains in the ass...
"Yes?" he whispered back to Rei.
"Shouldn't you have asked her out before trying to put the moves on her?"
Shinji widened his eyes at Rei's question, and struggled to reply his voice wavering.
"I... I wasn't putting the moves on her!"
"Sure you weren't. You just wanted to get to know her better, right?"
He could see out of the corner of his eye Rei's sly smile.
She just won't leave it alone, will she?
"Gimme a break, Rei. It was just an accident, ok?"
"Then why are you blushing?"
Indeed, he felt that his face had flushed. This was so embarrassing! Why did Rei take so much glee in tormenting him?
"Next thing I know, you'll be grabbing her butt."
Before Shinji could reply to her comment, Rei grabbed his hand and planted it on Asuka's behind.
Asuka yelped, and turned around quickly to face him.
Shinji's face went white when he sees her face.
And as Asuka's schoolbag connected with his head, he heard her yell, "You pervert! Don't you dare grab my ass!"
On the floor, he sat up, and gingerly touched the side of his head.
Damn that hurt.
He looked up to see a totally livid Asuka, ranting to the both of them.
"I've never been so embarrassed in my life! If you two hadn't come to our house, none of this would have ever happened! I can't stand the sight of either of you!"
Shinji couldn't believe what she just said. He felt his heart sink, the emotion threatening to overwhelm. His mind began to formulate a reply, recovering from the emotional backlash he felt from Asuka's outburst, only to be beaten to the punch by Rei.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that I wished that both of you never came to live with us!"
As he stood, Shinji noticed the smile Rei had before had been replaced with an aura of anger. He wisely decided that it was in his best interests to stay quiet for now.
"Do you think that we wanted to go live with you? I'd rather be living with my parents then deal with your crap!"
The anger flashed in Rei's eyes, like twin crimson fires burning in a field of snow, threatening to melt everything in sight.
Asuka replied to Rei's anger, her own sapphire eyes glinting with every word.
"My crap!? You're not the one who's being molested by an oversexed pervert!"
Before Rei replied, Shinji who stepped between the two girls interrupted them. Eye to eye with Rei, he hoped to stop the argument when he mentioned something that they seem to have forgotten: School.
"Will you two stop it! We're going to be late to school! Even if this day has not been too spectacular for all of us, I'd like to avoid being late for my first day of classes!"
Both girls stared at Shinji, surprise in their faces at the rather strong outburst from him.
Asuka recovered first, and turned around in a huff.
"Hmph. Let's go, I don't want to be later because of you two."
Rei clenched her teeth as she fell in behind Asuka, with Shinji close behind.
Shinji sighed and gently shook his head.
It was going to be a long and painful day...
This had to be punishment...
It was the only explanation Shinji could think of.
How else can he explain the two girls who argued in front of him?
Rei and Asuka broke back into argument as they entered the train station.
At least he was successful in his attempt to tune out their conversation. Unfortunately, the occasional word or two slipped by his mental barrier.
Of course, Asuka was the first to break through, shortly followed by Rei's response.
Shinji rolled his eyes, and looked ahead at the empty platform in front of him. Like a Zen master, the argument faded into silence as he concentrated on the emptiness that lay ahead of him. Suprisingly, the only sounds Shinji perceived was his breathing and heartbeat.
A train passed near the platform, and quickly disappeared. What Shinji saw next caused him to catch his breath.
On the empty platform stood a woman, were no one was before the train passed.
She wore some kind of red and black uniform. Shinji also noticed she was injured, as evidenced by the trail of blood, which traced the outline of her face.
Her black hair was matted, and partially bloodied from a wound on her forehead. But, what caught Shinji's attention were her eyes. Within those brown eyes, he saw a deep fear, as if something had tried to take her very soul away from her.
In the eerie silence, which surrounded him, Shinji heard her speak desperation evident in her soft voice.
"Help us... We need you..."
Another train slowed in front of him, and blocked his view of the woman.
Who was she? What did she mean?
Asuka smacked the back of his head interrupts Shinji's thoughts.
"Com'on baka, we'll miss our train."
He gave Asuka an annoyed glance. Suddenly, Rei repeats the same action that Asuka did on him.
"Hey! What was that for?"
"You shouldn't ask," Rei replied as she embarked in the train.
Asuka rubbed the back of her head, as she walked into the train. Shinji followed the two girls, and silently pondered the vision he had experienced.
Why did he see her at all?
Maybe he will never know...
"I would like you to welcome our two new students, Rei and Shinji Takagi."
Rei smiled and waved at the class as the teacher introduced them.
"They've been transferred from a school in Osaka, and will be finishing the year here. Please give them whatever help you can so that they can get caught up."
The teacher, an older gentleman, smiled at both of them, "Go ahead, and take an empty seat."
Red nodded, and chose a seat beside one of the large windows facing outside. Shinji sits toward the middle of the class. As she sat, Rei took note of Asuka's foul expression. Asuka narrowed her eyes when Rei smiled at her.
She was so easy to annoy.
Rei turned her attention away from the ornery red head, and looked forward as the teacher began his lecture.
It seemed to drag on forever...
Endless reiterations of history, math, and English...
Rei paid attention to most of it, however, she finally decided to take a small break.
She stopped listening to the lecture, and looked around the classroom at the various people there. It was at this time that she noticed a young man who sat in front of her to her immediate right. His brown hair seemed totally out of place in an ocean of homogenous black hair. Not only that, his skin was a light shade than those around him as well.
Rei continued to stare at the back of his head, many questions flitted about her mind. The most prominent ones were what did his face look like, and what color were his eyes.
The answer came from the portion of her mind responsible for empirical observation. Normally, she didn't receive answers that quickly, however, since he had turned around to look right at her...
The cognitive portion of her brain dropkicked her out of the day dream state that she was in. Rei took full notice that the guy wasn't Japanese at all.
A foreigner perhaps?
Another kick from the recesses of her mind reminded her that she was still staring at him. It also informed her that he was doing the same.
His eyes were so green... What a nice shade...
She broke contact with his eyes, when she quickly turned to look out the window.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that he was still looking at her. Moments later, he turned back to the lecture.
Rei felt her face had turned a little red. Why did she just ogle that guy? She almost was as bad as Shinji.
This must have been what he felt last night...
Lunch could not have come quicker for Shinji. If he had to hear another word of another boring lecture, he would scream.
He sat down on a bench outside, opened his bento box, and prepared to consume the delicacy Masami prepared for him.
Yay, an interruption...
Shinji looked up to see Rei's smile.
"Can I join you?"
He shrugged, "Sure."
She sat beside him on the bench, and opened her own bento box.
"Wow! This looks good."
"Yeah, she really went out of her way. Maybe we should thank her?"
Rei nodded as she bit into a steamed carrot, "Yup that's a great idea, Shin-chan."
As Shinji ate a piece of chicken, he noticed the foreigner as he walked in the distance toward a large tree. He sat under the tree, and began to eat his own lunch.
An evil thought came to Shinji's mind.
Time for revenge.
"Say, Rei-chan. Isn't that the guy you were staring at earlier?"
Rei almost choked on a bit of celery. She hit her chest to help the wayward vegetable down, and looked at Shinji, surprised.
"Wh... What are you talking about?"
"Oh com'on, sis. I saw you stare at him for a full three minutes, and that was before he turned around."
Her eyes widened at his remark.
This was great! He couldn't think of a better way to get back at her for embarrassing him last night, and this morning.
"I... Uh... Was staring?"
"Uh, huh. I swear you guys held that gaze for a while. So, what I want to know is when you're going to make your move?"
Rei's face turned several shades of red.
"What! Don't say that! I don't even know his name!"
She stopped speaking when she realized that people were looking in their direction.
Shinji smiled widely.
Rei looked thoroughly embarrassed as she stood.
"I... I'm finished eating. I'll see you later, Shinji."
She then left, just as he started to laugh.
Hah! I got her!
Shinji continued to laugh until he brought his laughter under control. When he did, he saw Asuka with some friends as they ate lunch.
She smiled and laughed as he observed her from his vantagepoint on the bench.
She is so beautiful...
As he looked at her, the events that transpired in the morning replayed in his mind. He frowned as he remembered when she hit him. She didn't need to do that. Although, he did grab her where he shouldn't have... But, it was her fault! If she would have checked before she walked into the shower, then none of it could have happened. Then again, it he had locked the door, she would not have been able to come in.
A total misunderstanding on both their parts.
What could he do to help rectify the situation?
The answer was quick in coming: Apologize.
It would definitely be a step in the right direction. When came out of thought, Asuka's friends were nowhere to be found.
What a perfect opportunity, time to take advantage of it!
Shinji stood and walked over to her. Asuka continued to eat her back against a wall. In moments, he bridged the distance between them, and sat beside her.
Asuka looked at him incredulously, "What do you want, pervert?"
He ignored her quip since he was on a mission of diplomacy.
"I just wanted to... Uh... Say something."
"And that is?"
Shinji felt extremely nervous as he looked at the beauty that sat in front of him. The words caught in his throat.
"That... That I'm sorry about this morning... I guess I should have been more careful with the lock."
After he finished, Shinji noticed she looked at him with a strange expression on her face, her mouth slightly open in speechless surprise. She definitely did not seem to expect what he just said.
Even when this way, she captivated him. Unfortunately, the pleasant sight he beheld was not meant to be as she recovers from his apology.
Asuka hmphs, crossed her arms, and lifted her nose in the air, "Yes, you should have been more careful. Don't let it happen again."
That was it.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean? It was partly your fault, too!"
"Really? Then why are you apologizing, hmm? You don't see me apologizing because it wasn't my fault, pervert."
"I can't believe you!"
Shinji stood up, and glared at her.
"Fine, Asuka. You believe what you want."
He storms off.
What a little bitch! She still blamed him for the entire thing instead of apologizing for what she did! He shouldn't have wasted his time...
Nearby, a girl watched the events that transpired between one of the new students, and Asuka.
She noticed that Asuka upset him somehow, and he stormed off to parts unknown.
Maybe, I could follow him... Maybe even try to make him feel better...
She took a step forward, but stopped in her tracks.
What if he didn't like her? What if he would reject her outright?
She couldn't handle that... She'll have to talk to him another way.
And she knew exactly how, but she needed to find out a little more about him.
With a new sense of determination, she walked away.
Shinji stopped at the top of a hill; his angry thoughts left him as he looked around him. At the bottom of the hill was the school soccer field, and track. For a few minutes, he looked at the field, and cleared his mind of the argument with Asuka.
A strong wind blew, and caused him to close his eyes. He also raised his hands to protect his face. When the wind died down, he opened his eyes, and gasped.
In the middle of the field stood the same woman he saw on the train platform. Once again, she was looking at him, her brown eyes had a vacant look to them.
As all sound dwindled around him, Shinji heard her desperate voice call out to him. Even though it was whispered, it carried the entire distance between them as if she stood in front of him.
"Shinji... Where are you? We need you..."
He opened his mouth to reply, however, another gust of wind blew leaves onto his face. After a couple of seconds, he removed the leaves from his face and looked back to the field.
She was gone, again.
Shinji continued to stare at the location where she had been, and did not move for a while. His lips parted a little, and he whispered so softly that his words were lost upon the gentle breeze still present.
"What's going on?"
Neon Genesis Evangelion
©1999 R. Alexander Spoerer
Asuka smiled as she sat and enjoyed lunch with her friends, their conversations wandered between all manner of topics. One moment they gossiped about goings on in school, and the next they spoke about boys that they liked.
As she continued to enjoy herself, thoughts crossed her mind about the past several months.
Three months ago, she woke up in her bedroom without any idea who she was. Fortunately, she pieced enough together from things in her room, and a detailed diary she seemed to have kept. After the first month rolled by, she began to get used to being who she was.
Then they came.
A small frown emerged on her face as she inclined her head to where Rei and Shinji usually ate lunch. He was there as usual, however, it seemed that his partner in crime was somewhere else, no doubt annoying some poor idiot.
She contemplated the boy as he quietly ate his lunch. He and his prankster of a sister came to live with her family two weeks ago. Needless to say she was not thrilled they were here. She was still in the process of getting used to her parents and did not need to deal with "childhood friends" that had the potential to expose her lack of memories. Thankfully, they have yet to find out about her amnesia, although they were a constant source of aggravation for her.
Tomoe brought Asuka out of her thoughts.
"You zoned out there for a second, Asuka-chan. Are you ok?"
Asuka nodded, "I'm fine, Tomoe-chan."
Tomoe smiled as she stood up with the other girls surrounding Asuka.
"I'll see you later, Asuka. Try not to think so much, or lunch will be over in no time! Bye!"
With that, Tomoe left Asuka behind.
Asuka looked down at her bento, and realized that she had not eaten much. She grabbed her chopsticks, and began eating again. In no time, she devoured the remainder of her lunch. Satisfied that every last morsel of rice had been hunted down, she placed her bento back into her bag, and leaned against the wall.
The view of Shinji reading a textbook welcomed her.
Thoughts that had swarmed within her mind a short while ago returned as she covertly watched him. Unfortunately for Shinji, the first thought that popped into her mind was the incident that occurred several days ago.
Asuka's eyes involuntarily narrowed as she continued to gaze at Shinji.
That pervert... He did that on purpose. More than likely the sight of her nude made his day. Could not figure out the lock... HA! What a flimsy excuse!
She felt her anger slowly burn like a lit match.
And to top it off, he groped her! Twice!
Asuka stood up abruptly, her bag in hand, and strode over toward Shinji to give him the pummeling that he deserved.
As she closed the gap, another thought entered her mind. Like the voice of reason, the thought seemed to have a calming effect.
Maybe it was a misunderstanding... After all, it was his first night at the house.
She remembered how difficult things were for the first days after she lost her memory. She did not know how to use anything.
Especially that stupid lock.
Asuka realized she now stood in front of Shinji, the fire of anger not longer compelling her. In fact she felt rather calm as she plopped down beside him.
"What do you want?"
She observed that his face sported a weary look.
"You looked bored sitting by yourself, so I thought that I'd join you."
"So, making fun of me the other 23 hours of the day weren't enough then?"
Asuka shot him a dark glance that made him flinch.
"Baka! I was trying to be nice, but if you don't want my company, I'll just go."
Upset, she stood to leave, when she felt a hand clasp her forearm.
"I'm sorry, Asuka. I didn't mean it that way, please stay."
She looked down and behind at him, and saw the sincerity upon his face. Something in his expression beckoned her to sit back down. She did not know why, but she liked it when he was nice to her.
Of course, she was not about to let him know that.
She turned around, crossed her arms, and hmphed, her nose lifted snobbishly in the air, "Why should I? You think that all I'm going to do is make fun of you."
Shinji tried to recover from his previous statement, "I uh. No, I don't believe you will. Please sit down, Asuka."
She was going to make him work for this.
"You really want me to believe that you didn't mean what said?"
"No, I mean, Yes, I didn't mean what I said before."
Asuka made her face look as if she were not convinced, "I think you're just saying that so I'll let down my guard, and then you'll let me have it."
"No! I promise I won't!"
Shinji looked desperate. Mentally smirking, she decided he had sweat long enough.
Asuka smiled slightly as she sat back down beside him, "Ok, Shinji I'll stay."
He visibly relaxed and smiled back at her, "Thanks, Asuka."
A strange feeling went through her body at his smile and words.
Maybe it was indigestion?
She was going to have to talk to her mother about not using so much wasabe in her lunch. At least she would not feel this strange.
Or would she?
To say Rei was nervous would have been the understatement of the century.
She was downright frightened.
At some point in her life, she was sure she had a boyfriend, or at least had gone out on a date. However, those memories were now absent from her mind. She might as well be starting over again. Unbeknownst to him, he was the first boy that she approached with the desire of getting to know better.
Hopefully instinct will help where experience lacked.
Ahead of her was the tree that he sat under every lunch. Eventually, she found herself in front of him, her shadow blocked what little light reached him.
His head tilted upward, and she found herself looking into his emerald eyes.
Whatever statement Rei had carefully composed in her mind disappeared as she fell into the abyss of his eyes. Suddenly stripped of any mental faculties, she lost herself in his inquisitive gaze.
"Are you alright?"
Knocked out of her impromptu daydream, Rei blinked her eyes and blushed when she noticed he started back at her quizzically.
"I, I'm fine."
She mentally scolded herself. What an idiot she must have looked like, gawking at him in front of his face! Rei tried to recompose herself as much as she could, and put on a pleasant smile.
"May I eat lunch with you?"
Subconsciously, she held her breath as he arched his right eyebrow. After several eternities, he finally spoke.
"If you wish."
Relieved, she quietly thanked God as she carefully sat beside him, and began to eat her bento.
Rei bit into a piece of okra and looked at him.
"My name is Rei Takagi."
He glanced over at her, and replied after a brief silence.
She smiled warmly.
"John, what a nice name. I'm very glad to meet you."
Caught off guard by her smile and kind words, John blinked his eyes, surprised.
A laugh escaped from Rei's lips after she swallowed a mouthful of rice.
"Why do you look so surprised? Doesn't anyone talk to you?"
Now it was Rei's turn to be surprised.
"No one talks to you? Why not?"
John recovered his apathetic demeanor, and consumed another piece of fish.
"Probably because I look different. People do not like to acknowledge that which is unlike them."
Rei continued to stare at John as he ate.
In a way, she knew he was right. People who were different usually were treated differently. It was, after all, in Human nature to dislike things that were not like anything they have known.
Well, she was not going to act like most people.
She stuck her chin in the air, and sniffed contemptuously.
"Then that shows just how stupid they are."
Rei once again looked at John, and smiled.
He returned her smile with a questioning glance.
This guy acted really strangely. She was not quite sure, but she was certain something had happened to him to make him a recluse. Right then and there, Rei decided to make it her mission to help John open up.
The fact he was very cute would really help, too.
Immediately, she malleted those thoughts to the deep, dark recesses of her mind.
She was getting as bad as Shinji!
Her thoughts back on track, her mind quickly came up with a possible solution to his shyness.
The expression on his face should be quite interesting to see when she told him.
"Would you like to go out to a movie?"
Her question had the effect of an on-coming train smacking into him. John dropped his chopsticks, and his mouth opened to say something, but not a word ushered forth. He closed his mouth, and waited for a few seconds before he attempted to voice a question.
Rei arched an eyebrow, amused.
"Because, no one cared enough to get to know me since I'm... Different."
She crossed her arms.
"Well, I'm different, too. So maybe we could enjoy each other's company, huh?"
John nodded, unable to resist her "request".
Rei closed her bento, and put it away in her bag.
"See you in class, John-kun."
She started walking away, but stopped when she heard him call after her.
"A normal girl wouldn't have asked me out, you know."
Rei peered over her shoulder, and grinned mischievously.
"Who ever said I was a normal girl?"
Leaving him with much to think about, Rei walked back to class.
Another day finished.
No more endless lectures and pointless exercises.
Finally, it was time to go home.
Shinji was in a very good mood. Especially since today was the first time Asuka actually held a conversation without calling him baka, or pervert.
His memory reminded him that she did him a baka.
Well, OK, at least she did not call him a pervert.
There was no comment from the peanut gallery.
He smiled broadly as he opened his shoe locker.
This day could not get any better.
Shinji's thoughts were interrupted when he saw a small, white envelope lying against his shoes. His name was neatly written across the front of it.
Curious, Shinji grasped the envelope, and turned it around. On the back, he found the envelope's most striking feature; a red heart-shaped sticker.
His eyes widened as he stared at the envelope. Was this what he thought it was? He had heard some of his friends talking about these envelopes, and he knew what they meant.
But, he never thought he would ever get one.
To either side of him, Shinji glanced and saw no one was paying attention to him. Carefully, he opened the letter, making sure not to rip the heart, and extracted the note. It only took a moment to read, but absorption of the information within was an entirely different matter.
His mouth opened in silent surprise as he continued to stare at the message for what seemed a lifetime. Shinji's mind was in a jumble as he sought to sort out the variety of thoughts that screamed for his acknowledgement. One thought had won the battle, and came prominently to the forefront.
A girl liked him...
And she wanted to meet him tomorrow under a tree toward the back of the school at lunch...
Rei's yell grabbed his immediate attention as he deftly stuffed the note into his bag.
"I'll be right there!"
As he put on his shoes, more thoughts cavorted the inside of his skull.
This girl, Nozomi Nanase... Who was she? Why does she like me? And, more importantly, was she cute?
However, his excitement dampened when he realized something.
What about Asuka?
Tossing that notion aside, Shinji made a silent decision to meet Nozomi at lunch tomorrow.
After all, one should keep his options open.
Shinji smiled as he ran to catch up with Rei.
Standing at the edge of a cliff, all Asuka saw before her was barren, desolate, wasteland. It looked like the exterior of an earthenware vase, cracked yet incredibly still held together. In the distance she could see the ruins of a large city. A soft whisper left her lips, barely discernible over the shrill of a wind that picked up around her.
"Where am I?"
The wind stopped blowing, and she heard footsteps as they ground into the dead earth to her right. She glimpsed in that direction and found a middle-aged man beside her. His brown hair was done in a ponytail, and it looked like he had not shaved in days. Asuka also discerned his clothes had seen better days.
Before she could ask him who she was, he spoke in an eerily calm voice.
"Japan. Or what's left of it."
Asuka blinked at his nonchalant reply. Japan? What in the world was he talking about?
She turned to face him. However, he did not bother to look at her, instead he continued to stare out over the horizon.
"What do you mean? What happened?"
Again, he replied, paying her no heed.
"Everyone died because you failed."
Asuka's brow furrowed in confusion.
"I don't understand. What are you talking about? How did I fail?"
The man finally faced her, and Asuka felt a chill travel down her spine when she saw his eyes. They were brown, and may have even been pleasant to look at but they appeared empty. It felt as if she were peering into a shell, the spark of life absent from the man.
Asuka choked down the horrible feeling that sought to permeate her body as he spoke once more.
"You failed to do what you were supposed to. That's why everyone is dead. It's your fault."
The feeling began to get stronger. She wanted to leave, run away from the man, but she could not. She desperately needed to know what was going on, whatever the consequences.
Marshalling what little courage she had left, she responded to his accusation.
"No! I didn't do anything!"
His lifeless eyes bored into her as he replied with a sweeping of his arm toward the desolation.
"Exactly. If you would have come back, this would never have happened."
Faster than she could see, the man's hands seized Asuka around the waist, and hoisted her into the air. Fear now totally gripped Asuka as she struggled with all her strength against his grip, but he held her firmly.
As he approached the cliff, she started to scream, pleading with him to stop.
Finally the man let go, but to her horror it was only to toss her over the edge of the cliff.
Asuka plummeted. She flailed her arms as she fell, screaming as loud as she possibly could. The ground approached her at frightening speed; it would only be another couple of seconds before she smashed into it.
Why was this happening?
She did not want to die!
The last thing Asuka heard was the man's voice, which echoed powerfully through her mind.
"Asuka! Asuka! Are you alright?"
Her eyes snapped open and she was greeted by Shinji's concerned face.
Where was she? It took a moment for her to realize that she was in her room, and that Shinji was holding her shoulders.
Was she dreaming?
Was it a nightmare?
Try as she might, memories of what happened slipped away to join all the other memories she had already lost. The only thing that remained was a crushing fear.
Not entirely sure of what she was doing, Asuka latched onto Shinji and held onto him as if her life depended on it.
She felt him stiffen for a second, but eventually relaxed and placed his arms around her. He then whispered in a soothing tone.
"It's alright, Asuka, it was only a dream."
If it was a dream, then why did it feel so real?
Slowly, she released Shinji, and looked at him. She could still see worry etched on his face.
Asuka smiled slightly, and stared downward at her hands.
"Thank you, Shinji. I just don't know what happened..."
Her sentence was interrupted when he placed his hand atop of hers. Asuka looked up once more, and saw his reassuring smile.
"Don't worry, Asuka."
She felt herself blush slightly, as she slowly withdrew her hand from under his.
Why did she feel so strange when he touched her?
It was way past lunch, so it could not be the wasabe.
No... Was she actually beginning to like this jerk?
For a few minutes they held each other's gaze.
At that point, Asuka realized something, and she was going to have fun at Shinji's expense with this little insight she just garnered.
Asuka smirked as she crossed her arms.
"You can get off my bed now."
Shinji eyes widened when the implications of her statement hit home, practically jumping to his feet.
"I, uh. I'll be going now."
Nervously, he made his way out of her room, but before he walked out her door, she called after him.
He stopped, and turned around.
"Thanks for being there."
Shinji smiled as he closed the door behind him.
Asuka sighed and flopped backward onto her bed.
Maybe he was not so bad after all...
Ichiro walked into the house, and began the afternoon ritual of removing his shoes. He adeptly removed one shoe after the other, using a single hand to do it since his other hand was still holding the mail.
After he finished his balancing act, he completed the ritual by announcing to the house his arrival.
"Okaerinasai!" replied Masami, as she approached Ichiro and kissed him.
Breaking the kiss, Ichiro stepped into the house proper as Masami walked behind him.
"How was work today?"
As he walked he ruffled through the small cache of mail in his right hand.
"Fine, fine. There were a lot of..."
He stopped abruptly when he saw the envelope.
What the hell...
Quickly, he placed the mail onto the living room table. A sinking feeling developed in his chest as he opened the envelope. He scanned the letter held within, and the sinking feeling turned into a barely contained anger.
He looked at his wife, and handed her the letter. A few minutes later, Ichiro heard her gasp.
"No, they can't do that... Can they?"
Masami looked at Ichiro, her face betraying the fear and worry she felt.
Ichiro embraced her, not only for her benefit, but also for his own.
He could not believe it. Those bastards were going to contest the Will.
Ichiro released Masami from his embrace, and looked at her.
"What will happen to Rei and Shinji, Ichiro? We promised them that we would take care of them."
"I know, Masami, I know. And we will keep that promise."
She hugged him fiercely again. Ichiro's face hardened with resolve as he comforted his wife.
He will keep his promise.
Whew... This part took *forever to write! I'm not too sure why, but it was one of the more difficult things I had to write in a long time.
Part 4 will be a bit in coming due to the fact that I will be taking a short break to work on my original stories.
Please send me any comments about Elsewhere, flames will be placed into the circular file for further storage. ^_^
R. Alexander Spoerer