April 15th, 2017, Tokyo-3
"...And if something comes up, you know how to reach us."
Shinji, Asuka and Rei nodded their heads as Yui finished giving them her instructions. She and Kyoko were about to go catch a train and make their way to something none of them ever thought they'd be going to: their high school reunion. Considering they'd been trapped in the cores of biomechanical giants for eleven years, of course they'd miss out on their fair share of such gatherings.
"We understand. We'll try to keep the place intact before you get back," Shinji said reassuringly.
"Now go on, get outta here, have fun!" said Asuka playfully.
"Hope you do better than Romy and Michelle!" Rei added with a giggle.
"Hardy har har," Kyoko replied. "We'll see you later!"
With that, the two scientists bid their respective kids adieu as they started walking to the station. When they were out of sight, the trio closed the door to Shinji and Rei's apartment.
"So what're we watching?" Shinji asked.
"I'm glad you asked," Rei replied, before she started riffing on the titular host of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. "Tonight's selection is a 1978 British mockumentary from a couple of Monty Python collaborators, parodying the rise and fall of the Beatles-".
Before Rei could finish her sentence, Asuka had zipped onto the couch, a bowl of popcorn by her side. The speed at which she'd gotten there had surprised her boyfriend and his sister.
"You had me at 'Monty Python' and 'Beatles'," was all she said.
A train heading to Kyoto-2...
Yui stared out the window as the train made its final leg to Kyoto-2, lost in thought. In reflecting on the past two years, she was still amazed by where she was now: free from the core of Unit-01 and reunited with her son, and with the bonus of having gained a daughter, all while having stopped a catastrophe that, earlier in her life, she'd inadvertently had a hand in crafting. (As an unintended consequence, her currently ex-husband was now residing in a mental institution, due in part to the stress and pressure from being part of, and attempting to co-opt that same disaster-in-the-making.) Strangely enough, she actually was enjoying readjusting to a normal life, and thankfully Kyoko was there to lean on, given that she'd gone through the same ordeals. Speaking of her redheaded colleague, Kyoko at that moment got Yui's attention.
"You okay?" she asked.
Yui looked up with a slight start as she turned to face Kyoko. "Oh, I'm fine, really. Just thinking, that's all."
"About?" Kyoko pressed with a slightly arched eyebrow.
"Just how far we've come these past couple of years," Yui replied. "Also, I guess I'm just a bit nervous about the reunion."
"What's there to be nervous about?" Kyoko asked. "We're just checking out our old alma mater and catching up with classmates and friends."
"I know, I know," Yui said, "but I just keep thinking about how long it's been since we've seen any of them. I mean look at us!" She pointed to the both of them. "We've been gone for nearly eleven years and don't look a day over thirty! People might get suspicious."
"Oh, is that all? Don't let it bother you," Kyoko said reassuringly as a small smile appeared on her face. "Why do you think we've been rehearsing those cover stories for all those weeks?"
Yui admitted to herself that Kyoko had a point. In the weeks that followed their receiving invitations to the reunion, they'd worked with their kids on coming up with good, airtight alibis to explain their lengthy absences. Still, Yui couldn't help but feel some sense of trepidation. Such worry would have to wait, as the train finally reached their intended stop and the two disembarked. They walked a good three blocks before eventually reaching their destination: their old high school, lit up and with almost a dozen cars lined along the sidewalk, with various alumni filing in. Letting out a cathartic sigh, Yui stood up straight and walked with Kyoko up the steps and through the entrance to the building, immediately making their way to the check-in table to pick up their name tags.
"Hi! Thank you for coming," the woman at the table greeted, "let me just get your clips and you'll be good to-" Her train of thought was interrupted as soon as she got a good look at the two newcomers. "Yui? Yui Ikari, is that you?!"
"Wait, Megumi?" Yui wondered in turn as her eyes went wide with recognition. "Megumi Hayashibara, I thought it was you!"
"Oh, it's been so long!" Megumi said as she and Yui shared a quick hug. "How are you? Everyone I knew thought you were dead, I can't believe it! But when that whole SEELE scandal erupted a couple years back-"
"Trust me, I know the rest all too well," Yui replied, before pointing to her companion. "You remember Kyoko Sohryu, right?"
"Like I'd ever forget the best relay runner in our class!" Megumi answered as she shared a quick hug with Kyoko.
"It's good to see you too, Megumi," Kyoko said.
"Let me get someone to cover me at the table, and we can all head into the gym and catch up," Megumi suggested. "Oh, Shigeyo's going to be so excited to see you both!"
A few minutes later the three of them were hanging back near the buffet table, cups of punch in-hand, where they'd been joined by their fourth former classmate in Shigeyo Kawamura. Megumi and Shigeyo were giving them the details on where a lot of their classmates had wound up in the years since graduation (barring Second Impact, of course); some of the stories of 'where are they now' had elicited more than a few laughs from Yui and Kyoko.
"...So enough about us," Shigeyo started to say, "we want to know, where were you two all this time?"
Yui seemed to hesitate for a moment before Kyoko gave her a slight nudge and a nod. This was it-time for their cover stories to go into action!
"Well," Yui began to explain, "after finding out what SEELE really had planned for GEHIRN, I was approached by an undercover agent for INTERPOL. They helped me come up with a way to fake my death, make it seem like an accident with the Evangelion. I went into witness protection afterwards. I knew that it'd be hard not telling Gendo or Shinji, but I also knew lives would be at stake if they kept going. I just didn't imagine what Gendo would end up doing to poor Shinji while I was in hiding."
Megumi huffed a bit at the mention of the former NERV commander's name. "Well, at least he got what he deserved, considering what he was trying to pull under everyone's noses. I'll be honest, to this day, I still have no idea what you saw in that guy."
"Sometimes I wonder about that myself," Yui commented as she took another sip of punch. "Even more so considering his infidelities. I'm just glad I was able to come out of hiding and be back in Shinji's life, and that he had good people looking out for him. It hasn't been easy, reconnecting with Shinji, but for the most part, we're doing well. And it's been nice getting to know his half-sister in the process."
Both Megumi and Shigeyo looked at their friend with surprise. "Wait, Shinji's not an only child?" Shigeyo asked.
Yui nodded. "I'd donated some ova a little while before my 'demise', and Gendo must've found out about it. When the girl's mother passed, he wound up becoming the guardian to the child. For the longest time she was a pretty quiet and reserved girl, but after meeting Shinji two years ago, she gradually came out of her shell." A smile full of pride then appeared on her face. "And look at her now-she wants to be a comedian. Actually has a wicked sense of humor too."
"What about Shinji?" Megumi asked curiously.
"He's more of a musician," Yui answered. "A classical one, to be exact. Learned how to play the cello even. Now, I've gone on and on for a bit, why don't you take it from here, Kyoko?" She then gave the redhead a slight nudge.
"Well, if you insist," Kyoko said. "A year or so after Yui went into hiding, I was approached by that same agent when I was working on replicating her 'experiment' with my own Evangelion. He'd told me everything Yui had found out, but we both agreed that using the same plan twice wouldn't be as effective in getting SEELE off my trail. Unfortunately, it required a bit of acting on my part. I'm not really proud of the lengths I had to go to..." She looked down a bit on saying that. "Since then, I've been working just as hard to make up for what my Asuka had gone through because of it. We're getting there, it just takes time."
"Thankfully, she ran in the same circles as Shinji," Yui added. "They actually got together while they were EVA pilots. And have been nearly inseparable ever since."
Kyoko took this moment to have another swig of punch. "I can definitely speak for both of us when I say we were quite surprised that the two of them had been dating. It's very sweet to see them like that."
"I'll bet," Shigeyo said. "What's up with your ex?"
"Gerard?" Kyoko replied with a hint of contempt. "FEH. Yui and I definitely have 'married a cheat' in common. We've actually just ironed out the divorce settlement."
"How's it looking?" Megumi inquired.
"Pretty good, if my lawyer's had anything to say about it," Kyoko answered.
"So what're you two up to lately?" Shigeyo asked.
"Well, I'm taking a job with a new alternative energy start-up," Kyoko replied. "It's actually what I wanted to get into before GEHIRN recruited me."
"And I'm taking over my old professor's position at Kyoto U.," Yui said. "He's mostly retired these days, and gave the faculty quite the recommendation on my behalf."
"By the way, I have to ask," Megumi started to inquire, "the years appear to have been really kind to you both. What's your secret?"
Yui and Kyoko briefly traded glances before the former answered.
"Oh, nothing really, just the usual," Yui answered with a shrug of her shoulders. "A good diet and exercise."
"Quite simple, really," Kyoko added. "A complete vegetable diet, twelve hours sleep at night, and LOTS and LOTS of makeup."
Kyoko's answer caused the four of them to burst into laughter at its hammy-ness. At that moment, the deejay put on a new song, one that Yui recognized immediately.
"Oh my-is that "How Bizarre"? I love that song!" she said excitedly as she began making her way to the dance floor. A look of slight worry appeared on Kyoko's face.
"Oh no-Yui, don't do it! Remember junior prom?!" Kyoko warned her. "Don't be hasty! You dance like Elaine Benes-and not in a good way!"
Unfortunately for her, it was too late, as Yui began dancing to the beat of OMC. Kyoko then turned back to Megumi and Shigeyo.
"Tell me you've got something stronger than this," she said with a sigh while pointing to the punch bowl. "It's going to be a looonnng night."
Just in time for Mother's Day.
The movie that the ex-EVA pilots watch is All You Need is Cash, the mockumentary starring the successful Beatles parody known as The Rutles.
Kyoko's bit about how they look so young is Truman Capote's line in 1976's Murder by Death.
If you haven't seen Seinfeld, then long story short, look up 'Elaine dancing' on YouTube and see for yourself. You have been warned.