*Disclaimer: I own nothin' of Gainax, Khara, or Warner Bros.*

It was evening when Misato finally returned to the apartment after a long day's work at NERV HQ.

"I'm home!" she called out as she took her shoes off.

"Welcome home," Asuka begrudgingly said as she leafed through a magazine on the couch. It was then Misato noticed something peculiar.

"Where's Shinji?" the NERV ops director asked.

"Still at school," Asuka replied.

"Cleaning duty?" Misato asked as she went to her room to change.

"Nope," Asuka nonchalantly replied. "Final rehearsals for the school play."

Hearing this surprised Misato a bit. "Wait, your school's doing a play?"

"A musical, specifically," Asuka said with a roll of her eyes.

"Oh, really?" Misato responded, her curiosity now peaked. "Shinji, and I mean OUR Shinji, in a stage musical?"

"I know, couldn't believe it myself," Asuka said sarcastically.

"Which one are they doing?" Misato asked, now changed into her casual wear as she walked into the living room.

"Something called Little Shop of Horrors," Asuka said, glancing up from her magazine. When she did, she saw Misato's face light up brightly upon hearing the show's title.

"Little Shop? Seriously? I loved the movie version when I was a kid!" Misato beamed. "Oh, we are so seeing Shinji on opening night, I'm not missing it for the world! So who's he playing? Seymour? Gotta be Seymour, Shinji fits him to a 'T'-"

"Actually, that's not who he's playing," Asuka cut in. "Hikari was working on the sets, so I learned from her that she actually saw Shinji audition for and land his part on the first try. Said she couldn't believe her eyes."

Misato was now confused. "So, which part did he get?"

"She said he was playing a dentist or something," Asuka replied as she turned another page in her magazine.

Misato's eyes widened with surprise. "Whoa-whoa-whoa, back up-Shinji's playing Dr. Scrivello?!"

"That's what I heard," Asuka said with a shrug. "Apparently, baka-Shinji even asked if he could add a few personal touches to his performance. The drama teacher was so 'moved' by his take that she let him."

"...Now this I definitely gotta see," Misato said, after taking a second to collect herself.

A couple of days later, it was opening night at the school as Misato and a reluctant Asuka took their seats. Soon the lights dimmed, and the play began; to Asuka's slight annoyance, she had to endure seeing Mana Kirishima, Mayumi Yamagishi, and Mari 'Illustrious' Makinami as the 'Greek chorus' trio of Crystal, Ronnette, and Chiffon. After going through a few numbers, at last it came to the one part of the show Misato was anticipating. Soon, the familiar opening notes of "Dentist!" began playing, and Shinji strolled out onstage, in a manner quite unlike how he was normally seen by those who knew him. He stood tall, upright, and smugly confident. Misato and Asuka gaped at his appearance; while he wore the usual getup one would picture for Orin Scrivello, Shinji also sported a fake, short-trimmed beard and a pair of orange-tinted sunglasses. Shinji looked, in a way, very much like his father's son, though with a more pronounced smirk than his old man would sometimes deign to show. Misato quietly took out her phone and began recording with the camera as soon as he began to sing...

Shinji:

When I was young and just a bad lil' kid,

My momma noticed funny things I did...

[Holds up his left hand like a small pistol and 'aims'.]

Like shootin' puppies with a BB gun.

I'd poison guppies, and when I was done...

[Slams his right fist into his open left palm.]

I'd find a pussycat and bash its head!

That's when my momma said...

Mana, Mayumi, Mari:

What did she say...?

Shinji:

She said "My boy, I think someday

You'll find a way

to make your natural tendencies pay..."

[Throws off his leather jacket, revealing a white dentist's smock underneath.]

"You'll be a dennntist!"

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Be a dentist...

Shinji:

"You have a talent for causing things PAIN!"

['Punches' one of the male patients sitting in the waiting room without even looking.]

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Pain!

Shinji:

"Son, be a dennntist!"

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Son, be a dentist...

Shinji:

"People will pay you to be inhuMANE."

[Tears the head off a doll held by another 'patient'.]

Mana/Mayumi/Mari

In-hu-mane!

Shinji:

"Your temperament's wrong for the priesthood,

And teaching would suit you still less.

Son, be a dennntist...

You'll be a success!"

[Proceeds to 'stick' a pair of forceps into his patient's mouth, and through great pantomiming, appears to be wrenching a tooth loose. The patient gives off some muffled 'screams', before Shinji finishes and moves on to the next patient, played by Mana's friend Musashi "Lee" Strasberg.]

Mana:

Here he is folks, the leader of the plaque!

[Shinji picks up a gas mask (the 'tank' filled with only compressed air) and takes in some 'NO2'.]

Mayumi:

Watch him suck up that gas, OH-MY-GAWD!

[Shinji gives off a 'gas-induced' maniacal laugh as he picks up a 'hypo' and sticks it into the jaw of the very-nervous patient.]

Mari [wagging a disapproving finger]:

He is a dentist, and he'll never EVER be any good.

Mana/Mayumi/Mari [pointing with their thumbs]:

Who wants their teeth done by the Marquis De Sade?

Patient/Musashi [looking at first pained, then fearful on seeing Shinji picking up a tool]:

Oh, oh that hurts!

Wait, I'm not numb!

Shinji [grinning while holding a 'drill']:

Ah, shaddup, open wide, here I come!

[Shinji then sticks the 'drill' into Musashi's mouth and starts 'going to town'.]

Shinji:

I am your dennntist!

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Goodness gracious!

Shinji:

And I enjoy the career that I've picked.

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Yeah, he loves it!

Shinji [removing the drill and putting it down]:

I am your dennntist!

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Fitting braces...

Shinji:

And I get off on the pain I inFLICT!

[Shinji abruptly opens the door to the next room, 'slamming' it into his 'hygienist' and knocking them out.]

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Really loves it!

Shinji:

When I start extracting those molars,

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Don't try it...

Shinji:

My patients'll be screaming like ho-ly rollers...

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Dennntist!

Shinji [opening the door to the next room]:

I thrill when I drill a bicuspid!

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Ooh, bi-cus-pid...

Shinji:

It's swell, though they tell me I'm mal-ad-justed.

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Dennntist...

Shinji [eyeing his next 'patient', played by Toji, hiding behind a cabinet]:

And though it may cause my patients distress...

Mana/Mayumi/Mari:

Distre-eh-ss...

Shinji [waltzing to his desk, where he picks up and briefly 'hugs' a framed picture]:

Somewhere, somewhere in heaven above me,

I know, I know that my momma's proud of me!

(Oh, momma...)

'Cause I'm a dennntist, and a suc-CESS!

[Shinji then points to Toji, then to the chair. Toji swallows visibly and reluctantly gets in, while Shinji flips some switches on an apparatus. He then holds up the water sprayer and aims it at Toji's face.]

Shinji:

Say 'aah'...

Patient/Toji [water filling his mouth]:

Ahh...

Shinji:

Say 'AAH'!

Patient/Toji [gargling]:

AHH!

Shinji:

SAY 'AAAAHH'!

Patient/Toji:

AAAAAAAHHHHH!

Shinji:

Now, SPIT!

[Shinji then slaps Toji on the back, causing him to spit the water out, just as the music ends.]

The students onstage held still while the audience applauded and cheered. Asuka and Misato, meanwhile, were completely floored by Shinji's performance. This feeling continued as they watched the rest of the show play out. They just couldn't believe it-the meek, shy boy they lived with absolutely chewed the scenery, was completely nailing his performance, even when the character met his untimely end and became the next meal of the monster plant. When the play finally finished, as the cast took their bows onstage, they were met with thunderous applause and cheering, some of which came from Misato and Asuka.

A bit later, the two of them met Shinji backstage, as he was removing his beard and stowing the glasses away. The moment the glasses went back in the case, he was immediately met by a congratulatory bear hug from Misato, which made him blush.

"You were fricking amazing up there!" Misato beamed. "I never knew you had it in you, I just can't believe it!"

"Uh, Misato?" Asuka started to point out. "I think you might wanna ease up, considering he needs to breathe."

Misato opened her eyes at that instant, and saw Shinji trying to say something. Sheepishly, she immediately let him go, allowing him to catch his breath for a minute.

"Th-thanks," Shinji said. "I'm glad you both made it."

"Mind if I ask you something, Third?" Asuka began to ask. "How come you made yourself up like your dad?"

Shinji drew a breath before he answered her. "I'll be honest-it started with Kensuke daring me to audition, then betting I could get the role right off the bat. So, I was a bit nervous going in. I started reading over the part, and needed to figure out a way to get me into the mindset of a guy who's a real jerk to everyone around him." He looked off to the side for a bit before continuing. "There was only one person who made me think of that in real life: my father. So I borrowed a bit of the sort of fear and loathing he seems to inspire in everyone. I guess part of me wanted to see what it felt like."

"Got that right," Misato affirmed. "(Didn't hear that from me, though.) Only difference is, something tells me your old man can't carry a tune like you can."

Shinji smiled at the compliment. "Thanks," he said.

"I gotta admit, Third," Asuka said. "Don't get me wrong, as far as piloting goes, you're still low on the totem pole. But as an actor, you actually were...*Sigh* Terrific. I loved every inch of your performance."

Shinji was surprised at first, upon hearing praise from Asuka of all people. "Th-thank you," he said, absentmindedly rubbing the back of his head.

Asuka wasn't quite done yet. "But now I hate that you've made me terrified of dentists," she teased.

END.

**Author's Note(s)**

Something I whipped up on a lark. If there's another means by which the Third Child could find a way to overcome some of his insecurities, the stage would definitely be an idea. And casting against type would make it even better. To appease fans of either the stage or screen versions, I included both sets of certain lyrics.

Originally, I was going to include an omake where we see the part of the play in which the masochistic patient comes in; to make it even funnier, I'd have Kaworu playing the part. An additional omake would've revealed Rei to be the puppeteer for the Audrey II prop, just for giggles. And finally, a third one would've seen Misato, at work the following day, pass by Gendo and, on a whim, ask him if, before getting into his current line of work, he ever considered becoming a dentist.