Boys and Girls

Disclaimer: Gainax owns everything.  Sue them, not me.  -_^

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A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fanfiction:

Boys and Girls

Written by Myssa Elaine S. Rei

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“So, what’d you think?”

Shinji blinked a little, startled by the sudden comment.  He was fairly certain that his mind had wandered off in the middle of a conversation again, as to why he had no idea.  A little disoriented, he turned to his companion, who didn’t seem to notice his lapse one bit.

“I said what’d you think?” Aida Kensuke, his freckled face framed by the sly look he usually reserved when talking about Misato.  Taking a bite out of his sandwich, he gave his friend a questioning look, apparently waiting for what Shinji was going to say.

“Huh?”  Shinji winced inwardly at his response.  Try as he might to hide the cluelessness from his voice, it showed all the same.  He had totally lost track of what they had been talking about.

“Shinji,” Kensuke chuckled.  “Don’t tell me you’re not in the least interested.  This is big stuff!”  The be-spectacled otaku gave his sandwich another bite before continuing.  “This could very well alter the foundations of our world as we know it!”

“Honestly?  I don’t know,” Shinji gave a defeated sigh.  The boy stared at the lunchbox he had cradled on his lap, missing entirely the incredulous look his friend gave him.  Oblivious to the expression on Kensuke’s face, he continued with the business he had been occupied with before his companion interrupted: eating his lunch.

“Shinji, say this ain’t so,” Kensuke’s shoulders slumped, the expression on his face looking for all the world like feigned anguish.  “You’re not worried that we’re losing Touji to the womenfolk?!”

Ah, so that was what they were talking about.

Shinji paused, chopsticks to his mouth, as he remembered why they were up here on the rooftop eating lunch in the first place, instead of comfortably seated underneath one of the shade trees in the school yard.  It seems that Touji, their friend and paragon of class studliness, went out of his way to complement the class rep on her looks…Which in turn caused the alarms to go off somewhere in Kensuke’s head.

And so, he let himself be dragged here to the roof, so he and Kensuke could discuss ‘countermeasures’ to halt the impeding loss of their friend to the ‘enemy’.  The enemy being the girls of the school, and in particular, one Horaki Hikari, their class representative.

Kensuke then proceeded to babble over a whole gamut of topics that had no connection to either Touji or Hikari.  Not the least of which was the comparison between the virtues of Misato over ‘plain’ Hikari, especially when it came to their particular ‘endowments’…

The word ‘gonzagas’ figured in much of his friend’s rantings, as well.

Shinji’s face started to crease into a frown.  No wonder he lost track of their conversation; it was all so silly!  Not only that, but it was embarrassing to the extreme.  It wasn’t for them to interfere in Touji’s business.  So what if he complemented the class rep?  Kensuke was just making a big fuss out of everything.

Again.

“You’re impossible, you know,” Shinji said as he gave his friend a sideward glance.  Kensuke, too intent on the subject matter, ignored his look completely.

Shinji sighed, leaning back against the rooftop’s railing.  There goes my time alone, he despaired.  Between the constant teasing he endured back at the apartment, the academic grind here at school, and EVA, those quiet times were slowly becoming few and far in between.

What was a boy to do the get some well-deserved solitude?  Between teasing guardians, loud redheads, and rowdy friends, Shinji seemed to be doomed to an existence with overloaded eardrums.

“Kensuke,” Shinji wanted to try one more time to reach his friend’s conscience.  “I don’t see why we have to involve ourselves in this.”  He chewed a bit of rice before continuing.  “It’s his decision to say something nice to Horaki-san, so we could at least respect that; it’s not our place to interfere in someone else’s choice.”

“Shinji, have you hit yourself on the head lately?”

A slight wind blew through the rooftop, bringing with it the sound of rustling leaves.

“Excuse me?”

The noon sun reflected off his friend’s eyeglasses, giving it an eerie shine that sent shivers down Shinji’s spine.  Kensuke inched his face close to his friend’s, a grim look gracing his features, his eyes unreadable because of the sun’s glare.

With a barely-audible ‘eep’, Shinji instinctively backed away.

“Don’t tell me that Demon Girl has finally gotten to you as well,” the be-spectacled boy intoned, his voice reminiscent of doom and gloom.  “What did she do Shinji?  Share your bedside?  Gave a peek of her cleavage?  Say it ain’t so…”

An image of Shinji’s roomate, clad in her baggy yellow t-shirt and shorts, came unbidden into the boy’s mind, lying opposite him, the last night before they faced the Angel of Art and Music…

Oh boy.

All of a sudden, he could feel his cheeks heating up.

“It’s not like that!” Shinji blurted out.  He shook his head, trying to hide the blush he knew was on his face.  “I mean, Asuka would never do that.  Even if she did, she’d kill me afterwards!  I may be dense, but I’m not stupid.”

Bowing his head, Kensuke gave him a pat of understanding on his shoulder.  “I knew you wouldn’t betray me Shinji,” he said, the grim look replaced with the more familiar sly grin.  “So you’ll help me convince Touji that what he’s doing is going against the natural order?”

Shinji sighed.  He won’t get any peace at this rate.  With heavy heart, he agreed.

“Excellent!” Kensuke crowed in triumph.  “Now, all we need is a plan…”

“Boring.”

Shinji didn’t bother to swivel in his seat to see who it was who voiced that oh-so true observation.  As her custom, Sohryu Asuka Langley, Second Child, pilot of Unit-02 and, unfortunately, his roomate, made her feelings at the moment clear to the whole class.

“Bored, bored, bored…”

Of course, it’s not like anyone could really blame her for feeling that way.  As expected, their old teacher had wandered off from teaching Algebra again, and was now regaling them with his life before Second Impact.

“So, so bored…”

Most of the class shared the redhead’s feelings, and though Shinji didn’t want to admit it, there were times when he felt the same.  But there was simply no way around it; until classes adjourned for the day, they had to suffer the wait listening to the old man’s ramblings.

“Bored, bored…”

Of course, that didn’t mean that everyone couldn’t make the most of the time.  Some of his classmates, the girls in particular, were busying themselves chatting with each other via their laptops.  It was a novel use of the resources they had at hand, he had to admit, but it was very effective in keeping away the boredom.

“I can’t believe I’m sooo bored…”

Ocassionally a giggle or two would escape, giving hint to what they were conversing about.  Shinji really didn’t pay too much attention, the workings of the female mind far too complex for him to try to comprehend.  As long as they weren’t talking about him, it was okay…It’s not like there was anything interesting in particular about him anyway.

“…So boring.  I should have brought my mini-disc player…”

His friends were talking advantage of the time as well, though in different ways.  Touji seemed to be sleeping again, the rather obvious vocalizations of his slumber infusing the atmosphere of the classroom.

“…Boring…”

Kensuke didn’t really seem to mind the snores of his fellow stooge, and except for a few worried looks, he seemed to be absorbed with his laptop, his fingers a deftly darting across the keyboard’s surface.  It was quite obvious that the boy wasn’t chatting, but was doing something…Illegal.  Shinji sighed at this, and hoped that his friend wouldn’t get into trouble.

“…Bored, bored…At this rate I’ll turn into Wondergirl…”

“Asuka!”

Shinji shifted his gaze a little to the front, where that little reprimand just came from.  Horaki Hikari had a very disappointed look on her face, and it was quite clearly directed to the place where the Second Child sat.  He was barely surprised; depite being friends with Asuka, Hikari’s position as class representative took precedence over friendship.  “Keep quiet and pay attention.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll shut up.  Geez…”

Shinji tried not to sigh in relief.  With Asuka taken care of, his mind, which had been distracted by the redhead’s constant nagging, was free to ponder the problem he had in hand.

He snatched one last look at the class rep, and was a little astonished to see the authoritarian glare gone, replaced by a soft, almost affectionate look.  Shinji straightened in his seat a little, following her line of sight to Touji, who was blissfully snoring the afternoon away.

“Oh no…” This time, the exclamation came from Kensuke.  “This is bad…”

Shinji shook his head, and settled back into his seat.  He didn’t understand his friend’s concern.  So Hikari gave Touji a look other than her normal ‘class representative, dictator of class 2-A’ glare?  It wasn’t like there was anything wrong with that.

Kensuke turned in his seat to face him, his eyes wide.  Shinji, in response, narrowed his, and tried to give an expression of resigned suffering.  Which his friend didn’t notice.  Again.

“Shinji,” The otaku spoke in a low whisper, his tone of voice speaking of a strange urgency Shinji had never heard before, but considering Kensuke’s love of theatrics, he should have expected.  “We don’t let Touji out of our sights, understand?”

“Kensuke,” Shinji whispered back, trying to reach that voice of reason within his friend.  “Aren’t you overreacting just a bit?”

“You promised!”

Forced was more like it, Shinji thought to himself.  “Okay, relax, relax,” he waved his friend back, trying to calm Kensuke down.  “I’ll help you follow Touji.”  It’s not like there’s anything I could do about it anyway, the boy added silenly.

Kensuke gave him a wide grin, quite obviously satisfied with the response he had given.  “We begin surveillance after cleanup,” the boy settled back into his seat and returned to whatever it was he was doing on his laptop.  “Don’t be late.”

Shinji sighed, cradling his chin on the palm of his hand, as the other began to absently twirl his pen between its fingers.  How the heck did he get into such a ridiculous condition?  Forced to side with one friend so as to spy on another!  It was utterly, utterly stupid.

He was already regretting to agreeing to be a part of Kensuke’s harebrained plan.

It was none of their business, really.  What Touji did is his own decision.  They had no right to butt in and…And fix it, whatever Kensuke meant when he used that word.

Kensuke was clearly reading into the situation too much.  Yeah, that’s it.  He’s assuming too much.

Shinji wondered what time it was.  The sooner they finished this crazy business, the better…

Two rows behind the mentally-occupied Third Child, his roomate raised one shapely eyebrow.  Asuka, who had decided long before that she knew everything there was about her roomate, found herself puzzled at the Third’s countenance.  Instead of the tired and bored expression she had come to expect from her other classmates, it looked like the silly boy was actually thinking about something.

She frowned at this.  Sohryu Asuka Langley didn’t like being puzzled.

Seeing Shinji and his fellow stooge whisper about something didn’t quite sit well with her either.  Something was up, she knew, but what?

She intended to find out.  For something that was clearly stooge-planned couldn’t be all good…

The ringing of the school chime came as a welcome relief for the students, mentally exhausted after the day’s regimen of institution-enforced learning.  As their doddering teacher made his way out of the classroom, most of the students visibly relaxed, glad that this school day was over and done with.

Well, for most of them anyway.

Though looking forward to the prospect of getting home himself, Shinji found that his enthusiasm was dampened somewhat.  He knew the reason, of course.  And it didn’t make what he was going to do any less embarrassing.

A sigh escaped his lips as he slid his laptop back into its place inside his desk.  No matter how much he glossed over it, the fact remained that he was involved now.  No matter how unpleasant the situation seemed to him.

For what seemed to be the nth time that afternoon, Shinji wondered why he had allowed himself to be talked into participating in this crazy stunt.

“So, Touji,” Shinji heard Kensuke say.  “Shinji and I are heading over to the arcade to check out that new machine they installed, and I was wonderin’…”  He winced a bit, knowing what was coming next; phase one of Kensuke’s grand plan to convince Touji the wrongness of what he was doing was under way.

Let the festivities commence, a small part of Shinji’s mind announced.  For some strange reason, that sarcastic remark seemed all-too appropriate to the situation.

He didn’t even bother to look up anymore, and tried to ignore Kensuke’s ‘speech’, busying himself instead with packing his bag.  Shigata ga nai, as they say.  There was nothing he could do about it now but go along with it and pray that everything goes smoothly.  Absolutely nothing…

Wait a minute.

There is something he can do.  At the very least he can escape becoming actively involved with this nonsense.  Shinji quickly felt his mood improve by leaps and bounds.  Quickly, he began to scan the class for a certain person…

Had he been more perceptive at the moment, he would have noticed someone studying his actions with morbid interest.  Someone whose normal expression sends shudders into even the most hardened delinquent, and whose current look spoke of murderous intent…That kind of morbid.  Someone whose mere presence usually sent him scrambling to find refuge somewhere.

Someone who was getting very, very annoyed, since this person was getting more and more puzzled by his actions.

This better not be a waste of my time, that person grumbled silently to herself.  If it is, he’s dead.

Of course, since Shinji isn’t really a perceptive young man, he never noticed.  Which is good for him, since if he had, he would have lost hope then and there.

Some of his classmates were already getting ready to go home, and Shinji had to act fast if he was to find any escape from his predicament.  It didn’t take too long for his gaze to find that person.

“Ayanami!” He blurted out, a little too loud.  Some of his classmates stopped to stare at him, while Kensuke’s little tirade began to trail off as he stared at him in confusion.

Asuka narrowed her eyes, arching up one sculpted eyebrow in astonishment.  Now, this was different.

With half of the class looking at him, Shinji felt his face heat up in a furious blush, and he began to sputter in embarrassment.  “I…er, um…I…”

“Yes?” The albino girl had already begun to leave, but she stopped, and was now directing her crimson gaze towards him.  “What is it, pilot Ikari?”

“Don’t we have a synch test today?”  Shinji did his best not to look too hopeful.

Or desperate.

“There is no test slated for today,” Rei replied, her voice bland and toneless.

“Are you sure?”

“I am positive, pilot Ikari,” The First Child gave a slight tilt of her head as she looked at him.  Though her expression was unreadable as always, Shinji couldn’t help but think that she was getting confused.  With the way he was acting right now, he wouldn’t be too surprised if she wasn’t..

Of course this is Rei after all.  It would take a lot to puzzle her, certainly more than what he was doing.

Right?

“I can walk you to the Geofront then,” Shinji stood up, nearly adding, anything to get me out of here.  “You know, just to keep you company.”  He tried to give his fellow pilot his best pleading look.

Please Rei, just this once…

“There is no need for that,” Rei started walking towards the main door of the room.  “I will manage that on my own.”  With that, Rei stepped out, and all of Shinji’s hope left with her.

The boy felt his spirit hit rock bottom.

Shinji collapsed back unto his chair, as the rest of his classmates, those who weren’t smiling yet, began to talk among themselves as they left the classroom.  Especially the girls.  Their gay laughter disheartened him even more, and he could easily imagine the proverbial mills of rumor turning… Again.

Ayanami and Ikari?  I knew there was something about them…

Well, I’m not really surprised…

I wonder if they’ve already…

“I’m doomed,” he intoned to himself miserably.  “Doomed…”

Fighting an Angel was infinitely preferable to what he faced at the moment.  When an Angel attacked, he knew that he would get hurt, at the very least.

But this?  He really couldn’t see where this was leading to…If it led to anything good.

The gloom that radiated from the  place where the Third Child was seated was so palpable that even Touji, whom Kensuke was currently preaching the virtues of arcade gaming, noticed.  With a worried expression, he raised a hand to stop his friend’s lecture.  “Hey Kensuke,” he said, his eyes motioning towards Shinji’s direction.  “What’s wrong with him?”

The otaku gave a shrug in response.  “I dunno,” he said as he followed Touji’s gaze.  “Maybe he’s just tired?”

“I see.”

Too caught up in his own misery, Shinji didn’t notice his friend give him a concerned look.  When he finally lifted his eyes once more, on the sight of Touji leaning back in his chair greeted him.

“So, are you interested?”  Kensuke’s grinned a little too widely for comfort, even for Shinji.  He wondered if Touji wasn’t wondering if there was an ulterior motive to Ken’s invitation.

“C’mon, it’ll be fun!”

He shook his head at that.  C’mon, this is Touji, right?  In some ways, the jock was even worse than him.

“I’m sorry Kensuke, but I can’t.”

Shinji blinked, a little startled by Touji’s response.  Normally, his friend would jump at any chance to goof off, especially after an exceptionally boring schoolday like this one.

Kensuke was a little more vocal with his reaction, however.

“What?!?”

“I said I can’t,” Touji gave his friend a shrug.  “If it was any other day, I’d join you in a minute.  But I have something to do later on.  Something important.”

Shinji couldn’t help but imagine Kensuke’s plans literally collapsing all around him.  Poor guy.  Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men…

“Out of my way, stooge!”

Kensuke, too stunned by Touji’s reply, was in no condition to react at the moment.  So it wsn’t surprising that he was easily pushed aside by an onrushing blur of red hair and blue uniform.  Asuka.

Shinji and Touji winced in unison.

“Hey!” Kensuke exclaimed.

Asuka didn’t even bother to reply, as she moved towards where the class rep was still busy setting her things in order.  “Hikari, are you done yet?” she asked her companion, completely ignoring the sharp glare the freckled stooge was giving her behind her back.  “C’mon, let’s go.”

The redhead, though admittedly amused at the antics of the three stooges, was a little anxious to go home herself.  After those mind-numbing lectures, she figured that she deserved some time to recover.  She could always puzzle out the odd behavior of the Third Child and his lackeys later.

“You go on ahead, Asuka,” Hikari paused in what she was doing, and looked up at her friend.  “I still have…stuff…to do.”

“Eh?”  Now, this was certainly odd.  Asuka tilted her head a little, giving her friend a puzzled look.  Or something that approximated one anyway.  Is it just her, or was there something in the air today that made everyone act weird?

The small smile that Hikari had on her face wasn’t helping matters, either.

“It’s only for today.  Important stuff, y’know?”

“Oh?”

“I’ll be fine, Asuka.  Really,” The class rep locked her book bag, and stood up to face her friend.  “Look, if it’ll help you feel better, I’ll walk you to the school yard, okay?”

The redhead gave her companion a suspicious look as they walked out of the classroom.  She snatched a quick look at Shinji and his friends over her shoulders, before focusing back to Hikari.  Could it be? She dismissed the thought as quickly as it came.  Hikari couldn’t be connected to the odd streak of behavior the Stooges were having, could she?

Could she?

Asuka’s eyes narrowed a bit.  Maybe she did have to study this matter more carefully…

“This is stupid.”

Patience is said to be a virtue.  All people possess it in one small degree or another, helping them weather some of life’s worst storms.  For one Ikari Shinji, that singular facet of his personality has helped keep his fragile psyche in one piece through some of the tumultuous events of his life, least of which being an EVA pilot.  Despite the constant torture it was undergoing back at the apartment, at the hands of a teasing guardian and a nagging roomate, no less, it managed to survive, a little worse for wear, but intact.

“Quiet Shinji!” his companion whispered, putting a finger to his lips in a plea for silence.  “They might hear us!”

Shinji gave his companion a dry look, an expression that spoke volumes of gloomy thoughts and emotions, despair and helplessness being the chief among these.  Of course, Kensuke being who he is, the signals his friend was trying to send simply didn’t pierce the otaku’s expression of blissful ignorance.

The Third Child’s patience was wearing itself thin.  For the first time in what would seem to be his whole life, Shinji felt the urge to strangle someone.  Someone close by.

Of course, since Kensuke was his friend he couldn’t very well throttle the guy now, could he?  As tempting as the thought may be, Shinji had to constantly remind himself that he agreed to what his friend had come up with.  Embarrassing as the situation is, he had to stick by this choice.

“C’mon, they’re moving to the tennis court,” With a gentle nudge in the shoulder, Kensuke crept though the bushes, motioning him to follow.

Shinji gave a long-suffering sigh before following.  Though he was now actively in collusion with his friend’s crazy stunt, it didn’t mean he didn’t wish he was somewhere else.  Let it be over soon, he thought.  Please.

Either the Powers that be weren’t listening, or they were busy doing something else.

Shinji didn’t really expect an answer, but in the oft chance that someone up there was listening he let the plea hang anyway.  Even a tiny miracle would help right now.

The situation was steadily going from merely embarrassing to full-out crazy.  With Touji’s refusal of Kensuke’s offers of digital oblivion earlier, the conspiracy alarms in the otaku’s mind went into overdrive.  Literally.  It was unthinkable—at least where Ken was concerned—for Touji to pass up a chance to goof off and enjoy himself!

Surely something was amiss!

Touji leaving the classroom only minutes after Hikari and Asuka made their exit didn’t help matters either, serving to only enhance Kensuke’s worries.  After a minute or so of raving, of which Shinji had to endure several shakings that made his head spin, the otaku arrived at a conclusion that something was indeed wrong.

Right.

The Third Child knew exactly what was wrong, of course.  Butting in their friend’s business, when they really had no say in the matter in the first place, that was wrong.  You just don’t go barging in and disrupting someone else’s business!  It’s just not done!

But does anyone actually ask what he thinks about the situation?  Noooo…

And now here he was, flitting through the trees and bushes behind the school compound, trying to look as incospicous as possible, at the same time following Touji and the class representative as the two made their way towards the tennis court.  Skulking around and stalking people wasn’t really Shinji’s forte though, and every so often he would trip over a branch, or step on some dry leaves, bringing a sharp look from his companion.

Stealth was of the essence, and it was imperative that they not be seen.  At least, that’s how Kensuke saw things.  For some odd reason, Shinji felt that the otaku was actually enjoying what they were doing.

That made Shinji feel all the more nervous.

What’s the big deal anyway?  There wasn’t anything really strange about the situation, right?  Just Touji and Horaki-san talking with each other as they walked the school grounds.  Nothing really unusual about that.

Of course, Shinji had never seen Touji this animated before.

No, wait, he did see Touji like this before, when he and Kensuke were talking about those doujin they were able to buy a month or so ago…What was it about again?  Hand Maid May, or something like that…Something with a lot of naked girls and…And…

Oh dear.

Shinji shook his head clear of that disturbing image.  Whatever it was his friend and the class rep were talking about, surely it wasn’t about that.  No, it has to be something else, or Horaki-san wouldn’t be laughing every so often.

He hoped.

It didn’t take long for them to reach the edge of the fence that enclosed the tennis court.  Except for the four of them…Well, Touji and Horaki-san anyway, since he and Kensuke didn’t really count since they were in hiding.  Except for them, there was no one else there.  Admittedly, it was the perfect place for a private conversation between two people.

With the shrubbery thinning out around the fence’s perimeter, there was little Shinji and Kensuke could do to follow them without being caught.  Shinji couldn’t help but feel some relief as Touji and the class rep continued walking towards the wire-fence, clearly beyond their hearing range.

Maybe there is a God.  Small blessings like this don’t just appear out of nowhere.

“Damn,” Kensuke whined, giving his companion an almost desperate look.  “Shinji we have to get closer!”  Obviously, the otaku didn’t notice the two and a half meter-wide expanse of open grass between them and their friend.  “We can’t let this happen!”

“Kensuke,” Shinji faced his friend, giving the otaku his best serious look.  “In case you haven’t noticed, we can’t go any closer than this.”  Giving a wave of his hand, he pointed out the lack of any sufficient cover beyond where they were hiding.  “Unless you want to be seen, which I doubt…”

“But we just can’t sit here and do nothing Shinji!” Kensuke whispered, eyes wide behind his glasses.  “We’re losing Touji!  He’s going to cross over if we don’t do something!”

“Cross over?”  Now Kensuke was making less and less sense.  Shinji arched an eyebrow up, the meaning of the phrase eluding him.  “Excuse me?”

Kensuke didn’t even bother to reply, opting instead to give his companion a dark look, the sun’s glare reflecting off his eyeglasses malevolently.  Grabbing the collar of Shinji’s shirt, the otaku put his face against his friend’s, eyes gleaming madly as they looked into the Third Child’s own.

“The class rep, Shinji!  Don’t you see?”

“Calm down Ken,” Shinji gave a nervous smile as he tried to calm down his friend.  “No one’s going to take Touji away.  I mean, this is Touji remember?  Who’d be interested in the dumb lug?”  He had to look away a bit as he silently asked his other friend’s forgiveness.

Leaning back, Kensuke relinquished hold of Shinji’s shirt.  The manic look was slowly melting away, a look of what seemed to be geniune worry taking its place.

“Well, she is,” the boy said, nodding his head in the direction of the aforementioned party.  “Shinji, what’re we going to do now?  If we just sit here, she’ll take our friend away…Nothing’ll be the same…”

“Maybe you’re just overreacting?” Shinji set his gaze upon his friend and the class representative, the pair sharing a quiet conversation by the fence.  The topic of their exchange?  Who knows?  Judging by the relaxed look of the two, it was probably something, well, normal.  Turning his face back to his companion, the boy shook his head.  “It looks innocent to me.”

“That’s how it looks like at first,” The otaku sighed, resting his chin on the palm of his hand as he sat, his eyes looking in the direction of the tennis court.  “Then it’ll go straight downhill from there.  Touji won’t even know we exist after a few weeks.”

“I’m sure it’s not like that.”

“Yeah, well…”  Kensuke gave his friend a sideward glance, before returning his eyes to studying what was transpiring by the wire fence.  “We just can’t give up like this.  There’s just got to be a way…”

Shinji didn’t comment on that, instead emulating his companion’s study of Touji and Hikari.  For the first time in the whole day, he felt happy?  No, that’s not the right word…Like a great weight was lifted from his shoulders.  Yeah, that’s it.  With Kensuke’s plan in shambles, he had a feeling that his worries were over…

“What way?”

Too intent at what he was doing, Shinji absently answered the query.  “Kensuke, there’s nothing we can do about it.  There’s just no way you can get closer without getting noticed.”  He sighed, giving his companion a sidewards glance of his own.  He was going to hammer the facts through to his friend, when he noticed the otaku’s wide-eyed look.

Blinking, Shinji felt his explanation waver.

“What do you mean, ‘getting closer without getting noticed’, hmmm?”

Belatedly, the neurons in Shinji’s brain began firing warning signals, as it finally registered that it wasn’t Kensuke who had asked the question in the first place.  Based on the sound of the voice, the source wasn’t even male.

Shinji suddenly felt very, very scared.

“Well, I’m waiting, Third Child…”

Shinji’s eyes’ widened.  As the two boys swallowed nervously, they slowly turned to face the voice’s source…

Sitting behind them, with an odd mix of curiousity and disbelief on her face, Sohryu Asuka Langley waited patiently for Shinji’s answer.  “Well?”

Touji and Hikari stopped talking as a scream of such abject terror reached their ears.  To be precise, two screams of abject terror.

“Inchou!”  On reflex, the jock positioned himself in front of the class rep, putting her behind him.  Expecting something horrible to burst out from the bushes, Touji was a little surprised to see Kensuke scrambling frantically out of the shrubbery, screaming like he had seen a vision of Hell itself.

“What the…”

Touji was even more surprised to see Shinji scrambling out as well, as if his life depended on it.  However, unlike Kensuke, the Third Child wasn’t as lucky; before he got a chance to position himself upright for a mad dash, an arm shot out of the leaves in a blur of speed, dragging the helpless boy back into the bushes.

“Kensuke?  Shinji?!?”  Touji’s defensive pose began to deteriorate with the onrush of uncertainty.

The jock’s surprise was echoed by someone else, though this time deeper in the trees.  With a look of concern, the section 2 agent pulled out his radio, and contacted HQ.  “Uh, sir,” the agent said into his radio.  “This may sound a little crazy, but are you sure the Second Child isn’t sexually active?  Or the Third, for that matter?  Because…”

Peeking behind Touji’s tall frame, Hikari nervously looked up at the boy.  “Suzuhara, what’s happening?”

Touji, hearing the screaming continue, gulped and took the girl by the hand.  Oblivious of the furious blush that was spreading across the hapless class rep’s cheeks, or the small smile she had on her face, he said, “I think we better find someplace else to talk.”  With that, he led Hikari off in a run, away from the screams, which were continuing unabated.

“I’m sorry about dat.”

Leaning back against the walls of the school gates, the boy gave the girl beside him an apologetic glance.  The girl was panting a little, though she seemed to be more exhilarated than tired, as if the run had invigorated somehow.  Feeling a little warmth spreading across his cheeks, the boy looked away.

“I don’t really mind,” Leaning back on the wall like her companion, the girl seemed to be intent studying the palm of one hand with another, a small smile apparent on her lips.  “Though it is a bit strange…”

“Yeah, I guess,”  The boy allowed himself a laugh, agreeing wholeheartedly.  “I kinda expected Ken and Shinji ta follow me, but I didn’t expect dat.

The girl giggled as well, the freckles on her face seemingly standing out as she laughed.  “Me either,”  The girl looked up at her taller companion, her eyes alight.  “You’re not worried about Ikari?”

“A little,” The boy crossed his arms behind his head, his eyes focused on a far-away horizon.  “But I know dat he can handle himself.  He’s an EVA pilot, ain’t he?”

“Yeah…”

There was a moment of silence between the two teenagers, as the boy snatched quick looks at his companion, and the girl closed her eyes in thought.

“So…”  The boy began.

“So…”  The girl replied.

“Is it okay?” The boy relaxed out of his posture to face the girl.  The look on his face was uncertain, at the same time tinged with a hint of longing.  “Will you come with me, tonight?”

“Of course,” the girl shifted to face him.  The smile she had seemed to light up the space around her.  “Besides, it’d help your sister, right?  So she won’t feel so lonely.”

The boy’s face almost lit up in joy, and it took a little bit of control to keep that expression from showing.  “Thank you…”  The boy caught himself as he was about to call the girl by her position at class.  “Thank you, Hikari.”

The girl’s smile only seemed to widen.  “Don’t mention it…Touji.”

“And maybe…Maybe we can find someplace ta eat afterwards…”

Seeing the goofy smile the boy had, the girl playfully gave him an elbow to the side.  “Maybe.”

Myssa’s Notes:

Wow, what an experience that was.  After all those tests during the past month or so, I felt that I had spent most of my creative juices on my studies, leaving nothing left for my passtimes, most important of these was my writing.  I felt absolutely burnt out, and quite literally drained.

And then, I happened to read that post Daniel made while he was on vacation in Europe…

Well, you can say that everything fell into place after than.  And so, here I am, with my second completed story.  With my Midterms coming up next week, I might now be able to post in a while, but I am happy to be able to present this story to everyone.  A light-hearted try at presenting the lives of the Children, without the angst, without meaness.

Enjoy, everyone.  🙂

Finished January 29, 2002.

One more final: Omake!  Omake!


“I’m home.”

Stifling a yawn with her hand, Misato shuffled into the kitchen, her steps leading her to the first place she took solace in after a long day of work.  Too tired to even think, her body automatically went through the motions of retrieving a can of beer from the fridge, popping the seal open, and gulping it down.  All in one pass.

Feeling the rush of revitalizing alcohol through her system, Misato gave her customary whoop of victory, before flopping down on one of the chairs on the table.  Like a cat sated after licking clean a bowl of buttermilk, Misato hummed to herself, blissfully content.

She was so happy in fact, that she didn’t notice that she wasn’t alone at the table.

“Hi Misato.”

“Welcome home, Misato.”

Finishing the last drops of beer, Misato placed the can on the table, before giving a curious glance at the two youngsters who shared the table with her.  Beside her, Asuka was sipping a cup of tea, while on the other side of the table sat a bedraggled-looking Shinji, who seemed more intent at staring at his lap than anything else.

Quite odd.

“Anything wrong guys?”

“Nothing Misato,” Asuka answered after a sip.

“Long story Misato…” Shinji replied, cringeing a little as his other roomate gave him a sharp look.

“Oh?  Do tell?”  Misato arched her eyebrows up at this.  “C’mon, tell me what happened…I received a very, very alarming report from the security team watching over you earlier…”

Shinji sighed in defeat.  It was going to be a long night.

Author’s Note (May 2010): This was something I wrote a LONG time ago, before I started working full-time.

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