It was a hot summer day. The sun was scorching into the windows of the small apartment, causing any attempt at cooling the place to be futile. Everything that could be touched was hot and sticky. Water could cool you down, but that was only temporary, as it would dry up in minutes. Watching TV or doing something productive only seemed to irritate the occupants even more. The loud rumbling of the air conditioner was the only noise besides the heavy breathing of the bodies lying on the floor.

The German red-head was currently sprawled out on the floor, her signature hair falling around her. She was donned only in a loose white t-shirt and a pair of underwear, stating that it was too hot to wear anything else. She most desperately wanted to take off her eye patch that covered her left eye, as sweat was cumulating underneath it, but she was slightly self-conscious about not wearing it. She let out a huff of frustration, blowing the bangs out of her face. Her body was covered in a sticky layer of sweat, making her all the more irritable than she naturally was.

She had gotten better over the years, her temper that is. She learned to not lash out angrily at everyone and everything, learning to instead work with others because she couldn't be the best all the time. Although, she was stuck in the fourteen year old body, her mind had matured, so it was only a given that she had changed some. She was still the same hot-headed German that everyone knew. She could just control it better.

The other occupant of the room was trying to keep his eyes anywhere but on Asuka. He had chosen to wear a white t-shirt as well, but he did choose the path of shorts rather than his underwear. The quiet EVA pilot was hunched over in a chair at the table, taking sips of the cold water. The breeze coming from the AC did nothing to cool him. It just blew hot air all over him, making him even more irritable. He wanted to complain about the heat, but he knew that the moment that he spoke, Asuka would lash out at him, due to the irritation that evident on her face.

Shinji let out a sigh as he tapped his feet on the floor. He was beyond bored. There was nothing to do. There was no TV to watch. His music player was across the apartment and getting up to go get it would be more work than necessary. He felt lethargic and wanted nothing more than to jump in an ice cold pool.

They didn't have that luxury.

Being as irritable as he was, Shinij's thoughts headed in the negative direction. It was hard to be positive when all you wanted to do was pull your hair out. All he could think of was how pathetic he was. How he couldn't do anything to save anyone but cry and be frustrated. He hated himself most of the time. There was nothing he could do about that. Everyone around him hated him. They just stood by him because they needed him; they didn't want him.

The brunet's eyes wandered over to Asuka, finally. Her arms were akimbo as she stared at the ceiling. His eyes wandered to look at her exposed stomach. It was rising and falling heavily, as the heat was making it difficult to breathe. Her bangs were stuck to her forehead.

Much to Shinji's misfortune, however, Asuka's blue eye snapped in his direction, catching him staring at her. She let out an annoyed huff.

"What are you looking at, you pervert?" she asked him, her eye in a glare.

As per his natural reaction, a blush crossed his face and he shook his head, looking downwards.

"I was just wondering if you want a glass of water."

Asuka clicked her tongue, as if she didn't believe him, but spoke up anyway. "That would be nice, yeah."

Shinji slowly pushed himself up from his space and walked over to the kitchen to grab a glass. They were running out of ice, so Shinji made a mental note to go out and get more when it wasn't dangerously hot outside. He threw a couple of ice-cubes into the glass before filling it up with some tap water and walking over to Asuka's position on the living room floor. He stood over her, trying to keep his eyes trained on her face.

Pushing herself up off the floor, Asuka accepted the glass, taking large gulps as Shinji fell backwards onto the couch, legs sprawled open. He leaned his head back on the back of the couch, staring up at the ceiling. There were only two things to think about in this heat, beside the heat itself:

Asuka's half-naked form or his own negative thoughts.

He was sure the former would get him killed.

"Stop with that stupid look on your face," Asuka said. She was now propped up, looking at

Shinji with an exhausted expression.

"What?" Shinji replied. Why did she care what look he had on his face?

"You're going around with such a look of self-loathing on your face. You have been for a while. It's irritating," Asuka told him.


Asuka gritted her teeth. There was that one line that she hated. She loathed hearing him apologize for trivial things. Things that were out of his power. Things that didn't require an apology. She figured that he apologized half the time because he wanted her to shut up. He was like that fourteen years ago, and he is still like that now.

"You really didn't grow up at all these past fourteen years, did you idiot?" Asuka then stood up, hands on her hips, her eye trained in a glare. It wasn't a hateful glare, just one of irritation. She didn't hate Shinji. Not anymore at least.

"I was asleep. I didn't have time to mature like you did," Shinji grunted, returning her look. "Why do you care what I think anyway? It's not like you think any different about me either."

Asuka tightened her jaw as she crossed her arms, putting all her weight onto one hip.

"You never even asked me how I felt about you. You just assumed how I felt. You assumed that I hated you," Asuka responded.

"It's not like you gave me much else to work with there, Asuka."

She knew he was right. Fourteen years ago, she wasn't the nicest person in the world. Looking back on it, she wished that she could have owned up to her own feelings instead of taking it out on Shinji. She was just angry because he was a lot like her, however he just didn't deal with the emotions the same way. If she could re-do it, she would have treated Shinji with a little more respect, but she couldn't. There was nothing that she could do to change the past.

"It's not like anyone needs me anyway. Fourteen years ago, I was told 'pilot the EVA, Shinji' and that was all I needed to do to make anyone happy. Now I'm told not to pilot the EVA. There's nothing for me to do besides take up space. There isn't anyone here that wants me, so what's the point?" Shinji let out a frustrated sigh.

Asuka hated this about him, but mostly because she remembered that she felt the same way about herself. However, she covered up her feelings of self-loathing as her wanting to have everyone acknowledge her by her being the best. She had that fake pride covering up her fear and scars. Shinji wasn't like her; therefore he just took whatever hand he was dealt with tears and frustration. He was far too angry with the world and himself for his own good.

"You need to come to terms with yourself, Shinji. I did. It took some time. It took me getting injured and you leaving me, and a lot of other factors to realize that I could never be happy unless I came to terms with the hand that I was dealt and made it better for myself," Asuka told him with her usual angry expression. "Stop being an idiot and just accept that people do care. If no one wanted you around, we wouldn't waste our time."

"It doesn't matter if you guys want me or not, Asuka," Shinji said seriously and firmly. It actually startled Asuka, his tone of voice. "The thing is…you can't make me love myself."

Asuka stood there for a moment, completely dumbfounded. He hated himself to the core. Why was that? Because no one ever told him that they loved him? That they cared about him? That they wanted him around? Did he need them to spell it out for him? Was he that deep in?

She was frustrated. Although she still regarded the brunet with irritation and sometimes she still was a bit touchy about the Third Impact incident, she had begun to understand what made Shinji do what he did in the past. That, mixed with her maturation over the years, made her a little less scornful towards the boy. She still held her anger, but that was just her personality.

Plopping down on the couch next to him, Asuka stared him down. Shinji, however, had his head downcast, his hair falling into his eyes.

"You're right, moron, I can't," Asuka said firmly. "All I can tell you is that everyone does care about you."

She was silent more a moment. Whether Shinji would register this or not, the next thoughts in her head took her a lot of courage to say, regardless if she was an adult in her mind or not.

"I do care about you, Shinji." Asuka crossed her arms and looked away in irritable embarrassment. "I may not be good at expressing my emotions, but I do care. A lot. When you were gone, there were a lot of times I found myself calling for you to help me, even though I knew you weren't there."

Shinji lifted his head to look at Asuka. He never thought those words would come out of her mouth. He just looked at her with that same dumbfounded look that he always had. It made Asuka's brow twitch in frustration.

"Stop staring, dumbass," Asuka grunted, her cheeks lighting blushing.

Shinji's cheeks reddened as well, but instead of being happy, he looked downward again. Asuka tightened her jaw. Did nothing she said get through to him? Did he not understand how hard it was for her to open her heart to him? She, herself, was afraid to getting close to others. Not because she thought she wasn't good enough or that no one loved her, but she didn't want to be abandoned again. She didn't want to be alone.

Asuka kicked Shinji in the shin, causing him to cry in pain. He looked up at her confused, rubbing the side of the leg that she kicked.

"Why did you hit me, Asuka?" Shinji complained.

Asuka crossed her arms and fell back into the arm of the couch.

"You really are an idiot, aren't you?" Asuka turned her face so Shinji couldn't see her good eye, only her eyepatch. "Can't you just be happy that someone loves you?" She pulled her legs up to her chest and hugged her knees.

Shinji stared at Asuka, even though she wasn't looking at him. He was confused. He didn't understand how it was possible that she could care about him. He ruined her life, everyone's life. He was weak and submissive. He had no good traits.

"You may be stupid, and you've done stupid things, but you have good traits," she mumbled. "I get you think poorly of yourself. You always have. Maybe you'll grow out of that, maybe you won't. It's irritating hearing you talk down about yourself all time, but that won't change the fact that I care about you."

Shinji stared quietly at her. This is the last thing he expected to come out of Asuka's mouth. Asuka was a hot-headed person in general, he didn't expect words of affection. Not from her. Not from anyone.

"I know you don't love yourself, so I'll love you enough for both of us," she said, turning to him and smiling a bit.

Shinji was surprised. He knew he liked Asuka. He knew that not long after he met her. But he knew that it would have been impossible for them to get together. Not with the way Asuka's mindset was. They were too similar, and Asuka wanted to be the best and wanted everyone to love and acknowledge her by piloting the EVA. Nothing else mattered but that. And she hated Shinji because they were so similar yet different. She couldn't even comprehend allowing him in, even if that is what she wanted deep down. So hearing her tell him that she returned his feelings, he wasn't expecting it. Maybe it was the fourteen years of maturation that Asuka gained over him that changed her.

Shini chucked quietly before reaching his hand upwards and gently placing it on Asuka's cheek, brushing her eyepatch softly. The action shocked Asuka.

"Thanks, Asuka."

Her cheeks flared and narrowed her eye at him.

"Shut up, moron," she mumbled without any anger behind it.

Hello! This is my first Evangelion oneshot! I hope it was alright. The universe that this takes place in is 3.33 however, it doesn't exactly follow the movie. I wanted more interaction between these two, so this was created! Please review!