Advice and Trust
COME OVER, BAE.
CAN'T. I'VE GOT HOMEWORK.
SAYAKA'S DAD ISN'T HOME. STAY THE NIGHT.
Kensuke's dad found a hastily scrawled note on the kitchen table explaining his son was off to spend the night at his friend's house, and he had his cell phone. Mr. Aida shrugged. His son stayed over at the Suzuhara kid's place pretty often. He thought nothing of it and went to make some instant ramen for a simple widower's dinner.
The comfortable silence in the dimly lit bedroom was broken by the redhead after twenty minutes of screaming, panting, and pleasured gasps. "Sayaka?"
"Mmm?" She tightened her arms around her warm, sweaty bedmate, burrowing into her partner's bare back.
"You know this is kind of crazy, right?"
Sayaka shrugged and didn't open her eyes. "Too good an opportunity to pass up. Our dads will let us spend long sleepovers together without much supervision since they 'know' nothing naughty will go on, but how often do we get a chance to spend almost a whole week alone with our boyfriend?" She laughed softly. "And definitely get 'naughty'."
"That's the part I mean." Kyoko reluctantly disentangled herself from Sayaka's arms and sat partway up on her elbows. "Us and Kensuke. I... I would feel awkward and unfair to him if we were just using a guy for sex because we've both found boys are more fun than we expected-"
"But we're not!" Sayaka protested, sitting up herself. "Sure, that part is lots of fun, but we go on actual dates, hang out together, his camping trips... heck, he's even made no-joke studying together more fun and productive! Our grades are even up! And we all said we'd be honest about our feelings. We're not just using him, Kyo-chan! We've got something real here!" She paused. "...I mean, we both really like him, right?"
Kyoko nodded. "We do. And that's the crazy part. I wasn't saying we were using him, Saya-chan. Just... if we're not doing this for real, that's what it is. And since we are doing that... it's kind of crazy. Bad enough if our families ever found out you and I are together for real. But if they found out we're a for-real triad? That we're not just lesbians, but 'bisexual polyamorous perverts'? Your dad would shoot him and us, and my dad would either excommunicate me or send me to a nunnery! I'm not talking about this week being crazy. I'm talking about us doing this whole thing."
Sayaka's face drooped and she looked down and to the side. "...we'd be screwed either way. We'd be in a mess every way this ends except giving up on each other and just one of us taking Kensuke. And like Hell am I giving you up. You and I have loved each other since before we even knew how to say it." Her eyes came up to lock with Kyoko's again. "So if we're going to be in trouble, let's be in it the way that makes us happiest. Let's be crazy."
Kyoko's face split into a grin, her little fang winking at her girlfriend. "That's what I thought you'd say. I just wanted to check. Me too." She glanced at the bedside clock. "He should be here in a few minutes. Jan Ken Pon for who has to get dressed enough to open the door for him?"
Kensuke fidgeted nervously in the bare hallway. He knew OPSEC was important, and Sayaka didn't want him to be seen sneaking in, so he'd waited in the stairwell until the coast was clear. But now he was stuck waiting outside her door now that he'd rung the bell. He was darting a worried look over his shoulder down the hall when the door hissed open and a pair of petite arms grabbed his collar and hauled him inside so fast he was nearly pulled right off his feet. "Yeek! He-"
Kyoko did her level best to muffle his surprised shriek by pushing him up against the wall just inside the door and sucking all the air out of him. "Mmmmmwa! Hi there, favorite boytoy! Glad you could make it!" she said with a smirk on releasing him.
Kensuke's eyes finally uncrossed and he smiled back at her. "Hi to you too. I-" Frantic signaling at the back of his head got through, and his eyes did a quick bob down and up again. Then a longer one, followed by a panicked look at the door, praying it was closed. "Kyoko! What if someone had been in the hall?!"
Kyoko stepped back from him and giggled. "I looked on the peep-camera first, dork. And I knew you wouldn't even ring the bell until there was no one in sight. Relax!" She did a little twirl, the bottom edge of the partly buttoned-up dress shirt she was wearing floating upward a distracting degree above her bare legs. The shirt was definitely the only thing she was wearing. "I'm still dressed enough to answer the door, anyway. Right?"
"Gleefle." Legs legs legs legs legs hips cheeks!
"Yeah, that's what Saya-chan said, too. Well, come along, then. She gets to give you a welcome kiss too. Got to be fair!" He barely had time to slip his shoes off before she grabbed his hand and led him through the living room and down the hall to Sayaka's bedroom.
Kensuke tried not to swallow too hard on sighting Sayaka laid out on the bed, ginning seductively. Much like the redhead's currently thin wardrobe, the smile was all she wore. She sat partway up and smiled broadly as her girlfriend towed their boyfriend into the narrow room. "Heya, Ken-chan! About time you joined us. Have a seat!" She patted the bed next to her. Since she'd rolled herself over to the far side, this would put Kensuke in the middle once Kyoko laid down too. The space was half-filled just by the desk and slightly-wider-than-usual twin bed, so it was perfectly reasonable that only one person could really stand in the remaining space.
So of course Kyoko gave Kensuke a shove and dropped him into the bed next to Sayaka.
"Oof!" He barely had time to blink before the bluenette captured his lips.
"Mmm, welcome welcome indeed," Sayaka purred when she pulled back.
He settled into the middle with some trepidation. They'd had to work out some habits, making their tentative triad function, and the middle spot was the choice spot, allowing the lucky one to be cuddled from both sides by the other two. Generally, it rotated, unless someone had won it as a forfeit in a bet or one of their mock battles. For Sayaka to order him into that spot right off the bat signaled she had something important to say, and wanted him comfortable. The three of them had also discovered whoever was in the middle was pretty agreeable to a lot of things.
Kyoko sat down on the edge of the bed, her hip forcing Kensuke to scoot closer to Sayaka, who was only too happy to sandwich him between them. She laid down and arranged herself on his other side, throwing her bare leg over on top of his. He was pinned. He settled down, then shrugged mentally. So far, staying cool and communicating like Rei had taught him had worked out pretty well for the three of them. He trusted them. Hell, he was way past liking them. His life was out of his control anymore, and he was just fine with that. As long as he got to be the one in the middle sometimes. They were both very warm.
"Now that we've got you in our clutches, we want to discuss our master plan," Sayaka began.
"My girlfriends are supervillains? Sounds like the next light novel," Kensuke joked, slightly nervously. "Um... master plan?"
"We've got two, a short-term and a long-term one," Kyoko said from behind him.
Sayaka nuzzled his left ear and giggled. "So, let me tell you, the vote is already two for, so it's probably going to pass, but we wanted your thoughts on Plan Crazy."
Kensuke stared up at the ceiling. It was becoming more familiar, and he looked forward to that. "Well... it's got a good name."
"Vote?" Kyoko prodded.
"It's a really good name," Kensuke replied. He rolled his head to the right. "We've been together for a grand total of about five months, and this is a... uh... long range plan, to put it lightly."
"We've technically known each other since about third year of elementary school, though," Sayaka countered.
"Yeah, and I was the biggest nerd in school for most of that. Plus 'the creepy guy who takes pictures of the girls changing and stuff' for the last two. Your dad can't be thrilled of that. And we're kind of going to need that to even try this."
"He already likes you a bit for being as much an army nut as he is," she rebutted.
"And my dad thinks you're at least kind of nice for being willing to come and help out at his church during Christmas," Kyoko added. "Sure, he's probably not exactly thinking of you as 'the one who'll make an honest woman of me', but it can't hurt to bank up some goodwill, right?"
Kensuke couldn't prevent a brief terrified shiver at that phrasing coming from her mouth. "Just... this is crazy. You.. us? I... gahhh..."
Kyoko grimaced as she realized her own slip of the tongue. Though as usual, she took the bull by the horns and charged in. "Ok, let's just say it out loud and stop dancing around it: We like you, Kensuke. We want to start taking things seriously in a long term way. Yes, even... us three together as a..." She groped for a word. "Fuck, married. We're talking marriage. Or at least some kind of long-term as-close-as-we-can-get-away-with."
Kensuke stared at a point a thousand miles away. "Crazy..." He shook his head to snap himself out of shock. "Kyoko, did you just propose? To me?!"
Sayaka poked him in the ribs from his other side. "One, technically, we just admitted we're discussing that topic in a long-range and theoretical way to get some of the awkward euphemisms and stuff out of the way. Two, no, she didn't. We did."
She shifted onto her side to face him more easily. "Ken-chan, Kyoko and I have been together... well, we both know this isn't 'just some phase', no matter what people usually say about girls like us. So finding you, who's not only able to keep his mouth shut about us before we were anything but classmates, is not only willing to toss a burgeoning career as the hottest date in our year for playing beard for us, but is also willing to," she waved her hand vaguely, "just go along when we wanted to experiment with all this... Hell, Ken-chan, we'd have to be crazy to let someone who's turned out to be this sweet get away. So… um… are we making you panic?" asked, worriedly.
"Little bit," Kensuke squeaked.
"Probably just reflex!" he raggedly continued. "You are both sweet and I really like you and just having a little panic attack is perfectly normal!" He managed a shaky grin. "Not like telling our families 'Hey, we three plan to be a thing for the long run' is going to make them freak out and separate us. It's not like your dad is going to come in and hear us and see this and-"
"Kensuke! Relax! It's us!" Sayaka said, squeezing him from the side. "My dad's not coming through the door for days, trust me. He left last night in a hurry, something about a 'surprise unscheduled drill'. He said he wouldn't be home until at least next Monday. We're safe."
Kensuke froze. "He… what?" He rolled over to face her directly. "Did… did he say exactly that? 'Surprise unscheduled drill'?"
Sayaka's eyes flicked up towards her eyebrows. "Ah, yeah, I think so. Why?"
Kensuke looked worried. "That's exactly the same thing they announced when they were mobilizing a bunch of units ahead of the first Angel attack here. Don't you remember?"
Sayaka shrugged. "I… guess so. I wasn't paying much attention then."
Kyoko snickered. "Because you and I used that week for another 'extended sleepover', maybe?"
Sayaka reached over Kensuke to poke and tickle her girlfriend just above her belly button. "That was your idea, you thirsty witch."
"You're the witch, honey," Kyoko snarked back, swatting at her hands. "Look at you, ensorcelling two innocents with your sexy wiles, binding us to your will with your oh-so-innocent blue eyes and firm, perky little-"
Kensuke suddenly rolled over Kyoko and off the bed, standing up and walking quickly out of the bedroom without a word. Sayaka and Kyoko left off their tickling and poking at each other and shared a confused look.
"Er… Ken-chan? Something wrong?" Sayaka asked after him.
"Yeah, you're not running away, are you? Seriously, we didn't mean to freak you out if this is too much. 'Plan Crazy' is kind of just… tongue in cheek, you know?"
Kensuke returned, holding a small, hollow metal cube in his hand, painted a bright red. "Something's wrong."
"That's what I'm asking abou… Huh?" Kyoko peered at the thing in his hand.
He held up the metal cube. It was open on three sides, and had what looked like a keyring loop on one side. "He left his BFA. I don't think he's on a drill without it."
"BFwhat?" Kyoko blinked.
"Blank Fire Adapter. You use it during drills when you're not using live ammo. You have to stick it on the end of your rifle or it won't cycle without it. You-" Kensuke looked at their blank stares. "Nevermind. It's just something that's really weird to leave behind when you're called up for a 'surprise unscheduled drill'. Especially when that's the same thing they said right before the first Angel attack." He looked up at them, frowning. "I wonder if something's up. I'll have to ask Major Katsuragi about it next time we go see Rei and the rest."
"Why don't you just call Shinji-kun and have him ask?" Sayaka suggested.
Kensuke shook his head. "No good. NERV monitors all the phone lines in the city, so its a bad idea to try talking about sensitive stuff over 'em."
"That sounds kind of paranoid, hon," Sayaka grinned at him.
"No, I'm serious. A computer voice cut off a call between me and Touji once, when I tried asking about the Class Rep's condition after a battle. NERV takes secrecy stuff seriously."
Kyoko shrugged. "Alright, so we ask them next time we go over. Tomorrow, maybe?" She reached out her hand and tugged Kensuke closer to the bed. She kept pulling until he was forced to flop back onto the narrow mattress and roll back into the middle. "Tonight, you, me, and Saya-chan have an apartment to ourselves, no parents around, and a bed. Sound good?"
Kensuke half-smiled. "Sounds crazy."
"Asuka, you know I love you, right?"
"Of course, my beloved baka."
"So please take it in the full sense of love and admiration of your person when I say this is a bad idea and we shouldn't be doing this?"
"Shut up, you idiot."
"Ah, there's the girl I fell in love with."
"[Really, shut the Hell up.]"
"[And the one I learned German from.]"
"[Fuck you too.]"
Shinji just grinned weakly as he let Asuka help lower him into the bathtub. He did hiss slightly at the hot water. Once he was settled into the hot water, he sighed in bliss. "Oh gods... yes, this may have been a good idea. Oooooh..."
"[Oh shut it, you whiny doof.]" Asuka said, handing him a hand towel. "[If you hadn't gotten shot and nearly killed two days ago, I'd really be giving you what for, for all this moaning.]"
Shinji smiled tiredly as he leaned back in the tiny bathtub of Misato's apartment. "[But since I was, you are babying me as much as you can?]"
Asuka patted him on the head and stuck her tongue out. "[Yes, since I love you more than air. Now, you sit and be still while I go make breakfast. Also, your German is getting pretty decent.]"
"[I love you.]"
"[I love you too. Now shut up and heal. I'm going to make breakfast for you."] She stuck out her tongue at him again as she left the bathroom.
Doctor Akagi looked up from the screen. "Eh?"
"I can almost certainly predict you have not eaten a proper lunch. Come to the cafeteria with me for half an hour?" Misato demanded.
Ritsuko blinked, and looked at the clock on her office wall. It was indeed 1250. Food had not been obtained since the 0600 tub of leftover noodles and beef she'd eaten that Maya had left her when she carefully departed Ritsuko's apartment at 0430. Ritsuko automatically suppressed a flare of guilt that she'd once again relied on her girlfriend's (her girlfriend! Her girlfriend's!) attention to make sure she fulfilled such basic biological necessities as 'food' and such. "Huh. Yeah, I should eat. Hang on for a minute."
She sent a 'shut down access' message to the Magi, and collected herself for rising from her desk. A remote terminal for the Magi went right into her pocket. (That it was all but exclusively a terminal for talking to Maya was vehemently not said.) "I guess I'm hungry."
Misato led the way to the NERV main staff cafeteria, nine or ten floors away from her main office. Ritsuko didn't look up save to make sure she was still following Misato's miniskirt-clad backside the entire trip. She preferred to spend the time walking talking to Maya via the Magi change logs. Her girlfriend was hilariously lewd at times. Hilariously lewd. Fuck, had they really done that last night?
"Yoo-hoo...Rits? We're here. Pull your nose out of the computer," Misato trilled in her ear.
Ritsuko jerked back to awareness of the sidereal world. "Uh?"
The cafeteria swirled around them. "Food. You have to eat it. With your physical body, oh mighty system Admin," her friend snarked. Misato was already holding a tray of miso, salad, and rice. "Do you need me to get you something, or can you do that without adult supervision?"
"The day you count as adult supervision, I need to turn in my 'adult' card, Misato," Ritsuko shot back as she hurriedly gathered lunch and some fruits. Maya would be sad if she didn't make minimum nutritional requirements for the day. It would also impact her stamina. She carefully selected some energy-rich fruits and a bowl of soup. She breezed through the checkout counter with the air of someone who let someone else worry about such minutia as 'paying for things' and 'ID Cards'.
Misato gave her a pursed-lips smirk as Ritsuko settled down opposite her at the table, located just a bit apart from the others. It had a great view, the nonexistent windows giving them no view of the Geofront at all. They were a good 1500m underground and 400m underneath the pyramid's armor. "I know this isn't as convenient as the cafeteria down in the bowels of your lab, but I thought you needed to get out a bit," Misato prodded as the began to tuck into their food. "You've been kind of hard to pry out of the depths for a bit. It's not healthy."
Ritsuko blinked hard, momentarily jostled out of the images conjured up by Maya's latest 'change log'. "Didn't we talk yesterday?" she riposted.
"In the hospital," Misato shot back. "And I'm just a bit tired of that, you know?" Her friend swirled her soup with her spoon before continuing. "And I'm sorry."
"For what?" Ritsuko said. She automatically checked for anyone sitting near her, or anyone close enough to read her screen. Just in case, she ran an audio analysis of the area. She relaxed a hair when she got the result 'no audio analysis possible in current environment'. The cafeteria was busy and crowded enough that even the Magi would have to devote an inordinate amount of time to unscrambling their conversation. It was as close to a 'secure' chat as they were likely to get today.
"Oh, not much," Misato said lightly. She leaned forward and dropped her voice to barely more than a whisper. "A certain blue-topped friend of ours just told me a few things. Like everything."
Ritsuko tried not to let her face move. Everything? That covered a lot of ground. "Oh?" She spooned some diced fruit into her mouth.
"Everything," Misato growled. "Like, how you all were planning on ending the damn world, and I'd just like to ask my old college friend what the ever-loving fuck, Rits?"
"Oh," Ritsuko echoed in awkward counterpoint to her last reply. "Um... ok, number one, I was stupid and-"
"Ya think?!" Misato grated. "For fuck's sake, Rits, the end of the wor-"
"I know!" the fake-blonde shot back. "Alright? I was stupid and I thought I was in love and... fuck, Misato, you know what that's like. You act stupid. Really stupid."
Misato looked like she'd bitten into something bitter and 'flavorful'. "Mmm... ok, maybe, but... is she for real?"
Ritsuko swallowed another bite of NERV fruit salad through a suddenly tight throat. "100%. You know she doesn't exactly lie, right?"
"Sure, but it's hard to swallow when she's telling me shit like-" Misato broke off, looking around. "Like what she says she is, what she says he is, and what's supposed to happen next." She glared at Ritsuko, hard.
"Oh...um... yes. She's... honest. I mean, yes, what she said is correct."
Misato fumed, chewing on her food and a reply for more than a minute. "You know... I'm armed, and could kill you right now," she finally bit out.
"I'm sorry. And she should have told you I really mean that," Ritsuko said, her attention fully on Misato for the first time in an hour.
"She did," Misato growled. "And it's why I haven't done so yet. What the fuck, Ritsuko?!" she snarled.
"I'm sorry! What do you want me to say, Misato? I thought I was in love, I thought he was right when he said it was the best option, and oh yeah, have you seen the guys we work for lately?" Ritsuko replied. "'Better than that' is not a high bar!"
"Not an excuse, Rits!" Misato spat. "What the fuck, I repeat!"
Ritsuko flinched away. "I know. It was stupid. Surprise, your old friend was a dumbass for love. You may now commence your 'I told you so's from back then."
Misato stewed for a moment. "I must be crazy. The only reason I'm not filling you with lead right now is she asked me not to... and I tried that last night on her boyfriend and she stopped me."
Ritsuko digested that as quickly as she could. "Oh... I see." Her eyes flitted about. "So... ah... she said..."
"Everything," Misato said tightly, "finally."
"Yeah, 'oh'," Misato said, still glaring. "But since my two best fighters vouch for her and him, I'm forced to accept that their plan is the way to go. And you, Kaji, and I will still be having a 'talk' after this is all over."
"That's... fine," Ritsuko allowed. "I didn't and don't really expect to make it through this. It would be nice, but... I'm going to be the last person to even try to claim I'm innocent in all this."
Misato stared at her, pausing only occasionally to eat her lunch enough to fool observers. "You're... being awful calm about this."
Ritsuko gave her college roomie a wan smile. "There's nothing you're saying that I haven't expected for months or worse from... other parties. So from you? Not a surprise."
Misato stared at her harder. "So wh-"
"She changed my mind. I'm allowed to do that, right?" Ritsuko tried back at her. She took a sip of her soup. "I was stupid, she offered me a different way, and... told me to take a chance on someone new. Someone who cared. It worked. Alright?"
"I swear to fucking god, if you break into song about 'the power of love' or something, I will shoot you right now," Misato said, face flat.
"Fuck you," Ritsuko replied, a shade more confident for the first time all day. "I know what you'd do for 'love'. Can you blame me for being willing to do less?"
''Less'?!" Misato shot back. "This is a little different. Kaji may have been good in bed, but it was 'rock the world', not-"
"You know what I mean!" Ritsuko interrupted. "I... she believes in me. For whatever reasons. And so does... she. And that's enough for me to keep trying."
Misato sat and fumed at her for a few minutes. "If I didn't trust her and we didn't have our history, I wouldn't even be buying a shred of this, understand?" she finally grated.
Ritsuko tried not to slump. "I... yes. I get it. And for what it's worth... I truly am sorry, Misato. For everything."
Misato finished her lunch and stood up. "Yeah, well, you're lucky they all say you're good, Rits. And that's worked out okay so far." She turned and stalked off at full military pace.
Ritsuko sighed and picked up her remote terminal. "I really wish you were here right now, love," she typed.
"I'm always right where you need me, darling," was the near immediate response. "I love you."
Ritsuko sighed, and headed back to her lab, steps just a bit lighter. "More than anything."
"Make the call," Gendo ordered.
Fuyutsuki picked up the phone.
Author's Note, 05JUL21: Well, we're back. 2020 was not good for writing, but I've got a few bits down now, and Ch 12 is underway. As you might guess from the title, this will be the final 'main' chapter, though that is still likely going to be long. We're close to the 'End', and all things are coming to a head.
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