This fiction is dedicated to the Darkscribe Forums and all the wonderful Eva fans that spend time there. They are what's been keeping me at this *()^&(&% keyboard so much lately after all. Special thanks to Crimson Goddess and Jay for pre-reading the first draft of this chapter.

If you think I need a disclaimer you're giving me too much credit as an author.

"Ice cream. nyghhaaaaaa. mmmmmmm." -Skuld/Oh! My Goddess-



Chapter 1- Starting Program

The three stooges met in the main courtyard after school had let out. Normally Shinji would head home with Asuka as soon as she left Hikari after school, but Rei Ayanami was proof that today was indeed, not a normal day.

In the courtyard they had found themselves an unoccupied tree to lounge under, and already Kensuke felt the need to rehash the days events with his two comrades. This made sense considering the gossip that was already starting after Asuka had gotten into an argument over Ayanami with Shinji. It all sounded oddly familiar to the young Ikari.

"I thought Asuka was going to kill you!" Kensuke exclaimed, "Either that or the new girl. guess you lucked out Shinji."

Touji smirked as he leaned against the tree they were under, "Yeah, she's definitely not going to get along with Asuka. It'd be nice if those two could, but with Shinji around I guess we can expect World War III sooner."

Shinji of course didn't get what Touji was implying. "Well they didn't get along very well, but I don't see why Asuka took it so personally." Shinji meekly replied, "Asuka has never stood up for me like that before. She usually just tells me to stand up for myself."

Kensuke couldn't believe the density his friend was expressing, "What do you mean you don't know why she took it so personally?! Isn't it obvious?!" Shinji only looked at his friend with a blank expression on his face.

Kensuke threw his hands up in defeat, "You ARE an idiot. aaarrrggghhhh!" He started stamping around under the shade of the tree. At least as well as someone as short and thin as Kensuke could stomp around.

Shinji only grew more confused. He blinked several times, and looked up at Touji for a clue. Touji only appeared annoyed by the behavior of his manic friend with the glasses.

His eyebrows unconsciously drew together as he looked down at Shinji, "Anyway, with all the commotion we didn't really get to learn anything about this Ayanami Rei. Now we might not find out anything important for weeks."

Kensuke stopped his fit and brightened notably when he heard the remark, "I wouldn't say that. Gathering information IS my specialty after all." For emphasis Kensuke hefted his camcorder up from where it was slung at his waist and focused in on his two friends.

Touji grinned when Kensuke said this. Kensuke had fallen into that one without even realizing it. The nerd adjusted his glasses as he considered how he might go about gathering this information, and he shared every thought out loud with his fellow stooges as well.

Meanwhile someone was hunting the third. stooge. Asuka couldn't help but to stamp her foot when she reached the courtyard with Hikari. Shinji always walked home with her, and the only reason he ever didn't was if she felt he didn't deserve the right for the day.

Either that or those other idiots had dragged him off somewhere. Now while she had debated if he deserved to walk home with her today, she had ultimately decided he might get out of line if she let him loose.

Noticing some of her hair had fallen over the front of her shoulders, Asuka gave the red locks a toss so that her hair was back in order. "Just where is that moron anyway?" Asuka stated as she voiced her thoughts aloud.

Hikari of course noticed her discomfort. Shinji was most likely with Kensuke and Touji, but if he was with Ayanami. well that wasn't a pleasant thought. "Asuka why don't I get Shinji for you?" Hikari asked, "I wouldn't be surprised if he's just talking with Touji and Kensuke anyway."

Asuka considered this, but she dismissed the idea. Her tone was level when she answered Hikari, "No, I think I'll go find him and drag him off myself. There's no reason for both of us to waist time with that idiot."

Hikari smiled, "Well I wouldn't mind seeing Touji, so we might as well go together. Besides, I can't have you getting into a fight if Shinji is with Ayanami." Asuka didn't notice Hikari's Cheshire grin after she finished her second sentence.

Asuka's voice lost its level tone when she answered her friend, "If he's with HER I'll make him a eunuch! Just because that idiot saw her panties doesn't mean he needs to start spending all his time with her. I'm going to find that idiot before he gives me an excuse to slaughter him!"

It was only a few minutes later that Asuka found Shinji, but by that time it didn't matter WHAT he was doing. Asuka had been getting herself worked up thinking about what Hikari had said, and in a few minutes she had gotten very upset with Shinji.

"YOU!" Asuka started as she forcefully marched up to Shinji, "Were supposed to meet me after school! What have you been doing with these idiots?"

Shinji only appeared to be confused by her questioning. "Why was I supposed to meet you after school?" He asked innocently as he sat on the ground.

Asuka couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her mouth twisted into a tighter frown. Sure Shinji seemed genuinely confused, but damnit he should have known better!

"Don't just answer my question with another question!" Asuka scolded, "You are always to meet me after school to walk me home!" She made an emphasis at each key point in the phrase by poking Shinji in the chest.

Shinji stepped back from her poking and looked down at his feet as he apologized, "I'm sorry Asuka. I didn't think you'd want to." He didn't look up to catch Asuka's gaze soften, but he could hear it from her in what she said next. It did surprise him a little bit despite how well he knew both sides of Asuka.

Asuka drew her brow down slightly as her eyes softened, "Of course I'm mad at you, but you should still walk home with me. idiot." Shinji raised his head and Asuka quickly hid the soft features under a mask of slight anger. She'd had a lot of practice at that one lately.

As the argument was quickly dropped Shinji made to leave with Asuka right away to amend his mistake. Asuka talked with Hikari for another short minute before she was ready to go, and Shinji spent the time likewise saying farewell to his two friends for the day.

Both the teens walked silently away from the school before either said anything. It wasn't really that uncommon though. Asuka and Shinji never talked so directly in front of others. There was always a short period between the time they would leave, and the time when they would begin talking to one another.

If they hadn't been close for as long as they had, the silence may have bothered them. As it was it was something they both had come to expect each day. "Hey Asuka?" Shinji asked, "Why do you want me to walk home with you if you're upset with me?"

Asuka wasn't expecting him to bother going into that again, and she was slightly flustered by his question but, she had fielded such questions from him numerous times over the years.

"Don't ask me why idiot!" she once again admonished the boy for his questions, "If you don't know something so simple then I'm not going to take the time to explain it to you. Figure it out for yourself."

The two kept walking for another entire block before Shinji replied. "Oh." was all that Shinji managed. Both he and Asuka walked on from that point in a slightly uncomfortable silence. It wasn't the same familiar silence they had shared leaving school.

Shinji felt his face itch as he grew slightly nervous, and Asuka increased her pace minutely. It was a bad habit of hers when nervous to do that, and Shinji could pick up on it. She also tended to check her uniform.

When they were nearing Asuka's house though, Shinji felt the need to say something to Asuka. He stopped to get her attention, and sure enough, she pulled at the hem of her skirt the instant she had stopped as well.

"Asuka, can't you just get along with Ayanami tomorrow?" Shinji asked, "She really seems like a nice girl." Asuka turned to glare at him.

Shinji just stood there, not understanding what he had said to upset her. He had expected Asuka to calm herself again, as she had earlier, but when he just stood there she seemed to bristle.

"You would think that wouldn't you?" Asuka asked him forcefully. Then she slapped him. Shinji turned his head back from the slap. Then, he made to apologize. He didn't even know what for really, but he assumed Asuka had a reason.

Never mind the fact his face burnt from the contact. He never seemed to get the chance as Asuka pushed him away and took off. As she went she crossed the paths of several people whom she merely ran around to get away.

Deciding following her to her home would be a bad idea, as well as counter- productive, Shinji went back in the direction he had come from and started to walk to his own house. A frown formed on his face without him realizing as he went.

Asuka's house wasn't on the way to his own home, so he had to backtrack each day after saying goodbye to her.

As Asuka slammed the door to her home mere minutes later she saw her dad poke his head up from the table. He had been reading the back pages of the newspaper, but when he saw the frustrated look on her face he immediately rose to take care of his daughter.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had been able to connect with his daughter on some level since she was a little girl. The big man always met even her high standards.

While there wasn't much money in movies since the global disaster that occurred from a meteor strike years ago, he had always managed to work hard enough so his daughter had the best of things. Asuka knew her father would always struggle for her, and he was an idol to his daughter.

He enveloped his daughter in a big hug to welcome her home, and then asked her if she wanted some cake from the fridge. After all, he knew better than to ask his daughter outright what was troubling her.

Asuka accepted the cake, and she sat down with the chocolate offering as her papa prepared for her to vent. Sometimes it was safer if you came prepared. too bad he had left the tanks and body armor at his last stunt set.

Asuka paused in the middle of one bite to start things off. "There's this new girl at school who's really stuck up." Asuka started sourly, "She obviously has a crush on Shinji, and she tried to say he was looking at her panties so that she could blackmail him! Then, when I try to defend the idiot she assumes I'm HIS girlfriend! The Gott damned nerve of her! She kept on trying to insult me until Hikari eventually had to stop us. I was about ready to strangle the blue hared wench!"

Asuka's father didn't really know how much of this was the complete truth, but when his daughter took a meaningful stab at her cake he assumed that was the story she was sticking to. Also if his daughter was mixing German into her Japanese without swearing she was really troubled and not just pissed.

With the same iron balls he always showed on the big-screen Asuka's father went ahead and asked the question he knew his daughter did NOT want to hear, "Asuka, pumpkin. are you sure this isn't about Shin-!"

The gaze his daughter gave him next was so acidic he found himself unable to complete another word. THAT look hadn't been used since her mother was alive. Was it genetic? He decided to just stick to comforting her now rather than get sidetracked.

Advice seemed most unwanted today. Besides, he could TELL it was about Shinji. Asuka always TOLD him something was wrong. If she refrained from coming to him, it was because Shinji was involved.

"Well, I guess you should just hope things get better." Arnold explained to his daughter, "Even if they don't. The great Sohryu Asuka Langley isn't about to let some new girl waltz in on her territory!"

This effectively brightened his daughter's mood, although Arnold assumed they both know what he meant about 'her territory'. Better to stroke his young flame's ego than to provoke it though.

Aforementioned territory was currently trying to sneak into his house without his mother seeing him. She might not be too fond of finding out he had been in an argument with Asuka.

Both his mother and father had explained to him a long time ago that you don't argue with women. Although his father had mainly only said 'yes dear' during the entire lecture as far as Shinji could remember.

As far as Shinji could SEE he was in the clear. He had opened the door without a sound, and his mother was in the kitchen preparing dinner. Yui was preparing some vegetables at the counter, and her back was turned to her son as she hummed a light tune.

She even had her cooking apron on, so she shouldn't have anything else she might have to do at the moment.

Yui Ikari smiled as she continued to prepare dinner. Shinji was sneaking by her, and she waited for the best time to act. "Bad day at school dear?" Yui asked as her son was reaching the doorway to the living room, and her smile grew as Shinji jumped.

No one pulled one over on the true head of the household. Everything went according to Yui's scenario.

It wasn't troubling if Shinji was having problems at school. If the boy had a problem, it had always involved Asuka for the most part. Yui knew the two cared a lot for each other, and they were young enough where they had plenty of time to work out their differences.

Still, if Shinji couldn't keep such a nice young lady happy. he would have to adjust to the taste of salty miso soup for a while. Yui did like Asuka after all.

That evening Shinji went to bed with a stomach full of salty dinner from his mother. Sure he knew why the food hadn't been that good to him. His mother was telling him subtly to make up with Asuka.

If there was one woman Shinji HAD learned not to mess with, it was his mum. Then Asuka would be next on the list, then Hikari, and now maybe this Ayanami girl as well.

Shinji sighed as he thought over the fact that his life was becoming more dominated by females each day. He rolled over onto his side to go to sleep, and his stomach grumbled at him.

Unlike Shinji, Asuka was having a peaceful evening, and with the addition of a little cake for desert as well. she was feeling much better. Shinji had wanted to apologize to her earlier even though he didn't know what he had really done wrong!

Then again, she also realized he would have really meant it anyway. That was one of the things about him that was so sweet, and . so damn aggravating!

She always worked so hard to get him to stick up for himself, but he seemed to like sating everyone's problems by accepting the blame. As Asuka changed into her pink pajamas she made a promise to simply work with Shinji more tomorrow.

The next day Shinji was splayed out in his bed when he received a familiar palm tap to his head. Normally it wasn't so easy for Asuka to wake him up, but with the way things had gone the previous afternoon Shinji was awake and standing in a flash.

His sheet was tossed across the room, and oddly enough landed straight into his hamper. Was it laundry day? Then again, why the hell was he thinking about that?

Asuka noticed she was standing a little too close to the boy, but it wasn't uncomfortable given it was so familiar to her. Shinji tried to get his brain to function quickly enough to apologize, but it still took him a moment, "Asuka, yesterday. I was an idiot. I'm sorry."

Asuka just gave him a friendly smile before she hit him over the head with the cloths he had laid out for the day. As Shinji struggled with his cloths, Asuka felt something brush against her leg. she figured out what it was when she looked down towards Shinji's legs.

He hadn't worn pants to bed, so that meant she was brushed by.

Asuka's face went an odd mix of white and red as she discovered the little culprit. "You PERVERT!" Asuka shouted as Shinji's morning wood once again made an appearance.

Yui gave a slight smile as she cooked breakfast, and Gendo remained oblivious behind his paper. Had he ever paid much heed to Asuka's random noise this morning behavior would have stopped years ago.

"I'm sorry Asuka I can't help it!" Shinji shouted after he had gotten his pants off his head and noticed what had bothered her, "I can't do anything about it I swear."

The boy turned to face her when she moved away, but this only upset her further. His blush at least confirmed he was embarrassed as well.

"I already told you don't point that thing at me!" Asuka shouted again as she backed further away. Shinji was blushing deeply, but he couldn't really seem to notice Asuka was matching it with one of her own.

He turned away from her, but that only made his problem more visible if anything.

"You don't have to look you know!" Shinji protested before he noticed something, "Asuka, could you please leave? I need to change." Asuka gave a glance back at his face, but she didn't understand. She executed a rather cute face-frown before addressing him.

"Why would I need to get out for that?" Asuka protested despite her position, "It's not like you need to change your. MEINE GOTT!"

Shinji could protest no further as she ran from the room after, once again, slapping him. As he had said before, it wasn't his fault. Stupid hormones would get him killed someday.

If Asuka felt the need to keep coming to his bedside it might end up being very soon. today was arcade Friday as well. Sometimes Shinji hated force feedback.

~End of Chapter 1

Okay, I will assume there is slight confusion over just why Arnold is Asuka's father. Well, in this series the role of her dad as a movie star is very important. I didn't just want some no name I made up to play the role, so I borrowed some 'star power' in the form of good old Arnold. Besides, I've heard from a few people that the 'Asuka Pumpkin' line is very hilarious. Anyway please keep reading, and drop a review my way if you would be so kind.

A special note about EFO to anyone reading this. I will be the first person to tell you it's a bitch getting in. However I want to make a mark with this series, and getting it put onto such a serious site has really given me a goal outside of a 'neat story idea'. I have put more work into this chapter than any chapter I have ever written before.

~Episode