Tokyo-2 Outskirts – Shinji Ikari

I quietly mumble a thank you to the driver as I step off the bus and put my headphone back into my ears. The sound of cicadas gives way to the music of Beethoven as I stumble forward slight, my legs slightly stiff from nearly an hour of no movement. I pause for a moment in the bus shelter and feel tears burning at the backs of my eyes once more.

I could let them fall here, there aren't any people around to see me. This was the last stop for the bus before it went to the next town and it was so very hard to stay composed throughout the journey here. There were moments that I didn't think I've be able to keep it together but I had to. As long as there were people around I wouldn't be able to cry.

As I step out of the shelter I realize I don't really have anywhere to go tonight. I can't really go home now. Not with Rei there waiting for me, not after what she has done and not after what I've said. I can't go to see my friends, they simply wouldn't understand or they'd worry too much about me.

There was a brief moment when I was deciding what to do that I considered going to a bar and getting completely drunk. I actually considered just going in and drinking until I didn't feel any of this pain anymore. For a minute or two the idea did appeal to me until I realized how I'd probably end up, I've seen Misato do similar things in the past after all. So when I stood outside the bar I just couldn't bring myself to do it, besides I don't really like the taste of alcohol anyway.

So I've come to this place instead, right now I'm at the foot of a large hill that looks over the city of Tokyo-2. It's late in the day, just at the point that the sun is starting to set so there will be very few, if any, people around to see me. That's good, right at this moment I just want to be on my own, I want to be away from everyone and everything.

The track changes in my ears and I start to walk up the hill until I reach a small clearing that seems to have been set aside as a little picnic area. Whoever was here earlier today has left some of their trash behind and I move past it to a small scattering of nearby rocks. I prop myself up against once of the rocks and look out over the vast skyline of the city.

I've done this before, many years ago in a city that no longer exists. It was just after I had defeated the fourth Angel. During the battle I had disobeyed Misato's ordered, when confronted by her I acted like a brat. I felt she was only using me as a tool, I felt like they all were, I felt like all they cared about was getting me into that damn Eva so I could defeat the Angels. What did I matter to them?

I was wrong, at least… for the most part I was. Misato… She did care but I didn't make it easy and… I cared about her but she certainly didn't make it easy. There were other factors in my decision to run away then though. I had just seen my father for the first time in years and he was just as he always was, cold… distant and clearly didn't care about me. In school I had just been attacked for something that wasn't my fault, yet I blamed myself for it anyway.

It was all too much, there were too many things in my mind and I just had to get away from it. I had to isolate myself and just run. I wandered Tokyo-3 for an entire evening, sleeping in an all-night cinema and on a bench. I got on the trains and buses as far as I could until I found myself out of the city. I could have kept going but… I didn't have the nerve to or… maybe I didn't want to.

I ended up walking around some of the countryside and I encountered Kensuke. I thought he was odd at first, now I don't think he's odd, I know he is odd. Back then he was a military otaku, obsessed with the armed forces and even more so with the Eva's. He always used to say I was lucky back then, he wanted to pilot an Eva so badly. That changed after Third Impact, he actually apologized to me. He still loves the way the Eva's were and how powerful they were but he said he'd never want to go near one.

I let out a sigh as I sit myself down on the ground and continue to look out over the city. It's quiet and peaceful here, if I wasn't feeling so bad right now I'd like to come here on an evening and look at the stars. As it is all I can do is thinking about the reason I've ran. I almost expect to hear her calling after me to be honest. I don't think Rei followed me though, I think I was gone before she had a chance to come after me.

A part of me still can't quite believe it and yet I know it's the truth. Rei has been in contact with Asuka for over three years. She has kept this hidden from me for all that time. She has visited Asuka, she has spent time with her and in all that time she has kept up this façade of missing her and pretending to not know anything.

I'm just… I'm so angry at her for it. She knows exactly how I feel about Asuka. She knows what Asuka means to me, she knows how upset I was when Asuka left and yet she could do something like this. Why Rei? Why did you do this? Why couldn't you tell me?

I try to search for an answer and one phrase pops into my head. Rei said it during our argument, 'She didn't want me to tell you…'

Why? Why didn't she want you to tell me Rei and why did you agree to that? After all the lies that have hurt us in the past you thought it would be best to just agree to that even though you know it'd hurt me? Why didn't you speak to her? Why didn't you tell her you couldn't agree to that? You must have known it'd hurt me and you must have known the truth would come out eventually.

My mind now turns from Rei to Asuka herself, I can't really blame her for not wanting me to know about her. I know that in all likelihood I'm the reason for her leaving. I know just how much I hurt her before Third Impact, I violated her in her hospital room and then I left her to die against those damn Eva's. It was best she did get away from me.

Even when she came back, we both said that we were going to do more but then that changed. I made no effort to help her. I could see she was hurting, I could tell but I just couldn't bring myself to say or do anything. What right did I have to help her? How could someone like me have helped her? I know, I know I know I know how much of an idiot I am, I should have just spoken to her but I let her down. I don't blame her for leaving and hating me.

It's funny in a way but the night she left I had this strange dream. I dreamt that she had come into my room whilst I was asleep and she actually spoke to me. She said she loved me and wished me a happy Birthday. What a joke of a dream that was, as if Asuka would ever feel something like that for me. Still… When I woke up that morning she had left me a card and a gift, it made it seem like it was real.

I shake my head and feel those tears burning in the backs of my eyes again. There is no one here so I may as well let them fall. They silently trickle down my cheeks as I just sit and watch the city from afar. My anger has subsided now to just feeling completely rotten. I have a right to be angry, I know that but now I also feel sad and as I remember some of the things I said to Rei I also feel guilty. I suppose that just sums me up, doesn't it?

I sit for another minute and suddenly begin to feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. I wonder for a moment if I should just ignore it, the chances are it'll be Rei. I take the phone out and look at the screen to see a number I don't recognize. It's probably someone from the music group but I'm not really in a fit state to answer so I cancel the call and put the device back in my pocket. Whoever it is can wait.

Kaworu's Apartment – Asuka Langley Soryu

I stare at my phone clenched tightly in my hand for a moment, completely dumbfounded and yet not entirely surprised by what has just happened. The idiot has declined my call, the goddamn idiot actually chose to cancel the damn call!

If I wasn't so angry at the situation I'd actually laugh because in all honesty I should have expected this to happen. I've spent years avoiding contact with him, I've spent so much time over the last few weeks agonizing over contacting him that I should have known this would happen. I should have known that when I finally make that leap there would be another obstacle! Of course there was going to be another one, this is exactly what being Asuka Langley Soryu is all about.

No… This isn't what being me is about, I try to calm myself down and think about this logically. This isn't because of who I am at all. This is because of who Shinji is and because of what has happened to him today. It makes sense that he would decline any phone call after the bust up between him and Rei. The guy is probably upset and doesn't want to be bothered by anyone, I know I would be.

Of course I'm not going to accept this, I made a promise to Rei that I would sort this out and if I have to sit here all night and keep calling him then I will. I don't care if it takes five or fifty phone calls, I will talk to Shinji tonight and I will sort out this damn situation.

I've already added Shinji as a contact on my phone so I pull up his contact details again. I take another deep breath to steady myself and hit the call button. I suppose this little period of waiting gives me time to figure out just what it is I'll say to him, although I imagine I'll probably say nothing of what I have in my head.

There is a brief moment of silence and then the phone starts to ring. It rings once and then it rings a second time. We make it to three and then to four. We're further than we were before, maybe he's going to answer it this ti- Nope, line goes dead and I know he's cancelled the call. I didn't even get to his voice mail. Stupid… Idiot… Shinji!

I bring the phone back down angrily and stare it at evaluating exactly what I should do next. First thing I have to do and I've already come up against an obstacle but what good am I if I can't overcome something like this?

I know if I try calling him again then he'll probably just decline the call, I can't see him answering it willingly. He doesn't know who it is calling him, to him it could be anyone and the worst case for him would be Rei. He wants to be away from her right now. Worst case scenario is that he just blocks my number outright, if he does that then I do have a backup, I can just use another phone but it's that sort of behavior that will earn me a restraining order.

Shinji probably needs to know it's safe to answer the phone and therefore I have an idea. It's simple and might not work but it's worth a try. I'll message him and let him know it's me. I'll try to call him again and he'll answer. Simple but the question is, will he even check his messages? After two phonecalls he might have just put it on silence or just ignore it. I'm wasting time thinking about this, it's now or never Asuka.

'Idiot Shinji, answer your damn phone! We need to talk! Asuka.'

I give him about half a minute or so to ensure the message reached him and he has a chance to read it. I grab the phone again and select his contact details and touch the call button. There is the brief moment of silence once more as we're connected and then the phone starts to ring.

It rings the first time… then the second, it's about to ring a third time when I hear a clicking noise and a found from the other end. There is a pause and then the sound of a trembling and oh so recognizable voice. Instantly I feel my heart leap into my mouth, I feel my body start to shake, I feel sweat forming on my forehead.

'I feel sick.'

"H-Hello?"

Tokyo-2 Outskirts – Shinji Ikari

As I put my phone back in my pocket I gaze out over the city once again. I look towards the side of the city where our apartment is. I can't make out the exact building from here but it's one of the quieter parts of the city only a short walk from the train station.

I manage to find the train tracks and follow it a little bit of the way, after three stops I stop following it and look around that area. Around there the buildings are larger and closer together, there is a large park separating two of the larger apartment blocks and ahead of that is the building for our group. It's strange for me to think that a few hours ago I was in there and actually happy.

I feel my phone start to ring in my pocket. I pull the device out and see it's the same number as before. I'm sorry to whoever this is but I really don't feel like talking right now. Please try again later. I cancel the call hoping that this time they get the message and don't try again. If it is one of the people from the group I guess I'll have to come up with an excuse for being unable to answer.

That can wait though, I put the phone back in my pocket and resume my gazing at the city. A cool breeze is starting to roll in now along with the setting sun. I'll probably have to leave here soon, the bus finishes serving this area in an hour and a half and it's a long walk back to the city. Still, I don't know where I'm going to go. I really don't want to go home but I also don't want to worry Misato.

I guess I could go to Kensuke's and stay there for the night. He wouldn't mind and I don't think he'd ask too many questions either. I could tell Misato that I'm staying there tonight and she wouldn't worry about it. I wonder if Misato is even home yet, she's been working quite late for the past week or two. If she is home I wonder what Rei has told her, if Rei has told her anything at all.

Rei might have lied about it and said I was out at a friend's. She might be playing innocent in front of Misato. Before today I'd never have suspected such a thing but with what I know now I can see it happening. A darker thought enters my mind, what if Misato knew about Asuka too? It's possible that the two of them were hiding it from me, after all Misato isn't one who likes being kept in the dark and she did try to find Asuka when she left.

No… I can't believe Misato would do that. She would have told me is Asuka is alright. She would have said something.

'You mean like she told you about Kaworu?'

No, that was different. She didn't have the opportunity and she spoke to me about him anyway.

'After leaving it to Rei, she could have known about Asuka all along. She could even have helped Asuka leave and just pretended to look for her!'

No, that doesn't make sense. Rei wouldn't have helped her leave, they barely spoke to each other then. I just don't understand it, I don't understand why Rei would not tell me. I don't understand why Rei would lie like that when she knows what lies have done to us.

God damnit Rei why… why would you do this? Why would you hurt me like this? Why would you betray me like this? I feel my hands clench themselves into a fist, my nails painfully dig into the palms of my hands but I don't mind. It's nothing compared to what I'm feeling inside.

My phone vibrates in my pocket thankfully putting an end this train of though. It doesn't seem to be a phone call this time and I wonder if whoever it was before has gotten the message and gave up. Still I wonder if I should look at it, it's most likely from Rei or Misato telling me they're worried about me and want me to come home.

I should probably ignore it. I should just let them worry about me but… I can't do that. I take my stupid phone out of my pocket and check the message. I see immediately it's from the person who has already tried calling me twice before.

I read the contents of the e-mail and as I do I feel my entire body freeze. My hand tightens around the phone and I begin to feel a knot in the pit of my stomach.

'Idiot Shinji, answer your damn phone! We need to talk! Asuka.'

No… This… This isn't real, that can't be real. This has to be some sort of trick or prank but… why? Why would someone do this? Who would even do something like this? I just… know that that can't really be Asuka. Why would she contact me, after all this time why and how would she be contacting me?

My hand starts to shake as suddenly the phone starts to ring again. It's the same number and I start to question whether I've really just ignored two phone calls from Asuka? Could it really be her? I don't know if I should ignore this one, what if it isn't and it's just some horrible trick to get me to answer but… what if it isn't?

I'm barely able to keep my hand still as I raise the phone up to my ear and accept the call. It takes me some time before I'm able to stutter out a feeble greeting, "H-Hello?"

I'm greeted by silence and immediately begin to wonder if this really is just a stupid joke. A few more seconds roll by before I hear the sound of someone sighing, it's a woman and my heart begins to pound faster in my chest. A moment later she finally speaks, she sounds barely any different than she did four and a half years ago, "Hello Shinji."

"A-Asuka!" I speak her name unsure as to what I should be feeling right now. A part of me still can't quite believe it, so I ask for confirmation, "Is… Is it really you?"

I hear what sounds like a faint laugh, "Yes Shinji… It's really me. Can we talk?"

My entire body breaks out in a cold sweat at that confirmation and my mouth goes completely dry. I open it to speak but no words come out so instead I feebly nod at her question. A motion I soon realize is completely stupid given that she can't see me. I open my mouth again to reply but I'm still unable to speak. There are too many things racing through my mind right now, I can feel my chest tightening as I struggle to filter any of it out.

I can't figure out what to say to her or what I should be thinking. I don't know if I should be happy or sad about this. I don't know if I should be afraid or angry. I don't know if I should start asking her how she is or why she left. I don't know if I should ask her what she has been doing or if I should talk about myself. I don't know if I should ask her if she knows about Rei or anything. I… I need to stop, I need to calm down. Too many thoughts… Too many thoughts… I can't think…

I take a deep breath and try to just focus on Asuka's question for now. Can I talk, not exactly but I can listen. I try to filter out everything else and just focus on replying to her, eventually I manage to mumble out a confirmation, "Yes…"

There is another faint laugh from her, "Heh, still not much with words eh? Well don't worry about that. I don't expect you to say much… if anything at all. After what I've got to say I don't really expect you to ever want to speak to me again but I ask that you at least listen to what I have to say."

"O-Okay…" I take in her words and continue trying to calm myself down. Asuka doesn't expect me to say anything, that's good because right now I can't think of what to say. I can listen for now.

"First of all… I should probably start by saying I'm sorry." She pauses for a moment, "I'm sorry I left you guys the way I did, I'm sorry it took me so damn long to get in contact and I'm sorry about what has happened between you and Rei."

I was starting to slowly calm down but hearing her say Rei's name sends a pang of panic through me, "You know about that?"

"Yes I do." Asuka's tone darkens as she speaks, "She called me shortly after you left her. She told me about what had happened and about what you said to her."

"O-Oh…" I glance down at the ground shamefully knowing that one of the first things Asuka is mentioning to me after all this time is that argument with Rei, "So… it is true then, you and her have been in contact with each other for… all that time?"

"Yes, it's true Shinji."

"How?"

"About a year after I returned to Germany she turned up. She had managed to track me down and she intended to bring me back to you guys." Asuka laughs, "She was so… unlike the Rei I had known. She had grown and she was determined to do it but… I stopped her. I wasn't ready to go back and I had a breakdown. I don't really want to talk about it but she was there for me and said she would help me."

Asuka… broke down in front of Rei? If it wasn't Asuka telling me this I wouldn't be able to believe such a thing had happened. She never really got along with Rei, before Third Impact it seemed like she hated Rei and after it they barely spoke. I know Rei always wanted to talk to Asuka, to try and be her friend and even missed her but this is not what I imagined.

"I needed a friend Shinji, I had been alone in Germany for a year and I was miserable and Rei… was that friend I needed. I asked for something in return though, I asked that in exchange for friendship she not reveal she had met me to you or anyone else… at least not yet. I wasn't ready to come back or have anyone else there."

I almost start to protest as I process Asuka's words. I almost suggest that maybe Rei could have persuaded her or done something else. I almost ask why it took so long and why Rei was comfortable lying to me for all that time.

"I understand you're mad at Rei but if you want to be mad at someone then you should be mad at me. I'm the one who left you guys, I'm the one who isolated myself and I'm the one who asked her to keep it all secret."

I can feel my anger starting to subside on hearing her words and they're replaced with a rotten feeling. Still I have to know more, Rei still went along with this lie and didn't say anything, I know she didn't want to betray Asuka but was it really that easy for her?

"Did Rei really… agree to it?"

I hear another laugh, "No… Not at first anyway. She wanted to take me back to you guys and thought it'd help me and tried to get me to think of another option but I was stubborn. I said it'd only be for a little while until… I was ready I guess but that time never came. She would ask a lot and try to get me to do something but I never would."

"I see…"

"You know… a part of me always wondered if she had secretly told you or Misato about it and you guys were just waiting for me to come back. I guess today confirms she did keep it all a secret."

"Y-Yeah… I didn't know anything." I confirm.

"I'm sorry Shinji… I know you hate being lied to and I know this is a pretty big one but please… if you're going to be mad at someone then be mad at me."

I shake my head as I continue trying to process this entire situation. I don't know if I'll be able to tonight or even in a week but the more Asuka speaks the more guilt starts to creep in about the argument with Rei.

"I… I said something horrible to Rei." I suddenly say.

"I know you did."

"I… I don't know what to do." I feel tears burning in my eyes, "I didn't… I had no idea about any of this and you… I didn't know and I said… I said she was like our father!"

"Yes… She told me." I can hear the anger in Asuka's voice as she speaks, "You have to do what you're good at Shinji, apologize."

"No… No I can't… I can't do that, she won't forgive me… I went too far."

"Idiot!" She cuts me off, "Rei wants her brother home and safe, she was hurt by what you said but she is more worried about you. She's worried you'll do something stupid and get hurt!"

I try to calm my breathing, "Yeah… You're right… I… I just can't yet. I need a bit more time."

"Well try to not take as long as I have." Asuka laughs, her comment drawing a smile from me as well, "Are you mad at me Shinji?"

"I… I don't know Asuka, I… I still don't really understand a few things. I don't understand why you left." I pause for a moment, "It was so sudden, I thought… I thought I had some something wrong, or there was something wrong with you. I know I hurt you Asuka and I know I could have done more but…"

"Oh Shinji, you idiot!" She cuts me off again, "It was nothing to do with you or anyone else there. It was me, it was just something I had to do. When I was there with you guys all I could think about was how awful I was, all I could think about was that horrible bratty girl from before Third Impact. All the things she had said or done to you all and I was frightened of being her again."

"A-Asuka…" I trail off and give her the chance to say more.

"When I looked at the three of you… It was like looking at a family, you had your sister and your mother with Rei and Misato and me… I didn't belong in that group. I didn't deserve to be a part of that group…"

"Asuka you…" My voice almost cracks but I manage to keep it in check, "I don't understand, you… You did belong with us. We all cared for you and we all knew why you did the things you did. We all forgave you just like we forgave each other. When we returned it was supposed to be a fresh start! You weren't that person anymore"

"I know! I know that! Rei has already told me enough times!" I can hear the frustration in her voice when she speaks, "But you know it isn't that easy don't you? She is there all the time, reminding me of every horrible thing I have said or done. It's always there when I sleep and I can't shake it. I know I'm not that person but… That doesn't seem to help! You understand, don't you?"

"Yeah… I do…" I sigh, "Each and every day I'm reminded of the mistakes I made before Third Impact and the things I did during it. I remember all the times I hurt people and feel like I don't serve to be here. I feel like at any moment someone will recognize me for what I really am and I'll get what I deserve."

"I hurt you guys so much so… I thought the best thing would be to remove myself so you three could be happy."

"Did you ever plan on coming back?"

"Eventually I guess but… I just never felt like I was ready to. The longer I was away the less I felt I'd be able to come back. Like I said, Rei kept on trying to push me to come back. She's always tell me things about you and Misato to try to encourage me to get in contact."

"Rei… told you about us?" I ask in surprise.

"Of course she did you idiot!" Asuka barks back at me, "Rei was so proud of you! She always spoke about you and I was happy to listen, I wanted to know things about you and Misato and the others. I wanted to know you were all okay and it seemed like you were and in a way that… it just confirmed that I was right, you were all happier without me."

"But we all missed you! Misato, Hikari and even Touji and Kensuke did!"

"The fact that the stooges missed me doesn't exactly fill me with joy." She lets out a laugh, "But I appreciate the effort. Rei… told me that you've started playing the cello again?"

I smile, "Yeah! Misato suggested I… start taking lessons again so I got a teacher and he… he said he had a group of people who played various string instruments and wanted to put together an ensemble. I… agreed to it."

"Are you enjoying it?" She asks me.

"Yeah, I am… I, I really like playing and the people are really nice as well. I've only had two meetings with them but it's been fun."

"Good! I'm glad to hear you're doing something with the cello again. It always irritated me the way you put yourself down about it, you were very good when I heard you all those years ago."

"You really thought I was good?" I ask in surprise.

"Yes I did!" Asuka pauses for a moment, "You have talent Shinji and I'm glad you're actually doing something with it. In fact… I'd like to hear what you can do some time."

"Really?" I jump to my feet in surprise, "You... You'd really like to hear me play?"

"Yes, record something and send it over to me. I'll send you my e-mail address when we're done here. Rei also mentioned something about a concert?"

"Oh... Yeah... My ensemble... the guy in charge wanted us to put on a concert in December."

"That's great!" She replies and I'm surprised by the enthusiasm in her voice, "What will you be playing?"

"Um... Well a mixture of things really, he wanted to try and do some sort of music through the ages so... He's selected some classical stuff through to more modern stuff. I... I don't really know much of the stuff outside of the classical material like... I've heard of a few of the bands but I don't really know them or the music... I was going to listen to them tonight but then this happened."

Asuka simply laughs, "Sounds interesting. What bands did he have listed?

"Oh..." I pull the music player out of my pocket and for a moment I just stare at it blankly. This was a gift... A gift from Asuka before she left, I never got a chance to thank her. I should do that now, "Asuka I... The music player you got me before you left I just... Wanted to say thank you."

"You liked it?" She asks me, "I know you used to use your old SDAT a lot so I thought it'd be a good present. Do you still have it?"

"Yeah, I... I use it every day actually. Thank you."

"Don't mention it, so these bands he mentioned?"

I head to the playlist and scroll past the more familiar material. I expect Asuka will probably be more interested in the sixties and onwards, "Well... The Beatles are on it."

"Well of course they are, would be impossible to do a music through the ages without them. I'm sure even you know who they are though."

"Yeah... I know a few songs." I scroll down, "There are a few I don't know, Genesis... Pink Floyd... Queen... Procol Harum and... there is a guy here called... Meat Loaf? Who calls themselves Meat Loaf?"

My comment draws another laugh from her, "Look at a picture of the guy and you'll understand!"

"You know who that is?"

"I was raised in Europe, of course I know who Meat Loaf is! I have to say those are some good choices, will go well in a string ensemble I think, in fact a couple of them have already played with orchestras and have symphonic tributes."

"Really? I had no idea!" I reply.

"Of course you didn't! Tell you what I'll have a look through my collection tomorrow and see what I can find, if you send me the exact tracks your teacher is thinking of I'll try to send you the versions of the songs that have been done by or with an orchestra to help you out."

"You... You would do that? That... That'd be really helpful Asuka." I feel myself smile as I speak to her, "T-Thank you."

"Don't mention it just... consider it part of the apology from me okay."

"I... Okay..." I pause for a moment, "What about you Asuka, what are you doing now?"

"Me... Not much I... Um..." Asuka trails off for a moment and lets out another sigh, "I guess it's only fair you know too then, I'm a writer."

"Really? You... You're a writer?"

"Well don't sound too surprised! I can be creative too, I've even had my work published!"

I look at the phone in confusion, "What did you write?"

"Zero."

I can hear the pride in her voice as she says it but it only adds to my confusion. I'm familiar with the book, Rei loves it, she has a signed copy of it and Kensuke is a big fan too but the author isn't Asuka it's someone called Mari Makinami.

"But... That's wrote by-"

"Are you stupid?" Asuka asks me bluntly, "That's a psuedonym Shinji, Mari Makinami doesn't exist. It's me, I'm the author. Look at the book, the main character is based on Rei!"

"Oh! Why though... Why did you write under a fake name?"

She sighs, "I wouldn't have done a very good job of hiding myself from the world if I published a best-selling book under my real name would I?"

I laugh, "Oh yeah... I guess not. Rei... Rei is a huge fan of that book and Kensuke loves it as well. I... I never read it though..."

"Then you better go and do it."

"I will... Does... Rei know?"

"Of course she does, Kensuke is not to know though at all. Even when I visit he is not to know about it, I'm not having that crazed fanboy bother me."

We both laugh and then Asuka speaks again, her tone a bit more serious this time, "I want you to do something Shinji."

"What is it?"

"Go home... Go home and talk to your sister. Apologize to her for what you said and make things up with her."

"O-Okay..."

"I'm going to message her too but I want the two of you to talk to Misato and tell her everything as well. Make sure you defend Rei during it, make sure that Misato knows everything was my fault and it was all my decision. Tell her if she wants to talk to me or yell at me she can call me."

"Right... I can do that."

"Good, then go and do it." She pauses, "Again... I am sorry I took so long but it's happened now. Here I am... In Germany and you know how to contact me. We'll talk again soon alright?"

"Yeah... We will, thank you." I smile calmly as I slowly start to walk away from my position and back towards the bus stop.

"Also... Your concert in December... I want you to make sure you put aside two tickets for me and a friend. We... We'll be coming to it."

"A friend?"

"That's not important now Shinji, just do it. I still have a few other things to tell you but it's late and it can wait."

I don't want to say goodbye, I want to stay and talk to her all night. I want to speak to her about everything has happened to her since she left. I want to tell her about my life, not that I have much to tell her. She is right though, I should go home. I should apologize to Rei and talk to her and Misato about this.

I'm still not quite sure how to feel about all of this. I'm so happy that I now know she is okay. At the same time I still feel bad about this whole situation, I still feel like I'm somewhat to blame for her leaving. I still feel that she didn't want me to know about her because of who I am. I can still feel some anger at her and Rei for the lie.

I don't expect this to be resolved in an evening though. This will take time and at least we have a place to start from. I prepare myself to say goodbye to Asuka but I'm glad this won't be the last time I say it.

"Okay... Goodbye Asuka."

"Goodbye Shinji, I'll talk to you soon."

Berlin Streets - Kaworu Nagisa

As I feel the cold wind brush against my skin I so wish I had brought my jacket with me. I was in such a rush to leave I went out in my t-shirt and didn't realize how cold it would be. Still I suppose it does give me something else to focus on other than the unease that I have been feeling since Asuka said she would make that phone call.

Asuka… She will be talking to Shinji right now. This will be their first conversation in other four years and I am so… happy that such an event has occurred. I know that the two of them have shared and faced so much pain, I know all about the fragility of their hearts and it saddened me to know that they were no longer in contact.

Yet despite all of this I feel something else, fear. I fear what this turn of events means for me. I fear that I no longer know where I stand in this place. Deep down I always knew that this day would come, it is… I suppose you could call it destiny. I just wasn't expecting it to happen so soon and so suddenly. Especially not after I had experienced such a wondrous event the other day.

Still, I suppose it is probably better that this happens sooner rather than later. I suppose it is better that it happens before this thing, I suppose you would call it a romance, develops further between myself and Asuka. If it happened later then it would perhaps be harder for me to accept and move on.

I am so happy for the two of them. They both deserve to find true happiness and I know that it doesn't in any way negate my chances of finding happiness. I just feel… I feel that Asuka was really special, she understood me and I felt that in some ways I understood her as well. Asuka has such a fierce personality but it is tinged with a softness and gentleness.

When I held her or she held me I felt a wonderful sensation skin to floating. When I was around Asuka I felt so very safe. She was oh so beautiful as well, each and every part of her and she had an infectious smile that never failed to brighten up my day.

So I, Kaworu Nagisa, am happy. I am really really happy. I want nothing more than for those two souls that have been hurt so much to find true happiness. So, despite the fact that I have this awful knot in my stomach and tears welling up in the corners of my eyes I… I am happy.

I continue to walk through the streets, this is a route very familiar to me. It is one that I've walked a vast number of times over the last few months. I've not walked it in the last few weeks, since the attack I ended up relegating myself to my apartment except for going out to work or for shopping. I felt that getting out this time was necessary, Asuka and Shinji needed time alone to talk.

I cross the road onto another street, this one isn't quite as empty as the others. There are a few people stood chatting outside of a café. I move part them and I know it's just my imagination and current mood but I'm sure I can hear them all stop talking. I'm sure I can feel their eyes on me. I do this a lot, I always wonder if people are staring at me, I stand out so why wouldn't they?

I pick up speed and move around the corner to an emptier street and my mind turns back to Asuka and Shinji. I wonder what they've spoken about. I wonder if she mentioned me. I wonder when she'll be going back. I feel the tears threaten again.

I get halfway down this street when I feel my phone suddenly start to vibrate in my pocket. I immediately pull it out and see Asuka's name on the display. As I see it the knot in my stomach tightens as I come to the realization that this is probably it. This will be the phonecall where this all ends.

I actually contemplate now answering it so that I can delay hearing the news. What would be the point though? It is going to happen either way so I should face up to it.

"Hello?"

"Kaworu!" I can hear the happiness in her voice and my mood dips some more, "I just finished speaking to Shinji, where are you?"

"I… Decided to go out for a little walk. I thought you could probably do with some privacy considering the situation and I wasn't sure how long you would be…" I speak to her all the while trying desperately to stop my voice from cracking, "Did everything go alright?"

"Hah! Of course it went alright! Managed to calm the idiot right down and he's going to go patch things up with Rei. Yet another victory for the great Asuka Langley Soryu!" She boasts to me and I can't help but smile.

"I am so… happy that it went well." I feel my voice crack slightly as I speak, I hope she hasn't noticed.

It turns out she did, "Hey… Is everything alright Kaworu?"

"Yes! Yes, everything is fine. I'm just a bit cold, I forgot to bring my jacket with me and I misjudged how cold it would be this evening." It's a feeble lie but I hope she accepts it.

"Oh I see… Well you should get yourself home quickly I was thinking that we should… celebrate tonight. Perhaps we should order pizza and… resume what we were doing before I had to make that phone call?" I hear her tone shift as she speaks the last part. It's teasing and sultry, not dissimilar to voices I've heard in certain… material.

My mind flashes back to those moments before I left. I flash back to the feeling of her lips up against mine. I remember my tongue dancing with hers and my hands exploring the curves of her body and her hands running themselves along mine. I feel my body start to react, I need to stop thinking about this, such a thing happening here would be… problematic.

Yet I am also confused, does this mean that her conversation with Shinji did not go how I was expecting it to? Am I wrong or is the inevitable just being delayed? I don't understand but I will return home and see what happens. Perhaps… Perhaps I am wrong and I do have the opportunity to be happy for a while longer.