Author's note: I'd hate to say this, but the angel I'm going to use here will be the same one as the 5th angel. This is mostly due to the fact that my friend and coauthor (Well, more like an ideas guy) likes the 5th angel the best and wants me to have it in there. So I am. I will however change some things this time around to give some originality. After all, since Asuka's there, there needs to some things different.

Oh yeah, and to answer some questions:

Mc2rpg: You're right that Misato is giving a lot of attention to Asuka. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, she's still unaware of Asuka's bad side and only knows of her good attributes. The second reason is covered in the chapter near the end. Just wanted to clear that up.

Nuclear Mage: I think I've covered this, but yes I do plan on pairing Shinji up with one of the pilots, but I'm not going to do it right away. I want the relationship between to pilots to develop in a slower, more realistic manner. I'm not a big fan of the whole fall in love and live happily ever after in one day scenario. It feels artificial and over done. Please be patient with the romance. Nothing is set in stone yet.

I have rewritten the end of this chapter. One of my reviewer complained the in the end Asuka was acting OOC. After giving some thought, I agreed with his statement and have decided to make some changes that will be closer in line to the kind of personality that I have presented. I've changed a few other details as well, like Shinji's dream. Anyway, hope you enjoy.

Ok, on with the show!

Chapter 13. "Time for the Long Shot"

-

Misato and Asuka were heading on their way down to school. Asuka was visibly upset and Misato realized that she needed to cheer her up.

"Don't feel so bad about this," said Misato. "Think of this as an opportunity to make friends."

"I don't need friends," said Asuka. "I shouldn't have to do this."

"I'm sorry," said Misato. "You'll get over it once you meet some people. I'm sure of it. Someone like you should easily make friends."

Asuka sighed. "Fine. I just hope Kaji will go out with me after school."

"Don't worry about Kaji," said Misato in an annoyed tone. "He's hardly worth your time. He probably forgot all about your little engagement."

"He would never do that," said Asuka. "I'm sure he wouldn't."

It was then that they reached the school. Misato smiled at the 14 year old. "Good luck at school. Maybe you'll meet a boy there that's actually worth your time."

"Whatever," said Asuka. "Bye Misato."

"Bye," said Misato as she sped off to work.

-

Adams and Kaji were lying on the street, passed out from drinking. A rat that came from the streets crawled up Adams's arm. It cautiously inspected the body of the American and crawled into his mouth. This of course caused Adams to gag and spit out the rat.

"Ack! What the fuck?" yelled Adams.

Adams's scream woke up Kaji. "What's going on?"

"I just had a rat in my mouth," said Adams. "Nasty."

Kaji stared at the weapons developer for a few moments before busting out in laughter. "Oh my god! That's hilarious!"

"Shut up!" said Adams. "This is all your fault in the first place."

Kaji shook his head. "No! I only challenged you to an arcade game. You're the one who bought the drinks."

Adams gritted his teeth in anger. "So what? You should have stopped me."

Kaji raised an eyebrow. "What? You're a full grown adult. Why should I baby sit you?"

"Shut up!" said Adams again. "It sucks that we passed out on the streets, though."

"Speaking of which…" said Ryoji. "What time is it?"

Adams looked at his watch at the time. His eyes soon widened as he realized that he needed to be at work soon. "Holy shit! We're going to be late!"

Kaji shared his same expression. "You're kidding me! Let's get the hell out of here!"

-

Asuka now stood in front of the door of what was classroom 2-A. She was still frowning depressingly as her head hung a little low.

'I can believe I have to do this,' thought Asuka. 'This is unfair. I'm ten times smarter than anyone in this class room…' She stood there in silence for a few more moments and took a deep breath. 'Oh well, at the very least, I should make a good impression.'

-

Class went on as usual. Dull, boring and completely pointless. The only thing keeping the three stooges from falling asleep was the small stack of worksheets they had to complete from the week of school that they missed.

'This sucks,' thought Shinji. 'I almost forgot how boring this class really was. I'll take the open sea over this any day, red-head or not.'

It was then that the classroom just got a little more exciting. The door opened up, revealing none other than Asuka herself. She was once again in kiss-ass mode, putting on her best fraudulent smile.

The teacher saw her and nodded his head. "Ah, you must be the new Foreign Exchange student, Asuka Langie Sohryu."

Asuka ignored the mispronunciation of her name and proceeded to write her name on the board.

It didn't take long for the three stooges to notice her presence.

"Oh no!" cried Shinji.

"Oh no!" yelled Touji.

"Oh yes!" screamed Kensuke, perhaps more excitedly than he should have.

After writing on the board, the German red-head turned to address the class, making sure to enunciate her name clearly. "I'm Asuka Langley Sohryu! Nice to meet you!"

The teacher then pointed out to several seats that were empty. "You may choose any seat you like, Miss Sohryu."

Asuka looked around and found the seat she liked best. It was two columns right and one row up from Shinji, far enough away from Shinji while still allowing her to keep an eye out for him. She was still quite distrustful of him. She was also wary of both Touji and Kensuke, who were behind Shinji. As she seated, she acknowledged their presence with a cold, nasty glare.

The rest of the class talked quietly about the new girl, making comments along the lines of how she looked, how she acted, guess about her nationality, and other things less appropriate. The teacher tried his best to hush the class before droning about the good old days before Second Impact, like anyone cared.

Shinji put his face in the pile of worksheets as he began to worry about the prospect of having the fellow Eva pilot with him in the class room. 'This is awful. I thought for sure that I'd be safe here. I take back what I thought before. I don't want to be anywhere nears this girl. She's going to make my life miserable. I know it."

Fortunately, the rest of the class time when without incident. The bell rang, informing the students that gym was about to begin.

-

Adams and Kaji were running as fast as they could to make it on time to work. Despite the fact that they reeked of the booze that they drink last night and that they were wearing the clothes that they wore yesterday, they seemed undeterred in their charge to beat the clock.

"There's the elevator!" screamed Adams. "Let's pray to God that we don't have to wait long for it to come."

"I agree!" said Kaji as the two of them got to the door and pushed the button. They stood there for a minute, trying to catch their breath.

The elevator opened soon enough and behind the door was Misato, who quickly groaned in annoyance as she saw the two of them walk in, each standing on either side of her.

Kaji greeted the female Captain with a smile. "Good morning, Katsuragi. Pleasant to see you this early in the morning."

"Shut up,' responded Misato.

Adams was also quite relieved. "Well, if you're here with us, than we must have gotten here on time."

"Whatever," said Misato as she did her best to ignore the two of them.

Kaji then sniffed the air, noting that somebody in the elevator smelled like shit. He sniffed his armpit to make sure it wasn't him. He found that his own odor wasn't all that great, either. "Damn, am I the one who smells so bad?"

Adams shook his head and pointed to Misato. "No way, it's definitely her."

Misato eye twitched when she heard this but remained silent.

Kaji chuckled a little. "I'd be careful if I were you. She's wild, especially when she's angry. Believe me, I know from personal experience."

As the two of them laughed at the little inside joke, Misato continued to tense up in anger, her fists clenched while grinding her teeth back and forth.

Kaji noted her discomfort and feigned concern for her. "You ok?"

"Yes, fine!" said the Director of Operations in a tone as a blade. "I'm just getting off at the next stop."

"That's the floor I'm getting off at," said Kaji.

Misato slapped her head in exasperation. "Grr. I mean I'm getting off on the floor after that."

"That's the floor I'm getting of at," said Adams.

Misato was now pulling her hair as she did all she could to prevent herself from murdering either one of them. She then was struck with an idea. "I know!"

"Know what?" said Kaji as the door opened.

Misato then shoved on both of them out the door. "You can both get off!" She then proceeded to close the door before either man could stop it.

This set of circumstance especially pissed off Adams. "God dammit! That bitch! I'm going to be late because of her!"

Kaji tilted his head back in thought after he picked himself up. "She hasn't changed a bit. She just like I remember her."

Adams turned to him with one eyebrow cocked. "Are you serious? You mean to tell me that she's always been this bad?"

"Well, not all the time," said Kaji. "But that fire in her is what made the sex really great."

Adams shook his head. "But is the sex worth all the hassle?"

Kaji stared at Adams blankly for several moments. "You don't get laid that often, do you?"

Adams face-faulted upon hearing this.

-

Shinji was sitting outside during gym, his chest filled with worry pangs. He knew right now that Asuka was being given the tour of the school with Hikari. He also knew about how much Hikari loved to gossip and he figured that if Asuka were to mention that she was an Eva pilot, Hikari would surely ask questions about himself, and then it wouldn't be long before the whole school finds out about what happened between him and Rei.

It was then that Touji walked up to Shinji, looking a little concerned. "Hey man! What's up? You're totally spacing out."

Shinji looked up at the larger boy and sighed. "I'm just thinking about how screwed I am."

Kensuke also walked up to Shinji, showing some concern. "What do you think will happen?"

"Come on! You're smarter than that!" said Touji. "If Asuka tells anyone about what happened with Shinji and Rei, all three of us are going to be about as popular as Rei herself."

Kensuke began to worry himself. "Do you really think that she would do that?"

Both Touji and Shinji face-faulted. "YES!"

-

Hikari was just getting to the end of the tour. She was obviously being rather casual about it as it was obviously something that she had done more than she cared to admit. She then turned to Asuka for any questions. "So, you have anything to ask?"

"No," said Asuka.

It was then that Hikari handed Asuka all of the things she needed, including a large stack of papers and a lap-top. "You have a lot of catching up to do. Sorry about that."

"That fine," said Asuka disappointingly. "It probably won't take me that long anyway."

"It's been rare to have new students lately," said Hikari. "The last one we had was this guy named Shinji. He pilots this robot called an Eva."

Asuka rolled her eyes in disgust. "Ick. Don't even mention him. It's bad enough I have to be in the same room as him."

Hikari dropped her jaw. "You know him?"

"It's worse than that," said Asuka. "I have to live and work with him."

Hikari's mouth dropped wider. "Oh my god! You're an Eva pilot? And you live with Shinji?" It was then that the bell rang, noting the end of gym. Hikari smiled at Asuka excitedly. "We'll discuss this later. You can sit with me and my friends during lunch, ok?"

Asuka nodded, pleased that she was already making a friend who loved gossip. "Okay."

-

Ritsuko was walking down a hall at NERV, feeling and looking fairly fresh and aware, something that is rather rare coming from the blond haired scientist. As of right now, it was break time for her and she decided to step into the lounge for a quick cup of coffee. In the lounge as well was Captain Katsuragi, who was chugging a cup of her own while trying to remove a sour mood.

"Good morning," said Ritsuko in a cheerful mood. "How was your morning?"

"Don't ask," said Misato in a harsh tone. "Just trying my best to forget some of the nastier people that work in this place."

"You mean me?" said Ritsuko jokingly.

"Of course not," said Misato who was then intrigued by her friends sudden friendliness. "You're awfully cheery today anyway. What's the deal?"

"Oh nothing," denied Akagi as she poured herself some coffee.

Misato got a good look at her friends face. She could notice that she was rather radiant today and that her face was rather flushed. She began piecing together possible explanations until one cause stuck out. Her eyes widened and her mouth began to curve into a smile. "Oh my god! Sex flush!"

Ritsuko turned to her friend with an eyebrow raised. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Admit it! You have sex flush!" yelled Misato excitedly. "Who is it? Tell me!"

Ritsuko's face became even redder when she was asked the question, which made her denial futile. "There is no one. I didn't have sex."

"Liar!" yelled Misato. "Come on. This is me, your best friend. You're not going to pull one over on me. Come on, tell me."

Ritsuko turned her face away from Misato. "I can't."

"Why not?" asked Misato. "Is it someone I know?"

Ritsuko shook her said in denial. "No."

"Then why all the denial? I think you're lying to me. Does he work here?" interrogated Misato.

Ritsuko was silent. She refused to say anymore in the hope that she wouldn't further incriminate herself. The last thing she wanted to let anyone know about is that she and the Commander were having a casual relationship.

Misato began to think in her mind about what people who worked in NERV would be candidates for being a partner with Ritsuko. She realized that there were a lot of possibilities and that it was unlikely she could pick him out by deduction alone. She further interrogated her friend. "Ok, is it Shigeru or Makoto?"

"No," said Ritsuko.

"Keitaro? Mishoki?"

"No."

"That fat guy who eat a lot of donuts?"

"Hell no."

Misato then narrowed her eyes as she suspected the next person. "Kaji?"

Ritsuko chuckled. "No, but if he asked, I wouldn't say no."

"Shut up," said Misato. "It's not funny!"

"Yes it is," teased Ritsuko. "You can bother me, but I can't get you back. That's not fair."

Misato then widened her eyed and swallowed hard. "Please tell me that you're not sleeping with Adams."

Ritsuko's eyes returned with equal shock. "Hell no. Not in a million years!"

Misato gave a sigh of relief. "Thank god for that. Then who is it?"

Ritsuko finished her coffee and began to leave. "Just drop it, ok? You're just jealous because you're not getting any attention."

"I'm going to find out," declared Misato. "Mark my words."

"Whatever," replied Ritsuko as she walked out the door.

-

By now it was lunch time. The three stooges had already gotten their lunches and were beginning to eat. Well, at least two of the three were eating. Shinji was mashing his face into the table, hoping the whole situation would pass over.

Touji noted Shinji's actions and decided to say something. "You going to eat that?"

Shinji looks up at his friend with a raised eyebrow. "What? Don't you have enough to eat?"

"Well, I'm really hungry," whimpered Touji.

"So what?" asked Shinji. "Our lives are about to be ruined and all you can think about is food?"

"Got to think about something positive," retorted Touji.

In a lunch line nearby, Asuka watched over the table that had the three stooges. She narrows her eyes in contempt as she paid for her lunch and looked around for a seat. The only table that was mostly empty was the table that Rei sat at. She obviously didn't want to sit with her so she continued to look. She remembered that Hikari invited her to sit with her group, so she began to look around for her. She spotted them soon afterwards and approached them expecting them to let her join them.

Kensuke began to yell out to Asuka. "Hey Asuka! You can sit with me!"

Touji stood up so he could deck his friend. "Shut up! We don't want her here!"

Asuka turned her head towards the four-eyed dork, shuddered and continued to walk towards Hikari's table.

Kensuke sighed dreamily despite the rejection. "She's just playing hard to get."

"More like she playing impossible to get," said Shinji as he then noticed where she was headed. His heart jumped to his throat as he began to panic. "Oh shit! Asuka's going to sit with the Class Rep.!"

Asuka made it to the table and was quickly greeted by the pig-tailed girl. She was then introduced to all of her friends. She took her seat and began to fit right in, much to Shinji's dismay.

"This is it. My social life is over," said Shinji as his eyes drift off into space. "The whole school is going to hear about it, and everybody will hate me."

"Look on the bright side," said Touji. "At least you won't be alone when the ship sinks."

"Asuka's going to talk about me behind my back," said Kensuke. "She really must love me."

"Kensuke," said Touji. "You need to be put out of your misery."

By now, the girls at the other table were beginning their daily gossip, doing what they do best…spreading rumors.

"And I heard that her parents were totally getting divorced."

"No way!"

"I heard that fat girl in the glasses has webbed feet."

"Eww! That's gross!"

By now, Hikari spoke up to give herself a chance to let the other in on some news. "Girls, you gotta hear this! You see Asuka here? She's an Eva pilot!"

All of the girls gasped as they began swarming the German red-head with praise and questions. Asuka basked in the attention. "Yes, it's true. I am indeed an Eva pilot. I came from Germany to reinforce NERV HQ, which was severely needed. I'm the best pilot they got."

The girls were lavish with awe as it was certain that some of them were jealous. It was then the Hikari spoke up again. "There's more. You won't believe this, but she also has to live with Ikari."

The table was silent for a few moments before a barrage of question few in the direction of Asuka. "Is that true? Do you like him? What's he like? Has he done anything…perverted?"

Asuka waved her hands in the air to silence the crowd. "One at a time, please. Yes it's true. No I don't like him. He pathetic, boring and dorky. And yes, he has done something perverted."

Once again, the table was silent. This time the girls didn't butt in, expecting the female pilot to let out every juicy detail. Asuka didn't disappoint. "You know that albino girl over there? Well, let's just say that something quite scandalous occurred between her and Shinji." She then began to retell the story that Shinji told her the night before, with some minor alterations here and there. "He didn't stop at taking her underwear. He wanted more. He snuck into the bathroom and waited for her to come home. Like a predator, he waited in the shadows until his unsuspecting victim decided to take a shower. When she went and took off all of her clothes, that's when he made his move. He didn't go into details as to what happened after that, but whatever it was, it must have surely been revolting. And worst of all, I think she liked it. Oh yeah, and Suzuhara and Aida also joined in."

All of the girls at the table went slack-jawed. It took several minutes for them to process what they had been told. This was indeed the mother of all rumors, way out of league with anything these girls have said before. Hikari was the first to speak. "That is totally the rumor of the year."

Shinji watched carefully for any signs of whether Asuka was really saying anything that he thought she would say. Then it happened. The eyes. The eyes of at least a dozen girls staring straight at him. The color drained from Shinji's face as he realized that his fate was sealed. "Oh dear god! They're looking at me. They're looking right at me! I'm dead! I'm fucking dead! Oh no, now they staring at Ayanami! She doesn't even know what's happening. No! No, they're staring at me again!"

"They're staring at us too you know!" cried Suzuhara. He swallowed hard as he tried to think of what to do. "Guys? As soon as the lunch bell rings, run to class. Don't stop until we get there. If we're lucky, we'll make it through the day."

Kensuke, once again, was oblivious to his own peril. "I think Asuka's looking at me."

The bell rang, and the three boys ran for their lives, hoping that they could get to class before they were swarmed by gossipy girls trying to suck them dry. They lucked out. They made it, but no doubt this first run was only a warm-up. Right now, there were only a handful of girls who knew the truth, but they knew that is wouldn't take long for the rumor to spread.

They were only too right. Thanks in part to the laptops that everyone in the school had, Instant Messages were being spread about the entire school, moving faster than the plague could ever hope to spread. With in ten minutes of class starting, Shinji was already being bombarded with e-mails and IMs from just about everybody. Even some teachers. A lot of them involved questions that either tried to confirm if the rumor was true, or were out to find more details. Others came in the form of insults and threats, obviously from people with no fondness for perverts. Then there were messages from people congratulating him, mostly from guys. Shinji turned around to look at his friends only to see that they too were smashed with endless amounts of messages. Realizing that it was too much, both of them turned off their computers and hid their faces in their desks. This did little to help, as they could easily feel the prying eyes upon them.

Shinji turned to his friends, hoping they had good new about this situation. "Please tell me this isn't happening."

"It's happening," said Touji. "I was hearing everything from you raping Rei to Rei raping you. Dude, this is totally out of hand."

"I can't believe they think I did those things," said Kensuke. "The whole story was stretched way beyond the truth."

"I bet Asuka had a lot to do with it," said Touji. "It would be just like her to exaggerate the truth."

"Whatever," said the young Ikari. "I just want class to end so I can leave."

Class couldn't end soon enough. As soon as the bell rang, the three of them bolted out the door, but they were quickly pursued by a mob of people coming from every classroom. They were quickly surrounded and were now at the mercy of the crowd, and most of the faces there were less than inviting.

Sadly, Rei did not escape the torment herself. She too was mobbed by people, some of them spewing out questions as if they had a right to invade her privacy. "Did he attack you? Did you call the Police? Did you like it? Do you like him? Are you pregnant?" The questions kept flying. Rei was unaware until now as to what was going on and she began to struggle to maneuver through the crowd to go home. She let their questions and remark roll of her back. This wasn't the first time rumors were spread around about her and she certainly had plenty of reserves when it came to patience. Still though, it was most inconvenient, and the questions were quite rude. She eventually escaped, however, and eventually eluded the crowd as she escaped to go home.

-

By now, Asuka had already left the school, walking along side Hikari, who was quickly becoming Asuka biggest fan. Asuka shared a look of contentment as she walk back home. "Well, that was a pretty good way to start my first day."

"I'll say," said the Class Rep. "I think the whole school found out about what happened. I'd almost feel sorry for those jerks…almost."

Both Asuka and Hikari shared a quick giggle as they thought about how badly the three stooges were going to get what was coming to them. The two of them got off the subject shortly after and began to talk about other things, mostly involving the accomplishments that Asuka had achieved.

Suddenly, a car pulls up to the two of them, startling them at first. After the window was rolled down, however, Asuka's was filled with pure joy as she discovers who it was. "Kaji!"

Kaji smiled back at the girl. "Remember? I promised to take you shopping. You didn't think I'd forget, did you?"

Hikari got a good look at the man and obviously like what she saw. "Oh wow! He's gorgeous!"

Asuka turned to her new friend with a smug look. She then leaned towards her and whispered into her ear. "You see him? He's my boyfriend."

"You're kidding!" said the brown haired girl.

Asuka shook her head. "Nope, we're going on a date right now."

Hikari was speechless when she heard this, obviously feeling quite a bit of envy for the red-head. "That's unbelievable!"

"Tell me about it," said Sohryu as she approached the car. "I have to go. I'll talk to you tomorrow, ok?"

After Hikari nodded, the car sped off in the direction of the commercial district.

-

The three stooges had definitely seen better days. Although they had finally eluded the mob, it came at a price. The three of them were definitely ruffed up. Obviously, several people didn't appreciate how the three of them had treated Rei. They showed their discontent physically and it showed. Shinji, surprisingly enough, was the least damaged, suffering only a bruised cheek. Touji was slightly worse, tending to a black eye. Kensuke probably suffered the most, as he was left with a pair of broken glasses as well and a beaten body.

"This sucks," said Aida. "That was the worst experience in my life."

"At least we're alive," said Touji, trying to look on the bright side.

"What difference does it make?" asked Shinji. "They'll probably finish us off tomorrow."

"Maybe we should take another week off from school," suggested the dark haired boy.

"Sounds good to me," said the other two.

The three of them then continued to walk on, heading towards Shinji's place to recover.

-

It was break time once again at NERV. Misato began looking around the break room for answers. She was on a mission. She was determined to discover who Ritsuko's lover was, and she was willing to do anything to find out. She had already interrogated several dozen men, all of them either jokingly said that they were her lover, or simply denied it altogether. Right now, the break room contained only a handful of guys, all but one of them were guys that she had already questioned. The only guy she hadn't interrogated was none other than Adams. He was lying back in his seat enjoying a cup of coffee while trying to rest his eyes.

Misato swiftly marched up to him and slammed her fist on the table to get his attention. The noise startled Adams, who then spilled coffee all over his hand, causing him to drop his coffee and spill it all over the floor. Ow! What the fuck!

Misato loomed over the American with fire in her eyes. "Tell me what you know about Ritsuko!"

Adams responded in a less than cooperative way. "Fuck you! My coffee's all over the floor and my hand's burnt because of you!"

"Serves you right!" retorted the Director of Operations. "Now answer me! What's going on between you and Ritsuko? Is it true that you're having relations with her!"

"No!" replied Adams before thinking about the actual question. "Wait a minute. Ritsuko's getting laid? With who?"

Misato slapped her forehead in exasperation. "Moron! If I knew who it was, do you think I would be asking you?"

"How do you know she's getting it?" asked Steve.

"It's written all over her face," said Katsuragi. "She won't tell who, though."

"Shit, now I want to know," said Adams as he began to think about who were possibilities.

"Do you know where Kaji is?" questioned Misato.

"He left early to take Asuka shopping," said Adams.

"Dammit! I bet it's him," concluded Misato. "There's almost no one else left."

"Maybe it's the Commander or Sub-commander," suggested the weapons developer. "Can't exclude them."

"Please," said Misato. "I know Ritsuko pretty well, and I'm 100 percent sure that she wouldn't go for them."

It was then, however, that the loud speaker came on. "Emergency! Emergency! Unidentified flying object heading into Tokyo 3 airspace. All personnel prepare for yellow alert!"

Misato and Adams look at each other, knowing what was happening.

"Another angel…" said Misato.

"Here we go again," said Adams.

-

Asuka was holding Kaji by the arm as they headed into the mall for their day of shopping. Asuka was in pure bliss as she struggled to decide what to buy. There was a healthy supply of specialty stores to choose from and the teenage pilot was more than willing to shop all of them.

Kaji spoke up to get her attention. "Careful, okay? I'm not made of money. Don't pick anything too expensive."

"Don't worry Kaji, I won't," reassured Asuka.

Just as the two of them were about to enter the first store, a voice could be heard over the emergency broadcast system. "Emergency! All civilians evacuate to your nearest shelter! Repeat! All civilians evacuate to the nearest shelter!"

Asuka blinked in confusion as to what was going on. "Hey! What's the big deal? What's going on?"

Kaji became concerned. "We need to head to NERV immediately. It might be an angel."

Asuka widened her eyes in disbelief. "What? No way! Not now!"

"Sorry Asuka," said Ryoji. "We'll have to put a rain check on our shopping."

Asuka began to becoming visibly upset when she heard him sat that. "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! THIS IS NOT FAIR!" She began to stamp the ground as she let out her tantrum.

Kaji realized this was not the time for this. He quickly grabbed her by the arm and ran her to the car. They soon sped off towards NERV.

-

The three stooges had heard the broadcast as well, and they began to high tail it towards NERV. However, they were a good distance away from where Shinji needed to be and the three of them were already trying to deal with the pains that they had received earlier.

"This sucks!" screamed Shinji. "As if my day couldn't get any worse!"

"Tell me about it!" agreed Touji.

Luck smiled on Shinji for once however as a car pulled up next to him, revealing Kaji and Asuka.

"Get in the car, Shinji!" demanded Kaji. "We've got no time to waste!" He then looked at Touji and Kensuke. "You guys get to a shelter immediately. It's dangerous out here."

The two boys nodded and went off to a shelter while Shinji got into Kaji's car and sped off towards NERV.

-

Everybody was set up at the command bay. The Vid-screen displayed what looked like a black dot in the distance. The object was moving closer, however, and the actual shape of it was revealed.

"Looks like a diamond," noted Adams.

"Doesn't look man-made, whatever it is," said Misato.

"Wave pattern is blue!" yelled Maya. "Target is an angel!"

"Understood," said Misato as she then look to Shinji and Asuka. "You two ready for combat?"

"Absolutely, Misato!" said Asuka enthusiastically. "We'll take this thing down in no time!"

"Yes…" said Shinji with considerably less enthusiasm.

"Good," spoke the Director of Operations. "I want the both of you to flank the target and fire a volley. Try to keep your distance while we discern this angel's abilities. Don't get caught off guard!"

"Right!" spoke both pilots.

After the pilot confirmed their order Misato gave the go ahead for the mission. "Eva launch!"

The Evas were launch to engage the enemy. Asuka took the brief moment of time to gloat. "Watch as I take the angel out single-handedly in record time."

"Whatever," responded Shinji as they neared the surface.

Shigeru's monitor went haywire. "What's this? There's a large scale energy reaction in the target!"

Misato gasped at the situation. "What? Already?"

Just as the Evas reached the surface, the angel let lose a tremendous blast in the direction of Unit 02. Asuka, despite her abilities, simply had no time to react. Her Eva was hit directly with the blast, melting away the chest plate.

Shinji saw this and hesitated at first, unsure as to what to do.

Misato was quick to reprimand him for this. "What the hell are you doing? Grab your gun and attack now!"

Shinji escaped from his trance and quickly grabbed his gun. Unfortunately, the angel stopped attacking Asuka and quickly aimed its shot at Shinji, blasting off the right arm of Unit 01, causing Shinji to howl in agony.

Misato had to take action. "Bring Unit 02 back to the cage! Shinji, retreat immediately!"

Unit 02 was lowered back under the surface while Shinji quickly rushed to a nearby elevator before he was attacked again. As he reached it and was being lowered, the angel fired again, further damaging Unit 01 before escaping below the surface.

Misato quickly turned to Makoto. "What's the status on the pilots?"

Makoto swiftly read the monitor. "Both pilots are okay. Their nerve functions are shaky, but there is no physical damage."

"Good!" said Misato. "Remove them to from their entry plugs immediately. Have them sent to the medic bay for observation."

"This was embarrassing…" said Steve in a gloomy mood.

Above the angel set itself into position before stopping and lowering what looked like a drill. It penetrated the ground and began to bore its way further downward.

After about 15 minutes passed, the team inside the command bay calmed down and assessed the situation.

"How are the Evas?" asked Misato.

"Could be a lot better," said Ritsuko. "Unit 02's chest plate had been melted down to the second layer. Thanks to Unit 01's interference, however, the damage to both the Eva and its pilot were was much less severe than it could have been. Unit 01's right arm has been blown off, and the back armor has sustained damage as well. Thankfully, both Evas are still operational, although it will take some time to replace the arm. Far too much time to have it regenerated before the angel reaches headquarters."

"How much time do we have?" asked Katsuragi.

"The angel is currently using some sort of drilling device to bore its way into headquarters." said Makoto. "At the rate it is going at, we estimate that the angel will reach the Geo-front in approximately 10 hours."

"I see…" said Misato as she went into deep thought.

"Is Unit 00 operational, yet?" asked Adams.

"Negative," said Ritsuko. "Our timing was bad. Unit 00 is currently being taken apart in preparation for its upgrades. As of right now, it's inoperative."

"Damn…" said the tactical advisor. "So much for a three pronged attack."

"How are our chances with both Unit 01 and 02 attacking simultaneously up close?" asked Misato.

"Not good," answered Makoto. "Magi calculations, taking into account the missing arm on Unit 01, have given the likely hood of victory up close a measly 2.3. We still don't have a lot of data on the angel, but it is believed that its targeting range is far greater than the Eva's minimum range to neutralize the angel AT Field."

"If we can't neutralize the angel's AT field, how can we beat the angel?" asked Adams.

Misato continued to think. The situation seemed pretty hopeless. They were up against the mightiest angel yet, but it had to have some weakness. "It's like an impenetrable fortress."

"It's still has to have a weakness," said Adams. "The city walls of middle age Europe also seemed impenetrable to attacking forces, but they found way around them. They would toss the corpses of plague carrying dogs over the walls with catapults and let the disease kill off their enemies. Its weakness is there, we just have to find it."

Misato continued to think until the lights up stairs suddenly clicked on she put on a clever grin and stood up. "I've got it! I know how to beat it!" She then spoke to everyone about her idea. "We'll use a pinpoint concentrated attack on the enemy. With enough power behind the shot, I believe we can penetrate its AT Field without putting the Evas in range of its particle beam."

Everyone in the room nodded at the idea, including Adams. "Sound good to me."

Misato narrowed her eyes in the American's direction. "What this? You actually agree with me?"

Adams shrugged his shoulders. "What? It really is a good idea."

"Humph," grunted the Director of Operations. "If you think you're going to get on my good side, you're way off."

Steven rolled his eyes. "Whatever, I'm heading to the weapons department. Page me if you need me for anything."

Misato then turned to Maya. "Ibuki! Check on the status of the pilots and report to me the moment you know how they're fairing."

"Roger!" said Maya.

Ritsuko approached her long time friend, having doubts in her mind. "You think you idea will work?"

Misato sighed. "Well it'll still be a long shot, only this time it'll be more literally."

"Ha ha!" responded the blond scientist. "Still have a sense of humor I see."

"Yeah," said Misato calmly. She then looked at her friend with curiosity. "Hey, since we might die if this plan doesn't work, you mind telling me who your lover is?"

Ritsuko gritted her teeth in anger. "If you need me, I'll be over seeing the repairs on the Evas!" She then marched off out the door."

Misato chuckled a bit, trying to release her stress before looking at Makoto. "Send out some decoys towards the target. We'll need more information before we can move on with our plan.

-

About an hour later, Shinji was lying in a hospital bed, having random dreams about nothing. His dreams then drift off into what seemed like the somewhat distant future. He was in his Eva. He stood alone in what looked like Tokyo 3, except that it was torn to shreds by recent combat. He saw a figure in front of him. A large figure, almost twice the size as the Eva. It looked humanoid, but it was also very demonic. It slowly flapped its gigantic bat-like wings. It then turned its head toward Shinji. There he took in a glimpse of a pair of emerald green eyes. Its stare was of pure evil. An evil that Shinji had never felt before. It was then that the figure began to chuckle. The chuckle soon turned to laughter and it got louder and louder. Loud, maniacal laughter. As the laugh grew louder and louder, Shinji's heart pounded harder and harder. He was soon overwhelmed with fear. The world around him went blink, as if the very epitome of evil had just swallowed him.

Shinji bolted from his nightmare only to realize that he was in a bed. A hospital bed to be exact. He gave a long heavy sigh as he soon knew that the whole experience was just a dream. He then laid back and tried to relax. It was then that he knew something was wrong. 'Shit! We lost the battle against the angel didn't we? Am I dead? No I'm alive. I guess we either found a way to beat the angel, or we're still stalling it. I hope it's the former.'

It was then that the door opened, revealing Rei Ayanami. She was pushing a cart with food on it. Shinji saw her and felt slightly timid. Surely she had heard about the rumor that had spread through the school. Shinji figured that she was probably mad at him all over again. "Ayanami…"

Rei lifted the tray of food and placed on the young Ikari's lap. "I was ordered to bring you food. You will have to move out soon enough."

Shinji stared at his food and couldn't find the urge to eat it. He looked around the room and noted that it was empty with the exception of him and Rei. Shinji felt it was best to talk to her about the incident of two weeks ago. "R…Rei? About that one time. You know, when I was in your house."

"What about it?" asked Rei as she poured a glass of milk.

Shinji swallowed hard. "You know that the whole school knows about it now, right? More or less."

"Yes," spoke the young albino blankly.

"Um…" said Shinji as he searched for words. "Are you mad at me for what happened?"

"Why do you ask?" asked Ayanami as she put the cup of milk on Shinji's tray.

"I…I just think you should be," said Shinji. "I'm really sorry, but I deserve the worst for doing what I did."

"If you are sorry, then what difference does it make?" asked Rei.

Shinji blinked in confusion. "Huh?"

Ayanami continued. "You apologized to me and you did not harm me physically. You left promptly and the incident is over. Why should I be upset over something that happened in the past?"

"I don't know," answered Shinji. "I sorta told Asuka about it and now she hates my guts. She then told the whole school about it and now the whole school hates me. The whole thing's tearing me apart."

"The rumors will pass," said Rei. "You shouldn't dwell on what people think of you. Many people have spread rumor about me in the past. People eventually forget about them."

Shinji frowned when he heard Rei talk about how people would make rumors about her. It was sad that people could be mean to her. She certainly didn't deserve it "That's sad, Rei."

"Do not worry about me," said Rei. "Right now you should get something to eat and prepare for you next mission. I'll return soon once the mission parameters are set to inform you on what to do."

Shinji nodded as he watched the girl walk away. Before she left Shinji called out to her. "Rei!" As Rei turned to face him, Shinji smiled back at her, a light tear going down his eye. "Thank you, Rei. Thank you for forgiving me. I feel a little better now."

Rei nodded and walked out the door. She was surprised to see that there was someone on the other side of the door. It was Asuka, who had apparently been ease-dropping in Rei and Shinji's conversation for several minutes. Rei acknowledged her presence. "Pilot Sohryu."

Asuka narrowed her eyes at the First Child. "I over heard your conversation with the Third. How could you forgive him for what he did?"

"I think the real question is how can I forgive you for letting the school know about it," spoke Ayanami as she began to walk around the Red-head.

Asuka stepped in front of the albino once again. "Don't get smart with me! I did what I did because it's what he deserved. It boggles my mind that you disagree."

"It's none of you business how I feel about it," retorted Rei. "There are more important issues at hand than what Ikari did two weeks ago."

"I get it," said the German Red-head. "You think you're too good for me, huh? Fine, be that way!"

"Think what you want," said Rei. "Personally, I think it would be best if you focused on you mission rather than Pilot Ikari's problems. If you don't, you will be distracted in you mission. After all, you will have to work with him, regardless of what you think of him."

"Don't give advice, you amateur!" yelled Asuka. "Who do you think you are?"

Rei decided not to answer Asuka anymore and walked around her and down the hall. Asuka was left to brood in her anger. However the pilot of Unit 02 knew that there was wisdom in what the albino had said.

'Dammit! She's right!' thought Asuka. 'I need to get a grip and start thinking about beating the angel. I need to forget about that pervert and concentrate." She then began to rub her temples to try and calm herself down. "Concentrate! Concentrate!"

-

Misato, Makoto, and Ritsuko were sitting in the command bay, looking over the details. They looked rather stressed and it was obvious that they were high strung.

"This doesn't look good, does it?" asked Misato.

"Well, on the bright side, the pilots are okay," said Ritsuko.

"That's our only bright point," said Misato.

"We've sent several decoys in and they've given us a better idea as to what's going on," continued Hyuga. "We know that the targeting range for the angel is about 3 kilometers. At the range, we are unlikely to be able to neutralize its AT Field, so we have to penetrate its AT Field while it's at full power."

"How much power would be needed to penetrate?" asked Misato.

"According to our calculations about 180,000,000 kilowatts, ma'am," answered Ritsuko. "That a lot of power."

"Tell me about it." said Misato. "Do we even have a weapon that can handle that much power?"

"Not that I know of," said Ritsuko. "Our Model 20 positron rifle can't handle that much power.

"I heard the JSSDF has a rifle we could use," said Makoto. "It's still experimental, and we don't know if we'll be able to get a hold of it, but I'm sure it's the best chance we have."

"That what you think!" screamed a voice in the background. Everybody turned to face it to face it was Adams, whose face was beaming with pride. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to announce that we've just finished development of out Model 22 Positron Rifle. Upon learning the capabilities of the angels based on previous battles, I realized that we needed to scrap the Model 21 in exchange for something a whole lot more powerful. Yep, I've really out done myself this time."

"Really? Can it handle 180,000,000 kilowatts?" asked Misato with a smug look on her face.

Adams laughs in triumph. "Of course it can! 180,000,000 is…" Suddenly, Adams realized how large the number really was. "Wait a minute! 180,000,000 Kilowatts! Are you kidding me?"

It was Misato's turn to laugh. "What's the matter? I thought your gun was super powerful. Oh well, so much for that. I guess we'll have to stick with the rifle that the JSSDF has."

Adams swallowed hard. He knew that the amount of power needed for the weapon was ridiculous, but he also knew that he couldn't get up staged by the JSSDF. He took a deep breath and spoke. "One shot."

"What's that?" asked the Director of Operations.

"I can guarantee one shot," said Adams. "No more, no less."

Misato nodded upon hearing his words. "Okay, we'll go with the Model 22 for this operation."

Adams was thoroughly surprised. "Really? You want to use my weapon?"

"Absolutely!" answered Katsuragi as she got up and put and hand on his shoulder. "After all, the way I see it, if your gun fails, you'll be personally responsible the death of the entire human race. Don't want to put any pressure on you, after all. You better get to work."

Adams was beginning to feel really nervous about the situation. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to use his gun. In any case, he needed to get working and fast. He quickly nodded and ran off toward the weapons department, hoping one shot would be all that was needed.

After he left, Ritsuko turned to Misato in a furious mood. "Are you fucking insane! You're going to risk the lives of the entire human race just so you can get back at Adams?"

Misato smiled and shook her head. "Don't be ridiculous. I'm going to see to it that we get the rifle from the JSSDF as well. We'll use that one as a back up in case the first one fails. One of them is bound to work."

Ritsuko calmed down and wiped the sweat from her forehead. "I sure hope you're right. That's a lot of power." Ritsuko then blinked in confusion. "Where are we going to get that kind of power anyway? You're going to have to pull a lot of strings to pull that off."

Misato put on a huge grin. "Just call me the Puppet Master!"

-

It was late at night. The site for the operation was set. Miles upon miles of cable and cooling system were being laid out and tested. Both positron rifles were built and set into position. Everything was prepared with one exception. The pilots needed to be briefed.

Both Shinji and Asuka were standing outside in their plug suits in front of Misato, Ritsuko and Adams.

"Okay, listen up you two," began Misato as she pointed to both rifles. "These weapons are positron rifles. One of them was developed in our weapons department. The other was developed by the Japan Strategic Self Defense Force. However, neither has ever been field tested, especially with the amount of power that we're pumping into them."

Asuka raised her hand. "So what you're telling us is that neither could work."

"Precisely," said Ritsuko.

Both Shinji and Asuka sweat-dropped.

'That's just great,' thought Asuka.

'This mission is doomed,' thought Shinji.

Misato continued the briefing. "As of right now, our plan is to start off with our Model 22 rifle, with Asuka as the gunner. This is for two main reasons. Asuka's synch ratio is a lot higher than Shinji's and would thus be the most accurate. Precision is necessary to succeed in this mission. The second reason involves the fact that Unit 01 is missing an arm right now. With only one arm, it's unlikely that Shinji could hold back the recoil of the shot, reducing the chance of the shot being accurate."

'That's a relief,' thought Shinji. 'For once, the weight of saving humanity isn't put directly on my shoulders.'

Ritsuko spoke again. "You will still have a part to play, Shinji." She then points to what looked like a giant shield. "You will be holding that to defend Asuka in case the angel retaliates. It's part of a single stage to orbit rocket that we redesigned for this mission. It has an ultra electro-magnetic coating to give it some better protection, but it still won't last long against the angel's particle beam. We've calculating about 17 seconds."

Any relief that Shinji had felt before was now removed. 'Great, I'm the one that has to jump in the way of that beam. That totally makes my day.'

"If for any reason…" spoke Misato. "That the first shot misses its mark, we'll need you to immediately switch to the second rifle. That way, we can transfer power to that rifle right away and so we won't have to wait for the gun to cool. It's probably likely that the angel will retaliate by then, so quickness is of the essence. The faster you fire the second shot, the less time that Shinji will have to block the angel's shot. Understood?"

After both Shinji and Asuka nodded, Misato turned to Adams. "Anything you'd like to say about the rifle before we begin the operation?"

Adams was in his own world. He had obvious doubts about whether the Model 22 could hold out to so much power, and he looked extremely stressed out about the whole situation.

"Adams!" yelled Misato to get his attention.

Adams jumped as he realized he was being spoken to. "Wha? Oh…yeah. Ok. Listen. I don't know about the JSSDF Rifle, but I'm fairly certain that you'll only going to get one shot out of the Model 22 before the weapon will be too hot to fire safely. If you miss your first shot, I highly recommend that you do not fire the weapon again. To be honest, there's a decent chance that the weapon could blow on the first shot. Just thought you'd like to know."

Both pilots nodded in a less than enthusiastic way. "Thanks for the information," said Asuka. "I think…"

"We'll begin the operation at zero hundred hours. Dismissed!" said Misato.

-

It was late and the night air carried a chilling breeze that seemed to hit Shinji to the bone, even through the warmth if the plug suit. The reality was that it wasn't really the wind that was bothering him. It wasn't the mission, either. Something else was on his mind. He looked in the direction of his fellow pilot. He noted that her face has a look of sheer determination. Her face was like stone, completely focused at the task at hand. It was a different side of Asuka, one that the young Ikari had yet to have seen before tonight. He began to wonder what was on her mind. Despite all that she did to him the past few days, he didn't want to hate her. He didn't want to hate anybody, and he certainly didn't want anyone to hate him. He began to wonder if he could ever get along with Asuka, especially since she knew about the incident with him and Rei. Her silence didn't reassure him any, and he knew that he had to say something about it. He figured that now was as good a time as any, since there was the chance that this could be their last night alive.

Shinji swallowed hard before speaking. "A…Asuka? About what happened between me and Rei…"

Asuka interrupted. "Forget about it. Now is not the time to bring it up. There are more important matters at hand."

Shinji lowered his head as he continued. "Well…I just figured that this might be the last day of our lives, and I figured that if we don't get it out of the way, we might never get a chance."

"What makes you say that?" asked Asuka as she turned to look in his direction. "What makes you think were going to die tonight?"

Shinji was silent for a moment. "Well, there is a chance that something might go wrong with the guns or the angel might attack. You never know."

Asuka stood up and gave Shinji a stern look. "You see? That's the biggest difference between you and me. You don't have confidence in anything. You're so pessimistic that it's almost disgusting. Stop it! It's holding you back."

Shinji gave a heavy sigh as he listened to her criticism. "Sorry…"

"Listen," said Sohryu. "Whenever I do a task, no matter what it is, I go in with the belief that I will succeed in doing it. Not some of the time, not even most of the time, but every time. And you know what? I'm good at what I do because I truly believe I'm the best. How can you possibly believe that you'll be a good pilot when you're so cynical?"

"But what about earlier today?" asked Shinji. "We got our butts kicked. There was nothing we could have done to stop that."

"It was true that I was attacked before I could react," said Asuka. "But so what? If I had come in with your attitude would it have changed anything?"

"No," said the brown-haired boy. "I'm just saying that there are things we have no control over. How can you be so sure of yourself if you don't know for sure that you'll succeed?"

"Let me ask you this," said Asuka. "What's the point of worrying about things we can't control? Sure, something could go wrong, but even if it does, at least I went in giving it my all, and for that I'm not going to have any regrets."

Asuka turned her head towards the wind and looked out in the direction of the city. The wind blew her hair back, flapping it with the wind. Shinji watched her as she did this. As he did so, a slight smile crept over his face. It was like talking to a completely different person. The Asuka he just spoke to was completely different from the person that he had known for the last week and a half. There was no bullshit fake personalities, no bratty arrogance, and no self centered nature, just what truly lied beneath. It was as if she was on fire, a bright beacon of strength and power that penetrated that night. For a moment, Shinji forgot all about what had happened between the two of them up till now. Right now, he admired her strength…and her beauty.

Asuka looked at the watch that built into the plug suit. "It's time. We need to get ready."

Shinji nodded and got up to head towards his Eva. Before he had reached it, however, he heard the voice of his partner. "Good luck. You better cover my ass our there. Whether I like it or not, my life may depend on you."

Shinji turned to face her and nodded. "Right."

-

"Transfer all power directly to Unit 02!" order Misato.

"Roger!" said the crew as they pressed some buttons in their control pads. Huge amounts of electricity were now being sent towards them, taxing the hurriedly built cooling systems. It was then that Misato spoke to Asuka. "Listen up, Asuka. The power of the entire nation of Japan is under your control now. I have full confidence that you'll put it to good use. Stay sharp and hopefully this operation will go without a hitch."

"Roger!" said Asuka has she began to take aim.

Misato then looked to Shinji. "Shinji, watch for anything that might endanger Unit 02. You're her only line of defense."

"Understood," said Shinji as he raised the shield with his remaining hand.

After everything seemed prepared, Misato gave the word. "Begin operation!"

The power from the electricity being sent to the gun was building within the rifle it could be seen that the rifle was being pushed to its limits from the raw energy. Adams had his fingers crossed, praying that it would work without blowing up and hit its target.

Asuka's targeting computer began to close in. "Target will be centered in 10...9...8...7...6...5..."

It was then that Shigeru noticed a huge energy spike coming from the angel. "There's an energy reaction coming from the target!"

The entire team's hearts jump to there throats, including Misato's. "No! Not now!"

"Fire it now!" screamed Adams in a panic.

"3...2...1...NOW!" screamed Asuka as she pulled the trigger, unleashing the full power of the blast at the target. Unfortunately, the angel attacked at the same moment, sending its particle beam in the opposite direction. The two beam were heading straight for each other, but rather than hitting, they disrupted each other's flight path, both missing their mark. The positron shot merely blew up a city block. The particle shot, however, hit the much more vital location. The other positron rifle.

The team watched in horror as the JSSDF rifle disintegrated from the blast. More than anyone else, Adams had lost hope. "It's over…We lost…"

Misato swallowed hard and didn't give up. "Asuka, you need to exchange fuses and wait for the gun to cool down! See to it that you wait as long as possible before taking the shot!"

"Yes, ma'am!" said Asuka as she changed the fuses.

"You can't do that!" yelled Adams. "There's no way in hell that it can fire a second time. It's going to blow!"

"We don't have a choice, Adams!" screamed the Director of Operations. "Right now you better pray to God that you're wrong!"

Shigeru made another announcement. "The target is beginning to fire again!"

"Shit!" screamed everyone, including Asuka.

"My targeting computer is still counting down!" exclaimed Asuka. "I don't have time!"

It was then that the angel launched its shot directly at Unit 02. Despite the incredible speed of the blast, Asuka could see it coming and could feel her life flashing before her eyes. The beam never hit however. Something blocked it. That something was Shinji.

Asuka looked up to see that Shinji blocking the blast with his shield. "About time you got there!"

"Just hurry!" said Shinji as he tried to hold on.

The targeting computer continued to count down. "10...9...8...7...6..."

"It's going to blow! It's going to blow! It's going to blow!" screamed Adams in hysteria.

"5...4...3...2...1..."

"HIT THE DECK!" screamed the American as he jumped to the ground and took cover.

"NOW!" screamed Asuka as she pulled the trigger. Miraculously, the gun held together for the shot and it launched itself perfectly straight through its target, destroying the angel.

A huge sigh of relief came over everyone before they started to cheer. The operation was a success. Everyone began to look towards Adams, who was still on the ground prone, expecting to die. A few moments later, Adams looked around and realized that everything was okay. He stood up and brushed himself off before putting on a huge grin. His head literally swelled three sizes. "Well, I guess I should give my self more credit. Sometimes I really do amaze myself."

Misato groaned in exasperation. "That's just great. Just what we need, an even more cocky and arrogant American."

Ritsuko nodded in agreement. "You're telling me?"

Misato then looked towards the bridge bunnies. "What's the status of the pilots?"

"Both pilots are okay." confirmed Maya. "Shinji's life signs are a little weak, but definitely within safe parameters."

"What's the status of Unit 01?" asked Ritsuko.

"The shield had melted through," said Makoto. "But the damage that Unit 01 has taken isn't too serious."

"Good," said Misato. "Send a recovery team to the pilots immediately."

"While we're at it…" said Adams. "How has the rifle held out?"

"Take a look," said Maya as she pointed to the image displaying it. The rifle had completely melted down and was now nothing more than a huge pile of semi-molten steel.

Adams was less than pleased to see this. "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

-

It was the next day. Misato and Asuka were at home. The young redhead was busying herself with what looked like homework. Misato however was getting ready to leave. "Asuka, I'm going to pick up Shinji from the hospital. Do you want to come along?"

Asuka lifted her head from her work, looking somewhat unsure. "Uh…I can't. I have a lot of back homework to do. It's ridiculous as to how much work they assigned."

"Okay," said Misato. "It's your choice." She then picked up her purse and was one her way.

The hospital was rather quiet at the moment. With even more people leaving the city, accident were on the decline. It was almost spooky walking down some of the halls. It was then that she came across a familiar, unpleasant face. "What the hell are you doing here?"

It was Adams, who was in a decent mood for a change. "What? I'm not allowed to visit Shinji? It's not like I was the only one. Touji and Kensuke are visiting him right now."

Misato crossed her arms, still trying to be rude. "Evan so, it just feels weird to me that you spend so much time around kids that are almost young enough to be your children."

"So what?" replied the American. "I think these kids need a good role-model around."

Misato struggled to keep a straight face. "You…a role-model?"

Adams tried to change the subject. "So how come Asuka isn't here?"

Misato took a deep breath before answering, trying to forget the Americans previous statement. "She…she had to stay home. She had a lot of homework."

Adams raised an eyebrow. "Come on! Are you serious? Her life was saved by him, and she won't even put down some homework to see if the kid's alright?" He leaned in closer toward Misato. "You want to know what I think? I think that she doesn't like him very much."

"That's ridiculous!" said the Director of Operations. "They're getting along just fine."

"Goes to show how much you know," responded Steven. "She's not as good a person as you think she is. In fact, from what I've heard from Touji, she's been making him rather miserable, especially at school. And she's not getting along with Rei, either."

"I don't believe you!" said Misato sternly. "Asuka's a good kid, and I'm sure her and Shinji are getting along."

Adams shrugged. "Go ahead and ask him yourself then. It's not my problem. I have others things to worry about, like how I'm going to be in the U.S. next week."

"Unit 03..." mumbled Misato. "Do we even have a pilot for it?"

"I don't know," said Adams as he began to leave. "It's not my job to recruit pilots. Personally, I think that these kids would have to nuts to want to pilot these things. Anyway, see ya."

Misato didn't respond back as she walked to Shinji's room.

Shinji was wearing a pair of headphones attached to a CD player that appeared to be playing rock music. From the look on his face, it seemed obvious that the music didn't suit his tastes. "Um…it's good…I guess…"

"Oh come on!" yelled Touji. "You're telling me that you prefer Mozart to this?"

Shinji seemed reluctant to answer, at least until Misato entered the room. He took off the head phones and greeted her. "Hey Misato!"

"Hey Shinji!" spoke the guardian in a cheerful mood. "Great job last night! How are you feeling?"

"Good," responded Shinji. "The doctor said I should be clear to leave soon."

"Great!" said Misato as she looked at the other two boys. "I'm glad to see you guys are keeping him company."

"We're trying to expand his tastes in music," said Touji. "He listened to nothing but classical music. It's like he's stuck in the 1800's."

Misato gave a light chuckle. "Well I guess that better than some of the music they have today. I was glad when rap and hip hop died, but they go and replace it with something worse. It's become to commercialized."

Kensuke began looking behind Misato. "Hey, is Asuka here?"

Misato shook her head. "No, she had homework to do."

"Figures…" spoke Shinji under his breath. A part of him was hopeful that the event of last night would help end the bitterness between the two of them. However, it did not seem the case.

Touji looked at his watch and frown. "Aw man. We gotta go. I'm supposed to go to the dentist today. What a drag…"

"Why do I have to go?" asked Kensuke.

"Cause I don't wanna go to the dentist on my own, okay?" answered Touji as he grabbed his wrist.

"What's the big deal about the dentist?" asked the four-eyed boy with and eye-brow raised.

"Shut up!" yelled Touji as he headed out the door. He looked back to Misato one last time. "See ya later Misato. Oh and you too, Shinji." And they were gone.

Misato look to Shinji with a smirk. She could she that Shinji was disappointed with the fact that Asuka wasn't here. "You okay? You seem a little down."

"I'm fine," said Shinji. "I just want to get out of here."

"I have a question for you," said Katsuragi. "Are there any issues going on between you and Asuka? I was just wondering."

Shinji was silent for a few moments. He was hoping that this question wouldn't come up as he wasn't sure how he was going to tell her about what's been going on between the two of them without letting Misato know about what happened at Rei's house. He figured denial was the best option. "We…we're fine…"

Once again, Shinji proved that he was a terrible liar and Misato knew it. She gave a deep sigh and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Look I'm not sure what been going on between the two of you, but if there is a problem, don't you think you should let me know?"

"It's not that big a deal…" said Shinji. "It's only minor stuff between us."

Misato rubbed her hand in his hair. "I know what it is. You've been a little jealous lately, haven't you? I know I've been giving Asuka a lot of attention lately." She then put her hand to her chin and thinks for a moment. "I know! I'll take you out for some ice cream. How does that sound?"

Shinji smiled at his guardian. "That sounds pretty good."

"It's a date!" exclaimed Misato cheerfully. "Just don't get anything too expensive. You know how tight my budget is."

"I know," said Shinji with a yawn. "So can I leave now?"

-

Several hours later, both Shinji and Misato return home with ice cream cones in their hands. Asuka was still sitting at the table, finishing the last worksheet. Misato was impressed. "Wow, you sure got those done fast."

Asuka smiled with pride as wrote the last sentence. "It was easy. Most of this stuff I learned years ago. Child's play really." She then notices the ice cream cones that both Misato and Shinji have. "Hey, where's mine?"

"Sorry, Asuka. I was sorta just buying for the two of us," said Misato as she put her purse down.

"That's not fair." whined the red-head. "Why is he given special treatment?"

"Because he just got out of the hospital," answered Misato. "If you wanted some, you should have come along."

"How could I?" asked Asuka as he picked up the stack of papers. "See how far behind I was?"

Misato groaned silently and opened her purse. "Look, if you want some ice cream, I give you some money to buy some for yourself."

"Forget it. It's not the same," grunted Asuka with her arms crossed.

Misato gave a deep sigh as she then noticed that Shinji was in the living room, watching TV. He and Asuka hadn't even so much as looked at each other let alone talk. "So aren't you going to talk to Shinji? He just got back you know."

Asuka gave a quite groan as she got up and walked into the living room. Putting on her bullshit smile, she addressed Shinji with all the sticky sweetness of a candy apple. "Hi Shinji! How are you?"

Shinji blink momentarily as he tried to discern what was with the red-head. "Uh…fine…"

"That's great!" beamed Asuka as she then walked back towards the kitchen. She was stopped by Misato.

"Aren't you going to thank him, too?" asked the purple-haired guardian with a commanding tone.

Asuka turned around and, with the smile still in place, tried her best to spit out a thank you. "Th…thank…you…"

Shinji gave a look of utter confusion. "Uh…for what?"

"Tell him, Asuka," pressured Misato. "Why are you thinking him?"

Asuka struggled to maintain her composure. "Thank you for…uh…" Asuka gave up. "I can't do it! He doesn't deserve it!"

Misato rubbed her temples as she grabbed the remote and turned the TV off. "Okay, what is the problem? I don't care what it takes, I'm going to get to the bottom of this." She started with Asuka. "Okay, why is it that Shinji doesn't deserve to be thanked for saving you last night?"

Asuka turned her head away from Misato. "You don't know him like I do."

Misato raised and eye-brow. "Is that so? What is it that I don't know about him?"

Asuka turned back to face Misato. "There something I have to tell you!"

Shinji's heart suddenly jumped to his throat. He knew exactly what was about to happen, and in desperation he jumped to the TV and turned it on manually while turning the volume extremely high. "Boy I love this show!"

Misato responded by puling the plug to the TV. "Continue Asuka."

"He did something really perverted at Rei's place." said Asuka with what sounded like satisfaction.

Misato glanced briefly towards Shinji before returning her gaze towards Asuka. "Oh really…go on."

"It was an accident!" screamed Shinji is a desperate hope that maybe, just maybe, Misato wouldn't kill him went all was said and done.

Asuka then went and explain the entire situation that occurred several weeks ago, trying her best not to spare any details. She also was careful to note that Touji and Kensuke were also involved. When she was finished, she waited as Misato processed the whole thing. "Well, that's what happened."

Misato nodded slightly and turned towards Shinji. "Is this true?"

Shinji was silent for a few moments. He was overwhelmed with shame, and he deeply regretted ever setting foot in Rei's house. "Yeah, it's true."

Misato continued to nod. "How does Rei feel about all this? Have you apologized to her yet?"

Shinji took a deep breath. "She seems fine I guess. She doesn't seem mad at me. And I've apologized to her multiple times. It really was an accident. I never meant for it to happen."

Misato nodded one last time before making a conclusion. "Well, if she was okay with it, I don't see the problem. It was pretty rude, but as long as you apologized, I guess it's fine."

Asuka smirked triumphantly before realizing what Misato just said. "What? Are you kidding me?"

Misato shrugged as she went to the kitchen to grab a beer. "Hey, what can I say? Boys will be boys. I can't believe he had it in him."

Asuka was at a loss for words. "Wha…th…who…deh…What's wrong with you!"

"Nothing," said Misato as she opened her beer. "Actually, if she didn't freak out, maybe she likes him."

Shinji felt a humongous sense of relief come over him. He was really glad that Misato didn't freak out and was in fact almost happy for him. He felt emboldened by the situation and spoke up. "There's more! Asuka went and told the whole school about it."

Misato's eyes widened as she looked in Asuka's direction. "You did what? How could you do that? He has enough trouble socializing at school as it is!"

Asuka tried to justify her actions. "Well…I thought that the school should know. He might do something perverted if no one was looking."

"That's ridiculous!" yelled Misato as she finished her first beer. "You and I both know that he's practically harmless."

"Everybody hates me now because of it!" added Shinji. "They hate Touji and Kensuke, too."

"That settles it," said Misato. "Asuka, I want you to go to school tomorrow and clear this whole thing up."

Asuka was appalled. "I can't do that! Everyone will hate me for it!"

"That's not my problem," said Misato as she went to get another beer. "Now I'm hoping that this whole situation will come to pass and that you two will start to get along. Understand?"

Asuka looked at both Misato and Shinji with all the bitterness of strychnine. She then stormed off towards her room, slamming the door upon entering.

Shinji approached Misato with extreme gratitude. "I'm so glad that you did this for me. How can I repay you?"

"You can start by cooking dinner," said Misato as she open the second can and took a sip. "By the way, as punishment, you will now be responsible for everyone's chores for the next week, and you'll have to wash my car."

"What?" asked Shinji with a sudden anxiety. "Why?"

"To teach you a lesson," said the purple-haired guardian as she took another sip. "I'm not going to let you think that it's okay to go around acting like a peeping Tom."

Shinji hung his head in disappointment. "Okay fine…it's not like it'll be all that different from what usually happens."

-

"See? I told you! She's the perfect woman!" said Touji.

The three stooges were on their way to school. Shinji had already confessed what had occurred the night before, and, needless to say, they were very relieved my Misato's reaction.

"She's something alright…" said Shinji. "I just hope that Asuka is willing to keep her end of the bargain."

"You're not the only one," said Kensuke. "The last thing I need is another beat down."

The three boys had finally reached the school. Each of them swallowed hard as walked through the doors. Unsurprisingly, the hallways were filled with cold staring eyes. Whispers could be heard as the stooges slowly crept their way towards class, hoping to avoid conflict. They were not so fortunate.

"Hey! You guys got a lot of nerve showing you face around here again!" yelled a rather large boy behind them. He was accompanied by three other boys who were also large in size. "We're gonna teach you another lesson!"

Soon other members of the school began to surround the three unfortunate boys, blocking their escape.

"We're done for!" screamed Shinji. "And to think I thought an angel would kill me!"

"I wish it were an angel!" said Kensuke. "At least we'd die a quick, painless death!"

Meanwhile, Asuka and Hikari were walking down the hall nearby, discussing the usual stuff. "I can't believe my date was cut short by a stupid angel. Now I don't know when I'll get my chance to be with Kaji again."

"Well, that's the price you pay to be a hero," said Horaki as she noticed the crowd of people down the hall. "Hey, what's going on down there?"

Asuka looked at the crowd and made an inference. "It's probably some mob trying to beat up that dork and his two cronies."

Hikari shrugged in disinterest. "It serves them right. Come on, let's head to class before we're late."

Asuka hesitated. She knew that she was supposed to find a way to clear Shinji's name, but she also knew that doing so would mean losing popularity, which was a very important resource to the German red-head. Ultimately, she knew that she had to do the right thing. "Um…why don't we check it out?"

Hikari blinked in surprised. "Uh…okay. If you want."

The two girls ran up to the crowd to see what was happening.

The three stooges were trying to shield themselves from the garbage being thrown at them. Then one of the other boys slammed Shinji against a locker. Kensuke was slammed by another boy, and Touji was slammed two boys. The ring leader began cracking his knuckles. "I'm so going to enjoy this."

Shinji cowered against the locker, waiting for the blows to land. 'So much for Asuka coming to the rescue…'

Asuka stood on her toes to try to see over the crowd. She saw what was about to happen and gritted her teeth in frustration. 'This isn't fair. Why do I have to bail out that pervert? It's not like I lied.' She sighed in defeat. 'Dammit. Misato's right. He did help me beat that angel. It's the least I could do. That bastard is going to be my shit list for a LONG time.' She then darted into the crowd, forcing her way through.

"Asuka!" yelled Hikari. "What are you doing?"

The ring leader had just begun to raise his fist in order to land the first punch. Just before it landed, however, Asuka had stepped into the way. "Stop!"

The leader seemed surprised by the foreigner's action. "What are you doing?"

Soon, the crowd began to quiet down, many of the students curious as to why the girl was defending the pervert. Asuka was reluctant to answer. "Um…well…uh…"

"Step aside, girl," demanded the larger boy. "Don't be stupid!"

The crowd began to yell at Asuka, telling her to move. Some of them start throwing stuff at her. This aggravated the pilot of Unit 02. "Dammit, they're innocent!"

The group of boys raised an eyebrow each. "What?"

Behind Asuka, the three stooges smiled in relief.

'I can't believe it,' thought Touji. 'She's saving us.'

'Maybe she's not so bad after all,' thought Shinji.

'This must be proof that she loves me,' thought Kensuke.

The crowd noise died down slightly. Hikari got through the crowd and stood next to Asuka. "What are you saying? You're the one that told us what these guys did!"

"Yeah, what's the deal?" yelled the ring leader as the crowd noise built back up again, each of the student demanding an answer.

The demands weighed heavier and heavier on Sohryu as she tensed up in aggravation. She hated doing this. Every fiber of her soul fought against it, but somehow her conscience won out. In a burst of anger, she screamed her answer. "I LIED!"

The crowd fell silent. Several seconds passes like an eternity.

"There! I said it! I lied! Happy now!" screamed the red-head in rage.

The crowd began to converse among each other, many of whom were rather pissed that the whole ordeal was all over a lie. Many students walked away in disgust, some of them throwing thing at the red-head. The group of boy walked off, obviously a little upset and disappointed.

Shinji slowly approach Asuka to try and thank her. "Um…uh…th…th…"

Asuka interrupted him with a tone of death, not even bothering to turn to earth him. "Don't…talk to me…"

"But…I…" attempted Shinji.

"I said don't talk to me!" screamed Asuka, the hairs on the back of her neck standing up.

Shinji and the other stooges took the hint and decided to walk away before they did anymore to piss her off.

Hikari approach Asuka, feeling both stunned and upset. "Asuka, you really made that whole thing up?"

Asuka took a deep breath and hung her head in shame. "I suppose you hate now."

"Well, I'm not happy," said Hikari. "Truthfully, most of the stuff the girls and I tell is total bullshit, but this was a pretty big lie. I'm not sure what to think."

Asuka's eyes watered slightly as she tried to hold back her tears. "Look, if you don't want to be my friend anymore… It's okay…"

"I'm saying that," said Horaki. "I just feel that if you wanted to be popular that badly that you would do something like that, I think there is a better way of doing it."

Asuka look her friend in the eyes. "I'm really sorry. Is there a way I can make it up?"

Hikari lowered her head to think. "Well, you can start by letting me see your homework for yesterday. I was too busy to finish mine last night."

Asuka gave a light smirk. "And here you are calling me dishonest."

"I hardly think that this is half as bad as what you did," said Hikari as the two of them walked to class. "By the way, if you tell anyone about this, I'll make you regret it."

"I bet," said Asuka as she opened her book bag for the assignment.

-

"What a relief…" said Touji as he leaned back on his desk. "Who'd thought that bitch had a conscience?"

"Yeah right," said Shinji. "Too bad she's going to hate me for the rest of my life. I can't wait to go home and deal with her shit."

"It's a good thing that she's in love with me," said Kensuke. "That's probably why she saved us."

"Please," said Touji. "The person we really need to thank is Misato. I bet that she's in love with me."

"You're both nuts…" said Shinji in mild exasperation. "Just my luck, some thing will come along to make my life even more miserable…"

-

Ritsuko was standing in front of Commander Ikari. She was once again holding a manila folder and she opened it up before speaking.

"We've just received the latest report from Marduk. It seems that we've located the Forth Child…"

-End Chapter 13-

Author's note: That's right! I'm going to add a new ACC. And to make things worse, it's going to be an Eva pilot ACC. I know what you're thinking. I've just single-handedly ruined the fanfic. Your alarm is totally understandable. There are almost no fanfics out there that have successfully pulled off an Eva pilot ACC. Trust me when I say that I'm not doing this because I think it's a good idea. I'm doing this because I want the challenge. I'm attempting the impossible. I just hope this isn't a mistake. Any last minute advice before I do this would be appreciated.

I also want to apologize for the lack of originality during the angel battle. I tried my best to put some new stuff in, but it's fairly difficult to do new things when you use the same angels. Like I said before, however, this angel was my partner's favorite, and he wanted it in there, so I put it in. I assure you that the material from this point on will become A LOT more original, and I have a whole line-up of new angels just waiting to get slaughtered. Once again, reviews are appreciated. Thank you!

Update: Well I need to apologize for taking so long to update. The truth is that my co-author and I are no longer friends. It's hard to end a friendship, especially when we had invested a great deal of time to both our friendship and this fanfic. I am going to continue the fanfic, but I have to admit that doing this alone is a little discouraging. Anyway, expect the next chapter a lot sooner than this rewrite. It'll be the first chapter that I have done alone, but I think I can do it. Thanks for your support!