Yes, dear readers, your eyes do not deceive you. This is an update, an honest-to-god update. I won't bore you with details on the whys wherefores and whatnots right at this moment. Anyone interested (which is likely to be no one as any readers still with me for updates will probably just want me to shut up so they can read the chapter and threaten me to write more) should head to the bottom of the chapter for my ramblings.
Do enjoy this apologetically late chapter.
Shinji woke up to a severe pounding on his door. He groaned, looked over at his clock then picked it up and threw it at the door.
"Go 'way! Sunday sleeping! Eight!" Whoever had the gall to wake the sleeping dragon would probably have done it enough times to understand early-morning-Shinji-ese.
"Shinji! Open up right now, I don't care if you're sleeping, you will tell me everything that happened yesterday after you and your loverboy left us!"
"Yes you will Shinji, open this door right now!"
Shinji groaned as he heard the additional voice join in the argument. His father was awake. This could not end well. He grabbed his pillow and tugged it onto his head, hoping he would suffocate before anything worse happened.
"Don't be rude to your guest. Let Asuka in and tell her all the details of your date."
Oh … he did not just hear that from his father.
Shinji raced out of bed and to the door, opening it to glare. Asuka just smiled at his appearance while his father – still in bathrobe and slippers – sipped at his coffee on the couch. His mother was humming in the kitchen, more than likely having heard every word.
"I knew it," he muttered, opening his bedroom door wide enough for Asuka to enter. "No matter what Kensuke says, it is an official conspiracy: everyone does hate me."
"Of course we do Shinji," Asuka patted him on the shoulder. "It's part of why we keep you around. Now, down to important business." She whirled around on him before he could get the door closed properly. "Is Kaworu a good kisser?"
Shinji could have sworn he heard a muffled snicker coming from the lounge room before he frantically slammed his door.
"I hate you. Just remember that you had everything coming to you when this all comes back on you threefold." Shinji stalked back to his bed and threw himself on the rumpled covers, his sheets already cooling from the lack of body-heat in the few seconds of his absence.
"Whatever." Asuka shrugged, hair falling perfectly over her shoulders with the gesture. She was immaculately dressed as always without a hint of fatigue showing. Who looks that perky on a Sunday morning?
"Just so you know," Shinji mumbled, closing his eyes as he shifted on his bed to get comfortable again, "I didn't exactly get much sleep last night." Being so early, Shinji didn't even consider the possible connotations of his words.
Asuka gasped: a sure sign of something very, very wrong.
"Shinji!" She sounded mortified, another bad sign. "I had never thought you could be the kind of guy to put out on a first date!"
It took a moment for the words to hit him.
"What?!" Shinji bolted upright, eyes wide and free of any lingering sleep. "No! I'm not! I couldn't! Kaworu left right after lunch, there wasn't time … No! That's not what I meant, there was nothing, we only kissed, I swear! I'd never …" Shinji was blushing as he began his ramble, but as he realised to what he'd actually confessed, he squeaked and hid his face in his hands.
Even without looking at his best friend, he could tell there was a familiar evil smirk on her face.
"Oh really? A kiss, huh? Well that's interesting."
"Again with the hatred and the promise of karmic revenge." Shinji sighed and rolled over. Really, the conversation was inevitable, why drag things out. "Okay, yes, we kissed, I admit it."
Asuka couldn't help it; she squealed and shuffled up further on Shinji's bed. "All right, spill every single detail."
Shinji eyed her askance. "You know, sometimes you are such a girl."
A pillow to his face was his only retort.
Revenge, for Shinji, came in the form most writers preferred.
"I cannot believe you put that in there, Shinji!"
Shinji only smiled as he sat down with his friends for lunch on Monday. Asuka was fuming and bright red – like she had been for most of the day. His other friends were trying – or in the case of Touji and Kensuke, not trying – to muffle their amusement. But even Rei's eyes danced with mirth when they recalled one particular scene in Shinji's latest chapters.
"Didn't I mention karmic revenge?" Shinji smirked.
"You swore no one would ever hear about that incident. It was forgotten – never happened."
"No way." Asuka and Shinji turned from their argument (ranting, really) to stare at Touji. He was pale and wide-eyed. "You mean that actually happened?"
Asuka turned red and latched onto Rei, hiding against her girlfriend's shoulder, leaving Shinji to field this question.
"Yeah, only, we were twelve and Asuka really was crushing on Kaji like in the book." Here, Shinji scowled at Asuka. "And she really did almost asphyxiate me."
The group burst into laughter while Asuka scowled at them.
"It wasn't that funny."
"At the time, no," Shinji agreed. "Looking back, oh yes."
"I hate you."
"Love you too, Asuka."
"I hope you're talking in a very strictly platonic sense, Shinji." Everyone looked over at Kaworu, sitting innocently beside Shinji, after he said this. There was just a little bit too much innuendo for that to be completely unintentional. Shinji's blush just fuelled more fires in the minds of his friends.
"Uh, yes, definitely platonic, Kaworu," Shinji assured him.
"Good then." Kaworu shifted closer to slip his arm around Shinji's shoulders and pull the other boy down to lean against his chest. "I wouldn't want anyone to get any ideas that you were free to be more than platonically affectionate."
Shinji blushed again, but didn't protest against Kaworu's actions. He settled deeper into the embrace looking entirely at home in Kaworu's arms, in fact.
Asuka giggled while Rei let out a sound somewhere between a squeak and a snicker while Hikari managed a small squeal of delight. Kensuke was smirking and Touji outright grinning at the display. It took everyone a moment to react completely and then the comments started.
"Well it's about friggin' time."
"I knew it! This is so great!"
"You two just can't keep it out of the bedroom can you?"
"Shinji and Kaworu sitting in a …"
"Congratulations, you make a perfect couple."
Shinji smiled at the ruckus his friends made over him and Kaworu – all of it positive, if somewhat amused.
So this was his great coming out moment.
Kaworu's arms tightened around him and his lips brushed against Shinji's neck in a teasing whisper. He shivered and tried to further decrease the tiny space between their bodies. Kaworu smiled against his skin.
Definitely not so bad.
Another Friday, another cheer as the final bell rang. Shinji packed up his school books along with the rest of his friends, smiling and making plans for the weekend. He looked around automatically for his boyfriend – he'd gotten used to referring to Kaworu as such very quickly – but didn't find him. For a moment he frowned, then recalled the other boy's usual Friday appointment with his producers. He sighed, but consoled himself with the fact he'd be able to see Kaworu on the weekend. They'd planned a day at the arcade with Touji and Kensuke while they'd all meet up with the girls for lunch for Saturday, while his parents had agreed to have Kaworu over for all of Sunday. They already loved Kaworu and had about as many problems with his and Kaworu's relationship as his friends did: none at all.
Shinji had never been more aware than this week that he really did live a very fortunate and full life. He swore he would never forget that or take it for granted.
"So, you wanna head out for a quick game or two at the arcade, psyche ourselves up for a long day of fun tomorrow?" Kensuke was bouncing as he talked with Shinji, Touji looking over his boyfriend's shoulder hopefully. Hikari was still packing up her things while Asuka and Rei had already started walking out the door, calling out goodbyes to their friends.
Shinji smiled but shook his head. "Nah, got a few more ideas for chapter nineteen, thought I might work on those tonight so I don't forget them tomorrow. You two have fun." His smiled shifted towards 'smirk-like'. "It could be a spontaneous date. I wouldn't want to ruin the atmosphere."
Kensuke threw a mock-punch at him, but Touji only grinned – liking the idea himself. Kensuke, not facing his boyfriend, squeaked when Touji grabbed onto his waist and tugged him back into a tight hold.
"You know, Shinji's a smart guy," he whispered to Kensuke, his hand fluttering over Kensuke's loose uniform. "I think we should listen to him, or doesn't the idea of me and you alone in the darker corners of the arcade appeal to your sense of romance?"
Kensuke squeaked as Touji's hands drifted ever lower towards more inappropriate public places.
"Uh, I wouldn't exactly call that a sense of romance," Kensuke cleared his throat, trying to get his thoughts out before mortification and desire overruled his sensible thought process. "But I definitely like the way you think." He turned around in Touji's hold and whispered, "We could even skip the arcade and head straight for the dark corners."
Touji made an incoherent noise before letting his breath out in a low whistle. "Forget what I was thinking, you are so the genius in this relationship." He shook himself and took a step back from Kensuke to grab his back. "Catch you later Shinji. Have fun with your book." After swinging his bag onto his shoulder, he reached for Kensuke's hand in a surprisingly tender gesture.
Kensuke smiled over his shoulder. "See you tomorrow Shinji."
Shinji managed a wave and a choked, "Have fun."
"Well." Shinji jumped at the sound of a voice so close to his shoulder. Hikari stared up at him innocently when he glared at her. "That visual's going to keep me smiling through my duties this afternoon."
Shinji frowned. "But … Touji …"
Hikari shrugged. "Yeah, I'm still a little hurt, but Touji's my friend, and so is Kensuke. Besides, gay guys are so hot." She grinned, a little wickedly, as though the admission was the most daring thing she'd ever done.
Shinji chuckled. "I'm gonna have to be in agreement with you there."
"Yeah, but it's a little biased coming from you."
Hikari smiled then sighed. "I do have to admit I'm a little envious of you all. I'm the only one without a partner."
Shinji shrugged. "Well, there's no need to rush into anything if you don't have anyone you think worth being with. There's definitely someone for a wonderful person like you Hikari."
"That's kind of generic consolation coming from you Shinji."
"Maybe. Think of it this way then. Until you find someone of your own you have to deal with us weirdoes and our problems. Imagine how much money you could make later in life dealing with normal people's problems."
Hikari stared at him before grinning. "You're right. I could make a fortune with that much experience behind me."
"Of course I'm right, I am a writer."
Hikari groaned. "Oh that was terrible, Shinji."
He grinned unrepentantly. "Hey, I have to save all my wit and inspiration for my next chapters. Can't use it all in conversation."
"Well get going and use your wit appropriately then. Don't let me stand in the way of genius."
"I'll see you tomorrow then. Have fun with your Class Rep duties."
"Your sarcasm isn't appreciated."
Shinji just laughed and waved to Hikari as he left the classroom.
Chapter nineteen was almost finished. Seventeen and eighteen had been finished for almost a week now but he refused to hand it out to his friends on the premise that they would likely – not likely, definitely – kill him for the way he ended chapter eighteen. Touji especially. Actually, he couldn't be certain Touji wouldn't kill him even with chapter nineteen to soften the blow of this particular plot line in the novel. Maybe he should start working on twenty as well just in case. Nineteen was going to end with just as much of a cliff-hanger as eighteen.
Shinji sighed and sat back on his computer chair, staring at the screen. Maybe he should just hand out the chapters he had. Twenty was going to need a lot of work and he'd have to check his notes again for the thousandth time. Plus, those introspective philosophical chapters tended to be draining. Action was easier for him to write, but he needed more than just action and exposition. Admittedly, he couldn't get every detail right with the first draft and he'd have to rewrite some parts after he'd completely finished to get the extra depth he wanted, but he still wanted to get some of the initial points he needed down.
Yeah … he'd definitely have to just leave them hanging a little bit for twenty. Three chapters were probably more than enough right now. That decided, Shinji stretched out his muscles and went to go back to work.
The phone rang out in the kitchen. He paused, wondering if the call might be for him then shrugged and went to continue from where he left off.
"Shinji." His mother knocked and called through the door. He opened the door and she smiled at him before handing him the phone. "Kaworu's calling for you."
Instantly, all thoughts of the gloomy chapters ahead that he had to plan and write left him and he grabbed the phone eagerly before shutting the door with a cheerful and hasty, "Thanks!"
"Kaworu." Okay, so he probably shouldn't sound that excited to hear from his boyfriend.
Again, there was that word that made him feel so giddy.
"Hello Shinji." Kaworu sounded amused at his tone. Kaworu always sounded a little amused though. It was another thing Shinji loved about him.
"So what's up?"
"I missed you. Since I couldn't escape the clutches of my producers to come and visit you, I thought I'd do something almost as good and called you just to hear your voice."
Shinji knew he was smiling in a very goofy way, but he really couldn't bring himself to care much. "You missed me? But you were there until lunch, and that wasn't too long ago."
"Perhaps not, but I still missed you. Did you feel the same?"
Shinji blushed. "Yeah I did. I wished we could have walked home together or something."
"That would have been nice."
"Yeah. So, evil producers, huh?"
"Oh, I don't think evil quite covers it. They tried to talk me into relocating again."
Shinji's heart dropped. "Oh. Relocating. You … refused, right?"
Kaworu's laughter prevented his heart falling any further. "Of course I refused. They've always done this, it's quite inconvenient. I think I surprised them a little with my refusal, but I've grown quite fond of it here. Faster than I have any other place."
Shinji blushed. "O-oh," he stammered. "I-is there any particular reason for that?"
"I think you should know the answer to that better than anyone."
The dopey smile was back, but again, Shinji couldn't care. "Well, I'm glad it's so memorable here that you'd defy your producers just to stay. I don't want you to leave, ever if you can help it."
"And I want to stay forever."
Shinji let out a huge breath, his heart thumping wildly. "Kaworu …"
"Shinji, I … oh, damn."
"They're calling me back in."
"Don't worry, I've made them promise not to call me in this weekend if I finish this week's work tonight."
Shinji glanced at his alarm clock. It was nearing eight pm. "Are you sure you'll get it done? I don't want you to lose any sleep and get sick, Kaworu."
"You're so sweet to worry about me like that." The amusement was back in his voice and Shinji blushed again. "But don't worry, most of the work has really been meetings discussing the plans for my new career move."
"Ah, the 'let's appeal to younger and broader audiences'."
"Yes, that one."
"Well, I'm glad you'll be healthy and happy for our date tomorrow."
Shinji cursed his mouth for not consulting with his brain all the time. Before he could say anything, Kaworu continued.
"Yes, I'm quite looking forward to our date as well."
"Oh … perfect."
"It is, isn't it?"
"Yes, absolutely perfect."
"I look forward to seeing you tomorrow then."
"Me too. Goodbye, Kaworu."
"Sweet dreams, Shinji."
Shinji pushed the button to end the call and threw himself back onto his bed, that damned smile on his face again. Kaworu had called him. He was going to see Kaworu tomorrow. He was going on a date with Kaworu tomorrow. Okay, so it was with Touji and Kensuke too, but it was still a date. Kaworu was staying around just for him.
"I think I'm already in love with him," Shinji admitted quietly. The thought only made him feel happier.
There was a faint thump outside his door that snapped him back from his blissful thoughts. Shinji frowned and headed over to investigate the noise, growing more suspicious as he drew closer to his door as he heard muffled whispers. Catching words like 'cute', 'romantic' and 'adorable', Shinji blushed as he realised his half of the conversation had been overheard. Scowling, he flung open his door to reveal the perpetrators.
His mother squeaked as she fell back, startled by the sudden motion. She blushed at being caught. His father didn't even get up from his crouched position by the doorframe. His reserved expression so out of place considering the situation. Two glasses sat innocently on the floor before them. Shinji just stared down at his parents and shook his head, closing the door again.
"My life is so weird. Perfect, but weird."
AN: Okay, so, any old readers (like with me from the beginning of this story, though I can forgive you if you're not around considering this has taken years to arrive) I have rewritten the first ten chapters. Nothing has really changed, it's just been cleaned up a little. I'm still not completely happy with the quality, but I have cleaned this story up two or three times already and I may go back to clean even more things up again.
As for why this chapter's taken so long to write ... well, there are many reasons. My focus shifts from fandom to fandom very easily. I didn't actually own Evangelion myself and couldn't get as inspired as I did with other series'. Then there was the new Evangelion manga series, Angelic Days or whatever they're calling it. I'm still in two minds about that series. Also, I was a little freaked out by it. A new Evangelion cannon was being written that was quite similar to the story idea I was developing (though it had less yaoi, even with Kaworu's obvious crush on Shinji in the manga). Suffice to say I was a little demoralised.
This is the point where I would like to sincerely thank every single reviewer who made even the briefest comment over the hiatus. You all deserve so much for your words of encouragement. I wanted to give you all the best I could, hence the reason for the clean-up before I even contemplated the new chapter. This is
barely enough thanks, but I do hope it is something, and I am back on
track with writing chapters for this. "Did Someone Say Angel?" will
probably not be much longer than 40,000 words, but I promise I will
finish it. Now that I'm back on track, have lots of inspiration (in part due to me finally owning the Platinum edition box set for Eva) I should have another update for you soon.
Again, thank you all so much and I hope you enjoyed the latest chapter.