Disclaimer:  Evangelion is not owned by me, nor do I see myself owning it in the future.  Some place called Gainax and some fellow named Anno are who you should talk to about ownership.

More Than Meet The Eye

By WAFFaddict

Chapter 3

Changes

Shinji had enjoyed this conversation with Hikari, but he but as he glanced at his watch he began to wonder.

'What is taking Asuka so long?  It's was really rude to leave Hikari waiting like this.  Maybe if she paid more attention to the feelings of others instead of just her own.'

Shinji didn't know why, but he was beginning to get frustrated at Asuka. There had been many instances where Asuka had been inconsiderate to people, but this, O no, this was all he could take.  How long had he been avoiding a true confrontation with Asuka?  How long had he ignored the things she did to him, but now she had gone too far.

'Asuka brings Hikari with her and just leaves her alone.  What if I hadn't been here, then Hikari would have just been waiting in the dark for Asuka to come out.  This was just too much disrespect for anyone, especially your best friend.'

Asuka slipped quietly from the kitchen and proceeded to tiptoe up behind Shinji.  Hikari was only able to catch a glance of Asuka, but it was too late.  The bridges that were already there that she had reinforced and those she had built were about to be burned by one person.  The one person who might have gained the most from them.

Shinji had been dealing with his own dilemma.

'Why am I getting angry because of Asuka's treatment of Hikari?  It's wasn't the first time, Asuka seemed to treat everyone like that.'

Shinji couldn't decide whether it was the fact that Asuka had been mistreating someone and he had reached his limit or if it was just because she had mistreated Hikari.

'Could I have feelings for Hikari…no…that's impossible?  Surely she was cute and nice, but she wasn't interested in him plus he was sure he knew someone who was more interested in her.  If it was because it was Hikari, there had to be some reason.  Maybe he wanted to be a hero and protect her.  Surely, the 'spineless wimp' as Asuka called her finally grew a backbone and self confidence which he uses to stand up to everyone who bullied him before.  Ha, of course it all made sense now.'

Shinji wouldn't have time to further into thought.

'She going to ruin everything I just did for her.  Shinji seemed to be opening up.'

Hikari could only cringe as Asuka suddenly sprang up to pounce to on Shinji. Hikari could see that the conversation with Asuka must have gone in one ear and out the other.  She wanted to reach out for Shinji but she froze as one word escaped her lips.

"Shinji"

Shinji was confused as he was whipped around and stood facing Asuka.  He knew that he couldn't confront her.

"Idiot, what are doing in there and why have you been bothering Hikari?"

The shock on Shinji's face said it all.  Something burned inside him. It nagged at the back of his mind

'This should teach the idiot'

Asuka struggled not to grin, but to no avail.  Shinji was scared; she could see it in his eyes as he averted them and began to stare at the floor.  He began to clench and unclench his fist.  He needed to make a decision

'Should I go in for the kill, one more push and I'm sure he'll just burst into multiple apologies'

He clenched his fist so hard that his nail began to dig into his palms. He knew what he had to do.

'I'll try what Hikari said, I'll stand up for myself…..I hope Asuka doesn't' kill or maim me.'

Shinji began to speak, but there was no emotion in his tone. 

"I'm not an idiot first of all.  Hikari is where you left her after you ran in your room, further more, what I'm doing is none of your concern." 

'He did it'

Hikari couldn't believe it.  Shinji had actually stood for himself, against Asuka no less. 

'What the…'

Asuka was shocked, Shinji stood up to her.  She was impressed by the sudden rise in courage that Shinji had displayed, but she wondered if it would hold.

'This has just got to be for show, Shinji's probably going to crumble if I apply even the slightest amount of pressure.'

In Shinji's mind only one thought was being looped.

'I'm really doing it.  I'm standing up to Asuka.'

"So the dofus has grown himself a backbone, someone call the papers, stop the presses" 

The redhead let out a tremendous bellow laugh as she grabbed her stomach.  Hikari could only stand there silently and observe.  Hikari's class representative upbringing had taught her that it would be rude to interrupt their conversation unless it got out of hand.

"Asuka, I have had enough of badmouthing, if you have something to say then say it, if not then, stop it." 

Even though he was saying this in a bold new voice, he didn't really think that he would be able to go through with it until a small voice spoke behind. 

"Yeah, Asuka" the class rep spoke

Shinji and Asuka froze.  They were both surprised as Hikari spoke.  Here was Asuka's best friend coming to the aid of Shinji.  He could only stare at Asuka as she returned the look, unable to come up with anything to say.  In a short time, Shinji had managed to gain the support of Hikari, a feat that took week for Asuka.

"I don't see why you criticize Shinji especially after you told me tonight how you feel about..." 

Asuka realized what was about to be spoken and quickly clamped a hand over Hikari's mouth.  The class rep put up some resistance, but the redheaded German was not so easily shaken off.  Asuka's face began to match her crimson locks as released her grip from Hikari's mouth and backed away.  She cast a glaring look to her freckled counterpart that spoke volumes between the two, but only cause Shinji to be more confused.  Hikari couldn't believe what she had just said and what she almost let slip. 

'I almost blurted out Asuka's secret and I promised that I would never tell a soul.  Maybe he didn't her me, of course he heard me, he's right in front of me.'

"Huh"

This was only reply that Shinji could think of. He didn't know what was going on, but that glare Asuka gave Hikari was also aimed at him. He was uncomfortable and he wanted no part of whatever was going on between them.

"Ahh...shut up the both of you...you both are getting on my nerves."

With that Asuka plopped down on the couch and turned on the television.

'Had Shinji and Hikari been in here the whole time without the television on?  Could Hikari already have told him?  What did they talk about this whole time?  Shinji probably won't tell, but hopefully Hikari will'

Asuka was snapped out of her daze as Shinji once again began his stand.  A fire inside Shinji was blazing.  The moment of truth had arrived.

"No, I don't think I will shut up...I think I'll take a page out of your book, you know how when you talk about me.  You just keep on yelling or whatever even when there's no point to prove.  Well, Asuka how does it feel, huh."

'Asuka's backing off, it's working.  Hikari was right; I should stick up for myself.'

"Leave me alone....just leave me alone...I...Shinji.....I....I'm sorry."

Her voice was cracked as she turned away from him.

'I won't cry...I won't cry...not in front of him, not in front of anyone.' 

Shinji's concentration was thrown for a loop momentarily.  Of every possible scenario he had pictured in his mind, none of them involve Asuka apologizing.  Not once in the entire time that he had known Asuka, she had never apologize even once for anything to anyone.  Any thoughts that he had about her usually being to proud to admit when she was wrong, had just been proven false.

'Did she just apologized' 

Normally this might have caused Shinji to back away, but for some reason this only added fuel to the heat that he felt. He felt that maybe Asuka didn't really mean this apology, that it was just some ploy to get him to stop.  Now that that he had made her back down, Shinji couldn't show weakness.  He walked right up to the spot where Asuka sat on the couch and looked her right in the eyes.  For the first time since he had arrived in Tokyo-3, he was truly angry at another human.  The only other person that was an actual target of his anger, was his father, to Shinji, he wasn't even human.  All of this anger had focused and aimed directly at Asuka.  His training with Ritsuko flashed in his mind as he was reminded of all the times that Asuka had hit him or berated him.

'Point, aim, and squeeze the trigger'

"I'm sorry...ha....I'm sorry....is that going to make up for all the times that you constantly picked at me, all the times you slapped me for nothing..."

Shinji continued to clench and unclench his hands as he stood and looked down at Asuka.  Hikari had never seen anger in Shinji, nor had she ever seen Asuka back down before especially to Shinji.  It wasn't a secret that she taunted and teased him at every chance, but anytime that he tried to assert himself; she always fought back and crushed his resistance.  What really shocked her was that Asuka had apologized

"Shut up...shut up... leave me alone."

Asuka screamed as she slapped the Third Child leaving a red mark the right side of his face.  Shinji put his hand to cheek and stared at her.

The room was plunged into a deafening silence.  Hikari stood and watched the display unsure of what to do.  Shinji didn't know what to.  He couldn't hit her back even if he wanted to, it just wouldn't be right.  Besides anger, there was another emotion hiding deep within the shell that Shinji had built over the years.  It responded to Asuka, but it also responded to Rei and Misato. Shinji had never been sure exactly what it was, not even since it appeared shortly after his arrival to Tokyo-3.  Whenever one of them had a problem or was in pain, it began to gnaw at his conscience.  This time, it didn't achieve the results that usually elicited because of the interference of another that Shinji had been used to his entire life.  Asuka had never seen Shinji this angry before, sure he had flown of the handle because his father, but this anger was directed at her.  Shinji had never gotten angry for anything she had ever done to him.  She just sat there looking at the hand that she just slapped Shinji with before she glance up at his face.  On the brink of tears, her sea blue eyes finally connected with his anger-filled blueberry orbs and then she saw it.  It was something she hadn't seen before, but it looked like he was in pain.  Asuka didn't know what to do; she wasn't sure what to do.  Half of her just wanted to run to her room and cry, but the other half wasn't sure whether to hit Shinji again or just to scream at him and retreat to her room. To Shinji, Misato was probably the only person who could understand him, besides Rei and Asuka.  Asuka he wasn't so sure about anymore.  He didn't understand it himself and the only way he knew how to deal with these types of things was to run away.  As he turned away, Asuka realized exactly what his eyes had been saying.  It brought of old, painful memories of her childhood.  His eyes had been speaking quietly at first, but now that screamed at her. A word he was very familiar with...Betrayal.

"Shinji, I'm sorry....I....."

Asuka began, but Shinji wasted no time in cutting her off before she could finish.  Shinji knew that any kind of relationship was impossible now.  No friendship, no romance, no nothing. 

"You want me to leave you alone, alright...just keep your 'I'm sorry'... I never want to see you again."

'No, this isn't the way that it's supposed to be.'

Shinji's eyes.  This was all that could focus on.  Shinji dropped his head and averted his gaze from her eyes to the ground.

'He won't even look at me'

"I hate you...I hate you....I hate you...I hate...you."

Asuka screamed as she lightly sobbed.  She pushed past Shinji as she ran to her room and slammed the door shut. 

Hikari could only watch in shame. She had just seen her best friend break down crying and she had done nothing.

'She deserved it but I didn't think she would react like this.' 

Hikari made her way past Shinji, who only stood there looking at the spot where Asuka had been, and she walked up to her door and knocked.

"Asuka, it's me Hikari, let me in."

All she heard was the sobs of the one girl, she never thought would ever cry.

"Asuka, open up.  Let's talk about this"

Hikari could only lean up against the door, she knew that Asuka wouldn't open the door not after would she had just seen. 

"Alright, Asuka, I'm going to go home, so I'll talk to you later.  You can call me if you want to talk"

As the class rep began to walk away from the door, the Second Child finally spoke. 

"I'm sorry about this….thanks Hikari"

Hikari paused and looked back toward where Shinji was standing, but he was no longer there.

'Where is Shinji?'

"No problem, Asuka"

Shinji had already left the apartment and was standing outside looking up at the sky.  Of course, any other night this might seem insignificant, but since it was currently raining, more like a downpour, it just looked a little weird.  He had grabbed an umbrella before he left, but he didn't feel like he deserved to.  A little while ago, he had lost control and the image of a crying Second Child came to mind. He looked down at his palm.  Why hadn't he noticed it before?  His nails had dug deep into his palm, enough to draw blood. The blood had begun to dry and caked up as he noticed the blood underneath his fingernails.  A dull pain began to emanate throughout his whole hand.  He couldn't stop looking at it.

"I lost control….I…Asuka…"

 He began slowly to walk back home, but as he reached the door to the apartment, he bumped into Hikari literally.  To him, it seemed that Hikari was falling in slow motion, but he was unable to stop her fall.  She didn't hit the ground hard, but Shinji was still worried that he had hurt someone else.  He tried his best not to let her see his face.

"I'm so sorry...It's my fault...I'm so sorry"

Shinji helped her up and blushed as he realized Hikari was much closer than he expected. Hikari could tell by the look in Shinji's eyes that he was just apologizing for knocking her. 

"Its ok, it's partly my fault."

This situation began to feel uncomfortable.  Shinji resorted to his only way of dealing with this situation, avoid it.  He turned to leave again.

"Shinji, wait"

The class rep spoke as she reached out for him. She managed to grab his left as Shinji swung around surprised. 

"I...I was...uh... wondering if I ...if I could borrow an umbrella."

She couldn't believe it, she was stuttering.  She just couldn't say what she wanted to so that would have to do.

'Calm down, calm down'

"Bye, Shinji"

"See you, Hikari"

He handed her his umbrella and watched as she opened it up and began walking home.  As he looked at his watch, he realized that it was after 11'o clock. His mind began to wonder.

'I should have walked her home...She could have stayed the night and I would have slept on the couch, but tonight is a school night...and her parents are probably worried about...maybe I am just an idiot...maybe Asuka's right.'

He ran inside to look for another umbrella, but he didn't find one. 

'Misato will probably be upset if I get back after she comes home, but she'd probably be more upset if I let Hikari walk home alone this late.'

With that thought he ran, ignoring the rain until he caught up with Hikari, startling her, the second time tonight.

"Shinji, what are you doing here.  You're drenched, come under the umbrella with me."

Shinji hesitated as he blushed and Hikari turned away so that Shinji couldn't see her flushed face. 

"It's late, so I thought that maybe I should walk you home.  I'm sorry that I startled you."

Shinji and Hikari both huddled underneath the umbrella.  The closeness was uncomfortable, but it was strangely comfortable as well.

'Is this what its like to be close to a girl?  I shouldn't be thinking like that.'

"Thanks, but you didn't have to, I would be alright Shinji."

'Is this what its like to be close to a boy?  I can't believe I'm thinking like that about Shinji.'

"I don't think Misato would have been happy if I let you to walk alone, plus you can just think of this as my way of apologizing for tonight."

"Thanks Shinji, I wonder if Asuka realizes how nice you are"

Hikari blushed, but then she thought back to there conversation earlier in the day.

'I know that I do, but maybe she does'

A/N

Alright here's Chapter 3.  I know it's been a while, but it's finally done.  I hope you enjoy it.  I know people are probably wondering if this is a Hikari/Shinji fic, but all I can say is I don't know.  I just let the story flow, I have no control.  I'm just along for the ride. 

Anyone want to pre-read for me?......Hello…anyone out there.  Not that anyone reads this anyway…oh well… on to chapter 4