"Grasping At Straws"

By Lord Malachite

"Shinji?" Asuka asked at length.

"Yes?" Ikari responded.

"Are we going to make it?"

"I don't know Asuka."

They looked around them. They had really fought. Nastily. Irrational accusations. Name
calling. Shinji had managed to keep his cool until Asuka had gotten his parents and his
piloting into it. Then he had lost it. Somewhere in the middle of it all, Misato had left. He
had been dimly aware of Misato trying to break up the fight at some point, but they had driven
her away. It had been really nasty.

"I'm sorry." Shinji said. It wasn't an automatic response, nor a genuine apology. It
just seemed like the right thing to say.

"I'm sorry too." Asuka replied. It was not unsteady or non-committal, like her apologies
tended to be. "Did I hurt you?"

"Not too much. Just a few bruises." Shinji rubbed his arm absent-mindedly. "Did I hurt
you?"

Asuka's gaze fell to the floor. "Not physically."

"Oh." A long pause followed. "I'm sorry."

"I know."

"Misato's gone."

"Yeah, I think she left after...."

"Our fight?"

"....After you said you wished I had never come out of that coma."

"Asuka........"

"No, it's okay. You only said it when I told you I wished you had never been freed from
Unit-01."

"It's not okay. For either of us."

Asuka turned away from him. "Did you mean it?"

"What?"

"Did you mean what you said?"

"I.....I don't know. Did you?"

"I don't know. I hope not."

"This isn't right, Asuka. This isn't what either of us wanted. We have to stop doing
this."

"What are you, stupid?! You think I don't know that?!"

"No! I know that..."

Asuka sighed. "No, it's okay. I'm sorry. I guess neither of us is very good at this."

"We're both damaged goods Asuka."

"Shinji?"

"Yes?"

"I'm scared."

"Me too." Very, very slowly, Ikari leaned in and wrapped his arms around Sohryu. "We'l
be okay."

Asuka refused to look at him. "No, I mean it. Sometimes at night I get so scared. You're
the only value I have left now."

"That's not true Asuka. Everyone has a value. Just wait, you'll find a value you never
knew you had."

"I keep telling myself, over and over again, that it's enough. At least for now, it's
enough. It has to be enough. Because I don't have anything or anyone else."

"Maybe this is the way it was meant for us to be."

"What do you mean?"

"Well...maybe we've missed the whole point. I don't think that any of this has been an
accident."

"I don't think I understand what you're trying to say."

Shinji sighed. "Is it really such a bad thing if we are each other's only value right
now? The world is a big place, Asuka. We'll be needed for more than piloting Eva. We just need
to wait."

"How can you sound so certain when the two of us are falling apart?"

"Because I realized over these past few months that I'm in love with you."

"Shinji....."

"I didn't mean it before Asuka. I don't wish you were still in a coma. The day you came
out of it was one of the happiest days I can ever remember. Even if you did hit me a lot." He
smiled.

"Shinji......damn it Shinji! Don't you dare do this! Don't you get it? Just because you
have the misfortune of caring about me isn't going to make everything okay! I'm not the answer
to all of your problems and prayers!"

"How would you know what I feel?"

Asuka growled slightly, then turned around taking a step towards the boy. "I want you
to look at me, Shinji."

"I am."

"No, I mean look at me. Really look at me. Tell me what you see."

"I-I don't know. I see you. You look a little tired, but you're you. What am I supposed
to see?"

Asuka flipped her hair back, then took Shinji's hands in hers. "I'm overeducated. I'm
underskilled. I'm beautiful, but my personality negates it. I'm damaged goods. I'm tired. Tired
of everything. I'm unstable. I'm overconfident. Untrusting. Abusive. Manipulative. I'm no one
you want to invest your future in, Shinji Ikari. Your heart may tell you otherwise, but I don't
know how much longer either one of us can deny the fact that we just don't work."

Taken aback, Shinji could find nothing to say for a long time, until finally a response
came to him. "If that's how you truly feel Asuka, then why are you still here?"

"Because I have nowhere else to go." Asuka whispered.

"You're wrong about us."

"Our track record says you're an idiot! The long and short of it is that we look good on
paper but in real life we don't work!"

"Because we haven't given ourselves to this!"

"What the hell are you talking about?!"

"Just listen to me for a minute! You say that we don't work together. Well, you're
right, we don't. Because you've just been going through the motions. You don't know what you
want Asuka. You've just stayed with me because you feel you have no one else. You feel like I'm
your only value because of the way I feel about you. But that can't be true, because you don't
treat me like I'm your only value! More importantly, it's not me who should be your value, it's
us!"

"Us?"

"Yes! You don't have any faith in us! You're just waiting for us to fail so you can say
you were right in the first place. Well, you're right. And on this one I'm just as much to
blame as you. We'll never make it together if we aren't willing to change! And it's not all
going to be pleasant. The two of us may have to destroy each other before we can build anything
together that will stand!"

"When did you get so obsessive over me?"

"This isn't about you! It's about who both of us really are! You're so concerned about
how different we are that you never even thought for a minute about how alike we are. We can
work great together, but it's going to take a long time for us to get there. I used to think
that it wouldn't be so hard. But when we fought tonight, I realized I needed to have a lot more
patience."

"You see, this is what I'm talking about! When have you ever known me to be patient?!"

Shinji shook his head. "I know that you care, Asuka. You can say that you don't, but you
do. Well now it's time to test it. I'm not asking you to tell me you love me. But I am asking
you to make a decision. Either say you want to stay here and we'll start over, or say that you
don't want me. It's up to you. Are we worth fighting for? Is it all just a stupid idea? Are we
falling apart that badly?"

Asuka stood still, trying to out-stare Shinji. She wasn't successful. "It isn't
impossible."

"You're damn right it isn't!"

"So how many more times do we have to go on hurting each other until we get our acts
together?"

"I wish I knew."

"Alright, Shinji, I'll try." Ikari said nothing. He didn't want to ruin the moment by
saying something stupid. "But I want you to know that this may be all that I can offer you."

"What?"

"This. What we have right here, right now. In this moment. I can't promise you that
we'll ever be any better than this."

"I understand."

"And I can't promise that we won't go on hurting each other." Shinji nodded. "All right
then, let's start over."

"Right."

"Well?"

"What?"

"Are you going to stand there all night or are you going to ask me out you idiot?!"

"Oh, right. Um.....Hey, Asuka? Are you doing anything tonight?"

"Maybe."

"Because I was wondering if maybe you would consider thinking about going somewhere if
you're not too busy and its not--"

"Oh for God's sake! Let me make it easy on you. You're taking me to that really
expensive restaurant we all went out two that one Saturday night. I'll expect you to pick me up
at 8:30. You will bring flowers. You will not be late. And you will not complain about the
cost."

"Gulp! Yes'm!"

"Well, what are you standing around here for? You've only got an hour to go and get
ready!" Asuka clapped her hands twice and Shinji was off and running. She sighed as Shinji
disappeared into his room, shutting the door behind him. Maybe he's not a complete idiot. After
all, he does have good taste. All the better for me to make him squirm!" The girl then
disappeared into her own room, smiling mischievously. Perhaps they weren't perfect. Perhaps
they had a lot of problems. But maybe the things that were wrong about them could be remedied
by the things that were right. Besides, who else was she going to get to take her to fancy
restaurants and foot the bill?

This was not their first fight. It would not be their last. But when all was said and
done, they had agreed to keep fighting, for the sake of one another.



January 19, 2001
3:16 AM (EST)




Greetings everyone! After starting school this week, I had a lot to deal with. So rather than
deliver an installment of "Round Perdition's Flames", I've delivered a puzzling piece of
Shinji/Asuka WAFF. Some WAFFY stuff between those two seems to have fallen under high demand,
so here you all are. I hope that I didn't do too bad of a job. I would like to point out two
very important things though. First, this piece has nothing to do with "Perdition." It's just
something floating out there. Secondly, and WAFF of the Shinji/Asuka nature I put into
"Perdition" will be a LOT better than this was. All in all, I liked this little piece, but even
after reworking it here and there, I still don't feel that it's my best work, which is a bit of
a downer.


And I do apologize to those of you wanting another dose of Perdition-I'm hard at work on Part 7,
I'll do my best to have it out for next week.

Because this "story" is of a rather unique nature (that is, it's got a background that is
unexplored), I would appreciate your comments on it. Most importantly though, I want to know
what you thought of the interaction. I still have this nagging feeling that it just isn't my
best work, but I've played with it a lot over the past few hours and this seems to be the best
I can get it to come out. I'm afraid I've had a very long day today and I'm not at my best, not
at all.


Anywho, next week should see the return of "Perdition" that many of you seem enthused about, and
your enthusiasm brings me much happiness. Until then, I shall remain,


Lord Malachite

ranger_writer@yahoo.com