When I think back on it all now, it's hard for me to believe that I have ended up here.
It's nothing like I envisioned it six years ago. Yet somehow, I know that for the first time in
a long time, I really feel happy. I actually feel like writing tonight. Asuka says it's good
for me to write. Sometimes I think she says that so she can sneak in here when I'm not around
and read what I've written. You know, there might be something to that. But Misato says it's a
good idea as well, so it can't be a complete waste of time.

Just moments ago, I realized that I may have all I really need right here. Twenty years
old, and maybe I have it all figured out. Never said I was well-adjusted though. But there's
something about the sky on a winter night. Ritsuko theorized that the further away we get from
Second Impact, the more the climate will even out. I'd say it's a bit too soon to notice
anything major, but during what passes for our winter, it does seem a lot cooler now than it
did when I was a child. Maybe that was it. The cold air, the clouds passing overhead, the moon
lighting up behind those clouds, turning the sky a beautiful blue color. And we were all on the
porch. Me, Asuka, Misato, Kaji, Toji, Hikari. The sound of children running around in the
backyard, playing tag. Hard to believe there were four of them. Two of them belonged to Toji
and Hikari. One belonged to the couple next door. The last one is ours. God, sometimes I have
to remind myself that I've actually had a child. I had never thought I would be a father. Asuka
had been very clear on that. She didn't want to have children. I understood that from the
start. But she asked me to marry her anyway. I was afraid to say no! Toji told me I was crazy
to hitch myself up with her. He still says so every chance we get. But we're doing alright.

There's an interesting story behind that baby, you know. Like I said, Asuka never wanted
to have kids. But I guess neither of us were thinking about that at the time. But it happened
anyway. We weren't going to keep it at first. Asuka insisted on aborting her pregnancy. I
wasn't thrilled with the idea, but I didn't tell her not to do it either. I had told her long
ago that having children was always up to her. I wasn't unwilling to be a father, but I wasn't
leaping for the opportunity either, especially since Asuka wasn't really willing. So we went to
an abortion clinic, had her checked out, and made an appointment for an abortion. We had talked
about it for a long time, and we agreed that it was the right thing to do. And then, the night
before her appointment, she was crying all night in bed. That was only the second or third time
I have ever seen her cry. And when I asked her what was wrong, she told me that she couldn't go
through with it. That she couldn't abandon her own child. That she didn't want to be like her
mother and father. I didn't know what that meant at the time. I still know very little about
Asuka and Rei's childhoods. My general history for each of them pretty much begins when I met
them six years ago. Asuka doesn't like to talk about her childhood much. But she did tell me
that her parents hadn't been any better than mine. She had lost her mother, and her father had
betrayed her. And you know what? I don't need to know the specifics. But she told me that she
didn't want to be like our parents. She didn't want to abandon her child when needed. That
night, we shredded all those abortion papers, and as I told her that everything was okay, and I
wanted to have this baby with her, I realized that I had made the right decision when I
accepted Asuka's "proposal." I realized then that she might be the only person capable of
understanding me. But we pressed on, and nine months later we had a healthy baby boy. During
that delivery she was squeezing the life out of my hand, trying to make me feel her pain, I
guess. She promised me that she would keep better track of things before she ever threw me over
the kitchen table again. Just between you and me, I don't know if she's keeping that promise,
but I don't suppose it really matters.

You know, it's almost been five years since Rei left. No one knows when she's coming
back. But she promised she would. She said she needed to figure some things out for herself,
and that she couldn't do it just sitting here in Tokyo-3. Misato and I agreed with her. Twice a
year or so we get a letter or postcard from her. We know she's doing okay, but I miss Rei a
lot. When she comes back, then I'll feel even better. Even Toji and Asuka miss her a little.
There's so much I want to say to Rei. My life may be a lot different now, but I'm still Shinji
Ikari. At least, for the time being. I haven't given up my family name. Asuka doesn't want to
give up or edit hers. It's kind of been a stand-off for years. It sometimes creates a problem
whenever one of us writes a check. I don't know what we're going to do when Shingo eventually
starts school. I guess by then we're going to have to reach some sort of compromise or

It's good to see that Misato and Kaji are still together. I picture them staying the way
they are now for a long time. Misato started raising her eyebrows a few years ago as Hikari and
Asuka both started having kids. I guess she felt she was beat to the punch or something. Misato
isn't up to having anymore children, though. She says that Asuka and I were enough. Besides,
she still thinks of us as her children, and I admit I kind of like that feeling. Sometimes Kaji
ribs me, he tells me that I may have taken one of his girls away, but I can never have Misato.
Then Misato will try and do this coy seductive thing on me. It's kind of embarrassing,
makes me feel like I am where I should be. I promised Kaji that if Asuka and I ever have
another baby, and it's another boy, we'll name it after him. Misato rolled her eyes at that. At
least Kaji puts a cap on how much Misato drinks. She still has to start her day with a beer,
though. Still, Kaji doesn't let her get drunk anymore. He makes her take care of herself, and I
think she needs that.

Toji and Hikari are doing fine. Two kids already, you can tell that they are going to
have a big family. Well, somebody has to, I guess. They're some of the nicest people I know.
Even Toji grudgingly admits that I shouldn't have remained a bachelor. He still says I'm crazy
though. Asuka is always telling Toji that if he ever does anything to hurt Hikari then she's
going to kick his ass. Maybe that's why Toji is such a good husband, I don't know. They always
look so sweet together, though. I look at them and I think, "what a sweet couple. I hope that
I'm like that too." Maybe they think the same thing about Asuka and I, who knows? Now if only
we could all cure Kensuke of his bachelorhood. Asuka says that Kensuke is a lost cause, but I
think we just need to find the right person for him.

And then, everyone left. It was almost midnight. Misato and Kaji drove off, Toji and
Hikari walked home with their two children, and Asuka sent the neighbor's kid home and put
Shingo to bed. I stood outside as they left, and I just kept looking up at the sky, and I
realized that I was truly happy. This life isn't perfect, but it's fulfilling. I want to do
things for myself now. For Asuka. For Shingo. For my friends. I think I may build a clubhouse
in our backyard when the kids get older. I want to do it by hand. Drive every nail in myself. I
have realized recently that I'm making a bigger difference here, in this little house, than I
ever did inside of an Eva. Those days seem like a dream to me now.

Asuka asks me if I'm coming to bed and calls me an idiot for standing outside in the
cold for so long. I guess she just doesn't understand. Or she does, and she's just being Asuka.
I win my fair share of arguments with her though.

At times like these, I'm glad to catch a glimpse of it all. I am where I belong. All the
suffering I endured earlier in life, it was worth it. Rei, when you get back, I have so much to
tell you. Asuka once made me promise not to leave her, but I've willingly made that promise not
only to her, but to everyone. I don't have anything to run away from anymore. Because I know
who I am, and I know where I belong.


2:59 AM

This little piece came to me as I was walking home a few nights ago. The roads had iced up and I
couldn't get my car home, so I had to walk a few miles. The sky was magical that night, as
though it wrote this entire scene for me. I thought it was worthy of sharing with you all, so I
hope you enjoy. This one was a real quickie, just thought I'd get it out of my system before
going back to work on "Perdition." Besides, I have always wanted to write a "salt of the
earth," post-Eva Shinji. For argument's sake, let's just say Third Impact never happened, okay?

Disclaimer--Yeah, you know the drill. I didn't create the characters mentioned in this story.
I'm using them without permission. But since I'm not being paid, we're even. GAINAX can produce
a whole series out of this little story and they're not entitled to give me squat. I don't
care, I just write this stuff because I feel like it!