Love Shinji

-- an Evangelion/Love Hina crossover

by Project Cala


"It is not very wise for city states
To raise a lion's whelp within their gates:
But should they do so, they will find it pays
To learn to tolerate its little ways."

--Aeschylus, from Aristophanes' play "The Frogs"


Chapter Fifteen – Crystalline Emotions
- Outside the Commander's office -

"Happiness is a privilege, father, not a right."

As placid as he'd made those words sound, Shinji's entire body trembled with barely contained rage. The pure intensity of his fury, in addition to his previous outburst, made the agents uneasy to be near him. "I'll suppose you'll want me to go back to the cell," Shinji said listlessly, shaking their hands off his shoulders.

One of the agents, a tall dark-haired man, cleared his throat loudly a few times. "Uh, y-yes. Our orders are to, um, escort you back to the detention area a-and ensure that--"

"I'm locked away nice and proper," Shinji finished for him. "Well gentlemen, I won't make your precious last moments as Section Two difficult. But I do ask that you let me out of these uncomfortable cuffs."

The tall agent gave his partner a questioning look, which was replied with an uncertain shrug. Their pantomiming continued for a moment, but Shinji interrupted them again. "You're either going to remove these or..." he paused and sniffled, "or one of you'll have to wipe away all these tears for me."

Strength ebbing away from his legs, Shinji leant on the wall as he slowly slid down to his knees on the floor of the corridor, stifling his sobs as best as he could manage. Neither of the agents were sure of what to do with this current situation, and eventually the tall one shoved his hand into a pocket, fishing out the keys with which he unlocked the handcuffs, albeit still warily eyeing the boy.

"...Thanks." With almost inhuman speed and precision, Shinji's hand shot up and gripped a pressure point at the base of the agent's neck with a 'viper-bite' technique that immediately knocked him out cold. The other hand darted into the man's jacket to retrieve the holstered pistol. Pointing it at the other dumbstruck agent, Shinji motioned for him to quietly relinquish his weapon as well. A quick strike to the temple with the butt of the gun also put him out of commision.

"I really hope he doesn't pay money to hire this kind of incompetence," he remarked, as the second agent slumped forward. He briefly scanned the surroundings before picking up the other pistol in his free hand and calmly walked off down the corridor.

- Katsuragi residence, roughly two hours later -

"He's gone and done what now?!" Misato hollered shrilly down the phone. "No, no, I heard it the first time; you don't have to repeat the whole damn thing again-- I said, forget it!" She stabbed the 'end call' button, missed, and resorted to just plain slamming the handset down onto the table. "Oh my God! I can't believe this!"

"Now what's got your panties in a twist, Misato?" Asuka asked.

Misato shot the girl a venomous glare before replying. "Shinji. Our dear boy, Shinji. Has run away."

"..." Asuka blinked. "Don't tell me that's all he did."

"No, that's not all he did!" the purple-haired woman yelled. "He was called up to the Commander, where came this close--" She held together the thumb and forefinger of her uninjured hand and spread them ever so slightly. "to slitting his throat with a knife blade he'd hidden in his shoes. His shoes! And then-- he goes and knocks out the two Section Two agents that were supposed to escort him back to the detention cell, takes both their guns, and disappears without a trace."

Asuka blinked again. "You're joking."

"Do you see me laughing? This is a serious matter, Asuka."

"Jeez, relax Misato! What do you think he's going to do? Go completely berserk and spread mass terror by going on a killing spree around the town all of a sudden? What, with two pistols? Does that idiot even know how to shoot a gun properly?"

"Asuka? Do you know how to shoot a gun properly?"

The redhead snorted. "Hah, of course I do! It's one of the first things I ever learned as part of the EVA pilot self-defence..." She didn't need Misato's pointed stare for the meaning of what she herself had blurted out to sink in. "Training," she finished lamely. "Well, this isn't the first time he's, err... disappeared, is it?"

"No, but this time I'm afraid that Shinji's a lot more... unstable."

- Central city public park, Tokyo-3 -

Popping the last bit of taiyaki (a bread filled with sweet bean paste and cooked in a fish-shaped mold; often sold in mobile carts on the streets) into his mouth, Shinji fished out his wallet and checked his current wealth. 'A little under 2000 yen (roughly 18 USD)...' He sighed. Even stretched to only two meals a day that would barely keep him fed for two days at most.

Snapping it shut, he shoved it back in his pocket. He pushed his bag to one end of the park bench he was sitting on, and made an attempt to recline, using his bag as a improvised pillow. It wasn't the least bit comfortable, but the expense of energy today combined with the lack of decent sleep had him dozing off in no time.

When his eyes peeled open after what seemed like hours later, there was some kind of pale object obscuring his yet-clouded vision. He tried waving it out of the way, but it just dodged his hand and returned to its position directly in front of his face.

"Shinji-kun," an all-too familiar voice said.

That startled all remnants of sleep out of Shinji's system. "Rei?! What are you doing here?"

"I followed you," she answered, matter-of-factly. "I caught sight of you as you left NERV, and wished to accompany your return to your residence, but instead..." She looked around in what appeared to be curiosity, complete with the hand-over-eyes action that Shinji wondered where she'd learnt from. "You've arrived at a place I've never been before."

"How long... was I asleep for?"

She gestured Shinji to one side of the bench and sat down, straightening her skirt. "Approximately seven minutes. Although, if you are inclined to rest further..." Rei patted her lap. "I have read that this is much more comfortable than using your bag to substitute as a pillow."

'Do I even want to ask where she read that from?' Shinji shook his head. "Err, no, it's fine. I think I've slept most of it off already. Thanks for the offer though."

"Oh, I see." It was a very subtle inflection, almost like a trick of the senses, but she sounded... disappointed.

Shinji mentally kicked himself for being so insensitive, especially to a girl who most likely didn't even know what being insensitive meant. But as he quickly realized, the solution was extremely simple. "Hey, actually..." He gently placed a hand onto one of hers. "If you don't mind, maybe I'll be tired just a little longer."

Rei blinked... stared... then, her face lit up with that uniquely brilliant smile.

- location indefinable -

Kanako immediately knew she was in a dream world from the smell. Or rather, the lack thereof. It was something that Granny Hina had taught her at a young age as a remedy to nightmares. "If you can't smell it, it's not real," she would say with a knowing smile, even on the darkest and scariest of nights.

In this particular dream world, she found herself back at Hinata House, climbing the tall steps of the hill leading up to the building. As she passed the teahouse, Haruka popped out and waved; her dream-self waved back autonomously. 'Where am I going?'

As if to answer her, a brief flash of black crossed her vision, and now she was in the hallways of the first floor, passing by Kitsune's room and Keitaro's room. 'Onii-san... I wonder how he's coping... Maybe I should call him once I--' Dream-Kanako narrowly avoided being decapitated by yet another incarnation of Su's mecha-Tama, and again mere seconds later, from being bowled down by Su herself in her dogged pursuit of the House's pet turtle. '--wake up,' she finished the thought, smiling wryly.

Now she was headed towards the second floor, on which the only relevant rooms were Shinji's and her own. Kanako had a fairly good idea now, what this was all building up to. And her hunch proved correct, as her dream-self reached out and slid open the door to her room. The inside looked as if a tornado had singled this room out and ripped it apart corner to corner, but she found that barely surprising.

Anything not held down or heavy enough had been translocated randomly, and loose clothing was strewn all over the place. The door to the closet in which she stored her futon was hanging off its rails, and its contents spilling out onto the floor like a gutted animal. 'So... what am I supposed to notice from all of this?' She took a step forward and heard the 'crunch' of something beneath her slipper.

They were glass shards-- no, mirror shards. From her fallen full-length mirror that had always stood beside her drawers. Kanako crouched down and gazed at the pieces; a small reflection in each of them gazed right back at her. And then-- a sudden flash of something dark, from one particular shard, shaped like a scythe blade. Curiously, she picked it up, being careful not to cut her fingers on an edge.

At first she saw just herself in the mirror fragment, but as she looked on, the face began to darken and morph ever so slowly. Kanako's heartbeat also gradually picked up its pace, as the image staring back at her became more and more dreadfully familiar... She wanted to throw the shard out the window, but her dream-body felt compelled to keep gazing down in morbid fascination at the frightful visage of EVA-03.

Then there was a shout from outside; somebody calling for dream-Kanako. She flicked her eyes around the room, searching for something, anything-- a handkerchief, conveniently enough in arms reach, with which she wrapped the mirror shard in and tucked into her shirt pocket before rushing out of the room to whoever called her. 'Wait,' Kanako wanted to cry out. 'What are you--'

The dream world went white.

- Surgical ward III, NERV -

"--doing...?"

It took the better part of five minutes for Kanako's eyes to adjust to the sterile whiteness of the fluororescent ceiling lights, and rest of that to realize she was in a hospital room, alive and awake.

...But also alone.

She felt a pang of disappointment in her heart at the absence of the one person who she thought would be here, but consoled herself with the reason that might not have been possible considering the absolute chaos that this recent event-- as far as she could recall, anyway --would've caused. Slowly and carefully, she lifted herself up into a sitting position, also pulling the thin but remarkably warm blanket around her bare body.

'I wonder... what that dream was all about,' Kanako thought, tucking her legs to her chest and resting her chin on her knees. Almost by coincidence, she suddenly gasped and clutched her chest as an acute piercing pain lanced through her chest, exactly where the vest pocket in which she'd put the mirror shard would've been. 'It certainly wasn't like any normal dream...'

The pain faded away as abruptly it had came, but still left Kanako breathing heavily for a lingering moment. She lowered the blanket from her upper body and examined herself-- nothing, no external injury of any sort. It was at this moment that the room door inappropriately chose to open, giving the person entering a brief full-frontal flash before Kanako reacted and hurriedly covered herself again.

"Um, err..." Kaji stammered, blushing despite himself. "S-so... y-you're awake now..."

Kanako too, was red to her ears. "K-Kaji-san...! You... surprised me..."

There was an awkward silence, as the two refused to face each other, faces burning with embarrassment.

"I--" Kanako chose to break the silence first, forcing a professional tone back into her voice. "I... didn't know you were the visiting type, Kaji-san. Although I don't see how coming to see me could possibly be relevant to any of your little... side jobs here and there." She slipped a bit of accusation into the last few words.

Kaji shrugged casually, and grabbed a chair to sit in, turning it so that its back faced the girl. "It's just what I do to make a living. Though I guess you expected me say that." He saw a corner of Kanako's lips twitch up. "I'll be honest and say I dropped by to see how you were doing, which by your sharp wit and tongue I discern you are well enough. But while I'm here, I may as well get you up to speed on situations..."

- EVA holding cage #4, NERV -

Ritsuko stood on the platform, idly sipping her lukewarm coffee as she stared at the stripped-down head of Evangelion Unit-03, mentally debating whether or not it looked more terrifying like this state or with its characteristic maniacal-grin cranial plating. The cage door hissed open to her right, and heavy footsteps sounded. She glanced out of the corner of her eyes, but it wasn't actually necessary.

He didn't seem to feel a necessity to speak either.

"The Angel's body matter is almost completely integrated with the nervous system of the EVA," the woman launched into explanation, breaking the cold silence. "To have to go through all of the nerves, including the spinal column and purge them of all of that cellular mass, would take an arbitrarily large amount of time. Not to mention the possibility that what little remains of the EVA afterwards won't even be serviceable."

She eyed the person next to her, and saw that his gaze was fixed straight ahead.

"However, analysis of the molecular composition of the fused organic matter proved most interesting. The Angel's genetic material augments the Evangelion's muscular structure with an amazing resilience and adaptability; it's not of a parasitic nature as we originally suspected, but instead a symbiot which has the potential to-- for the lack of a better term --'infect' other hosts and begin to fuse with and enhance them."

Gendo's reply was devoid of interest. "Is that so."

Another brief moment of silence fell between them. "We've also managed to locate the S2 En--"

"Remove it."

"But this a perfect chance to study--"

"Remove it. And destroy it."

The weight of the mug in her hand felt solid enough to tempt her into smashing a certain someone's head in with it. But Ritsuko fought back the impulse. "Understood... Sir."

- Central city public park, Tokyo-3 -

Indeed, Shinji woke up feeling quite significantly refreshed, and he was so comfortable that he almost thought it was just another morning at the Katsuragi household. The morning part was correct, as golden-yellow beams on sunlight weaved their way through the gaps between the high-rise buildings and trees to bathe the park in their radiance. And remembrance quickly dispelled the second illusion.

Shinji rolled his head around carefully, making sure he faced upwards, and choked on barely suppressed laughter. Rei's head was lolled to one side, and a tiny trickle of drool leaked from the corner of her mouth. 'Oh, what I wouldn't give for a camera right now...' He spent a moment committing the image to memory, and slowly lifted his head off Rei's lap. Righting himself on the park bench, he rummaged around in his bag for something to drape over the girl. He was momentarily surprised to find a NERV-issue jacket inside, wondering how long it had been in there.

Nevertheless, he pulled out and positioned it gently over Rei's shoulders, eliciting a barely audible mumble and a slight stir. Shinji smiled faintly and reclined on the bench as comfortably as he could manage, drinking in the sights, sounds, and crisp morning air of a waking city. 'Perhaps I should consider sleeping out more often,' he joked to himself. A growling stomach almost lessened his amusement, until he realised an instant later that it hadn't been his.

"Shinji-kun?"

"My my, look who's awake and hungry," he replied in jest, though admittedly, he wasn't much better off in both regards.

A tint of rose adorning her pale cheeks, Rei wordlessly thrust the jacket back at Shinji, who refused it. "It's not good for girls to chill their body."

"But my biological functions aren't--"

"Don't make me put it on you myself."

Rei's cheeks reddened further as she slowly put the jacket on, her gaze low but occasionally flitting up to steal glances of Shinji's satisfied smile. Her face bloomed crimson when he slid a hand around her slender waist and gently tugged her along as he started to walk. "Where are we going?" she asked, squirming weakly in his hold.

"To get breakfast, of course," Shinji replied with a grin. "My treat, okay?"


(Formatted to be both FFN and EFO friendly.)

A/N: Gar. -.-;; Death threats to 'cala1019' at Gmail, if you so wish. In other news, my Japanese now doesn't suck.


- Omake -

"He's gone and done what now?!" Misato hollered shrilly down the phone. "No, no, I heard it the first time; you don't have to repeat the whole damn thing again-- I said, forget it!" She stabbed the 'end call' button, missed, and resorted to just plain slamming the handset down onto the table. "Oh my God! I can't believe this!"

"Now what's got your panties in a twist, Misato?" Asuka asked.

Misato shot the girl a venomous glare before replying. "Asuka, you should know I don't wear panties on Tuesdays."

"..." Asuka blinked. "What."

"Or was only Shinji supposed to know that?" the purple haired woman wondered aloud.