Disclaimer I do not own Evangelion Disclaimer
Hello again everyone, it may have taken about a year but as promised I'm back to continue the story I began in Iraq so long ago. I'm going to start out by updating and correcting minor errors in the current chapters.
This story picks up right after Shinji cleans Rei's apartment. This is my first stab at a fan fic in two years; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know the characters might be somewhat ooc but it shouldn't be to the extent that the story is unreadable so please bear with me. Well enough excuses, thanks and enjoy. One more thing, all my chapter names are "Last Exile" themed, incase you were wondering.
Chapter 1. First Move
It was a cloudless, day in Tokyo-3. The glass and steel fortress city was a Mecca of modern technology. Dozens of skyscrapers stabbed at the sky. Lunchtime rush hour was just beginning as traffic jams were already starting to build up around the more crowded areas of the city. Meanwhile, Shinji Ikari sat in class and stared out the window as his ever-decreasing number of classmates ate their respective lunches. The sun was gleaming off the reflective surface in which his untouched lunch was carried.
"Hey Shinji, did Misato make this for you?"
Turning away from the window Shinji saw his two friends, Toji and Kensuke. "No I told you guys, Misato doesn't cook, I made this." Disappointed and hungry they turned away to go bother the Class Rep. He returned his gaze to the window and noticed a girl on the roof of the next building over.
Her azure colored hair brushed lightly against her pale cheeks in the slight wind, the sun sparkling in her crimson eyes, she soaked up the sun as if it gave her energy to make it through the day. As she did everyday at lunchtime, Rei Ayanami left the classroom to go eat her lunch alone on the roof of the science building.
"She always eats alone." Shinji turned away and began to pick at what he had brought, but something caught his eye. Rei was now on her hands and knees scrambling around on the roof. He couldn't tell what she was looking for, but his curiosity got the better of him. He packed up his lunch and left the classroom headed for the science building. As Shinji stepped out of the narrow stairway into the sun he saw Rei on her knees, reaching her right arm under the wooden bench she had been sitting on. He noticed her lunch was strewn on the dusty, concrete roof. "What happened Ayanami?"
Ignoring his question she got up and dusted off her skirt. She debated throwing the ruined food away buy decided the caramel colored birds eyeing her lunch from the railing wouldn't go hungry.
"Well, what will you eat now?" Asked Shinji who was a little thrown off about receiving less attention than those ugly birds.
"Nothing, I'll go back and wait for class to resume." Rei answered as she used her foot to rake the food closer to the impatiently waiting birds.
Even though Shinji was pretty ignorant when it came to relationships with females, he knew there was just something wrong with letting her go hungry. He showed her his lunch and said, "You can have the rest of mine, I'm not hungry anyway" He was hungry, and in fact he was starving. Shinji had refused breakfast on the grounds that it was Misato's turn to cook. Being the gourmet chef she was, she decided it would be more economical to reheat the combined breakfast of the past week instead of making something new. Shinji knew that secretly she did this type of thing so he would quit forcing her to cook. He figured she had to learn sometime.
"Well I ugh…" she managed as Shinji's offer caught her off guard. "No I…"
Shinji happily offered her the small packed lunch "You don't like meat right? There are noodles in here if you want."
Reluctantly, she thanked him and timidly accepted the small lunch.
Shinji watched as she took a seat and began slowly nibbling at the food. He was mesmerized at how slowly and carefully she ate. After watching her eat for a good five minutes he was thoroughly convinced the amount of food in the box had actually increased. Shinji sat on the other side of the bench, which creaked obnoxiously as he put his weight on it. Rei stopped eating, looked at him blankly, and then continued on with her meal without saying a word. He was rather embarrassed because Rei didn't make noises when she sat down, she didn't make noises when she walked, and she barely made a sound when she spoke. Shinji racked his brain trying to come up with suitable conversation to break the uncomfortable silence that had settled in as soon as Rei began chowing down. "Ugh...you look pretty hungry." He said, immediately regretting it. Rei didn't seem to take offense, however, as she answered with yet another blank look. "So, how have you…" Before he could finish she interrupted
"Did you make this yourself?" He answered that he did. "It's quite good."
Shinji ignored that he and Rei had switched the roles customarily played by males and females. "Rei, why do you always eat up here by yourself?"
"It's peaceful up here, I like the quiet."
"Oh, I see. I hope I'm not disturbing you." Shinji said.
"No…not really" she answered, without glancing from her plate. He really wasn't disturbing her, besides this was the best meal she'd had in a while.
"It's almost time for class to start." Shinji said as he looked at his watch.
Rei thanked him and began walking toward the exit but stopped when Shinji called her.
"Hey Ayanami, do you think I could walk you home today?" He felt his face flush with red. Shinji had been waiting a long time for the perfect opportunity to talk to her alone. He had finally asked her, the hard part was over, or so he thought.
"Why? I know the way to my own apartment." Rei answered looking over her shoulder. There was no irritation in her tone, just a simple lack of expression. Shinji deflated a little at her answer
"That's not really the reason though, I just wanted to…"
"If you would like to accompany me, you may." With that, she walked away, totally confused. She had walked to her apartment hundreds of times, why all of the sudden did he think she needed a guide?
Shinji followed her with his eyes, watching her as she soundlessly walked to the stairwell and closed the door, inadvertently locking him on the roof.
He stood on the sidewalk across the street from the school and thought about his harrowing escape from the roof down a rusty and broken fire escape. In between the rapid movements of the cars passing by, he watched as a large flock of girls used the crosswalk and began making their way across the street. He could hear their various conversations, which mostly consisted of boys, the mall, and how one obnoxious red headed girl was caught stuffing her bra with tissue paper. Shinji even thought he saw one, pigtailed and somewhat chubby looking girl smile at him. He could imagine the mean spirited nicknames the other children might have called her. As the swarm of girls moved on, he saw Rei on the other side of the street waiting for the light to turn green. It seemed like she was looking directly at him, so he returned her gaze, determined he would win this stare-down contest and beat the petite fourteen year old girl at her own game. When she didn't look away, he became uncomfortable and started fidgeting. When the light turned, she made her way across the street and passed him without saying a word.Rather surprised at how fast it had all happened Shinji just stood there with a defeated look on his face. He began heading home supposing she had forgotten about their arrangement.
"Aren't you coming?"
He turned around and saw Rei a little ways down the street waiting for him. Embarrassed he mumbled some excuse and ran to catch up with her.
The whole situation irritated him to no end. He finally had her to himself and he couldn't think of a single thing to say. Shinji was now more following her than walking beside her. He had already tried several times to start a conversation but she had simply replied with a yes or no. By the time they arrived at the station he had given up idle conversation.
Rei made no attempt at communication until they ground to a halt at their destination. She got up and headed for the door. In a daze, Shinji didn't even notice that he was the sole occupant of the tiny cabin.
"Ikari." She said poking her head inside the train and then disappearing.
"Oh, right." Shinji got up and followed her out into the city.
The further they got from the station the more run down and abandoned the buildings looked. The streets were littered with trash and broken down cars. There were no people around, only a few stray cats peered at them from the trashcans they had crawled into. The area was scattered with condemned buildings. It all looked like a city block from postwar Eastern Germany.
"Ayanami, are you happy here?" Said Shinji who was having trouble keeping up with the high-speed pace she was walking at. You really couldn't blame her though, considering the wholesome neighborhood she lived in.
"What do you mean?" she said without turning around, or reducing the almost Olympic speed she was walking at.
"Does anything we do make you happy?"
"Piloting Eva is satisfactory."
"Is that it?" Shinji asked, now at a slow jog.
"…I am pleased we could talk like this."
Shinji stopped in his tracks stunned by what she had said. He had to run to catch up however because she continued walking.
"Does anyone else live here?" He asked looking around and seeing no signs of life.
"I wouldn't know." Rei answered as she stepped through the entrance to her building, holding the door open for Shinji to enter. Ever since she had moved here she had yet to see one other tenant.
"I hate that you live here, it just seems so lonely."
They approached her apartment door and Rei retrieved the key from her bag. As she stepped through the doorway she answered. "It is."
Shinji idly by the open door saddened by what she had said. "I…I guess I'll be going home now." As he turned to leave, Rei poked her head into the dimly lit hallway.
"Won't you come in?" With that Rei disappeared back into her room.
Shinji nervously walked back to her apartment and entered her room. Mail fell from the overstuffed slot as he closed the door behind him.
It was a small, plain studio sized room. Her bed laid unmade in the top-left most corner. A changing table that lay next to her bed was made of dark, weathered wood. On top of the drawer were Shinji's father's broken eyeglasses. To the immediate right was a hallway that Shinji guessed lead to her restroom. There were small pieces of trash thrown on the floor near the plastic trash bag that hung off a small knob on the wooden drawer. Her various medications were laid on a table near the window on the opposite side of the wall. The dark brown carpet was stained with small spots of blood.
She dropped her pack in the middle of the floor and continued on to the left and into her kitchen. Rei's so called kitchen consisted of only a small white stove yellowing with age and mostly empty cupboards that were missing the doors. Her microwave sat unplugged in a dusty corner. The sink sat to the right of the stove and looked like it hadn't been used in ages.She stood on the tips of her toes to reach in the back of the cupboard. She found what she was looking for and took out a box of tea that had been in the cupboard since she moved in.
"Oh no that's fine you don't have to do all that." Shinji said as he walked into the tiny kitchen.
Ignoring him, she walked over and pulled a spoon out of a drawer near the stove. "I've never made tea before, is this enough?" She asked holding up an entire spoon full of crushed tealeaves.
"I…I think that's a little much." Shinji said with a grin.
Rei looked at Shinji, then at the spoon and added the tea in anyway.
Forcing himself to forget that she had just used enough tea to make a gallon sized jug he instead focused on the fact that the Rei Ayanami was making him tea. It would be extremely thick tea; so chunky in fact that it's more like drinking a cup full of fresh mulch. But it's the thought that counts. He watched as Rei walked over and pulled a large metal pot off the rack overhanging the oven, filled it with water and placed it on the stovetop. After turning the dial to "high" she just stood there and watched the water begin to boil. She'd been standing there for minutes when Shinji finally spoke up. "Ugh…there's not going to be enough water for the tea if you don't stop soon."
As if woken from a dream she jumped a little and reached for the pot accidentally touching the hot sides. She squeaked in pain and quickly jerked away her slightly burned fingertips.
"You hand!" Shinji said worriedly as he rushed to her side. "Let's run some cold water on it."
Shinji took her by the arm and led her to the sink where he placed her hand in the cool water and lightly massaged her fingertips. Shinji looked up at Rei to see that her face was flushed with red. He then looked down at the sink. They were basically holding hands, their fingers interlocked. He was beginning to turn red himself. "You should be more careful Ayanami." He said while still holding her hand under the faucet. "You know, I…I wouldn't mind coming by more often…if you wanted the company."
"I would like that." Rei whispered.
"You…you would? I could come over tomorrow, if that's okay." Shinji turned off the water and released Rei's hand.
"I will be absent from school tomorrow." She said as she wiped her hands on the skirt of her blue school uniform. "You could come by after school if you like."
"Really, that's great! I'll finish making the tea." Shinji happily said as he ushered Rei out into the living room.
Unsure of how exactly to feel about being kicked out of her own kitchen she decided to make herself useful and turn over her tea table that was stored against the wall. This table, along with her stove had been used for the first time today. Rei sat, cross legged at the table and watched as Shinji walked into the room and offered her a cup. "It's a pretty color." She said admiring the deep emerald tint of the liquid.
"It's somewhat bitter, sorry." Shinji said apologetically.
She said nothing as she continued sipping at the hot liquid.
"How…how is your hand?" Shinji asked, genuinely worried.
"Fine." Rei said as she looked at her tender fingers then at him. "You're very kind."
"N…No…not really." Shinji said looking away to hide his blushing face. "Anyone else would have done the same thing."
"No, everyone else would not." She said somewhat bitterly.
"What do you mean?" He asked, feeling that her comment deserved further attention.
"It's nothing." She replied looking at Shinji. She could tell however that he wasn't about to accept that as a suitable answer. It wasn't so much that people were unkind to her. She just felt that she was treated with a kind of mild neglect like an unwelcome guest or stray dog. However there were the people at Nerv who really only cared for her as long as she served her purpose. These were the people she was referring to.
"I think people are just somewhat unsure of how to act around you." He laughed uncomfortably. "It's because you never really talk to anyone."
"I have trouble speaking with people normally." She answered looking away.
"You don't seem to have any trouble talking to me." He said with a smile.
"I've noticed that as well."
End Chapter 1
Please read and review, thanks for taking the time to read. The next chapter will be up very, very soon.