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Tokyo-3 Afterlife

Part 4 of a number higher than 3

"Hey, watch the hands!"

By Random1377

Shinji was not feeling very good about life. Stuffed into the back of a car, pushed around, and ultimately cut off from the world by a rather bad smelling potato sack, this had to qualify as the most embarrassing experience of his life.

Or maybe the second, with being caught sneaking a peek at Asuka as number one… or third, since there was the time he accidentally groped Rei's breast when she was fresh out of the shower… and there was that one time he had to have a synch test completely naked and… the more Shinji thought about it, maybe this wasn't all that bad.

He was more nervous that he had been kidnapped (the bag over the head made him realize this wasn't a normal Section Two pickup) by two Americans.

Who knows how long it was before they stripped him bare and did unspeakable things to his poor adolescent body?

Americans, he knew, were not to be trusted.

"Get out of the car."

"Yes sir," Shinji murmured, finding that with a bag on one's head, and one's hands tied, getting out of a car was rather a tricky proposition.

After flailing around for several minutes like a fish out of water, he was hauled across the back seat of the car and planted rather roughly on his feet. In spite of this harsh treatment, he was still glad to be out of the car.

His ass was starting to fall asleep.

"This way, kid."

Shinji whimpered as he was shoved from the back, nearly falling forward as he stumbled in the direction indicated.

Behind him, one of the Americans muttered, "You sure this is a good idea, Starsky? I mean, his is one of the Childs."

"It's Children, dumbass," the other replied, "and of course it's a good idea… do you know how much they'll pay to get him back?"

"Hey," Hutch (Shinji figured it was Hutch by simple subtraction) said, "how come they call each one 'Children,' anyway? You know, this one is the Third Children… but there's only one of him. I don't get it."

Startsky shrugged – Shinji just knew he did – and mumbled, "Who knows why they do anything in this backward country? Any country that hasn't figured forks out isn't worth a damn, if you ask me."

"Then why did we move here?"

"Where else can you buy panties in a vending machine on the corner?"

"Point."

I knew it, Shinji thought desperately, they ARE perverts!

As he was lead deeper into whatever hideout the duo had taken him to, Shinji made a mental note to check the prices in the aforementioned vending machines.

For Kensuke, of course.

( 0 0 0 )

"How long are we going to follow this bitch?" Asuka muttered, lacing her ethereal fingers behind her ethereal head and wondering what would happen if she got literally bored to death after she was already dead.

Rei's expression remained neutral. "She does seem to have Ikari's scent," she replied carefully.

The bitch in question lifted her head and uttered a low, mournful howl.

Pulling on the leash in her hand, Misato snapped, "Stop that, Ritsuko!"

"That is some kind of messed up," Asuka said thoughtfully. "And here I thought they were friends."

Ritsuko howled again, her eyes focusing on Asuka's general location as the ghostly redhead shook one threatening fist. Ritsuko could not see the girl, of course, but her heckles were up… she knew something unnatural was lurking around the creepy girl with the red eyes.

The unnaturalness of the creepy girl worried her, too, just not as much as the feeling that there was something malicious just behind her.

"Gott, I hate dogs."

"See why I named her that?" Misato asked Rei, yanking on the dog's collar. "Temperamental, whiny, and doesn't listen to a word I say."

"If she says, 'I almost named her Asuka,' I'll kick her right in the ass!" Asuka vowed, raising her fist in front of her eye and giving Misato her best death-scowl.

"I almost named her As- ow, hey! Something hit me!"

Rubbing her suddenly irritated backside, Misato looked around for her assailant, her eyes passing right over Asuka – which was probably best, considering the fingers the deceased redhead was holding up – before resting on Rei.

"Nah," she muttered to herself after a moment. "Couldn't be…"

"Major," Rei said quietly, "is it my imagination, or are we in the brewery district?"

Misato looked surprised. "Well, what'd ya know?" she exclaimed with an almost convincing gasp of amazement, "So we are!"

In hindsight, Rei decided, she really should have noticed their location sooner – not simply because of the strong smell of fermentation, but because of the snapshots of her commanding officer in almost every store window with captions such as, 'Our #1 customer,' and, 'Thanks for your support,' and the like.

If they had not been following the nose of a trained bloodhound, she might have questioned the Major's motives.

"We're close…"

"Close to Ikari?" Rei asked hopefully.

"No," Misato (predictably) replied, "my favorite bar. Say, do we have time to-"

"No."

"…thought not."

Asuka scratched at her nose – not because it itched, but because she felt like she had to have some kind of physical act to go along with her commentary of, "That all seemed rather orchestrated, didn't it?"

Rei did not seem to feel that this warranted acknowledgement, and simply shook her head.

As fate would have it, however, contrived or not, the canine Ritsuko did seem to be rather interested in Misato's favorite drinking establishment. "Tell her to wait out here," Asuka suggested as Misato smiled happily up at the dilapidated old brewery, "if she gets inside, we'll be there all day… maybe all week."

Considering this for less than a nanosecond, Rei said, "Major, considering the fact that our… extra party member is uncomfortable with me, I feel it would be best if you remained out here with her while I go in to see if Ikari has been seen in this vicinity."

Misato, who had not listened to a word the First had said, glanced at her and said, "Hm?"

"Dumb it down," Asuka muttered, considering Misato for a moment before adding, "Way down."

"You stay," Rei said, pointing to Misato, then herself, "I go."

Pouting slightly, Misato mumbled, "I wasn't gonna drink anything… I just like the smell."

Asuka leaned over, quickly whispering something to Rei, who parroted it back to Misato word for word.

"If you're a good girl and stay right here, I'll bring you a treat."

Pursing her lips, Misato said, "You don't have to talk to me like I'm a child, you know! I'm an adult – an adult with more experience than-"

"A double."

"I'll be right here."

Stepping into the bar, Rei murmured, "She is usually harder to persuade."

"Probably still shaken up by my death," Asuka said pityingly. "I'm amazed she's holding together at all."

Rei scanned the room. "Odd," she mused, "I was under the impression that she was simply using it as an excuse to drink as much as possible."

"…yeah, I guess that does make more sense."

"Indeed."

"Ok, here's the plan," Asuka said, catching herself whispering and raising her voice to a near shout out of pure annoyance. "You go to the bar and get Misato's drink, and I'll head into the back room and see if Shinji's in there or not, got it?"

Rei admitted that this seemed like a simple enough plan, and the two divided forces.

Oh, my readers, then the mayhem truly began.

( 0 0 0 )

The place smelled like potatoes. Or at least, Asuka suspected that it smelled like potatoes – it just had that tuber look to it. Having no material olfactory anymore, she could only wrinkle her translucent brow and look with disgust upon the filthy rundown wooden hallway that the door in the back of the bar had led her too. The brewery, it turned out, was attached to a rather large warehouse, and the entire place looked as if it needed a top to bottom cleaning.

Looking disgusted as she stepped over a pool of some questionable looking liquid, Asuka decided that it was a good thing that everything served in the bar up front was fermented or distilled.

Who knows what kind of predatory new life forms were growing in this dump?

At first, Asuka had snuck down the hallway, but after a few minutes she had growled in frustration and started to stride boldly through the building, glaring around as if daring someone to notice her – or rather, kind of hoping that someone would, because honestly, the prospect of having only Rei to talk to for eternity (or until the First kicked the bucket) was NOT what the redhead would call appealing.

"Just my damn luck," Asuka grumbled, forcing her voice to stay loud and obnoxious, "why couldn't it be Hikari that could see me? Or Kaji? Oooo, wait," she said suddenly, "me, plus invisible, plus Kaji, plus shower, equals I know where I'm going to be spending the rest of this week!" Her elation faded as she walked through another door. "You know, after I get stupid Shinji back home where he belongs."

Two more twists and a turn later, Asuka found herself face to face with Shinji himself.

"Oh my God – that bitch was right!"

Of course, she was still dead, and Shinji was still unable to see her, so he continued to stare forlornly at what looked like a potato sack on the table next to him while occasionally scratching at his right wrist, where (Asuka could see) one of his handcuffs was irritating him.

Not as much as Asuka's current predicament was irritating her, however.

"Hey dork," she said angrily, "why don't you like, walk out of this place, huh? The door's unlocked, and there's no one in the hall, so why don't you just get off your ass and sneak out?"

Shinji looked up with wide eyes, and for a moment, Asuka thought maybe he had heard her.

Until he sneezed.

"Shiesse."

Parking her ethereal heinie next to the potato sack, Asuka rubbed her eyes.

"So," she muttered, "options. One – kick Shinji. Two – go back and tell my lush guardian that Shinji's in the back… and she'll have to go through a fully loaded bar to get to him. Three – go find dumbass Wondergirl and have her take on two enforcers and maybe get killed." She paused for a moment. "Mental bookmark – come back to option three for later consideration. Option four – unlock Shinji's handcuffs with key left by stupid ass kidnappers."

It was amazing to her that she had missed the fact that the handcuff key was hanging on a peg next to the door. Not half as amazing to her as the fact that Shinji was still sitting there like a dumbass, but amazing nonetheless. Shooting to her feet, she snatched the key off the hook (which took a lot of concentration on her part) and flipped it to Shinji. Sadly, the boy was looking the other way, and the key flew past the back of his head and landed with a barely audible clunk on the floor behind him.

Slapping herself in the forehead – and wishing she felt it – Asuka groaned, "Un… real…"

As she was deciding whether to hit Shinji or pick up the fallen key, the door banged open. It was the only time she was glad to be a ghost, because the door was opened so hard that it cracked down the middle, and had she been alive at the time, she would have been squashed into a thin red paste.

It was a very heavy door.

"Time to go, kid."

Shinji cringed in his seat as the hulking former Section Two agents came into the room.

Those bastards, Asuka thought angrily, they've been molesting him! Just look at him flinch! Damn Americans – you can't trust a single one!

"Not the sack!" Shinji begged, his eyes flicking to the potato sack on the table. "Please, not that!"

Asuka, missing this visual cue, turned and ran through the open door. "It's worse than I thought," she muttered as she dashed back through the warehouse. "They're making him touch their-"

She cut herself off as she reached the bar and found Rei slamming a small glass down onto the bar.

"Oh man… are you kidding me?"

It wasn't the fact that the First was downing a shot that disturbed the ghostly redhead – it was the fact that she had downed (from the empty glasses in front of her) about eleven, and the fact that at least half a dozen bar patrons had money out to buy her more… and every last one of them was staring at the blue-haired girl's cleavage with undisguised lust.

There was also a small puddle of drool on the floor.

"I'm gonna be sick…"

Rei, whose cheeks were ever so slightly red, glanced in her direction, though since her eyes were unfocused, it was hard for Asuka to tell if she actually saw her.

"What are you doing?" she demanded, storming over to the First and trying to seize the shotglass. She failed in this endeavor, as her incredulity and annoyance made it impossible for her to focus well enough to manipulate objects in the real world.

The answer she got was simple and to the point.

"Drinking."

Ask a stupid question, Asuka thought tiredly, get a stupid answer.

"Shinji's here."

"Mm."

Asuka watched in mingled horror and awe as Rei deftly slammed back a double shot.

"We should… probably tell Misato… don't you think?"

Though normally a forceful person, Asuka found her words coming out slowly and hesitantly – largely because she was having trouble processing the reality of the sight she was beholding. Misato drank… well, more than most people would consider 'healthy,' but never (NEVER) had Asuka witnessed a spectacle like the First upending one drink after another.

As the bartender cleared a few glasses away, the redhead realized that – based on her pace – Rei had been drinking pretty much since she had stepped up to the bar.

Asuka felt that it was time for drastic measures.

"The Americans have Shinji handcuffed in a back room."

Rei paused with a shotglass halfway to her lips. "Oh?"

"Yeah," Asuka said quickly, feeling that a little embellishment could only help. "And it looked like his pants were unbuttoned… and his shirt was torn… and he was whimpering…"

Slowly, Rei set her glass down. "Is that right?"

Several of the barflies eased back – not because they had lost interest, but because generally, girls with red eyes and blue hair that suddenly started to talk to themselves and look around for something to hurt were best avoided, no matter how smashed they were, and considering the fact that the girl at the bar was not swaying on her feet despite having just drunk enough to drown a horse only added to this assessment.

"Show me."

A few more of the barflies backed away.

"They're leaving," Asuka said, quickly losing her awe in favor of her irritation, "do you have a gun? A tazer? A switchblade?"

Reaching into her pocket, Rei pulled out a small pocketknife. "I have this."

The rest of the barflies backed away.

"…right."

Though rubbing her temples did not ease her headache, the deceased pilot still could not stop herself from doing it.

"The major is armed, I believe," Rei pointed out, ignoring the fact that the bar's inhabitants had begun to slowly sidle towards the door. "We should tell her."

"Gee," Asuka deadpanned, "ya think?"

Without another word, the two pilots left the bar… but when they got outside, they found Ritsuko tied to a parking meter, and Misato coming out of the bar across the street, her eyes widening slightly as she spotted Rei.

"Er, hi," she said, quickly hiding what appeared to be a forty ounce can of beer in her jacket. "I, umm, thought you'd be in there longer."

"Clearly," Asuka groaned. "Quick, Wondergirl, tell her that Shinji's-"

A car pulled out of the alley behind the warehouse behind the bar behind the street (yes, that's a correct sentence) and sped off down the street.

"…probably in that car."

"Hey!" Misato said suddenly, "that looked just like Starsky's car."

Throwing her hands up in the air, Asuka voiced her opinion on the matter.

"ARRRGGHHHH!"

Continued? Who knows…?

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