PART X – WHERE YOU GO…
Asuka watched as he stood in the bedroom with the open suitcase on the bed, watching him pack away his belongings and as he looked at her, he could see the tears in her eyes.
"Please don't do this."
"I have to." He told her.
"Damnit, why!" Asuka cried out as she came up to him, holding onto his arm.
"Asuka, I want my life back." He told her as he turned to stare into her face with a small smile. "Yesterday, I almost lost you. It made me realize that I can't go through that again. Asuka, I have to go."
"What about Hope? What about Souke?" Asuka asked. "Your children need you. I need you."
"We'll…figure it out. I just…can't be your husband here." He told her as he packed up the last of his belongings and then closed the suitcase, locking it.
"So you think that leaving me is a better way of living your life?" Asuka asked.
"Unfortunately, yes." He told her as he looked at her and then grabbed the handle of the suitcase.
"This breaks the rule, Shinji." Asuka said as she breathed in.
"Asuka, I'm sorry. I don't belong here. I need to be back home. I can't live here." He picked up the suitcase from the bed and then walked out of the bedroom door, he stopped and then said. "Come with me, Asuka. Remember, what we always said, where you go, I go. I want you to come with me. Let's go home."
"I'm an officer, Shinji. My life is here." Asuka said firmly. "You said you'd try…" She whispered to him as she cried. "Why? Why, Shinji?"
"I can't be here, Asuka. I just…I know I have to go back. I can't explain it. I'm sorry, Asuka." He said to her as he walked out of the bedroom.
Asuka breathed in so her children would not see her cry. She wiped away her tears and as she came out of the bedroom, she saw Shinji crouched down holding Hope, rocking her back and forth.
The happy little girl had tears running down her cheeks as she held onto her father. "Daddy, don't go." Hope whispered.
"I have to, Baby. Daddy doesn't belong here."
"I wanna go too." Hope said.
"You can come and visit me, Baby." Shinji whispered to her. "Remember that Daddy loves you very much. I love you and Souke and Mommy with all of my heart. I'm sorry, Honey but Daddy can't stay here."
Hope nodded her head as she looked back into her father's face. He gently wiped away her tears and then stood up, going over to the playpen and seeing Souke standing up, holding onto the playpen, and looking up at his father with a big smile.
Shinji reached down into the playpen and picked up the small baby. He held him in his arms and closed his eyes as he breathed in, hating this moment. "I love you, Souke." He told his son. "I'll see you soon. I promise."
He gave the baby a kiss on his forehead and then gently put his son back into the playpen.
Then he turned and saw Asuka. He breathed in as he looked at her. He knew though that he had to be quick about this because his mind flipped flopped from wanting to go and wanting to remain with the people he loved.
He walked up to her and gently put his arms around her, holding her close, telling her. "If there's a way, Asuka, it'll work."
"Go, Shinji." Asuka whispered.
He looked back into her face and then nodded as he turned and picked up his suitcase and then walked to the door, where he opened it and walked out, walking down the hall to the elevator.
He got inside of the elevator. The doors shut and then he shut his eyes as he thought about what he was doing.
I'm leaving my family, just like my father left me.
Shinji breathed in the cool air as he sat underneath the tree that him and Asuka used to favor sitting under so many times. He looked out towards the distance and felt so alone. He thought that being back home would be better, that his life would be whole again and instead, he felt even more empty then before.
I miss them so much. He said to himself as he sat underneath the tree. Nothing feels right without them here. I miss Asuka most of all. I've never been without her in all of ten years and now I find myself totally alone and isolated. It was a mistake! Why did I leave? Why was I so selfish? I left to get away from the city. I couldn't face losing her ever again. Now, I am so alone because I am without her. Perhaps this is my punishment. Perhaps I deserve it.
The engineering crews have given me electric and phone service out here. The town is being rebuilt so that families can come out here and live. My life is …nothing. Without my family, my life amounts to nothing. I made a mistake coming back here. I miss them. It's been a month seen I've seen them. Asuka hasn't called. Hope calls three times a week. Misato calls me more then my wife does. Maybe Asuka does want a divorce. If that is what she wants, I'll give it to her. If she needs to be happy, I will do that for her. I love her. I'd do anything to get her back.
He stood up and dusted himself off as he walked back to the house and took a look at the fence. He went over to the fence and looked at it. This old fence could use some reinforcement. I'll go get my hammer.
He went into his tool shed and pulled the hammer down from the wall. He walked back to the fence and began to pound away at it. I feel better when I'm working on the yard or the house. Maybe if I keep this up, I'll feel like my old self again. I don't know. I should…I should go back. Go back to my family. Try to make it work. Try to make it…I don't know. I miss them. That's all I do know. I hated the city but being here alone is no life either. I'd rather hate the city then be here alone.
He continued to work on the fence for the remainder of the day and in that time, removed his shirt, despite that the fall weather was starting to get colder. The work he was doing was keeping him moving, keeping him motivated.
Then as he worked he felt something slam into the back of his leg and clutch onto him tight. He froze and then looked down, smiling widely and reaching down to throw his arms around the source of it.
"Daddy…. where you go, we go."
"Hope!" he cried out happily as he stood up holding his daughter. "Baby, Daddy missed you so much!" He closed his eyes as he felt tears well up in them from happiness and then as he opened them, he breathed out as he saw someone walking towards him.
"Where you go, is where we'll always go." The voice said as it continued to walk towards him and then stood in front of him, looking into his eyes.
"Asuka…" his voice trailed off as he stared at her. She wasn't dressed in her uniform. She wore a turtleneck with a denim shirt over it with a pair of jeans and boots. In her arms, she carried Souke.
"Hi, Honey. I'm home." Asuka whispered to him as she looked up at him.
"What about your job?" He asked her as he looked at her.
Asuka breathed in as she said. "I'm still active duty but I'm assigned to this region. Misato gave me this terriotory. Its perfect for a newly promoted Major like myself who is getting her first command."
"Asuka…" he breathed out as he sat Hope down on the ground. "Whatever you want is okay with me. If you want the city, I'll give it to you. Whatever you need…"
"I want to go with you." Asuka told him. "I want our life. My life means nothing if you're not in it. Can we…have our life back? I realized that I love it here with you. I didn't like the city either. Sure, I said I liked it but actually, I want to be home with you here…happy…. forever."
He smiled as he looked at her and came over to her staring at his son in her arms and then looking down into her eyes. "My life is with you." He told her gently.
"Our lives are with you." Asuka smiled at him and then felt his arms come around her and Souke. Hope ran over to them both and hugged both of her parents. "All of our lives." She said as she took his hand and moved it down to her stomach, covering his hand with hers. "I found out yesterday…" She said with a tear in her eye.
He smiled widely and he leaned in and kissed her lips, smiling back at her with tears in his eyes. "I love you." He told her gently.
"I love you too. This is where we belong, Shinji. Here, forever."
As Asuka looked at him, she smiled back as the family enjoyed their reunion.
They were at the place they all most wanted to be.
They were home.