Evangelion Fan Fiction
Over And Done With
By Kraven Ergeist
A/N: Alright, this has probably been done before, but I don't really care. When I wrote "Life After," it was supposed to turn out like this, and instead, became an AU action/adventure fic. What I wanted was a simple emotional drama, in which Asuka returns some years later to find Shinji living happily and, hopefully, with a bit more self-confidence. With that in mind, I give you this.
Asuka looked about with the city with more mixed feelings than she could remember ever feeling at once. On one hand, it had been her home once. She had walked these streets as a little girl, sororitized with Hikari, lived with old comrades who were more kin to her than any other could claim.
On the other hand, this city has wrought about more pain than she could ever recall feeling.
Why she was here was something of an oddity. She had fancied herself smarter than the average bear, and nothing if not on the high end of the scale in terms of maturity and class. As one of NERV First Branch's leading scientists in Germany, she had earned herself a status that rivaled her previous one as number one Eva pilot during the War of Tokyo-3, as it was being called. Indeed, in the five years that had passed, history books were updated to include the involvement of NERV and most if not all of its dealings. She, Shinji and Rei, as well as Misato and many others beside whom they fought against the Angels had since been dubbed Tokyo-3 Veterans, and had earned no end of focus and press from the public eye. Legal services, news groups, memorial services, public gatherings, talk shows, product endorsements…being the saviors of the world had been a bitch, if nothing else.
What all this lead up to was Asuka's sudden desire to get away from it all and retreat to Tokyo-3 for a couple of weeks.
She had seen a few familiar faces since arriving. Already, people were eying her as she passed them on the streets. She could catch little snippets of talk, like "Is that one of the pilots?" "It's a Tokyo-3 Vet!" "Hey, that was the Second Child!" "Pilot Soryu!"
Asuka looked up, fumbling for a name. "M…Ms…Ibuki?"
Maya smiled at her, a look of surprise on her face. "My gosh, it's been a while. How have you been?"
Asuka let a flicker of a smile catch her face. "Not too bad. Just paying the old homeland a visit."
Maya smiled. "That's nice to hear. Did you just arrive?"
Asuka nodded. "Yep. I'm looking for the Tokyo-3 Veterans Building."
Maya nodded in reply. "I know where that is. I can take you if you want."
Asuka smiled. "Thanks. That'd be nice."
Maya was pleased to discover how well Asuka had been doing. She had almost worried herself into anemia after Asuka had nearly died in the final war against Evas of SEELE. Asuka, in turn, was surprised to discover the fates of some of her old companions.
"Hikari actually married that idiot?" Asuka asked in astonishment.
The two of them were sitting at the cafeteria located inside the Tokyo-3 Veteran's Building, a UN controlled building that was in charge of managing all affairs concerning the Tokyo-3 Veterans, including housing and nourishment. Asuka had tasted worse.
"Yep," Maya said with a smile, pleased to see Asuka's usual energy in full plumage.
Asuka sat back, sipping her iced tea. "I can't believe it! They actually tied the knot? Just like that?"
Maya giggled. "I know. Toji bought her this fantastic wedding ring that looks absolutely gorgeous!"
Asuka gleamed. "Someone sounds a little jealous."
Maya blushed. "Well…yeah, in a way, I am. I mean…I don't have anyone who would want to settle down with a boring lady like me. I'm just too plain. Guys don't even approach me. I mean, here I am, pushing thirty, and what do I have to show for it?"
Asuka set her drink down, picking at her salad. "Relax, Maya," they'd settled on first names earlier. "It's a well known fact that women are still at their prime well into their forties. As for me, I'm just happy to be a legal drinker."
Maya giggled. "Thanks, Asuka. So, how about you? Any stakes set back in Germany?"
Asuka blew a stray strand of hair from her face. "Maya, get serious. You've been to college. Do you have any idea how immature twenty-year old men are? I mean you just won't believe some of the interns I get at NERV! Brilliant students, all of them, but the level of common sense, the sheer lack of any taste whatsoever! And everyone else who actually works at NERV is either already married or in their fifties. I mean…God!" Asuka slouched in her chair. "I really needed this vacation, Maya. Add all that to the talk shows asking for appearances, lawyers demanding movie rights and "oh, hey, do you mind showing up at this public service meeting? It would represent NERV's dedication to the common good!" No thank you!"
Maya chuckled. "I hear you there."
Asuka tore off a piece of bread from her plate and ate it. "So, how's the local crew been doing? Misato finally get her rear in gear?
Maya nodding. "Something like that. Actually, you just missed her. They enrolled her right here at Tokyo-3 Veteran's Building."
Asuka nodded. "Ah. Putting her managerial skills to good use, I see. I'll have to see her later."
Maya finished her tray. "Let's see…there's her, and…of course, you already know about Shinji and Rei."
Asuka blinked, forgetting her lunch. "Um…no, I…I don't know about Shinji and Rei."
Maya blinked. "Are you serious? They said they'd sent you an invitation. I was wondering why you didn't show up for the wedding."
Asuka's throat caught in her mouth. "Wait a minute, wedding? What wedding?"
Maya blinked, as though it was common knowledge. "They married, Asuka. Didn't…didn't you know?"
Asuka was absolutely dumbstruck. "…No…no, I didn't…"
Maya covered her mouth. "Oh my…I, uh…this must come as quite a shock to you then…"
Asuka nodded, giving her former colleague a stupefied look. "Yeah…it kind of does."
Rei turned her head at the sound of the ringing phone as a pot boiled nearby. Drying her hands, she stepped across the room, unhooking the phone from the wall, knocking it between ear and shoulder, returning to the stove, resuming stirring the pot.
"Hello?" she said.
"Rei?" came a familiar voice. "Hi, it's Maya."
"Hello Ms. Ibuki," Rei said into the receiver.
"Rei, we've been over this before," Maya said in a tired voice. "You can call me Maya."
"I know, Ms. Ibuki," Rei said, humorlessly.
There was a pause as Maya sighed. "Anyway, you'll never guess who I just ran into this afternoon."
"That is likely," Rei replied.
"Well…" Maya drew out the pause. "I'm sitting right across the table from your old companion and fellow pilot, Asuka Soryu."
Rei took a little while to reply. "I see."
There was another pause. "Rei? Aren't you…I mean…don't you want to see her?"
"If she wishes," Rei said, without missing a beat.
Rei couldn't see Maya biting her lip on the other line. "Well…I'm sure she does…why don't we both come over for a visit?"
Rei turned off the heat and took the pot off the burner, ladling its contents into a ceramic dish. "That would be acceptable. I'm sure Shinji would not mind."
Rei heard but didn't comment on Maya's very audible sigh.
"Speaking of which, is he there right now?" Maya said, somewhat desperate for a better conversationalist. "Do you think I could speak to him?"
"One moment please," Rei voiced.
Rei placed her hand over the receiver and stepped out of the room to the bedroom, which also served as Shinji's office, where said young man was busy typing at a laptop at a small desk at the far side of the bed. A pair of spectacles rested at the end of his nose, his focal point losing focus even at the age of twenty.
"Shinji?" Rei's voice broke his concentration away from the computer screen.
"Hi Rei" he muttered, turning away and stretching. "Something smells really good in there."
Rei nodded, holding the phone before her with two hands, still covering the receiver with her left. "Thank you, Shinji. Ms. Ibuki is on the phone and would like to speak with you."
Shinji, nodding, swiveling his chair and standing up. "Okay. Thanks, Rei."
Rei nodded and left.
"Hello?" Shinji said, putting the phone to his ear.
"Hi Shinji, it's me," Maya said.
"Oh, hi Maya," Shinji said. The tone of his voice suggested that he was used to her calling every once in a while. "What's going on?"
"Well…" Maya muttered. "I was wondering if we could come over for a visit."
Shinji smiled, sitting back down and finished what he was doing on his laptop. "That would nice. Rei just made dinner, and we can sit more at the table."
"Thank you, Shinji," Maya said, sounding pleased. "We'll be over soon."
Shinji closed the lid to his laptop and stood up about to say goodbye when a thought occurred to him.
"Wait a minute," Shinji stammered. "What do you mean 'we?'"
Shinji stared in disbelief as, standing just behind Maya at his door was a girl he's hoped he could have forgotten but never would.
To her credit, Asuka didn't crack and insults or give any mean stares. But the bitterness in her voice was all too clear.
Maya quickly bowed and entered. "Thanks for letting us come over on such short notice."
Shinji nodded, not taking his eyes off the girl before him. "Not a problem, Maya."
Maya stood uneasily, as the two stared back and forth at each other, neither daring to make the next move. Spotting Rei busy in the kitchen, Maya slinked away. "Oh, hi Rei! Need a hand?"
The rest was cut off as Maya slid the door between the entryway / living room and the kitchen shut.
There was a long silence as Asuka remained outside the door, staring at the boy inside.
Shinji waited a second longer, before clearing his throat. "Won't you come in?"
Asuka didn't say a word or so much as nod as she entered, allowing Shinji to seal the door shut.
Asuka eyed the surroundings. Very neat and orderly. Shinji kept the place spotless, and Rei did little more than walk through most of its ground. The only that was in any way disorderly was Shinji's desk, barely visible in the dark of the bedroom.
"It's…certainly been a while," Shinji offered, sitting down on the couch.
Asuka nodded, sitting in the chair across from him. "Yes it has."
Shinji smiled, weakly. "I was worried we'd never get to see you again."
Asuka shrugged looking away. "Nice place you've got here."
Shinji nodded. "The UN's provided a great deal of money in reparations. With Misato working on the inside, I, uh…got off pretty well."
Asuka nodded, returning her gaze to the young man. "What's with the glasses?"
Shinji sighed, leaning back in his chair. "Doctor said I needed them. Going farsighted, they make it easier for me to work. Apparently, it's hereditary."
Asuka halted a shiver. "It…you look too much like him."
Shinji nodded. "I know. Can't exactly be helped."
Asuka frowned as the small talk died down. "Why didn't you call me?"
Shinji stared aghast at her. "I did. Two, two and half years after you left, I was still calling you. No answer. You know me – after a while, I assumed you didn't want to talk to me anymore."
Asuka bit her lip, looking away. "It…it wasn't like that. I just…needed some time…"
Shinji sighed. "So, you never turned any calls and ripped up any mail you got from us for the next two and a half years? You were the first person we thought of inviting to our wedding after Misato."
Asuka's face turned angry. "Speaking of which…what exactly possessed you to marry that…that…"
"Don't," Shinji said, looking away. "Just don't, Asuka. It's getting old."
Asuka pursed her lips, annoyed that he wouldn't look at her. "It doesn't mean I have to like it, Shinji."
Shinji rolled his eyes. "So why didn't you say a word to me for so long? You're not the sort of person to just let things happen, Asuka…I know you well enough to know that much."
Asuka sighed, resting her arms on her knees. "What was I supposed to do, Shinji? Come right out and say that I loved you? That would have been a lie, you know."
Shinji shook his head. "It doesn't matter anymore. No matter how you look at it, Asuka…don't forget, you left me."
Asuka wanted to say more, but Rei stepped out of the kitchen, despite Maya's attempts to halt her progress.
"Dinner is ready Shinji," she announced. Turning up to face Asuka, she did her best not to let her expression shift. "Will you be joining us, Ms. Soryu?"
For the first time, Asuka really looked at Rei. She had on a blue dress under a yellow apron, completing the housewife image almost perfectly.
Asuka had to stop herself from laughing outright. "Wow…you look great, Wonder Girl. And what's this 'Ms. Soryu' nonsense?"
Rei blinked. "It is simply a formal way of greeting. Shinji taught me that it is polite to address unmarried ladies as Miss…I am assuming that you are unmarried, yes?"
This time, Asuka could not stop a chuckled form escaping from her mouth. "Wow…you've certainly changed in five years."
Rei nodded, setting the down the tray of food she had been holding. "Indeed. Shinji has been teaching much in the ways of every day living."
Shinji blushed, shaking his head. "Oh, come on…I didn't teach that much…just some of the basics. And Rei's a fast learner."
Maya sat down across from Rei at Shinji's left. "Now, Shinji, be fair. Rei's come a long way in the time you've been married."
Asuka smirked at Shinji's blushing face. "'All the basics,' huh? Does that include what happens behind closed doors?"
Shinji cringed, face red. "Asuka…"
"No, the most useful skill I've learned from him is how to prepare meals," Rei replied, taking small bites of food.
Asuka smiled. "Turning Rei into a regular stay-at-home wife now, Shinji?"
Shinji shook his head. "It's not like that…I would be willing to do all the work that's needed around here. There's not that much. But Rei didn't want me doing everything, not while working a nine to five job. So she asked me to teach her how to cook so that I wouldn't have to worry about it all the time."
Rei smiled, a trace of red on her face. "It was the least I could do. Having to perform all the duties around the house would have been far too difficult for one person to do. It only makes sense that I assist in any way I can."
Maya giggled. "Oh, Rei looks so cute when blushes like that."
Shinji chuckled. "Come on, guys…we're happy the way we are. Right Rei?"
Rei nodded. "I am content."
Asuka chewed on her lip, not bothering with the food in front of her. "Least one of us is."
Conversation sort of died after that.
After a relaxing (or uncomfortable, depending on who you were) cup of tea, Maya stood up.
"I've got work to do," she announced. "I really should get going."
They bid her farewell, and Shinji glanced at his watch. "Yeah, if I don't finish off my report, my boss is going to chew me out. Asuka, I hope you'll stay with us – we have a guest room just over that way…" he indicated to the far side of the living room.
Asuka inhaled. As resentful as she was of the situation, a UN certified hotel room didn't seem that appealing. "Well…I'll think about it."
Shinji nodded, getting to his feet. He wasn't sure how he felt about the idea of leaving the two of them alone together, but if he'd learned anything about his wife in the six years he'd known her, it was that she was capable of taking care of herself.
"Well then, ladies, if you'll excuse me…" he bowed, before retreating to his makeshift office.
There was a brief moment of peace between Rei and Asuka, before Asuka sat back in her seat.
"So…you and Shinji, huh?" she muttered, eying the ceiling.
Rei continued sipping her tea. "Yes. And how are things with you, Ms. Soryu."
"Oh, for goodness sake, call me Asuka already," Asuka huffed. "We've known each other for six years, Rei."
Rei nodded. "You have been absent for five of them."
Asuka decided not to comment.
"Asuka?" Rei said.
"There, you see?" Asuka smiled. "What is it?"
"You are not…angry with me, are you?" Rei pondered.
Asuka sighed. "No. Not with you, at any rate."
Rei nodded. "Oh."
There was another pause.
"So…" Asuka breathed, her curiosity getting the better of her. "How is he?"
"Shinji?" Rei blinked. "He is well."
Asuka smiled. "That's not what I meant, Rei. I mean, how is the relationship working out for you?"
Rei nodded. "I believe I said that I was content with it."
Asuka leered. "Rei…"
Rei's eyes widened a touch. "You mean…how is he…in bed?"
Asuka's lips curled into a smile. "Now you're catching on."
Rei blushed, her whole body stiffening. "We…haven't actually…"
Asuka gawked. "Are you serious? You're married for Christ's sake!"
Rei nodded, her blush still present. "We…um…we do sleep in the same bed…and we often hold each other. But…we're still not ready to…try something to that extent just yet."
Asuka rolled her eyes. "I swear you two are both such babies!"
Rei frowned. "We may be married…but our relationship is still somewhat uncertain. We are inextricably bound together, but living day to day is another matter entirely. We are both such unstable people, Asuka. We talked about it, and agreed that it would only make our lives difficult to live if we tried to further our…intimacy. It is our belief that it is more important to live our lives than to test the extent of our relationship."
Asuka let out a sigh. "Well…that makes sense in a twisted sort of way. At least you seem to understand yourselves well enough to make a decision like that."
Rei nodded. "Yes, I like to think it is such."
Asuka sighed. "So, when did he pop the question?"
Rei swallowed. "Shortly after he turned eighteen. The wedding was on August 6th, a few weeks after Mister and Misses Suzuhara's wedding."
Asuka rolled her eyes. "I still can't get over that one."
Rei nodded. "There are pictures…if you wish to see them."
Asuka glanced over to the album where Rei was pointing. "No, I'm…not sure I'm ready to see it in front of me like that just yet."
Rei nodded. "As you wish. Will you be staying with us then?"
Asuka looked at the ceiling. She'd spent five years separated from this life. A few days here wouldn't kill her.
"Yeah," she said, finally. "I'd like that a lot. Thank you."
Rei nodded, getting to her feet. "I will prepare a place for you to sleep."
Asuka smirked. "Another 'life lesson' Shinji taught you?"
Rei nodded. "There may be times that Shinji is away on business trips. I must be prepared to live on my own for that time."
Asuka nodded, following Rei into the guest room. "What else has Shinji taught you?"
Rei stepped past the futon on the floor and opened a closet and took out some blankets. "How to clean house, how to speak properly with guests as well as strangers I meet, how to shop intelligently, how to–"
"Okay, okay, I get it, I get it," Asuka chuckled.
Rei ready made the futon for her. "You have everything you need?"
Asuka gestured to the bag she had at her side. "Right here."
Rei nodded, bowing her head slightly. "Then I shall say goodnight Asuka."
Asuka nodded. "Night, Rei. Thanks for putting up with me."
Rei nodded, taking her leave. "It is not a problem."
Asuka waited for her hostess to leave, before dropping down onto the futon, lying on her back. Staring at the ceiling, Asuka took a great heaving sigh, before rubbing her eyelids.
"God…" she muttered, not knowing what to make of the situation.
She got herself up and readied for bed.
In bed together, Shinji laid shirtless on his back, while Rei, whose upper body conversely was clothed, rested her upper body perpendicularly over his. The dim bedside lamp provided a warm glow as Shinji, surprisingly enough, had his attention diverted to a novel he had been reading.
"Asuka was inquiring about the level of out intimacy," Rei prompted, breaking the silence.
Shinji smiled. Ever since the two of them were married, Rei had been opening up more and more. He could remember a time when Rei would never initiate a conversation. Now, she broke the ice almost instantly. "I'm not surprised. She was always interested in things like that." Shinji smiled at her, running his hand over her bare back. "What did you tell her?"
Rei shut her eyes in a masquerade of elitism. "I simply told her that we had not proceeded to anything of a sexual nature."
Shinji smiled. "Oh. I suppose you left out the part where we've done almost everything else?"
Rei showed the barest hint of a smile. "The discretion was my prerogative to make."
Shinji nodded. "You're right."
Rei rested her head against Shinji's chest. "You do not suppose she is jealous?"
Shinji shrugged. "Rei, the day I understand anything that girl feels is the day Misato gives up beer."
Rei nodded, knowing quite well from Shinji's stories of Misato's notorious alcoholism. "Oh. So that would be never then?"
Shinji sighed. "Yes, Rei, it was meant to be a joke."
Rei nodded. "I see. I will attempt to recognize it next time."
Shinji smiled, running a hand over her cheek. "That's what I love about you, Rei."
Rei blinked. "What?"
Shinji chuckled. "Just the way you always handle things you don't get. You always make it into a mission statement everything something goes over your head."
Rei blinked. "I see. Should I refrain from doing so in the future?"
Shinji smiled. "Of course not."
Rei let out a breath of air. "As you wish, Shinji."
Shinji shook his head. "Ah, Rei…"
It was later, well past midnight, when Asuka's door slid open silently, as she slowly crept out into the dark living room. Bumping into the couch as she did, Asuka turned on and immediately dimmed the standing lamp by the bookshelf.
Fumbling around, her hands found the photo album Rei had indicated before.
Sitting at the couch, Asuka leafed through the album, going over its contents in a mixture of need and terror.
She saw first a picture of Shinji, Toji and Kensuke, as well as two other boys she didn't recognize, dressed up in tuxes, looking rather sheepish. Then, Misato, Hikari and Maya and a few others all wearing this gorgeous lavender blue shade that didn't exactly compliment any of them, but neither did it ruin them entirely. Rather, it complimented the next photo she saw of Rei stepping down the isle wearing a brilliant white gown.
A tear touched the plastic over the picture. "Why…?"
Next, the procession. Everyone standing by the couple at the alter, the exchanging of vows, of rings, of life and of love as the Shinji and Rei shared a moment before the crowd. It was a kiss that left Asuka seething.
Another tear fell to the page. "Why…?"
Next, the crowd photos proceeding the wedding, the reception afterward, the cake, the dance, everyone looking gorgeous and…and just so happy!
Tears rained over the still life. "Damn it, why…?"
Asuka set the album down, anger, guilt, jealousy and rage building in her heart, her whole body crumpling as the album tumbled to the floor.
"We were the same!" she sobbed, tears flowing freely. "We were…we were all three of us Eva pilots!" Asuka crumpled on top of the couch. "We all lived through the exact same tragedy!"
She burst up, grabbing the album off the floor, yanking it open to the photograph of their shared affection. Shoving her face up to it, tears splattering everywhere, she shook the album as though it contained the answer she was looking for. "So why? Why do they get to be happy?"
She dropped it and collapsed back against the couch, moaning as her world fell apart, her entire life adding up before her as a meaningless timeline of success after empty success, while those around her who hardly put in any visible effort reaped the benefits she had longed for all her life.
After the war with the Angels was over and done with, Asuka still fought her own personal war. The War of Tokyo-3 had ended five years ago. Yet another stage of Asuka's internal conflict was only beginning.
A/N: Well, this turned out about as good as I could have hoped. I really liked the last scene of Asuka crying over Shinji and Rei's wedding picture album. That was a scene that really spoke volumes over what I really wished to bring out – how Shinji and Rei were able to achieve happiness, while Asuka struggled on, trying to figure out how to go about living life. It's kind of a counter intuitive idea when you really think about the characters, but I'm sticking with it. Chances are, I'll alos be continuing this fic too.
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