Disclaimer: I don't own Neon Genesis Evangelion

Chapter 1: Welcome Back

"Good morning everyone!" Mrs. Honda said as she scanned through some papers on her table. "Umm… okay, today we have a new student transferring from Yoshimura High School…(looks at the door) You may come in, dear."

A brown-haired boy entered the room. Then, Mrs. Honda smiled and whispered to him "Introduce yourself, don't be shy."

"I- I'm Shinji Ikari. Good morning…"

"Okay, then. You may sit down on the chair next to Ms. Soryu."

"Thank you ma'am. " Shinji approached his new seat which he found a little comfortable. He looked around, gazing at the faces of the new people that he has to get used to. The first one he saw, a red-head girl who was not listening to the teacher. Instead she was staring blankly at the window. She still has the bandage on her right eye and on her arm.

'She sure changed after that impact,' he thought. 'It's so surprising that she didn't even notice that her punching bag is back.'

It was a few months after the third impact, and it was amazing how Tokyo was able to rise again as if nothing happened. Asuka still lives with Misato and Shinji was back from another town after being sent there by his father for unknown reasons. And no one ever saw Rei after the Third Impact.

"Toji Suzuhara!" the teacher exclaimed. "You weren't listening again?"

'Toji?' Shinji looked around to see his best friend. He hasn't seen him even before he left.

Toji waved a hand at Shinji then turns back to the teacher. "I'm listening, okay? Enough already! It's only a few minutes away before lunch time!"

"Yeah!" the other students followed. "Come on, Mrs. Honda!"

"Enough!" the teacher shouted. "Mr. Suzuhara, I would like to talk to you after class, do you understand me!"

"Nah, whatever you say." Toji replied.

'Same old Toji…' he thought. 'But… what happened to Asuka? Is she alright? She's acting so strange.'

After class

Toji closed the door behind him, the door which leads to Mrs. Honda's office. He was smiling as if he wasn't yelled at inside.

"What happened?" Shinji said trying to hold back a giggle.

"Nothing rare… she just told me the same things she told me yesterday." Toji scratched his head. "Hey, so, how's your life in the town?"

"It's fine. Just fine. I met wonderful people there. And, I go fishing sometimes."

"Come on. Let's have something to eat."


At the canteen

"So, you told me you are living with Misato and Asuka in her apartment. I'm going to move there, too."

Toji took a bite from his burger. "Yeah, (chews) I never wanted myself there, you know. I never wanted to live with the evil girl but Misato insisted. She told me that there's a chance that we may pilot the EVAs again." He chewed the last piece of it and drank his orange juice.

"Piloting them, again?" Shinji said as he took a bite from his burger. "I thought all the angels are already destroyed…"

Asuka and Hikari entered the canteen. Shinji and Toji looked at them as they sat not far from the two.

"I wonder… What happened to Asuka, Toji? Why is she like that?" Shinji said as he examined Asuka who stared blankly at the window beside their seat.

Toji shook his head. " I don't know, man. All Misato told me was that when they brought her to the hospital, she barely spoke. She also told me that she would scream sometimes but I don't know why. Well, that's true. Sometimes I can't sleep at night because of her."

"Well, how are you and Hikari?" Shinji said trying to change the topic but still staring at Asuka.

"Hah, Hikari spends more time pitying her friend than with me," Toji placed his hands at the back of his head. "And when we talk alone or whenever we're together, she would always start the conversation about that girl. Oh, girls…" he shook his head.

After classes at Misato's apartment

Shinji sat on the couch watching television. Asuka was on her room and it was locked. Misato will be back at 9pm. He can't concentrate on what he is watching; he has many things to think about. He decided to turn off the television. He got his bag and pulled out a book. It was a magazine about NERV. He read it but still, he can't concentrate.

Then, he heard a door open then close. It was Asuka heading for the kitchen. 'I haven't talked to her since I left. I may try talking to her now.' He thought. He followed her.

She was looking inside the fridge. "Hey, Asuka." Shinji said.

Asuka looked at him with a straight face. "What do you want?"

"Nothing. I just wanted to say hello and ask if you're alright."

"I am." She said then headed for her room and locked it again.

"What's got into her?"

(Doorbell rings)

"I'll get that." He whispered.

He opened the door, it's Toji.

"Hey, pal!" Toji said. He was holding two plastic bags full of groceries. He entered the room. "Misato here yet?"

"No. she's not yet home. Where did you get those?" Shinji said as he took one of it from his friend.

"Misato gave me money to buy some groceries for a week."

"A week?" He wondered. "Why?"

"She said she'll be off for a week. NERV business etc. etc. etc. you know…" he placed the bag on the table. Shinji scanned some of the items. "Oh I almost forgot, she said our allowance was given to Mrs. Honda. We'll just claim it."

"Umm… okay then," Shinji was still looking at the groceries. He spotted something different. "Hold on, Toji this is-"

"Shh! Give me that!" Toji blushed.