Disclaimer: I don't own Neon Genesis Evangelion, property of Gainax, nor do I own Inuyasha, property of Rumiko Takahashi.
There they were again. The silver haired, golden eyed boy with dog ears, the kind looking schoolgirl, the boy-fox, and the beautiful woman with sad brown eyes and raven hair...
Today it was at a clearing in the middle of a thick forest that couldn't possibly exist post Impact, in front of a very old looking temple. He lay, unable to move, in the grass of an enormous crater, where a grave lay at the center.
There were lights, gathering in front of an old temple, faces of evil and creatures from nightmare within those shining lights.
The dog boy was fighting an old man, chained by oversized beads as he stared down the lights.
Desperation set in his soul, and he would not let his friends die today.
Standing resolutely, he raised his right hand, clutching it, and knowing he would die.
Shinji Ikari shot straight up in his bed, panting loudly as he felt cold sweat drip down his back. Shaking, he brought the back of his hand up to his forehead and wiped the sweat off his brow.
Unconsciously, he brought his right palm up until it was illuminated by the moonlight, just in front of his face. There was the faintest outline of a circle, a circle of darkness that he had only known once, at the hands of the Twelfth Angel.
It burned slightly, and if Shinji closed his eyes, he could even feel the faint whispers of the wind radiating off of it.
They had been coming in more and more, vivid and realistic fantasies, sometimes intense battles like this, sometimes silly, innocuous images that made no sense.
And at times, rather inappropriate ones, of groping various women, specifically a black haired woman in old, traditional clothing. He could even almost feel the slaps, which held power that rivaled Asuka's.
Asuka... that was another problem Shinji had now, since the start of these dreams. His right hand, much to his horror, had become almost magnetically attracted to the redhead's... behind.
His self control was at wits end and he wasn't quite sure if he could continue suppressing his hand's uncontrollable urge to caress Asuka's... assets.
And if he couldn't, chances were that he would be able to determine who hit harder- the dream girl, or Asuka.
Asuka Langley Sohryu frowned as she watched Shinji Ikari bustle about the kitchen, doing his absolute best not to meet either her's or Misato's eyes- in fact, doing his best to maintain at least three feet from either of his female roommates.
Something was going on with the Third Child, and Asuka was nothing, if not curious (most would say nosy).
As she opened her mouth to begin a scathing investigation, Shinji placed the rice and sausages he made for breakfast on the table, and then, in the blink of an eye, grabbed a handful of rice and a sausage and stuffed it in his mouth.
Before Misato or Asuka could question this strange behavior, the Third Child waved and managed a muffled "Bye!" as he ran out the door with all speed.
Misato blinked once, looked at her empty can of beer, and proceeded to grab another from the fridge. Without a word, she snapped it open and gulped it all down with one go.
Asuka... Asuka was irritated.
"Asuka, what's the matter with you?" Hikari Horaki asked quietly, in the short break between classes. Her doe brown eyes were studying her friend intently, as if to discern the cause of the behavior.
"Huh?" the Second Child said distractedly, still puzzling over the Third Child's strange behavior. It could, after all, be good blackmail material.
"You've been staring at Shinji all morning like he's an alien with a giant green head," Hikari teased, stepping in front of her best friend lightly, staring her in the face. "So come on, spill it. What's going on?"
Asuka, deciding she could confide in her friend, leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "That idiot's been acting weird today. It's bugging me."
"Aw, you're worried about him." Hikari said in a sickeningly sweet tone, batting her eyes in an exaggerated movement. "Isn't that sweet."
"I'm not worried!" Asuka snapped defensively, crossing her arms in a huff. A few students stared at her, but most had learned that the temperamental girl was best left to her own devices. "It's just annoying, like he's hiding a secret from me."
"Just why is it you have to know everything he's doing?" Hikari questioned, smirking a little. She just knew Asuka had to feel something for her fellow pilot.
"Cause... he's a fellow pilot, and if he's doing something wrong, then that puts my ass in the fire!" Asuka said quickly, and glared at the Third Child's back, as though he was the cause of her discomfort.
"Sureee..." Hikari drawled mischievously, but said no more, merely continuing to look at her best friend with a knowing look.
"Shinji, what's wrong with you?" Kensuke Aida said, annoyed as he watched the Third Child look utterly exhausted, again.
"Seriously man, we're getting worried. You sleeping right, or is the she-devil keeping you up at night?" Touji Suzuhara joked, but the concern in his eyes was obvious.
"... dreams." Shinji said tiredly, rubbing his eyes and smacking his lips sleepily.
At once, Kensuke and Touji looked at each other, nodded, and grinned widely as they clapped the Third Child's shoulders, one on each side.
Shinji winced and his eyes snapped open from the force of their hands coming down on his back unexpectedly.
"Shinji, my man, welcome to puberty." Touji said proudly, laughing slightly.
"You're well on your way to being a man now!" Kensuke added in, grinning as he pushed his glasses up from his nose.
"Wha... what are you two talking about?" Shinji began, but his over excitable friends were too deep in their hyperbole now to listen.
"So, which girl was it?" Kensuke asked curiously, leaning in, the glare of the sun reflecting off his glasses and shielding his eyes from view.
"Misato? Or Rei? Hell, the she-devil's alright in the looks, but you'd have to change her personality for her to be anything but a devil, even in a dream." Touji said, making sure to keep his voice low, as to not alert said redhead.
"What?" Shinji said, dumbfounded as he simply blinked and stared blankly.
"It's alright Shinji." Kensuke said comfortingly, patting his friend's shoulder supportively. "All guys have dreams like that."
"We do?" Shinji said blankly, weakly.
"Of course, it's natural to dream about a girl in... intimate ways." Kensuke whispered, looking around warily.
Shinji, understanding (a bit late) what his best friends were talking to him about, flushed a deep crimson and felt his face begin to burn. "Guys! Not that kind of dream!" he said hurriedly.
"Then what kind of dream do you mean?" Touji questioned, looking rather bored as he crossed his arms behind his head.
"I dunno... I become this... guy, and I fight these demons along with a bunch of other people..." Shinji said slowly, shaking his head in confusion. "And afterward, or sometimes before, I keep... groping this one girl, who keeps slapping me."
Kensuke and Touji stared at him for awhile, so much so that it began to make Shinji uncomfortable. Finally, Touji spoke.
"I think the stress of being a pilot is getting to you, dude." Touji said, shaking his head in sympathy.
Asuka continued to watch the Third Child, increasingly getting frustrated as she watched him. It was... irritating, because nothing he did gave away anything other than him being a little sleep deprived.
He would yawn, occasionally type something to one of his Stooge friends, or, upon failing that, look at the First Child for endless minutes.
It was that last activity that really started grinding into Asuka's thin patience.
Honestly, if he was going to stare at a girl, he should stare at one that had a personality above... oh, a rock.
Her venomous (some would say jealous) glares, however, were doing little to affect the Third Child, and unless she wanted to risk a punishment by throwing something, she would have to wait until lunch to corner and confront her fellow pilot.
Growling in frustration, Asuka clutched her pencil in a stranglehold, imagining it was the Third Child's neck.
Luckily for the pencil, the lunch bell rang out a few moments before the wooden instrument would have given out and broken.
Almost immediately, Asuka pratically leapt up from her chair to confront the Third Child.
Fortunately for Shinji Ikari, his best friend's timely intervention, in the form of dragging the Third Child away to their usual lunch area, and Hikari's own interference by continuing to question Asuka allowed him to escape her wrath for the moment.
Asuka scowled, and kicked the floor irritably. Not only had she failed to corner Shinji at school, but since it was her turn for clean up duty, she ended having to stay an extra amount of time and wasn't able to use the walk home to confront the Third Child.
By the time she returned home, Shinji had already made and had his dinner, fed Pen Pen, and proceeded to go directly to sleep.
Despite her nosy and dominating nature, Asuka did not like the idea of breaking into the Third Child's room. If not just because of the invasion and disregard of privacy it showed (which didn't matter all that much to her), then because of the fact that if she was caught in Shinji's room by Misato, her guardian would have ample blackmail material for weeks.
Still... she wasn't here yet, and, if Asuka was lucky, Shinji would crack quickly enough.
Quickly, quietly, she opened the door and slid it back in within a few seconds, slipping inside noiselessly.
There, she found the room submerged in total darkness, the blinds drawn up, and the light snores of the room's occupant proving that Shinji was, in fact, sleeping.
Moving closer, she could barely discern his features as being oddly... happy, even joyous. A look she hadn't ever seen on Shinji's face before. If she was being honest, it was... cute.
Asuka shook her head and scowled. Now was not the time for hormones to be kicking up, especially around spineless little boys.
As she moved forward, creeping ever closer, she began to hear words, mumbled under the Third Child's breath.
Her breath catching, Asuka grinned maliciously. This would be some excellent blackmail material.
Moving closer and closer, the Second Child started to hear the words clearer.
"... maybe... love... woman..."
Huh? Asuka blinked, dumbfounded, and not a little bit uncomfortable now.
Shinji continued on, obviously oblivious to anything outside his dream.
Asuka was practically hovering above Shinji now, too engrossed in eavesdropping to care about anything else.
"... do you still want to marry me?"
Suddenly Asuka found herself, much to her horror, blushing hotly as she toyed with the idea of getting the Hell out of there versus the merits of staying.
Before she could decide, Shinji's words made the choice for her.
"I love you..."
Something inside of Asuka, in that deadened part of her that her parent's divorce had wounded, that her mother's suicide had killed, began to awaken, warming her heart, past the bitterness.
Asuka thought she felt her heart wither and die.
Blankly, barely conscious of what she was doing, the Second Child stepped outside of the room, and tried to pretend that there weren't tears trying to claw their way out of her eyes.
Shinji awoke feeling quite good, which was a rare occurrence for the morose Third Child. The dream he had wasn't about monsters or fighting or even doing anything perverted. This time, it had been him, talking with the beautiful woman in the dream.
He had been alone with her, talking and whispering, trying to say three simple words, to try and assure the girl that his feelings and his heart were hers.
With a regretful, wistful sigh, he stood up to prepare breakfast. It was too bad he would never be able to find someone like that, or have the confidence to say such things.
He was halfway done with the bacon and eggs when he heard the bathroom door open, and since he was fairly sure that the zombie-like sounds in Misato's room were his guardian's, he assumed it was Asuka.
"Good-" Shinji began warmly, but suddenly a crimson blur raced past him and out the door, just as he managed "Morning." The end was rather listless and downcast, and Shinji frowned, wondering if he had done something to upset Asuka.
Figuring he would find out sooner or later (Asuka wasn't one to hide her displeasure), Shinji continued cooking.
The door to Misato's room slid open with a bang as the Major stumbled forward, yawning loudly, her hair an absolute fright as she moved toward the fridge.
Knowing that Misato was practically dead to the world before her first morning beer, Shinji waited for his errant guardian to swallow the entirety of her first dose of alcohol for the day, before greeting her.
"Morning, Misato." Shinji said, a little bit less cheery, since Asuka had given him the complete cold shoulder package a few moments ago.
"Mornin, Shinji." Misato slurred, before her sleep dulled senses picked up a missing, familiar screech of annoyance. "Where's Asuka?"
"She left as soon as she got out of the shower." Shinji said, at once concerned but grateful that there was no temptation to act upon the dreams.
"You two have a fight or somethin?" Misato asked blearily, wiping her eyes and yawning loudly, stretching her arms out.
"No!" Shinji said defensively, placing the bacon and eggs down on the table.
"Jeez... I was just asking." Misato chuckled, and proceeded to wolf down her breakfast at her usual voracious speed.
Hikari blinked to make sure she wasn't dreaming. "Asuka? What are you doing at school so early?" she asked, knowing good and well that the redhead loathed this school with "the burning passion of a thousand white hot suns".
Her exact words, actually.
Asuka had a dead serious look in her eyes, which, combined with the fact that they were slightly red (though not from tears, no sir!), made her look even more imposing than usual. "Hikari, how many people at our school are named Sango?"
Her voice was deadly serious, and those adjectives seemed quite literal.
"Well... I think there's a Sango in class 2-B, and one that's a senior, but I can't remember which class..." Hikari began, before looking at her friend critically. "Why?"
"...No reason." Asuka said slowly, with a little bit of an edge to it.
Asuka was on the edge of understanding... something, Hikari figured out, and decided that, no matter how difficult this might be, she would help her friend find out.
On the other hand, the Second Child didn't know how she felt, at all. All she knew was that there was this sudden, violent possessive feeling toward the Third, and that she would make sure that Shinji Ikari remained her's with all the tenacity that she possessed.
What this meant, Asuka wasn't sure.
But she would not lose Shinji to this... Sango.
Because Asuka Langley Sohryu never loses.
Rei Ayanami turned her attention away from the chirping birds and the rather bright sunlight to cast a single, corner of the eye look at the Third Child.
He was acting... strange, and there was a distinct lack of focus and energy from him as of late, most likely due to lack of sleep.
And since she, of her own free will, had decided that she would make his safety her highest priority, as long as it didn't interfere with Commander Ikari's orders of the Instrumentality Project.
This behavior of his required investigation.
The Second Child was rather hostile toward her, so Major Katsuragi would have to be the first avenue of information to try.
Shinji frowned as he left the NERV locker rooms, giving off a deep sigh. The tests had run long today, mostly because Asuka and himself were not at their peak performance, earning them a severe tongue lashing from Ritsuko.
The dreams were really starting to bug him, Shinji realized, as he felt the urges of the dream spilling out into his waking hours.
Still... Asuka was beginning to worry Shinji a little, if not because he (at times) could call her a friend, then because her anger usually meant pain for himself. She had been moody all the way over here, not saying a word to him and looking pointedly away from him.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
Shinji smiled a little and turned towards the eternally unshaven and casual speaker, Ryoji Kaji. "Hey Kaji."
"You look like you could use a bit of advice there, kid." Kaji said, taking a slow drag of his cigarette, breathing out the smoke away from Shinji. "What's wrong? Those test scores seem awfully low."
"I'm... I'm just having some weird dreams, that's all." Shinji said quietly, slouching with his hands in his pockets. "Kensuke and Touji thought they were... those kinds of dreams but they're not." He was blushing furiously at even referring to it.
"Dreams are a window into another world, Shinji." Kaji said mystically, in his usual light, wizened tone as he gestured outward with his cigarette in hand, leaving a trail of wispy smoke. "Maybe the stress of being a pilot is simply spilling into your unconscious hours."
"That's what Touji said." Shinji nodded, and sighed deeply. "They just... seem so real."
"Dreams, for whatever insight they may grant, are still just dreams, Shinji. Enjoy it, and remember to wake up at the end." Kaji said, finishing his cigarette, dropping it, and grinding it down with his heel. "I'll be seeing you around, kid."
Trying to keep Kaji's advice in his head and just let the dreams be, Shinji came to school the next morning, once again devoid of Asuka's usual dominating presence on the walk over.
Last night's dream had been the most intense yet; he had been trapped, deep inside a mountain with the beautiful girl (whom he'd finally had a name- Sango), and they were facing down a horde of demons. She had screamed a name (he couldn't remember it, no matter how many times it was said), and begged him not to fight.
In desperation, he had confessed that life wouldn't be worth living if he couldn't protect her, and absorbed the demons with the Kazaana, that strange, black hole that lay in his hand.
That was the most disturbing part of every dream. After the dreams, he could sometimes feel the burning in his palm, like the actual Kazaana was inside, just waiting to burst free and suck demons and everything else into it.
Strangely, it was also the hand that the urge to grope was springing up from.
As he stepped inside of the classroom, he was suddenly and violently grabbed from behind, and pulled away from the classroom, and pushed against the wall.
"Class Rep?" Shinji managed, feeling quite afraid as he stared down Asuka's best friend and the terrible wielder of the Ear Pull of Doom (noticeably and consistently used on one Touji Suzuhara).
"Shinji, which Sango are you going out with?" Hikari demanded brusquely, placing her hands on her hips and glaring at him with impressive force.
And of course, Shinji withered underneath the pressure, faster than you could say "out with it". "What do you mean?" he asked shakily, his voice quivering.
"Don't play dumb with me!" Hikari snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. "I know all about this little relationship you've got!" she jabbed him in the chest with her index finger, and he winced.
"What are you talking about!" Shinji whined, rubbing his chest with another wince.
Hikari pressed on, heedless of his words. "Did you ever think about how Asuka might feel? Did you? Did you?" each question was punctuated with another jab to the chest.
"What do you mean? I don't know any Sango-" Shinji froze, the words dying in his throat.
Sango. The girl from the dream.
"Don't lie! Why else would Asuka be so upset!" Hikari said waspishly, frowning imperially down on him.
"Class Rep... Sango's the name of a girl in my dreams. That's all." Shinji said softly, shrugging his shoulders. "I'm not going out with her."
Hikari, quite adequately, said, "Oh", and began to turn bright red. "Sorry about that." She said sheepishly.
Shinji suddenly realized something that he hadn't noticed before, due to the interrogation.
That being, despite being the scariest girl in the class next to Asuka, as well as the Class Representative, Hikari Horaki was a very cute girl. A very cute girl who was standing less than a foot away from him.
And suddenly, his right hand was shaking uncontrollably, and only every ounce of willpower in the Third Child's body was holding his hand back from what would be an utterly disastrous situation.
And with Hikari looking very shy and uncertain all of a sudden, his self control was beginning to break very quickly.
Luckily for Shinji, the bell rang.
"Alrightseeyouinclassbye!" Shinji said quickly, hurriedly rushing inside the classroom, holding his right hand at the wrist tightly.
If he hadn't been in such a rush, he might have noticed a certain redhead who had been standing next to the door for the entire conversation...
A few days after the narrowly avoided incident with Hikari, Shinji felt his self control wearing down further, and this was probably going to be the moment where it snapped and left him at the cruel mercy of the Second Child.
The dreams were getting more intense, the urge to... fondle was growing beyond Asuka (though still, it reacted strongest around her), to the point where being around Misato (who of course, loved to prance around in skimpy clothes while in the apartment) was the equivalent of dangling above a pit of razor sharp knives.
Rei was walking in front of him, and oh dear sweet merciful Lord, why hadn't he realized how tight the plugsuits were!
This was torture. This was the vengeance of Heaven.
Lord, I'm terribly sorry for killing those angels...
His eyes were betraying him, watching every movement of Ayanami's rear as she walked neutrally towards the Evas, every swish and every little change in that wonderful looking appendage.
Thank God Asuka was behind him, or he'd probably have already lost control...
Wait... there was something warm and soft and oh so tight and firm beneath his clutching hand...
"Ikari... why is your hand on my buttocks?"
All Hell broke loose.
Naturally, Shinji wasn't conscious for most of said Hell. In fact, he was halfway to fainting when the Second Child delivered a slap of tremendous force that sent him into a wall, with a loud accusation of "PERVERT!"
Still, without the Third Child, events proceeded along accordingly.
Misato, who had unfortunately been taking a deep swig of her piping hot coffee (no milk and sugar, to rid herself of a hangover) spat it out all over an unfortunate Ritsuko's foot, who had been slack jawed.
The Head of Project E promptly screeched loudly and swore repeatedly, hopping about in an undignified manner.
Kaji gave a loud bark of amused laughter, and a shake of his head. "Well, I'll be. I never knew he had it in him." For that, he received a particularly forceful elbow to the ribs from Misato.
Sub Commander Fuyutsuki simply blinked once, and only all his years and the wish to keep his dignity kept him from falling over.
Commander Ikari, on the other hand, actually stared blankly, so much so that his glasses fell off of his face. His spineless son actually having the nerve to cop a feel?
He couldn't deny there was the tiniest part of him that was pleased that his son was becoming a man. Of course, that part was soon squashed into pieces when he realized it was Rei who had been felt up.
Fuyutsuki looked over at the shocked father, and smiled. "Congratulations. Your son is a pervert." He said sardonically, clapping his hand against his the Commander's shoulder.
The first thing that crossed his mind was This must be how Misato feels after one of her drinking binges.
The second thing was that he dearly, dearly hoped he had been dreaming, and he was just now waking up from a long, maybe fever induced dream.
So Shinji prayed and hoped for a sign of reassurance.
Instead, he got Misato.
"Wow Shinji, you know you're supposed to have at least one date before you feel a girl up, you know." Misato said dryly, placing a wet towel on his forehead.
"What... what happened?" Shinji asked, his throat dry, as he opened his eyes, finding himself back inside the apartment, in his room.
"Asuka knocked you for a loop, didn't she? Well, its just a bump, nothing serious." Misato said casually, shaking her head as she looked down on the Third Child. "Really Shinji, did you have to grope Rei right before a test?"
"I couldn't help it!" Shinji said, before he could stop himself. "Plugsuits... tight..." he muttered, trailing off with a fierce burn in his cheeks.
"Yeah well, you might not want to make a habit of this. Next time, Asuka might just kill you." Misato chuckled, shaking her head as she removed the towel, wringing it out.
"It's not my fault." Shinji muttered sullenly. "I've been having these weird dreams lately... where I'm this other person, and he's the one who keeps groping people."
"Right..." Misato drawled, shaking her head. "Listen Shinji, you can't blame your hormones on other people, especially not people in a dream."
"It's not me! It's the man in my dream!" Shinji insisted.
"Then why is your hand on my ass?" Misato asked playfully, winking at him, motioning towards his hand on her rear.
Shinji stared for a moment, and screamed.
"And he groped her ass!" Asuka said vehemently, moving the mob in her hands with violent strokes and a tight, merciless choke hold.
"Ikari did?" Hikari blinked, gaping as she actually stopped what she was doing. "He... copped a feel on Ayanami?"
Asuka responded with a violent nod and a deep rooted scowl, kicking the wall irritably. "That... that... that jerk! How dare he!" her hands were tightly gripping the wooden handle of the mop, and Hikari was beginning to fear that the school would have to buy another.
"Well... maybe it was an accident, Asuka." Hikari said soothingly, trying to make sense of the situation. The meek, stuttering Shinji Ikari, a secret pervert? "Maybe his hand slipped, or he needed to balance himself and accidentally-"
"Accidentally?" Asuka said derisively, snarling and narrowing her eyes with undisguised fury. "He couldn't take his eyes off her ass!"
Deciding to take a different track, Hikari switched her tone. "Well Asuka, at least he didn't do that to you... or would you rather he have groped you?" her tone was sly.
"It'd be more understandable if it was me-" Asuka began, before her mind caught up and ground that sentence to a halt. "But I would never let a wimp like that touch my perfect body."
Just play along, Hikari reminded herself, smiling condescendingly at the redhead.
Since he was excused from school after a humiliating amount of begging and pleading with Misato, but didn't feel like simply watching T.V. all day, Shinji decided to do what most people did when they weren't feeling alright.
He took a walk.
Deciding to avoid anyplace where he might see someone he knew, he walked away from his usual spots, to a different part of Tokyo-3 than he was used to. He walked, and he walked, wandering about, not really seeing anything at all.
That was, until he accidentally bumped into someone.
With an embarrassed look on his face, Shinji scratched the back of his neck. "Sorry about that mister..." he said, looking up to meet a pair of brilliant emerald eyes.
The man was young, probably younger than Misato, and his hair was a light, coppery brown that was held up by a long ponytail that rivaled Kaji's. He was wearing a casual t-shirt and jeans, and the insignia on the shirt drew Shinji's eyes- that of a fox demon, a kitsune.
"No problem..." the auburn haired man said, smiling gently, but suddenly paused, and stared at him piercingly. "Miroku?"
Shinji felt something familiar about this person, but shook his head. "Sorry, my name's Shinji. Shinji Ikari."
"Oh. My apologies, you look a lot like someone... I knew." The man said, smiling still. "You have the same eyes."
"Uh... thanks." Shinji said awkwardly, unsure of what he was doing. As they spoke, a young woman walked by, looking sharp in a crisp business suit. Before he could stop himself, distracted as he was by the man, his hand was halfway toward her rear-
The man chuckled, holding onto Shinji's wrist. "I see you also have the same wandering hand." The man's mirth was obvious as he chuckled.
"Oh... I... it's not my fault!" Shinji blurted out, flushed red. "I... I keep having these dreams, and the man in my dreams does those things."
"Really?" there was a note of interest in the man's voice, and beneath that smile was a piercing look. "Do tell."
Unsure why he felt so comfortable around this stranger, Shinji began to speak. He spoke about the kind, out of place schoolgirl, the strong, brash dog boy, the little fox boy, the cat, the girl named Sango, the demons, and the hole in his right hand, the Kazaana.
As he spoke, he did not notice that the man's face was growing more and more reminiscent.
"Well, I'll be. Miroku, your curse is stronger than I thought..." the man muttered under his breath, but Shinji managed to just catch it.
"What?" the Third Child asked curiously. "What did you say?"
"Oh, nothing." The man said casually, still smiling. "Don't mind your wandering hand, Shinji Ikari. It's simply... a relic of days gone by. But I do have one question. Is there a girl whom your urge to grope is strongest around?"
Shinji was blushing heavily by now, and felt like he wanted to sink into the ground and disappear. "Ye-yes..." he stuttered.
The man smiled warmly. "Then that girl must be your special comrade. Shinji, trust the man in your dreams. He may be a bit of a con artist and a pervert, but he's got a good heart. I can see you inherited that from him as well."
Without a word, he turned away. "Don't wait to speak to that special girl about your feelings. If your dreams teach you nothing else, let them teach you that."
Shinji, dumbstruck, almost let the man walk out of sight before yelling, "Wait! What's your name!"
The man didn't stop walking, but responded, "My name is Shippo." In a voice too low to be heard, he whispered, "Goodbye, my old friend Miroku."
Shinji arrived back at the apartment sometime later, feeling more at peace with himself than he had in a while. Accepting these urges seemed natural, a second nature he never knew he had.
Misato had managed to break away from work earlier tonight, it appeared, as she was bent over, digging inside the fridge.
His right hand twitched. Inwardly sighing, Shinji let his hand do what it wanted, rather than fighting it.
It felt a lot better than he thought it would.
And hearing Misato suddenly shriek was absolutely priceless. "Kaji! Damn it!" the Major snarled, whirling about with her mouth ready to snap a verbal reaming... and snapped it shut.
Shinji gave her a mischievous grin and a wink, casually strutting off toward his room.
Misato stared for a while, and then gave a bark of laughter and downed her beer in one gulp. "Who knew... all that kid needed was a little confidence, and he's just as bad as Kaji."
Shinji arrived at school the next morning, once more without his redheaded roommate, who had mysteriously disappeared once again. Frankly, he was a little disappointed. After all, Asuka was always saying he had no guts, and to grope her would take all the courage Shinji had in him.
Almost immediately, he was beset by his best friends, who swarmed in like sharks smelling blood. "Shinji, you the man!" Touji cheered, clapping the Third Child's back loudly.
Funny, they never say this when I kill a giant monster bent on killing us all... Shinji thought to himself, feeling unexpected confidence, drawing upon the dreams for this newfound strength.
"Is it true? Did you really feel Ayanami up?" Kensuke questioned eagerly, staring at him with complete and utter admiration.
With only the tiniest hint of embarrassment, Shinji nodded his head once. The burning in his cheeks was strong, but not as bad as he thought it would be.
His friends cheered him, until an angry voice cut in through their praise.
Shinji's first thought was to cower away and try to use his friends as shields- or, upon failing that, simply wither and spill his guts.
But he remembered the calm, collected attitude of the man in those dreams, and for some reason, calmed down. "Yes, Class Rep?" he asked smoothly, causing Touji and Kensuke to jerk and stare at him like he was mad.
Hikari was forced to give pause by the unexpected response, but pressed on. "Just what is wrong with you! Groping Ayanami... do you understand how badly you hurt Asuka!"
"Yeah right, like the Devil has any feelings..." Touji muttered, and received a not so subtle kick in the shins for his insolence.
"You, be quiet." Hikari shushed with a dangerous tone. "You too." She added, glaring at Kensuke, cowing the spectacled boy into submission.
"Asuka is still upset then, I take it?" Shinji said slowly, enjoying this feeling of calm serenity. If he hadn't spent so much time fighting the dreams, he might have been better off.
"Yes, she is. And you had better apologize to her and Rei." Hikari said firmly, glaring at him with all the force she could muster. Somehow, he was reminded of the schoolgirl in his dreams.
Shinji barely reacted, nodding his head and giving her a slow, serene smile. "Of course." Inside, his calm was beginning to deteriorate at the mere thought of speaking to either Rei or Asuka.
And then, leaving a shocked Kensuke, Touji, and Hikari, the Third Child strode confidently, not slouching, into the classroom.
Immediately, he spotted Rei in her usual desk, and Asuka in her own. From the heated glare the redhead threw his direction, Shinji decided to take the road less likely to cause injury.
Calm. Be like the man in the dream. Be like him... Shinji chanted silently in his head. "Excuse me, Ayanami?" the blue haired girl looked up at him from her usual gazing out of the window.
"Yes, Ikari?" the First Child asked quietly, not a trace of embarrassment on her face or inflection in her tone.
Does nothing rattle her? Shinji wondered, even as he spoke. "I'd like to apologize... for yesterday. That was wrong of me."
Rei's tone didn't change, but she looked pointedly away and Shinji could have sworn he saw the lightest amount of blood go to the First Child's cheeks.
"Your apology is unnecessary. You do not have to speak of it again. It was... embarrassing." Rei seemed to have a hard time using that word.
"Still, I'm sorry." Shinji apologized, bowing his head.
"Make me sick." Asuka's low growl was audible, and Shinji felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up at attention. Without a word, the redhead gave him a single venomous glare.
"Asuka-" Shinji cursed inwardly as the bell rang.
By the time lunch rolled around, Shinji was feeling antsy and nervous, wanting to try and appease the furious Second Child soon, and return everything (mostly everything, anyway) to the status quo.
Yet Asuka seemed intent on avoiding him, and, before he could so much as stand up, was already halfway to the door.
"Asuka! Wait!" Shinji shouted, by the redhead simply ran faster.
Cursing, the Third Child pumped his legs harder, racing forward, trying to keep up with her as best he could. She turned the corner and he followed a few seconds later, and they ran, ran and ran until they were at the rooftop and Asuka had finally sunken against the fence, giving him a heated glare.
"Touch me... and I'll kill you." She hissed, panting hard, sweat rolling down her face.
Shinji sighed, but respected her wishes, not wanting to aggravate the Second Child any more than he had to. "Asuka... look, I'm not sure what I've done to make you so angry, but I'm so-"
"Save your apologies for someone who cares." Asuka growled venomously, ripping out her bento with excessive force.
"Look... I..." Shinji sighed, feeling his words useless. "I've been going through some... changes. I've been having these weird dreams, and they started messing me up in the head."
"And I suppose these dreams made you grope the First?" Asuka asked sarcastically, her voice thick with contemptuous disbelief.
"Well... yeah." Shinji said, shrugging, trying to regain some of the serenity that his dreams lent him. "I don't expect you to understand... I don't. But... it's just a change I'm going through."
"Groping girls?" Asuka questioned sardonically, but the edge was just the tiniest bit softer, less harsh as she spoke. "That's a bit more than a change, I'd say."
"It's not like I can help it!" Shinji snapped, his patience waning and the serenity of his dream self unreachable. "You think I want to do that? To Ayanami? To Misato? To yo-" he snapped his jaw shut.
"To me?" Asuka said, arching an eyebrow as she stared at him critically. "What, one girl not enough for you?"
Shinji paused, uncertain, his confidence and his feelings wavering for a moment.
"Don't wait..." Shippo's voice returned to him. That's right... don't wait.
"I just lost control, with Ayanami... it's been hard, you know. Between Misato walking around like she always does, and you..." Shinji trailed off, but Asuka was relentless, seeking something.
"And me what? What, Shinji? Do you think I'm some kind of tramp?" Asuka's voice was hard and merciless, pressing forth her advantage with all speed.
"It was you first, alright!" Shinji blurted out, looking away and standing up hurriedly, kicking the ground irritably. "When those dreams started, my hand couldn't stop trying to... to..."
Asuka growled, her eyes narrowing in annoyance. "So what, you decided that you didn't feel like copping a feel on me? I wasn't good enough for you?" her voice, despite all its angry bluster, had a note of disappointed hurt.
"That's not- not what I said..." Shinji muttered, feeling quite lost now, desperately grasping for the aid of his dreams. But somehow, he knew this was something that had to be done on his own.
"Then what? What do you mean?" Asuka stamped her foot impatiently, her nostrils flaring as she snarled irritably. "What the Hell has been bothering you!"
"Iwantedtogropeyouthemost" Shinji blurted out rapidly, and immediately regretted this decision. His feet left the ground and despite his exhaustion from chasing Asuka up here, he began to run-
Only to be grabbed by the collar and pulled backwards, until he sprawled on the ground, groaning slightly in pain.
"What did you do that for, Asuka..." Shinji muttered, feeling a slight ringing, a testament to hitting the ground with his head.
Instead of responding, the Second Child straddled him, pinning him down with her strong legs, placing her hands on his shoulders to prevent his arms from being used. "What the Hell does that mean?" Asuka demanded dangerously, seemingly unaware of their compromising position.
"I don't know!" Shinji said loudly, struggling against his captor.
"The Hell you don't!" Asuka snarled, releasing his arms to grab his shirt and pull him close to her, her light blue eyes meeting his darker, metallic blue ones.
"It means..." Shinji thought back. The man in the dreams... he would grope most the girl he loved the most. He couldn't stop wanting to touch her, couldn't help himself...
"It means I really like you."
There it was.
Those words were out there now, and suddenly Shinji felt like a floodgate had opened. "It means I envy you for your strength and your confidence, your beauty, that everyone likes you, and you're just so much better than me-"
Asuka couldn't help herself. She had been complimented before, of course- by adults, by peers, by children. Some of it had been professional, some of it simply sick college boys trying to pick up a teenage genius, some of it jealousy. But this... this was sincere, and it touched Asuka in a way that hundreds of cheesy love letters never had.
She kissed him, very lightly, bring him up to her with one swift movement.
It was different from the last time, they both reflected. Now it was impulsive, not a word spoken between them to prepare, and this time, they both felt like breathing wasn't important.
Finally, Asuka released him, panting slightly with slightly swollen lips. She tried to speak, and shut her mouth.
Shinji smiled, and, despite herself, Asuka smiled back.
They stayed there for a few moments, content to simply be there and smile, like that was all that mattered.
Until, of course, Shinji's hand decided now was an opportune time to finally get what it wanted, and proceeded to give Asuka quite a shock.
Shinji smiled weakly now, and his chuckle sounded a bit strained.
Asuka's eyebrow twitched, and she raised her shaking fist. "Shinji..." she said slowly, irritably.
Shinji groaned as he rubbed his head, nursing yet another Asuka-induced bump on the noggin. Well, at least he got to kiss her...
Asuka stalked off, muttering to herself about perverts and being taken advantage of. However, when she reached the doorway, she couldn't help herself, and giggled slightly, smiling softly.
And though he couldn't possibly see it, Shinji smiled back.
Despite herself, Asuka couldn't help but feel that something between them had changed for the better.
And so ends the most absurdly lengthy one shot I've ever written. Man, this took so long to complete, but it was worth it. How did it start? Well, I suppose I got bored, and noticed some similarities between Shinji and Miroku. Just the eyes and a bit of the hair, really.
Then, of course, I followed the plot bunny all the way here.
This hasn't been pre-read, beta-ed, etc. All in all, I figure I could have given Rei some more scenes, as well as Misato. But, this is a Shinji-centric story, and so it shall stay. The words Shinji mutters while he's asleep are a reference to the episode where Miroku proposes to Sango... episode 132 or so, I think. The opening dream is Episode 28.