Evangelion Fan Fiction
By Kraven Ergeist
What could have possibly possessed Ritsuko to think taking Shinji to the sea was a good idea was beyond her. Maybe it was the fact that he had finally ventured an opinion for the first time since she'd known him. Not wanting to let it go to waste, she latched onto his suggestion, packed up a picnic, started up her car and the two of them drove out to the beach.
Ritsuko was a scientist. She prided herself on her ability to think outside of the box. But it was the little things inside the box that sometimes escaped her awareness. So really it was no surprise that it only occurred to her as she was removing the outer layer of clothing, leaving only her blue bathing suit, that maybe this wasn't the best idea.
Shinji's face was the envy of garden-fresh-tomatoes across the world. Ritsuko's bathing suit was pretty conservative by most standards. But skintight was skintight, and it didn't take much for Shinji's mind to paint a fairly accurate picture of what her body looked like without it on.
Ritsuko honestly felt sorry for the boy, but more than that, she felt like an utter fool. What was she doing out here? At Shinji's age, he should be going to the beach with friends his own age, not thirty-year-old female coworkers that happened to be living under the same roof with him. She felt utterly indecent in hindsight.
"Do you…" Ritsuko treaded lightly. "Want anything to drink?" she motioned to the cooler, which she had filled with soda, bottled water, and a few beers for herself.
"I'm…fine…" Shinji's eyes were fixed on the muddy sand at their feet. Though it was a gorgeous day, the beach was not exactly picturesque. It only extended a few meters from road to water, and the sand was rocky and a dull brown color. The wind was nice, but there was no one else around. Aside from the beach towel and picnic lunch Ritsuko had brought along, the only exciting thing on the beach (besides Ritsuko herself, the boy noted nervously) was the car they had driven in.
Shinji wasn't feeling terribly enthusiastic. He was just glad his thick swimming trunks covered any…obvious hints of his awareness of his guardian.
Ritsuko had on a pair of sunglasses, and was soaking in the sun, trying to make the most of the situation. Regardless of her contemptuous self-loathing at having put Shinji in this position, this was her day off, and she was determined to enjoy it. And as conscious as she was of the boy, a part of her mind was content to let him stew in his own hormonal discomfort and enjoy herself.
It's not like he was going to try anything on her. He simply wasn't the type – she didn't need a PhD to biology to know that. At worst, he'll get back in the car and wait until she was satisfied and drove home. At best…well, he might actually sit down and join her.
If only things were so simple.
Ritsuko stared up and realized that there was a second car parked next to her own. A blue Renault Alpine, laden with dents and parts held together with what looked to be duct tape.
How in the world…?
She looked up to confirm her fears – Misato, in revealing black two-piece suit, sauntering over from her car. And was that…Maya!? She'd dragged Maya long too?
"What are you two doing here!?" Ritsuko gasped in astonishment.
Maya seemed embarrassed to be seen in her thin one-piece, especially next to Misato's voluptuous one, but she answered Ritsuko evenly.
"Hyuga and Aoba are taking care of things at NERV," she said, her face almost as red as Shinji's. At the thought, Ritsuko turned her head to see Shinji's face nearly melt off as he stole one glance after another at the scantily clad women that now surrounded him.
Dear Gods, what was she putting him through?
"How did you know we were out here?" was all Ritsuko could ask.
"Please…" Misato shrugged off the question as she planted a beach umbrella in the sand. "This is NERV. You honestly expect them not to know where you and Shinji are at all times?"
Ritsuko's jaw was hanging slack. "And the Commander just…let you two leave your posts?
Misato helped herself to one of the beer's in Ritsuko's cooler after she'd laid down a beach towel of her own next to where Shinji was sitting, effectively putting him between her and Ritsuko. "Like we were gonna let a little thing like personal responsibility to keep us from a day at the beach…" she gave Shinji a knowing wink. "Especially when it's with such a cute guy."
Shinji measured the distance to the car, and wondered if he could make it if he ran.
"Misato…" Ritsuko frowned. "Stop teasing him. It's bad enough that you're wearing something like that without rubbing it in his face." She pointed accusingly at the black bikini that encompassed her bosom.
Misato wondered at the possibilities of taking that pun too far, but decided instead to strike a pose. "Like it? Got it for a steal at thrift store. Got a discount just by batting my eyelashes."
Ritsuko pinched the bridge of her nose. "For the love of God…"
Maya was kneeling next to Shinji, asking him if he wanted to go for a swim. While he wasn't inclined to take her up on her invitation, it did draw his attention away from the sight at hand, as well as provide him with a way to get out from between the two arguing beauties.
Without a word, he got to his feet, walking rather hurriedly towards the shallows.
"Hey, wait…" Maya called, running after him. It was easy to keep pace with him, but he was utterly ignoring her. Maya wasn't terribly familiar with the boy – she had sensed his discomfort and had simply asked him to go for a swim to allow him to catch his breath and cool off. Why he was dashing off in the direction of the water like his life depended on it was beyond her, and Maya felt suddenly like she'd tipped the scales on someone she didn't fully understand.
Shinji's feet touched the water, and still he ran.
Maya put one foot in the water and instantly recoiled. "Cold!"
Shinji kept running, his mind lost in a state of panic. Vaguely he heard shouts from behind him. Maya's voice, Ritsuko's…
Then he tripped on a sharp rock, cutting his ankle, and he fell face first in the shallow water, hitting his face and cracking his nose on the hard sand at the bottom of the pool, and he could remember not being able to breath until arms wrapped around him, and suddenly a bright light.
He felt like he was being carried by someone and then he was laid on his back, and the bright light faded as the umbrella shielded his face from the sunlight.
He felt pain in his face, he couldn't breath through his nose, and his ankle ached and throbbed. He could hear voices speaking softly but urgently, calling his name.
A hand on his cheek…
His eyes opened, and Ritsuko stared down at him. Her eyes were tense, focused, serious. She looked angry, almost, though not at him. He could see her sigh with relief.
The pain in his nose subsided as she gently laid an ice-cold cloth over his nose.
"Maybe taking you out here wasn't such a good idea…" he heard her say, then she looked at the others, who had gathered around, worriedly. "Though I'm sure you two weren't exactly making things easy on him. You know how self conscious he is."
He saw Misato and Maya with guilty looks on their faces, and Ritsuko turned down to place another icy cloth around his ankle.
"Keep these pressed to the parts where it hurts," she advised. "It'll reduce the swelling."
Then, with a surprising amount of strength, she lift him up again (though he couldn't have weighed more than a sack of potatoes) and deposited him into the back seat of her car, where Maya had obligingly held the door open.
Finally, he spoke. "R…Ritsuko…?"
"Hmmm?" she leaned over to peer at his face, and all once, he was intoxicated by her, and he felt his nose bleeding all over again.
He looked away.
She shrugged off the apology. "Not your fault. Though Misato can be kind of severe sometimes, she's not so much of a threat that you have to run away in such a panic. Next time, just calmly ask for some space, and I'll make sure she gives it to you."
Ritsuko was aware of the fact that she herself was part of the problem, and quickly pulled her outer clothes over her bathing suit. Shinji's blush still didn't go away. Maybe it was just the broken nose.
"Let's get you home so I can apply some decent treatment," she decided, and after a few hurried goodbyes to Misato and Maya, she started the car and drove off down away from the sea and back to Tokyo-3.
Shinji was sitting back on the couch in Ritsuko's living room, two tissues protruding from his nostrils, stained red with blood. Ritsuko herself was busy wrapping a dull beige bandage and some gauze around his foot.
"Your nose should be fine," she said, in full doctor mode. "You might have a black eye, but nothing permanent. You've got a sprained ankle though, so you should stay home from school tomorrow. I'll put your sync tests on hold for the time being as well."
Shinji couldn't meet her eyes. It wasn't the first time the doctor had examined him like this, but it was the first time she had done it in little more than a bathing suit and a lab coat. Though, in hindsight, this was the exact outfit he had first met her in.
"Th-thank you…" he muttered, still blushing.
Ritsuko's expression softened as she saw his own. "Oh, don't feel so bad about this…according to your medical history, you've had less than half the average bumps and bruises that most kids your age have had by this point in their life. They've got to catch up to you somehow."
Ritsuko opted to make dinner that night. Shinji offered to take care of it, sitting in a chair by the stove, but Ritsuko wouldn't hear it.
"Come on, Shinji, I've managed by myself for years without you," she insisted. "One night won't kill me."
Thirty minutes later, Ritsuko was eating those words, as was Shinji, though he gulped down the dry rice and watery miso without complaint. Ritsuko heaved a sigh.
"I've grown so dependant on you…" she mused, half joking. "I remember a day when I could actually do things on my own."
Shinji looked up from his dinner plate. "You, um…you're the one who pulled me out of the water…right?"
Ritsuko looked up, wary. "Yeah?"
Shinji swallowed hard, before returning his gaze to his dinner.
Ritsuko blinked at him, watching him nervously pick through his food, evidently aware of her keen gaze on him as he ate, which only served to make him more nervous.
She didn't know whether he had pointed it out to prove that she could do things on her own that he could not, or just to thank her. Either way, the comment had touched her.
They finished eating and Ritsuko helped Shinji as he limped to his room, smiling despite herself as he blushed all along the way. It was flattering to have someone get so shy around her, even if he was the fourteen-year-old progeny of her sadistic boss. She appreciated him all the same.
She turned off the lights and closed the door.
He was already asleep.