Misato's Predicament

(A NGE fic - based on Ritsuko's Problem, by DaR)

By Lara Bartram and Ammadeau

Send comments to:

Read the Outtakes and other fics and such on our pages at:

[Characters and situations belong to Gainax. We're not trying to
make money off of this work of fiction or claim rights to these


"What? You're afraid because she might have checked you out?"

Misato stared glumly at her food, her silence being the only answer
Kaji needed.

"Misato," he began gently, "you're a very attractive woman. Anyone who
appreciates the female form is going to give you the once over."

"But I didn't room with most people, dammit! I didn't change in front
of most people, and I sure as hell didn't get naked-- "

"I get the point; no need to shout. I'm just saying that there's
really no difference between, if she even _is_ a lesbian, Ritsuko and a guy
looking at you."

Misato still looked uncomfortable.

"She's never hit on you, has she?"


"Then what is there to worry about?"

"I dunno. It's like she lied to me. For all this time, she lied to
me about it. Not only is it weird, it's like..."

"Like she betrayed you?"


"Now, Misato, what would have said if she had come out and told?"

Misato frowned.

"And maybe she wasn't even sure. Did you think about that?"

"Well... no."

"Don't take all this out on her. Besides, wouldn't you be flattered
if someone as good looking as Ritsuko hit on you?" he asked in a
conspiratorial whisper.

"Well, yeah, I... Hey!" Misato turned on Kaji and hit his arm.
"Bastard! What was that supposed to mean?"

"Just having you consider some things," he answered, grinning. "I
didn't mean anything by it, baby."

"Go to hell."

The thing was, Misato would have been flattered. She wasn't sure why
though since she didn't find guys checking her out flattering in the least.
Then again, they were usually jerks and scumbags.


The major rolled over in her bed and closed her eyes. The idea that
Ritsuko was possibly gay... It had never occurred to her before all this.
Sure, sometimes Misato thought her friend was a bit odd and unlucky with
men, but that didn't make her gay. Just... a woman with an unsatisfactory
love life.

Sighing softly, Misato got down to the serious business of trying to


The next day, she was graced at lunch time with the presence of not
only Kaji, but Ritsuko and Aoba Shigeru as well. When had she become the
social center of lunch?

That was not quite correct though. While the others were sharing her
table, they seemed content to hold a conversation without any of her input.
That was fine with her. It gave her a chance to continue to think about
things, even if she got answers she didn't want to consider.

That was when it happened. While sipping her tea and observing
Ritsuko eating a piece of chicken, the thought made itself known: what
would it be like to kiss her?

What would it be like to kiss her with Kaji watching in an intimate
setting? If Aoba was there too? Would it be so much different than
kissing a man? Sure, Ritsuko's mouth looked a bit smaller, her lips softer
and skin smoother, but really?

"Misato? Hello?" Kaji waved his hand in front of her face.

And if Ritsuko was that way, would she return it? Did she find Misato
attractive? It wouldn't be so bad, would it? A kiss was only a kiss; it
wasn't sex. A kiss didn't make someone that way or mean they were, right?
Of course, if she caught Kaji kissing a man, she'd probably think something
very much like that.

Misato coughed on her tea when an odd image of Kaji and the commander
popped into her head. She'd probably faint right there on the spot. Or

Dabbing at her mouth with a napkin, Misato's eyes moved down from
Ritsuko's mouth to her slender neck, then to her shoulder where the
faintest outline of the bra was visible. Her eyes were drawn inexplicably
to her friend's bosom. Of course, she had seen breasts beside her own
before, but this was the first time she had ever really considered them.

Consciously. A frown crossed her face. Maybe she had, but had never
recognized the significance of such thoughts.

A quick glance at the public bath comparing size, moments she could
remember when she was younger, noting the differences between her own and
others, but it had all been innocent curiosity, hadn't it? The way her
eyes were on Ritsuko's breasts, it certainly wasn't innocent curiosity.

Oh, but it was definitely curiosity. Curiosity of a different kind.

A sick feeling bubbled up in Misato's stomach that she didn't want to
consider the source of. It could be something she ate, or it could be
something to do with the familiar urges she was picking up on. It...
couldn't be. It just couldn't. She refused to believe it.

And what... what would it be like to... Misato squirmed in her chair.
Maybe it was just a matter of--

Just nothing! That wasn't something she was interested in at all!
Misato had always been interested in guys. End of story.

She watched Ritsuko drink her coffee and wondered how it would feel,
how different it would be. What those fingers, rough from and callused
from all her work on the MAGI, would feel like in the most sensitive

But Misato Katsuragi wasn't like that. No way. She squirmed more as
her mind refused to let it go. What would it be like to kiss her?


Misato slumped into her apartment, her body on automatic as her mind
busily picked away at her current dilemma like a scab she couldn't stop
tugging at.

Open door, walk through door, mumble salutations to Shinji and Asuka,
grab beer out of fridge, open beer, sample beer, enter room, slam door shut
behind her.

"Do you think something's the matter with Misato?" Shinji asked Asuka
a few minutes later. They were idly watching TV while doing their
homework, or rather Asuka was flipping the channels while Shinji struggled
with his assignment. The college graduate had already finished her work
and refused to help him.

Asuka shrugged, not looking up from the TV. "She went straight to the
beer like she always does. What do you mean, Shinji?"

"I don't know," Shinji replied as he struggled mentally for the reason
he had spoken in the first place. Maybe he was only trying to break up the
silence. "She seemed different somehow. Like she had a problem."

Finally turning around to face him, Asuka snorted and said, "You
should be focusing on your own problems. I can't believe you're not even
half done yet."

Shinji sighed and went back to his homework.


Misato lay slumped on her futon, crumpled beer can still clutched in
her hand as she stared up at the ceiling. It was really strange, but she
just couldn't stop thinking about Ritsuko.

The woman had been her roommate for how long? In all that time, she
was sure she would have picked up on Ritsuko being attracted to her, but
then again Misato knew that she wasn't the most observant person in the
world. Though there was the possibility that her old friend had only
realized her interest herself after they had parted. Nothing like absence
to make the heart grow stronger, or something like that.

Misato had realized how much she missed her old roommate when they
finally met once again, though she did remember their reunion to be
strangely awkward... When she had given her old friend a hug, Ritsuko had
acted startled, almost embarrassed, to be seen in public like that.

Misato rolled over and breathed into her pillow, idly wondering if
Ritsuko's lips would be as soft before she caught herself. She wasn't gay,
Kaji was proof enough of that; he was enough to make any woman swear off on
the male gender forever. Still, now that the thought had been planted in
her head, she couldn't stop thinking about it. The unsatisfied curiosity
continued to nag at her until she didn't know what to do.

Then she had it. She needed more beer.

Shinji eyed Misato's room as the door suddenly slid open and Misato
herself emerged, moving in a shuffling gait like a zombie as she made her
way to the refrigerator and retrieved a six pack of beer. Holding the
shiny aluminum cans close to her bosom, she shuffled back to her room and
slammed the door closed. The entire time her eyes had a zoned-out look
like a sleepwalker.

"First you beg me to help you with your homework, now you're not even
paying attention! Dummkopf!" Asuka raged at him, wielding a sharpened
pencil in a threatening manner.

Shinji sighed yet again and went back to Asuka's lecture. He had only
asked her for a little help, but it seemed she wanted to teach the course
herself. He was sure that whatever problem his guardian might have, unlike
him, she could handle it.

Beer had taken the edge off of Misato's anxiety, but at the same time
seemed to fuel her interest. She just had to know what kissing Ritsuko was
like; she wouldn't be able to rest until she was finally able to satisfy
her curiosity.

*I mean, one kiss is hardly a pledge of lesbianism, right?* She had
seen close female friends kiss all the time, though never on the mouth. If
she did, she would have thought them...

Besides, what if this was all in her head? What if she moved to kiss
her old friend, and she recoiled in horror? That would make dealing with
her every day a bit difficult. Or worse, what if Ritsuko took it to mean
much more than Misato intended it to, a declaration of love that the doctor
was eager to return? Either scenario filled Misato with a sick dread, but
it wasn't enough to dampen her rampant curiosity.


The next day at NERV, Misato sat and mumbled to herself. Her sleep,
when she got any, had been fitful at best. She just hadn't been able to
get satisfactory sleep with these questions on her mind, and the terrible
and worrying curiosity.

She sipped her tea, wishing it was a beer, and rocked gently in her
chair. Her mutterings were laced with the occasional curse word, but other
than that, she appeared to be the average street loony.

This curiosity was quickly becoming an obsession, which only made her
feel worse about the entire thing. When this person or that person passed
her, she stared. Sometimes it was at their legs, sometimes chest,
sometimes their mouth. Man or woman, it didn't matter. Though maybe her
eyes lingered a little longer on the women.

"Major, is there a problem?"

Misato startled in her chair and almost spilled her tea. "Huh?
What?" she asked intelligently as she fumbled with the cup and set it down
someplace more safe than her hand.

"I asked if there was a problem."

Swiveling in her chair, head swiveling on her neck, Misato looked up
at the sub-commander. "Uh..."

"You're not looking well."


"Are you sick?"


"Why don't you go home?"


The sub-commander stared at her.

"I mean... I'm just feeling a little under the weather, and there's
some things I need to get done today." She offered him a weak, apologetic

"Ah." With nothing more of any significance to say, Fuyutsuki simply
nodded and went about his business.

Misato watched him until he was gone and wondered, for a brief moment
of respite from the nagging curiosity about lesbian kisses, just what his
business _was_. What did Commander Ikari have him do all day? For a brief
moment, she was ready to call out to him, but probably for the better, he
disappeared before she could.

She sighed. "Damn you, Kaji. This is never going to leave me alone

"What isn't?"

Misato sat straight up in her chair. "Uh... nothing."

Ritsuko sipped her coffee while she eyed Misato. "Is it?"

"Yeah. I was just talking to myself." Misato laughed a little. "You
know how I am." She winced hearing those words come out of her mouth.

"I know how you can be..."

Misato winced again.

"Just what is your problem?"

"Nothing!" Misato snapped, and regretted it immediately. This was
silly, something so small to be getting upset over. "It's just a bug. I'm
feeling a little... off."


Misato stared into her tea. There was no one else around, things were
quiet. This would be the perfect chance to ask her, or at least possibly
breach the subject. But what would she say? How would she phrase it?
Would she be slapped? "Hey, Ritsuko?"


"Mind if I ask you something?"

"Go ahead."

"It's kind of... personal."

Ritsuko shrugged.

"Well, have you ever... I mean, did you consider... When we roomed

"Just spit it out, Misato!"

"Are you g--"


Ritsuko looked at the new arrival. "What is it, Maya?"

Misato observed the two carefully. Ritsuko was her usual self: calm
and collected. Maya was... different. She seemed anxious and... slightly
out of breath. Odd. Maybe she had run up from wherever she had been.
Ritsuko nodded at appropriate moments as she listened to the eager-sounding
woman speak. Misato had never noticed Maya act like this before; it was

"Yes, that could be a problem. Thanks for letting me know right away.
Misato, I'll talk to you later." Ritsuko gave her a curt nod and walked

That look on Maya's face... it was almost like someone had told her
she had won the lottery.

After a moment, Maya followed, not looking once at Misato.

Maybe she could try this differently. A note perhaps. That would be
relatively anonymous, but not. It would get the point across without
Misato having to embarrass herself right to her friend's face. She nodded
to herself. Yes, this was a plan.

She procured herself a piece of paper and a pen, and started to write.


*Good, nobody else home.*

Misato slumped against the door of her apartment, as if the fate of
the entire world rested upon her shoulders. Though for once her current
worry had nothing to do with work. Instead, she took a crumpled up note
out of her pocket, and with a sigh, reluctantly unfolded it.

It began innocently enough with 'Dear Ritsuko,' but that was scratched
out. Beneath it said 'Ritsuko,' which was similarly crossed out. Then she
had written 'Dr. Akagi," but once again, she had crossed it out. None of
them seemed appropriate to start this very delicate letter out with. She
had even tried something a little looser, writing 'Hey Ritchan, what's up?'
That was buried under a mass of black scribbles though and was illegible.

Misato never thought that writing a simple note could be so difficult.
She couldn't even get the thing started.

Maybe it would be easier if she could stop thinking about it so much.
She needed something to distract her, to keep her from worrying too much
about writing the wrong thing. Spying the television out of the corner of
her eye, she smiled. What could be more mind-numbing than a little TV?

Dropping onto the couch, Misato switched on the TV as she set out a
sharp pencil and a new sheet of paper on the table before her. With the
buzz of the local news in the background, it should be relatively easy for
someone of her abilities to compose a simple note. Smiling confidently,
she picked up the pencil and began.


"I don't understand why you're so mad, Asuka," Shinji commented as he
slipped off his shoes.

"Of course you don't understand, stupid Shinji. You're not a girl,"
his fellow EVA pilot and 'definitely not his date' raged back at him.
"Though with you it's sometimes hard to tell."

Shinji frowned, wondering why she had chosen him as the target of her
near-constant abuse. Then he noticed his guardian lying on the floor in
front of the TV. She didn't seem to be paying much attention to it though
as she wrote out something at the speed of a child learning his kanji for
the first time. Welcome for any change of subject, he walked over to her.

Asuka fumed to find herself now ranting at thin air and stomped over
to Shinji, planning on telling him just what she thought about being
ignored. That was when she noticed her purple-haired roommate on the
floor. "Hey, Misato, what are you writing?"

*snap* "Nothing!" Misato quickly insisted as she discarded the
remainder of her pencil and crumpled up her half-written note. Startled,
she looked up to see the two children looming over her with curious
expressions. So focused on the task at hand, she hadn't even heard them
walk in.

"Do you need a new pencil?" Shinji asked helpfully.

"No, no, I'm fine!" Misato replied nervously as she leapt to her feet
and began to back away from them, the balled-up note hidden behind her
back. With a sickly smile plastered to her face, she ducked into her room
and slammed the door shut behind her.

"What the heck was that about?" Asuka asked her professional and
social inferior with wide eyes.

Shinji shrugged. "I have no--"

Just then, the door to Misato's room was flung open, a purple and
brown blur flew to the refrigerator, and back to the room, all before the
children could blink.

Asuka sighed. "I think the pressure has finally gotten to her."


Misato sat before her desk, staring blearily at the half dozen or so
half-completed notes. She had decided to write the body of a bunch of them
first, choose the best one, and then worry about how to address it. The
problem was, that for some reason or another, she couldn't finish any of

There was 'I've been watching you,' or 'I can't stop thinking about
you,' and even 'I've been wondering lately what it would be like to kiss
you.' She wanted to express what she was currently going through, but all
of her thoughts and feelings just weren't coming out clearly on the page.
Ritsuko would think she was nuts, if she could understand them at all.

Misato took another sip of lukewarm beer. Her sixth of the evening,
seventh if she counted the small bottle of whiskey she had used up after
writing a particularly blunt note. That could be the reason she was having
so much trouble thinking clearly.

*I think I'll just take a little nap to clear my head,* Misato thought
with a smile as she slumped forward and passed out.


Hands caressed her naked skin, their touch both familiar and
unfamiliar. They were soft and teasing, the light contact arousing her all
the more as one hand slipped down to her right thigh while the other gently
held her by the waist, drawing her closer. Lips appeared before her; soft,
red, and inviting. She tilted her head up to meet them with her own...

"Wha?" Misato slurred as her eyes blinked open, absently noting the
sight of Asuka violently shaking her, the red-head's eyes wide in alarm.
"What is it?"

Asuka stared back at her some moments before answering, "You're late
for work."

Misato slowly tilted her head to look at her clock, then jumped out of
her chair with sudden burst of energy. "Shit! I'm late!" she shouted as
she grabbed a random selection of clothes off the floor and dashed out of
her bedroom and into the bathroom.

Asuka still stood as if frozen to the spot. For a moment there, when
the major's half-lidded gaze had first turned towards her, she could have
sworn Misato had tried to kiss her.

*Nah, had to be my imagination.*


"Shinji, be a dear and grab the papers from my room," Misato muttered
as she slipped on her shoes while tugging on her jacket with her teeth.
She was in a rush to get to work as fast as she possibly could, but would
be in even worse shape if she forgot those reports.

"Sure, Misato." Shinji was in a good mood since Asuka had class
duties today and he didn't. This meant he'd have a peaceful walk to school
for once.

*Geez, what a mess,* the pilot of Unit-01 thought with a frown as he
glanced around his guardian's bedroom. Clothes and other assorted items
were scattered all over the place. He nearly tripped over one of the many
crumpled beer cans. *How can anyone live in such a mess?*

There were a flurry of assorted papers thrown all over Misato's desk,
some lying nearby on the floor. He quickly gathered them all up in a neat
pile, shuffling them quickly. No way to tell which she needed, but with
her in such a rush, he was sure she wouldn't mind just taking all of them.

"Thanks, Shinji!" Misato said with a smile before flying out the door
in the direction of the elevator. The thought that she was forgetting
something briefly nagged at her, but she ignored it. Whatever it was, it
could wait until she got to work.


Even at NERV, with all the work she had, it nagged her. The question
nagged her, the possibilities nagged her, the... physical implications
nagged her to embarrassing ends. It just wouldn't go away.

With an annoyed sigh, she dropped her stack of reports on the desk of
the woman who would put all the materials together for the next meeting.
If she had her way, Misato would have replaced the meetings with a far less
formal luncheon so people could actually relax a little. Did they really
need to sit in those uncomfortable chairs and dick around with minutes and
all just to hear that there was no new information for them to know?

Invariably, her mind would wander during those meetings, and then what
was she getting out them? Nothing. And it would be even worse when her
wandering mind turned to Ritsuko and... bad things happened. She wouldn't
be able to leave in the middle, and people would notice if she got too

She had approximately four hours to try to work all the kissing
nonsense out of her brain, get some food, and--

"Hey, babe."

--get rid of Kaji before the meeting. Misato already felt unprepared,
and none of this was helping. "Go away, Kaji. I've got too much work to
do today."

"You've been working too hard, that's what your problem is. Why don't
we just go back to my place after work and I'll give a one my own special
massages," Kaji offered, sitting on the corner of the desk. "Doesn't that
sound like just the--"

"No. Now run along so I can finish this up."

Frustrated, but not showing it, by Misato's lack of response to his
charm, Kaji just smiled. "All right, but you don't know what you're

With a roll of her eyes, Misato sent Kaji on his way. That took less
time than she anticipated. Now only three hours and fifty minutes until
the meeting.


Whistling to herself, Tekawa Miko returned to her desk and noted the
pile of reports there. Major Katsuragi had dropped hers off with an
uncommon amount of time to spare this week. Amazing.

She gathered the stack up, straightened all the loose papers, and went
about the matter of putting them, and all the others, together into a
series of insanely thick staff reports that encompassed the goings on of
the past week at NERV. It all seemed like a huge waste of paper to her,
but... that wasn't her concern.

There were reports from Dr. Akagi, Major Katsuragi, Ichikada in
engineering, Dr. Kida in medical, smaller all-green reports from the other
various departments, and even one from Sub-commander Fuyutsuki. Miko
yawned as she compiled the mass reports.

What a dull, dull job.


Misato stifled one last yawn. The meeting was almost over. It was
approaching two hours and there was only one person left, thank goodness.
And the sub-commander was always brief, a bit of mercy on her sanity. She
sat up straight and tried to look alert as Fuyutsuki stood.

"I think we've been here long enough," he began, noting the dazed
looks on most of the faces their, "so I'll keep it short." He flipped
through the compiled reports, trying to find his own amidst all the
shuffled papers. "The budget for this quarter," he said, flipping through
page after page, "is right about where..."

Everyone waited while he trailed off into silence, apparently staring
at one of the pages.

"The budget... is..." He stared at the page, his eyes reading over
the words again and again. They flicked up and looked at the people
gathered at the table, then back at the page. "Er..." He wiped his
forehead on his sleeve and tugged at the collar of his uniform. "Is it
warm in here?"

There were various shakes of heads, every face showing confusion now.

"Well, I guess..." He licked his lips, glancing at every person
watching him. "Budget is on target. That's all. Dismissed." Fuyutsuki
gathered his papers up quickly, then hurried out of the conference room
before anyone else was even out of their seat.

"What was that all about?"

Misato almost jumped in the air at the voice so close to her ear.

Ritsuko took a startled step back at the outburst, almost dropping her
own pile of papers. "What is wrong with you lately, Misato? Why are you
so touchy?"

Misato shook her head, grabbing all her things in one messy pile.
"I've gotta go," was all she would answer before walking away quickly.

After those two quick exits, the rest of the attendees filed out, some
chatting with one another, others silent and ready to complete their day at
NERV. Each of them had the collection of reports from each department
under an arm or in a folder with them.


Kozo Fuyutsuki entered his cramped, dingy office and shut the door.
He waited there, lights still off, everything totally silent, for a few
moments before he dared set those papers down on his desk. Then, with a
gently shaking hand, he turned on the lights and sat down.

He stared at the mundane-looking reports, not totally sure he had
actually read what he had read at the meeting. What... Why... Who? He
hadn't noticed anyone slip anything into his stack, but he hadn't paid too
much attention. Not like there were any sort of national secrets in those
things anyway.

And there was really only one way to guarantee he would get something
like this: if the person who compiled the reports had done it. His mind
turned to Miko. He barely knew her; how could she send him something like
this? On the other hand, he wasn't getting any younger, and she did have a
nice, delicate figure and pretty features.

But what if someone else had done it?


Maybe... slipped it in when Miko was away from her desk or something.

That was ludicrous. Why would someone bother with that when it would
be easier to just slip it under his door?

Who knows? This was NERV, the biggest collection of off-kilter people
since Arkham Asylum.

Kozo shook his head. He took out the note and read it again. Yes, it
was definitely warm in his office.


Maya yawned. She obviously hadn't hit the coffee pot enough times,
and not getting to sleep until four hours after she had planned wasn't
helping matters. More than once she had found herself nodding off, only
roused when her head had started to lean too far forward.

She patted her cheek several times to try to keep herself alert, but
she could already feel her eyes starting to close. Just... closing them
for a few seconds wouldn't hurt. It was quiet; those boring reports
weren't something she really needed to look over anyway.

Dimly, she heard the voices of her two fellow bridge members, Shigeru
and Makoto, but the words didn't register to her gently dozing mind.

"Sleeping like a baby. Think we should wake her up?"

"Nah, let her sleep. Scratching backs and all that."

Makoto nodded. "She looks like she needs it anyway. Dr. Akagi's not
bad, but what a slave-driver."

Shigeru nodded. "It's quiet. Commanders are out, it's a free day."

Makoto nodded again, his eyes glued to his monitor. His fingers were
dancing across the keyboard, accessing bits and pieces of code that he was
allowed to. He wasn't under Dr. Akagi's supervision, but in these quiet
moments, he found it the most fascinating thing to wander through the MAGI
and see what there was to see.

Sometimes he got lucky and found some pretty cool shit. This happened
to be one of those times, and he just had to show it to Maya. Aoba, of
course, wouldn't give a flying fig about it; he was interested in his
paycheck and his music. Maya was at least a kindred hacker soul.

Yet since Maya was asleep, Makoto made a printout of the code he
found, then slipped it into the folder that was sitting there on the desk.
She'd find it when she woke up, tucked in her precious notes from Dr.


"You called us all the way to the Geofront just for this?" Asuka
bitched. She eyed the report the major had just handed her with same
distaste she reserved for love letters from those idiot boys at school.

"This is important, Asuka," Misato told the redhead sternly as she
handed Shinji his copy. "These are the new pilot guidelines suggested by
the commander himself. You'll all be responsible for them from this point

"My father wrote this?" Shinji asked as he glanced over the front page
nervously. It probably contained a whole list of what he specifically
could and couldn't do, mostly the latter. Even though there were three
pilots, he was the one who was always getting picked on.

"Well, sort of," Misato admitted, giving Rei her copy. "He gave me a
number of suggestions and I just expanded and clarified them a bit."

"I will obey the words of the commander," Rei stated in her usual
monotone, setting the report before her.

The director of NERV operations and the three Children sat around a
small table in one of the many conference rooms in the Geofront. With
other things still occupying her mind, Misato wanted to get this over with
as quickly and easily as possible. Still, with only children around, it was
a reprieve from temptation, though Asuka did seem to be developing quickly
for her age...

"Let's hurry up and get this over with then!" Asuka demanded, not at
all liking the look that the major was giving her. She still hadn't
forgotten the almost-kiss from the morning, no matter how hard she tried.

"Right, right," Misato agreed with a sigh as she flipped past the
cover sheet and began to read the guidelines aloud. "EVA pilots are
responsible for the following..."

Asuka couldn't make herself care enough to concentrate on Misato's
droning. She wasn't a child; she didn't need the thing read for her.
Unlike Shinji or Rei, she could go over it quickly herself and understand
it all without any additional explanations.

Still, she was stuck there with nothing to do. She tried glancing
around the room, but found her eyes strangely drawn to the major's lips as
she precisely formed each word. Soft, red, and full; reminding her of
apples hanging ripe on the tree. So inviting to bite into...

"Something wrong, Asuka?" Misato asked, wondering why in the world the
EVA pilot was staring at her like that. It made her more uncomfortable
than Rei's usual look. She knew that Asuka didn't like her non-piloting
responsibilities, but that was no excuse for looking at her that way.

Asuka violently shook her head from side to side, bringing her focus
lower, and suddenly finding that that didn't help at all. So she instead
locked her eyes on the report before her and nervously said, "I'm fine,
really. I was just wondering... Are there any changes in non-disclosure

Misato smiled as she flipped the page. "I'm glad you asked that since
our next... topic... is..."

"Is something wrong, Misato?" Shinji asked as his guardian's eyes
suddenly got very wide while her hands begun to shake. Maybe she was
coming down with something. He had read someone that an excess of alcohol
consumption could lead to liver failure.

"I just remembered I have something important to do right now! It's
for the commander so it can't wait," Misato started to babble, blushing
badly as she quickly hid the page she had just flipped to. "Why don't you
all go over this on your own and you can just ask me any questions you have
later, okay?"

"Sure, Misato," Shinji replied slowly, thinking her smile looked just
a bit forced. "We can just..." He trailed off to realize he was now alone
in the room. Everyone else had already left.


A sudden rumbling awoke Maya from a pleasant dream of her and her
sempai working before the MAGI, which oddly seemed to be in a ballroom and
each of them wearing long flowing dresses as they made adjustments with
graceful dance steps.

*Are we under attack?* Maya wondered groggily as the rumbling came
again, only louder this time. She forced her eyelids to open, lifting her
head to find a trail of drool leading down from her chin to form a small
pool on the desk. She quickly wiped it away as she scanned the room with
bleary eyes. The others seemed to be purposefully pretending she hadn't
been napping so she doubted there was an angel approaching the Geofront.

Her stomach, Maya realized as the sound came again, was urgently
trying to tell her something. She felt bad heading to lunch after napping
on the job like that, but her hunger refused to be denied. She wouldn't be
good to anyone if all she could think about was food all day. She glanced
up at the clock, only to flinch in surprise. *I was asleep for that long?*

Maya grabbed her stack of reports, her lunch out of her drawer, and
dashed for the exit. She'd just have to get her work done while she ate;
she couldn't risk disappointing her sempai. Dr. Akagi depended on her.

"Hey, Maya," Makoto said to her with a grin and a wink as he blocked
the exit. "I slipped something in with your reports that I know you'll
really enjoy."

"Yeah, whatever," Maya replied as she nearly shoved him out of the
way, having no time for chit-chat.


Rei meandered down the long and mostly empty hallways of the Geofront,
heading slowly in the direction of her apartment as she studied the
document she had been given.

Oddly though, she couldn't seem to give it her full attention. Always
curious of any matter involving the commander, she couldn't help but wonder
what Major Katsuragi had to do for him that would make her look so
flustered, with a deepening redness of her cheeks. She also noted that she
had never seen the major so hasty to obey the commander before.

The only comparison Rei could make was when she had been staying late
with Dr. Akagi in order to finish some testing with Unit-00. The doctor
had acted much in the same way, also stating that she had something she
needed to do for the commander...

Rei stopped as a slip of paper fell from her document. With a slight
narrowing of her eyes, she stooped and retrieved the fallen note, expecting
it to be an addendum to the guidelines. Instead, she discovered a small
hand-written note. She frowned as she read over its contents.

This was a guideline that she would need explained to her, but Major
Katsuragi would still be busy with her work for the commander. The
commander himself, however, was the source of these rules and, if willing,
should also be able to provide clarification.


Maya was in the cafeteria, force-feeding herself a sandwich with one
hand while she quickly flipped through reports, making corrections and
notes with the other. She had to get this all done before her break was
over. She couldn't let her sempai find out that she had been napping on
the job.

Then she came to a small hand-written note that made her choke on her
sandwich. A quick gulp of tea eased her physical distress, but did nothing
for her current mental and emotional state. The note contained a number of
lewd and disgusting suggestions that shocked Maya too much for her to be
embarrassed. She didn't even know what some of the words meant, but had a
feeling that she didn't want to.

Maya fumed as she finished her lunch in a blur and stood rigidly,
reports held neatly in her arms. Her eyes were hard and her mouth a thin
line as she stared off in the distance. She didn't mind a few practical
jokes around the office, but this time Makoto had gone to far. *How dare
he write something so... so obscene!*

Makoto was surprised that the moment he stepped into the cafeteria.
He was confronted by a very pissed-off Maya, who marched up to him and
demanded, "Did you write the letter?!"

"What letter?" Makoto asked with a frown, scratching his head in
confusion. "I just gave you a printout of some neat code I found while
browsing around today. I thought you were one of the few people around
here who could appreciate it."

"If you didn't, then who...?" Maya trailed off as she frowned in
confusion. Then her eyes lit up like twin stars and a heavy blush coated
her cheeks as she exclaimed, "It must have been... Sempai!"

"Just what is this... Oh, never mind," Makoto started to say, but
gave up as Maya totally ignored him, skipping her way out of the cafeteria.
Sometimes it seemed that he was the only sane person working for NERV.


Rei walked down the corridor, her mind still turning over the new and
confusing guidelines. She had the rules under question in her pocket and
had studied them extensively before she had decided to ask the commander
about them.

She just hoped she wasn't disturbing anything. Maybe others
considered her quiet, but she simply used the opportunity of not speaking
when she had nothing to say to observe other people. Two people she was
very good at observing were the commander and Dr. Akagi.

The major she was not quite as familiar with, but she _had_ shown many
of the same signs as the doctor just before certain interludes. A similar
interlude was not something she wanted to interrupt, as the commander would
have been... disappointed.

When Rei reached the office, she was pleased to find that the
commander was currently in his office alone when he granted her entrance.

"What is it, Rei?"

Rei crossed the office and stood in front of the desk. Without a word,
she pulled the paper from her pocket and handed it to Gendo.

In equal silence, Gendo accepted it, unfolded the paper and looked at
it. The semi-stern expression on his face did not change as he read it a
second, and then a third time. He made a thoughtful noise as he set the
paper down carefully on his desk. He looked at Rei, who looked at him,
then at the paper.

With casual deliberateness, Gendo stood, and walked around the desk.

Rei watched him do this until he stood in front of her. She was
concerned for a moment, as he was frowning slightly.

Then he leaned down, took her by the shoulders, and kissed her firmly.


Shinji walked down the hallway after his synch test. Neither Rei nor
Asuka had been there, and Dr. Akagi had seemed very grumpy and taken it out
on him. He released a heavy-hearted sigh and shoved his hands in his

Foolishly enough, he had assumed the day would go not so terribly,
with Misato acting... well, not much weirder than usual, and Asuka only
verbally abusing him a little. This was why he wasn't a fortune teller.


Shinji looked up and was surprised to see Rei standing there. He
hadn't even noticed her. "Ayanami..."

She handed him a somewhat rumpled piece of paper and simply waited.

Blinking, Shinji took the paper. "What is this for?"

"If you are in distress, this will alleviate it."

"Uh... thanks." Shinji unfolded the paper and started to read. "I
don't know what to do. I want you to..." Shinji looked up at Rei, his
eyes wide with fear. "A-Ayanami..."

Before he could say anything more, Rei stepped forward and laid a kiss
directly on his lips. And this was no chaste, friendly, quick kiss.
Shinji felt every detail of Rei's mouth as she pressed it against his,
grabbing his arms to keep him from running away. Before she could attempt
more, Shinji fell away from her.

She allowed him to drop to the floor like a sack of potatoes, then
looked at his unconscious form as blood trickled from his nose.

Obviously, he needed the guidelines.


Asuka was not in a forgiving mood. She didn't like to forgive because
it meant on some metaphysical level she was wrong. Asuka would never admit
she was wrong. Because she never was!

So when she encountered the body of Ikari Shinji on the floor, she
glared at him. "Stupid Shinji. What are you doing the floor?" she
snapped. When he didn't answer, she upped the volume of her voice. "Why
are you so lazy?" Realizing that he wasn't going to wake up, Asuka just
snorted. "You are so _weird_."

She was almost ready to step over him when she recalled that her dress
afforded a generous view from below and what a pervert Shinji tended to be.
"Won't get a free peek that easily, Third Child. Need to wake up earlier
than that to get me."

Asuka smirked at the prone form as she stepped around him, then
noticed his fist clenched around a piece of paper. Curiosity fueled her as
she pulled the paper from his hand and began to read it over.

"Pilot Soryu."

"Crap, Wondergirl!" Asuka yelled, whirling around. "You scared the
hell out of me!"

"Ikari-kun is still unconscious?"

"Yeah, what an id--hey! You mean you knew he was here in the middle
of the hall?"


The narrowing of eyes always meant trouble was soon to follow, usually
for the person being observed by those eyes. "You do..." Asuka thrust her
hand out with the note in it. "Then you should just--"

Before Asuka could finish her sentence, Rei stepped past her hand,
inside her arm, and kissed the red-headed girl on the lips.


Misato was currently hiding in one of the stalls in the ladies room,
catching her breath. It had been an effort to look like she was marching
purposefully towards some important task and not panicking like a crazy
woman, even if the latter was closer to the truth.

If she had gotten this little note when she was alone it wouldn't have
been such a big deal, but in front of the children... Misato didn't want
Asuka, Shinji, and especially Rei suddenly barraging her with questions
about her sex life.

After one more deep breath, she carefully unfolded the note and
scanned its contents. Whoever wrote it had some of the sloppiest
penmanship she had ever seen. Not that hers was letter perfect, but this
was barely legible. What she could read of it, however, made the message
embarrassingly clear.

'I want to shove my *scribbled word* deep into your *another illegible
word* over and over until you *unreadable* again and again, you sexy

*Kaji!* Misato suddenly thought with a low growl, crumpling the note
in her fist. He was probably pissed at her for brushing him off earlier.
He had probably slipped the note into her papers when she wasn't looking.
It was exactly the sort of thing a pig like him would do.

Under normal circumstances, she would have just pretended that it
hadn't happened, but he knew she was having certain... difficulties with
Ritsuko lately and he still had the nerve to pull this kind of crap like
some selfish teenager.

Misato threw back the stall door with a slam and marched out of the
bathroom, determined to give Mr. 'God's gift to women' a piece of her mind.
Not realizing she had left the note behind.


*What a strange dream,* Shinji thought as the darkness receded,
returning him to a state of relative consciousness. Rei, the same girl for
who smiling was a major accomplishment, had kissed him quite... thoroughly
on the lips.

All of Toji's and Kensuke's talk was finally getting to him, he
concluded, always pointing out the Third Child's more... interesting
features at every possible opportunity. Since they considered Asuka too
wild for him, his two friends, for lack of a better word, had assumed that
there was something going on between him and Rei simply because they were
both EVA pilots.

Shinji had never even considered Rei that way. Okay, he might have
wondered once or twice what it would be like, especially when he remembered
that time she was lying naked underneath him, her body so close all he had
to do was reach out and...

Asuka was right. He was a complete pervert, and no better than any
other boy. How could he ever think that innocent Rei Ayanami would ever
kiss him the way... the way... the way she was currently kissing Asuka.

Shinji blinked rapidly, expecting the image before him to change at
any moment, but it remained firm. Rei was holding the red-haired, and
currently red-faced, Second Child, forming a tight seal with her lips as if
trying to administer CPR. That is if one used their tongue while giving
mouth to mouth.

Rei and Asuka both blinked in surprise at the sound of Shinji's head
dropping limply to the hallway floor once again.


*Tasted just like Yui,* Gendo thought with a small shake of his head
as he tried to get back to work. Still, it was odd for the First Child to
make such a request, even in such a relatively straight-forward manner.
There were no hesitantly spoken words or awkward silences. She submitted a
request, just like Lt. Ibuki submitting an acquisition order for MAGI

How had Rei thought of it in the first place though? Had she caught
Kaji and the major at it again and become curious herself? Though perhaps
someone had put her up it. The commander couldn't imagine what anyone
could possible gain by doing so, however.

Gendo shrugged. Something for later consideration. He had work to do
that couldn't be passed on to Fuyutsuki this time. The old professor had
been acting a bit strange today anyway, and the commander didn't want to
risk important matters on his obviously fragile psyche. He was beginning
to doubt his choice for his second in command.

It was lying there as he turned the next page. A simple note whose
short message caused his eyes to widen involuntarily, not that anyone else
would notice, hidden away behind dark glasses. It was a small slip of
paper containing a message written in black ink. The penmanship varied
wildly, no doubt to prevent the note being traced back to its source.

'I've been watching you.'

Gendo idly glanced around his large empty office, in search of
something, but he wasn't exactly sure what. Why was he starting to tense
up over such a vague message anyway? It was probably a joke being played
by some bored temp who didn't care if they got fired, or SEELE with yet
another ploy to keep him under their thumb. On the other hand, it was best
to be cautious.

"Security? I would like my office checked for any possible
surveillance devices. No, nothing has happened. It is only... a

*Kaji,* the thought occurred to him as he placed the note in his desk
and went back to the reports. It was just the sort of childish trick that
he would try. Gendo decided it would be prudent to have a little talk with
NERV's resident spy in order to subtly discover if this was just a prank or
something more.


Asuka stared at Rei.

Rei looked back.

Asuka tried to be enraged, but her brain wasn't registering much of

"Has your distress been alleviated?" Rei asked evenly.

The red-head blinked. "My... distress?"

Rei nodded.

"How was you sticking your tongue down my throat supposed to relieve
my distress?" Asuka asked, starting to get a little upset with things

"It worked on Ikari-kun."

"Yeah, well, Shinji doesn't--"

"And when Commander Ikari did it to me."

Asuka paused. She had been building up to righteous fury at being
kissed like that by Wondergirl, but suddenly, it seemed... secondary to the
other weird shit that was going on around NERV. "When... the commander did
it to you?"

Rei nodded.

Note to self: skip all requests to see Commander Ikari. "Well,
that's... interesting, but no! I'm more distressed _now_ than before you
kissed me!" Asuka raged, pushing the confusion to the back burner for now.

Rei stepped forward, taking hold of Asuka's arms as she did, and
puckered her lips again.

"What are you DOING?" Asuka yelled, pushing Rei away, and putting
space between the two of them.

"Attempting to relieve you of your distress." She started toward
Asuka again.

"I don't need you to! Once was enough!" Still, Rei was advancing on
her. "Go see if the commander needs his distress relieved!"

Rei paused, then nodded. She plucked the note from Asuka's fingers
and walked off in the direction of the commander's office.

Asuka breathed a sigh of relief. This was one day she would have
liked to skip if she had known just how weird it was going to be.


"Have you seen Kaji? I know he's skulking around here today."

"Commander Ikari requested a meeting with him. That was about ten
minutes ago, though the commander was with Rei shortly before that. You
might be able to still catch him."

Misato blinked at the outpouring of information. It was _never_ this
easy to get a straight answer out of someone regarding NERV, even if it was
something as mundane as a person's whereabouts. "Thanks. What was your
name again?"

"Nanimaru. Saoe." The woman smiled pleasantly.

Misato shook her finger and narrowed her eyes in the manner reserved
for storing things to memory. "I'll remember that."

"Your keys are under the couch."

The normally healthy complexion of Misato suddenly turned pale. "How
did you...?"

Saoe just smiled with a vaguely vacant stare.

Misato shook her head. "Thanks," she said quickly and hurried off.

It was odd that, when she arrived at the commander's office, there was
no one there. Usually there was some security posted in discrete
locations, and periodically, a person there to do some of the mundane
things the commander didn't feel like bothering with. This time there was

And being too pissed off at Kaji to much care about what they were
discussing, Misato knocked once on the door before entering the huge


Kozo was heading down to get some lunch. His mind was now working at
a feverish pace in an attempt to figure out who had written him that note.
Every person that looked at him, spoke to him, or even glanced at him
sideways was a suspect. Naturally, some were more preferable suspects than
others, but he couldn't discount anyone.



Kozo looked sharply down at the woman that had spoken to him. "Ah,
Lieutenant Ibuki." No way. She was almost one third his age. It couldn't
have been her, could it?

"Have you seen Sempai--I mean, Dr. Akagi? I need to discuss something
with her," Maya said, blushing lightly with her slip of protocol.

No, it was not Ibuki. He should have known that. "I haven't seen
her, I'm afraid, but I've been in my office most of the day."

Maya gave a curt nod. "I'd better go look for her."

"Good day, Lieutenant." He watched her hurry off. It wouldn't have
been so bad if she _had_ written the note, but... It was simply not to be.
Ibuki had her heart set on someone else.

Who would send such a note to an old man like him, anyway? Who at
NERV would be interested? NERV was a young person's organization,
recruiting those fresh out of school, before they were contacted by...
anyone else.

More than food, Kozo needed a drink.


Shinji woke up from his second nap and shook his head. He was alone in
the hallway this time and wasn't even sure what he had witnessed wasn't a
dream. A very... vivid and charged dream. Sexually charged. Very hot.
Very... He touched his lips. Invasive. But pleasantly so. Very
pleasant. Very...

With an almost strangled cry of desperation, Shinji covered his groin.
He had to stop thinking like that! He couldn't walk around NERV with...
with a... He couldn't! If Asuka caught him like that, she'd administer
the pain and humiliation treatment, and that was something Shinji could do

Think of something non-sexual. Quick.

"Hello, Shinji. What are you doing here?"

"Er... hi, sir." Shinji tried to cover his problem as the
sub-commander walked up to him.

"Something happen here?"

"No! Nothing! Everything's okay!" Shinji answered, desperate for
this whole situation to end.

"Well, then..."

Shinji's face grew a bright pink as his embarrassment continued to
make itself known, and the sub-commander apparently noticed. "Uh..."


There was an uncomfortable silence.

"Keep up... er..." The sub-commander looked like he had just made a
no arms-no legs joke at a wheelchair race, then walked off without saying
another word.


Since Misato was in one of her moods, possibly 'that time of the
month' situation, Kaji had no choice but to actually do some work. Not
that he had much to do around NERV officially, but they did give him a few
things, if only for the sake of appearances.

So knowing it didn't matter either way, Kaji idly thumbed through the
reports he'd been given, looking for something to catch his interest. It
was all pretty standard dull stuff, filled with half-truths and plain lies
in order to conceal what was really going on. He could have been working
to discover just that, but at the moment simply didn't feel up to it.

*Hmm, what's this?* Kaji mused as he picked up a loose slip of paper
that had fallen out of the stack. It wasn't a standard report, that was
for sure. He flipped the note over and quickly scanned its contents.

'I know you better than you think, but I want to know you more. I
want more than just a professional relationship.'

*What the...?* Kaji thought for a moment before smiling smugly.
Obviously, his good looks and irresistible charm had earned himself a
secret admirer. He wondered who it could be, and if she might be worth
getting to know better.

Misato and Ritsuko were definitely out; they both knew him pretty well
and he'd like to think their relationship was more than just business.
There was the doctor's assistant though... the cutie that managed the
reports was also a prime subject. It seemed like he had found something
worth investigating.

"Kaji Ryouji," spoke a female voice from the other side of his desk.

"Yes?" Kaji asked, looking up to a woman he knew he'd never seen at
NERV before, because if he had, he definitely wouldn't have forgotten her
pretty face so easily.

"Commander Ikari wishes to see you immediately," the woman explained.
"I believe it's urgent."

Kaji sighed. Time to receive his daily dose of misinformation to feed
SEELE. Not that those talking monoliths would be fooled for a second, but
they all needed to go through the motions anyway.

"Thanks for telling me," Kaji started to say, then grinned when a
thought suddenly occurred to him. "Say, you're pretty new around here,
aren't you? What's your name?"

"Nanimaru. Saoe. I have other duties to attend to. If you'll excuse
me," the woman replied, and without waiting for an answer, turned around
and left.

*She wants me.*

Years of study of the female condition and pure instinct had
identified the culprit. It was a classic strategy. Pique his interest in
some way, then play hard to get to gauge his level of interest. He and
Ritsuko played this game all the time. Besides, it would be nice to see
Misato jealous. Sometimes it was the only way he could tell that she

First though, off to see what the commander wanted.


"You okay, man?" Aoba asked his co-worker as he looked up from his
console. Makoto had just come back from lunch and he looked... well,
freaked. Like he had just found out one of those 'big secrets' that NERV
seemed to be filled with. The long-haired bridge bunny wasn't stupid; it
was pretty obvious that the commander and the other top level staff were
hiding some major stuff, but he liked to play it safe and keep his nose out
of it.

Makoto collapsed heavily into his chair and started at his work once
again. Aoba had already shrugged and gone back to his work when he spoke
some minutes later.

"Do you ever get the feeling...," Makoto started to say, but hesitated
when his eyes fell on the ever present security cameras. "I don't know,
that the other people who work here might be just a little... unbalanced?"

Aoba nodded sagely. "People are too on edge here, taking all of this
'saving the world' crap way too seriously. They all need to loosen up. I
mean, this is just a job, right? Yeah, the lives of everyone in Tokyo-3
depend on NERV doing their job, but you don't see the guys in the tech
section turning into walking basket cases, and they actually have to
service those monsters."

"Maybe I do feel a little tense," Makoto hesitantly agreed. Usually,
he didn't feel so wound up, but just something about today... kind of made
him feel like he missed the turn to the Geofront and ended up in an insane

"You need to get laid," Aoba told him with a grin. "Best cure for

"Pretty hard to get a relationship going standing at the epicenter of
the Armageddon," Makoto replied bitterly. "All the women who might have
been interested in me are either unavailable or have already fled Tokyo-3."

"I don't know about that. I think the Major might be into you."

"Misato?" Makoto prompted with a light blush, before shaking his head
dejectedly. "Even if there was a chance in hell of her looking at me that
way, she's got Kaji. No way I can compete with him."

"Actually, he must have screwed up royally with her because she's
giving him the cold shoulder lately," Aoba told him. "And I bet the major
is just dying to fill that empty spot on her futon. She must be under a
ton of stress."

"I get the idea," Makoto told him with a frown as he began to quickly
scan over his reports, trying to hint to Aoba that this conversation was
over. "Even if she were available, there's no way... in hell..."

Aoba walked over to see what his co-worker was staring at so intently,
only for Makoto to hastily bury it under his assorted reports.

"You know? You're right," Makoto suddenly said with confidence as he
stood. "Even if she turns me down, it's not going to be the end of the
world or anything. And if I don't at least try, I'll always wonder if she
might have said yes. In fact, I think I'll go ask her now!"

"Yeah, sure. I'll cover for you," Aoba told him, feeling very
confused as he watched his co-worker march stiffly to the exit. For not
the first time, he considered quitting. NERV was becoming too weird, even
for him.


Kaji entered the office, smirking as always, and went to stand by the
desk. Most people stood in front of it, but not him. No, he did whatever
got to the commander, and maybe it was a little hard to tell, but Kaji
could tell. He bothered Commander Ikari, and he was proud of it.
"Something you wanted? More 'reports' for SEELE?"

"That isn't why I've called you in here," Gendo told him, gloved hands
folded before him.

"So why did you call me in here?" Kaji asked in irritation.

"I think we both know very well why..." the commander of NERV trailed
off as he sat up straight and looked the spy straight in the eye. "We're
both mature adults. Do we really need to continue with these childish
games? I'm talking about the note."

"The note?" Kaji repeated, a feeling of inexplicable unease starting
to creep up his back.

"The note," Gendo echoed, standing to cover his irritation. Once
again, the spy was insisting on playing stupid. He couldn't help wondering
how intelligent Kaji really was; there could be layers upon layers there.
"You see, I know you better than you may think, but it seems that I still
need to know you better."

*Gendo wrote that note?!* Kaji thought in alarm as he began to back
away from NERV's commander. He knew he was hard up ever since his wife
dying and all, but surely a guy like him could get some female action.
Kaji didn't think his mojo was strong enough to charm men too, unless they
were completely desperate.

*He's hiding something,* Gendo though with a mix of triumph and alarm.
If the normally laid back spy would get that agitated over it, the
commander had to find out what it was. Perhaps he was carrying something
vital to SEELE's plan. He quickly paced around his desk to cut off Kaji's

"Oh, that note," Kaji replied, laughing nervously. He tried to back
away from Gendo, only to find his escape blocked by the commander's massive
desk. "It was a joke, right? I mean, it wasn't the sort of thing that
could be taken seriously..."

*A transparent excuse. What is he hiding? I must have it!* Gendo
thought as Kaji frantically tried to evade him. He could be carrying the
keystone to SEELE's plans. No time to summon security, the commander
decided to handle it himself and lunged for Kaji, grabbing the younger man
firmly by the shirt as he quickly searched him.

*You horny old bastard!* Kaji thought with rage as he fought against
the commander copping a feel. He felt unclean.

Gendo and Kaji struggled for some time, neither able to gain the upper
hand for long. Kaji tried to pull Gendo's hands away, twisting from his
grasp, but the commander was as tenacious as a pitbull. Then Kaji suddenly
jerked away and the spy's shirt ripped open, sending buttons flying, and
causing him to lose his balance. He landed hard on the desk, knocking the
breath out of him.

Gendo quickly pinned him down as he caught his own breath. He wasn't
as young as he used to be; the fight had taken nearly everything he had.
He had to act fast. Kaji's shirt was in tatters, so the thing he was
struggling so much to save must have been tucked away in his pants.


Misato was doing a very good impersonation of a lawn ornament as she
stood perfectly still, hardly breathing, transfixed by the sight before
her. She had intended to have a few harsh words to Kaji about the little
note he had written her, too angry to care about interfering with his
meeting with the commander.

What she saw in the commander's office made her wish she had thought
otherwise. Kaji was lying on the desk with his shirt open, his chest
glistening with sweat, and he was breathing heavily. Though she almost
didn't spot him with the commander standing before Kaji, breathing heavily
as well, gloved hand planted firmly on that bare chest, the commander's
head bowed down, nearing... Misato managed to turn away, desperately
trying not to think about what was obviously going to happen next.

The note she had overheard the commander speak of... It was obvious
to her now that she had accidentally received Gendo's note for Kaji.

Misato blinked to come face to face with Rei, staring at her with her
normal indifferent stare. The girl was a little strange, but Misato felt
it was her duty to save her from the... activities going on inside.

"I see that the commander is relieving Kaji's distress," Rei commented
as she peered over the major's shoulder. "I will come back at another


Shinji sighed. His life could have been worse; he had come to grips
with that. Certainly it could have been much better, but... somehow he
managed to survive. The whole kiss thing, the one Rei had given him and
the one he thought he saw Rei and Asuka... administering to each other,
that... lifted his outlook on life. But then to get caught with a... with
an erection in the middle of the hall at NERV by the sub-commander...
Shinji just didn't know if it could get more embarrassing than that.

At least his father hadn't seen him in such a state. The man had so
little respect for him to begin with. The concept of talking about such
things was frankly the most frightening thing Shinji could imagine.

And there, he had finally calmed his problem and could be on his way.
Shinji turned to stand and head for the cafeteria, but there on the ground
was a small folded piece of paper.

He blinked at it and picked it up. Wiping any remaining blood from
his face, Shinji stood and hurried in the direction the sub-commander had


Maya stalked the corridors of NERV. She was the somewhat diminutive
huntress, and her prey...


The lab was silent in response.

Maya moved on.


The testing chamber echoed her voice.

"Dammit, where are you?" she growled and stamped her foot. Maya
twirled and marched out of the testing chamber. This was not going as

Maya stomped through NERV, grabbing every person she came across and
demanding to know where her sempai was.


"Maya, what is wrong with you? Maybe you should cut back the

"Oh, sorry, sempai." Maya released her hold of Ritsuko's lab coat and
stepped back. She hated to though, as she had been dangerously close,
close enough to feel the heat coming from her mentor's body. It was only
her natural shyness that prevented Maya from kissing the doctor right there
and then.

"Is there something you wanted?"

"Well, yes. I just wanted... talk to you about something."

"Such as?"

Maya looked down the hallway. "Could we talk about it in private?"

"Sure. What's this about?"

The two walked down the hall next to one another, Ritsuko very
business-like, and Maya openly nervous. "You know the meeting this
morning," Maya began, glancing frequently at the blond woman at her side.


"Well, when I was looking through the folder later, I... I saw it."

"Saw what?"

Oh, she was playing innocent. Was this a facet of hard to get? Maya
liked it. "Sempai, I know."

Ritsuko suddenly froze in her footsteps. "Know what?"

Maya smiled and faced Ritsuko. "I know, but don't worry. Your
secret's safe with me. I won't tell anyone."


"Let's... talk about it. Okay?" She gestured with her head. "Come

With hesitant steps, Ritsuko followed the younger woman a short
distance down the hall until Maya entered a storage closet. "Maya..."
Ritsuko said quietly as she followed.

In the storage closet, which was really more of a room than a closet,
filled with various boxes, shelves stacked with office supplies, and a
single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling.

"Maya, what--"

"Sempai, I got your note," Maya said quietly as she moved around
Ritsuko to shut the door. "At first," she continued, standing very close,
"I was mad because I thought one of those... boys gave it to me." Maya
braved touching Ritsuko's hand, but unprepared to take hold quite yet.
"But they denied it, and I had no reason to disbelieve them... We're
friends, and friends don't do that to one another."

"Maya, I really don't know what you're--"

Maya laughed a little, a mixture of nervousness and anticipation.
"You can stop that now. We're alone. You don't have to deny it any

Ritsuko shook her head in complete amazement. "This is nothing like
you. Normally, you're..."

"Meek? But your note gave courage."

"Maya, what note--"

Tired of the denials, Maya simply grabbed the back of Ritsuko's head
and cover the taller woman's mouth with her own.


"Are you all right, major?" a woman asked her suddenly.

Misato nearly jumped in surprise. She had been sure that the ladies
room had been empty a moment ago, quickly checking the stalls before
tending to her sudden nosebleed. She still had toilet paper stuffed up
both nostrils and her eyes seemed unwilling to return to their normal size,
with her face as pale as the First Child.

"Nanimaru Saoe, right?" Misato asked, recalling the woman from just a
bit earlier, the one who had inadvertently lead her to the horror she had
only just witnessed.

The woman nodded with a smile, seeming to be pleased at being
remembered. She started to wash her hands, but her eyes were always on the
major, giving the other woman her full attention.

Misato had the oddest temptation to explain everything that had
happened to her recently, from the possibility that her former roommate
Ritsuko was gay, to her sudden obsession with kissing said woman, and
finally walking in on the commander and Kaji doing... God, her nose was
starting to bleed again.

"It's just been a really long day," Misato finally said with a weak
smile. "I'm just glad my shift is over for now, unless there's another
Angel attack."

"Oh, I'm sure we won't have to worry about that today," Saoe replied
in the sort of off-handed manner that people normally use when completely
sure of something.

"Huh? How can you be so certain?" Misato asked, even though she was
hoping the woman was right.

Saoe only smiled vacantly as she went over to dry her hands.

"Well, whatever. I'm sure they won't hesitate to call if they need
me," Misato said as she made for the door, planning on a nice long bath the
moment she got home.

"Major?" Saoe called out of her as she fished around in her pockets.

"Yeah?" Misato replied, currently thinking of how much effort it would
take to move the refrigerator into the bathroom so she could keep herself
well supplied with frosty cold beer.

Saoe smiled as she pointed to her own nose with two out- stretched

Misato blushed faintly as she realized what the other woman meant,
then quickly took the rolled up toilet paper from her nose and tossed them
in the trash. "Thanks, Nanimaru-san."

"Please call me Saoe, Major," the woman corrected before suddenly
reaching out with both hands to encase Misato's one, as if trying to warm
the Major's fingers with her own body heat. "And I believe you dropped
this. Have a nice bath, Major."

"Yeah... you too." Misato looked back startled at the woman who only
smiled vacantly in return, then as quickly as she could without risking
offense, freed her hand and walked away, trying very hard not to run.

After she was sure she was out of sight of the woman though, she did
run. She needed to get away from NERV ASAP. It was too insane, or maybe
she was the one going insane. Surely she hadn't really seen the commander
and Kaji engaged in... about to... giving... Misato shook her head and
broke into a full sprint.

She rounded a corner and plowed right into Shinji, sending them both
to the floor, and everything she was carrying flying in the air. All of
Misato's papers fluttered to the ground like a paper mill's idea of winter
around them.

"Jesus, Shinji! You scared the hell out of me!" she snapped, more
surprised and bruised than actually upset. "God, I need to go home
desperately." Misato got to her knees and began hurriedly gathering her
papers, not paying any attention to Shinji.

"I'm sorry. I didn't see you," Shinji apologized and grabbed the
folded note that had popped free from his grip from the various other
papers. "I need to give this to the sub-commander," he said
apologetically, then scrambled to his feet and hurried off.


Kozo was deep in the menial work that Ikari was always passing off
onto him, things he normally complained about, but right now reveled in
because it prevented him about thinking about... certain things that he
didn't even want to remotely consider the implications of. Thankfully,
working for Gendo for these years had taught him the invaluable skill of
practiced ignorance.

"Fuyutsuki-san," tentatively spoke what sounded like a little girl's
voice, possibly Rei since he hadn't heard her speak enough to make a
positive identification. Then again, she never spoke to him.

*Not Shinji, anyone but Shinji.* Kozo looked up and suddenly felt a
sick feeling of dread in his stomach. Gendo's whiny brat was hard enough
for him to deal with under normal circumstances, but after... Kozo shook
his head slightly. He would not think about it, no matter what. As far as
he was concerned, it had never happened. He'd just deal with the boy the
same way his father did. "What is it, pilot?"

"This note--" Shinji started to say before he was cut off.

"Just put it on the desk," Kozo said, gesturing vaguely to a spot free
of scattered reports. "I'm quite busy right now."

Shinji shrugged, dropped the note on the desk, and walked away. He
considered running home and hiding in his room. NERV was becoming a scary
place for him, even more so than usual, and he wasn't sure what he'd do if
he ran into Rei or Asuka again, especially if they were... Oh no, his nose
was bleeding again.

Kozo breathed a sigh of relief, looking up once again to see that
Shinji had left. He didn't want to think that the boy had certain...
feelings for him. Then he chuckled at his own stupidity. Shinji may act
like a little feminine, but he was Gendo's son after all. Then again, he
was living with both the major and the loud-mouthed Second Child, yet there
hadn't been so much as a whisper of a complaint...

The sub-commander of NERV tossed away such idle speculations like so
many meaningless reports and picked up the folded note. Probably something
from Ikari, testing out his son for use as an office lackey or something.
It was the sort of trick that Gendo would pull. Kozo unfolded the note and
read... then turned red... then prayed this was all the commander's idea of
a sick joke.


Asuka wasn't feeling her usual confident self at the moment, but who
could blame her when it seemed that all of NERV had suddenly gone crazy, at
least more than usual. Misato jumping at the slightest thing, not to
mention possibly trying to kiss her, Shinji making a very passable
imitation of a doormat lying on the floor, and Wondergirl had stuck her
tongue down her throat because, as far as Asuka could determine, the
commander had stuck his down hers.

The Second Child wanted to go home, but she didn't think she was quite
ready for it yet. With her luck, Shinji would blab about Rei kissing her
to Misato, and the major would get the idea to try it herself. Asuka knew
she was devastatingly attractive, but she expected older people to able to
control their raging hormones, especially women.

Finding that her random wanderings had taken her near the main labs,
Asuka decided to go speak with Dr. Akagi, who was at least a professional,
even if she dyed her hair to make her look younger, and that mole... The
Second Child could get a printout of the latest sync test scores and shove
that in Shinji's face if he tried to bring up the subject of the First
Child's forced lip lock.


"Dr. Akagi?" Tekawa Miko repeated as she busily passed out yet more
reports. She didn't envy the person who had to shred all this at the end
of the day, though they probably had to use an incinerator for sheer
volume. "I think I saw her and Lt. Ibuki duck into a storage closet.
Probably ran out of pens or something."

Asuka nodded, considered waiting for all of five seconds, then marched
over to the door and threw it open, opening her mouth to speak, but the
sight before her blocked the words in her throat, much in the same was
Maya's tongue seemed to be blocking Ritsuko's. The state of their clothes
and placement of their hands made the Second Child glad that Wondergirl had
only received one lesson from the commander so far.

Asuka slammed the door shut and bolted out of the lab area, firmly
vowing to stay at least a meter away from all females working at NERV;
maybe it was something in the food or the air that was turning them all
into raging lesbians.


*Here she comes!* Makoto thought, a mix of anticipation and fear as he
saw Major Katsuragi step off the elevator. He knew that standing by her
car for an hour would pay off, even if those security guys had roughed him
up a bit before finally recognizing him. His bruises were a badge of
honor, proving how far he was willing to go to earn her love.

Normally, he wouldn't be feeling so optimistic, expecting only a
crushing humiliation for all his efforts. That was before he had received
her note, however. It wasn't signed or anything, but he could recognize
the major's 'doctor hastily writing out a prescription' style penmanship

'I've been wondering lately what it would be like to kiss you.'
Makoto had wondered and dreamed about such a moment, pretty much ever since
meeting Misato, but never had he ever thought that she might feel the same

Misato's eyes were half-closed as she marched woodenly towards her
car, focused on her source of getting the hell out of the Geofront. She
refused to think of the possibility that the explicit note might have been
from the new woman, who did seem a overly friendly, instead of something
from Gendo meant for Kaji. The latter she didn't want to think about even
more, so she forcefully shut out all thought and avoided all obstacles that
would keep her from the bath that she was looking forward to.

Makoto blinked in surprise as the major walked right around him, as if
she hadn't even noticed him standing there. Then he understood; she was
embarrassed about writing the note now and was waiting for him to make the
first move. So steeling up his courage, and clutching the precious note
close to him, Makoto called out, "Maj... Misato, I have something I need to
say to you."

"Huh?" Misato replied as she turned around, making out a vague
male-like form approaching her. Kaji! No, he didn't wear glasses. The
commander! No, he'd never sound so pathetic. Short hair ruled out Aoba,
so realized it was Makoto from a process of elimination.

"It's about the note you..." Makoto started to say before Misato's
hand suddenly flashed out and caught him hard on the cheek, knocking his
glasses from his face.

"Pig!" Misato stated firmly as she yanked open the car door and
quickly drove off, nearly running him over in the process. She had thought
that Makoto was the one decent man left at NERV, but he was capable of
writing such... filth, then she guessed he was just as bad as Kaji. *God,
my nose is starting to bleed again.*

*What was that about?* Makoto thought in complete confusion as she
watched her drive off. In her haste, she seemed to have dropped something
though, a small folded note.


"Maya! What the...?" Ritsuko tried to push the younger woman away,
realizing too late that her hands were planted firmly on Maya's breasts.
The back of her mind noted politely that they were somewhat small, but
didn't feel awful or disgusting or anything.

It was only when Maya grabbed her ass firmly that the strength surged
through her arms to push away. "Maya! God dammit! What are you _doing_?"

Maya looked positively crushed. "But... sempai... I thought... The
note you wrote..." The incomprehension on Ritsuko's face was enough to
send Maya running from the storage closet, the beginnings of tears in her

Ritsuko watched her go, confused and feeling a little strange. Was
Maya...? Did she... feel that way? The fact that Maya had seen fit to try
and suffocate her, Ritsuko thought that just maybe there were some feelings

But for how long had they been there? Had Maya been secretly wanting
her the entire time, and she had never noticed? Had anyone else? Suddenly,
Ritsuko felt like the dumbest woman in the world.

So... should she go after Maya? She didn't want to give her assistant
the wrong idea or mistakenly lead her on, but it would be bad to leave
things like that. It had just been surprise, really. It wouldn't have
mattered if it had been a man or woman; someone suddenly trying to suck her
lungs out through her mouth just wasn't welcome. Most of the time.

With a sigh, Ritsuko straightened her lab coat, then went after the
young woman.


Yes, a cruel joke. Fuyutsuki made his way slowly to Gendo's office
with mixed apprehension and out-right dread. Please let it be a cruel joke.

First Shinji, and now Gendo. This was turning out to be the day he
wished he had stayed home. "Damn you, Ikari. I should have told you to
get stuffed the moment I saw you," he grumbled under his breath.

As he approached the door to the commander's office, he paused for a
moment to gather his thoughts and compose exactly what pier he was going to
tell Ikari to walk off of.

The door burst open suddenly, and out stumbled Special Agent Kaji

Fuyutsuki didn't believe he had ever seen the man in such a disheveled
state as he appeared to be in. With the way his shirt was ripped and with
his heavy breathing, it looked like something had been going on, maybe a
scuffle. Then Kaji turned around and Kozo took an involuntary step back.

Apparently, Kaji hadn't noticed him as the he ran his hands through
his hair, and redid his ponytail. He pulled his shirt closed and tucked it
into his pants... after he did up his pants. "God damn old freak. Christ,
what a mess." With a little shiver, Kaji walked off in the opposite

Then Kozo turned and walked in the other direction as well.


Feeling unappreciated, unloved, unwanted, and untethered from reality,
Shinji headed back to the apartment. He had plenty of time to think things
over on the way back, but he still couldn't shake the image of Asuka and
Rei... making out, and the feel of Rei's mouth on his own, her tongue
aggressively invading him...

Shinji put a hand quickly over his nose as he felt the slow trickle of
blood start. He had to avoid thinking about that, at least when he wasn't
in the sanctuary of his room where he could dwell very heavily on the

He managed to hold off the thoughts until he reached the apartment.
They sat there, on the very edge of his conscious, waiting for him to let
his guard down, but he was strong. Stronger than most people thought.
With a sigh, Shinji entered the apartment.


Asuka marched to the apartment door in a very cross mood. NERV was
the absolutely most messed up place she could possibly _ever_ work. Any
other job, what Wondergirl did would be sexual harassment, but NERV? It
was pretty much par for the course. And then Shinji in the middle of the
floor and all...

She hadn't realized just how much she needed a nice hot bath. Asuka
opened the door and was about to declare her presence when she got sight of
the two figures on the couch.

They each looked... worn, like wet rags, and had pale faces. And they
each had pieces of tissue stuffed up their nostrils to soak up the blood
that was obvious there.

She stared at them; they didn't move. With a shake of her head, Asuka
went to take a bath and try and forget his day had ever happened.


It had been a long day for Misato Katsuragi. She had thought the time
that diamond-like angel had attacked, putting Shinji into a coma and
requiring her to work her tail off all day and night to put her plan into
effect, had been a frustrating and painful time, but this... this was so
bizarre that it made that look like your average nine to five job.

Having filled up on frosty beer while waiting for her nosebleed to
stop, and trying to stop thinking about the event that had caused it in the
first place, Misato hugged her bath things to her as she opened the furo
door with a loud slam, startling Asuka who was just now stepping out of the

The two women simply stared at each other as the water slowly dripped
from the Second Child's naked body, as if counting off the silent moments.
Misato really tried not to notice the way the redhead's nipples hardened in
the cold air, while Asuka was still too shocked to think of anything at

Misato mentally raced to find a topic of conversation to dispel this
awkward moment. "Ahh... I see your breasts have gotten a bit bigger since
you first moved in, Asuka." When the Second Child's eyes bugged out of her
sockets, the major realized that wasn't exactly the best thing to talk
about now. She hastily added, "What I mean is that... you're really
blossoming into womanhood."

"I don't need you to ease my distress!" Asuka screamed in rage mixed
with terror, then quickly grabbed a towel and raced out of the furo as if a
host of angels was nipping at her heels.

A moment later, Misato heard a startled exclamation from Shinji,
followed by a loud thump of something heavy hitting the floor. Seemed like
Asuka had been too panicked to actually wrap that towel around herself.

*What the heck was that about?* Misato wondered, looking back through
the still open door of the furo. While it had been a rather awkward
situation, made worse by her choice of topic, it was still no reason for
Asuka's extreme reaction. The Second Child was pretty uptight though.
Probably thought Misato was invading her personal space or something.

After scrubbing herself down thoroughly, Misato slipped into the hot
water of the furo, sighing in delight as the comforting liquid eased away
her tension. Immediately, she began to relax, letting her worries drift
away with the steam. No matter how strange a day it had been, it was all
over now.

It had all started in being late for work because she had been up all
night writing those stupid notes. Misato blinked several times in
surprise. Rushing in late for work and getting slammed right away with a
hectic day of meetings and reports, she had forgotten all about those
little notes. She never did get around to finishing one and passing it
subtly to Ritsuko.

*What happened to those little half-notes?* Misato wondered idly. She
hadn't noticed them in her room a moment ago, but she was sure she had left
them on her desk, right next to...

Misato leapt out of the furo with a speed born of panic, hoping that
what she thought might be true wasn't. A second later, she remembered
Asuka's panicked flight and quickly wrapped her towel around herself before
charging out of the furo.

The Major found Shinji to be a pathetic sight, lying slumped on his
bed, with bloodied tissue crammed up both nostrils and a icepack for the
sizeable bump on his head. His eyes had the dazed, far-away look of
someone suffering from severe shock, or heavily medication.

"Shinji-kun?" Misato prompted him in the sweetest voice she could
manage. When his eyes slowly tracked over to her, staring somewhere in the
vicinity of her stomach, she continued, "When you got those reports for me
this morning, did you happen to see a few little notes lying around my

Shinji slowly nodded, as if any more force would snap his neck.
"Uh-huh," he added weakly, and as Misato's smile began to show strain,
added, "I thought you wanted them too so I shuffled them in with your

"You did what?!" Misato screamed as she suddenly pounced on the Third
Child and shook him violently.

"What the heck are you... yelling about...?" Asuka started to say,
trailing off as her brain caught up with what her eyes were witnessing.

Asuka had been lying on her bed, trying to forget... well, all of
today, when she heard the Major yell loud enough to knock the clock off her
wall. She had come in to see what the hell was going on, to find Misato,
dressed in only a towel, bouncing up and down on Shinji's lap. She didn't
have to be Doctor Ruth to know what was going on.

"Mein Gott im Himmel," Asuka said softly, before turning right around
and walking out the door. She would stay at Hikari's tonight and pretend
the whole day had just been one long nightmare.


Misato was a woman on a mission, so for once she was up early and
ready for work. This was also to avoid yet another run-in with her house
guests, but she needn't have worried. Shinji had been up even earlier to
make breakfast to avert her wrath and Asuka wasn't even home.

Kaji was waiting for her in the parking lot. Misato noted at much the
same spot that Makoto had earlier. She made a mental note to apologize to
him for exploding at him yesterday, over something that had turned out to
be her own stupid fault. However, she couldn't let that, or Kaji,
sidetrack her until her mission was accomplished.

Kaji looked much the same as he always did. Same slightly smug smile
on his face, stubble on his chin, and slouched posture that said to the
world 'here's a man who's confident enough not to take life seriously.' On
the inside, however, he was barely able to keep up his cool facade.
Yesterday's little 'incident' with the Commander had shaken him more than
he was willing to admit and he was desperately in need of proving his
masculinity, along with the ego return it would provide.

"Hi there, beautiful," Kaji said with a carefully calculated smile and
wave as Misato stepped out of her car. She had been treating him a bit
cold lately, ever since the 'Ritsuko might be trying to get into your
pants' thing, but he knew from past experience just what it took to warm
her up. "I've got a hot tip that the sub-commander is keeping a stash of
genuine pre-Impact whiskey in a unmarked storeroom. Why don't we go and
investigate that together?"

Misato didn't even look in Kaji's direction as she slapped his hand
away and marched determinedly towards the elevator. She wouldn't beat
around the bush, she'd just ask the secretary about the notes and refuse to
explain anything about them. She knew she was a day late, but hopefully
she could minimize her embarrassment.

*Ritsuko!* Kaji thought desperately, after taking a moment to recover
from the sting of rejection. There had been that one time in college that
he was sure she would have gone all the way with him, but he was still
dating Misato at the time and would have been a bit too awkward to be
bedding her roommate. Besides, this way he could prove that Ritsuko wasn't
a lesbian and cure Misato of the recent hang up that was making her treat
him like leftovers.


"Umm... Miko, right?"

Tekawa Miko, a secretary working at NERV until she could land a real
job, glanced up to see that not only was Major Katsuragi actually early for
work, but practically shaking with nerves. Miko could understand this
reaction before the commander after one of the woman's hair-brained schemes
had backfired, but there wasn't any reason for it now.

"Yes, Major?" Miko said politely, smiling to cover her confusion. "Is
there something I can do for you?"

"Nothing much," Misato replied, utterly failing to sound casual, "I
was wondering if, in the reports I dropped off yesterday, you happened to
notice a few notes that had gotten accidentally mixed in there?"

Miko blinked at the Major several times. "So you really want to be my
love monkey? I thought that was just another note from Dr. Akagi to the

"No!" Misato shouted back immediately. She had written several pretty
out there notes, but was sure she hadn't written anything like that! Well,
mostly sure. "They were just... things I had written down. Notes to
myself, you know. Nothing important."

Miko continued to stare at the major as she laughed nervously. She
had to find a new job soon. This place seemed to get to people after a
while. "I just read off the names on the reports and hand them out to the
right people. I don't notice anything that doesn't slip out. My guess it
that your little notes got sent along with your reports."

Misato immediately turned pale, hurriedly muttered out her thanks, and
raced off in the general direction of the wall. It was obvious she wasn't
paying attention to where she was going, especially when she ran straight
into it.

"What was that about?" Miko thought out loud.

"I have no idea," Nanimaru Saoe replied, who had been under the desk,
resting her head against the warmth of the other woman's thighs. "If I
knew she was that unbalanced, I would have never written her that note."


Well that hadn't worked, but Kaji wasn't about to give up. After that
fiasco with the commander and his greedy hands, the most dashing and
handsome triple agent felt he had something to prove, if only to himself.
Misato was obviously too pre-occupied with something, but there were plenty
of other women at NERV to turn his charm upon.

Kaji cruised the hallways until he spied a likely target. Silently, he
came up behind her. "Hey there, Maya," he said smoothly.

The young lieutenant turned to face him, her face pale and drawn. For
a moment, she just stared at him, then her face started to screw up in
obvious distress.

Before Kaji knew what was going on, Maya was crying a river. "Huh?"
he said suavely, and watched as Maya turned and ran off.

So that didn't work either. There were still lots of other women
around. He'd prove his heterosexuality if it cost him his life! Though...
if Commander Grabby Hands discovered this, who knew what kind of jealous
rage he might fly into?

No! That couldn't deter him! The minute he started shying away from
women because of a jealous wannabe boyfriend, then he might as well just
march into that office and pucker up. Turn his membership card to the Lady
Killer club, start dressing in leather chaps and dog collars, carry around
Vaseline at all times, and hand over a leash to Ikari. This was something
Kaji was not ready to do.

Sadly, Kaji noted how easily his mind adjusted to the thought. Was it
so simple to go from complete ladies man to the commander's bitch-boy?

Kaji needed to find a woman to hit on right away.


Asuka snuck through the halls, trying to make her way to Dr. Akagi's
office without being seen. She didn't want to go after what she had seen
between the doctor and Ibuki, but she had a sync test to report for.

She peered around a corner to look for anyone she'd have to avoid, and
quickly pulled back. She could only think about what Rei had said, and how
much the Second Child had avoided coming into any sort of contact with the
commander since. She held her breath, trying to become as flat as humanly
possible, and then a little flatter.

The only thing she wanted at that moment was to go and hide in
Hikari's closet and not let any of the bad people from NERV get her.

After long moments of not breathing, and just before the spots flashed
in front of her eyes, Commander Ikari walked past, not even glancing in her

Releasing a sigh of relief, quickly followed by taking a big breath,
Asuka hurried down the hall.


Shinji discretely rubbed a finger under his nose and glanced at it.
Blood-free. He walked quickly, but quietly through the corridors to get to
his sync test.

If he saw the sub-commander, he'd die of embarrassment. If he saw
Asuka or Rei, he'd die of blood loss. Either way, he didn't want to die.


Rei walked confidently through NERV. In her pocket, she carried those
precious guidelines just in case she or anyone else was ever in distress.
For the briefest moment, she considered visiting the commander before her
sync test, but decided that using it too much might spur the commander to
rescind the guidelines.

That would be... bad.

With an internal sigh, Rei continued on her way.


Kaji walked aimlessly, looking for a woman, any woman. As it was
nature's way, all members of the fairer sex seemed to have disappeared at
his most desperate hour. If only he could explain to someone that he just
needed to share a little bit of himself, even though he'd almost been...
spoiled by Commander Ikari...

He shuddered.

His travels took him to some section he wasn't completely familiar
with to find a woman sitting at a desk in what appeared to be a general
greeting/lounge/copy area. Immediately, a smile crawled on to his lips,
however huge and desperate it might have been, and he approached her.

The little nameplate on her desk read simply 'Miko'.

"Hi, Miko. You might know me; I'm known to lurk around NERV every now
and again," he said smoothly, completely . Happily, he noted his voice
didn't shake.

The woman looked up at him, her eyes blank, beads of sweat dotting her
forehead. Actually, she seemed to be looking through him, like she was a
universe away.

"Hello?" Kaji waved his hand in front of her face. "Are you...

The woman still didn't answer him, just continued to stare someplace
outside NERV.

"Uh... okay." Feeling crushed, Kaji walked away, waiting until he was
out of sight of the woman to slump his shoulders. It was like... all his
mojo had just been sucked out of him in the night, or... Gendo's touch was
like a curse on him. It was like they all knew he was tainted now and
avoided him because of it.

"I need a WOMAN!" Kaji suddenly screamed.


Shinji finally made it to his test, and sighed with relief. Dr. Akagi
was there, looking quite impatient. "Sorry I'm late," he said, even though
he didn't think he was late. Still, apologizing came naturally to him.

"You're not late," the doctor replied tersely.

"Oh. What--"

"Why don't you just _wait_?" Ritsuko snapped, whirling around and
glaring at him. "I'll get around to you when I'm ready to."

Shinji shrunk back. "Sorry."


Misato was almost in a panic. Her secret notes were fluttering around
NERV, in the hands of who-knows-who, and maybe if she was lucky, they would
never know... No, she had to reclaim them or someone _might_ figure out
she had written it, and then what?

She wasn't even aware enough to realize she was panicking. She had no
idea where she was exactly to find Maya there. More precisely, run right
into her there. "Oh God, Maya, you have to help me," Misato blubbered and
grabbed at the younger woman's uniform.

"Help you with what?" Maya answered listlessly, not even getting a
secret thrill at the major pawing her.

"I lost..." Could she tell Maya, Ritsuko's assistant? Did she have
choice in the matter now? "I lost some..." Misato sighed. "I was writing
some notes the other night, and they got mixed in with the reports, and
now..." She gave Maya a pleading look.

"Notes? You mean like..." The dutiful assistant reached into her
pocket and pulled out the note that had caused her so much trouble in such
a short amount of time. "... this?"

Misato stared at it for a moment, then snatched it from Maya. She
unfolded it and let her eyes pull in the shaky handwriting. Oh God, had
she actually written this? She couldn't remember! How many more of these
were floating about? "Y-yes. I think this is one of them." She folded it
and tucked it into her pocket.

"That was in some papers Hyuga gave to me. I thought he wrote it."

"Oh God... Everyone at that meeting must have gotten one. I can't
believe this," Misato groaned. "It's too late for this one, so who else...
might have..." Eyes blinking rapidly, Misato suddenly shot off like a

"Where are you going?" Maya asked as she watched Misato take off.

"I need to talk to Ritsuko!" yelled Misato as she ran off down the

"Hey! Wait for me!" And Maya hurried after her.


Rei entered the room and observed the Third Child standing against the
far wall, looking generally uncomfortable. The Second Child was picking
her fingernails and looking very bored. Dr. Akagi was rummaging through
some papers; she looked very distressed.

Rei blinked, then reached into her pocket and felt the note there.
Her fingers closed on the paper. "Dr. Akagi," she said, her hand held out
with the note resting in her palm, and approached the scientist.

Ritsuko just stared with a confused look on her face, which then
turned to stunned amazement when Rei's lips connected solidly with her own.

There was a thud as Shinji collapsed to the floor, and the muttering
of some choice words in German as Asuka averted her eyes.

This being the second time in two days to practically be sexually
assaulted, Ritsuko was rather annoyed once she got over her surprise. She
pushed Rei away and gave the girl a stern look. "Rei, why did you do that?"
Her voice was very calm and even, disguising her shock.

"You appeared to be in distress. I tried to relieve your distress,"
Rei answered.

"Rei, who told you to do that?"

"No one."

"Where did you get the idea to do something like that?" Ritsuko asked,
her brow furrowing.

"The pilot guidelines."

"Guidelines? And who gave you those?" Misato's weird idea of a joke?

"Commander Ikari."

This time, Ritsuko blinked. "He told you--"

"He instructed me."

"He instr--" Ritsuko closed her eyes. "Rei, please tell me how he
instructed you to do such a thing."

"I was... uncertain about the guidelines I was to follow. When I
showed them to him, he relieved my distress."

"He relieved your distress?"

"He stuck his tongue down her throat, just like she did to me," Asuka
said grumpily.

Shinji was still quietly passed out in the corner.

"He stuck his tongue..." Ritsuko shook her head. "I think we need to
go see the commander. Let's go. Come on, Shin... Well, let's go."


Whether it was a joke or not, the situation had to be cleared up.
Kozo did not find it funny at all, and he was to the point that he was
ready to give Gendo a piece of his mind.

He opened the door to the office and strode purposefully across the
floor with the note clenched in his hand. "Ikari," he said forcefully and
threw the note onto Gendo's desk, "this is too much! You can't have Kaji,
the doctor, _and_ me!"

Gendo stared at him, and for the first time in years had no idea what
was going on. "Professor--"

Kozo held up his hand and shook his head. "I don't care if this is
some sort of joke, or if it's serious, but if you think I'm just going
to... like Kaji, you are sadly mistaken."

Now, Gendo had even less of a clue what was going on.

"And to use your son... I don't know if I'm disgusted or just
insulted. I should tender my resignation over this, especially after the
incident with Agent Kaji."

"Old man, I have no idea what you're talking about," Gendo said
flatly, not moving from his usual position.

"I'm talking about this damned love letter you sent me!" Fuyutsuki

"Are we interrupting something?"

Fuyutsuki spun around and immediately turned red with embarrassment
when he saw Dr. Akagi and the two pilots standing there. "No, it's not
what you think..."

Instead of speaking, Gendo took the opportunity to pick up the note
and read it. "I can assure you that I would not give a note like this to
you," he said after he had finished.

"A note?" Ritsuko asked as she walked forward, the children trailing
behind her. "A love letter? May I?" She picked up the note and read it,
then looked at the note Rei had been carrying, and compared the two. "Sir,
you may want to see this." She laid both notes on the desk for Gendo see,
side by side.

"Interesting. Rei, did you write these?" Gendo asked.


The blank looks on the faces of the others there indicated that they
hadn't written them, so... who was the true culprit?


Misato burst into the room with Ritsuko's name on her lips, but the
only person there was Shinji.

"Shinji!" she yelled instead and rushed over to him. Lifting him by
the front of his shirt, she asked desperately, "Where's Ritsuko? Where'd
she go?"

Shinji groaned at her, so she shook him. "Where is she? Tell me!"

"Misato?" he said weakly. "What happened?"

"That's what I'm trying to figure out! Where'd Ritsuko go?"

"I-I'm not sure." He was starting to get a headache from all the
shaking. "I think... I think... After..." He looked at Misato with
haunted eyes. "After Rei kissed Dr. Akagi--"

"Oh my God..." Misato set Shinji back on his feet and put her hands
over her face. "Could this get worse?"

"I think I heard something about my father's office."

"Oh God, I'm going to die. Maybe I can stop her! Shinji, you have to
tell them it's all your fault!" She grabbed the boy's wrist and dragged
him from the room on her way to the commander's office.

Maya followed along in hot pursuit.


"These notes were written by the same person, and it's either a big
joke or an even bigger mistake," Ritsuko announced as everyone watched her.
"I could hazard a guess as to who wrote these, but this handwriting..."
She shook her head. "I can't say for sure, and I wouldn't want to name
names without being sure."

"It's Shinji's fault!"

Everyone turned to stare at Misato who had just entered the office
with Shinji and Maya in tow.

Asuka gaped. "YOU wrote those notes!?"

Ritsuko nodded, completely unsurprised by the revelation. "Your notes
to Kaji have been causing some trouble."

Misato blushed and looked away. "They weren't to Kaji," she mumbled.

"So you did write them?" the sub-commander asked, a little
disappointed and relieved. Thank goodness Gendo hadn't written that note,
but then no one else had either.

"It was Shinji's fault! He mixed them up with my other papers!"

"It's not my fault," Shinji pleaded.

"Yes it is!"


"Sempai! It was a big mistake! I didn't mean it!"

"This had better not disrupt the schedule."

"Ikari, do you have any clue as to what's going on here?"

"I'm still pissed at you for kissing me, Wondergirl! You're not
getting out of it so easily."

Shinji passed out.

"Did she just say Rei kissed her?"

"I'm accessing security now."

There was a sudden lull in the rabble, and in trudged Kaji, head hung
low, not even looking where he was going. "Fine," he said loudly. "I give
up, Ikari; I'm all yours. You can do what you want with me and I won't
complain. Just... be gentle."

Gendo removed his glasses and massaged his right temple. "I forgot
about him."

At the sound of Gendo's voice, Kaji looked up to see a considerable
group of people all staring at him in stunned amazement and disbelief.

"Uh... did I interrupt something here?"


Misato tossed back the last of her beer and immediately opened
another one. "Ya know, if I hadn't been in the middle of all this, I
probably woulda found it really damned funny."

"It still is," Ritsuko answered, a smirk firmly on her lips.

"It's all yer fault," Misato snapped back, and quickly drained her
beer. Another one was in her hand and at her lips before Ritsuko could
open her mouth.

"My fault? Why is this my fault?"

Misato burped, then looked at her friend. "Cuz I wrote those notes ta
you." She burped again and drank more of her beer.

"To... me?"

"Yeah. Ya know... kissin' you and all."

"Kissing me?"

"Yeah. Been drivin' me nuts. Haven't had tha guts to do it though.
Not yet."

"Yet?" Ritsuko was starting to get frightened.

"I'm gonna get you one time, just lay one on ya. I'm not gay or
nothin' so don't worry about that. I just want to kiss ya."

"Uh... right. Maybe I should go, Misato."

"Naw, ya don't have ta." Misato smiled drunkenly at Ritsuko, almost

Ritsuko smiled back nervously and started to get up.

Before she escape Misato's reach, the major had reached out and
grabbed her friend's arm.


Misato quieted Ritsuko by placing her mouth firmly over Ritsuko's and
distracting her with liberal tongue contact.

Shinji, who had come out of his room at Ritsuko's yell, promptly fell
to the floor with blood gushing out of his nose.

Asuka, her curiosity piqued by Ritsuko, immediately turned around,
muttering in German, to pack. She was moving out ASAP.


"Ugh, what a dream," Misato groaned, blinking away the sunlight that
tried to pierce her hangover-sensitive eyes.

That would be the last time she finished off a case of Yebisu while
falling asleep with the TV set to the all-gay network. But it was the only
station that had Xena: Warrior Princess dubbed in Japanese.

A form stirred under the covers next to her, skin massaging her naked
flesh, breasts rubbing up against her own as a head emerged from the
blankets to rest gently against her collarbone.

"Good morning, Misato."

"Good morning, Maya."


"Ugh, what a dream," Misato groaned, blinking away the sunlight that
tried to pierce her hangover-sensitive eyes.

That would be the last time she guzzle a liter of scotch whiskey while
falling asleep reading a translated copy of Moby Dick that she had found
among her old college things. Stupid old whale reminded her a little too
much of the 7th Angel.

"Get back in bed, pilot," commanded an authoritative voice next to

"Yes, commander!" Misato exclaimed in glee as she adjusted her red wig
and slipped back under the sheets.


"Ugh, what a dream," Misato groaned, blinking away the sunlight that
tried to pierce her hangover-sensitive eyes.

That would be the last time she'd do jello shots while reading through
porn she had scoured off the internet. There was a lot of weird stuff out
there. Some people had way too much free time.

"Come back to bed," said a voice behind her. "We still have many sync
tests to perform."

"Right away, Doctor Fuyutski," Misato replied with a small giggle.

"Oh... ooh... ooohh, Yui!"


"Ugh, what a dream," Misato groaned, blinking away the sunlight that
tried to pierce her hangover-sensitive eyes.

That would be the last time she'd split a case of malt liquor with
Pen-Pen while falling asleep before the nature channel. She felt a bit
disturbed over how fascinated she'd been by penguin mating rituals.

Another problem with imbibing so much liquid at once suddenly made
itself known, so Misato threw off the sheets and stumbled in the direction
of the bathroom.

Passing Shinji's room on the way, she paused as she heard odd noises
emerging from his partly opened door, sounding like the Third Child was up
watching the special on baboons.

Unable to restrain her curiosity, Misato carefully slid the door open
a bit wider so she could peer inside. Moments later, she slumped to the
ground, back in the blissful state of unconsciousness.

"Did you hear something?" Kaji asked his bed partner, his chest
glistening with sweat as he emerged from the tangled sheets.

"Just pass the condoms and roll over," Gendo instructed as he tucked
at his white gloves.

"Be more gentle this time," Kaji complained with a small giggle as he
rolled over to reach for a torn open box of Hood brand condoms.

Gendo snorted, then slapped him on the ass.


"Arrgh!" Misato yelled as she awoke suddenly. It seemed like she was
stuck in a pattern of waking up into a dream that was even stranger than
the next. It was just like in that movie... Hedgehog Dilemma or something.

Everyone who had just entered the NERV conference room was staring
back at her with looks that ranged from surprise to complete and total

Misato followed their gazes down to suddenly realize that she was
standing before them wearing nothing but her shoes and the cross that hung
between her very bare breasts.

"Thank god this is only a dream," Misato thought out loud, relieved.
This was more normal than the others of the night, making her feel relaxed.
She had dreams like this all the time in high school and college.

Misato grinned as she picked up her stack of reports and skipped her
way past the shocked row of faces. If she was going to have odd dreams
like this, she might as well enjoy it. It did make her usually tedious job
seem much lighter.

The assembled staff of NERV were silent for some time as the continued
to stare at the now closed door, until Aoba broke the silence by asking,
"She was naked, right?"

Everyone else nodded.

"Misato did that all the time in college," Ritsuko confessed with a
shake of her head. "I guess she'll never learn."