Disclaimer: Studio Gainax animation is the sole own of the rights to Evangelion. I own no rights to anything currently, and will happily remove all traces of this story should they ask, rather than being sued by them for copyright infringement (hopefully, it won't come to that... after all, I'm not making any money off of this.)

A Chance encounter
By Random1377

"Miss Ibuki?" Maya's attention was drawn from the theatre marquee by the sound of someone calling her name. A young man with brown hair stepped out of the short line and approached her hesitantly.

"Shinji?" she said, recognizing the EVA pilot as he drew near.

He smiled, "Hi, I almost didn't recognize you without your uniform..." looking around he asked, "are you here with someone? What are you guys going to see?"

Maya blinked, then looked away, "No... I'm here alone," -again...- she added mentally, "and I was just trying to decide what to see..." she looked at the list and pointed, "but I think I'll watch that one. Aoba said it was pretty good."

He brightened, "That's what I'm seeing, want to join me?" He blushed, realizing that he had just invited a pretty, older woman to watch a movie with him. He backpedaled, "Umm... I mean... that is, if you want too. I... umm..." he trailed off nervously.

Maya blushed also, but smiled reassuringly, "T-Thank you... I think I will." They stood in line silently, each too wrapped in their own thoughts to make small talk.

As they got to the ticket window, Shinji said, "Two please." And paid for both before Maya could say a word.

She was not normally the teasing kind, but it had been a long day - and she WAS actually supposed to meet someone at the theatre... two hours prior. "Why, Pilot Ikari," she said, fixing a frown on her face as they walked in, "do you believe this to be a date? How... forward of you. I didn't know you were interested in me that way."

Shinji came to a dead stop, his face draining of all color, "I... I apologize, Miss Ibuki," he said, formally, bowing low, "I... I meant no disrespect."

She stared at him incredulously, -I didn't mean for him to BOW!- "It's... it's ok," she said, blushing brightly as people stopped to stare at them, "I was just kidding..."

Looking up, he said, "You... you were?" he waited uncertainly, then stood and let out a sigh of relief as she nodded.

She looked around at the people still staring, "C-come on..." she grabbed his arm, ignoring his sudden gasp, "we'll miss the previews." She dragged him into the theatre.

**

As the movie let out, they made their way to the exit, each smiling softly as they remembered the other's laughter. The movie had been good.

"Well..." Shinji said as the warm night air hit them, "thank you for joining me... I... I had fun..." he turned away from her, blushing furiously.

She smiled, -He's more shy than I am!- "I had a lot of fun too, Shinji." She looked at her watch, seeing that it was still early. She was bringing her wrist down when she frowned sharply and looked at it again, noting the date. "Shinji?"

He turned back to her, his blush only slightly diminished, "Yes, Miss Ibuki?"

She studied him carefully, "Is... is today your birthday?"

He looked surprised, then nodded slowly, "Yes... it is... my fifteenth..." his voice was filled with sadness.

She stepped a little closer to him, "Shinji, why are you here all alone on your birthday?"

He looked at the ground, his voice quiet, "Well... Misato had to work and Asuka went to Hikari's house for the weekend... Kensuke is out of town... and Touji's..." he broke off.

She nodded, knowing full well where Touji Suzuhara was. It was going to be a long road to recovery for the Fourth Child. She also knew that Shinji carried a lot of guilt, blaming himself for the boy's injuries. "I see..." she said softly, "well... what are you going to do now?"

He stuffed his hands in his pockets, "I... I don't know... probably go home."

-This isn't right...- she thought, -no one should have to be alone on their birthday...- "Shinji?" he looked up at her, "Would you like to... to do something with me?"

Shinji turned a brilliant shade of red as he misunderstood her, "Umm... you really don't have to... umm... I mean..."

Maya flushed a brighter shade of red than him, "Not like THAT! I mean do you want to go get something to eat or something." Her mind raced as involuntary images of his body flashed through her mind. She had seen him naked on several occasions for certain tests, and the memories now assailed her unmercifully. She suddenly felt warm, -Stop that!- she scolded herself, -he's too young... even if he IS really cute...-

He dropped his eyes, "I... I'm sorry..." he laughed suddenly, slapping his forehead. "Oh... I'm such an idiot... I'm so sorry..."

Still blushing slightly, she said, "That's ok, but you better get your mind out of the gutter or I won't spend the night with you." She blinked as the words left her mouth, realizing just how bad they sounded.

He laughed even harder, "Ok... Ok... but... but if we're going to spend the night together, shouldn't my mind be IN the gutter?"

She rolled her eyes, but could not help smiling too, -His laugh is so innocent... I... I don't think I've ever heard him so uninhibited before.- She waited for him to calm down, trying to make her face stern, "Is that any way to speak to a superior?" she found that she was having trouble keeping a straight face.

Smiling he shook his head, then tilted it to the side, honestly curious, "ARE you my superior, Miss Ibuki?"

Maya frowned, "Yes. I am..." -I think...- honestly, she was not sure. In title and seniority she was sure she outranked him, but she knew that as a pilot he could not be replaced, so that made him more valuable to NERV. Suddenly she realized that she was spending too much time thinking about it. She shook her head, "It doesn't really matter tonight, I guess... neither of us is on duty... and stop calling me Miss Ibuki, it makes me feel old. Call me Maya."

"Ok... Maya." He smiled, liking the feel of her name, "Now what should we do?"

"Well," she said, looking thoughtful, "I'm hungry. Let's get dinner, ok?"

He nodded, then offered her his arm, again blushing deeply. She looked surprised for a minute, then took it and smiled. They went in search of food.

**

They walked slowly up the path towards Maya's humble apartment (Shinji had flatly refused to let her walk home alone). Dinner (Maya's treat, after much arguing) had been... amazing - for both of them. Maya had spent the entire time caught up in Shinji's enthusiastic description of his cello lessons (normally a topic she would have found dull, but he obviously love it... and she loved hearing him talk). Shinji had spent the entire time sneaking looks at his pretty companion and wishing that there could ever be more than just this night.

"Thank you for spending the night with me," Shinji said as they reached the door, smiling mischievously, "did I keep my mind out of the gutter well enough?"

She returned the smile, "Admirably." She paused with her hand on the doorknob, "Thank you for a lovely evening, Shinji... I enjoyed myself... a lot."

"Really?" he beamed, "I'm glad. Well..." he looked unhappy that it was finally ending, "goodnight."

She smiled, then snapped her fingers, "Oh, I almost forgot, I have a present for you."

He looked stunned - happy, but stunned, "You... you do?? When did you get it?"

She smiled, looking in her purse, "About halfway through dinner I decided to give you something I already had with me... close your eyes, I want it to be a surprise."

Shinji closed his eyes, a slight smile on his face. He opened in them in surprise a minute later as he felt her lips press gently against his and her arms carefully encircle him. He let her kiss him, truly not knowing what to do.

After a moment she pulled away, suddenly realizing what she was doing, "I... I'm sorry..." she stepped back, putting her hand to her lips, -Oh my god... that was... incredible... but what am I DOING?- Her face twisted into a frown as conflicting emotions rushed through her, "I'm sorry... I didn't mean to... to... you're fifteen... I..." she turned to flee, but he caught her hand gently.

She turned to face him, scared that he might be mad at her for her indecent advance, -Oh... why did I do that... he's so much younger... so innocent...- he held her hand in his, looking at her intently.

After a moment, he said, "Maya... I..." he took a deep breath and smiled at her, "that was the nicest birthday present I've ever gotten." He looked into her eyes, whispering, "I... I wish every day was my birthday..." he raised her hand to his lips and kissed it delicately.

She watched in silence as he turned and walked away, every fiber of her being crying out to chase him. An overpowering voice in her mind said, -Let him go, Maya... don't let this get any worse... just let him go...-

After a pained moment, she opened her door and walked in, shutting it quietly and leaning against it...the feel of his lips echoing on hers.

The beginning.

Author's notes: Ok, I looked around and I could not find any Maya/Shinji fictions... so I thought, "Why not me?" :) If this chapter is well received I will write at least one more chapter, or possibly more depending on how easy the writing goes.

Feedback is always welcome at Random1377@yahoo.com.