Disclaimer:I don't own NGE or anything else of significant value. You want to sue, you get nada.
Greetings from the Great White North. Normally, I write original, action oriented fiction, mostly for my own amusement, (and its cathartic value), but I have decided to take a stab at fan fiction. I find it to be a lot of fun.
And don't ask what I did to the other four horsemen, it wasn't pretty. (I get cranky when I'm out of beer)
Misato Katsuragi wearily slid open the door to her apartment after another long day at the cesspool of secrets known as NERV. She was so tired that she could have collapsed in the hallway and slept right there on the floor.
"I'm home," she called, as she kicked off her shoes, hoping to get an answer from Shinji. She wasn't surprised when she didn't get one, but it hurt all the same. Her shoulders seemed to slump even further as she hesitantly made her way to his room. He had been a mess ever since he had killed Kaworu, the Seventeenth Angel. Hell, she had been a mess too ever since Kaji had left his last message on her machine, knowing that he would soon be dead. She had thrown herself into pursuing the information he had left her in an effort not only to uncover everything she could, but to also try and put him out of her head.
On one hand, she loved him. On the other, she realized that she had been nothing more than a willing fuck to him. He had not hesitated in helping her dirty herself to the point that she couldn't stand herself. That had been her desire after all, and she had pursued it with vigour, drinking and fucking her way to social disrespectability. He never once said he loved her, never once treated her as anything more than a whore. No matter how hard she tried not too, she always wound up giving in to him in the end. Misato had gotten what she wanted. She was disgusted with herself, but she couldn't seem to break the cycle. And now, she couldn't even look after a troubled fourteen year old boy who had accepted her, warts and all.
Shinji meant a great deal to her. He had made her apartment seem like a real home and had probably looked after her more than she had looked after him. He was a kind hearted soul, manipulated into an impossible life by his bastard of a father. He had suffered so much, some of it at her hands since she was his commanding officer and had no choice but to send him out to risk his life piloting a gigantic, purple, biomechanical weapon. She had been helpless to stop Shinji's decline into depression and despair, and as her own problems mounted, along with Asuka ending up catatonic and in the hospital, they now seemed to be farther apart than before he came to Tokyo 3.
She stopped outside his door and gently let her fingers run over the plaque she had placed there shortly after he had moved in. 'Shinji's Lovely Suite'. She gently knocked on the door.
"Shinji, are you there?" When she got no response she knocked louder, figuring he must be listening to his ever present SDAT.
"Shinji?" She quietly slid his door open to find that he wasn't there. She did notice that his room had been cleaned, something the usually neat freakish boy hadn't done in a couple of weeks. As she went down the hall to check the bathroom, she opened the door to Asuka's room and saw that it had been tidied up as well. The bathroom was freshly cleaned too, and the laundry was done, but there was still no sign of Shinji. She checked her own room and found that it was spotless as well.
"Wow," she said in slightly higher spirits. "Maybe he was feeling a little better today if he actually got up and did all this." She was worried about where he might be, his recent mood making her imagine all kinds of morbid possibilities. She quickly dialled up Section Two on her cell and inquired about his location. She was informed that 'The Third Child was seen entering NERV approximately forty five minutes ago in the company of the First Child'. Considering his reaction to Rei after learning of her clones, she though it a little odd that he would be with her, but she was not too worried about it. She could not see where Rei would ever do anything to hurt him, or that he would ever hurt her.
She took off her uniform jacket and tossed it on her futon, then picked it up and hung it up where it belonged. She could at least try to keep it neat for once. She changed into her usual household attire of a pair of very short cut offs and a loose tank top, sans bra, and swept her purple tresses up into a ponytail. After stopping in the bathroom to splash some water on her face, she headed to the kitchen to find something edible. Two things immediately caught her attention. There was a plain white envelope on the table, and laying across it was a single red rose.
"What the…?" She examined the envelope and saw her name written on the front in Shinji's neat and precise handwriting. She smelled the rose and saw that it was still very fresh, indeed confirming that he hadn't been gone long. She smiled lightly. "Getting romantic on me Shinji-kun?"
She sat down and carefully opened the envelope and removed several hand written pages, all in Shinji's neat script. She was curious, but also dreading what this might be all about. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
"Okay Misato, just relax and read it. Don't go jumping to conclusions."
'Don't worry, I haven't run away. Please accept the rose as an apology for not being here when you got home, and for the things I am about to explain. Oddly enough, cowardly little me is on a mission to save the world from that bastard father of mine. Even more odd is that I, 'Invincible baka Shinji', seem to have found enough of a spine somewhere to try.'
"Oh shit!" Misato blurted.
PenPen, who had just stuck his head out of his refrigerator, heard her words and decided it was best to go back to reading the paper.
'While you read this, I am on my way to Terminal Dogma to destroy the Angel there. I write this letter to you, because I want someone to know what I have done, should I not return. Let me explain how I got to this point.
Three nights ago, as I tried to escape from the world through my SDAT, I fell asleep and had the strangest dream. I was sitting in a chair in the middle of an abandoned theatre, and my life was under scrutiny by everyone I have gotten to know since I came to Tokyo 3. I was forced to see and analyze my life, to admit that my behaviour was because I hate myself. I was having trouble grasping the concept of our lives being shaped by how others see us and how we see the way they see us. I couldn't understand that just because there was pain, it didn't mean that there wasn't happiness to be had, if only I would give myself a chance to see and feel it. It was painful to see that everything I thought about how I was treated by others was so twisted in my head. I finally came to understand the nature of it and that I had to accept life on a day to day basis, to accept it from a simpler point of view. If I can learn to like myself, at least a little bit, then maybe things will be okay.
I wasn't the only one who underwent the process. Rei, Asuka, and you all underwent the same thing. We all were forced to confront our problems, naked and vulnerable to the world. I now know what has shaped Rei, Asuka and you into the people you are. I talked to Rei and after I told her this, she recalled the same events.'
Misato's hand shot to her mouth. "Oh no!" She had just had a sudden flash memory of what Shinji was talking about. She remembered waking up and having a very strange feeling that night. She now recalled her own narrative of why she behaved the way she did, her desire to destroy the good girl she had always tried to be, hoping that her father would drop his work long enough to actually stay home and pay attention to his family. She placed her hand over the scar beneath her breasts, her souvenir from surviving Second Impact, the disaster caused by her father and his research team. In that dream, Shinji had seen her whoring herself to Kaji, debasing herself in her need to be filthy. He knew.
Tears came to her eyes. "You were never supposed to see that side of me Shinji. I never wanted you to see me like that. I'm so sorry."
'Now I understand what has hurt you so much Misato. I understand now that we all have demons and we all make mistakes, lots of them, but we have to keep going and learn from it. I don't think any less of you, you are still my Misato. I still love you.'
She had to stop for a moment to gather herself and found a slight smile creeping onto her face Those few words meant more to her right then, than she could possibly ever explain.
'When I awoke, I began to analyze my relationship with everyone and I realized what a self pitying ass I've been. At the same time, I realized how I got to that point and that if I was ever going to make anything of myself, I needed to stop acting that way and take a stand. It was like a light bulb suddenly went on in my head and I realized in that instant that I could either start fresh, or continue my downward slide. I'm tired of the way I was going through life and I needed to make an effort to change, or die. I don't want to die.
The next morning, after you left for work, I found that your computer was still on. You had pulled an all nighter and fell asleep there, but forgot to turn it off. I read all of the information that Kaji left you and I decided that this was were I would make my stand. Needless to say, when combined with what I already knew and with what I was able to put together after I finally started thinking with a rational mind, I was pissed. That's when I went to see Rei. If anyone knew anything about what was going on, it would be her. It took a bit of convincing, but she told me everything she knew. It seems the third version of the First Child has had enough of my father's plans as well. Did you know that this Rei is an Angel?'
PenPen had once again stuck his head out of his fridge, only to quickly retreat back inside again.
'I won't go into long detail here, because there are others who can explain it better than I can. I'm still a little overwhelmed by it. My father's scenario and SEELE's are largely the same. Cause Third Impact and end the world. SEELE thinks human kind has reached an evolutionary dead end and wants to unite all souls into one. Father wants to do it so he can be with my mother again. That's why he created Rei, to be the device by which he could be reunited with her. Everything about her was part of my father's scenario, including her death and rebirth as an Angel. I knew my father was a bastard, but I never truly realized what a sick bastard he really was.'
"Welcome to the club," she huffed.
'Don't worry about Rei being Angel, she's on our side. She wants to live. She has abandoned his scenario because she has found that maybe her life can have a purpose other than the destruction of mankind. I had to do a lot of convincing on that one.'
"I'll bet," Misato grumbled, not sure if she was convinced by his reassurances.
'Rei and I have put together a plan to stop this. The first thing we did was recruit Dr. Akagi. Believe me, it wasn't easy. Through his manipulations my father has hurt her very badly and she is bitter and maybe a little nuts. After three hours of arguing, pleading, logic, and a promise to let her be the one to take him down, she agreed to help. I know everything she has done has hurt your relationship with her, but I hope she can find a way to redeem herself.'
"I hope so too Shinji," Misato sighed. "She was a good friend."
'The second thing we did was to go to Unit 01 so I could talk to my mom. Did I mention that my mother is the soul within Unit 01?'
'With my mind less cluttered by my problems and with a purpose in mind, I was able to hit a higher synch rate and with a lot of effort, I was able to find my mom's soul and talk to her. You would be surprised what people will tell a giant purple biomech when they don't think it can hear them. Father stood in front of Unit 01 many nights and spoke of his plans, telling mom that they would be together again soon. To put it mildly, she is not happy with him and told me a lot of things about this whole mess. She also told me that there might be a way to separate her from Unit 01 when this is over. After all, Ritsuko's attempt to separate me from it when I was absorbed would have worked if I hadn't been resisting it. That alone has given me an even greater desire to see this through.'
"I hope that's true," Misato said quietly. "I hope you can get your mom back."
'She asked me why I was doing it, besides the obvious one of saving the world (and retaining my title of 'Invincible Shinji')'
Misato smiled at his humour. It was a rarely used, or seen, part of him.
'I told her it was because I wanted my friends to have a future, to have a better life. But I'm doing it especially for one person in particular. Someone very special to me, someone who I am in love with.'
This left Misato scratching her head. "I didn't know he was in love with anybody. He was always so scared of contact, physical or emotional. I wonder who it is."
'If all goes well, the last of the Angels will be gone. I will destroy the Angel in Terminal Dogma, Ritsuko will take down father and remove the embryonic form of Adam that is grafted to his right hand (I forgot to mention that didn't I?)'
"GAHHH!" Misato exclaimed, nearly falling out of her chair. "Gendo has the First Angel attached to his hand! He's fucking insane! And yes, you did forget to mention it you little baka!"
'That's why Kaji was on 'Over the Rainbow' when we met Asuka. He was transporting Adam to Tokyo 3 for my father. I'm sorry Misato.'
That piece of news hit her like a slap in the face. "Kaji… you fucking moron! How the hell did I ever fall in love with an asshole like you! Did I even know you at all?" It took her a few minutes to get herself together again.
'While this is going on, Ritsuko will use the MAGI to send all of the information she has about my father and SEELE to some people who will make good use of it. There is still a chance that SEELE will attack NERV, but mom and I will do everything we can to protect it. Ritsuko is having Maya and the others on the bridge crew work out an evacuation plan, hopefully without my father knowing about it. Even if SEELE does do something, it won't be for a couple of days, at least according to Ritsuko.'
"I hope to hell she's right!"
'Please don't worry Misato, I will be okay. Where else would I be safer than inside Unit 01 with my mom to protect me, and how much better could I do for a bodyguard than an Angel, right? Rei has sworn to protect me and you know how she is when she decides on something.'
"That I can agree with."
'I left dinner for you, it's in the oven. The temperature is already set, just turn it on for HALF AN HOUR, NO LONGER OR YOU'LL WRECK IT!'
"Geez, all right already! I get it, I'm a horrible cook." She turned the oven on and opened the door to see what was there, catching a wiff of curried chicken. "You're too good to me Shinji, I don't deserve you."
'I know you've been cutting back on the beer lately, and I'm proud of you, but I left two cold ones in the fridge for you along with dessert. Enjoy dinner, and try not to worry.'
"How the hell can I not worry!"
'Take a nice long, hot bath and get a good nights sleep. I will see you tomorrow at NERV. Please, don't go back there before then. (To make sure you don't, I asked Ritsuko to block your security card until 0800)'
Misato let out a long breath. She read the letter again and then sat in silence, contemplating everything he had written. She was worried, but she was also proud of him. He had found the courage she knew was always within him. He was a man now. Some might disagree with that, but how many men would have made the decisions he had? How many would do what Shinji had already done? How many would pilot an Eva, a thing that they never even knew existed, until five minutes before they were getting the crap beaten out of them in it? How many would continue to do it despite the pain they felt, and through the inner turmoil Shinji had experienced?
"None, that's how many," she said aloud. "He may only be fourteen, but he's more of a man than any man I've ever met."
She put the letter back in the envelope and opened the fridge. Inside were two cold cans of her favourite beer, a small cake with chocolate icing and strawberries on top, and another plain white envelope. Written on it, again in Shinji's handwriting, was her name. Underneath that were instructions to not open it until after dessert.
All through the delicious dinner and absolutely heavenly dessert Shinji had made for her, she found that she couldn't take her eyes off the envelope. She couldn't think of what else Shinji would need to say that he hadn't already said in the first letter. Her mind started to run through all kinds of possibilities, none of them good. She was working herself into a panic of possibilities when something thankfully caught her attention.
"Wark!" PenPen squawked.
"Ahhh!" she shrieked. "Are you trying to kill me!" After recovering from a near heart attack, she leaned over and patted his head. "Want something to eat?"
She set about getting some fish for her pet, glad for the momentary distraction. Once PenPen's needs were taken care of, she grabbed her second beer from the fridge, and the letter, and headed for the couch. She slouched back and propped her feet up on the coffee table, cracking open her beer and taking a long sip. She quietly regarded the envelope for a moment before finally opening it and unfolding the pages within.
'I thought that while I had the nerve to do the things I told you about in the first letter, I would use that same feeling to write this one as well. There are some things that I need to tell you, that are for you only. Things that I don't know if I can say in person, but I hope to be able to soon.'
She began to worry all over again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself. "I don't know if I like the sound of this."
'In the first letter I told you, that I told my mom, that I was doing all of this to make sure my friends have a future and a better life. I am also doing it for someone I love. That someone is you, Misato.'
She had to re-read that several times.
'I know that you may be thinking that everything that has happened lately has melted my brain, and maybe it has, but this is something I've known since shortly after I first met you. I still remember standing outside the train station the day you picked me up. I was looking at the picture you sent me while I wondered where you were. I had actually spent most of the train ride looking at it, and it wasn't just because of the arrow pointing to your cleavage.'
She laughed lightly. She probably shouldn't have done that, but she couldn't help herself.
'My hormones may not display themselves as rampantly as Kensuke's or Touji's, but they are still there. I certainly did notice, but I kept thinking about how pretty you were and how nice your smile was. When you pulled up and threw open the door to your car, I couldn't believe my eyes. You were gorgeous, the picture didn't do you justice. Unfortunately, the events that followed interrupted those thoughts and it wasn't until I moved into your apartment that I was able to think about that again. You were so kind to me, a boy you didn't know, or know anything about, and I cannot thank you enough for taking me in. Even after everything that has happened, especially recently, I can think of no place else I would rather call home.'
Misato found her eyes tearing up. She stopped reading and dabbed them with the tail of her shirt. "Thank you Shinji-kun, this wouldn't be a home without you here."
'It took a while, but I finally became used to the way you lived, and now I understand more about why you are the way you are, but I discovered that it was a side of you that no one else ever saw. A side that you only let me see. If you were any different, you wouldn't be the Misato I have grown to love. Now that I am seeing things a little differently, I find that with the difficulties of the last few weeks, I really miss the way things were before. Heck, I even miss having you tease me all the time, even if I did get all embarrassed and unable to speak without fumbling all over myself. Your teasing was never mean spirited and it let me know that you cared. No one had ever cared for me, or about me before, and I know that as I fell deeper into depression that I may have said some things that I honestly did not mean and I know the distance I put between us hurt you. For that, I ask for your forgiveness.'
"There's nothing to forgive Shinji," she spoke, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'm just as much to blame as you are."
'I must also ask your forgiveness for something else, something that I know I will never forgive myself for. The night you got that last message from Kaji, I heard you crying and it broke my heart. I hate to hear you cry Misato, you're not supposed to be sad, you're supposed to be happy and teasing and smiling. I know it's selfish for me to think so, but I hate to see you any other way. I knew that I should go to you and try to comfort you. I wanted to, but I was such a coward and so wrapped up in my troubles that I did something despicable. Even after I heard you come to my door, I still turned up the volume on my SDAT, rolled over, and buried my head. I let someone I love sit alone in the dark and cry over the loss of someone they loved. I don't think I have ever felt so low in all of my life. I know that I can't expect to be forgiven for that, and I know that telling you how I feel about you can't make up for it, but I am committed now. I will finish this even if you decide to take this letter right now and throw it away.'
"I forgive you Shinji," she said, her voice shaking. "I had no right to come to you looking for a shoulder to cry on, not with everything you've been through, not when I wasn't there for you."
'There are a couple of recurring dreams that I have. Well, to be honest, there are more than two, but I think I would die of embarrassment if you knew what they were.'
She couldn't help but laugh at that. She could just see him writing that with his face a deep shade of red at making such an admission.
'The first one is strange as far as dreams go because it's almost episodic and always seems to pick up were the previous one left off. In it, life seems ideal. I live in an apartment much like yours, with my mother and father and Rei. My father actually acts like a real father, something I always wanted. Our home is a happy one, with my mother doting over her children like she's making up for lost time. Asuka and her mom live next door and she is our best friend. Even in my dreams I never thought I'd see Asuka getting along with Rei. Rei is still kind of quiet, and Asuka still speaks her mind, but she isn't nearly as hostile. Our parents all still work for NERV, but it's a computer technologies and scientific research organization now. No Angels, no EVA's, and no SEELE.
Like every morning, we all walk to school together, usually meeting Hikari, Touji and Kensuke along the way. We get to school and take our places in the classroom, and are told by our Sensei that we have a new student starting that day. Like usual, the girls hope it's a cute guy, while the guys hope for a cute girl. When the door opens I see a girl with purple hair. I can tell she's shy by the way she slowly enters the room with her head down. When she finally looks up at the Sensei's urging to introduce herself, all I can do is stare. I can barely hear her say that her name is Katsuragi Misato. I've seen a couple of your pictures from when you were my age and it's no wonder you became such a beautiful woman, you were so cute at that age.'
Despite herself, Misato felt her cheeks warming into a blush.
'Over the next few weeks you joined our circle of friends and I found the courage somewhere to ask you out. It was only fast food and a movie, but we both seemed to enjoy it. We started spending a lot of time together, usually holding hands everywhere we went and enduring the teasing of our friends because of it. In the last of these dreams, I ask you if I can kiss you, after much verbal stumbling of course, and you said yes. Sadly, I never get to see that kiss.'
"That sounds like a happy little world Shinji," she said as she stopped to take a sip of her beer. "If only it was real." It always saddened her that she never had a normal, happy childhood.
'The other dream comes after the Angels are defeated and life returns to normal. Tokyo 3 has been rebuilt and is becoming a thriving city. I have just turned eighteen and I somehow convince you to let me take you out on a date, as if we had just recently met. We have a nice dinner and talk about anything other than the horrors of our pasts. We go to a movie and get death stares from the other viewers because the movie sucks and we end up having a popcorn fight. We go to a karaoke club and sing badly for a couple of hours, before walking home laughing at ourselves. It feels so good to laugh and to hear you laugh. We realize that we both had a really good time and when I ask if you want to go out again the next week, you say yes and we decide to see where it takes us.'
Misato started to cry and had to put the letter down. Even if it was only the contents of one of Shinji's dreams, no man she had ever been out with ever wanted to treat her like that. She was their drunken sex doll and was not required to be anything else. They desired nothing else of her and she gave them what they wanted, no mater how much it wounded her spirit.
His dream world sounded so nice and she realized that even in their real and painful world, Shinji had treated her better than any of the men she had ever been with. She wondered about all the times Shinji had taken care of her when she was drunk off her ass. How many other teenaged boys, let alone grown men, would have done what he had and not taken advantage of her in those situations. They could have done anything to her and she would not have been able to stop them. Ever since he had moved in, he had taken care of her, cleaned up after her, and put up with her teasing and scandalous ways.
"How could you ever love a drunken whore like me Shinji?" she cried. "I'm filthy. I drink until I puke and pass out, I fuck until I can hardly stand up, and I send you out in that purple monster, knowing how scared you are and how much it hurts you. I don't deserve your care or your kindness or your love. How could you ever love someone so worthless?" Her voice dropped to a ragged whisper. "I want that kind of love, but I don't deserve it. I'm not worthy of it."
She cried for a long while, disgusted with herself and her life. Just when she thought she was regaining a measure of her composure, she would choke up and start again. It wasn't until she went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on her face several times that she was finally able to gain a measure of control. She found however that she couldn't look at herself in the mirror right then. When she sat back down on the couch, she could only stare at the letter for a long while. Finally, she picked it up again and resumed reading. Shinji was letting her know what was in his heart and she owed it to him to read it all.
'I realize that you may think that all of this is nothing more than the ramblings of a severely messed up teenager with a crush. I admit to being messed up, but if there is anything at all that I am really sure of, it's that I love you and it isn't merely a temporary thing. I have gotten to know the real you and I know what is in your heart. You are a good person Misato, and you have problems just like the rest of us, but you have never let them stop you from living. You haven't given up like I did before I had the dream. No matter how hard things have been, you kept trying.'
"I'm not that noble Shinji," she whispered.
'You deserve to be treated like a lady. To have someone take you out for an evening with no expectations other than your company. I want to be that person Misato. I want to take you out for dinner and have popcorn fights during bad movies and sing karaoke badly with you. I want to take you to the beach and go for walks and show you that someone truly loves you without expecting anything in return. I want to see you smile and laugh and be the reason for it. I may not be big and strong, or any woman's ideal man, and I know I'm not brave, but I would never treat you badly Misato.'
"I know you wouldn't Shinji-kun, I know you wouldn't."
'I know I'm asking a lot and I'm probably asking you for something you can't give. If you can't, I will understand, because I truly know that what I am asking of you may be impossible. But I need to know Misato, will you wait for me? Will you wait for me to be older and more of a man? Will you let me love you and treat you like you deserve to be treated? Can you wait for me Misa-chan?
I can't expect you to give me an answer right away, and I don't. What I have asked you is enough pressure, I won't put anymore on you. But no matter what you decide, I will still love you and I just want you to be happy.'
Misato quietly folded the letter back up and returned it to its envelope and sat back on the couch, her hands folded in her lap. She didn't know what to say, she didn't know what to think, and she sure as hell didn't know what to do. She sat there for a long while, her brain replaying the words he had written. Everything he had written sounded so nice, but she couldn't reconcile his view of her with the truth of who and what she was. She suddenly found herself more ashamed of her life than she had ever been before.
She chugged down the rest of her beer in two gulps, mostly out of well worn habit, then disgustedly threw the empty can across the room when she realized just how habitual it was. With her elbows resting on her knees, she began rubbing her temples, feeling the tension from the day come creeping back into her head, neck and shoulders.
She lurched to her feet and shuffled tiredly to the bathroom. While she ran a hot bath, she disrobed and dropped her clothes in the nearby hamper. In the mirror, she caught the reflection of her scar and it suddenly brought something else to light in her mind. If Shinji's plan was successful and the Angels were all destroyed, her purpose would be at an end. The fuel that drove her was her need for revenge against the Angels, to see them destroyed for the death of her father, for the horror that being witness to Second Impact had inflicted upon her. With that purpose gone, what would she do? She was so consumed by her need for revenge, that she had never given it much thought.
She shut off the taps and slipped into the bath, the warmth instantly starting to work on her sore neck and shoulders. "So what would I do then?" she asked herself quietly. "I suppose that will depend on how this all shakes out." If SEELE was exposed by Ritsuko's information, all hell could break loose, or the old men would go into hiding. Maybe both, but either way it had the potential to get real ugly. There would be investigations and trials and a ton of public outrage. Ugly, didn't begin to describe it.
"More likely the truth will be buried, like it was with Second Impact," she said bitterly. "The old men will get a bullet behind the ear, if they don't commit suicide first, and a heroic story of survival against an otherworldly foe will mollify the public." She sighed. "I suppose it's better than telling them what really happened and causing mass panic and rioting." None of her thoughts on it answered the question of her future, she knew she would have to see what happened in the next few weeks before she could make any concrete decisions about it anyway. Right now, she had another pressing issue that needed her more immediate attention.
She let out a long breath and stared at the ceiling. "Why me Shinji? Why not someone closer to your own age. Why did you have to fall in love with me?" She thought about Shinji's words and discovered that it gave her a warm feeling to know that someone thought of her that way.
Then, she went over her reasons why he shouldn't be in love with her.
She was much older, she was dirty and she drank too much. She sent him into battle in a giant, barely controllable weapon, despite his pain and fear, all to feed her need for revenge. It suddenly dawned on her that the one thing she hadn't said or thought, was that she didn't love him.
"Do I love him that way? Am I so desperately lonely that I could fall for a fourteen year old boy?"
She knew that the short answer to that question was yes. She was lonely. She was so lonely that it felt like her heart was being eaten up from the inside. Disastrous attempts at relationships that had turned into little more than one night stands, had scarred her heart and had eaten away at her sense of self worth. It had become another of the reasons why she drank.
She liked to kid herself that she drank simply because she loved beer. She did, but it was mostly her attempted cure for loneliness and pain, her sleep aid to ward off nightmares, and her answer to all things uncomfortable. It may have worked to put her to sleep and made her forget the uncomfortable, at least for a little while, but it did jack shit for her loneliness.
"Stupid question," she admonished herself. "Okay, let's picture Shinji as a grown man and go over this." She imagined a grown and more mature version of him. "He wants to spend time with me with no expectations attached, he wants to see me smile and laugh and have fun, he wants to treat me like a lady, and he thinks I'm beautiful. What's not to fall in love with there?" She groaned. "But he's not a grown man, he's fourteen!"
'But I need to know Misato, will you wait for me? Will you wait for me to be older and more of a man? Will you let me love you and treat you like you deserve to be treated? Can you wait for me Misa-chan?'
She felt tears welling up in her eyes again, partly in shame, partly in realization. "I think I'm in love with a teenaged boy. Oh god I am such a mess." She took a deep breath to calm herself . "I'm tired, I'm confused and I'm worried. I need to sleep on this, for like, a couple of years maybe." 'If I can sleep at all, that is.'
She finished her bath, soaping and scrubbing her body as if she could scrub away the filth that stained her soul, the filth that she had become so conscious of this night. She dried herself with the same vigour before crawling into her bed and pulling the sheets up over her head.
The sound of her alarm clock going off the next morning was not a welcome one. She had never been a morning person, but her consternation at the infernal device this morning was based on the dreams that it had interrupted. She shut off the alarm and stretched while a mighty yawn escaped her lips. She found herself staring without focus at the ceiling, and felt the slight smile that came effortlessly to her face. She actually felt pretty good this morning, almost giddy actually.
'God, get a hold of yourself Misato.'
She rolled out of bed and stretched again as she stood, enjoying the feel of the slightly cool air on her naked body. She put on some fresh underwear and headed for the kitchen. With no one else home, she didn't worry about her state of undress, not that she usually did anyway.
She started a pot of coffee and dug a loaf of bread out of the cupboard. 'I really need to get serious and let Shinji teach me how to cook,' she thought. After a couple of pieces of toast and two cups of high test coffee that she swore could keep an Eva awake for a week, she brushed her teeth and took care of her hair, before dressing in what had become her official uniform. A twin of the little black dress she had worn, and ruined, the day she picked Shinji up at the train station. She picked up her uniform jacket and went to the kitchen to feed PenPen. He was waiting for her.
"Finally up eh, you lazy bum."
"I love you too PenPen."
She got his fish ready for him and checked to make sure her gun and cell phone were still in her jacket as her feathered housemate gulped down his breakfast. After finding her keys and slipping on her shoes, she stepped out the door and was greeted by a blue sky and bright sunshine.
"Beautiful," she said aloud. "I have a feeling that today is going to be a good day."
She decided to take the stairs down to the parking garage instead of the elevator, humming contentedly to herself the whole way. She slid happily into the seat of her beloved blue Renault and smiled at the sound of the finely tuned engine. As she slipped on her driving gloves, she looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes seemed a little brighter today and she could stand the sight of herself this morning. She was still tired and a bit worried about what had transpired at NERV the night before, but she was no longer confused.
'Can you wait for me Misa-chan?'
She slipped on her sunglasses and shifted the car into gear. "Yeah, Shinji-kun, I can wait for you. And I will."
With screeching tires and leaving a trail of burnt rubber, the blue Renault rocketed out of the parking garage and sped off for NERV.
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