I do not own the rights to Neon Genesis Evangelion, or any of the characters, equipment, or locations written in this fanfiction. The purpose of this fanfiction is merely for the non-profit enjoyment of other readers. If requested by Gainax, Hideki Anno, or other parties which represent aforementioned objects in this story, I will remove it promptly.
Shinji Ikari didn't know when Kensuke started to have the nerve to calculate the pilots' respective odds for getting laid before they died in some horrible fashion on the battlefield, but his daily statistical report on his website was becoming infuriating. Somehow, word had spread like wildfire, and every morning for two weeks, the students of Class 2-A logged in on their laptops for the daily report.
There were three sub-pages for each of the pilots, containing brief biographies, a statistical plot of their weekly social interaction with the opposite sex shown in a normal distribution curve, ratings of each pilot's "dateability", and more importantly, an e-mail link to Kensuke for visitors to comment on the material. The most entertaining of the suggestions were posted on the main page, as well as the daily summary of the statistical data into laymen's terms.
Rei simply ignored the attention and proceeded as planned. Asuka seemed to take pleasure in it, until the statistics indicated the First Child had a higher attractiveness rating based on "submissive, feminine features". Shinji, on the other hand, was sick of all the attention. He was especially sick of it when the photographs of each pilot came out on their respective sub-page. The content included the embarrassing photos in the dance leotards during their synchronization training, though Asuka's photos were limited shortly after Aida came to school with a black eye.
"I didn't even see a camera!" the young Ikari squeaked when the small group of clingy girls showed him the website that brought him so much fame. One even tried pinching him in a rather private area, and it was only when Rei came forward to quote the school regulations on sexual harassment that the clique had finally backed down.
For the first two weeks, the data, regardless of how wildly it shifted as fans tried to take an active role in upping the odds, all pointed to the same conclusion. "All three pilots," the website stated in cold text, "are still single, and unlikely to become intimate before death." The webpage fever had been growing at a constant rate, until today. Today, there was a new feature to the website: a special contest.
It was more than a half an hour before class, but the students were already there, chattering wildly. The boys and girls formed into two separate, yet parallel lines, both approaching the teacher's front desk. There were two baseball caps kindly donated by Toji and Kensuke, as their sensei informed them this project could count toward their grade if properly documented. Ticket stubs were nonexistent, until a hall monitor heard the news, and quickly commandeered the library's copier paper supply.
Asuka and Shinji stumbled into the classroom just as the last five boys and three girls were left standing before the desk. Rei had long since moved from her usual desk, and taken the furthest seat at the far back corner of the room. As Soryu and Ikari approached the blue-haired girl, she knew what their question would be. "It is some sort of competition," she began, "based on random, non-replacement draw-"
"Yes, yes, we are so pleased with your superior knowledge in boring subjects," Asuka interrupted, waving her hand in disgust. "What is it about?"
Rei squinted at her adversary, then spun her laptop around. The web browser was open, viewing the one webpage Shinji did not want to see. The German leaned over, reading the flashing, brilliant text which replaced the standard "still single" message. "All new dating contest?" the girl shrieked. "Winner by non-replacement draw-" she paused, glaring at Rei, "wins a date with the respective pilot of choice?"
Asuka clutched the laptop, pulling it away from it's rightful user, and scrolled down the screen for the details of the promotion. Shinji moved closer, breathing down Asuka's shoulder. "As the subjects are naturally introverted, blah, blah, blah," he started. "Wait, sexually confused?"
Asuka pulled away from the screen just long enough to throw something across the room towards Kensuke. Shinji continued to read silently, until he passed the mindless legal speak and reached the meat of the proposal. "Therefore, a raffle will be held to randomly select a potential heterosexual partner for each pilot this Thursday morning." Asuka was fuming now. It wasn't so bad when she was winning compared to the First or Third Child in social graces or physical beauty. But now the people she had sworn to protect with the Eva were taking away her reproductive rights, disguised under the masque of a potentially illegal school lottery.
"Thank God Kensuke started this after the school festival," Shinji sighed. "Otherwise, everyone in the entire district would be involved." Ikari could just imagine the riot erupting between the parents, all trying to compete for the "honor" of their own daughter bearing his children. While Shinji was not necessarily arrogant, he imagined this scenario because the fame of being a pilot outweighed post-Second Impact mores.
"Everyone!" Kensuke announced, standing on the desktop. "The final tickets are in! The raffle will now commence!" Toji joined the nerd now, both standing in full view of the attendants. It amazed Ayanami how many people showed up, as it was still thirty minutes until class began. She wondered if this contest could be held regularly, so she could not be just one of two occupants at this time of morning. Whether she understood it or not, Rei instinctively felt the hate of being alone.
"As you know," Toji now took over, "since there are two female pilots, and one male, those of you lucky bachelors who participated were required to write both your name, and rank the two female pilots." Instantly Shinji started to side-step to his right, as Asuka was glaring at Rei again with hostile intent. "Unfortunately, Rei Ayanami has been overwhelmingly selected by all contestants as their primary vote, so the two contestants drawn must call sides of a coin to-"
Asuka did not react in her normal, aggressive fashion. Instead, when her fists clenched, the class observed her face wrinkle once as she bolted towards the door. Just a few seconds after she left, the testosterone hiding within the young Ikari finally showed itself, the pilot slamming a heavy encyclopedia down on one of the farthest desks. Suddenly, all attention was on him.
"I hope you're happy with yourselves," he hissed. The students all looked confused, like goldfish staring out of their protective bowl. The Third Child shook his head. None of them understood. None of them ever would. He made his way to the door, opened it, and was just about to chase after his comrade when he felt something more should be said. "Sometimes I wonder why I continue to fight. Maybe, after this, we'll just choose not to save you anymore."
Each person in the class paused and gulped loudly for a moment, but only a moment. Once Shinji and the few seconds of dread left, everyone returned to celebrating. It wasn't that they were completely unaware Shinji was serious. Rather, as the class representative learned, the only one left staring towards the door, no one believed the pilots had the right to choose.
"Of course they will fight for us!" one girl with pig-tails grinned behind her thick glasses. "They work for us, you know!" A friend started to argue, but the rat-faced girl simply waved her hand in reassurance. "It's not their place to complain!" She would have continued talking, had the class representative not responded.
When Hikari recited the day's events back to her eldest sister, Kodama, the high schooler was quite shocked. The class representative strode confidently up to the girl who spoke out of place, and slapped her hard. The teacher entered early to see how Aida and Suzahara's project had proceeded, when all attention shifted to the growing catfight, which quickly evolved into an all-out brawl. Had four-eyes realized Hikari was not only part of the track team, but also a member of the karate club, she would have backed down after being struck the first time. In the end, Kodama was surprised that Hikari would stoop so low as violence, and that the aggressor was so stupid as to take five minutes of continuous blows until she retracted her statement.
"Hikari Horaki," the teacher mumbled numbly, "please go to the principal's office."
Kodama was only thankful she had been called away during the middle of calculus. While she was good at the subject, the concept frustrated her. It was just more algebra with a fancier dressing. The eldest Horaki didn't have to walk far, as the two schools were in fairly close proximity, all within the borders of the safest, furthest district from the points of entry into the valley. The walk took nearly twenty minutes, though it would have taken longer if Kodama were walking at a leisurely pace.
It was rare for her to be called to pick up Hikari, so her younger sister had to be sick. The high schooler never understood the complexities of the genetics involved, but for some reason, it always seemed the youngest children in a family were the ones who were regularly ill. Then again, there were some logical reasons. Unlike the high school, Tokyo-3's local junior high always seemed filthy, almost like a run-down third world country she would see on the constant "adopt a child" infomercials.
"Hikari?" Kodama asked, quite surprised when she found her sister in the office, staring at her feet. The class representative was sitting in the ugly orange vinyl and steel framed "time-out chair", as it was nicknamed years ago. "You're... not sick?" The concept any of the Horaki girls would ever be removed from school for disciplinary action was unheard of. The secretary had to ask the principal twice before she placed the call to Kodama's cell phone. "What is this about?"
"I've been... suspended," Hikari began, "for picking a fight with a classmate."
Kodama gasped, but then asked the only important question. "Did you win?"
"KODAMA!" Hikari shouted. The former class representative buried her face in her hands. "God, I feel horrible!" The eldest sister made her way to Hikari's side, taking a seat in the ugly green vinyl and steel framed "parent or guardian chair".
Kodama wrapped her arms around the girl's shoulders, pulling Hikari's head into her chest. "Don't worry about it," the high-schooler whispered. "Is there anything we need to pick up before we leave?"
"Do you want me to come with?"
Again, Hikari nodded.
"Okay, let's go."
The teacher sighed. Regardless of the content, Kensuke Aida had done as he asked, and documented everything. All the statistics were delivered on a flash drive in Microsoft Excel, as well as hard copies printed with simple, unbiased graphs. The website was incredibly well-detailed in the subject material of the pilots, observational study, statistics, and the history of online dating. Toji Suzahara, while only joining the group to earn the extra credit points, also contributed a quantity of material, though it was mostly hyperlinks and daily data entry.. "Okay," he sighed. "I will have this graded by the end of next week." He then looked around the classroom, and grinned. "Though I want the end results of the contest posted online before I turn in your grade, so I can offer constructive criticism."
Neither of the two boys seemed to mind. Toji at first thought his friend was crazy, taking something as entertaining as school gossip and quantifying it. However, the daily reports quickly gained a cult following, and when a poll in the student newspaper revealed Kensuke's site as the most widely viewed webpage amongst the students, even surpassing the popular blog sites, Suzahara realized Aida was on to something. As such, for both the scientific interest as well as the fame, no, the glory of having such an important role in the school's social hierarchy, they would continue the report until the final outcome was achieved.
But what was the final outcome? Neither of the two wanted to even think about their friend dying, but the study advertised it would continue to list the probabilities the pilots would remain virgins until death in combat. "Well, clearly," Kensuke explained during lunch break, "once combat ends, the study will end."
"But when is that going to happen?" Toji grumbled. The two stared at each other, then around the room, and slowly looked out at the remains of the city which had been lost in the destruction of the battles. They had stumbled onto the serious subject of their own mortality, and the possibility everyone they knew could die. Toji thought for a moment about his sister, and Kensuke thought about Toji thinking about his sister. The pair realized they had broken an unspoken rule: never speak of the war. If no one talked about it, the war didn't exist, and they weren't in danger.
Aida was the first to change the subject. "Do you have the results?" Toji had completely forgotten, and quickly retrieved the folded piece of white printer paper he had scribbled on. There were several copies passed around with fake results, all to prevent the hungry fans from tearing the answer out of Suzahara's hands. "We agreed that Asuka-"
"Yeah," Toji nodded. "That was pretty cruel, wasn't it? I don't know what we were thinking!"
"Alright," Kensuke replied. "So, you have the money to bribe Hiroshi, and pay for a fine night of dinner, dancing, and a movie?"
Toji realized he had to pay for trying to jump into the project just for a grade, but he didn't think he had to pay literally. "Yeah," he sighed. "Though you know, if Asuka finds out, she'll really be depressed." Neither had thought about the pilots' feelings until that outburst from Shinji. For that, they thanked him.
"Hiroshi can be trusted," Kensuke smiled mischievously. He knew, unlike Suzahara, that Hiroshi Kato, the second-highest honor roll student of the school, didn't just know when to keep his mouth shut. He also checked Asuka's sub-page religiously since the beginning of the project. Aida couldn't call back those hateful words, but he thought he could at least make up the difference. Besides, he owed Hiroshi for tutoring in algebra. "So, what about Rei?"
"I can't even believe she won!" Toji exclaimed. "We explained it specifically. It was supposed to be a heterosexual pairing!" The jock sighed again, and rubbed his forehead with his right palm. "Though she said she just wanted to be friends with Rei, taking her on a girl's night out kind of thing."
"Well, it might do more good for Rei than setting her up with some guy," Kensuke considered. "I mean, you know why most of the guys in the class put her as the top vote, right?" Toji nodded. While Ayanami was attractive and smart, both boys knew their classmates had questionable tastes. "The whole corrupting the innocent schoolgirl thing just isn't cool," Aida grumbled.
"I'm surprised you didn't try to get in on the contest," Toji grinned. "I know what you think about her."
Kensuke glared at his friend, but knew how to respond. "We have to remain out of the contest. It's only fair! So, Yuki it is?"
Toji nodded, and looked back at the girl in question. She had pitch black hair cut to shoulder length, hazel eyes, and a narrow, plain face. Yuki looked back at the two with interest, as well as many others. Toji nodded slightly in her direction, and instantly, the girl balled her right fist, throwing her arm up in success. "YES!" she hissed in delight.
"A little too extroverted, don't you think?" Kensuke muttered.
"Nah," Toji smiled. "Besides, it will be nice to see her cheer Rei up. Normally she can't get anywhere near Ayanami before that girl disappears."
Kensuke took a deep breath. "Okay, now, the moment of truth."
Toji grumbled momentarily,
"What is it?" Aida asked. Suzahara passed the paper to his friend, watching the nerd's jaw drop. "Wait a minute! Doesn't she like you?" Toji nodded numbly. "Then... how the hell?"
"One of the girls put her name in for her," the jock grunted. Aida knew it was a touchy subject, but pleaded for his friend to reveal the culprit. It was to maintain the unbiased nature of the study, after all. "It's her," Toji grumbled, slumping into the desk.
"You let your sister vote before everyone else?" Kensuke stared in disbelief.
"She made me do it! You know I can't say no to her, not now." Yes, Kensuke thought. He did know. "She's just trying to get even for all the times I called her names."
"Or, maybe she knows it will do you some good," Aida sighed. "I mean, face it, Toj, you're not doing anything about it! Maybe your sister is just giving you the swift kick in the pants you need." Toji found he could not argue about the subject. Instead, he mindlessly opened the HTML editor, typed in the results, uploaded the changes to the website, and checked the web browser once a few minutes had passed. "How many hits are we up to?"
"Holy sh-" Toji gasped.
Kensuke turned the laptop, staring at the screen. "Over two-thousand hits?"
A quick refresh revealed another, and they were able to pinpoint the source when the small group of girls squealed in disgust. "Hikari Horaki?" the one behind the computer whimpered. "But I wanted him!"
End of Chapter I
Yes, it was time to finally give a romance story a shot. Of course, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't see Asuka and Shinji working out, nor do I favor the incest involved in getting Rei and Shinji together. Then you might ask, what about Maya and Shinji? While the more innocent of those incarnations are great to read, the majority of them fall into the category of potential storylines for a Law and Order: Special Victims Unit/Eva crossover (and that wouldn't be fun, because you know Benson would have to pry Stabler away from the interrogation room before he kicked Maya's ass).
Then there's always the Ritsuko and Shinji roommate plotline. Those are cool, but you have to wonder who in their right mind could stand living with a woman who's not only the daughter of your father's mistress, but now the new mistress after your cloned mother led the first one to suicide?
Now consider a Kaworu and Shinji pairing. Again, this belongs in an appropriate crossover (perhaps Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?). The only potential relationships left involve Shinji and some adult character of the male bridge crew, Professor Fuyutsuki, some randomly invented female character from the junior high school, Mana Kirashima, or Hikari Horaki. Out of all these results, only the two most popular remain.
While Mana is a nice girl, she's too perfect a girl for Shinji, or any otaku. Mana or any girl that makes the first move, yet is still soft and submissive enough to be there to comfort a male character may be nice for a while, but it weakens the man. That's the last thing Shinji needs at this point, becoming a whipped introvert, no matter how good he compliments the kitchen appliances. No, what Shinji needs at this point, regardless of the insult or injury it will bring to the Women's Liberation movement, is to become an arrogant Raging Bull.
Therefore, to quote Highlander(1985): "There can be only one!"