AN: Alright, an attempt at a longer chapter… and maybe some combat, too.


Touji looked around with more than a little worry, "Um… do either of you two have any idea what we're doing here?"

Kensuke shrugged, "Considering that we're in standard training gi… hand to hand combat training?" His eyes brightened behind his new glasses (not as large or round, now more sleek and square) and he grinned, "I wonder if we'll learn Kung Fu?"

Hikari snorted and adjusted the white belt around her waist, "I doubt it. Besides, you don't have the patience for that."

"What makes you say that, Hikari? Maybe I ca be a Kung Fu master."

She rolled her eyes, "Boys. Which style of Kung Fu would you learn then?"

Kensuke looked at Touji, who shrugged, and then he looked back at Hikari, "Um… Monkey style?"

Hikari's answer was cut off as the door to the small training room opened and in walked a man dressed in a similar gi, only his belt was black and had four red hash marks on the end. He wasn't tall or short, thin or heavily muscled, but his eyes dissected them all in the space of a few seconds. "Good afternoon, children. You are here to learn a rather generalized version of self defense."

Touji crossed his arms and frowned, "And who are you?"

The man smirked a little, "Your teacher."

Touji scowled, "Don't make fun of me! I'm-"

"YOU are nobody, not until I say otherwise. I have been hired by NERV to teach you three in hopes that it will somehow improve your ability to pilot those monstrosities that you call Evas."

Hikari stepped forwards, "Um, Sensei, what is your name?"

The man smirked a little more, "You can learn my name if you survive this first lesson, Horaki-san. Now, we begin."


Shinji grunted as he hit the mat-padded ground AGAIN for the fifth time in the past ten minutes. Whose bright idea had it been for him to take up hand to hand training again?

"A whole two minutes. I'd be impressed if I wasn't so disappointed, Shin-chan."

Oh, yeah… "Why didn't you tell me that you were a certified brown belt, Misato?"

Misato grinned down at him, her hair plastered to her forehead with a light sheen of sweat, "Because you never asked. Granted, it's been a few years since I put anything CLOSE to my full effort into training, but I also haven't had to. Still, it'll help me get my girlish figure back, don't you think?"

Shinji got to his feet slowly and kept his mouth shut. If he answered yes, that would imply that she had lost her girlish figure. If he answered no, that might be taken to imply something else. Either answer would most probably get him tossed around harder and, despite the rumors, he wasn't into pain.

Misato smirked a little at Shinji as he stood up; he hadn't answered, which proved that he was still playing their little game. Oh, she'd left enough open-ended comments and questions over the past few hours to suggest that she had lost her figure and gotten fat (which, truthfully, wasn't quite true – she HAD put on a few pounds and this would most probably take them off), but he had yet to rise to the bait. "You alright, Shinji?"

"Good to go, Misato-chan. I'm kinda used to being a punching bag for a female with bad intentions," he said with a little grin on his lips, a grin that didn't reach his eyes.

"I'm not Asuka, Shinji. If I hit on you, it's for a reason."

He grinned, "So, you are admitting to hitting on me, then? Are you that hard-up for a date?"

She scowled at him and marked up a mental point for him, "I meant _physically_ hitting on you, Shinji. Why, do you want to go out on a date with me?"

He took up a very loose stance and motioned her in, "Couldn't hurt, especially given some of the rumors I overheard the other afternoon about what really goes on with us."

Misato took three steps in and lashed out with a kick, a kick he let slide by before he lashed out with one of his own aimed at the back of her knee. She absorbed the kick on the outside of her shin and punched out with a quick combo of jabs and crosses followed by another kick. She'd heard the rumors too and had openly laughed at them… but that didn't stop her own mind of turning against her and changing the young Shinji she saw in her mind to the older one doing those things to her.

She jerked back to the real world as Shinji's own return punch came in, slower and clumsier than what she'd expected, but then again he was a student, a white belt, and returned the punch in kind… only harder and faster. It hit true, yes, but he turned his head as her padded fist struck his padded chin, lessening the force of the blow and allowing him to continue his spin-

The back of Shinji's fist struck the side of Misato's own padded helmet and she saw double for a few seconds as she went down. Damn it, where'd he learn the spinning backfist? Had he been watching those old cage match DVD's she had?

"Misato-chan? Are you alright?"

"Fine, Shinji. I'm fine, just a little woozy. Have you been into my old DVD's again?"

Shinji blushed as he took off his helmet, "Um… maybe?"

Misato took off her own helmet and smirked, "Well, it's either the cage match ones, my action movies, my anime collection or my porn stash."

Shinji's blush deepened as he helped her to her feet (at a distance – she had used that trick once too often that had him on his back and her on top of him), "I only got into the action movies and cage matches, Misato! I didn't watch anything else."

Misato's grin bloomed again and took on a teasing glint, "Why not? Got something against anime? Orrrrr… were you waiting to see if I caught you watching porn?"

Shinji went on the offensive, "Why such a sudden interest in if I watch your porn or not, Misato? Are you mad I didn't tell you and ask you to watch with me?"

Misato blushed, "Shinji!" Damn it, ANOTHER point to him.

"Yes, Misato-chan?"

She took up a position and waved him in, "You're so going to pay for that."


"How are they progressing, Doctor?"

"Well enough, I suppose. Shinji's synch ratio is up four percent and the Children are steadily improving. I am personally going to give this experiment of theirs six months to see if it bears any fruit."

"The Angels might not wait that long."

Ritsuko sighed, "No, Commander, they never do."

As if to prove a point about tempting Murphy, an overly familiar alarm went off.

AN: There, a longer chapter (barely). Sadly I can't seem to get the scene I WANT to follow this to hook up in a reasonable way so I'm going to chop it here and let it go out as-is. Reviews, please.