"Ibuki-san, are you sure I'm not imposing," Shinji mumbled softly as he stared around the fairly cluttered apartment.

"Not at all Ikari-kun." The brown haired woman stated as she rounded the corner and back into the living room. She carried a box with a black garbage back resting on top of it but she unceremoniously dropped them to the floor by her couch letting a cloud of dust expand to encompass the room.

It was a rather small living space containing only a couch, pushed against the wall that contained the door to the outside world, and a simple glass coffee table located in front of that. A yard further forward and the entertainment system, hardly ever used, was a simple wood hutch with an old flat screen T.V. resting inside of it.

The door outside was to the left of the couch while the rest of the apartment stretched out to the right. A small kitchen was the furthest right one could go and a hallway led deeper into the building which held a master bedroom, bathroom and another smaller bedroom. All in all it was an apartment that probably should have only been shared by close friends, family, or lovers.

Still Ibuki Maya thought of the abode as home and wouldn't trade it for anything, save maybe that new Forest Inc. 20Z computer with dual screens. Maya quickly shook herself out of her stupor and gave Ikari Shinji a once over.

The white dress shirt he always wore was wrapped around his waist and his black undershirt remained tucked dutifully into his black slacks. His shoes had been taken off at the doorway and he wore simple white socks. However, Maya's attention was mostly upon the sling that held the boys right arm carefully to his torso. Not only that but under his slacks was an elastic knee brace and a bandage that covered up a few stitches.

Maya had been surprised when she'd heard what had happened and almost didn't believe it until she'd seen the third child's swollen face. While it had now gone down to its appropriate size the dark bruise that dominated the area under his eye and the square bandage taped to his cheek showed that it was more than just an accident.

Apparently Langley Asuka Soryu had taken out her frustrations on one Ikari Shinji while he was at school one day. The cause, it is argued, is the fact that Ikari Shinji had not made a lunch for Soryu Asuka and as such she felt the need to remind him not to forget it again.

As of now Langley Asuka Soryu is currently serving a month long confinement within the halls of NERV HQ.

The reason Ikari Shinji was currently standing within Ibuki Maya's apartment however is because the officials within NERV had decided that Shinji should no longer stay in the accompaniment of either Katsuragi Misato and Langley Asuka Soryu. As such he had been reassigned to the care of Ibuki Maya, First Lieutenant of NERV and computer technician.

Maya really had no problem with allowing the boy to stay with her. She thought that it would be a good chance for her to get to know the boy so as to help him with his social problem. Of course others would think about other things pertaining to his staying with her. However, she was unfortunately used to the mumbles and whispers that had roamed through the complex of NERV and had dealt with it maturely and paid little attention to the goading remarks to which she prided herself for not rising to the claims.

Shinji on the other hand only saw it as yet more people abandoning him. With Misato out of his regular life as well as Asuka he no longer had anyone to rely on for more... personal questions. He'd never had much of a relation with anyone and Misato had clarified quiet a few things in his life but now that she was no longer there he didn't know if he should continue to follow such advise or not.

"Shinji." The boy looked up as his name was called and resisted the urge to shake the hair that had fallen in front of his eyes away. His piercing blue orbs glanced over at Maya's soft brown before he glanced away at the floor once more.

"Oh, gomen. Ikari-kun, would you like to see your room now or perhaps you'd rather have dinner first?" Maya had almost as bad of people skills the young Ikari Shinji but she had enough to remain within a somewhat strange click of the three First Lieutenants that had garnered the rather degrading name of "Bridge Bunnies."

"Dinner please. The food at the hospital isn't all that appetizing." Please let the world stand still for a moment as we once more read over Shiji's first joke. We can only guess that Touji's gruff attitude was starting to wear off on him.

Maya giggle softly at the boys rather lame joke. While it wasn't that well constructed or even entirely funny she had a feeling that it was intended to at least be some form of humor.

Shinji on the other hand didn't really know what to do. He hadn't intended to say that but he supposed that as long as Maya wasn't chastising him for his disrespect to the hospital cuisine then he really shouldn't care to much.

"Alright then. Unfortunately I only have a frozen pizza. It should be done fairly soon so go ahead and make yourself at home." Maya turned and headed for the little kitchen and Shinji found himself in the predicament of standing in the middle of the womans living room without an idea of what he should do.

She had said make yourself at home and the last time someone told him that he was off and cleaning as soon as he'd entered the premises. He thought of moving the black garbage bag to a more suitable position and was just about to do so when Maya came once more into the room.

"Well don't just stand there Ikari-kun. Sit down." Shinji carefully lowered himself to the welcoming embrace of the soft cushions of the, almost, overstuffed couch. While he had been bed ridden for some time and had remained seated most of the way to Maya's house his knee was still sore from lack of use.

Maya also plopped herself down on the couch, startling the young boy slightly before he once more relaxed. She had honestly never seen anyone that was so strung up before, besides maybe Fiutski or Gendo himself, but a boy like him should definitely be more relaxed.

"It's going to be okay Shinji," she stated as she took his hand gently in her own, "you'll see."

However, Shinji himself couldn't agree. He knew, no matter how much he wanted to believe it, things would not be okay. They never were.