30 Kisses, 30 Ways: Shinji and Asuka
Themes: K#13 (Excessive chain), W#16 (Honesty)
Title: Marry Me.
Disclaimer: I shall use this space to cover my own ass: Not mine. I do not own Eva, or anything in this story.
This little joke started as an attempt of mine in trying to get out of writer's block, so I (stupidly) said to myself "Myself, let's take this endeavor of 2 challenges at once: 30 kisses and 30 ways in one story."
It all snowballed from there.
During instrumentality an infinite number of worlds were created; from the Edo period to the end of the millennium. All of them different, all of them unique.
But all those worlds have one unifying rule in common; in every single one we met, and invariably, we fall in love. And sometimes we hurt each other.
And we connect to each other deeply.
Worlds made with both you and me in the center.
That's the single, unifying rule. (Retake 04)
Shinji hiccuped shifting a little as he felt a leg of the table digging against his back, sniffling and running the back of his hand against his nose before taking another drink from the sake bottle at his feet.
He took another swig, making a face out of memory, since the bitterness of the sake had long been forgotten, his taste buds already numbed by the liquor as several empty bottles laid strewn around his feet and on top of the table against which his back was resting right now.
"H-how could you… w-why?" Shinji sobbed before throwing the first thing in his hand which turned out to be the ring box, getting a brief feeling of satisfaction from hearing it clattering around the room.
"I thought I meant something… you only… you used me." he continued while hitting the floor with her fist, unable to otherwise express his rage and anger and frustration while his mind kept replaying the events of the day over and over.
"Shinji, please stop drumming your fingers against the controls, the sound is aggravating." Ritsuko Akagi said sullenly while recording the latest data from test plug 01.
"Sorry, Dr. Akagi." Came the sheepish response over the comm channel, making Ritsuko roll her eyes while a small smile crept on her face. It was obvious he was nervous given what he had planned today, and Misato had been very clear about telling her and Kaji not to mention anything about knowing Shinji's plan.
"Even if he doesn't look like it, he still has trouble believing in himself."
The irony wasn't lost by neither of the three.
"Don't you think they're both too young?" Kaji asked over the video feed, ever the concerned adult when it came to the redhead he now saw equally as a younger sister, as well as a daughter. "I mean, far be it for me to stifle young love and all, but I really think those two should take things a bit slower."
"Are you sure this is you talking and not your paycheck?" Misato grumbled.
"Ok, fine… Langley asked me to have a talk with her and to make a long story short, I don't think I'm her beloved Kaji-san anymore." The ponytailed man said with a smirk before hearing a beep. "Ritsuko, I just got Asuka's data. Here, you can check her synch-graphs against Shinji's."
"Thanks Kaji." Ritsuko said calmly, taking a sip from her coffee cup while scribbling down something on her notepad. "Both you two and Asuka's father need to understand they faced a life or death situation 4 years ago, and then once they survived, they were told they would be separated and possibly never see each other again. If anything, those situations made them more aware of what could happen in the near future as opposed to anything."
"Well, you know those two… it's been four years and they still behave pretty much like Asuka living in Germany is nothing but a short-term vacation." Misato pointed out from her seat, where she was busy amusing herself by spinning around.
"Her father told Asuka she was still too young and if needed be, he would pull his weight around to make her focus on what was important instead of chasing after rainbows." Kaji said with a humorless tone.
"So that's why she did it, huh?" Misato wondered out loud while smirking.
"Oh, Asuka told me last time she'd be staying with me instead of Hikari."
"Yeah, I think Hikari doesn't want to cover for her anymore when I call asking for her knowing already she's necking with Shinji on the apartment complex roof…." Misato said with a slight smirk as if knowing this made her be superior to everyone in the room. "As if any one of them could pull the ol' 'lets ditch Misato and make out' trick on me."
"You both might as well accept the fact that your surrogate children are getting married… which might qualify as a quasi incestuous-relationship." Ritsuko added while taking another drink of her coffee to hide her smirk while Misato and Kaji sputtered around her comment.
And now, the blond could see the look in Shinji's face, knowing that as soon as he would be out, he would call Asuka and they would both talk for the better part of the hour.
I wonder how on earth that boy plans on proposing to her. Ritsuko thought as she milled ruefully, turning to look over her shoulder to the top part of the command deck where both Dr. Ikari and Commander Ikari were watching.
Still, it wouldn't hurt to give him a little confidence shot. Ritsuko thought as she opened a private voice channel between her terminal and Shinji.
"Hi, Shinji, I have been noticing a few uh… fluctuation marks on your synch-graph… are you nervous about… something in particular?"
Shinji blinked at the voice channel, labeled 'Sound Only' before he looked at his parents; they both looked busy and serious, but he could also see his mother's hand squeezing his father's shoulder, before his own gloved hand came to rest on top of her.
"Uh… ye-yeah, a little…"
"Don't worry Shinji, I'm sure she's waiting for you to call her too."
Shinji's face blushed a bright red; of course everyone knew about his and Asuka's relationship, especially after the incident involving the ship that was supposed to send her and Unit 02 to the NERV-EU base in Germany, how he had boarded the ship without permission, running around while shouting Asuka's name only to have her show up in one of the scaffold's overhead, jumping over the rail and reaching out for him, holding each other like a lifeline, never letting go.
Misato hadn't been pleased in the slightest, and Kaji had even given them a halfharted lecture while both were still on the ship but both Shinji and Asuka noticed how he was obviously bored and didn't even say anything while they each held hands.
That had been 4 years ago. 4 long years of a long distance relationship that would have Asuka coming over twice a year and staying with Hikari on the pretense of 'catching up with her' or Shinji going to visit Kaji and, invariably, Asuka; messages and emails and packages for valentines day and white day, birthdays and more had been exchanged.
And through it all, their relationship had been cemented, had grown stronger, and now, today…
Asuka will be 18. Shinji thought as he exited the test plug and walked quickly towards the locker room, already imagining his phone would be ringing since Asuka was always calling him on time. He was still a little worried after their last fight a couple of days ago, it had been over something minimal but for some reason Asuka had insisted making a big deal out of it, before she began to tell Shinji she was tired of the distance, of the wait, of having to listen day in and out to her parents telling her she should be better at school, apply herself more on Nerv's program.
In short, asking her to let go of him.
It had all went downhill afterward, like a wrecking ball that had lost control, smashing everything in front until all the excessive chain had been railed in and exhausted, ending in Asuka calling him an idiot and how she hated him and she was happy they were half a world apart otherwise she would be kicking him up and down the street.
That was when Shinji had decided to end the conversation. Seconds afterwards, Asuka had called only to shout at him when he picked up she was the one ending this, not him.
Afterwards, Shinji had decided to let her be and let her cool down. In a way, it had worked out better for him; that fight had made him realize she was right and he should show her what she really meant, so after carefully considering everything, he had decided to buy her a ring and ask her to marry him on her birthday, letting her know that when she got to Tokyo in a couple of weeks, he would be giving her the ring to make it official and in the meantime they should prepare their parents for the obvious shocking news.
But when Shinji checked his phone he saw there were no missed calls or messages, no emails or voice mails.
That's odd, it should be 10 in the morning over there. Shinji thought as he glanced at the small velvet box inside his locker. Asuka would come for her Christmas break in 2 weeks, but he had already made up his mind to ask her to marry him, now that they were both, finally, legally adults.
Well, it is her birthday, so maybe she is expecting me to call her. The boy figured as he began to punch in the numbers, holding the phone to his ear and waiting.
Shinji frowned; the voice was unmistakably male and clearly German, maybe Asuka's dad had…
"Hallo, wer ist das?"
"Oh, a-ah… E-English, please." Shinji said shakily, not knowing if Asuka's dad knew any Japanese. "I w-want to talk to Asu-"
"Wer ist es?" Shinji gasped; the voice sounded angry. Was Asuka still angry? Maybe she had an argument with someone.
"Ich weiß es nicht, einige kid wollen mit dir reden."
"Ugh, ist es wahrscheinlich mein dummkopf Ex-Freund. Sagen Sie ihm, tot umfallen." Shinji couldn't understand a lot of German, but the only words he could make out were unequivocally Asuka's; 'Idiot Ex-boyfriend'.
Whatever else anyone was saying, it didn't really matter; Shinji simply stopped caring, not even registering when the phone fell of his hand, impacting on the floor.
He didn't know how he got home, all he could remember was he had to get out of there, he had to leave, run… and all the strength he could muster only managed to move his legs forward, not caring or minding about bumping into people on the elevator or the train car.
Never once did Shinji care enough to raise his eyes.
On auto-pilot, he left on his usual stop, walking up towards his home, opening the door and walking in before going straight to the liquor cabinet.
He didn't know how long he had been drinking, but he knew the numbness was a welcomed state; things felt softer, smoother… fuzzier.
It also meant Kaworu was here.
"H-huh? Kaworu? Wh-what? Aren't you supposed to be in… de-dead?" Shinji slurred.
"Yes, I am just a hallucination brought upon by your consumption of alcohol." Kaworu said placidly, sitting down in front of Shinji and staring at him with dancing, merry eyes.
"W-well, why are you here?"
"I am a figment of your imagination, Shinji… I also seem to be someone you feel a close attachment to. A spirit guide of sorts." Kaworu chuckled, almost as if he had said a personal, private joke. "What is it you wanted to talk about?"
Shinji paused, looking at Kaworu with bleary, drunken eyes. "I-if you're really just a random thought, you should… know."
"You want to talk about how Soryu dumped you." Kaworu said with the same affably tone, as if he were practicing singing lessons.
"Why? We promised we'd wait… she just… why?"
"You're thinking perhaps she was pressured by someone. Kaji and Misato had already said we were too young." Kaworu spoke in Shinji's soft voice, matching pitch and tone without flaw.
"So do you feel that way?"
"O-of course not." Shinji shot back feeling dizzy. "I mean, yeah, we're young but we love each other so it really shouldn't matter, right?"
Kaworu nodded. "But you already knew I would agree with you."
"Yeah." Shinji sighed. "I mean, you always want what would make me happy, so…"
"Maybe I would be better for this then."
Shinji blinked, now, in front of him was Rei.
"I haven't seen you much even though we're both stationed here in Japan." Shinji said, smiling softly at Rei.
"That's because I've been in Matsuhiro. Besides, you no longer call." Rei said with a chiding tone, even if she was smiling at Shinji like she used to. Last time Shinji had seen her, she had let her hair grow, now wearing it tied into a long ponytail.
"I know, after the last time…"
"Yeah, I guess me blurting out I loved you even while I knew you and Asuka were dating was a bit of a gaffe." Rei said while rubbing her nose and giving Shinji a small bashful smile.
"So, I…" Shinji began, closing his eyes, feeling his cheeks burning. "Are you here to tell me she did the right thing?"
Rei nodded. "You had actually been waiting for this day ever since you both decided to give this a try 4 years ago."
The tone in which Rei said that made Shinji look down, realizing it was true.
"You always knew she would eventually grow tired of long distance relationship; how often did you fight over small stuff like you not answering the phone, or her always having such a tight schedule? It's a wonder you even managed to hold up this long."
Shinji held his head against his knees. It's true. Rei's right.
"So I guess I actually wanted her to leave me then? I'm so pathetic."
"You really are."
Shinji blinked before looking up. In front of her was now Asuka, standing tall, proud and looking down sternly at him.
"Look at you, feeling sorry for yourself and getting drunk; you've been hanging around Misato for too long."
"And look at the mess you made. I'm sure your mom and your dad are gonna be pissed off when they come back and see y—" Asuka paused mid sentence before stopping and noticing the small velvet box, kneeling down next to it.
"Don't touch that!"
Asuka jumped back as Shinji grabbed the box from where it was, glaring at her with red, watery eyes.
"This was supposed to be your gift! I was gonna ask you to marry me!"
Asuka stopped and stared at Shinji, lips quivering .
"Yeah, today, I was gonna… a-and then I wanted you… w-when you got here… a-and I…" Shinji mumbled before Asuka knelt in front of him, holding the box.
"Why didn't you called me today?"
"I did and your dad answered and I heard you saying it's probably my idiot ex-boyfriend and I just…"
Asuka stared at Shinji for a long time before she slowly began to giggle. The giggle became a chuckle and soon she was sitting in front of Shinji, laughing out loud before falling on her back while he looked at her with an angry look on his face.
"It's not funny! A-And you're not even real!"
Asuka stopped laughing, giving Shinji an exasperated look before she got back to her sitting position in front of Shinji.
"You really are an idiot, but I knew that from the moment I met you… still… I guess…"
"Ow!" Shinji yelped rubbing his cheek after Asuka's slap. "What the hell was that fo—"
Shinji blinked quickly.
"Of course I'm here! Where the hell else am I supposed to be!?" Asuka shouted as she placed her hands, balled into tight fists, on her waist, looking down at Shinji.
Just like back when we first met. Shinji thought, feeling a pang of nostalgia mixing in with the happiness that moment always brought to his heart.
"But I thought you... over there at Germany... I mean..."
"Please! Do you honestly think I wouldn't come here?" Asuka huffed, trying hard to hide her smile. "I bought a ticket myself and got here after I got in a fight with my dad, I've been staying at Misato's since yesterday at night."
"Then today…" Shinji said slowly, trying to rationalize everything. "I heard you and your father…"
"Oh that? That was me talking with some random tech from Nerv a couple of days ago to set up my voicemail message for you." Asuka said as she pulled out her phone and grabbed Shinji's, dialing from his number and letting it ring several times before the message played again.
"Stupid Shinji, I'm pissed right now, but if you called to apologize, then I guess I can always listen to your message. Moron."
Shinji stared first at the phone and then at her.
"What? I was still angry at you for being an idiot, you know."
"A-and now?" Shinji said as his face slowly began to grow red and his lips slowly began to etch a smile.
"Now, I'm trying to come up with a good wedding proposal since I'm the one holding the ring." Asuka said before staring at Shinji, smiling. "Which is kind of lame because the guy should always do the proposing, a-and besides I have no clue of how to do this, anyway…"
Shinji stood there, staring at her face, her smile, her eyes… nothing else seemed to matter except this moment with her while Asuka kept her smiled before pouncing on Shinji almost as if she were a lion stalking her prey, landing on top of Shinji, almost straddling him.
"Shinji Ikari, my biggest idiot, my oldest friend, the only idiot who would sneak into a ship after realizing just how good a catch I am, the only dork who would put up with me in a relationship no one else but us seem to want,the only moron who would try to propose over the phone instead than on person…" Asuka said as she held the ring between thumb and forefinger, using it to separate her lips from Shinji's.
"Would you marry me?"
Shinji simply took the ring, and slid it into Asuka's fingers before cupping her chin and kissing her gently on the lips.
"You already knew I'd say yes."
- Fin -
AN: Not much to say; this was written over a scenario interaction someone very special proposed (pun very much intended) and it has a very special meaning for us both. I hope you guys like it half as much as she did.
Mahal kita, baby.