A DIFFERENT MEETING

by Gunman

Disclaimer: I do not on Eva or its characters.

Summary: What if Shinji and Asuka met under very different circumstances?

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Asuka was upset.

Again Kaji had declined her advances. They had been aboard this super carrier for nearly two weeks and, to put it simply, Asuka was lonely.

To be honest, she had been lonely ever since she found out she was a pilot candidate. Especially with her mother dying shortly after that, and her father and her drifting apart as a result.

She had received the best possible training for an Eva, and as a prodigy she was already a college graduate. However, as a result, it put her ahead of children her own age. Add to the fact that there were no other children aboard the 'Over the Rainbow' super carrier, and with Kaji busy with his own stuff, Asuka was a very lonely girl.

I wish I had someone here to talk to. She thought. No one here my age... a bunch of old men who have been at sea too long... bunch of younger men who're working to keep this bucket afloat... no real women to talk to... bunch of fresh-out-of-the-academy cadets. She grumbled as she put her book down and turned off the lights in order to get in some nap time.

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(Asuka's dream)

The Four Horsemen advanced upon her position, their weapons brandished and all prepared to end her life.

Death wielded a scythe. War wielded two swords. Famine wielded a crossbow. Pestilence wielded a whip.

Asuka felt very alone that instant.

Suddenly, a faceless warrior appeared out of nowhere and took the arrow that Famine shot at her in his back. Though he was pained by the weapon, he was still able to stand up and blast the four evil demons with his sword, sending them back to the hell they came from.

"Are you alright?" the faceless warrior asked as he helped Asuka stand up.

"Yes. Now that you're here." she replied as she moved in close to kiss the man.

Suddenly, the Four Horsemen sprang up.

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"AAAH!" Asuka cried as she sprang from her sleep, only to find that she was in her own bed.

Alone once more.

"What was that?" she panted. Then, noticing that no one was knocking on her door or barging in to see if she was alright, she sighed once again. "I'd better go talk to Kaji."

Grabbing her robe and slippers she stepped out of her room into the cold hallways and headed for Kaji's room, which was one level down.

Asuka had been really upset with their rooms being so far apart. Especially if Kaji was her guardian on this whole trip. He might have said that, but he certainly didn't act like it.

"Kaji?" she called out, rapping on the door to his cabin. "Kaji?" she rapped again and when she didn't receive an answer, she pushed the door open to find the cabin empty. "Great. Where are you when I need you Kaji?" she whispered as she looked around the room.

However, being the persistent girl she was, Asuka went over and sat down at the desk. She noticed that there were several cases in the room, a bed, a desk with a laptop on it, a lamp next to it, and a bunch of files from NERV.

One of the files read: Ikari, Shinji, Third Child of NERV.

The Third Child? Hmm. Well, why not? Better see just who the competition is. She mused as she picked up the file and started reading it.

"Let's see here... Shinji Ikari. Third Child. Son of Commander Gendo Rokobungi Ikari and Yui Ikari. Suffers from mild depression and lack of confidence following the death of his mother... at four years of age?" Asuka's mood suddenly shifted to sadness at reading that. This was because she had lost her own mother at virtually the same age.

She continued reading.

According to this, he was present when his mother died, during Unit 01's activation test. His mother was the head of the project back then. Hmm... father abandoned him shortly after that. What's this? The Marduke Institute designated Shinji as the Third Child six months after his mother's death. But... there's nothing in here about anyone making any attempt to bring him back for training. Looks like no contact was made period. No reports or details whatsoever of what happened in the ten years from when he was abandoned to when he arrived in Tokyo-3 when he fought the Third Angel. Asuka mused.

And to Asuka, that didn't make any sense. She herself was trained as a pilot right from the start, ten years ago, and she figured it was common sense that the other chosen pilots were the same way.

Wait a second! If this information is correct, then Shinji was called back to Tokyo-3 by the man who abandoned him, to pilot a giant robot he didn't know existed, to face an enemy he knew nothing about. He could have been killed! But... somehow he managed to survive. Began his training after he killed the Third Angel. She thought.

Better late than never I guess. She thought sarcastically. Lets see... the Fourth Angel attacked three weeks later and was destroyed, but... Shinji was disciplined for it? Why was he... she paused for a second and then quickly reread the report. Says here he disobeyed his superior officers orders to retreat.

Asuka smiled at that.

He doesn't run from a fight. I like that. Hmm? He pulled two civilians into the entry plug during the fight? That's pretty reckless. But that just means he has it in him to protect others. Wait... report says that Misato told him to do that? Whoa. That's reckless, but I guess that's Misato for you. Lets see... killed the Fifth Angel using a sniper rifle created from the JSSDF's prototype hyper-particle beam cannon, with assistance from the First Child who was using a shield to protect him. He stopped the JetAlone robot from blowing up a nearby city when it went crazy at it's activation test. Says that Misato shut down the reactor from inside, but Shinji was the one fighting the giant robot to make sure it didn't get to the city.

Asuka set the file back on the desk.

A résumé like this and he hasn't had any training? Who is this guy? She wondered. I mean... I've had training but I've yet to face an Angel. They should have called me to Tokyo-3 when these things started attacking. This guy's faced three Angels and a robot and he wasn't ever trained. No training, no experience, not even a freaking warning.

Asuka went back to her cabin after waiting a few more minutes for Kaji.

I'm supposed to meet this guy tomorrow when Misato comes in to check up on us. We'll be docking in a couple days. Hmm... I'd better pick out my best dress. She smiled and hurried back to her cabin.

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Morning came quicker than she expected, but Asuka wasn't flustered. Even as she put the finishing touches on her appearance.

Have to be perfect Asuka. Want to make a good impression on this guy. She smiled as she went through her wardrobe. Several of the dresses were for Kaji, things that she wanted to wear to impress the unshaven man in. But now they were going to try and impress the Third Child.

Satisfied with her yellow sundress and matching shoes, the German redhead smiled at the mirror and hurried out of her cabin.

It was nearly 10:00 when Asuka stepped outside into the open air. The smell of the sea and the kicking wind made Asuka reconsider if wearing this outfit was the right choice.

She quickly made it to the railing that overlooked the flight deck and finally took in the fresh crisp air and traces of the salty sea around her. The cry of the gulls overhead and the lapping of the waves made the experience rather romantic to the girl.

I wish I had someone to share this moment with, she thought as she looked over the rails and saw the helicopter land.

From it emerged the woman she knew as Misato Katsuragi, the woman who was going to be her commanding officer.

There were three younger teenage boys running ahead of the woman. She didn't have a good enough view to tell who was Shinji, so she headed down to the deck.

After arriving on the flight deck she paused, allowing her eyes to focus on the trio of boys.

The first one as a boy in a black track suit with short-cut hair chasing a ball cap that had become the wind's plaything. No, that's not Shinji. Doesn't look smart enough. She thought.

The next boy she saw wore glasses and was waving a video camera around like he only had ten minutes to live. Nope. Not Shinji either. Looks like a military geek. Probably a hacker too.

That left...

A boy with wavy brown hair and deep blue eyes stepped into Asuka's line of vision. At first Asuka wasn't sure this was the Third Child, except that the picture in Kaji's file proved it was him.

Is this the Third Child? He doesn't look very strong. She thought.

Suddenly, a familiar voice caught her attention.

"Hello, Asuka. It's been a while. My how you've grown." Misato said.

Asuka turned back and smiled confidently at the woman, putting best face forward. "Yeah, and it's not just my height. My figure's filled out too." she said.

"Everyone, I'd like you to meet the designated pilot of Unit 02. Asuka Langley Sohryu."

Suddenly, before she introduce herself, the wind picked up and lifted the hem of her yellow sundress up, giving the boys a clear shot of her white panties.

Naturally Asuka was the first one to notice the boys staring.

SMACK! SMACK! Toji and Kensuke's faces's bore the handprint of the fiery redhead.

Asuka's hand was on her way to Shinji's face, only to pause when the sudden roar of another helicopter exploded over their heads.

"Huh?" Toji gasped.

"What?" Shinji gasped.

"Who's that?" Misato asked.

The group of mostly teenagers paused as a quartet of individuals leaped from the helicopter holding onto cables as they descended.

Asuka froze as they hit the ground.

The first person was a man in black, his face painted like a skull.

The second person was a large man dressed in military fatigues and brandished two large knives.

The third person was a leaner man in desert camouflage holding a machine gun.

The fourth person was a sickly looking man in a leather outfit holding a whip.

The Four Horsemen from my dream! She mentally gasped.

"There They Are! Kill The Children!" the skull-faced man said.

The lean man with the machine gun cocked his weapon and opened fire at them.

"Look out!" Shinji shouted.

"Run!" Misato hollered.

"Out of my WAY!" Kensuke shrieked like a girl as he ran away from the machine gun maniac.

Toji was right behind him as he ducked behind a small stack of crates.

Asuka's attention was on the pair of scared boys, just grimacing.

Cowards. She thought.

Her attention was back on the man with the gun as he took aim and swept the machine gun across the deck, towards her.

Suddenly, her vision was filled with the blue eyes of the Third Child.

"Asuka, look out!" he shouted, grabbing her shoulders as three small objects impacted into his body.

Asuka saw the spray of blood as Shinji let out a strained cry. He wrapped his arms around Asuka and brought her to the ground as more shooting and the sound of fighting was caught by Asuka's ears. She couldn't turn her eyes away from the blue sphere's of the boy who had just saved her life.

"Well, well, well. Looks like my lucky day." the skull-faced man said as he pulled his spiked knife out from his belt and raised it over his head.

Asuka gasped as Shinji suddenly made a move, grabbing a piece of pipe that was lying next to them and sitting up to toss the pipe into the man's throat with all his might.

"ARGK! AAAAHH!" the man coughed and gagged as he stumbled back, before tripping over some cables on the launch deck and slamming into the launch control panel.

The jet catapult fired, the thick cable shooting across the deck and catching the other three men in the chest and propelling them off the ship and into the ocean. The skull-faced man's leg had become entangled by rope that had gotten attached to the launch cable in all of the confusion. As such he was yanked after his partners once the rope's length had run out, propelling him out over the ocean along with them.

In that instance, the young redhead's mind was flooded with the images of her nightmare.

The Four Horsemen trying to kill her. The four men from the helicopter.

The faceless warrior who appeared to rescue her. The not-so-faceless Shinji Ikari.

The injured warrior rising up to blast the demons back to hell. The shot Shinji sitting up and causing the four men to be launched from the carrier.

The rest of her dream faded as she brought herself back to reality.

"Are you alright?" Shinji asked her as the faceless warrior in her dream had.

"Yes. Now that you're here." she said, repeating the words from her dream.

She suddenly realized something.

Shinji had been shot!

"Shinji? Shinji! SHINJI!" Asuka cried as the boy quickly lost consciousness. "MEDIC!"

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"Alright, we're almost done." the doctor said as he gently pulled the third bullet from Shinji's back and dropped it into the tray on the movable table. "Nurse, sterilize the wounds and dress them."

"Yes, doctor." the young woman said as the doctor went to talk to Misato and the others who were outside the med bay.

"Well, how's he doing doctor?" Misato anxiously asked.

"He's been shot in the back three times." he said as he pulled out his clipboard to make sure he was right about their locations. "Just behind the left shoulder blade, an inch to the left of the spine, and the lower right side of his back. To be honest it's a miracle he isn't dead. None of his vital organs were hit and he didn't lose as much blood as he should have. To be honest, I'd say the boy was blessed with luck." he replied to the woman. "He'll make a full recovery in no time. Just don't have him do anything strenuous any time soon."

"Ah, damn it! And here I was hoping we were going to have sex tonight."

CRASH! CRASH! CRASH!

Kensuke, Toji and the doctor went down to the floor.

"Jeez, guys. I was joking." Misato groaned at the trio.

She turned to address Asuka, but the German girl was gone.

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"Shinji? Shinji, are you alright? Can you hear me?" the German girl whispered to the boy.

Shinji was lying on his chest while the nurse finished the dressings, but was able to turn his head to face the girl.

"Ms Sohryu?" he asked weakly.

"Please call me Asuka." she smiled.

"Alright." he said weakly. "Asuka."

"Is he alright?" Asuka asked as the nurse finished the dressings.

"He needs rest, but he'll be perfectly fine." the nurse said, stepping out to give the pair some privacy.

Asuka stood beside Shinji.

"Is something wrong, Asuka?"

"You... saved my life. You just met me, didn't even know me... and you took three bullets in the back to protect me." she said. "Why did you do that?"

"I... I guess... because I didn't want you to get hurt."

Asuka was actually touched at that.

"But... you didn't even know me."

"Didn't matter. I just... knew I had to."

"Had to? Had to what? Protect me?"

"Yes." he replied.

Ordinarily Asuka would have protested. Would have said 'I don't need anyone to protect me, not even you, little boy'. But instead she said...

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Asuka leaned in and kissed him softly on the cheek.

Shinji blushed at that.

He was shot in the back three times and he was still able to fight. He took down all four of the attackers with just a lead pipe. Asuka thought. Maybe he is the one for me.

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Author's Notes:

Alright, here's my newest Shinji/Asuka story.

Sorry if it seems like I'm causing Shinji a lot of pain here, but you have to admit that if Shinji was going to win Asuka's favor, he had to do something rather... spectacular to do it.

This is going to be the first chapter in a multi-chapter story, probably about 5 chapters give or take one, and it's gonna be mostly about Shinji and Asuka's interactions, not Angel battles.

And the four guys who were trying to kill the? They were mercenaries hired by a fanatical religious group who believed that the children were working for the cause of the Devil.

I know, I know, I know. It sounds like a borrowed fanfic plot, but it's pretty good for this purpose I thought.

And as always... read and review.