Disclaimer- Rei, Shinji, and all other related characters places and things are the property of their owners. I do not own them, nor do I claim ownership. All unrelated material belongs to me. ^-^

Chapter 2: Recovery
By: Spectre

Shinji woke up with the familiar smell of flowers breezing past his nose, tingling his senses. His eyes were blurred, just like before, but now he had a white blur to guide his body instead of a dark one. Beneath him a soft feathery mattress rested his battered and bruised body, a stiff cast encasing his shattered ankle. When his eyes came into focus he could see the white room that had housed him before, after his first battle with the angles, the day his "father" sent for him. Everything was the same, a bouquet of flowers by an anonymous concerner. The windows were as clear as the daylight that shone through them, beaming onto the sheets that covered him. Then next to the bed, writing on a clipboard, among other things, that contained his charts, was Miss Ritsuko.
"You're awake, I was worried about you, you know." Her soft, sweet voice was soothing to his ears as she passed her hand through his hair, rubbing his forehead with the sweetest smile on her face. "How do you feel?" Shinji let out a weak laugh, the only laugh he could manage as he looked down himself.
"I feel like the metro just ran over my head. Like someone put my ankle in a vice and twisted it until it snapped." The pain killers were all ready starting to fade, all the pain that had once plagued him began to slowly return to his broken body.
"Well, don't worry," Ritsuko laughed, "you should be fine. We are going to keep you here overnight just in case, but otherwise you are fine. The cast should be on for a while, you can't get it wet, you know the drill." Shinji laughed, if only she knew how well.
"Yeah." Then a flow swept his entire body as it came back to him, the memories overflowing, bursting through his mental dams. "Ayanami!! Ritsuko, is she alright?!" Shinji shot up form his place in the bed, letting the sheets drop from his chest.
"Shh, she's fine." Ritsuko grabbed his shoulders gently and set him back down on the bed, pulling the sheets back up to his neck. "She's in Post Op, we set her broken rib and we're keeping a close eye on her." A puzzled look swept over he face, consuming her smile.
"What? What's wrong Ritsuko?"
"Well, it just seems very strange that with all her injuries, that..."
"That what?"
"That she survived the crash. I mean; she had a severe blow to the head and a broken rib." Her eyes then focused back to Shinji who had hung his head low in deep thought. He remembered it all, he remembered everything, her limp body, her cold pale skin, no pulse. The truth was that she didn't survive, but did Ritsuko need to know? Shinji took a shot in the dark as it were, not knowing the outcome, but did he even care though?
"She didn't. When I pulled her out of the plug, she had no pulse but I-I..." Shinji struggled, stammered, unsure what to say. Even though he could say it easily in his mind, it was something terribly difficult to put into words. But then, Ritsuko smiled and stopped him before he could continue.
"Shinji, it's ok, I know."
"W-What? What do you mean?"
"She told me before she went under for surgery. But, she seemed confused, almost puzzled why you would risk so much to save her." Shinji looked up at her, her words sinking in, stimulating his own mind to beg the question why she couldn't understand. He had tried his best to tell her last night, or was it still the same day? He couldn't really tell, for the time he spent alone with her, in agony, seemed like an eternity. At any day it was, he had tried to tell her, searching his mind for the answer that even he wasn't sure of. Then Ritsuko's voice broke into his thoughts again, soothing, and gentle. "That was a very brave thing you did Shinji. Not many would have done the same, you may have permanently damaged your ankle because of it, but you have to ask yourself, did you really care about that at the time?" Her words were profound and true, as he searched his memory, he found the answer, he might not have told her, but she already knew.
"OH SHINJI-CHAN!!!!" Breaking through the soothing silence, Misato came running in with her arms wide open, ready to receive him. As her arms wrapped around him, Shinji could feel her trembling as she spoke. "Oh Shinji I was so worried about you! We didn't know where you were, we didn't know if you were still alive or not! Oh but now you're safe and you can come home with Pen-Pen and me! Speaking of Pen-Pen, last night I found him scratching at your bedroom door, he was worried too but you're safe now!" Somewhere in her frantic ramblings Shinji could hear his bones nearly crushing under her grip around him. Ritsuko stood aside watching every second, her hand up to her lips trying to hide her smile.
"Alright Misato, let go of the boy before you break his ribs!" Ritsuko laughed, "He should be ready to move tomorrow, but he'll need a crutch for a while." Misato slowly peeled herself off of Shinji, settling herself down in the chair resting next to his bed.
"Ok Ritsuko, but are you sure he can't come home tonight?"
"I'm sorry but we need to keep an eye on him, only for tonight. Then tomorrow he can go home, ok? You can stay here for tonight if you want, I'll be here anyways to keep and eye on Rei." Misato looked up and her face turned back to concern, almost forgetting about the poor girl. But it was understandable, Gendo's words still haven't left her, they were still floating in her mind, chilling her spine.
"How is she Ritsuko?" Ritsuko closed her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest, leaning against the cold wall.
"She has a broken rib, along with multiple injuries and she might have a slight concussion, we're not sure yet. Right now she's in Post Op, we just set her rib and let her rest for a while."
"Is it bad?"
"No, she should be fine. I'll tell you one thing, she's lucky to have survived though." Misato hung her head in thought, perhaps Rei didn't survive, the commander would not have thought anything of it, or maybe...for some unknown reason he has some sort of bond between them. Misato quickly shook the thought from her mind; he knew quite well Rei was with Shinji, if he had such a bond he wouldn't have said such things. But now was not the time to think of this, they were al right, that's all that mattered, neither of them needed to know of his cold words. Misato stood up and leaned over to kiss Shinji gently on the forehead, grateful he was alive.
"Well, I'm going to get a drink, you want anything Shinji?"
"No, I'm fine thanks." Shinji shook his head.
"How bout you Ritsuko?"
"No thanks, I got to be back in Rei's room in a few minutes anyways." Ritsuko looked down at her watch and finished what she had begun to write on Shinji's charts, waving Misato away. Just as the door shut behind her, Shinji looked over at Ritsuko, a slight smile forming on her lips.
"Thanks for not telling her Ritsuko."
"Ah, forget it, I figured you had a lot on your mind already. The last thing you need is Misato smothering you like some lost puppy."
"Too late for that." Ritsuko laughed and glanced down at her watch with a concerned face and moved towards the edge of his bed and sat down.
"Listen, I have to go now, check up on Rei okay?" As she spoke she gently ran her fingers through his matted hair. "You just get some rest, and if you need anything, just have someone send for me okay?"
"Thanks Ritsuko." Once again the young woman flashed a warm understanding smile down at him, then leaned over and gave him a light kiss on the forehead. Her lips felt warm against his skin; it soothed him and gave him a sense of peace in mind. As he leaned back into his bed, letting his head sink deeper in the soft feathery pillow beneath it, he watched her slip out the door and into the hall, he warm smile still fresh in his mind.

Night had slipped on upon them, darkness becoming like a black cloak covering the entire geofront. Shinji tossed in his bed, the sheets crumpled beside him as the violent movements of his body threw them out of place, his mind moving almost as rapidly as his body. The images and sounds replaying in his mind over and over again, somehow keeping in tune with his heartbeats. Finally he threw himself flat on his back and stared up at the ceiling, it was no use fighting it. The sleep had left him, no longer did his eyes droop nor his joints ache. He was wide-awake, and he knew he was going to be like that for a while. As he looked to the side of him he found a note pinned under the vase of flowers on the stand. By touch it was cold, still flapping in the breeze coming from the window wide open adjacent to where he was lying. As his eyes became more adjusted to the dark he could just make out the words sprawled in bright blue ink...

Sorry we didn't have much time together, but by the time I had gotten back you were already asleep. I would have waked you but you need your rest, it has been a long couple of days to you and tomorrow will only be harder, more tiring on you. I will pick you up as soon as I can so we can get you home, Pen-Pen will be glad to see you ^-^.

As his eyes scanned over the letter again he noticed a scratched out word, he could just barely make it out in the dark, "harder." What would she mean by that? Then it hit him; tomorrow he would have to face his father. Although he had abandoned him at such an early age, Shinji still knew him quite well. Even though they had destroyed the target, a renegade Mecha-Tech eva clone, the damage to the units would be unacceptable in his mind. Shinji hung his head and let the paper slip from his fingers, a new thought passing through his mind. Perhaps he would be even more concerned about Rei than the condition he was in. No, he knew that would be so. For some strange reason his father had a stronger bond with Rei than he did with his own son.
Rei had not seemed to have, left his thoughts since it had happened, no matter what he was thinking about. Only a single door down from him, lying motionless in a hospital bed identical to his own, no wonder she was so constant in his thoughts. They had been through quite a lot; the pain has been tremendous for both of them. Despite it, they had been saved, and she was able to live again.

He did not know what possessed him to do so, at the time he felt as if her were in a stupefied state, a deep trance controlled by his inner thoughts. The halls of Nerv at this hour was just as empty as it ever was during daytime. Only now, the lights were dimmed low as the power switches to a small generator at night to conserve power. Shinji poked his head out of his doorway, looking down each hall that came to sight, searching for anyone that might catch him. Slowly he pushed the door aside, trying not to make any sound and slipped out into the dark hall. With the cast on the lower portion of his leg, it was quite awkward to walk, and worse, he had not been given a crutch yet. Using the wall as a guide and support, Shinji place one hand upon it and made his way slowly and cautiously down the hall.
'Why am I doing this?' he thought to himself. Even his inner voice sounded weak and injured; the complex so quiet he would expect it to echo. Off in the distance he could hear faint murmurs and footsteps somewhere in the labyrinth of halls and passageways leading to various parts of the secret headquarters. These did not sway him at all, for they were distant, and faint, not threatening to his journey at all. The floor was cold under his feet, or foot, as it would seem. The cast stretched from his mid shin to the end of his foot. The bulky obstacle was stiff and uncomfortable, making it impossible to move his foot at all. So instead of standing on it, his foot dragged across the floor, the cast making a horrid scrapping sound that might sound off to the other medical assistants nearby.
Without even realizing it, Shinji's hand had left the rough plaster wall and had fallen upon a smooth wooden door. He turned his head to read the ID upon it, a small piece of paper slid into a slot of metal screwed into the grain. The darkness had consumed most of it but the remaining lights revealed enough to read the last name... "Ayanami." His heart suddenly jumped into his throat, he had not seen her since they came in together on the transport, he head resting gentle upon his shoulder filled with the pleasant emotions of sleep. As he pressed against the door he could here the familiar sounds of a normal hospital room; the loudest was the constant, rhythmic beeping of the heart monitor somewhere next to her bed. The knob was cold at the touch; the sensation of it sent his mind back to remember her skin. Her soft blue lips as he pulled her from her thrashed plug, as his own met with hers, the cold touch burned a memory in his soul. He had never seen a dead body before (other that that of an angels, which isn't exactly human) and that moment would always be remembered. It would always send a chill down his back as he thought of it; it was bad enough for him to see the limp, dark presence of death, but in the form of one he had known, dare he say cared for, had changed him forever.
He quickly shook the thought from his mind and pushed the door aside and shut it softly behind him. Rei's room was even colder that out in the halls, but a different sort of cold. Perhaps it was his own mind playing tricks on him, perhaps a small trace of that memory was still present in his state of thought. As he looked around the room, he noticed hers had no flowers, no chairs for visitors either. The bed that her broken body lay in was practically the same as his, only accompanying the side of it was a large trash bin instead of a stand, filled to the brim with bloody bandages as such as he had seen in her apartment room earlier that week. The shades were drawn, leaving the only light in the room the jumping yellow-green line on the heart monitor resting on a metal wheel stand to the right of her bed. Shinji swallowed, trying to get his heart to move back down into his chest, and started to move towards her. Once again, with the absence of a crutch, he had to use the wall as a guide to move across the floor.
When he was finally at her side, he took a deep breath before looking down at her, preparing himself for whatever may come. As his eyes fell upon her, he could see only her face, the rest covered under the sheets of her bed. Her head had been wrapped with gauze across the forehead, pinning down a large portion of her hair. He could see in some areas, large red spots where the blood had seeped through. Other than that, she seemed quite peaceful laying there. Her eyes were shut softly, and her lips were opened just the slightest bit to allow herself to breath. Red flushed in her cheeks from the cold, and in her sleep she had clenched the sheets up close, trying to keep herself as warm as possible. Shinji looked around the room, all the windows appeared to be shut, maybe it was just the loss of heat when the power shut down. He had barely noticed it in his own room, but he had defiantly felt it in the halls. On the other wall, there appeared to be a small locker/closet. When he peered inside, he found a soft tan blanket. It wasn't much, just barely thicker than the sheets that lay upon her now, but at least it was something warm. Quietly, Shinji flew it open and gently lay it upon her frozen body, pulling it up to her chin. After waiting a few minutes, he could see the flush in her leave and her soft quivers cease. As he was about to leave, a soft voice sounded from behind him.
"Th-Thank you."
"I'm sorry did I wake you?"
"No...why are you here?"
Suddenly Shinji's mind went blank; even he wasn't sure why he was there. He could remember asking himself that very same question. Her eyes, as he looked into them were filled with the very same confusion she felt the other night. He was lost within them, in a deep ominous trance unsure of what he exactly felt.
"I...I'm not sure." The words sort of fell from his mouth, simple and unfelt.
"Did they release you to Capt. Katsugari?"
"No, not yet, Ritsuko says they need to keep me overnight for observation...w-what about you?" A long silence fell over them; Rei could only stare into his eyes with the same soft, confusing look upon her.
"When did they pick us up?"
"A few minutes after you fell asleep. Misato saw the flames from over the hills, if not for that, we would have been waiting for quite some time." Shinji lowered his head and mustered all of his courage, preparing himself for the answer that may come. "H-Has anyone come to visit you yet?"
"Commander Ikari..." Shinji's heart sank, he should have been prepared for that answer, but the truth was he still hadn't gotten used to the fact that his father had practically left him dry, alone. "Hasn't he come to visit you yet?"
"No." He lowered his head and turned it to the side, staring at the wall, his mind desperately pondering the logic that may lie inside his fathers mind. Why would he visit her before his own son, his own flesh and blood? It puzzled him as did many other things about his father did, but then there was a part of him that wasn't at all surprised. He had gotten used to rejection, being used, shunned, and abandoned from his father. Where some would drift further from their father due to that fact, he only wished to grow closer to him.
"How is your ankle?" Shinji's head shot up, Rei's words startling him as they broke into the silence of the room.
"Oh, uh it's fine thanks. I need to wear this cast for a while though. How about you? How are you feeling?" Rei paused for a second, just staring at him softly, he facial expression barely changing from the last.
"I've gotten used to this pain." Now it was her turn to turn her head away from him, her words so true and yet so sad. To spend most of ones life in bondage, trapped in a cell of pain, soaked in their own blood. But then, his life wasn't that happy either, abandoned by his father when he was only a child, suffering with the shame for the rest of his life, taunted by his shady past only traces of it left in his earliest memories. It was as if they were kindred spirits, two lives molded from the same ball of clay bonded by a spiritual link deep within their souls. Like the eagle and the wolf, lone, majestic and with a sort of symbolism that could only be identified by a spiritual definition. Both live in a rough world where they must fend for themselves from predators and bare the pain alone. At that moment, both of them could feel that they were linked somehow; of course neither of them would acknowledge it to the other but then, they already knew.

As morning came, the sun soon shone through the blinds that covered his windows creating bright lines against the walls at the far side of his room. The sunlight was warm and Shinji no longer felt cold under his sheets. As with the night of the Evas, he had stayed with Rei until she had drifted into her sleep. After which he had slipped back into his own room. When he left he had felt a sort of peace fall over him, a deep understanding that he could not understand nor explain. He felt for the first time in a long while, glad to be here, alive. Soon, Misato would come to bring him home and at about the very same time Rei would awake from her peaceful slumber. And as she turned over to her side, she could see a vase of wildflowers in place of the heart monitor that rested by her. And as the sweet scent permeated her senses, she smiled.

Well, here it is, the long awaited continuation to Anatomy of Koi! Sorry it took so long but I have been busy. I just got a new job and I also have school so keep this in mind when waiting for the next chapter.- Ansa