JUST A CHILD...

======================================================================

Written by Axel Terizaki (aterizak@free.fr; ICQ# 34301980; IRCNet:
#teri-chan), 2000 4 04.
Retooled by Dave Watson (aj153@freenet.carleton.ca) and Terizaki at
various points between 2000 4 06-5 14.
Text version 1.0.
All standard disclaimers apply.

ASUKA's Network: http://www.asuka.com.bi
ASUKA's Notebook: http://www.asukanotebook.com.bi

======================================================================

This fanfic is dedicated to my Juju-chan. She's the only person who
really understood me when I was depressed, and I owe her a lot. I
love you, plain and simple, Julie. This fanfic is for you.

---Axel.

-=WARNING: Contains LIME elements.=-

So, what did I come up with to unite Shinji and Asuka this time, hm?
^_^ You'll discover sooner or later, mwhehehehe...

More seriously, this is a fic inspired by an idea from Alain Gravel.
He is going to write a fic based on the same kind of idea, and it
influenced me to write this one. I hope you won't mind. Yeah, shame
on me for "stealing" the idea from Rakna-sama ^_^.

And I changed something from my usual habits ^_^ You'll see what once
you read the first line of this fic, hehe :)


---

CAPTION: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION
CAPTION 2: Just a Child...

---

Asuka was pissed off. It's not that she's always pissed off,
but right now she was VERY pissed off. She was in her room, sitting
on her bed, waiting for Misato to come back from headquarters. She
was wearing a yellow T-shirt that amply showed off her cleavage to any
guy who would take a good look at her (whether they could survive
afterwards, though...), with a pair of blue shorts.

"I'll beat him to a pulp when he gets back...that idiot," she
grumbled, grinding her teeth.

It's been one month since Ikari Shinji, Third Child and
designated Evangelion pilot, was absorbed inside Unit-01 after a 400%
synchro rate incident.

"No way I can beat that score...there's no way...Shinji,
you're nothing but an idiot!" she nearly shouted, and punched the wall
in front of her.

"Owww, that hurt!"

She was rubbing her fist in pain when she heard the front door
of the apartment slide open. She left her room and rushed to the
entrance.

"Third Child, you're gonna pay for t..."

She was immediately silenced by what she saw, and by Misato.

"Ssssssh, you're gonna wake him up..." the Major softly
whispered to Asuka, as if the shock from seeing what Misato was
holding in her arms wasn't enough to shut her up already.

"What the...?"

Misato Katsuragi was holding a sleeping baby in her arms. A
baby with a ruffle of black hair on his head. Asuka's mouth was wide
open and, for once, she was at a loss of words. This wasn't an
embarrassing moment for her, or anything like that; she just couldn't
think of a proper thing to say.

"Misato, I think I deserve an explanation," the blue-eyed
redhead said, hands on her hips.

"Well, you remember that we were going to extract Shinji-kun
from Unit-01 today, right?"

"Yeah, yeah, I remember. And? What is this baby doing here?!
Don't tell me you and Kaji..." Asuka said in a scared voice.

"Be serious, Asuka. If I'd been pregnant, it would have shown
on my body time ago. No, it's not that..."

The redhead sighed in relief, but soon resumed her
questioning.

"Well? Why are you holding a baby if it's not yours? Come
on, this is beginning to get on my nerves," she said tensely, tapping
her foot on the floor.

"Okay. Well, we found him in Unit-01's entry plug when we
thought our recovery plan had failed...this is Shinji-kun," she said,
looking down at the sleeping baby in her arms.

"..." The redhead became as quiet as a wall.

"Asuka?"

"You're kidding, right?"

"I'm afraid not. Ritsuko told me that...it was him, reduced
to a child state. She doesn't know yet how this happened, but, for
now...it's all we have from him, and it could have been worse."

Asuka eyed the baby Shinji carefully. She then sighed.
Shinji was already irritating as he was, she thought, but now...all he
was going to do was cry and cry and cry...

"Must be a nightmare. I wonder when I'll wake up."

A chuckle escaped Misato's lips, even though she wasn't really
in the mood to laugh much these days, mostly because of the discovery
of some of NERV's...other activities.

"No, this isn't a nightmare at all, Asuka. We'll have to take
care of him until Ritsuko can do something to make him grow up again,"
stated the Major, through a forced smile.

"Dammit! Shinji always knows how to get in big troub..."
Asuka tried to say, before being interrupted by the sound of a cell
phone ringing. Misato knew it was hers, and who would be at the
other end of the line. It made her snap.

"Oh, shit, already!"

She quickly handed Shinji to Asuka before she could say
anything, and was about to close the door when she turned around and
stuck her head back in.

"Please babysit him tonight, Asuka. I have some important
stuff to do with Kaji-kun. Bye!" she quickly said before shutting the
door and running out of the apartment as fast as she could. Asuka
stood there, dumbfounded, with a sleeping baby in her arms, for
several seconds. Precious seconds that Misato would use to run into
Kaji's car and drive as far away from her as she could.

"Misato?"

* * *

"So, how did she take it?" asked Kaji, while driving his car
down the streets of Tokyo-3.

"Rather well, I guess," said Misato, sheepishly.

"Oh. Wouldn't it have been better if I gave her the news
instead of you?"

"I don't know...maybe."

As Kaji's car sped towards his apartment, Misato looked behind
her.

"Good. I didn't hear any outbursts from her. Maybe she's
just too shocked for now..."

* * *

"Ach, mein Gott im Himmel [my god in heaven]...this can't be
possible..."

She was still standing in the hallway, facing the front door,
wondering if this was all a dream or something, when she felt
something warm and moist against her right breast. She yelped in
surprise and immediately looked down to see who the person she was
condemn to death for this was.

"Eeek! Shinji, you hentai!!!" she screamed at the poor little
baby, who thought that, maybe, the woman he was being held by could
provide a meal for his little stomach, and had pulled the neck of her
T-shirt down to try to reach the source. Asuka quickly pulled the
baby away from her body with a little 'pop' sound as his lips detached
themselves from her tender skin. She then quickly covered herself up
to hide her right breast from view (as if anyone else could see it
anyway) and then quickly headed to the living room, where she put
Shinji down on the couch. The little baby looked up at her with
puzzled eyes.

"Damn! Even as a baby you have to be a pervert! I can't
believe it! If you weren't so helpless, I'd crush your skull with my
divine German fist, you ecchi!" the redheaded pilot of Eva Unit 02
snarled at Shinji, looking down at him. He continued to look up at
her, with sad little eyes.

That's when the inevitable finally happened.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!" cried the baby, much to Asuka's
surprise.

"Ahhh, no! No, you're not going to cry the whole evening!"

"WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!"

"Oh, Scheisse [shit]...! I better call Hikari!"

She picked up the phone, headed for her room and closed the
door behind her to try to reduce the noise Shinji was making in the
living room. She dialled Hikari's number, and heard two rings before
someone finally picked up the receiver at the other end of the line.

"Hikari Horaki speaking."

"Hikari? This is Asuka. Errr, I kind of...have a problem
here."

"Huh? What's that noise, Asuka?"

"Well...a friend of Misato's came and asked me to babysit her
baby...(yeah, that's it)! And I don't know what to do! He's crying
and everything!" said Asuka, almost sounding panicked. She still
couldn't believe that this was happening to her.

"Okay. I guess I'll come over and help you..." Hikari tiredly
said, and then hung up before Asuka could say anything else.

"Oh, well..." the young redhead said before opening the door
to her room, and faced the only thing she truly dreaded this evening.

"Which one is worse? Baby Shinji or Angels?"

* * *

"Awwww, he's so cute!! And you're afraid of him?" Hikari said
while gently tapping the baby's nose. He was more calm, now that
Hikari had brought some bottles of milk and some baby food she'd
borrowed from her aunt with her.

"Hmph!" Asuka shyly reached out for the little baby on the
couch with her right hand, but he quickly tried to push her hand away
with his own little ones. He then looked up at her with a frown on
his face.

"I think he's scared of you," Hikari said with a small
chuckle.

"That's stup...! I mean, I'm not a scary girl!"

"Well, you can be when you want to. I bet Ikari is afraid of
you. That's why he never took the first step, don't you think?"

"'First step' to what, Hikari?!" Asuka asked her friend,
puzzled.

"Oh, never mind..." she said, with a slight smile this time.

'She doesn't know it's Shinji there in front of us...' Asuka
found herself thinking.

"Come on, Asuka, take him in your arms!"

"Me!? But why!? He isn't crying right now, so I don't see
why I should!" the redhead replied quickly, as if she had been asked
to pick up a running chainsaw.

"Heh heh. You should give him some warmth and comfort."

"Last time I did that, that little pervert tried to suck on my
breast!"

"Didn't it occur to you that maybe he was hungry?"

Asuka looked blankly at her friend for some seconds.

"Well, no, it didn't..." she said, while looking down.

Hikari let another chuckle escape.

"You never had to deal with a baby before, have you?"

"No, never. And I don't see why I should get used to it now.
I don't want to have children!" the redhead replied, confidently.

Hikari grinned and rolled her eyes.

"Even if you were to...errr...do it with Ikari-kun?"

Asuka looked shocked by this.

"Hikari, I'd have to be possessed by an Angel, starving and
freezing to death in a snowy cavern, or have my hormones messed with
to do such a stupid thing with him!"

"So you say you would do it, then?" Hikari said, knowing she
had trapped Asuka, like a cat cornering a mouse.

"That's not what I meant!" Asuka was beginning to fume.

"Heh heh, sounds like I got you, eh? You can tell me, you
know. Isn't that what friends are for?"

"Listen, Hikari. I *HATE* baka Shinji! Ever since I've known
him, he's been a parasite on my life! I'm losing my pride because
*HE* defeats all the Angels I *SHOULD* have defeated! And you know
what's worse?! He says he doesn't even do that on purpose! He's
getting on my nerves!!"

"But he's rather cute, don't you think?"

Asuka let an exasperated sigh.

"Okay, I admit, he's kinda cute..."

Images of a naked Shinji doing harmonic test poses appeared in
Asuka's mind, causing her to blush a deep shade of red.

"Ha HA! I knew it! I knew it! You DO think of him that way!
You two will make such a cute couple!"

"Stop that, Hikari! I already said he's cute! What do you
want now?"

"You should admit...that you want him..." she said shyly,
almost afraid of mentioning the thought to her.

"No I don't! I don't I don't I don't!"

"You do!"

"I don't!"

"You do!"

"I don't, Hikari! Who'd want that little prick, anyway!?"

Asuka quickly realized what she had just said and turned away,
trying to hide her increasing blush. Her face was now almost as red
as her plug suit. Hikari had a huge grin on her face.

"You saw him...naked?"

Asuka sighed again.

"Yes, I DID! During one of our harmonics tests! We were all
naked, and we had to walk down a corridor to get to our entry plugs!
And I looked at his body. I admit it! Damn!" she said, exasperated
by the whole discussion.

"Well, maybe you do...want him after all."

If it was possible, Asuka would have exploded from her
embarrassment.

"Yes, I did. Now stop asking those stupid questions, please."

"You *did* or you *do*?"

"I *did* once!!! Okay, I *did*! But it's normal for a woman
like me to be at least interested in seeing a guy's body! If you
don't think it's normal, then it's YOU who has the problem!"

She thought that this would shut Hikari up for good.

"I knew it..." the class representative said, smiling almost
triumphantly.

"You've been asking me those questions a lot lately, you know?
It's starting to really bother me."

"Oh, come on, Asuka. It's normal to talk about these kind of
things with your friends, don't you think?"

"Yeah, maybe..." she sighed, half-convinced. "What about the
big stooge, then?" she then asked, smiling inwardly.

"Su...Suzuhara? He...well..."

Seeing the blush on Hikari's face, Asuka laughed and pointed a
finger at her friend.

"See? Don't ask me those questions, and they won't come back
to you in the end! Ha ha!" she chuckled.

"Okay, you win...I won't do it again," Hikari said,
reluctantly.

"So, what about the baby?" Asuka said while turning toward the
little life form listening to their conversation on the couch. She
somehow hoped that it would change the subject of their rather
embarrassing (mostly for Asuka) conversation.

"Oh. Well, take him in your arms now. You'll see, he won't
do anything like that to you now. He's not hungry anymore."

Asuka looked down again at the little child laying on the
couch, and, almost forgetting that it was Shinji, she carefully picked
him up and held him. The baby giggled, realizing that the redhead
wasn't going to harm him now.

"You see, he seems happy to be in your arms, now that he feels
reassured."

"Yeah, I guess," she sighed. "I think I'm not used to dealing
with children."

"Awww, that look on his face! He's smiling! I think he likes
you," teased Hikari.

Indeed, the baby continued to giggle each time Asuka played
with his nose like she had seen her friend do it earlier.

"Ha, that's obvious. No one hates Sohryu Asuka Langley,
unless it's pure jealousy, of course."

She continued to play with the baby's nose, much to Hikari's
amusement.

"I guess he's not that bad. When he isn't crying, that is,"
Asuka said, while playing with Shinji's fingers this time.

"Well, I think I'll leave you now. It's getting late, you
know. Any news about Ikari, by the way...?"

Asuka was taken by surprise, but continued to hold the baby
close to her.

"I don't give a damn about that idiot! Hmph..."

"I see...you know, maybe you should give him a chance."

"A chance to what?"

"A chance to...to ask you out, I mean. Something like that,"
Hikari said, shyly.

"No way he's gonna ask me out. He doesn't have enough guts to
do that!" Asuka said, as though it were irrefutable fact.

"We may never know. Maybe in the future, you'll be holding
his baby this way!" she said teasingly, before getting ready to leave.

"Hikari, if you weren't my friend you would have died by now!
I don't want to have children!" Asuka added, with an almost-comical
angry glare.

"Heh, those are some pretty famous words," Hikari smirked.

"And what is that supposed to mean?!" Asuka asked.

"I had an aunt who said the exact same thing. About a year
later, I had a new cousin."

"Yeah? Well...I'm different! And don't you deny it!"

"Okay, okay..." Hikari smiled.

Asuka then thought a bit more about the idea...

She briefly imagined herself holding a baby who was hers. She
never really wanted to have children, because she knew the worries and
the possible pain it would bring her. Holding a real one in her arms,
even if it was actually Shinji, made her think again about this
prospect...

She was holding her baby, smiling at him as he smiled back at
his mother, enjoying the warmth and comfort she was giving him. She
fantasized about this, unconsciously holding Shinji closer to her.
She then imagined what the father of her baby would be like. A man
like Kaji, tall, strong, intelligent, rich...someone she could count
on. Someone who could understand and comfort her. She was smiling
happily, enjoying her fantasy. Then the father's face turned into
Shinji's. How could she even imagine that that baka would ever...?

"Something wrong, Asuka?" Hikari inquired. She had a reason
to, actually. Asuka's face was contorted in shock, horror and
disgust, as she pictured herself and Shinji having kids...

"Ugh...never mind, Hikari...just a stupid thought." Asuka
shook her head.

"Well. I'm tired and I have to go home, or my sisters are
going to get mad. See ya tomorrow, Asuka. Oh, by the way, I put some
diapers in the bag on the couch, too, if you need them. Bye now!" she
said, leaving the apartment, the front door closing behind her.

"Diapers?"

Asuka still wasn't really used to babies yet, it seemed...

* * *

"Eeeek, that's...that's...! Dammit, Shinji! Could you ask to
go to the bathroom instead of doing this to me!!?"

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!" the baby continued to cry.

"And SHUT UP! I'm sick of your baby voice, you idiot!"

Asuka was on the floor with a cloth in her hand, trying to mop
up the small puddle Shinji had left on the floor of the living room.

"Now that I changed your diaper, I have to wipe up the floor!
I look pathetic like this!"

Indeed, she looked like a maid doing household chores. It
wasn't pleasing her at all.

"You'll pay for this later, I swear!"

"WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" Shinji cried at the top of his little
lungs, tears escaping his eyes. Asuka finally finished wiping up the
mess and got up to look at the baby, who was sitting next to her on
the floor, clothed in a new diaper.

"Listen, Third *Child*. I'm not gonna say this twice. Either
you stop crying and we both have a nice evening, or if you don't stop,
I'll make sure you won't be able to grow up again, understood?!" she
said, rather irritated, emphasizing the word 'child', as if Shinji
could understand in his current state.

She sighed, seeing that the baby wouldn't stop crying, then
noticed another bag Hikari had left behind, near the TV set. She
picked it up and put it on the kitchen table. There were various toys
inside, including a little yellow ball and a red and white spinning
top. She eyed them carefully and then put them down next to the baby.
Shinji quieted down as his eyes came across the objects that had been
placed in front of him. Realizing the potential for entertainment, he
reached out and pushed the ball towards Asuka. The young teen had a
slight smile on her face, for once. She then laid down on her stomach
in front of him, trying to touch the back of her thighs with her feet,
and rolled the ball back to him with the tip of her finger.

"Hihi!" baby Shinji giggled. He looked happy to play, now
that he had been fed and changed.

"I guess he's not so scared of me now..." thought Asuka, out
loud.

She continued to return the ball each time Shinji made it roll
towards her. She was doing it rather absently, completely lost in
thought. Indeed, her thoughts were preoccupied with the discussion
she had with Hikari earlier.

"I could...at least try...give him...a chance...it won't hurt,
I guess..."

She kept on rambling and playing for a little while. However,
she eventually got tired of it.

"Well..." sighed Asuka, while standing up.

"Nah?" Shinji mumbled in his baby language.

"Now you have to take a bath..."

She took the baby in her arms and walked into the bathroom.
After putting the child down on the floor again, she looked into the
tub, and turned on the hot water, like she usually did for herself.

"Hmmm, I shouldn't make it too warm. I just want to wash him,
not boil him." She turned the hot faucet until the water was just a
trickle, then turned on the cold water.

While the water was slowly but surely filling the tub, she put
a couple of fingers under her chin, thinking about what to do next.

"Ah, and the water level, too..."

She put the palm of her hand against the bottom of the tub,
and waited until the water level was a couple of inches up her wrist.

"I guess it'll be okay now," she said, before turning off the
water.

Turning around, she looked down at the baby again, with a
frown on her face.

"Misato, look at what you're making me do!" she fumed.

She then reached down, took Shinji in her arms, undressed him,
and gently put him down in the water. The baby seemed afraid of the
water, as he was tightly clinging at Asuka's clothes.

"Come on, you wimp, it won't hurt you!"

"Aeuh...?" the baby 'asked'.

"No it won't! It's just water, look!"

Asuka dipped her hand in the water and sprinkled the baby with
it. He giggled at the feeling of the warm liquid.

"You see, Dummkoepf [fool]? It's harmless."

"Bah!"

"Yeah, whatever..." she tiredly said, while putting the baby
in the water again. He didn't cry or protest that time, though.

"That's better..."

Once he was laid on his back in the tub, he began to play with
the water. Asuka looked amused by this.

"You enjoy it now? Heh heh..."

She ran a soapy washcloth all over his little body, and then
worked a little shampoo into his hair, trying not to let any reach his
eyes. She then rinsed him off with handfuls of the bathwater.

"Ah, you smell better now! You're much more bearable this
way, you know? Oh, hell, why am I bothering talking to a baby? I
must be going nuts..."

After this audible thought, she took the baby out of the water
and pulled out the plug, emptying the tub. Little Shinji was grumpy
about this, since he loved it in there, and he grabbed Asuka's sleeve
and made some obviously unhappy sounds while she dried him with a towel.

"Yeah, no more water, you see? Playtime's over. Now it's my
turn."

She had to take a bath too, after this tiring day. She hosed
down the inside of the tub with the detachable showerhead and turned
the water on again so it could fill it this time. She only noticed
afterwards that Shinji was clutching her leg.

"You want me to put you back in the bath, hey? Well, if I
were you, I wouldn't count on it! Ha ha!"

The baby had a disappointed look on his face, and began to
cry again, much to Asuka's discomfort.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!"

"No, please, not again..." Asuka said while rolling her eyes.

"WAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

Trying to ignore the baby as much as she could, hoping that he
would stop crying sooner or later, Asuka stripped off her clothes,
took the red barrettes out of her hair, tied it back and stepped into
the tub, splashing some water all around her. She then slowly sank in
the water, savouring the moment that the hot water warmed her body up.
However, the moment of peace she was enjoying was quickly forgotten,
thanks to a certain baby...

"Please, stop crying, or I'm going to kill your..." Asuka
sighed tiredly.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!"

"Come on, please..."

"WAAAAAAAH!!!"

While he continued to wail, she thought about what she could
do to shut him up. An idea came into her mind. Forgetting that it
was Shinji down there, she stood up, water dripping from her curvy
body. She then took the baby in her arms, pressed him against her
body, and sat down in the tub.

"If I hear any complaining, I'll drown you!"

Shinji giggled in return, and pressed his cheek against
Asuka's right breast. The redhead pilot seemed rather uncomfortable
with this.

'Asuka, it's just a baby, it's just a baby, just a baby...a
baby...yeah, that's right, just a small, little baby...but it's
Shinji...it's a perverted baby, nonetheless...no, it's just a baby...a
baby...'

Her thoughts wandered between killing him or letting him stay
like this. However, as she looked down, she saw that he had his eyes
closed, and was breathing deeply and quietly. She immediately calmed
down, without really knowing why.

"What a time to go to sleep...I'll never understand children."

Now was the best time to rest a little. She put her head down
on the edge of the tub, looked at the ceiling, and closed her eyes.

She first thought about her conversation with Hikari earlier,
about baka Shinji, about her Kaji-san, about her precious Unit 02...
the kind of random thoughts you have when you don't know what to focus
on to keep your mind occupied. Hikari made her admit that she looked
at Shinji's body because she wanted to, but that was normal for a
14-year-old girl, right? Still, Kaji-san was cuter, better-built...
but was he really paying attention to her? Was he here when she
needed him? No, he wasn't. Shinji wasn't, either. No one was there
for her...and what if there was someone? Someone waiting for her when
she came back from work late at night? No, she didn't need that. She
was strong, right? She didn't need anyone's help. She could stand by
herself, alone. Still...it felt good, just thinking about it.

'Aaaah, if only Kaji-san would've taken my virginity that
night instead of kicking me out...'

She remembered when, back in Germany, she sneaked into Kaji's
room and hid under his covers, totally naked...waiting for him to come
back, and do things to her she would let no one else do...

'Mein Gott, I feel horny...this isn't right, Asuka! You
shouldn't think about things like that!'

Actually, the only reason she was thinking about Kaji this way
was to try to get Shinji out of her mind. She didn't want to think
about him right now, and Kaji was a good way to distract herself. She
imagined him sucking on her breasts, like a baby trying to feed
himself...wait a minute! A baby!?

Asuka snapped back into reality. She looked down and saw
Shinji happily gumming at her right nipple, making loud noises as he
tried to get some fresh milk. An explosion capable of competing with
a N2 mine was imminent...

"PERVERT!!!!!"

Even if Asuka's body was kind of enjoying it, her mind had a
radically different opinion about the matter. If she could have
raised an AT Field, it would have violently slammed the small baby
against the bathroom wall and killed him without any further thought.
But since she didn't have that ability now, she simply pulled the baby
away from her breast, and set him down on the carpet of the bathroom.

"Eeek, I can't believe this! You horny pervert!"

She was mad. She was mad as hell. The baby looked up,
puzzlement in his eyes.

"Don't try to defend yourself! Argh, damn! You slobbered all
over me! Urgh!" She took a washcloth and some soap, and hurriedly
began to wash every part of her body, as if it had been soiled by
someone.

"I can't believe this!!! That's the last time, you hear!?
The last time I let you approach my body like that!"

The baby looked very sad, and was going to cry, much to
Asuka's annoyance. She got up out of the tub and quickly dried off.

"I swear you're gonna pay for this. I wanted a relaxing bath,
and you spoiled it, you idiot!" she said, while putting a bathrobe on.

"Waaaaaaaaaah! WAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

Sighing, Asuka took the baby in her arms, which made him stop
crying almost instantly, much to her surprise.

"Well...you like being in my arms, then?"

"Aeuh...!"

"I'll take that as a yes."

Once she left the bathroom, she was facing a dilemma: Where
would Shinji sleep?

"He could use his bed...no, wait...you're not supposed to
leave a baby alone for too long..." Asuka thought loudly.

She looked down at him again, and smiled.

"I'm sorry, Third Child, but I don't know any lullabies to
sing to you," she softly said.

The baby then closed his eyes, confident that he would sleep
well tonight.

* * *

A doorbell.

Asuka snapped her eyes open in shock. She wanted to sleep a
little longer, but the sound of the apartment's doorbell made that
impossible. She slowly got up from her bed, taking care to not wake
up the baby next to her. She then began to get dressed.

'Looks like this little pervert stayed calm last night,' she
thought, smiling.

The doorbell rang again.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming...!" she said, while pulling a T-shirt
over her half-naked young body. She took a look at her alarm clock.

"Mein Gott, it's already noon!"

She stepped into the hallway, and unlocked the front door with
her card. It slid open and, to Asuka's great surprise, the glare she
was aiming at the door suddenly met a pair of red eyes...

"Wondergirl..." Asuka said, trying to sound as irritated as
possible, while narrowing her eyes. Rei was standing there, wearing
her customary school uniform, in the doorway.

"Major Katsuragi ordered me to come here to help you take care
of Ikari-kun."

"Ha. Misato doesn't trust me enough so she called Wondergirl
to the rescue!" Seeing that Rei wasn't moving at all, she sighed.
"Come in."

Rei did as she was told, and stepped inside. She delicately
took off her shoes and lined them up properly near the doorway while
Asuka went to her room to bring Shinji out.

"Look at him, Wondergirl. Shinji always knows how to get in
big trouble, doesn't he?" Asuka said, with the baby still sleeping in
her arms.

"I don't think so."

"Oh? Really?" Asuka was quite surprised that Rei even
answered her.

"Ikari-kun...hasn't much luck, I think. He's like us."

"What do you mean, no luck? Like us?!"

"You will discover this by yourself when the time comes."

"What kind of answer is that!?" Asuka almost shouted.

"An answer you were not waiting for," replied Rei, flatly.

That instantly shut Asuka up. She didn't have any idea how to
reply to that. However, someone else took care of opening up the
conversation again.

"WAAAAAAAAAAH!!!" Shinji wanted his word in this, it seems...

"Good...I bet he's hungry," the redhead sighed.

"He must be."

Asuka turned back and headed towards the kitchen.

"Follow me, Wondergirl. I'll show you how to feed a baby."

Once in the kitchen, she put Shinji down on the table, took
one of the baby's bottles out of the bag Hikari brought her the day
before, and poured some milk into it. She had a little trouble
finding the milk in the fridge, as it was brilliantly hidden behind a
couple of six-packs of beer. That task accomplished, she screwed the
nipple and lid onto the bottle, turned on the hot water, held the
bottle under it for a minute or so to warm the milk up, then dried it
off.

"Look," the redhead said, putting the nipple of the bottle up
to Shinji's mouth. The baby smiled, and started drinking from the
bottle while holding it in his little hands.

"I see..." Rei said, looking down at the baby with curiosity.

While Rei observed the baby carefully, Asuka went inside her
room to change clothes, settling on her yellow dress. She then looked
out the window, and noticed the shining sun in Tokyo-3's sky.

"What a beautiful day..." she said dreamily. 'If only Kaji-
san was here...'

After a few minutes of contemplation, she remembered the
situation: A baby alone in a kitchen with a red-eyed teenage girl...

She came back into the kitchen, to see that it was now empty.

'Dammit, where are they!?' she thought, frowning.

However, a soft humming made her snap. She turned her head to
the left and saw Rei sitting on the couch, with Shinji in her arms.
The scene would have been really peaceful--a mother and her son--
except that it unsettled Asuka, since it reminded her of her own
mother and that...doll. She didn't want to think about her now, or
ever again. However, what put her off the most was that it looked
like Rei was breast-feeding the little baby. Asuka's jaw dropped and
a vein popped up on her forehead. A closer look revealed that Rei was
not actually nursing Shinji, but had unbuttoned her blouse just enough
to reveal her bra-clad chest, and was nestling his head against her
exposed cleavage. The baby looked incredibly peaceful wrapped in
Rei's arms, his head resting on her warm breasts, his ear pressed up
to her gently-beating heart. In addition to this, it looked like Rei
was actually enjoying this, and that spooked Asuka to no end.
Although this scene wasn't as wrong as it first appeared to Asuka, she
didn't feel any better about it. She could feel a now-familiar
pressure rising in her mind, and dealt with it using the only way she
knew; she immediately blew up at Rei.

"WONDERGIRL! What the HELL are you doing!!!?" she screamed,
as if she'd caught Rei trying to throw Shinji out the window.

"He seemed to want me to--"

"That's stupid!" Asuka took the baby from Rei's arms,
interrupting her. Rei frowned. It was only the beginning, but Asuka
knew that this was going to be a bad day already.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!" baby Shinji cried again.

"Ach, Gott..."

Asuka put the baby back down on the couch and went into the
kitchen to prepare another baby bottle, when the crying suddenly
stopped. Surprised, she put the bottle on the kitchen table and went
back to the living room. She immediately frowned when she stepped
inside; Shinji was back in Rei's arms, ensconced in her bare skin.
Rei wasn't against this at all, it seemed.

"What did I tell you just now!? Are you deaf, Wondergirl!?"
It sounded like Asuka was greatly annoyed, and she couldn't really
tell why. Maybe it was because Shinji obviously enjoyed being held by
Rei...

"I believe that's what he wants to do. He seems happy this
way."

"Of course he is! I'm sure that pervert fantasizes about
sucking on your breasts in his wet dreams!"

Rei looked up at her fellow pilot and stared at her blankly.

"What's a 'wet dream'?"

"Damn!" Asuka cursed to herself. 'This girl should really get
out sometime,' she thought. She then broke out in a smile, and looked
at Rei and Shinji.

'Time for those two to discover the outside world...!' She
grinned.

* * *

The sun shone brightly over Tokyo-3's main park. The
artificial trees and the few birds that were left after Second Impact
tried their best to restore the lively atmosphere from before that
tragic event.

Asuka was dressed in her pretty yellow dress, and was sitting
on a bench, looking up at the sky. She took a glance to her left and
saw that Rei was still sitting at the other end of the bench, holding
Shinji and examining him closely, as if he was an unknown creature...

The silence between the two girls was imposing...until Asuka
decided to say something, at least.

"I'm going to buy us something to drink," Asuka declared, with
a sigh.

She stood up, seeing no response from Rei, and began her
search for a drink machine. Rei silently watched her leave, and
looked again at Shinji. She took a lingering look at him, with a soft
look on his face as he slept. At first, when Misato asked her to come
over her apartment and help Asuka take care of Shinji, she only did it
because Misato asked her. But now...she had to admit that, despite
the fact that she couldn't quite place this feeling, she was enjoying
it. More precisely, she was enjoying holding Shinji like that. His
current state just increased the intensity of the sensation.

"He can't harm me..." she absentmindedly said. "He's just a
baby. A small baby. Something...people love. The basic state of a
human being. Is this...was I a baby, too? I can't quite remember...
did *he* make me a baby at first? Maybe he actually did, and I just
don't remember it."

Rei was obviously fascinated by the young child, and rocked
him a bit in her arms.

"I believe I'm getting used to this."

Shinji then woke up with a small yawn, and looked up at Rei.
He looked a bit surprised to be in her arms, but quickly relaxed. He
then waved his hands in front of Rei, but she didn't really know how
to react. Seeing no response from the young girl who was holding him,
he tried to climb on her shoulder, much to her surprise. She seemed
unwilling to let him do that at first, but, when she looked at his
cute face, she lifted him so that his face was close to hers. She put
one of her arms around him to keep him from falling, and looked at him
to see what he would do next. He started touching her short blue
hair. It looks like he was curious about her hair's colour. She then
relaxed and let Shinji gently run his tiny fingers through her hair.

Rei then took a book from her schoolbag and began to read,
with Shinji still playing with her hair. It didn't seem to bother
her.

'Actually, as long as he's happy, I will be,' she thought,
taking a final glance at the baby before resuming her reading.

* * *

A few minutes later, Asuka finally returned to the bench that
she and Rei were sharing just a few moments ago. She'd had trouble
finding a vending machine that sold the drinks she wanted, and then
came back...

"Huh!?" the redhead exclaimed.

...only to see that there wasn't anyone there anymore.

"Where is THAT girl!?" She opened her can of soda and sat
down on the bench, trying not to think about this as she drank. But
she obviously couldn't put it out of her mind, and she nervously
tapped her fingers on the bench's edge.

'Why am I so worried about this? I don't understand! I
should be happy about not having to look after him now...then, why?'

She looked at the sky, and took another sip of her soda.

'And what if something bad happened? What if Wondergirl had
been bothered by some Dummkoepfe, and they tried to hurt her? Ha!
She would have deserved it, after all!' she thought, grinning at the
idea.

"But...what about...baka Shinji?" she loudly thought. A frown
appeared on her face and she looked down at her feet.

"Gott...I have to find them!" she said, before quickly
standing up and running in the opposite direction she had came from.

"Damn, where are they!?" Asuka was completely panicked, much
to her surprise. She took glances here and there, trying to catch a
glimpse of blue hair...

She looked down at her watch and said, "Damn, it's been, what,
nearly an hour since we got here. Where did they go?" She was so
frantic about the whole situation that she didn't even think to ask
somebody in the park if they'd seen them.

"I'm such a fool..." she said, while stopping to catch her
breath a little. She was kind of tired and panicked at the same
time. Not a pleasant mix of feelings.

She then slowly walked to a nearly bench and limply sat down
on it, her eyes half-closed from fatigue. She stayed there, breathing
quickly for a few minutes, trying to calm down, before someone
interrupted her.

"Maybe you shouldn't run that fast after drinking soda."

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" Asuka screamed in shock, jumping from the
bench and landing on her butt on the ground. She moaned in pain, and
opened her eyes, only to see Rei looking down at her with Shinji
yawning in her arms, and gave her an exasperated frown.

"W...Wondergirl!!! What the hell are you doing there!!?"

"I just sat there holding Ikari-kun."

"All this time?" Asuka asked, a bit more softly but still kind
of panicked.

"For one hour and twelve minutes exactly," Rei said, in her
usual eerie measured tone.

Asuka sweatdropped.

"You mean...how come I didn't see you at the bench we were
sitting on earlier!? Why did you move!?"

"I didn't move. You must have forgotten your way back when
you departed to purchase a beverage. Besides, I should remind you
that we are equipped with cellular telephones, and you could have
called me," Rei calmly replied.

Asuka was about to fume. However, she didn't, after seeing
how peaceful Shinji looked. It actually calmed her down and made her
smile, even if she felt jealous that the baby was in Rei's arms. She
didn't realize it yet, but the panic she felt at the idea of Shinji
getting lost in a park proved that she still cared about him a little,
regardless of how young he was now.

Shinji looked up at Rei's hair again and climbed on her
shoulder. Seeing this, Rei wore a subtle hint of a smile on her face,
and let him play with her hair. Seeing that Shinji was enjoying
himself made Asuka twitch.

"Why is that baka playing with your hair like that!?"

"I don't know. He did that earlier, and it felt kind of...
pleasant."

"Oh, really!? Well, you'll see that he's going to prefer my
beautiful red hair!" Asuka announced, regaining some of her proud
attitude. She took Shinji away from Rei, much to his surprise.

"Bah?" Shinji mumbled, before reaching out and touching
Asuka's long red tresses.

"Look, Wondergirl. He prefers my hair to yours, you see?"
She then smiled, confident that she had beaten Rei in something as far
as the baby went. Then the smile disappeared, replaced with wide-
eyed shock, followed by her eyes squeezing shut.

"AUUUUGH! Baka Shinji!" the redheaded fury screamed again.
And she had a good reason to, for once. Shinji, interested in how
much longer Asuka's hair was than Rei's, tried to pull some of it up
to his face, as if he wanted to wrap himself in it.

"Get it off! Get it off me, dammit!" Asuka shouted, wincing
in pain.

Rei took her time to stand up and take Shinji in her arms.
She held him against her shoulder as she looked at her fellow pilot,
who was rubbing her scalp in pain. Asuka glowered at Shinji, who had
climbed up Rei's shoulder again, and reared her hand back to slap him.
A strong hand suddenly grabbing and holding her wrist kept her from
doing any more than that, though. She looked up at the hand, and
quickly looked along the arm to see that it was Rei who had stopped
her. Rei's normally placid face had a very unnerving expression now.
She was actually angry.

"Well..."

"You will not touch him. Not until you calm down," Rei said,
still in the same flat voice.

Asuka considered this for a few moments before violently
freeing her hand from Rei's grip.

"You may be right, for once. Maybe I do need to relax."

"Then I'll inform Major Katsuragi that you're unable to take
care of Ikari-kun anymore. I will then propose my services to her,"
Rei said, while looking straight into Asuka's eyes.

What Rei just told her made her pride suddenly collapse.
'Unable to take care of him.' That would be the end of it all. She
would lose Misato's trust...everyone would be looking at her, saying
things like, 'She isn't capable of taking care of a baby! How
pitiful! Are you sure this is the legendary pilot of Evangelion
Unit-02 ?' Her imagination made the words loop endlessly inside her
mind, and she held her shaking hands out to Rei. She felt a sudden
urge to hold the baby. She wanted to forget it was Shinji. She
wanted Misato to feel proud. She wanted the world to feel proud of
her, just because she could take care of a baby...even if it sounded
really stupid, she thought.

Rei eyed her carefully in return.

"If you are going to harm him, I am not going to leave him
with you," announced Rei.

Asuka eyed her back, and gently reached for the giggling baby.
Seeing that Asuka was calmer now, Rei let go of Shinji.

"Don't worry Wondergirl, he'll be okay with me. After all,
he's in Tokyo-3's best babysitter's arms!" she grinned, triumphantly.

Rei then slowly reached for the baby's face and gently tickled
his cheek, which made him giggle a bit more. Asuka then held the baby
a bit closer to her body.

"It is getting late. Sayonara, Second Child," Rei said,
before turning to leave.

"Later, Wondergirl," said Asuka.

Asuka then watched Rei as she turned at the gateway of the
park. She then took another look at Shinji, who had a kind of
disappointed look on his face, probably because of Rei's departure.
Asuka brought her face closer to his and closed her eyes before
kissing his forehead gently. She then rocked him a bit before walking home.

"Did you know you're cuter as a child, baka Shinji?" she said
to the baby, with a wink.

When they got home, he was fussing, so Asuka changed his
diaper, fed him and bathed him. There weren't any of the problems
she'd had when she did all that the night before.

"Why are you behaving this time, Shinji? Is it because you
realize now that I'm better than Wondergirl?"

Shinji just giggled a bit as Asuka ran the washcloth over his
tummy.

After drying him off gently, she put the diaper back on him
and carried him off to her room. She couldn't believe that, just
earlier today, she tried to hit him, and now they were going to sleep
in her bed. This made her think a little bit more...

"I wonder if he'll remember this when he's grown back up
again...and what will he think of me then?"

She then thought about the conversation she had with Hikari
about Shinji, and wondered if the baby she was holding was really any
different from the boy she fought Angels alongside.

* * *

"Yeah, you're sure about this? So this means I should bring
Shinji-kun back as soon as possible?" Misato said into the phone.

"Yes, you heard me right. I've found a way to bring Shinji
back to his normal age," Ritsuko replied, from the other end of the
line.

Misato was sitting in her car, with Kaji on the seat beside
her. It seems that they were parked in an otherwise deserted area
somewhere in the city.

"Okay, I'll go get him from Asuka and bring him back to you as
soon as I can."

"I understand. Later."

"Later."

Misato switched off the cell phone connection. Kaji had
waited for her to finish her conversation with Ritsuko before starting
his.

"So, they finally located the bug?"

"Ha. Didn't you know that Akagi Ritsuko is the great Bug
Hunter?"

Kaji let a chuckle escape his lips.

"Well, I must go back home now, Kaji-kun," added Misato.

"I understand. Remember what I told you, and more especially,
what I showed you."

"Yes..." she nodded, as he started the car up and pulled away
from the roadside. "I now understand better how Ritsuko is going to
return Shinji-kun to normal."

"She's using...?"

"Yup." interrupted Misato. "I guess there's nothing I can do
but trust her; after all, she's the doctor. I just wish I could have
taken care of Shinji-kun myself. He seemed so cute as a baby..."
she said dreamily.

"Hey, maybe I could give you a child like that," remarked
Kaji, with a tone that sounded only half-joking.

"Shut up, idiot. You know perfectly well that that'll never
happen. It's just that because of you, I had to spend a day and two
nights away from Asuka and Shinji."

"I'm sorry about that, Katsuragi, but it had to be that way.
Otherwise we wouldn't have been able to sneak into that 'lab'."

"I know that, but still, I'm worried. I should go back to my
apartment."

"I'm way ahead of you." Indeed, Kaji was driving in the
direction of her building. Normally, he'd be hoping to be invited in
for a drink and a little more, but he understood more than most people
just how important all of this was. In just minutes, they had
reached the entrance.

"I guess it's time for me to leave..." he said through a grin.
"Good night, Katsuragi-san, and take good care of you-know-what."

"Good night, Kaji-kun," the Major replied softly, before Kaji
opened the car door and left. "And don't worry..." she said softly,
but Kaji was already gone.

* * *

The door to the apartment slid open, revealing its owner,
Misato Katsuragi. The Major stepped in and noticed that all of the
lights were out. Asuka must be asleep, she thought.

"Well, now, let's get Shinji..."

She headed for Shinji's room, and turned the hallway lights on
before opening his door. Even with his room's light off, she could
see clearly inside his room, but found no trace of Shinji.

"I hope Asuka didn't do something stupid. He's only a
baby..." she whispered to herself.

After closing Shinji's door, she headed for the next door.
The one for the Second Child's room. At first, she thought it was
locked, as Asuka always locked it when she slept, but this time, it
wasn't. She half-opened the door, and quietly gasped in surprise.
There was no way she could imagine this.

Misato could clearly see the scene in front of her eyes,
thanks to the light coming from the hallway. Asuka was sleeping on
her side on the bed, her arm draped around a sleeping baby, with a
hint of a smile on her face.

"Let's pray I don't wake her up..."

Stepping carefully into the room, Misato slowly approached the
bed, and delicately took the sleeping Shinji in her arms.

"He's very warm. It's pretty surprising, considering he slept
in Asuka's room...and he slept in her bed and lived through it..." she
whispered, through a smile.

When she saw that Asuka hadn't woken up when she took the
baby, she turned around and left the room. Taking a final glance at
Asuka, she smiled to herself, and quietly closed the door behind her.

* * *

A baby was floating inside a giant tubular vat in a dark room.
Only Ritsuko and Misato were watching.

"Now you know everything..." the doctor sadly said to her
friend.

"Why are you telling me this? Why should I know about this?"
Misato seemed shocked by what Ritsuko just told her.

"This is partly how Rei was born. To make Shinji-kun grow up
faster, I have to use a special compound of growth hormones in the
LCL...associated with the technology *he* used to make them..."
Ritsuko said, looking down at her feet.

"You could get shot for this," remarked Misato

"I know."

"I'm leaving. I shouldn't be here and I already know too
much," the Major said, turning around.

"Tell me when it's finished," she added before the metal door
slid shut behind her.

* * *

"Shinji-kun! Are you okay? How do you feel?"

Questions were bombarding him, and he didn't know which order
he should answer them in.

"What's...going on?"

As he opened his eyes, he met a pair of eyes he knew well:
Misato's. Above them was the ceiling he hated...the ceiling of a
NERV hospital room.

"Where am I?" he found himself asking.

"Oh, I'm glad you're okay, Shinji-kun! Did you sleep well?"

"Kind of..." He sat up. "I had a strange dream..."

His first awakened impulse was to cover himself up in front of
Misato, but when he realized that he was wearing a hospital gown, he
immediately relaxed and sighed in relief.

"You slept for 39 hours, you know. I bet you had many
dreams..." she slowly said, while sitting back in a chair at his
bedside.

"I dreamed I was a baby, and Asuka was nursing me, and that
Rei nearly did, too--"

The biggest grin Misato ever had broke out on her face, which
made Shinji stop short.

"Why are you smiling like that, Misato-san?"

"Well...it's hard to say..." she said, slightly amused by the
whole situation.

"That wasn't a dream, right?"

"It must have been one. How could you have become a baby,
Shinji-kun?" replied Misato, regaining a more serious expression, even
though, deep inside, she was ready to burst out laughing. She didn't
like the idea of lying to either of the Children, but she couldn't
help it; it would be too much fun seeing them dealing with this. And
besides, this wasn't a very important lie, she thought.

"That was too real to be a dream..."

A blush appeared on Shinji's face, making Misato chuckle
softly.

"Don't worry about anything, Shinji-kun. I have to go make my
report to Commander Ikari now. Just rest, okay?"

"Okay," Shinji nodded.

"Good."

Misato stood up from her chair and headed for the door. When
she opened it, however, she discovered an embarrassed Asuka. It seems
that the redheaded Evangelion pilot had been eavesdropping...

"What are you doing here, Asuka?" the Major asked.

"I just wanted to know if baka Shinji was all right! Nothing
more!" she said defensively.

"Well, he's partly amnesic, mainly from the battle with that
Angel today. Just be careful around him, okay?" she said. "If I hear
anything about yesterday and the day before from him, I'll make sure
that your precious Unit-02 will be piloted by Rei for the next
mission. Got that?" she added, softly, to keep Shinji from hearing
her.

Asuka grimaced before entering the room. Misato, hearing no
complaints, shut the door behind her, leaving the two teens alone.

Neither of them dared to speak or even look at each other.
Shinji never really dared to start a conversation with Asuka, and he
wasn't going to now. As for the girl, she found herself unable to say
anything, for some strange reason.

"How are you?" the two found themselves saying at the same
time. It made a little smile appear on both of their faces as they
briefly thought back to their synchronization week.

"Well, I'm fine..." Shinji finally said, breaking the silence.

"Emmm...that's good to hear," replied Asuka, looking away.

"May I ask...what happened while I was out?"

"Nothing much. Toji's still in the hospital, and my wounds
healed."

"Your...wounds...?"

He then remembered what happened before he got stuck inside
Unit-01. How he fought Zeruel, and how Asuka and Rei fought before
he was violently knocked out by the Angel.

"I'm glad you're okay, Asuka. How's Ayanami?"

Asuka frowned.

"I don't know about Wondergirl, and I don't want to know," she
lied.

"Oh...sorry."

"Why are you apologizing, stupid?" she asked, while crossing
her arms around her chest.

"I shouldn't have talked about Ayanami, that's all."

"Well, you're forgiven," she said, in that comically superior
tone she used at times like this.

The silence fell upon them once more. Suddenly, Shinji
stirred and stood up from his bed.

"Excuse me. I want to take a bath..." he said, while heading
to the bathroom next to his hospital room.

"Again!? But I just gave you one last nigh..."

Silence, again. Shinji looked at her, stunned. Asuka gritted
her teeth.

"That...that wasn't a dream?" Shinji softly said, still
looking at her with stunned eyes.

"What dream!?"

"I was...a baby and you nursed me...like a mother would...and
then, Ayanami held me like she was going to nurse me as well..."

'Damn, I'm done for,' thought Asuka.

"Did it really happen?" he asked again.

"...it was just a dream, Shinji! Just a stupid DREAM!" she
finally shouted, thinking that saying the words loudly would make them
more believable. Shinji looked down.

"Why are you lying, too?" he sadly said.

"Because Misato ordered me to," she replied, now more calmly.

"Really?"

"Yeah." Another lie.

"So...when...I thought you breast-fed me, it was rea..."

Asuka's hand immediately reared back.

"BAKAYAROU! HENTAI!"

Shinji couldn't finish his sentence, as the redhead headed for
the doorway, face red as a tomato. However, she took a second to
leave some redness of her own on Shinji's cheek before leaving.

"Asuka..." he softly called out. This stopped her in her
tracks.

The young girl turned around, and looked at him right in the
eyes.

"Don't take a bath right now, baka Shinji. Maybe you'll have
the chance to bathe with me again...if you're a good boy and take me
to the mall when you get out, that is..." she managed to say with a
playful wink.

They looked at each other, and exchanged a chuckle.

"Maybe I should stop being kind to you," Asuka said, her hand
on the doorknob, ready to leave.

"I'll like you anyway," Shinji replied.

"Just...'like'?" Asuka said with a smile.

Shinji sighed.

"Maybe you'll soon find out..."

"Hmph!" Asuka gave him one of her death glares. "Maybe you're
not really worth my company..."

Before Shinji could react, she stuck her tongue out at him and
disappeared into the corridor.

"I'll never understand her..." Shinji said, before looking up.
"But I'm happy now..."

----
END!
----

Author's notes:

I thought this fic would never see the light of the web! :) Indeed,
it's been at least six months since I began writing it, and I had a
lot of trouble finishing it. I guess it's because of the novel
format, which is something a bit new to me (if you don't count "Tears"
and "Friends or Rivals").

Anyway, thanks to my pre-readers, and moreover, special thanks to Dave
Watson, EBJ, Jeremy Mullin and Disaster for their incredible work on
this fic too! :) They gave me a lot of ideas and corrections for it,
and without them, it wouldn't be the same. Thanks to Godsend777, too,
for pointing out a big mistake I made at the end of the fic ^_^

And, of course, thanks to all my readers for their support!

Retooler's note:

I have to take some of the blame for the delay. The early version of
this didn't really explain why Misato just dumped the baby on Asuka
and left. I thought it was going to take some elaborate explanations
on Axel's part to fill in that hole, with scenes of the different
places Misato went to with Kaji and suchlike. I kept pressuring him
to write more, but he took care of it simply, yet effectively. He
also took the opportunity to do some more work on it himself, so this
retooling isn't solely my doing. Shortly after that, the computer I
had the version I was working on went on the fritz (fuck you very
much, Mr. Gates), and I had to ask Axel to send it to me again so I
could wrap it up. Argh. Anyhow, my apologies to all involved, and I
hope you found the fic (and my work on it) worth the wait. Back to
you, Axel.

Now, here's an omake for you: One of my biggest ego trips ever. I
couldn't help it, I'm just too happy about it. I guess I love my
Julie too much :)

---

Axel is on a stage, holding a microphone.

Axel: "Hi there, to all my fans!"

The crowd cheers :)

Axel: "You know, I have some news! But it's going to be bad for some
of you...especially you, girls."

The feminine part of the crowd: "Come on, what is it!? Please don't
say...!"

Axel: "Yes, I'm taken. And the Chosen One is among you all."

The feminine part of the crowd: "Oh! Please, let it be me! Axel! I
want to bear your Child of Love!!!"

Axel: "Come here, please, Julie."

Some girls who are pretending to be named Julie (and some who are, but
just not the one who Axel is calling) try to get past the security
guards in front of the stage, but the guards had precise instructions
and let just one girl through. She climbs up onto the stage.

Axel: "Julie, you know this fanfic is for you. But I'd like to add
that all the sweetness and WAFF I wrote in my fics, all those things,
I will try to give them to you in real life. I hope you'll accept
this present."

Slight pause.

Juju (softly): "Of course I'll accept it, you dummy..."

Suddenly, an earthquake shakes the whole concert hall, and a giant red
foot smashes through the ceiling and hits the floor, almost crushing
some of the fangirls standing there screaming in horror. Something
ejects from somewhere, and a gorgeous redhead in a form-fitting body
suit slides down the leg of the giant robot. She points a shaking
finger at Axel.

Asuka: "So, I guess this means you're leaving me!?"

[Insert dramatic violin music here.]

Axel: "Yeah I'm leaving you...I love someone else."

Asuka (in tears): "I'm alone again...I...all the people I care for
leave me..."

Axel: "No, there's still someone you care about, but you don't want
to let anyone else know."

Asuka sobs. She had to face the truth sooner or later, and now was
the time.

Axel: "Ikari Shinji, right?"

Asuka (between sobs): "...Y-yes..."

Axel: "You see? And I bet he cares for you as well. Now, get up and
go to him. He's waiting for you. Show him who you are! Show him
that you are the great Sohryu Asuka Langley!"

Asuka: "Yeah, you're right...! Thanks, Axel! And I wish you a happy
life!"

Axel (smiling): "You, too. And don't worry about me!"

Juju (in a sweet voice): "My lil' kitten! I'm waiting, my sweetie
baka-Axel-chan!"

Axel: "Yeah, yeah, I'm comin'..." (to himself:) "Aaaah, Julie..."

Axel runs back to Juju, and she gives him a cuddle. He can't see the
triumphant grin on her face.

Juju (to herself): "Ha! This is too easy! I'm already henpecking
him!"

[Insert whip sound effect here.]

---

Okay, I'll stop rambling now... :)

See you soon,
Axel and Julie Terizaki :)

---

[The following is from Disaster, and since he was a great help in
fixing a lot of errors in this fic, I think I owe him this, at least
:) ]

Later that night, Disaster was found in the washroom, hunched over
a toilet, retching as though he had been on an all-night drinking
binge.

Disaster: "Damn WAFF content overdosing. I'll get you for that,
Axel!"

;P~