-1The Music of the Night
The Sixth Measure
"You have got to be kidding me!" Misato exclaimed as she watched the three pilots sitting in test plugs over the monitors in the control room.
"It's no joke, Major," Dr. Akagi replied as she continued to watch the reading coming from the young pilots. "It does seem to be effective, though."
"The readings from all three pilots show them all to be hovering around ninety-five percent," Maya called out as she continued to monitor the young people and their EVAs. "Other than some fluctuations from The Second Child, everything shows them to be stable and in control."
"This is ridiculous!" Misato yelped as she continued to watch all three children, each and everyone of them listening happily to their MP3 players as they continued with their test. "Isn't that dangerous in some way, Ritsuko? Do you think we should make them stop?"
"I don't see any reason to worry, Misato," Akagi responded as she continued to marvel at the readings, " It doesn't seem to be causing any sort of harm to either them or the EVAs, and if it continues to help them improve their scores, I'm all for it!"
"They're just listening to the music from school, Major. At least that's what Shinji said, something about it being the parts they have to rehearse at school tomorrow," Maya chimed in as she continued to monitor the pilots.
"Well, what about during combat, when they can't wear their stupid players, huh?" Misato seethed, "What if they get injured or killed because they can't sync up with their EVAs like they can now?" Akagi leaned back in her chair for a second, tapping a pen to her lips as she thought.
"Well, we could always pipe music over the comm system during battle," she mused as Misato continued to glare at her. "The Ride of the Valkeries may prove to be effective. Have the Second Child's readings stabilized yet?"
"Their still fluctuating a bit, ma'am," Maya replied, "but they are well within normal tolerances." Akagi nodded as she watched the Second Child, noticing the occasional flash of a grimace on Asuka's face. Every one of them corresponded with either a spike or a dip in her sync level.
"Okay," she muttered as she leaned forward and began to speak into the microphone. "Asuka, try to relax just a bit more, your sync level is a little off." There was no response.
"Asuka?" Still, no response from the redhead. Misato crossed her arms and smirked at her friend. "Asuka? I wonder why she's not responding?"
"Maybe because she can't hear you, genius!" Misato retorted as she pointed to her own ears, causing Dr. Akagi to blush somewhat with embarrassment.
"Ah," the faux-blonde responded as she reached for a dial on the console before her. "I'll just crank this up to eleven and…ahem…ASUKA!!"
"AAAHHHHH! WHAT?!" the redhead screamed back as she jumped in her seat and ripped the earbuds from her ears, allowing them to float in the LCL. "What do you want?"
"I was trying to tell you that your sync levels were a bit off, and that you need to relax more," Dr. Akagi answered as Asuka glared at her through the monitor.
"I was relaxing until you screamed at me!" Asuka shot back, her eyes casting daggers at the scientist. "Great, my buds are soaked! That's going to feel real good in my ears!" She continued to fume as Akagi broke the connection.
"That's how you get a pilot's attention, Major!" the doctor smirked as she turned to look at her friend. Misato's eyes were wider than dinner plates.
"Do you have any idea how much hell that girl is going to give me when we get home over that?!" the Major barked as turned and stormed out of the control room. She knew a headache was going to make an appearance soon, and she wanted to be armed with the biggest tranquilizer she could find.
Asuka sat back and tried to relax, but the feel of LCL-soaked ear buds was beginning to hamper her a bit. She finally got comfortable and tuned out the rest of the world, only allowing the music to reach out and touch her.
"Stupid doctor, screaming at me to get me to relax! What a idiot!" she muttered under her breath as images and feelings of earlier that day began to flash through her mind once more. She allowed herself to fall into the music once more, but as she did, the mixed up and confused feelings she was beginning to feel for the Third Child would surface again. Asuka would grunt and shake her head slightly, trying to force the thoughts from her mind.
She couldn't believe she had allowed her defenses to fall so much that she came so close to kissing Shinji, especially in front of everyone in class! But she couldn't help herself. There was just something about his voice, and how much emotion he put into his singing, that tore at the walls of her heart. She could feel herself fall into his dark blue eyes when he stared into hers, and the look of betrayal on his face during the rehearsal was almost more than she could take. When he touched her face and whispered to her, reassuring her, it was like magic. There was no other way she could explain it.
"After all, it was just stupid Shinji, right?" she thought to herself while trying to force the emotions from herself. Unfortunately, the barrier that had formed earlier in the day was still coming back to haunt Asuka. Whenever she tried to insult the Third Child within her mind, the shield around her heart would spring back up and block off even the most vile and horrible insults. Asuka snorted in frustration as the spark that Shinji had ignited within her heart continued to grow and warm her insides.
Unconsciously, she rubbed the ring on her left ring finger with the thumb of the same hand. She had completely forgotten to take it off at school and didn't notice until she was changing into her plug suit. She left it on, telling herself that she was doing it so it wouldn't get lost. She didn't want to get blamed for losing a prop, no matter how small it was. Rei had given her a strange look when she had seen it still on Asuka's finger, but Asuka just shrugged and told her she had forgotten to remove it at school. Rei gave her a small nod, but the strange look still remained.
"It's just a ring, that's all," she thought to herself, not allowing any other implications of what it could mean to spring forth. "I'll take it back tomorrow!" With that, she began to relax and fall deeper into sync with her EVA, as the music from the play continued to pour into her.
"Shinji, why the HELL did you have to invite everyone over tonight?" Asuka seethed quietly as she and Shinji gathered up drinks in the kitchen for their guests. Shinji turned and shrugged slightly as he turned back toward the doorway, drinks in hand.
"Asuka, we have to practice those parts tonight, and it would be kind of hard for just the two of us to do that by ourselves. After all, it's the finale, and there are more that just our two parts in it!" he explained for the fifth time since they left NERV HQ.
"Okay, okay, I get that part! But why the hell are the Two Stooges here?" she barked, following Shinji out of the kitchen. Shinji shook his head in exasperation.
"Look, Touji's here to sing Raoul's part because you didn't want to invite Omi…"
"Freaking jerk of an octopus," Asuka added, her eyes blazing with anger. Shinji sighed before continuing.
"…And Kensuke's here to operate the sound system, so that we don't have to keep stopping and starting." he concluded as they walked into the living room and placed the drinks on the coffee table.
"Yeah, Asuka! I want to prove I can sing the part of Rigatoni a lot better than that Omi prick!" Touji said as he puffed out his chest and made a dramatic pose. Hikari covered her mouth as she turned and giggled at her crush's antics.
"RAUOL!!" the other members of the group turned and shouted at Touji in unison. Touji promptly deflated as he snatched a soda from the table and plopped down on the sofa next to Hikari.
"Yeah, sure, whatever," he waved off as he watched Shinji give Kensuke several instructions before Rei and Hikari stood and began sing their parts as the music began. After a few false starts, their rehearsal began in earnest as Rei and Hikari sang as mother and daughter, before Touji stood and began to sing as Raoul. Shinji and Asuka had to admit, Touji wasn't half bad, but he couldn't sing or perform anywhere near as well as Omi.
"Asuka, are you sure you want to do this scene? You know what we have to do towards the end of it, right?" Shinji whispered to her as they stood off to the side, getting ready to sing their parts. Asuka's eyes opened wide for just the slightest of moments before they narrowed in anger.
"No, I don't want to do this scene," she lied to Shinji, but not to herself, " and I really don't look forward to what's going to happen, but we have to practice for tomorrow, right?" Shinji nodded his head slowly and just a bit sadly. He had known better than to think that Asuka was looking forward to it. "Just don't get any weird ideas, Shinji!"
"Okay, Asuka," he replied softly as he readied himself to sing. Little did he suspect that Asuka was steeling herself for his singing as well. "Ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," she muttered as she felt the confidence level in the Third Child grow to monstrous proportions, and could literally feel the A-T field he set up take effect. Shinji opened his mouth, and Asuka could feel the magic once more. Her heart soared as her mind fought for control.
"Down once more, to the dungeon of my black despair!
"Down we plunge, to the prison of my mind!
"Down the path into darkness deep as Hell!
Shinji's anger and bitterness swept over everyone in the room as he spun and glared angrily at Asuka, scaring the young German greatly. All his friends gasped at the sheer power of emotion he had thrown into the lyrics, causing them to cringe backwards in reflex. Asuka's mouth hung open as he continued his tirade, his face contorted in rage.
"Why, do you ask, was I bound and chained,
"In this cold and dismal place?
"Not for any mortal sin, but for the wickedness
"of my abhorrent face!
Asuka was still as she stared into the steel blue eyes of the Third Child. Deep down, she was asking herself "What is wrong with his face? It's a handsome face, a caring face, a beautiful face! Why would I cower from it? It's a face I would love to caress, to kiss, to spend forever with…No! No! No! No! NO! NO! NO!! It's only Shinji! Stop it!" she tried to order her heart, only to be ignored. Suddenly, The rest of the people in the room took up a chant.
"Track down this murderer!
"He must be found!
"Track down this murderer!
"He must be found!
Shinji spun around and looked at everyone else before turning back to Asuka, fear and anger evident on his face. His words hit her like a sledgehammer.
"Hounded out by everyone!
"Met with hatred everywhere!
"No kind words from anyone!
"No compassion anywhere!
Touji and Rei had to shake themselves out of a stupor as it came time for their characters to reenter the scene. Asuka continued to stand and face Shinji, wanting dearly to rush forward and wrap him in her arms. She wanted to take the pain from him, the pain that was so obvious in his voice. Shinji continued to stand and shake in rage and sorrow.
Rei: "Your hand at the level of your eyes!
Touji: "…at the level of your eyes…
Kensuke and Hikari: "Your hand at the level of your eyes!
Rei: "He lives across the lake, monsieur!
"This is as far as I dare go!
Touji: "Madam Giry, thank you!
Rei stepped back and joined Kensuke and Hikari in the background, lending her voice to the voices of the mob that was out to get the Phantom. Shinji and Asuka continued to look deep into each other's eyes, a silent battle of wills going on between both hearts.
"Track down this murderer,
"He must be found!
"Hunt out this animal,
"Who runs to ground!
"Too long he's preyed on us,
"But now we know!
"The Phantom of the Opera is there,
"Deep down below!
"He's here! The Phantom of the Opera!
Asuka continued to look into Shinji's eyes as she continued her war with her own heart. She knew her lines were coming up, so she finally broke eye contact with the young man before her and concentrated on recalling her part. Quickly, a false scowl appeared on her face as she turned to confront Shinji.
"Have you gorged yourself at last,
"In your lust for blood?
"Am I now to be prey,
"To your lust for flesh?
Shinji's face fell in shock, not believing what Asuka had just asked him. The look on her face was one of absolute hate and resignation. Stilling his face in a mask of stone, he turned back to the young redhead and stared daggers right back into her soul.
"That fate, which condemns me
" to wallow in blood,
"Has also denied me
"The joys of the flesh!
"This face…the infection,
"which poisons our love…
Shinji reached up and touched the side of his face, as the utter sadness and rejection tore at his heart. Asuka felt it as it too, tore at her chest, causing her to want to reach out and comfort the young man so much that it hurt badly. Her mind, however, kept screaming at her heart, trying to convince it that it was still just a play, and that it was still just Shinji, a nobody that was below their notice. Her heart continued to ignore the mind.
"This face, which earned
"a mother's fear and loathing…
"A mask, my first
"unfeeling scrap of clothing….
His friends watched as the hurt and pain etched on Shinji's face was replaced with a mask of anger, as he took a step closer to Asuka, his eyes boring down into hers. She cringed back as the sheer power of his anger threatened to overwhelm her.
"Pity comes too late!
"Turn around and face your fate!
"A eternity of THIS, before your eyes!
Asuka reached out and touched Shinji's face, draining all signs of hate and anger from the young man. The young German continued to look into his eyes, before a small cough from Hikari snapped her back to reality. Shaking herself mentally, Asuka began to sing once more.
"This haunted face,
"holds no horror for me now!
"It's in your soul
"That the true distortion lies!
Before Asuka could think or say anything else, a look of anger and mocking crossed Shinji's face. Turning abruptly, Shinji faced Touji, who had just stood back and approached the couple as his part was drawing close.
"Wait! I think, my dear,
"We have a guest!
this is indeed
"an unparalleled delight!
"I had rather hoped,
"that you would come.
"And now my wish comes true!
"You have truly made my night!
Touji stood riveted for a second, completely engrossed and shocked by the look coming from his friend. It took him a second or two before he finally shook his head and began to sing his part, just as Asuka screamed out the name of his character.
"Do what you like, only free her!
"Have you no pity?
Shinji looked at Touji and conjured up the most vile smirk he could before turning back to Asuka for just briefest of seconds.
Shinji: "Your lover makes a passionate plea!
Asuka: "Please Raoul, It's useless…
Touji took in a deep breath and concentrated on his next lines, wanting to choke on them. As much as he knew his friend cared for the fiery redhead from Germany, Touji himself didn't really care one whit for Asuka. The next line that was coming up was one he never wanted to sing, even if it was just for the play. It really stuck in his craw.
"Does that mean nothing?
"I love her!
"Show some compassion . . .
That last line was not something Shinji wanted to hear, as he viciously turned on his friend with a scowl and a snarl that would put Unit One to shame. Touji involuntarily took two steps back as he saw the look on his friends face.
Shinji: "The world showed no compassion to me!"
Touji: "Christine, Christine…Let me see her!
Shinji: "Be my guest, sir!
Shinji turned and motioned Touji over to where Asuka was standing in utter shock. The pain and rage in Shinji's voice when he had sang his lines had once more hit her with the force of a freight train. Her heart screamed at her to go over and wrap her arms around the pained young man before her, but her mind kept trying to beat her heart down with a very large stick. Her heart kept shrugging off the blows. Shinji once more began to sing, his voice sickeningly sweet, filled with false good cheer and hospitality.
Monsieur, I bid you welcome!
"Did you think that
"I would harm her?
"Why should I make her pay
"For the sins which are yours?
Quickly, the false civility fell from his face and voice as he took several steps and stood toe-to-toe with the larger boy, the anger on his face being enough to make Touji want to wet his pants. He had seen Shinji in battle and he wanted no part of the seething pilot before him.
your fine horses now!
"Raise up your hand to the level of your eyes!
"Nothing can save you now -
"except, perhaps, Christine . . .
Shinji turned back to the startled redhead as quickly has he had Touji, a sneer and a look of arrogance contorting the features on his face. Asuka wanted to reach out and shake him, to snap him out of the frenzy he was working himself into. However, she was frozen in both fear and longing, as she realized that he was becoming just as lost in the roles and songs as she was. She jumped when he opened his mouth and issued forth his demands.
a new life with me!
"Buy his freedom with your love!
"Refuse me, and you send
your lover to his death!
"This is the choice!
"This is the point of no return!
Asuka was rooted to the spot. Her heart screamed at her to grab Shinji and run off with him, starting that new life that he had just asked of her. Her mind screamed back, telling her heart to shut up and be quiet. No matter how hard the two parts of the redhead battled one another, neither side would give ground, no upper-hand was ever evident. The others in the room looked upon her in wonder as she continued to stand stock still, her bright blue eyes clearly showing the inner turmoil that raged within her body. Hikari coughed softly again, breaking the spell once more, allowing Asuka to remember her lines.
tears I might have shed
"for your dark fate
"grow cold, and turn to tears
"of hate . . .
"Wow, this is getting really intense," Kensuke whispered to Hikari, as the two of them and Rei all watched the drama unfolding before them.
"Yeah! I can't believe how good of an actor Shinji is! You would think that he's really upset with them!" the pig-tailed class representative replied as she continued to stare at the on going scene. "I'm worried about Asuka, though, She seems to keep forgetting her lines!"
"I have worries concerning the Second Child as well," Rei said in her own monotone whisper. "As for now, hush! The most difficult part is coming up, and I do not wish for us to be the reason for it's failure." Hikari and Kensuke both stared at the pale skinned girl in shock, their jaws rapidly approaching contact with the ground. It was the most emotion that either had ever heard from The First Child. They all turned to watched the unison trio.
Christine, forgive me! Please forgive me . . .
I did it all for you, and all for nothing . . .
Farewell my fallen idol and false friend . . .
One by one I've watched illusions shattered . . .
Shinji: Too late for turning back!
Too late for prayers and useless pity!!
Touji: Say you love him and my life is over!
Either way you choose, he has to win . . .
Past all hope of cries for help:
no point in fighting!
either way you choose, you cannot win!
So, do you end your days with me,
or do you send him to his grave?
Touji: Why make her lie to you, to save me?
Rei, Hikari and Kensuke marveled at the precision of the three-way musical argument that was taking place before them. All three actors were in perfect synch with their singing and actions, which was to be expected from the Second and Third Children, but from someone with minimal training like Touji, it was remarkable.
Asuka: "Angel of music…why this torment?
"When will you see reason?
Shinji: "Past the point of no return…the final threshold…
life is now the prize which you must earn!
Touji: " For pity's sake, Christine, say no!
"Don't throw your life away for my sake . . .
"I fought so hard to free you…
Touji stepped back a short distance as Shinji and Asuka turned to face each other, one face a mask of anger and sadness, another a face of resignation and hopelessness. Both pilots knew what was quickly coming up, and as despite how deeply there were buried into their respective roles, that sudden realization shot through both teenagers like a bolt of lightning. Shinji felt the heat rise to his cheeks, as he watched a similar blush rise to Asuka's cheeks. Asuka, for her part, felt like she had just swallowed a flock of butterflies, or had eaten several meals prepared by Misato, whichever was worse. Her mind reeled from the idea of doing what was to come, but her heart leapt in joy. Asuka wasn't sure if she survive the warring of soul much longer.
Asuka: "Angel of Music…you deceived me!
Shinji: "You've past the point of no return…
Asuka: "I gave my mind blindly…
Shinji: "You try my patience, make your choice!
This was it, Asuka knew. Now was the time that she had to put up or shut up. She needed to show and prove to herself and everyone else that she had no feelings for Shinji Ikari whatsoever. Her mind was bound and determined to knock the silliness right out of her heart. She had determined years ago that she needed nobody, that she was just fine on her own. She had done everything in her power to suppress the want and need for someone in her life ever since she had walked into that horrible hospital room as a child and had seen her mother's lifeless body hanging from the ceiling by her own hand, a gruesome smile plastered upon her face. It angered Asuka to no end to think that her heart was so weak as to need and want Shinji just because he could sing a few songs. Beautifully. Passionately. Angelically. Empathically. Now was the time to show everyone that she needed nobody. She slipped on a mask of pity as she took a deep breath and prepared her lines.
"Pitiful creature of darkness . . .
"What kind of life have you known . . .?
"God give me courage to show you…
"You are not alone . . .
"You better get ready, Third Child, because here I come!" Asuka thought to herself as she took two steps forward and looked up into Shinji's eyes. Once more, steel met sky as both teenagers locked eyes and fell into each other's soul. Asuka slowly lifted one hand and caressed his cheek, then lifted the other and cradled his face in her soft hands. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she pulled his face toward hers and softly planted her lips on his.
Shinji felt the electricity shoot through his body as Asuka kissed him. His heart soared higher than the stars as the young German he had liked for so long gently held his face and soul. This wasn't like the first kiss they had shared, with it's nose holding and awkwardness. No, this one was true, even though he felt the conflict within her as she fought with herself to keep from deepening the kiss. In the bravest move he had ever performed in his life, braver even than when he leapt into the volcano unprotected to save Asuka, Shinji took his arms and wrapped them around her waist and pulled her to him.
He felt her gasp as he pressed her close and deepened the kiss.
Asuka's eyes shot open wide for just a second before they closed in bliss as her heart won the struggle. Moaning softly, she slid her hands from his face and wrapped her arms around Shinji's neck as she responded to the deepening. Feeling bold, she slowly slid the tip of her tongue between Shinji's lips, causing his eyes to briefly shoot open before they closed once more in pleasure. The two pilots began to duel with their tongues, enjoying the closeness on one another. Asuka began to feel the light build up within her once more, the same light that always built when she heard him sing. If she could actually see the light, it would now be bright enough to blind her. She felt the butterflies dance in her stomach again, but different this time than they were earlier. The young redhead felt her knees begin to go weak, but as if responding to her subtle signs, Shinji slightly tighten his grip around her waist, comfortably holding her weight, supporting her as the two of them continued to share their passion.
"Wow!" Kensuke whispered, his glasses beginning to fog up as he struggled to get his camera out of his bag. He couldn't tear his eyes from the scene in front of him, making the job so much harder to accomplish.
"Whoa," Touji muttered as he stood beside Hikari, having retreated from the scene just as Shinji and Asuka began their lip lock. He could feel the heat coming from the class representative as the blush on her cheeks shined brighter than it ever had the right to.
"This…is interesting," Rei stated softly as she continued to watch her fellow pilots. The scene before her caused a feeling to start to grow within her breast that she had never known. It was a strange, but welcome, intrusion.
"I had always thought those two would be good together, but this is…is…" Hikari stammered softly as she watched her two friends continue their kiss. The same kiss that was now going on for much longer than was necessary. She felt the blush on her cheeks grow darker as Shinji and Asuka continued to hold each other tightly, each eagerly devouring the other's lips. "Uh, guys…"
"Hey, lovebirds," Touji said, not too loudly, not wanting to be harmed by a raving redhead.
"Hello, Earth to Eva Pilots," Kensuke added, trying to get their attention. He was still so focused to the scene before him, he had still not managed to free his camera from his bag.
"Soryu, Ikari," Rei called out softly, not really wanting to disturb her fellow pilots, "I believe that…"
"JUST WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!" Misato screamed as she stood in the open doorway of the apartment, her eyes wide as she stared in disbelief at the scene before her. A vein bulged in her forehead as Shinji and Asuka realized what was going on and quickly broke apart from their embrace. Both pilots were breathing very heavily as they turned and looked at their guardian and commanding officer. Now, normally, Misato would have been happy to discover that her two charges had fallen for each other, but to see the two of them attempting to devour each other in the presence of their friends was way more than she was willing to put up with.
"Misato, uh, well, it's not what you think it is…" Shinji stammered as he looked to Asuka for support. Asuka, for her part, was extremely pissed that the two of them had been interrupted, and had completely forgotten about their friends that were standing in the same room as they.
"NOT WHAT I THINK IT WAS? IT LOOKED TO ME LIKE YOU TWO WERE ABOUT TO JUMP EACH OTHER RIGHT HERE IN THE LIVING ROOM, FOR PETE'S SAKE!!" Misato screeched, causing everyone in the room to wiggle fingers in their ears to get the ringing to stop.
"Major, you seem to be jumping to conclusions," Rei said softly as Asuka and Shinji stammered to come up with an explanation for their room mate. Misato turned on the pale girl and merely stared.
"What?" the raven haired major asked through gritted teeth as her eyes locked onto Rei's. The First Child never even blinked.
"It's true, Misato!" Kensuke added before withering under her glare. He was hoping his glasses would fog back up so he wouldn't have to stare at her angry visage.
"Don't start with me, Mr. Aida! I know what I saw!" Misato seethed as she turned back to the pilots. "What the hell is going on with you two? Do I have to keep an armed guard on you twenty-four hours a day to keep you apart?! I don't need a pregnant EVA pilot!" That last comment finally snapped Asuka out of her stupor.
"What the hell are you talking about, Misato?" the angry redhead screamed back at her guardian. "This is all part of the play! If you had just come in several minutes earlier, you would have seen all of us singing! You walked in at the worst possible time!" Before Misato could respond, Shinji chose that time to speak up, a script in his hand.
"Uh, Misato, it all right here," he said quietly as he handed the bound treatment to the raving Major. Misato snatched it from Shinji's hand and quickly read over the outlined parts. The anger that had been so evident on her face mere seconds before melted as understanding finally lit the beacon of truth within the survivor of Second Impact. Rather sheepishly, she turned to face her charges, both of whom had looks of extreme irritation on their faces. Asuka stood there, arms crossed and her foot tapping in anger.
"Oh. Okay. It's all in the play. Right! Gotcha!" Misato said happily has she handed the script back to Shinji. "Okay, so just go on back to practicing, alright?" She tried to make a strategic retreat, but unfortunately, she was stopped by an exploding redhead.
"Okay?! Alright?! What the hell do you mean, Misato?!" Asuka screamed, causing the startled Major to take several steps back, as did everyone else in the room. Pen-Pen was the only smart one, seeing how he never set foot out of his fridge the entire time.
"Well, I mean…" Misato began, but was quickly cut off.
"Shut the hell up, you bitch!!" Asuka bellowed as she got up into Misato's face. "You were oh so ready to believe the worst when it comes to me and Shinji! Well, let me tell you, Major! You know nothing about us after all this time! Do you really think that Shinji would do what you're accusing us of? I know for a fact that he's way too much of a gentleman to even consider it! Do I look like some kind of slut to you? Do you really think that I would just jump into the sack with just anyone, especially in front of all my friends? Just what do you think of us? Huh?!"
"Asuka, calm down, I don't think Misato really meant anything by it," Shinji said as he reached out to calm his room mate. Asuka looked into his eyes and almost calmed down, before realization hit her like a ton of bricks.
"I'm…I'm sorry Asuka," Misato murmured as tears began to creep into the corners of her eyes. Asuka screwed up her face, trying to keep her own tears in check.
"No! I'm not going to calm down, damn it!" Asuka barked at Shinji as she turned back to Misato, "You're sorry?! Oh, that really helps, Misato! Not! Don't you understand? Don't you understand anything at all?! You ruined it! You ruined every fucking thing!" With that, Asuka slapped Misato as hard as she could before she turned on her heal and ran screaming to the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind her. Misato and everyone else in the room merely stood there in shock, not believing what had just happened. Hikari was the first to break the spell as she ran toward the bathroom, calling Asuka's name. Touji and Kensuke began to pack their stuff as fast as they could, hoping to escape before even more strange things happened.
"Wow, this seems familiar," Shinji muttered as he turned to check Misato's cheek. "Are you alright, Misato?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess so," Misato responded, still somewhat stunned. The red handprint on her cheek throbbed as Shinji retreated to the kitchen and returned a short while later with an ice bag. Misato winced as he placed it on her cheek.
"I'm sorry about what just happened, Misato," Shinji apologized, his eyes downcast. "I think she's just been under a lot of stress lately."
"No, Shinji. I'm the one who's sorry. Asuka's right, I jumped at the worst possible conclusion, and I got what I deserved," She replied as she stood from the sofa and began to head to her bedroom. "Would you do me a favor? If you see Asuka before I do, tell her I really am sorry, okay?"
"Sure thing, Misato," Shinji replied as he waved good-night to her before walking over and standing next to Hikari. "Anything yet?"
"No," his pig-tailed friend replied as she shook her head sadly. "The only thing I can tell you is that I hear water running. Maybe she's taking a shower?" Shinji nodded in agreement.
"Sounds about right," Shinji answered, "it's kinda what she did last time." Hikari looked at him strangely. "Don't worry about it." Hikari shrugged and gathered her stuff, bidding Shinji good-night as she walked out the door. Shinji stared at the door as he felt his spirits fall.
"Was it so bad that you had to take a shower this time, Asuka?" he asked sadly as he retreated to his room and turned off his light.
A very confused and frightened redhead stood in the shower as the droplets of hot water washed over her perfect skin. The tears that poured from her eyes were washed away down the drain, but no matter how many were shed, more sprang forth as if by magic. Shaking her head violently, Asuka slowly slid down the shower wall and sat, her knees drawn up and wrapped up by her arms, She buried her head between her arms and allowed the tears and thoughts to flow.
Asuka was completely confused, both by her reaction to the kiss and her reaction to it being ruined by Misato. As soon as she had slammed the bathroom door behind her and locked it, the young German had stripped herself of all her clothing and stuffed them all to the very bottom of the hamper. She had wadded them up in a very tight ball, leaving certain items in the very middle of said ball. The very thought of what had happened brought a body wide blush and sent feelings of shame through her mind. Asuka quickly turned the shower on and leapt in, scrubbing herself down, as if to cleanse herself of something most vile. Many, many minutes passed as Asuka allowed the hot water to try it's best to wash the feeling from her heart, but to no avail.
"Why?" she croaked, her voice still hoarse from screaming at her guardian.
"Why not?" the voice in her mind asked back. Asuka grimaced.
"Why him?" she muttered again. "Why not someone cool and dashing?"
"Like Kaji?" the hated voice responded. "Why not the one who occupies you heart and your thoughts?"
"He doesn't occupy my thoughts," she growled, knowing the lie before she said it. The inner voice merely chuckled.
"Who says he's not cool and dashing? How many times has he saved your life, without asking for anything in return? How long has he taken care of you? How many little gifts has he gotten you for no other reason than to make you feel better? How many times has he taken a beating from you, either physically or verbally, without taking up for himself, knowing that you needed some to either vent to or vent on? Do you really think he is incapable of defending himself?"
"Shut up," Asuka whispered silently "He's just a weak little boy.". The voice refused to be stilled.
"Oh really? Then why don't you go ask Sachiel? Or Shamshel? Or maybe even Ramiel or Leliel? OH, that's right! You can't ask them, because Shinji managed to destroy each and every one of them, that's why! Not so weak after all, is he?"
"No," Asuka replied, her lower lip trembling. She knew she was so close to the edge that she was in extreme danger of falling, but there was nothing she could really do about it.
"And his singing! God, how can that NOT be cool? You know how it makes you feel! It helps to take away the darkness and terrors that haunt you every night! It makes you forget all the crap you have to go through every day! You can't just sit there and say that your life hasn't gotten any better since he started to sing!" the voice admonished. Asuka felt herself shrink a little more with each word.
"No, please," Asuka begged, as she began to think about how his song had lifted her up so much this whole thing had begun. The voice was beginning to make more and more sense to her.
"What are you scared of, Little Asuka?" the voice echoed through the caverns of her mind. Asuka shuddered.
"I don't want to hurt, I don't want to be left alone , I don't want him to leave me one day, I don't want him near me," she said in a scared little girl's voice.
"Come on, Asuka! You know he'll never hurt you! He'll never leave you! You know what he wants most in life, don't you?"
"My body," Asuka snorted, trying to stokes the fires of her anger once more, but failing miserably. She felt the voice reach out and smack her in the back of the head.
"Your heart, you moron! That's all he wants! He just wants your love!" the voice screeched, causing Asuka to shake her head.
"No, that's a lie. He wants someone else. He told me so. He sings to her. Not me." she mumbled in despair.
"Did he tell you who?" the rather irritating voice asked, causing Asuka to grit her teeth.
"No, but I named off every girl in our class, and several more that he and I both knew. He refused to answer. All he did was get pissed." she replied, the memory still fresh in her mind.
"Every one," she affirmed, but she could feel the voice begin to smirk.
"Even …oh!" she gasped as realization struck her like an iceberg strikes a White Star ocean liner. The voice giggled with mirth.
"You know Shinji can't lie to you! If you had gotten the answer right, you would have known!" the voice began to giggle, which seemed to be coming from several places at once.
"It can't be true, can it?" Asuka wondered. The voice continued to giggle.
"Want more proof? How about in school today, when you two came so close to kissing? How did that make you feel? How about tonight, when you two finally kissed? That wasn't just a stage kiss. That was a heart-felt, mind-blowing, toe-curling, knee-weakening, world-stopping kiss! Is there any doubt about how he feels about you? Is there any doubt about how you feel?" the voice asked as it seemed to get closer and closer to Asuka.
"That kiss," she murmured as she touched her lips ever so softly with her fingertips, like she was afraid that the sensations would vanish if she prodded to hard. She had proof of how the kiss had made her feel, it was stuffed in the bottom of the hamper! She glanced down as she saw the sparkle come from the ring around her finger. She was still wearing it.
"Yes, the ring. The one he gave you at the school. You haven't taken it off yet? Why, if you don't care deeply for him?" the voice chided as it seemed to get closer and closer.
"It's not that, I just didn't…uh…well…it doesn't mean that I …shit!" Asuka exclaimed as everything finally fell into place for her. It completely hit her like a ton of bricks. "Just who the hell are you anyway?"
"I'm your heart," the voice said as a replica of Asuka stood from the shadows, dressed in the same yellow sundress she was wearing when she first met Shinji Ikari.
"I'm your mind," the voice answered as yet another replica stood from the shadows, this one dressed in her red plugsuit.
"I'm your soul," the voice called out as a third replica stood from the shadows, this one of Asuka when she was six, dressed in a little pink dress her mother had dressed her up in during the better days before the accident.
"Aw crap! I'm screwed!" the redhead exclaimed, as her hair cascaded into her face.
"We know how you feel, because we feel it. We are you! You can't fight yourself forever!" the three voices called out, combining into one being: Asuka Soryu.
"Mein Gott! That just means one thing!" the Second Child wailed softly, hoping that nobody could hear her over the shower.
"Gott, nein! It can't be true!" she sniffled as she squeezed her eyes closed tighter, trying to stop the flow of tears. " I love Shinji Ikari!"
End of the Sixth Measure.