DANCE IN THE SNOW

by Gunman

Disclaimer: I do not own Eva

Summary: Shinji and Rei go ice skating.

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Shinji Ikari walked through the streets of Tokyo-3. It was December 23 and Shinji was bursting with all kinds of thoughts, but one in particular:

Rei Ayanami.

Too long had the boy wondered what would be a good gift for the girl he cared about so much. Misato didn't count as she just 'wasn't his type' in virtually every sense of the word. Hikari and Toji were finally together after so much pussy-footing around. Maya and Ritsuko had finally been honest about their feelings for each other. And Asuka... she had gone back to Germany for what she considered a traditional Christmas vacation.

At least I won't have to worry about shopping for her. Shinji thought. Not that I could compete with all those boxes of clothes she brought with her.

The snow was gently falling as Shinji walked through the streets, staring into the windows of each jewelry, music, book and pet store around the city. He had enough money, but no idea what to get the girl.

It would have to be something special, Shinji thought. Something that she's never seen. Something unique... like her.

"Shinji-kun?"

Shinji turned around and smiled as he saw his guardian Misato Katsuragi walking down the street towards him.

"What are you doing out here?" she asked.

"Shopping?"

"Really? Well the lingerie shop is right down and at the corner. My size is..."

"36-22-36." Shinji said.

"And how would you know that, Shinji-kun?" she smirked.

"I do your laundry, remember?"

"Oh. Right!" she laughed. She stopped after several people kept giving her strange looks. "So, who are you shopping for?"

"Well..."

"Come on, Shinji-kun, you know I'll find out sooner than later."

"Alright. It's Rei."

"Oh, that's so sweet!" she smiled warmly. "My little Shinji's finally going to propose!"

"Misato!"

"Oh, come on, Shinji-kun, I'm just kidding."

"Uh-huh."

"So, no thoughts on what to get the girl?"

"No."

"Hmm." she mused, looking around at the different shops and windows, her eyes eventually settling on a poster for ice skating. "I know!"

"What?"

"Ice skating!"

"W-What?"

"Ice skating! You know, where you strap a pair of razor sharp blades onto your feets and go dancing around on super slippery ice?"

"I know what it is, but why that?"

"Well, knowing Rei she's never been ice skating."

"Neither have I!"

"Well that's perfect!"

"Perfect? How is that perfect?"

"Just trust me, Shinji-kun. It'll be perfect!"

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Shinji had considerable reservations about this whole thing, the most notable being that he didn't know how to ice skate. But Misato was insistent and he had long given up trying to argue with her when she wasn't drunk. That's when she usually won.

It was amazing to Shinji how good a military officer she really was... when she didn't drink.

Alright, Shinji. Breath, just breath.

KNOCK, KNOCK.

Shinji waited patiently as the after only a few seconds the door to the dreary apartment opened up and the familiar blue-haired girl stepped up to show herself.

"Hello Rei."

"Ikari-kun." Rei nodded. "How can I help you?"

"Well... I had a couple of questions for you."

"Questions?"

"Yes. I figured I'd come here directly, since you don't have a cellphone number and such."

"That is true. What are your questions?"

"Well... the first one is kinda simple and depending on how you answer I'll ask my second question."

"Very well. Proceed."

He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, trying to remember exactly what Misato told him to.

"Rei... do you like living here in this cold, dark, dreary, drafty apartment?"

"I do not." she said almost immediately. She had never considered it as anything but comfort from the elements. But as the elements seemed to conspire against her whether it was either summer or winter, Rei was conflicted. And thus conflicted, she decided to be honest.

"I see. Alright, here's my second question: would you like to move in to the apartment next to me and Misato?"

"What?"

"I... asked if you wanted to move into another apartment. A different apartment. A better one."

"You... would do this?"

"Well... Misato made some calls and got you the apartment next to ours. You know... to better keep an eye on all the pilots, she said. So... if you want it..."

"Yes." she said, quickly but quietly.

"Great! I'll tell Misato." he said and turned to go. "Or... did you want to go now? I could help you move if you don't have too much."

"I do not have much. Almost nothing at all."

"Oh. Then... lets go."

Shinji and Rei gathered up what Rei had, which wasn't much, then proceeded to walk to Shinji's apartment complex. It took little more than a half-hour through the snow and traffic, but when they arrived, there was a small box in front of the apartment, addressed to Rei.

"It's for you, Rei-chan." Shinji said, handing the small box to Rei.

The girl opened the box up and found two things: a small note and an ID Card. She opened the note and read it.

Dear Rei,

By now Shinji-kun has brought you from your cold, dark, dreary and drafty apartment to your new one right next to us. The ID Card has already been coded so just swipe it past the door reader to get in. Merry Christmas, Rei-chan!

Misato Katsuragi

The girl swiped the ID Card across the reader on the door, the metallic door opening up a second later.

"Ladies first." Shinji said.

Rei stepped into the apartment and instantly felt the warmth that was inside. Shinji followed her in to the living room. He noticed that it was a lot like his and Misato's apartment, with just a sparse collection of furniture, a fridge and stove, and a kitchen table with two chairs.

Standard really.

He moved into the back room to set Rei's things down on her bed. Shinji noticed that there was a small film of dust on the bed. Like it hadn't been cleaned within the last month. Nothing major, but it was far better than her own apartment. He often wondered about the bed she slept on and how it might have been better for her to get a new one. Or at least a new mattress.

He went back into the living room where Rei was sitting down on the couch.

I have a couch. I have a couch. The blue haired girl mentally mused as she rubbed her hand across the soft fabric.

"Rei?"

"Ikari-kun."

"I put your things in your room."

"Thank you."

"Uh... I noticed you didn't have any food in your cupboards."

"Yes. I did not have much in my apartment to begin with." she said.

"Oh. Well... how about you come over for dinner tonight? I'm making stir fry. I can make a plate without meat if you want."

Rei smiled her delicate smile that made Shinji's heart warm.

"Alright. We eat at 7."

"I will be here until then."

Shinji was about to leave when he stopped and turned around. "Uh... would you like to come over now? You can watch television there, since you don't have one here yet." he said, noticing the empty spot where he and Misato had put their television.

Rei nodded at his logic. "I would like that."

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"So... how do you like your new apartment, Rei?" Misato asked as she popped open another beer.

"It is... nice. Thank you, Major."

"We're off duty, Rei. Call me Misato."

"Understood. Misato." the girl said as she took another bite of her vegetarian stir fry.

The trio ate quietly while PenPen watched television in the other room. It was then that Misato decided to speak.

"Oh, Shinji-kun, I'm gonna have to cancel on you for tomorrow." she said.

"What? But why?" the boy asked.

"Ritsuko needs my help with something."

"But you were going to teach me to ice skate."

"I'm sorry, but Ritsuko said it was important."

"Well... what am I going to do with the tickets?"

"What about Rei?" Misato suggested.

"Huh?" he asked.

"Oh, that would be sweet! Shinji and his pseudo-girlfriend, ice skating!" she smiled.

"Misato!" the boy hissed.

"Are you blushing?" she teased.

At this time, Rei was looking discreetly at the boy sitting next to her. He turned to face her, meeting her eyes.

"Uh... Rei-chan? Would you like to go ice skating with me?"

"When?" she asked.

"Tomorrow. All day."

"...I have never been ice skating before." she said aloud.

"Oh, there's nothing too it. Just put the skates on your feet and slide across the ice." Misato said.

Rei seemed confused about that, wondering if things could be so simple.

"Very well. I accept."

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Rei met Shinji at the outdoor rink the next day and went over to the skate counter. Shinji handed the tickets to the girl at the counter, and she handed them a pair of skates in their size. Putting their shoes away in a cubby hole the pair strapped the skates to their feet and gingerly stepped out onto the ice.

Shinji slipped the second his foot hit the ice, while his other one hadn't even left the stable ground out of the rink.

Rei didn't laugh, but smiled as she helped Shinji up off the ground and carefully stepped onto the ice, holding Shinji's hand.

For the better part of an hour the pair didn't even get around the large rink, as Shinji had yet to gain his ice-legs.

"I'm sorry I'm such a burden, Rei-chan." Shinji said to the girl, still holding her hand.

"You are not a burden, Ikari-kun." Rei said, enjoying the feeling of Shinji's hand in hers.

"We've been at this for an hour and I'm not any better than when we got out here." he complained.

"You were also not as proficient at piloting Eva, despite your high synch ratio." Rei pointed out. "But you did excel over time." she said as she helped him up for the umpteenth time.

"Huh. Guess that's true." Shinji said as Rei helped him up.

However, the second he was up, he tried to move his feet and struck his heel, causing him to trip forward and fall directly onto Rei.

"OOF!" he huffed.

"Uhhh!" she countered.

Shinji struggled to get to his feet and looked down to find himself staring into a pair of bright red eyes.

Rei looked up and became entranced by the sky-blue eyes that held so much emotion, more than her own red spheres.

"Uh... I'm sorry, Rei-chan."

"You did not hurt me, Shinji-kun."

"Oh, well that's good, I..." he said, pausing for a second. "What did you say?"

"Pardon?"

"I... I thought I heard you call me... Shinji-kun."

Rei's eyes widened as she realized he was right. She had called her by his name. His first name.

"I... is that not acceptable?" she asked, uncertainty in her voice.

"No, no! It's fine!" he said, quickly assuring the girl there was no harm done.

The pair continued to stare into each others eyes, oblivious to the cold that was quickly freezing the blue-haired girl, until a nearby child shouted.

"Mommy! Why is that boy lying on top that blue doll?"

Rei quickly turned towards the child and grimaced at the comment, making the boy balk. Shinji groaned and shook his head and he quickly pulled Rei to her feet.

However, his own footwork wasn't that stable, which caused him to grab onto the girl's arms for support and ended up spinning himself and herself in circles. Both of them were so caught up with their spinning that they barely noticed the extra wind blowing in from the north that pushed them on slowly round and round. To add to this wobbly situation, they both failed to notice that it had started to snow.

Shinji, in an effort to steady both of them, threw his arms full around Rei, pulling her flush against his chest, her own arms instinctively pulling around his own body and grabbing onto her arms behind his back. Their feet were still pointed out at a curved angle, causing the pair to continue to spin slowly around in slow circles, pushed by the wind while the snow started to fall around them.

To anyone who noticed, it seemed as if the pair were slowly dancing amidst a soft shower of snow.

Not that either Rei or Shinji cared had they noticed, their gaze being held solely by the eyes of the person across from them.

"Shinji-kun."

"Rei-chan."

As if to keep pace with the softly falling snow, their faces slowly leaned in towards each other, their eyes closed as their lips found each other, touching gently as their arms tightened around the other.

All coldness rushed out of their bodies, replaced by warmth and the comfort of the other. They didn't even notice that they hadn't stopped spinning, their gentle dance in the snow continuing for as long as they could maintain it.

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Author Notes:

I hope everyone enjoys this little one-shot story. By my count I took about an hour and a half to write this story up, mostly after reading a couple of other Christmas fanfics.

Still, I don't think it turned out too bad. Please forgive any mistakes you happen to catch.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and please feel free to read my other fanfics uploaded today.

And as always, please leave me a nice review.