Tip of the Iceberg Tip of the Iceberg
by Famira Damaris

Disclaimer: I don't own Evangelion: plain and simple.
Author's Notes: This doesn't really have a plot (so if you're looking for action, I'd suggest you look elsewhere ^_^;). It's an Asuka fic, a little angsty. More of a monologue than anything else, with implied, one-sided shojo-ai. Shojo-ai is a romantic girl/girl relationship: you don't like it, then don't read it. This is probably going to be really short: also, I haven't seen the Evangelion movies yet, so I'm limited to just the TV series and the manga. This is my first Evangelion fanfic, so please, go easy on the criticism. This takes place before Toji pilots his Eva for the first time. Rei might be a tad OOC in one part - my apologies ^_^;. Mild cursing, resulting in the PG-13 rating. The song below has not much to do with the shojo-ai part, but I thought it described Asuka perfectly.

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Tip of the Iceberg
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A jail cell is freedom from the pain in my home
Hatred passed on, passed on and passed on
A world of violent rage
But it's one that I can recognize
Having never seen the color of my father's eyes
Yes, I dwell in hell, but it's a hell that I can grip
I tried to grip my family
But I slipped

- Rage Against the Machine, "Settle For Nothing"

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[Asuka Langley-Sohryu]

Everything I say or do is a lie. I guess I started lying when I was very little, when I was first landed in my personal little hell. The vision of my own mother swinging on that rope like a grotesque pendulum, the years spent in Germany trying to prove to the world that I meant something, that I wouldn't end up forgotten...I suppose that's how long I've been living like this, trying to convince myself that I was living in a perfect, imaginary little world, where I was the center star. I know I've been lying to myself all this time: I almost had myself convinced at one point that I had some sort of value, that I was the only one that could pilot an Eva and do it well.

Stupid me.

Duh. Pilots can be replaced. It's not like we're the only children in the world - look at Toji if you want an example. Even he became a pilot: which shows that you don't have to be special or a super genius to become one. I guess I can scratch that little belief - and down goes my self-esteem. It's inverse proportions, right? My self-esteem's always at it's highest when someone else's is drowning in the gutter. Miracle of mathematics. Gotta love it.

I suppose that people think I'm really self-centered, that I'm "that little selfish German brat", the one that "can't control her damned temper". Maybe I am...I've been hiding behind this facade for so long that it's hard to tell where Asuka Langley-Sohryu ends and I begin.

Funny. I never thought I was the philosophical type. Surprise surprise.

"Asuka?"

I looked up. Shinji's looking over his shoulder at me: what with all my pessimism, I had fallen behind the pilots of Units 00 and 01.

"Where're you going? NERV's this way."

The mask fell into place automatically, "Huh?" I felt my body seem to move on its own accord, felt my muscles draw my mouth into a haughty grin, "I thought we'd take a shortcut. Y'know, to get somewhere faster?"

Shinji's face remained unfazed at my withering sarcasm, "I know what a shortcut is, Asuka," he continued, "But we always go this way."

"What's wrong with a little change in scenery?" I sneered: a sneer that I knew I didn't really mean, one that just seemed to pop on my face of its own accord. I didn't wait for an answer, instead tossed my mane of red hair over one shoulder in a gesture of contempt, "Well, fine, whatever. More time to spend in your fine, incredibly boring company."

I sped up my pace, pushing myself past the Japanese boy and brushing against him rudely. I knew I didn't have an excuse for my behavior toward him: actually, I don't have anything against Shinji - at one time, I had thought we could be friends...

It's more my fault than his, I think, because I'm not flexible enough to stop acting on impulse and try to accommodate his personality. My lack of patience with others probably has a hand in my inability to get along better with him. I can't be any other way anymore: I've trapped myself in the prison of a false personality. I guess it's pretty hopeless from my point of view.

My problem is that I don't have enough patience to deal with Shinji's quietness, with his obviously superior piloting abilities, that I (or is it the Asuka they see, not the real me?) can't accept the fact that I'm no longer the center of my little world. The moment I'd arrived in Japan, I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that I wasn't the "special" one anymore, the girl that everyone talked about. Ever since, it's been First Child this, Third Child that.

Never the Second Child.

Despite this, I really don't believe it's jealousy that makes me act the way I do toward Shinji: I'm pretty sure I don't hate him or anything. I can't say that I have a valid excuse for my actions...at least for the way I act toward him I don't.

Toward Rei? That's a different story, but it has nothing to do with hate...

There's an awkward silence, as I stubbornly settled next to the First Child, "coincidentally" blocking Shinji's way. Through my little mask, I felt a little pang of disappointment that he didn't give any reaction - he didn't even seem to notice. Rei was staring straight ahead, her scarlet eyes focusing on some distant spot in front of her.

Shinji cleared his throat, trying to break the tension.

"Um...I heard there's another Child..."

I managed to keep my mouth shut, clamped down on the retort that was ready to burst forth.

"...The Fourth Child." Rei murmured expressionlessly.

"Yet another amazing deduction by Wondergirl! Gee, it's a good thing one of us can count past two," the sour words burst out, as I glanced aside at the pale-haired girl for a reaction to my sarcasm.

Nothing. Not even a twitch of the eyebrows.

It's really sort of weird, that I'm so interested in getting a reaction out of Rei Ayanami: when I first met her, she hardly said a word to anyone. To tell the truth, my first impression was that she was a snob, the teacher's pet of Gendo Ikari. I at first thought that she was just being a bitch, that she thought she was too important to talk to the rest of us just because she was the First. I had started to act like she was beneath me - petty, now that I think of it, but it became almost a hobby when I had first arrived at the Japanese branch of NERV. Want to know exactly how many times I've gotten her to react to anything I said? Once.

But that "once" made all the difference.

No matter how much I pestered her, how much I made a bragging ass of myself, she kept her cool. Like a doll of ice. She used to creep me out, because of her uncanny habit of appearing without any warning, staring at me with those dead blood-red eyes of hers...the Rei that everyone sees. I had acted big and pushy because she had unnerved me, because I was afraid that those eyes saw through all the bluster in a way that no one did, that they saw the little girl trying to act grown-up. Only once did I see what was behind the unconscious wall, a glimpse of the human being that was buried deep down under the cold personality.

I'm a messed up person - sure, I'll agree to that. Everyone's got issues, don't they? And me? I have a control problem, mixed in with a major superiority complex. If I'm not in the lead? I get pissed and sulk until someone comes to cheer me up. If I feel that I'm not on top, not the best of the whole? I get depressed, until someone else is feeling crappier than I am. That's what was driving me: I'd seen Rei and Shinji as threats to my ego, had determined that I had to feel that I was sitting on a higher pedestal than they, that it was me that was looking down at them. Pretty pathetic, even for me...

Incidentally, it was exactly that same personal problem that had torn the sought-after reaction from Rei.

For such a quiet girl, she sure knows how to slap well- which is exactly what she did: she slapped me on the face. Stung like hell.

We had been both in the girls bathroom: I don't even know why I was even in there. Rei had been washing her pale hands under the running water from the sink - I've never seen anyone take five minutes to clean their hands. Maybe it's a Japanese thing, but jeez...talk about overkill!

There I go, totally off topic. I tend to do that when I don't want to talk about the matters at hand. Real mature.

I had been standing near the door, once again making condescending remarks and being a general jerk. I was a little edgy (there were rumors about more Angels, and I wasn't all that confident about my own abilities now that I had seen first hand the other Evas in action), and I was putting down practically everyone I knew with petty insults. I draw a blank on my exact words, but I think I was badmouthing Gendo, saying that he didn't give a rat's ass about anyone and that he'd probably get a kick out of watching us (meaning Shinji and I - I thought at the time that Shinji and I made a better team than all three of us together) fry the next time an Angel attacked. I never knew I struck a nerve, only I heard the water stop running.

The next thing I knew, Rei was suddenly standing in front of me, her white arm already drawn back. She had dealt me a resounding slap on one cheek (hurt like a bitch: I could've sworn I was seeing stars), but the blow wasn't what made me remember the little incident so clearly: it had been the expression on her face as her hand descended. She had, for that brief moment, been wide open. I saw the pain beneath the ice, the hurt and the unshed tears, the indecision...and the slightest glimmer of hope. Everything buried so far down that she herself probably didn't know the emotions even existed. Afterward, she was once again the doll chipped from the glacier, her face as blank as an opaque pane of glass: it was as if nothing had happened, as if I hadn't said anything - she brushed past me as if I didn't exist at all.

That little glimpse, however, changed my perception of her. I felt drawn to the emotions that I had seen revealed that day - I wanted to see them again, to see the Rei under the seemingly unbreakable ice. I wanted to get her riled up, to see her lose control: even for just a brief second. She was a mystery to me - I'd been wrong in thinking she was just a snob (a belief I ditched). She wasn't completely aloof and inhuman, like I had thought...she had problems and issues, like I did: but unlike Shinji (who does bear it for all the world to see), she had kept these emotions pent up behind a wall, like I did, even if it wasn't a conscious barrier...I guess I found something attractive in this, because somewhere along the line, I fell in love with Rei Ayanami.

You heard me right: love. You can bet it surprised the hell out of me when I realized that it wasn't envy but that driving me...

I want to see the inner Rei react to me, to see her direct that little fleck of hope at me. I wasn't shouting for everyone's attention so much as I was shouting for her attention. For once in my life, I want to help someone besides myself...seeing her pain in those seconds had me looking at myself as a person. I want to someday be acknowledged by those dead eyes, to see those eyes flare to life when they look at me. I want to elevate the hurt I'd seen, to close the festering wounds. To stoke that little ember of hope in her...I...

...I...

...I..want to see her smile at me...

I'm sure people would laugh at me if they knew just what went through my brain: Asuka, the Second Child, spouting off her emotions like she was reading them from some idiotic romance novel. I'd laugh at myself if I felt it was funny. But it's not. And I'm so messed up that I continually try to hurt the one I love in attempts to get her to return the affection...I can't even tell her that I've come to admire both her and Shinji...the chances of me spilling any of my thoughts to her (or anyone for that matter!) are pretty much nill...

More pessimism. Just what I needed. Ah, refreshing...what a shock, hearing Asuka being sarcastic! Must be a blue moon...nope, sun's high in the sky!

Still, it doesn't really matter...I can try to fool myself with all that bravado, but I can't lie to myself forever. Rei might never even know that I don't hate her, that everything I've done isn't true...I've only seen the tip of the iceberg, but I know I'll keep trying to chip away all that ice, try to find the human underneath. Burn away the cold with my own fire...a silly comparision, but I want to keep trying to see the inner Rei again.

Sometimes, I'm tempted to run away from the judgements, the responsibilities, tempted to run away from NERV and the Evas - but I've never been one to give up without some sort of fight, without the last word...and so far, Rei's always been one step ahead of me.

I'm trapped in Japan, in NERV, with the fate of the world resting on my shoulders, by the one person that barely acknowledges my existance, by the girl that's my polar opposite. I bitch and moan, verbally and mentally, but you know what?

The truth is, I couldn't be happier.



Fin
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Owari! Well, that's it. Probably crappy and overly-cliched, and I don't know that much about Evangelion (also, it's come to my attention that Asuka is the SECOND Child, not the Third, so I fixed that mistake). Please read and review if you want, just keep in mind this is my first Evangelion fanfic, so don't be too harsh ^_^;. This has to have been one of my shortest fanfics, but I usually try to write multi-chapters, so this is sort of new to me.

I hope I wasn't too OOC with any of the characters. I wrote this over the period of several days (school and all doesn't leave much time for anything ~_~), so the flow of the story is probably varied, and I apologize if I've screwed up the characters. I hope this didn't turn out really angsty, because I wasn't really planning it to be angsty or really bitter...

Just for some shameless self-promotion: if you hated "Pearl Harbor", check out the MSTing of Pearl Harbor (Wyna Hiros and myself). And for another type of promotion: read that Spoofy Blender Parody of Evangelion fanfic! One of the funniest things I've ever read: also, some of the best parodies of anime character's I've seen.

Well, I guess that's all I have to say. Thanks for taking the time to read this. ^_^

If you have anything to say, suggestions, flames, questions, feel free to e-mail me at shampoo_famira@yahoo.com or AIM me at S Duo Maxwell 02.

- Famira Damaris

**Please pray for those in New York and Washington D.C.**