Summary: Kamio was scared of the dark.
Notes: For Spurious on my Lj, via comments.
Through the past several years of getting to know Akira, Shinji had learned several things. One, he really wasn't as cranky as most people seemed to think. Two, it didn't matter how many times he'd listened to his 'song of the day', there was always time for one more (which Shinji found kind of annoying, actually, Kamio's taste in music was a little... odd and most of the songs he picked as his new song sounded basically exactly the same, but Shinji was nice enough to just put up with it. Either that or he just didn't know how to tell Akira to turn off the damn cd player or change the song or something.) And finally three, Kamio Akira was afraid of the dark. Deathly afraid of the dark, so much so that he didn't even like being outside at dusk alone because he knew he wouldn't be inside before the sun finally set.
Shinji had made several attempts at helping his friend get over this particular fear, all of which had failed miserably. Eventually he just gave up and decided 'Akira was Akira' (much like 'Shinji was Shinji', because Akira always told him he talked too much, or that he needed to speak up because he couldn't hear him, or any number of things. Shinji always thought it was because Akira's music was too loud that he couldn't hear him.)
He hadn't even really thought about it until he'd been out shopping - perfect!
"What's this?" Akira asked when he was presented with a small bag after practice one afternoon.
"Open it." Shinji replied softly. It was a fantastic idea, really, and he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before.
Akira simply stared at the small black tube of metal in his hand. "Flashlight?" Who on Earth gave their friends a flashlight? Completely out of the blue, no less.
"You're always complaining out the dark, and it's really bright. It even has this kind of cool thing that makes it a laser pointer. You can annoy your sister or something, or maybe your mom but your mom's kind of scary so I guess that isn't a good idea because then she'll start yelling at you -- she's really loud and I can practically hear her from my house--"
"Shinji, shut up."
"--But at least with that maybe you'll quit with being scared of something asinine like the dark, it's not like the boogeymen crawl out from under your bed or anything and it's dark when you sleep and you're not scared then, so how come you are when--"
"Shinji. Shut up."
"--You're like my sisters, except you're not eight anymore so you don't really have any excuse, do you? I mean, it's not like you were locked in a closet as a small child or your dad--"
Akira had long since learned that really the only way to get Shinji to just shut the hell up in most cases was to just grab him and kiss him.
It worked every time.