On the command deck of the Over the Rainbow, Asuka Langely Soryu watched with feigned interest as Misato haggled with the CO over NERV's right to hook up an umbilical cable to the ship's reactor. It wasn't that she lacked other things to look at – there were a few decent looking specimens of man candy on the bridge – but their personalities were sorely disappointing. The tall boy who'd flashed her was a stooge. The freckled kid was a nerd. And the last one? The Third Child wouldn't even look at her. Asuka suspected his balls hadn't dropped yet.

Besides, why look at them when she had Ka-

"Well I can see you're as confident as ever!"

There he was, her one and only. "KAJI!" she cried with joy, springing forward to glomp him.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Kaji.

"What the hell are you doing here?" snarled Misato, ruining Asuka's moment with her fine stallion of a man.

"Accompanying Asuka," he replied smoothly. Not that Asuka need to think of him replying smoothly. Really, saying Kaji was smooth was like saying Asuka herself was fine. It was a plain fact for all to see and only for fools to deny. "I'm on a... business trip of sorts, from the Third Branch."

Misato turned away in horror. "I should have anticipated this!"

Asuka took a moment to snuggle.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Kaji.

"Hello there," said the Third Child, walking over to Kaji with wide eyes. "Who are you?"

Kaji extended a friendly hand, because, really, he was just a friendly sort of guy. "Ryouji Kaji, special agent for NERV. I'm also Asuka's guardian."

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. He could guard me all night long.

Shinji took his hand. "Wow, it's just... you're... wow."

Behind him, the tall stooge snorted. "Man, Ikari, keep it in your pants when we're around, okay? Yeeesh!"

Mmmmmmmmmmmm. Pants... no, wait.

Asuka's eyes snapped open. She studied the Third Child and found he was still holding onto Kaji's hand... a little too much, actually... and was he blushing?! And what the hell was with the sparkles in his eyes when he looked at Kaji?! Only she looked at him like... like...

Her jaw dropped.


# # # presenting # # #

Asuka's Competitor

Written by: Lavanya Six

(please don't sue)

# # # a one-shot # # #

"Heh heh," chuckled Kaji, smoothly taking his hand back. "I'm flattered, really. You must be the famous Third Child."

"Well," Shinji said, blushing even harder, "I'm not exactly a child, you know?"

Misato slid between the pair. "Let's go. I'm done here."

The six of them squeezed into a small elevator to take down to the mess hall. It proved to be a bad idea.

"HEY!" shouted Misato and Kaji. "DON'T TOUCH ME!"

"I CAN'T HELP IT!" shouted Asuka and Shinji at Kaji.

Misato managed to twist around to glare at her ex.

"Heh heh," was all he could smoothly manage.

"So," said Kaji, smoothly stirring his coffee with a spoon, "I understand that you're living with Katsuragi now, aren't you?"

Shinji blushed. "Y-yes," was all he managed to say, his tongue twisted.

"So tell me... is she still wild in bed?"

Everyone exploded with a giant "WHAAAAAAAAAT?"

Shinji calmly shook his head in the negative. "I wouldn't know."

"Seriously," said Touji, "the dude really, REALLY wouldn't know."

"Not that there's anything wrong with that," added Kensuke.

"Oh," said Kaji, smoothly backtracking. "Never mind."

"So what do you think of the famous Shinji Ikari?"

Asuka shouted, "HE'S GAY!! HE'S GAY AS A SAILOR!!"

All around them, sailors stopped what they were doing and stared.

"What tipped you off?" said Kaji.


"Oh," he said smoothly (while throwing in a bit of casualness to spice things up), "I manage."

Later, Asuka was putting on her plug suit. "Don't peep, you pervert!"

"Don't worry. You're not my type."


Shinji smiled nervously. "You're not... mannish looking enough?"

"Hrmph. Good answer."

Afterwards, right before she ejected the plug, Asuka said, "You're not too shabby in a fight, Third Child."

"Th-thank you, Asuka."

She frowned. What was wrong with this picture? Was he... looking at her face, even when she was in her totally HAWT plugsuit? Hmmmmm. Not a bad trait for a co-worker. There could be some upsides to this situation, Asuka decided.

"Boy!" he said with gusto. "Do you think Mister Kaji saw the fight?! I'll bet he'll be so impressed." Shinji smiled, then glanced over at her and hastily added, "With us."

Or not.

"Actually," said Misato, "you'll be living together."

"Say WHAT?" Asuka shouted, ready to crap lightning bolts out her ass. "A boy and a girl should not sleep under the same roof after the age of seven!"

Shinji raised up a lone index finger. "I don't think that will be as much of a problem as you think."

The Second Child rolled her eyes. "Okay! I get it! You're gay! Ha ha ha. Now can we stop making jokes about it and act like mature, reasonable people?!"

Misato blinked. "O-okay. Sorry. I didn't realize Shinji's orientation upset you so much, Asuka." She patted Shinji on the shoulder. "Not that there's anything wrong with you."

Asuka was shaking with rage. "It. Doesn't! BOTHER! ME!!"

"Moving on," said Misato. "The Angel is repairing itself. The second attack is predicted to be in six days. It'll take that long to repair the Evas. We have no time for another plan so we'll have to have you both synchronized for a simultaneous attack by then."

"And how will we do that?" asked Shinji.

"Well, the only way to accomplish this insanity is to master an attack pattern harmonized to dance music as soon as possible within the next six days!"

"An attack synchronized... to dance music," deadpanned Asuka.

"Yup!" Misato held up a pair of black spandex shorts and a pink tank-top. "I even got you two these matching outfits!" She smiled. "So let's... Asuka, where are you going? Don't walk out! Asuka, WAIT! This isn't a joke! I'm being totally serious! ASUKA!!"

"You have no rhythm."

Shinji frowned at the Second Child. "I thought you were going to cut it out with those jokes."

"No, I mean you aren't able to dance with me!"

"So?! Why does it matter with you who I, er, dance with?"


"You started it!"

"No! You misread me!"

"Oh, so now I'm terrible with women, huh?"

"Yes! Wait, No! Arrrrggh!"

A familiar voice spoke up. "Are you two fighting again?" In the hallway to the entrance stood Mister Kaji, smoothly smoking a cigarette while smoothly he held his jacket over one shoulder. "Honestly, Misato leav-"

As one, Shinji and Asuka pounced. "KAJI!!"

Kaji barely knew what glomped him.

In a desolate, dirty apartment, Shinji Ikari sighed into Rei Ayanami's lap. Even since the Second Child had come into his life he kept finding himself more and more on the First Child's bed. "Rei, sometimes I think you're the only one here who understands me." He nestled his head further into her lap.

Rei stroked Shinji's hair. "You find her difficult."

"She doesn't leave me alone! It's like she's picking a fight every chance she gets!" His eyes widened as a frightful thought came to him. "You don't think Asuka... likes me? Like, likes me likes me?" He grimaced. "Ew!"

"That is one possibility. However, perhaps her irritation stems from a different source."


"You and Pilot Soryu both have unrequited romantic intentions towards Agent Kaji. Perhaps the source of your tensions lay there."

Shinji blushed. "I wouldn't put it that... bluntly... but I see your point."

Before Rei could say more her cell phone buzzed. Gently sliding out from under Shinji, she stood. "We must leave shortly for the synch tests. After I put some clothes on do you wish to accompany me to the Geo-Front?"

"Yeah," said Shinji, staring at the ceiling, not interested in Rei finally dressing after he caught her coming out of the shower. "Sure."

Deep underground, in a secluded office, two men hunched over a computer monitor. It showed a security feed from inside the First Child's apartment.

"Well," said Fuyutsuki, "at least we can finally put our fears of an Oedipus complex to rest."

"Perhaps," replied Gendo. "However, we cannot be certain that the Third Child's interests will not shift in the future."

NERV's Vice-Commander rolled his eyes. "Come ON, Ikari! Face facts – your son's batting for the other team!" Fuyutsuki paused. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Gendo frowned. "I myself did a great deal of experimentation in college and yet I still ended up with Yui."

Fuyutsuki tried to scrub his brain of the resulting images. "I did NOT need to know that, Ikari."

"Still," said Gendo, "my son doesn't have bad tastes. Mister Kaji is quite... smooth."

"I'm not listening!" He stuck his fingers in his ears. "La la la la la la la la la la la la!"

"Honestly, Fuyutsuki, why do people insist on limiting themselves to one gender? Especially when the human body is such a marvelous thing in all its many shapes, sizes, and forms? Why, just take you for instance-"


"Hey, how 'bout this?"

Kaji frowned at the bikini in Asuka's hands. "Ah, no. Aren't you a little young for that?"

"Oh, don't be a fuddy-duddy, Kaji! Everyone wears this kind of swimsuit these days!"

Shinji popped up. In his hands he held a small strip of black cloth. "What about this, Mister Kaji?"

"Uhh..." he said smoothly.

"WHAT?!" Asuka ripped the Speedo from Shinji's hands. "Why would you even NEED that? You don't even swim!"


'These two are going to eat me alive' Kaji thought to himself... smoothly.

Asuka reclined in the hot spring. "Ahhhh!"

"This is heaven," said Shinji next to her. "I never thought bathing could be so pleasant."

Misato arched an eyebrow. "I'm surprised you agreed to this, Asuka."

The redhead German shrugged, producing a Gainax bounce that Shinji didn't care to notice. "Eh, he saved me life. And it's not like he's going to put this in his spank bank." She glanced into the clear water of the hot springs. "I mean, just look!"

Misato did NOT. 'Think nice thoughts. Think nice thoughts.' "Y-yeah."

For several minutes the three (plus Pen-Pen) enjoyed the warm water in quiet.

"You know," said Asuka at last, "what would make this day just perfect?"

"No," said their guardian. "What?"

"Kaji," uttered Asuka, as if she had just proclaimed the meaning to life.

All three 'Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm'ed.

Shinji passed around the drink tray, handing out little coconuts with umbrellas in them. "So the other day I was jer-"

Asuka suddenly bolted up, causing much jiggling and hot steamy water to roll off her body. She shot an accusatory finger at Shinji's... sensitive part. "Thermal expansion! THERMAL EXPANSION!"

Shinji looked down. "Ack!" He covered up with the drink tray.

Asuka reached down and tore the tray away. She then started to repeatedly beat him over the head with it. "STOP THINKING ABOUT MY KAJI!"

"No! You've – ow! – got it all – OW! – wrong! I'm – OW! – thinking about T-Touji!"


Shinji hopped out of the water and ran up the grassy hill. "I CAN'T HELP IT!"

"COME BACK HERE!" Asuka, totally unconcerned with her lack of clothing, jumped out of the water and gave chase.

Misato sighed as she watched her two charges play a game of full-contact naked tag. "Well Pen-Pen," she said to the bird lounging next to her, "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship."