Nergal Fan Fiction LLC
A division of Nergal Heavy Industries proudly presents:


The Best Laid Plans


Chapter One "The Katsuragi Maneuver"


by Ryoma



Disclaimer: Characters from Neon Genesis Evangelion have been used without permission. All characters contained in this work are copyright GAINAX, Project EVA, Movic, AD Vision and Manga Entertainment.



"Mein Gott in Himmel!" Asuka Langley Sohryu exclaimed, her fork falling to the table with a clang in the process. "This is the worst thing I have ever tasted in my entire life!"


Frantically grabbing at her soda, she proceeded to guzzle it down in a futile attempt to wash the offending taste from her palate. Reaching the bottom of the glass she shook it as each drop brought her some semblance of relief. Satisfied that no further liquid could be obtained from the container, she slammed it down to the table.


"Based on the law of trial and error, even YOU should be getting better at this." Asuka slowly pushed the bowl away, carefully turning her head to the side, avoiding the pungent aroma.


"Now, now Asuka...it's not that bad," Misato Katsuragi replied, reaching for her beer.


"Sorry Misato but this time it truly is!" Asuka trumpeted, her face still contorted from the nausea in her stomach.


"You just don't like traditional Japanese food, that's all."


"I'll agree there, Japanese food isn't my favorite," Asuka started while nodding her head to the older woman. Slowly a wry grin grew on her face as she continued, "but this is about as close to traditional Japanese food as sauerkraut."


Misato finished taking a fairly large gulp of her beer. "What's the problem with my cooking this time?" she sighed.


"The shorter answer would be what's not wrong," Asuka grumbled. "It still amazes me how you can burn half of the stuff, yet still keep the other half ice cold. It's a frickin' modern marvel. Plus you..."


Misato silently sipped her beer as her red haired minion continued her verbal assault. She had become quite used to this weekly abuse, in preparation she always made sure to have plenty of beer on hand when it was her turn to cook. It seemed to help the situation. After a solid minute of Asuka's griping, Misato decided she had enough.


"Shut your face!" she screamed, ramming her empty beer can into the table.


Misato took advantage of the newfound silence to compose herself as she turned to the other party at the table, who was presently trying to make himself as small as possible.


Deep down, she knew it was wrong, but her fall back plan in these confrontations with Asuka had always been the same. Involve the Third Child, Shinji Ikari, any way possible. The net result of his involvement was always the same, the women would both begin to tease him and she would be forgotten about. She gave a slight internal sigh of regret as she decided to initiate the Katsuragi Maneuver. It was cruel but Shinji must be used to it by now, she thought.


"Well, Shinji here seems to like it."


Becoming enraged Asuka pointed at the boy, "That moron would eat anything you put in front of him."


"I would not!" Shinji protested.


"Yes you would, you jerk!" Asuka placed her hands under her chin and blinked adoringly. "You would do ANYTHING for Misato."


"That's not true and you know it!" Shinji objected as he jumped to his feet, the chair falling away behind him.


Asuka edged closer to him, answering his aggressive move. "It IS true, you are so stupid, you'd even eat this sheisse rather than upset your dear Misato."


"Well there's nothing wrong with being polite."


Shinji turned away from Asuka before continuing, "of course you wouldn't know anything about that."


Misato had returned from getting another beer and sat back down at the table. She leaned back in her chair with a satisfied smile on her face as she watched the results of her plan.


Opening her beverage, she started to formulate an acceptable plan to end the bickering.


Asuka grabbed Shinji's shoulder and spun him around to face her wrath.


"Listen here Third Child," she bellowed jabbing him in the chest with her finger. "I know a lot more than you about politeness." Reaching down she grabbed his bowl shaking it in front of his face.


"Eating this CRAP has nothing to do...with...it." she exclaimed as her voice began to trail off.


Misato picked up the change in Asuka's voice. It seemed a little too early for her to storm off, she thought. She also noticed that the German had been staring into Shinji's bowl for quite a while now.


Asuka slowly placed it back down on the table, her face beaming with pride. Shinji on the other hand, looked completely flustered. Unable to face either woman, he decided to carefully observe the ceiling tiles.


"Well, well Misato," Asuka started as she carefully placed her hands behind her back, adding a little dance step to her sermon. "It appears that you have hit a new all time low."


Misato gazed at Asuka suspiciously, then slowly sat up and leaned over to examine Shinji's bowl. It was still full, he hadn't even touched it. She sunk back into her chair.


"Even the Invincible Shinji couldn't stomach your cooking this time," the satisfaction evident in her voice. Asuka was positively exploding with joy, while Shinji shifted his view to the floor now.


"My how you must feel now," she added.


Misato could only stare at the boy, searching for an answer. Her eyes yearned for an explanation, crying out, as if he had somehow betrayed her. She took a quick gulp of beer and slammed it down, causing the boy to jump.


"Shinji, how come you didn't eat anything?"


He slowly lifted his head to face her. "I...it was...ah...um..." he stammered, searching for the words.


"Great Misato, your food gave the stooge here brain damage!" Asuka chimed in.


Misato fired off a scowl at her before turning back to the still mumbling Shinji.


"Go ahead, you can tell me the truth. I can take it," she spoke in an almost pleading tone.


He took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts. She did ask for the truth, so her feelings won't be hurt he supposed.


"Do you want me to be honest?" he asked reluctantly, verifying his hypothesis.


"Of course," she replied, then raised the tone in her voice, "now spill it!"


Shinji again took a deep breath. "Normally I can at least STAND your cooking, but this time well it was just awful." The words all came out in a rush.


Misato's expression went blank as she realized what had just happened. The shy boy who would never express an opinion about anything in life not only complained about her cooking, but he also didn't throw in his standard 'I'm sorry' at the end.


If the circumstances were different, she would have picked him up and given him a hug for showing some spine.


However, current events dictated that he would have to be punished for his insolence. The girl was right, she had reached a new low. Asuka would also have to be punished for pointing that out.


"Awful, huh!" Misato started, looking at the two teens standing side by side across the table. "Well fine, if my cooking is that BAD, Shinji will be taking over one of my nights to cook."


She watched as a little smirk appeared on the Second Child's face. "And Asuka, since you started this you'll be taking the other night."


Shinji sighed and hung his head, while surprisingly Asuka appeared quite unaffected.


Misato achieved her desired response from Shinji, but she couldn't figure out why Asuka seemed so indifferent. A tight grin grew on her face as the Major finally determined the cause of Asuka's reaction.


"And no ordering take out on your nights, Asuka."


Yes, that did it, Misato reflected as the girl's expression changed to match her companion's, if not worse.


Very full of herself for again outwitting her charges, Misato calmly sat back in her chair and guzzled the last of her beer. She started to notice that although the two Eva pilots hadn't said anything yet, Shinji's twitching hand and Asuka's increasingly nasty expression relayed a sense of impending hostility, probably directed at her.


It was time to end this game, the Major decided. Even she had to admit that the food was terrible. Her plan all along had been to call Kaji and get him to take her out to dinner as soon as she could sneak away from the Children. Asuka's outburst sabotaged those plans, but she was still hungry and a takeout order was still possible, if she could make her meal a distant memory.


She decided to initiate the Katsuragi Maneuver yet again.


"I'm surprised to see you two agree on something," Misato causally mentioned as she innocently ran her finger around the top of her beer can. "In fact you two have been getting along much better lately." She looked up to examine their mutual blank expression before continuing.


"Do you want me to leave so you can make out?"


Asuka's jaw hit the table as her face quickly matched the color of her hair. Her partner didn't fair any better, his jaw completely missed the table and landed directly on the floor, his facial color had long since passed crimson on its way to vermilion.


It was all Misato could do to not burst out in laughter, but she kept her straight face as she stood.


"Well?" Not content with simple words, Misato added kissing sounds as she started to clear the table, quite happy in her apparent victory.


Shinji was the first to regain his senses. "What, er...yes, I mean no..." he stammered out before stopping to catch his breath.


His incoherent mumbling broke Asuka's daze. "What, me kiss that pervert! NEVER!"


Shinji finally composed himself to the point that he realized he should be taken aback by her comments.


"I'm not a pervert." He turned to stare his fellow pilot in the face.


"Yes you are," she replied matching his glare.


"No, I'm not!"


"Yes you are. Besides it doesn't matter because if I did kiss you, you'd faint anyway."


"I would not," he said as he moved closer to the girl, in a desperate attempt to intimidate her.


"Would too," she responded, sensing his aggressive move she matched it by moving closer herself.


"Would not!"


Putting on his angriest face, he countered her move by moving still closer, their faces mere inches apart.


"Idiot, yes you would, just like last time!" she shouted, her own face bathed in a scowl.


"I couldn't breathe because YOU were holding my nose!"


Both of them stopped yelling and started to blush as the fact that they just accidentally exposed their little secret to Misato. The pain of embarrassment was evident in their faces as they turned in unison to face their guardian.


Much to their surprise she was gone. In the void where she once stood they could only hear the TV blaring in the next room.


---------


Misato decided early in the fight to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. After initiating the Katsuragi Maneuver, she grabbed her beer and left the battlefield, lest she be caught in the crossfire. Having moved to the living room, she was relaxing on the couch with her fresh beer in her hand, flipping through the TV channels trying her best to ignore the incessant chatter in the next room. Subconsciously she thought she heard something of interest, her finger desperately finding and pressing the MUTE button. Cocking her head in an effort to listen better she found that the conversation had stopped. The sudden silence that came from the kitchen was a slight cause for alarm, but since she could hear no sounds of a struggle she sunk deeper into her relaxing thoughts as the channel flipping resumed.


---------


Shinji and Asuka listened intently for a remark from their roommate. Although they had both been screaming, Misato was notorious for ignoring their fights and her lack of a response to their highly embarrassing revelation seemed to ease their tension.


"That was close, moron, watch it next time," Asuka whispered.


"I'm sorry."


Asuka balled up her fist and shook it menacingly at him. "You will be if anyone finds out!" she hissed while still keeping her voice low enough that a certain Major couldn't hear it.


---------


Misato was growing concerned with the silence in the apartment. She had turned down the TV in an effort to determine exactly what was happening in the kitchen between her two charges.


To be honest, most of her concern was centered on the fact that she was becoming quite hungry and was ready to order some take out. Her major problem was the squabble between her roommates didn't seem long enough in her opinion to allow her to safely order food without the danger of bringing back comparisons to her earlier attempt to fashion a meal. It seemed that a quick fueling of the flames was in order.


"I don't hear anything in there...are you two lip locked?" Misato giggled quietly at her genius.


---------


Asuka was really beginning to resent her elder guardian's insinuations. She watched silently as Shinji started again stammering incoherently about not being a pervert, when Asuka suddenly thought she could distinctly hear the sound of laughter coming from the next room.


Her eyes lit up like a beserker Unit 01 as she finally figured out the true meaning of the Katsuragi Maneuver. An evil smirk slowly grew on her face as she started to put the pieces together. The smirk turned into a frown as the endless drone coming from Shinji's mouth was continually derailing her train of thought. Her hand darted out and smacked him in the back of the head.


"Would you please stop your blubbering, I'm trying to think."


The boy stood silently, rubbing the back of his head while Asuka paced back and forth in the kitchen. She rested her hand on her chin, her mind deep in thought.


"Shinji," she whispered, "say something bad about me."


The best he could muster was a bewildered look as he tried to comprehend her request.


"Huh, what are you talking about?" he whispered back.


Asuka was becoming concerned that the silence in the room would attract suspicion. "Damn it," she groaned, "call me some names or something."


Shinji simply cocked his head, unable to understand exactly what he was supposed to do.


Drastic measures were in order and with an almost remorseful sigh, she reared back and punched Shinji in his right shoulder.


"OW! Damn it! What the hell did you do that for," he yelled while rubbing his upper arm.


"Because you're such a dork, that's why!" she screamed, directing her voice towards the entrance to the living room. Asuka began waving her arms, trying to encourage him to continue the verbal exchange.


Shinji still didn't know exactly what the girl's plan was, but the pain in his arm convinced him to continue, "I'm not a dork...what the hell is wrong with you?"


Asuka nodded approvingly as she moved in closer to Shinji, who cowered back in fear as she approached.


"Quit it," she whispered, "I'm not going to hit you anymore."


Shinji stopped backing up and moved in closer to her. "Listen carefully, we don't have much time."


---------


Misato was feeling downright ecstatic at this point. She heard Asuka's punch clearly, even at this distance. A part of her was a little worried that Shinji might be hurt, but deep down Misato knew that Asuka could never bring herself to really injure the poor boy. As the two started another heated exchange, Misato calmly turned to the other occupant in the room, Pen Pen.


"I think I'm going to get beef ramen, what about you?"


"WWWAAARRRKKK!!" came her feathered friend's reply.


Misato frowned and stared down at the bird. "Okay, but if your going to keep ordering the most expensive thing on the menu, your going to have to get a job."


"WARK!" the bird squawked as he handed her a 100,000 yen note.


Misato hesitantly took the money, first wondering where he got it and then feeling a bit jealous that he had more cash then her.


---------


The two Children were huddled together in the center of the kitchen.


"Shinji, I figured it out."


"Figured out what?" he responded while starting to ease away. His defensive reflexes were on a heightened state of readiness. The throbbing pain in his arm and Asuka's unusual behavior had seen to that.


Watching him back away, Asuka groaned and put her arm around his neck, pulling him in close to her.


"Idiot, stand still for one minute while I explain." She picked her head up and scanned the area, left and right, ensuring they had privacy.


"Do you know how we are always fighting?"


Shinji simply stared back at her, the mocking expression on his face her answer.


"Oh yeah, dumb question...anyway, doesn't it seem odd that we fight this much? I mean sure, you can be really stupid at times. And annoying. Sometimes I don't know WHY I put up with you..."


His now livid appearance combined with his rapid clenching and unclenching of his fists caught the girl's attention.


"Okay, I guess sometimes I can be difficult to get along with."


Shinji nodded his head with an ear to ear grin.


"Shut up!"


"I didn't say anything," he whimpered.


"Well, you were...now listen." She again pulled him in close, only after again checking for an eavesdropper.


"It finally dawned on me why we fight so much...it's Misato."


"Misato!?!?"


"SSSSHHHHH, keep you voice down or she'll hear us. Yes, Misato. I got it all figured out. See whenever someone starts to make fun of her, she changes the conversation to one of us."


"ONE of us?"


Asuka blushed a bit. "Well...mostly you."


"Thanks."


"But the point is she is able escape while I torture you."


Shinji paused as he reviewed the key points in Asuka's theory. She seemed to make some valid arguments. Even he couldn't understand why they seemed to fight so often. No Angels appeared for months after the 12th and Asuka returned to routinely beating his sync ratio. There wasn't much stress, apart from schoolwork, so it couldn't be that. Aside from that really strange dream in which he thought destroyed mankind, only to be trapped alone with Asuka back on Earth, Shinji's life had been relatively normal. The pieces were starting to fit.


Yet still, Misato? She agreed to be his guardian over a year ago so she must be looking out for his best interests. She acted a little immature sometimes, quite immature actually so the possibility was there.


"I don't know Asuka...I mean she's supposed to be taking care of us."


Asuka sensed Shinji's disbelief. Quickly she formulated a plan to dispel any doubts he might have.


"I'm going to prove that she's messing with our heads."


Shinji nodded in agreement.


"Follow my lead, we're going to give her a little test."


He simply continued nodding, drawing a sigh from the red head.


---------


Unable to convince her penguin to get another beer, Misato rolled off the couch and walked toward the kitchen. Stepping through the door, she was immediately confronted by the two pilots. Surprisingly, neither of them looked to upset, although Shinji did appear quite nervous.


"So, are you two finished?"


"Yes," Asuka replied while elbowing Shinji.


"Er...yes," he followed while rubbing his arm.


"That's a relief," she responded before switching into a motherly tone. "I just wish the two of you would learn to get along."


Misato frowned despondently and changed to her most emotionally upset tone, "I...it's very hard as your guardian to see you fight all the time," she cried, her voice breaking up at the end.


Finding it nearly impossible to keep a straight face, she quickly turned away. "I want to help you two, if there is anything I can do..." She hunched over, her faux tears and sobs filling the room.


Asuka turned to the boy, her face aglow in triumph as she nodded slightly to him.


Twisting his head in disapproval, Shinji signaled he required more evidence before passing judgement.


Asuka balled up her fist and shook it at him, complementing that action with a scowl.


"If you really want to help, you COULD spend more time at home. You know, providing me and the dork here a good role model."


Her request surprised Misato, catching her off guard. After a moment she decided to take a defensive stand as she turned to face them.


"Well, things have been real busy at NERV, I am the Operations Director you know. I just can't up and leave at 4:00 everyday."


"What do you mean, busy? There hasn't been an Angel attack in months...and the gossip around the cafeteria is that Commander Ikari found a typo in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the HCP project has been scrapped."


How had Asuka found out about the end of the HCP project? Misato made a mental note to herself, first thing Monday a complete overhaul of Section 2 was in order.


"Your reliable sources aside, Asuka, I still have to deal with all the day to day problems that arise."


"Oh please, the biggest problem you've had in the past three months was the Yebisu brewers strike...and you single handedly negotiated their new contract in record time."


Misato smiled as memories of her greatest achievement to date flashed through her mind. The papers labeled her a hero. The local bars provided plenty of congratulatory drinks. Strangers stopped her and shook her hand on the street, and if Command Ikari hadn't vetoed it, there would have been that calendar shoot. She was going to be Ms.Yebisu for January.


The memories also provided another benefit, they reminded her why she entered the kitchen in the first place, beer.


Watching her guardian bend over to grab another can out of the fridge, Asuka sprung the trap.


"So, you have no GOOD reason not to be here for the two of us," glancing over to Shinji as she finished.


"Er...um...well."


It appeared Misato caught Shinji's brain damage from earlier. Caught completely off guard by her minion, desperate measures were required if she was to escape. Mentally slamming her fist on the big red button marked, Katsuragi Maneuver, she spoke.


"Well, I figured I'd give lover boy over there a chance to spend some quality time alone with you!"


Misato sat back and awaited the inevitable. The blushing, the screaming, the physical violence that always followed her tactics.


This time however, things were not proceeding according to the script. Nervousness started to show on Misato's face as the two Children simply stared at her.


Perhaps they're finally on to me, she thought as her eyes darted left and right, looking for an acceptable escape route.


Finding none, she peered down to her friend Pen Pen hoping he possessed a plan. He simply shrugged his wings and walked out of the room. He hated to be accidentally stepped on during the fights. Webbed feet were fine for swimming, but they provided too large a target for struggling humans.


Shinji glanced at Asuka, waiting for her to do something. Normally both of them would be blushing at the mere thought of what Misato said, but the fact that she was so right seemed to overwhelm her. Asuka simply stood frozen, an astonished look on her face her only outward expression.


Lucky for her, Shinji was able to keep his wits about him in the increasingly tense situation. Realizing that Misato was still awaiting a reply, and not wanting to arouse further suspicion, he finally spoke up.


"It's not like that, I'm not a dork..."


He looked longingly over to Asuka although she still appeared to be in a state of shock at Misato's predictability. Kicking her shin he finally broke her trance.


"Oh...yeah, I'd never touch this jerk...I mean dork in my life."


"I am not a pervert...you are!"


Asuka gazed at Shinji with bewilderment, all he could do was shrug his shoulders.


"Don't you wish!" she hesitantly bellowed.


Try as they might, even after a year of practice, the two of them just couldn't stage a fight. Without the dynamics involved in their usual fights, they were becoming quite nervous as their response's continued to make less and less sense.


"Now, now kids, stop this fighting," Misato replied while waving her hand.


Asuka and Shinji both breathed a sigh of relief, somehow their ruse had worked.


Her hunger pains becoming unbearable, Misato seized her opportunity. "Now that's better. I want you two to stop this bickering."


The Second and Third reluctantly nodded to one another, all the while being carefully watched by their guardian


"Good, now that's over what do you want to do tonight?"


"Well," Asuka started, rubbing her stomach. "I'm still pretty hungry."


Misato seized the chance. "Who wants take out?"


"Oh, Misato...I think you should order from that place on the east side that you like so much."


"But Asuka, you know they don't deliver out here."


"Shinji can go pick it up."


The dark haired boy was about to speak, but one evil stare from his fellow pilot caused him to reconsider.


"Well, I was going to get something delivered...but I do love that place your talking about, and since I'm paying..."


"WWWAAARRRKKK!!!" Pen Pen suddenly appeared and began storming around the kitchen. "WWAARRKK, WARK, WWWAA..."


His tirade was cut short as Misato's foot punted him out of the room.


"Heh, heh, I wonder what his problem was?"


Turning to face the boy and switching to her sweetest voice, she spoke. "Shinji, will you please go pick up our food...I'll have Asuka call it in."


"No."


Shinji and Misato stood in shock as they both turned to face the voice.


"No, you call it in, I'm going with the idiot here to make sure he doesn't screw up the order or get lost along the way!"


Immediately Misato military instincts sensed something was different here, after all Asuka never helped Shinji unless she was told. Perhaps she was opening up to the boy. Or maybe she wanted to tease him away from her protection. No matter what, she had ulterior motives.


However Misato's hunger pains were becoming debilitating so she wouldn't press the issue, for now.


"Fine, if you want to go pick it up with him, I'll call it in."


Slowly the realization sunk in that somehow the two most important women in his life succeeded in making him traipse half way across the city for take out he really didn't want. The trek to the restaurant didn't bother him as much as the hurt he felt at Misato's betrayal. At that moment he decided to confront Misato as soon as she hung up the phone. As he mentally rehearsed his speech, he felt a strong tug on his ear.


"Come on stupid."


Asuka pulled Shinji through the kitchen, past a waving Misato and through the front door. As the door closed behind them, she released her grip.


"Ouch, that hurt," he cried while rubbing his ear.


"I could tell by the look in your eyes you were going to tell her that I discovered her little plan."


"So what?"


"So, she's not getting off that easy, that's what. No one makes a fool out of Asuka Langley Sohryu...I must get my revenge!"


"Fine, I won't tell her."


"Good boy." Asuka smiled at him, his blush the reward.


Finally breaking her gaze, he started towards the elevator. "So, why did you agree to go pick up the food with me?"


"I needed to get out of that apartment and be alone with you."


Glancing over she couldn't help but notice the ever-widening grin on her companion's face.


"What are you stupid?" she started with an incredulous look on her face. "It's not like that, I didn't want Misato to hear that's all. We have some planning to do!"




To Be Continued...


Next Chapter: "Asuka Strikes Back"


Author's Notes:
An so starts the next fic...as you can tell this is much different then my previous fic. I intend this to be a romantic / comedy. Much lighter and fun then NGE: Renaissance. As you can probably tell, this falls sometime well after the 12th Angel attack and never returns to the Eva timeline. I'm not going to mention if it is a Shinji / Asuka or a Shinji / Rei or Shinji / ??? fic. It is simply a story, if you like it read it, if not then don't. Rest assured that Rei, Touji, Hikari and most of the rest of the cast will appear, this is only the beginning. Feedback is always welcome, and be sure to visit darkscribes.org for other fics. I also plan to do an omake for each chapter, and here is the first one...


******************* OMAKE THEATER *******************


The room is dark, not a sliver of light compromises its emptiness. Suddenly one single beam of light emerges, seemingly from no where. Then a second, and a third. Within moments the 12 monoliths of SEELE are visible in the otherwise pitch black surroundings.


SEELE 03: Why have we been summoned?


SEELE 05: Yes, what is this emergency that requires the full participation of the committee.


SEELE 06: We do not have time for these interruptions, we must discover some way to initiate Third Impact.


The sound of bickering soon fills the hall, that is until Chairman Keel speaks.


SEELE 01: Quiet everyone, Quiet...Thank you. The reason I have called everyone here is that SEELE 11 has made a formal request of the committee.


SEELE 02: What is this request?


SEELE 01: The removal of NERV Operations Director Katsuragi.


SEELE 04: Why do you require the entire committee to fire her?


SEELE 01: No, he requests Agent Rouji to make her removal...permanent.


SEELE 05: Why should we risk Rouji's alliance on such a request?


SEELE 01: SEELE 11 believes that Major Katsuragi has obtained certain classified documents involving our failed attempt at a Third Impact.


SEELE 05: I see, is this true, SEELE 11?


SEELE 11: WWAARRKK!!!!