SHINJI THE TIGER
Disclaimer: I do not own Eva or Ranma ½
Summary: Shinji get teleported to Jusenkyo, meets Ryoga Hibiki, gets cursed, and journey's to Nerima, along the way getting engaged to the lovely and energetic Shampoo.
Another response to Invincible Shinji's Romance Fanfic Challenge.
Eye of the Shinji
Shinji groaned as he blinked open his eyes to see that 1-he was alive, 2-he wasn't inside his Eva, and 3-he was nestled in what felt like a soft patch of grass.
I'm alive! He thought as he sat up and rubbed his head. But... shouldn't I be dead now? I remember being inside my Eva, inside the 12th Angel, my oxygen running out.
He looked around and noticed that while he was still in his plugsuit, he was standing in a large valley full of small stone pools, each one elevated from the ground, and each with a bamboo-pole sticking out each one. In fact, he was right next to one.
Not that I'm complaining or anything. But where am I and how did I get here? He wondered as he walked around the pools and noticed that each of the pools had some strange Chinese writings on them. He had actually taken a Chinese language class and could make out the characters that were carved into the edge of the pool.
One pool said 'girl', another pool said 'pig', another pool said 'panda', and others he could make out said 'horse', 'duck', 'man' and 'tiger'.
Where the hell am I? he wondered as he stopped in front of the one that said 'tiger'.
He looked around and noticed that there was nothing and no one else nearby. Obviously, wherever he was, he was without his Eva or even his identification.
Suddenly, a young man wearing a yellowish gold long-sleeve shirt with black pants and slippers, a yellow and black bandana and carrying a red umbrella, walked up to him.
"Excuse me, could you tell me where I am? I'm a little lost." the boy asked Shinji.
Shinji had no idea how true that statement was.
"Uh... actually I'm kinda lost myself." Shinji said
The boy looked at Shinji who was dressed a skin-tight blue and white outfit that was something out of a sci-fi film.
Okay, this is a little weird. Ryoga thought. Then again, I crossed two oceans without seeing a drop of water so... "My name's Ryoga. Ryoga Hibiki. What's your name?" he introduced.
"I'm Shinji Ikari." he replied.
A sudden thundering noise caught the pair's attention and they turned to see what looked like a large panda being chased by a very angry redheaded girl.
Ryoga's first thought was, Did I wander into a zoo?
Shinji's first thought was, What's Asuka doing here?
The next second found both boys slammed into by the panda and redhead, knocking them apart and tossing them both into different pools of water.
What happened then, changed Shinji's life forever.
What's going on? What hit me? Shinji groaned as he scrambled out of the pool.
(It wasn't a deep pool, but Shinji still preferred not to be in it.)
However, what shocked him the most was that he didn't speak with words or thoughts. It sounded more like a growl.
He quickly scrambled out of the pool and landed on both his hands and feet. He tried to stand up, but felt his balance shift, his plugsuit feeling tight, falling back into the same pool. He sprang out of the pool and landed on all four limbs once again. This time, he actually bothered to look down.
What the... when did I get furry... tiger shoes? He wondered as he looked around and noticed that something was definitely wrong. For one thing, he was looking at the ground a lot closer than he usually did. For another, when he tried to move his arms, the furry tiger shoes moved. What the... where did my arms go? And where are... he then looked down, noticing that he was looking under himself and staring at four tiger feet and.. A tail? A tiger's tail! Is there a tiger behind me?! Wait a minute... he thought as he remembered that bald man who went into that other pool and came out a panda. He looked down under himself and concentrated on the tail. It stopped moving, then started wagging, then stopped again. Oh, my, god. I'M the tiger!
This sudden realization caused the boy-turned-tiger to panic and jump around like he was chasing his own tail.
Across the way, a small piglet wearing a black and yellow bandana just looked at the tiger.
Whoa! He's going ballistic! He thought as he tried to get some distance from the much larger beast. Okay, best thing to do right now is stay away and make sure I don't get eaten. He started backing away from the tiger, but then another thought came to mind. Hey, where's that kid Shinji I just met? And why do I feel naked all of a sudden? Looking down he realized that not only was he not earing his own clothes, but he had small hoofed feet, four of them, his body was covered in small black fur, and he had a cute curled tail. Realizing this he immediately started panicking and whining.
This whining brought Shinji out of his own panic and he turned to notice his companion, a small black piglet wearing a black and yellow bandana like the boy, Ryoga, had been wearing. Also around his forehead. He also noticed the boys clothes hanging off the side of one of the pools.
He then realized something. His plugsuit was now gone. Odd that. He was sure he was wearing it when he went into the pool, but where had it gone now? He looked at his skin, now bright orange fur with black stripes. His hands and feet had been replaced with large paws with razor sharp claws and what he recognized as padded footballs. He looked behind him and waved his long tail around. He then moved his tongue around inside his mouth and, yup, sharp pointed teeth.
If he had to guess, he was now a Bengal Tiger.
He then looked to his right as a man wearing an olive-drag uniform and cap, possibly of Chinese origin, approach them both.
"Very bad young sirs." the Chinese man said to the pair, holding up what looked like a tea kettle with steam coming out of it. He turned to Shinji. "You fall into pool of drowned tiger." he then turned to Ryoga. "You fall into pool of drowned pig."
The pair of animals just looked at each other and blinked. The man told them not to move as he poured the hot water over them both. In seconds the tiger and the piglet vanished, only to be replaced by the human boys they once were.
"Wha... where... how..." Ryoga gasped as he struggled to get his clothes back on.
"You fall into cursed pools." the man said. "Person fall into pool get changed into thing that drown in pool before. Cold water turn you into animal, hot water change you back to human."
Shinji, still dressed in his plugsuit, just looked at the Chinese man, his mind instantly working on what he had just been told.
Since he had never heard of a place like this, he figured he wasn't in Japan anymore. And if this man was indeed Chinese, then he was in China. But where exactly?
Shinji turned back to the Chinese man.
"Uh, sir? Pardon me, but who are you, and where are we?"
The man looked at the boy curiously. Granted he didn't expect him to know who he was, but he was a little confused as to why the boy wouldn't know where he was.
"You in Jusenkyo, honored sir. In Chinese mountains." the man said. "I am guide to Jusenkyo."
Shinji's suspicions now confirmed, the boy did the only thing he could think of.
He slumped against one of the pools, frozen in deep shock.
The guide and Ryoga leaned over the brooding boy and just looked at him, then at each other.
"Weird kid." Ryoga said softly, not knowing that Shinji wasn't paying attention to him. He then turned back to the guide. "So, uh, how come he didn't lose his clothes like I did?"
"Not know, young sir. May have something to do with falling into pool twice. Has never happened before I assure you." the guide said.
Ryoga didn't look happy about that.
Though he wasn't looking to test that little theory, he wasn't sure what bothered him more: the fact that Shinji could change into a tiger without losing his clothes like he could, or the fact that he simply changed into a tiger. He turned into a little piglet for crying out loud!
All things considered the guide was a little surprised that Shinji had taken it so well. Neither of them knew that Shinji was fairly used to such things.
"Well, if there's nothing else here, I really need to get going."
Shinji suddenly snapped out of his stupor.
"Going? Going where?" Shinji asked.
"I'm searching for someone and I won't rest until I find him and make him pay!" Ryoga declared.
Shinji gave the young man a strange look. "What for?"
"He and I were supposed to fight a duel, more than ten years ago, and he never showed! I've been looking for him ever since to settle up with him!"
Ten Years? He's been searching for him for ten years? "Wow."
"What?" He asked, wondering what he meant by that.
"You've been searching for this person for ten years? You've got dedication." Either that or you've got a real one-track mind.
"Thanks." he said, taking the compliment.
"Would you mind if I tagged along with you?" Shinji asked.
Ryoga looked at the younger boy. "Uh.. I guess not. Where are you from?"
"Japan, like you. I... got separated from my family. A long time ago."
While Ryoga may have been totally focused on his on goals, he wasn't averse to helping others.
And then there was the other issue.
If he turned into a little black piglet when he got hit with cold water, having a tiger around might be helpful to him. If he didn't eat him in the process.
"Well, I wouldn't mind the company and all, but... well, do you know any martial arts?"
Shinji pause briefly. His being an Eva pilot had demanded that he take up martial arts. But Shinji had gotten into it at a younger age, mostly because he considered it both a form of exercise and he liked the poetry of it. The way the body moved in fluidity, almost like a dance, was artful to him. But he never thought to use it for actual fighting, it just wasn't his nature.
Ryoga actually sensed that, though from his form he could tell the boy wasn't an amateur either.
"I've had some training, but, well nothing really advanced." Shinji explained.
"Well, you should know that I'm a fighter, and I like to train a lot." Ryoga said. "I could give you a few pointers if you want."
Shinji then noticed Ryoga examining him, rather intently at that.
"What?" Shinji asked, self-consciously.
"Here, catch!" Ryoga said as he kicked up a large meter-wide rock that was next to one of the pools as if it was a soccer ball and kicked it at Shinji.
Shinji reacted quicker than even he expected, throwing his arms out and easily catching the rock. He froze as he just held the alluvium object in his hands. Just to look at it he figured it must weigh about twenty pounds. Yet for some reason it wasn't as heavy as it should have been.
Granted Shinji was a fairly scrawny person, and his coordination wasn't the best, but if that was true, how was he able to do this now?
"What the... how?" he gasped.
"Hmm. Seems you're not going to start out as a beginner after all." Ryoga grinned.
Ryoga's little test had told him everything he needed to know about Shinji's abilities.
He had caught the rock, which meant he had good reflexes, and he was holding it rather easily, without straining or anything. Despite his scrawny build the boy seemed to have uncanny strength.
Neither would figure out too soon that it was actually a result of being dunked in the sacred pool twice that caused a residual effect in Shinji's transformation. This residual effect was also carried onto the back of Eva's effects on Shinji.
(While his mother, Yui Ikari, couldn't do much for Shinji while in battle, she could augment the boy to where he would be stronger than any other boy. It had taken a while and many synch tests and even the more extreme treatments whenever she went Berserk, which had actually happened three times before Shinji was teleported to this world by the 12th Angel.)
Not only was Shinji now able to transform into a tiger and still retain his clothes in the change-back, but he now seemed to possess some other excess abilities that went along with his transformation to a tiger. Such as nearly triple his normal physical strength and reflexes when he changed back to a human. And considering that Shinji was unconsciously at least ten times stronger than a normal human adult at the time of his teleportation to this world, the effects of the cursed pool compounded.
"So come on then, we'll start your training today!" Ryoga grinned.
The pair left before the guide could ask them if they wanted to wait for the other two. He probably would have said something, had the pair not been so involved in their conversation.
Shinji quickly discovered two things as he traveled with Ryoga Hibiki.
1-the boy had a very poor sense of direction. Shinji realized this when they had left Jusenkyo and ended back up at the valley six hours later. Odd considering they had been walking in a straight line from the valley. A brief talk with the guide once again, and the pair were off on their way once more.
Of course Shinji being the person he was, didn't say anything, even as the pair spent the next three months on the road. He was actually amazed by the boys lack of direction.
Shinji didn't know you could travel to four continents without seeing the ocean, that you could be in Texas one hour and then tromp through Siberia the next, travel from Canada to Mexico without passing through the United States, have sand in your shoes from the Egyptian desert one day and then have frost from Antarctica in your shorts the next. Traveling from Brazil to Italy without seeing the Atlantic was amazing to him, and Shinji had never seen Paris.
Literally, they completely passed it on their way to Siam.
India had some interesting food, Turkey's music impressed Shinji, but England gave them a lot of trouble as it rained there quite often.
In those three months Shinji actually got more worldly experience than he had after his mother died and his father abandoned him over ten years ago. Add to the fact that Ryoga was able to train Shinji in the Anything Goes Style.
Ryoga was impressed at how quickly Shinji picked up the style, and how patient he was in regards to learning. He also taught Shinji a few signature moves regarding Tiger-Style kung fu, more as a joke Shinji thought. But while Shinji was able to pick up the Anything Goes style, Ryoga noted that Shinji didn't like fighting that much. Not that it was a bad thing, it just made sparring with the boy difficult as he did not present much in the way of a challenge. Still, Shinji managed to pull his weight, as a cook if not a protector.
Shinji and Ryoga eventually ended up back in Jusenkyo where the guide welcomed the travel pair back after being gone for three months.
The second thing Shinji discovered about Ryoga, he was a freaking superhuman when it came to the martial arts.
When they had started out their journey the lost boy had given Shinji a change of clothes and a weighted backpack that was about 300 lbs total. Though it didn't feel that heavy to Shinji. He told Shinji it was to help train his legs. Ryoga was quick to discover that despite the regimen he had put on himself, Shinji, being of a weaker form than his own, didn't complain about it.
He had told Ryoga that he himself was confused as to where his physical abilities had come from, as he didn't remember being this strong beforehand.
In fact, he figured he was about two, possibly even three, times stronger than he had been before coming to Jusenkyo. Not that he even knew what Eva/Yui had done to him.
Not that Ryoga seemed fazed by that too much and kept up his strength training.
Shinji himself was actually surprised he was able to keep pace with the older more athletic young man. He figured that under normal circumstances he would have keeled over from the weight a long time ago.
Ryoga wasn't really one for conversation, neither was Shinji, yet the pair found stuff to talk about a week after they had left Jusenkyo for the second time.
((FLASHBACK, ELEVEN WEEKS AGO))
"So you really are from another dimension and you really pilot a giant robot?" Ryoga asked.
"It's not something I enjoyed. It wasn't glamourous or anything like that. It was always, painful and draining, I guess you'd say. There isn't much else to say about it though." Shinji said.
Somehow the pair had gotten onto the topic of how they had come to Jusenkyo, and Shinji eventually told the boy of where he had come from and about his life.
His life as an Eva pilot.
He'd started by telling Ryoga about how in the year 2000 an Angel named 'Adam' was discovered in Antarctica, and that waking it up had caused a massive explosion that destroyed the poles, and half the planets population with massive flooding and earthquakes. It was referred to as Second Impact. Fifteen years later he and a few others were charged with the task of stopping a new wave of Angels from wiping out the rest of mankind, using giant robots called Evangelions. Shinji's designation was The Third Child, meaning he was the third person chosen to pilot.
He then told Ryoga about Misato and Rei, his odd reunion with his estranged father, piloting an Eva without any measure of training imaginable and barely winning, his many other battles, including stopping a rogue JetAlone robot, then meeting Asuka and Kaji, the many other battles afterwards, up to the one where he got sucked into the 12th Angel and ended up in their world.
He kept quiet about him accidentally falling onto Rei, seeing Misato nearly naked all the time, and Asuka's suffocating kiss.
He was relieved he had gotten it all out, but when he turned to look at Ryoga, the pigtailed boy just had a look of awe on his face.
"Man! That's a hell of a story, man. You're pretty lucky!" Ryoga said.
Shinji didn't blink.
"Wait, wait, what? Lucky? What are you talking about?" the boy pilot asked.
"Dude, come on! It's every martial artist's dream to fight against overwhelming odds to defend those who can't defend themselves. I mean, sure, I'm looking to finish my fight with Ranma, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't stop to help out someone who needed it. And you, you get to pilot a giant robot to defend hundreds, thousands, maybe all of mankind from these Angels. You're a hero!"
Needless to say it wasn't what Shinji would have preferred to hear. He never thought of himself as a hero, and he wasn't sure that he was that lucky.
"I really don't consider myself hero, in any way."
"Well of course you don't."
Shinji looked at Ryoga.
"If you called yourself a hero, then you wouldn't be. You'd just be cocky or arrogant."
Shinji had to admit that a pretty much truth.
"But tell me, what's it like, really, to pilot this Eva-thing?" Ryoga asked.
Shinji knew he didn't care about the high tech details, like Kensuke would have, just what it was like to pilot it.
"Like I said, it's painful." he said bluntly. "Piloting an Eva, it's like... almost like an extension of yourself. It's like I'm the one out there fighting. I mean, who in their right mind would build something that lets you feel what happens to it? It was just ridiculous to put us in there, and after everything we went though, they didn't even try to build, like, a buffer or something to protect us better. Like they didn't care about what happened to us."
Ryoga just looked at Shinji. It was obvious that he didn't like piloting, even if he was good at it and even needed to do it.
"If you hated it so much, why did you do it? To protect that Rei girl you knew?"
"I... at first it was to protect her. Then she promised to protect me. I got the impression that we were friends, that I was her first real friend, and... I guess we could have been more. I would have wanted to be more... with her."
Back in the other universe, Rei suddenly felt a desire to smile as she did for Shinji after their victory over the 5th Angel.
"I don't know if I'll ever get back to my world, I don't know if I should even try." Shinji said.
"Why not?" Ryoga asked.
Shinji looked at him. "Aside from Rei, there was... really nothing else there for me. Except pain and possibly my death."
"And you're afraid of dying? You shouldn't." Ryoga declared.
"I'm not afraid of dying." Shinji stated.
Ryoga paused at this. "Really?"
"I realized that... I didn't have anything to live for. My mother is dead, my father didn't want me, everyone in my world just wanted to use me."
"The woman who took me in, Misato, she wanted revenge against the Angels, but she couldn't do it herself. She needed me to kill them. She was nice and all, she tried to help me, but... she wanted to use me as well I guess. Ritsuko needed me for her tests, to pilot the robots she helped to construct. My father was the same way. My friends used me too. Toji is just nice to me because he's in love with Misato, and Kensuke just thinks of me as his 'famous friend' cause I'm an Eva pilot. He'd give his left arm if he could pilot. Probably forget all about me and such. And Asuka just... she just wanted everyone to see how great she was. So I guess she used me to make herself look good in front of everyone else. Tearing me down, insulting me, so that I'd screw up and she'd be number one. She never knew, I never cared about that."
"No one else with... kinder motives?" the lost boy asked.
"Rei maybe. Piloting was her life. Nothing else really seemed to matter to her. I tried to get her interested in a few things, but..." he shrugged. "Everyone else didn't really know me well enough."
"Then why did you keep doing it?" Ryoga asked. "Piloting, for these people who only used you?"
"I guess... I never really thought about it. Maybe I just... maybe I did it like Asuka. To be recognized. No... that's not exactly right." he said with a slight shake to his head. "I guess I did it... because I wanted to be useful. I wanted people to... want me around." he sighed again. "Sounds kinda selfish, doesn't it?"
Ryoga just groaned at the 'wallowing-in-self-pity' that his new friend was doing.
"Oh for crying out... No, it's not selfish to be wanted or needed by others. You want to be useful to people, how is that selfish? Take me for example. I've been traveling all over the place looking for Ranma because I've got a score to settle with him. That may sound selfish, but it's made me into the kind of person that can do a lot of good in this world. It's because of Ranma that I'm driven to be the best. And because of that, I can be useful when it really counts. I can help people who need it. If that's being selfish, then yes, we are the most selfish people on the planet!"
Shinji just looked at his friend and laughed. "Maybe you're right, Ryoga. I guess I just spent a lot of time doubting myself for what I could do for everyone. Like I wasn't any good at anything."
"Hey, that's not you're fault. From what you've told me, you're whole life never gave you a lot of choices as to what you could do for anyone. People just used you, never gave you any encouragement or support, and just expected you to get better whether they helped you or not. Kinda stupid if you think about it." the boy smiled a bit.
Shinji watched his friend's face turn serious again.
"You can't ever stop trying to help people or try to make them happy. Even if things don't work out perfectly, at the very least you've tried. That's why I never gave up in my search for Ranma, even after all these years. But that doesn't mean I'm so obsessed that I forget what it means to be a true martial artist and help people. And helping others is one of the things that makes you human."
In the short time Shinji had known Ryoga, he had never figured the older boy for the philosophical type. Yet, his words made clear sense to him. It was actually more help than anyone had ever given him in the past.
Maybe this world isn't so bad. He thought as his smile broadened. "Thanks Ryoga. I'm glad I've got a friend like you."
The lost boy patted Shinji on his back. "Forget it, bro. It's just like my dad taught me, people need each other to survive. I just wish I knew where he was." he mused deeply.
At that, Shinji started to realize that maybe getting lost was hereditary.
Originally I was planning on having Shinji get teleported to Jusenkyo and meet up with Ranma and his father Genma. But since that didn't seem too original, I changed the story to make it so that Shinji met up with Ryoga, who was also at Jusenkyo.
Also, in several Eva/Ranma crossovers Shinji had gotten cursed to turn into a girl. Wanting different I changed it so that Shinji would turn into something else. Since characters like Ryoga got turned into a piglet, Mousse got turned into a duck, Shampoo becomes a cat, and Genma a panda, I decided to change the scene so that Shinji would become something that wouldn't necessarily be comical, yet in some ways funny to the story.
I decided on a tiger, since I'm pretty sure it hasn't been done that way before.
Also, since this is Ryoga we're talking about, I decided to have the pair get lost for a little while. This will make sense why later on.
Also, I know I probably made Ryoga a little OOC, for that I apologize.
Jobs that Ryoga Hibiki wouldn't be good at:
Stock Car Racer.
Long range reconnaissance.
"Man, that was some good duck you cooked, Shinji." Ryoga said as he burped and tossed another bone into the fire.
"Thanks, Ryoga." Shinji smiled. "Though for the life of me, I can't understand why a duck would be wearing these glasses." he said, twirling the thick spectacles around in his hands. "They sure are thick. That duck must have been blind or something."
(I know, I know. Kinda dark, But come on. Someone would have written something like this eventually)