I JUST WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND


Written by Axel Terizaki
IRCNet: #teri-chan ; #slayers.fr

ASUKA's Notebook: http://www.asukanotebook.com.bi


*yawn* Hi all! :)

Sorry for the delay, hehe ^^;
So okay, I had no real excuse except laziness and/or other occupations... ^^;

Before we begin, I'd like to tell you that this fic happens at episode 19.
This means, after the Toji incident, but before Shinji ran away (this would
explain his depressive state).

Now, let's begin with the show! :)


CAPTION: Neon Genesis Evangelion
CAPTION: I just want to be your friend
CAPTION: First Connection - The Fall

---


"Shinji-kun..."

Misato Katsuragi was sitting at the table of her kitchen, her hair
tied in a ponytail, and dressed as she usually is when she isn't working,
a pair of blue shorts with a loose top. Ikari Shinji, her roomate, was
sitting in front of her at the kitchen table. Contrary to her, he was dressed
in more decent clothes: he was simply wearing his school uniform.

"What are those grades?" Misato asked, calmly. She was holding a
piece of paper in her hand, and took another look at it before continuing
her speech in front of a rather silent Shinji.

"Most of them have gone dangerously down lately, it's just not like
you."

"I don't know Misato-san..." The boy weakly replied.

"You don't know what?"

"I don't know, I mean... I'm just not like myself lately. I would
have wanted to have some free time, but training and synch tests take up all
of it! This is so stressing..."

"If it's just a free time problem so you can study, I will ask Ritsuko
if you can skip some of the tests. Shouldn't be a problem." Misato smiled
warmly, trying to reassure him.

"It's not only that you know..."

"I know it won't solve everything, but I'll try..."

"I'm not like myself at all..."

"I noticed." Misato replied. She took a sip of her can of beer on the
table. "Is it also because of the recent incidents with Unit-01?"

Shinji's reply took its time to come out of his throat.

"Maybe it is, I just don't know. A lot has happened lately."

"I see. Well, remember, if you have problems to talk about you can
find me, okay?" she said with a warm smile

"I... I'm going to my room, I don't feel too well..."

Another person joined in their discussion.

"I bet you are! After the punishment you got today!"

The voice came from the hallway. It was Asuka's, the fiery red-head
who lived along with Shinji and Misato in this apartment. She was wearing
blue shorts too, along with a green T-shirt. She was still drying her hair
with a towel.

"Asuka!" Misato said in a commanding tone.

"What?" replied the redhead, as she was watching Shinji close the
door to his room behind him.

"I don't think he needs your harsh comments for now."

"Why is that!? He and his friends mocked me today. I had to teach
them how great I am, that's all! I just added some special punishment
for the baka there." Asuka said, pointing a finger at Shinji's door.

"Oh? Like what?" Misato asked, curious and angry at Asuka at the same
time.

Asuka took something from one of her pockets. It was a flat
rectangular metal thing.

"Hey! Isn't that his SDAT batteries!?"

Asuka just nodded with a triumphant grin on her face. Misato just
eyed Asuka sadly.

"Asuka, maybe you should give this back to him. His SDAT player is
something really important to him, please understand..."

"Awww, you're no fun, Misato!"

"This isn't funny at all. Shinji's SDAT is something he uses
when he's depressed, and if he founds out that he can't use it... I suggest
you go apologize to him, and bring him back his batteries, young lady."
Misato said, making it sound like it was an order.

"No way I'm going to apologize to this idiot! But, I can still
give him back his batteries... Tsssk!" Asuka shook her head and headed for
Shinji's room.

Misato took a sip of her beer, and shrugged.

she thought, while looking at the
ceiling.

Asuka was in front of Shinji's door. She let out a deep sigh, and
knocked twice.

"Baka Shinji? I'm coming in."

That's only when she opened the door that she gasped in horror.

"DAMNIT! You stupid!!" she shouted.

Shinji was standing up on his desk chair, with some kind of rope
in his hands. Hopefully, he was just beginning to put the knot he made with
the rope around his neck when Asuka entered the room. In shock, he kicked
the chair through inadvertence, making it fall on the ground. Asuka quickly
reacted, and ran to him before it was too late. She tried to hold him by
placing her arms and all her strength around his thighs, so he wouldn't fall.
However, Asuka had a hard time in resisting to Shinji's struggling, and she
was kicked against his bed.

Misato came running when she heard all the noise coming from the
room, and gasped as well in horror. Asuka was going to stand up again,
her instinct telling her to do something, when the unexpected happened.

The rope broke.

Shinji fell on the floor, almost crying and choking a bit.
It seemed that the rope wasn't really made for this kind of things, as it
didn't support Shinji's weight. Asuka was the first to come over him, and
quickly turned him over to look at his face.

"Goddamn FOOL!" the redhead screamed.

Misato's eyes opened wide when she saw Asuka's fist violently punch
Shinji's face. He even didn't flinch, but spit some blood and continued to
quietly sob. Asuka was about to give him another violent punch,
when Misato quickly came back to her senses, and reached for her arm.

"Asuka, stop this!" it was now Misato's turn to scream.

"This... stupid... bastard!" Asuka breathed in rage.

"Go to your room, now! I'll take care of this." Misato tried to
sound as calm as possible, even if she was more than shocked by the whole
situation.

Asuka took one last look at Shinji, who was still on the ground,
and quietly ran to her room. Misato heard her door slamming and then, just
some light sobs... She looked at Shinji, and took him in her arms.

"Shinji-kun, calm down... Calm down... It's okay..."

By instinct, Misato put his head against her shoulder, and sat on
his bed, waiting for him to calm down. She looked at his face, and saw
the bruise Asuka gave him when she slapped him hard. God, she would probably
have killed him if I hadn't stopped her, she thought.

"Come on, it's okay now... Just wait there, I'm going to get you
an ice-pack..."

Misato put him down on his bed, and stood up. She looked at him
again, before hurrying to the kitchen, where she took an ice-pack from
the freezer. When she came back, she let a sigh of relief, seeing that
her roommate didn't move at all.

"Here, let me put this on that bruise..." she said in a
soft, reassuring voice. Shinji was slowly calming down a bit, and could sense
that in this voice, there was care, true care.

"Mi...Misato-san..."

"Sssh, don't say anything..." she said as she applied the ice-pack
on his cheek. Shinji flinched and cringed a bit. Asuka really hit him hard
this time. Misato then remembered what just happened in front of her eyes
and frowned. Shinji, seeing this, looked down.

"What has gotten into you, Shinji-kun!?" she said in a soft, yet
authoritative tone.

"I... I'm sorry Misato-san..." he softly replied.

"Where did you get that rope?" Misato asked more calmly now, seeing
that the bossy attitude wasn't going to get her anywhere. Shinji's reply
still took time to get out of his mouth.

"The... I got it into the school gymnasium. I'm sorry Misato-san,
please don't tell anyone..."

"Don't worry, that wasn't my intention at all. But could you care to
explain me what decided you to do this? I just want to understand, okay?
It's not for one of those reports."

"Well, it's just everything around me these days... My grades aren't
good at all..."

"Grades aren't that important. You're an Eva pilot, we're just
putting you in school so you can be with people your age. Just so you can
act as a normal teenager." Misato interrupted him.

"But even with the Eva...! With what I did to Toji... I could
never forgive myself for this!"

"And? Did I have to remind you that this was not YOU who did that?"
Misato interrupted him again. "It's all that auto-pilot's program fault..."
She didn't want to say the term 'Dummy plug' in front of him. After all, he
wasn't supposed to know, even if she supposed that he did know indeed.
But again, she was lying, hiding the truth from him. That wasn't good.

"But still, it's my Eva who did that..."

"I understand you feel sorry and guilty for what happened to
Suzuhara-kun, but you must get over it! There are your fellow pilots too!
Why don't you spend some time with them?" Misato said, innocently, even if
she knew that spending some time with Asuka was something quite impossible,
and spending some with Rei seemed... surreal. Not impossible, but surreal.

"I hope you're just kidding, Misato-san. A...Ayanami... We don't
get to see her that often, and besides she's too diffrent... I can't quite
get my finger on it: sometimes I feel good in her presence, and sometimes
I just feel scared..." the boy softly said.

"That's because she isn't... used to live with people, I guess. You
could help her learn how to, pehraps?"

"I don't know... I don't know how to?"

Seeing that he wasn't thinking clearly yet, Misato tried the other
possibility.

"And what about Asuka?" Misato asked.

"I hope you're just kidding again... I stopped trying to understand
her a while long ago. I just... don't feel comfortable around her. She's
always so mean to me..."

"Asuka has her lot of problems too, you know. There isn't just only
you in there. I guess... what she just saw hurt her more than you could
ever imagine." the Major sadly said.

"H-how? What do you mean?"

"I can't explain it to you right now. I have to check on her now."
she stood up from the bed, and picked up the batteries Asuka unconsciously
let fall on the ground in her rage. She then turned back and handed them to
Shinji.

"Here you are. Why don't you listen a bit to your SDAT, Shinji-kun?
It'll cheer you up." she softly said to him while putting the batteries on
the bed, next to him. She then picked up the rope on the ground and took it
with her. As she was leaving his room, however, she spoke.

"You know, Shinji-kun, Asuka was going to give you back your
batteries when she discovered you there..."

"When I got into my room, I didn't want to do that yet, I just
wanted to listen to my SDAT... That's when I saw that the batteries weren't
inside anymore! Asuka really didn't need to do that to me!"

"I'll make sure she'll get the right punishment for that, Shinji-kun,
don't worry..." Misato said, reassuringly.

"But... she'll hate me even more!"

"She won't, don't worry about anything... You want to talk some more?"
Misato was about to sit next to Shinji again to talk to him.

"No... Please Misato-san, I just want to be alone now. I suppose you
can't understand me..."

"Indeed, I can't. I'm not you. But at least, I can try to, just to
prove you that you're not alone."

"...Please leave now..." Shinji's voice vas now softier.

"As you wish. Just don't do anything stupid, okay?" she leaned over
him, and gave him a light kiss on the cheek before rubbing his hair with her
hand with all the affection she could manage.

"Th-Thanks for everything, Misato-san..."

"I'm here for that."

This said, she closed Shinji's door behind her and went to Asuka's,
which she obviously found locked.

"Asuka? Are you okay?" Misato called from the outside of her room.

"Yes I am!!" Asuka angrily replied.

"Oh well... Then that's... good, I guess." the Major let out a tired
sigh, and went to the kitchen where she sat down on a chair. Everything
seemed happy and nice... only a few minutes ago.


* * *


"That idiot..." Asuka quietly muttered into her pillow. The redheaded
pilot of Evangelion Unit-02 was laying on her stomach, on her bed. The vision
of a door opening and someone hanged up played continuously in her mind, much
to her discomfort.

"He has no right to give up..." she muttered again, this time looking
up from her pillow. She then put both her hands on her eyes and felt a
warm liquid.

"...and he makes me cry..."


* * *


Akagi Ritsuko carefully eyed her friend. Misato and her were both in
her office, were lots of computers were working on a list of codes, it seemed.
The two women were both sitting in chairs, facing each other.

"Then what are you doing there? Shouldn't you look after him?!"
the doctor angrily said.

"Calm down, Ritsuko. I asked Asuka to look after him."

"Is it *really* wise, considering her bad temper? In his state,
he should be placed in observation at the hospital."

"That was the only solution I had for now..." Misato shook her head.

A slight pause occured in their discussion. Ritsuko looked away.

"I understand..."

"You don't realize how much stress we put into those kids, you know."

"Their fate is to suffer from Eva, I guess." said the doctor as she
looked straight at her friend. She made it sound as if it was an order
for them, though.

"Poor kids... They're so young! I mean, at their age, they play
around, dance, fall in love... But they can't."

"Mostly because of their tough past, don't you think?" Ritsuko
remarked.

"Yeah... Although we don't know anything about Rei's..."

Ritsuko fell silent at this.

"Anyways, I came to see you for advice." the Major continued.

"Advice?" asked the doctor, quite confused.

"Yes, you know, advice." the Major repeated, softly.

"On what?"

"I'd like to buy something for Shinji-kun..."


* * *


"Switch to another channel, will you?" Asuka asked to her roommate,
who was sitting on the couch, watching TV.

"There isn't anything interesting on TV anyways..." Shinji flatly
replied.

Asuka was quietly reading a book, trying to keep her mind out of
some... unpleasant thoughts.

"Anyways, change the channel, I want a different sound ambiance while
I read my book!" Asuka ordered as she looked angrily at him.

"Yes, my mistress..." Shinji softly said. He sighed.

"I heard you..." Asuka grinned. "But I don't mind being called like
that..."

This made Shinji sigh again. That's when Asuka noticed the ice-pack
on his right cheek. She frowned.

"Who did you this?" Asuka asked, more curious than concerned about
his safety.

Shinji lifted his head and glared at her.

"You did this to me one hour ago, remember?" he said, rather flatly
while turning his head back towards the TV screen.

"I did?" Asuka replied, dumbfounded.

"Are you amnesic or something?" Shinji turned his head towards her
again.

"Of course not, you idiot! But I don't remember having hit you today.
Still, maybe it's because you desperately want me to hit you, you hit yourself
instead and told your subconscious it was me who hit you, so you could feel
some kind of pleasure in this... I didn't know you were like that, Shinji..."
she was grinning widely at her speech.

Shinji eyed her carefully before replying.

"What you're saying is quite stupid, you know..."

"Naaah, it's real, baka Shinji! A famous philosopher, whom I don't
remember his name, made a speech about this. I havn't got my college
graduation from a lucky bag you know!" she said rather angrily, as if
Shinji had put her culture and intellectual skills in doubt.

"Whoever said that, I believe it's stupid."

"You seem limited in your ability to understand, Third Child."
she added, disdainfully.

Shinji just ignored her, thinking that if they went further on in
this discussion, they were going to argue again, or worse, fight... Asuka
was going to say something else, when, much to his relief, he was saved by
the sound of the front door opening and then closing.

"Hi kids!" cheerfully called out Misato.

The two teens could hear her putting something heavy on the kitchen
table, and didn't really notice her coming near them until they heard her
soft footsteps. Misato sighed with relief when she saw Shinji looking at the
TV, and cleared her throat.

"Shin-chan, I have something for you!" she said on a joyful tone.

This made both Asuka and Shinji lift their heads from what they were
doing, almost at the same time.

"Ah? What is it?" Shinji found himself asking without really thinking
about actually saying it.

"Come in the kitchen and you'll see!" Misato then walked towards
the kitchen, whereas Shinji stood up and followed her. Asuka, curious,
stood up as well, and followed them.

When Shinji stepped in the kitchen, his eyes widened in surprise.

"This is a..."

"Why can't you always finish your sentences, dumkopf?! It's a
computer!" exclaimed Asuka while looking at the words written on the box.
Misato threw one of her death glares at her before she could continue.

"This is for you, Shinji-kun! The best of the best!" Misato said,
waving her hands at the big box on the table. The two teens exchanged looks
and wondered how did she carry that to the apartment by herself.

"Let me see what it's composed of!" Asuka said, while taking off
the piece of paper stuck on the cardboard box with a piece of self-adhesive
tape.

"Since when do you know enough about computers to judge them only from
their components?" Shinji weakly asked.

"You're only trying to put my extensive knowledge in doubt again!"
she replied.

She then began to read the piece of paper describing the computer.

"It comes from the 'AXL's Computer Center'? What's this?" Asuka asked.

"Ritsuko told me about this shop. They have a lot of nice
guys... errr, computers here!" Misato replied with a weak smile.

"Anyways, let's see what's in there... A Megatron(tm) 21' transparent
screen... A 1 giga-byte Woohoo5(tm) chipset video card... Hmmm... That's a
nice Extranet card you have. Why did you bought a computer with that Misato?"
Asuka eyed Shinji then Misato.

"I thought it would be good for Shinji-kun to make some friends over
the net. What do you think?" she looked at Shinji when she finished asking
her question. Shinji just looked back at her, taking his time to reply.

"I don't know..." he weakly said while looking down. Seeing Shinji's
hesitation about the matter, Misato quickly changed her tone of voice from
serious to cheerful.

"Anyways, we'll see that later! Now, we're going to install this on
Shinji-kun's desk!"

She was going to take the box in her arms when Asuka interrupted her.

"Hey, wait a minute! Where is that shop?" asked the redhead.

Misato took the box in her arms, while Shinji tried to help her.

"Errr... One block away. It just opened last week."

"Give me some money, I'm not going to let Shinji have his own
personnal computer while I even can't have one myself! That's not fair!"
Asuka complained again. And when she was complaining, it was a bad thing.

"Okay, okay. Take my credit card in my jacket and don't buy the most
expansive computer!" Misato said, mostly wanting to get Asuka out of there so
she could be alone to talk with Shinji. The young girl went to her room to
quickly change, took the credit card and went out of the apartment.

I hope they have something else than this horrible purple color...
the redhead frowned.


* * *


Asuka entered via the glass doors in the shop Misato told her
about. She then was greeted by a man with brown hair. She estimated him has
being in his mid-thirties. She also noted that he needed a good shave, just
like her Kaji-san...

"May I help you, young lady?" the man asked her.

"Errr, yeah, I want to buy a computer. Could I choose
its components?"

The man nodded.

"Sure, we can make a customized model for you in less than
10 minutes." he said, proudly.

"That's good, I'm in a hurry." she said, grinding her teeth.

The man typed a few commands on his computer, and the printer next
to him unleashed a pack of ten pages in two seconds. He then handed them
to Asuka. She looked at them carefully.

"I need a pen to underline my choices." she said coldly to the man.

"Oh, sure, sorry miss."

The man, happy that he's going to sell a new computer, took a pen
from a drawer at the counter and handed it to Asuka. The girl then began to
look through each page, underlining some components, checking their prices.

"Okay, I want that in my computer." Asuka almost ordered to the man
at the counter.

"Hmmm..." he said while looking at the papers. "You know what you
want, young lady." he added, while typing commands in his computer again.

"Which color would you like?" he gently asked.

"For what?"

"The painting of your Central Unit. We offer the painting when you
purchase your system with the SZ Engine in it." he added.

"But I never asked for that!"

The man looked at the papers again, and put a hand on the back of his
head.

"I'm sorry. I thought you wanted the SeiZebehn Engine, but I was
wrong, it seems. Look, I'll put it anyways, for free. Still, you pay for the
painting, okay? It's 1200 yens for the paint job. Which color you'd like,
again?"

"Oh... Hmm... Red!"

"Nice choice."

"What is this damn SZ Engine anyways?" Asuka asked, surprised by
herself not knowing anything about this component.

"It's new, we received it just today. It's a device which,
in case of an extended power cut, allows your computer to stay active.
Unlike all other similar systems, it doesn't use any energy source or
anything."

"I didn't know about this, but what the hell...? I'm in a hurry!"

"Oh sure. It should arrive soon."

Asuka took a look around her while waiting for her computer to be
assembled... She took profit of this pause to think more about what Shinji
did earlier in the morning, and how the scene looked... too familliar.
A few minutes passed as she was lost in her thoughts.

"It's done!" called out the man, while coming back behind his
counter. Asuka hadn't noticed that there was a door behind him earlier.
He was holding a large red box in his arms and put it down on the counter.

"Here you are miss. Do you want it to be delivered at your home?"

Asuka sighed while giving her credit card.

"Please hurry up! I don't have much time!"

"Oh sure." The man said, while taking the money out of the card with
a charge machine, and giving it back to Asuka.

"I guess I should be thankful for that proposition, this box looks
indeed a bit too heavy for me." Asuka said.

"Don't worry, it's free." he looked behind. "Julie! Come down,
please!" he called out.

A woman, also in her mid-thirties, opened the door behind the counter,
her brown hair resting on her shoulders, and her eyes as blue as Asuka's.

"Yes dear?" she softly said.

"I'm going to make a delivery for this young girl. Take care of the
shop, okay?"

"Sure dear. Take care too." she smiled.

"If you see Sakura-chan, tell her that her friend called earlier."
he said while passing via the glass doors, followed by Asuka.

"Okay! Don't worry!"


* * *


"So, you see, Shinji-kun? It's really easy to use. Doors2015 is a
little bugged, but I guess it's the only thing we can install for now.
Anyways it's very popular, we even use it for the computers at NERV."

Shinji's computer was proudly standing on his desk in his room.
Misato was sitting on a chair next to him, while reading the instructions
manual and showing things to Shinji on the screen. He seemed as gloomy as
ever, and slowly nodded to each of Misato's teachings.

"Are you okay?" Misato inquired.

"Huh... I guess..."

"You won't act stupid again, will you?" she added.

"N-no... I don't think so." the boy weakly replied. His reply didn't
really reassure Misato, though.

"That's good to hear. You don't know how valuable you are..."

"Is that all I am to you? A tool?" Shinji sadly asked.

Misato stopped what she was doing and turned back towards Shinji.

"I guess... in a way you are... But you must learn to be proud of what
you are. Just like Asuka. You're as worth as her you know. You're Evangelion
pilots, but you're also the two kids I always dreamed to have!" she said
through a smile, unseen to Shinji.

"Really?" he asked.

"Yes... Because of you, billions of people still live almost
peacefully all around the world. And because of you, I have someone waiting
for me when I come back home after a hard day of work..."

Shinji eyed her carefully.

"Do you really mean it?" the boy was still unsure of her words.
He tried to convince himself that this was just a scheme to make him stay,
that her words weren't meant at all...

"Of course I do! You're very important to me, like you are to Rei,
to Asuka, as a teammate, as a fellow pilot. You see, I'm sure that if you
were to die, Asuka would regret you more than you may think... Don't think
of her as a sentimental, of course, but she's still a teenager, and she
needs someone your age to be with her everyday. As a friend."

"Do you really want me to believe that crap Misato-san? After all
she did to me, you think she sees me as a friend?!"

Misato took a deep breath and resumed typing on the computer's
keyboard.

"Maybe not as a friend, but at least as someone in her surroundings.
Someone she can talk to. Just by being present, you fill her needs, I think.
I don't know her enough to tell more, but well..." she smiled again at him.

"I'm not used to deal with people..." Shinji concluded after a pause.

"Neither is Rei, or Asuka. What about we all go to a restaurant
tomorrow? You, Asuka, Rei and me? And maybe some other NERV staff? A big
party? What do you think?"

"A... party?"

"Yay! Why not?" she said, while continuing to type in commands
in Shinji's new computer.

"I don't know if it's a good idea..."

"You'll see that tomorrow!"

She entered a few last commands before hitting the "enter" key
forcefully, showing that she was finished.

"Okay, I guess I finished the setup, heheh." she said, with a chuckle,
hoping that this will work. "Come over here, and create your profile." she
added, before standing up from the desk chair.

Shinji complied and sat where Misato was earlier. He looked at the
transparent screen in front of him, and at the form he had to fill.

"Ah, you surely want me not to look. Fine, I'll go."

"No, that's okay..." Shinji muttered, while beginning to type in
info about himself. The nickame he chose caught Misato's attention, though.

"Third? Why use a nickname like that, Shinji-kun?" she chuckled.
Shinji blushed in response. She tried to make Shinji smile and enjoy the
whole thing.

"Well, that's what I am, isn't it? That's what everyone thinks of me.
the Third Children... Only a pilot Eva... Take Asuka, she calls me that most
of the time!"

"Well, it's not that bad, all things considered."

"You think so?" he asked, not so sure of himself.

"Yep!"

The sound of the front door opening and closing could be heard in
Shinji's room.

Misato thought.

The two of them entered the kitchen, and were surprised that Asuka
wasn't holding anything. The man next to her, still, seemed to. He finally
put the red box down on the kitchen table.

"Here you are, miss, thanks for buying one of our comput..."
However, he didn't finish his sentence, as he saw Misato.

"Hey, you came to buy a computer too, right? I see the family is
equipying itself!" he said with a smile.

"Errr, yeah, sort of." Misato said with a weak smile.

"Okay, I'm going now. Bye and make good use of all this." This said,
the man turned back and went out of the apartment, and back to his shop.

Asuka turned to Misato and smiled proudly before handing her her
credit card back.

"This is MY computer!" she beamed, putting both her arms around the
large red box as if to mark her territory.

"Sure Asuka, sure." Misato quickly nodded.

"Oh, and there was only this guy at the shop, Misato... Where were
the other 'nice guys' you were talking about?" Asuka asked, narrowing her
eyes.

"Huh...? Well maybe they were out. There was at least three of them."
She narrowed her eyes as well. "Maybe they didn't find you as attractive as
I was and didn't decide to come out in view..." She knew this was going to
wake up Asuka's true self...

Indeed, the young girl frowned.

"Well, if you think that you have a chance with that guy,
I don't want to discourage you, but he's already married..." Asuka said,
as if it hadn't any importance to her.

"What!? I never..." Misato blurted out.

"And moreover, they already have a kid... I heard them talk about
her..." Now, she was grinning, and when Asuka grins, it can be dangerous.

Misato angrily put her arms around her stomach and faked a pout.

"Fine, young lady! Since you seem so smart, you can install your
computer by yourself!" She looked down at Asuka with a grin on her face,
too. Those women were definitely taking a malicious pleasure in teasing
each other.

The whole exchange between his two roomates kind of amused Shinji.
He smiled inwardly, thinking about the two women who lived with him.
In a way he had luck, he thought. The man said it when he designated them
all. They are a family.

Shinji lips turned into a smile,
as he looked at the two women arguing. This made his heart warm up a little
from all the sorrow and depression he has been through lately.


* * *


-jERC Build 413. Booting up Extranet Subsystem, please wait...-

Shinji waited for his chat program to start. He wanted to try being
with other people not knowing him, as he didn't know them... That's what
the net is for, he thought. Strangely, he did feel happy to try this.
New experiences didn't really appeal to him usually, but he had a good
feeling about this one.

-List of channels available: 25472-

A list of channels sorted by alphabetical order then popped out on
the screen. Shinji just clicked on one of at random.

***You entered #teri-chan***
***Topic for that channel is "What's the color of the universe?"***
***Modes for that channel are +tn***
***People present are @Solbianca @Karine @AxelT @J-Asuka lelex lilins
shogouki***
Nah it's not it. I went to Cartoonist 2015 this weekend.
Hey I'm searching MP7s for that new anime...

Shinji began to type something on his keyboard.

Errr... Hi.
Hey, there's a newcomer there! :) Hi Third!
AxelT Listen, I can't do everything at once, I can't take care
of the fanclub for now!
Shogouki But we still need your page on her life for the club!

He then noticed one of the names in the list on his right... J-Asuka.
Could it possibly be...?

J-Asuka Is that you Asuka? What are you doing here?
A lot of Asukas exist in this world you know! I'm surely not the
one you want ^_~

He didn't know if he should have been pleased or not. He felt a bit
lost here, among those people... Maybe this wasn't a good idea after all...

Oh, sorry. I'm leaving.
Come back when you want to! :)
***Third has quit ERC (signed off/dinner time)***
***Closing link (~Third@ppp-145-189-54-12.nerv.co.jp)***
***Thanks for using Japan Extranet Relay Chat server erc.nerv.co.jp***

"Shinji-kun! Dinner is ready!" Misato called out from the kitchen.

Shinji closed the connection, even if he was hesitating between eating
Misato's cooking and resuming his discovery of this new world...

he thought
while looking at the ceiling.


* * *


Meanwhile, inside Commander Ikari's office...

"So that's what happened..." Gendo flatly said, while putting his
glasses back in place.

"That's all you feel about it? It's your son we're talking about!"
Ritsuko coldly asked.

"That doesn't really matter. His suicide attempt wasn't in any of
the scenarios scheduled. Why hasn't he been restrained and placed in an
hospital room for observation?" he coldly asked.

"Major Katsuragi didn't want him to go through that. She said it would
be better if he stayed at home for a while. She said she would take care
of him, and that it's part of her job."

"What do you think of this, Dr. Akagi?"

Ritsuko sighed.

"I think the only thing we can do is trust her. She has taken care
of him better than you ever did, I suppose." Ritsuko said, frowning. This
silenced Gendo for a while.

"What are you going to do?" Now it was Ritsuko's turn to ask
questions.

"Nothing for now. I'm sure Katsuragi will know how to handle this
particular... situation." he paused for the last word, unsure of which one
he should use. "If anything unscheduled happens again, I may have to take
drastic measures, trough."

"I see... Anything to add, Sub-commander Fuyutsuki?"

"I have nothing else to say on that matter, Dr. Akagi. Sorry if I
disappoint you." the old professor shook his head.

"Well, I'll leave, then. Remember our appointment tonight, Commander."
she said, before turning back. Before Gendo could say anything, she had passed
the door of his office, and was now out of sight.

the young doctor thought.


* * *


"Why isn't Asuka eating with us?" Shinji asked, while putting his
chopstick inside his bowl of ramen, as he was beginning to eat his dinner.

"She... She needs some rest, I guess." said Misato, through a forced
smile.

"Is it because I hurt her today, as you told me earlier? I only know
how to hurt people..."

Misato shook her head, and resolved herself to tell him the truth.
Well, kinda... Telling him the real truth would make things worse. She had
to make up something that sounded true.

"She must have had her period... You know?" Misato said, casually.

"Oh... Ah, hmm, I see. Aren't girls usually in a bad mood at this
time of the month?" Shinji didn't realize yet that he was discussing this
subject with a woman, it seems.

"Errr, it depends on who you're talking about, you know..." Misato
said with a weak smile. This conversation turned out to be quite
embarassing...

"Sorry for asking..."

Misato quickly reverted to her serious self.

"It's normal, you're a guy after all." she said dryly.

Shinji looked down at his bowl.

"...I'm finished..."

Misato then looked at his bowl too, and saw that he wasn't quite
finished yet. In fact he had only barely eaten.

"You haven't touched your dinner..."

"I'm not hungry, that's all."

"I don't believe you." the Major quickly added. Shinji ignored her
and silently turned around, walking towards his room. That's when he felt
too slender arms enveloping him.

"You know, I care, Shinji-kun... Don't let yourself sink in your
own depression. If you need to talk, you can come to see me, okay?" Misato
was whispering in his ear.

"...I'll remember that, Misato-san... Thank you." he weakly replied.

"Don't let Asuka tread on your toes, don't let your father command
you, don't let depression fall over you, Shinji-kun... Just don't do anything
stupid, because you'll hurt people more than you may think."

"I... I think I understand..."

"You sure you don't want to talk right now? I can lend an ear if you
want me to..."

"N-no... I don't think..."

"When I said you hurt Asuka, I meant that... she probably already
hates you for a lot of reasons, but believe me, she would be sad if you were
to disappear. You're the only person around her who has the same age...
I know Asuka and Rei aren't in good terms, so this means that you must be
here, at least for me, and for her. Me, and probably Asuka, want you to
live, you know."

"Is that all I provide to you two? Company? I'm just useful as a
presence?"

Misato took her time to answer Shinji's thoughtful question.

"Yes and no... I know that you're not used to live as a family, but
that's what we all are. You, Asuka, and me. We're a family. You're my two
children, not my two charges, not my two soldiers. Just children..." She
hugged Shinji from behind as she said those last words.

"Misato-san..."

"Time to go to bed now. Unless you want to try your new computer
system?" she said as she released him from her hug. He turned to face her.

"I already tried it, but I ended in a weird channel..."

"Just learn to be careful, Shinji-kun. There are many dangers on
the Extranet, but there are also many surprises. I just want you to meet
some friends and all... Why don't you communicate with Suzuhara-kun?"

"T...Toji? He has a computer too in his hospital room?" he said,
looking down.

"Not yet!" Misato replied with a playful wink. Shinji's face lit up
a bit and he actually smiled, making Misato smile inwardly.

"That's great! I mean, can you do that for him!?"

"Of course! I'm a Major here, not a stupid technician!"

"You had this plan in mind from the beginning, right?"

Misato just nodded with a grin. Shinji then asked another question.

"When will it be ready?"

"Probably this week-end. I'll see what I can do, but I'll do it.
Now, go to bed, Shinji-kun! There's school tomorrow!"

"Hai Major!" the boy replied, before going back to his room, ready for sleeping. The day
had been eventful, and not really a good day. But at least, it ended with a nice touch...

---
TO BE CONTINUED...
---

WATCH OUT FOR THE NEXT PART: A Friend I never suspected.

Author's notes:

This new fic starts really well, don't you think? I think I finally regained
my will and the pleasure to write, like when I was writting Child Of Love...

Also, you'll notice that I'm working again on a multi-part fic. It has been
a long time, ne? At first I thought I was going to write a long long fic,
but eventually, the multi-part would be a nice thing to do :)

On a final note, I'd like to say that this is not going to contain only WAFF,
like in my other previous works. It'll be more like TCoL. This means, angst,
humour, angel attacks, etc. Be prepared! :)

(And NO, there won't be any pregnant 14 years old redhead this time! ^^;)

(well, not for now... :P)

Special thanks to all my pre-readers... I'll give the Really Special Thanks
in another draft! ^_~

What, we're already in another draft??? :)
Okay then, Really Special Thanks to Alain Gravel, for finding a good nick
for Shinji and various other useful comments about the whole story (with
some help of Godsend777 too :). Jeremy Mullin was a good help too, along
with Ebj, David Watson and David Templar! Good work all!

Also, my english might be a bit rusty from all this time, but I hope you'll all forgive me for that! :)

See you soon,
Axel Terizaki