Hi guys! It's Piper, thank you for the reviews on my stories! It's such an encouragement and it really helps me. Keep it up and I'm going to review some of yours as well.

Love to you ;D !

Rei blinked back the thoughts running amuck through her mind. Tonight all she wanted to do was sleep, to escape the reality that surrounded her life. Shinji knows now…he knows that she is nothing but a copy. Nothing but a pathetic excuse for his mother. He saw the shells that were all Rei, floating in a sea, smiling empty smiles that his mother could once make beautiful. He hadn't spoken a word to her since then, he hadn't even looked at her.

She clenched the pillows of her bed a little harder, buying her face deeper into the soft fabric.

Unholy. Unreal. Fake.

The words plagued the teenager's mind over and over. Shinji's horrified stare. Asuka taunting her.

"You're nothing but a doll!"

Shinj's horrified stare again. And again. And again.

The image seemed stained to her memory; every time she closed her eyes, she saw his wide disbelieving shock. "I'm not a doll," she argued to the Asuka and Shinji in her mind's eye. "I'm real, I promise," she added, a whimper in her voice.

"You wish," she heard her mind's Asuka say. "You couldn't be real, ever. You're just a phony, a replica of humans. A doll. Always empty, always will be empty."

Rei stared at the Asuka behind her eyelids.

"Why didn't you tell me, Rei?" She turned her head to find the Shinji of her imagination, staring back at her with hurt in his eyes. "You're my mother? How could you?" His face contorted into a show of anguish. "How could you pretend to be my mother?!" he screamed at her. "Get rid of her face! Get rid of her skin! Get out!"

Rei felt hollow inside, for the first time. After all these years of being told she was just an empty shell, she finally realized she was. Perhaps it was because she could only feel how lifeless she was after she'd tasted the sweet feelings, and had it ripped away from her.

Tears specked her cheeks and she rubbed her face into the bedding. Why this regret over one small boy? Why this pain? Why do I feel for Ikari?

Confusion furrowed her eyebrows. This obstructs my goal. I must remain calm, or Eva will not respond to me. She sighed, trying to release the tension in her bones, but to no avail. Why must I care for his opinion? What is it that prompts the distress in me? She sat up and found her pillow soaked with tears, but Rei hadn't even realized she was crying.

Her nerves picked up that she wasn't alone, and she mechanically turned her head in the direction of the distinct presence she felt. But she knew before she laid eyes on him.

"Shinji," she breathed his name, forgetting to call him "Ikari."

He stared with his deeply concerned blue eyes. She could see him shaking slightly, posibly from nervousness. He was posed in her doorway, unmoving. He looked as if he'd been standing there forever. She wouldn't mind if he would stay that way forever, and she right here, watching him.

He said no words but shuffled his feet awkwardly in her direction, then finally kneeling before her next to the bed. They were at eye level, her face searching his eyes for something, anything, any hint of feeling besides fear. There was something, something she could not name, something that shook her core deep underneath. He seemed to be searching her as well, for something she did not know how to give.

He reached up slowly, painfully slowly, and touched her cheek with his fingers. He seemed determined, a pirate hunting for his gold. He ran his index finer along the length of her cheek bone, and finally cupped her chin gently. She did not move, afraid to shatter the strange silence that stretched between their hearts. Silence was better than absence.

Shinji took his other hand and touched her hair softly, brushing his fingers through it, feeling the texture of the strands, as if analyzing them. He let his hands fall to one of hers, which he also turned his full attention on. She watched him curiously as he studied her fingers, her nails, her knuckles and the pale skin that was flushing from the warmth of his hands. Finally, he looked back into her eyes, still carrying that mysterious emotion, and leaned his head downward, pressing his ear to her chest. Listening to her heart.

Thump. Th-thump. Thump. Th-thump.

"My mother's hair, my mother's face, my mother's hands. Hands that held me when I was young."

She flinched at the sound of his voice. It broke the careful wall she'd kept between them these last moments, the walls that let her think freely of his actions.

"My mother was beautiful. Singularly, beautiful. To this day, though I do not remember her well, that is one truth that I cling to. My mother was wonderful. Beautiful. Perfect." He sat up and looked into her eyes. "But you are not perfect. Not at all. My mother was warm and inviting, but you are cold and aloof. You keep secrets, she whispered hers to me at night." His eyes were not hard, his tone was not harsh. "Mother smiled even when she was in pain. You show nothing. Mother loved with her whole heart. You do not." Rei clenched her teeth, listening to his words with an aching heart. He blinked calmly. "Rei, you are not my mother."

He stood, and she feared he would leave, but he stood there, staring down at her. It felt perverse to have the Third Child looming over her so ominously; he was a rather weak and gentle boy, never should he be above her, looking so threatening as he did now. Looking so threatening to her heart.

He binked again. "Rei. You are you."

She nodded curtly.

"I loved my mother. She protected me, she brought me home, a place I could return to and rest my father-yearning heart." She noticed his voice changed when he spoke of his father. He'd never spoken to her about how he'd once loved him. "I loved her for being my mother. My relation to you is completely different, Rei. As you are nothing like her, I cannot feel the same way towards you as I do her. It is illogical." He paused. "Rei. I cannot love you the same way."

She blinked. What?

He smiled, the first time in weeks. It was small, but it was perfect. He moved forward, kneeling before her again. "You hear? I can't love you like I loved her because you are different people." He waited for her to speak, but she was speechless, letting him take the lead again. "But I do love you, Rei. Just not as a mother." His smile turned crooked, slightly mischievous. Shinji's eyes told her he would not say another word till she did.

But she couldn't ask, she couldn't bear it. How could she? But, she knew, her ears begged to know the answer. "H-how do you love me?" she murmured.

His face moved closer to hers, his crooked smile turning to a grin. A beautiful, gentle grin. Like him. "Like a lover," he whispered, before closing her lips over his.

Okies, how do you like it? I'm a fan of a bit of citrus, but I didn't want my first Rei x Shinji fanfic to be real graphic. And I know it's got a little OOC, but I really wanted Shinji to step up in this one, take te lead a bit. And I wanted to show Rei's remorse a bit.

Review please? :)