Disclaimer: I don't own Evangelion and if I did this would probably be more original.
Author's notes: I only wrote this because I have a rather large Escaflowne fanfic that I didn't feel like working on. I doubt that this is original and I am not particularly fussed if this isn't liked. I just felt like writing this and it is more for my benefit than anything else. I don't need your approval but criticism is welcome good, bad or in my case ugly. This is the first fanfic I have completed and posted and I haven't had it proof read or pre-read so you are perfectly welcome to point out my mistakes and yes writing and posting this is probably one of them. Personally I have a hard time believing I wrote this but then I could never understand my chaotic mind.
It wasn't what they had wanted to do on their Friday night but they had no choice now that Misato had practically ordered them to go. They stood still after Misato had sped away leaving the two teenagers standing outside the school hall with the music from inside floating out to them. Asuka had been interested at first in the idea of a dance but then no one had asked her to go so she had insisted that she thought it was a stupid idea. Shinji hadn't been interested from the start, which was no surprise but Asuka had been shocked to find out that Shinji had turned down invitations from other girls. This had infuriated Asuka and hurt her pride knowing that he had at least been asked to go even if he didn't want to. All this was irrelevant now as they hesitated, filled with a sense of dread as to the prospect of what was awaiting them.
Shinji was in a traditional tuxedo but continually fidgeted with the bow tie as it gripped his neck making his think he was being strangled. Asuka wore a red dress in a colour similar to her hair that along with her pale skin made her bright blue eyes appear shine. Shinji sighed and his shoulders slumped forward as he gave in to his fated feeling that his imminent humiliation was inevitable.
"We might as well go in," he half-heartedly spoke offering his arm to Asuka. As he expected Asuka left him behind as she marched up the stairs toward the entrance. This only enforced Shinji's belief that this was going to be a long night and he followed her up the stairs. He looked up at the figure in red walking in front of him but quickly looked down as he felt himself beginning to stare at her. She was beautiful there was no denying but the fact remains that beauty alone cannot hide everything. Within a week of her arrival every boy in the school had realised this as her temper and attitude had become apparent. Recently however she had stopped tormenting him so much and even given up on harassing him on certain topics like his perceived cowardice.
Shinji stepped from the dark night into the dark hall instantly feeling the rise in temperature. Asuka stood just inside the door scanning the area for something while Shinji stood just to her right and slightly behind her still wondering what he was doing here. Asuka was still looking around as Shinji spotted Toji standing at the drinks table to his left. He walked in front of Asuka as he moved over to his friend taking a disposable cup and filling it with punch. They acknowledge each other's presence with a quick nod before turning away from the table and looking over scene before them as they stand shoulder to shoulder. Shinji takes this opportunity to assess the layout. The stage is to his left, where most of the light and dancers are, and the entrance to his right. The table behind him covered most of the wall on his side of the room while the other side was lined with chairs and that was where most of the people who weren't dancing were stationed. To his right along the back wall were more chairs and Kensuke was positioned in the far corner with his video equipment. His eyes fixed on a couple standing close to the exit but with their backs against the back wall. Asuka and Hikari were standing watching everything and then commenting to each other.
"Why aren't you dancing with the class rep?" Shinji asked to his taller best friend. Toji shifted his weight nervously as Shinji looked up to him. "What's the matter you asked her to come with you but you're not going to ask her to dance?" Shinji just watched as Toji looked over to Hikari before taking Shinji's arm and pulling him towards the stage. While the lights were brighter near the stage bizarrely the wall between the stage and the drinks tables was incredibly dark. They sat and Shinji felt more comfortable here where it seemed that they couldn't be seen by anyone else in the hall.
"So are you going to answer my questions or are you going to sit here all night?" Shinji looked at a worried Toji who was obviously wanted to say something.
"You know how I said that I didn't know how to dance," Toji started talking even though he was staring at the floor.
"Yeah, Asuka overheard you and made a big deal about it in class but Hikari offered to teach you how." Shinji stated remembering how Asuka had made the most of Toji's misfortune until Hikari had stepped in. If anyone else had done that Asuka would have torn them apart but Hikari seemed to be the only person who Asuka wouldn't challenge.
"Well she did teach me but…" Toji stopped looking away from Shinji.
"But what? You didn't do something stupid, did you?" Shinji watched Toji whirl his head around to look straight at him.
"No of course not," Toji stammered to Shinji who was amused by Toji's facial expression. Toji looked back to the floor as he realised Shinji was only joking. "Before it was just me and her but here there's everybody else and what if…" he stopped leaving the rest to Shinji's imagination. Being what it was, Shinji could imagine several horrific scenarios that could happen none of which he would want to bestow upon anybody. They sat in silence for a while before Shinji took a sip of his drink to clear his mind. He almost choked when he saw Hikari approaching them and gave a quick nudge to Toji to warn him. He looked up and froze as Hikari stopped in front of the two of them.
"Would you like to dance?" were her words but Shinji's heart was in his mouth when they were directed at him and not his friend. Before Shinji's mind could comprehend what was happening Hikari had taken his drink and handed it to a dumbstruck Toji before taking his hand and pulling him to the dance floor. At about halfway Shinji's mind clicked back into gear and he quickened his pace to match Hikari's in an attempt to hide the fact he was being taken out there forcefully. Reaching the nearest edge of the dancers Hikari stopped and turned to face Shinji who responded by tentatively placing his other hand on her waist. They quickly picked up the pace of the music and began to move accordingly. An uncomfortable silence exists as they began to intermingle with the other couples. Shinji focused on his surroundings trying not to collide with any of the other couples but he soon relaxes, as everybody seems to fall into a pattern. Looking at his dance partner Shinji can see that she is good looking in her own way especially now that she has let her hair free of the usual pigtails.
"So you are just trying to make him jealous," Shinji remarked after observing Hikari's anxious looks over to where Toji is seated.
"I'm sorry Shinji but I just wanted to get him to dance with me and I don't know why he won't." Hikari sighed slightly as they continued to dance amongst the other couples.
"You don't have to apologise it was just a bit of a surprise that's all. I wasn't expecting anyone to ask me to dance but this is nice." Shinji smiles in response to Hikari's smile feeling better that she seems a bit happier about her situation.
"I am surprised that no one else has asked you considering you are an Eva pilot and you are kind of cute," Hikari giggles as Shinji blushes at her comments.
"Thank you but I don't really want people to dance with me just because I'm an Eva pilot." Hikari nods back glancing back over to Toji who is still in the shadows. "He doesn't want to dance because he thinks he's going to embarrass himself and possibly you."
"That is stupid, he doesn't need to worry about that. Maybe I should go and talk to him," Hikari looks toward Toji but can't see him clearly through the shadows.
"Or we could just try harder to make him jealous," Shinji responds and a confused Hikari looks at him. Taking a deep breath to build up his courage Shinji lets go of Hikari's hand and moves it to her waist. With both hands now on her waist he draws Hikari closer. Instinctively the blushing Hikari moves her free hand up to Shinji's shoulder linking with her other hand behind Shinji's neck. "So now this is either going to work or Toji is going to hit me," Shinji's statement receives a giggle from Hikari.
"So is it working or not," Hikari asked and Shinji looked over her shoulder to where Toji was and saw that he hadn't moved.
"I don't think so, wait here he comes," Shinji takes a deep breath steeling himself for the possibility of a physical attack. Toji walked up and it was obvious he wasn't impressed and it took a lot of effort for them not to start laughing.
"I'm sure Shinji won't mind if I cut in," Toji announced as he stood next to them. They separated and Hikari moved toward Toji preparing to dance with him as Shinji started back to the shadows.
"It took you long enough," Shinji muttered as he left the pair. Toji was puzzled and Hikari only giggled as they started to dance. Shinji sighed with relief as he walked back to the shadows thinking that it wasn't going to have been a complete waste of time being here. Someone grabbed his arm stopping him before he can disappear off the dance floor.
"I thought you said that you had to work tonight and couldn't come." Shinji turned to see the face of a girl he had turned down earlier that week.
"Sorry about that but they cancelled the tests at the last minute," Shinji replied nervously scratching the back of he head. The girl regarded him with a suspicious glare before giving a mischievous smile that increased Shinji's anxiety.
"Well then how about a dance to make up for it," her voice told him that this was more a demand than a request. Shinji also found that the guilt of lying to her to difficult to overcome so he put on a pleasant face to hide his other emotions.
"Sure, it's the least I can do," His voice didn't betray his feelings as he reluctantly made his way back to the dance floor. This became the pattern for Shinji's night as he danced with girl after girl only to be interrupted by the date of that girl before being asked to dance by another girl. During each dance Shinji struggled through hollow conversation trying to be civil even though he didn't particularly want to be there. Eventually Shinji found himself free from the dance floor but to reach the shadows where he felt most comfortable he would have to cross the length of the room. Instead he decide to see what Kensuke was doing and walked over sitting heavily into a chair as Kensuke watches the dance through his view finder. Kensuke had said he wanted to do this so that he could use the school's state of the art video equipment but Shinji had made the observation that it was because he wasn't going to get a date to go with him. Kensuke's reaction had proved Shinji's observation correct and resulted in a round of humiliation for Kensuke that helped Shinji and Toji forget their own problems.
"Twenty seven," Kensuke stated without bothering to look at Shinji.
"Huh?" was all Shinji could muster after his exhausting dance stint.
"You just danced with twenty seven different girls," Kensuke replied looking up after Shinji's lack lustre response.
"Oh, no wonder I feel so tired," Shinji leans back tilting his head back until he is looking up at the ceiling.
"That's not the kind of reaction I expected from someone who just danced with twenty seven different girls," Kensuke hands Shinji a drink sitting down next to him as Shinji downs the drink in one go.
"They were either trying to make their boyfriends jealous or they just wanted to dance with an Eva pilot. I would have felt better if they had wanted to dance with me because of who I am not what I do." Shinji leans forward hanging his head with his elbows resting on his knees.
"I guess you have a point but still twenty seven," he takes the cup from Shinji and moves back behind his camera. Shinji stays still hoping to disappear from view so that the night could end and he could finally get some rest.
"Ikari," Shinji felt her presence before he heard her voice. It was rather unfortunate because while her presence is calming and peaceful her cold monotonous voice always makes him feel uncomfortable. Looking up his breath catches as he observes Rei in something other than a plugsuit or her school uniform. Her pure white dress seems to be almost the same colour as her skin and produces a similar effect to Asuka in that her eye colour becomes even brighter. Her crimson eyes seem to emit a warm comforting glow as she stands looking directly at him with her usual expressionless face.
"Ayanami, I didn't know that you were here," Shinji manages to say feeling the usual awkwardness he feels when he speaks with her.
"Major Katsuragi insisted that I participate, she said that I at least need to have one dance," Rei sat down next to Shinji and looked out to the dance floor.
"That sounds like Misato," Shinji mutters as he too looks out into the crowd of dancing couples. From the edge of his vision Shinji can see Rei looking at him occasionally and then it clicks. Realising that Rei is waiting for him to ask her to dance Shinji hauls himself to his feet.
"Would you like to dance?" Shinji asks holding out his hand to her. Rei only nods taking his hand and standing to follow Shinji out onto the dance floor.
"Ikari I've never danced before," Rei states as they walk forward still holding hands.
"Don't worry it's not hard and I can teach you a few steps," Shinji sounded confident but he wasn't even sure what he was talking about.
Across the other side of the room in the darkness that Shinji had previously coveted sat a disgruntled Asuka. After she had convinced Hikari to use Shinji as a means to get Toji to dance with her and then Asuka had set about finding her own dance partner. Her efforts had been in vain as most of the guys were too scared of her and therefore couldn't dance properly because of their fear. However what had got to her the most was Shinji and how he and Hikari were dancing. She was relieved to see Toji finally step in to break them up but she was still mad that they had been dancing that close and seemed to be enjoying it. She knew she didn't have to be jealous of Hikari but even Shinji was having a good time even though he never wanted to come. So she had retreated to the shadows after no one wanted to dance with her and had to watch as Shinji was asked to dance by just about every girl there. She like Shinji and she had known that for a while now but she never knew how much or if the attraction was mutual. Just when it had started she didn't know but she knew when she had realised what was happening.
She had spent the day tormenting him as usual, using any excuse to embarrass, humiliate or insult him but he didn't break. This was typical no matter what she did he would still be nice to her in his own way. So after a whole day of torturing him she had spent the night thinking about him. He could be what she had always wanted like when he saved her in the volcano but then he could be an incredibly pitiful, spineless boy at times. She had always assumed a distinction between the two but that night a thought had occurred to her, how could the spineless little boy take all the punishment she had dished out. She had come to the ultimate conclusion that the difference was only minor. He could struggle with everyday living but when it came to the extraordinary feats he would almost make it look easy. That was Asuka's problem she wanted him to live his everyday life like it was a life or death struggle. It was an impossible dream that she thought she could achieve if her new attraction to him proved mutual. That was where the kiss was supposed to help but it only made matters worse especially when she tried to cover herself. Storming to the bathroom complaining like she did wasn't the best option but it was the first one that came to mind. Well only would be a better description since she was still recovering from how good the kiss was, well for her it was he would probably disagree.
So Asuka now sat in the shadows watching Shinji teach that stupid doll how to dance and what was worse was that they were enjoying themselves, well Shinji was she couldn't tell if Rei was. She had wanted to go over to him until she noticed that Rei was already on her way. Her appearance had left Asuka in shock but it turned to dread as she watched Shinji ask her to dance. They had been dancing for a while now settling into the rhythm of the song as they swayed together. Asuka would have left by now but she couldn't bring herself to stand and walk out. Unexpectedly Rei pulls away from Shinji in the middle of a song. She says something and the to Asuka's surprise she smiles before calmly walking out of the hall. Asuka's stares in disbelief but turns her attention back to Shinji who was walking towards the drinks. He looked confused then his face turned into a wry smile as he turned to face the dance floor while taking a sip of his drink. Asuka just watched him willing him to see her then herself to get up and go to him.
Before she could the song changed and so to did Shinji as its distinctive melody began to play. His face flashed with recognition and then slipped into something that Asuka couldn't describe. A smile had spread across his lips but it was unlike anything she had ever witnessed on the rare occasions she saw him smile. His tranquil demeanour remained as he closed his eyes listening to the music and Asuka never really appreciated how cute he could be until now. However Shinji's serene mood seems to break as the vocals began and he suddenly became angry destroying the empty disposable cup in his hands. Opening his eyes, they still hold his anger but only for a second before it melts away into a deep sadness as he stares at the cup in his hand. Looking over to a bin he throws it in a high arc and Asuka watches it as it sails into the bin producing a small smile on her lips. She then looks back to Shinji but she only sees his back as he slowly trudges to the door and disappears into the night.
Asuka hesitates in her desire to rush after him taking a moment to observe what is happening around her. Even though she wants to be with him she doesn't particularly want to display it to the whole school. She quickly notices that most people are on the dance floor wholly absorbed in their partners including Hikari and Toji. There is hardly anyone else left in the hall except for Kensuke who is still filming the whole event. He was presently more interested in something happening in the crowd of dancers. Asuka shuddered at the though of what he was watching and just walked briskly out the door not looking back. As she reaches the street she looks in the direction of their home only to see an empty road. Not spotting him in any other direction Asuka hurriedly heads in the direction of home cursing the fact that she is wearing high heels. Stopping briefly to remove her shoes and to lift her dress slightly Asuka begins to jog quickly catching up to Shinji. Asuka slows unconsciously smoothing her dress and surprised Shinji hasn't heard her approach. Listening closely as she walks just a pace behind him Asuka can hear him humming the same tune that was playing in the hall. Asuka extends her arm to grab Shinji's shoulder only to emit a low grunt of pain followed by a stream of German curse muttered under her breath. She bends down to look at her injured toe lifting her foot as well to get a better view in the dim light.
"Asuka?" Shinji's voice broke Asuka's concentration and she tipped forward closing her eyes and waiting to hit the ground. Before that happens however Asuka feels Shinji take her weight stopping her from crashing into the ground. Asuka could only look up at Shinji sheepishly as he helped her back onto her feet. He returned he smile but it quickly faded and his face turned bright red. Asuka was slightly puzzled until she realised where Shinji's hands had caught her and she quickly turned away to hide her own blushing face. Shinji seemed to stammer out several attempts at apologies none of which were entirely coherent not that Asuka was listening. She was still trying to chase away the warmth that had engulfed her body and was telling her that her face was probably the same colour as her dress. After recomposing herself Asuka turned her head to look over her shoulder at Shinji who had fallen silent. Shinji stood still with the face of someone waiting to be executed resigned to waiting for Asuka's punishment. Instead he is shocked to see Asuka limp over to the edge of the footpath sitting down on a low wall and looking at her injured toe.
"You're bleeding," Shinji states as he watches from a distance as Asuka wipes the blood from her toe trying to get a better look at the wound. Shinji pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and begins to clean the blood from Asuka's toe. Asuka can feel the heat rising in her cheeks again but it is tempered by the occasional pain from her toe. "Sorry," Shinji says after he hears Asuka hiss at the pain she is feeling from his attempts at cleaning the wound.
"It's okay, I guess I should have been more careful with where I was walking," Asuka smiled seeing Shinji smile. "Why did you leave so early?" Shinji didn't look up as he worked on wrapping Asuka's toe with a handkerchief she handed him. He paused before answering making Asuka think he hadn't heard her question.
"I never wanted to be there in the first place and I had no one left to dance with," Asuka feels slightly hurt that he hadn't though about asking her to dance. Although a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her that she was hiding in the shadows and how she treat him didn't help.
"You didn't seem to have any problems finding someone to dance with," she remarks casually hoping he doesn't read too much into her observation.
"Most of them just wanted to dance with an Eva pilot to make their boyfriends jealous," he replies as he stands having finished wrapping her toe in a temporary bandage. "How is it?" he asks as she wriggles her toe.
"It'll do until we gat back home," Asuka tries to put her shoe back on but instantly regrets it feeling a fresh wave of pain flow through her foot.
"Are you okay?" Shinji asks after seeing her grit her teeth against the pain.
"I'm fine but I am going to have to walk home barefoot," Shinji stepped back as Asuka stood up and dusted herself off. Asuka's tone had been a little harsher than she had wanted and now she could see that Shinji was starting to fear that she was going to explode. "Let's go then," Asuka's tired voice betrays her feelings that she is never going to be able to talk with Shinji without losing her temper. They walk side by side but on opposite sides of the footpath as the travel down a tree lined street. Asuka has sighed tiredly several times focusing on her own thoughts about how stupid she is to let her old habits interfere with her intent on having a normal conversation with Shinji. Shinji on his part has noticed Asuka's conflict since she hasn't insulted him or even yell at consider where he was holding her and that he had help her after she cut her toe. Looking at her as they walk he can see that her eyes are almost closed as she concentrates on what she is thinking. Summoning his courage and with the confidence he gained from this evening he decides to speak.
"So… umm Asuka why did you leave so early?" his weak voice fails to impress even himself but he can see that Asuka is a bit taken aback by his sudden question. Shinji's question caught Asuka off guard and as usual she slipped into her arrogant and superior personality.
"Why would I, the great Asuka Langley Sohryu want to stay around with a bunch of desperate losers who didn't know how to dance?" Shinji watched her perform in her usual manner but noted that she lacked the real conviction that was typical in her self-promotion.
"I suppose you're right, you weren't out on the dance floor much and when you were you didn't seem to be enjoying yourself that much." Shinji felt a chill run up his spine as he realised what he was saying and waited for Asuka's yelling to begin.
"You were watching me?" Asuka said it in an almost hopeful voice instead of the accusing yell that Shinji was expecting. Asuka had stopped walking and could feel a soft blush beginning to form in her cheeks a feeling that only intensified as Shinji studied her. Shinji just couldn't stop staring first she hadn't been angry that he had been watching. Then she had been almost enthusiastic, as if she had wanted him to be watching her. Now as he watched her look away shyly he could tell even in the dim light that she was blushing and it made her look cute and timid. Shinji watched mesmerised as she become increasingly uncomfortable under his scrutiny. Not being able to stand it any longer Asuka begins to briskly walk away leaving a stunned Shinji behind. He doesn't begin to follow her until he observes her disappearing down a side street, which is in the opposite direction of the apartment. Picking up his pace to a jog Shinji rounds the corner running down the empty street with no sign of Asuka. Almost on instinct he suddenly darts down an alleyway taking several more turns without know exactly why or where he is going.
Emerging from between two severely damaged buildings he comes to a lake created from a crater left after the destruction of an angel. He looks up at the clear sky surprised at how many stars are visible and the brightness of the moon. The water of the lake is perfectly still acting like a mirror and reflecting the clear sky above it. Shinji finally notices Asuka sitting on some rubble off to his right. Her dress is bunched around her knees as she sits dangling her feet in the water with a far away look on her face. He walks up to stand just to her side of her, putting his hands in his pockets and looking out over the water. Even though Asuka seems troubled even sad he doesn't know how to begin a conversation so his thoughts go back to how he got here. He had never been here before but he knew exactly where Asuka had gone and now that he thought about it he didn't know if he could find his way back.
"What does that song mean to you?" Asuka's question shocked Shinji out of his thoughts and he could only stare at her blankly. Asuka turns her head slightly to look at his face before returning her gaze to the water in front of her. "The last song before you left, the one you were humming to yourself, you seemed to remember it and you smiled. I have never seen you smile like that before. I just wanted to know why?"
"Who was watching who?" Shinji replies although he begins to regret it but not in the usual way. Rather than Asuka yelling and screaming at him she turns her face away biting her lip her eyes pressed firmly closed and appearing to regret saying what she did. All this makes Shinji feel guilt rather than the usual pain when Asuka takes a dislike to something he says. Sighing heavily he looks out over the water wondering how to start and how to express what he felt upon hearing that song.
"It's not a song that I remember the name of or even the words, I only remember it because it was the song my mother used to sing to me." Asuka looks at him but he keeps his eyes fixed on the horizon his face looking peaceful but tinged with sadness. "I guess I completely forgot about it since I never knew which song it was and I only occasionally heard it on the radio. So when I heard the tune I just remembered my mother as if she were humming the tune to me like she used to." A brief silence ensues as Asuka contemplates his answer while examining his face, which is still one of melancholy.
"So why did you look angry if the song reminded you of your mother?" Asuka's voice was genuinely curious but she watches Shinji bowing his head. His pain seemed almost unbearable as he stared intently at nothing in particular. "You don't have to answer if you don't want to." Shinji just looks up to the horizon with a forlorn smile before beginning again.
"I don't really remember my mother. My father destroyed all the pictures of her and I can't remember what she looked like or even what her voice sounded like. The only time I come close to really remembering her is like tonight, when something I hear or smell reminds me of her. However as I listened to the melody from the song I thought I was just about to hear her sing the lyrics but I heard the singer of the song. I felt anger because it was like I had a piece of her in my grasp and it was ripped away from me. Then I was reminded of everything that I lost when she died since she's the only person that I feel has ever truly cared for me." Asuka sat listening closely watching his every movement and feeling a connection that she never knew could exist. He was close to tears by the end but he didn't cry as he tried to push the memories back.
"Can I ask what happened to her, I mean if it's not too much of a problem," Asuka had tried to ask Misato but she had told her to ask Shinji herself. At the present moment Asuka didn't know if it was a good idea but she wanted to know more. Shinji sighed heavily lowering his eyes once again as he wonders which is stranger Asuka's behaviour and her interest in his past or the fact that he is willing to talk to her about his past.
"She died a long time ago in an accident," Shinji remained focused on the reflection of the moon on the lake's surface. "I don't know what kind of accident but I do know I was there when it happened. I don't remember it at all and I don't think I want to remember it not even if it means that I'll be able to remember something about her. I guess it must have been pretty bad since her grave is empty and even though I visit it, it seems kind of hollow if I cant remember her and if she's not really there. So in the end I have nothing that really connects me to her except those rare memories that I have sometimes like tonight." Asuka can feel an almost irresistible urge to give him some form of comfort but before she can rise to her feet to wrap him in a warm embrace he asks an unexpected question.
"What was your mother like?" this hits Asuka like a bucket of cold water and she turns away from him. Seeing Asuka's head turn away Shinji instantly realises he has said something wrong. He internally yells at himself as he watches Asuka become more withdrawn as she sits silently with her eyes flickering between hate, fear and sorrow. Shinji observes Asuka as she lifts her feet out of the water drawing her knees up to her chin and wrapping her arms around her legs. A soft breeze blowing on from the water brings with it a slight chill as Shinji notices Asuka shivering. He doesn't know whether or not to believe that she is shivering from the cold or trembling at the memories of her mother. Asuka gasps as she feels Shinji's jacket being placed over her shoulders, she can still feel his warmth radiating from it as he holds it gently on her shoulders.
"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to?" Shinji's soft voice reassures her and he gives her shoulders a gentle squeeze before releasing them. Before his hands move away Asuka takes his left hand in her right and holds on to it and they both notice that the others hand is trembling.
"I don't think I can talk about her just yet but when I can I'll tell you. Let's just say that I can remember her but those memories are not pleasant." Shinji only tightens his grip on her hand slightly to let her know he understands. She turns to look back at him and he gives her a small smile that he is glad she reciprocates.
"We should go home, it's getting late." Using Shinji's hand for balance Asuka turns and steps down of the rubble that she had been sitting on. Asuka smoothes out her dress with her left hand before collecting her shoes from where they lay on the ground while Shinji was looking back wondering which way was the way out. As he thought about it Asuka began to walk off tugging at his hand to break him from his thoughts and he follows encouraged by Asuka's amused smile. They travel silently through streets that Shinji is unfamiliar with but he is happy to be led by Asuka who still hasn't released his hand. As he ponders the significance of this they move into more familiar surroundings allowing Shinji to walk in step with Asuka rather than waiting to see which direction she is going.
The comfortable silence becomes uncomfortable, at least for Shinji, when Asuka leans into him trying to rest her head on his shoulder while they walk. Shinji almost obeys his first reaction by pulling away and quickly kicks himself mentally for being a coward when it is apparent that Asuka is trying to change her actions toward him. Sensing that she is going to pull away again Shinji lets Asuka's hand go tentatively moving his hand around her back to her waist. Asuka lets out a contented sigh and then leans into Shinji comfortably resting her head on his shoulder and with her hand now free from Shinji's, she reaches around his back pulling him even closer. Feeling a new level of peace in the contact that they are sharing they continue to walk in the direction of the apartment. Shinji occasionally looks down at Asuka's contented face as they walk, her eyes are closed and a small smile is present. She tries to press herself closer to the warmth that they are now sharing and surprisingly to Shinji he finds that he is completely at ease with her contact. The rest of the trip passes in a blur as the walk in their own blissful world.
Shinji gives Asuka a gentle nudge and when she opens her eyes they are standing at the open front door of the apartment. With a tender push Shinji lets Asuka pass through the door first but immediately feels the breeze cool his warm shoulder where Asuka had rested her head. Asuka walks into the apartment moving towards her own room and wondering what to say now that they are home. Shinji shuts the door behind him and then removes his shoes before walking after Asuka who is about to enter her room. Asuka is surprised to have Shinji catch her hand just as she is about to go into her room to change.
"You should let me take care of your toe," Shinji says when she looks at him.
"Sure," is all she can say, disappointed he didn't say something more but relieved he seemed comfortable in her presence. Asuka sits at the kitchen table while Shinji goes to get the first aid kit. With the warmth of the apartment Asuka removes Shinji's jacket hanging it over the back of her chair. Taking a look down at her toe she can see some dried blood on the handkerchief, which has become dirty from the walk home. Shinji returns with the first aid kit placing it on the table and then taking a seat next to Asuka. She lifts her foot and Shinji takes a light grip on her ankle guiding her leg so that it lays across his lap with her foot hanging just over the far edge. He carefully removes his makeshift bandage feeling it snag momentarily as the dried blood tries to maintain its bond.
"Sorry," he says noticing Asuka tense up at the pain and seeing fresh blood appear from the wound. He begins cleaning it with some antiseptic looking up at Asuka's face to make sure he isn't hurting her too much. As he finishes he runs his finger up the bottom of her foot cleaning up a trickle of antiseptic that had run down the length of he foot. His smiles feeling Asuka react at the ticklish sensation of his finger on her foot.
"What?" Asuka questions seeing that he is treating her injured toe with a smile.
"I just never knew you were ticklish," he replies again brushing his hand under her foot to emphasize his point. Asuka pulls away from his touch slapping his shoulder playfully.
"Just bandage my toe," her more serious tone has little effect since she can't remove the smile from her face. He complies by quickly wrapping her toe in a bandage and gently smoothing his fingers over it to make sure it is secure.
"There all done, it should be fine as long as you take care of it properly," Shinji begins to pack up the first aid kit as Asuka examines her bandaged toe. Once she is satisfied she wonders what she is going to do next absently watching Shinji as he returns the first aid kit to its usual position.
"I think I might go and get changed," Asuka speaks while Shinji's back is turned walking towards her room feeling a need to think in the absence of Shinji's presence.
"Can I ask you something first?" Asuka halts in her tracks turning to see Shinji nervously standing a few paces away. She wonders what kind of question he is going to ask and how she will answer a question on what their relationship has become. She hesitantly nods her head her mind moving through all the possible questions he would want to ask and some of her answers to those questions.
"Would you like to dance with me?" Of all the possibilities this wasn't one and she stands blankly staring at Shinji who's anxiety seems to be growing with every silent second. Asuka watches as he starts to show signs that he is getting ready to run away and begins to mentally yell at herself to say something.
"I'd like that Shinji," he sighs with relief smiling to himself that she had accepted his offer. As they moved closer how ever they both became nervous and they tentatively moved into a position to dance.
"Oh, I forgot the music," Shinji says after they are ready to dance. He tries to move but is held in his position by Asuka who doesn't seem disturbed by his mistake. She closes her eyes and then begins to hum a soft tune that Shinji instantly recognises. She opens her eyes to see his reassuring smile increasing her volume and following his movements as he starts to dance. Shinji watches Asuka's face committing her features to memory as Asuka finds it hard to look at him while he is staring at her with that kind of intensity. Asuka closes her eyes trying to ignore the negative feelings she has about Shinji staring and focusing on the positive feelings of dancing with Shinji. Asuka finally gives in and slides her arms around Shinji's neck placing her head on his shoulder feeling an unbelievable inner peace in doing so. Shinji stunned by Asuka's action hesitates before wrapping his arms around her back and lowering his head to her shoulder. Asuka stops humming finding it hard to hold the tune with Shinji holding her so close. They both feel a desire to be closer as if they could melt together to form a perfect whole filling the emptiness they both feel inside.
"You stopped dancing," Asuka finally whispers after she notices that their slow dance has turned into a standing embrace.
"The music stopped," Shinji replies his warm breath tickling the back of her neck.
"Do we really need the music to dance?" Asuka asks hoping that it won't lead to the end of this embrace.
"Do we really need to dance?" Shinji replies, "I'm quite happy doing this." Asuka tightens her hug briefly before she leans back away from Shinji. Thinking that this is the end Shinji reluctantly backs away only to find that Asuka is looking deeply into his eyes. Without a second thought Asuka quickly presses her lips to his in a soft kiss that she waits to be reciprocated. For a brief second that Asuka feels is an eternity she holds the kiss until she backs away beginning to feel the rejection of his lack of reaction. Asuka keeps her eyes closed not wanting to see Shinji's face as their lips part but after a short instant apart her lips again are covered by Shinji's. Shinji's kiss is inexperienced but more forceful bringing a soft gasp from Asuka as she kisses him back dispelling the fears in her mind. They continue to kiss feeling the intensity growing as they begin to understand how to please each other.
"Well I guess the dance wasn't a complete was of time after all," Misato's voice acts like it was intended, bringing a quick end to Asuka and Shinji's kiss. They jump away from each other in shock gaping at Misato as she stands casually against the wall.
"Misato how long have you been standing there," Shinji stammers out as the two teenagers stare at her red faced. The familiar smell of alcohol fills the air leading them to believe that her position against the wall is out of necessity more than anything else.
"Long enough, although I still find it hard to believe what I just saw," Misato comments the grin on her face revealing that she intend to make the most of this situation. Shinji worries about Misato's plans are put aside when he notices the telltale signs of Asuka's temper beginning to erupt in all its terror.
"Don't let her ruin the evening," Shinji tells Asuka as her turns her to face him with a gentle hand on her cheek. Her anger quickly dissipates as Asuka looks into Shinji's soft eyes that are now hovering in front of her. Ignoring Misato Shinji leans in giving Asuka a tender kiss while caressing her cheek with his hand. "I'm going to bed, I'll see you tomorrow," Shinji whispers in her ear and then turns collecting his jacket from the chair and walking into his room. Misato begins to wonder what happened to the old Shinji while Asuka smiles as she touches her cheek where Shinji had last touched her.
"I guess I'll have to keep a closer eye on you two now that you two are dating," Misato looks at Asuka for a reaction but Asuka's smile continues.
"I guess now that I'll be spending my time with Shinji, Kaji is going to have more time to spend chasing you." Asuka heads to her own room happy that she was able to snap Misato from her cheerful mood. Misato just staggers off to her own room disgruntled that Shinji ignored her and Asuka wasn't going to be any fun to tease.
Shinji lies on his back staring at the ceiling above him while he shelters under the blankets from the chill that has come from the approaching storm. He laments that he was perfectly ready for sleep until thoughts of the significance of the evening's events interrupt his recollection of these events. So lost in his thoughts he failed to hear the faint knock on his door. He only realises that there is someone there when they quickly open the door stepping in and closing it behind them. Asuka stands with her back against the door peering into the darkness toward Shinji who is still lying on his bed.
"Asuka what are you doing in here?" Shinji asks nervously sitting up to look at her. She is dressed in her usual nightclothes and is waiting by the door apprehensively looking at Shinji.
"You're awake, why didn't you answer the door?" Asuka mutters as she crosses the room to the side of his bed. Shinji begins to inch away from her anxiously realising what she is about to do. Asuka swiftly lifts the blanket sliding in next to the retreating Shinji who is now trapped between her and the wall. Frustrated by his behaviour Asuka places her hands on his chest bring herself face to face with him.
"Relax I just came here to talk so no more hentai thoughts," Asuka smiles broadly as she can see Shinji's furiously blushing face. Giving him a gentle kiss she can feel the tension flow out of his body as he relaxes into it. Asuka sighs regretfully as she breaks the kiss resting her forehead against his temporarily. Even in the dark he can see that she is being troubled by something but decides to let her tell him. She moves herself down so that her head rests on his chest with one arm lightly gripping his shirt.
"Your warm," she mumbles as she moves her body along side his to share in his warmth. Shinji puts one arm around her shoulder while the other delicately stokes her forehand and cheek. If he didn't know better he could have mistaken her for being a sleep but he waited patiently for her to break the silence.
"I wanted to tell you about my mother," Asuka spoke in such a soft voice that Shinji almost couldn't make out what she said.
"You don't have to if you don't want to," Shinji whispers to her letting his hand linger on her cheek.
"No I have to do this, you told me about your mother and I want to tell you about mine. I have to do this so that you can understand me better. I want to do this so I can be closer to you than anyone else has ever been to me." Shinji takes her hand from his shirt intertwining his fingers with hers his firm grip an attempt to support her. "My mother had a breakdown but I don't remember her before that happened. After it she didn't recognise me instead she started to care for a doll that she thought was me. All I wanted was for her to notice me rather than that doll so when I was chosen as the second child I was so happy. I ran to tell her because I was special and I though she would notice me then. I burst through the door only to see her hanging from the ceiling dead." Shinji stared down at her as the tears began to well up and her voice began to break. She tightened her grip on his hand and he instinctively strengthened his embrace around her kissing her on the forehead.
"I just stood there looking at her as she hung there dead until I noticed it. The doll she had thought of as me was hanging alongside of her with a noose around its neck as well. So if my mother had seen me as her daughter instead of that doll I would have been up there. She wanted me to die she would have…" Asuka couldn't go on crying into Shinji's chest as he held her still in a state of disbelief. He tried his best to comfort her as she sobbed constantly, muttering sometimes in German or in words he couldn't make out clearly. Slowly her cries subsided the tears only trickling where they had once flooded.
"I promised myself I'd never cry, I didn't want to seem weak," Asuka manages to speak through her stifled cries. Shinji lifts Asuka's face so that he is looking directly into her tearful eyes. He tenderly wipes her cheeks clearing away the tears and smiling at her to reassure her that he is there for her.
"I don't think you're weak, I doubt that I could have managed if I'd have seen something like that." Asuka smiles back at his supportive words leaning into his hand as it caresses her cheek. Shinji lifts his head as he draws Asuka down for another kiss that is soft and meaningful. They hold it for a long time before breaking it and looking at each other's flushed faces and wondering if the other felt the same way.
"Asuka what does all this mean?" Shinji asks with a soft voice and closely scrutinising her face to determine her reaction. She hesitates carefully considering the question and trying to discern her own emotions and Shinji can see her thinking but decides to clarify his own position. "I mean I like you Asuka, I like you a lot but I want to make sure that…" he is cut off by Asuka placing two fingers over his mouth.
"I like you a lot too Shinji and lets just leave it at that for now and remember I'm not doing this to hurt you." Asuka removes her fingers giving him a quick kiss before laying her head back down on his chest.
"I don't want to hurt you either," Shinji whispers back as he pulls the blanket up around Asuka's shoulders. Asuka snuggles into Shinji as they both hear the rain begin to come down heavily. They lay in silence only fidgeting occasionally to get into a more comfortable position. Both of them having trouble getting to sleep as they try to analyse what has happened and what they want to happen with their new relationship. They continue to lie in the dark with the only sounds apart from their breathing the thunder from the storm outside or the occasional frustrated sigh.
"So much has happened that I don't think I'll ever stop thinking long enough to fall asleep," Asuka grumbles as she restlessly shifts her position hoping it will help.
"You're not thinking hentai thoughts about me are you," Shinji whispers to her once she has settled into her new position. He watches Asuka's reaction with a smile as she blushes slightly before realising he was only joking.
"Idiot," she whispers poking him in the ribs playfully for added effect. "I'm never going to get to sleep at this rate," Asuka complains again breathing out a sigh of defeat. Shinji waits for a while before he begins to hum the tune that seems to have defined his evening. "Do you really think that is going to help," Asuka asks in a doubting tone while trying not to hurt his feelings.
"Just concentrate on the tune," Shinji replies slightly upset she disturbed him. He begins again and they both close their eyes and concentrate on the tune. As Asuka listens she can feel her mind tiring and the onset of sleep beginning. As she drifts off to sleep she is only aware of Shinji's soft humming and the warmth that she finds being wrapped in his arms. Shinji looks down at Asuka seeing that she has fallen asleep and then closes his eyes in an attempt at sleep himself. Having stopped humming he can hear the rain that has now eased and Asuka's slow breathes as she sleeps peacefully alongside of him. In his mind the song began to be hummed again but this time it was in a female voice that was both familiar but unrecognisable. He waited anticipating when the songs vocals would begin but before he could hear them his fell into the unconsciousness of sleep.
He awakes feeling an unbelievable level of peace and serenity. He opens his eyes to see a tree, its branches blowing in the wind but he can't hear it. He turns his head to one side to see the breeze flowing over the grass but he can't feel it on his skin. He looks down to see Asuka still lying next to him. She has been watching him closely and is now smiling at him.
"You're awake," Asuka whispers as Shinji can only nod his head to her. "It's nice and peaceful here, I don't think I've ever felt like this before," Shinji just watches her face admiring its beauty brought out by the peaceful atmosphere.
"Where are we?" Shinji asks seeing that her face turns into a puzzled look as she thinks about it.
"I don't know, I only just woke up before you but I think it's a dream," Asuka just looks down at Shinji who is thinking about her reply.
"So none of this is real?" he looks back up at the tree watching it move without sound.
"Maybe we should ask them?" Asuka nods on the direction of a tree just on the shore of a nearby lake. Looking in that direction Shinji sees a woman with her back against the tree facing out toward the lake. Her features are hidden by the shadows from the tree as she watches a young child playing around her. The boy notices a small flower lying in the sunlight in between the woman and Asuka and Shinji's position. He scrambles out of the shade to collect it revealing his features to the two teenagers as they lie still watching the scene.
"Is that you?" Asuka asks as she watches the small boy with brown hair and dark blue eyes collect the flower carefully in his hands. Shinji watches silently as he runs back to the woman carrying the flower like it was a precious treasure. Shinji is disappointed when he can hear their faint voices but not distinguish what they are saying. The woman places the flower she has been given to one side as she lifts the boy into her lap cradling him in her arms. Swaying him gently she begins to hum the hauntingly familiar tune that Shinji has been desperately seeking to hear.
"Mother," Shinji breathlessly whispers as he watches the scene from his past play before his eyes. Asuka turns her attention back to him watching his reaction as his mother begins to sing. His face turns from one of uncertainty to the serene smile that he had displayed when they had first heard the song in the dancehall earlier that evening. She watches mesmerised by the aura he seems to be producing as he lies peacefully listening to his mother's singing. As she rests her head on his chest she closes her eyes unaware that she now has a similar smile on her face.
Misato stood wide-eyed over the two teenagers that were her responsibility. She had noticed Asuka's door was open and finding her room empty had come to Shinji's finding the two sleeping together. Seeing them when she had arrived back that night had been a surprise but this was a total shock considering what the two of them had been like since they had lived together. She had been fully ready to blast the two of them with a furious rage that would have put an angel to shame but then she had seen their faces. They were both totally relaxed and were wearing the same smile that was unnervingly peaceful. Realising that they both seemed to be happier than any other time she had seen them and considering what they had been through she decided to let it go for tonight. Her anger evaporating she watched them as they sleep in each others arms a small smile appearing on her own lips as she turned to leave. Her smile turned into one of malicious intent as she left the room contemplating what she would do to them when they awoke the next morning. Asuka and Shinji slept on blissfully unaware of Misato's presence both of them listening to the same song as it replaced the nightmares that had haunted their dreams for most of their lives.
Revision notes: I made a lot of simple mistakes that could have been fixed by a simple read through. However at the time I couldn't be bothered because this was supposed to be a one shot but a continuation story kept bugging me. That is until I wanted to write but was without one of my other stories. Anyway I made corrections and a few minor alterations but by no means is this perfect. I should also remind people I'm Australia so some things you might think are mistakes aren't where I come from.