The Beginnings Repository
It might surprise some people to learn that there are stories which I get ideas for which I eventually decide not to write anything. Sometimes these ideas are good and sometimes these ideas are bad. Sometimes, I do write the first chapter for such a story and then I decide not to write anything more, so it sits on my hard drive and gathers dust.
Sometimes these ideas are crossovers. Sometimes they're just wierd story tangents. Sometimes they're wierd little bits of action which could have something before and after. Whatever the case, they're stories I'd like to write, but either I already have too much on my plate or I just can't see where I'd go from there.
That's where you, the reader, comes in. I have, at present, three people who've chosen to continue stories I've written. Two have actually done so, and both of them have done well. I've got no problem with letting other people use my work to produce something new and apparently people have no problem with using my work as the basis for a story. It's a wonderful little symbiosis.
So the following repository is going to be where I'll be chucking these one-chapter stories from now on. If you'd like to continue them, feel free to just go ahead and start writing, no permission needed! Feel free to edit what I've written to your liking, feel free to change the title to something of your making, whatever. These are being put here for people to use however they like. Just drop me a line and let me know if you do indeed choose to continue something.
Needless to say, though, I won't be continuing these myself. You've been warned.
Moving in Lockstep
Shinji jerked awake as the train hit a turn, the bump lifting him two inches off his seat and nearly spilling him into the lap of the older woman sitting to his left. She shot him a dirty look and shifted a seat away, causing the young boy to cringe in embarassment.
"What the hell?" A rough voice demanded from right next to Shinji.
Shinji jerked his head in the direction of the voice, finding nobody there. None of the other passengers on the train gave any indication they'd heard the loud question.
"Okay, this is freaky," the same voice admitted, again from the right side of his head. Shinji once again twisted and couldn't find the source of the voice. Thinking someone had been playing a prank on him, his hand rushed to his ear, jerking out the device he found there.
It was the earbud attached to his SDAT player. The display was dead, indicating a need for fresh batteries.
"What the hell am I doing on a train, and why can't I control my body?" The voice spoke in the same ear. Shinji's pinky prodded the orifice, searching for anything else that might explain the voice. Nothing.
"Am I going crazy?" Shinji muttered to himself, eyes going to the advertisements running at the top of the walls of the train car.
"No, but you're in my body. Give it back, damn it!" The voice ordered.
"This is my body," Shinji informed the voice weakly, ignoring the strange looks he was getting from the other people on the train for conversing with himself.
"Nuh-uh. Last thing I remember was going to sleep after I nearly married the tomboy. Next thing I know I wake up here," the voice angrily told him.
"Who are you?" Shinji asked, ignoring the salaryman across the aisle who nervously gestured at himself.
"The name's Ranma Saotome."
"Should I have heard of you?"
"I'm the best martial artist in the world!"
"Oh, sorry... I'm Shinji Ikari."
"I'm Shinji Ikari?"
"Look, if you're going to make jokes, I'm not going to bother talking to you."
Shinji just blinked in confusion.
Shinji walked to the first intersection with a set of payphones near the train station, digging out the photo with the phone number scribbled on the back. It was face-down, meaning he didn't have to bother flipping it over.
He picked up a phone, dialing the number. It was only when he finished that he noticed the phone was out of service.
"That's strange," Shinji muttered to himself, hanging the phone up. He flipped the photo over to once more give the image of Captain Misato Katsuragi a glance.
"Holy crap!" Ranma yelled, causing Shinji to wince.
"What is it?" Shinji asked, wincing once more as what appeared to be giant missiles rocketed down the street. He stared in amazement at the vapour trails, not noticing the screeching of car tires until the silence that followed. He turned to see a blue car screech to a halt at the curb.
"You're Shinji Ikari!" Ranma growled, voice filled with surprise.
"Get in!" Misato yelled, pushing open the passenger door.
Ignoring the first voice and heeding the second, Shinji dove into the car, slamming the door shut behind him. Just in time, too, as a Misato shifted the car into reverse and moved just out of the way of a giant foot.
"Why is there a giant foot?" Shinji muttered to himself, staring. Misato apparently hadn't heard, weaving in reverse around a pair of parked cars before performing a one hundred and eighty degree turn, dropping into neutral and then first gear as she began to speed away from the giant monster currently being bombarded by anti-aircraft batteries.
"That would be the Third Angel," Ranma supplied, sounding dazed. Misato continued to drive in silence. The skinny boy could feel the amusement of the voice in his head as he continued. "Don't worry about it, though. Tokyo-3 has a giant of it's own to fight that thing. It'll all be over soon."
"Really?" Shinji whispered, an eye towards Misato. She hadn't noticed the conversation.
"Yep. Trust me, Shinji. This is going to be a blast," Ranma told him, cackling. Despite the plea for trust, Shinji felt a growing apprehension. Nobody would laugh like that if they were helping. That was the sort of laugh he remembered from the unfriendlier sorts in elementary school.
"I can't believe I forgot about the bomb."
Shinji just nodded, not daring to speak as he and Misato walked the silent halls of NERV. On Ranma's suggestion the brown-haired boy held the NERV handbook open to a random spot, flipping the page occasionally to give the impression he was reading it.
On the drive, Ranma had kept a running commentary of random factoids about Tokyo-3, including a basic rundown of some of the people he'd meet. Dr. Akagi, Maya, Hyuga, Aoba, and his father's old sensei, Fuyutsuki. Ranma told him a bit about each of them, giving him a basic description of their appearance and personality.
Mid-ramble, as Misato pulled the car to a stop, Ranma had time to mutter,"Oh yeah, the bomb," then Misato had grabbed Shinji and forced him into her lap, stuffed her breasts into the back of his head and held on for dear life as a shockwave hit them both.
As Ranma had continued his running commentary in the now-silent car, Shinji had grown more and more annoyed with the fact he couldn't respond. Not without looking crazy in front of Misato. The youth had a million questions.
Who was Ranma? Why was he in Shinji's head? How did he know so much about everyone here? And just why did he find everything so amusing?
"I mean, I go to all the effort of making sure you're not going to be totally surprised by all of this, and then I forget the first surprise that was coming your way."
Shinji just stepped into an elevator with Misato, nodding once to prompt the passenger in his mind to continue.
"Anyway, no easy way to get around it. Uh, you know how I mentioned that the big monster out there was going to be fought by NERV's giant? Well guess what, pal? You're the pilot!" Ranma said brightly, not even trying to hide his amusement.
"What?" Shinji gasped, surprise overriding the control he'd kept over responding to Ranma's comments. When Misato glanced at him, he weakly held up the book. "Sorry, Misato-san, I'm just learning some surprising things."
She nodded, humming to herself as the elevator continued down. When the door opened to reveal (who he assumed to be) Ritsuko Akagi, Shinji tuned out the two women and their comments in favour of paying attention to Ranma.
"Yeah. There's some wierd thing that means only kids your age can pilot the Evangelions, and not everyone your age can do it, either. You're the third person they found who could."
"And the first two?" Shinji murmured sotto, keeping an eye on the heated conversation between Ritsuko and Misato.
"Uh, the first one is Rei Ayanami. She's the only one here right now, and she's pretty badly hurt. If you try to refuse, your dad's gonna threaten to send her out in your place... and knowing the bastard, he will. I'd recommend just getting in the giant robot when they ask you to. You'll be okay."
"What about the second?" Shinji muttered.
"She's in Germany," Ranma replied quickly. The pilot-to-be thought he detected more than a bit of evasion in the other boy's voice.
"What aren't you telling me?"
"It's a surprise."
"Did you say something, Shinji?" Misato asked, turning her head to look at the boy in question. He merely smiled weakly and shook his head, doing his best to ignore the laughter echoing in his hearing. It wasn't easy. Shinji now knew, rather than suspecting, that his guest's laugher boded poorly for his future.
He was starting to realize that while his visitor was being helpful, he was also vastly amusted by the events going on in Shinji's life and seemed to want to draw as much entertainment out of it as he possibly could. He resolved to talk to Ranma at length as soon as possible.
Ranma didn't speak again until they started walking down a darkened hallway.
"Okay Shinji, this is it. Your bastard dad is going to flick on the lights to reveal a giant purple head staring at you. You're gonna hear about how it's the best threat against the Angels, and then your dad is gonna surprise you by flicking the lights on in his office and telling you you're going to pilot it."
"What do I do?" Shinji muttered, trying to hide the tremor in his voice.
"Tell him you will, right off. No matter what you say or what he does, you're gonna have to pilot the thing if you don't want a girl to die and the world to end. So I say turn the surprise on him and just tell him you and him are gonna have words after the fight's over."
Shinji felt helplessly trapped, but at the same time... He latched on to Ranma's explanation. His father was trying to manipulate him, just like he had when Shinji had gotten the letter, simply telling him to "come".
Shinji flinched as the lights suddenly turned on, highlighting a giant purple robot.
"Turn around, Shinji! See that line of windows? He's going to flick the lights on and be staring at you from one of them. Stare right back!"
Shinji ignored Ritsuko's rambling dialogue about the machine behind him, choosing instead to meet his father's eyes.
"And you will pilot it," his father told him. Shinji met those cold eyes with a stare of his own, feeling the hate, the weakness...
"Tell him you'll do it. It's the only way you'll get the upper hand."
Shinji liked the idea.
"Did you hear me, Shinji? I said-" His father began, only for Shinji to cut him off.
"I'll pilot this thing, father," Shinji said quietly, keeping his eyes on Gendo Ikari's eyes only thanks to the whispered support of Ranma telling him not to lose to "his stupid old man." Shinji then followed Ranma's advice and grinned a bit, adding with a confidence he didn't feel, "And after I pilot this thing, you and I are going to talk about it, father!"
They stared at one another for a moment, which was interrupted only when a loud rumble echoed throughout the chamber. Shinji glanced up and noticed the plates above buckle. One slowly began to work it's way free. Shinji glanced down in time to see it would land on Misato.
"Save her, Shinji!" Ranma yelled.
Without giving it a second thought, Shinji ran, throwing himself at the purple-haired woman and taking them both to the ground. The plate rebounded off something above them with a loud clang, rebounding off the catwalk a foot from their heads before plunging in the strange orange liquid the purple robot was immersed in.
Shinji looked up to see that the purple robot's hand had sheltered them both.
"Hey cool, it worked!" Ranma crowed, adding, to Shinji's horror, "I didn't know if it'd work if you had to save her instead of Rei."
Shinji just stared at the dent in the catwalk.
"You know Shinji, it's kind of awkward having you on top of me with your dad watching," Misato purred, causing the poor boy to leap up as Misato chuckled. He stared at her, before turning to see Ritsuko quickly hide a smirk of her own.
"Is everybody here but me insane?" Shinji wondered.
Misato's answering smile didn't bode well. Neither did Ranma's "Yes," delivered in between bouts of laughter.
It didn't take long for Shinji to be put in what they called an 'entry plug'. He sat comfortably in the chair, loosely gripping the two handles. A series of lights flashed along the dimly lit white interior.
"Well, this is going to be interesting," Ranma commented with a chuckle.
"What is?" Shinji asked darkly.
"This." At Ranma's word, or perhaps just a second later, a thick orange liquid started to fill the tube.
"Misato-san! There's some sort of liquid coming in!" Shinji yelled, ignoring Ranma's laughter.
"You're a boy, aren't you?" Misato demanded through the communications channel. As the somewhat cold liquid reached his thighs, Shinji felt a tingle through his body which set Ranma to laughing once more.
"At the moment?" Ranma asked in between giggles. He was so focused on the liquid that he didn't realize what Ranma was talking about until he felt his chest float. Removing his hands from the grips in front of him, Shinji pulled back his shirt and looked inside. He found himself staring at a pair of breasts. Or rather, she did. "Very bad you fall in spring! Spring of drowned girl, very tragic story!"
"What's happening to me?" Shinji moaned to herself.
"Hey, look on the bright side," Ranma informed her, still guffawing. "They're small enough that they probably won't notice what happened until you get out of the entry plug. Your shirt's all kinds of billowy in this liquid."
A liquid Shinji noted she was breathing. Somehow she felt a lot less panic about the fact she was breathing a liquid when placed beside the fact she'd somehow switched genders in the liquid she found herself immersed in.
"Explain," Shinji said darkly.
"Don't worry, this isn't something caused by the liquid," Ranma said, his good humour fading into a somewhat sheepish tone. "I think it's my fault, actually."
"You know something," Shinji accused the voice in her head.
"Yup. I'm kinda cursed. Cold water turns me into a girl. Or I guess I should say, now it turns YOU into a girl. Don't worry, hot water reverses the change."
"Looks like my father's not the only one I'm going to have a chat with after this is all over," Shinji muttered darkly. He noticed the wide-eyed look on Misato's face, and the very, very pale face of Ristuko Akagi.
"Female presence detected in the synchrometer," Maya announced, greatly confused. Ritsuko glanced to the side, wide-eyed at the implications. This wasn't possible. Not yet.
"What's happening to me?" Shinji moaned, clearly distressed. His voice sounded off. Not entirely himself. Though it was a voice Ritsuko remembered. One that now came back to haunt her. Impossible as it was, that was Yui's voice.
"Shinji, it's alright. We're just getting some unusual interference," Ritsuko explained, endeavoring to keep her voice level. She wasn't entirely successful.
"Explain," Yui growled.
"It's just some strange harmonics, Shinji. I-It's nothing to be worried about," the blond woman tried, hoping that the young man in the entry plug would buy it.
"You know something," Yui's voice accused. Apparently he wouldn't buy it. Sins of the father. Or, in Ritsuko's case, sins of the mother. She bowed her head, not trusting herself to speak further. A wash of emotions filled her. Emotions she'd long thought buried.
Ritsuko didn't respond.
"Looks like my father's not the only one I'm going to have a chat with after this is all over," Shinji said with Yui's voice, more to himself than anything. The blond looked over to Misato who favoured her friend with an unreadable look.
Originally this was going to consist of Shinji pulling a Peggy Sue and bringing not just himself back, but several of his favourite manga characters. Then I thought it'd be more fun if Shinji didn't know anything, only the characters did. That evolved into Ranma knowing Shinji as an anime/manga character, and well...
Originally it was going to be Ichigo and Negi along with Ranma, but I decided to keep it simple. I also decided to have the LCL trigger the curse because, to put it bluntly, I've never seen it done before. Likewise, I purposefully chose to have Shinji only able to speak with Ranma out loud. Again, just because I haven't seen something like that done before.
The dual conversation of Ranma & Ritsuko talking to Shinji was a spur of the moment thing I decided to include after writing the first scene, and the curse gave me a really good excuse to have Shinji mentally unbalance good ol' Gendo and Ritsuko.