(Tokyo-3 Love Song)
A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fanfiction
by Andrew Aelfwine
Originally released Summer 2000
HTMLed and revised 26 August 2003
Characters and situations of Neon Genesis Evangelion belong to their creators and publishers. I am merely borrowing them for this non-profit fanfiction.
This is based on the manga, Viz translation, although set after volume four and using elements from the anime for that reason. It takes place outside the direct continuity.
While not really dark, this fiction contains a fair amount of angst and a relationship which may squick some people. I was personally somewhat disturbed by it. You have been warned.
This fiction contains sexual situations; while these are not explicitly described, it is not appropriate reading for persons under their local age of consent. Nor is this fiction appropriate reading for those disturbed by homo/bisexuality and polyamory. Again, you have been warned.
The title is pronounced "OW-rawn GRAW," more or less.
"Dúirt síad go raibh muid gan náir
Ag céiliúir ár ngrá
Agus an scríos seo inár dtimpeall.
An seabhac ag guairdeall san aer
Ag feitheamh le boladh an bháis."
-- as "Amhrán Grá Vietnam," Caitlín Maude, 1969
"They said we were without shame
Celebrating our love
And this ruin in our surrounding.
The hawk gyring in the air
Waiting on the smell of death."
-- from "Vietnam Love Song," Caitlín Maude, 1969 My translation, 1998
The signs in the bar window glowed like distant signal fires, and the sound of karaoke machines and off-key voices was the call of the Sirens. Katsuragi Misato wished she could heed them. The thought of a cool half-liter trickling down her dry throat was unbearably tempting. But no, there were her companions to be thought of. I can't bring them in with me; the Commander would have up on charges for sure.
Don't be silly, said a small voice in her head. Asuka was raised on beer. And Shinji-kun would be the better for a couple of drinks. Maybe if they got loosened up they'd be nicer to each other. She could almost see the shy sweet glances passing back and forth, the two hands slowly creeping towards each other... the epic beating when Asuka sobers up and realises what happened. She sighed.
"Idiot Shinji, don't you know anything?"
She could take no more. "For gods' sake, Asuka, Shinji is not stupid. He has better marks than you, and you've allegedly been through university."
"Well, it's not my fault Japanese people can't write more sensibly."
"In case you've forgot, Asuka, you were raised speaking this language. Learning a few hundred characters shouldn't be any problem for a genius."
"Arrgh! You're always ganging up on me. First Rei and Shinji, and now you..." She turned and ran away. Misato stood staring at her retreating back. Why does she do these things to me?
"Shouldn't we follow her?"
"No, Shinji-kun, let her run." Why do I do these things to her?
"But Misato-san, she might fall down, or be hit by a bus, or..."
Misato sighed again. Poor kid has it bad. But his logic was impeccable. "You're right. Let's walk slowly, give her a chance to calm down."
There was silence for a while. At last, Shinji said "Thank you. For defending me."
"No problem. I didn't do anything but say the truth. You may be a wimp, but you're not stupid." She saw the hurt in his eyes, and it twisted in her own heart. Idiot Misato, you say things too quickly, you hurt the people you care for. "You're not even very much of a wimp, these days," she said, and ruffled his hair. "In fact, I think you'll soon have me wishing I were fourteen again." His eyes widened, but he didn't say anything. Good. I can't believe I said that last, myself.
They caught up with Asuka at an intersection six blocks away. She was standing, trying very hard to look as if her sprint had been nothing but a leisurely promenade. "Look, if all you're going to do is pick on me, you can save your breath, both of you."
"Actually," Misato said with glacial slowness, "I wasn't going to pick on you. I was going to suggest that the three of us take a nice, long, calming walk together, and that maybe then we could get something to eat. We shouldn't-- " The howl of the alarm klaxons cut her off.
"Shite, this is not a drill. This is so not a bloody drill." She could hear a low angry hum that didn't belong to anything of this earth, see a column of thick smoke rising in the distance. "Shite, where's my phone?."
"Here's mine." Shinji said, and she loved him in that moment for the newborn calm in his voice. Shinji, my Shinji. No courage for yourself, but strong as a mountain for others. She dialed the secure line to the bridge, sharp jabs like thrusts at soft tissue.
"Nothing. Oh hell and damnation, the Angel's buggered the fecking phone system."
The column of smoke was moving, coming closer. Sweet Kannon watch over us, where are we...there's the street sign...yes, I can save them... "There's a NERV shelter less than a block away. Let's go!" She grabbed each by the hand and they ran as the klaxon screamed and the buildings began to sink into the ground. It was the work of a second to duck into the ordinary-looking doorway and insert her ID. The door opened before them and she pulled her housemates after her, down into her lap as the elevator carried them to safety.
They sat there a moment all tumbled together, heartbeats racing with fear and rage and relief and shock. Unthinking, Misato hugged her Asuka and her Shinji to her breast. They're alive, we're together, it's all that matters, she thought dazedly. Then they are pilots, I am their superior officer, we are soldiers in a war. "Come on, get up," she said, hating herself for the harshness in her voice. "There should be access to the Geofront from here."
She led them into a hard cool gray room, concrete walls, concrete floor, steel bunks and lockers, a curtained alcove with a chemical toilet, all of it brutally illuminated with flourescent tubes. There was no trace of a door other than the one they'd entered through, the one leading to the elevator. Maybe the elevator will take us. She inspected the control panel; there was only the route to the surface. "There must be communications gear. We'll call the bridge and they can find some way to reach us." She started opening lockers and panels. "It must be somewhere in here. Help me look, you two." They were still standing stunned by the elevator. "Come on, look! There must be a phone or a terminal or something." Shinji began searching; after a moment, Asuka joined him.
"I found a field radio," Asuka reported. It was the last unopened locker. Preserved food and bottled water and blankets and spare uniforms in standard sizes were piled on the floor all around them.
It probably can't penetrate the concrete and earth around us. Still, it won't hurt to try. Misato dialed the standard emergency frequency. "This is Major Katsuragi, in Eastern Sector Shelter 124a. I have the Second and Third with me. Repeat, the Second and Third are with me."
There was no response. She repeated herself. "The battery will be good for a while," she said with the best imitation of calm she could muster. "We'll try again in half an hour."
Asuka and Shinji were still standing. "Sit down," she told them. "Over here, with me." There were blankets and pillows and mattresses for twelve people, more than enough to warm the backs and soften the seats of one major and two teenage pilots. They ignored the bunks and assembled a sort of camp in the corner. The glare was hard on the eyes, so Misato turned off all but one of the lights.
"It wasn't supposed to happen like this," Asuka said. "The two of us unable to reach our Eva, trapped in a hole to die without a chance to fight."
"Asuka, you're not going to die here."
"And how do you know, Misato?"
"I know because thinking that way isn't going to get us anywhere. Because we aren't dead yet, and I'm not going to let you give up. Because I just do."
"Rei was probably at home, either that or already in the Geofront," Shinji said. "She'll have to fight alone, I guess."
They were silent for a moment. Then Asuka said softly "Good luck, Wondergirl."
Two more fruitless tries with the radio, and Misato could barely restrain herself from smashing it upon the floor. "We should eat something," she said. "Keep our strength up, so we'll be ready when they come to collect us." There was no response. Shinji and Asuka were sitting quietly, side by side. Their hands were barely touching. At any other time she would have teased them for it. Instead she took out three meals, not noticing what might be in them, and pulled the self-heating tabs. "Here, eat."
She was used to bad food: packaged junk, tenth-rate takeaway, her own cooking. The field rations were worse than all of them put together. She finished in five minutes and washed the taste away with lukewarm water, wishing it were something stronger.
She looked over at Shinji and Asuka. They'd finished eating as well, and now their hands were twined together. Is this what it takes to make them get along? She tried the radio again. No response.
"What do you think is happening, Misato?"
"I'd expect they have somebody looking for us, Shinji, but if the only way to reach us is by surface it may be a while. Don't worry," she said hastily, "the fuel cell is good for three weeks on full power and we've a month's rations for twelve people."
Asuka shivered. "What if it's already over?"
"Then someone will come find us that much sooner."
"I mean, what if it's all over? The angel won, Tokyo-3 is gone..." She shivered more strongly, and pressed herself against Shinji's side. He slipped an arm about her shoulders, and she didn't resist. This was a side of the arrogant Souryuu Asuka Langley Misato had never seen before. A vulnerable, frightened girl...whom I want to cuddle and cosset and... Dear God, what is wrong with me?
"Then we will live. We have packs and food and spare clothing; my ID and retina scan will unlock the arms cache. We'll leave the city and head for the countryside. I'm sure once we get to a town we'll be able to contact whatever's left of NERV."
There was a strange thrill in her. To be alone with Asuka and Shinji in the wilderness would be an escape from the sterility of her life in Tokyo-3, the meaningless bureaucracy interspersed with terror and the little apartment in the ugly building. There would be privation, and she would have to call on all the skills of woodcraft learned so long ago in basic training, but there would also be stories by the campfire and refreshing baths all together in cold streams. Get off that track right now, she told herself.
"But what if it's... just us?"
"Then we'll have to learn to be kind to each other, won't we?" Why did I say that? Asuka-chan, I didn't mean to hurt you. She reached out and ruffled her hair, just as she had Shinji's.
Something was humming in the background; it took her a moment to realise that it was getting louder. Don't notice, please, don't notice, she silently begged her charges.
"The angel is back," Asuka said with a terrifying flatness. "It's digging down to us."
"Not necessarily," Misato replied, knowing that it was all too likely. At least I'm not on the bridge, watching them alone in their Eva. At least I can hold them once before we go. "Come here." She spread her arms, and they huddled together.
They were warm, and sweet-smelling beneath the fear- sweat, clean young bodies and the berry scent of Asuka's shampoo all but overwhelming the faint tang of LCL. Shinji had put on muscle and lost puppy fat since that first embrace at the train station, and Asuka's back was strong, her breasts soft. She realised with sudden discomfort that they felt like adults, not children, and that their closeness was stirring memories of high school and college. She willed the wave of lust to die down. It's just a stupid biological reaction. I'm their guardian; what would they think if they knew? Even if they did want it, want me... I don't want to die with that on my conscience.
"Mama..." Asuka murmured. See, you disgusting creature, Misato told herself, that's how they think of you. Surrogate mother, elder sister, anything but a lover. What sort of dirty old woman are you? "Mama, don't take me...Mama, I don't want to go with you."
"Shhh, Asuka, it's all right..."
"But Misato, what if dying means I have to be with my mother? She... hanged herself in front of me. I don't want to see her again."
"Shhh. You're mine. I won't let her have you. Shinji and I will keep you by us, won't we?"
"Yes." She was proud of the steadiness in his voice. "We won't let anyone take our Asuka."
"I used to imagine dying," Asuka whispered. "I was always in battle, alone in my Eva, surrounded by heaps of fallen foes. Or I was with Kaji-san, and there was just time enough to make love." She paused. "I'm glad it's this way instead."
I as well, Asuka-chan. She hugged them more tightly. In a few minutes, I hope and pray, we'll be together in the Pure Land. And maybe, in that place, we'll be the same age. That's more Heaven than I deserve, but they say Jesus... Amida Buddha... someone is merciful. And even if there is nothing at all where we're going, I will still die in your arms, with you in mine, and die happy.
The humming grew louder, and she pressed a kiss to each brow. "On your lips, in a better world," she murmured.
An hour had passed, she realised, and they were still alive. "Maybe it's parked itself above us," she mused, "licking its wounds while Rei goes back to reload."
Shinji and Asuka yawned at the same instant, and it was all she could do not to laugh. Must be their synchronisation training still coming through.
They were already fast asleep, arms still tight around her and each other. Like the morning they fought the Seventh Angel, when I went to collect them and found them sleeping side by side on the floor. If only they could be like this when they're awake and not in danger of death.
She knew she should crawl out from between them and find a sleeping bag of her own, but she was so tired, and they were warm. And they need their sleep. I can't risk waking them. "Good night, my hearts," she whispered, and followed them into slumber.
"Mmmmm." Someone was nuzzling her, ever so softly. Insistent fingers unbuttoned her blouse. Warm lips followed them, gently kissing the exposed skin; girl's lips, like a sweet memory of her adolescence. She opened her eyes to see Asuka slowly making her way down her torso.
This is a dream. A wonderful, golden dream. That, or we died during the night and are now in Paradise. She reached down and drew the redhead up for a deep kiss that seemed to go on for half an eternity.
"Shin-chan, we're so glad you're awake, aren't we, Asuka- chan?"
"Oh, yes." She planted a lingering kiss on his lips.
"Come here, darling." He was inexperienced, but very gentle. Feels like Asuka-chan has done some of this before. Hmm, boy or girl? She was kissing in the angle of Misato's neck, just the right amount of suction to please without marking. Her mouth began to descend again, lower, this time. Without thinking, Misato moved her hips to ease the removal of her garments. "Oh, my goddess, Asuka-chan..." Well, that answers my question; girl, for certain, she thought in some last rational part of her mind.
She bit down on Shinji's ear as sensation raced through her body. I hope I didn't hurt him. "Thank you, Misato-san," he moaned. She shivered at the sweet submission in his voice. I guess I really am a pervert.
"Come up here, pretty girl," she said softly. Their three lips met in a tender, clumsy triple kiss. "I think our Asuka's over- dressed, don't you, Shin-chan? Let's help her..." She took his hand gently in hers, moved it to the fasteners of Asuka's school jumper. "Here, it opens like this." Together, they slipped the garment off her shoulders and down her body.
Asuka fumbled with her blouse. "M...may I?" Shinji whispered. Their eyes met.
"Please?" Her expression was soft and shy. He unknotted the soft neck ribbon, and opened the first button. She smiled, and he kissed her, on the lips, on the chin, on the throat, and lower.
I love them, Misato realised, with a complex tangle of feelings she didn't want to analyse. She distracted herself by opening Shinji's own clothes.
"I'm sorry-- "
The girl was squirming, desperate. "Don't stop, Shin-chan, you're doing fine."
"Mmmmmm.... thank you..."
She woke again to the sound of quiet sobbing. "Asuka?" she whispered. Shinji was warm against her back, fast asleep. "What's wrong, sweetling?"
"I'm... I don't know, I'm just..." Her fingers were wrapped round the white cross that hung from the older woman's neck.
She's afraid. And she can't even say it. "Shhh, darling. It's all right." The tears were wet on her breast. She buried her nose in the girl's red hair, stroking her back. "Saaa, my treasure."
"Misato, when I thought we were going to die, it didn't matter. But now..."
"I know. 'Death is lighter than a feather, Duty heavier than a mountain.' I've always hated sending the people I care for out to fight, while I sit safe in the Geofront."
"Misato... I love you. Love you both." The words were so quiet she could barely hear them.
"And I you, Asuka-chan. Both of you. Sleep, my heart."
Something was different when she woke for the third time. It took her a moment to realise that a tiny light by the elevator was now green. The all-clear had been rung. She hated it with all the passion Heian poets had reserved for the dawn. "Rise up, my darlings; we must away."
Their eyes were bleary and confused with sleep, and they tugged at her heart. My loves, my sweets, what have I done? Stolen your innocence, or given you the only comfort I had to give? She hugged them, held them hard and tight. "We have to get dressed before someone comes looking and finds us."
They didn't talk as they scrubbed with waterless cleanser and tried to put themselves back into order. Misato found a pair of morning-after pills in her purse, and gave one to Asuka. They swallowed them in silent companionship, sharing a bottle of water.
Before they took the elevator there was one last embrace, desperate and needy and wordless. The street above was cool in the early morning light. Misato sighed, and wished she could simply take her family and run. Instead, she took Shinji's phone and called in. "Hello, Ritsuko. Misato here."
Asuka ran out the door just as she was coming in. "Hey, wait a sec..." Too late, she was down the hall and into the elevator. She considered following for a moment, then sighed and went inside. "I'm home!"
"What happened?" His cheek was red, and she recognised the slight catch in his breath as he tried to keep from crying.
"Yes, it does." She reached out and laid her hand on his shoulder. Somehow they wound up in each other's arms. He's taller, she absently noted. Almost up to my eyes, now. "Come and sit down on the couch. Let's have a drink."
He looked as if he were about to protest, then nodded. She opened the refrigerator, considered the cans of beer for a moment, then turned away. This calls for whiskey. "Neat, or with ice?"
"I don't know."
"I'll give you ice, then." She took down two tumblers, opened the freezer. "Damnation, used it all for my headache." She splashed two fingers of water into one and brought out the heavy green glass bottle.
He does have an adorable smile, she thought as he took the glass from her hand. I'm glad he uses it more often these days. He took a healthy gulp, and spluttered.
She couldn't help but laugh. "Be careful, Shinji, you're not used to this stuff. Just take a sip. Let it roll across your tongue."
"Hmm, maybe this doesn't taste so bad."
"It'll grow on you, Shin-chan." Her giggle died in her throat. Another vice I've taught him. "Anyway, what's wrong?"
"She acts just the same as before. Always angry, always mocking, taunting... I wish... I didn't..." She set her glass down on the low table and put an arm around his shoulders.
"Shhh. Sometimes we don't like them very much, the ones we love."
"Does she even remember?"
"How can you tell?"
"I see it in her eyes. Don't you?"
"When she doesn't think anyone's looking?"
She nodded. "She's confused, and she's been hurt so many times that she doesn't know what to do. I'm afraid it's all my fault."
"No, it isn't."
"I should have been stronger. I should have waited until you and Asuka were older, and not under my command. What kind of officer takes her pilots to bed?"
"One who loves them. One whom they love."
"Shinji, I've been perfectly dreadful."
"I wanted it just as much as you. So did Asuka."
"I'm not even talking about that, Shinji. Asuka came here, all arrogance and insults, and I made fun of you right in front of her. I wanted to tell her you were a warrior prince in schoolboy's clothes, do you know that? And that if she had a brain under that pretty red hair, she'd make you hers that very night. But I couldn't. I couldn't let her take you away from me."
"Misato, you tease people; it's part of who you are. I knew what you meant by it."
"The first day we met, I crammed you into an Eva and sent you out to be killed. Then I dragged you into living with me. Because I was lonely, as if you were a puppy I'd seen in a shop window."
He stroked her hair, gingerly, as if she were some precious delicate thing. My Shinji... still so innocent. "You cared about me. You were the first person who ever did. You opened up your heart and you took me into your home, and when I tried to run away you came and stopped me. You held me in your arms on a train platform, and you didn't mind that people would see."
"Do you know I tried to justify myself by saying it was all an experiment? I even kept a journal, as if you were some sort of lab animal."
"I read a bit of it, once. You said 'He is cute.' No one ever said that about me before." She pulled him closer, trying not to notice that he smelled like a man, not a boy.
"When I first told Ritsuko you would be living with me, she accused me of wanting to... you know. I told her I wasn't so desperate that I'd jump a child. And now I've gone and slept with two people half my age."
"Misato," he said, "maybe... maybe I don't have the right to say it, but I don't think we're children, anymore."
"And I'm afraid it's all my fault."
"If it's anyone's fault, it's my father's. You've given us love and hope. No one else has ever done that, for either of us."
"Shinji... sometimes I think I'm not really an adult myself. When I was your age the world fell apart, and I stopped growing up. I'm desperately afraid I might have done the same to the two of you."
"No, Misato..." She wrapped herself around him, and he around her, together in a tangle of arms and legs and half-sober tears and kisses. The door opened. A single heartbeat, and there was a blurring of red hair and pale limbs and blue-gray uniform across the room, a warm solid mass suddenly on the couch and in their arms.
"I'm home," Asuka whispered.
The surveillance clip ended. "What action do you intend, Commander?"
"But sir, Major Katsuragi is obviously guilty of fraternisation."
"Leave it be, Subcommander. I see no reason to believe that this... incident will interfere with the performance of military duties by either the Major or the pilots."
This fic began with my reading a number of citric stories involving Misato and one or more of her charges. Most of them, frankly, squicked me.
After some reflection, I realised that it wasn't so much the idea of Misato and Shinji and Asuka in bed that bothered me (thinking about it, Misato comes off as a badly hurt child to nearly the same degree as the Children), as it was the presentation of the characters' thoughts and motivations. Misato was depicted, in most cases, as an unthinking slut and the sex as simply a pleasant little interlude between Angel-killings. No doubts, no uncertainties, no messy emotions. No depth.
This was written as an exercise to see if I could improve on the genre. If it disturbed you, I'm sorry. To be honest, it disturbed me as well, to the point that I seriously considered not releasing it. But consider, if you will, the world the characters of Evangelion inhabit. In such darkness, any love is a flicker of light, and any kindness, whatever the form it might take, is too precious to be dismissed. Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.