And we hit the ground running. This chapters is gonna get bloody, so strap yourselves in, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

The Ties That Bind

Chapter 7: Ace High

Major Misato Katsuragi, NERV Operations Director, and guardian of the Second and Third Children, leaned back in her chair with a sigh. She stretched where she sat, linking her fingers above her head and extending her arms as far as she could until she felt her muscles protesting and numerous joints popped.

Relaxing, her body instantly felt much less tense; if a bit warmer from the stress she'd just placed upon it. Such mundane thoughts were not occupying her attention at that time though. No, instead she was worrying about something much more complicated.

Namely the still confusing relationship that had developed between the First and Third Children. Rei, and Shinji grew closer together each day. They still finished each others sentences, but more and more often during the two weeks that had passed since the Twelfth Angels attack Misato had heard them speaking in unison, as if they really did share one mind.

She could ask Rei a question and both children would answer using the exact same words, the exact same tone of voice, their faces even held identical expressions. Misato didn't mind the relationship they'd developed as she felt it made both of them better people, and better pilots, (their synch scores had both jumped over 25 points since the cross synch test, most of that increase happened during the past two weeks) however her theory that their minds had somehow become connected during the Cross Synch incident worried her.

"They have very dangerous jobs," she muttered to herself as she arched her back over the back of her chair listening to her spine pop. "What happens to one of them if the other dies?" A memory floated before her minds eye, one of Reis' vital signs dropping rapidly just before Shinji tore his way out of the body of the Twelfth Angel.

She crossed her arms on the desk in front of her and laid her head down. "I hate not being able to help them," she whimpered.


Across town, two Children lay in each others arms on a couch in the Katsuragi household. Both children were fully dressed as they had agreed neither was ready for too physical a relationship. No words were spoken, none were needed. The rather volatile roommate of one of the two was nowhere to be found, she'd muttered something about staying at a friend's house as she'd stomped out the door. That had been three hours previously however, and neither of the two Children had felt the need to pay much attention to her at the time.

Shinji Ikari was happy. This was an event that should be marked on the calendar as he was very rarely happy. He and his girlfriend were watching a movie. Well, to be more precise, he was watching a movie. Rei was sprawled across his body, her head resting on his chest. Her eyes were closed as she listened to his heart beating; she had little or no interest in the movie.

'I like this,' she thought. 'This is most pleasant.'

'Good.' Her eyes snapped open as she heard the voice speak into the back of her mind. Shinjis' voice.

"I heard you," he whispered to her, not taking his eyes from the television. He lifted one hand and gently tapped his left temple, "in here, I heard you speak to me."

"I could hear you as well," she whispered.

That was another thing that was happening to them. One they had not told anyone about. Aside from the fact that obviously they needed to be in each others presence as much as possible, their physical and mental health depended on it. Aside from the fact that they could sense each others emotions, feel each others pain and pleasure. Aside from all that, they could sometimes hear each others thoughts.

It happened very infrequently, and usually when they least expected it, but it did happen.

Shinji turned his eyes from the television and looked down at Rei. Not for the first time Rei felt that Shinji would, in two ways, become a very dangerous man when he reached his full maturity. If he was put under the right conditions, he would become a man that even Gendo Ikari would fear.

Rei was determined to ensure those conditions were never met.

Also to almost any woman, he was incredibly dangerous. His eyes held a depth of emotion that seemed to draw her into them every time she looked at him. She could easily imagine getting completely lost in his eyes, and when her entire being was utterly lost, she would descend into oblivion with a smile on her face.

"That's been happening more often lately," he murmured, snapping her out of her daze as he referred to their brief mental communication.

"Yes it has."

"What happens now?" he asked.

"Now?" She glanced at the digital clock on the VCR. "Now, I must be getting back to my apartment before Major Katsuragi returns from work."

That was something they had decided on the day after they'd spent the night in the same bed. Misato had walked into her apartment to find the two of them arranged much as they currently were on the couch, and she'd gone postal. Shinji still cringed when he thought about that afternoon. Misato had screamed at the top of her rather substantial voice at the both of them, promising rather dire consequences if she ever found them so entwined in her home again.

Shinji sighed regretfully but knew that Rei was right. Even if the two were found sitting at opposite ends of the couch they had quickly discovered that just their synchronized presence was enough to make almost everyone they knew extremely uncomfortable.

"I still don't understand why we make people so uncomfortable," he grumbled as they rose from the couch. Shinji in particular was the most violently affected by any forced separation between them so he was understandably upset whenever she had to leave his presence.

"People do not like change," Rei said. "We have both changed considerably, you more noticeably than myself but I have changed as well. The changes that are happening to us make everyone else uncomfortable in our presence." She paused. "I also think our synchronized speech scares them."

Shinji turned to her with a slight sensation of surprise running through him. He could hear the amusement in her voice. The way everyone shuddered when they spoke was funny to her. After giving it a second's consideration Shinji came to the conclusion that yeah, it was funny.

One thing had concerned Shinji for about a week. He thought about it as they rose and he walked with her to the door. Their kisses, on the rare occasion they did kiss, had all been very chaste. Closed lipped, usually they were feather light, and over in an instant.

After slipping on her shoes Rei leaned up on tip toe to kiss him goodbye, and Shinji all at once came to a decision he would have been incapable of before crossing minds with her.

As her lips brushed against his, his arms snaked around her waist, trapping her and pulling her body flush against him. She gasped lightly against his lips in surprise, the rest of the exhalation muffled as his lips covered hers with more force. Pressing firmly but gently against her lips he opened is mouth slightly and let the tip of his tongue glide over her bottom lip for the briefest of moments before it darted back into his mouth.

He pulled back from the kiss and looked down at her for a moment. The emotions running behind her eyes were indecipherable even to him, and for a moment he wondered if he'd gone too far. His moment of worry was shattered as she leaned in and pressed her lips to his again, this time letting her tongue slip into his mouth to caress his.

His arms tightened around her body, holding her closer against him as they kissed. Her lips vibrated against his as a low moan made its way up her throat and Shinji was unable to suppress the brief shudder that made its way down his spine as she moaned into his mouth.

They were interrupted quite abruptly by the apartment door sliding open with a hiss. The two Children broke apart rather quickly.

"Do you two idiots want to get out of my way?" Asuka snapped at them.

Reis annoyed frown went unnoticed by the other two pilots as Asuka pushed her way in, shoving Shinji forcefully out of her way in the process.

"I really do not understand her," Rei said as she helped Shinji up from where he'd fallen after first colliding with the wall.

"Neither do I Rei," he sighed. "She really seems to hate our relationship, but I can't figure out why."

"It is foolhardy to attempt to understand the motivations of another person," Rei told him.

"I know," he sighed. "I just wish I knew why she seemed to hate us so much, it might make living with her easier."

"You are always welcome in my apartment at any time Shinji," she whispered, lifting one hand to gently stroke his cheek.

Taking her wrist he brought her hand around and gently kissed the center of her palm. "Thank you, Rei." Leaning forwards he kissed her lightly again.

"I must go," Rei muttered against his lips.

A low growl of irritation rumbled from deep within Shinji's chest. However he knew no pleading, commanding, or growling would help in this situation, so he merely stepped back after pressing another quick kiss against her lips and let her walk over the one door to her apartment.

He watched until her door slid shut and she was blocked from his view before sighing and turning to re-enter Misato's apartment. For some reason, he thought even though she's just a few feet from me, when I cant see her, it feels like miles separate us.

Sighing in resignation he closed the door.


The next day was a Monday, and the Children once again found themselves ensconced in a class room. For the most part the day passed without incident, with the noted exception of Touji being called to the principles office seconds after the bell had rung for lunch.

Rei, Shinji, and Kensuke settled under the tree they'd taken to eating their lunch by. Rei was calm, and unperturbed as always, though Shinji could sense an undercurrent of apprehension in her.

Kensuke was Kensuke. Rambling on about something military related. Shinji would later recall the words Evangelion nit-03 being mentioned several times, but at the time of the discussion he was not paying attention.

Shinji. Shinji was pensive, his mind occupied by other matters.

"What is wrong Shinji?" Rei asked him several minutes into their lunch period.

"Something's bothering me," he admitted.

"Our living arrangements?" she asked, a knowing tone in her voice.

"Yeah." He sighed racking his fingers back through his hair in frustration. "It seems to me that Misato has full control over my life, like I have no say in it."

"What do you intend to do about that?" Kensuke asked.

Rei and Shinji turned to him.

Shinji appeared thoughtful for a moment, before slowly, an unaccustomed smirk graced his features.

"What are you plotting Ikari?" Kensuke asked.

Rei and Shinji shared a look. Shinji nodded once, his smirk widening as he leaned back against the tree, lacing his fingers behind his head as Rei turned and addressed Kensuke.

"When your opponent is sitting there holding all the Aces, there's only one thing left to do," she said.

"What's that?"

"Kick over the table."


Okay I really do hate to do it but I think I'm going to end the chapter here. I had to break this apart because that last line was just such a GOOD spot to end it. Evil cliff hanger.

Anyway, in the next chapter, I PROMISE we'll have the Thirteenth Angel, I PROMISE we'll see what happens to the fourth child, and how Shinji and Rei handle fighting with their minds now almost completely merged together actually hearing each others thoughts, and the world is going to be fed exed straight to hell in a hand cart.

See you all next time.