"He lost his memory? Really?" Misato said sounding worried.
Ritsuko nodded and didn't appear too upset. "When his EVA had its head smashed he suffered trauma through the nerve net. At some point the problem should resolve itself but in the mean time we all need to be careful what we say around him."
"The area of the brain that was most effected by the trauma is the one used to distinguish truth from falsehood. Until he recovers he likely won't be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is obviously not. So he will pretty much believe anything he is told."
"Oh really?" An evil glint appeared in Misato's eyes.
Ritsuko caught it and sent the woman a hard look. "I want everyone he is close to, to see him in the hopes it jogs his memories but don't tell him anything strange. Understand?"
"Sure," Misato said. This might be fun.
Shinji was sitting up in the hospital bed staring at some photos of himself in a weird uniform. There were also pictures of a huge robot that looked like something straight out of a cheesy sci fi action movie. According to the medical staff here his name was Ikari Shinji and he was and EVA pilot. An EVA being what the giant robot was called. According to them he was among a group of people trying to save the world from creatures called 'Angels.'
While it sounded bizarre he supposed that it had to be true. He had no memory of anything. The pictures they'd given him were supposed to help but he just didn't feel any sort of connection to anything.
The door to his room opened and in strode a woman in a red jacket and short skirt. She gave him a broad smile and came right over to his bed. "How are you feeling Shinji-kun?"
"I feel just fine," he told her cautiously. "Uhm, I'm very sorry but am I supposed to know you?"
"Well I would hope so," the woman told her. "My name is Misato and I am Chief Operations officer for NERV. I am the one who is responsible for you. We also happen to live together."
"We… we do?" He answered appearing nervous. "Ah, isn't that a little weird?"
"Not at all!" She answered brightly. "Since I'm your older sister. You like to call me nee-san and cook meals for me and give me foot rubs when I'm tired." She had always wanted to have a little brother and this was a unique opportunity to see what it would be like. "We're family so it's only natural we live together."
"We… we are?"
She nodded eagerly. "We sure are, so go ahead and call me nee-san."
"Uh, all right," he felt weird but supposed it had to be true if she was telling him so. "I am very happy to meet you nee-san."
"Ah!" She cried happily and hugged him to her breasts. "Say it again! Say it again!"
"Nee-san you're smothering me."
"You told him you were his sister?" Ritsuko yelled at her out in the corridor. "What is wrong with you?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist! I've always wanted to have a little brother." Misato said offering a contrite bow. "Anyway it's not a big deal right? You said it would pass in a few days."
"No," Ritsuko corrected her sharply. "What I said was at some point the problem should resolve itself. I never gave a time frame. It could be days or weeks or even potentially months. In the mean time it's vital you not contradict what he believes to be true, otherwise you will cause him unnecessary mental stress."
Misato clasped her hands together and looked excited. "So I get to be a big sister for awhile?"
"I think you're missing the point here," Ritsuko said dryly.
"Is something going on that I should be aware of?" An unemotional voice interrupted.
Both women turned to see Shinji's father Ikari Gendo walking towards them. As usual he had his stoic uninterested face.
Both women glanced at one another and then back to the base commander.
"Nothing important Commander," Ritsuko said and turned to her friend. "Why don't you get going Misato and we can talk some more later?"
"Right," she agreed and quickly departed.
"I read your report," Gendo approached her and spoke as superior to subordinate. "As I understand it Shinji has lost his memories and is now susceptible to believing whatever he is told? Is that correct?"
"Yes sir," she replied. She desperately wanted to put her arms around him and kiss him. They were clandestine lovers and their affair was a strictly guarded secret. Ritsuko longed more than anything to be close to him. She wanted others to see them together and to be acknowledged as something more than just one of the officers in public. She sighed in frustration knowing the odds of that ever happening were slim.
"Can I go in and see him?"
Ritsuko couldn't keep an eyebrow from rising in surprise. The Commander and his son barely acknowledged one another. She certainly hadn't expected him to want to pay a visit. "Well certainly, but you need to be very cautious as to what you say to him."
"Would you mind if I were to go in as well to observe his reaction?" Actually she just wanted a little more time with him.
"Not at all doctor." Together they entered the hospital room.
As soon as they did Shinji looked up blankly. "Uh, hello, who are you?"
That was when Ritsuko saw something that shocked her to the core. Ikari Gendo smiled! Not one of his occasional conspiratorial little grins, but a great big open smile! He then went over to Shinji and patted the top of his head!
"I'm your poppa son!" Gendo told him. "I've been sick with worry this entire time!"
"You're my father? Really? But I don't recognize you at all!"
"That's all right Shinji, I'm sure it will come back in time. We are as close as father and son could be. You call me poppa and are always trying your best to make me proud. You are my dear and precious son."
"Wow, really?" For some odd reason when he looked at his father Shinji felt a vague resentment. He shook it off though, it was probably just normal since he was a teenage boy. If he was being told this it had to be true. "I'm really glad to hear that poppa."
Gendo patted his head again. "Let's be close like we used to be Shinji, like the family we are."
Ritsuko was staring wide mouthed. I can't believe he's so shamelessly taking advantage of this! She knew immediately what she had to do. She rushed over and grabbed a hold of Gendo's arm.
"I'm your momma!" Ritsuko blurted out. "Poppa and I have been so worried about you Shinji-kun, but momma promises to take good care of you from now on." She turned to Gendo. "Isn't that right darling?"
Now it was Gendo's turn to look shocked. "Ah… yes, of course."
Ikari on the other hand seemed to be delighted. He didn't recognize her any more than he had his father but if she was saying she was his mother it had to be true. "You're my momma? So we're all a family?"
"We certainly are," Ritsuko said squeezing Gendo's arm and looking ecstatic. "We're a very close very loving family. Aren't we dear?"
"I supposed we would have to be," came his somewhat less than enthusiastic response.
"So we all live together then? You, me, poppa, and sis?"
"Sis?" Gendo asked blankly.
"Actually," Ritsuko answered quickly. "We wanted you to go stay with your big sister Misato to keep an eye on her." She lowered her voice conspiratorially. "She has a drinking problem."
"Oh!" Shinji said.
"But you come over every Sunday for a nice home cooked meal and we spend the whole day together as a loving family!" Ritsuko told him.
"So does that mean I can come over this Sunday and spend it with you and poppa?"
"Naturally! Right dear?" She turned to Gendo.
"Yes," he replied. "Your… mother and I wouldn't have it any other way."
"You told him I have a drinking problem!" Misato yelled at her. "What the hell Ritsuko? And you said you were his mother? Are you insane?"
"I was trying to be helpful," she said defensively. "And I'm not going to take any grief from you about that my daughter."
"I was definitely adopted," Misato muttered. "What did the Commander say about this?"
"Well he was slightly upset with me but I got him to agree to go along with it as we don't want to cause Shinji any further psychological issues. It's vital that we don't contradict what he believes to be true."
"So you and the Commander are actually going to have dinner with Shinji-kun while pretending to be husband and wife?"
"Yes we are," Ritsuko sighed happily. While it certainly wasn't perfect she would get to act like his wife in front of Shinji.
"Well I look forward to having dinner with the family."
"Who said you were invited?" Ritsuko asked.
"I'm his sister so of course I'm coming too."
"I don't think we get along very well," Ritsuko told her. "You do have a drinking problem."
"Well I only left home after I caught you cheating on dad with the pool boy."
Ritsuko stared at her wide mouthed.
"Well if I don't go I'll have to tell Shinji something won't I?" Once more there was an evil gleam in her eye.
"You're just trying to get a free meal out of this."
"True, plus I'm sure it will be entertaining."
"Fine," Ritsuko sighed. "You can come."
Ritsuko shook her head. She just prayed that when Asuka saw him this afternoon she at least avoided causing any more problems.
"You're my what?" Shinji blinked at the red haired girl in the school uniform.
"I'm your ex-girlfriend," Asuka repeated with a smug smile on her face and her fists on her hips.
"So… we dated?" He found it hard to believe but if she was saying it then it had to be true.
"Just for a little while," Asuka told him. "When I came here I moved in with you and Misato-san since we were both EVA pilots. You fell totally in love with me at first sight." She flicked her long hair back over her shoulder.
"I… I did?"
She nodded fiercely. "You sure did, not that I blame you. You were always telling me how pretty I looked and trying to get my attention. You made me bentos, carried my school books, bought me little gifts, and pretty much followed me around like a puppy. To be honest it was sort of pathetic. I went out with you for a little while just to get you to stop."
"Oh, I see, ah I'm sorry I bothered you. I apologize." He lowered his head sadly.
"It… it didn't really bother me," she put in. "I mean you aren't all bad, and if you want to keep pursuing me I don't really mind. I might even agree to go out with you again if you are really sincere about it and try really hard."
He looked at her with sudden hope. "Really? So we might go out again? You're so beautiful I can't believe you might like me."
The excited look in his eyes made her heart start to beat faster and forced her to look away before he could notice her cheeks darkening. "Dummkopf," she muttered. "I don't promise, but I'll consider it. Though you'll have to work really hard to convince me to give you another chance."
Shinji had just been released and was leaving the hospital when he ran into a blue haired girl with red eyes in the same school uniform Asuka had worn. She quickly introduced her self as Ayanami Rei, a fellow EVA pilot. She asked him if he would mind going with her to her apartment to see if that might stir up any memories.
He agreed. When they arrived he was very surprised to see the run down building she loved in and even more surprised to see her apartment. It didn't look like the sort of place a girl would live in. Old mail was piled up by the door. There were dirty dishes in the sink. There were stains on the rug and the wall paper was coming off in patches. He could not spot any kind of decoration or attempt to make the place prettier. Rei didn't seem to care much about appearances.
"Commander Ikari asked me to meet with you and try to help you regain your memories."
"My dad asked you to help?"
"That's correct," Rei replied.
"Did my mom or my sister ask you to help too?"
Both of Rei's eyebrows rose and she looked uncertain. "Your mother and your sister?"
Shinji then explained.
"I see," Rei answered slowly. "So Ritsuko is your mother, Misato is your sister, and Asuka is your ex-girlfriend."
"That's right," Shinji said nodding happily. "So I guess you and I were good friends right?"
Rei looked at him for a moment as she considered.
"Is something wrong Ayanami-san?"
"I am your wife," she suddenly said.
"I am your wife," she repeated calmly.
"But… but…" If she was telling him that it had to be the truth. However… "Aren't we too young to be married? And I was dating Asuka! And if we're married why do you live here while I live with Misato and Asuka?"
"We had to get married in secret because we were too young and your parents don't approve of me. Your mother and I don't get along but your father likes me. We fell in love and decided to get married since there is no guarantee we will survive this war. Our relationship is a secret but I am still your wife."
"But… but… Asuka…"
She looked away from him. "You cheated on me with her and really hurt me, but since I love you I decided to forgive you."
"I… if I did that then I'm really sorry Ayanami-san."
She looked back at him with the oddest expression on her face. "You always called me Rei-chan when we were alone Shinji-kun."
"Ah, okay then," He smiled at her nervously. "Rei-chan."
Hearing him call her that felt as wonderful as she always thought it would. She'd always wanted to have a connection with him. When she'd heard how everyone else (even the Commander) was taking advantage of the situation she'd decided to do the same. Even if it was dishonest, even if it was only temporary, she wanted to make this connection. Apprehensively she reached out and took his hand.
Though he hesitated he accepted her gesture and held her hand.
"I've really missed you Shinji-kun," she told him and it was no lie. "When you were hurt I was very scared."
"It's okay Rei-chan, I'm fine now." He was unsure of himself but thought that as a husband he should do something more. "I am really sorry I hurt you."
He slowly leaned in and to Rei's surprise he kissed her.
She closed her eyes and accepted his kiss.
She felt her whole body reacting. It was an entirely new and amazing sensation. She kissed him back eagerly.
"Shinji-kun," she said breathlessly when she finally had to come up for air.
"Yes Rei-chan?" He sounded equally out of breath.
She nodded over to her bed.
"Huh?" He went red in the face.
"Well we are married," she said.
His heart was thumping so hard he thought he might pass out, but he nodded and together they went over to her bed.
The following week Shinji was at last allowed to return to school. His classmates were informed of his condition and strictly warned against telling him any sort of lies. Despite that as soon as Toji and Kensuke were alone with him…
"You know I'm the son of a famous Hollywood director," Kensuke told him.
"No you're not," Shinji replied. "Stop lying."
"Hey! They said you were supposed to believe anything you heard!"
"Yeah, I was like that for a couple of days but I'm back to normal now."
"Then how come everyone still thinks your hurt?" Toji asked.
"Oh, I'm just pretending about that." Shinji told them.
"What? Why would you do that?' Kensuke questioned.
"Are you kidding?" Shinji said with a laugh. "I've got my dad actually acting like a dad, Ritsuko acting like a mom, Misato shoving my face into her breasts every time I call her 'nee-san,' Asuka treating me like she likes me, and I get to have sex with Rei whenever I want. Why would I tell them the truth?"
"YOU'RE HAVING SEX WITH REI?" Kensuke shouted.
Shinji just smiled at him and headed back to class whistling a happy tune.