This is my first fic, so please excuse any newbie errors or such! I've decided that I would publish it as a whole, complete fic, rather than chapter by chapter, mainly just to prove to myself I could do it.
Evangelion remains the property of Gainax and respective distributors.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Propinquity
When I think of Asuka and those far off days my two most abiding memories are the smell of Strawberry Balsam Shampoo, and her standing silhouetted against the harsh blue sky. Her yellow sundress billowing, almost transparent as the thin material flapped around her body. That and the fiery corona created around her tousled Golden-Red Hair by the late morning sunlight framing her face. She cocked her head at me quizzically from the small cairn of stones that she stood astride like a colossus.
When people talk of the Second Child and the Angel Wars these days you'd think that she was more of a monster than the Fourteenth Angel. A one girl tsunami of chaos and destructive power. Terrible, violent and spiteful with almost no hope of redemption possible.
Of course, they didn't have to live with her.
Not like I did.
I could have told them far more harrowing a story than their closeted pre-Impact minds could have even imagined. The screaming, the throwing of random pieces of cutlery, the casual violence and taunting. The constant accusations of lust and perversion. Oh no, they didn't know the half of it.
And yet there was far more to the story than that mere childish caricature. She was capable of; well I guess you could call it kindness, even if it was kindness with a barb to it. Living with Asuka Langley Soryu back then was like walking on a glass bridge over a pit of scorpions. You could never be sure when the whole thing would shatter and you would fall into the scorpions den, with the stinging and the hurting and the screaming and such and such.
Hmm… I suck at metaphors.
Despite all of this, I cherished those quieter, 'kinder' moments more than all the Pickled Soy-Curd in New Shanghai, as the old saying goes.
But I digress.
This particular day had started with lies and subterfuge. Nothing biblical mind you. I had been up for over an hour that morning before either of my fellow residents of the Katsuragi, um… residence, had even stirred. It's just the way things were there in those days. I often think that I was more like a mother to that household than anything else. Although the topic of Mothers is not one that should be broached casually, even in these more enlightened days.
Anyway, I was up first, as usual. Pen-Pen was fed and beered and had waddled back to his fridge as contented a Hot Springs Penguin as ever there was. As for me, well I was cooking breakfast. Turkey-Bacon and eggs for Asuka, a Chicken Okayu with Yebisu chaser for Misato and toast and marmalade for myself. Nothing out of the ordinary there then. Poor unsuspecting sap that I was.
The first actual suspicion that I had of things to come was a shadow across the light streaming in from the open balcony window. That and the sweet fragrance of Strawberry Balsam. I turned quickly around and was face to pretty face with one Asuka Langley Soryu, her nose no more than two or three inches from my own.
"Asuka?" I said shakily, my voice breaking mid syllable. I was a teenaged boy after all. Girls were alluring and terrifying. Asuka exponentially so.
"Hey, Shinji-kun." She purred. "Wanna see something cool?"
I was trapped, transfixed by those vivid blue irises and that intoxicating scent. Not to mention that the girl that I both feared and longed after was within a few short inches of me. And calling me Shinji-kun! Blood rushed from my brain and to, well the less said about where it rushed to the better, all I knew for sure was that if she noticed, I was a dead man…er… boy. Once again may I state for the record that I was a teenager.
"Ummm, sure Asuka."
"Cool." She said, her morning breath wafting gently over me as she took the plate of turkey bacon and eggs that I held out for her, though she still stayed terrifyingly close to me. "Act like nothing is going on." She whispered, theatrically sotto voce. "When Misato finally emerges tell her that we're going to school as usual."
"Uh, okay." I said, feeling denser than Berkelium at this point. We weren't going to school as usual? I thought.
Finally she turned and took her breakfast off to the kitchen table.
You probably won't mind if I skip over the next hour or so. Needless to relate it involved lying to Misato, with Asuka alternately winking and glaring at me, and me alternating between blushing tumescence and abject terror. Not that there was anything particularly unusual about that for me in those days. This was followed by a lengthy henpecked hike up into the foothills to the North West of Old Hakone.
This brings me back to where we came into this. You know, Asuka standing proudly atop a convenient cairn. Me staring up at her admiring the way the sunlight shone through her hair and trying very hard not to give away the fact that I could see through her dress.
"Come on, Dunderhead!" She sniped at me. "Stop your lagging behind. We're nearly there!"
"You know, I could probably walk a lot faster if you carried your own pack Asuka!"
"Humph! Maybe they're right when they say that chivalry is dead in post 2nd Impact Japan! What bold and courtly knight of old would even consider letting his lady bear such a burden whilst he had even an ounce of strength?"
"Whatever." I muttered. I knew I couldn't win. I comforted myself with the image of Asuka in days of yore, locked in a tower guarded by a fearsome dragon. I smiled dreamily to myself. A Red Dragon with fearsome teeth and bright blue eyes and two red neural connector-horns on its head. Of course, if Asuka was the Dragon, that would make the Damsel in Distress trapped up in the Tower… Me. Hmmm… I shook my head. I had enough issues of my own without going down that rocky path.
"I knew that you'd see it my way." She beamed. "Now stop trying to see through my dress and let's get moving!"
"I…. I wasn't t-trying to… "I stuttered, blushing guiltily.
She stepped down from the cairn and started walking along next to me as we made our careful way through the debris field that this area had become after the destruction of the Seventh Angel several months ago.
"Don't act all innocent with me Third Child!" She said. "I know that you spend all of your day lusting after my perky young body!"
"A-Asuka I…" I attempted to deny it, even though it was reasonably true in those days.
"Don't even try to deny it, Hentai!" She said imperiously. "I've seen you leering at me at school! Not to mention the unspeakable things you probably with my panties on wash day!"
"And what do you do, spending so much time in the bathroom every night anyway?"
"W-what do you mean?" I asked in confusion.
"You know very well, Third! You think that I don't notice when you go off to the bathroom for your 'Special Shinji Alone Time'? It gets downright awkward for Misato and me trying to make polite small talk with the sounds of heavy breathing and rhythmic pounding echoing right throughout the apartment!"
"That's really unfair!" I could feel the heat in my face growing.
"Oh Shinji! Just admit that you're a compulsive Onanist and let's end this hollow charade!"
Onanist? I thought. But my old Teacher didn't really hold with organised religion.
Asuka could see my puzzled expression. What followed was a graphically mimed explanation that still haunts my nightmares to this very day.
"Oh." Was all that I said.
"Yep, that's what we usually hear right before you finish!"
"ASUKA!" Beetroot had nothing on me at that moment.
"Hahahahahaha!" She laughed uproariously at my discomfiture. "You are too easy to wind up Third! Ah ha ha…" She wiped a tear from her eye and leaned a hand on my shoulder as we walked through the rubble. "Promise me you'll never change, Shinji!"
There. There it was. Let's just take a brief pause in the narrative to take in this scene to its fullest.
Asuka: Smiling happily. Her left hand casually draped over my shoulder. Her hand was so light and soft, but its merest touch sent an electric wave through my whole body.
Me: I was as close as I ever was to dissolving into pure LCL at that moment.
It may sound pathetic to you but there it was. The rare moment of interpersonal tenderness that froze time and made my adolescent heart skip a proverbial beat. Here we were together, she was happy in my company. I was scared/happy and strangely emboldened by the heady thrill of sharing company with this beautiful, exotic and terrifying creature who was actually touching me. Voluntarily.
"Well… "I said before my internal censor could wrestle my newfound confidence to the floor and kneel on its windpipe. "A boy has to have a hobby…"
Instantly my heart quailed in terror, Too Much? As Asuka's hand lifted from my shoulder momentarily. I silently cursed at my self-sabotaging ability once again rearing its head. I screwed up my eyes and bowed my head. Idiot! I thought to myself. Stupid stupid stupid!
Thwack! Asuka's hand regained contact with me by way of a smack to the back of the head. That wasn't surprising. What did take me by surprise was the lack of force behind the blow.
"Hentai.." She said softly, a slight but unmistakeable blush on her cheeks as she turned her face away.
We trudged on in silence for a few minutes longer. My confused mind casting desperately around for a way to ease the awkwardness that I felt had overtaken our trek.
"Asuka, I… "I tried to begin.
"Quiet!" The redheaded girl said impatiently. "I think we're nearly there!"
We finally came to a stop at the lip of an enormous crater in the side of the hill.
"Well, Third. Here we are! What do you think?"
I knew this place. "Ummm… "
"Exactly! The scene of my greatest triumph!"
"The Seventh Angel?" I said in confusion. "But we both defeated that Angel with a perfectly synchronised attack!"
"Puh-lease!" She said disparagingly. "All of that 'Jazz Hands' dancey crap? If you'll remember correctly I was the one that executed that attack perfectly. While all you managed to do was fall on your ass and make us both look stupid!"
"I…" I give up… I gave up.
I decided on a different tack. "So, we skipped school today, marched miles out of town, to look at a big hole in the ground?"
This seemed to have been the wrong thing to say.
"So, Third Child. I go to the trouble of getting us out of the most boring school in the Developed World. I get your pasty ass out into the Great Outdoors before the Rickets finally takes you. And, not to mention, give you some money can't buy one on one time with the Great Asuka Langley Soryu, and all you do is whine at me about the scenery?"
"I… uh… Asuka… I'm sorr…"
"Don't, Third. Just don't even go there!"
My mouth worked up and down for a few moments before finally giving up. "So why are we here, Asuka?"
She grinned at me. "I told you, Shinji. It's a surprise! Now come on! Let's find us a way down there!"
All questions of why and how evaporated from my tiny mind. Asuka called me Shinji! Again! The tiny and I'll admit rather pathetic thrill that sent down what passed for my spine in those days was enough that I would follow Asuka into the gates of Hell without question.
Some things, it seems, never change.
End Chapter One
A/N: Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know what you think!