Standard Disclaimer

Sigh I'm supposed to be working on the next "Friend of my Enemy" but can't get though the details of about half the chapter…so I've started this one. It was planned to take Asobi's place in my rotation, and it will just with a lil premature start. FYI pool is now open, pool is awesome, go swim, hope you had a fun Memorial Day

X-X

Bait and Switch

Chapter – 1

Walking about the base in a tizzy, Misato was a bundle of nervous energy without an outlet. Thirty days of waiting, watching, and praying for her Shinji to come back all came to a head today. The apartment was in a state of mayhem, and not just from the rampant destruction and building mountains of garbage. Oh that was a big part though, Misato had been tempted to come to the base today in an old Halloween costume from back in her college days. Had she not filled out more, top and waist she noticed, she'd have done so. Had Shinji been home to make her decent food she'd have fit into the white tunic of her old 'angel of love' costume.

Junk food and take out weight gain aside, the other issue and the more important one was the emotional turmoil. Misato knew it'd only take Shinji a day or two…week tops to get the apartment back into a livable state and Pen-Pen out of his fridge. What would take longer was the emotional scars and damage. Walking into a break area, the smart people got out of Misato's way as the stupid were punted, the worried Major got herself more comfort food from a vending machine. "Who would have thought Asuka would be nearly as worried as I am," Misato murmured between bites of her candy.

Asuka hid it well, to herself and those that didn't know the German well, but Misato lived with her. The number of times Misato caught the firebrand muttering Shinji's name, often in a curse or complaint, was in the thousands now. Whether Asuka killed, kissed, or smacked Shinji when she saw him again, and they better, Misato didn't know. "But she tries to go too far down the negative," Misato tossed her wrapper in the bin and stormed off. She wasn't going to risk losing her little Shinji-kun again to Asuka's uncertain emotions.

There had been fights, mostly just verbal sparring sessions but Misato had poured a can of Yebisu on Asuka's unmentionables after the girl had the audacity to say she didn't care if Shinji came back. The reprisal for the soiled silky undies had been an omelet of questionable ingredients. Not sure if Asuka was above spitting or heaven forefend putting something more…personal in the food Misato wasn't sure, and she wouldn't have eaten if had it not been homemade. Damn Shinji for spoiling her on good food, well when he got back things were going to change!

"No more taking him for granted, no more using him! Well…" Misato had to stop and re-think that. She was hoping for him to fix the apartment and continue cooking for her, but maybe she'd try and repay him. "Less teasing from me, or maybe MORE teasing with the intent of caring it out?" she was feeling lonely after all. Kaji had been sniffing around, but with her mind in the dumps she wasn't biting. And she had to admit, Shinji was a handsome young man, young yes…a little to young… Pounding her fist against the elevator door, "Back to less teasing. Maybe get Asuka to be nicer to him? OH! Rei! I can…maybe I can order her to be his girlfriend or something?"

Hitting the button for the elevator, Misato tapped her foot as she waited for the cabin. Her head bounded from shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to jumpstart her higher brain functions. Musing to herself, "Ayanami has been spending a lot of time staring at Unit-01, girl must like him a little at least. Maybe they've been hiding something?" Unlikely, but Misato was a dreamer and an optimist. But Shinji couldn't even hide a single dirty magazine in his room without it being found. That had been a fun day, teasing him about the lone smut he brought in, courtesy of his 'friends.'

With a ding, the door opened and a wide eyed Ritsuko took a step back further into the cab. "Oh, Misato, would have thought you'd be at the plug already," a hurried and nervous Ritsuko tugged on her collar. Keeping out of Misato's reach, the good doctor avoided eye contact as if Misato could eat her soul via ocular contact. Timidly holding out a printout she offered, "The reports are looking good for this working, Misato, just have to have faith in him." Shuffling to the corner of the cab, Ritsuko had a very nervous child vibe about her.

Snatching the paper, Misato read the details that her brain almost understood but vanished like mist on the road in summer. Formulas, diagrams, and other techno-babble flooded her forebrain with pain and confusion, yup this piece of paper was useless. Roughly handing it back, she just crossed her arms and spied her friend attentively. "This will work, or you're going to be my maid. You know what, you SHOULD even if this works. Give Shinji a break now and…wait," something assailed Misato's nose, a familiar off-putting scent.

Leaning in closer to Ritsuko, she noticed her friend cringe further against the cabin, Misato's eyes went wide. Her hand jutted a snarled finger against the woman's bust, "You just got one off didn't you! I can smell it on you, perverted woman." The incredulousness of this woman, the audacity Ritsuko had! Getting an itch scratched just before trying to save her Shinji. But like many things in Misato's mind, the wires were crossed leading her to ask, "It was just you wasn't it…didn't have Makoto or Shigeru help you…or Kaji?" She had known Ritsuko and Kaji had experimented…she was with them at the time back in college.

The air of defeat replaced Ritsuko's previous emotional exertion of fear. Shoulders sulking forward, head down, Ritsuko just pinched the bridge of her nose hard. "I've been stressed out lately Misato. In case you haven't been paying attention, the whole base is watching this today. We either get our most successful pilot back or were permanently down one. With what happened prior to this, I'm under a lot of pressure. And it was just me…though Maya walked in when I was finishing up." A rosy blush adorned the normally stoic cheeks of the good doctor.

Picturing the events in her mind, a flustered and embarrassed Maya finding her beloved Sempai in knuckle deep, Misato fought hard not to laugh. Ritsuko was a woman, a human with needs and while Misato wallowed in cheap swill and anger, Ritsuko had to work to fix things. Unfortunately for the good doctor, Misato couldn't keep her face straight and buckled over laughing uncontrollably, "That had to be a sight to see. Oh sorry Ritsu…but I need that laugh."

"That's right, laugh it up!" Ritsuko shouted angrily masking her embarrassment. Stalking towards the opening door, Ritsuko's face scrunched up cutely in anger and shame, "Just don't let it become common knowledge alright? Not my proudest moment." Giving Misato a look, a softening of the contours of her face, Ritsuko held something akin to fondness for a moment before stomping off ahead of the still chuckling major.

Dabbing a tear that had fallen from her eye during the unexpected giggle fit she had, Misato's belly felt light and warm. It did her mind a great service to hear of Ritsuko acting like a normal human, and not the mad-scientist lesbian the rampant rumor mill of Nerv made her out to be. "Going to have to ask her to visit more often, we've…drifted," that was the best word Misato could think of for that friendship. Ritsuko drifted away from her and everybody as time and necessity forced itself upon them all. Misato fell into complacency with home being teasing and being treated like a queen by Shinji, and work was a ball of stress.

Following at a respectful distance from her 'satisfied' friend, Misato actually took the bottle blonds words to heart and watched her fellow employees. Everybody was doing a bad job of masking their worries and fears, and not just of her. "Guess I have been riding everybody a little harder this month," she gapped. Funny how one person she had taken in as a way of getting a promotion actually became important to her. Casting her gaze up at the bridge, the commander and vice-commander were watching, she felt the urge to hit the man hard. "Come back to us, to me, Shinji-kun, it'll be better this time I promise," she meant it.

"About time you got here, thought you'd gotten lost or passed out in a drunken haze," Asuka snidely quipped from the gathering of non-mission critical personnel. Makoto and Shigeru were mulling about behind Asuka while Rei was sitting at her side as emotionless as ever. Tossing her hair over her shoulder, the sundress clad German tapped her foot impatiently. "Can't we get this thing started so we can get home? That Baka has a lot of work to do back at the apartment to clean up after her royal highness," Asuka glared at the spiller of Yebisu.

Before Misato could counter with 'well you could actually DO something', Rei stood up passively and stood between the flatmates. "It is your intent to force Ikari-kun into domestic chores on the same day he has recovered from a prolonged potentially fatal incident?" Rei's voice didn't rise above library levels, but damned if everybody hearing it didn't get a chill.

As the hushed mutterings of the onlookers started to rise, several bets of '500 on red' or 'I bet blue smacks her' were heard, Ritsuko cleared her voice and clapped her hands together. "Alright children, and that DOES include you Misato," the glare the woman shot out silenced any reproach Misato might have had, "We're about to begin here. So be quiet or get out, we'll need concentration to react to anything that we haven't accounted for." With a nod to Maya, one last menacing glare at all the assembled, Ritsuko turned to the task before her.

Unconsciously, Misato made her way over to Asuka and put a hand on the girl's shoulder. Rei sat down after her question went unanswered, but somehow Misato doubted anything she did would effect the albino. Whatever Rei was thinking or feeling, the girl kept her cards so close to her chest they were practically tattoos. Licking her lips, Misato watched with a maddening sense of uselessness, "You will not be working him like your butler anymore Asuka. And at least give him a day of rest before talking about the apartment."

Shrugging off the attempt at bonding, Asuka took a defiant step forward. Eyes locked on the suspended entry-plug she offered her rebuttal, "Like you didn't want him to get started on Mount Katsuragi aka your pile of dirty laundry?" Another few steps forward, hers hands on the dividing rail separating Ritsuko's work area and the make-shift viewing area, "As for you Wonder girl, what do you care anyway?"

Rei's response wasn't heard, Misato wasn't paying attention to the bickering First and Second Child. Rei could have sworn her undying love, hatred, or that she had won Shinji's life in a poker game, Misato wouldn't have heard. "Come back home," she whispered as the salvage operation continued. It wasn't just for the creature comforts, the clean clothing, or any of that…she cared about the damn kid alright! He was her little brother, she was to smoking hot she reasoned to be his mother, so cool and sassy elder sister suited her better. From the corner of her eye, she saw Kaji come up to her side, blindly reaching out with her hand, she took his as an anchor.

It was Maya that started the panic that day as she dropped her clipboard to the ground, "Something is wrong! We're getting feedback in the bio-rhythm! The signal is getting lost in the LCL!"

Ritsuko rushed to the main console, grim determination on her face as her fingers danced across the keyboard. "Ego-border is being lost," she turned to Misato eyes wide with panic, "The plug is refusing the request to abort opening. We've failed." Those apologetic eyes, body crumbled in frustration, Ritsuko had nothing left to give.

The entry-plug to Unit-01 opened and a flood of month long suspended LCL and one plugsuit spilled out onto the gantry. Nobody spoke, to dumb with horror and regret to even move, save one person. Breaking out of whatever comforting embrace Kaji was about to try on her, Misato vaulted over the restraining bar and rushed to the only thing visibly Shinji's she could. Cradling the dripping and foul smelling suit to her chest, she hugged the rubber as if it was his body. "Give him back you monster! He deserves better than this!" she cried out angrily.

Almost in retaliation to the still echoing words, a wet splash was heard just to Misato's side. But it wasn't the body of a young boy, no this was a woman…a woman in her thirties given the size of the nubile and totally exposed body. Laying on her back, the light brown haired woman's sizable chest rose steadily with each breath she took in…and she was cold by the looks of two something's pointing skyward.

Crawling on her hands and knees to the slumbering body, Misato took the woman's arm and checked the wrist for a pulse. "S-she's alive…who-who is she?" Misato asked dumbly to everybody watching the event. This wasn't what she wanted, this wasn't Shinji, this was…well she didn't know rightly who she was. But hovering over the woman's face, a very attractive face, Misato saw something familiar, "Shinji…no Ayanami?" She defiantly looked like an aged and more colorful version of Rei, but Misato couldn't dismiss the similarities between this woman and Shinji either.

As Misato couldn't resist herself and opened the woman's eyes, finding them not to be red, Gendo Ikari startled the already overwhelmed mass of humanity. Leaping down from the higher up platform, twisting his ankle in the process (not that he registered it) Gendo leapt the dividing rail and pushed Misato with such force the woman fell into the vat of LCL. "Yui! Yui!" he called out with a few tears in his eyes. Cradling the woman in his arms, he turned to Ritsuko and ordered, "get my wife a room in the infirmary quickly."

Coughing up the insufferable fluid that was LCL, Misato vowed never to say a word to Shinji about the substance again. It was horrid, and the idea of breathing it in for any period of time made her want to vomit…but that would only exacerbate things as she swam in it. Swimming back to the ledge, Gendo hoisting the mystery woman in his arms and walking out of the area, she could have sworn she saw a heartbroken expression on Ritsuko's face, but why would Gendo and some other woman…and the rocks hit together and the fire of inspiration in Misato's mind caught ablaze.

"Rei, you come too," Gendo called from the door, and his ever loyal First Child was quickly at his heels. The room was looking for answers, but none were to be had at that moment, Kaji broke them up and went to Misato. The woman just shrugged the Lothario off and headed to Ritsuko who indeed had red puffy eyes, Maya tried to console her but it was doing little good. A lot of things weren't looking good.

X-X

Sitting at the bedside of the woman the commander had labeled Yui, Rei studied the woman's face with rapt attention to detail. It wasn't that the name Yui was lost on Rei, no she had heard the commander oft say the name, but it was the first time Rei had ever seen a likeness of the woman. Intrinsically Rei hated the woman lying unconscious before her. A full day past the semi-failed salvage operation and the woman that stole Ikari-kun, Shinji's life had yet to wake up. Slothful nature aside, Rei wanted answers and a soft squishy thing to hit if the answers were not to her liking.

"Where is Soryu when her presence would not be an annoyance," Rei murmured as she rebelled against the notion of sleep herself. Even the commander was sleeping now, on a cot next to this woman, but Rei refused to sleep until words were spoken. Again, it wasn't as if the whole command staff hadn't appeared in the small room at least once over the span of the day, but they didn't say anything of importance. Picking up the woman's hand, Rei held it to her own chest, "Feels different."

Misato had come asking more details about the woman's identity, Rei already knew the body was Yui Ikari's as the commander had told her. Ibuki came seeking to know if the woman was in a healthy condition, Rei noticed Maya was staring very intently at the sleeping woman's face and had roused capillary response. Not knowing Maya was a lesbian or bi-sexual that had been news, but not important news. Makoto, Shigeru, and Kaji had come with flowers for the woman, they too had signs of physical attraction, but Rei did admit that non-Shinji males were very keen on as Misato put it 'sticking it to anything on two legs'.

Dropping the arm back down, a slight frown at the larger hand not feeling as nice as Shinji's, Rei did remember the last visit and that one did have a little important information. "So he has renounced his illicit relationship with Akagi," Rei hovered over Gendo's sleeping form. Ritsuko had come, sheepishly creeping through the door before Gendo laid down for a nap, to see how 'he' was, not the comatose Ikari. Gendo had not been kind, but he had been straight forward with his, 'it's over, leave.'

Primly leaning forward and off her chair, Rei poised herself over the older woman's face. An odd sensation of looking into a mirror but not struck her. Almost soundlessly she asked, "She looks similar to me, but with variance in the eye, hair, and skin coloration. What is her relation to me?" Much like Misato, the only person that could 'claim' to know more about Shinji than herself, Rei saw signs of Shinji in this woman's facial structure. "An early attempt at what eventually created me?" Rei did know her origin wasn't strictly normal, but how variant was left unknown.

Grunting as he sat up, Gendo rubbed a knot out of his neck with his non-gloved hand. "She's technically your mother Rei. Blood work from her was used as part of the process that created you. She is more your mother than anything else," he said as warmly as he could. Spinning his legs off the cot, Gendo joined Rei in standing over the sleeping body. "Why she chose now to come back, abandoned her plan, she'll have to tell us when she wakes. But from now on, as I am not truly your father, she will be your guardian and parent," he sagely patted the young woman's shoulder.

Rei knew the documentation well, Ritsuko had brought it with her during the rather curt visit. She had read it while other slept, the blood work and DNA check had confirmed Yui Ikari was laying before them. To know that this woman was her mother though, if only partially, left Rei was beside herself with confliction. "If this woman, Yui Ikari, is the closest thing I have to a parent, that would make Ikari-kun my sibling as well. Current society thinks poorly on incest," Rei didn't know what that meant if anything.

For a moment Gendo just stared at Rei, his glasses sliding off his face and eventually falling onto the woman's stomach. "Rei, were you and the Third involved in such a relationship?" the man's voice was a careful mix of concern, disgust, and oddly pride.

Not noticing or caring about the commander's sudden ashen white complexion, Rei shrugged, "We had not reached that stage of relationship, no. He is, was a friend however." As she had not been ordered not to be 'friends' with Shinji, Rei felt no qualms about telling the commander about it. He had often asked her Shinji's status during their monthly meals together. During those conversations the commander did have a fixation on the romantic potentials of his son, though. "Was it your intention that I should have been sir?" she asked with a slight tilting of her head. She hadn't considered it at the time, maybe the commander had asked such questions hoping she'd take initiative.

"What? NO!" Gendo yelped in an unexpected show of raw emotion, "I mean…it wasn't part of the scenario so it didn't matter." Grabbing his glasses, his hand strayed north on the woman's body eliciting a moan from the sleeping form, and a ruffling of sheets as consciousness seemed to be returning to her. Grasping the woman's hand, Rei's statements sagely cordoned off in a black box of ideas in his mind, "Yui-chan, wake up, come back to me."

Rei watched as Gendo leaned closer to the fluttering eyes of the waking woman. They were bluish, Shinji's eye color, she noticed as the woman sat up and looked at both of them. "Are you in any pain?" Rei asked as the commander seemed to shell shocked to speak. Moving in closer, Rei could have sworn she saw that particular mannerism before, the eye twitch and subtle pull back motion, "A nurse could be called."

"Ayanami-san, f-father…what happened to me?" the woman's voice asked caught off guard by the odd change in reality. "Last thing I remember was trying to pull that angel's face off and the power in Unit-01 going out," she said softly. Holding up the hand that encased hers gushed, "T-thanks for v-visiting father."

Pulling back further from the woman, Rei was a lot faster on the uptake than the commander was at the moment, "Ikari Shinji-kun, you were absorbed into Unit-01 during your efforts that successfully destroyed the previous angel." What was that odd whining sound she was hearing, it was causing her to have a headache. Pressing on despite the odd grinding sound continued, "The after effects of your victory however were your absorption into Unit-01. After thirty days, Akagi-san was able to bring you back, but it seems there were complications mother."

Yelping a little, and freeing her hand from Gendo's, Shinji groped her new chest by accident, "Mother? What are you talking about Ayanami-san? F-father why are you making that sound?" Shinji turned to her father with a hint of fear as the man sounded like a boiling tea kettle. "I-is anybody else here?" she asked turning back to Rei, her face adorned with a rosy flush.

Tearing into his hear with both hands, Gendo got to his feet and finally exploded in a mighty bellow. "THIS WAS NOT IN THE SCENARIO!" he screamed as a torrent of fresh tears cascaded down his face. Leaping over the bed, the unhinged man went running down the hall emitting a very loud and languished screech.

Shrugging again at the commander's behavior, Rei had walked in on him with Ritsuko from time to time so she was used to his eccentricities, she sat on Shinji's bedside. Grabbing a reflective surface from one of the vases of flowers, Rei handed it to Shinji. "It is past midnight and only the commander's approval allowed himself and me to be here. As for the mother comment, the command informed me that the body you are in, is that of my mother. So you are my mother, Ikari-kun," a sense of warmth washed over her.

It was strange, she had never felt this way before, close had been when the commander came to talk to her. But he himself had said not five minutes ago that he wasn't her father, but he had said Shinji was his mother. The event of the mind in the body wasn't lost on Rei, the commander had thought Yui Ikari was steering not Shinji, but it wasn't the mind that mattered. The body produced the baby, not the mind. She had Shinji back and had a mother…wrapping her arms around Shinji trying it out…Rei was compelled to hug the woman.

"This is," Rei didn't know what is was but she knew one thing, "This is nice." She felt Shinji's arm instinctively wrap around her. Seeking her own peace of mind or not, Shinji was giving her a one armed hug that gave Rei something she never knew before. Parental love and affection, she hugged harder, "Is it agreeable to you, mother?"

The 'mirror' in her hand shuffled about as Shinji's hand shook back and forth with a maddening sense about it. "This is a dream, no a nightmare," Shinji's richer and more mature voice reverberated in the hospital room. "Father being at my bedside, Ayanami hugging me," she pulled the young albino in closer for whatever reason she had. "Those visions in the entry plug, it's all a big dream. Going to lay back down, close my eyes, and when I open them everything will be back to normal," she did just as she said.

Rei however felt that full day of fatigue finally taking its toll on her. Climbing up on Shinji's bed, kicking her shoes off, Rei huddled against the woman she was told was her mother's body. Yes Rei wasn't stupid, Shinji herself hadn't been her mother, but that didn't matter, not now anyway. The body felt familiar, warm, and inviting, just as Shinji personally made her feel. Murmuring softly against the freshly woken Shinji, Rei found peace and contentment laying next to her. Yes, all was right with the world.

X-X

When wakefully graced Shinji's mind for the second time post regaining a body, she did what anybody in her position would have. Said position was learning the horrid nightmare one thought was over was actually reality, and no amount of unconsciousness would save them from it. She screamed bloody murder for a good twenty seconds. Rei had been kind enough to wake up, summon the nurses, and hold her hand as they pumped her full of wonderful sedatives. The pretty sounds and the delightful colors she smelled while her mind fogged over.

Eventually however, Shinji could feel her body again and was reminded of the changes in height, weight, and other physical changes. While the urge to go for the second verse of 'OMGWTFBBQ', Shinji just sat there, Rei patiently at her side napping. "Guess you've been having a hard time of things too," she mused as she patted Rei's hand on her bed. Whatever Rei had been up to, Shinji hoped she'd eventually tell him. They were friends, even if they only saw each other at work and school.

A light rap on the door, and a fugitive entrance found the ever abused Ritsuko Akagi sneaking in. "Oh so you are awake. I heard from the orderlies you had an issue when you woke up. Nobody can make sense of the Commander's ramblings. So maybe you can answer some questions for me…Yui," Ritsuko used the name as one would handle plutonium without protective gear. Taking the seat Rei had used, the albino returned to sleeping at her 'mothers' side, "A lot has happened since you've last been around."

Having wanting the first person besides Rei he spoke with to be Misato, Shinji did her best to not let the depression show. "Akagi-san, it's me Shinji," she said lamely. She had to admit at confusion as to why they thought her mother would have come out of Unit-01, but then again she didn't remember how she lost her mother. Nodding sadly as Ritsuko's jaw continued to open in a perfect circle, "Yeah, I don't know what to make of it either. But I can assure you, I'm me. What little good me saying that has."

Pressing the back of her hand to Shinji's forehead Ritsuko blinked rapidly as she sucked in gales of air. Almost in reverence she bleated out, "No fever, it confirms some of the odd mental patterns I saw this morning. Shinji-kun, w-welcome back." Leaving her hand on Shinji's head, Ritsuko spun it over and cupped Shinji's cheek. "Misato is going to have a fit when she hears this, you'll be teased forever. But its…I don't have words," the woman's eyes danced with some hidden inclination.

Not quite enjoying being sized up like a piece of meat, Shinji gently disengaged Ritsuko's hand from her face. "Y-you're telling me Akagi-san. But you can f-fix this right? This is only temporary?" Shinji had no desire to live the rest of her life as a woman. A woman her father lovingly called by her mother's name…oh god she was in her mother's body. The giggle fits were coming back again, all his life he longed to see her mother one last time, now all she needed to do was look in a mirror. Irony huzzah!

Moving away from the sudden glazed look on the not-so-young pilot's face, Ritsuko nodded as she moved away from hand distance. Sliding the vases of flowers away too, always best to minimize potential missiles, Ritsuko was off in a flash to the door. "I'll call Misato and let her know…about everything. As for fixing you back up," Ritsuko stalled and eventually the engine died. "I'll try?" she tried lamely before rushing out of the room.

Did Shinji blame Ritsuko for running? No, given the chance she'd have joined Ritsuko in a happy jaunt down the halls of insanity arm in arm. Had she not been secured to the bed after her temporary bought of screaming, Shinji would have been already moving. Rei at her side though might have made that hard. "Why is this happening to me, what do I do now?" she mused at life's inherent hatred for her. Going from a small freshly awakened teenager to a full bodied thirty year old woman, change wasn't a close enough word for it. Grabbing the mirror again, hidden under her pillow, Shinji examined her face again.

"I'm…beautiful?" she gasped at the narcissism that came unexpected and actually warranted. While she had been somebody that could discern an attractive woman and one that was drop dead gorgeous, Shinji would have to put himself in the latter category. High cheekbones, unkempt but silky soft light brown hair, her eye color suited a woman far better than a man, and as she threatened to look down at the rest of her well things got interesting. She was stacked! Nearly if not equal to Misato in size, part of her ventured she might be just a hair bigger, Shinji realized she had a body that didn't go well with the whole scientist vibe he always suspected her mother to have.

And that was how Misato, Asuka, and Ritsuko found her, staring down at her chest, and Rei's hand on her stomach. It had taken Misato a whole five seconds to get over the shock, standing with her hand on the door. "Did we interrupt something Shin-chan? I thought you might have had a thing for Ayanami, but to think you'd break her so soon after coming back," she teased. When Shinji blushed at her, Misato's hand fell from the door, "Oh my god it really IS you!"

Leave it to Misato to test the authenticity of gender/age alternation by teasing, Shinji wouldn't have had it any other way. After she recovered from the implications, Shinji tried to reach out to hug Misato, but those darn 'just so you don't chew through your wrists' guards kept her hands stationary. "Y-yeah it's me Misato-san, hello Asuka," Shinji ventured to the completely immobile Second Child. Was Asuka going to mock her? Ha-ha what a silly question, when had Asuka not mocked her for things not her fault? It was more a matter of how cruel Asuka was going to be.

Now Misato wasn't known for standard acts of great thought, or being well versed in superb social graces, but she had a big heart. So while her beloved 'son' was constricted to the bed, Misato hugged the ever loving life out of her. Snapping Shinji out of the shackles, Misato lifted the woman off the bed in a show of might that some thought impossible. "You had me so worried, Shinji-kun, don't you ever scare me like that again," she rocked back and forth as Shinji was given the option of hugging back. "As for the…rest we'll find someway of dealing with it," pulling back a ways Misato actually smirked, "No fair being prettier than me."

Coughing discreetly into her hand, Ritsuko sure looked a smidge jealous of the amorous hug. Once the pair turned, Asuka was still to stunned to move and Rei unconscious, "I'll go get a wheelchair for her. I'm doubting you know how to walk like a woman of your new…build. We've nothing else to do here, all the tests checked out fine. As for um, everything, I'll get working on checking into this. Misato as her guardian, not that she needs one, you can check her out." Ritsuko lightly tapped Asuka on the back of the head, "You going to do or say anything?"

Asuka's head just shook from side to side, "This is all too weird for me. Not natural, hell this shouldn't be possible!" Asuka moved out of Ritsuko's way so the scientist could go about her business. Advancing on Shinji's side, the one with Rei sleeping contently, "You're gone for a month and when you come back you're…you're a woman Misato's age? How does that even work, pervert, did you just chose you wanted to look like some normal version of her?" Asuka went to grab at Shinji's face but her hand was caught.

Holding Asuka's wrist at a painful angle, Rei's face betrayed the normal emotionless mask, Rei's eyebrows were knit close. Girl was mad on a scale nobody had seen before. "What are your intentions for Shinji-kun," the possessive nature of the name was not lost on anybody. Sitting up, still holding Asuka, Rei flung the arm back at the offender, "She is recovering and in a state of mental turmoil. As such should not be subjected to emotional or physical stress." Eyes laser-guided in on Misato, Rei gently placed her hand against Shinji, "I recommend pilot Ikari be removed from her presence. My apartment can accommodate us both if you allow it Major."

Now Shinji had seen a mental bomb about to go off on more than one occasion, and this was an N2 mine ready to boom. As softly as she could, still marveling at her larger hands, the world was just smaller now, Shinji put her hands on Rei's shoulders. "Now I'm sure I could be content in your place. It is on the messy side isn't it? I don't even like the idea of you living there. So how about…" Shinji realized the mistake before he finished. She had given Rei an option, Misato saw it too and smacked her forhead.

"Then I request I be allowed to move in with major Katsuragi until a location for the two of us can be found," Rei kept her eyes on Misato and didn't flinch at all.

Rubbing her sore wrist, Asuka was trembling with seething anger and hostility. Needing to vent it, but the guardian positions Misato and Rei were standing in prevented her from access to the nearest venue, Asuka stormed off in a haze of German insults and loud grumbling. Outside the room the sounds of a trash bin nearby letting out its death cries was soon heard. A content Asuka came back with flecks of plastic on her, "She sleeps on the couch," was all Asuka said before leaving the room again.

"Well that could have gone a lot worse than I was expecting," Misato quipped as she slid off the medical bed. Giving Shinji's new body a good once over, she hummed as the ol' Katsuragi 2000 mental computer calculated and processed the information. The ding was metaphorical but she did raise her finger triumphantly when the answer was reached, "You're about my build so you can wear my clothing until we get you some of your own. Let's just hope you don't steal some poor man's heart while we wait to get you back to normal."

Whining in her best voice, odd coming from her new body, "Misato-san! Don't talk about things like that. I'm…I am still a boy, well I'm not but I like girls!" Blushing horribly as both Misato and Rei turned to look at her with two dynamically opposed expressions. Misato was about to pop with joy and Rei in calculation, Shinji had to quickly think of a way to defuse that little tidbit of details, "I mean, we shouldn't think about me staying like this. I'm not going to be a girl for long. I'll be my old age and body soon. Akagi-san is a genius so she'll find a way to fix it." Oh lord did she hope so, too many odd implications existed if things persisted.

"Your condition is singular in human history, the odds that Akagi, intelligent or not," Rei slammed potentially intentionally. Blinking at the two odd looks she received Rei pressed on, "It is unlikely she will be able to quickly or even possibly resolve this issue. As such you might need to come to terms with this, mother. And if you persist in liking women, the term is a lesbian. Given the sordid rumors about major Katsuragi, and your now agreeable ages, it is possible she could teach you. Correct?"

Ritsuko found both Shinji and Misato just staring open mouthed at Rei. When pressed for details, Misato just said a single word 'don't' and nothing else. Shinji crawled into the wheelchair content not to think of anything Rei had intoned. So much was wrong but right about what she had said. Her current body sure looked Misato's age, and she did still like women, but…no…just no.

X-X

When he had first seen the body appear, Kozo didn't know what to do. His heart leapt in his chest, a scary thing for a man of his age, but when the heart attack didn't follow his mind wondered. Had Yui chose to come back rather than send her son? It didn't seem possible, not after seeing how that woman doted upon her cherished happy boy. Knowing the mother as he had, damn Gendo for stealing her a week before he made his move, Fuyutski could easily see why and how Unit-01 went berserk. But he had recognized that face instantly, it hadn't aged a day in the some-ten years of quasi-existance.

Oh Yui, a genius and a hottie in one deliciously over protective package. She had been the queen of the campus, Kozo recalled. He had to put a campus security outside his classes to keep those not actually in the lecture from getting in to hit on her. Then Gendo…then Gendo. It wasn't as if Yui was going to be in college long, Kozo recalled. Both of them had been recruited into Project-E, Gendo tagged along. Gendo got married to his Yui-chan, and then came Shinji. Man that boy looked a lot like his mother, warmed Kozo's old and bitter heart. Rei, well Rei was abstract torture in human form, not for him but for Gendo. So Kozo loved that girl just as much as he cared for Shinji.

"But Yui also was over protective and crazed when it came to her son," Fuyutski muttered in the shadows. Watching as the members of SEELE spoke to Gendo about the recovery attempt and what it meant for the future, Kozo found his mind reeling at the events of the day. Thumb to chin, he stroked his cheek with his index finger trying to piece together Yui's plan. Frustrated, "She never did anything without a reason. So what reason could she have for putting her son into her body?"

Kehl's voice blotted out Kozo's internal debate with a very focused, "You are to avoid using Unit-01 at all costs. It was not expected to incorporate an S2 engine into self. The risk is too great for now."

"That is not acceptable. With the current condition of the Third Child, extensive use of Unit-01 is mandatory!" Gendo countered with cold fury. Gone, or at least hidden, was the manic Gendo of earlier in the day. Nobody would have believed Gendo had been found by Kozo hunched over his desk with a half drunk bottle of whisky and the pungent smell of dank in the air.

Smiling at the comical memory of the 'ever stoic' Gendo Ikari a total mess had alerted Kozo that things weren't peaches and cream with the wife. After a good hour of talking, and a brief call to the tasty specimen of femininity that was Katsuragi confirmed the new wrench in things. Still, it would be nice to go and personally see to Shinji's safety. It was the duty of the Vice Commander to do what the Commander couldn't. Since Gendo made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with Shinji that meant the burden fell to Kozo.

One of the Seele black boxes, which one Kozo didn't care, boomed, "It cannot be allowed. What if the event that caused the absorption of the Third Child occurred again? The Scrolls stated that the pilot of Unit-01 is essential for the Human Instrumentality Project! We cannot risk losing hi, her, at this juncture."

Watching as Gendo barely contained his rage, Kozo could scarcely hold back his overwhelming urge to point and laugh. While it wasn't hatred he felt for Yui's husband, it was jealousy. Thinking over all the implications of what Yui had just done, Kozo was getting a strong idea as to why and was loving it. "Think this is her way of telling him something important," he mused.

The meeting between old men trying to best rule humanity from the shadow, much like any other corporation meeting of executives, continued as it always did. There was bickering, power mongering, thinly veiling jibs about masculinity, and in the end only Gendo and Kehl said anything that mattered. Though rather than blindly agreeing to the council of rich old people wanting immortality, Gendo openly stated opposition to them. The compromise of allowing some light testing with Unit-01 was reached if Nerv agreed to sending a detailed report about the changes in the pilot. Kozo was not happy about that.

The lights in Gendo's office flickered on as the session ended, signaling the commander's march to his desk and waiting glass of liquid courage. Falling heavily into his chair, an expensive cushioned leather one for more pricy than Kozo's, Gendo shot it back and slammed the glass down. "Those stupid old farts. They're not going to stop me now. I'm far to close to getting her back, or the closest thing to it," he poured himself another shot.

Taking the bottle out of Gendo's wobbling hand, Kozo examined the brand. It was a poor man's brew, best used for cleaning pipes and not for drinking. He had far better booze stashed in his office, but when in Rome. Pouring a shot down his ancient throat, the burn was expected of the lower quality, he gagged. After a small coughing fit, "They're more concerned about the project than what's become of your son. I'd say daughter, but that doesn't make sense does it?"

"The Third Child is not my daughter! She-he-it is just is keeping Yui's body around till we can get her mind back in it," Gendo slurred as he recaptured his buzz. Clumsily reaching out for the bottle, the beleaguered husband succeeded in knocking it over bottle and spilling some on the polished oak desk. Grumbling as Fuyutski fixed the upturned bottle and handed it to him, "Why she didn't come out already is beyond me. I bet it messed something up."

That's right, get nice and drunk and pass out, Kozo hoped. Keeping the fluid pouring down the bugger's throat would allow him to pay the Katsuragi apartment a quick visit. "You never know, maybe this was all part of Yui's plan. She always thought a few dozen steps ahead. All we need to do is think of a reason why she'd send Shinji back in her body," he was trying to grasp that himself still. Eying the almost empty bottle, "I think we should have Akagi do a more exhaustive study on Shinji. Since she had no idea what Yui looked like, it had to be Yui's working to get this event. Maybe there are more changes in that body than we expect."

Waving his hand widely, the shot glass flung out if it and smashed against the wall, Gendo slide across the desk. "Y-you're thinking maybe…maybe Yui wanted this to be a bonding experience between it and me? She was into some kinky stuff, but that's a bit much," the stench of cheap liquor on his breath was heavy. Hoisting his chin up on his palm, "You're getting soft in the head old man. Be odd to take my wife's body but child's mind to bed. Maybe YOU'D like that!" Gendo then started bellowing whooping laughter as he splayed his arms about wildly.

As disgusting and revolting an idea as Gendo just stated, it got Kozo's brain working over the one last blocking peg in his mind. "No…but maybe that IS why she did it," he postulated. "Maybe this is her way of trying to tell you to stop the madness you've been perpetrating!" it made sense now! Taking the nearly empty body, Kozo finished it to knock the last nagging sense of conscious out of his mind. Nodding to his internal logic, "She sent Shinji back in her body as a sign to you that SHE is not coming back. And even if she did, she'd be in the body of a fourteen year old boy. Gendo…I think this is a symbol of divorce." That got the old man giddy.

Holding the empty bottle upside down, swiping the last falling drop, Gendo chucked it in the garbage. "What kind of f'd up family would that make! My wife in my kid's body, my kid in my wife's? I mean it's not like I hate it, more like I'm fraid of the bugger. Don't…I don't know how to be a dad! She was supposed to take care of all that, we agreed to that! But no…I think your original idea was right! Y-Yui wanted us to make amends…guess I could get over it in time. Reports have her as very docile and polite…much like Yui…" then Gendo fell into a happy drunken slumber. A puddle of drool slowly formed under his bearded face.

Well that was disgusting yet fitting. Kozo just shook his head and hoped that when the king-rat woke up he remembered none of his drunken rambling. It had to be his actual idea, Fuyutski fathomed. Yui was sending the deadbeat father a message, she had witnessed the parenting atrocities and was leaving the only way she could. Being stuck in a quantum state suppressed within the essence of the Second Angel and confined in a large mech had left Yui only once choice. Give Shinji her body as a sign of 'moving on'.

"If only I was younger I'd ask Shinji out for supper, but I guess I am too old now for that," he sighed bitterly as he left Gendo's office. Aches, pains, and well little Kozo hadn't stood up in a long time were all signs enough that his dating days were over. But that didn't mean he couldn't still help make Yui's child happy. He had planned on being more a part of Shinji's life, and if he recalled Yui had planned on a gift once Shinji was eighteen. Well Shinji was twenty-nine now, he could give the new young woman said gift now. "Just glad Gendo didn't know about it," Kozo chuckled.

Gendo would have used the trust fund that was fueled by one of Yui's little side projects. It was a program that read stock futures and trends to accurately predict when to buy/sell with ninety-five percent accuracy. Shinji wouldn't have to work a day in her life if she didn't want to, meaning she'd get a career she wanted, not be a wage slave.

An hour later, Fuyutski was ringing the Katsuragi doorbell, the muffled sounds of a small festive meeting easily heard. A welcome home party was being thrown, well he'd give a gift too he surmised. Seeing her again though, seeing Yui's body well…Kozo felt warmth he hadn't in ages. It wasn't the same, Shinji was not Yui, it was like seeing his daughter all grown up. She would have been Shinji's new age had she lived…you snooze you lose Gendo.

X-X

Sitting at her desk at school, Asuka's mind was as if somebody took a dozen buckets of paint and splattered their contents against a white wall. Good, bad, horrible, funny, and just plain weird all warred for control of what to make of the situation. Glad for the emptiness of the early morning room, the girl sat pensively kicking her left leg with enough strength to make a small breeze. Aside from, actually stirring from, the Shinji situation, Asuka's mind turned to something she had only faintly believed till this point.

Before yesterday, she had dismissed the notion as her being weak or foolish. But the reality of it was coming clear, the optometrist lens checker. Better or worse? It was better now, her stupid notion was a lot clearer, what it meant however was worse. Shinji had emerged from Unit-01 in his mother's body. How could she done that, when according to their little talk last night she had no recollection of the woman. Well the obvious answer would have been that the original owner of the body had been in the plug in a state much like Shinji had been in.

"She did say her mother died, didn't remember how though," Asuka started chewing on her pencil. It was a stupid nervous habit she got whenever a problem presented itself that made no sense. Laughing, no giggling lightly, Asuka uttered, "And here I thought she'd be a pervert her first night in a woman's body." Her walking in on Shinji in the bathroom late last night, well after Misato passed out from far to much booze, had not been a show of Shinji's self-discovery.

The woman, it was so hard to NOT see Rei in that face, had looked so lost. Shinji had just been standing before the mirror clad in one of Misato's shirts, touching it trying to accept what she was seeing. Earlier in the day Asuka had wanted to mock or joke saying Shinji was going to just perv out now that 'she' had a female body to play with. Rei was however in over protection mode, shooting down any off-color comment or offensive joke instantly. But that moment of pure unabashed terror she saw in Shinji's face, well Asuka opted not to be 'that girl'.

They chatted there in the bathroom for over an hour. Topics ranged from what happened in the apartment for the month she was gone, to a few feminine issues Shinji was going to have to deal with. It reminded Asuka of something different, a friendship she hadn't counted on. While her feelings for Shinji a month ago were strained, was he acquaintance, foe, or man-servant. The sense she was getting from the 'new and improved' Shinji were definitely more friends. She was still going to give her hell whenever her 'daughter' wasn't hovering about ready to pounce like a deranged jungle cat.

"What happens when Akagi fixes things though?" Asuka mused as she continued to nibble on her pencil. Go back to the like or hate relationship, or maybe Asuka grew up a little bit. Well time would tell, but she did have a slightly improved opinion of her meek flat mate. Shrugging her shoulders, and spitting out the saliva and tooth marked pencil, "Guess time will tell."

Taking a seat in front of the unexpected German, Hikari waved openly, "You look good today, better than you have last few days. Any news to share?" The class representative had been told by her friend about the previous day's activities. "We going to have another body in class today?" the voice was just a little too peppy for somebody without vested interest.

Not wanting to spill the beans about little miss gender swap, Asuka did however desire to practice the time honed are of slander. "No, you're 'he's not my boyfriend' is still being squeamish about being Akagi's test subject. Why he doesn't want her to graft foreign possibly harmful body parts onto his damaged frame is beyond me," she shifted her cheek from her left to right hand. The time since Touji had lost an arm and leg due to Unit-03 hadn't been void of activity, thanks to Shinji. So the good doctor hadn't had a chance to really perfect the limb replacement surgery, but Asuka thought it was an improvement.

Unpacking her satchel more to mask her regret, Hikari made a noncommittal sound as she worked. After a good two minutes of paper pushing and book rustling, "He needs to. He's so upset about his arm and leg, says he's not a whole person anymore. I think he's afraid though. If it doesn't work he'll be like that for life, or his sister will be alone." When the normally calm Hokari resumed the face-to-face time, the look of grim determination was set on her face. Touji would do what this girl wanted, or she'd make him regret it. "Now why don't you answer the question I really asked you and stop teasing me?"

"Yo Red any news on Shinji?" Kensuke raised his hand up as he sat across from Hikari's chair. Since the accident with Unit-03 the otaku had slowly yet steadily getting closer and closer to the two females, Asuka noticed with equally rising distaste. "Ayanami isn't here either, something up with her?" he gestured to the empty seat that oft was occupied by the stationary rump.

Not even trying to hide her disgust with the geek, Asuka rolled her eyes and hissed at the boy. Using his friends absence to hit on everything on two legs, very good friend indeed. Well if Hikari fell for it, it was her own fault. "I was about to tell Hikari the news, but I had wanted it to be private. I tell you and the whole school will know thanks to your little message board," she pointed at the laptop already booted on Kensuke's lap. Cracking her knuckles, "I won't have to hurt you will I?"

Matching Rei's complexion very well, Kensuke swallowed audibly as he shut off his laptop and stowed it in his bag. "S-sorry about that, just thought the whole school would like to know the status of one of its three heroes," he tried his best to butter up the info provider. Hikari joined Asuka in rolling her eyes at him, no points were garnered that day.

"Then they can wait a little while longer," Asuka thumbed her nose at the weasel. But what to actually tell them, what would they believe. None of it, honestly, it was more of a 'have to see to believe'. So that's what she'd do. "How about you two come over after school, Shinji is back at the apartment with Ayanami too. Wonder girl will be staying at our place for a little while, hers is being upgraded," was the best she could think of.

They'd have to see Rei's new attachment first hand, Shinji's current body (hopefully she could walk unaided by the time they got there), and all the new oddities that came with it. Asuka was still more involved with the theory she had. If Shinji's mother was in Unit-01, was it possible somebody was in Unit-02?

X-X

Authors notes

Yeah this is going to be a little weird if you hadn't guessed…but when have my comedy stories been normal? I'll again give credit to a reviewer of mine awhile back that sent me the basic idea for this and I like it enough to actually write it. Hope its not to 'strange' for you.

Ja Mata

Zentrodie