Disclaimer: Not mine. Not yet.
I'm going to say right now, this is going to be a Shinji/Asuka fic written from Asuka's POV. I like this coupling very much because the chemistry is so obvious it smacking you upside the head.
While I'm new to the Evangelion fandom, I am not new to writing. I've dabbled in Rurouni Kenshin and a tiny bit of YST before this. But that doesn't mean I'm perfect. Please give me constructive criticism. The Evangelion section of ff.net is reputed to have very honest critics, and I want to put that to the test. I'm tired of inane reviews that say in previous fandoms that say "Writ mre ongai!!!!!!" Am I the only one who thinks these are pointless?
Special thanks to Blue Taboo for pre reading my chapters. I'm a stubborn writer when it comes to listening to my prereader, but she put up with my shyte =) "Evangelion phangrrls unite!"
*bows* Without further ado...
"Actually, this was Kaji's idea."
"Kaji's?" Captain Katsuragi Misato eyed the disk warily. One part of her said that the man was not to be trusted, but the other part was worrying about her job. Misato hated to admit it, but for once, she had no plan.
Besides... maybe it would humor her. Maybe serve as a healthy distraction from the load of rubbish on the desktop.
Misato traced the outline of the stamped heart nostalgically before shoving it into the disk drive. Long silences with only the clicking of the keyboard did bad things to buried emotions. "Now, let's see what we have here."
The cursor flashed on the screen of the Microsoft WordPerfect document. Misato smiled, Kaji was always the type to go with ancient programs like this. Even the disk itself was outdated. Odd, considering he was always with the current computer trend in college.
"To my dearest honey," she read. "Here is the brilliant idea that you need." Misato snorted. "Always the smooth talker." She kept reading.
I know that you have a little faith in me if you got this disk. At least give me that much credit.
She briefly contemplated closing the program, but decided against it. Despite exterior shows, Kaji was actually a very capable man. At least a possible bad idea was better than what she had, which was nothing. "Fine, I'll go along with this, but it better be good."
You and I both know that we have more than one problem on our hands with the arrival of the Second Child. Things have been complicated more with the seventh Angel's seeming indestructibility,
Misato quirked an eyebrow. That sounded like he was using a thesaurus. So unlike Kaji. "I guess we've both changed... right?" It amazed her how he could turn from flirtatious to business-like in half the time it took to blink an eye.
but I have a plan to take care of two things at the same time. As you know, Asuka is quite adamant about staying with me for the duration of her station here.
She nearly laughed at this one. Misato had quite a time trying to convince Asuka that Evangelion pilots can either live alone or live with an authorized NERV personnel. Asuka shot back that Kaji was just as authorized as any personnel. He was working in the Special Investigations Unit, and therefore made a suitable guardian. That had Misato at a loss of words. She was right.
I don't think Asuka will be very happy staying with me here, and I don't wish for her to be unhappy.
"Hah!" Misato really did laugh at her screen this time. "You just don't want her staying with you, and trying to make it look like she won't be happy. The only person you're concerned about here is yourself!" She grinned again before it slowly dropped from her face. "You're always quite the martyr. Always have been."
Now she was starting to wonder about Israfel, the seventh Angel. This didn't sound like an operation to save her job, it sounded like a rant of injustice against the world.
We can kill two birds with one stone. Or, we can kill two half Angels with one mind.
That caught her attention. Where was he getting at? And what in the world did this have to do with Asuka's place to stay?
I propose that...
Misato's eyes widened.
To My Dearest Honey
Just getting back from my first synch test in this strange country, I came to one conclusion. Japanese certainly were weird. Of course, I had the highest synch ratio, but I was steadily getting more and more worried. Whereas my points could only increase by a small percentage, Shinji's seemed to be growing rapidly. It was clear in the face of the blonde haired woman looking at the percentages. It would still be a while until he could catch up with me though, but I was still scared.
It's best not to think about such things now.
The blue haired pilot, they said Ayanami Rei was her name, had already showered and left. I glared disdainfully at the curtain that separated the men's from the women's locker rooms. I could see Shinji's outline on the other side, drying himself off. Those NERV provided towels had to have been washed with no fabric softener with all the abrasions on my skin...
"Shinji!" I yelled. "Are you still over there, idiot?" I could hear a wooden bench being dragged across the ground from the other side. Why, I didn't know. "Hey Shinji!"
A shadow came over the curtain. "Yes? What is it, Asuka?"
I smiled maliciously. I quickly learned that he was a perfect whetstone to sharpen my insults and snide remarks on. He was dull and didn't fight back. "You broke your highest synch ratio when you were with me. Does that prove anything?"
Shinji tried to come up with a response, but he just ended up stammering. "I... I d-don't know..."
"Are you stupid?" I sat down and put my socks on. The smugness never left my voice. "It's because you were with the best."
The shadow disappeared from the curtain, and I thought he left. I heard a meek, "Yeah, I guess so."
Ikari Shinji, the Third Child. Just what was the deal with that boy anyway? I'd never met someone so spineless before. From the moment I first laid eyes on him, he exuded a sickening humble attitude that disgusted me. One can't be humble to get anywhere in life.
Looks like he hadn't learned that yet. He has no life.
"I'm going home now, Asuka."
I snorted. Living with that woman wasn't exactly what I would call a home. From what Kaji tells me, the woman practically bathes in alcohol. I always thought it was a disgusting habit. The first time a college boy offered me a beer, I took a whiff of it and almost threw up. How can anyone get that liquid down their throat? Even in Germany, I didn't really like drinking. I had better things to do that get drunk off my ass. "Fine. Leave."
He only shoved his duffel bag onto his shoulder. "Do you want me to stay?"
"What? Are you waiting for me to come out naked?" Another wonderful opportunity. How I loved watching men succumb to my charm.
Shinji stammered again. "N-No! It's j-just that you sounded l-like—"
I sounded like what?
"I don't want you to stay and get a glimpse of my beautiful body! You... you pervert!" I screamed and threw my shoe at the curtain. Unfortunately, it didn't hit him; the shoe slid down the curtain and clattered to the ground on the other side. "That should teach you! Go home!"
There was silence on the other side. He probably already left. I sighed, he was lucky that he had a home to go to. Right now, I was indefinitely stationed right here in headquarters. Kaji said that he was making arrangements to find a guardian for me. I asked if he could be my guardian. "Just think of it!" I said. "A guardian to the great Sohryu Asuka Langley!"
He said he'd think about it.
I saw something move on the other side of the curtain. It stooped over and picked up my shoe. Once the familiar beaten tennis shoes came into view, I knew at once who it was. "Kaji!" Involuntarily, I shot to my feet and raced to the curtain. The one shoe I had on slapped against the ground, and I cursed myself for having all my clothes on.
"You're still in there?" He nearly fell backwards when I threw open the curtain and wrapped my arms around his arm. The shoe in his hand fell to the floor. "Asuka!"
I grinned at him. "Of course! I was waiting here for you!" I let go and peered at him expectantly. "Well? What did they say about the guardianship thing? I can't wait to start living with you."
Kaji scratched the back of his head, something he always did when he had to come up with an excuse quickly. My heart fell, they denied it. Why would they deny me the right to live with my Kaji? It's my choice to make, not theirs! I found myself getting angry before he even said anything, but I kept that smile on my face.
He always said the world would be better if pretty women always smiled.
"Ah... actually, Commander Ikari was swamped with work. He said that he'd get to it when he was done."
I narrowed my eyes. "This stupid thing involves the Commander?" I couldn't believe it. Couldn't he get one of his underlings to do this work for him? This was such a petty concern, one that someone under him can easily solve.
Kaji must have read my thoughts, because then he added, "It involves him because the security of one of the most important persons may be at jeopardy."
"The most important person." I corrected. "And the best damn Eva pilot."
He put a hand on my shoulder and smiled that megawatt grin. The one that made me sigh like a teenage schoolgirl. "Right. These decisions shouldn't be taken lightly, you know."
It made perfect sense. I nodded and went back to my things in the women's room. Kaji didn't follow me, but I was hoping he would. Once I stuffed an extra plugsuit into my duffel bag, I turned around and flashed him a victory sign. I was as good as in whenever Commander Ikari gave permission to proceed. "I'll be in your house soon before you know it! Me and all my things!"
Hey, a girl can't travel light. He gave me an uneasy smile. It was probably because he's seen my things before and knew that they took up a lot of room. "Yeah..."
That was the last thing he said before the rooms were drenched in red light.
I groaned. Wasn't I here ten minutes ago? The red light sent me tearing into my bag and putting on my plugsuit in record time. I beamed with pride when I realized that since I was the only pilot who had not gone home, maybe I would be the only one to tackle it. After all, Wonder Girl and Shinji were useless. I could defeat all the Angels by myself. They certainly must know that.
My first Angel in a foreign country! My debut battle in Japan .
Then my face fell and I glanced at the stationary Evangelion Unit flying beside my own.
"Why do I have to do this with him?!" I demanded from the cockpit of 02. "I can do it by myself!"
The blond haired woman came over the commlink. Her mouth pinched into a thin line. She looked very stern. This was the same woman who monitored my first synch test here and one of Misato's friends.
Friend? Misato sure had strange taste in friends. This woman looked like she was perpetually sucking on a lemon.
"Calm down Asuka. We're sending you to launch now. It can't be helped."
I voiced my opinion once again, hoping it would reach the ears of someone else. No one responded, so I gave up. Some people who know me might say that the great Sohryu Asuka Langley never gives up, but then again, no one knew me. Even I know when I'm outclassed.
I'm never outclassed.
Not two seconds later, when I had synchronized with my Eva, I found myself flying over a giant body of water. There was no use arguing with someone like that. While I could destroy their Geofront in two strokes, I knew better than disregarding superiors. My disdainful attitude didn't faze them one bit.
Misato appeared to brief us on this procedure for this Angel. "Therefore, we're going to intercept the target at the water's edge, just before it makes landfall..."
I was starting to love water more and more. My first epic battle was in the water, so I naturally felt right at home on it. Any place where I could destroy an angel would be home to me.
"... so 01 and 02 will mount a coordinated attack in a series of waves. In other words, close in and take turns."
I don't take turns with anyone! I'll do it myself. I remember giving her a halfhearted "Roger" before complaining again. It was to justify leaving Shinji behind in a couple of minutes. "This sucks. My debut battle and they won't even let me handle it alone."
"It's just S.O.P. procedures, you know."
I didn't expect a reply, so when I got one from Shinji, I was annoyed. The smile on his face was mocking me, saying that I can't handle it alone. I snapped back at him to stay out of my way. He looked appropriately scared and immediately shut the commlink. "His selection as pilot must have been a joke."
I mean, honestly. It's hard to believe that this boy could mercilessly kill Angels. The only time I had ever fought with him he was in my Unit. And... I did all the work on top of that too! How in the world can this guy be even standing in his Eva?
What an idiot.
I plummeted to the ground like a comet and landed hard on the ground. Dirt and debris formed a crater around my feet. Shinji landed beside me a split second later. I picked up a spear and waited for the ground crew to give me my external cable. "Two against one isn't what I call a fair fight. It's not even," I declared.
"Survival takes priority," was Misato's answer. Honor was one of the things NERV in Germany insisted on having. Apparantly, they didn't believe in that here. I found myself wishing to be in Germany again. At least there, they'd let me handle things on my own. At least they had faith in me.
Where was that other pilot? Ayanami Rei? I didn't even see her at the base for backup in case Shinji and I failed. Which of course, I wouldn't, but it was always good to have backup. Even if it was overkill.
She hadn't said one word to me, and before I could try to talk to her, she had already left. Come to think of it, she didn't even say a word when the blond haired woman told her the synch scores. Not even a little reaction. While I grinned proudly and Shinji drew circles on the ground with his foot, she just stood there. Like a statue.
Why do they only pick strange people to be Evangelion pilots? And why was I the only one who wasn't strange?
A roaring column of water that scraped the belly of the sky alerted me out of my thoughts. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the purple Evangelion flinch. So, Shinji was scared? I snorted and pushed the controls forward. Of course he was scared, he had no spine.
"Let me handle this Angel! You just cover my back!" S.O.P procedures be damned. I loved finding loopholes in procedure. Good job NERV, you got two pilots out here handling what is a one pilot job. So I'll handle the job and split half the credit. But everyone will always know that I did it and should get all the glory.
The idiot said that there's no way he'd be my back-up and I stated that ladies should go first. Then I shut off my commlink so he couldn't argue anymore. I hated people who tried to argue with me. He'll learn in time that it is pointless to banter with me. I'll always win.
I heard a strangled gasp from 01 as I hopped from building to building. The steel beams in those structures snapped like toothpicks under my massive feet. It was a pleasurable feeling, it helped me remember that I alone was in command.
With a fierce battle cry, I swung the lance over my head and cut the Angel in two. The two sides split open like that of an overripe melon. There was silence. No doubt they were staring at me in awe. I was pretty impressed myself. "What do you think about that, Third Child?" He didn't answer. I took in my victory and quoted, "A fight should be clean, elegant, and without waste."
He still didn't say anything. Didn't I say that I would handle it? Maybe now the command center wouldn't waste all their energy and expense.
Tell the other two pilots they can go home. We have Asuka, and she's all that matters.
I dreamed briefly of being the only Evangelion pilot when something stirred beside me. I watched in horror as the two split sides became two separate entities.
"Two angels?" Shinji exclaimed.
I took a couple steps back as Misato's voice echoed in the cockpit. "What the hell is this crap?!"
For once, I was speechless. Germany never told me that Angels can divide in two! I fumbled with my spear and dropped it into the sea from shock. "Shit!"
The two Angels moved as one. The gray one quickly advanced towards me while the red one went for 01. I pounded on the sea as if that would reveal the fallen spear, but it did nothing. I staggered back and tried to get a good footing on land.
"Shinji! Asuka! What are you doing?!"
Somehow, the Angel had snapped Shinji's gun in half and was mimicking the steady proceed of its twin. While I was watching 01, a building got caught in my feet. I fell over and landed on my back. My spine felt like it was on fire.
"Get out of there, now!"
I couldn't obey that order from Dogma. I got the feeling that I was being lifted in the air. I thrashed and kicked violently, but to no avail. The Angel was ready to snap me in two. I made one desperate plea for help. "Shinji! I need—"
I felt the support suddenly disappear from underneath me and I crashed down to land again. Underneath me was Unit 01. "Just what the hell are you doing?" I demanded.
The Evangelion didn't move. Oddly enough, neither could I. The last thing I remember before landing in a pile of rocks was a single synchronized kick from two Angels.
They were perfectly in unison.
After a disastrous review of our mission and subsequent scolding from the Subcommander, I was seething. That... that boy dared to argue with me! The Third Child left the room, but not before giving me a look that I couldn't read. It wasn't hate, but it wasn't disappointment either.
I don't know how long I stayed in that conference room, dressed in only my plugsuit with a towel draped over my shoulders. I felt like a failure. The first person to blame is always Dogma, but I feel that that shouldn't be the case. Maybe it was my sense of honor, but blame should always be on the pilot first.
"You are the best at what you do, and if you can't anticipate these things, maybe you should not pilot, Miss Langley."
I shook my head and tried to dispel these thoughts. Maybe it was best to keep blame on Dogma. After all, I was the best at what I did. What could I do if I was given false information by the Japanese? It was their fault, not mine.
Kaji left for a little while to God knows where, but I didn't feel like moving. It was odd when I didn't want to follow Kaji. Maybe I thought that my failure would reflect in his eyes. I could wait until this scarred over and then I could talk to him again.
This hurt so much. I failed.
Sure, I had let people down before, but not when it came to piloting my Evangelion. And this marked my first real failure. I felt like shit.
"Are you still in here moping?"
I couldn't even smile for him. "Yeah. Moping over what a stupid person the Third is."
Kaji sat down beside me. "Ouch. You shouldn't be so harsh on him."
Indignant, I crossed my arms. "It's his fault I couldn't do it. He was distracting me the whole time!" I saw the sly look that Kaji gave me. "Not like that!" I snapped. "I was afraid that if I did something, he'd get hurt. So I didn't go all out on that Angel."
The man scratched his chin. "It's all right, Asuka. No one expects you to be perfect on the first try."
I jumped to my feet and angrily pointed at myself. "I expect me to be perfect! How can you say such a thing, Kaji? And this isn't about me, it's about Shinji!"
"Shh... enough Asuka. No more talk of this. Pretty girls shouldn't fume." I quieted myself and sat down dejectedly. "I came back to tell you that they denied my request to have you live with me for the moment." I was back on my feet in an instant, but Kaji's hand was holding my arm. "You'll be living with Misato for the time being..."
And that's how it all started. After Misato dropped the announcement of our "synch training" on us, I think I just stood there dumbfounded. A hard day's work of hauling up my belongings (which Kaji did), and I was rewarded with this.
This was just the beginning, and I got a sinking feeling that I was far away from the end. Once I found out that the training couldn't be avoided, I braced myself for the longest four days of my life. I hated beer, but if it could make all this go away as it was purported to, I'd down three whole cans.
Author's notes: This chapter moved too slowly for my taste, but I need to put in the background before I go on. I don't believe the personality Asuka shows us is her true self, but maybe that's just me. *smiles* Hope to see you the next chapter, and do leave feedback while you're here.