Part 5
THE CHILD OF LOVE...
by Axel Terizaki <aterizak@club-internet.fr>

-=FIFTH MONTH=-

Retooled by Dave Watson (aj153@freenet.carleton.ca), 1999 2 20.
Corrected by EBJ (e.barone@flashnet.it), 1999
Re-retooled by The Author Himself Of This Buggy Fanfic. (I know... I
know...)
Re-corrected by EBJ
Re-re-corrected and re-tooled by The Author Himself Who's Gonna Go Insane.
Re-re-re-corrected by Dave Watson (who IS insane, not to mention nitpicky)
yet again, 1999 3 15 & 3 23.

Background:
It was Asuka's birthday last month.  Everything had gone as planned (by
Misato) and the party was a success.  Except for one boy.  Ikari Shinji
had not offered his present to Asuka that evening.  However, Asuka
discovered it by accident and now she's trying to understand the very
uneasy feeling she's having these days because of this present:  A ring.  
A beautiful ring enclosed in a little silk-lined box that Shinji had
dropped in his wastebasket.  Only this present made her feel like it was
her birthday.  Neither the sundress nor the perfume from her Kaji-san
made her feel special this evening.  Only this ring.

Why did Shinji buy her a ring?  Why did he keep it a secret, knowing that
Asuka would be furious if he didn't give her a present?  What was the
meaning behind the ring?  Was it the kind you would give to a girl as a
sign of true friendship?  Was the ring valuable and expensive?  Why is the
sky blue?

---

CAPTION: THE FIFTH MONTH
CAPTION 2: The Shield

---

Christmas and New Year's Eve had been very strange days for Shinji.  
Since Asuka's birthday, everything had became VERY complicated for him.
He tried to escape it by retreating to his bedroom after dinner every day
for the past month.  Shinji was trying to understand what was going on
with Asuka.  He even tried a few times to talk to her about it, but she
always pushed him away...

All in all, life wasn't that bad, just a little complicated.  But an evil
surprise awaited our friends...

---

Asuka's dream.  We are in an empty white space.

Asuka : "Not another one!...What do you want NOW!?"

Voice : "Are you happy with this situation?"

Asuka : "Of course I am!  Everything's okay!"

Voice : "Are you sure?"

Asuka : "..."

Voice : "Are you sure?"

Asuka : "Okay, you win.  I'm an absolute fool.  Shinji hates me and
Wondergirl will probably take him away from me.  Aside from those tiny
details, everything else is all right."

Voice : "Are you sure?"

Asuka : "I SAID EVERYTHING WAS OKAY!"

Voice : "Are you sure?"

Asuka : "I...I...I think..."

Voice : "Are you sure?"

Asuka : "No...I...I can't take this life anymore..."

Asuka : "I want to die!"

Asuka : "I WANT TO DIE!"

Asuka : "I WANT TO DIE!"

Voice : "You want to come with me to Heaven, Asuka-chan?"

Asuka : "Mama...I'm coming..."

Another voice similar to Asuka's : "NO!"

Voice : "Your father doesn't love us anymore.  Come with me..."

Asuka : "I'm...coming, mama..."

Asuka feels herself starting to fly, rising upwards in the empty space,
when suddenly...

Another voice similar to Asuka's : "NO!  YOU CAN'T DO THAT!  I NEED YOU!"

The white space shatters and now a black void replaces it.  Another
Asuka appears from nowhere, a small one, with intense dark blue eyes,
almost brown, or black.  Asuka couldn't tell which color they were, but
they were dark, like...like...Shinji's.

Asuka : "You're..."

Chibi-Asuka : "I'm nothing now, it seems."

Asuka : "So, why do you need me?"

Chibi-Asuka : "Because you were my first vision."

Asuka : "You can't be..."

Chibi-Asuka : "Yes.  I am."

Asuka : "Teri?!  I must be going crazy.  That's impossible."

Teri : "You understand now, why you cannot give up?"

Asuka : "Don't give up?  What are you talking about?  No little girl is
gonna tell me what to do!"

Teri : "I'm your daughter.  Don't I have any say in the matter?"

Asuka : "..."

Teri : "You tried to commit suicide."

Asuka : "You're here to try to stop me from dying, aren't you?"

Teri : "Yes.  Hopefully, with *his* help, I'll be able to bring you back.
I can't do it alone.  You should thank him."

Asuka : "What the..."

Teri : "You understand now, why both of us need you?"

Asuka : "Y-yes...I think."

Teri : "Good.  Don't ever do this again or I won't love you anymore!  Now
go, be free, and believe in yourself and in those around you...I love you,
okasan [mother]."

These last words echo in Asuka's mind a few seconds before she opens her
eyes, in the real world this time.

---

Asuka is in a room she knows very well.  A NERV hospital room.  She
turns her head left and right, searching for something...or someone.

Asuka (whispering to herself) : "Quite smart for a little girl...like her
mother, heh heh."

Misato is behind the window in the corridor.  She sees that the Second
Child has awakened, and decides to come in.  As she enters the room, she
doesn't say anything.

Asuka : "Misato..."

Misato approaches Asuka and suddenly slaps her in the face.

Misato, with a tearful voice : "Asuka, no baka!  You..."

Tears escape from her eyes.

Misato : "You're alive..."

She begins to cry.  Asuka sits up in her bed, looking at Misato, puzzled.

Asuka : "Hey!  Why did you smack me!?"

Misato : "We...were...so worried.  What were you thinking?  Why did you
take those sleeping pills in the bathroom!!?"

Asuka : "I...okay.  Sorry, Misato...I regret what I did."

Misato : "You should thank Shinji.  He's the one who found you.  If he
hadn't been home......"

Asuka : "..."

Misato : "Instead of always picking on him, you should be grateful to him!
You owe him your life now.  No, you owe him two lives.  He was in tears
when he phoned me!  You worried him so much!  DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT!?"

Misato is obviously furious, but that doesn't scare Asuka at all.

Asuka : "And him?  How many times has he owed me for saving him in miss..."

She's interrupted by another slap from Misato.  This time, however, it
feels more like a punch than a slap.  Asuka is almost thrown from the bed
by the impact.

Misato : "I...can't understand what's wrong with you, Asuka!!  You did *IT*
with him, and now you reject him.  For all these months, I REALLY tried to
help you two!  But you never made any effort on your part!"

Asuka (rubbing her cheek in pain) : "Hypocrite!  Y-you do the same with
Kaji!"

Misato : "You see this!?"

She takes a ring from her jacket.

Misato : "I found this ring in your room yesterday.  I didn't ask Shinji
about this, but I'm sure he gave this to you as your birthday present.
Are you aware of the meaning behind such a ring, young lady?"

Asuka : "N-no...er, I mean, y-yes, I..."

This is one of the few times Asuka has problems finding words to say.

Misato : "It's an engagement ring!  You fool!  Now take a look at this."

She takes another ring from her jacket.  It's a bit different.  The gem
mounted in it is blue in color, and smaller.

Misato : "You see this?  Kaji gave this to me when we were students.  When I
loved him.  He said he wouldn't leave me.  He didn't have the chance.  I
dumped him a few weeks later.  And even now, I don't know why.  But I know
one thing:  This present meant that he loved me, or at least pretended to."

Nothing on the earth could have made Asuka meet Misato's gaze at that
instant.  Except, perhaps, a certain EVA pilot...

Misato : "Dammit!  Look at me when I'm talking to you!"

She takes Asuka's chin in her hand.  Asuka doesn't show any resistance.

Misato : "You KNOW what I mean, don't you!?"

Asuka (trembling) : "I...I...he loves me...?"

Misato, releasing Asuka's head : "OF COURSE HE DOES!  Why would a boy
give such a beautiful ring to a girl if it wasn't to tell her that he
loves her?  You're really pathetic!"

Asuka : "I...I know...I think I feel the same way."

Misato is now stunned.

Misato : "W-what!?  You say you feel the same and...you go on ignoring
and snubbing him?  Something is wrong here."

Asuka : "Yes, maybe.  But this is so complicated..."

Misato : "Guess what?  Love is a complicated thing."

The two exchange a smile.

Misato : "I'm glad to see you're okay."

Asuka : "Thanks.  May I look at those rings closer?"

Misato : "Sure."

She gives her the rings.  Asuka takes one in each hand and takes a close,
lingering look at each one of them.

Misato : "What's going on?"

Asuka : "Nothing.  I was just realizing that the size of the two gems
really reflects on their givers'."

Misato (shocked) : "W-what do you mean?"

Asuka : "You heard me. I mean that Shinji's is bigger than Kaji-san's."

Misato : "You can't be serious!"

>From the corridor, Ritsuko arrives and overhears the two women's
'two-way' conversation.

Asuka : "Of course, since I SAW the two!"

Misato : "You too!?  But I truly think Kaji's is bigger."

Asuka : "Y-You saw Shinji's!?"

Misato : "That was an accident!" <softer> "Why?  Jealous?"

Asuka (shouting) : "I'M NOT JEALOUS!  You affenschwanz [idiot, stupid]!"

Misato : "WHAT!?"

Ritsuko chooses this moment to come in.

Ritsuko : "Well, it seems our little adventurer is fully awake now,
despite the large amount of sleeping pills she swallowed."

Misato : "Don't worry, Ritsuko, she is in full form!"

Ritsuko : "Good.  But let me tell you one thing:  Using drugs, even if
it's only sleeping pills, is not recommended at all during a pregnancy."

Asuka : "I'm sorry, Dr. Akagi, I-I..."

Ritsuko : "Well, at least you didn't commit a murder-suicide like..."

She then notices what she's about to say.

Ritsuko (lowering her head) : "...sorry."

Asuka : "..."

Uncomfortable pause.

Asuka : "By the way, Misato, what time is it?"

Misato : "We should hurry home, Shinji'll be waiting for us.  You slept
for nearly 20 hours, you know."

---

At the apartment.

Misato (entering the apartment with Asuka) : "Shinji-kun!  I'm back!"

Shinji (from the living room) : "Welcome home, Misa..."

He's very surprised to see Asuka there as well.

Misato (to herself) : "Let's see her get out of this tight spot."

Asuka looks down, as if she's trying to say "I'm sorry" without having
to say it with her own words.  Shinji takes a long, sad look at her and
heads to his room, shutting the door behind him.

Misato : "You understand now?"

Asuka : "Shinji's nothing but a baka."

And she went off to her own room.

Misato (frowning, to herself) : "You're nothing but ungrateful, Asuka!"

---

Asuka's room.  She lays on her bed, thinking about yesterday.

---

CAPTION:  FLASHBACK
CAPTION 2:  The previous day.

---

We see the same image of Asuka laying on her bed and thinking, before
the flashback.

Asuka : "That can't be!  This situation is almost impossible to handle...
I can't look him in the eyes anymore...a MONTH!  It's been going on for
a whole month!  Everytime I see him, I can't control myself...I am someone
else...but I don't want to be someone else!  I'm Sohryu Asuka Langley!  No
one else...the only one I can think of now is him!  WHY!?  I'm strong!!!
I can't be in love!  I'll neglect my duties if I fall for him!"

Pause.

Asuka : "...but it seems now that it's already too late..." <tired sigh>
"I'm fed up with this life...the worst thing which could happen now would
be him turning into a romantic...this would be a coup de grace for me...
it's the only thing I can't resist...I *MUST NOT* LOVE HIM!!!!!!!!
AAAARRRRGGGGHH!!!!  NO!!!!!!"

Pause.

Asuka (trembling) : "No...I can't...hate him...but I don't want to love
him...I have to find a solution..."

She then thinks of something.

Asuka : "...Sorry, everyone."

She gets up from her bed and headed to the living room, where Shinji is
watching TV with Pen-Pen.

Asuka : "Shinji-kun...do you know where could I find sleeping pills in
this apartment?"

Shinji (not listening very carefully) : "Yeah, in the bathroom.  Why?"

Asuka : "I want to kill myself."

Shinji (still paying more attention to the TV show) : "That's nice.  Don't
make too much noise, please."

Asuka (to herself) : "Hmph.  Baka."

Minutes later.

Shinji (realizing) : "W-what did she just say...?  She--no...ASUKA!!!!"

He then runs to the bathroom.  The door is locked.

Shinji : "Damn!  Why did Misato let herself be convinced to put a stupid
lock on this stupid door!?"

He tries to force the doorknob...

Shinji : "ASUKA!  OPEN THE DOOR!!!  PLEASE!  DON'T DO THIS!!!!  PLEASE!
I...I..." (his voice trails off:) "...I'm sorry.  Really.  If you want to
talk to someone, I'm here.  I know how you feel...OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!"

However, there's still no answer from Asuka.  He tries to break in the door
with all his strength.  After a few tries, he finally succeeds in getting
into the bathroom.  Asuka is laying on the floor, with a strange smile on
her face, and an empty vial which once held sleeping pills beside her.

---

CAPTION: PRESENT
CAPTION 2: A few days later.

---

Central Dogma.  Ritsuko and Maya are updating the MAGI.

Maya : "The Second Child is okay now?"

Ritsuko : "Miraculously, she awoke 20 hours after her suicide attempt."

Maya : "Why did she do that?  That's horrible..."

Ritsuko (in a low voice) : "Something worse is being prepared right now,
you know..."

Maya : "What?"

Ritsuko : "Um, never mind.  By the way, I need some of these green bottles
that arrived not long ago, for a new experiment.  They should be in
warehouse #17 now."

Maya : "A new experiment?  What is it?"

Ritsuko (smiling) : "Sorry, Maya.  I can't tell you.  It's really top
secret."

Maya (leaving the room) : "Okay, Sempai.  You'll have them in a minute."

---

Terminal Dogma.

Fuyutsuki : "The suicide attempt was in your plans?"

Gendo : "No, but the G-agent in her blood did the job pretty well.  Even
Akagi hadn't noticed anything."

Fuyutsuki : "You're hiding so many things..."

Gendo : "Common people wouldn't understand the future I have prepared for
us."

Fuyutsuki : "As usual."

Gendo : "I should be grateful to Seele.  After all, they gave me the means
to prepare my plan."

Fuyutsuki : "You're using everyone here."

Gendo : "Each Child has one use and only one.  The Second will soon be
useless, when everything will be finished."

Fuyutsuki : "You mean...her death."

Gendo : "You know she's the only one capable of giving birth.  And that's
one of the reasons she has been designated as the Second Child.  Her death
is only a detail.  I'm sure she'll be proud of her role in humankind's
evolution."

Fuyutsuki : "You shouldn't be that confident, you know."

Gendo : "I have planned this for years.  Nothing can stop it now."

Fuyutsuki : "You're going too far, Ikari.  Yui wouldn't approve what you're
about to do.  She would probably wonder what happened to the Gendo she loved
and married...and how could you call that 'humankind's evolution'?"

Gendo : "..."

---

In Tokyo-3, the sun is scorching the city.  Perfect weather for the Obon
festival.  The people take advantage of the fact that no Angel has attacked
for the last two months to relax, have fun and enjoy themselves.

In the apartment...

Asuka : "HEY!  It hurts!  Be careful!"

Misato : "Just stop wriggling and it'll be much easier."

Misato is helping her on with a beautiful blue kimono.  She is also
wearing a kimono, this one green.  Her hair's tied in a ponytail.

Misato : "I know it's an old kimono but this was the only one Maya had in
her house.  So please, stop complaining!"

Asuka : "Pfff...Why do I have to wear this!?  These Japanese festivals are
so boring!"

Misato : "As I already said, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Got it?"

Asuka : "Hmph."

Misato : "Do you want me to tie your hair differently?"

Asuka : "No!  It's perfectly fine the way it is."

Misato : "As you wish."

Asuka : "By the way, where's Shinji?"

Misato : "He must be in his room.  I'll go get him."

---

Shinji's room.  Shinji is laying on his bed, looking at the ceiling.  
Someone knocks on the door.

Misato : "Shinji-kun.  It's me."

Shinji : "Come in."

He turns his eyes towards the door and sees Misato in her kimono.

Shinji (blushing) : "Errr...you look very cute, Misato-san."

Misato (giggling) : "You flatterer, you!  But I've got someone else to
introduce to you."

Shinji : "S-someone else?"

Misato : "Come into the hallway."

Shinji left his room and sees Asuka in her kimono, wearing a red bow
on the back of her head.

Shinji : "It's...you, Asuka?"

Asuka blushes, but tries to hide it.

Misato : "You two.  I want you to have fun together today, okay?"

Asuka (protesting) : "But..."

Misato (with a look in her eyes that could turn an entire fanatic army
into a bunch of chickens) : "There's no 'but.'  That's an order!"

Shinji and Asuka : "Yes, ma'am!"

Misato : "Now, get out there and enjoy yourselves!"

Shinji and Asuka : "Yes, ma'am!  Right away, ma'am!"

---

The entrance of the apartment building.  Asuka shields her eyes from the
sunlight with her hand.

Asuka : "I've never seen such a beautiful sun before!"

Shinji : "..."

Asuka : "Misato should have come with us.  I'm wondering what she'll be
doing today."

Shinji : "..."

Asuka : "Hey, Shinji-kun.  Could you stop sounding like Wondergirl?  I
don't think that's very nice."

Shinji : "You think you've been nice to me these days?"

Asuka : "Err...okay.  You're right.  I haven't been very fair myself these
past few weeks.  But...errr...how do I say this...?  I'm sorry...for what I
did.  There it is."

Shinji (surprised) : "You...apologized?  To me?  The sky will fall on us..."

Asuka (frowning at him) : "Come on!  I'm a human being!  I make mistakes
sometimes, too!"

Shinji : "Well...I-I guess I'll have to forgive you."

Asuka : "Of course you have to.  Will you make this a nice date today?"

Shinji : "What!?  A...date?"

Asuka : "Why not?  Are you afraid of dating the most beautiful woman in the
whole universe?"

Shinji : "I guess I have no choice..."

Asuka : "Great!  Then here we go!"

They walk down the busy streets of Tokyo-3.  Asuka takes Shinji's arm and
rests her head on his shoulder.  Shinji doesn't know how to interpret Asuka's
actions...

Shinji (to himself) : "She MUST be teasing me again..."

He then looks at her face.

Shinji (in a very soft voice) : "Damn, she's very cute when she wants..."

Asuka (looking at him) : "You said something?"

Shinji (realizing that he just said what he thought) : "I-I...I was
just saying that you were cute....err..."

Asuka : "Really?  I'm not so surprised.  I know I'm cute.  But anyway,
thanks."

Shinji (to himself) : "Jeez...if you were any more egocentric, you'd die
from it." (to Asuka) : "That kimono fits you very well."

Asuka : "This is Maya's old kimono.  But it's very tight.  It's Teri's
fault.  Not even yet born and she's already annoying me..."

Shinji (smiling at the comment) : "We'll have a cute little girl.  I-I
mean...YOU'll have a cute little girl...at least as cute as you."

Asuka (to herself) : "So NOW he comes out with the compliments...shit!
I won't hold back any longer..." (to Shinji) : "You like her name?"

Shinji : "W-what?"

Asuka : "I'm sorry.  I didn't ask you before choosing names.  I know I
should have."

Shinji : "...Teri is very nice...I think..."

Asuka : "You think so?"

Shinji : "Of course I think so.  At least as nice as 'Asuka'."

Asuka (to herself) : "If he keeps this up, I'm gonna lose the upper hand.
(slightly frustrated sigh)" (to Shinji) : "Thanks, baka."

Shinji chuckles when he hears that word.  He now thinks that Asuka is in
her familiar 'scornful mode'.  However, he's wrong.

Asuka : "I heard there will be fireworks tonight.  Wanna go and see them
with me?"

Now Shinji's really trying to figure out if this is a joke or something
else.

Shinji (a bit hesitantly) : "If you want to..."

Asuka (in her most kawaii [cute] voice) : "Lucky!"

Pause.

Asuka (softly) : "Anyway, thank you for saving our lives the other day..."

Shinji : "'Saving our...lives'?  What do you mean?"

Asuka : "Teri-chan's and mine."

Shinji : "I didn't do anything, really!  I just phoned Misato when I saw
you sleeping on the floor with that vial beside you...I was scared, you
know..."

Asuka (smiling at him) : "Oh, forget it, never mind..." (to herself) : "He
doesn't know about that..."

Shinji (awkwardly) : "By the way, may I...may I ask you...why did you do
that?"

Asuka : "..."

Shinji : "Sorry..."

Asuka : "No.  I can't explain it to you...not right now."

Suddenly, a voice calls out:  "Asuka!  Ikari-kun!"

It's Hikari, in a red kimono, with Toji by her side.

(NOTE:  Hikari and Toji don't know that Asuka tried to commit suicide.
Misato hushed up the matter very well.)

Hikari : "Asuka-chan!  You're so cute in that kimono!  Don't you think so,
Toji-chan?"

Toji : "Yeah, yeah..."

The two girls are now chatting excitedly.  Toji pulls Shinji aside.

Shinji (whispering) : "What do you want?"

Toji (also whispering) : "Tell me how it was."

Shinji : "What?  What are you talking about?"

Toji : "Five months ago, you know..."

Shinji : "Huh?"

Toji : "With Asuka?  How was she?  Did she taste good?"

Shinji (flustered) : "WHAT?  Hmm....y-yeah...I guess."

Toji : "Really...?  Hey tell me, I'm your friend...was she a virgin?"

Shinji (rolling his eyes) : "Yeah, she was, as far as I can see.  Stop
asking me those sick questions, okay?"

Toji : "Why?  She's so cute!  I want to hear more!  Please tell me!"

Shinji : "No.  That's enough...please..."

Toji : "You love her?"

Shinji : "Y-yeah...I guess so.  I love her."

Toji : "And what about her?  Does she love you?"

Shinji : "I dunno.  Sometimes she acts as we were lovers and sometimes
she acts...normal...she's so unpredictable..."

Toji : "Like every girl!  Aha!  Never thought the redheaded devil could
have feelings."

Shinji : "Wait a sec!  She's no devil..."

Toji : "So, she's an angel, then."

Shinji : "Yeah, I guess she's an angel.  Not one of those monsters that
attack us all the time, of course..."

Shinji keeps looking over at Asuka while he talks with Toji.  She's
talking with Hikari, totally ignoring Shinji.

Shinji : "Hey, what are you doing here with the class rep?"

Toji : "Shhhhh....she asked me to come here with her today.  And for some
reason, I just couldn't say no."

Shinji (smiling) : "Tsss....You should just say, 'Oh, I love her so much I
decided to take her to the festival,' shouldn't you?"

Toji : "Shuddup!  It's not like that!"

Asuka : "Hey, baka Shinji!"

Toji (grinning) : "You see?  She's a devil."

Shinji : "No, not really..."

Asuka : "Shinji!  Listen to me, dummkopf!"

Shinji (surprised) : "What is it, Asuka?"

Asuka : "Hikari told me about AXL's Game Center!  It sounds fun!  I want
you to take me there, okay?"

Shinji : "I don't know if..."

Asuka : "Stop being so hesitant!  You're getting on my nerves!"

Toji (to Shinji) : "Not yet married, and she's already henpecking you..."

Shinji (nearly shouting) : "Don't say such things about Asuka!  She's
actually really nice!"

Asuka was a little stunned to hear this.  Had he actually just said that
to somebody else?

Hikari : "Come on, Toji-chan!  We're coming with them!"

Toji (to Hikari) : "Look, don't call me 'Toji-chan' in front of other
people, okay?"

Hikari (giggling) : "Heehee!  You're so shy!  Hey, listen up!  Toji-chan
doesn't want to be called 'Toji-chan.'  He's shy, isn't he?"

Shinji (teasing) : "Oh, come on, Toji-CHAN, you are coming with us, aren't
you?"

Asuka (also teasing) : "Yeah, he's right!  You're coming, too!"

Toji (reluctantly) : "Well..."

---

They arrive at AXL's Game Center.  A tall man with short brown hair and
glasses welcomes our friends.

Man : "Hello, everyone.  Welcome to AXL's Game Center.  My name is
Guillaume, and I'm one of the managers here.  I'm French, but as you can
hear, I'm able to speak Japanese as well.  If you have any questions,
feel free to ask me.  If I'm not around, you can speak with Yankee,
Gordon, Mygard or Steffen.  Let me remind you that...blablabla...
blablabla...blabla..."

Asuka (whispering to Hikari) : "What a boring man...but he's cute, and
what's more, he's a Frenchie!"

Hikari : "Yeah!  I like the way he wears his glasses!  He looks so
serious!  Do you think he's good at French kissing?"

Asuka (grinning) : "I kinda wish I could find out!"

Hikari : "You're right!"

Shinji and Toji (in unison) : "Hmph!"

Guillaume : "...so, have fun in AXL's Game Center!"

Another man : "Hi!  You brought your girlfriends today!"

Toji (turning his head towards the man) : "Ah, it's Yankee."

Guillaume : "You know them, Yankee?"

Yankee : "Of course.  This boy...Toji, right?  He kicked my butt in
Quarter-Life."

Guillaume : "That old game from Siarra and Balbe?"

Yankee : "Yeah."

Guillaume : "You defeated Yankee?  You're quite talented, young man.  Then
I'm sure you'll all appreciate a free afternoon in AXL's Game Center, won't
you?"

Toji : "You...sure?"

Asuka : "Thanks you, sir!"

Guillaume (to Asuka) : "So it's your first time here, young lady?"

Asuka : "Yes.  My name's Asuka, but I'm half-German, half-Japanese."

Guillaume : "What a coincidence!  My old girlfriend was German, too."

Asuka : "Really?"

Guillaume : "And because you remind me of her, I'll do a special favour
for you all..."

He calls someone on his cell phone.

Guillaume : "Mygard?  Evacue tout le monde, on ferme."
(Please evacuate the place, we're closing the center.)

Mygard (over the phone) : "T'es con ou quoi?!  C'est l'un des meilleurs
apres-midis qu'on ait eu!"
(Are you stupid or what?!  It's one of the best afternoons we've ever had!)

Guillaume : "J'ai dit..."
(I said...)

Mygard (reluctantly) : "Bon, bon, d'accord...Mais on en reparlera plus tard!"
(Well, okay, okay...but we'll talk about this later!)

*click*

Guillaume : "Please wait a minute."

---

Minutes later.  The Center is now empty, except for the staff and our
friends.

Guillaume : "I'll be on the second floor with the others, if you have any
questions..."

Shinji : "Yeah, yeah.  We'll call you if we need help."

Guillaume : "Good."

He then takes the elevator and disappears.

Asuka : "Lucky!!!  We're gonna play here all afternoon!  That Guillaume
is such a gentleman!"

Hikari : "Yeah!  Thanks, Toji-kun!  At least you're not so useless."

Toji (sarcastically) : "Thanks for the compliment..."

Asuka : "Don't forget me!  I helped, too!"

Hikari : "Oh, of course.  Sorry, Asuka."

Shinji looked a bit angry for some reason.

Asuka (staring at Shinji) : "Hey, Shinji!  Jealous?"

Shinji walks towards the nearest game, not even looking at Asuka.

Shinji (in a bit of a huff) : "Shut up, little girl.  Come on, let's play."

Asuka (surprised, then furious) : "How DARE you talk to me like that?
I'll show you, you dickhead!"

Shinji (with a bit of a wicked smile) : "We'll just have to see about
that."

---

Meanwhile, on a street, Misato is walking with Kaji...

Misato : "I STILL CAN'T believe I accepted this date with you!"

Kaji : "You can't fight your true feelings, can you?"

Misato : "Oh, shut up!"

Kaji (grinning) : "Hai, hai..."

Pause.

Kaji : "By the way, where are the Ikaris?"

Misato : "I TOLD you, they're NOT married!"

Kaji : "Oh, well...where are the Second and the Third?"

Misato : "I dunno, I told them to have fun together and enjoy themselves."

Kaji (grinning again) : "Heh, they're probably off doing nasty things
someplace out of the way..."

Misato : "That can't be!  Asuka is ALREADY pregnant!  And I doubt that
Shinji will try anything on her..."

Kaji : "Well, he certainly couldn't make her more pregnant than she already
is, could he?"

---

Meanwhile, at AXL's Game Center...

Asuka (seductively) : "Oh...yeah, Shinji...yesssss...deeper...I...I..."
(suddenly furious) : "I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!!"

Shinji : "Hey, it's not my fault if I always find the torpedo launcher
when you're underwater!"

Asuka : "THIS time I'll find it BEFORE you!  And if I see you then, you can
say goodbye to the warehouse key you have!  You're winning because you can
go and pick up ammo and health here!  That's unfair!!!"

Hikari : "The first one who reaches 50 frags wins, okay?"

Asuka : "Not fair AT ALL!  Shinji's almost at 46!"

Toji : "Oh, The Great Sohryu Asuka Langley is giving up with just 20 measly
frags to go?"

Asuka is fuming.  She and Shinji have been doing that a lot this month,
haven't they?

Shinji : "Hmm...Toji..."

Toji : "What?"

Shinji : "I think you should have stayed quiet...you'd better brace
yourself."

Toji : "What're you talking about...?  What the...!"

His screen turns red--the redness of his on-screen character's blood.  
However, he doesn't have the time to press 'START' again.  Asuka's amount
of frags jumps from 29 to 82 in nearly ten seconds!

Asuka : "Aha!  Not bad for a little girl!  What do you think about that,
baka Shinji?"

Asuka had killed everyone on the screen in every drastic way a psychopath
could think of.  Shinji had been killed 22 times in the process, Toji once,
Hikari 14 times and the bot player, named 'The Ripper,' had been killed 16
times, all by the same player, without dying:  Sohryu Asuka Langley.

Asuka : "Sooooooo, who's the best here?!"

Toji : "Okay, it's you.  I surrender!"

Shinji (feeling a bit frightened by how intense the game was) : "Y-yeah...
you're right.  I give up, Asuka.  You're the best."

Asuka (relieved) : "Ahhhh, it's so nice to hear you that!  Never thought
this old game from the 90's could be so much fun!"

---

Kaji and Misato sre in a bar, sitting at a table.

Misato (slightly drunk) : "...m-maybe you're right, Kaji...I'm just afraid
of my feelings...like A-Asuka..."

Kaji : "Of course you are.  Do you remember what we did years ago?"

Misato : "O-of course I do!  Pfff...sometimes I hate me...for not being a
woman...I'm nothing but a slut!  That's what I am!"

Kaji : "Tssss...no....nothing on earth could make me leave you alone."

Misato : "Y-you won't l-leave me?  You promise?  Even if I'm a slut?"

Kaji : "No.  You're wrong.  I could never love a slut.  And I love you,
Mit-chan."

Misato : "...baka..."

---

The time for the fireworks finally came.  Shinji and Asuka left Toji and
Hikari behind as they left AXL's Game Center.  The two are on a hill near
Misato's apartment building.  Asuka is *really* cute in her kimono.  Really.  
And Shinji, being a man, couldn't help but notice this.  They're sitting
side by side, looking at the fireworks.

Asuka (honestly elated) : "I didn't have any idea that this would be so
beautiful."

Shinji : "It's been a long time since we had this festival, you know."

Asuka : "Really?"

Shinji : "Yeah."

Pause.

Asuka (softly) : "Hey, Shinji..."

Shinji : "What?"

Asuka : "I'm bored."

Shinji (grinning) : "Uh oh..."

Asuka : "Wanna kiss?"

Shinji : "I-I...don't know if...mmmphhhhhhhh...."

Too late.  Asuka takes Shinji's head in her hands and kisses him hard on
the lips.  The kiss feels like it could last for an eternity, while their
tongues dance in their mouths.  It's like when the two of them danced
together while battling Israphel, the 7th Angel.  The only sounds audible
are the *pops* and *pams* from the fireworks behind them.  Asuka csn't
believe the sensations that are forcing their way into her...she didn't
want to fall for Shinji, but it's already too late.  On the other side,
Shinji returns the kiss with all his heart.  He really loves Asuka,
despite all the things she had done and said to him.  Finally, Asuka
breaks off the kiss.  She has a big smile on her face.

Shinji : "What was that for?"

Asuka (after thinking about it for a moment) : "For all the chores I made
you do these past few weeks."

Shinji smiles.

Asuka : "You weren't that good the last time.  Have you been practicing
with Rei?"

Shinji : "W-what!?  Of course...not..."

Asuka (giggling) : "I was joking, don't worry!"

Shinji (teasing her) : "And you...You were practicing French kissing while
I was away with Toji, weren't you?"

Asuka (comically furious) : "Of course not!!!"

The two explode into laughter.  Shinji then notices something on Asuka's
right hand.

Shinji : "The ring..."

Asuka takes one of Shinji's hands in her right one and clasps it so that
their palms are against each other and their fingers weave together.

Asuka : "Yeah, thank you for the present.  I think it was the only
valuable gift I received that day..."

Shinji : "You're not...angry at me?"

Asuka : "Why should I be angry?"

Shinji : "I...don't know.  I didn't want to give it to you that evening
because I would have been really nervous giving it to you in front of
everybody else.  And sometimes I feel so hurt by things you say that I
want to throw everything out the window..."

Asuka : "You're really an idiot sometimes, but when you want, you can be
a really good friend..." <grinning now> "...and a great lover."

Shinji (grinning) : "You too.  Sometimes you can be a real pain, and then
suddenly, you're so nice..."

Asuka : "I think I get this from my German origins..."

Shinji : "...and I bet you'll say my shyness is typically Japanese, right?"

Asuka : "You cut the ground from under my feet!"

Shinji : "Heh heh, sorry."

Pause.

Shinji (in an exceptional moment of thoughtfulness) : "When I was four, I
was abandoned by my father.  Not that I ever saw him that often even when
Mother was alive...but...I can still feel the pain, Asuka.  The
loneliness...being rejected like that.  I don't want my daughter to feel the
same way.  Not if I can make sure it doesn't happen.  If you'll allow me to
be there..."

Asuka : "It won't happen, baka.  I promise."

Short pause.

Asuka : "I never saw you like this before."

Shinji : "What?"

Asuka : "You opened yourself up to me.  It's stunning."

Shinji : "I'm a little surprised by you, too."

Asuka : "I-I mean...you're speaking with confidence...you're so shy,
usually.  I think I'm like this because I trust you and I feel that I can
put my trust in you.  You're like a confidante."

Shinji : "I...It's the same for me.  We've got a lot in common, don't we?"

Asuka : "You try to avoid pain by running away from people.  I try to
avoid pain by driving them away.  But in the end, we're just hurting
ourselves more.  Aren't we pathetic, Shin-chan?"

It sounds more like a statement than a question.  Shinji can't help but be
surprised by this sudden truth coming from the mouth of the girl he
normally knew to try to avoid it.  Somehow, the suicide incident, as bad
as it was, seemed to have turned Asuka into a more mature person.

Shinji : "You're right, Asuka-chan.  It's kind of like...we're hiding
ourselves from the pain behind a shield."

Asuka : "But we just feel more and more pain."

Shinji (nodding) : "Yeah...you're right, we *are* pathetic."

Pause.

Asuka : "Do you love me?"

Shinji (stunned) : "I...I think so."

Asuka : "Do you *really* love me?"

Shinji (taking a long breath) : "Yes, Asuka."

Asuka : "Guess what?"

Pause.

Asuka (smiling) : "I love you, too, stupid."

Shinji can't hear Asuka because the sounds of the fireworks exploding
drowning out her soft voice.  But he doesn't need to hear the words to
understand what she means.  She rests her head against Shinji's shoulder,
and he gently brushes some hair away from his redheaded goddess' face.  They
sit still in this position for some minutes, eyes closed, feeling the warmth
of each other's bodies.

Asuka (softly, in Shinji's ear) : "Shinji?"

Shinji (softly, in Asuka's ear) : "What is it?"

Asuka : "You'd never leave us, would you?"

Short pause.

Shinji : "I promise you, right here and now, that I'll NEVER leave you two...
on one condition."

Asuka : "Which is?"

Shinji : "You must promise me you won't give up your life anymore like you
did the other day.  You're the two most precious things I have on this
earth. I can't afford to lose either one of you.  You or Teri.  So, please,
don't ever do that again.  I'm sorry if I was rude to you after that, but I
really didn't know how to handle it.  I mean..."

Asuka (smiling) : "Don't worry.  For Teri's sake, I won't do that again!
Deal?"

Shinji (now smiling, too) : "Deal."

A small, but very heavy pause.

Asuka : "...I bet Misato told you about my past..."

Shinji (nodding) : "Hm...forget about that.  There's no reason to dig into
the past.  I-I mean...let's think about the future, okay?"

Asuka (sadly) : "You know...I think I panicked when I thought about my
mother...about my past.  I didn't want to risk my daughter's life and
mine against the Angels...It's not that I wouldn't want to be involved in
battle, but I then thought that I would make you and Teri sad if I were
killed.  I didn't want to repeat my mother's mistakes so..."

Her voice cracks badly and tears start flowing down her face.

Asuka : "...so, I thought that I should end my life...and bring my
daughter with me to Heaven...like my mother wanted to do with me. And
besides...I didn't want to fall for you, and to be killed senselessly...
because I would then neglect my duties, and think about you everytime.  
However, it was already too late.  That convinced me to...to kill
myself..."

She is now crying.  Shinji can feel the tears falling on his shirt.

Asuka (sobbing) : "Then I saw you.  I truly saw *you,* Shinji.  And it
reminded me of something.  My dad didn't love us, my mom and me, but you...
you love both of us...I'm so sorry, Shinji...(sob)...for what I did...
to you, to Misato, to everyone...I'm so sorry, Shinji!"

She reaches out and clutches his body against hers.  It has to hurt for
someone who once felt that showing negative emotions was a sign of weakness
to say these things.  But she had to say them sometime.  She'd been waiting
a long time to have someone she could say them to, but up until recently all
she did was deny it.  It was difficult, and very painful, but it had to be
done.  Shinji can't do anything else but put his arms around her and hold
her closely and try to comfort her.  He could never run away from her.
Not now.

Shinji : "Asuka...please don't cry.  Seeing you crying makes me very sad.
I don't want to see you unhappy, you know...besides, those tears ruin your
pretty face."

Asuka (sobbing and hugging Shinji harder) : "Forgive me, Shinji!  Forgive
me!!!"

Shinji : "There, there...I'm here...I forgive you, and I love you both,
Asuka, Teri.  Don't worry...I-I'll be there for you both..."

Asuka finally stops sobbing, and eventually calms down.

Shinji : "It's okay, now..."

Asuka : "Thanks, Shinji...I realize now that you're the only one I can
really trust here..."

Shinji : "You'll be a good mother for Teri...I'm sure of that."

Asuka (closing her eyes, softly) : "And you a good father..."

That reminds Shinji of something...his own father.  An image of him
appears in his mind.  He frowns at the thought.

Shinji : "Hmmm...I'll try my best."

Asuka : "When I was asleep, I saw a little girl who looked like me.  She
said she was Teri.  She made me think about you.  And then I realized that
Sohryu Asuka Langley couldn't give up life just because of her past and...
I realized that, somewhere on this earth, someone cared for me!" (more
animated) : "I'm here to stay now!  For Teri, for you, for me!  And if
anybody tries to get in the way of that, I'll make damn sure they're good
and sorry for it!"

Shinji (chuckling) : "What a relief...the old Asuka is back."

Asuka (smiling) : "Hmph, don't worry, I won't hit you anymore like I did
before."

Pause.

Asuka : "Oh, and one more thing."

Shinji : "What is it?"

Asuka : "No sex until Teri's birth, young man."

Shinji (shocked) : "Are you crazy?!  Why would I...I...Hey!  And YOU dare
say this to me?  That's a bit gross!  I mean..."

Asuka (giggling) : "I was joking, baka.  We just have to be very careful
from now on."

He then calms down, and smiles.

Shinji (whispering into Asuka's ear) : "Say, why don't we go back home?  It's
late."

Asuka : "No, please...I'm very comfortable here...give me a few more
minutes, okay?"

Shinji : "Okay."

How could he refuse?  The two girls he love the most are in his arms.
He felt comfortable, too.

Five minutes later (Shinji couldn't push Asuka away, could he?).

Asuka : "Okay, we can go now..."

They start walking back to the apartment.

Shinji : "I was thinking about something..."

Asuka : "Huh?"

Shinji : "Perhaps, we're just two empty-headed kids after all..."

Asuka : "What makes you say that?"

Shinji : "...I don't know..."

Asuka : "'I don't know'?  Are you stupid!?"

Shinji chuckles.

---

Misato's apartment.  Shinji and Asuka walk in.  It's very dark inside.  
They carefully head through the living room towards their respective
bedrooms.

Shinji (softly) : "Hey, Asuka!  What are these...clothes?!"

He shows Asuka a jacket and a shirt on the living room couch.

Asuka : "I dunno...let me see..."

She picks up the clothes and looks at them.  Her eyes widen.

Shinji (worried) : "What's going on?"

Asuka : "These are...Kaji-san's clothes!!!"

Asuka runs to Misato's room and half-opens the door.  She sees her in
Kaji's arms under the blankets.

Asuka : "It seems these two were very busy while we were out."

---

Asuka's room.  Asuka shuts her door, carefully takes off and hangs up the
kimono and puts her nightdress on.  She then sits on her bed, ready to get
in, then stops and puts her head in her hands...

Asuka : "I feel weird all of a sudden......"

---

The next morning.  Asuka opens her eyes.  She sees someone lying right in
front of her, in her OWN bed...Shinji.

Asuka (whispering) : "Oh no...this wet dream again...hmmmmm...." (closing
her eyes) "...I love you, Shin-chan..."

She then proceeds to embrace him and then hug him very tightly.  Shinji
wakes up, too, as a result.

Shinji (struggling a bit) : "....hmm...Asuka...I...can't breathe......."

Asuka then releases him and looks at him, very surprised.

Asuka (to herself) : "The...Shinji of my dreams wouldn't say this!"

She then glares at him and turns bright red.  Anger-red.  At least as
red as her plugsuit.

Shinji : "Errr...calm down...I...well..I heard...moans and then...er..
I was worried...and er...hmm...I wanted to ...keep an eye on you and.......
no...please don't....you love me, right?...um...so I thought...no...no,
please!"

---

Long shot of Tokyo-3.  Each morning, Tokyo-3 wakes up with the sweet
sunlight.  However, this time, everyone is being waken up by ONE girl.

Asuka : "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY BED!????  ECCHI!!!!  GET THE
HELL OUT OF HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  MISATO!!!!!!!!!!!!  KAJI-SAN!!!!!!!
SHINJI, YOU PERVERT!!!!!"

---

TO BE CONTINUED.
Please don't miss the next episode : "Prove me your love."  (NOT
coming soon!)

---

Author's notes:

Before any of you flame me, please understand that this part *WAS*
originally intended to be WAFFy and full of romance.  You'll find out why
later.

Some people asked me why I decided to make Asuka try to commit suicide.  It
was a pure accident.  At first, I decided to open this part on *another*
Asuka's morning.  And then, the suicide attempt idea sprouted from my mind...

I'm a true Asuka fan, don't worry.  If *sometimes* I'm a bit mean with her,
I'll make up for it, you can be sure of that!

Some people (some OTHER people) told me Asuka was too OOC in this part...
That's right.  But it's a fanfic, isn't it?  I want to conclusively prove
that Asuka, perhaps deep in her mind, is one of the nicest girls in the
world.  If you know her better than in the series, if you understand her,
if you SHOW her you care for her, she CAN be really nice.  In fact, I truly
think Shinji should have been more interested in her through the original
EVA series, instead of always asking himself metaphysical questions, why
everyone hated him, and all the other stuff.  Honestly.

In the thanks section now...

All my pre-readers : Al-l-bus, Alain Gravel (aka Rakna), EBJ, Greg Thomas,
Shinji Ikari the 10 o'clock assassin, Borderline Case and David Watson.

THE Special thanks go to Alain Gravel (ideas, misc. additions and
corrections), EBJ (grammar and spell-checking and support), Shinji Ikari
(some nice ideas about the kids' next trip to AXL's Game Center),
Borderline Case (support, ideas, great C&C) and Dave Watson (style
corrections, human grammar/spelling/present-tense checking, etc.).

I think that's all...

And of course, please read The One I Love Is... by Rakna (look forward for
the next parts, it's gonna be a VERY cool fic, I swear!) and Reflections In
Red by Borderline Case (a true vision of Rei's life).

If you have any questions/criticisms/comments/flames, mail me at:
aterizak@club-internet.fr
I click the REPLY button every time I receive something!

To my rewriters/checkers : Please understand that a lot of people sent me
fixed versions of my fic.  I must look at all of them and do a mix. In fact,
this part has been co-written by Rakna, EBJ and Dave Watson.  Thanks to you
all, and sorry if I offend you by modifying your work... (but it's my story,
isn't it?).

If you're interested in my translations, you'll soon find them on my
website:
http://perso.club-internet.fr/aterizak
The site is currently in preparation stages because I'm a human being, too.
I've got a busy life and I can't do anything at once.

See ya soon!
Axel Terizaki