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                          A TALE THAT WASN'T RIGHT

Another masterpiece (!) by Axel Terizaki 
	 ICQ# 34301980
Orchestrated with the help of Cedric Ranson 
	and Alain Gravel 

ASUKA's Notebook 

Partially retooled from the second draft by Dave Watson 
	, 1999 7 06, and then from Terizaki's 
	final version on 1999 7 11-12.
Version 1.0.

-=SAD/DARKFIC AHEAD!=-

First, let me clear up some things.

This fic occurs just after Ep. 22 (Arael's mind-rape of Asuka).  It will 
then completely disregard Eva timeline, especially with regards to 
Asuka's state after the mind-rape.  She's a bit less affected by what 
she just experienced, if you know what I mean.  Sort of...

It's my first attempt at writing a fanfic in Engl...oops.  It's my first 
attempt at writing a one-shot darkfic.  Period.  So, no next parts here. 
 
When I say "End of file", it's "End of fic" too, okay? :-)

One last thing before I leave you with the fic:  This story is based on 
an original idea from Cedric Ranson and some ideas from Alain Gravel (go 
and read 'The One I Love Is...'; you won't regret it, I promise!).  So, 
if you must thank someone for this, don't thank me, but rather, these 
people:
Cedric Ranson 
Alain 'Rakna' Gravel (rakna@globetrotter.qc.ca>

WARNING:  You may find Asuka too OOC in this fic.  *AGAIN*.  Let me 
reassure you, it's for the plot.  She knows she isn't behaving like she 
usually does, but she does that for *SPOILER* because she will soon 
*SPOILER* because of a *SPOILER* and that's why she *SPOILER*.  Is that 
clear? ;-)

WARNING 2:  You might want to grab three handkerchiefs or a box of 
tissues before continuing to read.

---

CAPTION:  NEON GENESIS EVANGELION
CAPTION 2:  A Tale That Wasn't Right

Asuka's dreams.

Asuka : "W-who's there!?"

Voice : "You're mine..."

---

Asuka's bedroom.  Asuka suddenly wakes up, pulled out of her nightmare. 
She sits up in her bed, looking vacantly in front of her.  After a few 
thoughts about what just happened in her nightmare, she puts her head in 
her hands and quietly sobs to herself.

Asuka : "I must be doomed...it mustn't be anything important..."

She's obviously trying to convince herself that it was nothing at all.

Asuka : "It's nothing Asuka, it's nothing...you're safe...you're alive, 
everything's okay..."

Pause.

Asuka : "No, nothing is okay...my synchro rate...is dropping..."

And with that, she stays in her bed, crying until dawn...

---

Misato's apartment.  Ikari Shinji is knocking at his roommate's (and 
fellow pilot's) door.

Shinji : "Asuka!  We have to go to HQ now..."

Asuka (angry) : "I don't care!  I'll fail those synchro tests again, if 
that's what you want to see!"

Shinji : "N-no, it's not that.  We have harmonics tests today...and 
Misato told me that you have to take them.  Please, come on..."

Asuka : "Tell Misato that she can go fuck Kaji if she wants!  I'm not 
going to those tests!"

Shinji (to himself) : "If you only knew..." (to Asuka:) "Well, you're 
going to have to tell her that yourself.  But I'm sure she'll insist."

He turns around and heads out for NERV HQ, leaving Asuka alone in the 
apartment.

---

NERV HQ, Harmonics Lab.  Ritsuko and Maya are waiting to perform the 
tests while Shinji explains the situation to Misato.  Rei is already in 
her plug suit, waiting for the tests to begin.

Misato : "What?!  She didn't want to come?"

Shinji : "I'm afraid so..."

Misato : "But why?"

Shinji : "I think that she's still having problems with that experience 
with the last Angel..."

Misato looks downward.

Shinji : "I think I...I can understand what she went through."

A voice startles the people in the room.

Asuka : "No, you can't, Third Child!  And you'll never be able to!"

Asuka is standing nearby, already in her red plug suit, waiting for the 
tests to begin.

Misato : "Well, well, well, Shinji-kun...it seems that you're the only 
one who hasn't put his plug suit on yet..."

Shinji : "Okay, I'm going to the locker room..."

And with that he leaves the lab.

---

A few minutes later, the three pilots are immersed in LCL inside their 
entry plugs.  Asuka complains about a headache all the way throughout 
the test, and says that she feels like something is slamming around 
inside her head...

---

Again, shortly after that, they are all out of their entry plugs and 
ready for debriefing in the Harmonics Lab.  Asuka is very quiet.  
Everybody else finds it unusual to see the Second Child so silent.  
Misato tries to break the silence.

Misato : "Not bad, Asuka.  Your score is better than the last time, but 
you still have a lot to do."

Asuka doesn't answer, however.  She turns her back on the people in the 
room and heads for the exit.

Misato : "Rei, I'll take you home, okay?"

Rei just nods in agreement.

Misato : "Okay, if you say so..." (to Shinji, cheerfully:) "Well, 
Shinji-kun!  Come on!"

Shinji : "Hai..."

And the three leave the room, leaving only Ritsuko and Maya.  Ritsuko 
turns to Maya.

Ritsuko : "Phew, they're finally gone...show me that again, now."

Maya : "Hai, sempai."

Maya keys a few commands in her terminal.

Ritsuko : "That can't be possible..."

Maya : "Although it's not too distinguishable here, we can see it.  If 
we lower the depth of the scan, Asuka's pattern is changing slightly."

Ritsuko : "I want a further analysis of that in five hours.  
Understood?"

Maya : "Hai!"

---

Asuka is walking silently down the crowded streets of Tokyo-3.  She's 
slowly heading towards Misato's apartment.  She doesn't want to face her 
two roommates.  Not now, anyway.

Asuka (to herself) : "What is...this feeling...inside me?"

She thinks about it a moment as she walks.

Asuka : "I can sense that something else is there, inside me...but what 
is it?"

She keeps thinking...

Asuka : "This is so weird!  It must be the end of the world.  That must 
be it.  Of course, without me as a pilot, it *will* be the end of the 
world..."

Pause.

Asuka : "If this is the end of the world, then...maybe I should take 
advantage of it somehow.  After all, I'm useless now.  I'm not a pilot 
anymore, even if everybody is trying to tell me I still am one.  But 
maybe..."

And, with that last thought, she begins to run towards the apartment.

Asuka : "Maybe...I can do something...at least..."

---

Misato's apartment.  When Shinji and Misato got back, he went to his 
room and shut the door behind him.  He then laid down on his bed, and 
turned on his SDAT walkman, listening silently to the music, enjoying a 
temporary escape from his world.  Misato stands at his bedroom door.  
She knows that something is incredibly wrong.  She lost Kaji a few days 
ago, and now...

Misato (to herself) : "Asuka's totally depressed, and the same thing's 
going to happen to Shinji-kun if nothing is done soon.  I should do 
something to help him...but what can I do?  Kaji...if only you were 
still here.  I never thought I'd miss your voice on the phone..."

She then thinks about it for a moment and goes back to her room.

Misato (on the way to her room, to herself) : "I'm powerless.  I can't 
do anything to help him.  This time, someone else will have to do it.  
Otherwise..."

---

Later.  Asuka opens the door to the apartment and walks in.  She has a 
determined look on her face.  She then quickly goes to her room and 
emerges a few minutes later wearing the pretty yellow dress she wore 
when she arrived in Japan.  She stops in front of Shinji's door.

Asuka (to herself) : "I never thought I'd see the day that I could do 
THIS...oh, well..."

She knocks at his door.  Shinji takes his time to answer, as his SDAT 
earbuds are still in his ears.

Shinji : "Who is it?"

Asuka (in a weak voice) : "Shinji, can I come in?"

Shinji (to himself) : "A-Asuka?!  What does she want me for this time?" 
(to Asuka) : "If you just want to scorn me or make fun of me again, then 
I'm busy."

Asuka takes her time to reply, too.

Asuka : "N-no, Shinji...it's not for that.  Please let me in."

Shinji (to himself) : "Huh?" (to Asuka, a little reluctantly:) "Well, 
okay, you can come in."

Asuka slowly opens the door.  Shinji looks at her in bewilderment.  He 
wasn't expecting her to come in dressed like she wanted to go out 
somewhere...

Shinji (puzzled) : "Why are you wearing that dress?"

Asuka : "Hey, I have the right to dress the way I want to!  But I'm not 
here to talk about that...hm...Shinji...would you...well, you know, 
tonight there's..."

Shinji is not used to seeing Asuka have problems with words.  It's like 
she's trying to hide something.

Shinji : "There's a School Dance tonight, right?  To celebrate the end 
of the school year..."

Asuka : "Well, Hikari's gonna be alone at the party and I thought 
that...I could be there, too, for her...and, well...I was wondering..."

Shinji : "Wondering what?  I thought that Kensuke was going, too..."

Asuka (quickly) : "I was wondering if you'd like to go to the dance with 
me."

Shinji is terrified.  How could he imagine that Asuka would ask him 
something like this?

Asuka (to herself) : "Phew, I said it."

After a few moments, Asuka notices that Shinji is still laying there, 
stunned, motionless.

Asuka (a little irritated) : "Shinji...are you still there!?"

Shinji (coming back to his senses) : "Ha...err...why?"

Asuka : "Why what?"

Shinji : "Why are you asking me?"

Asuka : "Well, it's pretty obvious.  I don't want to go there alone."

Shinji : "B-but...why me?"

Asuka : "Because you're here, okay?  Now, let's go.  You won't regret 
it."

Shinji : "And should I go...like this?"

He points at the school uniform he is currently wearing.

Asuka : "Of course you can go dressed like that!  I'm not wearing an 
evening dress, am I?  So, let's GO!"

Shinji : "Well...if you insist..."

Asuka : "Yeah, I insist.  You should be honored that you're going with 
me to a dance, you know."

Shinji (sarcastically, while standing up) : "Yes, your highness."

---

Later.  Asuka is dragging Shinji down the streets of Tokyo-3, obviously 
leading him to their high school.  In the schoolyard, they can hear the 
music filling their ears.

Shinji : "Isn't this a bit loud?"

Asuka : "No, it isn't!  Are you a wimp or what?"

Shinji : "Oh, no, no...it's just that I hate loud music."

Asuka : "You hate loud music but you always use earphones!?  You're 
weird..."

Shinji just smiles, ignoring her.

---

When they enter the gymnasium, where the party is taking place, Asuka 
immediately sees Hikari, with Kensuke not far away from her.  Everyone 
is dancing to blaringly loud J-pop music on the large dance floor in 
front of them.

Hikari : "Asuka!"

Asuka : "Hi, Hikari!  How are you?"

Hikari (sadly) : "Well...you know..."

The two girls are now chatting a little, leaving Shinji behind.  Kensuke 
walks up to Shinji.

Kensuke : "What are you doing here with Asuka?"

Shinji : "Well, she insisted that I come to the party, too..."

Kensuke : "The class rep is really depressed because of Toji, you 
know..."

This reminds Shinji of what he had done to Toji...of that painful moment 
when his EVA almost totally crushed Toji's entry plug.  Shinji lowers 
his head in shame.

Kensuke : "S-sorry, Shinji...I didn't mean to..."

Shinji : "No, no...it's my fault.  Don't try to--"

Asuka (interrupting the two boys) : "Oh, will you stop trying to find a 
reason for everyone to hate you?!"

Shinji (turning to Asuka) : "I-I'm sorry..."

Asuka (really angry) : "You really get on my nerves with that, you 
know!!!"

Hikari walks towards Shinji.

Hikari : "It's not your fault, Ikari-kun...I know what happened...you're 
not the one to blame."

Shinji turns his head to the left, in order to not face Hikari.

Asuka (a little irritated) : "Now, baka Shinji, let's dance!"

With that, she drags him onto the dance floor.  It takes Shinji a bit of 
time to get over the conversation he was just in, but before long 
they're both dancing to the rhythm of the music, facing each other.

Kensuke : "They're...dancing?"

Hikari (smiling) : "Seems so."

On the dance floor...

Asuka : "Hey, not bad."

Shinji (blushed a little) : "Well...I'm not really a good dancer, you 
know..."

Asuka : "Come on, don't be so shy!  Let me teach you how to dance..."

She then shows him a few good moves.

Asuka : "You see?"

Shinji (hesitating) : "Y-yeah.  I think I do."

Asuka : "Good!  Now, why don't you practice a while?  I have to go... 
somewhere.  If you'll excuse me..."

With those last words, she walks to the girl's washroom.  Shinji follows 
her with his eyes until she completely disappears from his view.  Then 
he hears another female voice.

Hikari : "Ikari-kun?  May I..."

Shinji (snapping out of it) : "Uh...y-yeah..."

Hikari : "Really, Ikari-kun.  It's not your fault.  And Toji knows that, 
too.  He knows that you couldn't hurt him, because you're his friend."

Shinji (frowning) : "But I nearly killed him!"

Hikari : "No, you didn't.  Your robot nearly did it.  Not you."

Shinji (looking down) : "But..."

Hikari : "Come on, Ikari-kun.  I'm sad about this, too.  Very sad.  But 
at least he's still alive.  That's the most important thing."

She notices that this doesn't console Shinji at all, and sighs.

Hikari:  "Let's dance a little, and forget all about that.  Tonight, 
we're here to have fun.  So..."

She begins to move her body in front of him.  His body slowly but surely 
does the same, as if it was mystified by the rhythm of the music...

---

In the girl's washroom.  Asuka is sitting in a stall, her head against 
the partition, her eyes closed.  She waits there until the aspirin she 
had just taken completely calms down the headache she was having a few 
minutes earlier...

Asuka (to herself) : "Boy...that hurt..."

---

Some time later.  Asuka is now back from the washroom.  What she sees 
when she returns to the gym surprises her:  Shinji dancing with Hikari. 
 
She feels the urge to interrupt the two of them...and acts on it.

Asuka : "Shinji!!!"

Shinji turns to face Asuka, and he's surprised, as is Hikari, to see her 
being angry about what they're doing.

Hikari : "Hey, I have the right to dance with Ikari, don't I?"

Asuka : "N-no!  Not that way!"

She's obviously trying to find any excuse to interrupt them.

Asuka : "I haven't finished teaching him how to dance yet!"

Hikari : "Don't worry about that.  I finished his training for you."

Asuka : "You what!?"

This scene is greatly amusing Hikari.

Hikari (giggling) : "I can't believe you're being so jealous of me, 
Asuka...!"

Shinji is now blushing quite heavily.

Asuka : "I am not!"

Hikari giggles.  Asuka then realizes what she's doing, and begins to 
giggle a bit, too.

Asuka (calming down) : "Ahhh.  It's great to see you like this, Hikari! 
 I'm really happy that you're feeling better!"

She's obviously trying to change the subject now.  Hikari notices this.

Hikari : "Thanks...but you should look at Ikari, you know!"

Asuka turns to look at Shinji, and sees that he's trying to hide his 
face from the two girls because of how deeply he's blushing.

Suddenly, the DJ announces something that catches everyone's attention.

Speaker : "All right, young lovers, here's where we take it down a bit."

The bright lights go down, a nice slow song begins to play, and a mirror 
ball spins slow patterns of light across the floor and the crowd.  
Hikari brings her face up to Asuka's ear.

Hikari (whispering) : "Good luck, Asuka-chan..."

And she disappears from the dance floor, with a wink directed at Asuka. 
 Asuka slightly blushes and turns around a little.

Asuka : "Hikari...!"

Hearing no answer, she turns back to Shinji, who is standing in the 
middle of the dance floor with her.

Asuka : "Hmmm...Shinji..."

Shinji : "Y-yeah?"

Asuka : "May I...have this dance?"

Shinji (smiling) : "Sure."

Asuka slowly steps up to him.  They look at each other for a few 
seconds.  Before he realizes it, Asuka has her arms folded loosely 
around Shinji's neck.  Shinji hesitates a bit before finally putting his 
hands around her waist.

Asuka (softly) : "Come on, Shinji.  Let's dance."

She then places her head on his shoulder.  He can't believe what's 
happening.  He is dancing closely with Asuka to a slow song...yeah, 
Asuka.  He can smell her hair and the perfume she wore for this evening. 
He also feels the really soft and warm skin of her hands around his 
neck.  He gasps a little when he feels her cheek rubbing against his, 
too...so warm...so soft...so human...

Asuka (to herself) : "I wonder...why I didn't do this before..."

She quickly wipes the tear that's falling from her left eye, and 
continues to enjoy the warmth and comfort that Shinji is giving her.  
They danced, danced, and danced like that for at least two songs.  
During the third song, however...

Shinji (to himself) : "Asuka's so beautiful tonight..."

He pulls back his head a little, and looks into Asuka's eyes.  He 
approaches her lips with his, and is about to tenderly kiss her when she 
quickly pushes him away.

Asuka (a little embarrassed) : "Baka, what do you think you're doing!?"

Almost all the boys are now looking at them.  Of course, seeing the 
untouchable Sohryu Asuka Langley dancing with someone (other than 
themselves) is everything they need to feel jealous and to look at 
Shinji with envy.  Asuka notices this when she looks around a little...

Asuka (softly) : "You see what you've done now?  Everyone's looking at 
us!"

Shinji (embarrassed, too) : "S-sorry..."

Asuka (closing her eyes) : "Hmph...let's just keep dancing, okay?"

---

Everything goes well for the rest of the song, and the fourth one.  At 
the end of that song, which ends the slow set, Asuka pulls Shinji off of 
the dance floor.

Asuka : "You see?  You can be a good dancer, when you want to be."

Shinji : "Y-yeah.  Thanks..."

Asuka looks around a little.

Asuka : "Hikari and Kensuke seem to have already left.  We should go 
home, too.  It's getting late, don't you think?"

Shinji just nods and walks with Asuka out of the school, leaving 
everybody else behind to dance until the early morning...

---

Terminal Dogma, at the same time.  Ritsuko puts a folder on Gendo's 
desk, which doesn't change his expression.  Fuyutsuki is standing beside 
him.

Ritsuko : "Here it is."

Gendo : "Has it been confirmed?"

Ritsuko : "Yes.  The Second Child seems to...be suffering from some sort 
of contamination."

Fuyutsuki : "And according to this report, the cause may be the last 
Angel she attacked."

Ritsuko : "Exactly."

Gendo stands up from his desk and turns his back on Ritsuko.

Gendo : "I want her kept under high surveillance.  Understood?"

Ritsuko : "Yes, Commander."

Fuyutsuki : "And, tell me...what made you decide to lead such an 
investigation into the Second Child?"

Ritsuko (hesitating) : "Her pattern...changed slightly during the 
harmonics tests today."

Gendo : "And...how did it change?"

Ritsuko (sadly) : "At times, the pattern's color turned to...blue..."

---

Misato's apartment.  During the trip back, Shinji didn't say a single 
word to Asuka, and tried to avoid her gaze.  When they arrive at the 
apartment, Shinji opens the door with his keycard and lets Asuka walk in 
first, as if he's trying to redeem himself with chivalry.  Once in the 
middle of the hallway leading to their rooms, Asuka finally decides to 
do something about this.  She always hated seeing Shinji being so quiet.

Asuka (to herself) : "He probably feels guilty about trying to kiss 
me..." (smiling, to Shinji:) "Hey Shinji, yo--"

Shinji suddenly interrupts her.

Shinji (looking down) : "Asuka...I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to embarrass 
you like that.  This evening has been completely spoiled because of me. 
It could have been a nice party but I screwed everything up, first with 
Hikari and Toji, and then when I tried to kiss you...if only I 
couhmmppph..."

His eyes widen as a warm feeling runs through his body.  He is unable to 
say anything more, as Asuka is covering his mouth with hers.  This time, 
Shinji doesn't feel any fingers pinching his nose.  No, this time he can 
fully enjoy the kiss they're sharing.  After a few seconds, which felt 
like an eternity to the two teens, Asuka slowly pulls her face away from 
Shinji's.

Asuka : "What are you talking about?  It was wonderful, Shinji.  Thank 
you for this evening.  You didn't spoil anything, you know...really.  
It's the best party I've ever been to.  Now, let's go to sleep, okay?"

She gives him a wink before suddenly disappearing into her own room.  
Shinji stands there, trying to comprehend what had just happened to 
him...

---

Asuka's dream.  She is in her plug suit, standing in a black void.  She 
looks down at her stomach, and sees that there is a dark stain spreading 
across her suit.

Asuka : "What is...?"

Suddenly, images of Misato, Kaji, Ritsuko, Rei, Hikari, Toji and Kensuke 
appear all around her.

Asuka : "What are you all doing here?"

They all begin to slowly walk towards her, with threatening looks on 
their faces.

Asuka : "What's wrong?"

Suddenly, the illusion shatters, and all the faces turn into previously- 
defeated Angels' faces.  They are still walking towards Asuka...

Asuka : "No!!!  Don't come any closer!  Go away!"

Her words don't receive any answer.

Asuka : "Go away, you damned Angels!"

For once, we can see fear in the Second Child's eyes...

Asuka : "GO AWAY!!!"

Seeing that they are not listening to her, she turns around and runs 
through the dark void as fast as she can until she sees a door.  Since 
her aggressors are gaining ground, she opens the door, quickly jumps 
into the room, and slams the door behind her.  Unfortunately, what she 
sees now is even more horrifying.  In front of her eyes, a silhouette of 
a human being hangs from the ceiling, and she can see a twisted smile on 
the face of the hanging person...

Asuka : "NOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

She opens the door again, and is now face to face with the 'Angels' she 
saw earlier...

Asuka : "No!  GO AWAY!!!"

The Angels surround her and began to close in on her.  Asuka looks to 
the sky and sees Shinji's face there.  She raises her hand, as if she's 
trying to touch his face, but it suddenly turns into the face of Arael, 
the Angel that showed her things she didn't want to remember.  The Angel 
that raped her mind.

Asuka : "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  SHINJIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!"

---

Asuka's bedroom.

Asuka : "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!  SHINJIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Asuka quickly sits up in her bed.  She thinks about what just happened 
in her nightmare, and begins to cry quietly.  However, the sudden yell 
from Asuka had been sufficiently loud enough to wake up Shinji, who 
luckily was the only one at home.  Misato was at HQ, for some reason the 
two teens ignored.  He carefully opens Asuka's door, and silently steps 
into her room.

Shinji : "Asuka?"

Asuka doesn't say anything, however.  She still has her head buried in 
her hands.  Shinji sits beside her on the bed.

Shinji : "Did you have a nightmare?"

Asuka : "..."

Shinji : "I know what it is.  I often have them, too."

Asuka : "..."

Shinji : "Well, if you don't want to talk..."

Shinji begins to stand up, but Asuka quickly grabs the sleeve of his 
nightshirt, and pulls him towards her.  The message is clear.

Shinji : "You want me to stay a bit longer?"

Asuka : "Shinji..."

Shinji : "Hm?"

Asuka : "Would you do something for me?"

Shinji (with a bit of a confident smirk) : "Anything you ask!  Even go 
shopping!"

Asuka : "Really?  Say...do you want to come with me to the mall 
tomorrow?"

Shinji : "Well, yeah, if you want."

Asuka : "Good.  Now, get back to sleep.  This isn't your room."

Shinji : "Are you gonna be all right?"

Asuka (with a sigh) : "Yeah, yeah..."

He finally stands up, and heads for the door.

Shinji (turning his head towards Asuka) : "If you need something, call 
me, okay?"

And with that, he closes the door.  Asuka slowly rests her head on her 
pillow, and begins to fall asleep again.

Asuka (to herself) : "Why...?"

---

The next day.  Asuka is dragging Shinji through one of Tokyo-3's malls. 
Right now they are in front of a men's clothing store.

Asuka : "Come on!  We'll buy something here and that'll be it, okay?"

Shinji (visibly tired) : "That's the fourth time you've said that..."

He's holding three large bags full of clothes, all for him, in his 
hands.

Asuka : "What are you complaining about now?!  You're asking me to carry 
this?  That's a rude thing to ask a girl!"

She's obviously playing with him, but Shinji's like any other man in the 
company of a beautiful girl like Asuka (which is to say, completely 
oblivious)...

Shinji : "Don't twist my words!  I never said that!"

Asuka (grinning) : "I can see on your face that you desperately want ME 
to carry those bags!"

Seeing that he would never win this fight, Shinji reluctantly enters the 
shop, followed by Asuka.  After a few seconds, she runs up to a rack and 
shows a nice brown jacket to Shinji.

Asuka : "Isn't that cute?  Try it!"

Shinji : "But I already have one like this--"

Asuka : "Yeah, but I'm sure this one will suit you better!"

Again, trying to argue with her is completely useless.  Asuka hands him 
the jacket.  He carefully puts down the bags he was holding in order to 
try the jacket on.  Just after he puts it on, he feels a pair of hands 
working on it.  Asuka is buttoning him up.

Shinji : "Hey, I can do that by myself, you know."

Asuka : "Ssshhh...I'm seeing if it'll suit you well, baka."

Shinji : "It seems to."

Asuka : "That's exactly what I was thinking.  You like it?"

Shinji : "Well, I'd be lying if I'd said 'no.'  As long as you like 
it..."

Asuka : "Good.  We'll buy it, then."

Shinji takes off the jacket and hands it to Asuka.  She takes a NERV 
credit card out of her purse and goes up to the salesgirl.  Shinji picks 
up the bags and goes to wait for her outside the shop.

Shinji (to himself) : "Now we'll have to go buy things for her, I 
guess..."

He sighs, seeing Asuka leaving the shop with one more bag.

Asuka : "Okay, time to go, now."

Shinji : "But...what about you?  You used up all of the limit on your 
credit card without buying yourself anything!"

Asuka (with a bit of sadness in her voice) : "M-myself...?" (now 
regaining a bit of her usual disdain:) "That's none of your business, 
baka."

Shinji (to himself) : "Huh?  What's gotten into her?"

---

Later.  Asuka decides to return to the apartment to drop off the clothes 
they'd bought today.  After that, Shinji decides that it's now his turn 
to take her somewhere.  That's what he's doing now, despite the German 
redhead constantly complaining about how long it was taking to get 
there.  They wind up in front of the patch of land where watermelons are 
growing--the ones that Kaji had been raising.  Asuka is a bit surprised.

Asuka : "W-what is this?  Watermelons?"

Shinji : "Yeah.  Nice, aren't they?"

Asuka : "Well, I'm not that much of a gardener, you know.  Are they 
yours?"

Shinji : "No, they aren't mine.  They're Kaji's."

Asuka : "K-Kaji-san?"

She thinks about it for a while.

Asuka : "By the way, do you know where he is?  I've been trying to call 
him the last few days, but..."

Shinji (sadly) : "Asuka..."

Asuka : "So, you know?"

Shinji : "Kaji is..."

Asuka (angry) : "Well!?"

Shinji (hiding his face from Asuka and looking down) : "He's dead, 
Asuka..."

The two of them are now deathly silent.  The only sound audible is the 
birds all around them...

Asuka (angry) : "What!?  You knew, didn't you...?"

Shinji : "Misato never told me, either, Asuka.  I just guessed..."

Asuka : "B-but...you can't guess that someone's dead!  You must be sure 
of it!"

She's obviously upset by the news.  They continue to talk without even 
looking at each other.

Shinji : "I'm sure, Asuka.  The way Misato was behaving...I knew he was 
dead...it confirmed my thoughts.  I never wanted to admit it until a few 
days ago, but he's gone.  When he was with us, I saw him kind of like a 
father to us, you know."

Asuka : "You're strange today, Shinji."

Shinji (turning his head towards her) : "What?"

Asuka : "You never talked with me that way before."

Shinji (smiling) : "Did I ever have the chance?"

Asuka : "Yeah, I didn't want you to bother me with your little problems, 
but now...I just don't know.  I feel different."

Shinji (sadly) : "I'm nothing to you.  Don't lie to me.  I know how you 
feel about Kaji-san..."

Asuka (sadly) : "N-no...it's not that, Shinji...it's not like that..."

Shinji : "If only I..."

Asuka : "What?"

Shinji : "You know, Asuka...if only I could have convinced my father to 
let Unit-01 out of its freeze...maybe I could have...kept you from what 
you experienced...it must have been terrible."

Asuka : "...hmmm.  That Angel made me see things I wanted to forget 
forever.  All the doors to my mind, to my memories...to my heart... 
shattered, just like that...it was inside me, Shinji.  It looked into my 
memories, and it forced me to look at them, too..."

Shinji : "I bet you had a hard past, just like me..."

Asuka : "You, too?  You had problems with your parents?"

Shinji : "Especially with my father...but I loved my mother."

Asuka : "It was different for me..."

Shinji : "What do you mean?"

Asuka : "In my case, I really hate my mother, you know..."

Shinji : "Don't force yourself to tell me if you don't want to."

Asuka : "I don't see why a stupid Angel should be able to know that and 
you shouldn't.  And...I have to make up for making you feel jealous 
about Kaji-san."

Shinji is stunned by that last comment.

Shinji : "B-but I wasn't!  What do you mean by that?"

Asuka : "Don't you see that you mean more to me than Kaji-san?  Do you 
think that I'll talk about something that deeply disturbs me to the 
first guy who's passing by?"

Shinji : "I guess not."

Asuka (softly) : "Then, you'll see that I value you more than you may 
think..."

Shinji : "If you want to talk about your past...I'm ready to listen, 
Asuka.  And if you have a problem with that, you can stop.  I don't want 
you to get hurt...not again."

Asuka sighs before beginning her story.

Asuka : "My father didn't love us, my mother and I.  That's why she 
killed herself and wanted to kill me, too.  But I didn't want to.  I 
wanted to live..."

Shinji decides to say something when he sees a tear sliding down her 
cheek...

Shinji : "Okay, okay...I got it.  You can stop now if it hurts that 
much."

Asuka : "..."

Shinji : "Hey..."

Asuka : "What is it now?"

Shinji : "Look at the sunset..."

Asuka turns her head towards Shinji so that she's looking in the same 
direction as him.  There is a beautiful sunset in front of their eyes.  
Shinji sits down on the ground to admire it.  Asuka soon joins him.

Asuka : "It's wonderful...a beautiful sunset, indeed."

Shinji : "..."

Asuka : "Let's stay here a while...before going back home..."

She then leans over so that her head is on Shinji's shoulder...

Asuka : "You're warm...feels good."

Shinji (really uneasy) : "Hmm...y-yeah...thanks...you're warm, too..."

And they stayed in this position for a long time, before finally getting 
up and leaving.

---

Misato's apartment.  Shinji and Asuka arrive as Misato is preparing a 
late 'dinner' (or whatever you call her cooking) for them.

Shinji : "Tadaima [I'm home]!!"

Shinji noticed during their walk back home how Asuka seemed to be lost 
in her thoughts.  Like she is now...

Asuka (to herself) : "I can feel that...tomorrow's gonna be a really bad 
day.  Really bad...but how can I feel that?  Why do I--"

Her thoughts are interrupted by Shinji, who is waving his hand in front 
of her face.

Shinji : "Hello?  Earth to Asuka.  Are you receiving me?"

Asuka (sighing) : "Yeah, yeah...I was just thinking about something.  
Don't worry."

Shinji walks towards the bathroom.

Shinji : "Okay, good.  If you'll excuse me..."

Asuka watches him disappear behind the bathroom door and goes directly 
to her room.  After a few minutes, Shinji exits the bathroom and heads 
to the kitchen, where Misato is waiting for the two of them.

Shinji : "Misato-san, where's Asuka?"

Misato : "I dunno.  She came back with you, didn't she?"

Shinji : "Yeah..."

Misato : "She may be in her room.  You know, she must be exhausted.  The 
stress, her synchro rate...it can't be good for her.  She needs some 
rest."

Shinji : "I won't disturb her, then..."

He glances at Asuka's door.

Shinji (to himself) : "What's happening, Asuka?"

---

Nighttime.  Shinji is lying in his bed, looking at the ceiling...

Shinji (to himself) : "What's going on with Asuka?"

Pause.

Shinji (to himself) : "She didn't even say good night to me before going 
to her room.  Something must be wrong...really wrong...I hope that she's 
okay.  Look at me, Asuka...because of you, I can't get to sleep...heh 
heh..."

He chuckles a bit and tries to go to sleep once more...

---

The next morning.  Misato is knocking at Shinji and Asuka's doors.

Misato : "Shinji!  Asuka!  Get up!  Ritsuko ordered me to take you two 
to HQ immediately!"

Shinji exits his room, still very tired.

Shinji : "Good morning, Misato-san...could you tell me why we have to go 
to HQ?"

Misato : "You must do another set of harmonics tests."

Shinji : "Again?!  But we just did one two days ago!"

Misato : "I know, I know...but she told me that there had been a problem 
with a computer and all the data for that series had been erased..."

Shinji : "Oh, well..."

Soon, Asuka leaves her room, too, dressed in her school uniform.

Asuka (to herself) : "They'll probably find out today...I'm sure there's 
something wrong with me..."

---

Harmonics Labs, NERV HQ.  The three EVA pilots are seated in their entry 
plugs, awaiting the start of the tests.

Misato : "But why did you make the three of them come here?  I thought 
you wanted only Asuka to..."

Ritsuko (interrupting) : "They'll be less likely to feel suspicious if 
they are together."

Misato : "Are you hiding something from me, by any chance?"

Ritsuko (with a little smile) : "Not yet."

Misato (returning the smile) : "You'd better not be."

The women's terse conversation is suddenly interrupted by alarms 
sounding everywhere.

Ritsuko : "Maya!  Is this..."

Maya : "Yes, sempai.  It's now confirmed."

Ritsuko : "Well...cut the alarms for this type of alert directly from 
MAGI System Setup Procedures.  Code 1601."

Maya : "Hai!"

The alarms stop shortly afterwards.

Misato : "What just happened!?"

Ritsuko : "As I thought, there was...a bug in the MAGI..."

Misato : "Nothing serious, I hope."

Ritsuko : "Well, it could become that way..."

The alert obviously jars the children out of their trance.

Shinji (through the speakers) : "Misato-san?  What was that?"

Asuka, beside him on the monitor, is completely silent.

Ritsuko : "Don't worry, everyone.  It was just a false alarm.  A bug in 
the computer system.  You can go now.  The test is finished."

The children get out of their entry plugs and go directly to the 
harmonics lab to find out the results of the tests.  But, to their great 
surprise, no one is there now.  Rei suddenly speaks.

Rei : "I have an appointment with Commander Ikari.  I'm leaving."

Shinji : "Father...?" (to himself:) "Why is Rei always with my father?"

Asuka waits until she is alone with Shinji to say something.

Asuka : "Where did they go?"

Shinji : "I don't know...but Misato-san left her jacket here..."

He gestures to the chair that said jacket is sitting on.

Asuka : "Stay here.  I'm gonna see if they're around, okay?"

She gives him a wink, and leaves the room.

---

NERV's hallways.  Asuka wanders for a few minutes until she overhears a 
conversation coming from behind a door.  The two people talking are 
apparently Ritsuko and Misato.

Asuka (to herself) : "What are they talking about?"

She then decides to eavesdrop on the conversation...

---

A briefing room, somewhere in Central Dogma.  Ritsuko is sitting in a 
chair, while Misato sits on the edge of the desk.

Misato : "She's *WHAT*!!?"

Ritsuko : "This is a hurried analysis, but according to the tests..."

Misato : "But can't MAGI make errors sometimes?!  That can't be 
possible!  Think about it!"

Ritsuko : "Listen Misato, MAGI gave me an error percentage of 
0.0000001%.  Therefore, this is certainly true.  Asuka is no longer..."

Asuka frowns at the mention of her name.

Misato : "Ritsuko, think with your brain, not with your computer!  How? 
How can our Asuka, the Second Children, designated pilot of Eva 
Unit-02, be an ANGEL!!?  Seriously!"

Asuka begins to tremble, and slowly falls to her knees.  She...an Angel?

Asuka (to herself) : "No..."

She then quickly gets up and runs in the direction she came from...

Asuka (while running, to herself) : "So...these nightmares...they'll 
happen!  They'll certainly happen, if I don't do something...!"

---

Harmonics lab.  When Asuka arrives, she sees that no one else is 
present.

Asuka : "Good, Shinji's not here..."

She then looks around, and notices that Misato's jacket is still on the 
chair.  She has a sudden idea, and walks over to the chair.

Asuka (to herself) : "Misato always carries her gun...I wonder..."

She rummages through the jacket until she feels something hard and cold 
in her hand.

Asuka : "Here it is..."

She slowly takes the gun out of the jacket, and looks at it with 
caution.

Asuka : "So cold...if I don't do this now...I'll be killed by...him..."

She then clicks off the safety catch.

Asuka (giggling to herself) : "I hope Misato is always sober when she 
uses this..."

She then thinks about what she just said.

Asuka : "Gosh, this is creepy."

She then puts the barrel right up against the side of her head, when...

Shinji : "ASUKA!  What the hell are you doing with *THAT*!!!?"

Shinji had entered by the same door as Asuka moments earlier.  She had 
been so absorbed by what she was doing that she didn't hear him come in.

Asuka : "Isn't it obvious?  I'm trying to kill myself, Shinji.  Now, go, 
or they'll think that you shot me instead."

Shinji : "But WHY are you doing this!? WHY?"

Asuka : "They didn't tell you yet?  I'm..."

Shinji : "I don't care if you can't pilot anymore, Asuka!  Can't you 
just learn to live without piloting Eva?  I know that you're really 
depressed because of this, but that's no reason to give up living like 
that!"

Asuka : "That's not the point, Shinji..."

Shinji : "Asuka...that kiss you gave me...it was great.  Really...and 
yesterday.  That was great, too!  I felt like we were a married couple 
doing our shopping!  I felt so...I felt so good being there with you, 
Asuka!  Can't you understand that!?  Can't you understand that you can 
at least live for ME!?"

He has that determined look on his face that shows that he is now more 
self-confident about the situation than he usually is...

Asuka (sadly) : "Shinji..."

A loud clatter can be heard throughout the whole room.  Before Shinji 
can react, he feels like some wind has just brushed him.  He then sees 
the gun on the ground, and the door behind him swinging open...

Shinji : "Asuka!"

...and Shinji begins to run after Asuka, down Central Dogma's long, 
numerous hallways.

---

A few minutes later.  Shinji is slumping against the wall at a corner, 
catching his breath...

Shinji : "Dammit, I lost her!  Shinji, you're a complete idiot!"

---

Inside an entry plug...

Asuka : "Today you'll move, you damned doll!  You'll MOVE!"

She is tightly clutching the controls.

Asuka (screaming hysterically) : "I said, MOOOOOOVE!!!!!!!!!"

She tries her best to make the Eva move a little, but doesn't succeed.

Asuka (crying) : "Move...please...move...!"

Suddenly, Rei's words echo in her mind.

Rei : "Evas have a heart.  If you don't open up to the Eva, it won't 
move..."

Asuka : "A heart...opening myself up to the Eva...?  How!?"

She begins to shed tears on the controls...

Asuka : "Mama..."

Suddenly all the lights around Asuka turn on at once...

Asuka : "What the...?"

---

Meanwhile, in the Briefing Room...

Ritsuko : "You still don't believe me!?  Commander Ikari has ordered 
that, if the results were confirmed, she has to be executed as an 
Angel!"

Misato : "That bastard commander doesn't know what he's talking about!  
Asuka's a human being!  That's nonsense!"

Ritsuko : "Misato, I have to tell Ikari that the Second Child is no more 
and is now designated as the 16th Angel.  Period.  If you don't agree 
with his orders, tell him face to face, okay!?"

Misato : "But we can DO something, can't we!?  We must be able to save 
her somehow!"

Ritsuko : "That would be too dangerous, Misato.  The last time we tried 
to study an inoffensive Angel, it was in a volcano, and we nearly lost 
an Eva and its pilot."

Misato : "But--!"

Misato is interrupted by a violent tremor.  All the lights in the 
Briefing Room turn red and several alarms begin to go off.

Misato : "What's going on now!?"

Ritsuko types something on the terminal on the table at which she was 
sitting.

Ritsuko : "Maya, what's going on!?"

Maya : "Sempai!  Unit-02 has been activated and is quickly climbing the 
catapult ramp!"

Ritsuko : "Unit-02!?  Who's inside!?"

Maya : "According to the few readings I had on its activation period, 
Asuka's inside.  But she immediately cut all output systems from the 
plug!"

Ritsuko : "Wonderful.  We're on our way."

Misato can't believe her ears...

---

Inside Unit-01's entry plug.

Shinji : "Misato-san!  What's going on?"

Misato (on the comm system) : "Shinji...there's an 'Angel' attack..."

Shinji : "What a time for this to happen!  By the way, where's--"

Misato : "We've got no time to waste, Shinji-kun.  The Angel is climbing 
up the catapult ramp and is expected to be out in Tokyo-3 in a few 
seconds.  You'll be launched via the 3rd route, and will intercept the 
target."

Shinji : "Hai!" (to himself:) "Why is it exiting from the Geofront?"

---

NERV's Control Room.

Ritsuko : "What's her synch ratio?"

Maya : "From the few readings I saw...378%..."

Ritsuko was speechless for a few seconds.

Ritsuko : "Are you positive about that reading?  Asuka's sync rate is 
usually 30-37% these days..."

Maya : "MAGI is categorical, sempai..."

Misato : "What is that supposed to mean?!"

Ritsuko : "If Shinji decides to fight Asuka..."

Misato : "Has the umbilical cable to Unit-02 has been cut?"

Maya : "Yes, Major. When Unit-02 was illegally activated by Asuka."

Misato : "Hmph..."

---

On the surface.  Shinji is waiting in his Unit-01, positron rifle at the 
ready, finger on the trigger, when the 'Angel' pops out of the 1st 
catapult ramp.

Shinji : "Come on, you bastard..."

When Unit-02 exits the ramp by kicking out the platform hiding it, 
Misato speaks.

Misato : "Shinji-kun..."

Shinji : "What is it Misato-s...NO!!!!"

Shinji drops his rifle when he sees that the designated 16th Angel in 
his sights is Unit-02's entry-plug.

Shinji : "What going on!!?  Misato-san!"

Misato : "Shinji-kun...the 16th Angel...it's..."

Shinji : "No!  No!  It can't be Asuka!  Don't tell me she's an Angel!  
That can't be possible!"

Misato : "Shinji-kun, listen to me.  Go and catch Asuka.  We'll try to 
find a solution, okay?  You don't have to kill her.  I know you..."

The transmission is interrupted, and the face of Ikari Gendo shows up on 
Unit-01's comm display.

Gendo : "Shinji.  This is your target.  You have to eliminate it."

Shinji : "Father!  What are you doing?!  Why did you interrupt Misato- 
san!?"

Gendo : "Don't change the subject.  You have a duty to perform."

Shinji : "But this is Asuka, father!  This is one of my best friends!  
Why do you always want to make me kill my friends!!!!!!?"

Asuka stops her advance when she hears Shinji's two last comments.

Shinji : "Father!  If you ever loved mother, you know how I feel!  I'm 
going to catch her!  I will NOT kill her!  No matter what you say!"

---

NERV Control Room.

Misato : "Commander!  Why did you interrupt me!?"

Gendo : "You were misinforming the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01.  Major 
Katsuragi, you are currently removed from the command of this mission."

Misato frowns and quietly gives the commander's image on the screen a 
murderous look.

Fuyutsuki (whispering to Gendo) : "Why haven't you sent Rei?"

Gendo : "She is busy right now. And a duel with the Second Child at her 
current synchro rate would be suicidal."

Fuyutsuki : "But why your son?"

Gendo : "..."

---

Outside.  It doesn't take long for Shinji to catch up with Asuka.

Shinji : "Asuka, can you hear me!?"

Asuka opens a comm channel to Shinji's Eva.  She has a sad but 
determined look on her face.

Asuka : "Yeah, of course.  But I thought they would have sent Wondergirl 
after me.  After all, I deserve to be killed by her, don't I?"

Shinji : "How much activation time is left on your Eva?"

Asuka (flatly) : "That is none of your business."

Shinji : "Just tell me, please."

Asuka (sighing) : "Less than one minute."

Shinji : "Perfect.  Stop your Eva."

Asuka : "You fool.  If you think that I'll surrender that easily..."

After a thirty-second race around Tokyo-3, Shinji finally catches up 
with Asuka again.  Her activation time now over, her entry plug 
automatically ejects.  Shinji then places his Eva next to hers, almost 
back to back, and ejects his entry plug, too.  He jumps over to Asuka's 
entry plug, opens the hatch and gets inside it.  Inside, there is Asuka, 
crying at the controls...

Asuka (between sobs) : "WHY!?  Why don't you activate even when your 
time is over, mama!?  WHY!!!?"

Shinji doesn't understand what she's talking about.

Asuka (sobbing) : "Now they'll take me away from you...and...away 
from--"

She can't finish her sentence, as Shinji has firmly but gently grabbed 
her chin and was kissing her passionately on the lips.  A few seconds 
later, he stops.  She sits there, absolutely stunned.

Shinji (smiling) : "Hey, it's only me, Asuka...don't worry.  I promise 
you, right here and now, that no one else will lay a finger on you... 
ever.  Don't worry, Asuka.  And...I swear that I'll never leave you 
behind..."

Asuka is still very unresponsive because of what she just experienced, 
and remains motionless.  Seeing that she isn't going to move by herself, 
Shinji slides an arm under the crook of her knees and the other under 
her back, and slowly lifts her up.  He carries Asuka out of her entry 
plug and climbs back into his own with her.

Asuka : "Shinji..."

Shinji : "Yeah?"

Asuka : "Thank you..."

Shinji : "Heh heh, I almost feel like a newlywed man carrying his wife 
into their new home..."

Asuka (blushing a little) : "That doesn't sound bad, actually..."

Shinji stops and looks at Asuka, who smiles at him.  Suddenly, Shinji 
starts to lose his balance, and is about to fall from the top of his Eva 
with Asuka in his arms...but he recovers at the last moment and 
continues with her into his own entry plug.

Asuka (giggling) : "Baka!  You nearly killed us!"

Shinji : "S-sorry..."

Asuka (with a little 'humph' and a smile) : "You really are a baka.  But 
it's that part of you that I like the most, you know..."

The hatch of Unit-01's entry plug closes over the two of them.

---

Control Room.

Maya : "Shinji has taken Asuka into his own entry plug."

Ritsuko : "I hope this won't cause any interference..."

On the surface, Shinji activates his Eva and begins to walk towards a 
forest on the horizon...

Fuyutsuki : "What is he doing?"

Gendo : "Shinji, the nearest recovery tunnel is in the opposite 
direction."

A somber young voice resonates throughout the control room.

Shinji : "Who ever said I was going to come back?"

An image of Shinji in his entry plug appears on a comm monitor.  Asuka 
is sitting in his lap, and is resting her head on his left shoulder, 
eyes shut tight.  She doesn't want to face anyone at NERV, now that they 
consider her an enemy...

Gendo : "What are you doing!?"

Shinji (with a very determined frown) : "The same as usual.  Running 
away from you."

Gendo : "Why are you with the enemy?"

Shinji (as serious as ever) : "The enemy?  Where do you see an enemy?  
The girl I'm holding in my arms is no enemy, father, and will never be. 
I promised her I would protect her...from you.  Understood?"

Gendo : "Dr. Akagi, cut the umbilical cable."

Eva-01's umbilical cable springs from its back and falls to the ground. 
 

Ritsuko : "Commander Ikari, that won't be a problem for him.  Have you 
forgotten that..."

Misato silently watches the conversation...

Gendo : "Don't worry.  They'll eventually have to stop somewhere.  We'll 
have the chance to catch them later."

Gendo's scary 'I'm-plotting-something-behind-your-back' smile creeps 
across his face.  This stops Ritsuko from saying another word.

Fuyutsuki (to Gendo) : "Don't you fear that something will happen with 
the S2 organ inside Unit-01?"

Gendo : "..."

---

Later, inside Eva Unit 01's Entry Plug.  Asuka is a bit exhausted and is 
still resting on Shinji's lap, head against his shoulder.  When she 
looks up, she sees the strain on Shinji's face; in fact, she swears she 
can see him sweating...

Asuka : "Shinji...you can stop if you want..."

Shinji (trembling a little) : "NO!  They'll catch us if I stop now!"

Asuka : "Perhaps, but if we go any further, we might encounter the army 
or something like that...please, Shinji.  Stop.  I want to rest 
somewhere."

Shinji : "But..."

Asuka (smiling) : "I don't think that floating around in LCL all night 
is good for our health, baka Shinji!"

And with that she places a little kiss on his cheek.

Shinji (sighing) : "Okay, you win.  I'll stop now."

Once they arrive at the forest, Shinji brings the Eva down to its knees, 
deactivates it, ejects the entry plug and helps Asuka climb out of the 
hatch.  He then reaches behind the pilot seat and takes out the 
emergency kit that is stored there.  Eventually, they are walking 
through the forest, trying to find a secure place to sleep before the 
night falls on Japan.

Asuka : "Don't you think we should hide it?"

Shinji : "Hmmm...yeah, you're right.  Wait here, Asuka."

He jumps back into the entry plug and closes the hatch.  The plug slides 
back in, Unit-01 comes back to life, and it crawls briefly on its hands 
and knees before laying down on its stomach in an area dense with trees. 
After that, the entry plug ejects again, Shinji exits his Eva, and he 
walks up to Asuka, who is leaning against a tree, her eyes shut.

Shinji : "Are you sick?"

Asuka (opening her eyes) : "N-no...no, don't worry about that..."

She looks at the sky.

Asuka : "Where's your Eva?"

Shinji : "Heh heh.  I don't think they'll find it that easily.  They'll 
have to use radar or something like that to see it through the trees."

Asuka puts her arms around his neck.

Asuka (giggling) : "You're less baka than I thought!"

Shinji : "Well, I'm doing it for you, after all..."

With those words, their faces draw closer and they end up kissing 
passionately under a tree in the middle of a forest...

---

Misato had retreated to her office after being dismissed.  She's on the 
phone now.

Misato : "Security Section 2?  Your orders for retrieving the Children 
have been canceled."

Man on the phone : "Major Katsuragi?  We can't override this order.  It 
has been issued by Commander Ikari himself."

Misato : "Really?  Commander Ikari is very busy right now.  I can't 
imagine his fury if he knew that you refused one of HIS orders.  The one 
to cancel the search for the two Children."

Man on the phone : "But..."

Misato : "Ooooh...I can picture it now...he'd fire you before you could 
spell it, in fact..."

Man on the phone : "O-order received, Major.  All the troops will be 
ordered back to base."

Misato : "Good.  I'll handle this from now on."

She hangs up.

---

Later in the evening, Shinji and Asuka are wandering through the forest, 
trying to find a place where they can sleep.

Asuka : "You're really a baka, Shinji...your father will kill you if..."

Shinji : "My father will have to kill me anyway if he wants to get to 
you that badly."

Asuka is stunned by this...

Shinji : "I think this is the place."

Asuka : "What's here?  I see nothing here."

Shinji : "I think this is where I met Kensuke once...when I was running 
away."

Asuka : "Oh..."

Shinji : "Okay.  We'll stay here for the night...after that...I don't 
know, but I don't think we can just stay here."

Shinji opens the emergency kit and pulls a lighter and some blankets out 
of it.  With the lighter, he starts a fire in a clearing in the middle 
of the field where they are.  Asuka sits down, and looks at him.

Asuka : "I didn't know you knew survival techniques..."

Shinji : "This is no technique, Asuka.  This is life.  Everyone knows 
how to make a fire..."

He smiles at her, and she returns the smile.

A few moments later, they are sitting in front of the fire, under the 
blankets, trying to warm each other.  They are still in their plug 
suits, but the survival system inside them had already been used up.

Asuka : "Shinji..."

Shinji : "Mm?"

Asuka : "Why did you help me?  I'm no longer a human being..."

Shinji : "Yes, you are, Asuka.  You are a human being, to me.  And 
that's what's most important."

Asuka : "You really mean it?"

Shinji (nodding) : "Yeah."

Asuka (sadly) : "Shinji...I..."

Shinji : "Sssh...."

And with that, he kisses her tenderly on the lips, but Asuka wants more, 
and she returns the kiss with all her strength.  After a few seconds, 
Asuka reaches out for Shinji's wrist, and, with the press of a button, 
she unseals his plug suit...Shinji breaks off the kiss.

Shinji (softly) : "Asuka..."

Asuka : "Please...let me thank you..." (to herself:) "This may be our 
last night together...let's not spoil it..."

Shinji : "Asuka...I'd like to, too, but--"

Asuka quells Shinji's protest by planting another kiss on his mouth.  
The message is now clear to the both of them.  That is why Shinji slowly 
reaches out for the button on Asuka's left wrist and unseals her plug 
suit as well...

Asuka : "Mmmmmmm......"

Their true love was now just beginning to shine against the darkness of 
the night...

---

Later that night.  It seems that Shinji is naked under the blankets, and 
so is Asuka.  Their plug suits are in a pile on the ground beside them. 
Asuka is apparently sleeping.  She is in Shinji's arms, and her eyes 
are closed.

Shinji (to himself) : "I don't care if the world will end like Misato- 
san said once.  I just don't care.  She's here, in my arms.  She may be 
our enemy, and I may have just betrayed my own race, but she's still the 
only one I care for.  The only one that my heart beats for.  The only 
one I love in this world..."

He then tenderly kisses her forehead.

Shinji : "I love you, Asuka..."

A single tear escapes Asuka's eyes, as she smiles softly...

Shinji : "Good night, and, for once, sweet dreams, 'Asuka-chan'..."

Asuka (to herself) : "Don't worry about that, Shinji...as long as I'm in 
your arms, I'll never have another nightmare..."

---

The next morning.  Shinji wakes up on this early morning, disturbed by 
the fact that he feels someone's notable absence.  Asuka wasn't here 
now, and neither was her plug suit.  Shinji puts his own suit on, and 
sets out to search for Asuka.  After a few minutes, he finally finds her 
at the edge of a cliff, looking at the clouds in the sky.  The waves of 
the sea below are loud enough to drown out his footsteps.

Asuka (to herself) : "I can sense it...it's growing...I have to end it 
now..."

Not yet aware of Shinji's presence, she begins to take a step forward...

Shinji : "Asuka!!!  Nooo!  Don't do this!"

She turns around and he rushes up to her.  He hugs her and kisses her 
hard on the lips.  After a few moments, Asuka pushes him away.  He lands 
painfully on the ground.

Shinji : "W-why?"

Asuka : "I'm sorry, Shinji...but I have to do it.  I don't want you to 
have to kill me, and...most of all, I want to die while I'm still a 
human being...farewell, 'Shin-chan'...I loved you, too..."

Shinji : "Asukaaa!!!!!!!!  Nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!"

Unfortunately, before Shinji can stand up again, Asuka throws herself 
backwards, falling into the sea below...

Shinji : "NOOOOO!!!  NOOOOOO!!!!!  NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

He screams at the top of his tortured soul, and then sobs loudly as he 
curls up on the ground, crying Asuka's name out over and over.  After he 
finally quiets down, he gets up and slowly walks to the edge of the 
cliff.  He looks at the sky and gets ready to join Asuka, wherever she 
may be now.  But just as he is about to launch himself, he feels two 
arms quickly and tightly wrap around him from behind.

Misato : "Shinji-kun...I've just lost Asuka.  I don't want to lose you 
as well."

Shinji struggles briefly before finally going limp.  Misato drags him 
away until they are far from the cliff.  She can feel his tears burning 
into her arms.  She sets him down so that they are both kneeling on the 
ground, and holds him tightly, his head on her shoulder, partially to 
keep him from getting up and running back.  Shinji's body convulses as 
he continues to sob, and Misato can't help but shed a few tears herself.

Shinji : "Why...?  I loved her so much..."

Misato : "Asuka loved you, too, Shinji-kun...in her own way, but she 
loved you very much.  I think that Asuka wanted to die in the line of 
duty in the first place.  While she was trying to stop the Angels.  But 
I'm sure that a part of her didn't want to die.  Because of you, 
Shinji-kun..."

Shinji (barely audible) : "I loved her..."

Misato : "Asuka...wanted to tell you something important by doing this, 
Shinji-kun.  You must assume your duty.  You mustn't run away anymore.  
If you won't do it for yourself, at least, do it for her.  To make her 
feel, wherever she is now, that her death was not in vain...that she 
could help the one she loved destroy the threat of the Angels, to 
destroy the thing that destroyed her..."

Shinji : "But...is this world really worth saving, Misato-san?"

She strokes the back of his head as she thinks about this.

Misato : "That's the question.  Be strong, Shinji-kun, and you'll find 
the answer yourself."

---
END
---

Author's notes:
And now the audience shouts:  "But why Asuka-chan!!!?  Why her!!?"
And I reply with the axiom:  "Spare the rod and spoil the child!"

Okay it's not really the kind of ending I like myself, but I wanted to 
give darkfics a try.  If you enjoyed it, let me know, okay?

The main idea came from Cedric Ranson, when we were discussing Child of 
Love, I think.  Then, I got some other ideas from Alain Gravel, and I 
continued to talk about this with Cedric, and we made a little plan for 
this fic...and here it is now! :-)

Thanks to all of my pre-readers:

Al-I-Bus ("Imagine Normality?", "A New World For Shinji & Asuka", "Love 
	After Impact")
Alain Gravel ("The One I Love Is...", "Lost Love", "Visions")
Borderline Case ("Reflections in Red")
Cedric Ranson (Co-scenarist of this fanfic!)
C-mann ("Unrequested Assistance")
Dave Watson ("Victory," and my personal fanfic retooler!!! :-))
EBJ (Thanks for your corrections and suggestions!)
Eva_Pilot00
Godsend777 ("The Death Of One", "Is Nothing Sacred?", "Strangely 
	Darkfic")
Greg Thomas (Webmaster of "Everything Anime")
Jayson Deare ("What The Hell Happened To NGE", "The Conception Of The 
	Child of Love")
DJ Lesser ("Ayanami's Lesson")
Kaoru Nagisa ("EvaLeSs")
Shadow's Madness ("Sins Of The Past")
Pheaton
Readiosys Fisher ("Unfamiliar Fearings")
Sammy Sy
Shinji the 10 O'clock Assassin (too many fanfics)
Sudhoya'da
Tim Lee
Yousef Al-Samshi

What a crew!!! :-)

See you soon,
Axel Terizaki