Retooled by Dave Watson, 1999 6 14, and 7 10-11.
Basic HTML work and further polishing by Watson, 1999 8 04-05 & 09. HTML Version 1.0a.
LAST CHAPTER: What a surprise! After a raging battle against an Angel, Asuka's now amnesic; in other words, she can't remember anything about her past. When she awakened, she first saw Shinji and now seeks protection and comfort from him. Could you imagine yourself waking up in an hospital room, seeing unknown faces in an unknown place, with giant robots fighting against giant creatures? Asuka doesn't want to remember anything, feeling that her old life was nothing but pain...and afraid that she'd lose the closeness she now feels with Shinji if she did.
Will she succeed in finally forgetting her hard past? Will she fully recover her memory instead? Will Shinji help her? Does anyone know where that damn Evangelion MP3 CD is that I've been trying to find in my messy room for one week now?
THE SECOND MEMORY
Misato's apartment, morning.
Misato: "Come on, Shinji, get up now! It's time! And there's NO breakfast! I'm hungry! Get up now and cook something, please??"
Misato is standing in the hallway, knocking on Shinji's door.
Misato: "I'm coming in!"
She opens the door, and almost immediately, her jaw drops at the sight in front of her. Asuka is in Shinji's bed, holding him gently from behind. She's smiling broadly as if she's in the safest place in the world. Shinji quietly wakes up and sees Misato in front of him. Misato is speechless for a few minutes.
Shinji: "Mi...Misato-san! I can explain! It's not what you..."
Misato(shouting) : "WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING IN THE SAME BED!!?"
Shinji: "Ssshhhh...you'll wake her up!"
Too late. Asuka has awoken, thanks to Misato's outburst.
Asuka(opening her eyes and sitting up): "Ma...M...I'm sorry..."
Misato: "Now tell me, what are you two doing in the same bed!?"
Shinji: "Really, it's nothing..."
Asuka lowers her head, stands up, then slowly walks out of the room. This silences Misato. Asuka is now behind her.
Asuka(not even looking at her): "I'm sorry, Major Katsuragi. I was just...I was just...I was...oh..."
And with that, she runs to her room and shuts the door behind her.
Misato: "I know..."
Shinji: "How could you? She's already afraid of this world and you scared her like that!"
Misato: "Well, I guess that I thought with my Major side...and a pregnant pilot was the worst-case scenario that came to my mind when I saw you two."
Shinji: "Nothing like that happened, Misato-san. Don't worry about that."
Misato(sighing): "What a relief..."
Shinji leaves his room without saying anything else and heads towards Asuka's.
Misato(to herself, lowering her head): "Well done, Misato. You really are a complete idiot."
Asuka's room. Shinji enters silently and sees Asuka curled in a fetal position on her bed, just like she was when she was in the hospital yesterday.
Asuka: "She doesn't like me, does she?"
Shinji(sitting beside her): "She loves both of us, Asuka. But, you know, Misato-san's a Major. She's responsible for our well-being. She has to assure her seniors that nothing will happen to us. Like, well...if we...err...did something wrong, and...I had gotten you pregnant, I don't know how my father would have reacted..."
[Author's note: Heh heh...I know how he would have reacted... :-) ]
Asuka: "Your father...? You have parents? But you are like me, a pilot. So why do you have your parents and not me?"
Shinji: "My father...is the commander of NERV, the organization we belong to."
Asuka: "Oh. I see. And your mother?"
Shinji(lowering his head): "She...disappeared when I was young."
Asuka(sadly): "I'm sorry...I think I understand how you feel, but I don't see why. I'm sorry for asking you this..."
Shinji: "Well, that's not important. I didn't have the time to tell you something I should have a few minutes ago."
Asuka: "What is it?"
He takes his time to place himself in front of her face, look right into her eyes and smile.
Shinji(softly): "Good morning, Asuka."
Asuka(smiling warmly, a little surprised): "Guten morgen, Shinji."
And then she immediately gives him a confused look.
Shinji: "What's wrong?"
Asuka: "Why did I just talk to you in German? I'm Japanese, right?"
Shinji: "Well, as far as I know, you come from Germany."
Asuka: "Deutschland? I...I remember..."
A flash of light strikes Asuka's mind as she sees a glimpse of a door opening. Her vision then returns to normal. She looks at the floor.
Shinji: "Asuka! Are you okay?"
Asuka: "Yes...I think..."
Shinji: "You scared me! Your eyes got so...empty all of a sudden."
Asuka: "I feel better now, thanks."
Shinji: "You should go to the bathroom and take a bath now. You'll feel a lot better. And besides, today I'm going to show you around the city a bit. And this afternoon, we'll go to school, okay?"
She gives him a puzzled look.
Shinji: "Y-yes, school..."
Asuka: "Wait a sec. We have to protect mankind--well, that's what I understand--and on top of all that we HAVE to go to SCHOOL!?? I can't believe this!"
Shinji(shrugging): "We are normal teens, after all."
Asuka(reluctantly): "Oh, god...I think I hate school..."
Asuka then gets up and heads for the bathroom to take a nice hot bath. However, Misato is in the way. Shinji was just behind Asuka when they left her room.
Misato: "Hmmm, well...Asuka, I'm sorry for scolding you this morning. I was just hungry and...well, when I'm hungry, I get really cranky. Sorry, Asuka...and sorry, Shinji-kun. I just lost my temper. I'm leaving now. Have a good day, okay?"
Asuka: "It's my turn to apologize, Major. I just wanted to--"
Misato(smiling and interrupting her): "Hey, Asuka...how many times do I have to tell you? Call me 'Misato.' It's my name, after all."
Asuka: "Sorry about that, too, Mi...Misato. I hope I'll get it right soon."
Misato(smiling warmly): "Don't worry too much about it, Asuka. I have to go now, or Ritsuko will kill me if I'm too late."
Shinji: "You sure you don't want something to eat? I thought you were hungry."
She's about to pass through the doorway.
Misato: "I'll grab something on the way to HQ, don't worry. I can't stop to eat now, or I'll be VERY late..."
Misato(winking and grinning at him): "Don't take advantage of her, Shinji-kun..."
Shinji is blushing heavily. This greatly amuses Asuka, and she giggles. Misato then shuts the front door behind her, laughing. A few minutes later. Shinji is preparing breakfast for Asuka in the kitchen.
Asuka(calling out from the bathroom): "Shinjiiii!!!"
Shinji(walking to the door): "Yes? What is it, Asuka? Do you need something?"
The reply took some time to come.
Asuka(in a kawaii voice): "Can you come in and wash my back, please?"
Shinji(stunned anew): "W-WHAT!? I...I..."
Asuka(seductively): "Yeah...I want you to come in and help me with this wet, slippery soap..."
Asuka bursts out laughing. Shinji can't believe his ears.
Asuka: "Okay, sorry, Shinji! I was making fun of you. I'm sorry. I just wish I could have seen your face at that moment. It must have been great!"
Shinji(grinning and pretending he hadn't heard Asuka): "Okay, I'll be right in!"
Shinji then hears a little splash coming from inside the bathroom.
Asuka(frightened): "W-what? You mean...you're gonna do it!? You pervert! Don't enter this bathroom!"
Shinji(laughing): "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!"
Asuka(giggling): "Okay, I'm gonna kill you later! Brace yourself!"
Of course, Shinji goes right back to the kitchen after that exchange. Inside the bathroom, Asuka is laying back in the bath, looking at the ceiling.
Asuka: "This Ikari Shinji..."
Asuka: "He's kind and sweet...I think I like him."
After a while, she leaves the bathroom and goes back to her room to get dressed. Afterwards, she walks up to Shinji's room, opens the door, and finds him listening to his SDAT.
Shinji, hearing Asuka's voice, takes out his earbuds.
Asuka: "May I come in?"
Shinji: "Of course."
She walks in, wearing her school uniform.
Asuka: "How do I look in this?"
Shinji: "I'd say I find you as cute as usual."
Asuka(smiling): "Thank you."
Asuka: "Then, where are we going this morning?"
Shinji: "Well, I think I'm gonna show you the city and how to get to NERV HQ in case of emergency. And, after that, we'll go to school."
Asuka: "That's okay with me. Well, I think."
Asuka: "I'm sorry, when I was taking my bath...I made fun of you..."
Shinji: "Well, it did remind me very much of your old self."
Asuka: "But I must admit that making fun of you is amusing!"
Shinji: "The old Asuka thought the same thing, you know..."
Asuka: "I may be starting to recover my memories. Who knows?"
Shinji: "Yeah, maybe..."
The two teens leave the apartment. Shinji shows Asuka the principal places he thinks she might have gone to before her accident, like the mall, and the gateways to the Geofront. Then, the time to go to school finally came. They're walking side by side.
Asuka: "So, what's the schedule for this afternoon in class?"
Shinji: "Usually, we have history, PE and then more history..."
Asuka(releasing a slightly frustrated sigh): "Oh...a boring afternoon, then?"
Shinji: "You'll see for yourself."
Asuka: "And, do I have friends? I mean, at school?"
Shinji: "Oh, yes! I'm so stupid that I didn't think about mentioning our friends..."
Asuka: "Our friends?"
Shinji: "Well, yeah. First there's the Class Representative, Hikari Horaki. She's your best friend. At least, I think she is, since you're always hanging out with her."
Asuka: "Damn, I'm her best friend and I can't remember it. That's so embarrassing..."
Shinji: "And then, there are Toji and Kensuke, my two friends. You're not as close to them as I am, so try to ignore them. It would be better for everyone."
Asuka: "Why should I ignore them? They may be nice. If they're your friends, they're mine, too."
Shinji: "Actually, you really disliked them."
Asuka: "What kind of bitch was I!?"
Shinji(chuckling): "You were a real one, all the way!!"
Asuka(chuckling, too): "Baka!"
Asuka takes Shinji's hand in hers. This surprises him.
Asuka: "How do you feel?"
Shinji: "How do I feel? What do you mean?"
Asuka: "I mean, with my hand in yours..."
Shinji: "It's not very...usual coming from you. I don't think you've ever really touched me before."
Asuka: "Ah? It's strange that I didn't do this before...it feels nice."
Shinji: "Well, I think I feel the same way."
He then sees that they're in front of their school.
In class, five minutes before the end of lunchtime. Shinji and Asuka are about to enter the classroom.
Shinji: "Could you...?"
We can see that she's still holding his hand tightly.
Asuka: "Could I what?"
Shinji: "...please let go of my hand?"
Asuka: "Why? Is there a problem with us holding hands while walking into our classroom?"
Shinji: "Not at all, from my point of view, but the others are gonna think weird things."
Asuka: "And? I don't care at all about that! Why are you so concerned about what other people may think of you? Are you ashamed of me? Is that it?"
Shinji thinks a little bit about it. His expression then hardens a little.
Shinji(determined): "No, I'm not. Not at all. You're right, Asuka. I'm going in there with you, hand in hand! Please forgive me for thinking like that just now."
Asuka: "And don't worry, Shinji. If anyone has a problem with me holding your hand, I'll beat the living schiest out of them!!"
Shinji(a bit frightened, to himself): "The living what?"
They walk in, hand in hand. Toji turns around to see Shinji. His face lights up and he starts talking.
Toji: "Hi, Shinji! How was the last bat...AAAAAARRRRRR!!?"
He lets out a stifled cry.
Asuka: "What's going on...?"
Shinji(whispering to her): "Remember what I told you, about the hand...?"
Asuka stomps up to Toji with an angry look on her face, dragging Shinji with her, in front of an entire speechless class.
Asuka: "And what's the PROBLEM with ME holding SHINJI's hand!?"
Toji handles this question with his usual level of sensitivity.
Toji: "It's just so unusual coming from the Red-headed Bitch."
Asuka(fuming): "The Red-headed WHAT!!? Watch your mouth, dickhead!"
Shinji(trying to calm her): "Asuka...it's Toji..."
Asuka(voice full of disdain): "Ha! Now I remember why I don't like THIS damn fool!"
Asuka(to Kensuke, who is staring with his mouth hanging open): "And you, four-eyes!? Do YOU have something against me holding Shinji's hand?"
Kensuke(trying desperately to calm her down): "No, nothing at all..."
She then turns back to face Shinji.
Asuka(now calm): "Shinji? Where's my seat?"
Shinji(showing her her seat, near the wall): "There."
Kensuke and Toji are speechless, like everyone else in the class who saw the scene. While Asuka settles herself at her desk, Shinji goes up to his two friends and talks with them.
Toji: "What happened to her!?"
Kensuke: "And how was your last battle?"
Shinji: "Well...listen carefully, and try to understand, please. She's got amnesia."
Toji: "She's WHAT?!"
Shinji: "Ssssshhhhhh...I have orders from Misato to help her to recover her memories, so, if you could help me a little, it would be great. Think like she never saw you two before, okay?"
Toji: "Can't be..."
Kensuke(reacting as he usually does to that name): "Hey, if it's Misato-san's orders, we'll help you two, don't worry!"
Shinji: "Anyway, where's the class rep? I want Asuka to meet her."
Toji: "She'll be absent today. She said she was sick when I phoned her place."
Kensuke: "You did what? You phoned the class rep's home? Trying to date her, Toji?"
Toji(blushing a little): "Awwww, stop that, you idiot!"
Shinji looks back and sees a pensive Asuka at her desk. He figures that she's probably thinking about what she was doing here among all these people she doesn't even know.
Shinji(to himself): "How horrible it must be to be amnesic...I pity her."
He then looks at Rei, who is present yet absent, seemingly oblivious to this world. She didn't even acknowledge that Asuka had arrived...Asuka then sees that Shinji's looking at Rei. She gets up and walks towards him.
Asuka: "Is this Rei?"
Shinji(surprised): "Ah? Uh, well...yeah. She's Ayanami Rei, First Child, EVA pilot."
Asuka: "Hey, I can remember what you told me yesterday, at least..."
Asuka: "I think I'll talk to her now."
Asuka: "She doesn't seem to be a bad person, although she does look kind of cold..."
She approaches Rei.
Asuka: "Ayanami Rei? You know me, right?"
Rei doesn't look up at her.
Rei(in her usual flat voice): "I've been informed of your current state by Major Katsuragi, Pilot Sohryu."
Asuka(a bit troubled by Rei's behaviour): "Well. I don't know how close we were to each other, but just remember that I'm your friend, and that, if anything happens, you can count on me. I'll try to do my best. I'm your fellow pilot, aren't I?"
She holds her hand out to Rei.
Asuka: "Shake on it?"
Rei seems a bit troubled by these last words coming from Asuka's mouth. She then offers Asuka her hand and, not knowing what to do, lets Asuka shake it.
Asuka(smiling): "Good, Rei. We're friends now!"
A few moments later, the old Sensei arrives. Before going to class, Shinji had gone to the teachers' lounge and given him the official, signed, stamped papers from NERV attesting that Asuka isn't running at 100% of her capabilities (well, that's what was written on the NERV papers; I don't make up things like that... :-) ). He then explained that she was here today, but suggested that, given the situation, he should be careful about talking to her, since she was quite nervous. The substitute class representative, upon seeing him enter, alerts the class to stand up, bow and sit down. The Sensei then starts to take attendance.
Sensei: "Sohryu Asuka Langley."
Sensei: "Sohryu Asuka Langley?"
Asuka(suddenly realizing): "Oh, here!"
Sensei: "Well, please sit up and raise your hand so I can see you."
She does so.
Asuka: "I'm sorry, Sensei."
Sensei: "Thank you."
Toji and Kensuke are mesmerized as they think of what the normal Asuka would have said at this time and place. Probably a low 'Yeah, I'm here,' followed by a disdainful 'hmph.' The class went almost like any other day class, except for a few students gossiping about Asuka and spreading various rumours about her state.
PE class. Shinji is playing basketball, while Asuka is doing gymnastics with the girls in her class. She feels, for the most part, completely lost...without him there. But fate had decided that Shinji should play basketball on the sports ground next to Asuka's. Shinji is standing on the sidelines, while Asuka is just behind him, the chain-link fence separating them. However, he didn't know that Asuka was standing so close by. He was completely focused on the game, waiting to receive the ball.
Asuka: "Hey, Shinji!"
Shinji(turning around and seeing her): "Huh? Asuka?"
Toji: "Hey, SHINJI!!! Watch out!!!"
Shinji turns back too late, just in time to see the ball hit him hard right in the face. He falls to the ground.
Asuka: "Oh, Shinji!"
Asuka rips the gate between the two sports grounds open, runs up to Shinji, kneels beside him and rests his head in her lap.
Asuka: "Shinji, are you okay?"
Shinji slowly opens his eyes. Toji, Kensuke and some other curious students are there, too. Everyone is wondering why Asuka is so worried about Shinji now, since she usually doesn't give a damn about him. In fact, they were surprised that she hadn't started laughing and making fun of him.
Toji: "I'm sorry, Shinji. If I knew this was gonna happen, I wouldn't have threw the ball so hard."
Shinji: "Well, it hurts..."
And with that he closes his eyes...
Asuka: "I'll take you to the nurse's office."
She then picks him up piggyback-style...
Asuka(to herself): "God, he's so heavy..."
...and runs towards the school.
Toji: "How can she run like that while carrying him?"
Kensuke: "Don't know..."
In the school corridor. Asuka had stopped in the locker room briefly to pick up her school uniform for some reason, and was now carrying it in a gym bag, along with Shinji on her back again.
Asuka: "What a fool I am...Shinji's unconscious and I don't even know where the damn nurse's office is!"
Then, at a corner, she sees a sign with the words "Nurse's Office" on it, along with an arrow pointing the way.
She carries him in, noticing that there's no one here. She then sees the bed and sets Shinji down on it. After moving his arms and legs into what looked like a comfortable position, she put the gym bag with her school uniform in it on a chair. Since she was still in her gym outfit, she had to change, so she starts to. Shinji woke up, eyes opening a bit, seeing the wall of the office. He listened a bit and tensed up when he heard the sounds of someone changing clothes right next to him. He decides to be a gentleman: He doesn't move, doesn't say anything, shuts his eyes tight and keeps them that way. When he didn't hear any more noise, Shinji slowly opened his eyes again, only to see Asuka's face. He tries to get up, but Asuka keeps him from doing so by pressing her hand against his chest.
Asuka: "Sshhh...it's my fault if you're hurt. I'm gonna keep an eye on you."
Shinji: "It's not that bad, you know. A ball just hit me in the face, that's all. It didn't break my leg or anything like that."
Asuka: "Well, if I hadn't called you from the other side of the fence, you would have caught that ball. With your hands, that is."
Shinji: "But I--"
She shuts him up by tenderly placing a little kiss on his forehead, where the ball had hit him. Shinji could feel her warm lips making contact with his skin. It was...it was...a wonderful feeling.
Asuka: "Sorry...I just...felt like I had to do that."
Shinji: "It's okay."
Shinji: "But something's wrong about all this..."
Shinji: "You...you timed that, didn't you?"
Shinji: "I mean, you called me right at that time on purpose, right?"
Asuka(looking away): "You're smarter than I thought..."
Shinji: "I'm not mad at you, don't worry."
Shinji can hear that her voice is cracking a little.
Asuka: "Shinji...I feel so lost when I'm alone...I'm so scared!"
Shinji: "Asuka, I think I know how you feel..."
He sits up and takes her hand in his. She squeezes it tightly in return, but doesn't turn to face him. Pause.
Shinji: "What's wrong?"
Asuka faces him now. He can see that she has tears running down her cheeks.
Shinji: "Wait, don't cry..."
Asuka(voice cracking): "But...but...I'm so afraid to be away from you! You can't imagine! I was so lost in the classroom, not feeling you close to me! I was so lost on the sports ground, with no one I knew around! There were so many faces I didn't know! God, Shinji... I'm so...I'm so scared...oohh..."
Shinji(to himself): "Okay, Shinji...take the situation in hand here!" (to Asuka:) "Hey, I'm here now. Isn't it what you wanted?"
Asuka(slowly recovering): "Y-yes..."
Shinji(smiling): "Then, why not sit down here, next to me?"
Asuka(looking up at him and sniffling a little): "Can I?"
Shinji nods. Asuka gets out of the chair and sits beside him on the bed. Shinji then quickly but gently wraps his arm around her shoulders and draws her close. This surprises her, but not for long. She then quickly puts her hands around Shinji's waist and begins to squeeze as tightly as she can while resting her head on his shoulder. Now he's the one who's surprised. He wasn't expecting Asuka to hug him back with such strength. Shinji caresses her soft auburn hair in return.
Shinji: "Do you feel better now?"
Asuka: "Much better. Thank you for being there for me."
Shinji: "Come on, you have to go back to class now. I'll join you soon, don't worry."
Shinji: "Be strong, Asuka. Be strong for me, and for yourself, okay?"
Asuka: "...I'll try. You're right, Shinji. I can't live on your back forever!"
Shinji: "That's better. Will you go to class now?"
Toji: "We'll take her there, Shinji. Don't worry."
The two are very surprised to see Toji and Kensuke in the doorway.
Shinji: "Okay...I'm gonna wait for the nurse, then. I don't think I'll be able to leave without her approval."
Toji: "Yeah, I think I understand how you feel, Asuka. And I'm sorry for calling you a bitch a few hours ago." (to Shinji:) "We'll take care of her. Don't worry, Shinji."
Asuka: "Y-you're forgiven...and thank you...but I'll go alone, if you don't mind..."
She then takes her gym clothes, put them in her bag, and walks towards the door.
Asuka: "Later, Shinji."
She then leaves the office.
Toji: "Anyway, I wanted to talk with you a bit, Shinji...and now's the right time..."
The classroom. Asuka walks in. The teacher isn't here yet, so she calmly puts her bag on her desk. A bunch of male classmates walk up to her.
Tall boy: "Hey, Sohryu."
Asuka took a bit of time to get used to being called by that name, but now it seemed okay for her.
Asuka: "Yeah? What do you want?"
Tall boy: "Wanna go out with me somewhere after school?"
Asuka(crossing her arms): "W-what? I don't see why I should! And it's a bit rude to ask me this in front of your friends."
Ugly boy with glasses: "...so the rumors are true."
Asuka begins to feel afraid.
Fat boy: "You're don't have amnesia! You just used that excuse to skip classes. Like any other bitch."
Asuka(trembling): "I...I'm not a bitch. I am not. That's nonsense."
Tall boy: "Yes, you are. You humiliated me in front of everyone four days ago! Only a bitch could do that!"
Asuka(covering her ears with her hands): "NO, NO, NO! I'm NOT a BITCH!! Why are you saying this!?"
Ugly boy with glasses: "Ha! And who could believe that? You flashed your panties at us and now you push us away? Only a bitchy tease could do that. You use everyone anyway."
Tall boy: "Yeah, like a bitch."
Asuka(lowering her head): "Nooo....no, I'm not...I don't...use..."
Fat boy : "Where's that toughness of yours now, Sohryu? Or are you just afraid? You always act so big and show off, but you're really nothing but a powerless little bitch!"
Asuka(voice cracking badly): "...not a bitch..."
The boys can hear sniffles and sobs from the redheaded pilot.
Tall boy: "Lost your pride, Sohryu? You're just a tease, a coward. That'll teach you!"
Ugly boy with glasses: "Hmmm...Tenchi..."
Tall boy (Tenchi): "What?"
The ugly boy with glasses shows Toji, Shinji and Kensuke at the other end of the class, near the classroom door. Toji is cracking his knuckles, with a rather angry look on his face, while Kensuke records everything on his omnipresent disc camcorder. As for Shinji, he's doing his usual hand tic (you know, where he clenches and unclenches his fist...) and has the same angry look as Toji on his face.
Fat boy : "Uh oh...it's Suzuhara and Ikari..."
Asuka doesn't look up to see Shinji. She runs out the door, almost running into Kensuke, incidentally making him lose his balance and fall on his butt.
Toji: "Shinji, go and catch up to her. I'll take care of these fools."
He then runs out of the classroom, after her. Toji walks up to the group who had been bothering Asuka, punching the palm of his other hand.
Toji: "Now, any of you guys got a problem?"
Outside, in the schoolyard. Asuka is curled up on a school bench, head buried in her knees. Shinji walks towards her.
Shinji continues his advance.
Asuka(softly): "...go away."
Shinji: "Asuka...don't worry about what those guys said. They're just a bunch of pathetic little boys."
Asuka(head still buried in her knees): "Shinji. I promised myself that I wouldn't cry in front of anyone, except you...I have to be strong. I can't always depend on you. That wouldn't be fair to you. I have to face my problems alone."
Shinji stays in front of her.
Shinji: "I'm glad that you consider me a friend. And that's what I want the most, for the moment. And you don't bother me, Asuka..."
Asuka: "You think of me just as a friend?? It's more than that, don't you see!? Can't you SEE!? Can't you see that I...I..."
Shinji: "Well, more than a friend, but I understand how you feel. You're just searching for shelter. And I'm ready to give it to you--"
Asuka(interrupting and looking up at him): "But I'm taking advantage of you! I'm using you! They're right! I'm a bitch! Even with you! And...I don't want to be a bitch to you! I must have said and done so many horrible things to you! But I don't want to be a bitch to you! I don't want to! I want to be...to be..."
Her voice softens and she buries her head in her knees again.
Asuka: "...nice...I want to...I want to be kind to you...but I can't stand you watching me being hurt! I don't want you to pity me! I don't need your pity!"
Obviously, there isn't very much coherence in her words. Probably due to her current emotional state, thought Shinji. He also thought of the verb "use," often associated with "his father" and "himself" in his mind...but it was not the same with Asuka. He was ready to be used by her. He didn't mind at all, as long as she was happy. She stood up and looked at him, tears covering her face.
Shinji: "Asuka, there's no harm in being pitied. It's just to accept other...well, other people's affection and care."
She slaps him hard across the face. The sound echoes through the schoolyard.
Asuka: "You're lying! You must be lying! I can remember that I did and said horrible things to you! You HAVE to hate me! That can't be possible, you just have to! I know I've hurt you..."
She then looks at her hand. Another flash of light strikes her mind. She sees images of herself slapping Shinji, calling him baka and scorning him...
Asuka(trembling): "No...no...nononononononononooooo....I...what have I done...? Oh, noooooo!"
Asuka unconsciously reaches out, wraps her arms around him and buries her head in his chest. This startles him, but he's beginning to get used to Asuka's new behaviour.
Asuka(sobbing): "What have I done, Shinji!? I...I hurt you...oh, Shinji, Shinji, Shinji...forgive me...please..."
Shinji: "I'm used to your slaps, you know."
Uh-oh. That was NOT the right thing to say now.
Asuka: "YOU'RE TELLING ME THAT I DID THAT BEFORE!? How many times!? How did I!? How could I do that to you? Why haven't you pushed me away yet, Shinji? Why!? I treat you so bad, and you...you don't care!"
Shinji: "Listen, Asuka, I will always endure everything you do to me. Because...because..."
Asuka(between sobs): "Because what, Shinji?"
Shinji(smiling): "Well...because I still care about a bitch like you." (to himself:) "I can't believe I finally told her. The normal Asuka would have destroyed me completely in a few seconds..."
But Asuka remains silent instead and calms down.
Shinji: "Asuka? Are you okay?"
Asuka(almost whispering): "...baka."
She sniffles a little. Shinji smiles to himself, helps Asuka up off the ground and gently leads her to the bench where she was earlier. She holds on tightly to him again, and he puts his arm around her shoulder.
Asuka: "You don't believe I am amnesic, do you? You're just like those boys..."
Shinji: "Don't say that..."
Asuka: "I just act like my old self. I can feel that."
Shinji: "You trust me, right? Then I trust you, too. I believe you, Asuka. I can believe you. You are really amnesic. Because the old Asuka would never allow me to hold her like this."
Asuka: "And what if I was faking amnesia?"
Shinji(giggling): "Oh, the old you wouldn't stand one minute of being kind to me like this, you know. So I don't think you're faking at all."
Asuka looks down.
Shinji: "And you? How do you feel?"
Asuka is surprised that he's asking her the same question she'd asked him earlier, but, then again, the situation was different then.
Asuka: "Shinji...I...I don't know if it's love or something else, but here's how I feel: I think that I can put all my trust into you and that you will never hurt me. But, I know that I'm asking too much from you...you're always stuck with me and you don't seem to care what I do to you. Thank you, Shinji...for caring. It's all that I need for now. You're like an older brother to me..." (now grinning:) "...but, maybe you're more..."
Shinji: "That's good to hear...but how will you make up for all those slaps, now?"
Asuka: "Hm, then, let me give you something you probably won't receive again if I were to recover completely..."
She looks up at him, brings her face closer to his...and they were soon sharing a soft kiss, on a schoolyard bench, holding each other tightly. Shinji is terrorized. It's his first kiss, after all, and maybe Asuka's, too, but soon, he remembered what he saw in movies, and began to return the kiss with all his strength. After a while, Asuka ends the kiss and then brings her mouth over to Shinji's left ear. Shinji does the same with her. They hold each other even tighter than they had before, without hurting each other.
Asuka(softly, almost a whisper): "Shinji...if I forget this moment when my memory comes back, please...please remind me of it, okay? That was really nice."
Shinji: "If you remember everything, I don't see how I'd be able to remind you. I'd probably die from your slaps before I finished talking..."
Asuka: "Was I that terrible?"
Shinji: "Oh, you couldn't imagine. You just possibly couldn't..."
Misato's apartment. The front door opens, revealing Asuka and Shinji in their respective school uniforms, carrying their bags.
A man's voice replies from the kitchen.
Kaji: "Konnichiwa, Shinji-kun!"
Asuka: "I know that voice..."
The two teens enter the kitchen. Asuka's face lights up with joy when she sees Kaji.
Kaji: "Oh, Asuka. You're here, too."
Asuka: "W-who are you? I...I know your face, but..."
Kaji: "Ah, how ironic. I'd forgotten that you'd lost your memory."
Asuka(walking up to him): "Yeah, but I'm sure that I know you! I'm sure of that! You're someone close to me! I can tell that I like you very much."
Kaji: "Thank you. I'm flattered that you at least remember me that way."
Asuka: "Oh, please, tell me your name!"
Kaji(smiling at her): "Kaji. Ryoji Kaji."
Pause. Asuka appears to think about this for a while.
Kaji: "Ah, it seems that you remember me after all."
Asuka: "Unfortunately, I can't remember anything else...I'm sorry."
Kaji: "Don't worry. When I was younger I had a friend who was the same way. I can understand how you feel."
Asuka: "You're kind. You're just like Shinji."
Kaji grins inwardly. Shinji chooses this moment to speak.
Shinji: "By the way, Kaji-san, where's Misato-san?"
Kaji: "She had some work to do at her office. She gave me the keycard to the apartment so I could be there to greet you. And to let you know that tomorrow you have harmonics tests to do."
Asuka(giving Shinji a puzzled look): "What's a 'harmonics test'?"
Shinji(chuckling): "I'll explain it to you later, Asuka."
Nightfall. Shinji is laying in his bed under the covers, listening to his SDAT, and thinking about the events of the day.
Asuka: "May I...?"
Shinji can hear her voice even through his earbuds. She's standing in his doorway, wearing only her nightdress.
Shinji(smiling at her): "Yeah, you can come in."
Asuka then rushes up and joins Shinji under the blankets. This time they're face to face. The two of them seem to be very uneasy for some reason.
Asuka: "Sorry...I'm just disturbing you--"
Shinji(quickly): "No, of course not! You aren't!"
Asuka(blushing a bit): "You're not mad at me for today?"
Shinji: "I can't be mad at you, Asuka. I don't know why I should be."
Asuka(softly, almost a whisper): "Thank you."
She closes her eyes. Shinji then decides to turn and lay on his back, and then go to sleep. He couldn't face her in his sleep. Not now, anyway.
Asuka: "Kaji-san told me that I'll have to get into that giant robot tomorrow..."
Shinji: "How do you feel about that?"
Asuka: "I must admit...that I'm afraid."
Asuka: "That thing made me lose all of my memories. What will it do to me tomorrow, Shinji?"
Shinji: "You know, Asuka, Evas aren't always good. Many times, I've told myself that I would never get into one again. But, every time, I did wind up climbing back into my Unit 01. Just because..."
Asuka: "Because of what, Shinji?"
Shinji: "Because I was forced to, because of the Angel attacks. But, from now on, I won't run away anymore, because I've found a reason to do it..."
Shinji: "I have to protect you, Asuka. I have to protect the girl who trusts me the most. And I can't abuse that trust you put in me."
Asuka: "...me too, Shinji. I'll do the same for you. Thank you. I feel much better about tomorrow now."
Shinji: "Good night, Asuka."
Asuka doesn't say anything. Instead, Shinji feels a soft pair of lips against his cheek.
Asuka(softly, in Shinji's ear): "That was a good-night kiss. Sweet dreams, Shinji."
Asuka then falls asleep, as the little snores and purrs Shinji hears coming from her attest. Shinji gets ready to go to dreamland as well. He takes his time, however. He first thinks about Asuka and what happened today. This day was so surreal for him that he first thought it was an illusion, or a dream, or something like the day before the end of the world, just because Asuka was not her usual self. And tomorrow she'll have a synchro test with her Eva Unit 02. Nothing else to do but to wait and see what happens...
Shinji suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night to some kind of sound.
Shinji quickly turns to face Asuka, and sees that she has her head bent down.
Shinji: "Asuka...? What's going on?"
She then begins to sob quietly and lays her head against his chest.
Shinji(to himself): "I won't be afraid, Asuka... not now!" (to Asuka:) "Asuka...tell me, what's wrong?"
Asuka just continues to sob and grabs Shinji's nightshirt, as if she's trying to keep from being swept away from him. He puts his arms gently around her, and turns his head so that his face is against her forehead.
Shinji: "Asuka, I'm here...I'm with you...there's nothing to fear. Now, tell me, were you having a nightmare?"
Asuka's reply startles and disturbs Shinji.
TO BE CONTINUED
Don't miss the next episode: The Source of One's Mind.
I know, I know...Asuka makes the OOC-o-meter explode in this fic, but it's for the plot, don't worry. I know that OOC characters aren't always appreciated, because people don't feel that this IS the character you know and love from the original series, and thus the fic loses its charm. But bear with me.
Some other authors have written fics influenced by "The Child of Love," and guess what? They feature Teri-chan! You can't imagine how happy I am! I feel like a proud father or something! Teri-chan's a star now :-)! You can find them in Asuka's Notebook (http://asukanotebook.tsx.org/).
Again, special thanks to all of my pre-readers! (the list is just getting bigger and bigger!):
Al-l-Bus (Imagine Normality? [go read the new version; it's even better than before!], Love After Impact, A New World For Shinji & Asuka)
Alain Gravel (The One I Love Is... [a must-read], Lost Love)
Borderline Case (Reflections In Red)
Dave Watson (Victory songfic, and thanks for the retoolings!)
EBJ (Thank you too! I just don't know what I could do without you! ^_^)
Greg Thomas (Webmaster of Everything's Anime [http://members.xoom.com/cybergig1])
DJ Lesser (Ayanami's Lesson, a side story to the Ninth Month of The Child of Love)
Kaoru Nagisa (EvaLeSs)
Jon Byram (Sins Of The Past)
Readiosys Fisher (Unfamiliar Fearings, and webmaster of RomEmul [http://welcome.to/romemul])
Shinji the 10 o'clock Assassin (Sorry, the list's too long...)
Thanks to you all, and to everybody around the world who reads my fics!!!!!!