Retooled by Dave Watson, 1999 6 27, 7 08 & 11-12 and 8 04.
Basic HTML work and further polishing by Watson, 1999 8 07 & 09. HTML Version 1.0a.
LAST CHAPTER: Asuka seems to be showing some sort of attachment to and affection for Shinji. Having no memories of her past, she seeks support from someone, and she chooses to trust Shinji, as unbelievable as it seems. In addition of that, her first afternoon at school, just after her accident, has been a big, traumatic mistake...
What will happen at her first harmonics test since her accident? Will she synchronize well with Eva-02? Why did I end the previous chapter on a cliffhanger? Why do I HAVE to study bloody Spanish at school!!!?
THE THIRD MEMORY
The Source of One's Mind
Last night had been very long for Shinji. Listening to Asuka cry about her mother all night was a very exhausting experience. He held her tight, but gently, as she slept. After almost an hour of sobbing, she finally fell asleep again, probably tired from crying. Shinji then thought that he could finally fall asleep himself. However, he was woken up again in the early morning, as Asuka had the same nightmare once more...
Misato, who had returned from HQ in the middle of the night, was a little worried to hear the sound of Asuka's distress coming from Shinji's room in the early morning...
Misato(to herself): "I'm not gonna blow up like I did yesterday..."
She silently enters the room, and sees a still-sobbing Asuka in Shinji's arms. Her face is pressed up against his chest.
Misato(softly): "Shinji-kun...what's going on here?"
Shinji: "I think she was having really bad nightmares. As you can see, we're not enjoying this."
Misato looks down at Asuka. She looks like a fragile and hurt animal, trembling like a leaf. She's holding onto Shinji's nightshirt as if her life depends on it. Apparently, she isn't aware that Shinji and Misato are talking.
Misato: "Yeah, I see..."
Shinji: "The only thing she's said so far is 'mama'..."
Misato immediately shudders at that word.
Misato: "Oh...that's not good..."
Shinji: "What's the deal about her mother, Misato-san?"
Misato: "Shinji-kun. I once promised Asuka that I wouldn't tell anyone..."
Shinji(after a short pause): "Then I'll respect her choice. Sorry for asking."
Misato: "So, I don't think that...she'll be able to do harmonics tests today...will she?"
Shinji: "No, I don't think she'll be able to perform them. And me, neither. I can't leave her by herself like this."
Misato(rolling her eyes): "Perfect. Absolutely perfect. It's wonderful. I'm dead."
In her mind, she sees a furious Ritsuko waiting for her with a double-barreled shotgun at the entrance door of an elevator...
Shinji(sadly): "I'm sorry, Misato-san..."
Misato: "Don't say that, it's not your fault. I'll just whip myself up something quick to eat and then go back to sleep. I'm really, really tired now...(yawn). You want anything, while I'm in the kitchen?"
Shinji: "No, I'm fine, thank you."
Misato(while leaving the room): "Good luck, Shinji-kun."
The door to his room is now closed again. A few seconds later, Shinji remembered that Asuka is crying, face pressed into his chest. He looks down at the girl in his arms.
Shinji: "Asuka..." (to himself:) "Why does seeing you like this make me feel so much pain and sorrow?"
Now, inexplicably, he feels the urge to cry a little, too...
Shinji(eyes now shedding tears, slowly but surely): "Why?"
Shinji doesn't want to free himself from her grip yet. He continues to hold her gently, comforting her. He caresses her hair and her back. It seems to have the desired effect after some time: It calms her down, and she finally, for the third time in ten hours, falls asleep. Shinji feels the reward for his efforts, as she releases her grip on him, little by little, and she whispers his name in her sleep...Shinji falls asleep, too, relieved by the peaceful look on Asuka's face. He has to make up for the sleep he had lost, too...
Asuka's dreams. Asuka is in her red plugsuit, standing in front of a woman with a blurred face.
Asuka: "Stop that! That's insane! I won't allow you to do anything more!"
Voice/Blurry-faced woman: "You're hurting both of us by trying to take back control over your mind and body. Don't you see that you're happy now?"
Asuka(angry): "No, I'm not! Have you seen how I've been acting with baka Shinji!? I won't be able to face him anymore!"
Voice: "I just tricked them by faking amnesia, so I wouldn't make them suspicious about anything."
Asuka: "That's REALLY insane!"
Voice: "So? As long as you're happy..."
Asuka: "I'm not! I'm not happy!"
Voice: "Not since that 'accident' with me--"
Asuka(interrupting): "I'M NOT HAPPY, DAMMIT! All the things I want to keep from the others, and especially from him...you're letting them all out! You're ruining all my efforts..."
Voice: "Look at yourself, Asuka-chan."
Asuka: "Yeah, I looked at myself! I'm SLEEPING in that baka's arms! That can't be! I'm gonna go insane!"
Voice: "Don't you understand yet that this Shinji boy really cares for you?"
Asuka: "No one cares for me! That's crazy! Who does the invincible Shinji care for, except for himself!? He doesn't give a damn about me! He never took me in his arms! He never tried to protect me! I HATE HIM!!"
Voice: "He didn't care about you because you didn't give him a chance to."
Asuka: "Of course I did! Many times!"
Voice: "Tssk...it's bad to lie to me, Asuka-chan. That's no way to behave."
Asuka: "After what you've done to me, I don't see WHY I should behave better around you!"
Voice(with a trace of a laugh): "This Shinji has a nice butt, you know. You should show more interest in him."
Asuka: "Oh, stop that! Of course he's the ONLY good boy I know here, but he's only a boy! A pathetic and wimpy little boy! Kaji-san's a man. He's better, isn't he?"
Voice: "But, Asuka-chan...aren't you still only a girl, too?"
This startles Asuka.
Asuka: "No I'm not! I'm not! I'm not a girl anymore! I'm a woman now! I can take care of myself! I did it, I'm doing it and I'll keep doing it!"
Voice: "Are you sure? It doesn't seem that way to me. It seems more like you're a little girl trying to act like a woman."
Asuka(sighing): "I'm tired of this. Let me see through my own eyes, now!"
Voice: "If you're thinking like that, I won't let you go. And besides, I need to show you something important."
Asuka: "I don't care. I want to destroy him now after what he told me!"
Voice: "Stop lying to yourself, Asuka-chan...you should accept his love, and give it back to him...and besides, he really knows how to kiss, you know..." (giggling:) "Quite impressive for a boy..."
Asuka(trembling): "You...NO!!! You made me kiss him!? You made me kiss that jerk!? I can't believe it!!! YOU WASTED MY FIRST KISS ON HIM!!? I'm dead! That's it, I must be dead! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!!"
Voice: "Since you're not that convinced, I'll let you be a spectator this time, okay? Now I have to go and reassure him. He must be very worried by now..." (giggling again) "He'll comfort us both with his warmth...he knows how to love, Asuka-chan. You should be more like him."
Asuka: "I'm not baka Shinji! He doesn't care about me! HE DOESN'T CARE!"
A flash of light cracks through her mind once more. We can see some events from the week when they had to synchronize perfectly with each other.
When he tried to kiss her in the night but pulled back when he saw that she was crying...a wimpy little boy would not have pulled back. A wimpy little boy would have taken advantage of her with no respect for her pain, would have kissed her despite her tears. And Shinji did not kiss her. He didn't want to hurt her. He doesn't want to hurt her. And he never would.
Asuka(softer): "He doesn't..."
And after all the things she did and said to him, he could have returned the insults and maybe even hit her back. But he didn't.
Asuka(hysterical): "That's because he's a wimp!! A WIMP!"
Still, he saved her from falling into the volcano. Would a wimp do that?
Asuka: "He followed Misato's order to come and rescue me! He wouldn't have done it otherwise!"
No, he did that without orders from Misato, and possibly against them. By his own free will.
Asuka: "NO, HE DIDN'T! He did that because..."
Because he cares for her.
Asuka: "No, he doesn't care...how could that baka love me?! After..."
Still, he saved her from sinking into the volcano. Without thinking about it. Without thinking about himself or anyone else but HER.
Because he loves her.
Asuka(almost a whisper): "...He can't..."
Because he loves her.
Asuka(shouting desperately): "DAMN YOU, MAMA! GIVE ME BACK MY MIND, NOW!!!"
A flash of light, and Asuka's dream world disappears. Later, in the real world. When Shinji finally wakes up, he sees that Asuka is sitting on his bed next to him. She's leaning forward, head down in her knees, not making any sound but her breathing.
Shinji(softly): "Asuka, are you okay?"
Again, no answer from the redheaded pilot.
Shinji: "I'm sure that you want something to eat. It's already 9:45..."
He slowly gets up from his bed and heads to the kitchen. He comes back with two sandwiches a few minutes later.
Shinji: "Come on, have something to eat..."
She slowly lifts up her head and picks up one of the sandwiches. She then bites into it, with a sad look on her face.
Shinji: "Do you like it?"
She slowly chews and swallows the bite of food in her mouth.
Shinji: "Are you feeling okay?"
Asuka: "...not really."
Shinji(a little stunned): "C-can you tell me why...?"
Asuka: "I can't, Shinji. I'm sorry, but I can't."
After that, she buries her head in her knees again.
Shinji: "You trust me, don't you?"
Shinji: "Then, tell me more. I'm your friend, you can tell me..."
She thinks about it for a little while.
Asuka: "Shinji, I really don't want to share that."
Shinji(seriously): "Do you know what I think? I think that you have a past that hurts you. Even now. Like I do. But we have to get over it, Asuka. We mustn't dwell on the past."
Asuka(sadly): "Oh, that's easy for you to say..."
Shinji: "No, I think it's the same for both of us."
Asuka: "Anyway, I don't want to share this with anyone. Sorry."
Shinji: "Tell you what: I'll tell you my story. My past. And then you can tell me yours, okay? We'll be at the same point then."
She thinks about this for a while.
Asuka: "I know you're curious about my past, but I don't feel the same way about you. I'm sorry..."
Shinji thinks that she's right this time. He is only listening to his own curiosity. He looks down at his feet, feeling kind of embarrassed.
Shinji: "I read once that telling someone you trust about something that's painful for you is a good way to feel less alone, Asuka."
Asuka: "Oh well, if you insist. After all, you are a trustworthy friend, Shinji..." (a little more animated now:) "You're right. I don't see why I should hide things from you!"
He smiles at Asuka, and then begins to relate his past to her.
Central Dogma, in the lab used for harmonics tests.
Ritsuko: "I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!!!"
Misato: "I'm sorry, Ritsuko..."
Ritsuko: "Misato, really...you don't understand, do you?"
Misato: "Of course I know they HAVE to take these tests, but Shinji told me that Asuka just remembered about her mother, and she's not in the best condition to take them."
Ritsuko: "You're not a doctor, Misato. You don't have the authority to decide that. And why does Shinji have to skip these tests, TOO?"
Misato: "Well, you know...Asuka feels totally lost. And I don't know why, but she feels that Shinji is the only person she can trust."
Ritsuko: "Oh, so our duty here means nothing, is that it? I want them both here, right now! I delayed the tests for them yesterday, but I can't do that anymore! Otherwise, the commander will be furious!"
Misato(reluctantly, while preparing to leave): "Okay, okay...I'll go get them."
Back at the apartment.
Asuka: "Shinji, it hurts too much inside. I can't..."
They are still sitting on his bed, and he has an arm around her shoulder, while she looks down at her feet.
Shinji: "Don't say any more, Asuka. I understand how you feel now...well, I think I do."
Asuka: "...thank you, Shinji..."
Shinji: "I'm sorry I asked you to tell me."
She closes her eyes, and rests her head on his shoulder.
Asuka(whispering): "As long as it's for you..."
Shinji: "You seem tired. You want to sleep some more?"
Asuka: "Yes...but, it would be nice, if we could sleep together..."
Shinji: "Hey, it's already been two nights that we have been sleeping together..."
However, his mind doesn't register the fact that the term 'sleeping together' is perhaps a little too intimate for the two of them.
Asuka: "I mean...take me in your arms...it feels good..."
Asuka(smiling): "Come on! I'm waiting!"
He then does as he is told. He slowly takes her in his arms and gently lays her down on the mattress before joining her under the covers...
Asuka(eyes still closed): "Hey, don't stop..."
Shinji holds her closely in his arms. She rolls over a bit, ending up almost laying on top of him. She rests her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
Asuka(softly): "Oh...it feels so nice, Shinji...I feel so comfortable here..."
Shinji: "Same here, Asuka..." (to himself:) "This is so unreal..."
As if to make things even more unreal, a part of Shinji that he tried hard to keep under control stirs. Asuka giggles when she notices what she feels against her hip. Shinji is embarrassed and a little disturbed by what's happening now.
Shinji: "Sorry about this..."
Asuka(giggling again): "I don't mind. It's good to feel loved..."
Shinji takes her hand in his. He has a very determined look in his face.
Shinji(softly): "Asuka...I've decided something. You know that I've always been a spineless little boy, but now I'm gonna make a man's decision..."
Asuka raises her head and looks at him, visibly confused.
Shinji: "Oh, sorry. You don't remember that..."
Asuka(putting her head back down on his chest): "You're not a spineless little boy, Shinji. I can see you're not because of the way you've been behaving with me so far. You took my defense, and you're kind to me. A 'spineless little boy' can't do these things."
Shinji feels relieved to hear that coming from her. Suddenly, the door of the apartment opens and Misato steps in, heading immediately to Shinji's room. She seems exhausted.
Misato: "Oh, am I interrupting something? Sorry..."
Shinji(blushing a bit): "Well, we were resting a little..."
Misato: "I'm sorry to bother you two right now, but...Shinji, Asuka...we have to go to headquarters. I couldn't cancel those tests."
Shinji(frowning): "Misato-san! Asuka's not ready for that yet. I don't think that it'd be wise to make her take these tests now!"
Misato: "I told you, Shinji, it's not me. Ritsuko must run these tests, otherwise the commander will be furious."
Shinji thinks about his father and frowns even harder. To his surprise, Asuka gets up and walks towards her room.
Asuka(behind Misato): "I'll be ready in a minute, Misato."
Misato(still facing Shinji): "Good, Asuka. I'm sorry to impose on you."
Asuka: "Don't worry. I'll try to do my best."
Shinji feels relieved to hear that. She has confidence now. She can do it after all. Deep down inside, though, he feels that something will go wrong...
Central Dogma, in the lab used for Evangelion Unit activation.
Ritsuko: "Okay, Shinji, Asuka...Rei already took this test yesterday, so she isn't here now. Are there any problems with that?"
Shinji(through the comm display): "No, none at all. But I thought that we had to do harmonics tests."
Ritsuko: "We'll do them another time. I want to see Asuka in Eva-02 first."
Shinji: "So why do I have to be in Unit 01 as well?"
Ritsuko(under her breath): "...just in case..."
And then she shuts off the comm display.
Maya: "Are you afraid of something, sempai?"
Ritsuko: "No...it's nothing. Well, I hope it's nothing. We'll find out soon, anyway."
Shinji is in Eva-01 in the cage next to her, while Asuka is in her Eva-02 right in front of Ritsuko. Misato is also here to see what will happen. She's incredibly worried about Asuka, judging by all the precautions Ritsuko seems to be taking for this activation test, as if she was fearing the worst. Shinji opens a comm channel to the lab.
Shinji: "I would like to open a private comm channel to Eva-02."
Ritsuko(surprised): "A private channel?"
Shinji: "Well, I know that all of our communications are accessible to you and that you record them all on disk. For once, I'd like to talk to Asuka. Privately."
Ritsuko: "Oh well...if you insist."
Shinji: "Thanks...and no cheating, please."
With that, he closes the channel to the lab and opens up a new one to EVA-02. Misato sees that Ritsuko is monitoring their conversation, against Shinji's wishes. She decides to do something about it, and keys something on the terminal next to her. A few seconds after, the monitoring of the 'private' channel was shut off.
Ritsuko(angry): "Misato!? Why did you cut the camera!?"
Misato: "Have you no shame? They want some privacy here."
Ritsuko(frowning): "It's for the test, Misato..."
Misato(serious): "I don't care. I did that for the children, not for science. They are not Guinea pigs. They are human beings."
Ritsuko: "Are you aware that I could get you banned from this lab for interfering with the tests Commander Ikari ordered?"
Misato: "So, these are NOT the usual harmonics tests after all..."
Ritsuko: "We just want to verify something..."
Inside the two Evas.
Shinji: "Asuka, are you all right?"
Asuka(slowly nodding): "Uh-huh...this thing smells like blood. It's horrible."
Shinji: "Yeah, I know that, but you'll get used to it. Do you feel comfortable?"
Asuka: "Except for the fact that my head really hurts..."
Shinji(lowering his head): "I'm sorry that you have to go through this..."
Asuka: "No, it's all right...it's my duty as a pilot, right?"
Shinji: "Yes, but..."
Asuka: "But what?"
Shinji: "Sometimes, Asuka...I wish that we weren't Eva pilots, with all the responsibilities we have right now, and...I'd like...I'd like to walk home from school with you, by my side, holding hands, and...and we could come home, eat something together, and finally watch something on TV together, on the couch...but I realize...that if you were to recover your memories, you would never be like that to me. The way you've been acting those last few days shows me that Sohryu Asuka Langley is actually a really nice girl."
Asuka waits for the end of his speech and giggles a little.
Asuka(still giggling): "Heh heh, thanks. Okay, I'll try to remember this too if I ever recover, don't worry..."
Ritsuko appears on a comm channel.
Ritsuko: "Are you finished yet?"
Shinji: "Ritsuko-san!! You were listening, weren't you?"
Ritsuko: "Don't worry about that, Shinji-kun. A crazy woman made sure I didn't listen to your conversation..."
Shinji(to himself): "Misato-san..."
Ritsuko: "Okay, Maya. Begin activation of Unit-01 first."
Maya: "Why Unit-01? I thought that we were testing Asuka..."
Maya: "Functional voltage has reached the critical limit."
Ritsuko: "Good. Prepare for Phase 2 Configuration."
Maya: "Pilot in symbiosis with Unit 01. Circuits opened. Pulses and harmonics normal. Synchronization okay."
Ritsuko(looking at a monitor): "All the nerves have been linked. No problem with the nervous system."
Maya: "Calculations and verifications okay. Check-list achieved at 2-5-5-0, list 6. Borderline in 1.8, 1.7, 1.2, 1.0, 0.8, 0.4, 0.2, 0.1...borderline reached and passed successfully."
Ritsuko: "Eva-01 activated."
Maya: "Unit-01 activated and functional. Synch rate at 72.4%."
Ritsuko(to Shinji): "Good job, Shinji-kun. You have a good synch rate with EVA-01."
Shinji(blushing slightly): "T-thanks..."
Ritsuko: "Maya, proceed with Unit-02."
Ritsuko: "Connect the main power source."
Maya: "Main power source connected. Activation system operational. Voltage operational. Critical point in 0.5...0.3...stage passed."
Ritsuko: "Proceed to the second activation phase."
Maya: "The pilot is entering into symbiosis with Unit 02. System start, phase 2. Synapses inserted."
Ritsuko: "Start the connection."
Maya: "Pulses transmitted."
Ritsuko(looking at a monitor): "All circuits are okay."
Maya: "Nerve links okay."
Ritsuko: "Transmit the power to the brachial muscles."
Maya: "Nerve links okay. Check-list achieved at 2-5-5-0, list 6."
Ritsuko: "Prepare the third connection."
Maya: "Borderline in...0.7, 0.5, 0.3, 0.2..."
A machine suddenly starts beeping.
Maya: "Asuka's pulses are fluctuating backwards!"
Asuka: "What the..."
The unit tries to activate itself, but...
Maya: "Disturbance in the third phase! Rejection from the nervous system!
Misato: "You were afraid of WHAT?!"
Ritsuko: "Some kind of rejection by Unit 02 of its pilot..."
Maya: "Unit 02 entering berserker mode!"
Ritsuko(horrified): "Again!? Break all contacts, open up to the sixth fuse."
Maya: "Impossible! The signal is being rejected!"
In the test cage, Unit-02 struggles against its restraints, finally breaking free of them. It clutches its head, emitting a deep inhuman roar. Finally it stomps over to the far wall of the cage and starts smashing its head against it, leaving large dents in its fortified panels.
In the lab.
Maya: "Unit-02 out of control!"
Ritsuko: "Stop everything. Cut the umbilical cable!"
Maya: "Sempai! Unit 01 also..."
Shinji feels the building shake from Unit-02's hammering, and realizes that something is going terribly wrong with Asuka. Without a second thought, he opens up a comm channel to the lab. He looks frightened, angry, and concerned.
Shinji: "Ritsuko-san! What's happening to Asuka?"
Ritsuko: "Unit-02's gone into berserker mode! It won't let us disconnect, either."
Shinji: "Let me into the cage. I want to help her."
Ritsuko: "We can't! There's no telling what will happen if there's another EVA unit in the cage while Unit-02's like this. It could be dangerous for you."
Shinji: "I don't care! I have to help Asuka! She could die if nobody stops this!"
Ritsuko: "Think about yourself here! You could get killed, too, you understand."
Shinji: "Yeah, but I'll take that risk. The way Asuka is right now, the only one she trusts is me. Maybe if she sees me there, Unit-02 might calm down."
Ritsuko: "We can't take that risk, Shinji!"
Shinji: "She knows me. She cares for me. I care for her, too. I'm not going to just sit here while she destroys herself. Please let me into the cage. Or do I have to break into it myself?"
Misato: "Shinji's right, Ritsuko. I know they normally fight a lot, but now it's different. I know. Trust him, okay?"
Ritsuko: "You realize that this would mean you'd have to take full responsibility for this, Major."
Misato: "Fine." (to Shinji:) "Shinji, can you hear me?"
Shinji: "Yes, Misato-san."
Misato: "We'll let you in, but you'll have to disconnect your umbilical cable first. You'll have five minutes to disconnect Unit-02's own cable and get it under control."
Misato: "If you can't, we can't guarantee your safety. We can pour Bakelite in after that, but that takes time to harden, and it might be too late. Be careful."
Shinji: "I will."
Misato: "Let's go!"
Shinji ejects the umbilical cable from Unit-01, Ritsuko opens the gate to the cage and Shinji rushes in, running up to Unit-02, which is still beating its head against the wall. He wraps one of his Eva's arms around the berserker's neck to restrain it, tears the cable assembly out of its back and then tries to tilt its head forward to get at the entry plug.
Maya: "We can't eject the entry plug! Unit 02 is using its auxiliary circuits! 35 seconds before de-activation!"
Shinji, however, isn't listening to this. He's trying his best to remove the armor at the base of Unit-02's neck with only one hand. After a few seconds of struggling, he finally succeeds, and Unit-02's entry plug is now visible.
Maya: "Auto-ejection triggered!"
Shinji reflexively readies Unit-01's free hand, and a few seconds later the plug shoots out at a very high speed. He catches it just at the right moment and wrestles Unit-02 down to the floor so he can set the plug down.
Maya: "Unit shutdown in ten seconds! 9! 8! 7! 6..."
Shinji carefully puts Asuka's entry plug on the cage floor and puts both arms around Unit-02 to keep it from getting up and doing more damage. It struggles with Unit-01, and Shinji uses all of his will to hold it down.
Inside the lab.
Maya: "3! 2! 1! 0!! Unit-02 is silent."
The light in Unit-02's eyes shuts down, and its body goes limp. Shinji holds on tight to it, just in case.
Ritsuko: "It's all right, Shinji. It's shut down now. Good job."
Shinji faces the camera inside his plug with the elation of those who fight hard and win on his face, and slowly releases his grip on Unit-02.
Misato: "Why did it reject her?!"
Ritsuko: "I really don't know myself, Misato..."
Back in the cage. After docking Unit-01, Shinji scrambles out of his plug and races down the stairs to the floor of the cage, not stopping until he is standing in front of Asuka's entry plug. With the kind of strength these moments give people, he grabs the emergency handles of the hatch door and starts twisting them. NERV medics run up behind him, ready to take care of any problems Asuka may have.
The hatch of the plug finally opens, which spills warm LCL all over the floor and himself. But he doesn't pay any attention to that. He sticks his head in and finds Asuka grasping tightly onto the controls, sitting in a pool of residual LCL.
Shinji: "Asuka! Are you okay!?"
She slowly opens her eyes and looks up at him. Her vision is still a little blurred, but she can make out his face.
Shinji(smiling): "Come on, we'll take you to the infirmary."
Asuka is a bit surprised at first, but then she comes back to her senses.
Asuka(smiling warmly): "It isn't that bad, you know..."
The two teens giggle.
Later. A NERV Hospital Room. Misato, Ritsuko and Shinji are at Asuka's bedside.
Ritsuko: "It's an interesting theory, I must say. Two 'personalities' in the same body. Her's, and her mother's. The shock of the two of them interacting 'blocked' her memories. What a science-fiction story..."
Asuka: "But I still can't remember anything yet..."
Shinji: "It's still so unbelievable. And I really thought she was amnesic all this time."
Ritsuko: "She was and still is. That was a consequence of the encounter of two 'souls,' even if they aren't really 'souls.'"
Kaji chooses this moment to come into the hospital room.
Kaji: "Hi. May I join you?"
Misato: "Yeah, yeah, you can..."
He takes a chair and sits down in front of Asuka.
Ritsuko: "So, I don't think we'll get the old Asuka back, will we?"
Asuka: "I'm sorry, Akagi-san. I really can't remember anything..."
Shinji: "I'm sure there's a way..."
Kaji(grinning): "Tell me, Shinji, do you really want to get the old Asuka back?"
Shinji looks down and blushes a little.
Misato: "Thinking about it, Shinji-kun, I don't think it would be wise...the one we have now is quieter than the old one..."
Asuka is listening with a little smile, almost a grin, on her face.
Shinji: "Yes, but..."
Asuka: "Hey, Shinji. I want to go out sometime when I leave this hospital. Will you take me somewhere where we could have some fun together?"
Shinji turns redder than he was a little while ago.
Misato(teasing): "Hey hey hey! Way to go, Shinji-kun!"
Kaji chuckles, while Ritsuko stays her usual serious self.
Shinji(to Asuka): "Y-yeah...I think I'd like to."
Ritsuko(now smiling a bit): "Well, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I don't think you'll be having any fun for now. I have to run some other tests on Asuka. Your 'date' will have to wait one or two days."
Shinji: "Don't do any harm to Asuka, please."
Ritsuko: "Well, I'll try not to. She'll be able to go home tonight, don't worry. But tomorrow, she'll have to come back here. Okay?"
That night, at Misato's apartment. Shinji is looking at the sky from the balcony of his room.
Asuka: "May I join you?"
Shinji(without looking at her): "Yeah, yeah..."
She walks up to him and props herself against the balcony, next to him.
Asuka: "I really hate my room. I feel better in yours. I feel more...calm...more...more at peace."
She then looks up at the sky, too.
Asuka: "I like to look at the stars, too, you know...we can see many beautiful things, sometimes."
Pause. Shinji suddenly looks down at the street below.
Shinji: "I'm sorry, Asuka."
Asuka: "Why do you feel sorry? There's nothing to apologize for."
Shinji: "If I could have, I would have convinced Misato to not let you take that test..."
Asuka: "Hey, it would have happened sooner or later! Don't say that!"
Shinji: "...you're right..."
Asuka takes advantage of the little pause in their conversation to rest her head on his shoulder. Shinji notices this, and gets a little nervous.
Shinji(to himself): "Why am I trembling like this? I don't have...to hide my feelings from her...not from this Asuka..." (to Asuka:) "Asuka. I...I...don't know exactly how to say this, b-but...I think I..."
Asuka: "Yeah? Come on, tell me what's on your mind."
Shinji: "...I love you, Asuka."
Asuka is a bit shocked to hear this, even though, deep inside, she's smiling to herself...
Shinji: "I want to be with you, forever. Please...don't tell me you don't feel the same way..."
Asuka: "Hey, didn't I tell you a few days ago that I trust you? And where am I resting now, baka Shinji...?"
She looks him right in the eyes, and he looks back into hers. The emotional feedback between the two of them is so overpowering that Shinji doesn't even notice that Asuka just called him 'baka Shinji'...
Shinji(blushing a bit): "I remember...the first time I saw you leaving the bathroom...you looked so cute in that towel...it was the last night of our synchronization week."
Asuka hears a little voice in her head.
Voice: "Come on, Asuka-chan, tell him now..."
She thinks about it for a few moments before looking at Shinji, who is now looking at the stars in the Tokyo-3 sky again.
Asuka(softly, but still with a little grin on her face): "You know, part of me hoped that you would have kissed me that night."
Shinji's brain only registers what Asuka just said a few moments later. He turns his head to look at her. But, before he realizes it, she has her arms loosely but firmly around his neck. He wants to say something, but his lips are now too busy to talk as Asuka plants a passionate kiss on them...
Asuka(while kissing Shinji, to herself): "Thank you, mama..."
I know some of you are gonna be disappointed by the fic ending there, but it had to be done this way. Anyway, I hope you liked it!
One of my pre-readers told me that it was somehow like a trilogy: Introduction, development and conclusion. And when I look back at the two other parts, I think he's right!
Mega-thanks to Alain Gravel, for all the support he gave me in this part. I asked him many times if some things would fit into the story and he suggested part of the ending scene to me.
Now, all of my pre-readers:
Al-I-Bus, Alain Gravel, Borderline Case, Cedric Ranson, Dave Watson, EBJ, Eva_Pilot00, Godsend777, Greg Thomas, Jayson Deare, DJ Lesser, Kaoru Nagisa, Jon Byram, Pheaton, Readiosys Fisher, Sammy Sy, Shinji the 10 O'clock Assassin, Sudhoya'da, Sushi Boy, and Yousef Al-Samshi!
Whoa! What a crew! I'm wondering if I have the biggest number of pre-readers in the fanfic world! :-)