"The Sound and the Furry Productions"
The Sound and the Furry Productions, copyright 6 BC Andrew Huang, nutcase, headcase, briefcase, member begun July 9, 1997 WARNING! There are spoilers in this. Kind of. Yes, definitely. Evangelion is the property of Gainax (great bunch of people, they are). ADV Films has the rights to the English translation. The metasyntactic variable "wossname" was, I believe, coined by Terry Pratchett. Author's squawk: I like Evangelion. I like it a lot. A LOT. I love how it makes me think. It's action packed, and yet it's deep, on many levels. But some days, you just feel so damn silly.... Umm, timelinewise, this just doesn't fit in, really. Touji's joined up by now, but Bardiel never showed up. Or something like that. In other words, he's still intact and piloting EVA-03. And other things...are rewritten. Ignored. I'm making things up, kind of, now. Hey, this is supposed to be a spoof, and you're asking about continuity? See? Spoilers. I warned you. --------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------- There was a computer. Its name was Oddzilla. There was a writer. His name...wasn't important. But he did own Oddzilla. There was a bunch of anime otaku nutcases. They were called The Sound and the Furry, consisting of three writers (the aforementioned writer being one of them) and one artist. The writer (that is, the aforementioned owner of Oddzilla who was a member of this anime collective) decided to write. Having seen a goodly amount of Evangelion--which, by the way, started to get really depressing as it went towards the end--decided to write about Evangelion. He sat down at his computer named Oddzilla. The writer rubbed his hands gleefully. "Wait'll they get a load of me." He paused. "Damn, that's probably copyrighted." Shrugging, he began typing. "Neon...Genesis...Evanje--" He looked up, embarassed. "Silly me. Writing out loud. I mean, reading my writing out loud as I write it." He considered his words for a moment. "Right." He returned to his work, not quite realizing that his lips were moving as he typed. ************************************************ The four children climbed out of the entry plugs in the test area, where their EVAs stood. As usual, Asuka and Touji were verbally poking each other's eyes out. As usual, Rei was silent. As...er.... "Shinji-kun, you look a little pale...." Ritsuko looked at the plug- suited lad. "I...I don't know...I feel...kinda strange. Like...you remember...." Misato smacked her hand to her brow. "Baka! Did you forget your soul AGAIN!? You're supposed to hold down the 'RESET' button while you turn the power off!" *** Neon Genesis Evanjellydonut, part 1: I Left My Soul in Tokyo-3 by Andrew Huang written for The Sound and the Furry Productions *** "You mean, you've done this before?" asked Kensuke. The four Children sat in a lounge near the NERV offices. Hikari and Kensuke had been allowed to join them there--not as if there was all that much so top-secret about this anymore. "Yeah. Just a few weeks ago, the wonderful Third Child pulled the same one." Asuka smirked at Shinji. Hikari smirked at Shinji too, following the female pilot's lead. "Must have been before I got here.... But--I don't have any special shutdown procedures." Touji glared at the two more vocal girls in the room in defense of his friend. Hikari blushed as she saw him staring at her, and turned away. Asuka rolled her eyes. Rei spoke, which sent a chill through just about everyone else. "It's because Unit 01 is so unstable. It's a wonder, sometimes, that it can even be reliably piloted." "And of course, I'm the one stuck with it," muttered Shinji. Kensuke turned towards Shinji. "You know, for someone who's missing his soul at the moment, you seem pretty normal." Shinji shrugged. "No, it's not like my mind or feelings are gone. I thought it would be like that too, but...eh. What it _is_, though, is this really empty feeling...you know, like the exact opposite of how we felt after eating that _thing_ that Asuka's American aunt sent us for Christmas...you know...that...that 'fruitcake' wossname. Thingy." Kensuke's eyes widened. "That was FOOD!? I could have sworn it was a brick!" The other three EVA pilots nodded and groaned in unison (although Rei did so only almost imperceptibly). "Must be rough," commented Touji. "I mean, it was so heavy!" "It's very...uncomfortable. Like missing your liver. Not that I would know exactly how that feels, but I think Misato might." Everyone nodded. Hikari spoke. "Well...what are you going to do about it?" Shinji shrugged again. "Get it back. Wasn't too hard last time. Just-- kicked Unit 01's processor a few times, hard, in the right place, and bang, I'm a whole person again. It was kind of a tingly feeling, like I suddenly got carbonated." "I should know, I held it in both of my arms when Asuka got it...." "I'm afraid it's not going to be so easy this time, Shinji-kun." Misato jogged into the room, taking Touji's eyes along for a ride. "You see, it doesn't seem to be in Unit 01 anymore. We checked. No visual electrical formations, no sensor readouts." "Visual? You mean, you can see it? What does it look like?" "It seems to be different for everyone, but Shinji-kun's looks like, um...." Misato trailed off a little uneasily. She glanced at the recently de-souled boy. "Like?" Touji scratched his head. "A winged anteater," muttered Shinji. There was a measured silence, broken by a snicker from Asuka. Hikari blinked. "A _what_?" "Don't ask me, I didn't design my soul." "That thing was definitely as solid as Mount Fuji, man. Well, at least before Suzuhara here sneezed in the cockpit and EVA-03 blew off the north side of it." "An anteater." "Yes." "With wings." "Yes." Touji scratched his chin thoughtfully. "It must be symbolic," he declared. "Heck if I know how. I've never mucked around an imaginary anthill for a metaphysical lunch." "So where is it?" asked Asuka. Misato hesitated. "As far as I know, it went somewhere into the Magi system. And you know how big _that_ is. What's more, it could have left it somehow, through some interface. Whether or not it's--" "I could have hammered nails with that thing, I KNOW it was that hard!" "--still within an electronic system, or maybe...well, never mind that. Anyways, we're still looking. In the meantime, until he recovers his soul, he shouldn't try to operate an EVA." "A distended soul," murmured Rei. "I can't begin to imagine how that would feel like," wondered Hikari. "It's not horrifically bad, but you'd probably not want to know. I sure feel hungry, though, and I just ate before the test," complained Shinji. "I bet it would have made good armor plating." "Shut UP, Kensuke." ------------------------------------------------ The EVA cage was warm this evening. Misato stared at the giant purple robot. If she didn't know any better, it seemed like it was thinking. Or maybe it was scratching its posterior; she wasn't quite sure which. "What _are_ you? What?" A voice spoke behind her. "A creation of man, in the form of a man. It was built to fight the Angels...and perhaps, it was built from something we know far too little about." "What is the link? The Evangelions. Us. Angels." "You may as well ask what the human soul is. No one knows, one can only guess." "The soul," breathed Misato. "We've seen...we know that the very spirit of a person can exist inside the EVA. What was it that they said? That it's an 'artificial human'?" "Though its form only vaguely resembles a human, and in scale is far larger, yes, that is right. It has blood, nerves...on occasion, even a soul...." "Yes." Misato paused. "A frightening thing, isn't it?" "Yes, it is. Piloted by a few select children, who were conceived on the night of an awful destruction visited upon Earth. The power of the EVAs is simply unparalleled.... It alone can truly fight the Angels. It withstands enormous blasts. It tears steel apart like paper. The product of the finest human technology. It slices, dices, and makes julienne fries." Misato blinked. She turned around. Her jaw fell open. "Pen-pen?" The spa penguin was just coolly standing there, holding a can of beer. "What, you didn't know I can talk? Hey, I was on the design team for that baby." He drank a gulp of beer. "She's a beauty, that one," he stated proudly. Misato sat up in her bed. "That's it. No more ham-and-wasabi pizza before I go to sleep." ------------------------------------------------ A pile of books was dumped in front of the four pilots. "We figure there might be something about this in here. Since you're the ones most directly affected, you should take a look for it. The rest of us will also be searching through other texts and resources." Ritsuko adjusted her glasses, then yawned and stretched, giving a gratuitous bounce. "WHAT?! You have to load me down with _his_ incompetence?" Asuka turned to stick out her tongue at Shinji. "Well, the thing is, although the other models are more stable, you never know what might happen to _you_." Ritsuko turned towards the door. "If you need anything, just give us a call." She exited. "This really sucks. Stupid Third Child, loses his soul, and _we're_ stuck doing some studying. The world just isn't fair." Asuka slammed her fist down on the table. "As she said--it may happen to any of us. We never know." Rei lowered the room temperature by a few degrees. Asuka just grumbled some more. "Stupid anteater boy." Shinji scowled back at her. Touji spoke up. "Say, what do _your_ souls look like, then?" "Don't know, _I_ always know to keep it with me. Never had to look for it." Asuka again stuck her tongue out with a great big "BEEEDA!" Shinji attempted to pick up his stack and failed. "What is all of this anyways?" ************************************************ Pausing a moment, the writer carefully chose some words to speak. "I have a healthy respect for Jews and Judaism. In fact, I have many Jewish friends. I am NOT making fun of Judaism here, but rather just making up some silly translations. And that's all it is." But just to be safe, he put on his nuke-suit, identical to Misato's in Evangelion ep 7. "Buggrit...flippin' hard to type with these thick gloves on...." ************************************************ "Hm,m...rthe A_DeswaZd WSewea SAcvroolls_, 'KJsapsnreare rtrsneasl; ************************************************ The writer chucked the gloves. ************************************************ "Hmm...the _Dead Sea Scrolls_, 'Japanese translation including detailed footnotes, annotations, and various things you don't really need to know unless you're piloting a huge robot with the tendency to suck out your soul'. The book of Psalms, 'In Japanese with sing-along melodies'. Book of Isaiah, 'Complete Abridged Japanese Version'. A copy of the Kabbalah, Dabbler's Edition, 'With detailed instructions on golem creation using simple household materials in forty-two easy steps; please read the safety section first'. Where do they get this stuff from?" Touji dropped one of the books. "And what does this all have to do with us?" "These are ancient Jewish texts. Apparently, they relate very strongly to what the Evangelions are, as well as the Angels themselves, and why they are here. Gendou-san has done a lot of the research already, I think." Rei reached for one of the books and started to read the indicated sections. "Jewish texts? My father? Funny, I can't see him getting involved with religion, even if it's just a strictly scientific thing." ------------------------------------------------ *WACHOOO* "Rabbi, are you feeling all right?" Ikari Gendou adjusted his yarmulka. "Just some allergies, I think. Now then, turn to page 202. Read carefully over Moses's words riiiiight over here...." ------------------------------------------------ Shinji stumbled out of the room. This sudden migraine really wasn't helping things, and he needed a break. Bad. He ripped off his headphones, panting. "Stupid books on tape," he gasped, collapsing onto the floor. "'Lynn Minmay reads the Pentateuch'? They should have put warning signs on that one.... Who the heck is Lynn Minmay, and why is she allowed to do this? Argh." He rubbed his temples in an attempt to rework his brain into something useable. "You okay, there?" Touji popped out of the room and sat down on the floor next to Shinji. "This stuff is so hard for me to understand. Seven eyes? Why does God have seven eyes? Crap. I hate doing this." He yawned and leaned his head against the wall. There was a sudden rumbling inside the room, and some shouting. The two guys blinked, looked at each other. Before either could say or do anything, the door slammed open. Touji's head jerked forward from the vibrations. A female voice rang--nay, nearly screeched out. "I HATE this! I am SICK of this!! IKARI, YOU'RE AN IDIOT!!!!" "Geez, I'm sorry already, Asu--" "_Ayanami_?!" The albino girl stomped over to Shinji and picked him up by his shirt collar, hissing. "Dammit, because of you, I'm stuck in that room forced to look things up that are really messing with my head. And it's all-your- fault-!" She dropped him on the floor and marched off. The two boys sat there stunned. "Must...must be that time of month," mumbled Touji. "The mental part, that is." "'That time of month'? I wasn't aware that Ayanami had a 'that time of month'. She's never _had_ a 'that time of month'. Heck, if women had a 'that time of year', Ayanami would have had to forfeit on account of not showing up. It couldn't be 'that time of month'. Not Ayanami. Not the mental part. No, not her." Shinji paused to re-establish motor neuron control over his shaking hands. "I think I feel scared." The two of them stared down at the floor, still not quite recovered. Then a thought struck suddenly. "Um. Isn't Asuka still in there?" "Uh-oh." They both scrambled to their feet and darted back into the room. Asuka was still standing at the table. It didn't seem like she was capable of doing much else. "Asuka? Are you all right? What happened here?" "She-she-she-she she blew up the First Child just exploded Wonder Girl went nuts ohmyGodohmyGod." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, then collapsed into her chair. "Asuka?" Shinji cautiously walked up to the Second Child. He gently shook her arm. He didn't expect her to suddenly grab at his shirt. "Shinji! It was so scary!!" she sobbed. "Rei's fine--what passes for her as fine--all this time, and suddenly, she, she sits up straight for a few seconds, blinks a little, and goes off like the Second Impact! Screaming about being trapped in this room, and then she starts throwing books all over the place! Rei! Her! The quiet one!" "It's always the quiet ones," said Touji, sagely. Asuka threw a book at him without looking, still weeping a bit. Shinji wasn't sure what to do. "It's...okay...uh...right." No, it's not okay, Ayanami just had a hissy fit, she's never had any particular outburst before, she slapped me once when I insulted my father, and now she's throwing books and shaking me up and terrifying _Asuka_ of all people. Say, why _is_ Asuka still hanging on to my shirt? "Um, would you mind not doing that? After what just happened outside, I'm feeling wary of girls grabbing at my clothing." Wait. That didn't sound right. Asuka pulled away from him suddenly, a disgusted, surprised look on her face. "WHAT?!" As Shinji staggered around the room, holding his chin, Asuka rubbed her slightly bruised fist, not quite as upset by Rei's earlier explosion. In the meantime, Touji had disengaged his nose from the Japanese-Hebrew dictionary and struggled to his feet. "I suppose that means you're all right...." Asuka slumped a little bit. "She was so frightening. I mean, you know how she usually is." Misato popped her head into the room. "What happened? I heard some yelling from down the hall...where's Rei?" They explained. For some reason, Misato didn't look too surprised, but rather, was thoughtful. "Sounds like something I should tell Ritsuko. Oh well. I guess you guys should go take a break, then. Help me pick these up first, though." She bent over to gather a few books, inducing Touji to start a nosebleed. ------------------------------------------------ "Have they found Rei yet?" "Yes. She's in the gym, pounding a punching bag. She seems to be an excellent kickboxer." "You're kidding." "No." "Better get her in here soon." "Who's going to do it?" "Umm...." ------------------------------------------------ "Rei." Rei turned away from the formerly-a-punching-bag-now-stuffing to see Ikari Gendou, tucking away some sort of cloth into his pocket and running his hand through his hair. She was breathing heavily, doing marvelous things for her chest. "What do you want?" she asked, with a slight edge. Gendou actually developed a small sweatdrop. "We...we need you in the labs." ------------------------------------------------ There was a flying anteater on the monitor. "Bingo." "IT'S IN ME!??!?" Ritsuko was rather unnerved by Rei yelling like that. "Uh, yes. Hey, look, there's your soul's image, right beneath Shinji's." And, indeed, there it was. "I would never have guessed," murmured Gendou. Misato and Ritsuko both nodded. Rei simply stared. "They look like they're fighting, though it's hard to say _how_ that and an anteater might fight each other." Ritsuko shrugged. "Well, let's print up the report, then, and get working on a way to return Shinji's soul to him." "What do you mean?" "It means, back to the books, Rei." "AAAAARGH!!!" "But perhaps we should give you the day off first," added Ritsuko, wincing. ------------------------------------------------ "It's where?!" "Stuck in ME. And YOU are the reason that I'm so pissed off." Asuka actually looked sympathetic. "Being stuck with _that_ guy's soul. Must be a pain." "Excuse me, but what's going on again?" Touji looked confused. Rei turned to him, glaring. "His soul is in my body. I was the last one to disconnect and leave from the entry plugs, and it swam over into me, or something. However, my soul is also in my body, still. They don't seem to be getting along too well. Delayed reaction. The imbalance is driving me crazy." It was the first time that she had spoken in a while without shouting, but only barely. "Oh. Gee, who would have figured yin and yang could be so much fun?" A deathly silence struck the room. "What? Wha'd I say?" They finished whapping Touji upside the head in turns, leaving him to blink a bit and try to fix his hair. "Hey, guys. Where were you all day?" Kensuke jogged up, with Hikari following close behind. "Well, we finally found out where Shinji's disembodied essence has gone," said Asuka. She explained it to them. Kensuke's and Hikari's eyes grew wide. "Wow, it can actually do that?" wondered Hikari. "I never knew." Kensuke laughed a little. "Well, Ayanami, it must be fun to have...have...uh?" Fifteen seconds and fifty-odd decibels later, Kensuke was cowering in a corner of the room. Hikari would have done so as well, but she was too terrified to move. Rather, she was whimpering something about demon possessions and trying to recall some holy Shinto words of warding. Shinji unplugged his ears. "You know," he whispered in an aside to Touji, "I think her yelling just peeled off a few layers of paint in this room." He examined his clothes, continuing, "And I _know_ my jeans weren't this faded just a few moments ago. Plus my shirt looks ironed now." "Maybe we should have warned them about that first," muttered Touji. They settled back down after a few minutes. Placatingly, Hikari asked, "So, uhm, did you find out what your soul looks like, then?" Wordlessly, Rei pulled out one of the printouts and displayed it. "Cool...." Rei returned it to the folder she was carrying. "That sure was interesting," said Kensuke, warily. The others silently agreed. "Anyways, ah...any ideas on how to...get it back to him?" "We...we still have to do some research. Starting tomorrow, though. It's been a long day, today." ------------------------------------------------ Asuka reclined on the bench, while Hikari leaned against its back. It had been, indeed, a very long day.... Rei was out somewhere beating the crap out of another punching bag. Or, if someone got too close, then...which was why Asuka and Hikari were being extra careful to stay away from her. "She scared you, didn't she?" "I couldn't move from where I was standing." "When she first blew up, same here. Books flying all over the place, screaming at me...." Asuka fell silent. The two girls contemplated the sunset. "So, it's really that bad to have two souls in one body? But why did it take so long for her to...react?" "I have no idea. But I heard that Rei's soul is maladjusted to begin with, so maybe that's why things are so bad for her." "Really...so, maybe, if both the souls are more...um, agreeable, it wouldn't be so bad?" "I guess." There was a pause. Asuka suddenly felt the air grow...saccharine. "I wonder how it would feel to share souls with Touji-kun..." came a somewhat dreamy voice. It almost didn't sound like Hikari. Asuka quietly debated whether or not to throw up. "He's such a nice person." "I can't help but think that you're not the best judge of character." Hikari broke out of her slight haze and frowned at her friend. "You do have to remember how he takes care of his sister in the hospital. Now that's kindness, if you ask me. And...well, he's nice otherwise, too." Both girls sighed, but for completely different reasons. "I wonder what it's going to take for them to get back to normal." Asuka was anxious to change the subject before Hikari got syrupy on her again. "Being like this couldn't be any good for either of them. Especially with how Rei takes all of this out on everyone...most of all Shinji." "Oh, so you've got a soft spot for Shinji, do you?" Hikari poked at Asuka's shoulder. "Hey!" Asuka jumped up, making her dress flutter up to some rather indecent heights. "Kidding, kidding...." "Yeah, yeah. Geez, I feel tired. I think I'm going to turn in a little early tonight." ------------------------------------------------ Shinji waited impatiently in the conference room. He had just arrived that morning at NERV HQ, when they said that Maia had found out how to get everything back in order. Next to him, Rei sat with her arms crossed. What was taking them so long? "Any idea what it might be?" "No." Ancient Jewish texts. Somehow, all of this stuff had been written of and foreshadowed all the way back then. Ominous, that, although Shinji wasn't quite sure why. The coming of Angels, the creation of EVAs, the mingling of souls, and the returning of souls. Somehow. He sincerely hoped this wasn't going to be anything too weird. Finally, Maia and Misato entered the room. He could see Kaji beyond the door they had entered, coughing. Very red in the face, he was. Hmm. Oh well. There were more pressing matters at hand. "Misato-san? Maia-san? You say you've got it?" The two women nodded. Odd, they looked a bit uneasy. Maia spoke first. "Um, yes, we found out how...but...er...." She looked over at Misato. No help there, it seemed. "Well, it's kind of.... Oh, geez...." She looked pale. "What? What is it!?" Rei had stood up by now. Her displeasure showed very clearly. "Dammit, I've been waiting for two days already!" Misato nudged Maia a bit, whispering, "Go on. You got the short straw." Flustered, Maia looked again over at Misato, then bent down to Rei's ear and whispered something. Rei's eyes grew wide. "You're...you're kidding." She looked to Misato, who shook her head, apologetically. "Oh, no." Shinji felt very afraid. But before he could say anything, Rei set a determined look on her face. "All right. Whatever it takes. Where?" Hanging her head, Maia pointed over at a side door. Rei grabbed Shinji's hand and dragged him over there, through the door, and closed it behind them. There was a bed in the room. Shinji started to sweat. A lot. "Ah...are they thinking what I think they're thinking?" *zzzzzzip* He turned around to see Rei taking off her dress and unbuttoning her blouse. "Well, this is it," she said. "Come on." Shinji _stood_up_ in his bed. "Oh, dear God." He looked at the clock. 3 AM. He shook his head a little and then, with a sigh, slipped back under his covers, and returned to sleep. *zzzzzzip* "Well, this is it," she said. "Come on." Shinji didn't wake up this time. ************************************************ The writer looked up from his keyboard. "Hey. I don't do lemons. Stop looking so disappointed." ************************************************ ------------------------------------------------ Rei was dreaming as well. However, unlike a few others, she realized that she was dreaming. She found herself, in her dreams, confronting a winged anteater. "Oh, so now you have to come bother me while I'm sleeping, do you? Twit." She realized that she was dressed in her plug suit, floating in some LCL. "Well, what is this all supposed to mean?" The anteater spoke, with Shinji's voice. "What does this mean? What indeed." Rei stared at it, waiting. "Aren't you going to tell me?" "How am I supposed to know? I'm just the part of Shinji that got sucked into EVA-01, through the system, and shoved into you. I have no idea about what's going on." He...let's call it a he--he sniffed indignantly through his snout. Rei took a swing at him, but he fluttered out of reach. "Hold still, you," she snarled. "Why are you and my soul fighting with each other, anyway?" "Fighting? We're not fighting, we're, well, arguing. Sort of. In that ethereal way that souls do. Yeah." As ethereal as a barroom brawl, by the looks of the scans. "And why are you arguing?" "To tell you the truth, I'm not sure. Why don't you ask your soul, _she_ started it." "Whaddaya mean, _my_ soul started it?" "I was just wandering around in your...well, I have no idea what the term is. Anyways, I was just wandering around...you, when I bumped into your soul. Before I knew it, she had me in a full-nelson, trying to bang my head into...well, I guess it's like a wall, but I doubt you have steel- reinforced concrete structures in you, as such." "Where is it now?" "Why are you asking _me_ where _your_ soul is?" Rei grumbled. The anteater continued. "Odd, that you have so much personality all of a sudden. I'm sure Shinji must appreciate it. Or something like that. Actually, I imagine he's scared to death of you. The others, too, right?" Rei smiled, slightly evilly. The anteater backed away nervously. "Aaaaanyways--why did your soul just attack me like that?" "Maybe she...I'm referring to my soul in the third person...she likes to protect her territory against intruders. I don't know!" The anteater thought it over some, and then shrugged. Kind of. It shrugged in the way that only anteaters can. "Well, I can't wait to get out of here and back into my rightful owner. I must admit, though, that it's a little more interesting here than I would have imagined." "And what do you mean by that?" She advanced on him menacingly. "Er, never mind. Uh, say, shouldn't you be waking up about now?" "No. I still have two hours." "Geez.. You can keep track of time in your dreams?" Rei nodded. "I'm impressed, really I am...." They fell silent, staring at one another. The situation grew slightly more uncomfortable. Somehow. Rei spoke again. "Do you have any idea how you might get back to Shinji?" "None at all. And if I did, I probably wouldn't be allowed to say so." "What?" "I dunno. It's probably some rule concerning souls. I'm just guessing here, you know." "Oh." A pause. Then, "Why is everything so damned obtuse?" "If things were too easy, well, this would all feel...well, stupid, or something. Besides, Shinji already used up all the breaks with the first time it happened, remember? I mean, get back into the entry plug, hold your breath, kick the computer hard a few times in its electronic groin- equivalent, and there I go, right back into where I belong. Too simple. Murphy's Law is getting revenge now. Must be in my contract. I'm sure that what's going to have to happen this time is either much harder, or much weirder, or both, somehow." He looked around himself. "'Throne of the soul'...heh, I sure would like to find _that_ thing." Rei sighed, then muttered, "You annoy me, you know that?" "Absolutely." "So go away. I need to get some sleep that'll actually do me some good." ------------------------------------------------ "Shinji, you don't look too good." Shinji turned two bleary red eyes towards his friend. "I know, Touji. Didn't sleep very well last night. You know, though, I'm having difficulty deciding whether that's a good thing or a bad thing." Touji blinked, but decided not to say anything else, and turned back to his book. He didn't notice Shinji giving a very, very nervous glance towards Rei, across the table. However, she did. "What are you looking at me for?" "No-nothing! Really! Heh...heh...." Asuka looked suspiciously at Shinji. Seeing this as an opportunity to shift some rather unwelcome attention, he spoke up. "Uh--what are _you_ looking at me for?" Asuka turned away quickly. "Just trying to figure out why you're such a loser." Shinji frowned, but then shrugged. Touji felt that it would not be wise to try and catch any of that. Life was dangerous enough as it was. Rather.... "Hey, did you guys notice that the word 'angel' is contained in 'Evangelion'?" Three heads swiveled his way. Touji shrank beneath the stares. "Well, we were due for some insightful comment, weren't we?" They toiled on, in relative silence. ************************************************ "You know, that 'angel' in 'Evangelion' bit was an actual comment made to me by a friend." Facing a sudden, oppressive silence, the writer reddened, muttered, "Never mind," and returned to work. ************************************************ ------------------------------------------------ Shinji waited nervously in the conference room. They said that Maia had found it. That already was far too close for comfort. Next to him, Rei sat with her arms crossed. Oh, geez.... "Ah...any...any idea what it might be?" "No." Shinji swallowed nervously. Finally, Maia and Misato appeared. Kaji was behind the door...not coughing, though, just smiling. Maia and Misato were smiling also. Shinji breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't going to be anything too bad. "We got it," announced Maia proudly. "And?" asked Rei. Misato answered, "Take it easy. We'll be doing this one thing at a time. Both of you, get into your plug suits, and meet back here when you're done dressing." ------------------------------------------------ As they walked to the locker room, Shinji turned towards Rei. "Ah, so, this doesn't seem to be anything too weird, uh, does it?" He attempted a smile. "Don't speak too quickly," answered Rei. He started to sweat again. Inside the locker room, Shinji dressed slowly. As he did so, he contemplated the slick, soft clothing that enhanced his body's ability to synchronize with the robot. "Yeah, enhance the pain, too," he growled. He hated fighting in that thing. It was so unimaginably-- "Oh, shut up and stop whining, you wimp!" yelled Rei from the other side of the curtain. That was rather annoying, this rude interruption during a moment of serious, insightful introspection. He angrily looked up to see her silhouette through the separator as she.... *zzzzzzip* Oh, my. Funny, how the gut wasn't feeling so empty, not since last night. Perhaps the hormones took over the soul's job a little bit. He wiped away the trickle of blood coming from his left nostril. You know, that curtain there seemed a little thinner than usual or something, today. ------------------------------------------------ When the two pilots returned to the conference room, they found that Kaji had decided to join the two ladies. "All right," he said, "now you two will have to get into one of the EVAs. Which one will it be?" "Unit 01." "Unit 00." The two children turned and stared at each other. Rei growled a little. Shinji decided to grow a little backbone and merely flinched slightly. "All right, you two, break it up. We'll flip for it," said Kaji, turning around to look for a coin on the desk behind him. Rei flipped _something_ at his back. Misato snickered. Turning back to the children, he continued. "All right. Heads, Unit 01. Tails, Unit 00." He set the coin on his thumb. *ping* It soared in an arc through the air and landed on the floor, bouncing a few times before coming to a halt. Everyone stared at it. "E...edge," called Maia. They stared at it some more. "Well. How about Unit 02, then?" suggested Misato brightly. ------------------------------------------------ "WHAT!? They're going into MY Unit 02? Why!?" Kaji showed Asuka the coin, still sitting on the ground. "Oh...." ------------------------------------------------ "This should be all right. The cross-synchronization tests showed that you shouldn't have any trouble, at least not with Unit 02." The entry plug screwed in smoothly with a hiss. It filled with LCL and both of the Children sat on the "floor" next to the cockpit. "Initiate synchronization." The plug whirred to life, moving through its stages quickly. "Critical point reached and passed." The plug lit up, and Maia's and Ritsuko's face showed on a monitor. "Is everything all right?" Both children nodded. Ritsuko paused, seeming to gather herself together. "All right then." She seemed to be having difficulty keeping her composure. Shinji was starting to feel disturbed again. Ritsuko took a deep breath and continued. "Now, then. You two...you two are going to have to...um. Kiss. And hold it for at least thirty seconds, preferably a little longer." Rei's jaw dropped. Shinji almost sighed in relief, then thought better of it, for the way that it just _might_ be misconstrued. He simply turned his face away from the monitor. The faint sound of a few voices yelling "WHAT?!" could be heard, seemingly coming from behind Ritsuko. "Er...I-I...see..." stammered Shinji. He looked at Rei, saw her set a determined look on her face. "All right," she said. "Whatever it takes." He had a sudden sense of deja vu. They both repositioned themselves, facing each other. Someone else then spoke. "We'll cut off the viewscreens to give you two your privacy." There was a distinct chuckle in the voice. Kaji, of course. The monitors blinked off. "No funny stuff, you hear?" muttered Rei. Shinji only nodded. Oh well, at least I had some prior experience. Of sorts.... A few seconds passed, then on some unknown cue, both leaned towards each other. Shinji instinctively tilted his head, this time not having his movement restricted by a hand pinching his nose shut. They slowly closed their eyes. Closer...closer...lip contact. He brought his arms up and gently held Rei by the shoulders. Soft. Warm. Not bad, this. Along with that came the slow feeling like he was being dipped into a large cup of soda. Er, not that he actually knew what that felt like...ahh, much bet...ter? Thirty seconds were definitely up by now. Interesting, I feel something soft pressing up against my chest.... Say, why isn't she letting go? Wait, when did she even start to hold on to me? And why are her hands--HEY! And.... I'm sure I only have one tongue; what's going...on.... No longer distracted by a minor detail like regaining his soul, Shinji found himself in a very, very deep kiss, the type that was intended to clean out the upper portions of the small intestines, while a roaming pair of hands had managed to meet right...ah...hmm.... A dream! Of course. Just like last night. No, since this was a dream, it _was_ still last night. Just like the last dream. Yes, that's right. Only a dream. Shinji patiently waited to wake up...but hey, might as well enjoy it while it lasts. He almost subconsciously leaned into it a little. ------------------------------------------------ "Tell me, sempai," said Maia, "I know that the EVAs can harbor souls sometimes, but do they have emotions of their own?" Ritsuko, who was carefully monitoring the readouts from Unit 02, only glanced up briefly at her subordinate, answering, "I never thought about that, but I guess it's possible. Why do you ask?" Then, quickly, to herself, she mumbled, "Wow...82% synch rate? And climbing!" "Because I'd swear that Unit 02 has a distinctively lecherous look on its face right now." "What?" ------------------------------------------------ Fifteen seconds finally convinced Shinji that no, this was not a dream. He managed to pull himself free of Rei's, um, embrace, although a certain part of him (the part that kept him asleep that second time around) was rather reluctant. He kept his eyes on Rei. She was smiling at him, although smiling might be a tame word. "Shinji-kun," she purred. Rei was purring? Shinji almost started to hiccup out of sheer nervousness. Turning the monitors back on, he said in a shaky voice, "We-we're, we're, um, finished now, Ritsuko-san...." No funny stuff, _she_ said.... "Not quite yet, I still have something to take care of," called out Rei, slowly advancing on her hands and knees, over the cockpit seat, towards Shinji. "Rei, you can...stop, now. Please? Sorry. Company time and all that, you know." Rei halted, looking disappointed. Shinji's mind was on overload. Oh, no. Out of the frying pan, into...into the nuclear reactor core. My life seems to run on extremes, or something. Another monitor burst into life. It was filled with Asuka's furious face. "You two are such PERVERTS! In MY EVA, too! UGH!! I can't believe it!" Rei turned towards the monitor. "What's the matter? Jealous?" She smirked a bit. Asuka turned even redder, choking on her words. "WHAT!?" "I'm gonna die," whispered Shinji, glumly. ************************************************ The writer sat back. He was pleased. "Now, what next?" He glanced around surreptitiously, looking for a gigantic red robot that was being piloted by a teed-off 14 year-old girl. *** To be continued.... *** Ha! That was fun. That was a lot of fun. Yes, Terry Pratchett's influence kind of shone through a bit, there, I suppose (and not just the wossname bit). In fact, if it wasn't for him, I don't think I could write like this. Man, I had just finished off the TV series while writing this. Yes, it's depressing. And the movie, oh I've heard things about the movie.... But it was all almost worth it to see the little "alternate universe" bit near the end of the last episode. You know, I'm thinking about turning _that_ into a series...but you all know how bad I am with extended writings. Anyways--how long will this stuff all be? I don't know. I'll write as long as the ideas for it keep coming. I'm hoping this will turn out to be something that I'll be remembered by.... It's too difficult to make a mark with Ranma fanfiction, and Ranma's the only other thing I can write so far. Thanks to my prereaders (in no particular order): RpM, Jason Langlois, Robert Morrison, Zen, Mike Chen, Chris Davies, Anne Packrat, Kevin Shiue, and Mark Doherty. They gave me much needed feedback while I was still unable to get to the FFML, over the summer of '97. The Productions-----starring Not responsible for any brain Sound Furry Andrew Huang Meredith Laver damage and-----the Eric Jones------Mike Chen incurred http://confused.student.harvard.edu/~furry/