Chapter 3: Back to School
No matter how much happened or how unusual the events had been, even the weirdest days would find its end...
...and a new morning would break over Tokyo-3 with the lovely waking sounds echoing from the Katsuragi residence.
"Can't you enjoy your morning-beer a bit quieter?" Asuka mumbled, as she shuffled yawning and still clad in her sleeping clothes into the kitchen, where Misato sat at the table, sipping on her beer can, while Shinji was currently busy fixing breakfast.
An awkward glance was exchanged by the married couple, before they quickly resumed their view.
Yet, not fast enough to escape the eyes of the tease-trained Major.
"What?" she asked. "No:
'Good Morning, Honey!'
'Morning, Darling! Hmm, smells good!' "
She emphasized each part by turning around and mimicking their voices.
" 'Only the best for my sweetheart!'
'Oh, that's sooo nice of you, sweetie!' "
Asuka narrowed her already half-closed eyes even more. "You're lucky, that I'm too tired to kill you..."
"Oh? How come? You're usually even finished in the bathroom by now."
"Don't ask. I had..." Asuka frowned at Shinji, who tried as best as he could to concentrate on making breakfast. "...nightmares..."
"Well, you better get fully awake soon. Remember, you have school today," Misato reminded.
It is said, that caffeine-containing drinks, preferable coffee, can blow tiredness away in no time.
Some people just need a splash of water on their face.
Romantics say that there is no better way to travel from the realm of dreams to the land of reality, than a kiss from your love. (Not-so-romantics would recommend something beyond that, but we won't delve into that here...)
Others need a rough waking like a loud yelling, a constant shaking or even a slap on the face to regain their senses.
For Asuka, the announcement of school was more than enough, that morning.
"WHAT? I can't go to school!"
Misato blinked. "Why? You don't seem to be ill."
"Are you kidding?" She pointed at Shinji. "THAT is even worse!"
" 'THAT' is no reason for me to excuse you from any of your duties."
"But... I... ARGH!" She whirled around. "I bet you knew about this!"
"Well, it didn't really come as a big surprise," he confessed weakly.
It took a few moments of glaring and grunting, until she finally calmed her rage enough not to kill him right then and there.
"Fine! I'll be in the bathroom!" she growled. "And you'd better have my breakfast ready when I'm finished, Third!"
As he watched her stomping and cursing out of the kitchen, one thought crossed his mind; one he had already several times before and this was most likely not the last.
'This is going to be another looong day...'
"I already understood it the first time, you know?" Shinji whined, as they made their way to school.
"That doesn't matter! Let me hear it again!"
He sighed, knowing that he hadn't much of a choice.
"I won't talk to anyone about the second worst thing I could have done to you, by taking advantage of your distorted senses, otherwise you'll remind me, that there is also another way for you to get out of it, than divorce," he quietly repeated what Asuka had told him about twelve times by now.
"Good! And don't you forget it!" the redhead warned him, shaking her fist menacing in front of his face.
"Don't he forget what?" The voice behind them caused them both to flinch.
"Oh, eh, h-hi, Hikari!"
"Good morning, you two," Hikari greeted them, bowing. "So, what were you talking about?"
"Well, you see..." Shinji stammered being close to a panic attack, and shifted his gaze wearily between Asuka and the class representative.
"He... eh... shouldn't forget the homework!" the Second Children waved innocently.
"Well, I can only hope that you never forget something like that," Hikari told in her authoritative tone, she always used when it came to school related things. But then something else caught her attention. "Oh, Asuka, you're wearing a ring? Haven't you always said you wouldn't need any jewelry to accentuate your beauty?"
Asuka and Shinji's widened eyes went to her hand were the traitorous ring was still clearly evident. She hid it as quickly as she could, behind her back.
"Eh... say, isn't it a bit late already?" she successfully tried to distract her friend.
"Oh my God, your right! We'll have to hurry!"
So far, it had been a usual school day. The constant monotonous ramblings of the teacher were more than enough to lull the students into a state of total absence of mind, were they tend to forget everything, even something like an unconventional wedding.
But sooner than later the lunch break would come, and with it a scene, that was well known to the other students:
A certain furious redhead would be scolding a certain wimpy boy for whatever reason...
"What do you mean: 'You forgot our lunch'??"
...he would make a weak reply...
"Well, I-I hadn't had much time yesterday. A-and afterwards, well, you know..."
...she would get even angrier...
"You mean I have to miss lunch just because YOU passed out after a stupid video?"
...and finally, they would be interrupted by one of their friends.
"Oh, the Newlyweds are at it again."
Toji's comment filled the classroom with laughter, but didn't get the expected reaction out of the two he addressed. Instead of embarrassment and blushing, he faced the horrified looks of the pair.
"HOW DO YOU KNOW???"
And the laughter was replaced with silence...
It took at least a full minute before the first of the gathered classmates managed to speak up.
"Y...y-you d...don't mean..."
The deep red faces of the couple were answer enough to bring back the laughter even louder than before, with various "I knew it!"s, "Way to go!"s "Sincere condolences, man!"s and some "How could you?"s mixed in between.
While the focus of the class was on the eye-twitching Asuka, who looked ready to explode any second and the whimpering Shinji, who was trying to hide himself under his desk, everyone failed to notice a pair of crimson eyes watching the scene with utmost fascination.
Of course, Rei knew of the basic concept of 'marriage', yet she had never felt the urge to investigate it further. But this new relationship between the Second and Third Children provoked her interest. She made a mental note to research and increase her knowledge in this matter.
Meanwhile, the clouds, gathering above the school building drifted apart in an instant, birds in a range of 500 yards fled from their trees as fast as they could, while other sensitive animals went wild, as...
...Asuka finally exploded.
Shinji thanked god that his just built desk-bunker reduced the impact at least to some extend.
"Shinji, Shinji, Shinji," Toji patted his friend's back, shaking his head in disbelieve. "You were always a strange fella, but what on earth gave you the stupidest of all ideas to marry a demon?"
The former bachelor sighed. He was glad that the three of them found shelter on the rooftop after the general excitement had calm down, while Hikari tried to sedate Asuka somehow. If the redhead would have heard Toji's rants, his ears would never get any time to regenerate.
"I envy him," Kensuke confessed sadly, earning a displeased look of the jock. "Not only that he's always around all the hot girls, now he even got one bound to him."
"You're starting to scare me, man!" Toji grunted. "I could understand if it was Misato, but being married to it is definitively nothing to be jealous of."
Shinji sighed again. "I don't know, how this could've happened," he muttered. "Asuka's angrier than ever before and that is something almost impossible to achieve."
"What do you mean: 'You don't know'?" Toji eyed him. "How can the groom not know about his wedding?"
"Well, you see, we were... it seems, well... kinda... drunk..." Shinji stammered.
His friends didn't seem to accept that answer. "You just don't want to excuse for not giving a bachelor party!"
"A what?" Shinji shrieked.
"Toji's right! And don't you tell us that we had that party two days ago! The girls had been there! Not to mention, that you and Asuka completely ignored us when you started that stupid ga..." the bespectacled boy stopped his rant, as a thought struck through his nerd brain. "Hey, Toji, you think this could be because of that game, they played?"
"Hmm," Toji pondered, nodding, "That would be an explanation..."
It's not necessary to mention that the Third Children was now even more confused than before. "What game?" he asked.
"You don't even remember that?"
Feeling an unpleasant kind of panic rising within him, he only managed to shook his head slowly.
"Well," Toji scratched his head, thinking. "You and Asuka got into something, you could describe as... uh... your own version of 'Truth or Dare'..."
"...Just without the 'Truth'..."
Two days ago, Shinji had just been released from NERV-infirmary after the incident with the twelfth Angel, to be greeted at the Katsuragi-residence with a "welcome home"-party arranged by his friends. The 'party' was pretty similar to the one Kensuke had organized for Misato's promotion. All six (or seven, if you counted PenPen) of them sat at the small, food and drink-covered table in the living room; Misato and Shinji on one side, left of them Toji and Kensuke, on the other side Asuka, Hikari and PenPen on Hikari's lap. It went on as usual: Misato was drinking heavily, Shinji was silent and a bit embarrassed about all the effort which was done for him, the boys and the girls (mostly Asuka) were arguing about the most trivial things, and not to forget the redhead's complains that Kaji wouldn't
be able to attend, because of his work.
"Hooray for my little Shin-chan, nightmare of Angels!" Misato prattled another toast and emptied another of countless beer cans in one gulp.
"T-thanks..." the boy mumbled embarrassed.
"Yeah, we know it already!" Asuka huffed. "The almighty, invincible Shinji who eats Angels for breakfast! God, I can't hear it anymore!"
"Asuka," the class rep tried to calm her friend down, as she saw the Third Children flinch even more, "Shouldn't you be glad that he made it back?"
Well, it seemed like she wasn't in the mood for faint, subtle hints, that she actually likes him. "Eh, we wouldn't have this party then, for example."
"Oh, we also would have had this party, say if it had been a certain other pilot falling in that thing, without returning!" Toji provoked the redhead.
"Hey, what's that sound?" Kensuke's voice interrupted the trail of events that usually ended up painfully for the jock. Everything was silent now, despite a light sound of...
"Snoring?" Shinji looked at his side to the purple-haired woman, who was still sitting cross-legged at the table, the beer can tightly gripped, yet the eyes closed and breathing with a steady, audible rhythm. "Now, that is strange."
"Yeah," Asuka admitted. "She usually doesn't pass out before having at least 4 per mill of alcohol in her blood..."
"Shouldn't we get her to bed?" Shinji wondered. "I mean we can't let her sleep here like this..."
Big matching grins appeared on Toji's and Kensuke's faces. "We'll do it!" they volunteered happily.
"You two hentais would die because of the enormous nosebleed half the way to her room," the redhead spit, disgusted. "Come on Hikari, we'll get Major Drunk to her 'Fort Garbage'."
The brunette nodded, lifted PenPen carefully from her lap and stood up to assist Asuka, who already tried to heave Misato while grunting something like "105 lbs my ass!"
The former idiot-duo gave a simultaneous sad sigh, as their favorite Major was carried, or more correctly, dragged out of their sight.
"Hey, Toji, maybe we should go now..."
"Yeah, now that only the class rep and the demon are here..." Toji approved and stood up.
"I thought, you threw this party for me," muttered Shinji, a hint of offend in his voice, causing them to stop dead in their tracks.
"Eh, you see..."
"Oh, you want to go?" interrupted Asuka's menacing voice from the kitchen door. "Too bad; the fun is just about to begin!" Triumphal, she presented a good part of Misato's beer-stock. Hikari behind her didn't make a face that showed much approval.
"Huh?" Toji scratched his head. "What's that?"
"What? Are you stupid and blind?" Asuka growled. "Now that 'Big Sister' isn't watching anymore, we'll have a real party!"
"You really think this is a good idea?" Shinji eyed the cans visibly nervous. "I mean..."
"I told her that as well," Hikari agreed. "But she wouldn't listen."
Obviously, she continued with that, since she ignored her friend and smirked at Shinji.
"What, Third? You're afraid of a little beer?"
"I-I'm not!" he declared as confident as he could manage.
"Yeah, right! Well, your wimpy body wouldn't be able to handle the alcohol anyway," she teased. "I bet you couldn't take one sip before spitting everything out again."
A glimpse of hurt, anger and even a (really) small amount of pride sparkled in his eyes, as he stood up, took one of the cans and opened it. He frowned a bit at the bitter brewage.
Then he lifted it up his mouth, shut his eyes, tilted his head back and drunk and drunk, without stopping. As he breathed a disgusted gasp for air, an empty can made it's way to the floor.
Forcing his eyes open, he faced the surprised and shocked faces of his friends... or at least three of them.
"Well, not too bad, Third!"
" 'Not too bad'?" Shinji asked bewildered, before frowning at her. "I bet you couldn't do that!"
"WHAT? You must be totally drunk already, to defy me!" She ripped one can open herself. "Watch me!"
After hesitating a moment, she repeated more or less, what Shinji demonstrated, just that she did her best to hide her disgust for the bitterness. However, her grimaces showed, that she only partly succeeded.
"Ha! See?" she managed to sound triumphant. "I was even faster than you!"
"I was... eh... savoring the taste!"
"I bet you can't do it faster!"
"...and that went on and on, while you two were totally ignoring us. When we left, you were currently betting, that Shinji wouldn't be able to get PenPen to eat the leftovers of the last meal Misato cooked," Hikari concluded her tale of the night's happenings (at least those, she knew of) to Asuka.
"That must be it!" the redhead declared growling. "That baka must have bet I would be too afraid to marry him! And since he knew that I'm not afraid of anything, he could be sure that I would prove it to him! He used my pride against me!"
"Well, that had to happen sooner or later..."
"You said something?"
"Eh, no, no!" Hikari waved defensively, before she sighed. "But is it really that bad?"
"What? Are you kidding?"
"Well, it could have been worse. And to think to be married..."
The dreamy expression on the class representative's face didn't go unnoticed by the furious EVA-pilot.
"Don't tell me, you're thinking of being Mrs. Suzuhara already," she grimaced, what was followed by an enormous blush of the pigtailed brunette.
"Well, eh..." Hikari fumbled for a reply that would lead away from this topic. "But if you hate it so much, how come you're still wearing that ring?"
Asuka looked at the 'bane' on her hand. Of course she had tried to get rid of it, off of her precious finger; to smash it with a big hammer, to shred it to pieces and finally, to sink the remains in the deepest part of the sea. But...
"IT WON'T COME OFF!" she screamed, tugging it demonstratively.
"Huh? Let me see." Hikari eyed the ring on the presented hand. She couldn't see anything unusual about it and, obviously, it wasn't too tight. Yet, as she tried to pull it herself, it didn't move a millimeter. "Now, that is strange..."
"Wait, keep on pulling it," Asuka suggested. "I'll pull in the other direction. Maybe it'll go off then."
Hikari wasn't sure about this, but nodded anyway. Yet, as they started tugging it from both sides, it became soon evident that it wouldn't work. The quiet, but hearable, painful whimpers of the redhead didn't really convince Hikari of the effectiveness of this method.
"Asuka, I'm afraid we'll sooner rip your finger off, than that ring."
"That doesn't matter!" whined Asuka. "They can stitch it back on if we're fast enough!"
The shock of hearing this girl, who always stated proudly the perfection of her body, taking the risk of being crippled just to get a ring off, let Hikari slip it out of her hand.
Of course, Asuka was still pulling and without the resistance from the other direction... well, it doesn't take a genius in physics to say, she landed rather painfully on her rear.
The 'bane' hadn't moved at all...
Hiroya always thought he was just like every (stereo-)typical Japanese male around 30. Starting with his outward appearance with the short, black hair (which, luckily for him, showed no signs of falling out), brown eyes and the suits with white shirt and tie, he usually wore for work, where he commuted on one of these totally overcrowded trains.
He had to admit, he was a bit lucky, that he actually had an office for himself, even if it was so small that his only his desk, three chairs and a cabinet barely fit in.
After work, he usually went home straight away, boiling up a cup of ramen and eating in front of the TV, watching his favorite show, where he laughed at the stupid people, who let themselves be set on fire, be overrun by a truck or, disguised as mailman, be send with a big package of sausages to the dog pound.
Now and then, he would went for a karaoke-bar, where he would, after a few drinks, perform and from what he remembered, actually get some praise.
However, being stopped by two black dressed men, shoved into a black limousine and escorted deep down into the NERV-facility was definitely not a typical thing in his daily life.
Not to mention, now being stared at by this freaky bearded man, with his even freakier pose and the old, grey-haired man standing statue-like behind him.
"Hiroya Matsura, I suppose?" the younger of them began, his mouth hidden by his clasped hands in front of it. "I assume you know who I am and why you are here?"
"Well, actually: No!" Hiroya shrugged innocently. He could have sworn to see his opponent's left eyebrow rise by almost a millimeter.
"You don't know who I am?"
"No," he scratched his head nervously. "Should I?"
"Maybe you should take a closer look."
And rubbed his eyes, as he began to squint.
"Sorry, but I don't understand..." he confessed, finally.
"The tainted sun-glasses..."
"The clasped hands in front of the mouth..."
"And that makes me...?"
"A blind man, who can't shave himself right anymore and likes to make grimaces to people he talks to?" the lawyer guessed. "And the one behind you is your male-nurse?"
Obviously a wrong guess, since the two gave each other a more or less surprised look.
"No," the 'blind man' denied. "I am the Commander of NERV."
"Oh, wow, the Commander of NERV?" He tried to set his tie straight. "I'd never guessed!"
"What use is it to come up with an unique appearance, if no one in public recognizes you because of it?" the bearded muttered, only barely hearable.
"Ahem," Hiroya shifted the attention towards him again, "may I ask, what can I do for you? I mean, you surely haven't... eh, 'called' me here for nothing..."
"It came to my notice that you are handling the divorcement of my offspring, Mr. Matsura."
"I am? You're sure?" In his thoughts, he went through his current clients. "Not that I know off. What's the name? That would help."
Again, there was this barely noticeable twitching of the brow. "Any explanation for this, Fuyutsuki?" the Commander asked the older man behind him.
"I would say the PR-section did their job a bit too well," the other guessed.
"Make a note, Fuyutsuki. I want more advertising of my person."
"I may remind you, that I'm your Sub-Commander, not your secretary."
"Whatever," the Commander muttered, before he focused his attention on Hiroya again. "I am Gendo Ikari!"
"Ikari?" Hiroya scratched his chin. "Ah, yes. You're the father of that girl!"
"Oh, yeah. I keep confusing the names," he admitted. "I already thought of calling them the Ikayus or the Sorkaris."
Seeing, that his joke didn't get any reaction out of the pair, he quickly got back to the topic. "Well, if you got me here to speed up the divorcement-process..."
"Actually," Ikari cut him off, "I want you to slow it down..."
"Oh?" Hiroya narrowed his eyes. "May I ask why?"
"Eh... whatever, there's not much I can do in any way. I may not care about the red tape, instead of what I promised them, but sooner or later, they would get impatient and either get it themselves or get another lawyer." He leaned forward. "And, between you and me, that girl seems to get impatient very easy."
"I am aware of this," Ikari droned. "I was referring to the counseling."
"So? I'm afraid I won't have much influence on that."
"I know that as well. But you are the one choosing the agency, aren't you?" Hiroya was a bit surprised to see, that the Commander's hands were not glued together, as he moved one of them to his jacket and pulled a card out, which he shoved over the desk. "You will attend here."
Hiroya took the card, reading in fine, wide letters:
We never fail, you hear me?]
"Eh, okay..." he shrugged. "But..."
"Very well, Mr. Matsura," he was cut off again. "You will be escorted back to your residence now."
"But I was on my way to wor..." Hiroya's voice cracked, as two strong hands grabbed his shoulders and dragged him out.
The not-so-dynamic duo was left alone again.
"And you think that will make any difference?" Fuyutsuki inquired.
"If the rumors about her are true, Ms. Tagawa will be the perfect choice for this scenario."
"I have to admit that it's strange to see you interfering so much in this matter," the older wondered. "I wouldn't even be surprised if you would initialize something to get the Second Children pregnant by the Third just so they'd stay together."
"You mean by mixing something in Unit-02's LCL to stimulate her sexual needs so she would have intercourse with him?" Gendo mused. "No, better not. I'll just end up as the bad guy again, trying to alter the child's DNA to make it a superior pilot, not caring if the mother's killed during the birth and take the child aw..." he trailed off. "Hmm, I really should start taking notes..."
"Ikari!" Fuyutsuki was shocked. "You're not actually thinking..."
"No..." the Commander anticipated his thought innocently.
Fuyutsuki narrowed his eyes. "You're not writing these 'stories' again, are you?"
"There's nothing wrong with a nice, WAFFy fiction."
"I just hope, you're not using script format again."
Gendo(slightly annoyed): "What if I like script format?"
"Whatever," the former professor sighed. "But while we're on it; I like to have a word with you about these Gendo/Rei-lemons I found on your computer."
"I have no idea what you're talking about..."
A/N: Hmm, I have to admit, the more I'm advancing with this, the less my original plans for it work out. So, maybe I'll do this proper right away and adapting much more than I indented to. On the other hand, that would mean no OSV, since there wouldn't be much difference, just a few things left out...
Whatever, back to this chapter:
Well, we have the class gaining knowledge of the 'situation' and I'm actually using one of those by-me-oh-so-hated-dub-phrases, but I have to admit, that 'Newlyweds' fit better in this case, than just a 'marital quarrel'.
Rei makes her first, short appearance. I have to admit (geez, I'm admitting much these days), so far I have only a few ideas to put her in, but I'm not intending to make this your common love triangle-fic. We have more than enough of those.
We have a flashback of the party. Not much of surprises there, I guess, but I've never said, I was very original...
And finally we have the 'Hiroya meets Gendo'-scene. How on earth could he not know who the Commander is, you ask? Well, that's just a little idea of mine, after noticing that no one outside of NERV talks about him. Take Shinji's first school day for example: He was asked if he was the pilot, but no one asked him if he was related to Commander Ikari.
Oh, and if you don't know to which 'story' I referred: Shame on you for not even knowing the classics of EVA-fiction!
And before you ask: No, Axel Terizaki is not really Gendo...
...at least not that I know of...
Well, I guess, that's all for now. I can't promise that the next chapter will be out as 'soon' as this one, but don't worry, it'll come...
And last, but not least: Thanks again to my pre-readers Seranov, dennisud, Divine Chaos, LD & Foxboy.