Boyfriend of Steel

A Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction site

Chapter Nine

SUNDAY

 

Kensuke Aida checked his watch. It was 11:55 AM, and he had been observing Patrick Forrestal pacing nervously at the park for over a half an hour.   Aida had arrived there early to find a good hiding place.  Once they had heard that Rei agreed to Patrick’s date, he and the other students from 2-A had decided to shadow them: the whole concept of the morose Rei going on an actual date with anyone had peaked their very morbid curiosity.  He had found a good but distant hiding place in the park inside of a wooden shelter surrounded by trees. And being Kensuke, master of all things camera, he had been working on a way to keep track of the couple without their being aware.

 

He had given his location to Shinji, who in turn told everyone else, and at the moment the “gang,” which included Shinji, Asuka, Hikari and Toji from 2-A had just arrived.  They were all dressed in summer clothes, Kensuke in camouflage pants and combat boots (both old Japanese Land SDF issue) and tank top, Shinji in a t-shirt and shorts, Asuka in a pleated blue miniskirt and striped tank top, and Hikari in a yellow jumper and striped sweater.  Toji wore his black track suit again. Also with them were Vance Vinson and Misato Katsuragi, who had apparently invited herself.

 

It was a warm and slightly breezy day: a good day for getting out and a relief from the humidity that so often plagued Japan.

 

Misato called out to Kensuke.  She was wearing her favorite black mini-dress with hoop earrings and driving sunglasses, her trademark cross was around her neck. “Well, we’re all here!  Did he show up?”

 

Kensuke pointed to Patrick, who was dressed in a red and white sweater and chinos, checking his watch and looking around anxiously.  He was holding a blue rose in his right hand. “Yes. See, he’s waiting in the right spot.”

 

“He left our place rather early,” said Vance, who wore a red and white TOKYO-3 LIVE sweatshirt and jeans. “How long has he been there?”

“He was already there before I showed up,” said Kensuke, “And that was about 30 minutes ago.”

 

Asuka noticed the rose Patrick was holding. “What?  He’s got a flower?!  How cliché!”

Misato noticed the flower too.  “Oh, a blue rose! What an interesting choice.  I wonder if he knows the meaning of it.”

“I can’t believe we’re doing this!” Toji grumbled.

“Kensuke, what’s that?” asked Shinji.

Kensuke showed Shinji his hand controller and the box it came in. “That’s the remote control of my new camera.” On the box was a photo of an aircraft, one that resembled the V/STOL aircraft that NERV operated, but much smaller. “Actually, it’s a miniature remote control airplane equipped with a camera and microphone.  That way we can spy on our lovebirds from a safe distance.”

 

Everyone gathered around the small handheld video controller that Kensuke had and saw on its miniature display a color image of Patrick in the park.  Kensuke swung the video aspect around and panned around the park to the location of the train entrance.   There walking straight from the access way was Rei.  She was completely without emotional expression, but she was wearing the entire outfit that Shinji had given her: black and white plaid skirt, white turtleneck top, black loafers and black tights.  She also was wearing a small silver cross around her neck, something that Misato had thrown into the gift box earlier, telling Shinji “it just suited her.”

 

“Here she comes, right on time,” Kensuke observed.

“I don’t believe it!” exclaimed Toji.

“You owe me 10,000 Yen,” Kensuke coolly replied.

 

Hikari looked closely at the image of Rei. “Oh, you two! Wow, I didn’t know she had other clothes!”

Shinji had noticed too. “She wore the outfit!”

“Outfit?” asked Asuka.  “Where did that come from?”

“Oh, Misato-san bought it for her,” Shinji replied.

“Oh, really?” Asuka said coyly.

Misato of course was quite proud of her choice. “Yeah, doesn’t she look cute?”

“She looks goofy!” Asuka snarled.

Misato glanced at her with a smile. “Oh, jealous, I see.”

Asuka scowled back at her. “Don’t make me sick!”

 

Patrick turned around and saw Rei walking towards him. He waived to her to be sure she knew where he was standing.  She didn’t wave back and just walked straight to the tree.

 

“Hi there!  You came!” he said.

“Yes.” She looked at him with a little puzzled expression.  “Are you surprised?”

Patrick was very nervous. “Yes, er, No, uh, well, I wasn’t sure actually.”

“I was ordered to be here by Major Katsuragi,” .

“Oh? “

“Yes,” She continued.  “She said it was part of my mission to accompany you today.”

“I see. And she also supplied you with this?” He pointed to her new outfit.

“Ikari-kun gave this to me.”

Wow, he likes her more than I realized, Patrick thought. “Um, here!” Patrick gave the rose to Rei.  “This is for you.”

Rei didn’t take the gift at first, but just looked at it. “Why?”

“Well,” said a flustered Patrick.  “I’d thought you’d like it!”

Rei did as he asked, and examined the blue rose carefully, and then looked at him again.  “This has been killed.”

Oh, boy.  “Well, it was freshly cut today.  Anyway, let’s go!”

“Where are we going?” she asked him.

“Just walking around!”

“Do we have a destination?” she inquired as she still stood there.

“I was thinking of the shopping plaza,” Patrick replied and started to walk out of the park.  Rei said nothing but simply followed alongside as he walked onto the boulevard.

 

Kensuke motioned to the flying camera to follow the couple to the shopping district. The miniature aircraft flew at a little over two meters, just above the heads of the shoppers walking down the sidewalks.  Kensuke then tilted the engines upward to hover and swiveled the camera/aircraft 180 degrees, directing it to fly backwards so that the camera head and microphone could focus on Patrick and Rei while the aircraft flew slightly ahead of them.

 

The din of the crowds on the street prevented them from hearing anything of what they were saying, but the video image was quite clear.  The whole group crushed together around the video screen and saw a very nervous Patrick trying to talk to Rei. She didn’t say much of anything but just walked along side him as she loosely held the blue rose in her hand.

 

“Where are they going?” asked Vance.

“It looks like they’re just walking around the shopping arcade,” observed Kensuke.

“She doesn’t look very happy,” said a bored Toji.

“Shut up already!” snapped Kensuke. “I’m trying to follow them.”

 

On the video screen they could see Patrick drop his hand down to his side and brush up against Rei.  Just as he very slightly tried to reach for her hand, Rei clasped her hands directly in front of her and kept walking.  Patrick looked at her for a second and then kept trying to start a conversation.

 

”Oh, there he goes with the hand…almost!” cried Vance.

“I think that she’s avoiding him,” commented Hikari.

Misato turned to Shinji. “Shinji, how do you think its going?”

A worried Shinji looked up at Misato. “I don’t think Ayanami even knows what she’s supposed to do!”

Asuka on the other hand, was clearly humored by the haplessness of the First Child. “Look at her, she’s so pathetic!”

 

Completely unaware of the surveillance, Patrick’s mind went into overdrive trying to figure out a way to just talk to the silent girl besides him.  Maybe Shinji was right, she’s so introverted that she doesn’t even know how to respond.  Still though, the biology about her all shouts “female!” There has to be a missing piece somewhere...

 

Patrick pointed out a trendy clothing store to Rei. “Rei, would you like to go inside?”

“Why?” she asked.

“Well,” Patrick said, becoming increasingly more nervous. “Don’t you want to get something for yourself?”

“I do not require anything.”

“You don’t want some other new clothes?”

“I have what is necessary.”

“What about some jewelry? Earrings, or a handkerchief, or something?”

“I have no need of it.”

“Okay, let’s try something else.  How about this place?” Patrick pointed to a media store that sold music, video, software and other items.

“I do not listen to music,” she replied.

Patrick stopped in his tracks. You’ve got to be kidding. “You…don’t…listen…to music.”

“Sometimes I will listen as is necessary,” she corrected, as she stopped next to him.

“Such as?”

“I am being instructed in how to play the viola.”

“The viola? Really? You can play? “

“I have only begun lessons recently,” she continued. “It was a suggestion from Commander Ikari.”

“Shinji’s father.”

“Yes. He suggested it would be good for me to learn.”

“Is that why you’re at NERV all the time?” Patrick inquired.

“That is only some of the reason,” Rei said.  “There are many things I do at NERV.”

“Like what?” Patrick hoped that he wasn’t too pushy.

“I cannot tell you without Commander Ikari’s permission.  However, they are all for the success of the Evangelion project.” She turned away from him and continued walking down the street.

 

Patrick saw a crowd in front and then turned a corner into a small side street.  Rei followed him down the street. The flying camera, still flying backwards, lost sight of both of them.

 

“Where are they?” Toji asked.

“They slipped around a corner somewhere,” replied Kensuke.  “Let me check the camera.”

Kensuke noticed that the camera was bumping up against something and swiveled it around. The object looked like some sort of large black box. Also, the sound feedback from the microphones was very loud.  He quickly pulled out the earplugs and tried to concentrate on flying.  The camera image was very wobbly, but could make out a large crowd of onlookers, many of them girls, all looking at something happening on the street.  He flew the camera over where the crowd was looking at and found himself looking very closely at the face of some guy playing guitar.

 

Misato, Shinji, and Asuka recognized the man immediately: it was Aoba, one of the NERV controllers, only today he was a street performer playing electric guitar for the crowd.

 

Kensuke tried to pivot the camera away from the guitar player but found it difficult to get the camera to respond: the engines had been damaged from the collision with the black speakers.  Clearly a little amused but mostly annoyed, Aoba looked directly at the cameraplane and quickly took his two forefingers off the guitar, flicking them right at its nose.  The camera immediately went dead.

 

“WHAT??? THAT THING COST ME A FORTUNE!!!” Kensuke shook the controller trying to get some sort of response, but to no avail.  The rest of the kids just watched in horror while Misato started to giggle very loudly.

 

Down the alleyway Patrick desperately tried to find something, anything that would get Rei’s interest. He stopped in front of a cute-character stationary store.

“Rei, is there anything you would want from here? She shook her head.

Wait a minute, why didn’t I think of this before? “How about books?” he asked.

“I do not require any additional ones at the moment.  I can obtain every book I need from the library.”

Patrick looked at her. “You’re probably a regular customer there.”

“Customer?” she cocked her head.  “I do not purchase the books.  Do you do that in America?”

“Only if they’re late!“  He laughed, but Rei just looked at him.  “Oh, not funny huh?” That’s strange, he thought to himself. That was a lame joke, but she doesn’t even laugh politely.

 

“Rei? Are you hungry?”

“I ate before coming here.”

She really doesn’t know anything, does she? You ate before coming?  Well, usually on a date, the guy treats the girl.  They didn’t tell you that?”

She shook her head again.

“Did they tell you anything else?”

“No,” she replied.  “Just to walk with you.”

Patrick scratched his head. “Well, no shopping, no lunch, I don’t think a movie would be very appropriate either, and walking like this is kind of boring.  So, time for Plan B.  Rei?”  She looked up at him.

“Will you come to the coffee shop with me?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” Basically she just goes where she’s ordered, analyzed Patrick.  A bit like Shinji actually, but much more introverted. She must live a very controlled life as it seems like a lot of things are not “required.”  I wonder if Double-V’s plan would work.

 

Patrick searched around the alley and found what seemed like a good place. He took a good look at the outside menus to be sure they had what he needed.  Then both of them entered the cafe and took a booth alongside the front window of the shop.

 

In the meantime the Gang of 2-A was struggling to reacquire their target.  After Kensuke’s remote cameraplane crashed the group of them hurried from the central park to the part of the shopping district where they thought the camera had gone down, in the hopes of spotting Rei and Patrick.

 

“Where did they go?” panted Misato as she hurried down the boulevard. “We’ve looked everywhere!”

“I have no idea,” replied Vance. “I can barely read street signs in this place!”

“Who cares?!  Let’s just go!” Asuka complained.

Hikari turned to her. “Don’t you want to know what happens?”

“It was kind of obvious already!” the redhead retorted.

 

Shinji took a good look at one of the cafes in an alleyway. “Misato! Over there!” He was pointing at a cafe window where a familiar pair were now seen sitting by a front window.

 

Misato saw it too and called it out. “Good eye, Shinji! They’re in that cafe!”  She pointed it out and everyone started to hurry to the cafe across the alley.  “I have to see how this turns out,” Vance said to himself as he followed the others.  There was one of them however who was less than enthusiastic.

 

Kensuke held his broken cameraplane, its engines damaged and its nose crumpled in, with tears streaming out of his eyes. “Why did you have to die so young???”

 

 

Not long after Patrick and Rei sat down a waitress came to take their order. “Can I get you something?” she asked.

“We would like some ice cream, please,” said Patrick.

“Of course!  What flavor would you like?”

“I would like Rainbow Sherbet.”

“And you?” She looked at Rei.  Rei had a quizzical look on her face.

“What flavor would you like?” Patrick asked her.

Rei silently pondered the moment and then said “I don’t know…I’ve never eaten ice cream before.”

“Never?” Patrick asked.

“Correct.”

“Maybe she would like something else?” the waitress suggested.

“Let me suggest something,” Patrick said.  “Can she have vanilla?” He looked at Rei as he said this, who just had a sullen look on her face. “Yes, Vanilla is perfect for her.”

“Sure, coming right up!”  The waitress then left the table. After she left there was an awkward silence between the two of them as they waited.

 

Unknown to the couple the Gang of 2-A had just entered the cafe.  Misato motioned for the group to be quiet as she got a large booth for them that was on a raised level about a meter above the ground floor with a railing at the edge of the booth.  Here they had a good view of the couple across the cafe but it wasn’t too close.  Once in the booth the gang all tried to get a good look at Rei and Patrick silently sitting and looking at each other.  Her flower was just lying there on the table.

 

“There they are!” Misato said in a loud whisper.  “I wonder what they’re doing.”

“He’s going to Plan B,” said Vance.

“Plan B?” asked Shinji.

“I gave him a suggestion if the original date plan didn’t work out.”

“I see,” said Misato.

 

Another waitress came to the table. “Would you all like something?”  The kids all started to clamor before Misato tried to calm down everyone.

“Shush, not so loud!  Can we all just order some ice cream?”

The waitress was a little puzzled at the scene before her. “Sure, what would you like?”

“Red Bean, please!” asked Hikari.

“Just Chocolate, Ma’am,” said Vince.

“Mint Chip,” said Kensuke as he was unpacking his regular portable video camera.

“Uh, Strawberry,” said Toji

“Strawberry???” teased Asuka.  “You’re kidding, right? What are you, seven years old?”

“Hey!  I like Strawberry!”

“Keep it down!” Misato protested.

“And you miss?” The waitress looked at Asuka.

“Hmm, let’s see…Shinji! What are you having?”

“I don’t know, Green Tea, I guess,” he replied.

“Green Tea?  Boring!!” Asuka exclaimed. “I’ll have the Triple Stack Sundae, with marshmallow topping!”

 “Ok, then.” The waitress turned to Misato. “And you miss?”

“Do you have beer flavor?” she asked.

 

Suddenly everyone at the table went silent and looked straight at their adult companion.

The waitress blushed. “Oh...well, not today, Miss.”

“Just coffee is fine then.” The waitress then left and Misato turned around to see the whole table staring at her.

“What?!”

 

 

The waitress came back to Patrick and Rei's booth with two glass dishes of ice cream. “Here you go. Enjoy!”

“Thanks,” Patrick replied and their waitress left them alone.

 

Rei glared at her dish like it was poison served up on a platter.  Patrick said nothing but took up his own spoon and started on his own sherbet. He kept one eye on Rei as she cautiously took her spoon, scooped a small portion of ice cream, and gently tasted it in her mouth.  Patrick thought that she seemed to be analyzing the ice cream, but then she went for another scoop, and then another, and pretty soon she had finished the whole dish.

 

“Well?” he asked her.

She thought for a long moment, and softly said ”Good.”

“Would you like some more?”

“Is that alright?” she asked.

Patrick was ecstatic. “It’s American tradition!  You should choose another flavor, though.”

“What should I choose?”

He grabbed the menu from its holder on the table. “It’s on the menu here. Some of the flavors must be local. I don’t recognize them.”

 

Their waitress saw them looking at the menus and came around to the booth again. “Would you like something else?” she asked.

“More ice cream please,” said Patrick. “What is your most popular flavor here?”

“It’s Green Tea.”

“I’d like that, please.  Rei, what would you like?”

Rei thought about it for a moment. “Red Bean, please.”

“Sure, coming right up!” and then the waitress left again.

“That’s a flavor?” Patrick asked Rei.

“Red Bean is a Japanese delicacy, enjoyed for hundreds of years as a desert,” she matter-of-factly replied.

“Well,” he wondered aloud, “It’s still hard to imagine bean and ice cream together.”

 

 

The gang across the cafe received their first ice cream run as they watched the slow mating dance in front of them.  Vance was very excited. “He’s making his move!  That’s my boy!”

“You’re really getting into this!” observed Misato, who sat next to him.

Toji started on his strawberry ice cream with an incredibly bored look on his face: “I don’t believe we’re wasting an afternoon doing this!”

 

 

Within two minutes the waitress returned to the booth with two more dishes.  “Here you go!”

“Thanks!” said Patrick.  He tried his own ice cream. “Hmm…tastes like tea alright, but creamy.  Pretty Good.  Rei, How about your...Wow! You’re really going into that, aren’t you?”  Rei faintly smiled as she rapidly ate the second bowl. A smile! Patrick thought. Finally, we’re getting somewhere.

 

“Are you done?” he asked.

Rei nodded, still with a smile on her face.

“Would you like another one?”

She blushed a little. “Is it okay?”

“Okay?  It’s more than okay!  Here, let’s try this.  Waitress???” Patrick excitedly waived his hand until the young waitress came over.

“Yes?”

“I’d like this, please.” He pointed to the photo on the menu.

“Wow! You two sure like ice cream!”

“Please make sure it looks just like this one in the picture,” Patrick requested.

“Okay!” and then she hurried off again.

 Patrick turned to Rei. “You didn’t know what you were missing, did you?”

“I was never given ice cream before.”  She was back to being dead serious.

“Don’t they serve it at school?”

“In Japan most students usually bring their lunch to school,” she replied.  “The school may sell some items but ice cream is not one of them.”

“Who packs your lunch, Rei?”

“Dr. Akagi provides specially-prepared meals, precisely balanced for nutrition and ease of digestion.”

Uh, oh. This might backfire.

 

“Here it is!” The waitress had returned with Patrick's request.

Patrick looked at Rei. “Well?”  Rei’s eyes got wide at the big spectacle lying before them: a large banana split.  Patrick noticed that she was holding her spoon anxiously. “You can get started now!” he told her.

 

 

“Oh my God!  How much ice cream can those two eat?” Kensuke said as he filmed every minute.  The rest of the gang had their eyes glued to the booth as they worked on their own dishes.

 

“Asuka, do you mind?” protested Shinji as she stole from his own bowl. She ignored him as she kept watch over her nemesis across the floor.

 

Vance kept watching but suddenly grabbed his head in pain.  Misato quickly noticed him, “Are you alright?” she whispered.

“Brain freeze!" he replied.

 

Rei quickly worked with her spoon at the banana split. “This is more difficult.  The hot sauce melts the ice cream faster, causing it to mix with the other ingredients. The different tastes combine together.”

“That’s part of the fun,” commented the American.  “You know, that’s the first time you’ve said something that wasn’t an answer to a question.”

Rei said nothing but just kept eating.

Patrick worked on his own side of the bowl. “The Second Child doesn’t like you very much, does she?”

“The Second Child has a superiority complex that makes it difficult for her to accept anyone at her level.  She feels a compelling need to defeat anyone and anything she comes into contact with.”

“...including Ikari-kun,” Patrick added.

Rei looked up at him. “It is true that she conflicts with him but she is also dependent on him.  Inside her mind she accepts him but cannot allow anyone to see it, including Ikari-kun himself.”

Wow. “It’s amazing that you know all of this!”

“I observe the Second and Third every day,” she said flatly.  “Anyone with a basic understanding of human psychology can observe the relationship between the two.”

“Is that from the reading that you always do?” he asked her.

As she kept eating the split the tone of her voice was now starting to warm up with more emotion. “Sometimes.  Sometimes it’s different things. Books about birds, volcanoes, mathematics, poetry, history.  Each day I have a new question and I try to answer it.”

“By reading?”

“Yes.”

Patrick paused for a bit. “Some things are only learned by doing.”

Rei didn't reply but silently kept at her desert.

“You probably have some funny stories about your fellow pilots!”

“Funny?” she asked.

“You know, really unusual.  You can think of something…unintelligent that they did recently, can’t you?”

 

She had a long, thoughtful moment, as she tried to think of what Patrick meant.  “There was a battle against the Seventh Angel.  The Second and Third had to fight as a team and they had much difficulty to get their routine correct.  Finally after several days of practice they performed a perfect tandem assault against the angel.  Right afterwards, Ikari’s EVA fell on top of the Second’s EVA and it looked like...it looked like…” She had suddenly started to giggle. “They were...they were…” She was now holding her hand over her mouth.

“…mating?” Patrick calmly suggested.

“YES!!!” Rei started giggling uncontrollably, still covering her mouth with her hands.

Both of them had a good laugh until Rei suddenly caught herself.

What was I just doing just now?

 

The scene across the cafe caused a number of very audible gasps at the other end.

 

“I don’t believe it!” Misato exclaimed.

Vance was overjoyed. “Finally, he broke through! YES!”  But Asuka was less than happy.

“What the hell is that bitch doing!  Let me see!!!” Asuka climbed over both a very annoyed Shinji and Toji to get a better look at the First.

“Asuka, quit pushing!”

“Hey, that’s my face!”

 

With Asuka’s pressure on the gang of students leaning on the railing, the plastic railing finally gave way, and the whole group of them (save Misato, who being on the far end of the table managed to jump out of the way) crashed onto the floor directly opposite Rei and Patrick’s booth. Rei turned around at the sudden noise and found herself looking directly into Asuka’s blue eyes.

 

“Uh oh! We’re spotted!  Run!” Patrick slammed down a yen note on the table, grabbed Rei by the hand, and they both quickly ran out of the cafe. 

 

Their waitress hurried over to their booth and picked up the money, sitting next to the blue rose left on the table.  It was a 10,000 Yen note worth 100 dollars. “Wait a minute!” she called out to them.  “This is too much!!!” They were already too far away to hear her however.

 

As the pile of middle school students tried to pull themselves off the floor the manager of the cafe, a tall burly bald-headed man with sunglasses, accosted Misato. “What do you think you’re doing??? You’re going to pay for all that!” He then quickly went into a tirade about the rising costs of interior fixtures in Japan since Second Impact.  All Misato could do was nervously grab the back of her neck and smile at him.

 

 

Patrick and Rei ran together, hand in hand, out the little alley and all the way down the boulevard.  Patrick had no idea how long they ran like that or where they were even going, just as long as he could get the two of them away from the prying eyes of the others. He couldn’t bear to see Rei so embarrassed in any case. 

 

Finally they ran out of street and ended up on an old wooden dock that stretched out into Lake Ashi.  With nowhere left to run and no sign of the pursuers they finally stopped at the dock, where they both bent over and panted for breath.   Rei got her composure, released herself from Patrick, and walked over the edge of the dock.  Standing on the very edge, she just closed her eyes and let her hands catch the strong breeze.  Patrick watched her as the wind gently blew her hair, and he saw the most peaceful look on her face.  He thought to go to her, but something held him back.

 

After a few minutes she turned from the dock and looked at him.  He walked over to where she was.

 

 “Forrestal?”  There was little emotion in her voice.  She was back to her old self.

“Yes?”

“Is this what everyone else does?” she asked.

Patrick at first wondered what she meant. “Does?  You mean the dating?  Well, yes, but actually most people don’t really do it very well.”

“I understand. Please take me home now.”

“But...” Patrick protested.

“My stomach hurts.”

“Oh, sorry.” And so ends the date. “I’ll take you home then.”

 

 

Toji summed it up best. “Well, that was a disaster.”

 

Misato, who had picked up Rei’s blue rose off the table, had a more positive attitude. “Good thing I had my NERV expense account. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to shut up that manager right away.  By the way, where did our lovebirds go?”

“No idea.” Kensuke said.  “Anyway, please excuse me as I’m going to try and fix my baby here and get her back and flying.” He cradled his broken camera plane like a newfound puppy. “See you later!”

“I think I’ll go too,” said Hikari. “I need to start on dinner for my sisters.”

“Okay, see you tomorrow, Class Rep.,” replied Toji.

“Oh, no. Not you!” Hikari said.  “You’re coming with me!”

“What?”

Hikari was firm. “I have a lot of groceries to buy and I need some help carrying them.”

“No way!  I’m going to go shoot some hoops.” Toji turned around to walk away but Hikari quickly reached up and grabbed his ear. “OW OW OW OW OW!!!” Toji cried in pain, but Hikari ignored him as she dragged him in the opposite direction down the boulevard. “See you all tomorrow!” she called out.

 

“Well, such a waste of an afternoon,” sighed Asuka. “Come on. Shinji! Let’s go home.”

“Hey, wait a minute?” Vance said to her.  “Don’t you want a rematch?”

She sneered at him. “With you? You have got to be kidding!”

“Hey, fair play this time,” he said.

Asuka turned her head. “No way, pal! We don’t fraternize with the enemy here.”

“So then I can just best your high score on Mega Mecha then?”  Asuka gave him a blank stare but Vance continued. “I saw your initials on the screen there yesterday.  11,235,000 is pretty impressive but just shy of my personal best, and I’m feeling pretty lucky today.”

 

She thought it over for a moment. “Over my dead body.”

“Suit yourself,” said Vance.

“Fine then.  Catch you later Shinji!” Asuka turned go with Vance, who looked very pleased.

“Bye, you guys!” he said “Thanks for everything!”

“But, Asuka?”  Shinji called out to her but she was walking down the street with the American pilot, bickering with him the entire way.  He felt a tug at his arm.

“So, it seems I have you to myself then!” Misato smiled at him.

“Eh?”

She lowered her sunglasses. “Let’s go on a shopping date!  I need some new clothes.”

“But, Misato?”

“I won’t hear it!  DATE-O, DATE-O!”  Misato again affectionately wrapped her arm around Shinji.  “The least I can do is spend the rest of the day with some handsome boy. Come on!”

 

Shinji just sighed as they walked together down the boulevard for while.  Then he saw the rose Misato was now holding.  “Misato-san?”

“Hmm?” she purred.

“What was the meaning of the flower?”

She showed him the rose. “According to ancient legend the blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love.”

“Really?”

“Uh-uh.”  She looked at the rose herself. “It doesn’t occur naturally.  In old times they used to dye them blue.  Nowadays, they genetically modify them. This rose is manmade.”  Misato smiled at him. “I just wonder if he knew the meaning.”

“I see,” Shinji said, and they just kept on walking. 

 

 

Patrick sat on the chair in Rei's apartment as he waited for her to finish.  She had already changed out of her “uniform” and was wearing an oversized shirt and bath slippers.  Patrick watched her as she carefully cleaned herself at the kitchen sink.

 

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“I am fine now.” She didn't turn to face him but continued washing her hands.

“I’m really sorry.  I should have considered you might have gotten sick.”

“Forrestal?”

“Yes?”

“What do you want with me?”

He stood up from the chair. “Just to be with you. Nothing more.”

 

Rei stopped washing but still didn’t turn around to face him. “I think that I understand now, but I cannot be who you want me to be.”

Patrick started to move slowly towards her. “Why?”  Then for a moment he thought about the video he saw, of the yellow Unit 00 standing in front of Shinji’s Unit 01 and taking the hit for him from the Fifth Angel’s energy beam.  Oh, no, he realized.  Maybe I just got in the way of something else here.

 

“It’s Ikari, isn’t it?  He’s the one you…like.”

She didn’t answer his question but in a low, sad voice, she said “I am not meant for anyone.”

 

Patrick reached the sink and gently clutched her shoulders, turning her toward him.  He said softly to her, “Rei, what do you want?”

 

Rei was silent, her head bowed low as she avoided eye contact with him.   In her short life no one had ever asked her that question before. She lifted her head and looked up at Patrick.  Trembling, her red eyes met his and her face had on it the look of a lost child.

 

“I do not know.“

 

They stared at each other for what seemed to Patrick like an eternity. He looked at her lonely face and thought to himself her defenses are down…I might never get another chance…

 

Patrick bent down to kiss her.  She closed her eyes and allowed him to get close to her, but just before he reached her lips she turned her head away.

 

“I am sorry. I cannot.”

 

They both just stood there for a good, long while.  Then Patrick released her shoulders and turned away.  Softly he said to her “I’ll leave you alone.”

He quietly exited the apartment through the front door.  Rei stood motionless as he left.

 

Continue to Chapter 10

 


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