Nergal Fan Fiction LLC

A division of Nergal Heavy Industries proudly presents:

The Best Laid Plans

Lemon OVA “There’s a First Time for Everything.”

by Ryoma and Rx7

Disclaimer: Characters from Neon Genesis Evangelion have been used without permission. All characters contained in this work are copyright GAINAX, Project EVA, Movic, AD Vision and Manga Entertainment. Furthermore, this is a work of lemon fiction, meaning that it contains sexual content and graphic depictions of sexual acts. Please do not read if you are offended by, or are under the legal age to view, such material. Thank you.

*Authors Note: You really should read the original "The Best Laid Plans" before reading this story. Some of the events and characterizations portrayed here will not make sense if you aren't familiar with the original.*

"You've got to be excited," Hikari Horaki said enthusiastically. "I mean you only turn sixteen once."

"I guess," Asuka Sohryu replied indifferently, never regarding her friend but rather staring off into the distance. Their vantage point on the top of the bleachers offered an excellent view of the school, not to mention the pick up basketball game currently underway below. The slight breeze kicked up Asuka's long red hair, occasionally flipping it up on the shoulder of her blue uniform, her hand absently stroking it back into place. "Of course you only turn eighteen, or twenty, or thirty...once."

"But it's your sweet sixteen," Hikari pleaded, trying her best to instill some fervor into her friend. The wind was playing no such games with Hikari's hair. Although she and her significant other both preferred her hair straight back, she thought it was important to keep her image as class representative professional as possible, thus the usual pigtails. The red ribbons capturing them, however, danced randomly in the breeze. "I remember how special that day was."

"Exactly how so?" Asuka said, finding something interesting in that last comment. Turning to look at her friend she continued. "As I remember it, if memory serves me correct, you spent most of the party siting in the corner making out with your boyfriend. Which is the same thing you did at Shinji's party. And Kensuke's. And..."

"That's not true," the class rep blushed. The skeptical gaze from Asuka convinced her that perhaps she was mistaken. "Well...maybe it is. But it was still special to me," she muttered.

"I'm excited," the redhead said quickly, noticing how her companion's mood seemed to be souring. "And I'm sure the party will be great...I just..."

"Just what?"

Asuka took a deep breath before replying. "I'm just trying to cope with everything that has happened in the past few months, that's all."

"Is there something wrong between you and Shinji?" Hikari frowned.

"Actually...no," Asuka said, receiving a sigh a relief from her friend. "Things between us couldn't be better."

"Then what's the matter?"

"I don't know," Asuka sighed. "I guess the closer I get to him, the more the doubts and fears seem to grow."

"Of what?"

"I'm afraid that I'll end up alone and hurt again," Asuka said softly, "that something will happen and..."

"Something with Shinji?" Hikari replied loudly, a curious grin appearing on her face. "I don't think so. That boy treats you like a princess."

"As well he should," the Second exclaimed, "after all I'm the Great Asuka La...."

"Langley Sohryu," the class rep interjected, “subject of fascination for the boys, envy of the girls and greatest Eva Pilot of all time. I know." She watched as an embarrassed blush grew on the redhead's face. "As for your doubts and fears about Shinji, I think you have nothing to worry about."

Asuka pondered the girl's remark for a moment. "You're probably right. I need to stop worrying so much." A sly grin grew on her face as she continued. "After all, Shinji and I are easily the best couple in class."

"Second best," Hikari snapped causing both girls to laugh out loud.

The laughter continued for a few moments, even as Asuka turned away, still unable to completely bury her concern and anxiety. 'Perhaps they will always be with me, she pondered, 'a constant reminder of my past. Maybe some walls aren't capable of being torn down.'

"It's going to be the social event of the year," the freckled girl said smartly.

"Huh?" Asuka replied, the words bringing her out of her introspection.

"I said it was going to be the social event of the year."

"Yeah, I guess it will be okay..." the Second said absently, her mind still devoting too much time to her internal struggle to keep up with the conversation.

"Okay?" Hikari exclaimed, "since when do YOU throw a party that is simply okay?!" She took a moment to make sure that the redhead was paying attention before continuing. "Aida's party was okay...you're saying that you can't do better then that?"

"No!"

"Well then," she said triumphantly, "let's start acting that way." If there was one thing Hikari knew about her best friend, it was how to cheer her up.

"You're right," Asuka said loudly, balling her fist and pounding the seat below. "This is going to be the best party of the year!"

"That's what I wanted to hear," Hikari smiled as she noticed the fire in her friend voice. "Now for the most important question...what are you going to wear?"

"I bought this gorgeous new dress," the Unit 02 Pilot said excitedly. "It's cut low enough to make the guys drool, but not so much as to ruin my reputation," she added with a devious grin.

"Oh Asuka," was all the class rep could manage before the Second broke back in discussing the finer points of the party. The guest list. The food. All the gossip on whom would show up with whom. Hikari nodded her head in acknowledgement as her friend ranted about the importance of each and every facet of the event, forgetting that she had helped the girl plan months in advance. But it was now T-minus one day and a little over… anticipation was excusable, she thought. After all, tomorrow was going to be a huge day in Asuka's life.

And hers as well.

"Hey Hikari," Asuka said breaking the other girl's chain of thought. "I have a great idea. How about after the party you stay over my place?"

"I can't," the other girl said softly, turning away to avoid her companion's curious stare.

"Why not?" the redhead pressed.

"Touji and I are going..." Hikari started before abruptly stopping to take a breath and analyze exactly what she wanted to say. "Touji and I made some plans for after the party."

"You did?" Asuka quizzed, her tone sounding almost upset that she hadn't been privy to the information. "What are you doing?"

"Um...nothing much...really," the pig tailed girl stammered.

"Good," the redhead smirked, "then you can do nothing over at my apartment Saturday night."

"I...I can't."

Asuka crossed her arms on her chest and screwed up one of her more nasty expressions. "I don't see why not. If it's because of your idiot boyfriend, I'm sure that Misato will end up going to Kaji's for the night...so he can stay over too."

"Thanks for the offer," Hikari said with a frown, "but I have to pass. What about next week?"

"But my birthday is THIS week," the Second said, her tone slowly turning to almost pleading. "I can't see why my best friend doesn't want to spend time with..."

"Touji's father is going out of town for the weekend," Hikari interrupted, the words spilling out of her mouth almost faster then she could say them. "I was planning on spending a romantic evening together."

"Oh," Asuka gasped, unable to hide her surprise at the revelation. "I didn't know."

"I'm sorry," Hikari said apologetically. "I figured you would be too busy with the party to care."

An easy silence fell over the two, neither girl in any rush to address the issue at hand. Actually, Hikari would have just as soon dropped it right there; she had already told the German girl much more then she had intended. And the lack of a response from the Pilot gave her hope that for once the Second Child would not meddle in her affairs. However, as was her nature, Asuka just could not leave it alone.

"So..." she began, immediately noticing the sigh from her friend, "what exactly makes up a romantic evening?"

"The usual stuff," Hikari said, fidgeting with her dress hem as she spoke. "Watch a movie or two...make a late night snack..."

"Exchange some bodily fluids on his couch," Asuka grinned.

"Uh...what," the class rep stuttered, her face now a bright shade of crimson. "What are you talking about?"

"You want to ride that Stooge's baloney pony, don't you?"

Hikari didn't immediately answer, quickly turning away. She gazed out in the distance for a few moments, gathering her thoughts. "Don't put it that way," she said softly.

"Mein Gott!" the redhead exclaimed, "I was only kidding!"

Hikari turned around and faced her accuser. "You were WHAT?" she shouted.

"I was only kidding," Asuka said excitedly. She watched as Hikari groaned and hung her head in shame. "But you're serious...aren't you?"

The class rep raised her head just a bit and glanced over, the look on her face confirmation that indeed she was sincere in her confession.

"I can't believe you are going to give yourself, body and soul, to that moron," Asuka said matter of factly.

"Why not?" Hikari replied, more than of bit of conviction in her voice as she turned and stared at her friend.

The Second Child paused for a moment, unable to formulate a response. As unbelievable as it seemed to her, she suddenly could not think of an answer to the question.

"Why not?" the dark haired girl reiterated. "I'm closer to Touji then anybody else in my entire life. I can't think of anyone else I would rather have my...first time with."

"But him?" Asuka frowned, "I mean he's such an idiot." The scowl on Hikari's face convinced Asuka that now was not the time for petty insults. "You can't," she said, shaking her head back and forth rapidly, "you're too young...you're not married...you're just not ready."

"We're both sixteen," Hikari said confidently, "I would hardly call that too young. And we are both ready. The last few times we've been together we've come just about as close as you can without actually having sex."

"Eeewwww," Asuka cried at the disclosure.

"And I'm quite surprised at YOU of all people bringing up the marriage issue," Hikari said mockingly, "get with the times...no one waits until they are married anymore. That's so...pre- Second Impact."

"But...but what if he gets you pregnant?" the Unit 02 pilot retorted, her voice sounding quite flustered. "His moron genes might dominate and you'll have a baby with the IQ of a blender."

The class rep silently fumbled about her purse, smiling at the Eva Pilot as she did. Although the girl's last comment was quite derogatory, she also knew that Asuka really didn't mean it. Finding what she was groping for, she pulled her hand out and held the object out for inspection. "I've thought of that," she said calmly, "we’ll be using protection."

"Let me see those," Asuka snapped as she snatched the box of condoms and began reading the box. "Designed to give her maximum pleasure...yeah right," she said sarcastically, "it feels SO good to be rubbed with a dry balloon." A little chuckle escaped from Hikari's lips as the redhead continued. "Twenty...mein gott," Asuka gasped, "do you ever plan on getting out of bed?"

She nearly broke into laughter as her friend blushed a bright shade of crimson, shaking her head violently in denial. "TWENTY," the Second Child barked, drawing pleasure in emphasizing the count yet again as she continued reading the box, dodging Hikari's attempts to get it back. "Twenty individually wrapped extra long...EXTRA LONG?"

A lightning fast thrust with her hand and Hikari finally succeeded in seizing the carton, quickly putting it back in her purse. The heat coming off her face was almost unbearable, as she hung her head down and stared at her feet as long as possible. Her composure slowly returning, not to mention her normal complexion, she reluctantly picked her head up to look at her friend. She immediately regretted it as she met Asuka's maniacal grin.

"Extra long?" Asuka laughed, slapping her hand on her knee as she doubled over. "I've had the misfortune to have seen Suzahara's...thing, and I can tell you it isn't extra long. Extra short maybe."

"Yes, he told me about the...incident on the aircraft carrier when you first arrived," Hikari said smartly, "but believe me, it grows. A lot."

"Eeewwwww," the redhead screamed as memories of him flashing her on the ship mixed with other images of exactly how her best friend could find out it grew. None of which were particularly appealing. "I could have lived without hearing that."

"I thought I could talk to you about this," Hikari said as she picked up her books and prepared to leave. "But I guess I was wrong."

Asuka watched as the class rep stood up, reaching out and grabbing her hand to stop her. "I'm sorry," she said softly, "no more jokes."

Hikari looked her friend over and deemed she was sincere as she sat back down. "I'm sorry too...this hasn't been easy."

"Are you sure you're ready?" the Second whispered, looking deep into her dark brown eyes. "This is a big step."

"I know," Hikari replied, a faint smile growing on her face. "But I really love Touji...and I think he loves me. This is something we both want."

"I know you'll make the right choice, I just want to make sure you're not feeling pressured."

Hikari smiled in relief at her friend's genuine concern. "You have to believe me when I say that I have given this a lot of thought." She turned and grabbed her stack of books. "I've been going to the library ever day, doing research on everything that could possibly happen."

"I guess you HAVE given this some thought," Asuka said as she glanced down at the large collection of reading material.

"I don't think I've had a good night's sleep in over a week."

"With that many condoms, I wouldn't plan on having another one anytime soon," Asuka smirked.

"You're probably right," Hikari giggled as the redhead's comment eased the tension. "But I'm still pretty nervous...and there's something I can't find a good answer for anywhere. Could you help me?"

"Sure," the redhead said confidently. If there was one thing she loved to do, it was disseminate her vast knowledge to her peers. "Ask me anything."

"Does it hurt the first time?" the class rep said softly.

Asuka looked at her friend curiously. "What?"

"When you lost your virginity...did it hurt? What was is like?"

"I...I don't know," the Second Child replied hesitantly as she quickly turned away from her companion's probing stare.

"I know this may be uncomfortable for you to discuss," Hikari pleaded, "but I have to know."

"It's not that, I..."

"I'm sorry," Hikari said immediately after she realized the truth. "I just assumed that you had done it already. You always seem so mature...and the way you talked when you first got here...all the men you said you dated in college...I figured...I'm sorry."

"No, it's alright," Asuka said softly as she turned back to look at her friend. "I guess I never had the chance."

"A beautiful girl like you?" Hikari said skeptically, "never got the chance? You don't honestly expect me to believe that.

"I've never found anyone worthy of giving myself to," the Second Child protested, spinning around to face the other teen as she placed her hands on her hips. "Men are all pathetic creatures who only want you for that one act, then they want nothing to do with you."

"That's quite naive," brown eyed girl responded quietly, "thinking that way about everybody."

"You'll see," Asuka cried out. "About ten seconds after you give your greatest gift of all, that idiot will be looking for more. Be it with you, or the next girl to walk by."

"I refuse to believe that," Hikari said. "You don't know Touji like I do."

"Now who's being naive?" the blue eyed girl said knowingly. "But if you insist on ruining your life..."

"This is pointless," the class rep sighed throwing her hands up in frustration. "You'll never understand my reasons." That said she stood and prepared to leave.

"Wait a minute," Asuka said desperately, pausing as she finished to take a deep breath. "I mean I do want to understand," she said softly as she closed her eyes and hung her head just a bit. "Help me."

Hikari sensed the pain in her friend's voice as she sat back down. "What do you want to know?"

"H...how can you tell, that he's the one?" the Second asked. "How do you know when the time is right?"

"You just.... do," Hikari smiled. "As you get close to someone, you'll reach a point that you start to feel this emptiness inside. The funny thing is, no matter how much time you spend together, it's never enough to ease this pain. You find yourself wanting more and more and finally you get to the point that you care about the other person so much, and the emptiness is so overwhelming, that it is able to overcome your rational fears."

"Sounds kind of selfish, sleeping together to make yourself feel better."

"In a way, I guess it is," Hikari nodded, "but the beauty is this pain and emptiness is caused by the most powerful emotion of all. Love."

"But," Asuka replied softly as she struggled with the words. "But, what about if later on you grow apart and break up? Even you have to admit that it's not guaranteed that you and Touji will be together forever."

"As much as I want to disagree with you, I know you're right."

"So what happens then?" the redhead queried. "What about the guilt and regret of knowing you have wasted that one chance?"

Hikari paused for a moment, as she toiled with her response. "I can live with my decision because I know deep in my heart of hearts, at that moment in time, he was the one. Anything that happens after that is mutually exclusive."

"Are you saying you wouldn't have any regret?"

"Not at all," Hikari replied, "I'd probably have a lot." She took a moment and stared deep into her friend's eyes. "I'm just saying that I can't live my life in terms of 'what ifs' or 'mights.' All I can do is make the best choice at the time and live with the consequences." She watched as Asuka's frown slowly turned. "Life isn't always fair and it certainly isn't laid out for you on a piece of paper that you glance at from time to time and see how it turns out."

Asuka silently nodded in agreement as her friend continued.

"But if you think about it, it sure would be boring if that were the case. It's the uncertainty that keeps life interesting." Hikari turned away and gazed out over the landscape, the sounds of the city and schoolyard rushing in to fill the void. "Those are my reasons," she added after giving the pilot a chance to review her comments. "That and the fact according to everything I've read, it feels pretty damn good."

"Hikari!" Asuka shouted as the class rep turned to again face her, a large Cheshire cat grin on her face as the two shared a much-needed laugh.

"So," the Second Child started as she composed herself. "How do you actually...well you know...do it?"

Hikari gave her friend a bewildered stare. "You don't know how to have sex?"

"Not THAT!" Asuka replied quickly. "I meant how do you progress the relationship? How do you move from kissing to sex? Are you going to talk to him about it first?"

"Well," Hikari chuckled, "it's not like I'm going to run in and say 'Touji, do me right now' or anything."

"Funny, that always works for Misato."

"Maybe after you've done it a few times it gets like that," Hikari hypothesized, shrugging her shoulders in the process. "As for me, I'm going to just let it happen."

"How do you do that?" Asuka said.

"You know," the class rep said matter of factly. "When the making out and stuff gets really heated, I'm not going to stop this time. I figure nature will take its course." Judging by the look on Asuka's face, Hikari sensed something was wrong. "You and Shinji must have least...well...touched one another?"

"Not really," Asuka said shaking her head back and forth. "He and I haven't gone very far at all. Apart from some awkward misplaced hands, we've never done much past kissing."

"Really?" the dark haired girl exclaimed, "why not?"

"I don't know...I guess neither of us has tried to press the issue."

"Neither of you?"

"We're obviously able to control our hormones better then you two," Asuka said sarcastically, her natural defenses firing up over for the direction the frank conversation was taking.

"Sounds pretty boring if you ask me," Hikari said with a smile, "sometimes you have to let yourself go to really enjoy life."

---------

"Is he going to buy the whole store?" Touji lamented as he peered through the front window of the flower shop trying to spy within.

"I don't know," Kensuke replied as he joined the boy in looking at their friend through the glass. Using their hands as visors, both were able to block out the rays of the setting sun and at last catch a glimpse of Shinji as he stood at the counter. "Why don't you go in and ask."

"No way," the track suited teenager protested. "What if someone from class sees me in there? Florists are for...well...sissies. You go."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that no one would be surprised to see you in there," Touji said thoughtfully.

"And what's THAT supposed to mean?" Kensuke complained as he turned toward his taller friend.

"Come on Kensuke," Touji said as he leaned back from the window to properly address his fellow Stooge. "Everybody knows your luck with girls. We figured at some point you’ll try switching teams."

"Switching teams!" the spectacled teen shouted.

"Sure...in fact Asuka's running a betting pool as to when you officially come out of the closet," Touji said nonchalantly. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small slip of paper. "Could you do me a favor and wait until the week between Christmas and New Years? In fact, according to this I get paid double if you break down and confess during the New Year's Eve party."

"I'll do no such thing!" Kensuke bellowed, shaking his fists at his side in a fit of fury.

"Some friend you are," Touji muttered, "you can't even wait a lousy three weeks."

"It's not that," the military okatu shrieked, "you don't get it. I'm not gay!"

"Sure you're not," the jock replied mockingly.

"I'm not!"

"Oh, I understand now," Touji said reassuringly. Something in the tone of his voice conveyed he really didn't.

"Listen to me," Kensuke said as he reached out and grabbed his friend's shoulder. "I am not gay."

"She said this would happen."

"What?" Kensuke said as a bewildered expression grew on his face.

"Asuka said that you would deny it as long as possible," Touji smiled. "Afraid that once you admitted your secret to the world, I would desert you and your 'alternative lifestyle.'" He made the little quote marks with his fingers as he finished.

"But it's not true," Kensuke said desperately, furiously shaking his head back and forth.

"I know that," Touji replied, bringing an audible sigh if relief from the smaller teen. He turned again and peered through the window. "I'll still be your friend regardless of what happens...unless you hit on me or something."

"DAMNIT!"

"What's the matter Kensuke?" Shinji asked, stepping through the exit of the store, a large neatly wrapped box slung under his arm. The bright red ribbon on the white box contrasting nicely with his standard school uniform.

"Your stupid girlfriend is filling Touji's head with crazy ideas," Kensuke explained. "She's starting rumors that I'm gay."

"Well are you?" the Third replied.

"No!" the spectacled boy said emphatically.

"He's still in denial," Touji whispered as he pulled the box out from under Shinji's arm and began examining it. "Just like Asuka said he would."

"BUT I'M NOT GAY!" Kensuke shouted, jumping up and down in front of the others. "Hello...not gay...not gay."

"I believe you," Shinji said as the three teens starting walking down the crowded sidewalk. They continued in silence for few moments before the Eva Pilot addressed his friend once again. "But if you change your mind, could you wait until Valentine's Day to make the announcement?"

"E Tu, Shinji?" Kensuke sighed as he turned and saw the Third holding a slip of paper identical to the one Touji held earlier.

"What's in the box?" Touji said, frustrated that he was unable to open the package without destroying the wrapping.

"A dozen roses," Shinji smiled, quickly grabbing the box back after the head Stooge began shaking it back and forth. "They're for Asuka's birthday."

"Girls love flowers," Kensuke offered quickly, "believe me, I know that."

"Sure," Touji said flatly to the boy before turning toward Shinji. "He might be right though. Could I have one of those for Hikari?"

"Well," Shinji said hesitantly, "if I gave you one then I wouldn't have a dozen roses anymore, would I?" Touji stared blankly at his friend, an uneasy silence falling between them. "No...I wouldn't," the Eva Pilot said slowly as he answered himself.

"So?" the track-suited teen questioned, "instead of thirteen you would have twelve."

"You're thinking of a baker's dozen," Kensuke said smartly.

"Baker's who?" Touji replied curiously as he reached for the box, determined to get a flower from within.

"If you want flowers for Hikari," Shinji said as he deftly moved the carton out of his friend's reach. "Get them yourself."

"Fine," Touji sighed as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of crumpled bills. "Here," he said to Kensuke as he held the money out in front of him. "Go back to the store and get me some roses too."

"Get them yourself," Kensuke snapped, the larger boy's earlier taunts still fresh on his mind.

Touji stared at him for a long moment, a mixture of shock and amazement at the refusal. "I don't need flowers," he said confidently as he put the money back in his pocket, his mind secretly planning on simply stealing one after Asuka opened her present. "Not when I got the guns," he added, flexing his impressive physique to the onlookers. Catching a glimpse of himself in a shop window, Touji stopped, mesmerized by his twin in its mirror-like reflection.

"This is going to take awhile," Kensuke quipped as he and Shinji stopped and watched their friend breakdown into various bodybuilding poses. "So, what else did you get the Red Haired Devil for her birthday?"

"Let's see, I got her the roses, obviously, a necklace that she's been hinting at, and I got her the new Gameboy Excessive, bright red version of course."

"Of course," Kensuke said as he leaned back against a light post.

Shinji smiled at his friend's sarcasm. "But the best gift is a secret. No one knows about it."

"We can keep a secret," Touji said as he stepped away from the window and rejoined his friends.

"No you can't," the Third Child said, pointing first at Kensuke. "You're always bragging about how you steal NERV's top secret files, and you," he continued, now pointing at Touji, "you...you...well you know."

"Come on," the two Stooges cried in unison, "if you can't trust your friends who can you trust?" They finished by giving their most trusting smiles to the Eva Pilot.

"Well," Shinji said, his tone proving that he was most likely going to regret the next words to come out of his mouth, "I guess I can trust you and she's going to find out tomorrow anyway. I don't think even YOU guys could screw this up."

"Thank you for your faith in us," they replied reverently, bowing slightly as they spoke. "We shall not disappoint you."

"I arranged for a weekend getaway to Okinawa...to make up for the class trip we missed two years ago."

"Alright!" Touji shouted, raising his fist high in the air in celebration. "I love going to Okinawa. And so does Hikari. What time do we leave?"

"I...it's sort of a romantic weekend," Shinji stammered, "with just us."

"I got ya," Touji winked as he turned toward Kensuke. "You heard the man...maybe next time, that is if you can ever find a date."

"I think by 'us' Shinji meant him and Asuka," the smaller teen said matter of factly, pushing his glasses up his nose as he finished. "Idiot."

Touji glanced toward the Eva Pilot, who conveyed his answer with a sheepish nod. "Pretty selfish if you ask me," Touji frowned, pausing for a moment before venting his frustration. "How did you ever get permission to leave the city? What if an Angel attacks? I know I sure ain't volunteering to drive no Eva. Damn things are ugly as hell."

"It wasn't easy," Shinji said, "I had to get all kinds of special permission and a transport is going to be fueled and ready in the event we need to get back. But you don't need to worry, Rei and Unit 00 are going to still be here."

"I know I'll feel safe with Rei and Unit 00 on the job because we all know she's the best pilot," Kensuke said ardently.

The other teens cast a curious eye on their friend. "Um...Kensuke...you do realize that she only likes you as a friend," Shinji said softly.

"I can try, can't I?" he whined, "after all, you're with Asuka and you're with Hikari...she's the only one left."

"Do what you want," Touji muttered, "but I don't think you have a snowball's chance in heaven of going out with her."

"Hell," Kensuke corrected.

"Don't take it out on me!" the track suited teen snapped. "I ain't the dork with glasses who can't get a date."

"I meant Hell as in, snowball's chance in Hell...but it's nice to see you think so highly of me."

"I'm sorry," Touji said, his head hanging a bit in shame, "I guess I'm just excited about this weekend."

"I find it hard to believe that YOU would be excited about the bitc...I mean Asuka...Asuka's birthday party," Kensuke said.

"Her?" Touji exclaimed, "I could care less about Herr Uberwench or her party."

Shinji groaned as Kensuke motioned for his friend to come closer. "I thought we agreed not to put down Asuka in front of him anymore," he whispered, "it's really not a nice thing to do."

"You're right," Touji said softly before turning toward the Third Child. "I'm really sorry. I promise that I'll only bad mouth Asuka behind your back from now on."

"Thanks," Shinji said hesitantly, "I think." With a turn, he resumed his trek home, the other two falling in beside him. "What's going on this weekend that's got you so excited?"

"I have the whole house to myself," Touji said excitedly, "Hikari and I can be alone for the entire weekend."

"Where's your father going?" Kensuke quizzed.

"My sister has a bond hearing today in Kyoto," Touji said nonchalantly, "they decided to make a weekend trip out of it."

"If you and Hikari are going to be alone all weekend," Kensuke said as they stopped at a crowded crosswalk and waited for the light to turn, "then you're going to need this." He held out a tattered magazine.

"What's this?"

"Let's just call it some reference material," the spectacled boy smirked.

Suddenly the mass of humanity around them began moving as the crossing light turned in their favor. Glancing to his left Shinji noticed Touji rapidly flipping through the pages, carelessly bumping into his fellow pedestrians as his complete concentration was focused on the periodical. "I really don't need another one of your magazines Kensuke," he said after turning to the smaller boy.

"Well if this is a porno mag, then you got ripped off," Touji griped as he continued thumbing through the pages. "Apart from some pictures of chicks in bikini's, this thing sucks."

"The help is not in the visuals my friends," Kensuke proclaimed as they reached the other side of the street, "this is one of those trendy young adult male magazines."

"Oh great, I lost!" Touji said as he ripped up his betting slip, letting the pieces fall to the concrete below.

"Not one of THOSE young male magazines," Kensuke cried, a slight blush forming on his cheeks. "The ones that talk about stuff like beer, sports, video games, fighting...guy stuff."

"Oh yeah, I've heard of those," Shinji said, "they're becoming quite popular."

"So this isn't..." Touji started before Kensuke's shaking head convinced him he didn't need to continue. "Damn," he said as he dropped to his hands and knees and began to frantically try to pick up the shredded pieces of paper as they were pushed around by the footsteps of passersby.

"But how's this supposed to help?"

"I'm glad you asked, Ikari," Kensuke smiled as the two of them gazed down at Touji below. "Although there are articles on the other things I mentioned, the majority of the issue deals with...women. How to get them. How to keep them. How to make them happy."

"Gotcha," Touji said just as his hand darted out and caught the last piece. "So what does it say about...OUCH!" he screamed as a boy, approximately their age accidentally stepped on his hand. "Hey, watch where you're going!"

"I am terribly sorry," the boy replied, not bothering to stop as his crimson eyes locked onto Shinji's for a heartbeat. His ashen hair flipped slightly to the side as he smiled politely and turned away.

"You better keep going!" Touji yelled as she stood up, vigorously rubbing his hand. "If I ever see you again I'm going to deck you." He glanced to his side and noticed Shinji staring at the teen's retreating figure. "Are you okay?"

"Huh?" the Eva Pilot replied, snapping out of the trance like daze. "Yeah, I'm fine. Now what were you talking about?"

"I was asking Kensuke what that thing said about women."

"Let me tell you," Kensuke said as he pulled the publication out of Touji's hand. "There are lots of useful columns and articles in here," he mentioned as he thumbed through the pages, eventually stopping on one. "For instance did you know what all women want most of all in a relationship? It's sex."

"What?" Shinji exclaimed, "that's not true."

"Sure it is," the teen said as held the magazine so the others could see.

"There it is," Touji said as he pointed to the appropriate section. "Right behind money and looks."

"That sounds awfully shallow," Shinji muttered.

"What else does it say?" Touji asked excitedly.

"It says that ninety five percent of women surveyed wished their boyfriends would initiate sex more often."

"Oh my God," Touji cried out as he looked to the heavens. "I've been so stupid."

"According to this," Kensuke said as he pointed to the article, "you have."

"Now I KNOW that isn't true," Shinji said confidently, "unless Misato falls in that five percent. For as much as they do it, she's still telling Kaji to cool it down."

"Kaji's a lucky bastard," Kensuke sighed as visions of the purple haired woman suddenly dominated his thoughts.

"Now wait just a minute," the Third Child said as he tried desperately to maintain some sense of order. "We're supposed to base the most important step in our relationship on an article in a piece of tabloid trash whose cover story is an expose on the nutritional benefits of macaroni and cheese?"

"Don't let his logic cloud the truth," Kensuke explained to his larger friend. "If you do nothing with the class rep, I won't forgive you. I'll NEVER forgive you!"

Touji hung his head in shame. "But what can I do?" he said softly.

"Nobody's perfect," Kensuke said desperately, "you realize that you've made a mistake and then regret it. But at least you've learned from the experience." He reached out and grasped his fellow Stooge's shoulder. "Listen Touji," he started his tone much gentler then before. "Go to Hikari once more and find yourself. This weekend when you're alone with her, face the questions. 'Will I have sex?' 'When will I have more sex?' Find your own answers. And then...after finding your answers...come back to me...and tell me all about it. I want details! Pictures if possible."

"You're sick," Shinji sighed, "did you know that?"

"Actually I do," Kensuke smiled as he continued browsing the pages.

"You can do whatever you want," Shinji said as they started walking again. "But I like the way things are going with Asuka right now. I'd feel terrible if I did something stupid to ruin it."

"But what if she deep down she's waiting for you...to make the first move?" Kensuke said as he pulled his glasses off and began wiping them with his shirt. "To show some initiative? To show her you care enough to make that level of commitment?"

"I never thought about it that way," the Eva Pilot said softly as he closely analyzed the words. "You may have something there. Asuka might think that I don't like her enough to want to...fool around with her."

"Exactly my point."

"But I do," Shinji protested, "I DO want to be with her...if she'd let me. I want to be closer to her then anyone else ever will."

"How's she supposed to know that?" Kensuke said thoughtfully. "You need to show her."

"But this is Asuka we're talking about," Shinji chuckled, "and if she was worried that I didn't care enough about her, she would have told me. Since when has she not spoken what's on her mind?"

"Oh let's see," Kensuke said slowly as he built up the drama. "She only buried her true feelings about you for...over a year. And probably would have kept them down longer if you hadn't forced her hand."

"He's good," Touji said, momentarily joining the conversation as he battled his own doubts and regrets. "You have to admit."

"Yes," Shinji said as he began to review and replay events in his mind. For the first time since he and Asuka started their relationship, he felt frightened at the possibility something might be wrong.

Not another word was spoken between the three of them as they wandered within the man made canyons of the urban jungle that was Toyko-3. Two of them were weighed heavy with thoughts of the ones they loved, and the potential ramifications of choices that were soon to come. Another piece of their childhood innocence was lost that day as the fear and uncertainty that only burdened adults had crept into their lives.

---------

Deep in the bowels of NERV Headquarters, Misato Katsuragi stared at her computer screen, the myriad of numbers and figures threatening to overwhelm her. With a deft flick of her wrist and a click of the mouse button she highlighted the cell under the column labeled 'Entertainment.' A small smile grew on her face as she typed in a new value, slightly less then the previous. Moving the cursor to the 'Food and Beverage' column, she increased that amount accordingly. Suddenly, before she had a chance to see how her changes had effected the rest of the spreadsheet, her vision was stolen as a pair of hands covered her eyes.

"You're so sexy when you're in uniform," a man's voice whispered into her ear.

Something about the poorly disguised voice seemed familiar, she thought, removing her hand from the hidden gun under her desk. "Who is this?"

"Take a guess," the visitor replied, softly blowing into the Major's ear as he spoke.

"Is that you Makoto?" Misato said softly, "you know how jealous Kaji gets when he sees you talking to me."

"It's not Makoto," the voice said sweetly, sliding behind her head to whisper into the other ear. "Try again."

"Commander Futyuski," the purple haired woman whispered, "but your usual day is Tuesday."

"Huh...what?" the voice stammered, not sounding nearly as confident as before. "Er...no."

"Is that you Commander Ikari?" Misato said in her most sultry tone. "Are you here to… discipline me again?"

"Hey..."

"Oh Shinji...take me...take me like you did last night!" the Major moaned as she spun her chair around and pulled her secret admirer down across her lap. "It's only you," she sighed as her now restored vision caught site of her fiancée staring back at her.

"Only me?" Kaji cried as he struggled to get up. "That's a horrible thing to say to the man who is going to make an honest woman out you. Although after that exchange I don't know why."

"I'm kidding," Misato giggled as she bent down and kissed her lover deeply. "I knew it was you all along," she said as he reluctantly broke their embrace.

"Are you sure you were joking?" Kaji said as he stood. "Because you certainly sounded serious to me."

"Why Ryouji Kaji, are you jealous?"

"Who me?" he replied, his most confident smile apparent on his face. "I've got nothing to be jealous about."

"Good," Misato said with a smile. Without warning she spun her chair around and returned to examining the spreadsheet still displayed her monitor.

Kaji placed his hands on the chair back and leaned over her shoulder. "I knew you were kidding. I know you and Shinji having sex...it's almost comical."

Misato prepared to type some new numbers, but stopped at his comment. "You're right, but it's certainly not funny. He insisted we stop once he started going out with Asuka."

"Ah ha! Caught you!" the pony tailed man shouted. Quickly he turned Misato's chair around to confront her. Instead of finding her torn with regret, her smiling visage filled his eyes.

"You're easy," she chuckled. Leaning forward she gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "Now, leave me alone. I have to get this done."

"What's that?" he said after she turned around and continued her work. Taking a few moments to survey the data, he noticed it had an excessive amount of big numbers and dollar signs. "Is that the Eva's yearly operating budget?"

"No," she replied softly.

"Well what is it then? It looks like the gross national product of a small country."

"Actually," Misato said meekly, "these are the plans for our wedding."

Kaji's body went limp as he fell to the floor.

"Kaji...Kaji," the Operations Director called out desperately as she jumped out of her chair and bent down to help him. Cradling his head in her arms, she slapped him lightly across the face, increasing her force with each stoke. "Wake up...wake up!"

"Ouch that hurts," he said after a particularly hard strike.

"You're not funny," Misato said as she released her grip on her unsuspecting husband to be, his head hitting the floor with a resounding thud. "Now go away, I have work to do," she added as she sat back down at her desk.

"I'm not going anywhere," Kaji said as he sat up rubbing the back of his head. "If I do you're going to put me in the poor house."

"Come on," she said, her voice suddenly sounding very sexy. "It's only money...and we're only going to get married...once." She reached up and caressed his cheek softly. "I'll be worth it," she added as her hand fell from his cheek and took a detour along his chest and stomach, stopping just before is belt line. "Trust me."

"Okay," he said absently, still in the rapture of her touch. "I'll figure out some way to pay for it."

"Great!" she exclaimed, pulling her hand away and returning to the keyboard. Within seconds she was back spending his money.

"You can't leave me like this," Kaji protested, begging for something more then a simple touch. He leaned over her shoulder and nibbled on her earlobe while his hands explored her body.

"Now Kaji..." Misato started to say when suddenly he violently spun her chair around to face him. He fell on top of her, kissing her deeply. With one arm holding her close, he used the other to wipe her desk clean, the majority of items falling by the wayside. A suitable location now arranged, he reached under her arms as he roughly picked her up and threw her onto the desk.

"Kaji," she giggled as he began unbuttoning her top. "We can't do this now."

"Why not?" he said, his hands now finished with her shirt and working on her black skirt.

"Because I'm at work, that's why," Misato replied as she threw her head back and forth and struggled to free herself.

"Who cares?" Kaji smiled.

"Somebody might catch us," she said, buttoning her shirt as fast as he undid it.

"Don't you think it's stimulating...that we could get caught at any moment?" he said coyly.

"No!"

"Besides who's going to catch us?" he said softly as he gazed down at her. "That old coot Futyuski? He'd have a heart attack if he walked in. And Ritsuko and Maya are probably busy with their power tools right now, if you catch my drift. Shigeru and Makoto? I'm still trying to figure out who's the wife in that relationship. And as for the Commander, well anyone who keeps giant biohumanoid robots around must be compensating for some inadequacy."

"No..." she said sharply, bucking her hips in an attempt to throw him off. "This is where I work. It's too...dirty."

"Dirty is good," Kaji said as he started unbuttoning his shirt. Having no luck keeping hers open, he decided to try another approach, relying on the fact no woman could resist his charms.

"We can do it after Asuka's party," Misato said as she averted her eyes from his well-sculpted chest. "I promise."

"Let's do it now, AND after the party."

"NO!" she said loudly. After a bit of struggling the Major was able to get up onto her elbows. "We are not going to have sex on my desk. I have to work here."

"Where then?" he said desperately.

"How about tomorrow night in a bed...like normal people," she replied flatly.

"How about right now, on the floor like a couple of rabbits?"

"No."

"Please?" he whined.

Any further discussion, or rather begging, was curtailed as the Major's office door slid open and Sub Commander Futyuski stepped in. "Good afternoon."

"Good afternoon," Misato replied as she forcefully pushed Kaji off her and jumped off the desk. "Mr. Rouji was showing me...his latest killing technique," she stammered. To her surprise the Subcommander didn't seem very interested in her comments, but rather seemed transfixed on her chest. Glancing down she found that, unnoticed by her, Kaji had somehow undone her top again and her well-endowed breasts, though hidden by her bra, were on prominent display. "Oh no," she sighed as she spun around and began fixing her uniform.

"The Commander sent me down with a message," Futyuski said as he bent down and picked up the Major's phone and placed it back on the desk. "He has given you his authorization to engage in sexual relations. If Major Katsuragi feels her office is unfit, he has volunteered use of his. The only stipulation is that it must be performed immediately." He smiled as the two gave him astonished, if not a bit embarrassed looks. "I can tell by your expressions, you are curious as to the nature of this announcement. Well, suffice to say if an Angel were to attack, we currently would be unable to scramble our forces to intercept, what with you two of you carrying on like this over the loudspeaker system." Glancing down, the Subcommander smiled as he pushed the button marked INTERCOM, the bright red light shutting off in the process. With a turn he prepared to leave. "If you will excuse me now, I have to get my heart checked, it appears to have stopped."

---------

"Coming," the electronic voice replied after the blue haired girl pressed the button. Reaching up she checked the red ribbon of her uniform as she waited patiently for the door to open, staring blankly at the emblem reading M. KATSURAGI.

After a slight mechanical sound the door slid open, revealing the two Children standing within. Shinji was dressed in a white button down shirt, dark blue pants and a dark blue tie. All things considered not a big change from his school uniform. Asuka on the other hand looked radiant in her white dress, the hemline just running above the knee of the white nylons underneath. A large bright white ribbon holding her hair up rounded out the ensemble.

"Good evening Rei," Shinji nodded as she stepped through the door. "Glad you could make it."

"Thank you for the invitation," the First said as she acknowledged his greeting, then turned to face the Second Child. "This is for you."

"Thanks," Asuka replied as she carefully studied the neatly wrapped box before her. "What is it?"

"A present...to celebrate your sixteenth year of existence."

"I know THAT," the redhead exclaimed, "tell me what's inside the box."

Rei looked at her curiously. "Is it not tradition to wait until actually opening the present to reveal its contents?"

"Asuka's not very traditional," Shinji chuckled, "especially when it involves patience."

"Very funny," Asuka said as she flipped her boyfriend's nose and pulled him into a mock chokehold. "Now spill the beans Wondergirl or the dork here gets it," she said a menacingly as possible given the faux cries of protest coming from the Third Child.

"Since Sohryu is going to find out anyway, perhaps I should tell her," Rei said to Shinji as she watched him playfully struggle with is girlfriend.

"Don't give..." he stared to say before Asuka's hand covered his mouth.

"Yes," the Second Child smiled as she looked at her fellow pilot. "I'm going to find out eventually."

"Enclosed within that box are imported German chocolates."

"Trying to fatten me up I see," Asuka smirked.

"Actually," the azure haired teen interrupted, "they are laced with a deadly toxin. I intend to poison you and have Ikari for myself."

The shock from comment was apparent as the redhead's mouth stood agape, her grip on the Third Child relaxing as he pulled himself free. Shinji watched Asuka and Rei stare blankly at one another, an uneasy silence falling over them.

Slowly Asuka began to laugh. Starting off as nothing more then a giggle, it soon grew by leaps and bounds with each passing moment. "I thought you were serious for a minute."

"Are you so convinced I am not?" she returned, her crimson eyes wavered not in their conviction.

"That's a good one," Shinji added nervously as he stepped aside so the First Child could properly enter the apartment.

"Happy birthday," Rei said as she proceeded down the hall.

The Second and Third watched her retreating form, each wondering in their own way at the changes she had undergone since they first met. Late to the start line, she still had a long way to go before anyone have considered her normal, but at least she was heading in the right direction. Their mutual reflection was interrupted as the next two partygoers arrived.

"Congratulations," Hikari said loudly as she bowed in front of her friend. With an elbow to the chest, she convinced her boyfriend to copy her sign of respect.

"Cut that out," Asuka sighed as she pulled her best friend into an embrace. "I'm glad you came."

"I wouldn't miss this for..." the class rep said, "anything." The two exchanged an unspoken word as they drew support from one another. "You're always there for me."

"And you for me," the redhead added with a smile. "Regardless of who you are dating." She threw a sarcastic smile at the Stooge. "Actually I have a use for you," she said as she held out the box of chocolates that Rei had given her. "Try one." Not that she seriously thought that the First Child would ever actually poison her, but better to be safe than sorry...

Never one to turn down food, even from the hated enemy, Touji eagerly complied.

"How do you feel?" Asuka asked curiously.

"Never better," Touji said loudly as he reached over again to grab another sweet.

"I don't know if I should feel relieved or upset," the Second frowned as she pulled the box away. "I might have been better off if she DID try to kill me..."

"We got you a gift," Hikari said quickly, anxious to head off any potential trouble. "Touji, give Asuka our present."

"Here," he said harshly as he held the package out in front of her.

"I though you said you wrapped it?" the dark haired girl groaned as she first caught sight of the gift. The paper was wrinkled and barely covered the container, in fact the words "Angel Attack" were clearly visible through one exposed corner.

"I did," Touji complained. A sudden gust of wind came through the open door and blew what little wrapping paper was on the present off.

"I'm sorry," Hikari said hanging her head in shame as Shinji laughed out loud in the background. "This is the last time YOU wrap the present!" she growled at her boyfriend.

"Well...thank you anyway," Asuka said as she examined the packaging of the game. "Oh no, this is for the Gameboy Excessive...I only have the Ultimate."

"That's okay," Touji said nonchalantly, "Shinji got you the Excessive for your birthday."

Hikari's arm darted out and cuffed the grinning idiot in the back of the head. "That was supposed to be a surprise."

"Geez, I'm sorry," Touji said as he rubbed the back of his head absently. "You didn't have to hit me so hard. You act like I told her about the romantic getaway trip to Okinawa."

This time two sets of hands smacked him.

"I knew it," Shinji groaned.

"I didn't mean to," the jock protested. "I was..."

"Let's get out of here," Hikari said as she pushed the protesting Touji down the hall, "before you start giving away NERV's secrets or something."

"I'm really sorry," Shinji said softly as he turned to face his companion. "I was supposed to be a surprise. To make up for the trip we missed two years ago."

Asuka glanced over his shoulder to see if anyone was watching and gave him a deep kiss. "What a wonderful present," she said after she pulled away. "Don't feel bad about that idiot screwing up the surprise."

"Which idiot?" Kensuke asked as he stepped through the open doorway.

"Your hero," Asuka smirked as she quickly pulled away from Shinji's embrace. "The Tokyo-3 trained snow monkey."

"What did Touji do now?"

"He accidentally told Asuka about the trip," Shinji said casting a curious gaze at the actions of the Second.

"Well you know him," Kensuke said as he stepped into the apartment. "I told you he couldn't keep a secret."

"B...but...but," the Third Child stammered.

"This is for you," the boy said as he pushed his glasses back up his nose. In his hand he held out a carefully wrapped present.

"Thanks," Asuka said as she cautiously examined the small gift. "What is it?"

"I took the...liberty of borrowing some of NERV's Evangelion battle footage from the Magi," Kensuke said with a grin as he took the wrapped package back from the redhead. "Can you believe that they only use ZoneAlarm for a firewall?" The indifferent looks the two Children gave him convinced the young hacker that they really didn't care. "Anyway I took the video and mixed in some music and burned it to a DVD. Think of it as sort of an Evangelion music video."

"Excellent," Asuka said loudly. "Now everyone can marvel at my piloting skills!"

"Yes, everyone will finally be able to see the great Eva pilots in action."

"You might not be so bad after all," the Second said as she slapped the okatu on the back. "Don't start showing that until everyone is here," she yelled to the boy as he walked down the hall, "I want to give an accurate description of everything that is happening."

"Don't worry," he replied, "I'll make sure everybody can see it."

---------

"If I could please have everyone's attention," Kensuke said as he stood next to the television. "Your attention please." Suddenly the music stopped along with the idle banter as an uneasy hush fell over the apartment. Slowly everyone squeezed into the living room to hear what he had to say. Turning around he carefully loaded his DVD into the player and crouched down to both turn on the television and adjust the sound. Not nearly as nice an audio-visual system as his, but it would have to do. Standing back up he prepared to address the crowd.

To his amazement he noticed that all eyes were not on him, but rather to the familiar betting slips that each person held. Even Pen Pen waddled to the front, his flipper grasping the bright yellow piece of paper.

"It's not THAT," he protested, eliciting a groan from the masses and an indignant WARK from the bird. "I just wanted to give Asuka her present."

"Everybody please hold your tickets," Asuka said as she pushed her way to the front and stood next to the spectacled boy. "We still don't have a winner at this time."

"I'll get you for this," Kensuke muttered softly.

"But let's all watch what he has put together for us...shall we?"

"You're not going anywhere, are you?" Kensuke said he pushed the play button. "It might be nice if you commented on the scenes."

"Why of course," Asuka smiled to him before she turned and addressed the crowd. "Aida would like me to provide my expert commentary on each of these scenes."

Slowly the television screen faded to black and the words EVANGELION 2015 scrolled from top to bottom, their white kanji a stark contrast to darkness behind them. After they had passed, the NERV logo, with the words TOP SECRET superimposed over it came on the screen.

"Here we go," Kensuke said as he subtly stepped away from the German girl.

The words UNIT 00 came on the screen, a hushed cheer filtering through the room as a random collection of Unit 00 pictures flashed across the tube. Standing in the back of the room, Rei found herself blushing just a bit as the cheers grew when the images of her shielding of Shinji during the Fifth Angel's attach were shown.

"These are some shots of Unit 00, the PROTOTYPE, basically getting in the way," Asuka said smartly as she watched along with the rest.

Next the words UNIT 01 came on the screen, it's mouth roaring in triumph over defeating the Third Angel. Soon a collage of action shots and clips were exhibited to a smattering of oh's and ah's.

"Here is Shinji getting blasted in the head, here is Shinji getting his arm broken, here is Shinji..."

"Kicking some major ASS!" Touji yelled out from the back of the room as Unit 01 ravaged the Third Angel.

Asuka glared at the Stooge. "As I was saying...here's Shinji getting stabbed with tentacles, here's Shinji getting blasted in the chest, here's Shinji proving he can't shoot straight. I'd just like to point out that all this tomfoolery was before myself and Unit 02 arrived. It's a wonder that..."

"There's Shinji saving your butt...again," Touji chuckled as the Unit 01 on the screen jumped into the volcano. "What a mistake that turned out to be," he added just before Hikari pinched his ear.

Asuka gazed over to Shinji, his reassuring smile convincing her that the sentiment was not mutual.

After a couple of more minutes of footage, the time had finally arrived, the bloody images of Unit 01 emerging from the Twelfth Angel fading from the picture. Asuka smiled as the kanji came up, UNIT 02. Unlike the dramatic, classical background music that Kensuke had chosen for Rei and Shinji, Asuka's theme song sounded almost...comical. It's violin and guitar strangely reminiscent of something one would hear traveling in the Deep South of the United States. Turning to address the soundtrack issue with its originator, she was surprised to find he had long since sneaked away. It was about then the laughter started.

"What?!?" she gasped as Unit 02 fell off the aircraft carrier. The banana peel that Kensuke had been kind enough to digitally add provided the comic relief. "AIDA!" Asuka screamed as the music switched to something out of a bad comedy and Unit 02 was unceremoniously deposited on its head by one half of the Seventh Angel. She could only hang her head in shame as Unit 02 kicked desperately to free itself.

"Look at that!" Touji yelled he watched the Type D outfitted Unit entered Mount Asama. "Putting on a little weight?"

Shinji had long since walked over and was standing next to Asuka, mostly out of fear that she might kill someone but also to give her some support. "I'll have you know that it takes a lot of guts to fight the Angels," she said desperately, pointing her finger at the teen. "Something you wouldn't know anything about, running away like a baby down in the shelters."

"You sure had a lot of guts right there," Touji laughed as he pointed to the screen.

Reluctantly Asuka gazed down at the picture, the image of Unit 02 scrambling up the side of the sinking skyscraper all too clear. On top of that somehow Kensuke had been able to add her panicked cries to the footage.

"Where did Mr. Aida get that?" Ritsuko asked as she stepped next to Misato. "Those images are classified. If Commander Ikari knew about this."

"Ah...don't worry so much," Misato replied, her slight slur indication that she had been enjoying herself so far at the party. "When did you get here?"

"Just now. The laughter was so loud I had to let myself in."

"Here," Kaji said as he handed the blonde woman a mixed drink. "Still drinking scotch and soda?"

"Thank you," Ritsuko smiled as she took the beverage.

Misato looked her friend over carefully. "Is that a tan?"

"Yes it is," the doctor replied as she took a sip of her drink. "I was vacationing in Okinawa last week...or didn't you bother to read that memo."

"I knew that," Misato said as she quickly guzzled the rest of her beer. She paused as the room erupted in laughter, the image of Unit 02 covered by the deflated Yebisu blimp prominent on the television. "I just forgot."

"Hello everyone," a soft voice came from behind them.

"Good evening Miss Ibuki," Kaji grinned. "Can I interest you in a beverage...or something more satisfying?"

"Put a sock in it Romeo," Misato groaned as she shot her fiancée a nasty glare. "Glad you could make it Maya," she said as she turned to the young woman.

"I'd like a scotch and soda," the NERV officer said softly, stealing a quick glance at Ritsuko.

"One scotch and soda coming up," Kaji said as he stepped over to the table and began mixing the drink.

"Nice tan," Misato commented to Maya as they stood in a circle and waited for Kaji to return. "Were you at the beach with Ritsuko?"

"What are you implying?" the Project E leader exclaimed. "Just because Maya and I have tans does not mean that we went to the beach together. Grow up Misato!"

The Major slowly extended her finger and pointed to Maya's shirt, the bright orange one with the kanji, 'IN 2016 I LEFT MY HEART IN OKINAWA.'

Maya hung her head in embarrassment as Ritsuko started in again. "Just because Maya and I went on vacation together, does not mean that there's anything between us."

"I didn't..."

"My God, when will the persecution end!" Ritsuko said loudly, drowning out the laughter as Asuka stood in front of the television and attempted to hide the image of herself in the Type D plugsuit. It seemed Kensuke had rigged the DVD player so it could not be stopped. "Don't try to see things that just aren't there." She chugged the last of her drink. "Tell your man-servant to make me another!"

"Kaji," Misato called out, "can you make Miss Congeniality another?"

"And this time stop being so cheap and put some booze in it." Unable to wait for her own, Ritsuko snatched Kaji's drink off the counter and guzzled it in one shot.

"Ritsuko," the purple haired woman said calmly, "what's the..."

"Don't start in on me!" the blonde snapped. "I find it highly insulting that someone as promiscuous as you is pointing fingers at us. But just to set the record straight, Maya and I had sex with lots of guys the past week. I mean a LOT of guys. Good looking ones too, not like that poorly trained primate you're with."

"Hey!" Misato said loudly, Maya quickly stepping in between them. "You take that back!"

"Is there something wrong?" Kaji said as he held the two drinks out.

"Sempai called you a trained gorilla," Maya said as she took one of the glasses, "and the Major appears to have taken it badly."

"Give me that, Bobo!" Ritsuko exclaimed as she ripped the other drink out of the man's hand.

"Perhaps we should go," Maya said as she looked at the doctor.

"I'm fine," Ritsuko said as she took a sip of her drink. Reluctantly Maya and Misato stepped to the side as the blonde fumbled through her purse, eventually succeeding in finding a cigarette. Three flicks of her lighter later and it was finally it. As she gazed around the room, the doctor seemed to calm down, the familiar orange glow of the tobacco product alternating with a steady stream of smoke pouring from her nostrils. "Much better," she sighed before taking a healthy pull off her cocktail.

Suddenly the doctor reached out into the crowd and grabbed someone by the collar. "Come here you little bastard," she said, the smoke escaping her lungs with each syllable as she pulled Kensuke out of his hiding place.

"I...I'm sorry," he stammered, "I didn't..."

"That Eva material is top secret," Ritsuko screamed, "you could be shot on sight just for having it!"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean..."

An evil grin appeared on the Project E director's face as she took a long draw off her cigarette. "I'll let you live," she said menacingly, "but remember you owe me one."

"Yes ma'am, yes ma'am," he said quickly, fighting the urge to cough at the smell as the smoke blew into his face.

She released his collar and the boy started to cautiously back away. "Hey," Ritsuko called out, "come back here for a minute." She placed an arm around him, ensuring he could not leave. Reaching into her pocket the doctor pulled out the now familiar yellow slip of paper. "You know about this, right?"

"Yes," Kensuke replied, "but I'm not..."


"Good," she said as she quickly scanned the information on the form. "Because according to this you need to confess at nine tonight for me to win." Ritsuko glanced down at her watch. "And it's nine o six...so start confessing."

"But I'm not..."

"Don't be afraid," Ritsuko said softly, taking one last drag of her smoke before dropping the butt into his soda, the burning embers quickly squelched by the liquid. "By trying to hide it from the world you're only making it worse. You'll become defensive and irritable..."

"Like you?" Kensuke interrupted softly.

"I don't need to listen to your lies!" the blond scientist shouted. "How dare you accuse Maya and I of being secret lovers!"

The entire party stopped and was now watching the spectacle unfold before them.

"What's going on here?" Misato said as she stepped closer to her friend.

Ritsuko took a long sip from her drink to cool her inflamed vocal cords. "I'm explaining to this little...man...that we're not lesbians!"

"Who said you are lesbians?" the purple haired woman pleaded as she held her friend in front of her.

"I can see the little games," Ritsuko replied as she looked the Operations Director in the eye. "All the talk behind our backs. But I don't care, because I know the truth."

"But no one is accusing..." Misato said before being cut off.

"Don't treat me like an idiot," the blonde woman said crossly as she turned to address the crowd, "and I'm sorry to ruin all your fantasies, but I am not gay." A collective groan escaped from the crowd, and looking closer Ritsuko noticed each person holding in their hand a bright pink betting slip.

"Please hold your tickets," Asuka said as she finished disconnecting the DVD player, the frayed wires and smoke testament to the permanence. "There's no winner at this time."

-----------

"That was interesting," the blue haired teen said to no one in particular as she walked along the well-lit sidewalks of Tokyo-3. The party had finally broken up and even if the interaction with others was awkward at first, she had to admit to herself that she genuinely enjoyed it.

Well, except for the near constant advances of a certain young man.

"Hey Rei, wait up!" Kensuke called out as he ran after her. If anyone had been watching the First Child at that moment, they would have sworn that they saw her roll her eyes as her name was called.

"Yes Mr. Aida," Rei said flatly.

"Would you like me to walk you home?" he said eagerly. "It's late and you might need protection."

"NERV Section Two has all of the Children under constant guard," she said. "I do not think you can offer any added security."

"How about just for company?" Kensuke said as he stood anxiously next to her.

"That would be...acceptable," Rei said, "but is your residence not in the other direction?"

"No, I live right there," he said quickly pointing to a large building across the street.

The First Child gave him a skeptical look as she noticed the distinctive markings adorning the side of the structure. "You live in a NERV armament building?"

"S..sure," he stammered, "the rent's quite reasonable, and the missile tubes make great..."

"Adia," Rei interrupted, "please understand that at this time I do not wish to date you."

"Are you sure?" he said dejectedly. "We're the only two single one's left."

"Sorry, but I am not ready to pursue a relationship."

"Well if you change your mind, you know where I live."

"Yes, NERV Defensive Building ANGL17," Rei replied and started walking away. "Good night."

"Night," Kensuke sighed softly as he watched her disappear into the darkness. "I guess I'll just have to settle for those pictures of you in the tank...for now." And with that he turned and started down the street that led to his real home.

---------

At the same time in another part of the city, a group of four people battled on toward home. Actually a better description would be that three of them battled on, carrying the fourth who seemed dead to the world as she enjoyed an alcohol fueled reality break.

"Why aren't Misato and Kaji doing this?" Touji commented aloud as he struggled to maintain his balance. It wasn't that the woman was all that heavy, but the fact she kept moving around made his job all the more difficult as he repositioned her over his shoulder.

"You saw them," Hikari said as she walked next to her boyfriend, helping him as best she could with his burden. "The two of them are almost as bad as Doctor Akagi here." The few surviving brain cells in her head firing at the mention of her name, Ritsuko looked over at the teenage girl and smiled. "Leave it up to adults to ruin a perfectly good party."

"T...thank you," Maya said apprehensively as she held the woman up by her other shoulder. "I don't think I could have gotten her home by myself."

"It's okay," Hikari replied, "these things happen."

"Y...you're a good girl," Ritsuko slurred as she showed some signs of life, "a...and pretty cute one too."

"Excuse me?" the class rep blushed as she noticed a bit of hunger in the blonde woman's eyes.

"Hey!" Touji protested as he noticed the long look that Ritsuko was giving his girl. "Cut that out!"

"Y...you shut up you stupid...man," the Project E Director stammered drunkenly before turning back to the teen girl. "Are you busy tonight?"

"I swear lady, I'm going to drop you right now if you don't stop making moves on my girl…"

---------

"You're drunk," Misato giggled as she watched Kaji try to find his apartment key. And in truth he was, but his job was still made all the more difficult given the fact that he was trying to hold his intoxicated bride to be up at the same time.

"Here, lean against the door," Kaji said as her maneuvered the purple haired woman into place.

"I wish I was sixteen again," the Major said as she gazed to the heavens thoughtfully. "To have your entire future still in front of you."

"But what about all the trials and tribulations that come with growing up?" he replied, still working the door. "Would you want to relive all that?"

"At the time it seemed like the hardest thing in the world," she said as she leaned over on his shoulder. "But it was also so exciting to be experiencing everything for the first time."

"Speaking of which," the pony tailed man said softly, "do you think it's okay to leave Shinji and Asuka home alone?"

"Those two?" Misato smiled, "I don't think either of them are close to making that step. Look at how long it took them to just admit they were in love. And Asuka still won't kiss him in front of anyone."

"You're their guardian, so you know best," Kaji said as he finally found the right key. "I just wouldn't underestimate them."

"Besides, I thought you wanted to have some fun tonight," Misato said in her sexiest voice as she pulled Kaji in close and kissed him passionately. Reaching down she began to stroke him gently through his pants, immediately grabbing his attention. After a few moments, she suddenly she pulled away. "But if you think it would be better if I kept an eye on the Children..."

"Come here," he said as he pulled her back into a tight embrace, his lips fervently working on her neck. Spinning her around, Kaji roughly slammed her into the door, their passion building to a fevered pitch. Of course the only problem with that plan was the fact he had earlier found the correct key and with the door now unlocked the two of them tumbled through the unsecured portal and crashed into the darkness beyond.

---------

"It looks like an Angel came through here," Shinji sighed as he and his roommate surveyed the aftermath of the sweet sixteen party. Bottles, cans, half eaten plates of food, bags of chips, pieces of cake were placed on every available square inch of exposed surface and a few items found themselves in such unusual places as the ceiling and the walls. Holding an empty garbage bag in his hand he estimated that if they worked diligently, they just might get it done before her seventeenth birthday party. However, given the strange way that she had been acting most of the night, he didn't foresee too much cleaning getting done.

"Thank you so much for all the nice presents," Asuka said as she stepped up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Especially the trip. That one's the best," she said as she rested her head on his shoulder. "We're going to have so much fun."

He didn't say a word but rather stared straight ahead. He could feel the nervousness in his body as she pressed against him. This wasn't the first time they had been alone, but something about this night seemed different. Something bigger than anything else he had faced in his entire life.

"Oh no," she said picking her head up. "You don't know how to swim."

"That's okay," Shinji replied, "Rei offered to teach me."

"Like hell," Asuka snapped as she spun the boy around to face her. "The last thing I need is you and Wondergirl frolicking half naked in a pool together."

"You would get jealous?" he smirked.

Asuka returned a sarcastic smile. "Listen here Third Child," she started as she poked him in the chest with her finger. "I'll admit that I actually somewhat like Wondergirl now, especially since she helped you." She paused for a moment to build up her most foul glare. "I may have learned to open up and show my feelings in the past few months, but the old Asuka is still here and she'll be damned if she lets you hang around with another girl, regardless of how innocent it may be. So to answer your question, yes I'd be jealous!"

"I was only kidding," Shinji said quickly as he realized that his joke might have gone too far.

"I know you were," Asuka replied, "but I still wanted you to know my feelings on the matter." Her expression softened greatly as she reached out and drew him in closer. "Besides, swimming lessons together can be fun. You never know what kind of water hazards we can experience together."

He swallowed as she trailed her right hand down to the first button on his shirt, slowly slipping it out of its mooring. “What are you doing…?” he whispered, wetting his lips nervously, “Asuka-“

“Nothing…” the redhead returned, “just thought, since we were alone, and it’s my birthday and all…”

Shinji blushed as she stopped, unfastening another button. “Yes?” he prompted, feeling a touch faint.

“Never mind,” Asuka said abruptly, taking a step back, “let’s get this cleaned up.”

“Wait!” he said, quickly grabbing her hand, “What… what were you going to say?”

Now it was her turn to flush. “I was just… thinking that we’ve never, umm… done much more than kiss…”

Shinji glanced around as if making sure no one was watching (or if they were watching, that they could confirm that he wasn’t hearing things), and whispered, “What did you have in mind?”

Sky and steel met as their gazes locked. “Don’t know…” she murmured, finding her hand once again going to work on his buttons, “just thought we could, I dunno… try something… see what happens…?”

Shinji said nothing, he simply nodded slowly as she finally opened his shirt, running a finger down the center of his undershirt. Realizing that he didn’t have to just stand there, he reached out a tentative hand and clumsily unhooked the top button on her dress. "Are you sure about this?"

"I'm not sure about anything," Asuka said, her voice catching as she felt his cold hand brush the exposed skin above her bra.

The Third Child took her comment as the closest thing to an approval as he was going to get as he reached down to work the second button. His hand wavered as the nervousness and fear started to overwhelm him.

A look of fear flashed across Asuka’s face, and her hands froze. “I’m… gonna clean up in my room,” she said quickly, turning away, “maybe, umm… you should get started in here…”

“Asuka!”

Ignoring his call, the redhead all but ran to her room, coming to an abrupt halt at the door. “Shinji…” she murmured, closing her eyes, “can you answer me a question?"

"Sure," he replied cautiously, still reeling from her sudden departure and its possible ramifications.

"Can you promise me you will always be there for me? That you'll never leave me? " Before he had a chance to respond, Asuka continued, her tone almost desperate. "I know I'm only lying to myself...but I just don't care. Please promise me. I have to fill this emptiness. I can't hurt anymore."

Shinji gazed over at the girl, her back still to him as he tried to understand her words. "I...I cannot give you an empty promise," he said softly.

Asuka's head dropped as she heard his words. "I understand," she whispered as she reached out and slid her door open.

"But let me finish," Shinji called out to her. "I said I cannot give you an empty promise and that's true. But as long as I keep my word, it's not empty, is it?"

The redhead slowly lifted her gaze, a hint of a smile growing on her face. "What are you saying?" she said, trying hard to mask the excitement in her voice.

"I'm guess I'm saying that I WILL always be there for you and I'll NEVER leave you."

"Do you mean it?" Asuka whispered.

"You have to understand," he said confidently, taking a deep breath before proceeding. "Ever since I met you I've had this pain in my heart that won't go away..."

"You do?" she said anxiously, surprised to hear his words parallel her own feelings.

"Yes and I can still feel it, even when I'm with you," Shinji said as he clenched his fists in resolution. "I don't ever want know how much worse that feeling would get if you were gone."

Silence. Unearthly, total, all-encompassing silence filled the apartment as Shinji stared at his girlfriend’s back. Pen Pen ventured out of the kitchen, looking from one Child to the next and opening his beak to see if maybe someone would be willing to feed him… but closing it and making a quick retreat as the heavy atmosphere bore down on him.

"Shinji?" Asuka called out quietly. "Will you help me? In my room… I mean.”

“Are you sure…?” he asked finally.

“No,” came the uneven reply, “I’m not… not at all.” Asuka turned to face him, her eyes uncertain and slightly damp, “but I'm ready to start living."

Had he hesitated any more than a moment, the delicate mood of fear-tinged excitement may have been shattered, crushed like fine crystal in a landslide.

Thirteen unsteady footsteps carried him to where she was standing… two more took him past the threshold and into her room… and five more brought them to the bed, by which they stood, slowly embracing…

And teetering on the precarious edge of the next phase of their relationship.

---------

“Can you believe her?” Touji said angrily, “Geez! It’s bad enough she was tanked, but when she grabbed your-“

“Touji,” Hikari cut him off, “it’s ok.”

“No it isn’t!” the boy protested, “I mean, I’m your boyfriend, and I haven’t even touched…” he blushed as she arched an eyebrow at him, “Well, I did that once, but that’s not the same thing!”

“Uh huh…”

They continued their slow walk towards Touji’s house, lapsing into a slightly awkward silence. Dropping the inebriated doctor off had been an experiment in terror, as the woman had grown increasingly more affectionate – even, as they opened her front door, going so far as to pat Hikari's cheek… and slowly trail her hand down over the teen's chest with a small sigh.

‘We- umm, I mean YOU'RE home, Sempai…’ Maya said, her brow drawing down as she shot a most disapproving, almost suspicious look at the dark-haired girl, ‘I’ll get her to bed, then, umm… go home – so bye.’

Practically shoving the two children backwards, the young technician had quickly slammed the door, leaving them blinking at the sudden dismissal.

“Isn’t it romantic?” Hikari said finally, slipping her hand into his.

“What?” Touji replied, confused, “Miss Ibuki pretending not to be a lesbian, or Doctor Akagi putting her hand-“

“No!” the Class Rep interjected, her tone conveying exasperation. “The full moon! Isn’t the full moon romantic?!?”

Swallowing nervously at his date’s narrowed eyes, Touji quickly agreed.

“I think so too,” Hikari said softly, coming to a stop and looking around to make sure the streets were clear before taking a small kiss. “Let’s get home,” she murmured as they parted, “I’ve… got a surprise for you…”

“What is it?” Touji asked, excited, “is it my birthday present?”

“No,” the girl giggled, “you don’t get that until your birthday, silly.” He voice became serious as she lowered her eyes, “No, it’s something else. Took me a long time to plan… I hope you like it.”

“Then let’s go!!”

Hikari yelped as Touji turned and started hurrying towards his house, a look of excitement on his face unlike any she had seen before… any she had seen other than at mealtime, that is. She briefly considered telling him to slow down, then discarded the notion. ‘He looks so happy,’ she thought, smiling as she hurried to keep up with him, ‘this is going to be so great!’

When they reached his front door, both breathing hard, Touji released her, quickly fumbling out his keys. “Musta… left a light… on…” he panted, slipping the key into the lock, “upstairs… kinda… looks bright…”

Hikari smiled, but said nothing, trying to catch her breath. ‘I’m so excited…’ she thought, shivering as he finally got the door open, ‘Asuka was wrong – this is DEFINTELY the right way to do it.’

Throwing the door open, Touji entered the house, blinking as he looked around. “There’s nothing here…” he observed, “it’s the same as when I left.”

“It’s upstairs,” Hikari laughed, amused by the dejected look on her boyfriend’s face, “in your room!”

“Oh!” the boy exclaimed, his smile returning as he grabbed her hand once more and ran up the stairs.

Hikari stopped him as he reached for the doorknob on his room. “Close your eyes,” she murmured, waiting until he complied before slowly turning the knob, “Ok… you can open them. What do you think, Suzuhara?”

Touji looked slowly around his room, his eyes taking in every detail as his heartbeat slowly returned to normal. For a long moment, he said nothing, and when he did speak, he could only find one word to properly describe what he saw:

“Wow…!”

---------

Soft moans filled the air in Ryouji Kaji’s apartment, breaking the stillness of the night like a jeweler’s hammer delicately tapping on the fracture line of a valuable gemstone.

“Kajii… uhhh…” Misato groaned.

“I know…” the superspy answered, panting in the dark, “I know, honey…”

Arms and legs intertwined, the two rolled over, stifling more moans.

“Your… keys are digging into my stomach…” Misato complained, rubbing the back of her head ruefully in the still darkness of the entryway, “and I think I have a concussion…”

“Sorry,” Kaji mumbled, pulling his hand out from between them, “if it makes you feel any better, I think I dislocated my shoulder…”

“Ah, the pain of one you love,” the Operations Director laughed, laboriously climbing off of him and getting to her feet, “think maybe you could ease back now?” she teased as he stood, “Or were you planning to keep going until one of us is in a cast?”

“Didn’t hear you complaining,” Kaji grumbled, reaching out in the dark.

“Ow!” Misato exclaimed, “you just poked me in the eye!”

“S-sorry…”

“Man! That hurt!”

“Where have I heard that before?” Kaji said teasingly, still rather drunk, “Back in college was it? Hmmm…”

“Yeah,” Misato replied dryly, “it was when you tried to cop a feel on the first date and I elbowed you in the gut.”

“Oh… was that it?”

“Dufus…”

The sound of breathing was the only response her insult garnered. She was just about to ask if he had other plans for the evening besides physical harm when she felt his hands slip around her waist.

“Mmmm…” she sighed, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and pulling him in for a heated kiss, “that’s more like it…”

“Know any sixteen year old that can do this?” Kaji murmured, one hand deftly working on the zipper of his fiancée’s skirt as the other began unbuttoning her top – all while he continued administering soft kisses to her lips and face.

“Umm…” Misato hummed thoughtfully, “well, one time when we were home alone, Shinji-”

“Oh ha ha…”

“Hey, when you ask a stupid question…”

“How about this, then?” Kaji murmured.

Misato gasped as he abruptly reached up with both hands… and tore her shirt open, exposing her bra in the dark. “N-no…” she murmured, trying to maintain her poise has she felt his fingertips on her abdomen and chest, exploring her soft skin, “and I’d… I’d kill them if they did – I liked that shirt…”

“I’ll buy you another,” came the soft reply, the voice uttering it thick with desire, “I’ll get you anything you need, baby… anything at all…”

“Kaji…” the woman smiled, feeling soft lips pressing against her throat, “don’t sound so desperate – you’ve already got me, you don’t have to-hmmm….”

Her teasing admonishment was cut short as she found his mouth covering hers, pushing her back until her rear hit the wall. Any thoughts of protesting the slight roughness were banished as her skirt slipped to the floor and his right hand gently began stroking her thigh. Deciding that she had had enough of the prerequisite antagonizing, she pulled him into her arms, tugging at his shirt until she succeeded in drawing it off of him.

“Thought that party would never end,” Kaji whispered, pressing his chest up against hers and kissing her deeply, “all I could think about was you…”

“I don’t know if that’s romantic or corny,” Misato said, breathing faster, as his hands sought out the clasp on her bra. “But I was thinking the same thing…” she grinned, “and before you say it, no I wasn’t thinking about myself…”

Kaji didn’t laugh. “I wasn’t going to say that,” he answered softly, “not really in the mood for jokes anymore…”

“Yeah,” the purple-haired woman breathed, shivering as her bra was drawn off of her body, “yeah, suddenly – I’m not either.”

Experience, desire, and hunger took over… and in a matter of moments, they were both naked, engaged in a fiery embrace on the floor, hands and lips and other parts touching, retreating, teasing – and coming back for more. Their body temperatures rose as the dance they had long ago become accustomed to was begun anew.

“Kaji…” Misato murmured after several minutes, running her hand over his chest, “what are you waiting for…? This is nice, but I want to… you know…”

There was a long, long pause before Kaji answered. “I’m… having trouble…”

Blinking in the dark, the Operations Director pushed herself up on her elbow, trying to pick out his face in the dark. “What is it?”

“I, umm… I can’t… well…”

Misato felt him take her hand, leading it to the source of the problem. Her eyes widened as she quickly ascertained the issue.

“Oh…”

---------

The light in Asuka’s room was muted, dulled by the curtains she had hung to, ‘Make this dump livable!’ and by the small red handkerchief she hand thrown over her desk lamp, compensating for the paper-thin shade that had come with it. The only sound that could be heard was the uneven breathing of two rather frightened teens, neither of them quite prepared for the level of closeness they had suddenly, inexplicable attained.

Shinji spoke first. “How far…?” he asked uncertainly, swallowing as her crystalline eyes examined his face.

“Don’t know yet,” Asuka whispered, her fingertips absently plucking at his shirtsleeves, “maybe just a little bit further, maybe… maybe all the way – I just don’t know…”

The boy opened his mouth to ask if she thought they were ready for something like that, when two conflicting, yet oddly agreeing thoughts occurred to him. ‘She already said she wasn’t sure about any of this,’ the first thought pointed out, ‘don’t make her feel guilty for your personal fear…’ The second thought was less polite, ‘SHUT UP, you IDIOT!! She just said she might want to have sex – real SEX!! Now shut your damn mouth!!’

He really hoped that it was the first voice that convinced him to stay silent.

Abruptly, the redhead smiled. “What are you thinking?”

‘Damn!! BUSTED!!’ Shinji shook his head, almost laughing as he imagined a little angel, the winged kind, and a miniature devil sitting one on each shoulder. “Nothing,” he murmured, looking into her eyes, “I was just thinking how pretty you looked tonight…”

“Sap,” Asuka muttered, blushing faintly as she looked away, “flattery will get you nowhere, Third Child, don’t you know that?”

Making no reply, the brown-haired boy leaned forward, sliding his hands around to the small of her back and pulling her lips up against his. Always before, they had backed off if they felt themselves getting too worked up or excited, neither of them wanting to ask for, or take, more than the other was ready to give.

That was then… this is now.

The kiss deepened, both Children deciding that playtime was, in fact, over. Many people underestimate just how important kissing is, or take it for granted, but a truly intense kiss can change a person. Granted, this may not always be for the best… but change is necessary – especially in the progression of a relationship. And in the quiet of Asuka’s room, the two teens changed…

“Shinji…” Asuka murmured, breaking away and putting her hands on his chest to keep him back, “Shinji, I…” Looking into his stormy eyes, the argument that had arisen in her mind was vaporized, replaced by a hunger she had never experienced before. She longed to be complete – to be completed BY him – and she could actually feel her body unconsciously drifting closer to his as the urge to claim what was hers grew stronger.

Shinji had imagined many times just how it might be to have Asuka lower her guard. He had pictured her to be fiery, passionate, and totally in control, telling him exactly what to do and how far to go. What he had NOT banked on was the fact that she might be more scared than him… or that she might not have any better idea of how to proceed than he did. Like Hikari, he had been going on the theory that Asuka must have already had sex, and therefore knew exactly what she wanted, how to get it, and what to do with it once she had it.

Based on her words and actions, the realization quickly dawned on him that his assumption was horribly wrong and that they were in this experience together. Neither participant was going to be afforded the advantage of familiarity. And more and more it appeared he would have to partake a more leading role on the stage set before them.

“What are you waiting for…?” the redhead murmured, making herself maintain eye contact. “Touch me, Shinji…”

The Third gaped for a moment, still unprepared to take the initiative. Closing his mouth as he ever so lightly put his hand on her chest, ready to yank it away at the slightest hint that this contact was not acceptable.

“I’m not made out of glass,” Asuka said weakly, “and I don’t bite…” she grinned. “Yet.”

Shinji joined her in a short laugh, grateful for the release her light comment afforded them. Smiling as the laughter faded, he gently undid two more buttons on her dress and eased his hand inside, covering her right breast with his palm. “Like this?” he asked quietly, pressing inward slightly.

“Mmm hmm…” the girl hummed, nodding slightly, “it’s… nice…”

“Just nice?”

Asuka stuck out her tongue, smiling as she prepared to inform him that a simple feel wasn’t going to send her into the throes of a multiple-orgasm. Her comment was pushed from her mind as he slowly withdrew his hand, carefully grasping her dress by its open collar and pushing back, starting to slip it down off her shoulders.

“Slow!” she said suddenly, putting her hands on top of his and blushing brightly. “I mean… don’t stop, but… do it slowly, ok?”

Shinji nodded, his body shaking as he continued to pull her dress down, baring her shoulders and chest before coming to a stop at her narrow waist. “Umm,” he said awkwardly, “that should… be enough for now, huh?”

Asuka stared at him for a long minute, then slowly shook her head. As he watched, mute with shock and desire, she stepped back and slipped her thumbs into the top of the dress, pulling it off and tossing it over the chair by her desk. With her body flushed with color from her stomach to her forehead, she stood still, her hands brushing nervously across her hips.

“Now you…” she whispered.

Shinji simply stared. “I… thought you would wear red…” he stammered finally, his eyes trying to look everywhere. His girlfriend was wearing a cream-colored lace bra with matching bikini-cut panties, and every stitch of fabric seemed to accentuate rather than hide the curves of her slender, athletic frame.

“Red would show through the dress, dummy,” the redhead giggled nervously, “now quit stalling! This isn’t a peepshow! …perv.”

Reluctantly, Shinji nodded, trying not to look at her as he undressed himself for fear of losing his nerve. Due to his trembling, it took him nearly two full minutes to unbutton his shirt and pants, and another two to remove and carefully fold them as he placed them on the floor. When his transparent stalling tactics were over, he stood before her in an undershirt and briefs. “Now what?” he asked uncertainly. When the girl made no reply, he took a deep breath… and the lead.

Asuka shivered as Shinji stepped back into her personal space, carefully wrapping his arms around her. She could feel the heat his body was generating through the thin fabric covering her, and the feeling was both exciting… and terrifying. ‘What if I’m wrong??’ she thought, staring into his face with wide, frightened eyes, ‘Maybe this is too fast… maybe he’s not the right one for me… maybe… maybe…’

She closed her eyes, fighting hard to push back the thoughts whirring through her mind.

“Shinji…”

“Yes?” the boy replied, holding his breath as she returned his embrace.

Asuka’s voice was almost lost, even in the near silence of the room, as she whispered,

“Make me yours…”

---------

“How did you… do this…?” Touji breathed looking around in wonder.

His room was awash in color and light. Candles, carefully arranged for maximum effect, lit the room in a soft, almost ethereal glow. Also, the plain, though slightly dusty, white curtains he was familiar with had been replaced by a set of muted indigo ones, absorbing just enough of the candlelight to add another nuance to the already romantic mood. Soft, mellow music was coming from his stereo system, which he noticed absently had also been dusted. And on his nightstand was a small box of chocolates, marked with his name, and a bottle of champagne, chilling in one of the silver servers of the sort Touji had only ever seen in movies.

Essentially, the room screamed romance… but at second glance, it whispered care.

“Had to call a few friends,” Hikari replied quietly, slipping her hand into his and leaning against his shoulder, “a few people that would have liked to have gone to the party, but let themselves be talked into setting this up…”

‘Of course,' she thought wryly, ‘they all thought this was a surprise setup for Asuka – and then it was just for a romantic evening, not to…’ her thoughts trailed off.

“Do you like it?”

“Yeah, it’s great!” Touji replied enthusiastically. “Musta cost a lot, though…”

Hikari frowned. It HAD cost a bit, though with her modest budget she had tried to keep expenses to a minimum by purchasing champagne and chocolates that were not ‘the best…’ though she was sure they were still good.

After all… the focus of the evening was not going to be food and drink.

“Come on,” she said softly, pulling him over to the bed, “got something else, too.”

“Food??” Touji asked, his tone conveying hopefulness.

“Well,” Hikari replied, trying her best to sound seductive – even as she turned a deep crimson, “I… guess you can eat it…”

‘God!’ she thought, mortified by the comment, ‘I sound like a slut…’

If Touji shared her opinion, he made no sign. In fact, he simply looked confused. “Why would you eat it if you’re not sure it’s ok?” he muttered, frowning slightly at the prospect of the chocolates being the ONLY sustenance in the house. “That’s just crazy!”

“Never mind,” Hikari murmured quickly, trying to change the subject… and thanking the sweet Lord that Touji – for once – didn’t dwell on the topic of food. “Close your eyes,” she whispered, situating him on the bed and taking a step back, “and no peeking!”

There was a moment of silence.

“I said no peeking!”

“Ok! Ok!” the boy said, quickly shutting the eye he had cracked open, “sorry!”

For the next few minutes Touji learned what the definition of ‘patience’ really was. The desire to open his eyes as he heard the sound of rustling clothing was almost overwhelming… but he knew that it might very well cause him bodily harm – or at the very least ensure that there would be no more kissing that evening. Hikari had ‘withheld’ one weekend when he had acted badly, and he was not keen on the idea of repeating the experience.

“Ok,” Hikari said after about six years, “you can look now.”

Touji let out an appreciative whistle as his vision was filled to capacity – and beyond – by the sight of Hikari in a rather skimpy, VERY revealing piece of red lingerie. Trimmed in lace and sporting a neckline that could only be classified as daring, the outfit clung to her body in all the right ways. The awestruck boy was reminded that he was, without a doubt, glad to be alive and DEFINITELY the luckiest man currently on the face of the Earth.

“How do you like it?” Hikari asked, putting her hands on her waist and running her tongue over her lips – step six in her, ‘How to Drive Him Wild in Nine Easy Steps’ guide, pulled from last month’s Cosmopolitan.

“God's in the world, and all's right in Heaven!” Touji said with quick enthusiasm, frowning after a moment and adding, “but are you hungry or something? You keep licking your lips… want a chocolate?”

“N-no!” the girl replied, scratching absently at her side, “I was just… never mind, let’s open the champagne!”

“Ok!”

Touji reached over and grabbed the bottle, gesturing for her to sit next to him and offering her one of the glasses sitting by it. As he had seen in the movies, he shook the bottle, putting his thumbs under the cork and closing his eyes as he pushed, expecting a fountain of liquor to erupt. Instead, the result of his labors was a soft, uninspired ‘pop’ as the cork came free, falling to the floor like a mosquito that had been swatted off his arm.

“Flat,” he observed, nodding and trying to sound knowledgeable, “bummer…”

Hikari stared at the cork in silence for a moment, as if it had betrayed her, then shook her head. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly, quickly redirecting his attention… and scratching at her side again, “try a chocolate!” Touji nodded, grabbing the box. “Wait!” the girl said quickly, trying another seductive smile, “let me feed it to you…”

Touji grinned. “Sure,” he said quickly. ‘Food AND Hikari??’ he thought with something close to absolute rapture, ‘DOES life get better than this?’ He closed his eyes as she opened the box and drew out a chocolate, opening his mouth and waiting for her to pop it in.

Hikari smiled, quickly scratching her back for before leaning forward and kissing him. “Now you can have the candy,” she said softly, popping it into his mouth. ‘Hey!’ she thought happily, ‘That actually sounded pretty sexy!’

The small triumph was quickly forgotten as she fought back the urge to scratch at her chest… and Touji’s face crinkled up. “Ewww!!” the boy cried, spitting the chocolate rather unceremoniously into his hand wiping his mouth, “What IS that??”

“It’s… gourmet dark chocolate,” Hikari replied, scratching her shoulders, “I…”

“What’s wrong?” Touji asked, frowning slightly, “You’re turning red.”

Hikari paled, turning on the bed. “What does the tag say?” she asked, trying to scratch all over.

Touji tried in vain to reach the tag, finding each time he got close the girl would squirm on the bed, foiling his efforts. Finally using his superior size to his advantage, he was able to hold her in position long enough to grab the label. Pulling it free he read it aloud. “60% cotton…” he said slowly, concentrating on holding the tag still, “30% rayon… and 10% polyester.”

“No!” Hikari shouted, jumping off the bed and pulling at the outfit, “I told the store clerk specifically that I was allergic to polyester!!!”

Touji shrugged. “Well, that’s what it says.”

“I gotta get it off me!” the girl said frantically, “Or I’ll get hives.”

“Ok…”

“Touji!” Hikari said, sounding both frustrated and apologetic as he simply continued looking her up and down, “please close your eyes again…”

Touji sighed and did what he was told, not even peeking once as he heard cloth on skin once more. He opened his eyes as he felt Hikari sit on the bed next to him, and found her wearing her skirt and bra. Her shirt was bunched up in her hands, and she was staring at it… sniffling.

“What’s wrong?” he asked awkwardly, reaching out and laying a hand on her shoulder.

“I… wanted to… go further tonight,” Hikari explained, blushing and starting to cry at the same time, “because your dad’s out of town, and I’ve had so much fun, and because you mean so much to me, and because I think we’re ready, and-“

“Easy! Easy!!” Touji said, scrubbing his free hand through his hair, “we can still… do stuff – if you want.” He smiled, “The night’s not over, you know… you don’t have to get all worked up over it.”

“I just… I wanted it to be perfect,” the girl sobbed, rubbing her eyes with her palms, “I wanted… to make it special…”

“It is…”

“W-what?” Hikari hitched, still wiping her eyes, “The champagne was flat, you didn’t like the chocolate, that stupid, itchy-“

“I don’t care about any of that,” Touji cut her off quietly, glancing at the box of chocolates with a slightly distrustful look, “it’s just little stuff, Hikari.” As she stared at him, forgetting her tears for a moment, he shrugged uncomfortably. “Hey,” he said awkwardly, “all this stuff is nice and all – and even if it wasn’t perfect, you looked really good in that… frilly, umm… thing…”

“Teddy,” Hikari smiled as he fumbled for the right words, “it’s called a teddy.”

“Yeah, teddy,” the boy agreed quickly, as if the word had been right on the tip of his tongue, “but anyway… who cares?” Seeing her face start to fall again, he hurried on, “I don’t mean it like that!" He reached out slowly, putting his hand on hers. “That stuff doesn’t really matter to me, you know? I could have a ton of chocolates – the good kind! – a whole case of really expensive champagne, and a catalogue fully of lace and stuff… but none of it would mean anything to me if you didn’t come with it…”

All the tips, tricks, and pointers that Hikari had so carefully studied while trying to make their first time flawless were instantly rendered meaningless in the face of boyfriend’s straightforward, if a bit clumsy, statement of his affection. Looking into his open, honest face, she felt something stirring in the pit of her stomach, a vaguely pleasant burning sensation that seemed to grow exponentially with every second she looked at him until it was finally unbearable.

Abruptly leaning forward and throwing her arms around his neck, she recalled Asuka’s question, ‘How do you know when the time is right?’

‘You know…’ Hikari thought dizzily, kissing Touji deeply and bringing his right hand up to lay on her breast, ‘you just know…’

---------

“Don’t worry about it,” Misato was saying, “it happens to a lot of guys…”

They were siting in Kaji’s kitchen, Misato in a bathrobe and Kaji in a pair of boxers, drinking coffee.

“Not to me…” the man mumbled, “I’ve never… had that problem before…”

“It’s ok,” his fiancée assured him, patting his shoulder, “you probably… just had too much to drink, and-“

“It’s never happened before!” Kaji cut her off, frustrated, “Never!”

“Well,” Misato said reasonably, “we can always try tomorrow, I mean-“

“Screw that!”

“Not tonight.”

Kaji sighed, then brightened, snapping his fingers and jumping out of his chair. Misato watched with some curiosity as the man dashed into the bedroom, coming back a moment later with a small container. “Victory!!” he shouted gleefully, holding the box out to her.

Misato blinked, reading, “In case of erectile dysfunction, break glass.” She looked dubiously up at her lover, “What’s that?” she asked, “A micronian copy of Playboy?”

“Better!” Kaji chortled, opening the package with an unholy, almost feral gleam in his eyes, “It’s a… NO!!!”

Misato craned her neck, looking over Kaji’s shoulder and reading the small note that was in the box,

DEAR KAJI,

I OWE YOU ONE (1) VIAGRA. THANKS MAN!

SIGNED – KAJI

“This can’t be happening!” the pony-tailed man moaned in despair, collapsing into the kitchen chair, “it’s not fair!”

Misato frowned, trying to dredge up everything in her memory about ‘dysfunction’, as the doctors liked to call it. She pondered the data before her for approximately forty-three seconds before coming to the conclusion that A: she wasn’t a doctor and B: doctors don’t know very much. She decided that it was time to exercise the little known, yet extremely effective ‘Katsuragi Krieg’ technique. The Krieg was a distant cousin to the Katsuragi Maneuver, though much more effective and highly dangerous (her mother had told her of a time the technique had backfired… and oddly, it was the story of her conception), but she went in without so much as a second thought.

After all – this was love, dammit!

“Hey…”

Kaji blinked as Misato’s voice dropped two octaves, taking on a smoky, seductive quality. He looked up, “What are y-“ his voice died as he found her staring him down – or rather, up and down, her gaze crawling over his body like the tide slowly coming in, then going back out… making him shiver as it seemed to wash over him

“Kaji,” she breathed, putting her hands on the table and scooting back until she was siting in front of him, “are you telling me that this,” she took his hand, guiding it into her robe, “doesn’t turn you on?”

The superspy felt lightheaded as his tactile sensors relayed the sensation of soft, smooth skin to his tired, alcohol-laden mind. “I-it’s not that…” he stammered, swallowing hard as she began inching the hem of her robe up, exposing more and more of her thigh, “I WANT to, Katsuragi – believe me!”

“Mind over matter, honey…” Misato whispered, moving his hand in slow circles, “just focus…”

Kaji gently reclaimed his hand. “I’m sorry…” he murmured, looking down at the floor again, “I’m sorry, Misato…”

His fiancée frowned slightly, her finely tuned, tactically trained mind kicking into high gear. ‘Touching doesn’t work,’ she pondered, folding her arms as she looked at his downcast face, ‘he never much liked dirty talk – even though just about every other guy I’ve ever met does. Already wearing the lavender perfume… hmmm…’ She glanced around the room, breaking into a smile as her eyes and mind worked in unison, providing a solution.

“Oh well,” she said airily, climbing off the table and heading to the fridge, “tomorrow then…”

“You’re not mad?” Kaji asked cautiously, looking up at her back.

“Nah,” Misato answered, opening the freezer and extracting her weapon, “not your fault… I’ll just have a little snack, then off to bed…”

Kaji lowered his head again and heaved a deep sigh as the woman closed the freezer and walked back over to him, sitting on the table again. The quiet of the kitchen was momentarily broken by the sound of tearing paper. “What are you having?” he asked listlessly.

“Just a little dessert,” Misato replied, tossing the treat’s wrapper to the side, “want some?”

Kaji just shook his head.

Misato began humming softly, waiting for the right moment to begin her attack. Finally… the time came…

”You know,” she said, her tone waxing nostalgic, “I remember one year, must have been right before Second Impact, I guess. I think I spent the whole summer listening to the radio… and eating Popsicle's on my mom’s porch

Kaji blinked. “Sounds nice…” he said, smiling faintly, “I can picture you wolfing them down, too… I know you like sweets sometimes…”

“No…”

“Huh?”

“I didn’t,” Misato clarified, “with Popsicle's… I like taking my time. They’re so cold and sweet… mmm… I just like savoring them, you know? I don’t… want to rush…”

Kaji slowly looked up, feeling his breath catch as he found Misato eating one of the desserts in question… and making quite a mess. “You’ve… got it all over your hand,” he pointed out, “it’s dripping everywhere…”

Misato blinked and looked down at her hand. “Oh yeah,” she laughed, “guess it is, huh? Oh well… guess I’ll just take a shower later, but anyway…”

He watched in fascination as the Major brought the frozen treat to her lips, running them slowly over it with a deeply content look on her face. He swallowed as she ran her tongue around the tip of it… then gently slipped it into her mouth, a copious amount of sugary liquid spilling down onto her hand and dripping onto her legs as it disappeared entirely.

“M-Misato…” he asked shakily, “can I… have a taste?”

Misato’s cheeks went concave as she gently sucked on the Popsicle, drawing it out of her mouth with a soft pop. “No,” she whispered possessively, staring into his eyes, “it’s mine…”

Kaji found that he could not take his eyes away as she licked the icy treat again, starting at the bottom and going all the way to the top… then reversing the process and repeating it over and over until finally, only the stick remained.

“That…” Misato said quietly, “was sooooo… gooooood.” She reached out and patted his check with a slightly sticky hand, “sorry I didn’t share,” she said consolingly, “but you know how I am – once something is mine, I don’t let it go.” She smiled sweetly, “maybe tomorrow.”

As she brought her hand up to her mouth, her tongue making another appearance to lick the excess off of it… Kaji felt a familiar stirring. “Let me…” he whispered thickly, grabbing her hand and drawing her fingers quickly into his mouth.

“H-how is it…?” the woman gasped, unable to suppress her smile.

Kaji didn’t reply immediately, he was too wrapped up in cleaning the sticky stuff off her hand. “Misato…” he breathed, dropping to his knees and pushing her robe up.

“What…?” Misato whispered as he paused, “what is it?”

“Don’t squirm…”

The Operations Director blinked, becoming aware that she was, in fact, moving around on the table. ‘When did I start… ohh…’ Her thought trailed off as Kaji slowly began removing the residue from her treat, slowly running his tongue all over her thighs until she was gasping for air and trying to pull his head up to the soft nest of purple curls that was barely still covered by the robe. She immediately stopped trying as he moved up to kiss her, yanking her robe open and helping himself to the soft skin that lay beneath.

“Now…?” she panted, reaching down to draw his shorts off.

“Now…” Kaji confirmed, crushing her lips to his.

When he leaned down to feverishly kiss and suck on her neck, Misato tilted her head back, allowing herself a soft smile.

‘Katsuragi: one,’ she thought, ‘impotence: zero!’

Her smile only grew as she let herself get swept away on the rising tide of desire, and soon thoughts of any kind of victory were washed from her mind…

---------

It is said that when two people care for one another, making love is THE greatest experience there is. It transcends the boundaries of everyday life, taking the lovers to heights that poets and dreamers can only aspire to contemplate. Shinji and Asuka would not have deigned to discuss this concept on the evening of her birthday, however, as they were too involved with the process of learning it.

It started, as many great romances do, with a kiss. They had been standing silently in their undergarments for quite some time when Shinji pulled back from her embrace, studying her face carefully for a moment, as if wanting to remember every single aspect of that one second in time, before closing his eyes and pressing his lips to hers. Asuka’s reply to this action was simple – retaliate… counterattack… raise the stakes.

Shinji felt her hands gently slide across his hips, exposing territory previously deemed ‘off-limits,’ and he could not stop himself from gasping into her mouth as she slowly drew his undershirt up, exposing his stomach… then his chest… and finally breaking the kiss to remove the clothing entirely. “Asuka,” he breathed, “what-“

“Shhh…” the redhead whispered quickly, pressing her forefinger to his lips, “don’t say anything right now." He nodded as she reached back and unclasped her bra, leaving it in place and murmuring, “help me.”

It was more than a simple request for assistance with her lingerie as anyone that wasn't deaf, blind, AND stupid could tell. Trembling, Shinji reached out and put his hands on the straps of her bra, holding his breath as he drew them down her arms, uncovering her breasts with a slight gasp.

“You’re such a spaz…” Asuka muttered.

Of course, she had gasped as well, just not as loud. Embracing him once more, she brought his lips to hers, experimentally edging her tongue into his mouth. In response, he pushed back slightly, bringing his hand between them and softly caressing her breast – much to her approval.

“Shinji,” she whispered, pulling free from his arms, “lie on the bed.”

Blushing, the boy did as he was told, lying on her soft mattress and waiting for her to make the next move. Asuka looked down at him, hesitating for a moment before quickly leaning down, drawing her panties off, and all but diving onto the bed, kissing him deeply before he had a chance to stare at her nakedness.

Shinji’s mind felt like it was burning. He had caught a brief glimpse of the soft-looking triangle of flame red hair nestled between her thighs before she had gotten to him, and the effect on him was astounding. He could feel himself growing instantly harder, and he shifted on the bed, trying to ease the discomfort his confining shorts caused.

“You won’t need these,” Asuka breathed, putting a hand on he waistband of his shorts as she felt him moving, “take them off.” Shinji nodded as she drew them quickly off, blushing and looking away as his stiffness came into view. “Guess… this is it,” she said awkwardly, laying back on the bed and closing her eyes. She shivered as she felt him touching her breasts once more, gently caressing her with one hand while the other stroked her hair.

Shinji found that he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. There were so many places he wanted to touch her, so many things he had heard and read about that he wanted to try… but he was scared – scared that he would ruin everything by rushing, or by doing the wrong thing. So he settled for softly stroking his hand over her body, starting at her breasts and moving slowly down over her stomach and hips, not quite daring to move any lower.

“It’s ok, Shinji…” Asuka murmured after several seconds, placing her hand over his, “I want this…”

Shinji swallowed as she guided his hand down between her thighs, pressing it gently up against her warm, damp opening. “W-what should I do?” he stammered, holding perfectly still.

“Touch me,” the redhead replied plainly, “show me what I mean to you…”

Her simple words had a soothing effect on the boy, and he nodded, tentatively running his fingers over her. “Like that…?” he asked softly, parting her lips with infinite care. When she nodded, he leaned forward, kissing her deeply and inching one finger into her.

Asuka gasped slightly. ‘That’s… just his finger??’ she thought, suddenly concerned. ‘How the hell am I supposed to get THAT in there??’ Realizing that she was on the verge of backing down once more – and being TOTALLY unwilling to allow that to happen – she reached down and pulled his hand away.

When he started to apologize, she shushed him. “You didn’t do anything wrong, idiot,” she murmured, “I just think… it’s time.”

The Third felt his mouth going dry as he nodded, carefully moving over until he was on his hands and knees over her. “You’re gorgeous,” he whispered, leaning forward to kiss her.

“Mmmm…” the redhead hummed, hooking her right arm around the back of his neck and keeping him in place as he started to pull back. “Thank you.”

Shinji smiled, but it faded quickly as he studied her face. Her eyes were tightly closed, and she wore a look of mingled fear and anticipation. For the briefest of moments, he considered telling her that they should wait for a better time, this was too fast. But ultimately his desire for her won out.

“Don’t move…” he said softly, reaching down and carefully guiding himself to her. What was it ‘Kaji told me that one time?’ he thought, frowning slightly as he recalled a very personal conversation with the spy on the topic of sex, ‘Oh yeah, he said, “‘Don’t just force it in, or you’ll hurt her – gotta take it slow at first, ya know?”

Asuka stopped breathing as she felt Shinji slowly pressing against her, repositioning himself several times before finally getting it right and beginning to slide gently into her. Ironically enough, his simple attempts to find the right spot increased her arousal, making it so that when he WAS in the right place, she was wet enough for him to actually begin to enter her.

‘Now is the time,’ Asuka thought suddenly as she felt his crown edging into her, ‘I can still tell him to stop… I can still back out… I can…’ She pushed her doubts aside as she felt his progress impeded.

Shinji stopped, holding his breath for a moment as they paused in absolute silence, mere millimeters from an uncrossed line. Once he moved forward, he knew, there could be no going back – ever. For better or worse, for now and forever… this would be the only ‘first time’ either of them would ever get.

It was a terrifying realization… and one that weighed heavy on his heart as he stared down at the object of his desire below him. Her eyes were closed in preparation of the event, yet Shinji found himself still looking away, embarrassed and ashamed placing her in this situation. After all, what right did he have to do this to her. He wasn't worthy of this gift, a pathetic little boy pretending to be a man. The uncertainties and worries swelled to a fevered pitch, threatening to overwhelm him as he became more and more resentful of himself.

And then with a touch, it was gone.

Asuka slowly opened her eyes and stared up at him, her hand still caressing his cheek as she gently forced him to look at her. "It's okay," she smiled faintly, her words warming his heart more then he could ever image as she lowered her hand and closed her eyes again, ready to accept his offering.

Even still, Shinji had to make his decision quickly, before he lost his nerve. Finally drawing a shaky breath, he drew back a bit and surged forward – feeling her thrusting up against him, as if anticipating his move – breaking through the barrier within her in one quick movement.

Heat – bright and intense – flared inside of Asuka, making her cry out in surprise and pain. ‘That’s it,’ she thought, breathing hard, 'a part of me belongs to him now... I’ll never get it back, or be able to give it to anyone else.' She had seen the hesitance in his eyes, and had decided to move with him – an odd sort of flashback to the synchronization training they had done.

Shinji held still, watching her face contorting in pain. “We can stop now,” he whispered softly, “I know… I know this hurts you.”

Asuka opened her eyes, blinking away the tears that had sprung from them as he had entered her. “We’ve gone this far,” she said quietly, “let’s do it right, Shinji.” As he nodded and withdrew, then slowly eased back into her, she closed her eyes again. ‘It’s gone…’ she thought sadly, ‘I’m not a virgin anymore. I… I wanted to give this to him, but…’

“Asuka…?” Shinji stopped once more, waiting until the girl opened her eyes again and asking, “Why are you crying?”

How to explain? How does a person describe to another the feeling of loss and sorrow of losing something they held so dear – especially when they weren’t even aware they considered it so valuable until it had been taken? Certainly, Asuka’s virginity was not something she planned to keep all of her life, nor was it something she had ever really considered losing – even all those times she had come on to Kaji – but now that it was gone forever…

“It’s not something you could ever understand,” she told him plainly, wiping her eyes, “but it’s not something you did, Shinji. Now please, don’t ask me anymore questions and don’t try and make me feel better… and don’t stop until it’s done, ok?”

And how to tell someone that their pain is yours? Some emotions are beyond the power of the spoken word to describe, and in a brief flash of insight, Shinji knew she would never be soothed by such simple comments as, ‘This hurts me too,’ regardless of their sincerity.

So instead of trying to comfort with words, he did as she requested… but with a slight modification. He knew that he could have simply begun to move, trusting quickly into her body until his own achieved the ultimate state of bliss. He also knew that she would have accepted it as part of the experience. But one thought filled his mind, one that struck fear at its consequences. What would such an action do to their fragile relationship – especially when it had taken so much to get this far?

So instead of speed, he chose stillness. He carefully pushed all the way into her, leaning forward so he could wrap his arms around her and kiss her. Asuka made no protest, resigned to the fact that her first time would be an experience in pain. As Shinji kissed her, though, she felt her body – slowly – starting to adjust to the odd intrusion. She could actually feel muscles that had instinctively clenched relaxing, accommodating him as he remained motionless, gently exploring her mouth with his tongue.

Shinji carefully slipped his right hand between them, recalling how she had responded when he had touched her breast, and received a slightly surprised, though pleased, sounding gasp as his fingers found her erect nipple and pinched it lightly. He pulled back slightly so he could look into her eyes, caressing first her left breast, then her right, trying to give her some measure of enjoyment. Admittedly, he didn’t know much about sex. He knew the basics, of course, but he had not yet gained the experience to ensure that she was pleased. Not that it was really possible to guarantee pleasure – the first time is often an experience centered solely around discomfort – but he knew what had pleased her before, and he hoped it would work again.

Running entirely on instinct, he leaned down and awkwardly drew her right nipple into his mouth, trying to stay still inside of her, but finding that he was forced to withdraw a ways.

“Ohh!”

“What??” Asuka’s startled gasp snapped his attention from her chest to her face, “What’s wrong, did I hurt you? Should I pull out??”

The redhead’s face was painted with an oddly confused, almost amusing expression. “N-no…” she murmured, “it didn’t hurt… it felt… nice…”

“Should I do it again?”

“Yeah…”

Moving back up so he was face to face with her, he withdrew halfway, carefully easing back into her and watching for any trace of pain. It was there, plain as day. A tightening around the eyes, a quick breath, drawn in between clenched teeth; an unconscious clutching response in the fingers wrapped around his upper arms. But there was pleasure, too. He could FEEL that. Her body was slowly flushing as he experimentally stroked her again, and he could feel her now fully-erect nipples brushing his chest as he moved… and inside… inside her body he could feel a distinct increase in moisture and heat.

“Faster...” Asuka whispered after a moment, biting her bottom lip in concentration, “go faster, Shinji… yeah… mmmm…”

Shinji watched in fascination as the girl’s head slowly rolled from left to right, her breathing and heartbeat both increasing suddenly. He was amazed at the sight he was beholding, though it wouldn’t be until much later that he realized what it was he was seeing. It was Asuka – HIS Asuka, the one only he would ever see.

The Asuka in his heart… finally letting go of her fears and doubts and truly, TRULY giving herself over to him. As he moved within her, losing all track of time, he found that he could not look away from her. Thoughts of touching her in any other way – her breasts, her thighs, her face, any other place that might increase the pleasurable sensations she was receiving – were blown from his mind as her sighs and moans slowly grew louder and more pronounced. So wrapped up was he in watching her, that he totally missed what was happening to his own body. He failed to notice the sweat rolling slowly from every pore on his body, or the fact that he was slowly increasing his speed and depth, completely ignorant of the fact that he was now stroking her with his full length, moving swiftly in and out.

“Shin… ji…” Asuka gasped, wrapping her arms around him, “don’t stop… don’t… don’t… s-stahhhhh!!!!”

Her orgasm took both of them by surprise, a storm of pleasured release raging through her body as he continued to move. Shinji could only stare as her back arched and she cried out, clutching at him and moaning his name, begging him not to stop as the wave continued to rise higher and higher, obliterating everything in her perception; everything except his sweat-slick, loving face.

As her body slowly relaxed, she let out a long, deep sigh, gradually becoming aware of the fact that he was no longer moving. “Is… something wrong…?” she panted, caressing his face gently, “Why… did you stop…?”

Shinji blushed, averting his eyes. “I, umm… finished,” he mumbled as he smiled weakly. “I couldn’t… hold back.”

Asuka laughed, pulling him down for a quick kiss. “Well,” she sighed, putting her hands on his shoulders and guiding him down onto the bed next to her, “that’s ok… I’m glad you liked it too.”

“Liked it?” Shinji echoed, “I don’t think that’s the right word.”

“Mmmm,” Asuka hummed, closing her eyes, “we’ll think up a better one tomorrow,” she yawned, “too tired now…”

Shinji nodded, pulling her close to him. “A better word, and a shower,” he agreed tiredly, letting his eyes close as well, “and breakfast and a bigger bed.”

“Bigger bed?” Asuka frowned, “for some reason I don’t think Misato will go for that.”

“Tomorrow,” the boy mumbled tiredly, “talk about it tomorrow.”

Asuka nodded and smiled, feeling his breathing quickly deepen and even out. “Tomorrow,” she whispered, opening her eyes and looking at his slumbering face. She sighed, pressing herself closer to him and pulling her sheet up to cover them, aware that the feeling of hollowness and sorrow that she had talked to Hikari about was gone. As she began drifting, she whispered,

“All the tomorrows, Shinji… every one of them.”

Three minutes later, Asuka’s room was silent… save for the soft, intermingled breathing of Tokyo-3’s newest lovers.

---------

A car’s acceleration is measured in terms of how fast it can go from zero to sixty miles an hour. The faster, the better. Human sexual drive, however, has no such measurement. It is never said that a person went from zero, a normal, non-sexually aroused state, to sixty, unbridled desire, in five seconds. This being the case, it would be best to stick to an automotive analogy and say that Hikari and Touji stepped on the gas and popped the clutch.

When Hikari had kissed Touji, he hadn’t truly been expecting it. Not that he was complaining, you understand, but when she had guided his hand to her breast and started unbuttoning his shirt, finally losing patience and tearing it open, the dark-haired boy found that he didn’t really have any trouble playing along. In fact, he was more than happy to add a few details of his own.

“T-Touji!” Hikari gasped, shivering as he did to her bra what she had done to his shirt. “Ohhh!!”

The Class Rep moaned as she felt her boyfriend’s strong hands on her bare chest, her breasts filling his palms as he, very gently, kneaded them. She felt her nipples growing erect and pressing into his hands, the feeling of pleasure only driving her to new heights.

Their frenzy of kisses and increasingly bold touches was only momentarily interrupted as they tumbled off the bed, Hikari landing on top of Touji with a surprised yelp. They lay still for a moment, breathing hard and looking into one another’s eyes… and then they were pulling at each other’s clothes once more, their lips meeting again as the temperature in the room shot up.

“Pants…” Hikari breathed, breaking the kiss long enough to yank the tattered remains of her bra off and throw it to the side, “off…”

“You’ll, mmm…” Touji’s comment was interrupted as she kissed him again, “have to get off me for a minute,” he finished.

Hikari nodded quickly, leaning forward and putting a hand on each side of his head for support. “Hurry,” she panted, “this isn’t very comfort-ohhhh!!!”

Under normal circumstances, Touji would have undoubtedly found her aborted urging for speed funny. However, since he had been the one to interrupt her by raising his head and drawing her right nipple into his mouth, he wasn’t really in a laughing mood – nor did he find it terribly amusing just then. He could not recall a time in his life that he had been more turned on, and he was frankly shocked that he hadn’t already finished.

‘Must be the booze,’ he reasoned, suckling gently on the taut nipple between his lips, ‘heard somewhere that can make you limp and stuff…’

But whereas with Kaji it had proved TOO much of an anti-stimulant, for Touji the alcohol he had consumed proved to be just enough, as he finally released the girl and quickly reached down to draw his pants off, his continued stiffness obvious proof.

“Touji,” Hikari moaned, feeling him press against her through the thin fabric of her panties, “I love you…”

Touji pulled her mouth down to his, kissing her deeply and grinding up against her, reveling in the satisfied sound that issued from her throat. “I… love you too,” he gasped as he broke away, “you’re so beautiful, Hikari.” He reached tentatively down towards the spot her where her legs met, wanting to feel her bare skin against his.

“W-wait,” Hikari stammered, reaching over and fumbling in his nightstand for a minute.

“What?” Touji panted, kissing her neck fervently and trying not to groan with disappointment as she stopped him. “What is it?”

“Here.”

The boy paled as he felt a small square of foil pressed into his palm. “Yeah?” he breathed, staring into her eyes as if seeking confirmation while his fingers absently felt the item’s contours.

“Yeah,” Hikari nodded, blushing deeply.

Being of the ‘you don’t have to tell me twice’ school, Touji fumbled quickly with the package, trying to watch Hikari at the same time… finding himself fascinated as she reached down to pull her panties off.

“Touji,” the girl groaned, her tone conveying frustration as she felt him pressing against her, “p-put it on. Hurry!"

There was one horrifying moment for Touji when he tore open the foil, as he envisioned the condom tearing too... or worse – not being able to get it in place correctly. Both of his fears proved groundless as the latex felt undamaged and rolled smoothly into place when he positioned it.

“Ready?” he said softly, putting his hands on her hips and looking into her lust-clouded eyes. ‘We’re going to do this,’ he thought, dazed, ‘we’re really going to do this.’

“Just… one… there!” Hikari said softly, sliding forward and raising up just a bit. “Now I am.” ‘Please,’ she thought, closing her eyes as his hands tightened their grip on her skin, ‘don’t let this hurt TOO much… please? I want this to be special for him, and if I’m crying, I…’

“Uhhhhh!!!”

Touji’s eyes were wide as he felt Hikari’s body slowly taking him in… and he had to remember to breathe as the girl put her hands on his chest, letting out a deep moan of satisfaction. ‘Hot,’ he thought suddenly, ‘she’s all hot inside – and slippery.’

Hikari’s thoughts were entirely elsewhere. ‘It didn’t hurt!’ she thought, baffled as she felt her body settle fully onto his, ‘Not even a little!’ She knew that some women didn’t have a hymen, but she had never thought that she was one of those few. She had fully expected his entry to be an exercise in agony – a necessary first step towards adulthood and a closer relationship with the one she loved.

But this… this was incredible.

“Touji…” Hikari moaned, staring down into his face, “that feels good.”

Touji laughed. “Well, I didn’t think it was gonna be bad,” he said, caressing her sides and waiting for her to give him the go-ahead to continue. “There’s a reason they say ‘it’s better than sex,’ you know. If it was bad, then EVERYTHING would be better, right?”

Hikari smiled at his logic. “Yeah, but… shut up.” She leaned down and kissed him, realizing that there was no point in dwelling on the lack of pain. It didn’t hurt, so why worry about why it didn’t?

At almost the exact same moment, they both decided it was time for more. Touji reached up and put his hands on her breasts as Hikari slowly rose up, bringing herself back down with a slight gasp of pleasure, feeling him once again sliding deep into her. She moved again, raising up further and moving back down just a touch faster, repeating the process until she was moving quickly on top of him, feeling every inch of him thrusting inside of her.

When Touji abruptly grabbed her around the waist and rolled over so he was on top, taking charge of the situation with effortless ease; Hikari nearly wept. This was how she had dreamed it would be. Letting him have total control while she succumbed to his will. For her, it was more than a sexual fantasy, it was almost a necessity. She was always expected to be in control, as Class Representative, as an older sister, as the primary cook in her house – everyone relied on her for something. They were responsibilities that was forced on her shortly after her mother died and given the circumstances, not ones she could avoid. But here, with him, she could let go. She could surrender herself fully, letting him have whatever he wanted from her and never feeling that anything was required of her.

But she didn't simply lie there as he made love to her – far from it. She kissed him, she touched him, she told him what he meant to her and promised him forever… but for everything else, for that first time, anyway, she left the choices to him. How they moved, how fast they went, what position to use – it was all in his hands.

And when she climaxed, she cried his name with all the strength and love of an angel’s song.

The candles flickered as they lay still on the floor, breathing hard. “Wow…” Touji gasped for the second time that evening.

“Yeah,” Hikari agreed, her body still shaking, “wow…” As he slowly pulled out of her, she said, “Wait! Make sure you hold the, umm… condom around the base.” She blushed, but she knew that she needed to remind him. She had read in many magazines and had learned in sex-education that a condom is only effective if used correctly – and part of using it correctly entails preventing leaks.

“I don’t… need to…” Touji mumbled, carefully withdrawing.

“Why not?”

“When we were first starting,” the boy said, a touch sheepishly, “and I told you to slow down for a sec? I… almost – you know.” He blushed also, hurrying on. “But since we stopped for a sec, I couldn’t, so...I don’t really need to hold it.”

“I see,” Hikari said thoughtfully. ‘None of the magazines said anything about him NOT finishing,’ she thought with a frown. ‘Sure, they talked about him going too soon or falling asleep after, but they never said what to do if...‘

“Something wrong?”

Hikari blinked, becoming aware that Touji was watching her face closely, her brow drawn down concernedly. “No,” she said quickly, banishing her frown and pushing thoughts of magazine articles from her mind. ‘I’m here, now… to hell with those stupid things!’

“I was just thinking, umm…”

“What?” Touji prompted.

Hikari’s face was a shade of red that was almost alarming, but she pressed forward with what she had to say anyway, regardless of her misplaced sense of wantonness and shame. “I was just thinking,” she whispered, stroking his arms, “that if you wanted to…in a few minutes,” she met his eyes, lowering her voice still further, “we could do it again.”

Many people considered Touji to be stupid. He often spoke without thinking first, or took a long time to respond to people’s questions. But what many failed to realize is that in the first instance, he simply didn’t stop to think because he didn’t truly care what the outcome was. And in the second instance, he wanted to make sure that his answer was correct, so he over-thought his response, lending credence to the idea that he was a touch slow-witted.

Of course, in this particular scenario, it took him less than three seconds to come up with an affirmative. Hikari laughed, kissing him deeply and opening the drawer for a replacement condom; once again affirming her affection for him. As they began for the second time, going at a much slower pace, she closed her eyes, believing wholeheartedly that she now knew what the expression, ‘making love,’ truly meant.

---------

Innocence… purity… sweet, angelic discovery of the pleasures of the flesh. The glorious journey from boy and girl to man and woman. Two pairs of lovers made that transition that evening, reveling in the sensations that only a union of the heart, soul, mind and body can bring, and all the while ignorant of the implications, ramifications, and depths of their act. They cast themselves wholeheartedly into the joining of lives, believing fully that there could be no sweeter experience.

How little they knew…

“Kaji…mmmm…”

Misato’s throaty moan echoed through her lover’s apartment, uninhibited by such foolish constraints as modesty or decorum as his hands worked their way over her body. Why should she contain her pleasure? Why hold back her lust and desire for the man she was with? There is no reason… no reason at all. This is passion… this is hunger… this is what love is – knowing. Knowing that the person you’re with is the ONLY person you want to be with, then and always.

Innocence is one thing… experience is another.

“No more teasing…” the purple-haired woman panted, trying to push her breast further into his lightly caressing palm, “come on, honey… don’t make me waiahh…”

Her sentence broke off into a deeply contented sigh as Kaji abruptly reached down and pulled on her legs, sliding her to the very edge of the table and slowly thrusting forward, pressing against her most delicate flesh and grinning as he whispered, “All you had to do was ask…”

Misato smiled, closing her eyes as he ground against her. “After all the work I went through,” she whispered. “I shouldn’t have to ask…”

Kaji chuckled, running his right hand over her breasts while his left caressed her thigh. “I like to hear you beg,” he said teasingly, “it makes all life’s troubles seem like a little, summer breeze.”

“Very poetic,” the Operations Director said dryly, “maybe you should take up a career as a writer… maybe do fanfiction based on cartoons you used to watch as a… mmmm…”

Her tirade evaporated as he slowly thrust into her, holding her gaze and continuing to run his hands over her body. “You like that?” he asked, kissing her softly.

“No,” she returned, draping her hands over his shoulders, “you’re going too slow.”

“I hate to rush,” he said seriously, “Misato, I thought about you all night. I don’t want to disappoint you,” he grinned, “especially after you went to all that work.”

Misato laughed, kissing him briefly before responding, “The only way you would disappoint me would be not to give me what I want.” She took another, longer kiss, wrapping her legs around his waist. “You want me to get all corny and tell you just having you in me is enough? Well, I’m not going to, but I am going to tell you what I want.” She looked straight into his eyes, speaking slowly, “I want you to take me, Kaji… right here, right now, on this table. I don’t care how long you last, but I WILL be mad if you hold back. You want to make me feel special?” she asked, caressing his chest, “Then show that you want me. Show me that you want me like you wanted me back in college.”

“I DO want you!” Kaji protested, “I just don’t want to-“

“Do you want to wait until tomorrow?” Misato asked sarcastically, arching an eyebrow. “Hell, I thought you wanted to have sex, but if you want to stand around and yak all night, I can just go to bed without y-mmmm…”

“Point taken,” Kaji murmured, withdrawing a short ways and thrusting back into her, “pardon me for being so talkative.”

“You’re… not forgiven,” Misato gasped, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as he began to move a bit faster, “but you’re… sure on your way.” She closed her eyes, smiling as she ran one hand through his hair, “Mmmm… yeah…”

“I’ll work on it,” he said quietly.

Conversation was abandoned at that point, or at least – that was the plan. But as everyone knows, even the best-laid plans often go astray, and as Kaji pushed Misato further back onto the table, there was a loud squelching sound. The purple-haired woman grimaced, reaching behind her.

“Butter,” she said sourly, revealing a handful of the stuff, “you left the butter out – and I just sat in it.”

Kaji blinked, then smiled slowly, reaching out and relieving her of the dairy product.

“What are you thinking?” Misato asked suspiciously, narrowing her eyes mistrustfully. “You'd better not be- ahhh!! KAJI!!”

Her warning went unfinished as Kaji playfully reached out… and spread the butter across the tops of her breasts. “Did I leave anything else out?” he asked, a mixture of teasing and lust in his voice. “Don’t suppose there’s any syrup on the table?”

“Pervert!” Misato said, trying to sound stern, but failing as his hand continued to spread warm, slippery substance over her chest. Her eyes widened as his teeth came into view. “What are you thinking?” she cried. Faster than she could track, his free hand shot out and grabbed the sugar bowl, emptying half of its contents onto her.

There was a moment of thoughtful, incredulous silence. “I can’t believe you just did that," Misato said finally, looking down at her breasts, “Just look at me. With the Popsicle, I could have just had a quick shower! But oh no! You just HAD to go and-mmmmmm…”

Again, her tirade was ruined as Kaji pushed her back, into the remaining butter, and began the long, arduous process of getting her clean – primarily utilizing his tongue. Starting just under her beasts, he licked her soft skin with deliberate slowness. Feeling him gently bathing her, and remaining inside, it was only a matter of moments before she was writhing on the table, no longer caring if she was sugarcoated.

“P-pervert…” she managed, smiling and bringing her clean hand up to run through his hair, “taking advantage of… an innocent woman for your own… mmmm… sick pleasures…”

Kaji smiled, looking up briefly to comment, “You know, if I had flour and eggs, I could make a cookie.”

“No chocolate chips?” Misato mock-pouted. “I thought I was special!”

Lowering his head to her chest, Kaji whispered. “You are…”

Before she could comment on the cornyness of this statement, Misato found her breath being taken from her as Kaji began to slowly stroke in and out of her, gently circling her nipple with his tongue. The contrast between the slippery butter and the granules of sugar was pleasingly erotic, like having someone running a bit of silk interwoven with fine-grit sandpaper over her breasts, and her pleasure was only increased as he reached down between them to run his thumb teasingly over her clitoris.

She smiled, pulling gently on his head until he broke off, leaning up to kiss her. Instead of meeting his lips, however, she ran her tongue slowly across his cheek, tasting the salt and sweet of the mixture there before whispering, “Stop… playing…”

Kaji returned her smile, pushing all the way into her and whispering, “spoilsport.”

Misato lay her arms on his shoulders, lacing her fingers behind his neck and holding his gaze as he began to stroke her for real. ‘Always the tease,’ she thought, smiling softly and shivering as his movements made themselves more known. ‘And then… just like that – you’re serious again. Letting me know, without saying a word, what I mean to you. The way you look at me, Kaji.’

Pushing her gently back onto the table, Kaji tried to prove just how she meant. He started out slow, trying to find a good rhythm in the awkward position he was in. Making love standing up can be tricky – especially when furniture was involved – and the last thing he wanted was an injury for either of them. Joking aside, having her fall off the table and him land on top of her would NOT be a romantic ending to their evening.

Once he found his footing, however…

“Oh… Kaji…” Misato moaned, trembling as he moved faster, his hands gliding effortlessly over her breasts. She wanted to tell him all the things that were running through her mind. How she had always kept him close to her heart. How she had wept bitterly the night she had broken up with him, her emotions nearly tearing her mind to shreds as she lay on her bed, trying to tell herself she had done the right thing. And how, when she had seen him again, she had had to keep herself from begging him to take her back – shoving her feelings deep inside and covering them with callousness and sarcasm.

All that she had contained for so long was set free when she was with him this way. When it was just the two of them, she could let go and give in to her wants and needs… and let herself love him.

When held up to the other two couples, Misato and Kaji’s lovemaking could only be called spectacular. Here were two mature lovers, familiar with one another and comfortable with their bodies and their sexuality – and having NO reason to hold back. To put it bluntly, they knew what they were doing, they wanted to be doing it, and they did it with style, flair, and abandon.

Misato’s moans turned to inarticulate cries of pleasure as Kaji once more reached down to stroke her clitoris, increasing his pace further until she was forced to release her hold on him and reach back with one hand to steady herself. Pushing back against him as best she could, she tried to tell him how good he made her feel – how good he ALWAYS made her feel – but she couldn’t form the words. The synapses responsible for speaking seemed to be malfunctioning… or perhaps, they were too occupied with transmitting to her brain’s pleasure sensors.

“K-Kaji…” she finally managed, her mouth going dry as he awkwardly leaned forward, still stroking her, and captured her right nipple between his teeth. What she wanted to tell him was lost in a passionate scream as he gently bit down, very carefully running his teeth across one of the most sensitive points on her body.

Her cry was only the prelude to an even louder outburst as he increased his pace still more and pressed a touch harder on her womanhood, shoving her over the edge of pleasure and into the throes of an almost violent orgasm. Her body was shaking quite badly, forcing him to quickly grasp her around the waist to prevent her from toppling to the floor. Continuing to move, Kaji was treated to the rarest sexual reward he knew of – the site of his lover achieving a multiple-orgasm. It was quite a sight to behold – with her body arching backward at a severe angle, until she was supported only by his arms, her legs on his hips, and the one hand she had planted on the table. It was all he hoped for, and all he needed to allow himself to let go as well.

They stayed still for a moment, panting on the table and gently touching one another’s face. “That… didn’t suck…” Misato gasped finally, wiping some sweat off of her face and glancing at the clock. “Only… 1:20,” she observed, starting to calm a bit. “Thought it was… later.” She grinned, kissing him gently before letting him go. “Good thing you don’t have any neighbors.”

Kaji nodded, carefully pulling out of her. “Feels like… 5:00…” he panted, “tired…”

“Men are all the same,” Misato laughed, edging off the table and embracing him, “the second you come, it’s off to bed!”

“No,” Kaji corrected, slipping his arms around her, “it’s off to the shower – THEN bed.”

His fiancée laughed again, pulling his lips to hers. “Come on then,” she whispered, caressing his cheek, “I’ll help you get clean.”

“Maybe… that’s not such a good idea,” Kaji muttered, imagining her hot, wet, and covered in soap. “I might not be able to control myself…”

“Whatever,” Misato teased, “like you could get it up to-“

“Hey!!”

“Just kidding,” she laughed, leaning against him. “But I’m too tired for another round.”

“Yeah,” Kaji confessed, taking her hand and starting towards the bathroom, “me too.” When she didn’t move, he turned to her, confused. “What is it?” he asked, suddenly concerned by her serious countenance.

Misato simply studied his face in silence for a moment before whispering in a barely audible voice, “I love you, Ryouji… with all that I am. Are you going to be mine forever?”

Kaji slowly put his arms around her, kissing her forehead softly. “Yes,” he said simply, “I am.”

Nothing else was spoken as they stood in the kitchen… sticky… sweaty… entirely exhausted – but happier than either of them could remember being. Eventually, they moved into the shower, leisurely and playfully cleaning one another, and then headed into the bedroom. There, in spite of their previous declarations, they made love once more. Slowly… tenderly… lovingly, until they finally reached the top together, smiling as they separated and slowly drifted off to sleep.

Because they knew that this was only the beginning.

---------

The hill wasn’t quiet. Though far enough removed from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo-3 that it was quieter, certainly, but silence was a state seldom found in that area. The hill also wasn’t dark. Once again, when talking about a city the size and importance of Tokyo-3, darkness was a rare commodity. Yet even with it's seeming shortcomings, this particular hill was the quietest and darkest place for miles around, and it was there that Asuka and Shinji found themselves sitting and holding hands, waiting for the sun to rise over the city they called home.

They had hardly spoken a word since leaving the apartment, appearing content to simply sit and wait for the shining red orb to make its appearance. Neither was sure as to exactly why they felt the need to come here, only that they needed to. On the surface the trip seemed simply to be the desire of the Children to fight for every last second of the special night, unwilling to let it go. And initially that was the driving force as they wandered the deserted streets of the city in those early hours of the morning. But as the sky lightened, the first hints of the new day inching up on the horizon, the symbolism of a new beginning, the start of the next stage of life was not lost on them. But neither of them wanted to SAY that’s why they were here. Saying something about it might somehow ruin the feeling, as if acknowledging that things MUST be different from now on would somehow be blasphemous. So there they sat, fingers intertwined, occasionally stealing glances at one another, and waited.

“I told you this was the right place!”

Shinji blinked, turning his head and frowning as the sound of a girl’s voice reached him.

“Well… he just said it was to the south…”

“Is that… Touji?” Asuka asked, perplexed as a male voice answered the girl.

A moment later, Hikari came up over the hill, looking back over her shoulder at her boyfriend and tugging on his hand. “Come on,” she was saying, “it’ll be up pretty soon, I wanna-“

“Hey,” Asuka said quietly, briefly considering reclaiming her hand, then discarding the notion. ‘They can see this, I guess,’ she thought, ‘and I guess… others can too… now.’

The redhead had never been terribly keen on public displays of affection. She preferred privacy when it came to the one she cared for, but now, after what had happened the night before, she decided that maybe that could change a little. Not a lot, of course, but a little bit… maybe… with the right people.

One step at a time.

“Hey!” Hikari said happily, “I had a feeling you guys would be here.”

"Huh?" Asuka replied as she looked up and cast a perplexed gaze toward her friend.

"Shinji told me about this place," Touji said as he let go of the class rep’s hand.

"That explains the how," the redhead commented as she watched Touji sit down next to the Third with a tired sigh. "What about the why?"

"I called the apartment," Hikari smiled as she continued around to stand next to her friend, "and when there was no answer we figured you must have gone somewhere special. Luckily Touji remembered Shinji talking about this place and....well...here we are."

“You called me at four thirty in the morning?" Asuka exclaimed, "it's probably better that I wasn't home." Her protests were quickly forgotten as she heard another exhausted groan come from the direction of the boys. “What happened to him?" she questioned, pointing in the general direction of Touji. "Did you make him clean his room or something?”

Touji laced his hands behind his head, leaning back, but not closing his eyes as he answered for his girlfriend, “It's five o'clock in the damn morning,” he said, his voice unusually subdued, “it's not healthy to be up this early." He yawned loudly before continuing. "And we stayed up talking all night…”

“Yeah right,” Asuka retorted dryly, “like you can talk about food and sports that long – wait! I know YOU can, but Hikari-“

“Can I talk to you?” Hikari said quickly, taking Asuka’s free hand and pulling on it gently, “over here?”

Asuka sighed. “Be right back,” she said, squeezing Shinji's hand tightly before releasing it. “Ok?”

Shinji blinked, a little surprised at being asked if it was alright for her to leave his side. “S-sure…”

The redhead got to her feet, brushing her rear absently to dislodge the grass clinging to her yellow dress, and walked a short ways off, knowing what was coming. ‘Man,’ she thought tiredly as her friend released her hand, ‘why couldn’t this wait ‘til later? I don’t mind telling her… but couldn’t I get some rest?? I want a nap…’

Hikari turned to her, opening the topic without any preamble. “So…” she said softly, smiling at her friend, “did you?”

Asuka nodded slowly. “Yeah,” she whispered reluctantly, "we did. You guys did, too, huh?” She looked over her shoulder, shaking her head, “Geez, you wore him out…”

The class rep tried to be nonchalant in her answer, but she couldn’t hide the gleam in her eye as she shrugged, “We did it twice…”

“Twice!?” the Second Child gasped, “How? Shinji fell asleep right afterwards!”

“Touji didn’t – you know – the first time…” Hikari explained, “so we had to do it again…”

“HAD to?” Asuka asked skeptically. She bit her bottom lip for a minute before asking softly, “did it hurt? When Shinji first… put it in,” she grimaced, wishing it wasn’t so awkward to talk about, “I thought I was going to die.” She blushed, “but it got, umm… better…”

Hikari averted her eyes, lying quietly. “Yeah… it hurt a little, but like you said – it got better."

The redhead nodded, relieved that her friend could understand where she was coming from and finding comfort in the shared experience. “I didn’t think it would be so messy…” she muttered, “I had to change my sheets.” She wrinkled her nose, “and Shinji’s…” she blushed deeper, “you were right, it got bigger…”

“Was it REAL big?” Hikari asked with a grin, thrilling to the sight of the invincible Asuka Langley Sohryu turning so red. “Did you… use your mouth? Hmmm?”

“HIKARI!!” Asuka cried, clenching her eyes closed. “No! Did… did you??”

The Class Rep flushed as well, though she kept her smile. “Not… this time,” she said awkwardly, “but I thought I might next time… or maybe the time after that…”

“WHY?? Isn’t it enough that you’re sleeping with him??”

Hikari looked out over the city, wrapping her arms around herself. “I want to try everything,” she whispered, resisting the urge to look over to where Touji was sitting, "don’t you?" She took in the sights of the brightening city before turning back to the Second. "I mean… I love him, you know? Now that we’ve gotten past the first step, I wanna keep going. I want to feel everything I can.”

Asuka made no immediate reply, as her mind was occupied with visions of Shinji’s naked body… and contemplation's of oral sex. ‘Well…’ she thought, shrugging slightly to herself, ‘maybe it’s not THAT bad… I mean, lots of people do it, right? And if HIKARI can…’

“So, umm…” Hikari said nervously, cutting into Asuka’s thoughts, “what kind of, umm… condom did you guys use? The ones we had didn’t have enough… enough lubricant on them.” She knew she was blushing, but really – Asuka was the only person she was even REMOTELY comfortable discussing this subject with, and she wanted to make the next experience with Touji even better.

Asuka averted her eyes. “I, umm… I’m not sure,” she muttered. “I didn’t pay attention…”

“Oh come on!” Hikari pleaded, “It’s important, right? I don’t…” she trailed off, sucking in a deep breath. “You didn’t use one, did you?” she whispered, seeing the truth plainly written on her friend’s face. “Asuka!”

“I didn’t even think about it!” the redhead replied defensively. “We kinda… just did it, ok? I didn’t plan it all out like you. It just happened.”

“But, but!” the Class Rep stammered, “Asuka! You could get preg-“

“DON"T YOU THINK I KNOW!?” Asuka snapped, lowering her voice as Shinji’s head turned her way curiously. “I know that!” she went on in a quieter voice. “Do I look stupid? I know it could happen, I’m just going to have to hope it doesn’t!”

“Asuka, I-“

“Please drop it,” Asuka said softly, “ok? It’s done… I can’t undo it.”

“Can’t undo what?”

Both girls whipped around, blinking in surprise as they found Misato approaching them. Kaji was settling in between the two young men, lacing his hands behind his head with a content smile on his face.

“What can’t you undo?” the Operations Director asked again, yawning as she came abreast of the two girls. “Did Shinji get some of your red panties in the bleach load again?”

Hikari laughed. “He did that?” She laughed harder, “You LET him do your laundry?”

Asuka sniffed. “He just does it,” she grumbled, “it’s not like I’m gonna stop him.”

“Maybe if you did,” Misato pointed out, “you wouldn’t have all those light pink bras now.”

“Anyway,” Asuka growled through her teeth, “what did you do last night, Misato? As if we couldn’t tell by looking at Kaji.”

“Hmmm?”

Misato looked to where her fiancée was lying down, slapping her forehead as she found him grinning from ear to ear. ‘I think I hear him humming…’ she thought disgustedly, ‘why can’t men EVER keep a… secret…' she frowned, whipping her head around in time to catch the younger girls looking at their respective boyfriends with identical disapproving glares. She turned back to the men again, noting finally that Shinji and Touji were also smiling – though not as wide as Kaji – and both had similar, thoughtful looks on their faces.

She felt like she could actually hear the click in her mind as the connections were all made.

“Kinda funny, isn’t it?” she said lightly, watching the girls from the corners of her eyes. “How guys have that, ‘Cat who ate the canary’ look right after sex?”

Both girls nodded absently.

It was Asuka who first realized the trap for what it was. “Well,” she said quickly, “of… of course! Just… just look at Kaji! He’s the, umm… only example here… right Hikari?”

“Right!!” the other girl agreed quickly, looking VERY edgy. “I mean, it's not like anyone else here would know… right Asuka?”

As the redhead nodded emphatically, Misato sighed. “I guess it was inevitable,” she muttered, shaking her head, “And like Asuka said, I guess it can’t be undone.” Her frown deepened, “were you safe, at least?” she asked quietly. “Asuka… look at me.”

When the Second Child keep her head lowered, the Operations Director heaved another sigh. “You’re going to be from now on, right?” she asked, her tone indicating that it was more a command than a question. “I’m not so naive that I think I can stop you, but I’m sure as hell going to make sure you don’t do something STUPIDER than this!”

“I didn’t plan on doing it at all,” Asuka whispered, staring at the ground and fidgeting with the hem of her skirt, “just… one thing kinda lead to another and…”

“It’s alright,” Misato mumbled as the girl trailed off, “you can’t change the past. I just… I wish you had given it a little more time, Asuka. You don’t need to rush into things so fast!” She rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Children…” she whispered, “you all want to grow up so fast but you never stop to think about how hard it is to be an adult. All the responsibilities, all the pressures, all the things an adult have to put up with and remember. Why would you want to rush into all that when you could be spending your time ENJOYING life?” She threw her hands up, “I just don’t get it…”

When Second Child raised her head, she met her blue eyes steadily. “I’m not mad at you,” she said finally, smiling at her, “I just… I remember when I jumped in to bed the first time… how confused I was, how little I knew, how I just wanted to hurry up and be an adult as fast as I could.”

“But,” Asuka said quietly, “wasn’t Kaji your first?” When Misato nodded, she said. “And aren’t you marrying him now?”

“It’s not all that easy,” Misato said gently, “Kaji and I were lucky. We didn’t know what we were getting into then, and it’s only a big string of coincidences, all in a row, that got us back together again.”

“Or maybe it was fate,” Hikari jumped in, no longer willing to stand on the sidelines and watch her friend be lectured. “Maybe you were meant to be together – like Shinji and Asuka.”

“And you and Touji?” Misato said, arching an eyebrow. “Look, I’m not saying you guys are gonna break up, or anything like that, I’m just saying-“

“Misato,” Asuka cut in. “Stop now, please?”

Misato opened her mouth to continue, but stopped as she caught sight of the look on Asuka’s face. “Ok…” she murmured, averting her eyes and lowering her voice. “God, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this.” She took a deep breath. “Do you… need me to buy you condoms, or something?” Misato didn’t think it was possible for the redhead to blush any deeper.

She was wrong.

“I…” Asuka looked over to Shinji, as if gaining strength from seeing his happy face, “can you get me on the pill?” Both Misato and Hikari’s jaws dropped open. “W-what?” the redhead stammered, looking from one to the other, “you’re on it, right Misato?”

“Well,” the older woman said, trying to regain her wits, “yeah, but-“

Misato had felt surprisingly good when she woke up to the sound of her cell phone ringing. Given the early hour and the large quantities of alcohol she consumed the night before, some degree of hangover seemed inevitable. But much to her surprise, the Major's head was clear and focused as she listened to the Second Section duty officer notify her the Children had left the apartment building. However her pounding headache and dry throat signified that either she was still drunk when she woke up and the hangover had been delayed, or she had just be suddenly thrust into the parenting role she had so desperately tried to avoid.

“And you said you wanted me to be safe…”

“That’s different!” Misato protested as she furiously rubbed at her temples, trying hopelessly to make the throbbing go away. “I’m on the pill because I’m… I’m…” she shut her mouth, blushing as she recalled that the reason she was on the pill was so that she could have sex.

"See," Asuka said matter of factly.

"Okay listen," the purple haired woman said exasperatedly. "The first thing we need to do is get you a check up. And you better pray that you're not pregnant!" Misato took a deep breath and let the seriousness of that statement resonate for a moment. "And if everything checks out, I'll get you the pill." She watched a little grin form on the Second's face. "But don't you think for ONE SECOND that I'm going to condone you and Shinji sleeping together, you're sadly mistaken." That comment quickly wiped the smile from Asuka's face. And if that one didn't the next surely did. "And punishments will have to be handed out for last night."

"But why would you agree to me going on the pill if you don't want Shinji and me having sex?"

"I can't watch you every minute of every day," Misato sighed, "and deep down I know that my efforts will probably be futile at best. I was young and in love once...so I know how these things work. But I'll feel better knowing that you two are at least be safe when you have sex."

“Hey,” Hikari said, inclining her head, “the sun’ll be up in a few minutes…”

The other two women nodded, realizing that this was discussion was far from over, but a recess was most likely in order. “What do you think they’re talking about?” Asuka asked, looking over at the three men.

“Probably us,” Misato snorted, “’Oh man! She was so loud!!!’ or something stupid – guy stuff…”

---------

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Shinji asked, meeting Asuka’s gaze and smiling, “Us?”

“Nah,” Kaji said knowingly, “probably dress sizes and stuff.”

Touji snorted, “Like our conversation is so exciting. I swear! I thought you were gonna tell us you scored last night!”

The older man laughed. “Gentlemen never tell,” he said lightly.

“Like I said…”

“What did YOU do last night?” the spy asked dryly. “Hikari looked pretty happy…”

Touji closed his eyes, a slight smile threatening at the corners of his mouth. “Nothing…”

“How about you, Shinji?” Kaji asked, grinning broadly at the young man’s poor attempt at falsehood. “What did you do?”

“N-nothing…” Shinji stammered, closing his eyes also.

Kaji looked at both boys then closed his own eyes as well. “Guess we all did nothing last night,” he said softly. “Pretty nice, isn’t it?”

Both boys answered at the exact same moment,

“Yeah…”

Kaji laughed.

“What’s so funny, Mister Kaji?”

When he opened his eyes, Misato was leaning over him, a scowl gracing her gorgeous features… ruined only by the small smile she wore.

“Sexiest woman on earth,” Kaji replied, grinned broadly.

“Yeah riaahhhh!!!”

Misato’s scornful reply was cut short as her lover reached up and grabbed her around the waist, pulling her down into his arms and kissing her soundly.

“Kaji!” Misato protested, blushing and shooting the other girls a glance, “not here!”

Hikari laughed, settling in at Touji’s side and resting her head on his chest as Asuka sat down between Shinji’s feet, prompting him to open his eyes and sit up, cautiously wrapping his arms around her shoulders.

Silence, warm and sweet, settled over the six as they waited for the sun to come up, each caught up in their own thoughts. Many trials had been overcome, many words – harsh and loving – had been spoken, many emotions had been worked through – and every one of them knew there would be many more of each to come. The new day greeted three sets of lovers… two barely starting out, one familiar with the ways of pleasure, and all of them content at that very moment, nestled in the arms of the one they called their own.

“It’s starting,” Shinji murmured, holding Asuka a bit tighter.

“What?” Asuka replied, closing her eyes and resting her head against his chest. “The morning? That’s what the sunrise USUALLY means…”

“That too…” Shinji said gently.

Asuka sighed, unsure if she should be exasperated by the sappiness of his statement, or charmed by it’s simple sincerity. Opening her eyes, she was just in time to catch the first rays of light as the sun finally broke free of the horizon, instantly bathing the city below in a rich, golden-red aura of fiery glory. She decided that it would be best not to say anything – positive or negative – about the implication that this was the start of the next part of their lives.

And indeed… she couldn’t have spoken had she wanted too, as she found herself suddenly trembling in his arms, her throat clenching closed as tears slipped silently down her face.

“Are you ok?” Shinji whispered, feeling her shaking.

Asuka swallowed, smiling softly. “Oh yeah,” she replied, her voice only slightly uneven, “I’m just fine… just… fine…”

Shinji hesitated, then nodded behind her, knowing that if she wanted to talk about it, she would do so later, in private. They lapsed back into silence, watching the city slowly come alive below them.

They watched together, holding their silence, as the sun arched high into the sky, warming their bodies and souls with its warm, soothing radiance. Reminding them all that today was a new day, and if not a special day, it would at least be a GOOD day… because as corny as it seemed, at least they had one another. The event over, one by one each nodded off to the wonders and delights of dreams, the physical and emotional exertion of the previous night finally demanding retribution.

They were still there at noon.

The End

Rx7’s notes: ok, that was hard. When I started writing this with Ryoma, I didn’t think it would be too difficult to write three sex scenes in a single chapter. And on some levels, it wasn’t… I mean, I don’t really have a hard time writing about sex, so the actual composition and language came pretty easy. ((shrug)) What I did have a hard time with, was creating three, distinctly different scenes – while keeping some similarities between them. I wanted to have all three passionate, emotional, not overly detailed, and unique – but still have some common threads. It may have been noticed by some of you more astute readers out there that all three couples end up in variations of the Missionary position. Yeah, that was on purpose. I wanted to show that, even though it was the same position, it was very different for each of them. Don’t know how many of you wanted to know all that, but hey! I couldn’t think of anything else to note. :P Oh, one more thing for the guys, who may not know this (cuz I sure didn’t) you think WE talk about everything? Girls talk about EVERYTHING, do you understand? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t really get in-depth when I talk to my friends about sex – but in a conversation with a woman I know, I found out that girls do. They talk about length, width, how long it lasts… taste – I mean EVERYthing. This is the basis for Misato, Asuka and Hikari’s little talk near the end. So be afraid… be VERY afraid. ;)

Ryoma's notes: Well wasn't that fun? If only because I didn't have to do much with the emotional aspect of it, I just threw down a bunch of silly set up for the main events. Before I go to far, let me say that the whole Kensuke is gay thing is NOT meant as a put down of gays or anything like that, it's strictly in there for humor because, well, kids their age do that sorta thing. At least they did when I was 16. So please don't take it as any more then a snapshot of teen life. If anyone is still offended, well I'm sorry then. Anyway let me give you a bit of history of this fic. I always knew I wanted a little bridge story between the end of BLP and the sequel. I wanted to have the kids...well...grow up and progress as people. This fic was meant to give me that progression and I love the way it came out. Not only do we get some progression from the usual characters, Shinji, Asuka, Hikari, Touji, Misato and Kaji, I was able to move Rei along as well. Now, knowing what I wanted to do, but knowing full well that I could never adequately put these ideas on paper, I solicited (actually begged) the perfect man for the job, Rx7, to put this vision on paper. We wanted the lemon to not dwell on the physical aspects as most lemons do, we wanted to look at the emotional side of it. I wanted to see how the characters get from here to there so to speak, not simply a graphic description of insert rod A into slot B. My hat goes off to Rx7 because he was able to bring that off with compassion and feel. I know that I personally can FEEL what the characters are going through, and that was the goal. Okay, the Misato / Kaji scene was meant to carry the humor, but even that one has great emotional feel at the end. So that was the goal and I guess you the reader can decide if it worked.

And yes...that was a familiar character that stepped on Touji's hand.

C & C are always welcome. Actually, criticisms and flames can be sent to Random's addy, while you may heap any praise to ryoma3000@yahoo.com :)

Coming fall/winter 2002: The Best Laid Plans 2 -Attack of the Rei Clones

And be sure to go and vote for all your favorite Evafics and authors at the 2002 Takoballs. www.darkscribes.org/takoballs