Part 10: Careful what you wish for

Rei's blue hair framed her face as she slowly licked her way up his hard dick, the soft light of the moon shining on her flawless skin and Rubicon eyes. "Rei." He moaned softly, her lips closing on his member.

"Wake up, Baka!" Shinji's eyes snapped open, the vision of Rei vanishing like beer in Misato's hand. Asuka's voice may have shattered his dream of Rei, but it did nothing to his raging hard on. Oh, now there's a bad combination: morning wood and a raging hard on. How the hell am I supposed to pee like this? I'd have to do a handstand. Thought the young pilot. His musing about his current dilemma was interrupted by the sound of his other co-worker's voice. "Breakfast, and step on it!" Shinji just groaned and lay back on his bed.

"Are you listening to me, Shinji Baka?! Get out of bed, and make breakfast!" Shinji closed his eyes and saw Rei's face again. I hope she reads the note. If not, I'll have a hard time explaining to her why I left after she gave me her virginity. He paused, thinking. Then again, I gave her mine too; not that male virginity is particularly prized. I wonder what Touji would say if he knew? An instant later, he knew what Touji would say. Note to self: never allow Touji or Kensuke to find out that I had sex with Rei. Ever. Even if it means dying to keep it a secret; or killing them. Once more, the German redhead intruded, this time, physically. His door slammed open and she strode into his room, eyes on fire and her hair still tousled from bed. Shinji opened an eye and was struck by how beautiful she was. "Get up, you lazy wuss!" she barked. And then she had to go and speak. He mentally amended his earlier observation.

"Relax, Asuka. We don't have school today." He muttered, rolling over onto his side to hide the tent in his sheets.

"I know that, you dork! Why do you think I'm up this early? Now go fix breakfast!" she ordered.

With this hard-on? No thanks. "You're already up, why not fix it yourself?" he retorted. Asuka growled.

"Because I have to get showered and dressed and ready to meet Hikari. I don't have time to cook breakfast. And besides, that's what we have a houseboy for." She added spitefully. Shinji remained where he was. Her eyebrow twitched dangerously. Suddenly bending over, she grabbed his sheets and comforter and snatched them away, leaving Shinji in his boxers and nothing else. "Get up!" she ordered. A few seconds passed before she noticed that he was up; well, part of him anyway.

"I didn't mean get THAT up, pervert!" her scream would have woken the entire building, but only Misato lived there now, as the paltry few who had initially lived there had quickly decided that between the Angels and Misato, they would rather move to Tokyo 2, or, if there were no rooms there, Hell would be just fine. Shinji rolled onto his back in preparation to stand, and Asuka got a much closer look at his enlarged member. "Don't point it at me, you freak!" she shrieked, kicking at him to keep him and his hard member away from her. Unfortunately for her, she forgot that she had snatched his sheets and comforter off his bed, and they were currently wrapped haphazardly around her ankles. So, when she kicked at Shinji, she hooked her support leg out from under her, sending her crashing to the floor. As she tried to stand, her foot slipped on the sheet, which slid on the wood floor easily, dumping her face down on Shinji, who had been trying to stand to help her up. The impact drove the wind from them both. Gasping to restore his air supply, Shinji got a nose full of Asuka's scent, which was a mix of her perfume, her shampoo and her phermone-ladened personal scent. That's…heady. Thought the boy, not noticing his pun. She smells good!

For her part, Asuka was likewise panting, but not entirely because the air had been knocked from her lungs by the impact. She was sprawled on top of Shinji in a kind of reverse missionary position, with her legs between Shinji's. What was drawing her attention was the hard length pressed to her lower belly, from her pubic bone to her belly button. That can't be his little Shinji, can it? She thought, dazed. No way is he that big. But it feels like he is…could he be that big? Abruptly, Rei's words on the relative size of Shinji came back. He's bigger than Kaji? Well, if I feel Shinji's, then I'll know how big my Kaji's is. She reasoned to herself. She shifted a little, and she felt his member twitch. She was surprised to feel a tingle in her spine. What am I getting excited for? I'm just doing this to find out how big Kaji is. With her rationalization worked out, she slid her hand to his boxers.

What is she going to do?!? Thought a panicked Shinji. Letting Asuka near his member was sure to be a painful experience. Given her violent tendencies, he was sure she would damage it. "A…Asuka?" he croaked. Asuka ignored him, her chest and head still pressed to his chest. Her hand made contact through the cotton shorts. Please don't let her hurt me! Begged Shinji silently. Asuka closed her hand around his member and held it firmly for a moment.

That's…big. But he doesn't look like it's this big when I see him naked. Marveled Asuka. Another thought occurred to her. Maybe he's trying to trick me. He might have a cucumber in there. The proud girl refused to wonder why he would do something like that, deciding that it was just something he would do. Well, Asuka Langley Sohryu won't be fooled by Baka Boy and his big boner! She thought proudly. She slipped her hand under his boxers and seized his penis again. Unwillingly, she had to admit that no cucumber felt that soft or warm. She looked down and saw the tip of his member through the opening by her wrist. There was a shiny drop of fluid at the tip. Slowly, she moved her hand up and down on his shaft, seeing the first drop slowly slip down as a few more came out. She freed her other hand and slid his underwear out of the way a little more, seeing more of his member. She stared at it, fascinated by it's size and feel.

Shinji couldn't believe it. He had been sure she would tear it off, given her violent nature, and yet here she was, slowly stroking him and staring at his dick like it was nothing. He decided that he might as well test the water. His hands slowly closed around her body, his palms cautiously sliding over her sides and down to her hips, dipping under her oversized shirt and sliding back up. His fingertips slid gently along her sides, and then he reached her breasts. He felt the edge of the base of her breasts, and realized that she wasn't wearing anything under the tee shirt. He forced himself to swallow his fear, and carefully began to stroke her breasts, palming her nipples carefully. His experimentation with Rei paid off. Quickly, her nipples had hardened and lengthened a little, and Shinji carefully began to roll them and tug on them. Just like in that movie. He thought to himself. Asuka was breathing faster, and her hand was stroking him faster as well. Shinji took another chance as he felt himself begin to build toward an orgasm. Freeing one hand from her breasts, he slowly slid them down her belly, watching closely for any negative reactions, pausing at her shorts, then, slowly slipping his fingers under the waist of her shorts. He paused just inside her shorts to see if she reacted badly, taking the opportunity to press his lips to her forehead. She moaned softly, her other hand carefully touching the tip of his member and the small stream of fluid leaking from his tip. Shinji slid his hand lower.

Asuka for her part was absorbed in watching her hands on his member. It's so soft and warm. She thought in awe, I wonder what it would feel like in me? It would have to stretch me, but… her fingers softly felt he slippery fluid coming from the tip. It should feel gross, but it doesn't. It feels really soft and slick. It will make it easier for him to enter me. Enter me? What am I thinking?! Her thoughts had shocked her a little, but it didn't break the spell. Or the tingling, hot, wet sensation that had spread from her spine to her hips and settled in a hot furnace just below and behind her bellybutton.

Shinji pressed forward slowly, his fingers easing down toward her sex, waiting to feel her panties. I'll just stroke her a little through her panties. He promised himself. His hand slid lower, but encountered not panties, but a small patch of soft hairs. No panties? Asuka sleeps nearly naked. He realized, dumbfounded. Of their own will, his fingers slipped lower, feeling her wet, warm lips. As if they knew more than he did, his fingers began to mimic what he had done with Rei, and he felt her convulse with shivers. Her moan was no louder than a sigh, but it was the effect his touch had on her hands that made him continue. Asuka was now stroking him faster and with both hands, which were covered by his pre-cum and were deliciously slippery on his member. Unconsciously, Asuka spread her legs, giving him more access to her wet groin. Shinji leaned over and kissed her lips cautiously. Asuka closed her eyes when Shinji's lips touched her lips, and she felt his tongue slid carefully across her lips. The girl hesitantly opened her lips, and his tongue slipped into her mouth. The two tongues shyly touched one another.

God, this is so good! It's better than when I do it myself. Thought a dazed Asuka as she felt her partner's fingers carefully caressing her nipples and more importantly her soaked lower lips. I want more! She acted on her choice, shifting her hips and taking one of her wet hands off Shinji and pushing her shorts down to her knees, then off her entirely with a few quick kicks. Shinji had paused when he felt her move and take one of her hands off his throbbing shaft, scared that she was about to attack him, but her insistent moan deep in her throat when he stopped convinced him to continue. Having removed one impediment, she went to work on the other barrier, using both her hands to slide his boxers down, his trembling member jumping up once it was freed of the confines of the underwear. Asuka's hands resumed their work on his member. Shinji knew he wouldn't last long with her increased access, so he worked harder on her breasts and dripping wet sex.

And Misato said to make sure the girl was satisfied. He remembered, pushing her shirt up to reveal her breasts. Carefully breaking the kiss, he took his first good look at Asuka's breasts. They were larger than Rei's and her nipples were also larger, and of a deeper shade of pink than Rei's. Even though they were larger, they were just as firm and there was no sign of sag or droop. Shinji remembered how Rei had reacted when he had sucked on her nipple and leaned down to do the same. Asuka gave a whimpering moan as she felt his tongue go to work on her nipples. Her hands momentarily paused their stroking of Shinji's member. Wanting her to continue, he gently pressed a finger into her sopping tunnel, marveling at how tight she was. Was Rei this tight? He wondered.

The feeling of him slipping a finger into her sent Asuka over the edge, her eyes seeing kaleidoscope colors and her whole body trembling. She couldn't move or speak just then, Shinji's hard member forgotten as she had a very powerful orgasm. Shinji, feeling the painful throbbing of his forgotten dick, rolled over so Asuka was beneath him, and he was between her legs, and carefully withdrew his soaked hand from her wet groin. With extra care, he pressed his hard member to her wet sex and began to press forward, his tip slipping along her wet lips, and beginning to press into her. Just then, her muscles clamped and his penis slid up and onto her belly, sliding over her clit as he did so, sending her into another orgasm. Shinji swiftly began to stroke his length along her lips and onto her soft belly, in the reverse of what Rei had done the first time. Asuka's hands closed on his neck and she pulled his lips to hers. Shinji felt himself tense in preparation to shoot his load. He squeezed her breasts as he felt himself blow, his hot semen covering her from her bellybutton to her breasts. "Asuka!" he hissed, feeling her shudder beneath him. "Love you." He added as his third shot covered her lower belly and mixed with her pubic hair. It's job done for now, his penis deflated. Shinji rolled off Asuka's panting form, the girl still riding the last of her multiple orgasms. Shinji fell asleep before she recovered enough to sit up and look at him. The girl sat there, his seed running down her chest and belly, a thoughtful expression on her face.

Across town, Hikari was fixing breakfast for her sisters and herself, her father already at work, as always. Her older sister was dressing for an interview with the admissions council for the university at Tokyo 2, and her youngest sister was still asleep, her middle school being off for a required staff meeting. Hikari had read the letter the school had sent home with her younger sister the day before. It seemed that the school was considering the option of relocating to a safer location, and the administration was to go to a meeting to discuss the logistics and survey the new location. It was to be a three-day deal, so the school was out for those three days. I wonder why the administration of my school seems unconcerned with the threat of staying here while the Angel's are attacking? She wondered, not for the first time. Of the schools that had been in place before the Third angel's attack, only three remained. The middle school her sister attended, her high school and a grade school. The rest had been moved or closed within a week of the angel's attack. Except for the one that had been demolished by Shinji and Unit 1's victory over the invading Angel. But there has never been so much as a suggestion that my school be closed. Why is that? Is it because all three pilots attend classes there?

Her thoughts were interrupted by her big sister's arrival in the kitchen. As her oldest sister settled at the table, Hikari put a plate in front of her and began to serve her the breakfast she had prepared. "So, what's the big occasion, Hi-chan?" asked her sister. Hikari blinked.

"What are you talking about, Kodama?" she asked her sister, puzzled. Her sister gave her a significant look, then stared at her plate. It was piled high with pancakes, hash browns, eggs and sausage. Her glass was loaded with orange juice.

"What happened to rice, fish and miso?" asked her sister, giving her a quizzical look. Hikari blinked at her dumbly.

"What? You don't want breakfast?" Kodama sighed, digging into the stack of pancakes. As she chewed, she critically observed her middle sister's outfit. Hikari was not dressed as she usually was on a morning when she didn't have school. Instead of her usual tee-shirt and shorts, Hikari wore a dark blue skirt that came to just about a hand span above her knees and was matched by a medium gray turtle necked, sleeveless, close fitting top. Kodama also noticed that her younger sibling had on conservative earrings and, if she wasn't mistaken, a small amount of makeup, complimented by some lip-gloss. A peek at her feet showed that she was wearing ankle socks with lace trim, a sign that she intended to wear her casual shoes, instead of her dress or athletic shoes. She finished her current mouthful, then continued her inquisition.

"So, what did Asuka get you involved with this time?" she enquired urbanely.

"Nothing, sis. We're just going shopping." Said Hikari.

"Uh huh. Dressed like that? Get real, who's going with you? Not that Suzahara jock, I hope?"

"What makes you think that anyone is going with us?" asked her sister, her hand on her hip.

"It's been a while since you borrowed some of my things." Returned Kodama, catching her middle sister's guilty glance at her top. "Don't sweat it, sis. I'm fine with you borrowing things; after all, you do the laundry and all, so it works out. But who are you trying to impress?" Hikari was silent, saying nothing for fear that her sister would misinterpret her. "I got it. It must be that boy that works with Asuka, what's his name? Shimbu? No, Shinjin?" her sister hinted leadingly.

"Shinji. Shinji Ikari. And while he will be there, it's not why I'm dressed up." Corrected her sister.

"Oh? And why are you dressed up then, if not for Shinji Ikari?" Kodama was merciless.

"Well, I don't want to embarrass Asuka or Ritsuko by dressing sloppily." She said quietly. "After all, it's not like I'm a model or have a gorgeous figure like them or anything…"

"Stop it. Right now, Hi-chan." Said her older sister, her tone commanding. "You are not some third-rate beauty contest loser who snivels and whines over not being some silicone-chested, plastic-assed, bleached-haired, self-absorbed narcissistic ditz, so stop acting like one. You are my sister, and you're going to look a lot like me in a few years, and trust me when I tell you that men are never in short supply when you look like me. So quit it with the low self esteem bit; you're beautiful and anyone who says differently can just kiss your cute ass." Hikari couldn't help but smile at her sister's speech. She always felt less beautiful when she was near Asuka, and now there was Ritsuko, who was just a more mature version of Asuka. And even though her friend never treated her like she wasn't just as beautiful as her, she felt self-conscious when she saw how much more developed Asuka's figure was than hers. Especially the chest. She thought to herself. Still, her sister could always make her feel better when she needed it. Hikari felt she should return the favor.

"So, you've been watching my ass again, Kodama?" she asked, her tone shy and innocent. Kodama froze in mid-chew, then resumed, her eyes on her sister's smiling face. "Do you really think my ass is cute?"

"If you would drop the sexual overtone, I'd feel more comfortable answering you, sis." Replied Kodama, her eyes measuring Hikari's mood. Hikari continued to smile a warm smile.

"Tell you what, sis, I will tell you where to go to buy as many pictures of me as you want. Heck, you could wallpaper your room with pictures of me." She said, her tone still sweetly innocent. Kodama's eyes narrowed a little. She considered something for a moment, then seemed to change the subject.

"Do you have enough money, sis? If not, I can spare you a little this week."

"I've got enough, Kodama, but I will always accept more if you feel you should." Was her sweet reply. Kodama set her fork down and stared at Hikari.

"Tell me you didn't do something unsavory like pose for dirty magazines or sell your underwear to some pervert shop, sis. If you did, I'll still love you and help you get free from the bastards, but I'll also have to throw you an ass beating." She said levelly. Hikari kept smiling.

"Back to asses again, sis? Is this a new fetish for you?" Hikari returned the question. Kodama swiftly stood, dodged around the table and took Hikari's bare shoulders in a firm, dominating grip.

"Damn the jokes, Hi-chan. I'm serious as a heart attack, kiddo. Did you do something stupid? Do you need my help?" her eyes, locked into Hikari's, conveyed her absolutely serious state. "I promise you, sis, if you do need my help, you'll have it. And I won't tell anyone. Not even Nozumi. It will stay between us."

"Kodama, I'm fine! Really. I would never do something that cheap or dirty! How could you think I would?" asked a stunned Hikari of her older sister. She had never seen her sister so serious in her life. Kodama watched her eyes intently for another several heartbeats, then folded her middle sister into a hug. It was several seconds before she released her and returned to her breakfast. "What was that about, sis?" asked a confused Hikari. Kodama shoved a forkful of hash browns into her mouth and chewed. "Kodama?" asked Hikari, sitting across from her older sibling. The sibling in question swallowed, then took a drink of the OJ before answering the unspoken question in her sister's eyes.

"Sorry, Hi-chan. I just thought that you might have gotten mixed up in something and needed some support since you were talking about buying pictures of your ass and having plenty of money for shopping. I should have trusted that you were smart enough not to fall for that trick." Said Kodama softly, shoveling in another mouthful. "It's just that I saw a bunch of photos on the computer that belongs to the brother of a friend, and it had all these pictures of schoolgirls naked and having sex with one or more guys." Her sister continued after she had swallowed again.

Hikari blinked. "That's all? Kodama, that's been happening for years. Why the sudden concern?"

Kodama studied her younger sister's face intently. Having reached some kind of decision, she answered the question. "Because most of the photos had your school's uniform, and I even recognized two of the girls."

"Which two?" asked a stunned Hikari. Kodama shook her head.

"Not your problem, kiddo. They aren't in your class anyway. They were in mine last year, though. Anyway, they're someone else's problem, so you don't need to get involved. I was just scared that I would see you pictured there, or that you had been lured into something like that." Kodama watched Hikari's stunned eyes for a moment before she continued. "Promise me that you'll tell me if you need help, Hi-chan. Please. I don't want to have something happen to you because you thought no one would help you. You're my sister. I'll always be there for you."

"I promise, Kodama. And just so you know, you're not the only one who is concerned with my honor." She smiled back. Kodama raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Oh? And who else is watching my kid sister's cute ass?" asked her older sister playfully.

"He'd blush if you knew, so keep it quiet, but Shinji is something of a white knight when it comes to things like that." Giggled Hikari. "You wouldn't know it to look at him, but he's really into protecting his friends and loved ones."

"So this is about Shinji, after all." Laughed Kodama. "Tell me, have you told him how you feel yet?"

"Kodama!" growled an exasperated Hikari, "he's just a friend!"

"Well, he's a better choice than that Suzahara guy you've had a crush on for years now. I still think that the jock is not your type. The group he hangs out with is definitely a bad crowd." Insisted her sister.

"Is that a fact?" countered Hikari, stubborn pride making her press the issue with her sister. "Well, you might be interested to learn that he and Shinji are good friends. What does that make Shinji, then?"

"Someone who is desperately in need of friends." Shot back Kodama. "In particular, GIRLfriends."

Hikari sighed, standing from where she had been sitting opposite her sister and preparing a plate for her younger sister, as she had heard sounds of movement from the youngest Horaki daughter's room. "He's got better choices than me in that regard; he works with Asuka and Rei and lives with Asuka and Misato, and now Ritsuko lives there too and spends much of her time with them at NERV as well." She muttered. "What have I got to compete with them?" she asked herself quietly, touching her A-cup chest thoughtfully.

"What did I tell you about that?" admonished Kodama, clearing her plate and draining her glass. "Good breakfast, Hi-chan." Kodama stretched her arms over her head. Hikari shot a covert glance at her older sister's chest. It had been six months since the oldest of the sisters had reached a modest C-cup. Rei's already a solid B, and Asuka and Ritsuko are firmly in the C range. And god, what is Misato, anyway? Double D? E, perhaps? And come to think of it, that Airi woman was about a D by the look of it. Guess my A cup isn't exactly voluptuous next to those racks. Her sister's voice broke into her depressing thoughts.

"So, are there really pictures of you, or was that just a joke?" asked Kodama. Hikari, thinking of Ritsuko's little plan for Aida's pictures, smiled, her thoughts about her less-than-impressive cup size vanishing.

"You know how the boys at school were always peeking in on you and the girls?" she asked Kodama, who had been a Class Rep all the years she had been at Hikari's school.

"Yeah, they're perverts, but then, boys will be boys, I guess." Affirmed Kodama.

"Well, since Aida got there, there has been a healthy business in selling pictures of the most popular girls to other boys." Continued Hikari, blushing a little as she remembered that she was fairly high up the list.

"When did you learn about this?" asked Kodama.

"Yesterday. Ritsuko found out about it and she has a plan to take 80% of the profits as "modeling fees" for those of us in the top five."

"She plans to model for the freaks?! And what do you mean `those of US in the top five'?" exploded Kodama.

"Well…yeah…it seems that I'm number 5 in the sales category." Hikari gave her sister a nervous laugh. "And no, we won't model for them. We'll just charge a fee for not killing them for taking the pictures." Hikari saw Kodama's still unconvinced look, and moved to capitalize on her advantage. "Besides, it's not like we can stop them from taking the pictures, is it, Kodama?" she asked in her most reasonable tone. "So if you can't stop them, make them pay in some other way. You were the one that taught me that, sis." She challenged. After considering the merit of her sister's argument, she sighed in defeat.

"You're right about that, Hi-chan. And even if you did kill them, others would just come forward to fill the demand. But at least you'll get some lunch money from this little exercise." She was surprised to hear Hikari giggle excitedly. "What's so funny, sis?" she asked.

"You could buy a lot of lunch with 9,250 yen a day." Giggled Hikari, her excitement easily showing through. Kodama's jaw dropped.

"Are these boys setting up shop in the shower room, Hikari?" she asked, her tone disbelieving.

"No, it's an average for the top five and factors in a common price for all types of photos. Aida has been known to get shots of us changing before, but Asuka said that Rit-chan had plans to block that once we set the hook into him."

"And he'll agree to these terms? Doesn't seem likely." Observed Kodama.

"He better, or Asuka will beat him to death for selling pictures of her to the boys. I guess that having a reputation for violence can be a good thing." Hikari added the last as an afterthought. "I just wish she wasn't so mean to Shinji. Of all the boys at school, he's the only one that hasn't bought pictures of girls or tried to take advantage of us."

"Maybe he's just good at putting up a front?" suggested Kodama. Hikari shook her head.

"I'd be willing to bet that if I took off my clothes in front of him, he's just blush and run away. At the least, he'd turn his back. It's just how he is."

"I don't know. Boys are boys after all." Was Kodama's reply.

"I'll bet you." Offered Hikari.

"That sure of yourself?" countered Kodama.

"No, just sure of him." Answered Hikari. About then, the youngest of the siblings flew into the room, colliding squarely with Hikari, who was waiting with her arms open to hug her younger sister. Kodama smiled as Nozumi, once free of Hikari's hug, ran to her and received a hug from her oldest sister. Hikari put a plate in front of her and began to load it up, as conversation fell to what the youngest sister had planned for today.

Ritsuko Inoue awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread rolls and cinnamon. Looking to the bed beside her, she saw that Asuka was already gone. Ritsuko slipped out of bed and headed for the bathroom. She was dressed in the shirt and shorts that Asuka had given her the night before and when she found the bathroom locked, she guessed that Asuka was in there. She decided to peek in on breakfast and see what Shinji was making.

Stepping around the corner, she saw Shinji putting icing on the tray of cinnamon buns and buttering the tops of the breakfast rolls on the pan next to the buns. There was also bacon and gravy on the stovetop and rice was cooking in the small cooker. Ritsuko yawned, covering her mouth with her hand and said "Good morning, Shinji. Smells great." Shinji turned to her and smiled.

"Thanks. I hope you like this kind of breakfast."

"It's good. How long have you been up?" she asked, sitting at a chair and watching him return to the icing of the buns.

"Not too long." Since I woke up after Asuka and I…god, I'm going to die. He shrugged. "Just felt like making some pastries."

Just then, Ritsuko heard the bathroom door open, and she stood and looked out to see Asuka, wrapped in a towel, walk to her room. Ritsuko glanced back at Shinji, saying "Well, I'm gonna get ready. See you in a bit?"

"Sure. I'll be here." He answered. I might be dead, but I'll still be here.

Oddly enough, when Asuka appeared, dressed in her favorite sundress, she gave Shinji no sign that she planned to kill him. Indeed, the only thing she said was "Morning, Baka. You made cinnamon buns for breakfast, I see." And proceeded to devour two of the buns. Shinji was silent, waiting to see what Asuka would do. What she did was absolutely nothing. There was no sign that she had even the slightest thought about what had happened that morning. She was even a little kinder than normal this morning. About ten minutes after Asuka arrived to eat, Ritsuko breezed in.

"Good morning, Ritsuko. Are you hungry?" asked Asuka, digging into her breakfast. Ritsuko was dressed in her sleeping tee shirt and shorts again, since she hadn't had an opportunity to borrow an outfit that morning.

"Starved. And you?" asked the older teen, piling her plate with food.

"Yeah. Baka did pretty good with these cinnamon buns." Agreed Asuka, her voice calm. "So, are you ready to shop today?" she asked, draining her glass of milk and waving for a refill. Shinji silently poured her another glass of milk.

"Did you know that sugar and milk make a kind of alcohol in the system, making you sleepy?" asked Ritsuko.

"Only if you let it." Countered Asuka, scarfing another bun from the tray. After she had popped the treat into her mouth, she licked the sticky white sugar icing off her fingers. Shinji gulped a little as she did so, and he saw her watching him. He blinked as he thought he saw a smile touch her lips as her tongue caressed her finger sensually. He glanced at Ritsuko, who was chowing down on her breakfast, and when he looked back, Asuka was acting normal again.

What's up with her? Was she doing that on purpose? Wondered Shinji. He watched the two girls all through breakfast, then, when they were done and headed to Asuka's room to dress, he slipped into the shower and got cleaned up for the day. He was dressed and waiting before Asuka and Ritsuko were ready, even though Asuka was already wearing her sundress. He wondered what they were doing, then remembered the situation with Ritsuko's clothes. They must be having a hard time finding an outfit for her. He mused. Reaching for the remote for the TV, he idly flipped channels while he waited. After about fifteen minutes, he heard a groan from Misato's room, so he killed the television and crossed to the kitchen, removed a beer can from the refridge and proceeded to complete the first step of Operation Wake Misato. Fortunately, he was very familiar with the whole process after living with her for these last few months. The door to Misato's room slid closed as the beer was rolling toward her bed, and Shinji paused to wait for the sound of the beer being opened, heard the sound, and so proceeded toward the living room to resume his vigil.

He had barely gotten seated again when he heard Asuka's door open and the sound of two pairs of feet padding down the hall toward him. Shinji turned to look at the two women who he would be spending most of the day with. Asuka was in her yellow sundress as she had been at breakfast, but Ritsuko was no longer wearing the oversized tee shirt and loose shorts she had been in at breakfast. In place of the oversized tee shirt was a tight fitting gray tee shirt with a burnt-orange colored `H&K' on the left breast, and on the cuff of the right sleeve was some more burnt orange letters. Shinji read the letters as Ritsuko swung her arm. The two lines of script read `Heckler & Koch' on the top line, and `No Compromise' was the second line. In place of the loose shorts were a pair of loose khaki cargo shorts, with a black web belt. She was wearing soft ankle socks and had what appeared to be a length of leather strapping tied to her right wrist. In place of her normal dark blue ribbon tying her hair back in a ponytail, she wore a matching leather strip. Shinji noticed that the shirt was very close fitting, but the color hid most of the fine lines. Asuka noticed his checking Ritsuko out. "So, I take it you approve, Shinji no baka?" she asked sweetly.

"Yeah, you both look beautiful." He agreed carefully.

"Good!" smiled Asuka. "Because you're going to be spending the day with us. Has Misato had her first beer yet?"

"Tossed it in about ten minutes ago." Confirmed Shinji. Asuka nodded. She retrieved another beer from the endless supply and stepped to their guardian's door. Cracking it open, she grenade rolled it in, calling out as she did so.

"We're off, Misato. We've got our cells with us, so you can reach us if you need us. Have a nice day!" The pilot of Unit 2 slid the door shut and headed for the door. "Let's blow this Popsicle stand." She decreed, slipping on her shoes and opening the door. The three teens headed out.

"And here we are, so where are Hikari and Wondergirl?" asked Asuka, stopping in front Tokyo 3's largest mall. She began to scan the crowds, looking for her brown-haired friend or her blue haired co-worker. Shinji glanced at the display on his cell phone and noted that there were a few more minutes before the agreed-upon time.

"We're eight minutes early, Asuka." He observed. Asuka merely harrumphed, still scanning the crowd.

"Ah! There's Hikari!" she called, waving to her friend. A figure waved back and soon Hikari stood before them. Asuka looked her friend up and down, then spoke.

"Dressing up, are we?" she asked, her tone questioning. Hikari blushed a little.

"Maybe a little. I wouldn't want to embarrass you by dressing sloppily."

"Yeah, whatever. Who cares what other people think." Shrugged Asuka. She glanced around. "Now all we need is Wondergirl." She added, her tone droll. Another few minutes passed, then Ritsuko pointed to an approaching figure.

"That her, guys?" she asked her friends. Shinji glanced at the figure and answered.

"Yes, that's Rei."

"Brilliant deduction, Einstein. Just how man blue-haired, red-eyed girls do you think there are in Japan?" asked Asuka her tone a bit petulant. "Hey, step it up, Wondergirl; we're burning daylight!" she called. Rei neither slowed nor hurried her pace. Just for the hell of it, Shinji checked his cell phone's display as Rei stopped in front of him. He phone showed 10 am on the dot. He smiled and looked up at her. Rei regarded him impassively.

I hope she read the note. Or maybe she did, but is mad anyway. Thought Shinji. "Good morning, Rei." He ventured.

"Good morning, Shinji. Did you sleep well last night?" replied Rei.

"Uh, yes, thank you." He answered, trying to read her eyes.

"Now that we're all here, let's start the slaughter!" said Asuka excitedly. She and Hikari turned toward the mall, with Ritsuko just behind them. Rei fell into place beside Shinji, who was walking behind Ritsuko. Shinji glanced over at Rei, who seemed her normal, detached self.

"Um, Rei?" whispered Shinji.

"Yes, Shinji?" she replied just as softly.

"Did you…read the note I left you?" he asked, scared that she hadn't.

"Yes. I found it when I awoke." She confirmed.

"And?" he asked.

"And what, Shinji?" asked Rei in return.

"Are you…mad at me?" asked Shinji, his tone betraying his disappointment. Rei said nothing, just watched the three ahead of them talking. Abruptly, she leaned over and Shinji felt her lips press to his cheek.

"No, I am not, Shinji. I will comply with your wish to keep this matter between us. And I thank you for leaving the note. Perhaps next time, you will stay to tell me yourself." Shinji gave her a genuine, warm smile. Rei felt her spine tingle at the sight. The two crossed into the mall and Asuka immediately took the lead, headed for a clothing shop. As they followed the excited trio ahead of them, Shinji had another question for Rei.

"Um, are you…feeling ok…down there? I mean, we…did…it last night and all." He hesitantly asked her.

"I am fine, though somewhat sore. Do not be concerned. In class, the instructor warned us that the first few times would be painful, but it was not nearly as bad as she claimed it was. I am…looking forward to engaging in more of that…activity with you, Shinji; if you desire to, of course."

"If I desire to? Of course I want to." He answered immediately. Then he suddenly recalled what had happened with Asuka that morning. What am I supposed to do about that? They already hate each other; this certainly wouldn't help things. He mentally shrugged and pushed the brooding thoughts away, determined to enjoy the day with four of the finest women in Tokyo 3 as companions.

"What do you think of this one?" asked Asuka, holding up a thin, sheer gown for Ritsuko and Hikari to peruse. The cream colored material promised to be nearly transparent when worn, as well as having a very aggressive cut.

"It's a bit much for every day. What would you use it for?" asked Hikari, her hands holding a somewhat conservative skirt and a pair of tops she was considering for it. Ritsuko had her hands loaded down with two skirts, a top, and a dress and had been searching for another top to match the second skirt.

"For a date, of course. Kaji would love it!" enthused Asuka.

"Um, sure. If Misato was wearing it." Murmured Hikari. Asuka growled a little, reconsidering the dress.

"Cream isn't really my best color, anyway." She reluctantly agreed, putting the gown back. She went back to searching for a dress. As she rummaged through the rack, Ritsuko saw Rei standing quietly with Shinji at the edge of the women's section.

"Isn't Rei going to look these over?" she asked Hikari.

"Well, Rei isn't big on shopping." Replied Hikari.

"Of course not; shopping requires emotional development and creativity, something that Wondergirl hasn't got." Interjected Asuka.

"So, what does her wardrobe look like? She can't just have school uniforms, now can she?" pressed Ritsuko, watching as Rei simply stared at the back of the store.

"Come to think of it, I have never seen her in anything but the school uniform or a plug suit." Frowned Asuka. "Hey! Wondergirl! Baka! Get over here!" she called. Shinji and Rei glanced at her, then each other before crossing to stand before her. "What kind of clothes do you have, Wondergirl?" asked Asuka directly.

"I do not understand what you wish to know, Pilot Sohryu." Replied Rei.

"She means, what do you wear when you are not wearing your school clothes or in your Eva." Clarified Hikari.

"Does it matter?" asked Rei, her voice empty.

"Just answer the question, Wondergirl!" snapped Asuka.

"When I am not in my plug suit or school uniform, I do not wear clothes." Was Rei's calm answer.

"Wha…what?!" gasped Hikari. Asuka was staring at her, and Ritsuko was giving her a measuring look. "You mean you just…go naked?" managed the class rep.

"Yes." Was the one word answer to the challenge.

"Why?" asked Ritsuko, her tone curious.

"When at school or NERV, I have need of clothes. At home, I have no need of clothes." Replied Rei, her tone even and disinterested.

"What about when you're just out and about? Or hanging out with friends?" asked Ritsuko. She remembered hanging out with her girlfriends, and wondered what was going on in Rei's head.

"If the need to go somewhere other than NERV or school arises, the school uniform is adequate for my needs." Stated the azure headed pilot. The three other girls stared at her.

"Let me get this straight, Rei." Began Ritsuko. "There are no clothes in your closet but school uniforms and these plug suit things you wear at work?"

"No." replied Rei. "I have sufficient numbers of bras, panties and socks for the average week."

"Let me guess, plain white cotton, right?" sniped Asuka. "How daring."

"They are sufficient for my needs." Countered Rei.

"But what about when you're trying to impress a guy? Don't you want to dress up in more than just a school uniform?" asked Hikari, her concern for Rei's attitude showing through.

"To what ends, Class Representative Horaki? What does clothing have to do with changing the perception of a male?" asked Rei, her tone vaguely puzzled. Asuka's face turned a delicate red, her temper fluctuating between shocked and mad.

"What are you, stupid, Wondergirl?" she sputtered. "It has everything to do with getting their attention! Don't you know that males are only capable of seeing you if you dress sexily?!"

"I do not agree, Pilot Sohryu. Males can see me irregardless of whether I dress in my uniform or my plug suit." Contended Rei. A thought hit Ritsuko.

"Hey Shinji." She asked, seemingly ignoring the conversation between Rei and Asuka. "Would you help me out for a minute?" She saw his instinctive half step back.

"With what, Ritsuko?" he asked, his tone cautious.

"I just want to check something. All I need you to do is tell me what you think of a dress." She answered, pulling one off the rack after a moment of perusal. She checked it over, glanced at Rei and then nodded to herself.

"I'm not…good with fashion." He hedged. "Asuka or Hikari are a lot better at…"

"They're not men." Was all Ritsuko said, taking Rei's hand and heading for the changing booths. "I want a man's opinion." She added over her shoulder. Rei's eyes slid to Shinji's, then she entered the changing booth with Ritsuko.

"Since when is Baka a man?" asked Asuka rhetorically. "Whatever. It's not I care about his opinion." She muttered, her attention back on the rack of dresses. Hikari smiled behind her friend's back. Shinji sighed and waited for Ritsuko to reappear. He found that he couldn't keep from being excited about what she might be wearing when she reappeared though. Ritsuko is gorgeous. Maybe she'll be wearing a nice, tight dress. He thought, surprising himself with his uncharacteristically intimate thought.

"Why am I here, Inoue?" asked Rei, her tone normally calm. The two were in a changing room, and she saw that Ritsuko was hanging the dress up on a hook. The older teen turned to Rei and stared into her red eyes.

"I want you to put on this dress and step outside so Shinji can see you in it." Said the elf hunter.

"What for?" asked Rei. She eyed the dress. It was a simple dress, black material cut similar to Asuka's favorite sundress, but without the bows on the shoulder straps; indeed, this dress left the shoulders mostly bare, and came to mid-thigh on Rei. Ritsuko interrupted her visual inspection of the dress by touching her arm. Rei turned her gaze back to Ritsuko.

"Because I want you to see the way he looks at you in that dress. You will see that it is very different from the way that he looks at you in your school uniform or plug suit. Just put on the dress, walk out there so Shinji can see it, and watch his face when he sees you. That's all I am asking, Rei-chan." Pressed Ritsuko. Rei stared at her for a full minute.

"Very well." She said, and started to slip off her school uniform. I'll get you a new wardrobe yet, Rei. Thought Ritsuko, smiling to herself. She frowned slightly at seeing Rei's very plain underwear. And some other new things, as well, I think. Those are just too plain for someone like you. Rei tossed the skirt of her uniform to the floor of the changing room and reached for the dress.

"Hold on a second, Rei." Interrupted Ritsuko. Rei's eyes slid to the gray/green eyes of the older girl. "I don't think you knew this, but that dress isn't supposed to be worn with that kind of bra on. See? The straps for the bra would be visible and ruin the whole look."

"Understood." Was all Rei said, slipping off her bra. She sure isn't modest or concerned with body image. First the gym, now this; I wonder what her mother taught her when she was younger. Thought the redheaded teen as she watched Rei settle the dress into place. Ritsuko stepped closer to Rei and began to adjust the fall of the dress here and there for best impression. "Is this correct, Inoue?" asked Rei, ignoring the other girl's adjustments.

"Yeah, it's good. But let's see what Shinji thinks of it." Smiled Ritsuko. The two opened the curtain and stepped out so Shinji could see them.

Shinji was speechless. The black sundress contrasted smoothly with Rei's pale complexion, and her azure hair and red eyes seemed to fit perfectly with the short hem and light material. Ritsuko stood to the side of Rei and watched both Rei and Shinji's face. She heard a gasp, and turned to see Hikari and Asuka staring at Rei. Hikari gave Rei a low whistle and a smile.

"You look terrific in that, Rei." She exclaimed honestly. "Doesn't she, Shinji?" asked the brown-haired girl of Shinji. Not hearing an answer, she glanced at him and giggled. Shinji's mouth was moving, but nothing was coming out. "We'll take that as a `yes', Shinji." She laughed.

"Let's get changed back, Rei." Said Ritsuko, gently pulling Rei back into the changing room. Once the curtain was closed, she smiled at Rei, whom she noted, had a faint smile on her lips and a bit of color on her cheeks. "You liked the reaction you got in that dress, Rei?"

"Yes. It was…enjoyable." Answered the girl, her tone hinting at distractedness. I want Shinji to look at me like that again. It is similar to when he looks at me naked, but it is also different. I wish to see that look on his face again. I will buy this dress. Her decision made, she began to change back into her uniform, hearing Ritsuko talking as she did.

"So, Rei. Can I help you pick out some new clothes?" she asked, her tone teasing.

"I would like that, Inoue." Affirmed Rei.

"On one condition." Admonished the older teen. Rei glanced at her. "You have to stop calling me `Inoue'. I asked you before to call me Ritsuko or Rit-chan. Agreed?"

"Yes, Rit-chan." Confirmed Rei.

"Now that that is settled, we'll need to get some other stuff to go with your new clothes."

"Such as?" asked Rei, tying her bow on her uniform.

"Oh, not much; just some new panties and bras, some perfume, maybe some jewelry. Oh, and a purse. And some accessories; maybe some makeup, though I think I should hook you up with Airi for that. You know, the rest of the outfit." Smiled Ritsuko. In point of fact, Rei did not know, but she got the feeling that she would know by the end of the day. It is of no concern as long as Shinji looks at me like he did today. Rei reminded herself. She and Ritsuko departed the dressing room and began to search out more outfits for the First Child, Hikari enthusiastically helping, and even Asuka got into the festivities, making a comment about dolls being good for dress up anyway. Shinji just stood there, his mind's eyes replaying the way Rei had looked in the dress.

I'm going to need some `relief' tonight. He observed. His pants were feeling a little tight.

Shinji looked at his cell phone's display, noting that they had been at it for three hours now. Around him was piled a collection of bags and wraps that had come from several different stores, and the girls seemed to be adding to it at a steady pace. Rei had shown Ritsuko how the NERV card worked; which wasn't hard, as it was nearly identical to a credit card. The person swiped the card, entered their ID number and that was all there was. At least for Rei and Ritsuko's cards. Rei had looked at Ritsuko's card and confirmed that her card was like her own - no limit on anything. Asuka had grumbled and growled about Misato being a tightwad, but then brightened and demanded Shinji's card. As he hardly ever bought anything, he had plenty of loose currency available. Or he had before she took his card. He was sure that by the time the card was done, it would be as played out as Asuka's. Hikari had to make due with her own money, but was being treated to several items purchased by Rei and Ritsuko for `consulting fees' in regard to Rei's quest for a real wardrobe.

The girls had hit seven different clothing stores, three shoe stores, two accessory shops, a bath and shower product store and were still planning to hit a couple of cosmetic stores and the styling salon for Asuka and Hikari. Ritsuko had shrugged and said her current style was good for her, and Rei flatly refused to change her hair's appearance. For some reason, Shinji was relieved when she had refused to change her hairdo. Ritsuko had suggested that they hit a couple of sporting wear stores as well, in preparation for the next weekend. Shinji had played pack mule and got to give his opinion on several different outfits for all the girls. Asuka's outfits had gotten more and more provocative as the day progressed and Hikari had been getting more and more daring as well. Ritsuko had shown herself to be less daring than Asuka, but more aggressive than Hikari when it came to outerwear. When it came to underwear, however, the girls had all gotten much more sexy items than Shinji had thought they would. Rei had chosen a couple that even Asuka had been too timid to buy. And that was saying a lot.

For now, though, it was time for a snack. They had hit the food court and Ritsuko had shown that she had a sweet tooth, and Rei had even tried a couple of her snacks, though she seemed less enraptured by sugar's call than Rit-chan. Shinji sat at the table, nibbling on a serving of fried rice and chow mien chicken. Ritsuko was working on an ice cream parfait nearly a foot tall, Asuka was having grilled steak with mashed potatoes, and Hikari eating a modest salad with chicken strips. Asuka had shrugged off the very notion of `diet' as ridiculous. Rei excused herself for a moment and headed for a store across from the food court. Shinji watched her.

The store was an electronics store and Rei approached the counter, speaking with the man behind it. Apparently the man was not used to dealing with Rei as he kept trying to ask her questions, judging by the facial expressions he was making. Rei must have been giving her usual one or two word answers, finally pulling out her NERV card and ID, which made the man more nervous than before. He motioned his manager over, and Shinji put his full attention on Rei, a sense of unease in his stomach. He never thought to wonder what made him uneasy, he just felt that he might need to jump up and run to Rei's aid at any second. But the manager, seeing the NERV ID and card, just swallowed once and started nodding. Apparently satisfied, Rei slid her card, punched her ID in and returned to the table. Shinji wanted to ask her what that had been about, but figured that he would wait until they were alone before he did that. Rei looked at him, noted that the other three girls were involved in a conversation, and smiled at him.

"We will need to stop at a video store, Shinji." She said softly, her hand touching his briefly.

Airi and Misato were sipping coffee at the kitchen table before heading out to see to Airi's needs in clothes and grooming. The two women had very quickly taken a liking to each other as much as Ritsuko had taken a liking to the Pilots. As they were deciding on their order of stops, Misato's cell phone rang. Pulling it out of her pocket, she glanced at the screen, her facing showing her irritation. Without comment, she handed the phone to Airi. "Handle this for me, will you, Airi?" asked the purple haired Captain. Airi took the phone and glanced at the screen, smiling as she saw the name displayed there. She pressed the button to pick up the call and spoke.

"Airi Komiyama speaking." Her tone was sexy and teasing. She heard the sudden intake of air from the other end and her smile grew bigger. "Hello? Is anyone there?" she asked innocently.

"Ah, miss Airi! Kaji here. How are you doing this morning, my dear?" came the smooth and cocky voice of Misato's ex.

"Hello? Anyone there?" asked Airi, ignoring his answer. "Hmm. Must be a crank call." She added, ending the call as Kaji was trying to get her attention. Misato cracked up laughing.

"You are vicious, Airi." She gasped between laughs. "I loved that!"

"Well, that should cool Romeo down a little. Still," she paused to smile at Misato. "bet he calls back in less than five minutes."

"No bet. I know him too well. And we better get out of here; he knows were I live and he's doubtlessly on his way here, probably with your pet ape in tow." Snorted Misato, rising and setting her cup in the sink. Airi rose as well and added her cup to the one in the sink.

"Junpei may be an ape, Mi-chan, but he serves his purposes." Airi rejoined. Misato arched one brow at her new friend.

"Are you finding my Shinji more and more attractive now?" she teased.

"Yes, but not for the same reasons you are, Mi-chan." Returned Airi smoothly. Snagging her keys and purse as they walked out the door, Misato asked Airi a question that had been bothering her for a bit.

"Why do you call nearly everyone `chan'?"

"Habit, I suppose. It started Rit-chan. She's a nice girl, and it seemed to reassure her when I called her that, and I live…lived in Hollywood, where someone in my business is expected to call everyone `darling' or `dear' and mean it about as much as one means it when they tell you that they liked your last Oscar acceptance speech." Replied Airi. "I'm sure that the Hollywood here is still about as real as processed cheese."

"Well, yes and no. With the effects of Second Impact, and the sudden rise in water level, most of California is under about 80 feet of water. Of course, Hollywood just moved into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, and kept right on turning out celluloid crap by the mile." Misato paused, evaluating her thoughts before she spoke again. "Still, it's probably for the best that part of the six billion dead accounted for nearly all the current batch of actors and directors. Always good to change the lineup from time to time to prevent stagnation of talent, right?"

"Drowning nearly ninety percent of the Earth's population to prevent stagnation in Hollywood seems a touch extreme, but I suppose you can always see a silver lining if you try hard enough." Demurred Airi. Not that there aren't a few of my colleagues I'd gladly drown or anything. She thought to herself honestly. She heard a happy little snorting giggle from Misato. "What was that about?" she asked her watchdog.

"Just a little hentai thought." Snickered Misato. Airi smiled.

"And that thought was?" she pressed, leadingly.

"Part of the boon of having such a sudden drop in population was that several older laws and customs were destroyed as well. If you didn't know it yet, the age of consent is down to 14, multiple partner marriages are common, the ratio of males to females is fifty five percent to forty five percent making women the primary partner in relationships and nearly all religions have had to do away with their old-fashioned nonsense." Airi smiled at Misato's happy little speech. But while she understood where Misato was coming from, she heard something else as well.

"So the Pilots are all of legal age, then?" Misato stopped, frowning.

"Yeah, they are. Which means, if they become sexually active, there is nothing wrong with it." Her frown increased a little. "Well, except for maintaining a good synch score and teamwork out there against the angels." The Captain shot the actress a dark look. "What are you thinking about, Airi?"

"Relax, Mi-chan." Assured the actress. "I'm just learning more about this place, that's all. You should know that I wouldn't hurt your pilots. Especially Shinji." Misato relaxed, knowing that Airi was telling her the truth. Since that morning in Shinji's room, she and Airi had come to a complete understanding on the issue of protecting the three pilots. "And here is a thought for you: if you and he were to become intimate, no one would have any grounds for interfering with you."

"Except for Commander Ikari. Not that he would care unless it endangered his control over the pilots." Corrected Misato.

"You seem to feel the same way about him that I do. Correct?" asked Airi, gazing into Misato's eyes.

"You are correct, Airi Komiyama." Confirmed Misato firmly. "Well, let's get going. You've got an appointment with a stylist and you and I have an appointment with several clothing stores." The two got into her well-worn blue machine of death.

"Maybe we'll run into our room mates there." Observed Airi, fastening her seatbelt and taking a firm grip on the window bar and dash as Misato revved the motor to get it warmed up for another try at free flight.

"I hope not, for Shinji's sake. Remember, we'll be getting some underwear and I don't know how well Shinji could stand up to seeing those four girls in such skimpy clothes." Laughed Misato, launching the car at well past two gees. Kamikaze Katsuragi rode again and insurance companies cried in anguish.

"Come on, Shinji. We need to get some gear for next Sunday." Said Ritsuko, pulling Shinji into the sporting goods store with her. Rei followed Shinji and Asuka and Hikari were already inside the store. Asuka tossed her head questioningly at the active wear section and Ritsuko nodded, the five teens headed for the clothing. "OK, we need some clothes to wear under the camo and fatigues, and it's most comfortable to wear spandex or Lycra shorts and tops, so let's find some we like." Directed Ritsuko. She let go of Shinji's hand and pointed to the next section over. "Shinji, grab some bike shorts and a pair of swim trunks that fit you well." She directed.

"I presume that darker colors are to be preferred over the normal bright workout colors?" queried Rei calmly, seeing Hikari eyeing some brightly colored spandex leotards. Asuka was considering which of three different style spandex shorts she liked.

"You got it. Black or dark blue will work out best. But in a pinch, any dark, solid color will do." Confirmed Ritsuko. She stepped past Asuka, scanning the labels for her size. Finding it quickly, she snagged two pairs of mid-thigh length bike shorts, a pair of boy short bike shorts, two Lycra stretch tops and a one-piece leotard on her way to the fitting rooms. Asuka decided to follow her lead and selected the same type and headed for the changing rooms as well. Hikari saw Rei select a pair of bike shorts, a top and a leotard, and followed suit, adding two different style tops and bottoms. She entered the changing rooms as well, seeing Shinji studying the spandex shorts he had selected, unsure if it was what he needed or not. Hikari detoured to see what he had in his hand.

"Hey, Shinji. What you got?" she asked brightly.

"Ritsuko told me to get some bike shorts and a pair of swim trunks, but I don't know if this is what she meant." Answered Shinji, his eyes suspiciously studying the thin, sheer garment in his hand. Hikari smiled.

"That's what you want, Shinji." She confirmed.

"It looks a little small, but it seems to be the largest one they have." He said.

"Here. Let me see." Commanded Hikari, holding out her hand. She had her clothes in the other hand. Shinji handed the small amount of cloth to her. She spread it out, checking it visually. "Looks a little big for you. Here, hold these." She said, handing him the collection she had amassed. Shinji did so, noticing how flimsy her choices seemed. Hikari, now with both hands free, held the shorts to his hips. Shinji flinched when he felt her hands touch his hips. "Hold still." She ordered. Shinji did so, noticing that from this perspective, he could see her small breasts clearly outlined against the light colored carpet. His dick stirred at the sight.

Not now, damn you! He ordered his penis sternly. For god's sake, she's the class rep! His penis was unimpressed by that face. All it saw was a pretty girl nearly close enough to touch. It grew harder.

"Yeah, I thought so. You need one size smaller." Confirmed Hikari, standing and stepping to the rack and selecting the right size for Shinji. "Here, go try this on. I'll tell you if it's the right size." Shinji hesitated. "Well, go on!" she ordered, her hand making a shooing motion.

"Alright." He said, taking the shorts and heading for the changing rooms. Hikari carried their bags closer. After a couple of minutes, Shinji slid the curtain open a bit. "Um, I think these are a little too small." He stated hesitantly.

"They shouldn't be. Come out here so I can see." She replied.

"I'd rather not." He said, blushing.

"Hey, we showed you our clothes, so it's only fair. Now get out here." She stated. Shinji stepped out from behind the curtain, his face red as a beet. Hikari checked out the shorts. And his nearly fully erect dick. Is that his penis? She wondered. That's…impressive. I thought that they would be smaller. Maybe his just looks big. Hikari stepped closer to Shinji, who instinctively stepped back a little. Hikari grabbed his arm. "I'm not going to bite you, you know." She said. "I'm just going to check the fit." She then reached down and pinched the spandex waist a bit, seeing how snug it was. Her eyes, however, were on his large bulge. When her hand touched his shorts, she saw the whole outline swell. My god. It is that big. Hikari was stunned.

"Those look good on you." She managed. "Yeah. You're…they're the right size."

"If you say so." Agreed a skeptical Shinji. "They feel kind of tight, though."

"They're supposed to. Here, I'll show you." She said, taking her clothes and stepping into the changing room he had been in. Shinji found himself shut out, still wearing the snug shorts. It wasn't but maybe a minute later when the curtain opened and Hikari stood there in her spandex shorts and stretch top. Shinji couldn't help but notice that her chest looked much better in the tight, thin cloth. And her shorts fit her like a second skin. "See? They're supposed to be snug." She said, stepping closer to him. His penis turned to steel. "Feel how little play there is in the waist." Said Hikari, turning her hip toward him. Shinji carefully reached out and touched her spandex clad hip. It feels like she's not wearing anything! His brain babbled. He gently pulled at the cloth a little. It was indeed snug. Snug enough that he could see that she wasn't wearing anything under the top and shorts. A covert glance into the room showed him her bra and panties lying on top of her skirt and top. He shifted his eyes back to Hikari's body. And found himself looking at her chest again. "The top is of a different material; that's why it isn't shiny." She observed, mistaking his attention. "It feels a little courser too. See?" she asked, pushing his hand up to her top. His fingers accidentally brushed over her breast as he raised it. Hikari felt an electric thrill run through her body, originating from her breasts. Shinji felt the difference in texture, but his mind was on the hard nipple he had felt. Is she excited? At seeing me? No, couldn't be that; it must be the cooler air from the ducts. Like when Misato's nipples get hard when she comes out into the apartment after a hot bath…Wrong thought! He realized too late, as his dick spasmed in excitement, threatening to escape its confinement.

"Shinji, would you come here for a moment?" asked a voice from beside the two. Shinji turned to see Rei's head sticking out from her curtained room.

"S…sure, Rei." He managed. Hikari's cheeks were red, and she silently turned back into the changing room to change back into her normal clothes.

"Hikari, would you please hand Shinji his clothes?" asked Rei, her voice soft. Hikari's arm slipped out a moment later with Shinji's clothes in her hand. Rei took them and pulled Shinji into her room. "I suggest that we change back before Sohryu gets done with her outfits." Said Rei. She was currently dressed in a leotard that had very little area. Handing his clothes to him, she slipped the leotard off, and carefully put it back on its hanger. Standing in front of him naked, she turned to see him slipping off the shorts in preparation to put his normal clothes back on. She also saw his raging hard on. She stepped over to him, touching his cheek with her hand. He turned to face her, but felt her lips instead, as she kissed him, her other hand falling to his penis. She slowly broke the kiss and pressed a finger to his lips as he started to speak. Swiftly, she slipped to her knees and next thing Shinji knew, her lips were wrapped around his throbbing shaft. As she began to bob her head up and down his length, his conscious mind went on vacation.

Airi tossed her head a few times as she watched herself in the mirror, admiring her restored hairstyle. She had talked Misato in to getting her hair done as well, at least to the degree of a trim and a light treatment. Ah! Back to normal after all these months. She thought, admiring the crisp, clean lines and professionally rendered lay of her short hairstyle. Rit-chan will feel better now that all traces of her attempt at this are erased. I shouldn't have talked her into attempting it; my normal style is much more difficult to do than her simple long hair job. The actress remembered how much it had bothered the teen when her reluctant attempt at trimming Airi's hair had taken a disastrous turn. Airi had been sure that Ritsuko blamed her lack of skill for `spoiling' Airi's Academy Award winning, Oscar winning, film festival goddess looks. Junpei hadn't even noticed what was different about her hair, and Celsia just griped that she had bigger problems than just a simple botched trim. It had been so disturbing to see the normally happy girl depressed enough to skip sweets that Airi had eventually threatened to shave her head entirely if she didn't cheer up. Then again, she was a week away from her period, so that might have had an effect on her mood swing.

Since they had been the only females in the group for the first few months, they had taken to being aware of each other's cycles so as to be able to limit the damage Junpei would inflict with his ill-considered words and actions as well as making sure that they kept up their meager supply of hygienic products. For some reason, elven women didn't get periods, a fact that made both her and Rit-chan very irritable when their periods were causing them grief. Luckily, both of us are healthy and rarely had severe symptoms. It was a fact that Airi was thankful for to this day. Another thing the two human women had learned was that both of them tended to have short durations and very steady cycles. Ritsuko's were a day longer than Airi's, and as usually happens when two or more women share close quarters for an extended time, their cycles had synchronized, which was more or less good for them, and more or less lethal for Junpei. Even now, Celsia didn't understand why Junpei would bother her each new moon, begging her to whip up a spell to create something he called a `menstrual hut'. Airi and Ritsuko had not bothered to elaborate on the situation, and Junpei was too much a typical knuckle-dragger to be able to discuss it without getting queasy. And even if he had of been able to stomach the conversation, he had no clue as to what was really occurring, other than that it involved blood and made the women act crazy. Airi pushed those musings away, seeing Misato approaching her.

"Where to next?" asked the Captain, her freshly trimmed and pampered hair hanging comfortably around her shoulders.

"I believe it is time to get me a more comprehensive wardrobe, Mi-chan." Smiled the actress. "Take me to your shops, earthling!"

"Isn't that supposed to be `leaders'?" teased Misato.

"I met your leaders and I think I'll pass on meeting them again, thank you." Replied the younger woman. Misato shared her sentiment. Commander Ikari was not the model of a convivial host or affable leader. No, most would rather have a lunch in hell with the devil than have to converse with Gendo Ikari.

Asuka slipped back into her normal clothes and collected the items she would be getting. When she stepped out of the cubical, she saw Shinji standing with the minor mountain range of bags, his face set in an unfamiliar demeanor. Is Baka Boy actually smiling? Pondered Asuka. Well, I guess even a stupid pervert like him can't help it when surrounded by beauty like he is. She rationalized to herself.

"Excuse me, please." Came a soft, cool voice from behind her. She flinched, hearing the unmistakable voice of Rei Ayanami. She stepped aside so Rei could exit her changing booth. Asuka glowered at her briefly, then heard Ritsuko's curtain slide back. A moment later, Hikari emerged from her booth as well.

"Everyone find comfortable work clothes?" asked Ritsuko, her tone cheerful as it usually was.

"Several, actually." Replied Asuka.

"I know. I wish I could afford all these." Commiserated Hikari, looking at the collection in her hands. Rei and Ritsuko exchanged glances.

"Do not be concerned, miss Horaki. I will purchase those for you." Said Rei. Asuka started to growl and snarl under her breath about Rei spending her sugar daddy's money. At that comment, Shinji lost his smile. Rei beat him to the verbal draw.

"Commander Ikari is neither my father, nor sweet." She stated, her eyes on Asuka. "You will find this out for yourself as time goes by."

"You're so literal, First." Snapped Asuka. Ritsuko, not having spent even two whole days with them, knew that a verbal skirmish was imminent. So she headed them off.

"So who is your father, then, Rei?" she asked.

"I…do not know. Commander Ikari has been my guardian as long as I can remember." Stated Rei, a very faint frown on her face.

"Oh. Did your mother ask him to take care of you?" pressed Ritsuko, wondering what sort of mother the ice-cold girl had had.

"I do not know that either, Rit-chan. My only memories are of Commander Ikari."

"No wonder you're so devoted, First." Snorted Asuka. "With him as a father figure and no mother, it's almost natural that you'd be an emotionless puppet for him." Her tone dripped aggression. Rei slid her a glance a little cooler than a midnight breeze at the North Pole.

"Whereas your emotions are all that drive you." She rejoined, her words scoring direct hits on her opponent. "I wonder, are your emotions so important to you that you would sacrifice everything for them, Second?" Asuka's face was scarlet and her fists balled up, her ice-blue eyes squeezing into a deadly glare at her hated foe.

"How would you like a shoe up your ass, First?!" she bit out, stepping toward Rei.

"Do you propose to attempt to put one there, Pilot Sohryu?" countered Rei, her eyes subtly turning a deeper crimson. Before Hikari or Ritsuko could step in, the other pilot did.

"Stop it. Both of you." He hissed, shocking all the girls with his aggressive, commanding tone. They turned to look at him, and both girls were stunned to see the look in his eyes. He was angry, but more disturbingly, the two female pilots saw despair barely kept in check by the anger. "You're making a scene, Asuka." He said, his voice loosing the raw, obedience-inspiring authority it had had a moment ago, shrinking into his normal, passive tone and cadence. "And Rei, please don't bait her. We…need to work together to beat the other team this weekend and we aren't ready for them. There isn't enough time to fight each other. And we still have to deal with the Angels, too. They're getting stronger and stronger each time, and the last one nearly killed us, Asuka. Please, don't fight each other." His tone at the end was one of desperate need; the need to make the two girls understand. Ritsuko's heart ached at the other tone in his voice: barely controlled apathetic resignation.

Oddly enough, three of the four girls shared the identical thought at the identical time: Who the hell is this and what did he do with the real Shinji?

The fourth girl simply accepted his wishes. I will not fight with Sohryu again, Shinji. My promise to you. I can not bear to see the pain that such actions cause you.

"We should get going." Said Hikari, breaking the silence that followed Shinji's short speech. "Shinji is right; we aren't ready for the challenge this coming weekend. I don't even know what a paintball gun looks like." Her brave attempt at humor worked, strangely enough.

"Well then, I guess that I have a week to teach you and Shinji to shoot like SEALs."

"Sea lions use guns?" asked Hikari, not recognizing the reference. Ritsuko gave a short burst of laughter.

"Stranger things have happened, Hikari." She joked.

"Rit-chan was referring to the top naval special forces unit of the American military, Hikari." Clarified Rei.

"Guys, with what Hikari said in mind, I think we should take a break from shopping and start in on the actual prep for next weekend." Said Asuka, her tone business like and crisp. "We have sufficient clothes for you now, Rit-chan, and all we were going to do is get some bits and pieces and spend more of NERV's money. We can do that next time."

"And we should leave a few unexplored stores for next time as well." Chimed in Hikari, smiling at Asuka.

"It would be bad form to buy out the mall on the first trip, I suppose." Seconded Ritsuko. She glanced at Rei.

"Agreed." Replied the blue-haired girl.

"Well, now that that is settled, let's get this stuff bought and get it home." Asuka paused to check her watch. "There's still enough daylight left to do a preliminary eval on the site, and get some basic instruction for Shinji and Hi-chan. Sound good to you, Ritsuko?"

"Let's go, guys." She nodded.

"Man, all they did was shop, shop, shop." Groused a tired and irritable Touji to his four eyed friend and fellow intelligence operative. "Not even a word about their plan. Didn't the Devil say that she was going to tell Hikari today?"

"Perhaps they changed the plan or are going to go elsewhere to discuss it." Guessed Kensuke. The two had managed to stake out the apartment of the pilots and their guests before the party left and had been following them all day in the mall. There had been some close calls, but they were fairly sure that they had eluded detection. Of course, because they were so well known by Shinji, Rei and Hikari, and probably just as well known by Asuka, they couldn't afford to get too close to the targets or be seen by them. So the resulting drop in coverage was an understandable concern of Kensuke's. The two had lost the group twice, but Kensuke's clear thinking had let them re-acquire them quickly. Just now, the Stooge set were sitting on a bench across the through fair from the sports shop the group had entered. They couldn't see the changing rooms because of a large rack of warm-up clothes and the mountain bike racks, but they could see enough to know that the group was still inside the store. "What would they be getting in there? They aren't in the sports section, and they seem to have a lot of clothes with them." Mused Kensuke.

"Who knows? Chicks dig the shopping thing. Did you see how happy Devil Girl and Hikari were in those dress shops?"

"Yeah. And I feel Shinji's pain. Poor bastard." Said Kensuke.

"You got that right, man. You'd never catch me dead in a girly shop." Snorted Touji. About then, Kensuke's phone rang. He fished it out and answered the call. Touji watched him out of the corner of his eye, keeping most of his attention on what he could see of the group of girls and Shinji. They were standing in front of the changing rooms, apparently talking. Maybe they're talking about their plan now. He thought. Then the group moved toward the check out. If so, it can't be much of a plan. But then, maybe the Red Devil just plans to step on us in her Eva. Nah, Shinji wouldn't let her. And would NERV even let her bring that monster with her?

Kensuke ended the call and pocketed his phone. Because they had been such long-time friends, Touji easily read the excitement on Kensuke's face. "Touji, that was one of my agents." Began Kensuke excitedly.

"Since when do you have agents, Kensuke?" scoffed Touji.

"And they said that they found out where the challenge will go down! Come on, let's go scope out the joint!"

"What about them?" asked Touji, jerking his head toward the group exiting the store.

"Well, they aren't talking about their plans, so at least we can scope out the place and get an idea of how to win."

"Hell, why not. This has been one boring day. Let's blow on out of here." Said Touji standing. They saw the group of pilots and their friends look their way and quickly jogged in the opposite direction, trying to stay as close to the walls as possible, which meant that they kept bumping into each other's arms as they moved quickly away.

"Was that Aida and Suzahara?" asked Ritsuko, frowning at the rapidly departing boys.

"Yes, it was. They appear to have spent the day together here." Observed Rei.

"Why would they do that?" asked Hikari, confused. Touji hated the mall unless it was the arcade.

"Um, does it look like they're holding hands?" asked an even more confused Shinji.

"More like jogging with linked elbows." Decided Asuka, leaning over to see them better. "That takes practice."

"Do you think they have feelings for each other?" questioned Rei. The rest of the party turned to stare at her.

"Why would you say that, Rei?" wondered Ritsuko.

"They have been here all day, sitting together on benches, sharing a food stall booth seat, going into the same shops together, and just now, they are jogging while their arms are linked. I have only seen couples behave that way." Explained Rei. The rest considered her logic. It did make a little sense, anyway.

"But those two? Man, I guess it really is the ones you least suspect." Said Asuka. "I wouldn't have thought they went that way, with the way they're always taking pictures of us, but maybe he was telling the truth and it is about the money, not us."

"But…he can't…I…" Hikari seemed bothered by the words of Rei.

"Sorry, but you're going to have to accept it: those two are fairies." Stated Asuka. She looked over to Shinji. "We really have to win this now, or Shinji will be in for a painful experience."

"Perhaps you should be careful when you shower after gym class, Shinji." Observed Rei. "They may have plans for you."

"Rei!" gasped Hikari. The group started for the exits. Still, I wonder what they were doing here together?

"Is something wrong, Mi-chan?" asked Airi, seeing Misato stop suddenly and poke her head back out of the lingerie shop the two had just entered.

"I thought I just saw Aida and Suzahara go by, but they were holding hands." Replied Misato, looking around for the two boys she thought she had seen. "Well, I don't see them now. Must have been imagining it." She said, returning to the rack where the actress stood.

"Who are those two? I think I have heard their names before."

"Classmates of Shinji, and his best friends. They're the other two boys in the Stooge group." Replied Misato.

"Boys? Now I see why you wanted to make sure you had seen what you thought you had seen. Do they swing that way?" asked Airi.

"Not that I'm aware of. They're the ones always taking pictures of the girls and trying to get Shin-chan to sell them my underwear. But then, they do spend a lot of time together for boys." Considered Misato. I better look into that. If they are gay, then I'll need to make sure that Shinji is safe from them.

"So, Shinji's friends with these two? How long has he known them? It seems out of character for him to be friends with two normal kids. No offense." She added, realizing that Misato might take offense at her implication that her pilots were freaks.

"None taken. To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised as well. When he first arrived here, he wasn't interested in making any friends; he's still very withdrawn, but was much worse then. Something clicked when he saw Rei for the first time, but it wasn't so easy with Aida and Suzahara."

"How so? Were they friends with Rei first or something?" continued Airi, intrigued by what Misato was and was not saying.

"No one but Shinji is friends with Rei. Everyone but him she keeps at arms length, even the commander. I hope she keeps the Commander at arm's length; I don't think I trust him with her. But anyway, the friendship with those two got started off with Touji's fist in Shinji's face." Misato was frowning dangerously as she remembered the incident.

"Why? Does Touji hate NERV or something?"

"Not exactly. His kid sister was nearly killed in Shinji's first fight with an angel. The building she was in got damaged when the angel spiked Unit 1 to it with its weapon. Then, when the Angel destroyed itself trying to kill Unit 1, the building collapsed and crushed his sister like a beer can. She survived, but is still in intensive care in the hospital. He blamed Unit 1 for the accident, and when he found out Shinji was the pilot, he hit Shinji. Twice. That day, the next angel attacked and, well, Touji learned better." Finished Misato, obviously cutting the tale off short. "Now they're good friends."

"Ah, the bonding experience of all boys: fighting. So, how did Shinji do in the fight with Touji?"

"There wasn't a fight. Shinji never lifted a hand to defend himself. He took the beating in silence." Said Misato. "He's like that - he'll never defend himself, but threaten someone he loves, and you'll die for it."

Airi considered the Captain's words, then asked "So, who was he saving when he killed those angels?"

"The first died because he was protecting Rei. I think she is the primary one, or at least was until Asuka showed up. Shinji arrived as the angel was attacking, and when I got him to NERV, he was put in the cage that held Unit 1 and told to pilot it. He panicked and refused. His fa…Commander Ikari had Rei brought to the cage, still bleeding and unable to stand, and told him if he refused to pilot it, then he would order Rei to pilot Unit 1. She would have done so at his command, Airi, even if it killed her. While this was going on the angel hit the Geofront with an energy attack and part of the ceiling structure gave way. Unit 1 activated without power and without a pilot to shielded them both from the falling I-beams. Shinji had run to shield Rei even as the beams were falling, and when the beams had hit the floor, he was cradling her in his arms. She was bleeding all over him and nearly crying in pain. Shinji chose to pilot for her, but I can't forget the look he gave that bastard as she was put back on the gurney and wheeled back to her hospital room. I'm terrified that he'll finally reach his limit and snap, and when he does, Commander Ikari will be the first to die."

"The first? Who else will he kill if he snaps?" asked Airi.

"Maybe…all of humanity." Murmured Misato.

"Exaggerating, aren't you?" asked a disbelieving Airi.

"The pilots are under the greatest physical, emotional and mental stress while piloting their Evas. Evas are the most powerful engines of war ever made, immune to all conventional weaponry and powerful enough to withstand the attack of beings of sufficient power to annihilate this planet. If a pilot were to go insane or be contaminated by the Eva's core, they could realistically instigate Third Impact, which would destroy all life on this rock. No, I am not exaggerating, Airi. And that's one of the reasons I'm so concerned about his well-being."

My god, she's dead serious. Was Airi's stunned thought. Are things that hopeless that kids have to fight for the survival of the species? Kids like the pilots? They're all emotional and mental train wrecks! "What's the other reason?" asked Airi, hoping that her light tone hid the queasiness in her stomach.

"Shinji's got a really cute ass." Smiled Misato, her eyes gleefully lecherous. "And he's well hung."

"You're kidding, right?" asked Airi, a little scandalized by her casual lust. "How do you know?"

"Well, the first night that he was in my apartment, he ran into Pen Pen in the shower, and ran out of the bathroom naked. He gave me the full Monte, girl, and I was impressed! And even at his age, he's bigger than Kaji." Misato's laugh was contagious, and Airi joined in.

"Doesn't say much for a man when a boy Shinji's age is better hung." She agreed.

"Not to mention that Shinji is a sweetie and very handsome too." Seconded Misato. "But, that's neither here nor there, so let's get some shopping done."

"Very well." Assented Airi.