shin slurpee evangelion
slurpee 0:4--

      David Bever was eating a chicken sandwich for lunch, engaged in reading The Communist Manifesto, when a shadow fell over his book. "Hello?" he asked, turning his gaze upward and hoping it wasn't that annoying Soryu girl.
      "Hi," said Ruri, the girl in front of him. "What's that?"
      "Chicken sandwich. Want some?" David held the sandwich up.
      "No, the book! What book is it?"
      "Oh. Um, Communist Manifesto."
      "Neat. Are you an actual communist, or is it just good reading?"
      "Well...both, actually. It's a good book, and I do favor the extreme left, politically. You like political theory?"
      Ruri considered the question. "Yeah, a bit. But I'm more of the fiction type myself. I'm reading a lot of Salinger right now."
      "Ah, Catcher in the Rye, ne?" David asked.
      "Actually, haven't read that one. It's hard to find translations of his work, here in Japan!"
      "You don't have it too bad. It's even harder to find political theory stuff in English..."

Shin Slurpee Evangelion
SLURPEE 0:4 - It's a Big, Big House

      Once again, Shinji found himself sitting Asuka's hospital room, his arms full of binders. He had volunteered to deliver her homework, and this he had been diligently doing for the past week or so. In addition, he'd tried each time to make conversation, and if Asuka was in the mood they'd watch a Gundam Wing episode together. She wasn't in a very good mood the first visit, though; "I don't need any sympathy, especially not yours!" she had shouted.
      Things were looking up, though. She was feeling better, both physically and about Shinji's visits. She had come to accept them, as was indicated by the fact that she was singing along cheerfully with the Gundam ending theme song.
      "Just love!" she sang. "Kini kuwanai aitsu, ijiwaru o sichau no ha 'Suki Dakara' yo!" Suddenly realizing where the song was heading, Asuka began to hum and gradually drifted into silence. Nice recovery. Last thing I want is dense Third Child thinking I'm 'really attracted to him' or something. To follow through, she decided to change the subject. "Mein Gott! I will be so glad to get out of this place. It's so boring! All you can do is sleep, eat, and do homework!" she complained.
      "Can't you watch TV?"
      "Well, sure," Asuka replied, "but all they get here are stupid talk shows and baseball! It's dull!" She paused and softened her tone of voice...slightly. Very slightly. "Hey, thanks for bringing the tapes. It's preferable to the alternative."
      "Uh, yeah," Shinji agreed nervously, something else obviously on his mind, "it's nothing. ...ah, so you'll be out of the hospital tonight?"
      Asuka nodded. "Late tonight. I'm mostly fine now, and Misato wants me out of here ASAP, to keep the bill lower. But it's kinda inconvenient, leaving so late at night."
      "Oh., our eating-together thing, should we do that tomorrow night? Or, ah, when?"
      "Yeah, that's fine. Just remember what I said."
      "What you said?"
      "You don't remember? Dummkopf! I punched you, and then I said, 'Don't ever try to hit on me, or I'll hit you again.' Maybe I should beat it into your thick skull, so you don't forget."
      "Ah," Shinji responded shakily. He began rapidly talking. "Um, okay, tomorrow night. I better get going. And I'll r-remember too. Uh, here's your schoolwork and things, bye!" He reached up to the hospital VCR, pulling out his Gundam Wing tape, and left the room.
      "Bye," Asuka told him. Man...gonna be another boring afternoon. But soon, I'll be out of here! She sang again. "Do what you do when you say what you wanna say, with or without regard for me. Scheme what you scheme when you're thinking of yourself, you're the Most Likely to Succeed!"

      Inside a mostly unoccupied schoolroom, four boys sat at desks, eating lunch from two boxes of pepperoni pizza. Each had a can of soda, and several empty cans filled the wastebasket. In addition, they were talking.
      "Attention, please," Kensuke Aida began, "this first official meeting of the We Hate Asuka Club (WHAC) begins now, Touji Suzuhara presiding. As you know, we are united by our common dislike--"
      "To put it mildly," David Bever interjected under his breath.
      "--for the bane of humanity, Asuka Langley Soryu."
      fourth boy, Tetsuya Yoshida, expressed that he was only there for the free pizza and cokes.
      "Whatever. Well, we shall begin as our beloved president informs us of the current situation that calls for such dire straits. Suzuhara-sama?"
      Touji bowed and stood, a slice of pizza in one hand. He began reading from a sheet of paper in the other. "Thank you, Secretary Aida. The situation is thus: our poor friend, Shinji Ikari, has fallen victim to the feminine charm of our vile enemy."
      "What charm?" Kensuke and David chorused, as Tetsuya stuffed his face with pizza.
      "Point noted. Our enemy has the charm of an irate skunk. At any rate, for reasons eluding us, Shinji has asked the enemy out on a date for this night, and she has accepted. Our goal is to secretly observe said date, gathering data which we can use to disrupt any romantic relationship that may form."
      "The alliance of the Three Stooges must remain intact!" Kensuke cheered. David looked bored. Tetsuya looked sick.
      "Indeed. A strike force will be formed to achieve these objectives. I, as foe of Asuka and fearless defender of Shinji, will lead this squad. Do I have any other volunteers?"
      Kensuke volunteered. David declined. Tetsuya excused himself, heading for the bathroom.
      "It is settled," Touji finished, still reading. "The strike force will consist of, now list members of strike force...oh. Um, myself and Secretary Aida. With no further business to discuss, the meeting is now adjourned." David left, taking some sodas with him. Kensuke saluted his president before departing.

      That evening found Shinji, willing victim of the enemy, sitting on the couch and waiting for Asuka to finish preparing herself for their dinner together. She's taking awhile, he thought, checking his watch. Fifteen minutes already. He stood up, paced a bit, hummed a little Five Iron Frenzy to pass the time.
      He knocked on Asuka's door. "I'm still getting ready!" she yelled. "Have a little patience!" So he waited further, pacing and sitting and humming. Finally, the door opened, Asuka emerged, and Shinji's mind was blown.
      Her long, reddish hair, not restrained by its usual barrettes, fell smoothly to the middle of her back. Even more red were the flattering-yet-not-immodest dress she wore and the crimson heels on her feet. Her face seemed even more beautiful to Shinji than usual, perhaps because the silver necklace she wore accentuated it so well. Her smile made the perfect accessory, and on that smile was
      Ultimately, it was probably the lipstick that destroyed the communications area of Shinji's brain. ", I-I ah didn't mean, er, you, well I... er," he stammered. "We, well, I was thinking, um, um, casual?"
      Asuka frowned. "You should have said something, dolt! And now you probably expect I'm going to change again, after all this work, don't you?"
      "N-no," Shinji replied, wishing the ten thousand hamsters in his chest would quit squirming so much. "Uh, let's go, then."
      "With you wearing those?" Asuka pointed to his Ghost in the Shell t-shirt and sneakers. "We don't match! You go change." Shinji silently and docilely obliged, retreating to his room, where he began putting on his school shirt and a tie. This is not starting well. How am I supposed to talk to her, when I can't even form complete sentences?
      Things didn't particularly improve in the car. Shinji, still nervous over the recent clothes episode, tried his best to keep conversation to a minimum. On the other hand, Asuka's talkative nature demanded that she remain speaking whenever possible, and her attempts to elicit responses from Shinji met with failure. Neither did it help that he and she lived in the same apartment; considering that they ate breakfast together and saw each other every day, it was marginally like dating a sibling. Furthermore, Misato was driving.
      Uncomfortable? It was beyond uncomfortable. It was tense.

      In the mall, communication picked up, mainly because Asuka wanted buffalo wings.
      "Agh!" she shouted in frustration, after twenty minutes or so. "We've been searching for at least twenty minutes! Isn't there a single place in Japan that serves buffalo wings?"
      "I'm doing the best I can," Shinji protested weakly, his conversation skills mostly recovered. "Besides, what's wrong with rice or fish?"
      "Nothing, provided you don't HAVE THEM EVERY DAY!" Asuka was getting angry. No, scratch that, she was getting angrier, considering that she was already quite seething indeed. "I'm fed up with this! I need variety in my life, and you're just not giving it to me! Why can't you be more accommodating, Shinji?"
      "I am being accomodating!"
      "No, you're not! If you were being accommodating, we would've found something by now! Some nice place with warm, spicy buffalo wings! And we'd be there!"
      "You aren't being very accommodating, either," Shinji said. "We've seen plenty of restaurants that serve non-Japanese food, and you passed up all of them!"
      "I don't have to accommodate you," Asuka explained, "because I'm the girl! You have to be nice to me, or else I'll never go out with you again! Don't you know how these things work, Shinji? Oh, pardon me, you've never been on a date before."
      "You can stop there," Shinji replied, insulted. "Just look for restaurants, all right?"

      "Lost 'em again," Kensuke announced.
      "Man." Touji clenched his teeth. "It figures they'd choose to go to the mall. And the crowd here is huge, too. This rots!" He peered over thousands of heads, searching for his diabolical adversary.
      "They've been walking around for twenty minutes now. Why's that?"
      "I bet they're talking," Touji said pessimistically. "I bet they're having a wonderful conversation and getting to know each other. They'll have a great time and go on more dates, then--"
      "But, my friend, have you forgotten the fundamental nature of Asuka? Annoying, mean, self-centered?"
      Touji's face rose. "Hey, you're right. After all, it is her we're talking about. She's probably engaged in Shinji-insulting, as usual, and he's cowering away. But she did accept his dating proposition...this is so confusing. Man, I've got to know what they're saying!"

      "Lay off about my tie, okay?" Shinji said defensively.
      "It's not the tie itself that bothers me, you know," Asuka replied, irritated. "It's how you tied it. Look, the big end is shorter than the little one! And your knot is hideous! Just look at it!" She sighed. "This was a mistake, a serious mistake. This whole thing."
      "Okay. How about if I take the tie off." He wrestled momentarily with the knot, finally undoing it and pocketing the tie. "How's that?"
      The angry disgust on her face seemed slightly alleviated. "An improvement. But when we find a place to eat, let me tie it for you!"
      The next ten minutes they passed mostly in a silence occasionally punctuated with minor verbal conflict. Finally, they stumbled into an acceptable restaurant. Literally; jostled by the crowd, Shinji fell through a small doorway into an out-of-the-way eating establishment.
      "Hmm," he read, from his new perspective on the floor, "Joe's House of Buffalo Wings. ALL RIGHT!" He hastily scrambled to his feet and yelled out into the mall. "ASUKA! HEY, ASUKA, I FOUND SOMETHING!"
      Asuka worked her way through the mob of people, eventually coming to the entry. "What's this place?" she asked Shinji. Then, her eyes lit up like the Sixth Angel had when it exploded. Well, not quite like that.
      "YAHOO! Joe's House of Buffalo Wings! This is great, this is wonderful! Thanks, Shinji! Geez, I'm starving, let's get some food!" Asuka quickly positioned herself in the line, and Shinji followed.

      "$%#!" Touji swore, as Jackson Ferrell unleashed his Hyper Censorship Combo. "Where are they? One sec he's here, the next he's gone!"
      "That's weird," Kensuke said, standing on a bench. "They've got to be somewhere around here, 'cause I can't see them leaving or anything. Let's keep looking."

      Asuka was happy. Before her lay a Big Bad Bucket o' Buffalo Wings (tm) and a soda, and she intended to remedy that situation. Shinji had paid for her food. And to top it all off, she was Asuka Langley Soryu, the beautiful and fearless destroyer of Angels, who was hungry.
      As a result, the Big Bad Bucket o' Buffalo Wings (tm) was rapidly becoming empty.
      Shinji wanted to start a conversation with her, but there were two main reasons for his reluctance to do so. Her mouth was full more often than not, to begin with, making conversation difficult. And, more importantly, she was happy. When Asuka was happy, she was cute, which inevitably caused Shinji's mouth to function independently of his brain.
      It didn't help that they'd probably start arguing again.
      Our fearless hero stared into his Wings-n-Rice (tm), possibly in hopes that it would tell him what to do. He shoveled some rice into his spoon, using his chopsticks, and ate the rice. He paused, then looked up at his comestible-consuming companion.
      Heck with it. "Hey Asuka," he tried, using the first idea that came to mind, "Do you ever have dreams about Eva?"
      "Mmmh?" she asked, mouth full of buffalo wing.
      "You know, piloting Eva. Imagining it when you're asleep."
      "I heard you the first time, baka, and actually I do. I dream about all the times I've beaten Angels. Every one of my victories! ..Say. Are you getting at something? You asked this question for a reason, didn't you?"
      "Well, yeah...I usually don't dream about piloting. But, uh, I had this--I mean, can I tell you my dream?"
      Asuka shrugged. "Sure." While listening, she returned to her meal.
      "Okay, I was in my Eva, up in the middle of the city, and I wanted to get out. But I couldn't eject the entry plug or anything, so I just sat there for awhile. Then I...well, it's like I felt an Angel coming, I couldn't see it but I could sense it through my Eva." Shinji's face tightened a degree as he remembered what came next. "And then I felt a tremendous burning, a heat and pain, and I sensed myself crashing against a building. Everything hurt, and I was screaming...then I woke up."
      Asuka swallowed her current mouthful and spoke. "It's just like the last Angel, huh? And with you hitting the building, too."
      "Yeah," Shinji said. "It really scared me, especially when it started really happening, just like in my dream. ...Crap, I hate my Eva."
      Asuka remembered something Misato had said, in the New San Francisco Hospital: "I heard how he volunteered for this mission in your stead, you know. Pretty nice of him, especially with his dislike for Evangelion piloting." She thought about how it had hurt her to lose, and about Shinji's pain. How it had hurt him when the red-orb-Angel injured her.
      "Look," she said, reaching a decision, "thanks for asking Ritsuko if you could fight the Twelfth Angel. Guess I didn't see how you were trying to help me."
      "It's okay," Shinji responded. "After all, I still got a slurpee!" They laughed.

      "They're laughing," Kensuke announced. He and Touji had located their targets and were now spying on them, via binoculars. "This bodes some strange eruption to our state."
      "Tell me about it." Touji glowered. "I want to see! Give me those!"
      "No way, we might miss something!"
      "All right. At least tell me what they're doing now."
      Kensuke paused to check. "Still talking. And they look pretty happy, too."

      Later that night, as Shinji pulled on his sleeping apparel, he felt thirsty. So, he went to the kitchen for a glass of milk. In there Misato was having a pre-bed beer. "Heya Shinji," she greeted him, taking a gulp of her drink.
      "Hi, Misato." He opened the refrigerator door, pulling out the milk.
      "So, how was the date?" she asked as he poured the milk.
      "Bad at first. Asuka was mad 'cuz we couldn't find a place with buffalo wings, but then we found something, and things improved from there. We talked some too. I had fun."
      "I guess you've got a thing for her, huh?" Misato inquired. Shinji nodded. "That surprises me. I always thought you had your eyes on Rei, you know. A few months back, when you first met her, for example."
      "Ayanami's all right," Shinji answered, drinking his milk. "But she's sort of quiet and...passive, I guess."
      "Mm. So, are you and Asuka planning to go out again?
      "Maybe. She didn't say anything like that, but she seemed happy. I hope we do."
      Misato finished off her beer and grinned. "Well, here's hoping. I'm gonna call it a day. G'night, Shinji."
      "Good night." He smiled contentedly at his milk.

JACKSON: We now interrupt this fanfic to bring you a commercial.

(As the commercial begins, we see Kensuke Aida walking down a crowded Tokyo-3 street with a can of Brisk Cool Nestea (tm). Smiling widely, he pops the tab of it and takes a gulp. Suddenly, as he rounds a corner, he is socked by Asuka Langley Soryu, who picks up the can of Nestea from his hand. She points to the word "cool" on the label and reads it cheerfully, facing the camera.)

ASUKA: Cool!

JACKSON: We now return to your regularly scheduled fanfic.

      The toaster ejected its contents, producing two slices of toast. These Shinji picked up, spread with peanut butter, and began to eat. He sat down and chewed his breakfast quietly, watching PenPen gobble up a fish. It was about a week after the date, a Friday morning.
      Asuka, dressed for school, entered the kitchen. "Morning, Shinji," she said, pouring herself a bowl of cereal. He responded likewise, and as they ate they casually discussed developments at school and in NERV.
      As Asuka was gloating over her superior synchronization, Misato came into the room. "Speaking of NERV," she interjected, pouring beer on her cheerios, "Commander Ikari's having a New Year's Eve party Saturday for all the upper-level staff, and you guys are invited. It's over at his place."
      "Cool!" Asuka exclaimed. "You can count me in."
      Shinji thought for a second. "Can I bring a couple of friends? Kensuke and Touji? I mean, there won't be many kids going aside of the pilots."
      "Don't see why not. Asuka, do you want to bring anyone?"
      "Yeah, I bet Hikari would like to come!"
      "'kay." Misato crunched on a spoonful of beer-saturated cereal. "I'll run things by Commander Ikari, before training today. I'm sure it'll be okay with him."

      Late Saturday afternoon, Shinji stood outside the apartment complex, waiting for his father. Misato and Asuka had already left to pick up Hikari, and Gendo Ikari had volunteered to pick up Shinji and his friends. Shinji's friends, that is. Aside of Rei and Fuyutsuki, Commander Ikari didn't seem to have many friends. Least of all his son.
      "Father, why the heck did you decide to pick me up?" Shinji asked the cold air, contemplating the distance between the two of them. Obstacles between them. Confusion between them. The car door between them, as Gendo's dark blue Toyota Camry pulled up to the curb. "Get in," he said, opening the passenger side door. Shinji obliged.
      As the car drove away, Gendo revealed that he needed directions to Kensuke's and Touji's houses; thus the ride was far from silent as Shinji directed his father across and down Tokyo-3's many streets. He was actually pretty glad for this, because giving directions was more comfortable than being silent or even talking about anything.
      Kensuke wasn't quite ready; when Shinji came into the apartment to get him, he was sitting on the floor, playing a video game. "Hey Kensuke, we're here to pick you up. For the New Year's Eve party."
      "Right!" Kensuke got up and began looking for his shoes. "Just a sec." It took more than a sec, and several minutes passed before the Camry pulled away from Kensuke's apartment building.
      When they arrived at Touji's house, the athletic boy quickly came out the front door, gym bag in hand. "Hi, Touji," said Shinji. Touji, seating himself in the back, nodded and waved hello.
      "What's in the bag?" Kensuke asked, expecting sports gear or towels, as Touji sat down in the back seat.
      "Stuff for the party. CD's, anime videotapes, a football. You know."

      "Or, as we Americans call it, a soccer ball," Jackson Ferrell explained.

      "A football," Gendo Ikari noted unexpectedly. "I used to play football. It was fun, though I wasn't very good at it."
      Touji shrugged. "No problem. Huh, maybe we could have a game or something." Suddenly, music flooded the car, due to Shinji's putting in one of Touji's Audio Adrenaline CD's. As the car drove onward, all three boys sang along loudly. Gendo didn't seem to object to that, either.
      "Come and go with me, to my father's house. Come and go with me, to my father's house. It's a big, big house, with lots and lots of room. A big, big table, with lots and lots of food. A big, big yard, where we can play football. It's a big, big house, it's my father's house!"

      At Shinji's father's house, most of the guests had already arrived when the host returned. Everyone was gathered in the living room, save David Bever and Rei. Hyuuga, Ritsuko, and Fuyutsuki were seated on the couch, discussing some technical and complicated thing related to the Evas. Shigeru and Maya had formed a separate conversation somehow based around this technical concept, Ghost in the Shell, and Data from Star Trek. Misato chatted with Kaji, who was also being talked to by Asuka. Hikari, too, was engaged in the conversation the focal point of which was Kaji.
      As the Three Stooges entered the room, Asuka visibly darkened from her position by Kaji's chair, in stark contrast to Hikari. "Hey, the guys are here!" she announced cheerfully. "Hi, Touji!"
      "Thank you, no autographs, please," Touji replied, grinning and walking over to an empty chair near her. He sat down, followed by Kensuke and Shinji. Everyone took a second to greet the three in some way.
      "We're back," Gendo said, coming in a few seconds later. "David and Rei still aren't here?" Various replies indicating the negative met his inquiry. "Ah. Well, would anyone like some refreshments?"

      In about ten minutes, the doorbell rang. Gendo answered it, not surprised to find the two previously-absent guests at the door. Equally unsurprising was Rei's apparel; she wore, of course, her school uniform. "Welcome, David and Rei," the Commander said, letting them in. They followed him to the living room.
      "Hey," asked Hyuuga, "now that we're all here, what're we going to do?"
      "Touji suggested a football game. I believe we'll start with that."
      The four Children, as well as Touji and Hikari, decided to play. However, not all of the others found the idea so appealing; Kaji, Misato, and Kensuke instead opted to watch the game. Outside, teams were chosen and boundaries established.
      Team 1: Shinji, Touji, Hikari, Gendo, Maya, Ritsuko
      Team 2: Asuka, Rei, David, Shigeru, Hyuuga, Fuyutsuki
      "Yahoo," Asuka said sarcastically, "with Wonder Girl on our team, we're certain to win. Tell me, do you even know how to play football?"
      "I am somewhat familiar with the game."
      "Look, if you get the ball then pass it to me. With your feet, not your hands."
      "I am not ignorant, Asuka."
      "Whatever. Hey Touji, we have possession first!"

      It soon became apparent that the best football players were Touji, Shigeru, and Asuka. Some, like Fuyutsuki, were well beyond their prime; others such as Shinji and David obviously didn't have their minds in the game. Maya was decent but tentative, Gendo was quite the opposite (highly agressive yet none-too-skilled), and Hikari was just flat-out slow. Even so, she made a solid pass to Touji early on that resulted in a goal. Watching the play from the sidelines, Kaji pulled out a beer and popped it open.
      "Is that a beer?" Misato asked. "Where'd you get it?"
      Kaji grinned nonchalantly. "Oh, I just brought a few six-packs in my car. After all, this is a New Year's Eve party."
      "Gimme!" demanded Misato, grabbing at the beer, which Kaji jerked away quickly.
      "Not so fast, there. Perhaps we can make some sort of bargain."
      "Why, you..." Misato seethed. "Okay, what?"
      It was plain to see that Kaji was enjoying this immensely. "I was thinking maybe a night of fun and pleasure."
      "Kajiii! Is that all you can think about? Human hormone!"
      "Please, Misato, how can you say that? I was referring to bowling and dinner together, just a little human companionship. Well, we all know where your mind is, now." Misato did some more seething. She had really set herself up for that. "All right. Just give me the darn beer!" Which Kaji did.
      Kensuke laughed to himself. This was better entertainment than the game. Watching, he noted that Rei wasn't at all passing to Asuka. Her preferred targets, apparently, were Fuyutsuki and David.
      Come to think of it, he wondered, as a thought struck him, does Fuyutsuki even have a first name?

      The game ended in a 2-2 tie, after which dinner was eaten (order-out pizza--Gendo's cooking wasn't much better than Misato's). At this point someone suggested a limbo contest, so that was what was going on currently, with upbeat limbo music filling the living room. Kensuke and Touji intently watched Misato as she leaned back and inched under the bar.
      "Now that girl can limbo," Kensuke observed.
      "Quite," added Touji. "I could watch her limbo all day."
      This kind of talk always made Shinji rather uncomfortable. He looked around the room, noting the activities in which others were engaged. Now Fuyutsuki was having a try at the limbo bar, bending over backward to pass under it. Off to the side, David was discussing the merits of communism with Rei (a rather one-sided discussion), and Shigeru and Maya were talking over beers. Almost all of the others were part of the limbo contest, except...
      Say, where was Asuka?
      Shinji nearly asked his friends where she was, but almost as if on cue the music changed to Rammstein. Asuka walked back in, came over to Shinji, and announced, "Hey, let's dance!"
      He was caught a bit off guard but quickly recovered. "O-okay," he said.
      Shinji and Asuka proceeded to get down with their bad selves, as "Klavier" blared through Gendo's speakers. "Dort am Klavier," shouted Rammstein's lead singer, "lauschte ich ihr, und wenn ihr Spiel begann, nielt ich dent Atem an."
      Asuka sang along. Well, tried to. "Dort am--ach! Mein fuß! Shinji, watch where you're dancing!"
      "Yeah, whatever, don't ruin it for me. Sie sagen zu mir, schließ auf diese Tur..."

      It was rather uncomfortable in Gendo's car, despite the fact that the seats were fuzzy and ergonomically crafted to fit the contours of one's spine, complete with reclining lever and armrests. The reason it tended to be uncomfortable was that Gendo tended to drive it, and this was the thing on which Shinji was reflecting as his father returned him to Misato's apartment. He would give anything for some directions to give, eliminating the current tense silence.
      A question, prompted by the situation, surfaced again in his mind. Why did father pick me up and take me back? He began to ask it but abruptly thought better of it. Changing his mind, he started to speak again; however, the question now seemed too direct, so he decided not to ask.
      He opened his mouth a third time. "I hear you and Asuka went out," said Gendo.
      Shinji's mouth remained open. Finally he closed it, then said, "Yeah."
      "What did you do?" It was hard to pinpoint the tone of his father's voice. Inquiring? Interrogative? Unconcerned? One of those, or maybe all three at once. If you can imagine.
      "Well," Shinji began. "Uh, we went to the mall and had dinner. Buffalo wings. We talked too."
      "Mm. Enjoy yourself?"
      "Yeah, it was pretty fun. Once Asuka stopped insulting me, I mean."
      Gendo's eyes remained on the road, which was probably a good thing. "That's nice to hear." They didn't speak further, except to say goodbye to each other at the apartment. Shinji went upstairs, prepared himself for bed, and wondered if Asuka was somehow related to his father's motivation.

      Shinji woke up the next morning thinking he was a weasel. When reality (in the form of the bathroom mirror) corrected him, he tried to figure out why his perception of it (reality, not the bathroom mirror) had been so muddled. He finally figured it out while brushing his teeth: in his dream the previous night, he had turned into a weasel.
      The dream began to come back to him. It had been raining, and he had been standing out in the rain, which was why he turned into a weasel. It was like something out of Ranma 1/2; say, hadn't they been watching Touji's Ranma tapes at the party last night? Yes, so Shinji had dreamed about it. A weasel. What had he been doing in the rain, though?
      When he remembered, he almost choked on his toothbrush. He had been kissing Asuka!
      He mulled over this for awhile, remembering all the glorious details before he'd become a weasel. The soft warmth of her lips, the feeling of his hands on her shoulders. The wonderful sound of her voice as she softly said his name...
      "G'morning, Shinji," Asuka said tiredly, entering the bathroom. Shinji choked on his toothbrush.

      Rei's attention was focused on the TV, where Martin Yan visited Sujou in China. At that moment he was attending a banquet, where he advised, "Here is a tip: after dessert is served, don't get up and leave the table! The interesting thing is, they serve sweet and savory dishes at intervals during the meal."
      He then displayed several savory-looking dishes, naming each as it was shown. Rei's mouth watered as a plate of stir-fried vegetables was displayed. Next, the camera focused on a plate of dumplings in the shape of hedgehogs. "Look how lifelike they are," Yan observed cheerfully. "Wonderful."
      After further explaining Sujou banquets, he demonstrated how to make another Sujou dish in volving spinach, mushrooms, carrots, and chicken. Rei scribbled down directions on how to prepare it, leaving out the chicken directions. As the videotaped episode ended, she turned off the VCR and TV and prepared her breakfast, two slices of toast.
      "Look how toastlike they are," she said, looking at the toast. She paused. "Wonderful."

      Jackson Ferrell turned on his midi of "Fly Me to the Moon," stood up from his computer, and began to speak.
      "Well, that wasn't so bad. Hope you people liked this episode. Because it was really really tough to write!
      "All right, we've got some more people to give a Special Thanks to. Specifically, my two new Slurpee editors (Emanuele Barone and Erin Ellis), and all the guys in Rammstein! Rammstein's a German techno band, and they're pretty cool. Maybe you've seen them before; they're the guys with kitchen implements on their faces.
      "But I digress. The next episode is...a complete and total secret. I'm not telling you anything at all. Ooh, the suspense! The mystery! Will Shinji finally confess his feelings to Asuka? Can WHAC thwart his efforts? Will there be another Angel to fight? What will it look like? Will there be Nestea involved?"
      Asuka socked Jackson, picked up his can of Nestea, exclaimed, "Cool!" and departed.
      "Ow!" Jackson got up, rubbing his aching head. "Okay, anyway. Uh, that's all for this episode. As for next time... it'll be good, I can assure you that, so stick around for SLURPEE 0:5 - Superpowers!
      "So long, and thanks for reading this," Jackson said, waving. The midi finished. He turned it off and went to go have some fruit punch.

Copyright reserved 1999 Jackson Ferrell []

Neon Genesis Evangelion © GAINAX/ProjectEva•TX•NAS. No infringement is intended.

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