Disclaimer: I do not own Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Racing Hearts
"Hurry up, we're going to be late!" yelled a furious red headed girl. She dashed down the street, bag in hand. Behind her was a skinny black haired boy who seemed to be having trouble keeping up with his companion while juggling his bag and four lunch boxes.
"Why don't you carry these then!" yelled the boy back, panting from the effort. He wasn't nearly as athletic as the girl, and it showed in moments like these.
"Baka Shinji!" she retorted back. For a moment it looked like she would continue running towards the school gate without him, but instead she ran back towards him, scooped up the lunches in her arms and rushed back towards the gate. Without the extra weight and difficulty of the lunches the boy, Shinji, was now able to run faster towards the gate. The red headed girl was still faster, keeping ahead of him despite her own hindrances. They passed through the school gate right as a bell rang, indicating the start of class. The teacher at the gate just glared at them as he shut the gate behind them.
"Mr. Ikari, Miss Soryu," scolded the teacher to their retreating backs. "If you don't fix this last minute habit I will start closing the gate early just to teach you a lesson!"
"We love you too old man!" yelled Asuka Langely Soryu over her shoulder while running towards the school building.
"Sorry Sensei!" yelled Shinji Ikari, following closely behind her.
A mysterious figure had been watching all of this unfold from high up in a tree. Now that the two teenagers were almost at their destination, the figure jumped causally out of the tree, spooking the teacher at the gate.
"Miss Ayanami!" scolded the teacher, grabbing at his heart. "Do not do that ever again! And hurry on to class!"
"Yes Sensei," said Rei Ayanami, bowing to the teacher. She then sprinted after Asuka and Shinji. Most girls would have called out to her friends to tell them to wait, but Rei wasn't like most girls. Most times a statement like that is used it's to give a sense of being different, but no one who had ever even seen Rei for a brief moment would have denied the accuracy in her case. Her natural blue hair and blood red eyes were large tip offs that she was different. But Rei's differences weren't just skin deep.
"Good morning Asuka," greeted Rei, running besides Asuka and Shinji as they swapped out their shoes at their lockers. "Good morning Shinji.
"Good morning Rei," greeted Shinji, smiling at her. There had been an awkward period of time after defeating the monstrous Angels that the two Evangelion pilots hadn't talked to each other. Finding out that Rei was the clone child mixture of the DNA of Shinji's mother and one of the Angels named Lilith had been a bit of a shock to the young boy. Also combined with the stresses of having Rei die, be reborn again and then to watch as a whole tank of soulless Rei clone bodies had been killed, no one who knew really blamed him. Well, Asuka had, after getting over her own issues with Rei, but that was just how Asuka acted.
"Cutting it a little close today, aren't you?" asked Asuka smugly.
"I was waiting for you two at the school gate for the last 17 minutes," replied Rei calmly, almost emotionlessly. "I was in the tree by the gate for the best scouting ability. You are the ones who were 'cutting it close'."
"You were in the tree? In a skirt?" asked Asuka indignantly.
"But what if someone looked up at you?" asked Shinji.
"Human's don't often look up if they don't know something is there. And no one did today," said Rei calmly. "We had better hurry though, we have roughly a minute to get into class."
"See you two after class!" said Shinji, rushing off. He was in a different class than Rei and Asuka. Unlike in middle school where they had all been together, the high school actually had enough students to have more than one class for each grade.
Rei moved to head to her own class, but someone stopped her. Rei turned around and saw Asuka grabbing her arm. The red headed girl was looking right at Rei, her face burning bright red.
"Yes?" asked Rei, confused by the girl's actions.
"Don't you ever do that again," said Asuka.
"Do what?" asked Rei, running through the events of today in her mind to figure out what she had done to infuriate the other girl.
"Endanger yourself by being up in a tree."
"I have very good balance and greater than normal physical characteristics, as you well know," Rei reminded her. "Plus if I need to I can fly using my AT-field."
"That's supposed to be secret!" scolded Asuka angrily. "If you get caught you could get taken away from here. Only Director Fuyutsuki is keeping you still in Tokyo-3!"
Asuka looked away for a moment, somehow managing to turn an even deeper shade of crimson.
"Plus someone else might have gotten a look at your panties…" she muttered, almost under her breath.
Rei felt happy at hearing such a comment and at the touching concern. She might still be less emotional than a normal human, but that didn't mean she didn't feel emotion. She remembered a piece of advice she had gotten many years prior. So, giving a small smile, Rei leaned over and gave Asuka a quick kiss of the cheek, surprising the red head.
"You are a good girlfriend," complimented Rei. "Now we should head to class within the next few seconds,"
Rei turned away and jogged through the school hallway, Asuka trailing absentmindedly behind her. They made it into the classroom right as the bell rang. Their homeroom teacher gave a tired sigh on seeing them, ushered them to their seats and started the class. Rei took her seat in the front of class and Asuka took hers in the back. Like usual Rei was so absorbed by the lesson that she failed to miss the sad, yearning look Asuka gave her.
At lunch Rei and Asuka headed to a deserted corner of the school to eat the bentos that Shinji had made them. He was off somewhere else with the other two boxes doing who knew what. Rei was curious to find out but she felt she should respect her friend's privacy. Although she suspected it was probably just something as mundane as hanging out with his friends Toji and Kensuke. Plus she didn't want to miss out on eating lunch with Asuka. The red headed girl seemed depressed though, so like any good girlfriend Rei decided to find out why and try to help.
"You seem sad," commented Rei, to the point like always.
"Huh," said Asuka, surprised. She looked up at Rei from absent mindedly picking at her lunch. "What makes you think that?"
"You have been picking at your food. Plus you have been sighing a lot today and not teasing me as much as usual," pointed out Rei. "These are usually signs that you are sad."
"Wow, you really know me by now, don't you," replied Asuka, giving Rei a sad smile.
"Is it something I did wrong?" asked Rei.
"What? No!" denied Asuka quickly.
"It is because I kissed you today in the hallway, is it not?" asked Rei, her voice showing worry. "I am sorry that I did so when you told me that we cannot do so in public. I acted without thinking."
"No, that's not your fault," replied Asuka, grasping Rei's hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze. "You're my girlfriend and you shouldn't have to act secretively like that. But the world isn't very forgiving of lesbians, and I just want you to stay safe!"
"I understand," replied Rei, giving Asuka a smile that broke her heart. Then the blue haired girl's expression turned quizzical. "Is it ok for me to kiss you now? There is no one around to see us here."
Asuka looked like she was debating with herself for a moment before she gave in and leaned in to kiss Rei. Rei always enjoyed the feel of Asuka on her lips, the closeness when they performed this human ritual. Almost too soon for Rei they broke apart and finished eating in silence.
A few days later Rei was waiting in at the school gate once again, watching people filtering into the school. She was a usual fixture at the gate so very few students paid her any mind. Several called out and greeted her, and she replied back, like the ritual dictated. Soon among the waves of people rushing to school she made out two familiar forms, both on time for once.
"Good morning Asuka, good morning Shinji," greeted Rei, waving to them. This time they had split the lunch boxes between them so that each of them carried two. Hands full they didn't bother to wave, but Shinji did smile at her.
"Good morning Rei," he greeted.
"Guten morgen," greeted Asuka, looking away and defaulting to her native German. Rei found that curious as Asuka only did so when she was nervous or something was bugging her a lot.
"Do you want me to carry those for you?" asked Rei, pointing to Asuka's two bento boxes.
"No, I've got them," replied Asuka, hurrying past her. By now even Shinji seemed to have noticed something was weird and he matched his pace with Rei's.
"Does something seem off to you about Asuka?" he asked.
"Yes, she seems to be acting unusual today," remarked Rei. "And has actually seemed kind of…off, lately. How is she at home?"
"Well, I've been distracted by other things actually," admitted Shinji, blushing slightly. "But she's been eating quickly, talking very little and heading back to her room. She hasn't done this since…well, for a long time."
Rei knew what time he was referring to and also preferred not to think about it. But she was glad that it wasn't just her who thought something was wrong. She was being derelict in her duties as a girlfriend, even as a secret girlfriend. Plus, she wanted Asuka to be happy. If she wasn't it was very…distressing.
"Thank you Shinji, I will find out what is wrong," said Rei, heading off to catch up with Asuka. "Have a good class."
"Bye Rei," he said, walking off to his own class.
Rei caught up to Asuka in class. The red head had taken her seat already and seemed way more engrossed in a book than was usual for her. Rei wanted to ask her what was wrong as soon as possible but the class was too full of people, too public. She didn't want to distress Asuka by forcing her to talk in public. So Rei just walked to her seat, sat down and opened up her own book. It was some popular light novel series about some Japanese students marooned on a mysterious Island. Sadly the newest volume hadn't been released recently for some reason. She guessed the author was having some type of mental block. This just meant that once she was done with the book in hand she'd have to wait with everyone else for the new book to come out. Rei was patient so this wouldn't be a problem.
Eventually the bell rang and the teacher walked into the classroom, a big smile on her face.
"I hope everyone is finally ready for the sports festival!" said the teacher enthusiastically. The class groaned almost as one but the teacher ignored them. "I expect you all to do your best out there! Remember, have fun! And win, my bet with Fujiwara-sensei is riding on this!"
So it was that Rei was waiting outside in her gym clothes in the hot, baking sun watching others compete. She had a special waiver to excuse her. It said she was sickly, but it was really just so that she didn't risk standing out too much. Asuka on the other hand was forced to compete in event after event, being one of the most athletic students in their class. Really, when she put her mind to it she could beat most of the boys.
Asuka was currently running in the baton race. She was the anchor, and Rei just observed her from the sidelines. She enjoyed watching the sun play through her long hair that was tied back in a tail for the day's events. Her long, athletic legs at rest, her thin, beautiful arms crossed in impatience. The frown on her face as she waited for the runners to finally reach her.
Their class's runner was the last to make it to where Asuka was waiting. But when she did, the red headed girl was waiting; legs like compressed springs, her hand out. When the baton scrapped her fingers she closed them like a vice grip and shot off. Rei enjoyed the sight of her running, gaining on and passing runner after runner. She was running much more seriously than Rei had ever seen her run before. It's like she had some goal to accomplish or she was running away from something.
As soon as Asuka passed over the finish line Rei was at her side, towel and water bottle in hand. She had taken the job as class support just so that she'd be the first to be there for Asuka after every event. It did mean she needed to help out the other students, but that wasn't too bad. She had already tended to the other runners of the baton race while watching Asuka move.
"You did a god job," complimented Rei, handing Asuka the water bottle. The red head took the bottle, took a drink and then took the towel from Rei's outstretched hand. She wiped off the sweat with the towel. "You managed to get second place despite such a horrible starting placement."
"I was aiming for first," muttered Asuka.
"Did you have some goal in mind for winning?" asked Rei. "You seemed to be very serious this race."
"No, no goal," lied Asuka, looking away. She was so obvious about it even Rei was able to tell. She wondered if Asuka had always been this obvious and she just hadn't been paying enough attention.
"Well you can try again in the Borrowed Objects Race," said Rei. "That is the final event of the day and the last one for you to compete in today."
"Yeah, I guess," sighed Asuka.
"Has something been wrong for you lately?" asked Rei. Asuka looked at her in surprise. "You seem to have been off all day and I was wondering if you were okay."
"Why can't you stop worrying about me?" asked Asuka, her voice sounding angry.
"Because I care for you," replied Rei simply.
"I didn't ask you to care for me like that!" screamed Asuka, drawing attention to them. Asuka just looked away, her face red, but in either exhaustion, anger or embarrassment, Rei didn't know. "Just, leave me alone right now, ok? It's nothing you did, it's all me."
And without waiting for Rei to reply, Asuka walked away, calling out to some other friends of hers in their class. Rei just watched her go, stunned and surprised. She saw Shinji off a ways away talking and laughing with his friend Toji. The jock made a weird pair with the shorter, more insular Shinji, but Rei guessed that Asuka and she weren't any less weird to people.
Rei kept herself busy running chores for her class, giving Asuka some space. And she admitted to herself, trying to keep her mind off the hurt that her red headed girlfriend's words had caused. Had she pushed too hard? Had she hurt the person she cared the most for in the world? Human emotions and interactions were distressingly complicated and sometimes she wondered why she was the only one who seemed to have not gotten a manual.
Finally the last race of the day came, the infamous borrowing race. The previous year all of the contestants had needed to go out and each find a dog and bring it back to the field. Lots of biting had ensued and the committee in charge had been sternly chastised. Rei wondered if this year would be just as absurd. Asuka took her position at the center of the field. Folded pieces of paper were handed out. It was only once all of them were out and a whistle was blown that the contestants opened up the papers. The air around the field seemed to drop in temperature, along with people's jaws. There were many vocal complaints about whatever the item was.
"What is this bull shit!" yelled one person.
"You want me to do this in public!" cried another
"I want a different assignment!"
"They're all the same. Those assholes!"
"What do you mean I have to fetch my boyfriend and kiss him on the field?!" screamed one girl.
"My girlfriend will never agree to this!" yelled a boy.
Rei could see Asuka standing on the field, her face showing her inner conflict. Rei wanted to go down there and kiss her. Tell her that whatever she was worrying about was nothing because she had just won the event. But she knew she couldn't. Asuka wished to keep their relationship a secret, to protect her, how could she hurt the girl she loved by acting selfishly?
Asuka finally seemed to make her mind about something. Instead of walking towards Rei though she walked towards the table of the committee running the event. One of the boys running in walked over to talk to her and without warning she punched him in the face. There was a collective gasp on the field. Rei rushed down, the first aid kit for her class in hand. She didn't want to pass on this perfect excuse to be there for Asuka and to find out what was wrong.
"I have got him," said Rei, kneeling next to the boy. She tended to him quickly and bade that some nearby people take him to the nurse's office. Then she stood and looked at Asuka. "Why did you hit him?"
"Because he…Because they…Sie sind Scheisskopf!" yelled out Asuka, more furious then Rei had ever seen her. Tears were actually starting to form in her eyes. "Everything is against me! I want to do the right thing! I planned to do the right thing! It's been eating me up inside, but then this happened. This is why I can't do what I really want to do! This is why I can't be me!"
Asuka thrust the paper out to Rei. Rei took it and calmly read the contents. She could feel a cold fury that she rarely felt building in her as she read it. But she kept it down, keeping in her anger. She tossed the paper to the side and walked until she was face to face with Asuka. She then grabbed the German girl before she could stop her, and kissed her right there on the field. Everyone just stared at them in surprise.
Rei broke off the kiss, ignoring the stares. She just looked at the surprised Asuka and smiled.
"Asuka has kissed her girlfriend per the instructions," said Rei, looking around the field. "She was the first, yes? So that means she is the winner."
"But the instructions say that it has to be a boyfriend or girlfriend of the opposite sex!" yelled one of the girls running the event. "That bitch broke the rules, and she punched Akira!"
Two figures walked up to the table, a menacing air around them. Shinji wasn't large, but he could have a presence when he wanted to. Toji on the other hand was large, and though usually friendly, he could be quiet intimidating while angry. Both boys were at their scariest while staring down the girl and the other remaining committee members.
"That rule is bullshit and you know it you fucking bigot!" yelled Toji. Shinji put his hand on his friend's shoulder, holding him back.
"I agree," said Shinji. "But no more violence. That rule was foul to put in, can you remove it?"
"I'm not going to change the rules to accommodate a few dirty dykes!" yelled the girl. There were a few mutters of consent from the other committee members, but they were quickly silenced by a glare from Toji. It seemed only the girl felt strongly enough about the issue to argue openly. Too bad for her, thought Rei.
Then what are you going to do about this?" asked Toji. He grabbed Shinji, leaned down and kissed the boy. Shinji was shocked for a moment but after that wore off he got into the kiss. The display seemed to visibly shock everyone on the field. The girl in front of them recoiled, freaked out by their kissing. The two boys broke apart and smiled at everyone.
"We're dating," said Shinji shyly with a smile. "We have been for a while. We've been keeping it secret, just like Asuka and Rei, and probably for the same reasons. Fear that our love wouldn't be accepted by those around us. That it's unnatural."
"And that's just bullshit!" yelled Toji. "What I've felt for Shinji is more than any girl, hell more than a lot of other guys are willing to feel for girls! Asuka and Rei are the same, they took the step to kiss and you're not going to allow that!"
"Guys! Quiet!" yelled Asuka, drawing attention back to her. She smiled genuinely at Shinji and Toji. "Thank you for what you did, that was brave. I really appreciate it and wish you two the best. But I don't care if I win this stupid race!"
She grabbed Rei, kissed her once more in front of the crowd and walked away, dragging a slightly stunned Rei with her. No one stopped them and they made to a deserted spot that was being ignored for the sports festival. Asuka turned to face Rei, her face bright red.
"I am sorry for kissing you in front of so many people," apologized Rei. "I did not mean to break our promise, but you looked so sad out there."
"No!" yelled Asuka angrily, startling Rei a bit. "That wasn't your fault! It was all mine! I was too scared to tell the world that I was in love with a girl, with you. I made you hide it, keep the secret for me. You were nothing but kind and understanding, but I was hurting you just by hiding it! I promised myself that if I won the race by a large margin today I would come out. I've been setting goals like that all week, and failing them! And then when I get handed the perfect opportunity to come out openly, it's stopped by those bigots! I just wanted to cry, and still you were there for me, understanding me! I'm not worth your lo-"
Rei had heard enough. She silenced Asuka in the way that human movies indicated was most effective, kissing her. Asuka pulled away and tried to speak again, but Rei kept up her assault. She kissed Asuka once more. Only once she felt the kiss had been a satisfactory length did she relinquish her hold. Rei stared deep into Asuka's blue eyes, her own red ones piercing into them.
"I love you not just because your virtues, but because of who you are, as a total human being," said Rei calmly. "We all have faults, fears. Mine is not realizing the stress my love was putting on you. You felt guilty, obliged to do something, and I didn't notice until just recently. I am sorry for that. You feel you owe me? Well we are in a relationship together, that means we work together to improve it. How about we both just promise to move forward, whatever may come our way?"
Asuka just looked at Rei for a long moment after she was done speaking. Then tears started to roll down her cheeks. Rei brought her hand up and wiped them away, smiling at her girlfriend. Asuka smiled back.
"I love you so much," she said.
"I know," replied Rei with a smirk. She dragged the taller red head into her embrace, kissing her once more.