3

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03/11/2005 - 00:00

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Three

  1. 1

    Rei Ayanami was being watched. Not in the spy-thriller, duck behind a lamppost sense, but in the, 'There's someone staring at you openly' sense. Though the train that would soon pass NERV central was full of after-school passengers and salarymen, she could easily see the person staring at her.

    Mostly because she was sitting right across from her.

    What does she want? Rei wondered, trying to pretend that she could not see the small girl staring at her. I know that I look unusual, but it has been thirty minutes.

  2. 2

    Rei opened her eyes and sat up in her bed, blinking in the dark as her phone rang a second time. Swinging her legs off the mattress, she walked slowly though the apartment and picked up the handset, whispering, "Hello?"

    A horrible keening wail came through the phone, making her pull it away from her ear with an uncertain blink. She was moving to hang it up when she recognized the voice of the Third Child, struggling to be heard over the din.

    "Ayanami!! Ayanami, can you hear me??!?"

    "Ikari?"

  3. 3

    Rei raised her hand and knocked on the apartment door, waiting patiently for the Captain or the Third Child to open it for her. She was not particularly enthusiastic about spending the evening with her coworkers, but she had decided on the train ride over that she should make the best of it.

    Always look on the bright side, she told herself as she waited, that is the old expression, correct?

  4. 4

    Everything went smoothly for three days. Since Shinji was not at school, and unauthorized personnel were not allowed at NERV headquarters, avoiding contact with Bella was simply a matter of rejecting Shinji's invitations to dinner and avoiding getting trapped somewhere that he might be able to corner her and ask for an explanation. Captain Katsuragi, it seemed, had been briefed on her orders, as the purple-haired woman made no attempts to encourage Rei to come over any more. The downside to this was that the Captain was

  5. 5

    Misato's apartment was quiet once again. The refrigerator hummed softly, supplying a gently soothing drone to the kitchen's two occupants as they sat together in silence, one happily licking her fingers clean as the other stared solemnly into space. Pen-Pen had decided to remain secluded for fear of another attack, so there was nothing to break the calm.

  6. For what felt like the hundredth time, Shinji wiped his left hand on the leg of his pants, trying to wipe away the accumulating sweat. Any minute now, he told himself, stealing a glance at the other three occupants of the kitchen with a nervous, sickly smile, she'll be home any minute now...

    The she in question - his guardian, Misato - had called twenty minutes prior to let him know she was on the way and to have a beer waiting for her arrival.

  7. Hikari lay very still, staring up at Shinji's ceiling and listening to the sounds coming from the living room. From there, it sounded as if a gang of wildly obnoxious pixies had overtaken the house, their shrill voices cutting through the entire apartment and driving aural nails into the minds of anyone unfortunate to be within hearing distance.

    It was the sound of fear. It was the sound of madness. It was the sound of...

    "Teletubbies."

  8. 2,3

    "Hey, Shinji," a husky voice murmured in the Third Child's ear. "Your wife can't find her panties, and your daughter wants cocopuffs."

    For a moment, Shinji simply lay on the couch, feeling certain that his dream of quietly watching clouds go by with the pretty, dark haired girl he had seen on his way out of NERV the day before had somehow accelerated into the future, where the two of them were married and happily living in the suburbs.

  9. Rei glanced up from the television, cocking her head to the side and straining her ears to hear past the squeaks and whistles coming from the kid's show currently on the screen.

    Bella, always quick to notice if something was wrong - or rather, always quick to notice if Rei was about to leave - looked up. "What wong Wei?" she asked around her thumb.

    "Nothing," Rei replied quietly. "I just thought I heard something."

  10. Hikari let out a long, deep sigh, rubbing her upper arms with her palms as she stared out at the rolling sea. I think I can see the mainland, she thought, trying as hard as she possibly could to keep from thinking of the fight with the angel.

    From her point of view it had been rather uneventful, all things considered. She simply stood out of the way on the bridge of the Over the Rainbow and watched the others scramble around and bark orders, wishing with all of her heart that she could be anywhere in the world but where she was.

  11. "Could you please pass the salt?"

    "Yeah... sure."

    Barely glancing up to make sure his hand was moving the right way, Shinji reached out and picked up the salt shaker, thrusting it somewhere in the direction of the voice that had asked for it.

    "Thanks."

    "Sure."

  12. Rei stared up at the ceiling of Shinji's small bedroom, trying to piece together the confusing events that had led her to be there. Since she had no active Unit, she had been in her apartment minding her own business - which, as usual, involved sitting on her bed and pondering her existence - when the phone rang. Captain Katsuragi had been most insistent, Rei recalled, that she needed someone to watch Bella for the evening, and that the Commander had already okayed it.

  13. It was not... a good morning.

    "Shinchi - waygup!"

    Shinji groaned, flinging his arm over his eyes as he felt an insistent tugging on his sheet. "Justaminute," he mumbled, wondering if he had ever been more tired than he currently was. "Tired."

    "No," the voice demanded, "Shinji waygup! Guroh es... Shinchi, wayGUP!!"

  14. Hikari stepped off the train feeling unusually light and upbeat, a marked change from the depression she had been suffering since moving back out of Captain Katsuragi's apartment. Touji, and even Shinji himself, told her repeatedly that she had done all that could be expected of her and more, but until today, Hikari had not been able to forgive herself for what she had done to Bella.

    Nothing can hurt a person like self-deprecation.

  15. Shinji fiddled with his NERV ID badge, balancing it on the backs of his knuckles for a moment before letting it slide down his fingers and trying to flick it into the air with his fingernails with the intent of catching it deftly between his first and second fingers.

    He sighed as the card tumbled to the floor with a dry clack.

    "How much longer do we have to sit here?"

  16. Shinji blinked as his alarm clock went off, blaring away whatever dreams he had been having (something better than real life, he was sure) and forcing him up and out of bed with a disgruntled sigh. Throwing his curtains wide, the Third found it to be a hazy, overcast day, threatening rain almost as palpably as Asuka's narrowed eyes threatened a smack to the side of the head.

    Fortunately, these little 'playful' taps had been less and less frequent, especially given the events of the last four days.

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