Chapter 37

The Swim of Things | By: | Genre: Humor, Romance | Rating: M | Series: Evangelion | Status: In Progress | Tags: Alternate Universe, Post-Series, Post-TI, WAFF | Summary:

This is a classic Rom/Com staring the Evangelion cast. It has just about everything you would expect, and probably read before, but is my latest personal take on the genre. Hope you enjoy it.

During the whole ride home from the sports festival Asuka was running her sexy little fingers up and down Shinji’s arm and enticing him with looks of arousal. She wanted something and she wanted it bad. As you can guess this act of seduction worked perfectly and immediately when they got home the two skedaddled off to have some fun in Asuka’s room. And with the new rules limiting the number of activities they could participate in that meant they had plenty of energy to burn.

“Where Asa and Shini goin’ to?” Keiko asked as she was expecting to be able to play with them more when they got home.

“They played a lot at school and now they have to do their homework” Misato said giving her usual excuse to explain what was happening. Keiko knew all about homework now, thanks to some early schooling from her mom, and it was an icky thing to do that was no fun at all. That meant she wanted nothing to do with those two anymore.

Which was a very good thing as neither teen wanted to be interrupted right now. The second Asuka shut her door she started taking off her clothes, and by the time she was to her bed she was naked. A second later her legs were spread apart and once again Shinji’s head was between her thighs, this time facing the right direction and doing the very proper thing to be doing when in a position like that.

“Oooo… gawdddd!!... That was… pure torture… having you be-be-between my legs… Oh gawd… don’t pinch th-there..with y-your fingers… already… you’re going to make…me cuuu….” It was too late for Asuka. She was already past her breaking point from the start and Shinji knew how to best please her. This meant it only took minutes for her to reach a climax. It also meant that she didn’t have time to grab a pillow to scream into and muffle her orgasm.

“What wrong with Asa?” Keiko asked from the living room as she could hear her aunty from outside that room.

“Asuka is just frustrated about how hard her homework is” Misato said making up an excuse while thinking to herself ‘You really need to learn to scream into a pillow girl.’

“Shin-kun…” Asuka started with a pout while trying to catch her breath. “You know when you pinch me there and lick me it drives me nuts… Let me grab a pillow first next time.”

Shinji didn’t actually respond to that, he just continued to orally please Asuka’s pussy. Personally he liked to hear Asuka’s screams of passion un-muffled and it wasn’t really that big of a deal if she didn’t grab a pillow in time. It’s not like there was anyone in the apartment right now who cared if a joyful scream or two was heard through the walls.

Asuka on the other hand was a little self conscious about being heard so before Shinji could make her come again she grabbed a pillow. After all that boyfriend of hers never did stop licking her sweet spot and she could feel herself ready to come again. This too was sort of torturous, but not one kind she minded. “Ich liebe dich, Shin-kun…”

Even Asuka was well aware of how much Shinji spoiled her in bed but there was little she could do about it as her body thrashed around and her hands clutched the pillow that was over her face right now. It just felt too good and she knew Shinji would keep it up as long as he could.

Of course Shinji did this because of his need to prove he could make others happy, and if that other was Asuka and it was in the sexual sense that was all the better. Plus this played in perfect harmony with Asuka’s desire to know that others could be there for her and make her happy too. It was simply a case of two twisted insecurities that just happened to twist together in the perfect way.

After the third orgasm though Shinji pushed it too far. Asuka reached down and grabbed Shinji by his hair. “It’s my turn now Shin-kun.”

“I can keep going if you want, I don’t mind” Shinji answered.

“I can let you go on for the rest of my life and you wouldn’t mind” Asuka joked back. “But you have to let me return the favor once in a while.”

Shinji could tell Asuka was not simply playing around as there was a light tug to his hair accompanied with that request so he did what she wanted and soon found himself sitting at the edge of the bed with his shaft between a pair of beautiful breasts while a stunning red head licked and kissed the head of his cock in ways that drove him nuts. Asuka knew Shinji just as well as Shinji knew her.

Asuka also knew that the payback would not be equal and after she finished up with her blowjob and swallowed the proof of satisfaction she pushed Shinji down so he was lying on his back. “I should give you another blowjob or two…” Asuka could see the little pout in Shinji’s eyes as that was not what he wanted. He was plenty satisfied with one and wanted to move on to better things that would make Asuka happy too. “…But I think since you were such a good mount today that I will spoil you.”

“I love you Asuka” was the only thing Shinji could say as he was mounted in return and Asuka rode him for a second time today. This time though with much more explosive results that gave them more of a thrill than any victory from a competition could ever manage to produce. And it didn’t just stop with a single ride as Asuka was insistent about her little filly self getting mounted from behind by her stud. There needed to be plenty of horse play to go along with today’s events after all.
 

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“A little bit off your cycle for you to be acting so affectionate isn’t it?” Misato joked when she saw Asuka come into the kitchen to start on making dinner. Well sort of joked as Misato had noticed Asuka did have certain times when she was extra amorous and those times did coincide with her womanly cycle, but this wasn’t one of those times.

“Oh, I have my reasons” Asuka cooed back as right now she was pleasantly happy, she didn’t even care that she had to make dinner right now. Normally should would try and pawn the task off on Shinji or Rei but Shinji needed to do some homework and she figured Rei was busy having a little chat with Kensuke about what happened today at the sports festival.

“Must be big reasons if you’re still happy and making dinner tonight.”

“Ah it’s no big deal” Asuka said back to the prodding woman. “Somehow I don’t think Rei would be available right now and if I get Shinji to make dinner then he will have to wait till evening to do his homework and I already have plans for him this evening.”

Misato completely understood what Asuka was saying about Rei but the way that redheaded girl’s voice dripped with honey about Shinji made her wonder what was up. Asuka was just a touch too horny. “So what’s going on?”

“What makes you think anything’s going on?” Asuka asked and then rationalized “Maybe all of today’s activities just got me in the mood for more activity.”

Misato didn’t believe that rationalization for a second. “You know you’re not allowed to hide anything from me, and you know I will get the truth out of you anyways so you really shouldn’t bother fighting me on this.”

“You’re always so nosey” Asuka said looking away from Misato. Her guardian was using the mommy look on her right now and that was something she knew she couldn’t deal with. Best if she just looked away and pretended Misato wasn’t doing that.

“I have to be” Misato said back. “Before when I wasn’t I lost everyone dear to me. No way I repeat that mistake.”

Asuka let out a little “Schisse…” as she knew she had lost to this woman yet again. That was a valid point and one she would never fight against. “I had another nightmare last night…”

That explained everything to Misato. “So you’re trying to stave off another one by making yourself happy and fulfilled.”

“That’s part of it” Asuka answered as truthfully that was only half the reason.

“What’s the other part?”

“I want to make Shinji happy and forget that I had a nightmare last night” Asuka answered and for a second lost her happiness as she thought about what would happen if she didn’t do what she said.

Misato understood everything though. Shinji was his own worst enemy in cases like this. “You’re uneasy that his worrying is going to lead him to have a nightmare himself tonight.”

Asuka nodded yes to that. “It’s already happened a bunch of times in the past. He goes to sleep repeating in his mind how much he hopes I don’t have a nightmare that he triggers one of his own because it’s on his mind too much.” But that wasn’t the end of the problem as Asuka kept explaining. “What’s worse is how he never blames me for it.”

“Blame you for it?” Misato questioned as she didn’t quite understand why Shinji would.

“Well it’s my fault for having a stupid nightmare in the first place. If I didn’t have one, Shinji wouldn’t get worried, and then he wouldn’t have one.”

Now Misato understood. She also chuckled as she said “You’re completely nuts if you think Shinji will ever follow that line of logic. Nothing bad is your fault in his world and he seems pretty stubborn about that perception.”

“I know” Asuka said as she understood all that. “That’s why it’s so frustrating. I mean if I even try to say I’m sorry about it he immediately stops me and says it’s his fault.”

“That’s Shinji and it ain’t gonna change” Misato answered back. “But then again you’re not exactly innocent of doing stuff like that yourself. You’re both overprotective of each other.”

Asuka sighed at that. “I was told that earlier today too. You really think that’s a problem we have?”

“Absolutely not!” Misato said with emphasis as she didn’t want Asuka to even think that for a second. “For you two there’s no problem at all with being like that. You both need someone like that in your lives as you’re both needy people.”

Asuka sighed at that. She couldn’t really argue it and she knew Misato wasn’t insulting her by calling her needy. “Why do Shinji and I have to be like this? It just makes everything so much harder.”

“It’s not your fault at all that you and Shinji are needy” Misato said and could not stress that enough. “You’re horrible pasts were forced on you two. Yes some of the bad things that happened were a result of your own decisions but you two should have never been put in the positions you were. I still don’t know if there actually were or weren’t other options but even during the battles it never sat right with me that we were making living weapons out of thirteen and fourteen year old kids.”

“If I was mature enough to think like that back then, maybe I wouldn’t have caused myself so much pain” Asuka said while working on dinner, which surprisingly enough wasn’t chicken vegetable casserole. She had worked hard and came up with a new dish, beef vegetable noodle casserole. She liked noodles better than rice.

“I don’t know about that” Misato replied. “I caused a lot of pain too and supposedly I was supposed to be mature.” Whether Misato believed she was or not back then was a different issue.

“Everyone caused a lot of pain to each other.” Misato wasn’t any more or less to blame on what happened before than anyone else. In Asuka’s opinion everyone was too screwed up back then for their, or anyone else’s, own good.

“Thank god for second chances.”

“You got that right” Asuka said back quickly but wasn’t quite done. “And also third and fourth and fifth and how many others it took for Shinji and I to start figuring things out.”

“The heart can be a tricky thing to figure out” Misato smiled.

“And sometimes what’s needed most is time” Asuka added on thinking about it.

“You can say that again” Misato smirked. “If you two think I would have allowed you guys to be intimate right away when we all came back you’re crazy.”

“You think we would of let you stop us” Asuka said playing along.

“Hell no” Misato laughed. “Only way teenagers learn anything is by doing things wrong.”

“No wonder I’m a genius.”
 

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When Kensuke and Rei got back home there was a talk that needed to happen. Rei knew it and she was feeling horribly guilty about her actions, to the point even that she was about to cry.

This wasn’t simple guilt over her actions but guilt over that she felt she had to win at all to prove love. She had put to question something that was beyond questioning. This was not how love worked at all and the fact she reduced it to such a trivial matter was tearing her up inside. So much so that when Kensuke had them sit down on the couch together to talk about this she broke out in tears even before he could say anything. This was the real Rei with all her insecurities and confusion about life at work and she was displaying her real emotions over what happened with the person she loved most in this world. She had done something horribly wrong and she couldn’t forgive herself for doing it.

Kensuke in return proved why he was worthy of being loved this way as he didn’t lecture her about it like he could have but simply wrapped his arms around Rei and held her while she cried. Rei realized what the problem was so there was no reason to harp at her about it. It was all over now in his mind and he simply wanted to comfort Rei now. “It’s okay now. I love you and nothing will ever change that.”

It took ten minutes of Rei crying her eyes out before she was able to let up enough where she could talk. Her talking was very weak though “Why did I do that?”

“Because you lost control of yourself” Kensuke answered gently. “It happens to everyone.”

“You’re being too understanding” Rei said back as he had every right to be mad at her. In fact she sort of wanted to be yelled at right now for questioning their love as she felt she deserved it. She certainly was yelling at herself inside after all.

“That’s because part of love is being understanding” Kensuke answered, still gently. He wasn’t going to raise his voice at Rei because there was no point to it. Rei realized what she did was wrong and not something she ever had to do. That was enough for him. Pounding this fact around continuously would just create more hurt feelings and not get them anywhere.

It wasn’t only Kensuke’s words at play here either, he was taking action as well. Kensuke was taking off her clothes and Rei knew what was coming next. This wasn’t horniness and some sort of make up sex that was going to happen. Kensuke was going to prove to her that he loved her by making love to her, something she didn’t think she deserved right now. “Don’t do this to me now… I don’t deserve it.”

“You deserve it now more than any other time” Kensuke said back and continued in his actions. “I forgive you completely and want to show you how much I love you. And I want you to show me how much you love me back.”

That last line made Rei surrender completely. More than anything she wanted to show him she loved him completely and there was no reason she should ever question that love. Whether she won or lost a silly competition to another girl mattered nothing. And the girl Kaede, was not someone she had to compete with at all. Everything was already decided and as Rei’s body orgasmed in loving bliss the truth was never clearer, this was true love and it wasn’t going to change for anything. Yes these were horribly sappy thoughts running through her mind right now but that didn’t stop them from making her very happy. It also didn’t stop her from thinking the more she understood and experienced intense emotions the more they confused her. That was quite an interesting paradox of the mind if she wanted to think about it, but she didn’t. Her mind was very much elsewhere right now as she felt her lover release his love so very deep inside her body.
 

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The morning of the final day of the sports festival was a slightly crisp one. Perfect weather for a long race to be run. Also perfect weather apparently for people to chuckle at what was written down next to one of the participant’s name. The current, and overwhelming, lead class in the rankings apparently wasn’t one that liked long distance races on the girls side. For next to class 3-B under the female participant for the 15 kilometer race was typed ‘Rei Ayanami’ and after it was hand written ‘Reluctant participant forced to do this by her unsupportive classmates.’

“You have to give it to Rei” Kaji chuckled. “She knows how to lay the guilt on thick.”

“I’m surprised none of the girls in the class have cracked yet” Misato said back. “Then again the one most likely to crack and help her out is already going to be participating in another event.”

Truth be told Asuka would have helped Rei out if she could have, but the rules wouldn’t let her. And when it came to the other girls in the class, other than an already too busy herself Hikari, they were all used to not having to help Rei out with anything. She was pretty self reliant and never came to them and if she did have any problems she always leaned on either Hikari or Asuka. That non-dependence on the rest of her female classmates made her stand out just enough that none of them could get pushed far enough to trade events. Sure most of the girls in Rei’s class felt bad for her getting stuck with that event but the average teenager’s mind was at play when it came to her classmates. Better her than me.

Rei on the other hand had finally surrendered to her fate. No one was going to trade with her so she was going to have to run. Maybe if Kensuke had signed up for this event on the boys side it might be enjoyable as they could not care about standings and just jog the course together but he was busy with the softball tournament. That’s what was really getting to Rei, she was going to miss the start of the tournament and probably one of the games because of this race and she wanted to watch. It was official and everyone knew Kensuke and her were dating so it was expected of her to be at the games cheering him on. And in this case of normality she really wanted to be normal. But this stupid race wasn’t going to let her.

That was one of many thoughts running through Rei’s mind as she ran the 15 kilometer course. What wasn’t running through her mind though was her running. She didn’t pay attention to what place she was in, she didn’t pay attention to how fast she ran, she didn’t even pay attention to who was running by her. She only paid attention to what was going on in her mind.

This caused a little bit of humor for the other runners. Most of them nodded or said hi to Rei if she was by them but they got no response back. The girl was clearly in her own world and the other runners could see something else too. Rei was sulking. Not an expression any of them had ever seen Rei had before and that caused some chuckles. But for a girl who was sulking she wasn’t doing half bad most of them also noticed. Most of the runners who saw her forlorn look saw it because she was passing by them. The girl was running at a pretty good clip and currently she was in fourth place out of all the girls running the race, which were all the classes in the school as all the grade levels were combined for this race. That was sort of impressive due to most of the people in this race were members of the cross country track team as they were the automatic bids for this event in any class they were in. It just happened that class 3-B didn’t have any girls on the team in its class this year and that is why Rei had to run it. On the boys side class 3-B was represented by a member of the cross country team so the guy who got stuck running the race was already use to it.

Another bad thing about this long run is that it gave Rei plenty of time to ruminate, and of course that meant she was mulling over what happened yesterday. Why did she all of a sudden become super competitive? Even before the talk last night she knew where she stood with Kensuke so there was no reason to act like that. But still she did and when she asked herself if this pattern of events happened again would the same things take place she had to reluctantly say yes. She knew if Kaede was one of the girls running this race she would do everything in her power to beat her. But why would she do that? She had nothing to gain or lose from it so whether she beat Kaede or not didn’t matter. But as she told herself that she could feel her emotions vehemently disagree with that bit of rationality. Kaede had to be beaten. At all times she had to be beaten. In every situation of conflict between the two of them Rei needed to be the one who came out on top. That girl wanted what she loved the most so no loses were acceptable.

As that emotionally charged thought surged through her mind she crossed the finish line for the race. She didn’t even notice what place she came in, others sure did though, she just slowed down to a walk and headed over to the locker rooms so she could get a quick shower and change into some warmer clothes. She wanted to join everyone else at the ball fields and be distracted from her thoughts because they were upsetting her as she couldn’t justify them.

Another girl had just finished the race and was hunched over breathing heavily. “So that girl just finishes 15 k and she doesn’t even need to catch her breath?”

A boy who had finished earlier was the one to answer. “Ayanami’s so weird. All she did when she crossed the finish line was sigh and walk away.”

“Lay off… she’s just got a lot on her mind” another guy said defending her. He was the representative male from class 3-B along with being part of the Marduk group.

“Dude, it’s not normal for someone not to have to catch their breath after running that far” the other guy contested.

“I didn’t have to” The kid from 3-B answered back.

“Well yeah, but you’re the top runner on the team” the girl replied. All three people talking were team mates on the cross country team. “You weren’t even trying when you ran this race.”

“Neither was Ayanami probably.”

The girl did not like that answer at all. It was sort of a slam against her and most of the rest of the girls on the cross country team. After all Rei, an outsider and not someone used to running long distances, had just beaten most of them, and without trying that hard it looked. “What… you think she’s better than us?”

“Oh calm down” the guy from 3-B said. “I never said she was better or anything like that. I’ve just known Ayanami for a while and I have always thought she would make a good long distance runner.”

“So why isn’t she on the team then?” the girl asked, still feeling a bit slighted.

“She doesn’t want to be” the boy answered back.

“Did you really ask her?” the other guy asked. He had never even heard of anyone approaching Rei about joining the team.

“Sort of” the guy from 3-B answered. “I went to ask her earlier this year but she said no before I could even finish asking.”

“You know I’ve heard she can do stuff like that from my girlfriend. She’s like psychic or something.” This other kid was dating someone from the swimming team so he had heard quite a bit about Rei from her.

“I wouldn’t say psychic” the other guy said back. “More like so smart she knows what you’re going to say before you even finish saying it.”

“Too bad she said no… she’s a good runner.” The guy from 3-B nodded in agreement with that.

Both boys got the evil eye from the girl for going that way with the conversation. She was looking for consolation, not to get the fact that a girl who wasn’t on the cross country team just beat her rubbed into her face.
 

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There were two girls who were practicing their routine for the cheerleading competition, sans Asuka who was busy with the softball tournament right now, from class 3-B standing around that saw Rei come out of the school. Considering how well Rei did they were going to congratulate her, but an icy glare from red eyes froze them in their tracks and they backed off and let Rei continue on her way over to the baseball fields.

“She’s still mad at us, isn’t she?” Rini asked.

“I would say so” Kotono said back. “I hope this doesn’t mean she won’t help us anymore with our studying.”

“Oh gawd I hope not” Rini worried. “If she doesn’t help me I will probably flunk my entrance exams.”

Rei sort of overheard that as she walked away but she didn’t react to it. She really wasn’t going to punish them by not helping them anymore but she was going to let them worry about it till next Monday. That would be enough retribution to satisfy her.

When Rei got to the ball fields she looked for a place to sit down to watch the games as she was lucky enough to catch the second game for her class. There were a bunch of her classmates all sitting together in the stands cheering on their team but she wanted nothing to do with them. In fact she went so far as to deliberately walk by them and give them all the cold shoulder as she made her way to a different part of the stands where Misato and the rest of the group were sitting.

“What is the score?” Rei asked as she sat down by Misato.

“6 to 0” Misato answered. “I don’t really think the team is trying anymore though.”

Being up six to nothing sounded pretty good to Rei and not like a team that was phoning it in. “Why do you say that?”

“Because the first game got called halfway through the second inning because your team scored too many points” Kaji answered back.

“I don’t remember there being a mercy rule in play” Rei commented as she had read over the rules for the tournament and that was not among them.

“They instituted it when your class went up 20-0” Shigeru said. “That first game was about to get very ugly.”

Rei could understand the new rule after hearing that. No sense in letting one class completely embarrasses another. “What is the rule now?”

“If any class is up by ten runs when they come up to bat they call the game” Misato answered.

“I suppose it’s best not to run up the score too much considering how short these games are” Rei said as she realized the team was probably aware of how the other classes were viewing them and as a result trying to rein it back.

“So how did you do on your run?” Kaji asked. He noticed Rei didn’t seem very stressed or tired right now so he was wondering if she even ran the race.

Rei simply shrugged her shoulders in reply as she didn’t bother finding out. “It’s not important.”

Because the group was in the first row of seats right above the dugout that was easily overheard by Asuka. She came out of the dugout and said up towards the group “For something that wasn’t important, you did pretty good. I got a text from Rini saying you got third.”

Rei got congratulations from the people around her for that but she responded with “Are you sure about that?”

“That’s what everyone’s saying” Asuka answered.

“I don’t remember passing anyone though” Rei said back confused. Actually she started the race walking and didn’t even get up to a jog till after the 1 k mark so she was in last place originally.

“Whether you remember passing them or not, you did” Asuka snickered. “You must of got lost in your own little world again while you ran.”

The sigh from Rei in response meant she was guilty as charged. The sigh also meant the world she got lost in was not exactly a fun one.

“Thinking about what happened yesterday, weren’t you?” Misato asked as it wasn’t hard to guess what could have been distracting Rei to the degree that she lost focus on what was going on around her.

Rei nodded yes to that. “I still don’t have a clear answer to why I acted that way.”

“It’s simple” Asuka answered. “You’re a normal teenage girl.” There was a third answer to that but Asuka hushed it “This is girl talk, your opinion is not needed.”

Of course Kensuke was listening to everything that had been said but obviously he was not supposed to be a part of this conversation.

“I don’t think I would consider what I did normal” Rei said back.

“I would” Misato answered. “If anything I consider what you did was a nice way of proving your point to Kaede.”

“Nice way???” There was no way Rei could see what she did as nice.

“Nice when compared to what other girls would have done” Misato continued and looked over at Asuka. “What would you have done?”

Asuka thought about that for a second and answered. “If I was that caught up in my emotions and somehow managed not to get into a fight from the very start I probably would’ve tortured Kaede with lots of trash talk and at first blow her away right out of the gates. Then let her catch up, only to waste her again. And then at the end of the race I would have held up and made her think she had a chance of winning. But then at the very last second snatch away the victory and rub the fact that I wasn’t even trying in her face.” As Asuka was saying that she thought up something else. “You know Rei is not even a normal teenage girl. Most girls our age would do like I would if they could. You’re too nice Rei, you need to develop a mean streak.”

“Stop giving my girlfriend bad advice” Kensuke yelled out from the bullpen as his opinion was very much different, even if it was not part of this conversation.

“That was horribly vindictive and mean” Misato added on in response to Asuka’s explanation on what she would have done. “But completely correct as to what most other teenage girls would want to do. So you need to stop beating yourself up about this. Yes you over reacted but in hindsight what you did wasn’t nearly as bad as what most girls would have done in your shoes.”

“I suppose…” Rei responded back but still probably wasn’t going to let this issue go for a couple more days. Plus she sort of knew the people giving her advice probably weren’t the best people in the world at thinking like a normal person. While Asuka could do what she said most girls couldn’t, that meant her views were slightly a skewed from normal. And Misato most likely wasn’t any better as she tended to have elevated abilities herself along with some psychosomatic tendencies to be overprotective.

“Oh yeah, speaking of text messages from Rini I got an interesting one a couple seconds ago. Kotono and she are worried you’re not going to help them study during class anymore” Asuka said getting off the current conversation.

Rei simply replied with “I know.”

“Gonna make them sweat a little I take it?” Obviously Asuka knew Rei wasn’t going to hold out and not help them over something like this, but on the same page she wasn’t going to tell them that.

“They have nothing to sweat over” Rei answered.

“But do they know that?” Asuka asked back as that was the true question.

“Whether they do or not is not a concern of mine” Rei simply answered.

“That’s certainly a chilly answer” Asuka smirked as she was well aware of the mind game being played right now. She was also aware of something else, it was her turn to bat next so she left the conversation and went to grab a bat. But while doing that she couldn’t help but tease “Hey Kensuke, your girlfriend is being cold right now. Why don’t you go warm her up.”

Rei complained “Why does she always have to say things like that out loud?” while turning red.

“Because she’s Asuka and she likes to create trouble” Kaji answered.

Sadly Asuka had no problem with that bit of slander as she said “damn right” while walking over to the batters box. And just to prove she was telling the truth she didn’t hold back while at the plate and ended up scoring Shinji and Touji. Now the score was 8-0. It could have been 9-0 but Mai held up at third even though she could have easily scored, that in return made Asuka stop at second. That caused Asuka to start grumbling about her triple getting shortened into a double but her complaints fell on deaf ears. Her teammates weren’t going to go with Asuka’s feisty attitude right now and preferred not to invoke the mercy rule.
 

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There was a little timing snafu with Asuka and her events later on in the day. Some of the other softball games ran long and that pushed around the scheduling of their softball games and she ended up having a game right in the middle of the cheering competition she was supposed to be a participant in. “Hikari, I have a problem.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know” Hikari teased.

“But this is a real actual problem” Asuka said. “I have to be in two places at one time.”

“You have just described this whole week for me” Hikari sighed as that’s how it truly felt to her.

“No, I mean I have a softball game at the same time I’m supposed to be in the cheering competition” Asuka clarified.

“You will have to back out of one of them” Hikari told her. “Just get someone else from our class to fill in for you for a short time with the softball game, it won’t be a big deal.” There were rules in place if something like this happened so Asuka wouldn’t even be skirting them by doing this.

“I was going to ask Rei to do that but I can’t, and most of the other girls in our class are busy with other things.”

“Why can’t Rei help?’ Hikari asked. While Rei probably wouldn’t want to play softball she knew Rei would help out if Asuka was in a pinch.

“Because of who we’re facing. It’s Kaede’s class and she’s their pitcher so you know that isn’t going to happen. Misato’s pretty much told me that enough confrontation between the two has already happened so I have to find another option.”

Hikari most certainly agreed with Misato’s statement. She could see it in her head; Asuka gets done with the cheerleading event and comes back to watch the end of the game. Kaede beans Rei with the ball, Rei gets slightly hurt causing her teammates to come out onto the field to check on her, Asuka runs to the pitcher’s mound to challenge Kaede, Kaede gets her ass kicked by Asuka who wouldn’t accept any other answer than Kaede did it on purpose, and the sports fest Hikari was in charge of gets marred by an ugly incident. No way was Hikari going to let that happen, it wouldn’t look good on her transcripts to college. “Have you already asked all the rest of the girls in class?”

“Every one I could find” Asuka answered. “They either have another event they are in, are already on the softball team, or not around to ask. I wouldn’t be coming to you if that wasn’t the case.”

Hikari didn’t have an answer for Asuka, she was stumped on what to do. Rei was not an option at all and everyone else was busy.

Asuka though did have one option. “You know, there’s still one other girl I haven’t asked now that I think about it.”

“Who?” If Asuka had a solution to this problem Hikari was all ears.

But Hikari didn’t need her ears for the answer, she needed her eyes as Asuka was staring right at her. “No way… I don’t have the time.”

“I know you want to though.” She could tell her friend wanted to have some fun too, but there was no way Hikari was going to let that happen as she was too responsible.

“What I want and what I have time for are two different things” Hikari argued back.

“Not if you make others do your work for you” Asuka answered. “You don’t have to do everything yourself you know.”

“But it won’t get done right.” Things simply getting done weren’t good enough, they needed to get done right.

“So put someone in charge that you trust then, it’s only going to be for a little while. I mean the games don’t last long and we only need you to help out with this one. By the time it’s over I will be long done with the cheering competition and you can get back to work.”

Hikari wasn’t going to give in to her friend’s temptation, even if she really wanted to. “I don’t have the time, we have to find another option.”

“There isn’t one” Asuka answered. And even if there was Asuka wouldn’t accept it anymore. Hikari needed to be allowed to have some fun too and Asuka decided this was Hikari’s only chance for it. “You’re going to fill in for me and play softball. You can resist all you want but you’re going to do it.” And Asuka was being especially persistent as she grabbed Hikari by the arm and was dragging her towards the ball fields.

Hikari may have been slightly taller than Asuka but she wasn’t stronger. “Hey!... Stop!... I don’t have time for this…”

Asuka wasn’t having any of it and the brash and determined girl pulled out her cell phone. “Hey Nozomi, this is Asuka. I’m forcing your sister to have some fun, can you fill in for her for a couple minutes?”

Nozomi had to giggle to herself over that request. The fact that her sister was being forced to have a little bit of fun was an amusing idea to her. Probably also the only way it could happen too now that she thought about it. But filling in for her sister meant there was going to be work. “What’s in it for me?”

“I’ll make Satoru Yasuda help you out” Asuka answered. She figured that would suit Nozomi’s fancy well enough.

“I’ll meet you at the ball fields” Nozomi quickly answered. Yes work would be involved in this but with that guy around it would be fun work.

When Nozomi got over to the ball fields she saw her older sister still arguing about doing this with Asuka. “…This isn’t a good idea. I’m really busy and there is a lot to do…”

While Nozomi could have taken that as an insult to her that her older sister didn’t believe in her or something like that she knew the truth. Her older sister had problems relinquishing responsibility. If Hikari felt that she was the one that needed to do something that was it, no one else should do it as it was her job to get it done. “You’re being OCD again Hikari nee-chan.”

“Tell me about it” Asuka chuckled. Half the stuff she’s doing is something that someone else should be.

“But I can handle it, and they might not do it right…”

“You already said that a million times” Asuka cut off her best friend. “Time for you to have some fun and let your hair down for three seconds, it’s not going to kill you.”

“But… but…”

“Enough excuses just give your phone to your sister already” And Asuka was sort of heavy handed in that request as she snatched Hikari’s phone right out of Hikari’s hand. Hikari was an overly organized person and had one of those phones that a professional business person would own. And the most used application on her phone was the daily planner app. Hikari wrote down everything she had to do on that thing and kept it meticulously updated. Just by looking at this list Nozomi would be able to know what needed to be done.

As Asuka was handing the phone to Nozomi she told her “If anyone calls for Hikari tell them she’s busy and they have to handle the problem themselves. Also you can find Yasuda’s number on her speed dial. Since all three of you sisters sound similar you can probably trick him into meeting you somewhere since you’re using Hikari’s phone.”

A little bit of trickery was involved in this but Nozomi knew she could pull it off.

Hikari sort of looked lost to Asuka as she watched her little sister walk off with her phone so Asuka guided Hikari to where she needed to be. “Here you go Touji, I found my replacement. Make sure she has some fun.”

“Hey babe, welcome to the team.” Touji said to his confused looking girlfriend. Asuka had made a great choice in his opinion as he felt Hikari was pushing herself too hard and needed to unwind a bit.

“She forced me to do this” Hikari said pointing at Asuka.

“Yeah, Asuka’s a pushy person isn’t she?”

The smirk on her fiancé’s face told Hikari everything she needed to know. He was not against this arrangement one bit so complaining about being strong-armed into this wasn’t going to get her anywhere. This decision was done and complete, she was now a temporary member of Class-3B’s softball team and there was nothing she could do about it. And as she looked at the team she noticed she wasn’t the only one.

“We better get going Shin-kun, Rini and Kotono are texting me like crazy because the competition’s starting soon.”

That statement and watching Shinji walk off with Asuka struck the other replacement as odd. “Wait… I thought Ikari had another event to do?” That’s why he agreed to fill in for him this game after all.

“Shinji is only signed up for the softball team today” Hikari said just as confused. Just because her phone with her daily planner was taken away from her didn’t mean Hikari didn’t know exactly what she had put on the planner and who was supposed to be doing what.

“But you forgot one thing babe” Touji said. “Asuka’s in her cheerleading outfit.”

That answered all questions to Hikari. Shinji’s priorities always centered around Asuka so if she was going off in her cheerleading outfit that meant his highest priority was to go watch her. After all she needed someone cheering her on as well. “I wish he told me he was going to do that.”

“He probably didn’t want to bug you” Touji said back. Knowing Hikari she would have taken upon herself to try and find a replacement for him instead of letting Shinji do it himself. By not even telling Hikari he was doing this Shinji avoided the whole issue entirely.

The other kid wasn’t as caught up yet though and asked “Did Ikari just con me into helping out so he could go watch his girlfriend dance around in her cheerleading outfit?”

“Pretty much” Touji answered but then asked the critical question. “But can you blame him?”

“Well no” the other kid answered as typical teenage boys minds were at play here. Watching hot girls dance around in skimpy outfits was obliviously and acceptable reason to do something like this, especially so if one of those girls was your girlfriend. But that wasn’t the issue in the boy’s mind right now. “It’s just that I don’t think I have ever heard of Ikari conning someone before. He’s usually pretty honest about his motives.”

“He probably was about this too” Hikari said as she knew how Shinji worked. “What did he say to you?”

As the other kid thought about it he realized what Hikari was asking. “He said he had another event he had to go to… he never did say he was a participating in that event.”

“That’s the thing about Shinji” Touji said. “He never gives you the full story on what’s going on. He likes to keep most of the details to himself.”

That sounded like the Shinji the guy knew. He didn’t just get conned by Shinji but more like he agreed to do something for Shinji that he should have gotten more information about. Not that it was a big issue mind you as he wasn’t doing anything anyway and playing softball wasn’t exactly a bad thing. It sounded like fun to him so that is why he agreed to it in the first place.
 

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  1. Hikari’s worries, things were getting done while she was playing softball. Nozomi was handling everything just fine, not in the same way as Hikari as Nozomi was more delegating responsibility than doing everything herself, but still everything was getting done. She was a Horaki after all and had her share of abilities. Plus when she told you to do something it was very clear that she was just temporarily filling in for Hikari and when Hikari returned there might be a little hell to pay if you didn’t do what you were supposed to be doing.

    Now though she was going to meet up with her temporary partner as a call had already been made and Satoru Yasuda thought he was meeting up with Hikari to go over some things that needed to be done.

    The first words out of his mouth when he saw exactly who he was meeting were “Wrong Horaki, good bye.” He wasn’t sure if Nozomi had real feelings for him or was just playing around but still he didn’t want anything to do with her. Both those implications could spell trouble for him after all. He was all for playing around and having fun with a pretty girl, just not this girl. First, he didn’t think Nozomi was really that kind of girl. She seemed more mature and if the rumors he heard were right she was one that wanted commitment before anything could be done. And if it was true that she had feelings for him, he didn’t want to do anything to bolster them. He was interested in like minded girls, ones just looking for some fun like him, not girls looking for relationships. Hooking up with a girl looking for something like that would lead to a broken heart for her and in this case he could imagine broken bones for him. Making Nozomi cry might bring the wrath of Touji down on him.

    “Wait…” Nozomi said as Satoru tried to turn around and walk away. “…It’s not what you’re thinking.”

    Since she tricked him into meeting her Satoru found that hard to believe. “Even if it isn’t I don’t want anything to do with it.”

    “A c’mon, stop being so mean to me. The way you avoid me you’d think I was a leper or something.” The fact Satoru was avoiding her was one she had noticed. It almost seemed to her that he went out of his way to do that even.

    “I just know what’s good for me” Satoru said back while failing to walk away. Every step he took was matched by Nozomi, the girl was being a touch tenacious is her efforts today.

    “What? You think I’m a bad person?”

    “I didn’t say that!...” Satoru said spinning around. If it got out that he was saying something like this about Nozomi it could spell big trouble for him.

    “Oh relax already, I was just trying to get you to stop walking.” She wasn’t serious about what she said but she wasn’t so sure that Satoru knew that judging by his reaction. “Listen, I’m not trying to do anything here other than get your help. We made Hikari play a softball game so she could have a little fun. I’m her fill in, but I’m not Hikari so I need some help. Seeing as you’re the student council president I figured you would be the best person to give me a hand.”

    Satoru shook his head at that and let out a sigh. “Why didn’t you say that from the start?”

    “Because I didn’t” Nozomi answered not caring that it wasn’t a real answer. “Now help me out already. Those softball games are only three innings long so I don’t have a lot of time here but a lot to do.”

    “Fine, I will give you a hand” Satoru said surrendering.

    Of course just because he surrendered didn’t mean Nozomi had to stop attacking and while they walked around getting stuff done she asked him. “So why exactly are you avoiding me anyways?”

    “Because you’re trouble for a guy like me” he answered bluntly.

    “How am I trouble?”

    “Because I know the truth about you” Satoru replied. “While you act like Kodoma, you’re really more like Hikari. You’re not the type of girl who wants to play around, you want a commitment.”

    “And what’s wrong with that?” Nozomi huffed. Lots of guys had been running away from her since she had decided upon that and she was starting to feel insulted by it.

    Satoru surprised her by answering that with “Absolutely nothing.”

    “But the type of guy you are…???”

    “Is one that’s not ready to commit myself to anyone yet. But that doesn’t mean I can’t respect someone who is. I figure once I get to college I will probably stop playing around and get more serious about dating.” He thought about that answer for a minute. “Does that mean I’m like Kodoma?”

    “Yeah, sorta” Nozomi had to answer. There was a general similarity there after all. Her oldest sister stopped playing around once she got to college and switched over to looking for someone she could have a family with. The standards she used to judge guys with completely changed at that point in time as well. If she didn’t get the feeling that a guy would be a loyal husband and father right from the first impression that was it for the guy, and no second chances would be given.

    “Speaking of you oldest sister…” Satoru had seen her among the crowd but the person he was seeing was not the one he remembered.”

    Nozomi knew what she was being asked. “Yup, she’s engaged to that guy.”

    “He doesn’t seem like the type of guy she used to hang around with.”

    “He isn’t” Nozomi answered. “In fact he is a bit of a computer geek to tell you the truth. But he’s a nice guy and treats Kodama really well.”

    “So is he still in college with her then?”

    “Sort of” Nozomi answered. “This is his final year but he already has a job. He’s a really good programmer and works for some gaming company. From what it sounds like he gets paid pretty well already and the two of them are looking around for something better than the apartment they’re living in.”

    Their conversation got interrupted at that point as they ran into some people they were looking for and had to tell them what they had to do. But that didn’t stop Satoru from thinking about what he had been told and when they were done talking to the other people he said “It’s hard for me to believe that your sister is moving that quick.”

    “That’s because she’s serious” Nozomi answered. “You need to understand something about us Horaki women, when we find someone who we think will make a good father and husband, we act fast.”

    “I wish you all the luck in the world with that then” Satoru chuckled. Nozomi was completely serious about what she said even if it was corny. And he picked up on something else, this girl was jealous of her big sisters right now.

    The pouty “Stop patronizing me!” he got back proved he picked up the right idea.

    He just smirked at her in reply. “Just don’t be expecting us guys to be solving your problem. What you want is more than most guys or girls can handle in high school.”

    That made Nozomi go from feeling patronized and teased to downright depressed. “I take it I can’t site Hikari’s class as an argument, can I?”

    “As abnormal of a class as the one your sister is in, no” Satoru replied. “I mean what happens in that classroom and with the people that make it up is just weird.”

    Nozomi figured that answer was coming and even she could see it was true. Her sister’s class was extremely unique. “As weird as it is, I’m still jealous.”

    “Why?” Satoru asked. “You’re still only a first year in high school. What’s your rush?”

    “Happiness” Nozomi immediately answered. “As much fun as I saw Kodoma-oneesan have while she was growing up she was never as happy as she is now… trust me she tells me that all the time.” Kodoma wasn’t rubbing anything in her littlest sister’s face so much as trying to teach her a lesson. If Nozomi wanted to emulate one of her big sisters, she should pick Hikari. “And then there’s Hikari… I just don’t understand how she does what she does but still she’s at a place where she is so happy. You know how hard that is to see everyday when you don’t have someone of your own?”

    “Yeah, it sort of sucks being the little kid sometimes, doesn’t it?” Satoru had an older sister so he wasn’t exactly ignorant of the emotions of sibling jealousy.
     

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After the softball game was over with Hikari quickly grasped back the reins of control but not without telling her sister that she did a good job. Nozomi had really proven something to Hikari today. She also showed Hikari something else. “Nozomi, you’re not falling for that guy again, are you?” She saw how her sister was looking at Satoru as the boy walked away.

“Don’t worry, I know I’m not allowed to” Nozomi replied back sarcastically as she was feeling a touch smothered by the way Hikari asked that question.

“If you have time to get snippy with me then you have time to do some work for me” Hikari warned. She was back into authoritative mode so she wasn’t looking for any sass, especially from her little sister.

“Sorry nee-san” Nozomi replied playing the role of petulant little sister. She had enough on her plate right now without inciting anymore.

“That’s better” Hikari said. “And when did I ever say who you could and couldn’t date?” Hikari asked as she didn’t like the words her little sister put in her mouth. “I just told you to be careful of guys like him. Last thing I want is to see your heart get broken and I don’t think a guy like him is quite ready to settle down yet.”

That really confused Nozomi. “But I thought you didn’t like him…”

“I wouldn’t go that far” Hikari answered her sister back. “While he is a pretty boy and sometimes unreliable he isn’t completely bad. Unlike the other pretty boys at this school he doesn’t lie his way into a girl’s bed and is honest with them. It seems to me that he doesn’t want to hurt any of the girls so I can’t be too hard on him because of that. And he does do the jobs I assign to him and doesn’t try to back out of them like a lot of other people on the student council so I like that about him. But the way he folded and just gave me control of everything, that kind of weakness makes it hard to respect him.”

Nozomi wondered about that last point a little. Yes the guy backed down to Hikari and let her run the show but she wondered if it was as simple as that. Hikari could be quite overwhelming as she personally knew so it wasn’t like he really had a choice in the matter and she knew her sister’s version on that circumstance was a touch jaded. “I think he is a good guy overall.”

“Just watch yourself, I don’t want to see you hurt again.” Hikari said as her parting words as she had things to and didn’t have time to be talking with her sister about relationships, later on tonight she would lend an ear but not right now.

Nozomi knew that and let her sister go, she wasn’t serious about talking right now either as she had some thinking to do first.

So as Nozomi was thinking about everything Hikari was doing her job once again. But quickly she found she wasn’t doing it alone. “You need something Yasuda?”

“Advice” he answered back as he sped up to keep pace with Hikari. “What am I going to do about your sister?”

“Tell her no” Hikari simply answered while also telling another person who had come up to her what to do next.

“I have…” Satoru Yasuda sounding a bit exasperated. “… but I don’t think she’s accepting that answer.”

“That’s because she’s a Horaki” Hikari smirked. “We can be a bit on the tenacious side sometimes.”

“Sometimes?” Satoru said staring straight at Hikari. In his experience it was all the times.

That little slight , even if it was true, was responded to with. “If you have enough time to argue with me I can find something more worthwhile for you to do.”

“That threat isn’t going to work this time” Satoru responded, much differently from every other time it was thrown at him.

That caused Hikari to stop in her tracks. She wasn’t used to being told no, especially by this kid, and she wasn’t sure she liked it. But at the same time she noticed he was being completely serious. “Are you really that worried about my sister?”

“Yes” Satoru honestly answered. “Your sister wants something from me that I’m not sure I’m ready to give… And I don’t think just telling her no is going to chase her off.”

“Not sure?” Hikari smirked as those two words caught her ears. “The Satoru Yasuda I know should be telling me that he certainly isn’t ready.”

“Why are you twisting my words around on me?” Satoru asked as he wasn’t getting a clear answer. “Are you trying to chase me off or test me somehow?”

“Maybe” is all Hikari answered, not saying which it was on purpose. She also gave him a straight answer as well right before she walked away to go work on something else. “If you really don’t have feelings for my sister and don’t want to be involved with her you will have to tell her that, and probably more than once. Eventually she will accept it but you will have to be firm every time or that will just cause her to try harder the next time.”
 

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It was the championship softball game between the top two senior classes and also the last event of the sports festival. After this game the whole festival would be over and the top senior class would be crowned with the wreaths of victory. The first year and second year events were already over with so the top of those classes was already known, the big hype was always around who would win the senior class championship. Or at least that was how it was supposed to be. This year, even with the rules changed, the winning class was already decided long before this final game. Class 3-B didn’t even have to win the softball tournament, the event worth the most points, to complete the three year sweep of the sports festival. There was a lot of griping about that from the other classes of course. It just wasn’t fair how easily that class always won.

But just because they didn’t have to win this game to win the sports festival over all didn’t mean Asuka wasn’t determined to do it. She wanted to go out with the overwhelming victory and now was her chance to do it. The team they were facing was filled with boys from the baseball team too, along with girls from the softball team. Included in the group of girls was the ace pitcher for the softball team. That meant the team they were playing was able to keep up with them and now it was the third and final inning with the score tied. I wish I could say there were two outs, no one on base, and they desperately needed a score or they would lose the game but it just wasn’t so. 3-B won the coin flip and was the home team so they were last up to bat. Plus the bases were loaded. And worse of all for the other team there were no outs.

Now in the dugout some of the other members of the 3-B team were telling Asuka to take it easy and just drive home the winning win and that would be the end of it, but she wasn’t listening to any of it. She was determined to swing for the fences and no one was going to stop her. Mainly because the only person who could was currently stuck on second base, rubbing his temple as he knew what was going to happen, and not able to talk her out of it. There was simply nothing Shinji could do.

And he was right about his assumptions as Asuka swung at that first pitch and sent it flying. All the players craned their necks skyward and watched the softball soar out of the stadium. Asuka didn’t need to do it but she hit the grand slam anyway just to prove she could. Now it was official, class 3-B won the sports festival yet again and won the softball tournament.

“Kätzchen, why did you do that? We only needed one run to win.” Shinji was waiting for Asuka at home plate as she rounded the bases with a triumphant saunter.

“Because I felt like it” Asuka smirked at him.

“But it only causes trouble when you do things like that.”

“It’s only trouble if I bother listening to the complainers, which I won’t” Asuka sassed back. She then whispered the next part to him “But if you think I really was a bad girl you can spank me later on when we get home.”

Shinji blushing told everyone that this issue was over. What Asuka did was excess but that boyfriend of hers didn’t care anymore. His mind was firmly on playing with Asuka’s ass right now and other unimportant issues weren’t going to distract him from that pleasurable fact.

 

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The sports festival was now over and all the families were leaving, all that was left was to clean up afterwards. This task was not left to Hikari to accomplish as it was the duty of Spots Festival committee to do this. At first Hikari didn’t trust them to get it done but she relented her power when Mai told her she would personally head up the committee with this task. Hikari trusted Mai now so that was acceptable and she could trust her new friend would do a good job. That meant she could sit down and relax for a minute in the council room. It didn’t mean she was done for the day though as she had a ton of phone calls to make as she was going to personally thank all the vendors, service people, and companies that helped out with sponsoring and supporting the spots festival.

While the school’s vice president of the school council was busy taking care of administrative duties the class president himself was helping clean up. Satoru Yasuda got guilt tripped into this, not by Hikari surprisingly enough but by Mai. Mai played her cute pouty girl who needs help from the big strong guy card and Satoru gave in. Of course Mai did this because she knew if he stuck around so would a bunch of other girls as they wanted to be around him. Satoru sort of knew he got played by this girl for this reason but he didn’t really mind, Mai was a friend of his now too. Basically she was a fun girl to hang around with, nothing in the romantic sense as he knew her taste lied elsewhere, but still just hanging around with her was enjoyable.

Right now though Satoru Yasuda had a bunch of girls sort of surrounding and chatting with him. A new one walked up to him and joined the group, a scary one at that.

It was no surprise that Nozomi was helping to clean up and while she was thinking an interesting question popped into her mind. Since she found out from other girls that Satoru was around and the question directly involved him she figured now was as good of a time as any to ask it. So she marched right up to Satoru Yasuda, getting a touch closer than she needed to, and asked. “Why did you let my sister be in charge?”

The other girls around Satoru were a little miffed by the actions of this first year and some of them were thinking of chasing her off to teach Nozomi her place but they were stopped by Satoru himself as he asked seriously. “You want the real truth right? You’re not just playing around?”

“Honest truth” Nozomi answered. She wanted to know the real answer, not just what Hikari thought it was.

“Because early on I could tell she was better for the job than me” Satoru answered. “My job as President of the student council is to do what’s best for the students of this school, and putting your sister in charge is what’s best.”

That answer made Nozomi smile. This wasn’t a case of him wimping out but a case of him swallowing his pride and allowing someone better to do the job he was awarded. “I knew you were a good guy” and Nozomi leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Then without even letting him, or the other girls around him, respond she walked away to go back to her group of friends.

This wasn’t the end of it as Satoru was expecting to catch hell from the girls around him for letting Nozomi kiss him, not that he got a choice in the matter, but he noticed all of them being very wide eyed and all looking behind him. He let out a sigh as the only reason they would be doing this was if someone who you didn’t want seeing this little event just had. “Please tell me Hikari is not right behind me…” This was his greatest fear right now as he still had no clue how Hikari felt about him when it came to Nozomi.

“Nope, just me” Touji answered. “But still, you’re in for it.”

There was a big misunderstanding by the girls around Satoru when Touji laid out that line and they tried to get between the pretty boy and Touji while begging him not to beat him up or at least not to hit him in the face.

That last part sort of irked Satoru as he wanted to be liked for more than just his face and he didn’t want to be put in the same superficial category as many of the other pretty boys at the school. He had a touch of pride in himself that was based on more than just looks. The boy actually was within the top ten percent of his academic class. Not even being pretty would get you the role of student council president, you did need to have some smarts too. Sadly he rarely ever got any credit for that. As for what Touji said, he knew what he was being told. “Why me?”

“No clue” Touji answered. “Nozomi likes you and that’s all I know. While I am her big brother to be I’m not allowed to stick my nose into her romantic life. That’s her father’s job.” Touji didn’t come over to start a fight and chase him off, he came over to help this confused kid out. He saw what happened and even overheard part of it while he was helping clean up and he suspected that Satoru didn’t even know how big of a thing his answer was to Nozomi.

“I knew I shouldn’t have given her a straight answer.”

“Nope” Touji said back as what he said garnered a lot of respect. “Hikari pretty much raised Nozomi and in a lot of ways views her as something more than just an older sister. Hikari was basically mom to her for a long time.”

Satoru now understood what he did. “Shit!... and Hikari told me I had to be firm in telling her no just this afternoon.”

“You’re off to a poor start” Touji chuckled.

“So what do I do now?”

“Either you get serious and really start telling her no” Touji started. “Or you think about your life right now and ask if it is enough or do you want something better?”

Satoru had no answer for that last part. He knew what kind of person Touji was and what he meant by saying that. Touji may not have been the best student in the school but Satoru knew where this strong kid lacked in book smarts he more than made up with in life smarts. “You’re as bad as Hikari, you know that?”

Touji simply chuckled again at that and then left the conversation, he had other work to do now and it seemed to him that Satoru understood what he did so that was enough interference from him. The girls around Satoru though had no clue what just happened and were looking back and forth at the two boys like they were speaking another language.
 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****
 

Yuma was helping clean up too when something hideously horrible happened. Some strange guy came up to her and congratulated her on scoring a goal during the soccer tournament she played in. He even gave her a pat on the head too. While that certainly fell into the realm of strange and unsettling that wasn’t what made it hideously horrible to her. What made it hideously horrible and heart rendering was the fact she recognized this strange guy a minute later. He didn’t look like he was supposed to and that meant something hideously horrible happened.

But before she could even say anything she heard a question asked. “Does he not deserve happiness too?”

“But…”

Rei didn’t let this sad girl finish as she knew what Yuma was about to say. “What the world made him and his friends is not something they like. They all feel hollow as they are being forced to play roles they simply are not. If the same was true for you, would you not change to try and find your happiness?”

Now Yuma felt horribly guilty and horribly sad. And it only got worse as Rei was not finished.

“He congratulated you today because you are not simply a fan to him but a friend, will you betray that friendship and ruin his happiness by saying what you know?”

The only thing Yuma could do was shake her head no sadly. The fact she knew Nerv’s of Steel was no more was something she couldn’t tell others while at the same time so hideously horrible.

But she wasn’t the only one feeling bad, Rei did not like what she had just done to the heart rendered friend of hers but she had to do it anyway. Shigeru Aoba’s looks needed to be kept secret and the fact the popular band he was part of was no longer to be in the limelight was something they wished for. She couldn’t deny friends their wish.
 

\\\\||||////
*********** OOO ***********
////||||\\\\
 

Sadly Nerv’s of Steel wish to return to anonymity was not well received by those who were not friends. And worse of all the band felt like they had been stabbed in the back by the industry as when they finally talked to their manager about breaking up the band they did so under the promise of secrecy. They weren’t going to tell their fans the band wanted to retire from the stage till after the release of their latest album but that didn’t happen as by the time the next weekend had come the news was everywhere.

Their very own manager had leaked the news to the media on orders from the company in hope of escalating sales of the album. And not only did the manager sell them out in that way but he also leaked to the tabloids other information he was sure they would want to know as a way of making it seem like it was not the company’s fault the band broke up but the fault of other people who worked their way into the lives of the band members.

Shin Seiki’s restaurant unfortunately became collateral damage as one of the names leaked to the tabloids was Hatoko Misaki. And according to some of those tabloids she was the main reason for the band’s breakup as she was stealing Shigeru Aoba away from his band mates. That meant a lot of paparazzi were hanging around the front of the restaurant in hopes of getting pictures of this previously unknown girl who destroyed Nerv’s of Steel.

They wouldn’t get them though as Hatoko wasn’t going to be coming to work anytime soon. One, she didn’t want to cause anymore trouble for Li Mei and Zukav. And two, she was busy dealing with an absolutely livid boyfriend right now. He did not appreciate his girlfriend getting thrown to the wolves like she did and he wasn’t going to stand for it. Already plans were being put in motion as the undercurrent that connected many in this city was surging.

Back at Shin Seiki’s Li Mei reached her boiling point. Those leaches out there were hurting her business greatly as they were accosting her customers with questions as they tried to enter the restaurant. The upstairs restaurant business was being the most affected as anyone with power or fame weren’t going to show up as long those vultures were out there. And the main part of the restaurant wasn’t doing so hot either as normal people were being accosted with questions as well. And the questions being asked basically reduced this restaurant out to be nothing more than a front for some whore house for the rich and famous. Li Mei and Zukav both tried to chase these people off several times but they were unrelenting and wouldn’t go away. Help was needed so a call was made.

Li Mei and Zukav weren’t the only ones stressed out about this, Asuka was too. Already she was feeling harassed as when Shinji and her showed up for work they were bothered with questions from those people. If it wasn’t for Shinji stopping her she would have slapped them right then and there. Add to this was the depressing atmosphere of the people who worked at the restaurant and the greatly decreased business. There were a lot of empty tables right now and that meant Asuka was not kept busy and allowed to brood over what happened earlier. Those people outside were making this place she liked to work at unpleasant, her tips were way down because of the lack of customers, and they were making people she though of as friends worry.

As you can guess Asuka couldn’t accept the situation and went outside when no one was looking to confront these people spoiling her happiness. “Listen you asswipes, Hatoko isn’t here, she’s not going to be here, and as long as pieces of human filth are around she’s never going to come back. So why don’t you fucking pack up your worthless parasite asses and get lost so things can get back to normal around here.”

Before when Asuka entered this restaurant she was wearing normal clothes, now though she was dressed in her waitress outfit. The perception this group of people had of her completely changed and they responded to her insults with slander as one of them said “What? Are you mad because you can’t turn tricks because business is down?” The other paparazzi all chuckled at this.

Asuka’s reaction was anything but jovial. “Did you just call me a whore?!”

“And what if I did?” the paparazzi said hoping to provoke the situation. He wanted an explosion as then he would have a story, and getting it out of and employee of the restaurant was all the better.

Well he got what he wanted, but not what he expected. He had played this girl as just being a normal girl, which was a huge mistake as this “normal” girl ripped his camera, that he pointed at her so he could take a pitcher of her being all pissed off, out of his hand and threw it up against the side of the building, smashing it into a million pieces. “You little…”

Asuka didn’t even give the guy a chance to say anything as she wasn’t playing around. She silenced that slanderous mouth of his with a very real punch to his temple that staggered him. Then while he was staggering she followed up with a knee to his stomach that doubled him over and got him completely off balance. And using that unbalanced state and his position she grabbed this fool by the back of his hair and slammed him face first into the concrete they were standing on.

The other paparazzi didn’t help out with protecting their own because of how fast this all happened, it was only a matter of seconds. By the time their brains figured out that this other guy was being beaten badly it was already over with as he was unconscious on the ground below.

Of course Asuka being outside and causing a ruckus didn’t go unnoticed and Zukav was able to get outside and stop Asuka from doing any more damage to this guy. It very much looked like she was sizing him up for something even more nefarious. “Asuka, that is enough.”

“But he called me a whore…”

“And he has paid the price for it, that is enough. The police will handle the rest, now go inside.” Zukav was praying that Asuka listened to him because she looked absolutely incensed. He could see there was clearly more here than just a simple insult going through his employee’s mind.

Asuka wasn’t sure if she was going to listen to what Zukav told her but she took a deep breath and re-centered herself. She certainly wanted to do more but it was best if she didn’t so she swallowed her anger and hurt feelings and did what she was told, she went inside.

Inside Shinji was waiting for Asuka and at first was disappointed in her, that was until she told him what the guy called her. There wasn’t only acceptance that happened but also anger. Shinji was angry at the other guy and you could clearly tell it. But he knew he couldn’t push this situation any further so instead he walked off with Asuka towards the back room so he could talk to her in private.

“What just happened?” Li Mei asked as she was completely lost right now. The answer she got was very much different than what she, or any of the other people around, expected.

“He insinuated that Asuka would be intimate with anyone other than Shinji.” Rei knew Asuka and Shinji well enough to never judge what they did on a simple level. If they over reacted to a situation that was because their own minds were reading much more into it than what most people would normally think. That guy out there got attacked not because he called Asuka a prostitute but because he said her love for Shinji was not real and that she would cheat on him. It mattered nothing to Asuka if that guy out there even knew if he said that, he did and she couldn’t accept it.

“I don’t think that’s what he meant” Li Mei replied.

“But that is what Asuka heard” Rei said back. “Her actions were justified.”

Li Mei got a little worried about that answer too, how in the world could this calm and collective girl say Asuka’s reaction was justified? She was expecting surprise or disappointment, not acceptance.
 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****
 

The guy out on the pavement wasn’t out for long which meant he had back his full cognitive abilities as a pair of handcuffs was slapped on him. The cops had shown up to sort everything out and the one who was in trouble was not the temperamental girl who started all this. “I’m the one who got attacked! Why am I being arrested?”

“For harassment and assault of a minor” one of the cops said back.

“I never laid a hand on the girl!”

“It’s not Ms. Sohryu’s fault she was able to defend herself before you could act, now get in there” and the cop shoved the guy into the back of the squad car and slammed the door shut.

The other paparazzi of course were arguing what was happening but it didn’t seem like the cops cared. In fact it seemed like they were being targeted and it was obvious after a second guy was arrested for harassing an officer as he got in the face of one and tried to force his point. He ended up right next to the first guy in the squad car.

A couple minutes later two more vehicles showed up, one a regular car and the other a news van. Immediately the paparazzi saw the news van as their ally and went over claiming police harassment to try and make this a big story they could cash in with through litigation.

This was not the case as Maya Hyuga stepped out of the news van and set up for a special report. The Paparazzi were dumbfounded as this fellow member of the media completely turned on them and reported on how this restaurant was unfairly being targeted by them as they were accosting its customers and even attacked some of the employees to try and create false stories all for their own greedy purposes. This was not a story of police brutality but the first part of a scathing investigation into the destructive influences the paparazzi have upon the populace of the city.

That of course got shouts of cover up and conspiracy but those voices soon got silenced as when they tried to barge in on the report the rest of the paparazzi there all got arrested on counts of public disturbance and harassment.

The person in the other vehicle would have felt bad for these people, as this very much was a conspiracy, if not for the fact she was the one creating the thing. And as Misato stepped out of her car and walked up to the commanding officer he said “What do you want us to do next boss?”

“Keep them in jail till Monday and then release them with simple misdemeanors. Nothing serious but make sure they learn they won’t be tolerated in this city anymore. I want this to end here and now.”

“What about the one Asuka went after?”

“Take him to the hospital and get his nose fixed, then throw him in the same holding cell as the others. Same charges as the others too as I don’t want this situation getting out of hand with a serious legal trial.”

“Yes ma’am” the commanding officer replied but had to ask. “What set Asuka off like that? Even for her this is unusual.”

“Combination of things” Misato answered. “It’s her time of the month so she has been grouchy all day. And what that dipshit said questioned her relationship with Shinji.”

“Does that idiot know that?” the cop chuckled.

“No, but Asuka doesn’t care. When she’s like this it doesn’t matter if you know what you did, only that you did it.” Asuka may had come a long way in fighting her inner demons but Misato knew she also still had a long ways to go. That girl wasn’t nearly as emotionally stable as most people. Didn’t help much either that her boyfriend was just as bad.

And this was proven as when Misato came into the restaurant to check up on the two she found Shinji coddling Asuka and telling her it was all right. “Please tell me you at least feel a little bit guilty about what you did?”

“Why should I?” Asuka said back indignantly.

“Because you broke his nose” Misato answered knowing that not even that would make her care.

“He deserved it” Asuka said proving Misato right.

“Whether he did or not is not the issue here” Misato stated. “This won’t happen again, understand?”

Asuka answered with a quiet “Yes ma’am” as she did know she was in trouble right now. “But I didn’t actually mean for this to happen, I just wanted them to all go away so things would go back to normal.”

“I figured as much” Misato said with a shake of her head. Asuka never handled change all that well and the fact the change that was happening wasn’t a good one pretty much guaranteed Asuka wasn’t going to react well. Misato then looked over at Shinji. “The least you could be doing is telling her that she has to behave herself and not condone her actions.” Misato only rolled her eyes at the two as the only answer Shinji gave her was the shrug of his shoulders. “Fine, be that way” not that Misato was expecting anything different “but consolation time is over now. The vultures are gone so that means business should pick up again, so get back to work. Li Mei is not paying you guys to cuddle.”

The situation at Shin Seiki’s was now finished with that prophetic statement and things got back to normal.
 

****^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^****
 

On Monday there was a press conference. At this press conference were the members of Nerv’s of Steel as they wanted to personally talk to their fans as they didn’t like all the things being said in the tabloids. Which incidentally were the only media sources saying anything about them breaking up or why as the regular news stations and newspapers didn’t report anything more on this topic other than confirmation that they had broken up. There almost seemed to be some sort of collusion among all the different media outlets based in Tokyo-4. Unfortunately the tabloids all had bases outside the city, as they were never allowed to set up in the city for some strange reason, so they did not share in this collusion.

Shigeru Aoba, being the front man of the band was the one to do the most speaking. “First off I would like to apologize to our fans out there for everything that has happened over the last couple days. This was not how this was supposed to play out. For a while now we were planning to retreat from the world stage after this album and we were going to personally tell all you fans out there at the last few concerts we were going to put on. Obviously our former music label didn’t cooperate with our wishes and because of that there will be no farewell concerts. But we are going to make it up to our fans as you have always been the ones that supported us and we won’t turn our backs on you like our label did to us.” The reporters in the know couldn’t help but chuckle about what was going on, Nerv’s of Steel was throwing their former label under the bus and placing some of the blame on the breakup of this band squarely on them. Which most of those reporters found ironic as they knew the reason the label leaked the news in the first place was to avoid this from happening.

Shigeru Aoba continued on. “When our former label releases our newest album next week our fans will not have to buy it. Instead you can simply visit the band’s official web page and download the entire album for free.”

That statement of course set off a barrage of questions from the media in attendance. Shigeru answered the two most prevalent. “We’ve all made enough money, so no we don’t care about how much we will lose by giving away our music.” The other question of course was if they could actually do what they were saying they were going to do. This sounded like something that would get wrapped up in a lot of legal tape. But in truth it wasn’t as once again Shigeru threw the band’s old label into the fire. “We can do this because we own the rights to our own music. In our former label’s own greed to make money off of us they agreed to our stipulation that we own any and all songs we create. This of course means that in addition to our future album our original album will also be up for free download on the site as well.”

Everyone understood that statement exactly as it was meant to be. Nerv’s of Steel was declaring war on their former label and were not going to let them make any more money off of them.

But that declaration of war wasn’t done yet as there were other targets as well. “Also if you would give us another minute we would like to apologize to Shin Seiki’s restaurant for the trouble we have put them through. Not only did those media jackals hound the restaurant to try and get at Hatoko but one of them tried to physically attack an employee there. That is unforgivable and I ask our fans and the rest of you out there to not believe their lies or buy their magazines. It’s just not right to support a bunch of parasitic people who think it’s all right to try an assault a young teenage girl just to create a story. I’d like to think humanity has grown better than that since third impact and all.”

That was a shot that was sure to reverberate for a long time to come. In fact there wasn’t a celebrity, political figure, professional athlete, or famous person in the country who wasn’t going to bring up that craftily designed fact to slam the tabloids for the next couple of years. It was in the news now that it happened, names with held of course, so it must have been true.

Shigeru also threw out a plug for his favorite restaurant as well to make up for the trouble. “I ask our fans, if you’re in the area, to show the restaurant your support and get a good meal.” Shigeru switched from a formal to a very casual tone of voice as he added on “You’re not going to regret it, they have the best sashimi in city.”

“You have to try the crab stuffed steak” Andy said cutting in and pushing this press conference off topic.

“That’s a good dish too” Shigeru said right back continuing to stay off topic. “Do you get it with the blue cheese crumbles or the mushrooms?”

“Mushrooms, definitely the mushrooms. I’d eat a whole plate of just the mushrooms if you let me.”

Andy wasn’t the only band member distracted by the sudden talk of food. “I’m the same way with the cucumber and salmon roe rolls. The chefs don’t even wait for me to sit down before they start making them when they see me come in.”

“I go for the teriyaki every time” the fourth member of the band said.

“Teriyaki what?” Shigeru asked as there several different versions of that dish on the menu there.

“Teriyaki anything” he was told back. “You could serve it with a shoe and I’d still eat it.”

That got people chuckling. It also got everyone looking at the fifth and final member of the band. They were already so far off topic that they might as well know what his favorite dish at this particular restaurant was. “Everything” was his answer. “I’ve eaten everything off the upstairs menu, the sushi bar, and the downstairs menu. I love it all.”

And with the plugging of Shin Seiki’s done Shigeru looked out over the crowd and asked “You guys need anything else?”

One of the reporters shouted out “Why exactly are you guys breaking up?” as that was something no one had truly figured out. All the members of the band seemed to be getting along and the strife seemed to be between the band and their old label. Why couldn’t they just switch to a new label and keep on going.

“Because we're not rock stars” Shigeru answered him squarely. “I know the image we portrayed says differently but all of us are the same here, we’re a bunch of computer geeks that just happen to be good musicians. So while a lot of other people thrive off the fame and notoriety we got sick of it and want to go back to our old lives.” The most damning thing about that statement was that the rest of the band members all nodded their heads in unison to that. None of them wanted to be what they had become, it may have been wished for but still it was not a life they desired anymore.

“So what are you going to do next?” was the next question.

“Take it easy for a while” Shigeru answered. “I may get back into music someday but for now I’m burned out from it.”

The other members of the band answered that question as well and most of them said close to the same thing as Shigeru. There were other things they wanted to accomplish and most of them just wanted to spend time with their family and friends, something they really didn’t get to do much of before.

After the band answered a few more questions they ended the press conference with Shigeru stating “One last thing, I’ve been told I don’t need to explain this but I’m going to say it anyway because its been bugging me since one of the tabloids said it. My girlfriend, Hatoko Misaki, had nothing to do with the break up of the band. The idea of quitting all this was floating around in all our heads long before I even met her. In fact you people should be thanking her as without her pushing us we never would have finished this album on time.”

“The cooking and getting us food was essential” Andy quickly added on as she was a life saver in that department.

“More like I took away your computers and made you actually work on the album instead of playing Halo all day long.”

There was quite a bit of snickering going on in the room after that. One, it was by the person they were talking about. And two, all the members looked away from the cameras to try and hide guilty faces. And with that action the press conference was over.

 

Author's Notes: 

(A/N: Yup, I'm still alive. Just very busy with real life right now. I've been sitting on this chapter for over a year now with plans to do a final proofread, but I don't know when that will happen, so I'm just going to post this as is. As for the next chapter, if you know when I am going to post it, could you be a dear and let me know. Because personally I don't have the foggiest of a clue.)
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