|A Sensitive and Emotionally Volatile Young Man|
|Summary: Rei Ayanami informs Shinji Ikari that she's a woman now.|
"Ayanami." Shinji manages-he has collapsed against the wall, having ran into the room and assumed that his stoic friend followed him. He wheezes a little more, perhaps focusing on recovering his ability to function as a human being before anything else. "A..ignoring, um, the moral, ethical, and spiritual consequences of our possibly having discovered a fact of tremendous importance for the moment, since said findings cannot be, ah, scientifically varified, well..."
Shinji pauses, for a moment. "W-what posessed you to punch that (alledged) ghost in the throat, anyway?!"
A beat or two after Shinji runs in and collapses, Rei Ayanami strolls in, her muted walk producing quiet footsteps. She doesn't seem to be in any huge hurry. "I don't think it was really a ghost," she replies, standing next to Shinji -- uncomfortably close, because as usual the concept of 'personal space' remains somewhat of an apparent mystery. "Its nostrils moved at a rhythm that could be attributed to breathing. Most life forms that require oxygen use the neck as their primary intake and exhaust passage, which renders it an extremely vulnerable point for potential attacks." Rei doesn't look at Shinji as she recites this long-winded spiel; she seems to be unfocusedly staring at a nearby chair. "Did you enjoy your holidays, Ikari?" she asks, out of nowhere.
Part of Shinji Ikari thinks, 'oh god human contact someone is sitting closely to me why are they doing this I can feel the grease of their dead skin cells invading my body and murdering layer after layer of my precious skin cells on god my skin is being raped by ayanami's pirate sweat glands hollowing the marrow out of my bones and'
Part of Shinji thinks, 'Why am I suprised that an albino is warm? Is she going to hit me with that chair?'
Part of Shinji thinks, 'Gosh, I guess Ayanami is a little cold, or getting into the spirit of sneaking around. It's funny, a couple months ago I'd be so freaked out by this I'd probably end up falling on her or something, but it's not all that big of a deal, is it?'
What Shinji actually does is give Rei a bit of a look and go, "...it walked through the wall, Ayanami." in counter to her science talk. He blinks, and is so thrown off that he shrugs and says, "Well, I haven't gotten the guts to try and give anyone any of the gifts I bought, because I'm me, and I think that amusement park dad had me investigate stole my blood somehow because I've been feeling kind of woozy lately, but it beats sleeping in someone's car." The Third Child blinks, realizing he said that out loud, and shrugs, figuring that Rei doesn't really care. It's kind of liberating. "You?"
"If you no longer had blood, Ikari, you would be unable to function to the capacity you are currently able." Ayanami's red eyes turn away from the chair and toward the doorway, as if anticipating something entering. This turns out to be unfounded -- for the moment, anyway. Still, her face betrays nothing of her thought process; it's like looking into a cat's eyes, only a cat is at least marginally expressive with the limited tools it has to work with. "I didn't give many gifts," she says. "I didn't feel comfortable asking for expense vouchers for what would essentially be luxury items. I also would not have known what to buy." Rei pauses a beat. "NERV did allow me to be transferred to the custody of Leo Stenbuck for the night, however. I suspect it was so the technicians who supervise my REM cycles could have Christmas off, though."
Shinji Ikari pauses, briefly.
"T-the custody?" He's /beat red/, and Shinji's right hand is doing that twitchy-squeeze thing again, where it looks like he's unconsciously repressing the urge to strangle someone.
"Should I have used a different word?" Rei replies, still looking away. "Leo did not seem to care for the term 'custody,' either. But all the same, he was trusted with my safekeeping for the holidays." Rei turns back to regard Shinji, and her eyes drift down to his hand. "Ikari, you're having a seizure."
"Huh?" Shinji looks down at his hand, so freshly stained with the blood of his enemy, the defiler Stenbuck! It was not a pleasent deat-, "Oh, sorry, my hands get shakey sometimes." Shinji lies, hiding them behind his back.
"...custody sounds like he, um, owns you." Shinji explains, then, figuring this is a case of Rei's horrible childhood and not Leo taking sexual advantage of her. "You might want to use, um, 'sleepover' or 'I stayed at Leo's for the night' so, um, it doesn't sound as...creepy."
"I avoided the word 'sleepover' because I did not want you to think we'd slept together," Rei says, making a careful mental note to see if Gendo also displays signs of developing Parkinson's. "I did not want you to think that Leo and I were sexually active on Christmas, because you generally seem uncomfortable with sexuality in discussion. Leo and I agreed to wait until a more appropriate time." Rei is looking Shinji right in the eyes, but her stare is vacant and dull. "We waited until New Year's Eve."
"'Custody' sounds like he kidnapped you so you could become his adopted daughter in order for him to take control of the Ayanami millions." Shinji points out, unsure if he is kidding-he sometimes has very strange thoughts like this, but he also has the capacity to laugh at himself, so it bares mentioning at wait what the hell?!
Shinji's mind's eye looks upward, scanning over the previous paragraph, and confirming what Ayanami just implied. She may be emotionally dead, but she has a decent grade in verbal expression. So, Shinji does the only thing a Shinji Ikari can do in a situation like this, which is fall out of his squat, slip, and smash right onto his own face, his legs twitching and his hands shuddering at the sudden sensations.
"I'm going to kill him." Shinji decides, calmly.
Rei stares down at Shinji. Her primary concern, as expressed vocally: "I don't have millions of anything. You aren't making any sense again, Ikari."
"You should be used to it by now, Ayanami." Shinji says in the calm voice of the homocidal, "It is one of my charming eccentricities."
Shinji pushes himself up to his feet, takes a breath, blushes, blushes again, rubs the back of his head, and says the only thing he can. "...did he at least buy you dinner first?!"
"Yes," Ayanami replies. Her tone is as neutral as Shinji's; for once, their respective displays of muted emotion are on level ground. "I reported the entire thing to NERV, Ikari, if you must know details. I'm sure the report could be gotten from someone." Her blank gaze refocuses and tightens, into a slight squint. "Although I'm not sure why you would need to know the level of detail I reported."
"...I, whu." Shinji blinks, somehow feeling like a cad despite the fact that SHE told HIM. "...w-well, first off, I might be uncomfortable with, ah..." Again, that blush. "T-talking about sex, but I...I mean, I'm not, like, your /dad/ or anything, if you want to..."
Shinji tries, but he cannot quite say it. "...don't, um, not because of me. And don't be offended, it just, uh, sounded like that from what you said!"
Shinji pauses again. "...and if you didn't want to talk about it, why did you tell me? I mean, you guys are only fifteen, but we fight space devils so I guess we're as close to adult as it gets anymore."
"I figured you should know," Rei says, tone a bit blunt. "You're a sensitive and emotionally volatile young man and I did not want our friendship to be affected by keeping things secret. I had anticipated that your first instinct would be to try and murder Leo; I am glad to see you're losing focus on that goal."
"Well, where would I put the body?" Shinji counters, assuming this is humor, or perhaps attempting to twist it into as much. He also noted that Rei considers, in her weird Rei way, that they are friends. See? That bit Rei said was part of a shtick, not him being half serious and her being totally serious. And he didn't watch his mother die either.
no. NO. You don't remember how mom died. It was an accident.
"Volatle?" Shinji offers, a little hurt, and shrugs it off because it is true. "Well, okay, I guess. I'm not going to hate you or anything if you want to keep stuff to yourself...but if you want to talk about stuff like this, well." Shinji sighs, because he is hopeless, but by his logic Rei is MORE hopeless, and thus he has some duty towards her. It is a weird relationship. "I'll try my best? I kind of...suck at this 'being a person' thing, I'm sure you've noticed."
Another pause. "I'm not going to really kill Stenbuck." Much. "...so are you two...whatever, now?"
Rei squints again at the question about where to put the body. "I decline to answer that question because then I'd just be giving you ideas, Ikari."
"You're more a person than I, Shinji Ikari," Rei says, without further elaboration. Instead, she just does another abrupt gear-change, casually abandoning conversational topics in favor of the next talking point in the grand Ayanami way. "--are we 'whatever?'" Rei's head tilts. "I don't understand."
Shinji blinks, feeling incredibly saddened by this. Maybe having a little romance in her lonely life will be good for Ayanami. What is he thinking, freaking out? How selfish could he possibly be? This is the most...selfish, human thing this girl has done in her entire life and all he has done is bitch about it.
Fuck it. Shinji squats back down so he's sitting next to Rei again, and throws...well, carefully places...a friendly arm around her, delicately squeezing her shoulder. "In a...'relationship', I guess. If you two, um..." Shinji scratches his cheek with his other finger. "...did what you said earlier, well, you don't have to be, but usually people who do that are boyfriend and girlfriend."
There is a mometary pause as Rei considers this. She doesn't react to Shinji putting his arm on her, or the squeeze; as usual, Rei might as well be a stuffed bear or something for all her reactivity to her surroundings. "Oh," she finally says, looking downward at some spot on the floor. Then, her head tilts upward, toward Shinji. "I don't know. I will ask Leo; he would not appreciate a conclusive decision being made without consulting him."
It's like that old TV show. She's...like a sad, easily broken Spock.
Does that make me Kirk...or Asuka?!
Shoving aside the worrying picture of a shirtless Asuka and Rei fighting to the death in a sinister alien arena this immediately draws in Shinji's mind, Ikari forces himself to remain available. She cares, even if she does not seem to, he remembers this, and it's worth...touching...to convey that he cares and accepts her.
"Probably a good idea." Shinji admits, and brings his arm back because ten seconds is enough, he'll have to scrub that hand off later. oh god he can feel the germs infecting him. The perverse urge to ask 'Was he any good?' comes to him, but Shinji figures that is more an Asuka or Misato thing to ask, and in fact blames Misato for corrupting his mind in this particular manner in the first place. "I'm...suprised Doctor Akagi didn't object. It doesn't interfere with piloting the Evangelion?"
"Doctor Akagi has not yet made her feelings known to me," Rei says, her gaze turning away from Shinji again. Her hands fold limply in her lap. "I have not tried to pilot Unit-00 since, however, so I don't know the answer to the second question." She is silent for a brief stretch, her frail form remaining completely still before her head turns again, as if capable of moving independently from the rest of her body's musculature. "If it does interfere, though, NERV is capable of fixing it. You do not have anything to worry about."
"NERV is..." Shinji pauses.
His player shudders in horror. Shinji has not yet seen <SPOILERS> so he assumes that Rei means some sort of drug regimine. "That's good." Shinji says carefully, not wanting to lie. "...I wouldn't want anything to happen to you, y'know?" There, that was the truth, without having to endorse Eva piloting.
There's another pause. "That is one slow ghost."
"Perhaps the -- 'ghost' was content to scare us into leaving its presence," Rei offers. She leans forward, elbows resting on her knees, and looks toward the door again, patiently staring without blinking, in case she misses anything. "There are entities who are best left alone." Rei finally blinks, but just the once, and pulls her body back into an upright sitting posture. "I appreciate your concern, Ikari, even when it is unfounded."
Shinji Ikari blinks a bunch of times.
Rei might have the strange feeling that her one indulgence may have doomer her.
"Thanks, I think." Shinji replies, letting out a sigh. He leans back a little.
Oh, Shinji thinks, I am leaning on someone's knee. He looks up, into the deathly pale face standing behind the pair...somehow, perhaps being two dimensional...and procedes to grab Rei's hand, bound up to his feet, and scream like a little girl while trying to run the hell away.