Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Evangelion: Third Genesis ❯ Chapter 23

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Evangelion Third Genesis: Part Twenty-Two

"Hey Pen -pen," Misato looked amused.

The penguin dashed by, holding a package of beef jerky and heading to the bathroom for a hot bath. Shaking her head Misato set her bags down on the counter, then she stretched out to try to get the stiffness of sitting around an office to go away.

"Welcome home," Misato called out as she heard the front door open. The black haired commander of NERV was still wearing her usual red jacket and pants, having just gotten home only a few moments before.

"We brought company," Asuka's voice called back.

'Wonder if it's...' Misato walked over to the entrance where she saw Toji, Aida and Hikari taking their shoes off. "It's good to see you," she offered them a smile.

Toji looked uncomfortable, the tall young man leaning on his cane. "Misato," he smiled slightly as brown hair fell into his eyes, "it's nice to see you again."

Aida looked at the insignia on her collar and it looked like the blonde haired boy's eyes were going to pop out. "General?" he squeaked.

"It happened awhile ago," Misato said quickly to head off the boy's likely reaction, "it's a little too late for a celebration."

"Too bad," Hikari murmured, a slight smile on the brown haired girl's face. "The last celebration here was the first time I was invited over," she said.

"Anyway," Asuka shrugged slightly as the redhead continued, "I hope you don't mind that I invited them over, Misato."

"It was partially my fault, too," Rei offered with one of her sudden smiles, her blue hair helping to bring out those striking eyes.

"It's fine," Misato quickly reassured them. She grinned, "Maya and Ritsuko are stopping over later, we're having dinner together again."

"Right," and with that Asuka lead the others off down to the bedroom.

"She's as beautiful as ever," Aida sighed to himself dreamily.

"And still way out of your league," Toji offered with a laugh.

"Still, there's something that's different about her from when we were over here before," Hikari noted, Asuka and Rei smiling mysteriously.

"Toji," Misato called before they could get too far, "could I talk to you a moment?"

"Oh shit," Toji murmured.

"She's not going to bite you," Asuka scolded him softly but with surprising gentleness, "go on, you can catch up."

Misato watched Toji enter the kitchen, studying the young man thoughtfully. The cane he leaned on was the most obvious sign of his injury but there were others. The lines on his face looked odd on such a young man, as did the tension in his shoulders.

"It's all right," Misato said to him gently, "you haven't done anything wrong."

Toji puffed out a breath, "Right."

Misato reached out to softly put a hand on his shoulder as she said, "I'm sorry." Toji looked over at her in surprise as she continued on, "I don't know if anyone at NERV ever apologized for what happened to you...."

"You don't have to,' Toji shook his head.

"I know the sort of tactics that Ritsuko used to get you into a pilot's seat," Misato sighed in memory of the bad old days at NERV, "I'd say an apology is the least that we can do." She gave him a gentle smile and asked, "How's your sister?"

"Awake," Toji flashed her an uncomfortable smile, "and out of the hospital finally." He looked down shyly as he continued, "The specialists that NERV provided made the difference, so I think it's been a fair trade."

"All right," Misato conceded. She grinned, "You'd better get back to the others before Aida decides I'm having my wicked way with you."

Toji's face went beet red. "Thanks," and with that he headed up the hallway.

Misato watched him go, glad that things were improving for Toji finally. Her actions along with Ritsuko and Gendo Ikari's had cost this boy his leg and very nearly taken his life and no matter how many apologies she offered him it could never be enough. Still, it was something and it did make her feel a little bit better.

"Now," Misato shook herself as she walked over to the phone and mused, "I wonder what sort of take-out I should order tonight?"

Up the hallway Hikari looked up and smiled in relief as Toji entered. The others were sitting around the room or on the beds, both singles pushed together. From the challenging look on Asuka's face she was daring anyone to make a comment on it.

"Nice room," Toji wisely decided not to ask.

"So what happened?" Hikari reached out to take Toji's hand, smiling up at him as she tugged him down to a seat beside her on the bed.

"It was weird," Toji admitted as he described the scene in the messy kitchen.

Aida shook his head mournfully, "She apologized and you didn't take advantage of it?" His eyes sparkled, "I would have asked for a kiss, at least."

Hikari casually whapped him on the back of the head, a easily familiar gesture. "Baka," she sighed, "this was serious, I think."

Asuka nodded slightly. "I think she's always felt bad about what happened," she said seriously, "even though they didn't have much choice."

"I've read the files," Rei agreed gravely, "there were few other options than to consider Unit 04 to be an enemy and stop it with all necessarily force."

Toji puffed out a breath, "Could we please not talk about this?"

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"Ah, sempai...." Maya squeaked out softly, her brown hair slightly mussed.

"Yes?" Ritsuko purred, the taller blonde looking down at her hungrily.

Maya gulped, Ritsuko reaching out to make little circles with her finger on Maya's chest. "We," she shivered slightly, "do have to go over to Misato's to dinner later."

Ritsuko laughed softly, "What I have in mind won't take all that long, you know."

Maya blushed charmingly and Ritsuko relented, taking a half step away from her lover. "Thanks," Maya said shyly, "it's hard to think when you do that."

"I think that's the idea," Ritsuko said unashamedly as she sat them both down on their spacious living room couch.

"Sempai," Maya scolded.

Ritsuko sat back, her blonde hair flowing around her shoulders, the lab coat she still wore sparkling white. "So what did you want to talk about?" she asked curiously.

Maya gulped nervously, running a hand through her brown hair. She put a hand in her uniform pocket as she said, "You know we've been together for awhile...."

"Yes?" Ritsuko prompted her after a moment.

"I wanted to give you this," Maya's cheeks were red as she drew a small box from her pocket, extending it to Ritsuko with a slightly shaking hand even as she popped it open.

Ritsuko's eyes widened as she looked at the simple gold ring then up to Maya's fearful eyes. "Are you," she croaked before clearing her throat, "proposing?"

Maya couldn't seem to get her mouth to work, so instead she just nodded jerkily.

Ritsuko gently took the ring and slid it on her finger as she said, "Yes."

To be continued...