Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Vignette ❯ Chapter 6

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Joshua Trujillo


He'd once heard that to play a guitar was like making love to a
woman. You have to treat her gently and stroke her 'til she purrs.
That hadn't been the exact quote, but it was the general gist. He
couldn't imagine it being that he would pluck a piece of her until
she twangs. That was just...wrong...

Shigeru sat back on his bar stool waiting for the other act to get
finished. That's why he brought his band to this bar, one of the few
still open in Tokyo-3, to have a chance at the open mic. True, the
fate of humanity was a tad more important than getting noticed by
an agent. And, if they didn't succeed, there wouldn't be anything
left for agents to pick up, but that didn't seem all that important
when he was up on the stage. It was just him, his guitar, the other
guys in the band and the music. The music that filled his senses
and pushed his soul to places that even Evangelions couldn't reach.
He wanted to stay there forever.

He took another sip of his Killian's and looked down the bar to his
compatriots. Makoto looked just as disgusted at life as ever and
Maya was getting herself loaded. Hmmm. They *did* make a cute
couple; perhaps he could do something about that tonight. Shigeru
thought for a minute as he sipped his beer. Nah. Makoto didn't
have the balls to go through with anything, even if Shigeru *did*
do something about it. He was a great friend and a good man, but
he lacked the...the...

Shigeru looked up to the television in the bar. TVTokyo had been
showing reruns ever since the town cleared out. He supposed that,
given the right reruns, they could all leave and no one would
notice. Pro wrestling graced the screens tonight. Straight from
America. Live fifteen years ago. He smirked as he drank his beer.
He actually remembered some of this from the days with his dad.
They used to watch wrestling as a male bonding event. Sure, they'd
never call it that, but Shigeru knew that's what it was.

Testicular fortitude. That's what Makoto lacked, at least to Shigeru.
He needed to get laid. Shigeru shrugged to himself. *He* needed
to get laid too. He looked down the bar as Maya tried to coax
Makoto to some drinking game. Maybe Maya...?

The brunette slammed her shot glass back down on the table, to the
cheer of the other patrons. Makoto looked back to Shigeru.

"Do it, man," he leaned toward his friend, "Maybe you can get
some o' that tonight..."

Makoto jerked away with a surprised look and turned back to
Maya, who waggled her finger at him. The blush on his face
happened to be what he was thinking about, the blush on hers was
due to the amount of alcohol consumed. But damn, didn't they look
cute together. Shigeru suppressed a laugh and downed his beer.

"You wanna 'nother one?"

Shigeru looked at the bartender and shook his head.

"Nah, gotta keep clear for my set," he said, "Maybe afterward."

The bartender nodded. He was a good man and a better
businessman. An open mic meant the chance for people to show
others what they had, while entertaining the regulars for free.
Shigeru stood and stretched as the joker on stage slipped up two
octaves, trying to out shout Maya and her ebullient drunkenness.
Shigeru reached to base of the bar, where his precious instrument
lay. Another clack on the bar behind him told him that Maya was
up three to two. Not that Makoto'd make it to five, but that was
another story. Shigeru turned and placed his guitar on his stool and
opened the case. Makoto urped slightly and stumbled from his seat
toward the bathroom. Shigeru grimaced and hoped that he actually
made it.

He watched curiously as some money changed hands between
Maya and a couple of the men. Apparently, the newbies had bet
against her. Too bad for them, huh? He smirked to himself. She
stumbled off the bar stool and took up residence at one of the
tables and began to sway to the music. Not there *was* any music,
but she began to sway anyway. Makoto burped slightly as he
stumbled into a chair next to her, looking a prettier shade of green.
She absently began to rub his back as he slumped forward. Yeah,
he could if he wanted to. Shigeru climbed the couple of steps to the
stage and slung his guitar over his head as the rest of his band set
up. Making sure it was tuned was just a thing that he did. It wasn't
like he expected it not to be tuned; it was just something he'd
learned. From his father. A slow smile crawled its way across his
face at the thought. Shigeru knew it was the wrestling that made
him think about the old man, but his father also taught him how to
play. Especially the Blues, which is what they normally played out
on the open mic nights. It's what he was good at. 'The Survivors'
were a pretty good band, all things being equal. The drummer was
a maintenance tech and the bassist was a guy on the janitorial staff.
Sure, Shigeru was the only one left who could carry a tune, but that
was good enough for Blues...

Shigeru began with a slow tune. It was a John Lee Hooker bit that
always brought memories of his mom. Back in the early nineties,
back before the Angels, before Second Impact, before NERV, back
when Shigeru was growing up in a new millennium, he
remembered that his family didn't have much. They'd been poor in
an atmosphere of wealth. The country was booming under new
economic boons, but there were still the have and have-nots. He'd
been a have-not. He didn't care, really because his mother had been
the one to show that you didn't have to have money to be happy
and his father had been the one to tell him that you should
complain about it anyway. He came towards the end of the song.
His mother had been an American. It was another reason for his
love of the Blues. It always kept her close.

Swaying barefoot in the kitchen on a hot July afternoon. Fixing
lunch. Clad in a light spring dress and golden sunlight, she
hummed softly while she worked. Shigeru happily playing nearby.
Happy and still she loved the Blues.

The next song always reminded him of his little cousin Miku. His
family'd go visit her family every so often and, in the summer
time, they'd all go out to the beach, which wasn't far from their
house. He and Miku had so much fun playing in the sand and, later
on, snorkeling off shore. The song always reminded him of her
because she had died in Second Impact. She'd died just as she was
flowering into a beautiful woman. She died too young.

Flopping out of the surf next to her, their flippers too large for their
feet. Jet black hair plastered to her forehead as she smiled brightly
back at him. A sand dollar in his hand. She'd caught it. Giggling
between sun and sea...

Shigeru waited as the song ended for the applause to die away. It
always made him feel great to know that people really liked to hear
him play. It was a testament to the timelessness of the music and, if
he could be allowed some ego, to his style in playing them as well.
The bartender had come to the stage and had set three beers down
by his feet. He smirked at Shigeru and gave him a thumbs- up
before walking back to the bar. He took a sip, cleared his throat
and began on the next song, another by Mr. Hooker. But there
were so many *good* ones, weren't there?

The children came to mind with this one. He didn't know what to
feel, really. He supposed that it was cruel of them to expect so
much from children, but then, when he was their age, Second
Impact was a year old and he was too busy fighting for survival.
But still, he'd seen that some of these Angels when right after the
children. Most were after whatever the commanders had hid in the
Geofront, but not all. Shigeru shook his head as he sang. People
would see it as him getting into the song and that wasn't it. He was
on autopilot when he sang, that way he wouldn't screw up the
lyrics. Asuka could be a real handful sometimes and it sickened
Shigeru that Kaji didn't do anything when she would attach herself
like she did. The damned fool probably liked it. That and he had
some kind of in with the Major, which didn't sit well with Shigeru
either. Of course, it honked Makoto off to no end, but that's
because the idiot had a crush on her. He supposed that Asuka was
just young and that she'd grow out of the bitchy portion of her
youth. Eventually. Hopefully.

Shinji was another matter entirely. If an Angel ever came along
that switched his personality with that of Asuka, it'd actually help
them. Not for good, mind you, but a little wouldn't hurt. It wasn't
that he was a wimp, it was just that, well, he had no spine. He
didn't wonder that it had something to do with his father, the
Commander. That man could yank the spine out of anyone,
including Shigeru. No one had ever stood up to the Commander
and Shigeru wondered what would happen to the boy if he actually
did. Shigeru snickered. He'd probably explode. Splut! Right there,
take out everyone in the Geofront...

Then there was Rei. Rei was...Shigeru shuddered inwardly at the
albino. He didn't want to think about Rei.

They tried something new next. The song was more Jazz than
Blues, but it still held that suffering quality that the patrons were
used to coming from them. It was just that, this was one of his own
songs. He wrote it six weeks before he got the call about joining
NERV. He'd worked for Gehirn for a time, but just couldn't take
the politics and infighting, so he quit. He had about a year of odd
jobs, enough to pay the bills and then Dr. Akagi remembered a
certain programmer / statistician that worked for her at Gehirn and
poof, he had another job. He liked NERV, even if he had no idea
what the Blue Hell he was doing half the time.

He could see to the table where Makoto sat. He didn't look so
green, but that could've been the lighting too. Maya either had her
head on his shoulder, or she was propped up against him. He didn't
seem to mind too much either way and they both seemed
conscious, so that was good. The song ended and he stood and
bowed for his applause, even from the other members. They knew
about the song, but didn't think he'd ever get around to actually
singing it. He liked the feeling. To know that something of your
own, something that came from you gave pleasure to so many
people. Like birth, but without the pain. He smirked as he sat back
down again.

A good drinking song came next and with it, thoughts of the
Major. Her binges were widely known, but the reason behind her
weekend alcoholism wasn't so clear. Shigeru figured it had
something to do with Kaji, but he wasn't sure. For some reason,
Dr. Akagi came to mind also. Perhaps because Maya was the only
one who could out drink her. Dr. Akagi was something of an
enigma. He and the rest of the bridge crew knew there were things
that she wouldn't tell them. Hell, there were things that *Maya*
knew that she wouldn't tell, but with Dr. Akagi, it seemed to go
much deeper. And then there was the ongoing affair with the
Commander...Shigeru wouldn't have known anything if he hadn't
accidentally stumbled on them. Dr. Akagi was, naturally,
extremely embarrassed, but the Commander didn't even want to
stop what he was doing! Shigeru had excused himself and had
gone home thinking that it was all. Walk in on something like that,
and the career is done. That's just how it is...Well, that's *not* just
how it was. Dr. Akagi explained that she wanted him to keep quiet
and that's that. Shigeru never even wanted to find out what the
'that' was that she referred to, though. She had a way to mortally
scare people while being nice about it. She'd picked it up from her
mother, as he understood it.

He finished with flair, taking off on a little last century
instrumental. The other band members knew why. His throat was
sore. He had to talk to the owner about the smoking in this place.
Nah, he wouldn't change it. Besides, what's the Blues without a
smoke-filled bar to play it in? He smirked and finished. The crowd
clapped, as well as they always did and the band stood and bowed,
as they always had. The feelings were always the same. They were
always great. He wanted it to stay that way forever. He walked
down the steps of the stage and smiled to himself.

Always and forever were right around the next set, after all.