With an acute feeling of desperation, I gently rap on the door to her room. It sounds entirely too loud in the otherwise dead-silent apartment. Feeling paranoid, I look around, almost frantically, silently praying that neither Misato nor Shinji will innocently open the door to their rooms and spot me waiting anxiously at Rei’s door.
I don’t think I could ever live it down; the great Soryu Asuka Langley pining away in front of Wondergirl’s door. What would people say?
Probably something a bit too close to the truth; Asuka can’t help but be drawn to the enigma that is Ayanami Rei.
With the ever-so-quiet sound of lacquered wood sliding on wood, the shoji screen door slides open, revealing Rei beyond. She’s not surprised to see me. Though, after almost two weeks of midnight visits, that in itself is predictable.
She doesn’t say a word, as usual, but stares at me for a moment then just turns around and goes back to bed. For a moment I’m left to stand there, frozen at the threshold, knowing there’s no turning back now but unable to go forward as I go through my usual self-loathing routine… I don’t deserve this.
I don’t deserve to find comfort in her bed…
Her quiet voice beckons me, pulls me, like a siren of Grecian myth. And, like those sirens, I am unable to resist her.
A single step and I’m inside, quietly sliding the door closed behind me.
Three more steps, I’m halfway to her.
Seven steps from the door and Rei lifts the blankets, and obediently I lower myself onto the futon. She throws the blankets over us, and leaves it at that; I’m the one who determines how we’ll sleep. It never changes, but she still lets me position her however I want, always needing only the barest hints on how to move.
I turn on my side, facing her, and she mirrors my position, scooting close, and I entangle our legs beneath the covers.
For a long time, I just look at her, not even bothering to pretend to be asleep so I can sneak glances at her; sleep won’t come easy tonight, I know.
She must be really tired tonight, though; I can see the effort she’s using to stay awake... for me.
She seems to sense my restlessness, slowly bringing her hand up and gently cupping my face, her eyes heavily lidded.
I raise my own hand and cover hers, twining my fingers between hers.
‘Sleep, Asuka.’ She bids me in her soothing whisper of a voice, and I find myself instantly calmed, at peace.
Moments later, sleep takes me.
My dreams are fragmented, unclear, but they still scare me. I see only parts of images, but I do see my mother hanging from the ceiling, that sickly happy and peaceful look on her face.
Then, I see my father, turning his back on me, discarding me like so much trash… like the trash that I am.
They hate me. They all hate me.
I awake with a start, my breathing fast and heavy, cold sweat trickling down the nape of my neck. I sit up with a jolt, my heart hammering so hard my chest hurts.
For a moment, blood rushes to my head, causing black and white spots to dance in my vision. As I’m thus blinded, warm arms encircle me, pulling me close.
My vision clears and I discover I’ve been embraced to Rei’s bosom protectively.
I look at her questioningly, wondering why I’m where I am, but not complaining.
She looks down at me with lidded eyes, gently rocking, running her fingers delicately through my hair.
‘You said my name.’ She whispers, leaning over me.
For a moment I haven’t a clue what she’s talking about, but it dawns on me that I must have been having a very disturbed sleep… and probably saying all kinds of things.
Who knows what I say in my sleep? Until Rei, I’ve never even slept with anyone in the same room, much less with anyone near enough to me to hear me whisper things in my frequently restless sleep.
I wonder if I should tell her this; that she is important to me, that she is my comfort, even if nowhere is my sanctuary.
I should. I should tell her a lot of things.
This revelation makes me wish I could find the words… dimly, I realize Rei’s face is very close to mine. Tentatively, I reach upwards and gently cup her cheek, sliding my fingers back along her smooth skin until I’ve worked my way to the back of her neck. I guide her down, slowly, giving her a chance to pull away. It’s agonizing. It’s taking too long. I pull her down now, not just guiding, telling her I want this, that I need this.
Not to mention to cover the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing; Not only have I never kissed anyone before, but my first kiss is going to be with another girl, in her bed, in the early morning, while she’s comforting me after a nightmare…
I can’t imagine it any other way.
My lips brush hers, and I’m amazed at the sensation; it’s so warm, so soft… I feel like I’m melting. I press upwards, against her body and I feel her yield to me, rolling onto her back and taking me with her. I go with it, unable to bear the alternative; ending this wondrous feeling. Suddenly, I’m on top of her, my lips having left hers and trailing kisses down her neck to the collar of her nightshirt, my hands, with a will of their own, run up and down her sides, drawing out moans and gasps from her. My right hand slides up her nightshirt, relishing the feel of her hot skin, and my other hand soon sneaks under her shirt as well.
One hand skates over her breast and she inhales sharply, arching her back, moaning.
‘Oh god… Asuka…’ she gasps, her eyes closed, her body practically thrashing.
I hear her say my name like this, breathlessly, her voice low and husky, and I know I want to hear her say it again and again, just like that. I want her to scream my name like that in the throes of pleasure.
I dimly realize, through my haze of passion and lust, that I’m doing this, this deviant thing, because I want to repay to her all that she’s done for me, somehow, some way… any way.
This drives me to go further, and one of my hands slides down, across her stomach, down, down…
I feel the smooth cotton of her underwear and slip my hand inside. It’s damp and slightly sticky… and it awakens a fire in me. I attack her neck, nipping her alabaster skin gently, one hand caressing gently, the other not so gently.
I pause for a split second to gather my courage, and bring my wet fingers to Rei’s entrance…
The door flies open.
‘Rei, have you seen Asuka?’
Both Rei and I jolt as if we’ve been doused in ice water; Misato is standing in the door, and seems to be on the verge of saying something, but her eyes have alighted on exactly how Rei and I are entangled on the bed, the covers wrapped around us, and the position of my hands and lips.
After a moment Misato finally realizes what’s going on. Her face turns bright red and she practically jumps out of the room, pulling the door shut very quickly and more than a little wildly.
‘I-I’m sorry! I d-didn’t mean to in-intrude…’ I hear her stammer out, clearly embarrassed.
Though, not nearly as embarrassed as I am; how could she walk in right then, right when I’m doing that to…
I look at Rei, resting my head on her chest while my face is still burning with my blush…
She’s blushing furiously, too, her breathing labored and I can hear her heart hammering away, beating at her ribcage.
She looks at me, meeting my eyes, her gaze lingering a moment, then she turns away. I continue to stare at her, but suddenly I’m confused; she’s ashamed?
Didn’t we both want this? I thought I could give her back what she’s given to me so selflessly. She’s given me everything she can, everything I could ever want… and… I’ve hurt her. She didn’t want this, not really… I took it from her.
I look away, finally, as this thought takes hold, and I feel tears brimming in my eyes, but I bite my tongue, determined not to shed tears. I haven’t cried in years, and I don’t intend to start again now. Not in front of her.
I feel her shift underneath me, and suddenly I can’t stand to be there any more. I’m possessed by a desperate urge to get away, to run from her. I start to untangle myself from her and the covers, my hands visibly shaking.
Somehow, I extract myself from the tangled mess we’ve become and scoot away from her, deliberately avoiding meeting her eyes. I know if I do I’ll break down completely, right there.
I manage to stand up, though my legs feel as through made of lead, and I half-stagger to the door.
I slid open the shoji screen, and stop just on the other side of it, unable to take another step as she whispers to me.
She’s holding me, I know it… with her siren voice, she holds me, but, as always, I want her to hold me, to comfort me, to protect me from myself… from the demons who haunt me.
I turn back towards her, ready to reveal everything, to break down and finally tell her everything, but I stop short; I can’t.
I won’t. I’ve hurt her enough, and I can’t bring myself to hurt her anymore. It’s better if… I’m not around to hurt her.
‘I’m sorry Rei. It was a mistake.’ I say, almost choking on the words as my throat closes up, and I hear my voice full of regret and sorrow.
I turn and bolt from the room, and out the door.
As I stumble out the door, down the sidewalk, I realize my cheeks are wet; my tears are flowing freely, uncontrolled, and I find that I don’t care; Rei is worth shedding tears for. She’s worth so much… she’s worth everything to me.
I keep going, unsure of where I’m going and really not caring; I left everything I care for back in Misato’s apartment, tangled in sweaty sheets, and with a heart full of pain… pain that I caused. That I caused.
I feel self-hatred boil in me, driven by my guilt, fed by my regret and sorrow.
It’s so ordinary for me, but I marvel at it for a moment before I am utterly consumed by it.
This is so familiar; I drive everyone I care for away.
And now, Rei.
Why can’t I learn? Why can’t I ever learn my place? I am trash, the lowest garbage; what other kind of person hurts those she loves most?
A horrible person… a worthless person. A person like me.
How could I have ever thought, even for a second, that I deserved her? She deserves so much more than me; I’m nothing. How could I presume to taint her so?
She’s pure, like snow… and I am filth. Unfit.
Gods, what have I done?
How could I forget; I don’t deserve to be happy, not ever, and not after this, not when I’ve hurt her…
Rei… I’m so sorry.