Disclaimer - Well, you know the drill, it's not mine. At least not yet.
But as soon as I have taken over the world, it will be mine!
EVERYTHING WILL BE MINE! WAHAHAHAHA!!
Uh...ehm... you better forget the 'take over the world' part...

For those who can't tell:
"blabla" is spoken,
'blabla' are Shinji's (in the last paragraph Asuka's) thoughts.


A Happier World

Shinji stirred in the hospital bed. He remembered being captured inside the twelfth angel; the energy of the EVA's life support systems running out every second.

He had been awaiting the death to claim his troubled soul.

But he had not died. Shinji couldn't remember how he had escaped, but he remembered seeing Misato after the plug had been opened, just before he had lost consciousness yet again.

Seems it was now about time to face the 'unfamiliar ceiling' once again.
Slowly, he opened his eyes.

'It's not that unfamiliar anymore, though,' he thought sadly.

"Hey, look who's awake," a lovely voice disturbed his self depressing mood. "Morgen, sleepyhead."

Now, THAT was unfamiliar. He suddenly felt someone embracing him and even giving him a small peck on his cheek. His surprise even grew as he noticed, that this someone was actually a certain redheaded girl.
No, that couldn't be. Who- or whatever this was, the real Asuka would certainly be VERY pissed, when she'd see this... thing copying her, being in a position like this with him.

"A-A-Asuka...?" he stammered, once some blood returned to his brain.

"Yeah?" smiling, she looked up to him...

With her bright, crystal blue eyes, shining like...
'Damn it! Think, Shinji, think!'

"I... I... don't think you should doing this right now," he managed to say, cursing himself a bit as she actually moved away from him.

"Hmm, I guess you're right," she admitted. But the somewhat displeased undertone was clearly evident. "I was thinking selfish again. I have to tell the others that you're awake."
She then put out her cell-phone and began dialing.

What on earth was going on? Not only that Asuka was more than nice to him, she was also admitting being selfish?
'Couldn't have been out for THAT long, could I?'

Lost in his thoughts, he failed to notice the entrance of another person to the room.

"I'm terrible sorry, Shinji!" the newcomer said, running towards him and held him in a tight hug. "I came here as soon as I could!"

"F-f-father??" Once the shock of the unsuspected greeting wore off, Shinji's mood went down and his voice was filled with the sadness and anger of 10 years. "What are you doing here? Since when do you care about me?"

"Oh, my poor, little Shinji. It must have been worse than we thought, hmm? I've told you, you shouldn't pilot the EVA, if you don't feel like it. But you're so stubborn." He chuckled and ruffled his son's hair. "Just like your old man..."

Shinji just gave him a perplexed look.

"Of course I care for you," Gendo continued. "You're my only son after all! Since... since the... death of your mother..." He took a deep breath.

'Geez, if it wouldn't be Commander "My-Heart-Is-More-Like-Ice-Than-Yours-And-If-You-Want-To-Argue-About-It-I-Stare-You-To-Death" Ikari, I would say he's fighting his tears...'

"No... no... I'm... I'm over it!" He sobbed a last time, before he (more or less) regained his attitude. "However, since then..." He hugged Shinji again, who was already gasping for air. "You're everything I have!"

While Shinji's face got a darker shade of blue, every second, the Commander's cell phone suddenly rang.

And rang.

And rang.

And rang.

"Ehmm... father? Shouldn't you get it?" Shinji asked barley hearable. He just hoped, that he would be able to breath again soon.

"Ah, I guess you're right," the older Ikari sighed. "Even though I know they're just going to tell me to return to my work."

With that he pulled the phone out of his pocket and began to speak with... whoever it was.

'Argh, what the heck is going on?' The Third Children looked from his father to Asuka who had finished her call and was now smiling back at him. He immediately returned his gaze to the ceiling, which was now the ONLY familiar thing in this room. 'Maybe some kind of mind-eating-aliens had invaded earth while I was out.'

A sigh at his side brought him back to reality. "As I've guessed. I'm afraid, I have to go back to business. I'm terrible sorry, Shinji."

"Yeah, uh, too... bad, huh?!"

The unusual quiet redhead used that moment to brake her silence. "Don't worry, Mr. Ikari."
'Mr.?'
"I've just called Misato. She sends Kaji to pick us up."

"Ah, yes, Mr. Kaji. A loyal, trustable employee. A good man, no doubt. Well, I've got to go." Slowly, NERV's Commander stood up.

"So, uh... bye?" Shinji mumbled uncertainly.

"Are you sure you're alright? I mean, I could keep staying here for a while."

"No, I'm fine."

His father nodded and went for the door...
...before turning around again. "You know, they could handle NERV alone for a few minutes more."

"Nah, it's okay."

"Oh. Very well then..." he said and left the room.

'I can't believe it. Is he actually caring? I've never expected this to be so...'

"I could quit, you know. I bet Fuyutsuki would make a fine Commander:"

'..PERSISTING!'
"FATHER, JUST GO ALREADY!"

"Hmph! Meanie..." Gendo muttered offended before finally left.

'Gaah, this Angel must have really messed with my brain.'

******************

In the next minutes Shinji somehow managed to keep Asuka on a safe distance. Not that he really minded her close by and loving him, but as far as he knew, she could snap back to her old self any moment, and he simply feared her wrath for 'taking advantage of her'.

So he was more than relieved to see Kaji finally coming in.

"Hey there, Shinji, Asuka," he greeted them cheerful as always.

'Finally! He'll bring Asuka back to her senses.'

Yet, instead of running towards the ladies man and clinging on to his arms, EVA-02's pilot just gave a nod and a short "Hi" before returning her attention to the Third Children.

'Damn it!'

"So, are you ready to go, Shinji?"

"Uhm, yes..." he answered, trying to forget the moments, when he was changing his clothes beneath the bed sheets, since a certain female attendee was not to be persuaded to leave at all.

******************

'At least Kaji seems to be normal,' Shinji thought relieved, as the trio went through the hospitals corridors. Yet, as he took a closer look, he noticed something unsettling.
'Is he... SHAVED?' The unsettling panic inside him rose again. 'Nah, think positive! At least once! That could be just coincidence! Yeah! That's it!'

But then a few, quite attractive nurses passed by. Shinji gulped.

'No wink, no flirt, nothing at all? That can't be good! A test might be necessary!'
"Uh, Kaji?"

"Yes?"

'Oh great, now I already have to act strange myself...'
"How come you didn't asked one of them out?" he asked innocently.

Kaji stopped immediately.

'He's actually shocked?! Oh, no...'

"M...m...me?" the NERV-/Government-Agent stammered, before forcing a smile. "You're kidding, right? You know, I have only eyes for my Misa-chan!"

'MISA-CHAN?? Aww, crap!'

"Just like I have only eyes for you, my sweet Shin-chan," the redhead on his side declared way too cheerfully for his taste, before clamping his arm.

'Can it actually get any weirder?'

******************

Maybe he shouldn't have asked that.
As they entered the apartment, he noticed how unusual clean it was.

It was NEVER clean when Misato was at home alone for a few hours.

Something else got soon the Third Children's attention, or better said, his nose. Someone was cooking. But it didn't smell like Misato's burned Instant meals.

"We're home!" Kaji greeted.

"Welcome home! I'll be right there!"

'Well, it IS her voice and it IS coming from the kitchen. Maybe if I just don't look, she's just as always; absolute normal,' Shinji thought and firmly shut his eyes.

"Hello, my little Shinji!"

He could hear her coming closer and hugging him.

"Hmph! He is still MY Shinji!" Asuka snorted.

"Oh, come on, you can share a bit of him with me," Misato teased.

'Well, it doesn't sound so bad. I guess, I can risk a little peek.' He slowly opened one eye a bit...

...and suppressed a scream.

Not only she wore an apron; instead of her usual, rather revealing clothes, she also wore a dress. She almost looked like one of those 'good housewives' in these old movies from the 50's.

"I-I-I need a drink!" Shinji muttered.

"Oh, I go and get you one!" Misato offered.

"Hey, he's MY boyfriend, so I'll get him something!"

"NO! No!" he crawled away from them. "I'llgetitmyself,okay? You... you'lljuststayhere,right?" After his babbling, he turned around and ran into the kitchen, closing the door behind him. He gasped for air; being on the edge to hyperventilating. Once he caught his breath, he reached for the refrigerator.

'No beer at all. Why am I not surprised?'

He grabbed himself a soda-can when the other fridge opened and his last roommate came out.

'Ah, PenPen, at least you can't act much different.'

Shinji watched the penguin waddling towards him.

"I bet you're hungry, he? Wait, I'll " he trailed off as PenPen opened the fridge; grabbed a tuna-can; rammed its beak in it, as if it was paper; opened it and fed himself.

Shinji dropped his can. 'There goes the last purpose of my life...'

He needed to get out of there. NOW!

He stormed out of the kitchen and the apartment as fast as he could, so no one would be able to stop, or, in Asuka's case, get after him, while just shouting "I'm going out! Being in a depressing mood! Running away! Bye!"

"Have fun!" three voices called back, but he was already too far away to hear...

******************

After running for 10 minutes and approximately 4 blocks, Shinji calmed down a bit.

'Argh! What should I do? I mean, it's not that bad or something, actually they've changed more for the better than for the worse, but... it's just too much, too sudden, too...' He shuddered. '...creepy...'

He looked up and noticed the familiar surroundings.

'Hm, I'm near Rei's. I could see if she's fine. Yes, I bet she's acting normal. It would take even more than Third Impact to change her!'

Within a few minutes he stood in front of apartment 402. He glanced down to the mailbox.

Empty.

'Uh-oh'

He pressed the doorbell.

*DING-DONG!*

'I've got a baaad feeling about this...'

"Coming!" a damped voice announced.

He gulped.

The door opened.

Rei Ayanami saw him.

She smiled brightly.

'Ahh, fu...'

"Oh, hello, Shinji, it's really nice to see you're up and out of hospital. I would've been there, you know, but they said you'll need rest and I would make you nervous with all this talking of mine. I'm not sure, what they meant but you know how these doctors are, always fearing the worst. But I think Asuka didn't mind at all, you know, being friends and all and she's still jealous. What am I saying, she's always jealous, always thinking everyone wants to steal you from her. But who am I talking to, you know that the best, don't you, you're really a lucky guy, having someone that loves you that much. You know, just the last day at school I've said that to Hikari. 'Hikari', I said 'You know what, I think Shinji and Asuka can be really happy to have each other', I said and she was like 'Yeah, they are just as a nice couple as me and Toji', she said and then she began babbling nonstop about her and Toji, you know what she's like: Always she and Toji, Toji and her, blabla, never stopping. Oh, you know I hate people who can't stop talking without letting the others have a part in the conversation. And while I was... Hey! Shinji! Are you even listening to me? You know I can't stand people who can't listen! However..."

Shinji just stood there.
A loving Asuka was actually a real nice change.
A caring father could be a welcomed difference as well.
A happy-family-thing with Misato and Kaji wasn't a bad idea either.
He could even come to terms with a self feeding PenPen.

But a non-stop-talking Rei was

just


too


much!


So he did what every pilot of a gigantic, devastating robot, who was fighting enormous, hostile creatures and saving humanity would do:

He fainted...

******************

"So, you don't like it?" he heard a voice.

His own, he recognized.

******************

When he woke up, he felt something against his body.

And his lips.

His eyes shot open in an instant. It took a few seconds for him to recognize that it was Asuka, giving him a breathtaking kiss - breathtaking in a much better way than last time, when she (assuming that this Asuka was actually the same) kissed him out of boredom. He didn't even try to resist. First: she wouldn't let him go anyway and second: it was a very nice way to wake up.

"W-wohaw..." was all he could manage to say, after they finally parted. Then he noticed, that she was glaring at him. It wasn't her 'Do-Anything-And-I-Kill-You-In-Less-Than-Three-Seconds-Glare', he was used to, yet he could tell that she wasn't very happy with him.

"YOU!" she growled, poking his chest with her finger. "How dare you!"

'Oh, GREAT timing to switch back...'

"First you're almost dieing in this angel, then you keep ignoring me and then passing out for hours till morning!"

'Morning?' It wasn't until now, that he noticed being back in his room.

"Have you any idea, how worried I've been, when Rei called?"

"I'm sorry!"
'Geez, has been a while since I said that...'

"You better are. And to make sure that won't happen again, I'll go wherever you go for the whole day! Now, you better get up for school!"

'Was the part with being with me the whole time supposed to be a threat or a promise?' he wondered. 'Wait a moment, did she said SCHOOL? I was in hospital yesterday and just woke up after passing out again and now I already have to go to school?? Arrgh!'

Yawning, he took a look at the clock.

He blinked.
That couldn't be.
He rubbed his eyes and looked again. But as to be expected, to no avail.

"Why have you woke me at 4:30??"

"Sorry about that," she said, stretching herself a little. "Misato insisted to drive us to school."

'Better not ask...'
"Alright, alright, I'm going to the bathroom," Shinji muttered.

Then, something was repeated in his mind.
' "...I'll go wherever you go..." '

He looked over to his roommate and apparent girlfriend who was showing a mischievous grin.

'Oh boy...'

******************

It's amazing how fast things can pass by when your driving in a car.

There went a red cabriole, it's driver enjoying the morning sun.

A family-van, on the way to a vacation.

A truck, delivering materials to a construction site.

A tractor, that obviously got lost into Neo Tokyo-3.

A kid on a bike, joyfully ringing it's bell.

An old man, clutching dependent on his walking stick...

"Misato, don't you think, we should go at least a bit faster?"

"No! As you can see, the speed limit is 50!"

"But you're not even driving 10!"

"Better safe, than sorry!"

"Just give it up, Shinji," Asuka interrupted from the backseat. He trembled, as she leaned forward to whisper in his ear, "Why don't you come back here? We could use the slow pace for some... 'quality time' "

He didn't remember how his organs survived, with the blood supply limited to only his face and, well, one other point of his body...

******************

When they finally arrived in school, Shinji didn't know if he should be surprised or not, to find non other than Toji, formally dressed in his school uniform, being the first in class.

"He-Hello, Toji"

"Ah, greetings, my friend," he bowed, "And to your lovely companion as well."

'Toji being polite and even calling Asuka "lovely"; checked. What's next on the list?'

"You should better watch out when you're flirting," Shinji heard a female voice behind him. "You're girlfriend could be listening!"

Hikari, wearing a leatherjacket over her uniform, passed by, almost jumped Toji and kissed him deeply.

"My fair lady, you know that you are loveliest of them all"

"I better am, Mister!" she growled, popping the gum she chewed.

'Ah, yes, a rebellious Hikari, how could I forget...' Shinji sighed.

While he sat down and waited for the rest of his classmates and further 'surprises' to come (with Asuka's desk suspiciously close to his), he booted up his laptop.

'Well, could also check my mails.'

Yet, instead of finding only his usual NERV-news mail and one or two from Toji or Kensuke, his mailbox nearly exploded with hundreds of love letters from Asuka, mails from his father with subjects like 'How are you?', 'Are you alright?' or 'I'm so incredible sorry for not being right there with you', messages from Rei just trying to make conversation, as well as a few mails from Misato, asking what he would like for dinner.
He sighed.

The class was now almost full but there were still some faces missing, as he noticed. He leaned over to Toji, ignoring some nagging from his redheaded neighbor about being ignored.

"Hey, where's Kensuke? Wouldn't he be here by now?"

"Ah yes, Kensuke, our fellow friend and companion. I guess, being the ladies man he is, he will be late as always, flirting with every beautiful woman on his way."

'Kensuke, the ladies man. Yep, that makes sense... not!'

Lost in his thoughts, he almost failed to notice Rei's entrance to the classroom. Well, actually it was hard to miss, since she came in whirling, a broad smile on the lips, greeting everyone with a loud "Hi, class!" then stopping and giving a peace-sign.

"Hi, Rei!" the whole class greeted back in one voice.

"Well, Miss Ayanami, it's good to see you're so enthusiastic about my lessons, but I would suggest you'll take a seat."

'Oh, great the teacher is even trying to be funny. Well, lesson's about to start - time to get some sleep. You can never have enough of that...'

"Rise, salute, whatever," Hikari droned uninterested.

"Very well then, I guess we'll start with some physic experiments..."

Already half asleep, Shinji stirred.

'Wha..? No endless history about Second Impact?!'

Yet, his eyes already started to close again.

'This just can't be real!' was his last thought before he drifted back to his sleep.

******************

"It's as real as you want it to be."

Shinji found himself back in that train, facing his younger self. "But it was just another dream. I had already decided to go back."

"No, you had just decided to live."

"But this is not reality."

"As long as you're not waking up, how do you know it's not?"

"Are you kidding? None is acting like themselves. Since it's my dream, it's as if everyone is acting like I want them to be, as if I'm forcing them to do so. It just doesn't feel right."

"You may see it as you wish. You may think of it simply as a world, where everyone's character is just strange or the opposite of what you're used to know. Or you may think they just want to freak you out. As for me, I prefer to think of it as a happier world without the shields of fear, hate and pride. Where everyone just do as their hearts tell them to do. Which you prefer is up to you."

"That's the innocent and naive point of view of a child. But I'm afraid a real world can't exist like that, as good as it seems."

"Then, why don't you just wake up?"

******************

Shinji opened his eyes. He recognized his surroundings immediately. He was back in hospital. As he looked around he saw Rei sitting by his site, reading a book as always. She noticed that he was awake, when he sat up.

"You can rest for today. We will handle everything for you," she said and stood up.

"Oh. But I'm fine now."

"Well, that is good for you."

'Hmm. Where have I heard that before?'

With that she left; revealing an eavesdropping Asuka at the other side of the door, who quickly hide blushing behind the corner.

Shinji couldn't help but chuckle. But then he noticed the familiar smell of LCL and sniffed on his arm.

"Still smells like blood..."

'So it was really just a dream...' he thought, remembering his latest experience.

' "I prefer to think of it as a happier world." A happier world? It was indeed happier, yet in a very strange way.'

He chuckled again.

' "Where everyone just do as their hearts tell them to do." Just do as your heart tell you? Could it really be that easy?'

His gaze returned to the door.

'Well, you'll never know, if you don't try,' he made his decision and got out of the bed.

******************

Asuka was fuming - once again.

'Damned First! How dare she made me look as if I was worried about that baka! As if! I was just... coincidentally nearby!'

The sudden opening of the door caught her off guard - again within a few minutes. However she didn't need long to recover and began her assault on the just appeared Third Children.

"You! You better get not any false ideas. I'm not here because..."

Shinji just stood there. Not trembling, not backing away as usual. Just smiling.

"Hi, Asuka. It's nice to see you've come to see me," he cut her off.

The Second Children was dumb folded. 'Since when does he have the guts to interrupt me?'
"I... I... NO! As I was saying..."

"Well, I was going for a little walk. Want to come with me?"

'WHAT?'
"What? W.. ye.. eh.. NO!"

"Oh. Okay."

What came next, took her totally by surprise. He carefully grabbed her shoulders, leaned closer...

...and kissed her. And even though it was more of a short touch of their lips instead of a passionate kiss, it felt much better than last time when she finally... eh, when she was just bored.

"I'll see you later then," he said.

Then he turned and went down the corridor, leaving a stunned Asuka behind. After a few seconds her arm began moving again, reaching for the back of a nearby chair, sitting down, not blinking once.

'What the heck are you doing??' her mind screamed. 'Get after that dirty, little hentai and beat the crap out of him.'


But she didn't get up.


She just kept sitting there.


Smiling.

------------------------

A/N: Well, there it is, my little introduction to the world of fan fiction. I know it's nothing special due to the lacking plot (heck, it's actually just a listing on how the characters act differently), it's just a nice little story for in between.

As you may have guessed, English is not my native language, and even though I can read and understand it pretty well, I still have problems writing it, especially with the grammar. So if I made too many mistakes *Shinji-Mode on* "I'm sorry" *Shinji-Mode off*.

Also, if you're wondering, why I've kept on writing 'Third Children' etc., I'm following the Japanese version (the dub is evil, I tell ya! EVIL! Honestly you guys must have ears like steel to survive the whole series with such an horrible voice acting!) So there'll be "Children" instead of "Child" (since I still don't know if that's a intentional mistake or not), the "baka/idiot-trio" instead of the "three stooges" and no "wondergirl", just "First" in my fics. Unless to make fun of it.

Well, back to flaming my own story, Misato hasn't that much of an appearance and the NERV-staff isn't in at all, I know. I'm also not sure about the second part/day myself, but parts of that school scene were some of the first that came to my mind, as well as the ending.

Why I've chose the aftermath of the twelfth angel instead of the fourteenth or Third Impact as time setting? For once the mood isn't as depressing yet so a humorous story would still fit, but most of all it gave me the best opportunity for the ending.

For the PenPen-scene, I've got the inspiration for this from a fanfic, in which an angel wanted to demonstrate Shinji that he is needed by the other characters by showing him their lives if he wasn't in there. Yet, in the end it seemed that his only purpose was to feed PenPen and thus saving him from becoming ill by Misato's cooking. I can't remember the title though; sorry.

As I said this was my first fanfic, but fear not (or tremble with fear, just as you wish), I've already four others in the works.

Until then, see ya!

P.S.: Some of you have already asked for a continuation, but I m afraid I have to disappoint you. This was meant to be a one-shot from the beginning. But if you want to write your own story/sequel out of this, feel free to do so.

Revise Notes:
Yes, I've finally revised this. More or less. Not very much improvements actually. Okay, I've just ran a spellchecker over it and only edited a few things here and there. Hey, I'm always telling you that I'm lazy.

In other words: There is still no real plot; the second half still sucks; further descriptions and other extensions are still almost non-existent; the conclusion with the younger Shinji is still in a total contrast to the series (where he wanted Shinji to accept reality and not to run away); and, since it was not (p)re-read, there are most likely still various grammar mistakes. So what? It was my first fic and I'm not ashamed to show it.

But at least, I should have got rid of the spelling mistakes ("An Happier World" Oh boy! Even with only 3 years of French-lessons compared to 8 years English, I pull off something like this. And it took a few weeks before someone actually told me). The greatest Bonus, you'll get here, would be the small "the-way-to-school"-scene, I came up with, a couple of days after I released the original version.






All rights belong to their respective owners. Which means mostly Gainax in this case...