Author: Nah, the world's still not
mine yet and so neither is EVA.
Jimmy Wolk: Geez, so long in
business and all you came up for today is this? Couldn't you try a
bit more? It's my name that you stick on all your stuff after
Author: Hey, I noticed that this day was coming up just a bit
over a week ago. Something good would have taken much longer. And I
have more than enough to... Oh great, I'm arguing with an imaginary
character again. Maybe I really need to get out more...
Price of Fame
"No... No! What? ... They
asked again? ... I've... Listen. Listen! I've told them already I
won't do it! ... Yes. Yes, I know! ... I don't care if it's 'the
biggest and most respectable magazine of its kind'! Those perverts
got enough with the swimsuits-calendar! ... Yes... yes, I know, 9
a.m. tomorrow. I'll be... what do you mean: 'be on time'? I'm
always... ah, whatever... yes, I'm a bit tired... yeah, see you
Grunting, she pressed the
off-button on her mobile phone. Even on the last steps to her home
they had to pursue her with work. It was at times like this that she
would love to throw everything away - if she could still muster the
strength to do so.
When the door closed behind her with a
hiss, a sigh of exhaustion escaped her as she let herself fall
backwards against its metal frame, as if it marked the point from
where she had time for herself again. Herself alone.
And so, as
she opened her eyes after a few seconds of relaxation, all that
greeted her was the dark apartment.
Sure, it was a nice,
fairly big apartment; the rooms were wide and some, like the kitchen,
were partly open, creating the illusion that it was even bigger than
it already seemed to be. Large windows in the west wall of the living
room revealed an amazing view over the city. The other walls were
painted in a bright white.
And still, it was dark.
always when she came home after a stressful day of work.
didn't even bother to switch on the lights; the moon and city lights
illuminated the rooms enough to get to the kitchen without bumping
Hunger determined her first destination,
though she already expected to be disappointed. The fridge was poorly
filled; she barely had time to go shopping, and she still could only
afford a cleaning lady that worked twice in a week, but not a steady
housekeeper. Not that she felt like preparing a big meal anyway. So
it would be just some instant-food for dinner yet again.
tired grin found its way on her face as she put it in the microwave
and set the timer. She didn't even remember how often she denounced
Misato for her eating habits, but now she only needed to have a few
beers more in the fridge and in her veins and she would have been
just like her former guardian.
She sighed tiredly, as if an
unknown weight was placed on her shoulders. The past seven years
suddenly felt like an eternity.
An eternity since she left them.
When NERV had officially been disbanded after the JSSDF's
failed attack on the Headquarters and Commander Ikari's suicide, the
people had finally learned the truth about the EVAs and the Angels
and also the Children's identities were revealed to the public. But
since Shinji never liked much attention and Rei was never very
talkative, reporters and audience soon focused their attention on the
last of the pilots who was more than willing to answer any questions
about her glorious fights; especially her greatest victory against
It hadn't taken long until the
media had elevated her to a celebrity. Since then she had been
invited to several talk- and game shows, gave or conducted interviews
or did other tests or "reports" for printed or TV boulevard
magazines that wanted to present themselves with a known face. She
had acted in a few commercial spots as well as having a few guest
roles in some second class comedy-shows and third-class soaps. She
even made a small appearance in a few movies and tried herself as
singer, and though neither of that was a big hit, it definitely
helped to increase her popularity. And of course there were the
occasional photo-jobs, premiere-galas and other festivities she had
But it also hadn't taken long until she had to
leave Tokyo-3 to follow the call of fame...
The loud beep
of the microwave brought her thoughts back to the present.
quietly cursed at the heat as she quickly carried the plastic plate
to the table. Grabbing a fork and knife from the drawer and a drink
from the fridge, she sat down to 'enjoy' her 'magnificent' meal. And
what a great meal it was: A blot of dry mashed potatoes, a tiny slice
of meat that could have been either pork or beef drowned in a dark
sauce and some indefinable vegetables. Maybe it was good that she
could barely see what exactly she was eating there.
only picked halfhearted at her food. How she hated this
microwave-menus. She would give anything for the very same Japanese
cuisine that she always had cursed Shinji for back then. She failed
to suppress a smile at the thought of her yelling at him to make
After only a few more bites, she decided she
wasn't that hungry that day after all. Maybe it was better if she
just went to sleep. So, without bothering to throw the leftovers
away, she left the table and shuffled to her bedroom.
sleep rarely came easy lately and this night was no difference. After
she had changed into her nightgown, she went strait into bed, not
caring about the usual evening-procedure of beauty care.
shivered slightly under the thin cover. It was not that the
temperatures were that low, but the bed always seemed somewhat cold.
Pulling the blanket closer around her, she rolled on her
other side. But even with that she couldn't shake that feeling. Why
couldn't it just vanish?
She lived on her own. Everyone knew
and cherished her. She had everything she had always wanted.
why did it feel like something was missing? Why did she feel so...
empty? Empty like her apartment when she came home at night; empty
like her book with friend's phone numbers; empty like the shallow
praise she got at work. She would exchange fifty of the flat "nice
work"s for one of Shinji's enthusiastic "That's great,
Again she found herself wearily smiling at the
memory echoing in her mind. She could still see his face, beaming at
her when she had told him that an agency wanted to promote her, as if
it would have been him who had gotten the chance of becoming one of
the most famous persons on earth.
But he had always been like
that, always cheering for others and also for her. Even more so after
NERV and EVA were gone. He had almost seemed relieved after they had
told him that he would never pilot again. Then again, he had never
liked it anyway. He always preferred his boring "normal"
life. But she had to admit that he had become an almost... enjoyable
No, that wasn't quite right. When EVA wasn't between
them anymore, they actually had been much... closer than before. Even
though never that close.
She suddenly noticed the fresh
wetness on her cheeks. Had she been crying again? Another thing that
happened much too often lately, without even knowing why...
was she kidding? She knew pretty well why.
She missed those
times. She missed having someone around. Sure, she had always said
she wanted to live on her own, but she had never expected it to be so
hard, so... painful in its way.
Not that she could do much
against it anymore. She couldn't just go out into a bar or somewhere
else and search for 'real' friends. Everyone would only want to bath
in her fame or even try to 'score with a celebrity'.
she had a few relationships in the last few years, usually with other
celebrities, but those had been mostly made up by her PR-Agents, much
to her detest. It was sickening, always acting like a happy couple
for press and paparazzi with someone she barely liked, if at all. She
had to beat one of those wannabe Stars senseless when he had tried to
'emphasize their role' for her management to finally stop with these
bothering hook-up attempts.
No, she really didn't need one of
those guys. She rather needed someone who actually cared for her.
Someone who would be waiting for her when she came home. Someone who
would try to cheer her up after a bad day and be glad for her on a
good one. Someone who would... just be there for her. Someone
She silently shook her head as she sat up in her bed.
Someone with such selfish wishes didn't deserve someone like him.
Yet, as she drew her arms around her legs and rested her head
on her knees, her view fell on the phone on the nightstand. And
before she even realized why, she took it and tried to recall an old
number from her memory.
For a moment she stared absently at
the phone in her hand, before entering the last digit. Why was she
doing this? Was she that desperate to do such an impetuous act? Or
had it actually taken her that long to realize...?
finally brushed over the last button.
She hadn't even notice
how much her hand quivered until she lifted the mobile handset to her
ear. Her stomach was cramping; her heartbeat was louder in her ears
than the seemingly endless ringing of the phone.
What was she
thinking? Chances were more than good that he had left long ago. Or
at least changed the number. Or she got the number wrong.
She almost dropped the
phone, when her trail of doubts had suddenly been interrupted by the
voice on the other end. Thousands of thoughts flooded her mind at
once. But she somehow couldn't form a single one of them into
"Hello? Anybody there?" the voice
Just say something; anything!
Shinji...?" she merely managed to ask hoarsely.
yes, Shinji Ikari here. Who's... Oh, sorry, could you wait a second?"
Her breathing stopped for a moment. It was him. It really was
him. But what was she supposed to tell him now?
Remember me? The bitch that used to order you around and abused you
constantly? Mind becoming my caring b... my friend?'
What was taking him so long? He seemed... Did he talk to
someone? Curiously, she tried to understand the low voices.
then what is it, Takuro?"
"She'll be back soon. Please, you
can see that I'm talking with someone on the phone. Why don't you go
playing with your new car Auntie Misato gave you?"
there was some sort of mumbling, followed by footsteps that hurried
"Ah, kids..." she could hear him
playfully sighing. "Now, what can I do for you?"
as he suddenly addressed her again, she found the lump in her throat
even thicker as before.
"I... I... S-sorry, wrong
number!" she stuttered and slammed the handset on its station.
She should have known...
Why should he
have waited for her all these years? Why should he have waited for
her at all? It was not like there had ever been something that would
give him a reason to do that.
A sob rocked her body.
had she hoped to achieve with this call anyway? She surely didn't
want to crawl back to him or saying something about how she loves him
or even that she wants a family or something. Just...
shook her head and tried her best to ignore the tears that trailed
down her cheeks.
It would be the best if she would just
forget everything. Just concentrate on the work as she did before.
Yes, she should better get to sleep. She had to be up early
the next morning.
But sleep didn't help much to fill the
emptiness in her heart...
'as that, Unce Shinni?"
"I... don't know..."
Shinji still looked confused at the phone in his hand, where the
caller just had hung up.
Just as he put it down, the doorbell
got his and even more so the 3 year old boy's attention.
the child cried happily and hurried to the door.
smiled, shaking his head as he followed him slowly. By now, Takuro
had somehow managed to reach the knob and jumped in his mother's arms
"Whoa, what a stormy greeting," the
young woman commented with a big grin on her lips. "Hello, my
little darling. Did you have fun with Uncle Shinji?"
he seemed eager to get away from me," Shinji pouted playfully,
as in contrast to the boy's nod. "He asked for you at least ten
times in the last five minutes alone, not even counting the previous
half an hour. One would think that a former Class-Representative is
more on time..."
"Sorry, Shinji," the long
haired brunette apologized and shifted her son in her arm a bit so
that he would have a better hold than just on her green evening
dress. "We would have been here earlier, but Toji wanted to
celebrate our anniversary also in... eh... a special way..." She
blushed a bit, eying Takuro who seemed to drift into sleep already on
her shoulder. "But you know he really likes you."
course I know. And you know that I always like to watch out for the
little rascal whenever I can."
"Yes, we're very
grateful for that. And you always take good care of him. You know...
I'm sure you'll be a good father some day..."
he groaned, rolling his eyes a bit. "We talked about that often
"Well, there's this girl who works with
Toji and we think you two would..."
he interrupted her once more, this time more sadly. "You know
that there's only one that I'm interested in..."
sighed. "I know... But it's like you've been hunting a ghost. It
just can't be healthy for such a long time."
didn't respond to this and just looked merely on the floor. She
sighed again. She knew he would wait for her, even if it would kill
"Have you at least tried to contact her again? I
"Of course I did!" he snapped more
forcefully than intended, almost bringing Takuro out of his slumber.
"I... I mean... it's just... I seriously doubt that any message
can reach her. Her agency blocks any letters, shrugging them off as
fan-mail, which she most likely not even has the time for to look
through. It's the same with calls or e-mails. And her actual address
and number is kept secret."
"But doesn't it help if
you just say who you are?"
Shinji stifled a laugh as he
shook his head. "Have you any idea how many people claim to be
one of her 'good old friends' just to reach her? There are at least
twenty 'Shinji Ikari's in the forums of her fanclub-site
"Oh, Shinji, I'm..." Hikari began,
but he cut her off again by shaking his head.
It was a price that I was willing to pay for her
Yeah, yeah, I know. Though I don't remember seeing anything exactly
like this, I guess every one of you has seen something similar at
least once or twice. But, hey, I was never known for my
This was actually one of those ideas that I never
really intended to write down, as it's not very much of a story. But
when I noticed that this day was coming up soon, I thought about
something that I could do to 'celebrate' this event and this was all
of what I could think of that I could do in time.
So don't go
complaining about the missing/too short background information,
unexplained OOC-ness, plot-holes, its length or whatever (well, of
course you can go complaining about it, but I won't really
care :P ), as it's just a little bonus for my readers and shouldn't
be regarded as anything more than that. (If you want to know what's
so special for this day (or for the full rant), go to the DS, EFO or
Evamade-Forum. Or just have a look at the dates in my ff.net
profile... ;) )
PS: Before anyone asks: No, I don't intend
to continue this. If at all, I'll expand/edit it a bit (at least once
it's (p)re-read). But I already have more than enough to do with 'The
2nd try' and 'The Ikaris'. And, hey, I can't have a happy ending in
all of my fics, can I?
Eh... Not that my other fics will have
happy endings, of course... ;)
PPS: No death-threats to
Takuro for ruining their chances, please. He's just a poor little boy
that a heartless author used as plot-device... :P