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Aw, Asuka, don't lose hope. Things get better.
Art by Shadowjack

Shinji: But the Soryu women admire strength, [...] If you're weak, they expect you to rise above it. And if you're strong, they expect you to push harder in order to excel. The one thing they hate is people who give up, who run away. I'm the same way, I want nothing more than to run away, but I know I'll disappoint her if I do. So I don't. I keep trying, even if it hurts, because I know that will inspire her to do the same thing."
The other man stroked his chin. "Is that really worth it, though? That's a terrible burden to place upon yourself, and on her."
Shinji: Maybe it wouldn't be for some people, but it is for us. I guess it's up to you to decide, in the end.
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After the War and Third Impact, as the world is gradually recovering from Instrumentality, Shinji and Asuka face their next and greatest challenge: learn how to get along while they try to get over their many psychological issues. Eventually they have to learn how live together and take care of each other, mature, have a relationship, be functional adults, be parents... despite of their fading but never really gone PTSD.

Ghosts of Evangelion is a Neon Genesis Evangelion post-Third Impact Continuation fanfic written by Bagheera that narrates the lives of Shinji and Asuka after Instrumentality. While it may sound like most post-TI fics, several details set it apart: the story covers a very long period between the years 2016 and 2080 and the narration is non-linear, showing different stages of the evolution of Shinji and Asuka's relationship as they endure different trials and challenges; it pays slavishly detailed attention to canon and characterization; and it explores some issues and relationships that Evangelion fanfiction seldom delves into.

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The story keeps Shinji and Asuka in-character and at the same time makes them to grow up and move forward, blending tender and tragic moments. Their relationship is difficult, troubled, and very complex; one of two very broken individuals who are largely co-dependent on each other, yet struggle to open up and bond due to mixed feelings and huge hang-ups.

The conclusion has already been published, but because of the non-linear nature of the fic, the author keeps adding new chapters whenever he pleases.

It can be read here and here.

Fanart and commentary by ShadowJack can be read here.

Compare and contrast with post-Third Impact and Alternate Universe Eva fanfics such like Advice and Trust, A Crown of Stars, HERZ, The Second Try, Children of an Elder God, Thousand Shinji and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide.

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    A-C 
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Kyoko is only a few years older than her daughter because she spent ten years in Instrumentality.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Shinji, Asuka and Misato's parents. However Shinji mostly pities his father after getting over most of his anger, and Misato has forgiven hers after a fashion... but Asuka wants nothing to do with hers.
    • In 2025 Asuka's father goes to Japan to try to reconcile with her. Asuka feels tempted to burn bridges with him and salt the Earth, but she decides she will not throw away her chance out of respect for Shinji.
    • Shinji and Asuka are frightened of parenthood because they are afraid of being this to their child.
  • Adult Fear:
    • After Asuka's death, Kyoko says that a woman shouldn't have to bury her own daughter.
    • When Asuka gets pregnant she is terrified that her daughter will feel abandoned and discarded like she and Shinji were.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: After having a talk with her teen daughter about the War, Asuka tugs a lock of her hair.
    Asuka shrugged. "Sort of. But don't worry about it. You're a good kid, so you're worth the trouble." She tugged a lock of Ryuko's hair. "Even if you are a delinquent."
  • After the End: The story happens after Third Impact. Instrumentality wrecked the planet and humans are almost completely gone, but after a while people start returning and rebuilding their world.
  • All for Nothing: After Shinji explains why Yui left, Gendo comes to this realization.
    Gendo leaned back in his chair. "All for nothing," he whispered. He looked at Shinji, a hint of regret in his eyes, then looked away.
  • Always Someone Better: Asuka resents Shinji for always surpassing her. However, Shinji thinks that she has nothing to be jealous of:
    Asuka: You always gotta one-up me, eh?
    Shinji: Says the woman who's fluent in three languages, has two Ph.D.s, and does guest lectures at MIT and Harvard and other places on a regular basis.
  • Anachronic Order: The chapters do not follow a chronological order. The first written episode happens in 2020. The second one happens in 2016.
  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Shinji thinks Asuka is better than him at anything; ironically, Asuka believes that Shinji always beats her at the important things.
  • Apocalypse Not: At the beginning of the story Shinji and Asuka wander around the ruins looking for food and potable water. As more and more people return from Instrumentality, civilization restores itself progressively. Five years after Third Impact the world seems relatively normal, although China and other countries are still struggling.
  • Apologises a Lot:
    • Shinji keeps this habit after Third Impact. In an early chapter Asuka explains why she hates his excuses:
      "Let me remind you of something, idiot," she sneered. "You owe me. That angel defiled me, the commander threw me away, Misato abandoned me, and those fucking Evas..." she laughed shortly. "All of that, and you didn't do a thing to help. Not one goddamn thing."
      "I'm sorry—" he began.
      She squeezed harder, and he yelped. "I don't want your fucking apologies, Third Child. 'I'm sorry' doesn't do me a bit of good, y'know? It's useless. Instead, I want someone I can rely on. Someone who can help me out. And there's no one else here, so that someone is you, get it?" He nodded, trying not to whimper. "So get your shit together, or I swear to God I'll make you regret it."
    • He keeps doing it when Asuka dies. He apologizes to her, to Ryuko…
    • His daughter does the same thing when she realizes she has done something wrong.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Asuka tries to get Shinji stop blaming himself for Kaworu's death and Third Impact. So she asks him why Kaworu simply didn't leave if he had Free Will.
    Asuka: Who is this Kaworu person, anyway?
    Shinji: He was a good person, [...] He came to Nerv to be a pilot after you... went away. He was my friend and I killed him.
    Asuka: Why?
    Shinji: I had to, […] If I didn't, everyone would have died.
    Asuka: Why?
    Shinji: He was an angel! […] He was an angel who looked like a human. Like Ayanami, I guess.
    Asuka: Weird. So why did you have to kill him?
    Shinji: He said that humans deserved to live. He wanted me to live and be happy, so I had to kill him!
    Asuka: That's what he wanted?
    Shinji: Yes.
    Asuka: You're sure? […] That's what he said?
    Shinji: Yes!
    Asuka: If that's so, […] then why didn't he leave?
    Shinji: … what?
    Asuka: If he wanted us to live, why didn't he go back to where he came from? If he was like Ayanami he had to live somewhere before he came to Nerv, right? Why did you have to do anything?
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Asuka does not believe Shinji when he confesses he loves her... until Hikari and Touji tell that’s what everyone thinks:
    Hikari: Shinji confessed to her this morning.
    Touji: And that's bad?
    Hikari: She doesn't think he means it. She thinks it's an act or something, to make sure the doesn't cause anyone any trouble.
    Asuka: That's exactly it! If you could only see the way he acts toward me…
    Touji: Uh, Soryu… Look, you know I'm not exactly your biggest fan and all, but I think you're kinda off base here.
    Asuka: Then you're an idiot.
    Touji: No, seriously, what you're saying doesn't make sense. I spend more time with the guy than anyone, apart from you I guess, and he never talks about you embarrassing him or anything. He just wants to make you happy.
    Asuka: Of course he does. If he makes me happy he'll get praise, and then he'll feel like he's worth a damn. Same old Shinji.
    Hikari: Asuka, that's a really cynical way to look at it.
    Asuka: What are you talking about?
    Hikari: Well, it's true that he's always a little concerned or upset when he's talking about you, since that's just the way you two are... but even so, when he talks about something good that happened between you two his face just lights up, like he—
    Touji: Yeah! He'll get this stupid grin on his face, like he's the happiest guy on Earth.
    Asuka: That's… that's insane. You guys are just defending him!
    Touji: You think it's just us?
    Hikari: Everyone knows about it. It's, ah… it's kinda obvious.
    Asuka: No, he's just… I mean, it's Shinji, he… Everyone?
    Hikari: Well…
  • Asshole Victim: Dr. Kotetsu, a psychiatric who attempted to rape Asuka is found dead. It is implied that Misato got him killed. Since he is a rapist, no one cares.
  • The Atoner:
    • After Third Impact Shinji spends his whole life trying to atone for abandoning Asuka and getting the whole mankind killed.
    • Misato strives to atone for effectively abandoning Shinji and Asuka right when they needed her, in spite of her being the only person who cared for them.
      Misato: It might surprise you to learn I agree with you. Everything you said is true. I did a terrible job with the both of you, and there's no excuse for it. Nothing about the circumstances changes what happened to you. It was criminal, and it was wrong, and I'll regret it until the day I die. But even so, you have to think about your situation here: you aren't equipped to live on your own, and neither is Shinji. You both need a lot of help and support, and there aren't exactly a lot of candidates banging on the door for the job. For better or worse I'm the closest thing to family either of you has.
      Asuka: (shaking her head) …
      Misato: And I do care about you. I can't undo any of the things that have happened to you, but I can do my best to look out for you in the future. And I want to do that.
      Asuka: No you don't. The only reason you're bothering at all is because of him.
      Misato: That isn't true. But even if it was, does it really matter? Either way —
      Asuka: Of course it matters!
      Misato: I see. I've really misjudged you, haven't I? All this time, I thought your only interest was in survival. Shinji, me, even Kaji were just means to that end. But it wasn't like that at all, was it? No, of course not. It's so obvious, given what happened with your mom. I guess I never really made the connection because of everything else that was going on.
      Asuka:
      Misato: Alright then. I think I can understand your feelings now. And I can't really blame you; I'd be pretty skeptical myself if I was in your position. So that means I'll just have to prove it, right? But you'll have to give me the chance to do that, Asuka. I can't force you to accept me. All I can do is do my best to earn you trust. And that starts right now.
  • Attention Whore: Asuka used to be one to assuage her inferiority complex. After Third Impact, though, she doesn't want people to pay attention to her because she often draws the wrong kind of attention.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • After returning from Instrumentality Shinji and Asuka’s relationship was very strained, but they still showed they cared about each other. When Asuka goes back from Kyoto, she visits Shinji to tell him she doesn't blame him for what happened, and he is the one she wanted to live with.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted. When Asuka gets pregnant, she and Shinji are terrified. They think they can't possibly be good parents, and having a baby strains their relationship and worsens their PTSD. However Asuka is determined to not repeat their parents' mistakes, and they manage to become good parents to their daughter.
  • Back from the Dead: All characters have died and returned from Instrumentality.
  • Bad Dreams: Asuka had frequent nightmares for decades. Often she woke up screaming after dreaming again with being chopped into pieces and eaten alive.
  • Batman Gambit: Asuka had a plan to help Shinji stop being scared of their daughter: she pretended she was not ready to babysit Ryuko a second time so that Shinji was forced to babysit her alone. Her scheme was supposed to be a secret, but Shinji saw through her excuses and he thought her plan was obvious.
  • Battle Couple: Shinji and Asuka were one during the War. Thirty years after the war their experience fighting together still helps them beat games together.
  • Beneath the Mask: Asuka often comes across as short-tempered and mean-spirited, even though she doesn't mean most things she says. Shinji and Ryuko can see through her mask, though.
  • Benevolent Boss: Misato leads HERZ and is Shinji's boss. She is pretty reasonable and understanding.
  • Beta Couple:
    • Misato and Kaji are Shinji and Asuka's adult version.
    • Touji and Hikari get together and became parents before their friends.
    • Kyoko Sohryu Zeppelin and Misato's father rekindle their relationship after he returns from Instrumentality.
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed when Asuka points out that Misato enabling Shinji didn't do him any good.
    Asuka: You only ever called him out when it came to his piloting; apart from that you let him do whatever he wanted, which was usually nothing at all. What did you expect?
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Asuka comes across as a bad-tempered, selfish, irrational girl… though she's a certified genius and a soldier since she was four, survived the end of the world…
    Asuka: "You always gotta one-up me, eh?"
    Shinji: "Says the woman who's fluent in three languages, has two Ph.D.s, and does guest lectures at MIT and Harvard and other places on a regular basis."
  • Birthday Episode: An episode is set in Asuka's eighteenth birthday in 2019. It starts out with Asuka having a nightmare and wandering around at the night, followed by Shinji. When they come back home, her birthday party is ready, to Asuka's shock (no one had thought of celebrating her birthday before), and the chapter concludes with she eating cake.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The story ends in 2080 when Asuka passes away and Shinji dies three days later. However they have had a daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Kaworu and Rei visit Shinji when he dies and Rei hints that he and Asuka will be together in the Afterlife. After their death Ryuko, Kyoko and Misato go about their many accomplishments when they were alive.
  • Bonding Over Missing Parents: Shinji and Asuka often talk about their mothers and their motivations. Their talks help them to get closer.
  • Bookends: In the beginning of the story, Asuka hugs Shinji and makes him promise that he will not leave her from that day on. In the end of the story she hugs him tenderly and reassures him that he was true to his word.
  • Break the Cutie: Shinji was severely broken during their teen years due to his mother's death, his father's abandonment and the War. After Third Impact he gets help and gets better, but his PTSD never really goes away.
  • Break the Haughty: Asuka was -apparently- prideful and boastful, and she thought she was the best pilot ever. During the War she got humiliation after humiliation, beatings, a mind-rape and realized NERV never cared about her. After Third Impact she was very bitter and furious, but she tried to get better… and then she got raped.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Asuka often gets hurt and wounded even after the War.
  • Broken Ace: Asuka was her team's best pilot and fighter. At the same time she was deeply traumatized. She blames her traumas, PTSD and sour behavior on piloting.
  • Broken Bird: After Third Impact, Asuka tries to overcome her traumas and become stronger and keeping on living in spite of her daily nightmares, PTSD and getting raped again.
  • Broken Hero: Shinji and Asuka try to get over their issues and improve their lives after the War.
  • Broken Pedestal: Kensuke was a military otaku who worshipped the Fourth Division… until they slaughtered everybody in NERV.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: When Asuka’s doctor informs her that she is pregnant, she doesn't want to believe it.
    "You're pregnant," the doctor said.
    Asuka stared at her, stunned. "That's impossible," she said.
    The doctor quirked an eyebrow. "Your body seems to disagree," she said mildly.
    "You don't understand," Asuka began. "I'm on birth control, for my periods. I can't even get pregnant."
    The doctor shrugged. "I can show you an ultrasound, if you like."
  • But We Used a Condom: When Asuka is told she is pregnant she argues it's impossible because she is on control birth. Her doctor reminds her that nothing is hundred percent effective.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Asuka's mixed ancestry is brought up when Misato and Asuka discuss why she doesn’t want to go back to Germany. Misato says that they cannot force her to return since she is half-American.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Shinji averts this. He is in his thirties when his father comes back from Instrumentaliy, and he stopped caring for Gendo and his abusive behavior long ago.
    • Asuka called Misato out on neglecting her completely and abandoning her right when she needed her the most. Misato agreed she screwed it up with her and Shinji.
      Misato: Did something happen?
      Asuka:
      Misato: If it did, you should talk to me about it.
      Asuka: Why? It's not like you care anyway. You just want to find a way to get me out of your hair, same as always.
      Misato: Now Asuka, that's not really fair —
      Asuka: Don't talk to me about fair, you bitch! You never wanted to deal with me in Germany, and when I came here you watched me fall to pieces in front of your eyes without doing a damn thing about it.
      Misato: Hold on now —
      Asuka: And then you let the commander hang me out to dry, before you threw me out like garbage when I was no longer useful —
      Misato: Asuka, wait a minute —
      Asuka: —and then when Kaji died you completely forgot about me until I crawled into a hole somewhere to slit my wrists and die! And after Third Impact, when you finally found us, you sent me to another damn city so that fucking piece of shit could… Don't act like you're concerned. I know better.
      Misato: Are you finished now?
      Asuka: Tch.
      Misato: It might surprise you to learn I agree with you. Everything you said is true. I did a terrible job with the both of you, and there's no excuse for it. Nothing about the circumstances changes what happened to you. It was criminal, and it was wrong, and I'll regret it until the day I die. But even so, you have to think about your situation here: you aren't equipped to live on your own, and neither is Shinji. You both need a lot of help and support, and there aren't exactly a lot of candidates banging on the door for the job. For better or worse I'm the closest thing to family either of you has.
    • Several years later Asuka called her father out when he tried to reconcile with her, although much like Shinji, she no longer cares.
    • Ryuko tells her mother childhood traumas don't excuse bitchiness when you're in your forties. Asuka's retort was… hugging her.
      Ryuko: You know, I don't get you. Sometimes you're really cool like this, and others you're a total bitch. What's up with that?
      Asuka: Be glad you get bits of nice on occasion. Ask your father what it's like when I'm mean 24/7. You don't know how lucky you are.
      Ryuko: Sure I do. You love me more than anything, and you love dad just as much. But that doesn't stop you from treating us both like dogshit on occasion.
      Asuka: Shut up, you idiot! I'm doing the best I can. I—
      Ryuko: Bullshit! 'The best you can,' you say? Whatever. Today you were fine. I felt like you were an actual parent for a change, and that was nice. But last night? Fuck that noise. Back in the day I guess you could get away with it, since things were really rough for you back then. But now, not so much. We deserve better, father and I, and so do you!
      Asuka: You little brat. Not even your father talks to me that way.
      Ryuko: Tch. He calls you out on your bullshit all the time. Misato does, too. I'm not an idiot, mom; I see what's going on around me. How the hell would I have the nerve to speak up otherwise?
      Asuka: (laughing and hugging her) You stupid little brat! I'm glad to see you take after your father in ways other than musical talent!
      Ryuko: Cut it out, mom! Jeez, you're embarrassing me!
      Asuka: I'm proud of you, little girl. I truly am.
      Ryuko: You're missing the point! Gah! Where is dad when I need him?
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Shinji doesn’t confess his feelings until he is eighteen because he thought that Asuka would reject him.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them:
    • Shinji and Asuka argue a lot… but they are unable to live without each other. It was repeatedly shown, stated and ultimately and literally proved: Shinji died barely three days after his wife.
    • In a discarded chapter Asuka told Misato that Shinji could survive without her, but the opposite isn't true.
    • When Asuka has to babysit Ryuko for first time she is gloomy because Shinji is in a business trip. She mutters that he usually pisses her off, but when he is gone she feels very lonely.
      Asuka: (shrugging) I can barely stand that idiot most days, but when he's gone…
    • When Asuka passes away in 2080, Shinji dies shortly after. Sixty-five years of arguments, fights and reconciliations and he could not live three days without her.
  • Cat Smile: Asuka has a huge scary grin when Ryuko receives a prize for her musical accomplishments:
    Far from looking bored, in this picture Asuka had a maniacal grin on her face, holding her daughter in a headlock while she flashed the camera a V sign with her other hand.
  • Character Tics: Shinji makes his infamous unclenching-and-unclenching-hand tic when he encourages himself to greet his newborn daughter.
    Shinji hesitated, then once again clenched his hand in decision. He approached Asuka. She looked up, smiled at him, then back down at the infant in her arms. Shinji followed her lead. "H-" he began. He coughed, then continued.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In 2019 Asuka finds several documents proving that Yui was already planning everything during her college years. Many years -and chapters- later, she handed over them to Shinji.
  • Child Hater: A mild case. Asuka didn't like children, not even when she became a grownup. She had to get over it, though, when she got pregnant.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In 2024 Kyoko reveals that Shinji and Asuka met for first time when they were little kids. Subverted because neither of them remembered it:
    Kyoko: We went to college together, as I understand it. She and I spent a bit of time together after you and Asuka were born, before Asuka and I left for Germany.
    Asuka: (laughing) So we'd met before? Me and the idiot, I mean.
    Kyoko: I actually remember that, too. I remember staring down at you, thinking you were the cutest thing ever, while Yui did the same with Shinji.
    Asuka: How about that, eh? The red string of fate bound us together even then. Kind of depressing, now that I think about it.
    Shinji: (laughter)
  • Children Raise You: When Asuka gets pregnant, Shinji and she are very, very frightened because they didn’t want to have children and they did not think they would be good parents due to their crappy childhoods and lingering psychological issues. Still they try to be good parents, and with a bit of help of Misato and Kaji, Ryuko develops into a happy, mentally healthy girl.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Adult Asuka sometimes smokes when she gets distressed.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Asuka is very possessive towards Shinji. In a deleted scene she meets Kaworu, snaps and says: "Stay away from him, you pervert! He's mine!"
  • Cool Down Hug:
    • Subverted. Shinji often hugs Asuka when he wants to reassure her. But when she's upset, she needs space instead of physical contact.
    • Played straight when Shinji is worried about raising their daughter properly, and Asuka embraces him and tells him stop worrying. He feels a bit better.
  • Cool Uncle: Heishiro is Ryuko's cool uncle who taught her to skateboarding and other cool stuff (although Asuka thinks he is a brat).
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: After Third Impact Misato is still a terrible cook who comes up with horrible recipes:
    Misato: Oh, and since you just woke up you must be hungry. Why don't I —
    Asuka: (widening her eyes) No, that's okay! I'll make breakfast!
    Misato: Aw, but I had this neat idea for an experiment! All I need is some horseradish and some curry and —
  • Cosy Catastrophe: Deconstructed. When Shinji and Asuka were alone, they scavenged freely the ruins to find food. But when Shinji took a cello from a music store, Asuka pointed out he was stealing, and maybe the owner would return and find he was missing a cello.
  • Covert Pervert: As long as Shinji isn't being too obvious about it, Asuka likes when he looks to her (she feels like a piece of meat on display if someone leers at her openly, though).
  • Crash-Into Hello: Ryuko crashes into a strange boy accidentally while she is skate-boarding. She apologizes, introduces herself... and after talking for a bit, she asks him out.
  • Cruel to Be Kind:
    • In a chapter set in 2016 Asuka tells Shinji harshly that both Rei and Kaworu made their own choices so he must stop blaming himself for everything.
    • Asuka criticizes Shinji constantly because she thinks he will never become assertive otherwise. Misato admits that her female ward has a point.
      Asuka: I thought Shinji was your best friend.
      Misato: Shinji's a doormat.
      Asuka: Isn't that my line?
      Misato: He is! He's helpful and earnest and very nice, but he wouldn't know assertiveness if it walked up and bit him. And it's so frustrating! He stands up to you all the time, I see it, but with everyone else he's a passive little mouse.
      Asuka: That's true. He doesn't like it when I yell at him, and he's learned that being assertive around me means I'll be nicer to him. But the rest of you are too polite to criticize him, so he doesn't feel the need to change. Typical Japanese.
      Misato: How delightfully racist of you.
      Asuka: It's true. You only ever called him out when it came to his piloting; apart from that you let him do whatever he wanted, which was usually nothing at all. What did you expect?

    D-F 
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Played with. Shinji and Asuka were terrified when she got pregnant because they didn't think they could be good parents… but they didn't want to abandon their child either. So they came to an agreement with Misato and Kaji -who lived next door-: they'd raise their daughter until she was a few years older and from that point on, Shinji and Asuka would take care of her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shinji and Asuka develop a pretty dry sense of humor.
    • Asuka complains about Shinji showing her up:
      Asuka: You always gotta one-up me, eh?
      Shinji: Says the woman who's fluent in three languages, has two Ph.D.s, and does guest lectures at MIT and Harvard and other places on a regular basis.
    • After Asuka almost dies when she delivers their daughter:
      Shinji: You almost died, Asuka!
      Asuka: (sighing) Yes, I'm aware. I was there, remember? But I'm fine now.
  • Defusing the Tyke Bomb: Misato finally sees that Shinji and Asuka get counsel and therapy after returning from Instrumentality.
  • Delinquents: Ryuko went through a delinquent phase during her teen years: she dyed her hair dark lavender, had her eyebrow, nose and tongue pierced, wore ragged clothes and showed a devil-may-care attitude. Her parents sometimes called her a delinquent, but they didn't really mind.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Asuka goes through one after running from Kyoto: Misato failed her again, she didn't stop having nightmares night after night, and her shrink attempted to rape her. She felt so hopeless that she tried to kill herself.
  • Determinator: Shinji was determined to take care of Asuka and never run away again after Third Impact. He kept his promise, no matter what.
  • Determined Defeatist: Shinji doesn't believe he can be a decent father, but he promised Asuka he'd make his best.
  • Devoted to You: Since they were fourteen Shinji and Asuka spent their whole lives together. And when Asuka passed away, Shinji died straight after.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • Shinji's dad abandoned him when he was a child, summoned him years later to use him and died during Third Impact. When Gendo returns, Shinji is over thirty and over him.
    • Asuka's dad abandoned after her mother's death. Upon returning from Instrumentality he wanted her to return to Germany, but Asuka refused to meet him.
  • Does Not Like Men: Kyoko doesn't really like men after her failed marriage.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Shinji spends a good while ogling to Asuka when they take a trip to Okinawa.
    "You just want an excuse to ogle me," she grumbled.
    He nodded sagely. "Yes. I do."
    "Oh my god!" she exclaimed, incredulous. "You admit it?"
    He rolled his eyes. "I'm your boyfriend, Asuka. I'm supposed to enjoy looking at you."
  • Everyone Can See It: Asuka refuses to believe that Shinji likes her... until Touji and Hikari inform her that EVERYONE thinks he's in love with her.
    Hikari: Shinji confessed to her this morning.
    Touji: And that's bad?
    Hikari: She doesn't think he means it. She thinks it's an act or something, to make sure the doesn't cause anyone any trouble.
    Asuka: That's exactly it! If you could only see the way he acts toward me...
    Touji: Uh, Soryu... Look, you know I'm not exactly your biggest fan and all, but I think you're kinda off base here.
    Asuka: Then you're an idiot.
    Touji: No, seriously, what you're saying doesn't make sense. I spend more time with the guy than anyone, apart from you I guess, and he never talks about you embarrassing him or anything. He just wants to make you happy.
    Asuka: Of course he does. If he makes me happy he'll get praise, and then he'll feel like he's worth a damn. Same old Shinji.
    Hikari: Asuka, that's a really cynical way to look at it.
    Asuka: What are you talking about?
    Hikari: Well, it's true that he's always a little concerned or upset when he's talking about you, since that's just the way you two are... but even so, when he talks about something good that happened between you two his face just lights up, like he—
    Touji: Yeah! He'll get this stupid grin on his face, like he's the happiest guy on Earth.
    Asuka: That's... that's insane. You guys are just defending him!
    Touji: You think it's just us?
    Hikari: Everyone knows about it. It's, ah... it's kinda obvious.
    Asuka: No, he's just... I mean, it's Shinji, he... Everyone?
    Hikari: Well...
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Pen Pen's sole presence tends to make scenes hilarious, especially when Asuka -who apparently speaks "penguin"- bickers with him. This is reinforced when the author cut it out from a scene because he wanted it to be a dramatic moment.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: This visual trick is often used to hint that Shinji and Asuka aren't sleeping well:
    • Asuka visits Shinji after leaving Kyoto in a hurry. The narration uses visual clues such like eye bags and rumpled clothes to hint that she is physically and mentally exhausted and about to collapse.
    • Shinji has eye bags the days after his daughter's birth. He isn't sleeping well because he is worried about Asuka's health and his father skills.
  • Face Palm: Misato does a double face palm when Asuka takes offense at being compared to Ritsuko.
    Misato covered her head with her hands. "Don't be childish," she mumbled. "I compared you to my best friend, not to the monster she became."
  • Fiery Redhead: Asuka is a redhead, and although her explosive temper got better once she got actual therapy and grew up, she never stops being spirited and hot-blooded.
  • Fix Fic: This story tries to fix the psychological damage done to the main characters and their relationship.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Due to the non-linear narrative, this happens a lot.
    • The first chapter happens in 2020. Shinji and Asuka are alive and together. In a later chapter, set in 2018, Asuka runs away, and Shinji and Misato are worried because she is on the brink of committing suicide.
    • In a chapter Asuka tells she does not want to have children. That chapter was written after another chapter where she has just given birth.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Kyoko reveals Shinji and Asuka met when they were babies. Unfortunately, they forgot each other.
    Kyoko: We went to college together, as I understand it. She and I spent a bit of time together after you and Asuka were born, before Asuka and I left for Germany.
    Asuka: (laughing) So we'd met before? Me and the idiot, I mean.
    Kyoko: I actually remember that, too. I remember staring down at you, thinking you were the cutest thing ever, while Yui did the same with Shinji.
    Asuka: How about that, eh? The red string of fate bound us together even then. Kind of depressing, now that I think about it.
    Shinji: (laughter)
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Ryuko calls her mother out, pointing out that childhood trauma doesn't justify a crappy disposition when you're in your forties. Asuka's reaction is, in fact... hugging her and expressing how proud she is of her daughter.
    Ryuko: Bullshit! 'The best you can,' you say? Whatever. Today you were fine. I felt like you were an actual parent for a change, and that was nice. But last night? Fuck that noise. Back in the day I guess you could get away with it, since things were really rough for you back then. But now, not so much. We deserve better, father and I, and so do you!
  • Freudian Slip: Asuka calls Shinji an idiot in a deleted chapter… and then she slips she thinks he's an idiot because he stays with her.
    Kaworu: Shinji is a wonderful person. I look forward to meeting with him again.
    Asuka: Stay away from him, you pervert! He's mine!
    Kaworu: Even though he frightens you?
    Asuka: What do you mean? I'm not afraid of him. He's a meek little mouse.
    Kaworu: And yet, you are harsh with him,
    Asuka: Of course I'm harsh with him. He's an idiot.
    Kaworu: Because he stays with you?
    Asuka: Yes, exactly. He—

    G-I 
  • Gamer Chick:
    • Asuka enjoys playing games. After Third Impact, Shinji often looked for rare games and they played them in co-op mode because it "gave [them] a way to support one another, and [they] very much needed that at the time."
    • Ryuko also loves games, although it annoys her that her middle-aged parents are better gamers than her.
  • Girlish Pigtails: After the War Asuka kept wearing her hair braided in pigtails for many years.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: After running away from Kyoto Asuka tells Shinji she does not blame him for what happened -and he should not blame himself- but she cannot take it anymore before disappearing again.
  • Good Parents: Neither Shinji nor Asuka thought they were parent material, but they become this to Ryuko. They are loving and supportive, put her happiness first and they are pretty open-minded with her delinquent behavior during her teen years.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Asuka had a very short fuse after Third Impact, and she often snapped and said things she didn't mean and eventually regretted. However her temper improves once she becomes an adult woman.
  • Happily Failed Suicide: Asuka is ultimately glad when Misato found her and stopped her from committing suicide.
  • Happily Married:
    • Misato and Kaji.
    • Shinji and Asuka. They have troubles, arguments and fights but they are happy together.
  • Hates Being Touched: Asuka doesn't like being touched after Third Impact, not even by Shinji. Since she'd been mind-raped at least twice and Shinji tried to strangle her twice, it's understandable.
    She sank to her knees, shivering despite the heat. "This is such a fucking joke," she mumbled. "I should have let you finish me off when I had the chance."
    He leapt toward her, grabbing her by the shoulders. "Don't say that!" he cried.
    A look of fury crossed her face. She brought a foot up between them, planting it on his chest, and pushed, hard. He flew back, sprawling in the sand. "Don't touch me!" she yelled. "Not now, not ever! Do you understand? Do not touch me!"
  • Heartbroken Badass: After Asuka's death, Shinji is so heart-broken than he loses his will to live.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Shinji loves Asuka.
  • Heroic BSoD: Asuka falls apart when she thinks she has ruined her relationship with Shinji forever after Touji and Hikari get through to her and make her see Shinji is in love with her.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Shinji and Asuka met when they were fourteen and thirteen, respectively, and they remained together during their whole lives.
  • Hope Is Scary: After Misato admits to Asuka that she failed her and states she'll atone for her mistakes, Asuka is frightened of trusting Misato again.
  • Hot-Blooded: Asuka is very fiery, spirited and emotional.
  • Hot Springs Episode: During a story arc set in 2021, Shinji and Asuka take a trip to Okinawa and take a bath in a hot spring.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Rei and Kaworu are seen during some important scenes, although they are now human-like spirits without physical bodies.
  • Hurting Hero: Shinji and Asuka saved the world, but they got hurt physically, emotionally and psychologically, and the scars never fade. Even in their forties they still have nightmares and PTSD.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Kyoko hates her husband for cheating on her. However she slept with a married man long before meeting Asuka's father.
    • Asuka declines babysitting Ryuko after threatening Shinji with dire consequences if he didn't take care of their daughter. Subverted because it was part of her plan to help Shinji be a better father.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Asuka has deep-blue eyes and a harsh, hot temper.
  • Idealized Sex: Subverted. Due to her past traumas and psychological issues, Shinji and Asuka couldn’t have a healthy sex life until they were in their middle twenties (ten years after their first meeting). When they first tried to have sex, it was a disaster because Asuka wanted to get it over with, but Shinji couldn’t go on because he was hurting her.
  • I Don't Think That's Such a Good Idea: Asuka didn't want Ryuko to skate-board because she could get hurt. Her daughter accused her from being anti-fun.
  • I Miss Mom:
    • Shinji and Asuka miss their late mothers. Asuka is delighted when Kyoko returns.
    • Ryuko says she'll miss her mother when Asuka was on her deathbed.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Asuka used to be boastful, but in reality she thought everybody -especially Shinji- showed her up and beat her.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes:
    • Shinji has clear blue eyes, and he was an innocent, shy kid before the War.
    • Baby Ryuko's eyes are a deep blue, and her gaze was completely innocent.
    Asuka looked at her daughter, and found that, for a moment, she couldn't even breathe. "She's beautiful," she whispered. Her eyes were a deep blue, like her father's, and she had a shock of light brown hair. She looked curiously at this strange new person, the perfect picture of innocence.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Asuka can't understand why Shinji loves someone like her. She never figured it out, even though they were together during six decades. In a deleted chapter, Asuka tells Kaworu that Shinji is an idiot for loving her.
  • Insult of Endearment: Asuka calls Shinji idiot or pervert constantly but she calls him names in a loving, tender way after a while. At one point she slips she thinks that he is an idiot because he loves her and because he is always blaming himself for everything.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Asuka wanted to kill herself after getting raped, but Misato found her and stopped her before she carried it out.
  • It's All My Fault: Shinji blames himself for Third Impact. Asuka tells him he shouldn't blame himself for what Rei did, even if he asked her to.
    Asuka: He still feels he's responsible for Third Impact, for the chaos the followed, and for the current state of world affairs. No matter what happens he feels it's all his fault, since he set it all in motion.
  • In Medias Res: Since the story is told in a non-linear fashion, most of plotlines start in the middle.

    J-L 
  • Jerkass Façade:Asuka tries to pretend she's more unpleasant than she really is because she's frightened of other people. Shinji and their daughter can see through her mask, though.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Thirty years after the fact, Asuka thinks the Fifteenth defiled her because she was too eager to fight it.
    Asuka:Get one thing straight, kid — I hurt myself there. They had no control over the Evas, and I wasn't even supposed to sortie that day. I'm the one who jumped into battle, and I'm the one who refused to retreat. Misato ordered me to pull back, but I wouldn't listen. I don't like admitting it, but what happened to me that day was my fault.
  • Lethal Chef: Not even Third Impact can improve Misato's cooking skills. Two years after, Asuka still doesn't want to try anything her guardian has cooked.
    "Oh, and since you just woke up you must be hungry." She got up, heading for the pantry. "Why don't I —"
    Asuka's eyes widened, and she leapt after Misato. "No, that's okay! I'll make breakfast!"
    "Aw, but I had this neat idea for an experiment! All I need is some horseradish and some curry and —"
    "No, really, that's fine! I'm good here. Shinji made some rice balls before he left, so that'll be fine. Better than fine, great even! Shinji makes great stuff, right?" Her voice had a bit of a panicked edge to it.
    "Oh, you're no fun," Misato pouted, sitting down. "Fine, fine, we'll have Shinji's boring-yet-tasty food. But you'll have to try mine eventually."
    "Heh heh, sure, sure." Asuka's face turned a shade of green as she headed to the refrigerator to get the rice balls. She rolled her eyes and whispered a silent prayer to whatever deities might still exist that she be spared Misato's cooking for as long as possible.
  • Let's Wait a While: Shinji and Asuka argue about their sex life several times: both are attracted each other, but their many psychological issues -which include Asuka being mentally and physically raped several times in the past- keep in the way of a healthy sex life. Sometimes Asuka just wants have sex so the matter is settled, but Shinji argues he's afraid of hurting her and they shouldn't force themselves.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Ryuko takes after her father in several ways: she is a good musician, she sees through her mother’s façade and she isn't afraid of standing up to her.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Shinji and Asuka became each other's emotional anchors after Third Impact. They suffer from severe PTSD, but they can keep it at bay because their relationship.
    • Per Word of God:
      "A big part of the reason Shinji and Asuka can function is because they can recharge their batteries, so to speak, with one another when they're not working. They can make it through the day, come home all stressed out, and then lean on one another to make it through step by step."
    • In a deleted chapter, Asuka says she can't survive without Shinji:
      Asuka: Misato. He can survive without me. The reverse is not true. We both know this.
    • Deconstructed when Ryuko is born. Shinji is afraid of her because Asuka almost died by childbirth. And he neglects her for a short while because he puts Asuka first, and he was worried about her PTSD getting worse due to the strain of raising a child.
      Asuka: Shinji, it's not her fault.
      Shinji: I know that! Of course I know that. But I can't help it. She...
      Asuka: I know. Misato's right. We really are too attached to one another.
      Shinji: Is that such a bad thing?
      Asuka: It is when we hurt ourselves because of it.
    • Reconstructed when Asuka calls Shinji out on his behavior and helps him become a good parent.
    • Asuka passed away in 2080. Shinji cried that no one was taking care of her now, and he died three days later. They couldn't live without each other. Literally.
      Kyoko: He's gone, then?
      Ryuko: Yes.
      Kyoko: They always were too dependent on one another.
      Ryuko: The doctors said it was heart failure. I guess—
      Kyoko: Of course it was. He couldn't bear to live without her, so what else could it be?
  • Love Confession: Shinji confesses Asuka he likes her in 2019. At the beginning she didn't want to believe him, but she eventually got that he was in love with her (and she was horrified when he nearly took it back).
  • Love Epiphany: Asuka realizes -at last- what she is in love with Shinji when she realizes his love confession was sincere… and he says he is taking it back when she accepts it.
  • Love Hurts: Shinji and Asuka hurt each other many times but they stay together and keep trying to make their relationship working because they care for each other.
  • Love Interest: Shinji and Asuka are each other's.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Asuka figured out what Shinji liked her when Touji and Hikari explained it to her slowly and in detail.

    M-O 
  • Mama Bear:
    • Hurt Asuka and Misato WILL kill you. A rapist found out the hard way.
    • Invoked by Kyoko when she says a mother always protects her child.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: Asuka didn't want to have children and neither she nor Shinji thought they were parent material. However they raised their daughter when Asuka got pregnant.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Asuka is belligerent, aggressive and tomboyish. Shinji is passive, acquiescent and he usually calms her down.
  • Meaningful Name: The names of original characters are taken from real world ships or marine creatures.
  • Mind Rape: Asuka and Toji have a talk about how Arael and Bardiel got inside their heads and saw things they didn't want anyone to know.
  • Missing Mom: Shinji, Asuka and Misato lost their mothers when they were kids. After a while Shinji finally gets over her death. However, Asuka gets hers back.
  • Morning Sickness: Shinji insisted that Asuka saw a doctor after she was sick three mornings in a row. He just knew she was pregnant.
    Asuka: I'm pregnant.
    Shinji: I wondered.
    Asuka: What? Why didn't you say anything?
    Shinji: You can't be serious.
    Asuka: Well, yes, I guess I can see your point.
    Shinji: But anyway, you were sick three mornings in a row. What else could it be?
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Asuka has several moments where she realizes she's crossed one line:
    • In the first chapter, Asuka is trying to convince Shinji to try and go past their many unresolved sex-related hang-ups and have sex once and for all, but Shinji is very wary. Frustrated, she unthinkingly asks if it would be easier if she was asleep or she was a boy. One second later she realizes she should not have said that.
    • Asuka turned Shinji down harshly when he confessed. She states that he didn't love her but it was some sort of act to keep her appeased. After Touji and Hikari got her to realize his confession was real, Asuka falls apart.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Four-year-old Ryuko tells Asuka: "Mama! Mama, look at me!"
    • When they met again, Gendo greets Shinji saying: “It's been a while.”
  • Nice Guy: Shinji really tries to be nice to everyone and make things right after his mistakes led to the end of the world.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The night before her birthday, Asuka has a very violent, bloody nightmare where the MP-Evas eat her alive again.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: If Asuka wants to get Shinji do something he isn't sure about, everything she has to do is taunting him. That trick still works when they are in their thirties (and Shinji is quite miffed about it).
    Asuka rolled her eyes. "Stupid Shinji, just knock on the door."
    He balked. "Why do I have to do it? You're the impetuous one, you do it."
    She flushed, irritated. "Damn it, Shinji…"
    "Hey," he said, "I'm just as nervous as you are, you know!"
    "Tch," she said. "Coward."
    Shinji's brows knit. "I am not!" His fist clenched in determination, and he raised his hand and knocked on the door. He glanced at her sidelong. "Why does that still work?" he grumbled.
    She raised her arms. "Who can say?" she asked, smirking at him.
  • No Social Skills: Adult Shinji and Asuka are functional but they still have a hard time socializing and understanding other people, and they are very dependent on each other. Shinji's self-flagellating habits and Asuka's hot temper don't help matters.
  • Not So Different: Shinji is afraid of his child, right like his father was afraid of him. When he feels tempted to run from his daughter, Asuka bluntly says she will not allow him become a copy of his father. Several years later, he meets Gendo again and Shinji admits that being a father is frightening.
    "We have a daughter, she and I. She'll be three years old in a few weeks."
    "I see," Gendo said. His voice betrayed no emotion.
    "She's…" Shinji paused, then looked at his father and said, "I never knew they could be so frightening. Children, I mean."
    Gendo's eyes widened a fraction. He held his son's gaze for several moments, then looked away. "Yes," he said, nodding.
  • Oblivious to Hints: After Third Impact Shinji tells Asuka that he wanted the same thing she did but he never got her hints:
    "I didn't get what you wanted. I wanted the same thing you did, and I didn't get it. I just... I guess I just lost it in a different way."
  • Oblivious to Love: Shinji and Asuka were completely oblivious to each other's feelings, which led to their world ending. Even after Instrumentaliy they are incredibly dense. After several years, Shinji confesses and Asuka doesn’t believe him initially.
  • Official Couple: Shinji and Asuka.
  • Oh, Crap!: During an argument with Shinji, Asuka realizes that she's crossed one line when she brings Kaworu up and Shinji leaves before she can apologize.
    Her smile died as soon as she saw the look on his face. Shit. "Shinji, I didn't-"
  • Old Flame: Misato and Kaji became a couple, broke up, got back together, and got killed. Once Kaji returns from the Red Sea they resume their relationship and eventually get married.
  • Open-Minded Parent: As long as Ryuko is happy, Shinji and Asuka do not mind their daughter's eccentricities and delinquent habits.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: Shinji and Asuka suffer from severe PTSD in their late thirties and have meager social skills. All of it can be traced back to teir mothers dying when they were little kids.

    P-R 
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Shinji gets frightened when Asuka is giving birth and nearly dies by childbirth. He got frightened, yelled at everyone and essentially lost his mind for a short while.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Played straight with Shinji and Asuka, who were abandoned by their fathers when they were four. Post-Instrumentality Shinji wonders if his mother's actions can't be considered abandonment, too.
    • Averted with Ryuko. Her mother declared that she and her husband would not abandon their daughter. She would not allow it.
  • Parental Favoritism: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in. Shinji was Misato's favorite and she favored him blatantly. Asuka is quite resentful about it. After Third Impact Misato admits that she made a mistake.
  • Parental Neglect: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in during the War but she neglected them when things got real bad. Although Asuka forgives her eventually, Misato regretted her actions for as long as she lived.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Misato was completely oblivious to her wards' feelings and their increasing mental and emotional instability. As a result of it, they spent their whole lives trying to get over their issues.
  • Parental Substitute: Misato took Shinji and Asuka in when they were teenagers, and helped them raise their daughter.
  • Pitbull Dates Puppy: Asuka is bold, aggressive, and she can get nasty and mean when she's in a bad mood. Shinji is more passive and acquiescent. If someone asks him why they are together, he answers that he owes her, he doesn't really mind her bad moods, she is real nice when she wants (and she doesn't mean most bad things she says), and she actually wants him to be assertive and stand up for himself.
  • The Promise: Shinji makes Asuka two promises: he'll take care of her and he will not abandon their daughter.
  • Promotion to Parent: Kaji becomes his little brother's guardian after Heishiro returns from Instrumentality. He thought Heishiro would want nothing with him, but his brother makes clear that he refuses to live with strangers.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Asuka's former therapist, Dr. Kotetsu, was a creep who molested and sometimes raped his patients. He tried to rape Asuka and he almost drove her to suicide.
    Asuka glared at her. "Fine," she said. She closed her eyes, remembering that night. "He put his hands on me," she whispered, her voice shaking with rage. "He acted like he was doing me a goddamn favor by paying attention to me." She opened her eyes, her gaze fixed on some point past Misato's shoulder. "I couldn't believe it. He was supposed to be helping me, you know? You sent me there so he could help me, and he…" She shook herself, set her jaw, and continued on.
  • Quit Your Whining: During the first weeks post-Third Impact Asuka repeatedly tells Shinji stop complaining and deal with his issues.
  • Rape as Drama: When Asuka went to Kyoto, her therapist, Dr. Kotetsu, tried to rape her. She fought back successfullynote  and ran away, but she was nearly driven to suicide.
    "I want to know about what happened in Kyoto."
    Asuka scowled. "Why?" she asked. "You wouldn't believe me anyway. Same as the cops and everyone else."
    Misato's face was like stone. "Try me," she challenged. When that failed to generate the desired response, she added "I already have a good idea as to what happened."
    Asuka ignored her. "You don't know anything," she mumbled.
    Misato patiently picked at her food. "I saw the bruises on you when I met you at the hotel that night." Asuka looked up. "But I'd rather hear it from you than speculate."
    Asuka glared at her. "Fine," she said. She closed her eyes, remembering that night. "He put his hands on me," she whispered, her voice shaking with rage. "He acted like he was doing me a goddamn favor by paying attention to me." She opened her eyes, her gaze fixed on some point past Misato's shoulder. "I couldn't believe it. He was supposed to be helping me, you know? You sent me there so he could help me, and he…" She shook herself, set her jaw, and continued on. "I told him to piss off, and he grabbed me. He tried to force me down. So I…" she trailed off.
    "You fought back," Misato murmured.
    Asuka shrugged.
    "Good for you." The pride in her voice was unmistakeable.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Third Impact Asuka tells Shinji that he gets her angry because he gets everything what she wants although he doesn't want it and doesn't value it:
    Asuka: And you didn't even appreciate it! That's what really burns me up! You get everything handed to you, everything that should be mine, and you don't even want it!
  • Red Is Heroic: Asuka is a red-haired ex-mecha pilot. Her robot and her combat suit were also red.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Asuka is the Red to Shinji's Blue. She is hot-blooded, quick-tempered and impetuous, and Shinji is calm, rational and passive. She helps him be more assertive and he keeps her calm.
  • Red String of Fate: Invoked by Asuka after her mother said she and Shinji played together when they were babies and their mothers thought they seemed incredibly cute together.
    Asuka: How about that, eh? The red string of fate bound us together even then. Kind of depressing, now that I think about it.
    Shinji: (laughter)
  • Reformed, but Rejected: When Asuka's father wants to meet her and attempt to reconcile with her, Asuka is hugely tempted to tell him where he can shove his apology into, but she finally decides to be the best person and agrees to meet him and have a talk with him.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In 2019, Shinji confesses to Asuka. After two arguments -because these kids just don't know how to do anything the easy way- Asuka accepts his confession and Shinji agrees to not take it back, and they are officially together from that time on.
  • Retired Badass: Shinji and Asuka were mecha pilots and child soldiers in their teens. After the War they get therapy, go to college, get jobs and never fight again.

    S-T 
  • Scars Are Forever: Asuka never lost her war scars. Six years after the Final Battle she still wears them:
    Asuka pulled up her shirt, revealing the scars covering her belly. "I didn't have these before," she said.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shinji and Asuka suffer from post-traumatic distress and other mental traumas after the war. Several decades after the Third Impact they are still struggling to keep their PTSD at bay, be functional people and decent parents.
  • Shipper on Deck: Misato ships Shinji and Asuka together. After they get together she organizes trips for them and sometimes she asks when they will get married.
  • Ship Tease: There's plenty Shinji/Asuka teasing. The story starts out when they're arguing about having sex two years after getting together.
  • The Shrink: Dr. Okada was Shinji and Asuka's therapist for several years after Third Impact.
  • Sleep Cute: Shinji and Asuka do this several times:
    • Shinji hugged Asuka while she fell asleep after their first time.
    • They snuggled up together under the covers after having an argument about their daughter.
  • So Proud of You: Asuka says she is proud of Ryuko when her daughter stands up to her:
    Asuka: You little brat. Not even your father talks to me that way.
    Ryuko: Tch. He calls you out on your bullshit all the time. Misato does, too. I'm not an idiot, mom; I see what's going on around me. How the hell would I have the nerve to speak up otherwise?
    Asuka: (laughing and hugging her) You stupid little brat! I'm glad to see you take after your father in ways other than musical talent!
    Ryuko: Cut it out, mom! Jeez, you're embarrassing me!
    Asuka: I'm proud of you, little girl. I truly am.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Due to severe trauma and anger management issues, Asuka uses her anger to hide her hurt. If she is being mean it’s because she's inwardly upset, nervous or frightened.
    "Do you want me to help you?" she asked. Her voice had a nervous edge to it.
    He stopped, then looked at her. "Why would you want to?" he asked. "You don't even like me."
    She frowned. "That's not true," she said. "My mama asked me where I wanted to play, and I said here. I like being with you."
    "But you're always mean to me," he said.
    "That doesn't mean I don't like you," she said. "I'm just afraid you'll go away, and it makes me nervous and upset. So I get mean even though I don't want to."
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: The main characters' parents are slightly older than their children because they spent decades in Instrumentality. Misato and her father are roughly the same age, Asuka and her mother are in their late twenties, and Gendo is over ten years older than Shinji.
  • Talking in Bed: Shinji and Asuka often argue about their troubles when they are lying together in their bed. Some examples:
    • Asuka explained Shinji why she moved to Kyoto temporarily.
    • Shinji is upset about Kaworu and Asuka suggests maybe Kaworu didn't know anything about humans and didn't realize that he was hurting Shinji.
    • Asuka and Shinji talk about their daughter after Asuka has a nightmare.
  • The Tease: Deconstructed. Misato flirted with Shinji because she enjoyed a good joke. It never occurred to her that Shinji could think she was being serious or her behavior was hurting Asuka:
    Misato: Believe me, Shinji, I'm not some… some pedophile who's into younger guys. I just thought, 'Maybe this will work,' and gave it a shot. That's all it was. I promise, Shinji, you don't need to worry about that. You really don't.
    Shinji: But you always teased me. All that sex stuff, and the skimpy clothes, and…
    Misato: Oh, come on, Shinji, I was just teasing! Look, kid, there's only one man in my life, and you aren't him. Don't read too much into things that aren't meant to be taken seriously! I was just teasing you, that's all. I'll admit it went too far, and I'm sorry if it hurt you, but I'm telling you right now that I don't view you that way at all. It's important that you understand that.
  • Their First Time: Shinji and Asuka have sex for first time during a vacation trip, six years after their first meeting. They hadn't been emotionally or psychologically ready until then.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. After Third Impact, Misato sees that Shinji and Asuka have therapy at last.
  • They Do: After three years of fights, arguments, reconciliations and emotional attachment, Shinji and Asuka get together. Asuka doesn't dare to get married until they were in their late forties, though.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Asuka often says Shinji that he can't fix her: the only person who can solve her troubles is her. What he can do, though, is standing by her side and supporting her while she tries to fix herself.
  • Time Skip: The story skips from Ryuko's adolescence in the 40's to her parents' demises in 2080.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: After Instrumentality, a lot of therapy and time, Shinji and Asuka are somewhat happier and more emotionally stable.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Asuka eventually gets over her cynicism a bit and accepts that she and Shinji can actually be happy rather than merely functional.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Asuka becomes a bit nicer after undergoing therapy and being in a healthy relationship. This is made clear when she refers Rei as “Miss Ayanami”.
  • Trauma Button: Shinji and Asuka suffer from PTSD. Stress triggers it.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Ryuko is a delinquent and has a bit of a rebellious side, but she's quite charming, too.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Asuka hugs her knees after a particularly bad nightmare.
    Asuka awoke with a shout, clawing at her face as she fought to escape the dream's crushing grip. She was in the main living area of their apartment, with Shinji's futon right beside hers. She wrapped her arms around herself and doubled over, trying to calm herself.
    Shinji watched her, weary and sympathetic. When she'd calmed a bit he asked, "That was the really bad one, wasn't it?"
    "Yeah."
  • Tsundere: Asuka fabricated an angry, mean personality in order to push people away and hide her fragile, frightened self. She also tends to get mean when she's nervous, upset and scared.
    "Do you want me to help you?" she asked. Her voice had a nervous edge to it.
    He stopped, then looked at her. "Why would you want to?" he asked. "You don't even like me."
    She frowned. "That's not true," she said. "My mama asked me where I wanted to play, and I said here. I like being with you."
    "But you're always mean to me," he said.
    "That doesn't mean I don't like you," she said. "I'm just afraid you'll go away, and it makes me nervous and upset. So I get mean even though I don't want to."
  • Tyke-Bomb: NERV raised Asuka since she was four to be cannon fodder in the Angel War. She spends several decades trying to get over it. She still has nightmares about the War in her late forties, and when her daughter asks why, Asuka says “piloting” is the reason.

    U-Z 
  • Undying Loyalty: Shinji promised that he would take care of Asuka. And he looked after her until the end. He never dated other women, either.
  • The Un Favourite: Asuka was this to Misato. Since she worked hard to earn other people's praise and she had low self-esteem, she resented it.
    Misato: Whaaaat? Can't I buy lunch for my favorite girl?
    Asuka: (growling) You're buying me swordfish, and we both know I'm not your favorite. Spill it already.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: There is a lot of unresolved sexual tension between Shinji and Asuka even after getting together because they weren't ready to have sex for a long time due to their numerous issues.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Asuka is a demanding mother.
    • Ryuko remembers that Asuka congratulated her when she played in middle school regionals, but she looked bored; however, when she received a prize for her musical accomplishments, her mother practically glowed. Kyoko explains that is the difference between congratulating your children obligatorily when they have done something well, and praising their true achievements.
      Kyoko:"That's it. That's the difference between obligatory praise and true accomplishment. The first was obligation; when a child does something properly we're expected to encourage them, even though they haven't really accomplished a damn thing. But this... this was true pride. I've never seen her happier than she was on that day. Not once.
    • Asuka is also proud when her daughter stands up to her after an argument:
      Asuka: You little brat. Not even your father talks to me that way.
      Ryuko: Tch. He calls you out on your bullshit all the time. Misato does, too. I'm not an idiot, mom; I see what's going on around me. How the hell would I have the nerve to speak up otherwise?
      Asuka: (laughing and hugging her) You stupid little brat! I'm glad to see you take after your father in ways other than musical talent!
      Ryuko: Cut it out, mom! Jeez, you're embarrassing me!
      Asuka: I'm proud of you, little girl. I truly am.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Misato tries to remember Ritsuko for what she was rather than she became when they broke their friendship off.
    Misato: I compared you to my best friend, not to the monster she became.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • After Asuka turns his Love Confession down, accusing him from lying to her, Shinji says she shouldn't tell him how he's feeling, or treating her friends like that.
      Shinji sat down, regarding Asuka with a mixture of hurt and anger. His fingers twitched, before closing into a fist. "You need to start listening to what I say," he said softly. "I may be an idiot, but I know how I feel. Better than you do, anyway."
      She nodded.
      "I don't mind being hurt sometimes," he went on. "That doesn't mean I like it, but I can deal with it. It means you're being honest with me and I appreciate that. But this morning, you went too far."
      "I know," she said.
      He leaned on the table. "When you got back from Kyoto, you said you wanted to be friends with me. Don't you remember that?"
      Asuka's eyes were watering. "Yes."
      "Is this how you treat your friends?" His voice was tinged with anger. "Are things really so terrible between us that you would say something like that?"
      She squeezed her eyes shut, tears rolling down her face, and shook her head. "I'm sorry," she said. "I—"
    • Asuka berates Misato for let her down and abandoning her right when she needed badly someone who cared for her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: After three years of fights, arguments and reconciliations, Shinji confessed Asuka and -after arguing once again- they get together and remain together.
  • Worth It: Asuka says her daughter is worth of the stress:
    Asuka: Sort of. But don't worry about it. You're a good kid, so you're worth the trouble.
  • You Are Not Alone: Ryuko tells her father that he is not alone after Asuka's death. Unfortunately it was not enough to cheer him up.
    "Dad, it's okay. I'm here for you. You're… you're not alone, you know?"
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Kyoko resented her husband for cheating on her.
    • However it turned out she had an affair with a married man when she was a college student.


Asuka: (growling) Get this straight, bird brain. I am the cause of, and the solution to, most of Shinji's problems. Of course I'll take care of him!

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