[That's all for now... Parts 3, 4, and the Epilogue should be done in about 2-3 weeks give or take. I hope you like the fic. Can you offer me feed back? It'd be appreciated. The more opnions I can get from people the better.]

The Dual Nature; A Common Ground

by Ancient Rime

Asuka had been on her way, and by now was standing in front of Rei's appartment complex. She stepped inside the lobby, and made her way up into the elevator. There was always that really weird clanking noise around this building. It had always been there. As far as the residents were concerned, they had grown used to it by now. Asuka watched the numbers on the overhead console of the elevator light up; 5...6...7...8 Ding! She stepped out of the elevator as the double doors opened. The halls in this part of the building were dark and narrow, and seemed oddly indistrial for Tokyo 3. Asuka made sure to whine about it, even if it was just to herself and no one was there to care.

She started searching for Rei's particular appartment number, it had to be around here somewhere. She had eventually come to the correct number and sighed, complaining about how dark the hallway was. Asuka knocked and waited for an answer. No answer came, and after about five minutes of waiting, Asuka had grown impatient. She grunted and stomped her foot. Walking closer to the door, she found the intercom, and pressed it. After the beep Asuka spoke into the speaker.

"Hey WONDER GIRL! The least you could do is open your door when I'm nice enough to bring you your crap!!"

There was another wait of about another ten minutes. Asuka wasn't going to wait anymore. She hit the intercom one more time and spoke into the speaker. "That's IT! I'm coming IN!" Asuka stormed into the house, only to find the dank dark appartment vacant. She blinked in confusion and looked about her surroundings. Was this really where the first child lived. It seemed just like her, so dark and dreary. The room was a mess as far as Asuka was concerned, and just as repulsive.

She sat in the chair in the corner with a heavy sigh. It would seem that she'd come all this way for nothing. In the deep silence of this room, there was only that annoying clanking noise to disturb her thoughts. When Asuka was alone like this, her other side was so cear; it was the side of her that never aged, and was still a small child. Asuka bit her lip softly, she knew these papers had to be in some way important to Rei's duty as an Eva pilot. But, how was she to go about getting themt o her and concealing the fact that she did have a heart and undertsnading? It seemed that out of nowhere at all she had come to speak

"Oh hell... I can do it. It's not like Wonder Girl actually talks to anyone for anyone to find out in the first place. "

With that simple sentence, it seemed that Asuka had devloped a plan of attack. She was going to show her weaker side to Rei. But why? After she had left the appartment complex, she began to wander, as if lead by some sort of an all knowing sixth sense. She could just precieve where Rei was on her own. How difficult could it be? It wasn't like Rei actually went anywher often. Her first instinct was to search the most isolated areas of Tokyo 3, and she knew that would be the field and forest trails.

Thoughts swirlled through Asuka's mind as she went along her way. And, although they had come to seem no more than vexing, Asuka was making an attempt at them. The scenery was beautiful, Asuka had never bothered to travel this far out of NERV head quaters.

"This country side... It's beautiful. Is this what Rei is really like? I wonder if this is what she's hiding behind that front of hers. I feel so odd around that girl. Everyone thinks I call her Wonder Girl in a negative way... No." Asuka paused, looking at the heavy mountains coated in blue and pink mist at this twilight hour. She closed her eyes and bravely continued the thought that she did not even want to admit to herself.

"I only call her that because... Because she's hiding so much. I want to know Rei, I want her to know me. I have to wonder sometimes if this is my quest to learn about her, or my own selfish endeavor to have her figure me out so that I don't have to. Rei... how do I cry in front of you? How am I supposed to show you that I love you?"

Asuka stopped short, and she watched the gathered birds fly away in a clamor of beating wings. She was standing at the center of a field of sun flowers, and had been so deep in thought that she didn't even realize where she was walking. Asuka smiled brightly, if this was the results of absence of mind, then she would be content to let it wander more often. She paused from taking in the field for a moment, and looked down at her feet, she felt an itch. There seemed to be some sort of a draw string resting on her foot that lead elsewhere. Asuka cleared the thick stems of the sun flowers away and found Rei lying there, taking in the sun set reddened sky.

Just as she was about to shout and chastise Rei for causing her so much trouble, Asuka's voice got caught up in her throat. She smiled, her heart skipped a beat in seeing Rei, and being able to be alone with her. The dual natures fought with each other inside of Asuka,; the part that wanted Rei, and the warrior. The conscience and heart locked and clashed sword in a violent fray, a final duel. In the end, Asuka's inconsiderate ego came tumbling to the floor.

Asuka smiled complacently, and tucked her skirt beneath her so that she could sit besides Rei who was on her back and staring at the sky through the canopy of intense gold. Her voice was soft and kind, something she never let anyone see; except for maybe Misato once in a while. But not even Misato had seen her this genuine, this exposed; save that one incident at the hot springs when Asuka begged her to not remind her of her past.

That smile never faded, and Asuka had forgotten completely as to why she had come to see Rei in the first place. She just looked on at Rei, her gaze so adoring. She spoke softly, not wanting to scare Rei. Her deep blue gaze never faltered.

"Rei I... Thought you would be here." If Rei hadn't spoken at that point in time, Asuka would not have known if this were but a pleasant dream, and herself a ghost in a whishfully imagined illusion, too good to be true.

"The pilot of Unit 02... Why are you here?"

"It's a pretty field, isn't it?" Skipping over Rei's question completely, Asuka moved on to another. Rei turned and stared at Asuka. Her voice was dismal as usual.

"Why do you pilot your Eva?" Asuka lifted her brow and crinkled her nose in confusion. Her facade quickly restored itself.

"What? Are you stupid?! I have to pilot it!" Rei stared at Asuka a moment longer, and then simply laid on her back again. It was a little over a minute before she spoke again.

"Why must you pilot it?" Asuka was getting edgy. Rei was beginning to probe into areas that were quite uncomfortable for her. That conscience fought her strugling heart once again. She couldn't stand it anymore. If anyone was going to know the truth, Asuka wanted it to be Rei. She couldn't explain it, but she felt trust towards the emotionless wind-up doll, as she had put it. In her heart, Asuka knew that there was more to Rei, so much more.

"My mother died when I was a little girl. She... killed herself the day I was selected as an Eva pilot. I have to pilot it, because it's the only just thing I can do. I'm not that special... I wish people would stop liking me because of how pretty I am." It had dawned on Asuka then; that was why she cared so much about Rei! Rei could see inside of her, unlike the rest of the world that only made it up to her skin. It was the only way that Rei could see the world, and Asuka knew it.

For the first time ever to Asuka's knowledge, sympathy could be seen in Rei's eyes. Her soft melancholy voice rose in reply, rather than remain silent, or change the subject all together. "I'm sorry, Asuka." Asuka turned her head. Kind words from Rei were rare, and cherished. And, for the first time, she didn't reject the affection; she didn't run from it. Instead, she rested on her back side with Rei, and stared up at the same sky as she. She sighed, as a tranquil state overcame her. And just as she was about to close her eyes, Rei spoke to her yet again.

"Flowers. There are so many, so many the same, beautiful, and without purpose. Are you telling me you're like a flower, Asuka Langley Soryu?"

An enchanted blush crept across Asuka's cheeks. No one, not even her own mother made her small existence sound so perfect. And had Rei actually called her "beautiful"? It seemed that both girls turned to face each other at the same time.

"Rei... Thank you." Whispered the awe stricken Asuka. Their eyes locked that second. Together, they reached an endless rift in time, that was sealed by a gentle kiss of understanding and compassion. As time reached a dead halt, their two hearts seemed to recombine. Just as the sky was a glow at this twilight hour, a mix of pale blue and deep red, so had two hearts seemed to momentarily have found a common standing ground. A smattering of blue and red, like God and his angels had partaken in a paintball match, no more eye-filling sight had ever been beheld in they sky before.