Tokyo-3 was all but abandoned. Due to the weekly angels attacks and resulting destruction to more and more of the landscape, what was left of the City of Tomorrow was standing empty. Now it was as it had been when it was first founded- the only occupants being researchers and military personnel, and the entire civilian population had moved away to safer pastures. Thusly, all civilian services, such as laundromats, bakeries, and shopping malls, were abandoned, meaning there was little reason for NERV employees to do anything away from the Geofront.
For Misato and Ritsuko, this meant they had to do their drinking underground.
"At least the Geofront is much more livable than it was in my mother's day...." remarked Ritsuko, taking a long drag from her cigarette. When she let it out, she turned to her best friend, wondering aloud, "You've been quiet tonight. Uncharacteristically so."
In keeping with that, Misato said nothing. The Major was slumped over the bar, chin resting on her folded up arms and frowning into her bourbon. After too much time had passed for a reply, she gave it, "It's been a rough year."
"Hm." As Ritsuko sighed out another cloud of smoke, she noted, "Rei survived the self-detonation, Asuka's starting to respond to anti-psychotic medication. Things aren't as bad as they could be."
"Only because it'll never be as bad as it could be until the Third Impact kicks off and human life blinks out," murmured out the depressed woman. "The pills don't do anything for Asuka. She's not screaming anymore, but she's catatonic. She hasn't spoken since she was medicated. Shinji... Shinji's..."
The busty woman pulled her purple-haired head downward, turning her face into her jacket sleeves and choked back her tears. Ritusko, for her part, was never comfortable with Misato's more overt emotional displays, but awkwardly patted her shoulder in response.
"Look, Shinji's alive, that's what matters..." remarked the Doctor, oddly. "He's still not as bad off as Asuka."
"It's just..." Misato gave a great sniffle, wiping her face drunkenly off her jacket sleeves, "Sh-Shinji's problems always h-hit so close to home for me.... I know what it's like to... to be chasing after your dad... What it's l-like to not know how to feel about h-him... What it's like to.... to go through h-hell..."
"You survived all of that, so can Shinji..." Now rubbing the violet-haired major's back, Ritsuko dug about in her lab coat for a hankerchief, which she handed to her best friend.
"Y-Yeah, like I want Shinji to have m-my life...." After wiping her nose on the silk cloth instead of her poor jacket, the army major handed it back, choking back another sob. "H-He doesn't deserve a crappy, run-down life drinking himself to beer like I do.... After all he's d-done for us, I wish I could give him something better..."
"That's the way the world is," replied Ritsuko before taking another drag from her cigarette.
"The world can suck it."
Misato gave her glass another mournful look before bitterly swatting it to the ground and instead grabbing the bottle. Before raising it to her lips, she said simply, "I wish I could've been a better mother to Shinji..."
With that desire thrown out to the wind, the woman was just about to chug down on booze when a hand was placed on her shoulder. Annoyed as she could be, Misato lowered it and brought her gaze to Ritsuko, who was putting out her smoke.
"Is that really what you want?"
Misato, as much as she tried to choke it down, gave another hiccuped sob, "Y-Yeah..."
A grin grew on the doctor's face. From her coat, she withdrew her pack of smokes and pulled one out with her mouth.
"We're living in the city of tomorrow," she explained, her face momentarily illuminated by a lighter. "That's not entirely impossible."
Now that Ritsuko got a look at Shinj, she could understand why Misato was so upset. She looked across at the boy from the examining room, and the sight was almost aggressively grim. He slumped over in his place at the end of the table, eyes half-open and defeated. While the flourescent lights of the room were considerably bright, he seemed immune to it somehow, as if he'd been photoshopped into place from a much darker picture.
The expression and air to him reminded Ritsuko of her days at college, in the testing labs. When you place a lab rat in a room that causes pain and deny him escape, it eventually stops seeking it and accepts its misery as a given fact. The phenomenon called learned helplessness.
But, Ritsuko reminded herself as she withdrew some of her personal formula into a syringe, such a thing is not permanent.
"Well, Shinji..." began the doctor, her back to the boy as she measured out the dosage, "Your physical went fine, all in all."
"Mm..." mumbled out the boy, eyes directed at his feet.
"The weight loss was a little worrying, though," she continued, shooting a small amount of formula into the sink to be sure it worked. "Before Misato comes to pick you up, I want you to take a little something that'll increase your appetite."
Shinji's voice was this terrible, depressing blench of apathy and misery. Hearing it made even Ritsuko uncomfortable, and she had seen plenty of disturbing things in her time. Throughout the examination, Shinji was limp and lifeless, barely moving as the doctor prodded and guided him, and now was no different. The scientist was able to easily pull forth his arm and give him the injection. He didn't even jump at the prick.
Once the injection was in, Ritusko typically talked to patients to make sure it was running and how quickly, though she wasn't sure how much of a response she might get..... "So, Shinji, how have you been?"
"Fine..." murmured out the teen, slowly. "Can I go now?"
"Yes, I'll just call in Misato to-" Ristuko stopped once Shinji rose from his seat, adding in a worried voice, "Shinji, it's probably better if you sit down."
As the serum was pumped through the heart and into Shinji's central nervous system, the boy felt lightheaded and uneasy. A spell of dizziness clouded his mind and he visibly staggered. Thoughts slipped out of his grasp, and the room began to spin. In is faded vision he could see Dr. Akagi move forward and take his hand, guiding him gently back to the examination table. His brain was being overrun with clouds and mist, his consciousness drifting off....
"Shinji? What'd you dope him up with?"
"A little neuro-inhibition formula I cooked up. Now, be careful what you say, he can hear us."
"He can? Are you sure? It looks like the lights are on, but nobody's home."
"Stop waving your hand in front of his face. Watch.... Hello, Shinji."
"Can you make it so he's not so drooly?"
"Shinji, I'm going to ask you some questions, and you're going to answer them truthfully. Do you understand?"
"Tell me about your father."
"Heh.... Not exactly master of the minds, are ya Ritsu?"
"We'll try that at a later session. Shinji, why don't you talk more to Misato?"
"She's.... it.... I-It hurts."
"It hurts to talk to Misato?"
"Where does it hurt, Shinji?"
"Aww... Shinji, I-"
"Misato, Shh.... Shinji, does you tummy hurt right now?"
"It hurts all the t-t-time..."
"Poor baby.... Okay, go hug him."
"Shinji, how does it feel when Misato hugs you like that?"
"It's.... I-I'm scared..."
"Shhh.... Shinji, don't be scared... What are you scared of, sweetie?"
"The truh-train station..."
"The what now?"
"Gonna ta-take me to the tr-train station..."
"Abandonment issues. Shinji, listen to me very carefully; Misato isn't going to leave you. When she hugs you like this, does your tummy feel just a tiny bit better?"
"It's okay to be afraid Shinji, but whenever you feel that way, you're going to tell Misato. You're going to tell Misato because she makes you feel safe. When you're with her, that pain in your tummy gets a little bit better. You just feel like Misato will protect you."
"Awww.... You will also make a habit of sucking your thumb."
"I can't help it, he looks so adorable like this. Shhh.... Settle down...."
"Whatever, the secondary effect should've sunk in yet, so let's take him back to the car. He should wake up on the ride home, just be sure to note and changes."
As Shinji stumbled through the door behind her, Misato turned over her shoulder, smiling, "Heh.... You doing okay there by yourself?"
Shinji's balance had been off since he'd left the Geofront. In fact, everything about him felt off in some way or another. As he and Misato climbed upstairs, he found himself standing uncomfortably close to her (uncomfortable for him, at least). His limbs felt unnaturally heavy and fatigued, like all the energy had been drained from him somehow. The temptation to accept her help as they came upstairs was pretty great, but ultimately he made it up himself, even though he felt exhausted by the time he arrived.
When he stepped into the door, he could feel his knees starting to buckle. Thankfully, before he could tumble to the floor, Misato pulled him to his feet, helpfully supporting him.
"Whoa there, be more careful." The additional support gave the boy a chance to put his thoughts together. For a moment the room seemed to be spinning. But as he felt her hands on his arm and shoulder, he could feel things becoming clearer, slightly. "You feel better now?"
"I...." Shinji sniffled, to his own surprise. He realized that the last time Misato rushed out to help him, he'd pulled away but he wasn't now. Before, he was terrified of being close to her but not it didn't feel as bad. Feeling more confused than ever, he responded, "I-I'm not sure..."
The boy did jerk a little when Misato rose her hand to him, but when she only put it to his forehead and calmly held it there, he was still. "You feel sorta warm. Ritsuko said that shot she gave you might make you feel kinda under the weather."
That explained the balance issue. Was he having a fever? Shinji gulped, remarking on this with a subdued, "Oh..."
"Yeah... Why don'tcha go lie down on the couch for a little bit?" Before Shinji could really object, he was guided toward the living room, Misato rubbing his shoulders as he went. "I'll getcha something cold to eat, okay?"
"A-Alright, but...." Shinji's nature was to agree, but he had to tack on, "But I ha-haven't started dinner yet..."
"Oh, I brought something up with us from the Geofront, you just focus on feeling better, sweetie." As Misato put the boy on the sofa, pulling his feet up and kissing his cheek. "Just lie still and let the chemicals work through you, okay?"
Left on his own, Shinji tried to focus again, but it felt difficult. His brain felt lazy and limp, like a pile of clay. But laying there looking at the ceiling felt so simple and easy, giving a feeling of comfort and serenity as he heard Misato working in the next room. The boy soon turned onto his side and curled up warmly.
The jumped, startled at the noise, but thankfully it was just Pen-Pen. Once his heart rate went down, he gave a relieved sigh. "Oh... H-Hi...."
The penguin gave a brief "wark" to reply, and soon worked its way onto the sofa by the boy's side, webbed feet flapping about as it pulled itself aboard. As it leaned against the gangly teenager, Shinji put an arm around him.
A kind of sweet sensation came into the boy's tummy as the warm water penguin's feathers tickled against his side. The bird just felt sweet and soft to the touch. When he made the next step and pulled the animal into a hug, he was just as confused as Pen-Pen.
Misato poked her head out of the kitchen, holding a popsicle. Shinji was curled up quietly on the sofa, hugging Pen-Pen and sucking his thumb. The image put a flutter to her heart.
"Alright, Shinji, you can hop off the scale now."
The boy did as he was told, stepping timidly off the metal item and back to the examination table. Even though it took some work to climb back up, he still managed it and sat waiting for the results. When no response came, he tightened his belt a little more, nervously.
"Well, Shinji, everything seems to be going smoothly..." remarked Dr. Akagi, jotting down his new weight. Really, it was much better than she'd hoped- his weight and height were decreasing at a rate proportionately equal to that of when he was a teenager. She'd been afraid one would outpace the other.
"G-Going smoothly?!" Squeaked Shinji. Really, Ritusko had to enjoy the way his voice sounded now that it wasn't pubescent- it was almost like that of a little girl. "D-Dr. Akagi, are you sure? I mean.... L-Look at me."
A coy smile on her face, Ritusko adjusted her glasses and looked the child over. She didn't know Shinji as a boy, so she could hardly compare, but she guessed he was about eight-years-old now. Naturally, his clothes no longer fit- his belt had several more holes punched into it, and his pant legs had been rolled up. None of that really helped the shirt, which was draped over his frame, bunching up his hips from him tucking it into his pants. If he'd let it hang, the doctor was willing to bet it'd come down to his knees.
"You're doing just fine, Shinji," repeated Akagi in a steady voice. "Your reaction to the drug is perfectly normal."
"Buh... but..." Apparently at a loss for words, the little boy tugged again on his enormous shirt, complaining, "I'm g-getting so small! How's that supposed to..."
The boy quieted down when his cheek was stroked, even moreso when the doctor pulled him close to her chest and rubbed his back. Whenever he complained at home about the current state of things, Misato had been instructed to do the same, and apparently it was working. The little boy began sucking his thumb again, closing his eyes and snuggling into the comforting grown-up.
"There we go...." Akagi reached toward the counter and took up the syringe she'd prepared, "Now, I want you to hold still while I give you another dose. You can be a big boy and not cry, right?"
"Uh... Y-yeah! Of course!"
When the needle was poked in, Shinji did yelp and wince at the prod, but kept his promise and didn't cry, something Akagi made sure to compliment him on. He faded off much faster this time, his tinier body succumbing quicker to the drug.
A smirk came to Akagi's face as the child fell into her arms, sucking calmly on his thumb. She gently laid him back on the examination table before heading to the door.
"Huh, that was quick."
"Yeah. Just think- by the time he needs the last dose he'll probably need to sit on your lap."
"Awww.... Hi, Shinji, it's Misato-Mama.... Can ya hear me?"
"Just hold him, alright? Yeah, that's fine. Things are working out nicely- the height and weight have been decreasing at a steady ratio and aligned to their proper position when he left puberty. Now Shinji, you hear your Aunt Ritsuko, right?"
"Good, now just tell her the truth- has everything been okay lately?"
"I've been feelin' sorta funny... Sleepy a lot...."
"Yeah, yesterday I actually had to put him down for a nap."
"The formula's probably inducing fatigue. By the time he's finished, he'll be bouncing off the walls."
"I thought you wanted him as a little boy. Shinji, anything else you wanna tell me?"
"I'm gettin' short, I think. My clothes don't fit..."
"Poor Baby.... Shinji, listen to me- don't worry about getting shorter, alright? Tomorrow morning, Misato-Mama's gonna take you out for some new clothes that'll fit you better. And if those get baggy she'll get smaller ones. Don't worry."
"Shinji, sweetie, you can tell her about what happened yesterday if you want."
"Uh... I peed my bed last night..."
"Ah. That's normal."
"Normal, gotcha. Wait- I just realized, if you know what to expect out of this serum, that mean you've used it before?"
"You probably shouldn't ask. Shinji, sweetie? Have you been using the potty a lot too?"
"Yeah, it's weird. You'd think getting smaller would mean less of that."
"He has to expel body mass somehow. The bulk of it isn't excrement- it's excess cells that can't fit into his new-"
"Will it stop when it's all over or will I need to take out a loan to pay for diapers?"
"All I needed to know. Now Shinji, that little hurt in your tummy? Is that feeling any better?"
"Uh-huh.... Lots better..."
"Awww, didja see him snuggle into me when he said that?"
"Yes, yes.... Shinji, from now on, you're gonna wear protection to bed, okay?"
"Nuh-uh.... I-I'm not a baby..."
"Shhh.... It's okay, Sweetie, it doesn't make you a baby. You don't want to wake up in wet sheets, do ya?"
"And I think you'd look really cute in your diapers. Do you feel any better?"
"Very good, Shinji... Now, can you tell us about the train station?"
"Nuh-uh... N-No train station...."
"Are you sure you don't-"
"He said no, I think that's enough for now."
"Alright... Let's load him into the car..."
"He's so small now, I can probably bring him there myself. C'mon, sweetie... Awww, he's so snuggly now..."
"Just remember to put him in the backseat. The airbag's dangerous now. Especially with the way you drive."
"Ha ha. That reminds me, I should probably look into getting him a carseat."
Misato had spent the evening slowly and blissfully enjoying the last meal Shinji was likely going to cook for her for several years. She had to admit, the boy's cooking and cleaning around the apartment was going to be sorely missed. But since Shinji'd cut himself chopping vegetables and started crying soon afterward, she supposed six was the youngest she could have a boy pulling things in and out of a hot stove.
Still, the interruption to her sleep was unwelcome. As he pulled her messy head out of her pillow, she spotted Shinji standing by her bed, tears in his eyes and almost trembling in the law light.
"Shinji?" The woman rubbed her eye lazily, slowly waking up at the sight. The boy was already starting to outgrow- or outshrink, rather- the pajamas she'd brought him, and the sleeves were just overtaking his hands. "Mm... What's wrong, little guy?"
"I huh-hadda sc-scary dr-dream..." mumbled out the boy sadly, shivering in place as he said it. "I ca-can't fall aslee-asleep..."
Giving a sleepy moan, the adult pulled up her blanket in a welcoming manner, "C'mon, crawl in..."
The child's response was only to stare in disbelief, unsure of how to take the offer. Glancing about the room unsuredly, he explained, "I-I only w-wanted a d-diaper change..."
"Well, if you wanna sleep with me, you can do that too, sweetie..."
The six-year-old gave a timid nod before getting on all floors and crawling into bed, Misato pulling the cover over him as he did so. Soon enough he found himself snuggling into the grown-up's side, comfort and relief washing over him as she gave him a loving squeeze.
"See, this's better, isn't it?" As Misato held the boy close, she felt his diaper underneath his pajamas, "Hm... This doesn't feel too bad, I think you'll be alright 'til morning. Just try and get some sleep."
Shinji laid in silence for a moment, snuggling with the adult, before asking in a bewildered voice, "S-So.... If I have a bad dream, I-I get to sleep with you?"
"That's right..." The six-year-old got another squeeze for that statement, "I guess your dad wasn't the kind of guy who let you do that, was he?"
There was a sad, borderline sobbing tone to that line, making Misato regret bringing it up. Putting her arm around the boy, she gave him another squeeze and changed the subject, "You wanna talk about it?"
"I-I was..." Shinji inched closer to the grown-up worriedly, looking for more security, which she happily provided, "I was a-a-at the truh-train station..."
Ritsuko had been trying to get that out of her for some time. Smiling, the adult kissed her charge on the head, cooing sweetly, "Tell Misato-Mama about it, sweetie..."
The only occupants of Tokyo-3 now were NERV employees, but Ritsuko had given the order to evacuate one of the city's three remaining transit stations just to be safe. Guards were posted along every entrance and exit, but in such a way that they couldn't be seen from the inside. The doctor had just finished measuring out Shinji's next dose with the measurements of his height and weight when Misato entered.
"There you are. About time- It takes money to keep this place closed off." The doctor moved forward and examined the sleeping child in her friend's arms, "You gave him the pills this morning, I take it?"
"Yeah, I put them in his milk and he went out like a light..." As she let the little boy cuddle against her shoulder, Misato asked, "You're sure this is gonna work?"
"It's the next logical step in Repressed Memory Therapy," remarked Ritusko, typing some notes onto her laptop. "Normally it's done with hypnotism and runs the risk of implanting false memories, since Psychology is so inexact it can hardly be considered a science."
Once the data had been collected, Ritusko carefully triple-checked the measurement in Shinji's dose. It was the last one he was due to receive, so it was crucial he get the exact amount. He'd been reduced to about four now, and if he overshot his regression the results could be fatal. Not that she'd mention such a thing to Misato, of course.
Although they did need to discuss the final step in treatment. Ritsuko turned and watched the major bounce the sleeping baby in her arms, asking, "Misato, you need to be absolutely sure you can watch this."
"Yeah, yeah..." The purple-haired woman nodded knowing, "I can handle it."
"You absolutely can't step in until my signal. He needs to be immersed in the memory to move past his baggage."
"Alright, already, I can handle it..." An annoyed look on her face, Misato gave the boy in her arms among warm snuggle, giggling to herself as he returned it. "Aw.... C'mon, let's get this over with."
"Right. Pull up his sleeve..."
The floor was cold and dirty linoleum and the air seemed white and foggy. The only noise Shinji could hear was from the intense, beating rain outside. The air had that feeling of being inside, but at a place that couldn't properly keep out the storm. Chilly, moist breezes flowed in through the cracks all about the building, making things seem even colder.
As he pulled himself, shivering, to his feet, Shinji felt deeply uncomfortable. Not just the surprising pain in his arm (or the band-aid that someone had put there), but something about the whole situation felt deeply familiar. As he staggered forward, he could feel deja vu creeping behind him with every alternate step he took.
The boy's voice seemed to echo out into the building, the returning sound barely audible over the gushing rain outside. With a sniffle, Shinji called out again, "Hello?"
He was alone.
The fact burned into his mind like acid, feeling him with dread and fear. He barely wanted to think about it- the immense, near-silence of the building was driving him mad- there had to be someone here. He couldn't bear to be alone.
"MISATO!" he squeaked out, his tiny voice echoing through the hall."R-Rei? Hello!"
Panic began to set in now, the boy beginning to toddle all the faster over the floor and not noticing the tears pouring down his face. There had to be someone here- he was in a train station, those were always filled with people. He couldn't alone.
Shinji wasn't sure what made him call out for the missing man, but the word was the first thing that came out when he opened his mouth. Left alone, unwanted and abandoned, it was all he could think of. The ghostly image of the adult walking away, his slumped shoulders and slow pace floated to the front of his mind. Now more eager than ever to find someone and blinded by his tears, the boy rushed forward.
"DADDY! D-DADDY, DON'T LEAVE ME H-AAAH!"
Unused to his clumsy, stubby legs, the boy tripped and landed hard on his tummy, bruising his soft body on the hard ground. Unable to keep going he curled up into a ball and sobbed to himself. He was alone again. Abandoned and unwanted.
"Shinji? Shinji, come here!"
The boy fidgited a little as he heard his name called. Still hiccupping, he glanced up to see a large figure some feet away.
"Shinji, come here... Come to Mommy, Shinji!"
Choking back a sob, the boy reluctantly got to all fours and began crawling toward the woman's legs. At first he moved slowly, but when she bent down, holding her arms out to welcome him, he crawled all the faster.
When he was scooped up and squeezed warmly, he felt his inhibitions melting off. A sense of security and safety overtook him as the adult softly rocked him against her chest.
"Shhh...." As Shinji sobbed into her breast, the woman gently petted his hair, cooing to him, "It's okay, Shinji... Don't cry, Mommy's here."
"Uh-huh!" The lady smiled to him, caringly wiping away his tears, "Mommy's right here, Shinji. And she's never gonna leave you behind."
There was an unexpected knock on the door. Wiping her mouth off on her knuckles, Misato moved to the front door, smiling as she spotted the two-year-old lingering by it.
"Heh.... What're you doin', Shinji? It's too dangerous for you to open it." As she put the toddler on his feet, the grown-up patted his butt, shooing him off, "Go play with Pen-Pen, little guy!"
"Hee... 'Kay, Mama!" The toddler waddled away into the kitchen, Misato smiling as she watched him go. Once she'd checked the peephole, she beamed and opened the door.
"Hey, Ritsu!" Grinning as she stood in the doorframe, the violet-haired major teased, "Couldn't wait to see us? We were gonna head over after lunch."
"Well, I thought I'd take the initiative and make a housecall."
The doctor dropped her cigarette to the ground and stamped it out before she stepped into home. Since the procedure had been finalized, Misato had moved out of her apartment into a pristine little house on the outskirts of Tokyo-3. It had a flowery yard and a short stone fence, and plenty of space for a little boy to run and play about in. The woman had already set up Shinji's nursery and painted the whole thing a sweet pastel blue, filling it with toys.
"Shinji!" Misato led Ritsuko to the kitchen, where the boy was snuggling with Pen-Pen, "Sweetie, Auntie Ritsu is here!"
Even the doctor's heart warmed when she spotted the toddler on the floor. He was dressed in the top of a little sailor suit, his diaper plainly visible under it. As he waddled to the grown-ups, the knee-high former pilot gave a timid bow, cooing out, "H-Hello, Auntie Witsu!"
Still the same Shinji, thought the doctor to herself. As she scooped the little boy up, she announced, "Hello, Shinji. Have you been having fun?"
"That's good..." As she held the boy against her hip, one hand cupping his bottom, the doctor announced, "I'll examine him in the nursery, be just a second!"
Slob though she was, Misato did keep Shinji's nursery rather clean. And even as a toddler, Shinji was quite orderly himself- always putting his toys back precisely and wiping up his own spills as best he could. Ritsuko dearly hoped that aspect of him wasn't ruined with the woman as her new mother.
As the baby sat on the changing table in just his diaper, the doctor made sure to compliment him on it, "It's really good for a baby like you to learn that early on."
"Hm... But Mama says... Hehehee..." Shinji broke into giggles as Ritusko put her stethescope onto his bare chest, "Hehee... Sh-She says I'm too busy at it..."
"Well, Misato's something of a slob..." The doctor gave the baby a wink, "You're doing very well right now. Hold still for a moment please..."
Shinji sat still, sucking his thumb and kicking his feet over the table's edge as Ritsuko checked his ears. Once she'd finished, she asked, "You still having those nightmares?"
"Uh-uh..." cooed out the baby, popping out his digit. "They's stopped now.... An' Mama says I c'n sweep in 'er bed if I gets 'em 'gain.."
"Very good... Now..."
Ritsuko picked up the baby again, bouncing him about in her arms and judging his weight. It was about the same as his last visit- apparently he'd gotten the serum out of his system now. The baby giggled to himself at the motion.
"That's a good boy, Shinji. You're progressing juuust right." The doctor's smirk was wiped off when she bent down and sniffed the baby. "Hm.... Seems you need a diaper change, though... Lemme fix that for you."
Apparently Shinji was still quite himself underneath all the baby fat, and his face turned quite pink when his accident was pointed out to him. As Ritsuko put him on the changing table again though, he didn't even squirm or fidget as his diaper was removed.
Moments later they exited the nursery together, Shinji in the woman's arms and calmly sucking his thumb, "Our little man's ready for lunch!"
"Awww..." As she picked the baby up out of her friend's hands, Misato cooed, "You hungry lil' guy?" When the baby nodded and cuddled into him, she asked, "So he checks out?"
"Just fine, the serum's totally out of his system. I changed him while I was in there too."
"Eheh... Thanks.." Misato began strapping the boy into his highchair, smiling nervously. "Erm... While I think he looks cute in diapers, I'm not that fond of changing them...."
"Is that why he never seems to be wearing pants when I visit?" The boy squeaked and blushed at that comment, putting a smile on the doctor's face. "So, you want to go ahead with the second trial?"
"Oh, yeah!" Misato nodded eagerly. "After seeing how well it worked on him, I can't wait to try it on Asuka!"