An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:40 am

I'm really digging the direction of the story right now. It has some serious thematic potential. I'm not so hot on the escalation of emotional exposition. We know Shinji hurt his head if you just say "Shinji rubbed his head", you don't have to tell us lal. Just tell us Shinji smiles when he saw Asuka's smile, and you can avoid the whole paragraph. I'd focus that bit of word count on scenery description which you can use for symbolism or to set a tone.

And BTW, Having kid Asuka run to a locked door was a masterstroke. That was top tier.
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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:44 am

Thanks, the feedback is appreciated, as always. Sorry for the late response, but I've been a bit busy these last few days.

As for the emotional exposition, I agree that it's probably not entirely necessary, but I'll also say that this is the way I like to roll with things. I'm a big fan of narration-heavy pieces (probably because I normally gravitate towards the first person PoV when writing) and, while I've been convinced by various people to tone the amount of it down over the years, I found myself not having much fun with writing whenever I made a conscious efforts to keep it completely out of my stories; I like to think that what I have now is a happy medium.

So, yeah. It's probably redundant, but it's also one of those things I personally like to do. I'm afraid that I'm not entirely confident I could properly pull off tone and symbolism via environment description in the way that you propose, either, so until that changes or I can come up with a different way of enriching the narration, those kinds of debatably relevant bits are probably going to stay. ^_^
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:08 pm

Honestly, you should consider toning down emotional exposition because it takes you out of the story. And the less you are taken out of the story, the better it will be. a lot of this can be done by just picking dialogue that speaks for itself.
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Postby Gryphon117 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:31 am

Perhaps you are right. I'll mark those bits for consideration and take a good look at improving them once I get around to doing the second round of writing. Considering how unsatisfied I am with it, the scene is probably going to be redone from top to bottom, anyway.

By the way, surprise extra update today! I figured that I'd put out an additional update for this week since today's my thirtieth birthday. I'm now officially an old man in the eyes of my young students. ^_^

In any case, in this scene we pick back up with Asuka and the aftermath of her gaming. I like how this one came out a lot better than the previous scene, since it appears to be a lot more focused and to the point, but do let me know what you guys think.

And speaking of that, can I get some feedback as a birthday present from those other people that have read through this piece? I mean, this place has made it to 1.2k views already and there's no way all of those can be Guests. It doesn't even have to be anything major, a simple 'This story is good' or 'You suck' is way more than enough. :tongue:

Chapter 5-4  SPOILER: Show
Asuka woke up to the beeps of an overworld theme coming out of the television, blue eyes groggily identifying the 8-bit character she’d been controlling standing idly within a deep forest. Obviously, she had fallen asleep once again while trying (and failing) to find her way to the next step in the digital adventure, probably due to how badly she had slept throughout the night. An experience that she had repeated in this impromptu nap for the most part, albeit with one small exception:

“Shinji...?”

She distinctly remembered the Third Child being a part of it, although not massively so. A strange event that was nevertheless quickly overshadowed by an even weirder one.

“I am not Ikari-kun, Pilot Sohryu.”

After all, the voice of Rei Ayanami wasn’t one that Asuka had been expecting to hear on waking up.

“GAH!” The Second Child shrieked, losing her balance and falling out of her cushion and right onto her back. The redhead recovered with enviable swiftness, however, moving to point an angry finger at the nonplussed bluenette. “W-What are you doing here?! This is my room!”

“My apologies. I didn’t intend to surprise you, although I do believe it to be fairly late in the day for sleep,” Rei responded, bowing her head slightly before she motioned towards the door. “And in response to your question, Section 2 allowed me entrance once I explained my intentions.”

Following that explanation, the redhead threw a pointed glare towards the door.

“Best bodyguards ever,” Asuka scoffed, rising to her feet and crossing her arms. “So? What do you want, Wondergirl?”

“I came to collect you, Pilot Sohryu. They have urgent need for us.”

Asuka’s entire frame went rigid at the First Child’s cropped statement, her mind quickly filling in the missing spots with a shortlist of reasons for which urgent need of EVA Pilots could be needed.

The forefront of which Asuka honestly didn’t feel ready to face just yet, much to her personal shame.

“Is it... an Angel?”

“No.”

And just as quickly as it had tightened, the Second Child’s body relaxed with a drawn-out sigh.

“Gottseidank,” the redhead muttered under her breath, before she scoffed at the other girl and plotted a course towards the bathroom. “Way to get my hopes up, First. Whatever, I’ll be out in a second.”

True to her word, Asuka satisfied her necessities and made herself look somewhat presentable for her high standards in just a few short moments. A feat that would have normally taken somewhere around fifteen minutes on a good day, but one that the Second Child had decided to cut short this time due to the high likelihood of LCL being involved in whatever it was that she was supposed to do. It was simply pointless to spend long amounts of time making herself look as good as she usually tried to when the orange goop would certainly make short work of her efforts.

Not that Rei would have minded much if the redhead had taken her sweet time getting ready. That, Asuka quickly confirmed the moment she stepped into the living room, much to her surprise.

“...What are you doing?”

“I am navigating this map,” Rei replied, controller in hand and not taking her eyes off the TV screen. “It would appear that the character I’m controlling is intended to go into this fortress.”

And at the word ‘Fortress’, Asuka jumped in front of the television and began to inspect the screen as if it had suddenly become an old CRT, letting out an exasperated growl before long. After all, and much to the girl’s chagrin, Rei had managed to find the location that Asuka had spent several hours searching for in two minutes flat. And so did the Second Child’s mood take a sudden dive towards the negative, something the old Famicom brutally paid for: with a mighty slap on the poor device’s plastic surface, the redhead promptly turned the console off and earned herself a confused look from her unwanted companion.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I was the one playing the stupid game, not you,” Asuka crossly responded, taking the controller off of Rei’s hands and putting it into the device’s tray, before she pushed the console out of the bluenette’s reach. “Besides, I thought that you said we needed to go somewhere.”

“Oh. That is correct,” Rei agreed, looking for a second as if she had completely forgotten the purpose of her visit. “Lieutenant Ibuki has asked for our help. Due to the attack of the Fifteenth Angel, it seems that some of the internal systems of Unit-02 are in need of calibrations for the synchronization tests tomorrow.”

“Great,” the Second Child groaned, knowing exactly what the word ‘calibrations’ meant for her immediate future. “Just what I was looking to do today: a whole lot of sitting in an Entry Plug doing nothing. And why do you need to come, again?”

“Unit-00 is to be used as the baseline for the calibration process.”

“Wonderful. So not only do they screw up my free day, now my Unit-02 is going to feel clunky and weird. They’re not even hiding their sabotage attempts now, are they?” Asuka moaned, her words managing to earn her little more than another perplexed look from the bluenette. “Fine, whatever. Let’s just get this over with, Wondergirl.”

And leading by example, the Second Child threw open the door to her apartment and stepped into the hallway, stopping just for a second to throw a dirty look at the Section-2 agents before she stomped down the corridor with Rei following a step behind.

No words were shared between the two girls for the longest time, red and blue following the green line that led the way to the testing facilities with nothing but the sound of shoes hitting the tiled floor. A rhythmic tip-tap that was far more lethargic than the breakneck speed that Rei had come to associate with most things Asuka, but a fact that the bluenette never commented on.

‘A calibration synch. Hours of sitting in the Entry Plug doing nothing. A long while alone, sitting in the… Entry Plug,’ the redhead pondered, feeling a cold numbness take over the pit of her stomach at the thought of being surrounded by the familiar metallic walls. ‘Shit. Why do I want the walk there to take as long as possible?

‘Is it because of the last battle? Because of what that winged bastard dredged up? God knows I can’t catch a wink of sleep without going back to it…’ Asuka blinked, remembering an important detail about the nap that Rei had so rudely interrupted. ‘And just why did I dream of Shinji, while we’re at it? Why was he… there? Was it because of what happened…?’

“Are you concerned?”

Asuka jumped a little at the voice suddenly intruding into her thoughts, narrowing her eyes at the serene girl walking at her side.

“Me? Concerned about Shinji?” the redhead scoffed, getting her mind back on track nigh instantly. “HA!”

“I wasn’t talking about Ikari-kun.”

Or almost back on track.

“Oh,” the Second Child grimaced, quickly crossing her arms and falling back on old tricks to claim control of the situation once again. “Then what were you talking about?”

“The synch-test that Doctor Akagi scheduled for tomorrow,” Rei elaborated, ignoring the heated glare thrown her way. “I didn’t fail to notice a downwards trend in your latest scores and-”

“Nobody asked for your amazing observation skills, honed by hours of staring at goddamn trees, First.”

The bluenette then came to a stop and finally looked into the narrowed eyes before her, not because she wanted to, but because ignoring them and continuing on her way would have meant running straight into an angry Second Child.

Not that the fury in the girl’s eyes did much to keep Rei from saying what she had intended to.

“If you don’t open your heart to her, your Eva will not move.”

Words that made the Second Child blink and hold back on her anger for a second, a second that she used to try and comprehend the roundabout and plain strange expression that Rei had used for what Asuka supposed was meant to be advice.

‘As if I could possibly need any advice from you.’

“Great, so now you’re a fortune cookie,” Asuka sneered, throwing up her arms. “You ever thought about writing those messages out? I’m sure you’d make a killing.”

“The only beings I’m interested in killing are the Angels.”

“...Oh, just forget it, you damn robot,” the redhead angrily shook her head, before turning to march down the hallway once more. “And stop following me.”

“I’m not-”

“Yeah, whatever.”

The silence between the two girls returned in full force following Asuka’s rude dismissal, and several more minutes of walking sounds filled the endless and nearly empty hallways of NERV HQ. One corridor succeeded another, the boring monotony of gray surfaces broken for just a short minute-long elevator ride to their destination floor before walking through more hallways became the two Pilot’s main, dull occupation, once more.

‘Why does this place need to be so stupidly massive, anyway? Are they compensating for something? I swear, it’s going to take longer to get to my EVA from here than it would from the apartment, and that’s almost out of the freaking city!’

To make matters worse, a fairly loud rumbling of her stomach let Asuka know that she was feeling rather peckish. Fairly natural, considering that she had only eaten a quick sandwich before trying to leave for the surface some time during the morning, and that it was quite likely well after noon by that point in time.

Unfortunately, a quick detour through the cafeteria was out of the question. Not only because ‘quick’ in the NERV HQ scale of the word would probably mean close to half an hour, but also because there was no guarantee that doing so would go down well with the lab crew. After all, while it was mousy Ibuki who had made the call for the Pilots, Doctor McBitchFace herself could very easily be the one doing the actual calibration test.

And Asuka would be damned if she was going to give the woman the satisfaction of getting any more ammo against her.

‘So not only am I going to be bored out of my mind, my stomach’s going to be trying to consume itself. Gott in Himmel, can this day get any worse?’

“Are you concerned?”

And Asuka rolled her eyes skywards at the sound of the familiar voice opportunely intruding into her thoughts.

‘...Ask and ye shall receive, I guess.’

“Ugh, now we are repeating ourselves, Wondergirl?” Asuka groaned tiredly, looking at Rei out of the corner of her eye. “What, did your programming glitch, or something?”

“No. This time I am asking you about your thoughts on Ikari-kun’s condition.”

“Oh.” The redhead frowned, taking a moment to think about how to best put the myriad thoughts she had on the Third Child’s condition, added to the fact that it was Rei who was asking. Ultimately, the Second Child settled for her usual brand of dismissive. “Well, I’m annoyed that he gets to sleep through this while I must pick up his slack. Lazy idiot.”

And with her words echoing down the hallway for a brief moment, it was Asuka who suddenly found herself in the need to stop her walking, lest she run straight into the First Child. A Pilot who looked indignant and offended, in a manner in which Asuka hadn’t seen her ever since the day Shinji was swallowed by the Twelfth.

“...What?” the redhead eventually cut into the silence, feeling just the slightest bit intimidated despite herself. “You got something to say?”

“Ikari-kun risked his life to save yours, Pilot Sohryu,” Rei replied, in a voice that could have frozen water. “You should not speak ill of him.”

“Well, I didn’t ask him to save me,” Asuka shot back, putting a hand against her chest. “And where are you getting that from, anyway? I didn’t need his help!”

An assertion that Rei offered no direct response to, merely maintaining her silent staring. A heated look that, despite her previous words, the redhead quickly found she was unable to match.

“...It’s not my fault that he’s like that.”

“I didn’t say it was, only that you should respect his decision,” the bluenette stated, turning to continue on her way once more and leaving behind an unspoken message that Asuka needed no translator to understand. “I plan to visit Ikari-kun when Lieutenant Ibuki has no more need of our help. You’re welcome to join me, if you want.”

Blue eyes rising from the spot of flooring she had been analysing, the Second Child followed the retreating form of Rei Ayanami until it disappeared around one of the labyrinthine corners of NERV HQ, the girl’s gaze remaining transfixed onto the spot long after the bluenette had left the area. Asuka’s brain furiously went over the First Child’s final words, her mind’s eye going back and offering her a crisp image of the last time she had seen the slumbering Shinji Ikari.

An image that sent a shiver down the girl’s spine...

...and drove her to punch the nearby wall with all her might.

“...And what would the point in that be?” Asuka growled under her breath. “Just so that I can see him like Mama was?”

Ignoring the mounting pain in her knuckles, the redhead pulled her arm back for a second strike, but stopped herself short of actually completing the full punch. Because she could hear them, the voices of the two idiot bodyguards muttering to each other, no doubt deciding whether they should stop the crazy girl that was getting her kicks out of punching walls.

Not that Asuka would give them the chance. Remembering that Doctor McBitchFace would grab onto whatever scraps of an argument she could produce just to save face, and that arriving much later than Rei would do her no favours, the redhead sent the Section-2 agents a brief glare and took off at a brisk pace in the direction the bluenette had disappeared.

And all the way, Asuka cursed the First Child for bringing to mind the dreary subject that would no doubt be keeping her company during the tedious multi-hour calibration test.
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Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:28 am

April Fools 2018 Omake  SPOILER: Show
Shinji Ikari tossed and turned in his bed. He felt exhausted, but his body and mind just plain refused to surrender to the comforts of sleep. Maybe due to a few remnants of adrenaline still coursing through his body, or because the myriad thoughts and revelations of the last few hours still cruised unimpeded through the young man’s mind.

Who knew? Perhaps Shinji’s own subconscious had grown savvy to his situation, and was merely waiting expectantly for the other shoe to drop and turn the Third Child’s world upside-down again, just like it had during all the past tribulations of the day.

Assuming only a single day had passed during his stay in Asuka’s mind, of course. It was hard to say with all the gloom, fog and constant rain.

Nevertheless, and realising that sleep was going to be a hard thing to achieve for the moment, the Third Child rose from the bed with the intention of finding something that would help. Raiding the kitchen to prepare himself a relaxing infusion was the first idea that popped up, but maybe even talking to Asuka for a few minutes would put his mind at ease long enough to catch some sleep later, unlikely as that idea seemed.

Whatever plans Shinji had, however, were brought low the moment he laid eyes upon the blue door sitting in the corner of the room.

“What the...?” the Third Child froze in place, staring curiously at the foreign object. “That wasn’t there before.”

And the young man then turned to check on the actual door of the room, quickly confirming that the azure gate looked nothing like its counterpart. The fact that the wooden door wasn’t painted blue and gold and was also lacking the cursive decorative motifs that would have looked more at home in an old book’s cover than a door should have been a dead giveaway, though.

It wasn’t glowing with a faint light, either. A comforting glow that put Shinji at ease, somehow making him feel... safe in an almost ethereal way. Like nothing bad would ever happen to him.

Before the young man could stop himself or even clearly think about what it was that he was doing, his feet were carrying him towards the blue door, towards the source of this comforting feeling that he could not name.

And then he touched it, and he was in his room no more.

Instead the Third Child found himself somewhere blue, very blue. He was within what appeared to be a music hall, with rows upon rows of seats behind him and enough space for an orchestra before him, although the entire thing was noticeably empty...

...for the most part.

Two people were in front of the Third Child: a tiny, bald man with a serious hunchback and a creepy grin that framed a hilariously long nose sat behind an ornate wooden table and, standing next him, was Rei Ayanami in the weirdest flight attendant suit Shinji had seen in his life. Obviously, it was also blue.

“My name is Igor,” the tiny man suddenly announced in a voice so high-pitched that it seemed taken straight out of a cartoon. “Welcome to the Velvet Room.”

“W-What? Hey, w-where is this?”

But Shinji’s queries went unanswered, the old man instead launching on a monologue about journeys, choices, friends, bonds, a special sort of links and some weird foreign word that Shinji had never heard before in his life. All the while, the Igor character kept referring to Shinji as an esteemed ‘guest’ of his, and as someone that he was tasked with helping to the utmost of his ability.

Nevermind the fact that everything that Shinji wanted help with was finding the exit, a task that Igor didn’t seem keen on aiding with. Eventually, and after much exposition, the old man who referred himself as a resident of the Velvet Room shuffled a deck of Tarot cards he produced out of nowhere and lay a few of them on the table with practiced ease.

“Now, let us see what your future holds, what the power of your bonds will-” Igor then took a good look at the cards before him, his eyes almost bulging out as the words died in his mouth. “Oh, my… This is unexpected, indeed: the Chariot is broken, the Hierophant is… dead, the Empress, Strength and Tower are reversed, none of the others are even started… what in blazes have you been up to, boy?”

“I-I-I don’t know. P-Piloting EVA?”

“...And nothing else? No socialising, no adventuring, no pushing the limits of your teenage years?” a frown marred Igor’s face for the first time at Shinji’s negative shake of the head, but it was quickly overtaken by his ever-present grin soon after. “No matter, this situation simply means that we may need to redouble our assistance. Reina, if you may?”

“Of course, Master.”

The Rei look alike stepped forward, clutching a massive tome in her hands. Blue, of course.

“This is your Persona Compendium,” the bluenette illustrated, presenting the book. “It compendiums Personae.”

“Huh?” the Third Child blinked, caught off-guard by the strange explanation. “S-Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a word.”

And suddenly Rei’s familiar voice took on the warmth of ice.

“It is if I say so,” the girl stated, radiating a power that made the Fourteenth Angel seem like a harmless toddler in comparison. “Or would you rather fight me about it?”

“N-No! I’m sorry!”

“Hmm… Retreating from a challenge. Not a common trait in our guests,” Igor stated, narrowing his eyes at the young man. “Excuse me. What did you say your name was?”

“I-I didn’t tell you my name. It’s Shinji,” the young man introduced himself, keeping a watchful eye on the slowly relaxing bluenette. “S-Shinji Ikari.”

“...Oh.”

The two so-called residents shared a long look, then briefly looked towards Shinji, before looking at each other again.

And then Igor slammed his fist on the table, the cards, the desk and the very auditorium suddenly disappearing like they’d never been there.

“‘kay, fuck it. We’re ejecting this one. Marie!”

“Hai~!”

And suddenly a third person was beside Shinji: an auburn-haired girl with twintails wearing a foreign-looking school uniform that looked a size or two too small for her. More importantly, she carried a bat.

“You know what to do.” Igor stated, dismissing the boy before him with a hand before both him and Rei vanished from sight.

“By your will, Igor-sama!”

“W-Wait!” Shinji protested, not liking where this was going. “W-Who the hell are you!?”

“Me?” and the strange girl merely grinned, raising the bat above her head. “I’m fanservice!”


>-O]|[O-<​


“OUCH!”

Shinji Ikari awoke to a sharp pain on his forehead, the kinds of which he only felt two or three times a day...

“What are you doing still in bed, you idiot?!”

...and the culprit of which was currently screaming at his face.

“A-Asuka?! What the hell?!” Shinji protested as he rubbed at his injured cranium. “What are you doing in my room? And why are you hitting me?!”

“Because you don’t know what an alarm clock is, that’s why!” his childhood friend angrily responded, threatening to pull the covers off of him. “Now stand up and move! I’m not going to be late to the snowball fight just because of your lazy ass, Third!”

“Asuka, stop that! I’m going already!”

With a foul-mooded huff, the redhead relented, stomping to the door and making to leave. She paused at the threshold long enough to look menacingly over her shoulder, though.

“You better be at the entrance and ready to go in three minutes, or else.”

“Sure, sure, I’ll be there,” Shinji dismissed the girl with a hand, slowly climbing out of bed. “Now leave.”

Scoffing loud enough that she could have woken the neighbours, Asuka Langley-Sohryu shut the door closed with far more power than was strictly necessary, leaving the young man to sigh tiredly in her wake.

Violence and death threats five minutes before breakfast. Just another day in the existence of Shinji Ikari, really.

Nevertheless, the young man made sure to do good on his words and be up and about as soon as he humanly could. An angry Asuka was an annoying Asuka for the rest of the day, after all, and considering the plans for the day, he suspected that he was going to be spending way too much time in her company to be risking something like that.

Two minutes and thirty seconds after Asuka’s official announcement of a time limit, Shinji Ikari was opening the door of his room, ready to go and face the ordeals of the day. Nevertheless, the young man paused just a second to throw a baleful look at the Playstation 3 that sat just below his TV, Shinji’s mind going back to the snippets of the long and weird-ass dream that he could barely remember by that point.

It was vivid enough to make Shinji Ikari vow an oath to himself, though:

“...Okay, no more gaming or weird anime before bed.”
Last edited by Gryphon117 on Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby xanderkh » Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:36 am

Pffft. XD Nice one Gryphon. XD If only all this WAS a dream and Shinji was living the AU.

Happy April Fools. :)
"You're na�ve, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?" - Golbez
---------------------------------------
Sephiroth: "Do you miss the Light?"
Golbez: "Hmph...I merely have duties to fulfill."
Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

"NGE Shinji is broken, Manga Shinji is an asshole, Rebuild Shinji is an idiot. Which is best? Uh, can I get some other options? All of these really suck." -Bagheera

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Postby Gryphon117 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:37 am

Okay, here's the actual update for the week. ^_^

Chapter 5-5  SPOILER: Show
Shinji Ikari tossed and turned in his bed. He felt exhausted, but his body and mind just plain refused to surrender to the comforts of sleep. Maybe due to a few remnants of adrenaline still coursing through his body, or because the myriad thoughts and revelations of the last few hours still cruised unimpeded through the young man’s mind.

Who knew? Perhaps Shinji’s own subconscious had grown savvy to his situation, and was merely waiting expectantly for the other shoe to drop and turn the Third Child’s world upside-down again, just like it had during all the past tribulations of the day.

Assuming only a single day had passed during his stay in Asuka’s mind, of course. It was hard to say with all the gloom, fog and constant rain.

Nevertheless, and realising that sleep was going to be a hard thing to achieve for the moment, the Third Child rose from the bed with the intention of finding something that would help. Raiding the kitchen to prepare himself a relaxing infusion was the first idea that popped up, but maybe even talking to Asuka for a few minutes would put his mind at ease long enough to catch some sleep later, unlikely as that idea seemed.

Whatever plans Shinji had, however, were brought low the moment he laid eyes upon the red door sitting in the corner of the room.

“What the...?” the Third Child froze in place, staring curiously at the foreign object. “That wasn’t there before.”

And the young man then turned to check on the actual door of the room, quickly confirming that the crimson gate looked nothing like its counterpart. The fact that the wooden door wasn’t painted red and orange and was also lacking the cursive decorative motifs that would have looked more at home in an old book’s cover than a door should have been a dead giveaway, though.

It wasn’t glowing with a faint light, either. A comforting glow that put Shinji at ease, somehow making him feel... safe in an almost nostalgic way. Like nothing bad would ever happen to him.

Before the young man could stop himself or even clearly think about what it was that he was doing, his feet were carrying him towards the red door, towards the source of this familiar feeling that he could not name.

And then he touched it, and he was in his room no more.

Following his first instinct to look around, Shinji found himself in a fairly big hall with wide bookshelves lining the walls, a beautiful carpet set on the floor and a crackling fireplace within the wall opposite him. It was a very comfortable-looking chamber, as well as very… western. A kind of vintage room that the young man had perhaps seen once or twice before, and even then only in movies.

But it wasn’t the ornate and relaxing decorations that caught Shinji’s attention. That honour went to a pair of armchairs, sitting side by side and looking towards the fire, wide enough for whoever sat in them to be almost completely obscured from sight. And there were people actually using them, although the only details the young man could glean from his position were a pair of frail arms resting on opposite armrests, and a few, stray blonde locks of hair coming out of the sides.

“Who are you?” A voice asked from the armchair on the left. Female, weary and definitely older than Shinji.

“I…” the Third Child began, before he caught himself and bowed, doing a proper Japanese greeting. “My name is Shinji Ikari, ma’am.”

For some reason, Shinji had the feeling that he should show the proper respect to this woman, or women. Nevermind the fact that they couldn’t actually see him, although if the two females were in any way related to the Asukas he had met so far chances were small details such as direct line of sight didn’t really matter.

“Ikari…”

What mattered was the slight hint of anger that Shinji heard inflected on his given name.

“Is… something wrong, ma’am?”

A quick check behind him revealed the crimson door to still be there and available for a tactical retreat in the space of a few paces, much to the young man’s relief.

It also revealed something else.

“Asuka?”

Sitting in a third, much smaller armchair, and facing away from the other two, was Asuka Langley-Sohryu. A plugsuit-clad version of her, although something told Shinji that this Asuka wasn’t the same one he had met not that long ago.

Probably the fact that his jaw was still intact.

“Come on, you stupid robot, work.” Shinji heard Asuka mutter through clenched teeth when he walked closer, hands grasping the armrests tightly. “You are my doll. You are supposed to listen to my commands!”

And while the other two had had specific mannerisms and ways of talking that were familiar, yet unlike the Asuka he knew, this one sounded frighteningly close to the original material. The mark of frustration showing on her face was also one that Shinji had seen on his Asuka with increasing frequency before the Angel’s attack.

The similarities were such that the Third Child allowed himself to think about the possibility of this scene being a reproduction of whatever it was that the real Asuka was doing at the time. Probably one of the myriad of tedious synch tests that the Pilots were routinely tasked with taking in their Evangelions, if the way she was sitting and focusing herself on the task were to be any indication.

‘So Asuka’s sitting in the Entry Plug of Unit-02? Is that why I’m seeing this? Does that mean that I’m somehow... linked to it right now, too?’ The young man pondered, remembering how he had always felt like there was the almost indiscernible trace of some other presence with him every time he synced with Unit-01. Something that Shinji had learned to ignore over his months of piloting.

Until now.

The Third Child turned around, looking back towards the fireplace.

“...Wait a minute. Robot…? Hers?” Shinji repeated Asuka’s words to himself, walking closer to the other two armchairs. “Are you… EVA?”

“She won’t listen.”

Shinji blinked at the non-answer, although his ears didn’t fail to pick up on how… sad the words had sounded.

“Listen? Listen to what?”

“I… know you, Shinji Ikari. I have felt you… before,” the woman on the left continued, very much ignoring him. “She... thinks about you, too.”

The Third child spluttered at the words, feeling heat rise up to his cheeks, but he found no chance to cut in.

“Please help her,” the woman continued, the timbre of her request going from sad to begging. “She won’t listen. She won’t reach out to me. She won’t-”

“She won’t die with me.”

And Shinji’s embarrassment promptly became a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach, as he turned to stare wide-eyed at the back of the armchair that had remained silent until now. The seat from where a strikingly similar, yet somehow different voice to the one prior had come from.

“...W-What…? Die…?” the Third Child echoed. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?!”

But the rightmost woman didn’t reply. Instead, she kept calling for ‘her little Asuka’ and muttering about death and how... happy she was, all the while clutching something to her chest that Shinji couldn’t see.

‘Little Asuka? Does she mean the one that was in that hospital?’

The Third Child gulped loudly, the coldness spreading to the rest of his body until he was feeling jittery. After all, and obviating the disturbing call for the death of his teammate, if even the tiniest fragment of this room could be tied back to the damnable hospital in any way, shape or form, that probably meant that it was a great time to leave, as far as Shinji was concerned.

Which is why the Third Child wasted no further time in turning and making a dash for the crimson door...

“Don’t go… Please help her…”

...at least, until the woman’s voice stopped him dead in his tracks. A faint tone of desperation had worked its way into her begging, managing to freeze the young man’s hand right as it was about to grab the doorknob to freedom.

“...Help? A-And how am I supposed to do that?” Shinji replied, cursing his deeply ingrained servile nature for keeping him rooted to the spot. “I don’t know how! And what’s more, even if I somehow could, Asuka never lets me!”

“Please help her… Please help her… Pleasehelpherpleasehelpherpleasehelpherplease...”

“...Are you even listening to me?” The Third Child wondered, his words quickly being swallowed by the recurrent appeal that was slowly and steadily growing more and more desperate, a request that the young man didn’t understand why he was being asked to carry out.

‘How could I possibly help Asuka? Me? Stupid, wimpy, Shinji? There’s no way I could…’ the young man thought, eyes locking on to the door before him. ‘Yes, that’s a stupid idea. I… should just get out of here. Focus on getting back home.’

Dammit, not again!”

But the Second child’s familiar, angry voice suddenly boomed through the room, cutting through the repeating mantra and silencing the entire chamber with no effort. Her shriek was painful and raspy, however, with an undertone of sorrow that made her sound so… vulnerable.

So unlike Asuka.

“Tomorrow is the day,” the girl continued. “You can’t afford to keep failing like this, Asuka!”

And it was then that the Third Child looked down at his hand, noticing how close to the door’s handle it had stopped. He could just grab it, twist it, and he would be out of the room in the blink of an eye, but he found himself unable to do so, unable to just... walk away, even though he knew that there was simply nothing that he could actually do.

With a weary sigh, Shinji turned back around and quickly found the room to be gone, along with the two armchairs that had been there prior, replaced by what looked like an endless, blank void. The only seat that remained was the one closest to Shinji, one sitting a redheaded girl that was tightly holding on to armrests that looked close to snapping from the pressure they were being subjected to, eyes sealed shut as if she wanted to block tears from coming out.

Asuka looked absolutely miserable, offering a completely different visage from the one that the young man had come to associate with the spitfire Second Child, usually brimming with confidence and bravado even in the bleakest of times. She looked like a completely different person from the one Shinji had spent many rocky weeks fighting alongside (and fighting with), like a shadow of her usual self.

A shadow that Shinji didn’t like, and one that the Third Child would have loved nothing more than to dispel, if only he knew how.

“What was it Ayanami said? ‘Open your heart to EVA?’ Shit… I can’t believe I’m even considering it...” the Second Child muttered wistfully, burying her face in her knees and bringing Shinji out of his contemplation. “Goddammit, Shinji, this is all your fault… Why won’t you wake up already?”

And with those final words, Asuka and her armchair disappeared, leaving the Third Child alone with his thoughts within the blank void.

‘Wake up? What did she mean by-?’


And then he was suddenly being shaken.

“Shinji! Shinji!” a different Asuka yelled to his face, sounding like she was close to hysterics. “Wake up!”

“A-Asuka?”

The Third Child blinked the disorientation off and focused on the girl, quickly recognizing her before he looked around and did the same for his surroundings: it seemed as if he was back at the farm.

“Finally!” the Asuka in the yellow sundress let out a relieved sigh at his response, taking her hands off his shoulders. “You had me worried sick!”

“...What happened?”

“I don’t know. I came in to check on you and you were just… standing there,” the redhead explained, making a spaced out face to illustrate her point. “I called you and shook you and tried to snap you out of it, but it was like you weren’t there!”

“That’s right!” Shinji exclaimed, focusing back on the corner of the room. “The door!”

But, much to his surprise, the space before him was empty.

“Door?” Asuka echoed, following the young man’s gaze. “...What door?”

“The door! There-There was a door just now! Right there!” Shinji insisted, turning the tables by grabbing Asuka by her shoulders. “It was large and red, and- and it was glowing!

“Shinji, I built this farm and I’m 100% positive that I put no doors to anywhere there, especially weird ones with lights on them.” The redhead replied. She then carefully shook off Shinji’s hold and took a step back, her worried look coming back in full force. “...Are you sure you’re alright?”

“But it was there! And these two crazy women were there, and Asuka was there and- and she said something about me not waking up and what the hell is going on?!”

Shinji suddenly grabbed his head with both hands and violently shook it from side to side, as if he was in some sort of indescribable pain. Stunned into silence, all Asuka could do was watch as the young man blew through the worst of his tantrum, before he slowly sagged to the edge of the bed and sat down, burying his head in his hands.

“...Guess you’re not alright. Look, I-I’m not saying I don’t believe you, you know? It’s just…” The redhead trailed off, thinking of how she was supposed to handle such a situation. Eventually, she forced a strained smile through. “Mmm... H-Hey, about the door... Maybe it turns out that you’re a sleepwalker and had a nightmare?”

“And you don’t think I would have noticed that kind of thing before?!” The Third Child’s voice rang through the room in response, managing to bring even the ever-present sound of the raindrops outside to a stop. Not that the young man noticed, hidden and unheeding behind the walls of his fleshy fort.

At least, until a sliver of voice reached Shinji’s ears, breaking him out of his contemplations.

“...I’m sorry, that was a stupid idea. I’m just full of those, aren’t I?”

The young man froze at the words, not because of their content, but because he had heard that tone in use before not that long ago. Sure enough, when Shinji’s eyes swiftly rose to find the redhead he was quick to notice that she looked as close to tears as the Asuka in the armchair had been.

And her final parting words, ‘This is all your fault’, immediately popped up at the forefront of his mind.

“No, wait! Asuka!” the Third Child pleaded. “It’s not your-”

“I’ll leave you alone for a while.”

But just as Asuka had been, she suddenly wasn’t, likely gone to some faraway part of the realm to where Shinji could not follow. And who even knew if she would come back? Shinji certainly wouldn’t blame her for not doing so.

“...Dammit. Nice going, Shinji…” the Third Child lamented his blunder, burying himself back into his arms. “...I just want to go home…”
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:16 am

View Original PostGryphon117 wrote:
April Fools 2018 Omake  SPOILER: Show
Shinji Ikari tossed and turned in his bed. He felt exhausted, but his body and mind just plain refused to surrender to the comforts of sleep. Maybe due to a few remnants of adrenaline still coursing through his body, or because the myriad thoughts and revelations of the last few hours still cruised unimpeded through the young man’s mind.

Who knew? Perhaps Shinji’s own subconscious had grown savvy to his situation, and was merely waiting expectantly for the other shoe to drop and turn the Third Child’s world upside-down again, just like it had during all the past tribulations of the day.

Assuming only a single day had passed during his stay in Asuka’s mind, of course. It was hard to say with all the gloom, fog and constant rain.

Nevertheless, and realising that sleep was going to be a hard thing to achieve for the moment, the Third Child rose from the bed with the intention of finding something that would help. Raiding the kitchen to prepare himself a relaxing infusion was the first idea that popped up, but maybe even talking to Asuka for a few minutes would put his mind at ease long enough to catch some sleep later, unlikely as that idea seemed.

Whatever plans Shinji had, however, were brought low the moment he laid eyes upon the blue door sitting in the corner of the room.

“What the...?” the Third Child froze in place, staring curiously at the foreign object. “That wasn’t there before.”

And the young man then turned to check on the actual door of the room, quickly confirming that the azure gate looked nothing like its counterpart. The fact that the wooden door wasn’t painted blue and gold and was also lacking the cursive decorative motifs that would have looked more at home in an old book’s cover than a door should have been a dead giveaway, though.

It wasn’t glowing with a faint light, either. A comforting glow that put Shinji at ease, somehow making him feel... safe in an almost ethereal way. Like nothing bad would ever happen to him.

Before the young man could stop himself or even clearly think about what it was that he was doing, his feet were carrying him towards the blue door, towards the source of this comforting feeling that he could not name.

And then he touched it, and he was in his room no more.

Instead the Third Child found himself somewhere blue, very blue. He was within what appeared to be a music hall, with rows upon rows of seats behind him and enough space for an orchestra before him, although the entire thing was noticeably empty...

...for the most part.

Two people were in front of the Third Child: a tiny, bald man with a serious hunchback and a creepy grin that framed a hilariously long nose sat behind an ornate wooden table and, standing next him, was Rei Ayanami in the weirdest flight attendant suit Shinji had seen in his life. Obviously, it was also blue.

“My name is Igor,” the tiny man suddenly announced in a voice so high-pitched that it seemed taken straight out of a cartoon. “Welcome to the Velvet Room.”

“W-What? Hey, w-where is this?”

But Shinji’s queries went unanswered, the old man instead launching on a monologue about journeys, choices, friends, bonds, a special sort of links and some weird foreign word that Shinji had never heard before in his life. All the while, the Igor character kept referring to Shinji as an esteemed ‘guest’ of his, and as someone that he was tasked with helping to the utmost of his ability.

Nevermind the fact that everything that Shinji wanted help with was finding the exit, a task that Igor didn’t seem keen on aiding with. Eventually, and after much exposition, the old man who referred himself as a resident of the Velvet Room shuffled a deck of Tarot cards he produced out of nowhere and lay a few of them on the table with practiced ease.

“Now, let us see what your future holds, what the power of your bonds will-” Igor then took a good look at the cards before him, his eyes almost bulging out as the words died in his mouth. “Oh, my… This is unexpected, indeed: the Chariot is broken, the Hierophant is… dead, the Empress, Strength and Tower are reversed, none of the others are even started… what in blazes have you been up to, boy?”

“I-I-I don’t know. P-Piloting EVA?”

“...And nothing else? No socialising, no adventuring, no pushing the limits of your teenage years?” a frown marred Igor’s face for the first time at Shinji’s negative shake of the head, but it was quickly overtaken by his ever-present grin soon after. “No matter, this situation simply means that we may need to redouble our assistance. Reina, if you may?”

“Of course, Master.”

The Rei look alike stepped forward, clutching a massive tome in her hands. Blue, of course.

“This is your Persona Compendium,” the bluenette illustrated, presenting the book. “It compendiums Personae.”

“Huh?” the Third Child blinked, caught off-guard by the strange explanation. “S-Sorry, but I don’t think that’s a word.”

And suddenly Rei’s familiar voice took on the warmth of ice.

“It is if I say so,” the girl stated, radiating a power that made the Fourteenth Angel seem like a harmless toddler in comparison. “Or would you rather fight me about it?”

“N-No! I’m sorry!”

“Hmm… Retreating from a challenge. Not a common trait in our guests,” Igor stated, narrowing his eyes at the young man. “Excuse me. What did you say your name was?”

“I-I didn’t tell you my name. It’s Shinji,” the young man introduced himself, keeping a watchful eye on the slowly relaxing bluenette. “S-Shinji Ikari.”

“...Oh.”

The two so-called residents shared a long look, then briefly looked towards Shinji, before looking at each other again.

And then Igor slammed his fist on the table, the cards, the desk and the very auditorium suddenly disappearing like they’d never been there.

“‘kay, fuck it. We’re ejecting this one. Marie!”

“Hai~!”

And suddenly a third person was beside Shinji: an auburn-haired girl with twintails wearing a foreign-looking school uniform that looked a size or two too small for her. More importantly, she carried a bat.

“You know what to do.” Igor stated, dismissing the boy before him with a hand before both him and Rei vanished from sight.

“By your will, Igor-sama!”

“W-Wait!” Shinji protested, not liking where this was going. “W-Who the hell are you!?”

“Me?” and the strange girl merely grinned, raising the bat above her head. “I’m fanservice!”


>-O]|[O-<​


“OUCH!”

Shinji Ikari awoke to a sharp pain on his forehead, the kinds of which he only felt two or three times a day...

“What are you doing still in bed, you idiot?!”

...and the culprit of which was currently screaming at his face.

“A-Asuka?! What the hell?!” Shinji protested as he rubbed at his injured cranium. “What are you doing in my room? And why are you hitting me?!”

“Because you don’t know what an alarm clock is, that’s why!” his childhood friend angrily responded, threatening to pull the covers off of him. “Now stand up and move! I’m not going to be late to the snowball fight just because of your lazy ass, Third!”

“Asuka, stop that! I’m going already!”

With a foul-mooded huff, the redhead relented, stomping to the door and making to leave. She paused at the threshold long enough to look menacingly over her shoulder, though.

“You better be at the entrance and ready to go in three minutes, or else.”

“Sure, sure, I’ll be there,” Shinji dismissed the girl with a hand, slowly climbing out of bed. “Now leave.”

Scoffing loud enough that she could have woken the neighbours, Asuka Langley-Sohryu shut the door closed with far more power than was strictly necessary, leaving the young man to sigh tiredly in her wake.

Violence and death threats five minutes before breakfast. Just another day in the existence of Shinji Ikari, really.

Nevertheless, the young man made sure to do good on his words and be up and about as soon as he humanly could. An angry Asuka was an annoying Asuka for the rest of the day, after all, and considering the plans for the day, he suspected that he was going to be spending way too much time in her company to be risking something like that.

Two minutes and thirty seconds after Asuka’s official announcement of a time limit, Shinji Ikari was opening the door of his room, ready to go and face the ordeals of the day. Nevertheless, the young man paused just a second to throw a baleful look at the Playstation 3 that sat just below his TV, Shinji’s mind going back to the snippets of the long and weird-ass dream that he could barely remember by that point.

It was vivid enough to make Shinji Ikari vow an oath to himself, though:

“...Okay, no more gaming or weird anime before bed.”

If u say april fools, no one's gonna fall for it -_-
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:34 am

View Original PostAsuka'sBigBrother wrote:If u say april fools, no one's gonna fall for it -_-


It didn't on Sunday. I changed the title of the spoiler yesterday when the actual snippet went up, since it was pointless and perhaps confusing to have two 'Chapter 5-5's.

Besides, that update wasn't meant to be anything believable in the first place. Just a lighthearted omake and a callback to my first published story.
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:48 pm

View Original PostGryphon117 wrote:It didn't on Sunday. I changed the title of the spoiler yesterday when the actual snippet went up, since it was pointless and perhaps confusing to have two 'Chapter 5-5's.

Besides, that update wasn't meant to be anything believable in the first place. Just a lighthearted omake and a callback to my first published story.

Well in celebration of u making an omake, I've made something that prolly doesn't qualify under whatever an omake is:
thread/19228/Evangelion-2-A-Legacy-of-Angels/

Chapter 6 is out, now it all comes together. Get hyped, read, and give feedback(plz).
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:42 am

A bit late on this week's update, forgive the delay. ^_^

Chapter 5-6  SPOILER: Show
‘What am I doing here? I should be in my room getting rest for tomorrow. Is it because of what Wondergirl said? Since when do you let her get to you so much, Asuka?’

Asuka Langley-Sohryu stood before the door of Cranial Ward room 303, her hand hovering over the door handle as it had been for the last minute. Her red hair was slightly damp and in disarray from the lightning-quick shower she had taken to get rid of the LCL, her usual bathroom rituals foregone in the effort to get where she was as soon as possible.

And then remain there, unable to bring herself to finish what she had intended to, much to the girl’s chagrin. After all, it was not often that Asuka Langley-Sohryu second-guessed herself.

‘Or at least it wasn’t, three months ago. You are doing it a lot more lately.’ The Second Child thought to herself, before a frown marred her features. ‘Stop being an idiot, Asuka. Just... go and get it over with.’

Taking a breath, the redhead pushed the door open and stepped inside the room. Inside, the Third Child continued to lie on his bed, exactly in the same position as when she had last seen him, and Asuka felt a slight pang of disappointment strike her. It would appear that her wishful thinking would see no fulfillment on this side of her troubles, either.

‘At least it will make this a lot-’

“Now there’s someone I didn’t expect to see.”

“Huh?” Asuka blinked, focusing on the male voice that she had heard and quickly finding its source inside a wheelchair sitting in the room’s corner. “Suzuhara...?”

Toji Suzuhara offered a small smile in response, waving hello with his good arm.

“Hey there.”

“...The hell are you doing here?”

“Is that a way to greet someone? ...Well, I guess it is for you,” the Fourth Child rolled his eyes with a groan, before focusing back on the slumbering young man. “I heard the staff say that somethin’ happened to Shinji a while ago, and I finally got someone to confirm it today and wheel me here.”

“That’s not what I’m asking,” Asuka replied, motioning to Toji’s upper and lower stumps. “You’re hurt. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Not while my friend is goin’ through some bad times. I can’t move on my own but everythin’ else still works fine. That ain’t what’s important, though.

“What happened out there, Red? I got them to wheel me here, but everyone’s still very quiet on the details.” Toji paused for a moment, his eyes catching sight of something. “And the hell happened to your hand, while we’re at it?”

“None of your business.” Asuka shot back, quickly hiding her reddened appendage behind her before scrambling for an explanation. “As for the idiot, he just tried to play the hero and one-up me one too many times. Came back to bite him in the ass.”

The exact same justification that she’d been using all day.

“Really?” the young man narrowed his eyes, suspicion dripping off his words. “That ain’t what Ayanami said.”

‘...No shit, that story’s starting to sound stupid even to me. Why can’t you just admit that the idiot had to save your skin again, Sohryu? It’s not like it’s news.’
“You calling me a liar?” Asuka kept up her front, walking menacingly towards Toji.

But the Fourth Child merely wiggled his stumps and laughed at the girl’s threat, a hollow and humourless thing.

“So what if I am? Think you can hurt me worse than I already am, Red?”

Asuka froze in place, memories of the disaster against the Thirteenth coming to her unimpeded, another one of those battles in which she had failed to make a difference.

The Second Child felt her nails bite into the palm of her hand. Perhaps if she hadn’t been so useless at her job, Toji Suzuhara would still be able to walk.

“Whatever, I don’t hit cripples.”

“Right. Hittin’ shy guys that don’t fight back is more your thing,” Toji shot back, motioning with his head towards Shinji. “You come here to keep up the habit?”

“You-” Asuka narrowed her eyes, fixing the Fourth Child with a nasty glare. “...Shut the fuck up, moron. You know nothing about me.”

“And I don’t care. As if I needed to know to tell that you’re still as self-centered as ever,” the Fourth Child scoffed. “...The hell does Shinji see in you?”

And the redhead’s gaze fell to the floor in response, a slideshow of past images that served as perfect answer to Toji’s question flying past her mind’s eye.

“...Nothing, that’s wha-”

“Ikari-kun admires her courage and confidence. He also finds some of Pilot Sohryu’s childishness endearing.”

“W-What?”

Asuka turned towards the entrance of the room to find the First Child standing just past the threshold, holding a pair of trays full of food in her hands. It would appear that the bluenette had taken a short detour through the cafeteria, not that the Second Child was registering such small details at the moment.

“Oh, Ayanami. Hey.”

“Good evening, Suzuhara-kun.” Rei nodded her head in polite greeting, before her eyes narrowed just the slightest bit. “Please refrain from provoking Pilot Sohryu any further.”

“...Guess you’re right. Hik-... Horaki would have my head if she heard, anyway.” Toji grimaced at the image of an angry Class Representative, before turning towards Asuka and bowing his head in apology. “Sorry, Sohryu. I shouldn’t have yanked your chain like that. You can’t be happy about this, either.”

“Yeah… same.” The redhead acknowledged off-handedly, the better part of her attention focused on tracking Rei as she walked to a small table beside the bed and put one of the trays on it.

‘‘Admire’? ‘Endearing’? What did Wondergirl mean by-?’

“This is for you.” The bluenette suddenly stated, extending the other tray towards Asuka and breaking her out of her thoughts. At the Second Child’s questioning look, Rei decided to elaborate. “I am hungry. I assumed you would be as well.”

Taking the tray off of Rei’s hands, Asuka gave it a quick once-over: Bread, rice, vegetables and some fish, as well as a small sandwich with ham and cheese to break off the monotony of the average eastern meal. All in all, the various foods on top of the tray looked very appetizing for Asuka’s protesting stomach, but the redhead ignored her belly’s lamentations in favour of the First Child’s last words.

“All that stuff,” the redhead demanded, caring little for how unlike her her voice sounded. “Where did you hear it?”

“Ikari-kun told me during one of our conversations. I believe it was around six weeks ago.”

‘Six weeks? That would be around the time when that Angel tried to fall on us, right?’ Asuka quickly recalled. ‘Shinji really thought that about me back then? Then why didn’t he do anything when I-’

“You didn’t listen to my advice during the last test.”

“Huh?”

Asuka blinked herself back into awareness, quickly finding that Rei had moved to sit next to Shinji’s bed and had begun to pick at her own food. A fairly large amount of the salad was already missing from the First Child’s tray.

“You tried to force your will upon EVA once again. You should have reached out to it, instead.”

“I only tried to synch like I always do,” the redhead defended herself, sitting in an empty chair and resting the tray on her lap. “It used to work wonders.”

“Of course. Such a method proved effective when your own resolve was strong enough to overpower hers. But not anymore.”

“It’s just a stupid doll! It should do what I tell it to do!” Asuka angrily replied, the tray teetering precariously for a second or two. “And did you just call me wet?!”

“EVA is much more than you realise. And what I am saying is that you doubt yourself, despite the fact that nothing has changed in regards to your Evangelion between then and now,” Rei elaborated far more cryptically than Asuka would have liked. “Regardless, until you feel confident enough to Pilot EVA as you used to, you should rely on my advice."

Advice. Ayanami had been adamant about handing that out today. Funny, considering the bluenette had never been wont to do so before (not that Asuka would have listened to it), and doubly so due to the fact that the Second Child believed the albino to have been angry at her for daring to speak against Shinji and his… choices.

‘...Not like I’ll be getting many of those. It’s either try to go with the Doll’s way of doing things or try another normal synch and hope for a miracle. But even then...’

“...I don’t get it,” Asuka eventually spoke, after turning a leaf of lettuce on its axis for the umpteenth time. “Why are you trying to help me?”

“Ikari-kun sacrificed much to keep you safe, Pilot Sohryu,” Rei responded, her chopsticks stopping their clacking for a brief moment. “Offering you the tools to continue doing so on your own is merely the best way of ensuring the continuity of his wish.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to just let me be, then? I won’t be a Pilot anymore from tomorrow on. My uselessness won’t be getting me or anyone else into trouble again.”

“Perhaps. However, a discharge would mean your return to Germany. I do not believe Ikari-kun would want that to be the case.”

“Uh… wait a second, you two,” Toji cut into the conversation, causing four eyes to focus on him. “What’s this about not pilotin’ anymore? Is somethin’ wrong?”

“That is confidential information, Suzuhara-kun. You’re no longer-”

“My EVA won’t listen to me. It’s impossible for me to synch with it,” Asuka sighed deeply, discarding both fork and tray due to a sudden lack of appetite. “A Pilot that can’t synch with her EVA, that’s what’s wrong.”

“...For real?”

“Yeah,” the redhead confirmed, pulling her knees to her chest. “Go ahead, laugh. The Great EVA Pilot can’t do the one thing she’s been trained to do all her life. Isn’t it hilarious?”

“Not really. Who do you take me for?”

Emerging from behind her legs for a brief moment, Asuka sent an appraising look in the direction of the young man. Unknown to her, Rei Ayanami did so as well from her side of the room.

“...Why’re you both lookin’ at me like that? I said nothin’ funny.” Toji looked away, scratching the back of his head. “And what’s with you, Red? The Sohryu I know wouldn’t be mopin’ about this stuff, sayin’ it’s impossible and all that.”

“Well, maybe you don’t know her all that well.”

“Yeah, let me call bullshit on that. I’ve been on the receivin’ end long enough to learn a thing or two,” the Fourth Child scoffed, before his features softened somewhat. “By the way, Red… Look, maybe this ain’t the time for it, but Hik-... Horakiwas worried about you. Said you haven’t been to school in a long time, although now I can see why. Think you could drop her a call sometime, anyway? Who knows, maybe it will help with your thing?”

“Now you are the one offering advice?” the appraising look returned in full force. “Wow, I must be one hell of a sorry sight.”

“Hey, I may not like you, but no self-respectin’ man wants to see a girl cry.”

“Well, lucky for you, I’m not going to cry.”

“Really? Could’ve fooled me.”

“Probably because you’re an idiot. Want me to bring you to tears so that you can tell the difference?”

“Heh. I’d love to see you try, Red.”

A sudden knock on the door cut into the friendly banter, causing all eyes to fall on the room’s entrance.

“...Or not,” Toji supplied. “Guess that’s my ride back to my room. Visitin’ hours must be over.”

“Indeed. We should vacate the premises, so that the nurses may care for Ikari-kun,” Rei counseled, moving to push Toji towards the door. The bluenette then turned towards Asuka. “You should make sure to rest well tonight, Pilot Sohryu. Tomorrow will be a long day.”

“Sure,” Asuka agreed, wincing slightly at the prospect of sleep. “I’ll try to do-”

And then a rumbling akin to a dragon’s roar cut into the redhead’s words, causing an eerie silence to fall upon the room.

Rei blinked once, and then twice, her surprised eyes falling to the Second Child’s midsection for a brief moment. By the time she raised her gaze once again, the redhead’s face had grown to match the colour of her hair.

“...Do not forget to eat your dinner, either.”

“Y-Yeah…”
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:01 am

Update time, with the final part of Chapter 5 (finally)! Today, we meet up with Ritsuko and find out a bit more about her background dealings.

Next week's update will be a bundle of a few short scenes, mostly Shinji-centric. Altogether, I expect Chapter 6 to be roughly half the size of this one, probably even shorter, with the meat of it coming up in two weeks' time. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, enjoy! Feedback is always appreciated. ^_^

Chapter 5-7  SPOILER: Show
It was late past dinner time when Ritsuko Akagi managed to make her way to her apartment for the first time in days, after chaining enough back-to-back workshifts to kill a lesser woman. Evangelion recovery efforts had been followed by core diagnostics on Unit-01, then by screening and adjusting of the medical reports on the Third Child and finally by the handling of the necessary paperwork that would be required for the Second Child’s discharge after the next day’s synch tests, all of that on top of her regular duties as Head of Project-E and her little chat with an old friend.

All in all, another day in the life of Ritsuko Akagi. For all of her bitching about paperwork, Katsuragi had always had it easy by comparison, really.

“At least this one wasn’t as bad as when the Third Child went on his excursion within Unit-01,” the blonde muttered, slipping out of her shoes and venturing further inside her quarters. “...I’m home.”

Ritsuko’s greeting went unanswered, however, not that the Head of Project-E had actually expected anything else. After all, cats weren’t known to have a penchant for speech outside of fiction, no matter how often their mistress had found herself wishing for the contrary.

Sighing in exhaustion, the Doctor lumbered to one of the cupboards and reached out for a glass, before opening the fridge and searching for a bottle of red wine that she remembered opening somewhere in the past week. But the half-empty container wasn’t in the spot where she last recalled seeing it, and a cursory glance around the rest of the fridge revealed that it was nowhere to be found, period.

“...Strange,” Ritsuko mumbled, checking to see whether she had forgotten the bottle on top of one of the kitchen’s surfaces. “Where did I put-”

And it was then that she noticed the open can of cat food lying on the kitchen counter.

“Good evening, Doctor Akagi,” a distorted voice suddenly greeted from somewhere behind her. “I hope I’m not intruding.”

And Ritsuko quickly turned on a swivel, her hand flying to the inside of her coat where she kept her personal handgun. Eyes flying to the living room of her apartment, the Doctor was quick to identify a person relaxing within the depths of her own apartment, sitting on her couch and petting one of her cats while they helped themselves to a glass of the wine she had been looking for.

“What…? You- You’re not Section-2.” The blonde quickly relaxed and let go of her weapon, correctly realising that the Commander’s personal security detachment weren’t known for their subtlety. “Are you with… them?”

“Indeed I am. But you may speak freely, Doctor, this room is not being monitored,” Ritsuko’s ‘guest’ replied, always making sure to remain hidden in the darkness deep enough that their features wouldn’t be recognizable. “Although perhaps it would be more accurate to say that this room can't be monitored.”

“What do you mean...?”

“Nothing that you need to be aware of. Let us say that NERV’s little police state is not as secure as they would like, anymore.” The hand that was petting stopped doing so long enough to indicate one of the other seats in the living room. “But please, have a seat.”

Ritsuko nodded and grabbed her own glass before heading to the indicated seat, her fingers homing in on the light switch out of habit.

“And leave the lighting as it is,” the agent interrupted her. “I believe it helps maintain the clandestine atmosphere, wouldn’t you agree?”

The Doctor narrowed her eyes at her secretive guest, but soon decided that it was probably in her best interest to play along. Sitting down in the seat that had been indicated to her, Ritsuko reached for the bottle of wine and poured the drink into her glass until it doubled the amount of liquor that she had initially intended to drink.

“So you successfully hacked into the MAGI…”

“Indeed. And the backdoor access you provided proved very helpful for that, Doctor. Our thanks,” the shadowy individual confirmed, doing a toasting motion with their glass. “But let us not waste any more time on pleasantries. I came here to inform you that our experts have finished going through all the data you provided.”

Ritsuko’s glass stopped just as it was about to reach her lips, the woman’s eyes going wide.

“A-Already!?”

“We pride ourselves in our efficiency,” the agent responded, and the Doctor had no problem picturing a smug smile growing on his face. “More importantly, however, we believed it important to let you know that we will be inserting our agent on shorter notice than what was initially planned, in light of the new information we just learned. I trust that everything is ready for them?”

“Y-Yes, mostly. A vacancy in the Pilot corps for your agent to occupy will become available shortly.”

“I see,” the shadow paused, thinking for a moment. “The Second Child? I seem to recall her performance dropping off as of late.”

“Yes, indeed...”

‘...Maybe I was too harsh on her. Insufferable as she may be she’s still just a kid.’ Ritsuko’s wine finally managed to complete the trip to her lips, the Doctor taking a few sips in contemplation. ‘Well, I guess that’s that. Even if she stayed as she is now, the only thing that would await that girl is an early coffin.’

“Is something wrong, Doctor?”

“No, it’s nothing.” The Head of Project-E shook her head, refocusing her attention. “But returning to the topic, how much of a short notice are we talking about? I need to prepare-”

“Do not worry. The necessary reports and other assorted papers will be awaiting you on your desk tomorrow, courtesy of our newly acquired access to the MAGI.”

“...Very well. Should I begin work on laying the groundwork for any other such infiltrations, then?”

“There is no need for that, Doctor, you should but focus on the fulfillment of your own duties. We can take all the necessary steps to successfully insert the handful of agents that will be entering NERV in the coming days.”

Ritsuko paused for a second, eyes narrowing towards her guest.

“A... handful?”

“Indeed,” the agent calmly confirmed. “Is something wrong with what I said?”

“No, but… I expected a greater effort to secure NERV,” the Doctor elaborated, putting her wine on the table. “Something around one or two dozen agents, or even more.”

“The better part of our workforce is currently focused on tracking down and preparing to deal with SEELE. I’m afraid that, in light of the information agent Kaji and you provided, we haven’t given the society the respect they deserved over the last few years, and we need to make up for lost time.” The agent sighed softly, before making a calming gesture with his hand. “But do not worry, Doctor. I’m confident in our ongoing ability to secure NERV for our cause.”

Ritsuko’s head slowly swayed from side to side with a heavy sigh, her ears not giving credit to what they were hearing.

“...You people do realise that Ikari will not stand for that, right? That he won’t just let you… waltz into NERV?”

“We assume so as well, of course,” her guest replied, the hint of pompousness returning to their voice. “But you give Gendo Ikari far too much credit, Doctor.”

“What do you mean?”

“He’s intelligent, he’s adaptable, but he’s by no means infallible. Tell me, what would have been the aftermath of the Fourteenth had the Third Child not decided to return to NERV?”

“We would all be dead,” Ritsuko replied, stating the obvious. “But you don’t understand. That was all part of his-”

“Plan?” the shadow interrupted, chuckling softly. “That is what he made you believe, Doctor. And there might even be a sliver of truth to that, in that Gendo Ikari burnt no bridges in the pursuit of his objectives. But the chain of events during the Fourteenth’s attack was far too chaotic for anyone to accurately predict and exploit. Gendo Ikari merely found himself a lucky opening in the form of his son, then milked it for all it was worth.”

“That’s a very simplistic way of looking at the situation. I believe you are underestimating him.”

“And I couldn’t disagree more,” the agent countered, pausing to take another sip of wine. “I believe that you merely fell for his chessmaster charade, Doctor; hook, line and sinker.”

The Head of Project-E stiffened at the accusation, her anger rising at the memory of the other myriad things she had fallen for in regards to Gendo Ikari.

“I do not take kindly to insults.”

“Oh, my apologies.” The shadow made a placating gesture, although Ritsuko had no trouble picturing a smirk on their face. “Insulting you wasn’t my intention at all, Doctor.”

“...I’ll take your word for it,” the blonde scoffed, reaching for her glass for a second time and taking a long gulp to calm herself. “But you are awfully confident to so blatantly put down one of your major enemies. Is your plan so infallible that you can half-ass it so?”

“That information is not yet for you to know, Doctor. But suffice to say that Ikari plays this game with the severe handicap of being unable to affect most of the board, unlike his opponents. He sits in his corner, merely waiting for the moment in which he’ll be able to steal the match.” The agent put their drained glass of wine on the table, a finger dancing around the edge hard enough to make it wobble in its base. “But his position is tenuous. Were he to somehow lose his Queen before the final move...”

A small measure of greater force was exerted, and the side of the wineglass impacted against the table with a dull thud. A gesture that, following in the chess analogies, Ritsuko found trivial to decipher.

There was but a small problem in their assessment:

“The girl is completely loyal to him.”

“Then we need but to break that loyalty,” the shadow instantly countered, voice growing dead serious. “Or break the girl, whatever is simpler.”

Ritsuko found herself blinking in surprise at the agent’s words, for outright threatening of children, no matter their origins, had not been something she had been expecting to hear. Perhaps she had foreseen something a bit more virtuous out of an organization Kaji had worked for? Then again, Kaji had been no stranger to justifying means for ends, either.

And neither would she. Ritsuko Akagi had no moral high ground to speak of regarding that issue, after all.

“And on the topic of loyalty, did you manage to successfully recruit Misato Katsuragi to our cause?”

Ritsuko blinked herself back into awareness, her expression tightening up a little when she recalled her conversation with her former friend.

“The Major… will not be helping us.”

“That is a shame. But do not worry, Doctor, we are confident in our ability to change her mind in the future. NERV’s Director of Operations is too great an asset to be allowed to roam freely,” the agent reassured, before Ritsuko felt a pair of sharp eyes boring into her. “As for yourself, can we count on your continued support, Doctor Akagi?”

“...Yes,” the blonde decidedly nodded her head, countering with a look of her own. “But I won’t budge on my-”

“Conditions?” the shadow interrupted, causing Ritsuko’s eyes to narrow even further. “But of course. Lieutenant Ibuki will come to no harm, now or in the future. Of that, you have our word.”

“And what of the rest?”

“Referring to your personal situation?” the agent questioned with a hint of amusement. “That may be more complicated. You do recall how deep your own sins run, don’t you, Ritsuko Akagi?”

The Doctor’s stare turned into a full-blown glare, the Head of Project-E mutely pushing past the taunting and urging her guest forward.

“But nevertheless, we shall see what we can do, although we make no guarantees. Of course, a better performance on your part over the next few weeks will lead to a greater effort on ours...”

“...I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Good. We will be in contact, Doctor,” the agent bid their farewell, putting the cat back on the ground. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

And as soon as they rose from their seat, all the lights in the apartment went out in unison. Ritsuko’s hand flew back to her sidearm in response, but it wasn’t long until she could hear footsteps walking away towards the entrance.

“Wait!”

“Yes?” the agent stopped, and the Doctor heard a shuffling of clothes that probably indicated their turning to regard her. “What is it, Doctor?”

“I-I don’t even know who you people are yet!” Ritsuko protested, allowing her hand to relax its grip. “Are you a government agency or some other sort of consortium? What’s your angle in all of this? And do you even have a name?”

“I suppose the former would more loosely define us and, as of right now, we have no other purpose than to ensure the existence of humanity as it is. As for your other question, we have no name, for our organization has no need of it.”

The shadow chuckled, the picture of a smirk clearly appearing in Ritsuko’s mind for the umpteenth time.

“However, we could arrange for an alias if it will help ease your mind, Doctor: at the risk of sounding clichéd… how about ‘Legion’?”
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:48 am

Update time, the second half of which was pretty fun to write! ^_^

Chapter 6-1  SPOILER: Show
‘Here it is, Asuka,’ the Second Child mused, staring at the white cylinders of the Test Plugs through the observation pane. ‘Your last day as an EVA Pilot.’

In what had to be a first occurrence since her arrival in Tokyo-3, Asuka was alone in the synch-test labs. Not even Ayanami had made an appearance yet, despite being the early riser that she was, and there was a very good reason for that: after all, Asuka had arrived at the test laboratories a good half an hour before the appointed time.

Very unlike her, to be sure. But the occasion warranted a measure of extra professionalism, as far as Asuka was concerned: if this was to be the end of her career, she was going to make damn sure to finish it in as high of a note as she possibly could.

‘You always knew this day would come, one way or another. What does it matter if it was because there are no more Angels left to fight or because you’re too useless to do it?’ the redhead contemplated, her thoughts going to the ups and downs of her stay in Japan. ‘I guess... I’ll be going back to Germany, huh? No reason to keep me around. Will everyone be alright here?’

“Sohryu,” a voice she instantly recognised spoke from behind her. “You’re here early.”

Doctor Ritsuko Akagi walked past the Second Child and quickly began to prepare the laboratory equipment for the test that would take place in several minutes, paying no heed to the blue eyes that had zeroed in on her back.

“Who’d want to be late for their final test?”

“I can think of someone who did,” the Doctor chuckled softly. “Repeatedly.”

“Hilarious. Why do I have no problem picturing that?” the redhead replied, acid dripping off her words. “But you didn’t suddenly decide to strike a conversation just to tell me about Misato’s escapades, did you?”

Ritsuko paused in her work, hands hovering over a computer terminal for a moment before the blonde pushed herself off and sighed deeply.

“...No. No, I did not.”

“What is it, then?”

“I merely wanted to make you aware of the fact that life doesn’t end with EVA,” the Doctor elaborated after a few seconds, staring at the Test Plugs in the same manner Asuka had been a few minutes prior. “A door may close, but a brilliant child such as you will have no shortage of windows left to choose for their future. You need but to open them.”

“...Is that supposed to be an apology?”

“You may take it as that,” Ritsuko admitted, turning to properly regard the younger redhead. “I’ve come to realise that I was out of line during our last talk, and that I didn’t act as the adult that I’m supposed to be. The aftermath of a long day and results no one liked.”

“It’s a good thing that you got the chance to make yourself feel better before canning me, then, huh?” Asuka scoffed in disdain, marching past the Doctor. “Whatever. Let’s just get this over with.”

And the Head of Project-E remained silent as she watched the Second Child disappear through the side door leading to the gantry area. She followed the redhead with her eyes as the girl stomped towards her Test Plug and opened it, before climbing inside and positioning herself to await the start of the test.

And it was only then, with the Second Child in position and a few techs starting to enter the labs that Ritsuko closed her eyes and sighed deeply.

Although, despite herself, a small smile tugged at the edge of her lips.

“...Insufferable until the very end.”


>-O]|[O-<​


“Hey, come on,” Shinji Ikari woke from his slumber at the gentle but firmly insistent shaking of two hands. “It’s been a while now, how long do you plan on sleeping?”

And in response to the query the young man opened his eyes, blearily taking in his immediate surroundings despite the slight pounding in his head. Immediate surroundings that revealed how the person leaning over him possessed a telling combination of red and blue that roused him in an instant.

“Asuka!” Shinji exclaimed, jumping up and grabbing the girl by the shoulders... “I’m sorry I-”

...And then slammed back into the mattress when a lightning quick hand slapped his left cheek. Shinji blinked the last vestiges of sleep out of his system, more shocked than hurt by the sudden strike, and turned back to stare at the redhead that was now guiltily staring at her right hand.

“...Crap, I did it again.”

And that was also when the Third Child noticed the plugsuit she was wearing, letting him know about the error in his previous assumption: clearly, this was not the Asuka he had been expecting.

Fixing his mistake would have to wait for another time, much to his chagrin.

“...You alright? I... hadn’t planned on doing that.”

“Y-Yeah.”

“...Good,” the redhead let out a relieved sigh, before she crossed her arms and looked away, regaining her usual composure. “Besides, it’s not like I was planning on saying I was sorry. I mean, you got in the way of the first one, and scared me shitless for the second one, so both of them are clearly entirely your fault.”

“It’s fine, Asuka,” Shinji replied, finding himself smiling slightly through his disappointment. “You didn’t hit me that hard, anyway.”

“Oh, really? Do you want me to try and improve my mark?” Asuka let out an exaggerated scoff, getting into the game. “Whatever. By the way, don’t call me Asuka.”

“Huh? Why not?”

“Why do you think?” the girl raised an eyebrow at Shinji, motioning around her with her arm. “Do I really need to explain?”

“...No. No, it’s fine.” Shinji assured her, quickly catching on to what she meant. After all, calling every single Asuka that he came across by her given name was going to get confusing fast whenever more than one of them were around. “But what should I call you, then?”

“Umm… Let me think…” Asuka paused for a few seconds, humming a thinking sound while bringing a finger to her lips. “Oh, I know: I’m the best EVA Pilot around, so how about Ace?”

And Shinji had the nagging feeling that, despite her acting like the contrary was true, the plugsuited redhead had had that nickname in her mind for a while, now.

‘Calling her out on that probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, though. Besides, it’s nice to see an Asuka acting like Asuka.

“Okay, I guess I can do that,” the Third Child agreed. “But what are you doing here, Asu-... Ace? I thought that you were angry with us?”

“Not with you, with her, and it’s not like there’s anything novel about that. Brat has a real talent for pissing me off.” Ace stepped forward once again, intently poking Shinji’s chest with her finger. “You only annoy me with how much of a freaking doormat you are. That’s not how an EVA Pilot should be, I tell you.”

“O-Okay… But you didn’t answer my question?”

“Obviously, I’m here to check on you.”

“...What?”

“What’s with the shocked look?” Ace took a seat at the bed’s edge, looking at Shinji as if he was being stupid. Which, as far as she was concerned, he was. “Did you really expect me to trust the brat with an anomaly of your importance? That’d be like, the fastest way to make sure this whole place goes straight down the shitter.”

“I think she’s been doing a good job so far.”

“Which goes to show what you know,” Ace deflected Shinji’s indignant rebuttal with a grumpy scoff. “You wouldn’t think the same if you had seen half the stuff I have, trust me.

“Oh, and by the way, what was with you getting all apologetic before?” the redhead’s expression did a sudden 180, turning into a sly smile. “Trouble in Paradise? That might go a ways towards explaining why the brat felt like someone had shredded her favourite toy, now that I think about it.”

Shinji’s face fell, the image of the sorrowful looking Asuka popping up in his mind’s eye at the reminder.

“I’m sorry, it was my fault. I said something stupid and upset her.”

“Hmm, I see. That sounds like you, yeah. Although she’ll bounce back up soon enough, too, so don’t worry too much.” Ace reassured him, in a comforting tone that surprised the Third Child enough to bring him out of his funk and throw a wide-eyed stare her way.

A stare that became even wider when the redhead then grabbed hold of the neck of his shirt and roughly pulled him closer to her.

“But you make sure to treat her right from here on out,” Ace elaborated, her words clearly emphasising that there was no room for argument. “She might be a major idiot and drive me up the walls more often than not, but she’s still one of us. Mess with her and you mess with me. Capiche?”

“Y-Yeah,” Shinji stuttered, nervously looking into the tempestuous pools of blue. “Sorry.”

“Good! And stop apologising all the time, it’s annoying,” Ace relaxed her hold on Shinji slightly to indicate that the chances of a third round of violence had dramatically decreased, but didn’t let go completely. “Now why don’t we-”

The redhead’s proposal was suddenly interrupted by the enthusiastic opening of a door, with both occupants quickly turning to look at the entrance. There, smiling broadly and holding a bundle of sunflowers in her arms, stood the Asuka that Shinji had been expecting to see for so long.

“Shinji, Shinji! It’s finally stopped raining! And look what I-...” the girl in the yellow sundress cut herself off mid-sentence, her eyes quickly jumping towards Ace. They then slowly traversed towards Shinji, before finally coming to rest on the spot where the redhead’s hands were still holding on to the Third Child’s collar. “...What are you doing?”

Ace followed her double’s eyes to their resting point, briefly looking at her hands for a split second before jumping up to stare at the Third Child’s face.

It was then that she noticed exactly how close she had drawn herself to Shinji.

“Nothing!” Ace promptly responded, reacting to the icy question by letting go of Shinji as if he had caught on fire. “J-Just having a little chat! Right, Third?”

Knowing that not doing so would likely mean bad times for his immediate future, Shinji was quick to eagerly nod his head at Ace’s meaningful question. Asuka’s attention was fully occupied by the plugsuited redhead, however.

“I thought I told you not to show your face around here.”

“You did, so what?” Ace replied, her composure quickly growing under the possibility of conflict. She stood up and stubbornly crossed her arms. “I don’t remember taking orders from you.”

Get off my property.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Keep that up and you’ll find out.”

“Oh, now the brat’s threatening me? That’s rich,” Ace taunted with a smug smile. “But I’ll call your bluff, I was starting to get bored, anyway. You wanna take this outside? I’d so hate to destroy the fruits of your labour.”

“Fine, I’ve given you enough warnings already.” Asuka suddenly turned around and left the room, motioning with her arm for Ace to follow. “This way.”

And the plugsuited redhead, for her part, stood her ground for a moment as she watched her counterpart disappear. A slight frown marred her features for all of an instant before she forced it out with a scoff, throwing a meaningful look at the young man that had wordlessly witnessed the entire exchange.

“On your feet, Third,” Ace commanded, leaving the room as well. “This should be fun.”


>-O]|[O-<​


Shinji did as told and followed the two girls to a wide clearing a fair distance away from the farmstead, all the while trying to dissuade them from engaging in what was for all intents and purposes looking to be a huge conflict. The young man’s pleas fell on deaf ears, however, one half of the equation itching for the fight while the other appeared to still be really mad at him.

And so it was with very little successful interruption on his part that the two combatants prepared to face off against one another, the looks that they were giving each other heated enough to start a forest fire, had there been any trees nearby.

The Third Child sighed deeply at his impotence.

“I’m ready,” Asuka stated, having changed from her usual sundress at some point and into sports clothing that was more fitting for a workout. “What about you?”

“Anytime. But I’ve grown tired of fisticuffs for the moment, so what do you say that we make things a little bit different?” Ace turned towards the glum-looking young man, throwing a confident grin his way. “Hey, Shinji! Check this out!”

Ace threw her right arm upwards and a shape grew out of the ground, carrying her as Shinji’s eyes followed the plugsuited redhead go up… and up… and up. By the time her ascent finally finished, Ace was looking down on them from the shoulder of a familiar-looking crimson titan.

“Th-That’s…” Shinji stuttered, suddenly feeling like he should take a few steps back. Or a hundred. “EVA?!”

“Ha! Of course it is!” Ace proudly beat on her chest, before leaning against the giant’s neck. “This is Evangelion Unit-02, the most advanced weapon of war ever devised! And I am its chosen Pilot! The only person in the world capable of using it to its full potential!”

“So impressive…” Asuka calmly snarked in response. “What was that about not wasting your administrative efforts on superfluous bullcrap?”

“S-Shut up!” Ace jumped back into a proper stand, stomping her foot and angrily yelling at the pinprick down below. “This is important! It’s a symbol of our status as the Elite, as the spearhead of Humanity!”

“I always thought it looked like an oversized shrimp.”

“Do- Do you want me to step on you?!”

“Nah, I think I’d rather take your offer and go up to your level,” Asuka shrugged while casually deflecting her counterpart’s words, much to everyone’s surprise. Astonishment that grew into shock when Asuka smirked confidently. “You’re doing exactly what I thought you would, anyway.”

Asuka then threw her own right arm up and began her own ascent, going up… and up… and up until she was standing on the shoulder of her own black and white titan:

A giant Pen-Pen.

...

Shinji instinctively blinked a few times to make sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him, and that he was indeed in the presence of the Katsuragi household’s pet avian, a task that a brief look at its familiar mannerisms quickly proved true, with the only thing missing from the familiar sight being a giant Yebisu can held in its flipper. And as if any further confirmation was necessary, the giant penguin let out a shrill and lengthy ‘WARK’ that blew away any remaining doubts and almost popped Shinji’s eardrums in the process.

“HA!” Ace quickly recovered the moment the deafening sound became a far-away echo, mockingly pointing at her opponent. “All of that smack-talk and that’s the best you can do?! As if a stupid penguin could stand up to my Unit-02!”

“Sure, maybe not a penguin…” Asuka agreed, before tapping the side of Pen-Pen’s head with the back of her hand. The patted area then opened up to reveal a red button, which the redhead gleefully pushed. “But what about this penguin?!”

And responding to the input with another ‘WARK’, Pen-Pen’s claws suddenly lengthened and took on a reddish, metallic hue, reminiscent of the active edge on a progressive knife. His feathers started falling in droves, revealing silvery armour beneath and an EVA-like Core before several compartments on its front and back opened up, releasing thin, mechanical limbs that held on to comically enlarged weaponry.

By the time the transformation finished, Ace’s Unit-02 was facing down a fully robotic penguin and at least two dozen high-powered weapons, ranging from armaments like pallet rifles and progressive glaives to a positron rifle and what looked like a progressive hammer of all things. To unbalance matters even more, a pair of small UFO-like aircraft came out of and began to circle the transformed Pen-Pen, piloted by a pair of chibi-Asukas who wasted no time in peppering their plugsuited original with greenish lasers.

“N-No way!” Ace loudly protested, jumping out of the way of several projectiles. “That’s cheating! You- You CHEATER!”

“Not my problem you don’t have any imagination!” Asuka mercilessly shot back, grinning from ear to ear before she pointed a finger towards her confused target. “CHARGE!”

And at the orders of its mistress, the colossal mecha-flightless bird lunged.
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby xanderkh » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:36 pm

Somehow, I have a good feeling that this was an internal battle LONG within the making for Asuka. :P
"You're na�ve, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?" - Golbez
---------------------------------------
Sephiroth: "Do you miss the Light?"
Golbez: "Hmph...I merely have duties to fulfill."
Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

"NGE Shinji is broken, Manga Shinji is an asshole, Rebuild Shinji is an idiot. Which is best? Uh, can I get some other options? All of these really suck." -Bagheera

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Postby Gryphon117 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:58 pm

One of many, you mean? :shifty:
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby xanderkh » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:51 am

^
An UNDERSTATEMENT, to say the least. Asuka is a big bundle of contractions within herself. She wants to be an "adult", but she acts very childish in her rebuttals and double standards.

Lash out at others, pushing them away, but she's also very alone.

I wouldn't be surprised if she had internal battles like this on a frequent basis. :P
"You're na�ve, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?" - Golbez
---------------------------------------
Sephiroth: "Do you miss the Light?"
Golbez: "Hmph...I merely have duties to fulfill."
Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

"NGE Shinji is broken, Manga Shinji is an asshole, Rebuild Shinji is an idiot. Which is best? Uh, can I get some other options? All of these really suck." -Bagheera

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:18 am

Big meaty update today, and a heads-up that I might have to skip an update day one of these coming weeks, depending on how much time to write I end up finding. With final evaluation season coming up closer and closer I'll probably hit a spike in workload at some point, and depending on the day it lands on that might very well be all my writing time for that week going out the window.

I'll try to be as prepared for that eventuality as I can, but if there no update one of these Sundays, now you know why. ^_^

Chapter 6-2  SPOILER: Show
The short battle, if it even could have been deemed as such, was extremely one-sided, in spite of Ace’s remarkable efforts to grasp victory. But when each of her attacks seemed to always be blocked by a third or fourth mechanical flipper appearing out of nowhere, when yet another weapon popped up out of a secret compartment at the most inopportune of times, and when her gargantuan opponent managed to somehow grow a hole in their body for your EVA’s fist to go through and leave her open for a retaliatory strike...

In short, Ace never really stood a chance. Probably why said redhead was currently busy hiding her head behind her arms, occasionally peppering the kitchen table with weak, foul-mooded strikes.

“I can’t believe I lost to a stupid penguin…”

And why the Third Child was agonizing over the best way to handle his current situation, sitting as he was not too far away from a primed bomb. Shinji was fully conscious of the fact that it probably fell to him to say something that would bring the redheaded Pilot out of her stewing, but he was also painfully aware of how often his best efforts had horribly backfired in the past.

The fact that Ace also had proven to have the ability to summon a copy of her Evangelion at will also played a bit of a role in his hesitance.

And so, Shinji pinned his hopes on an Asuka that had proved agonizingly clueless about his double meanings, skipping up and down the kitchen while she prepared some tea. Although at least she didn’t seem to be mad, quite the opposite. Asuka was positively chipper. Maybe the scowl that he had thought was his fault had been a result of her psyching herself up for the battle, or something?

Not that it was going to keep him from apologising at the first opportunity, though.

“Here comes the tea~!” the aforementioned redhead happily announced, depositing three mugs on the table before she sat down herself. “One for me, one for Shinji, and one for the vanquished!”

“Bah. One time, and you cheated your way to victory,” Ace grumbled, emerging far enough to accept the tea and narrow her eyes at her counterpart. “But next time will be different, you can be damn sure of that.”

“Yeah, yeah, sure it will,” Asuka waved away the Pilot’s words, before leaning forward with a grin. “But more importantly, let’s talk about what I get for winning.”

“Wait, what?”

“Don’t look at me like that. Like you weren’t going to force me to do anything if you won?” Ace moved to protest the accusation, pushing the tea to one side, but a denouncing finger kept her in her place. “And don’t you even try to deny it.”

Interrupted into silence, Ace made a brave last stand and glared harshly at her counterpart. That, however, was a battle of wills that she miserably lost.

“Fine, what do I have to do?” the pilot resigned herself with a sigh, reaching for the tea once again. “...It better not be anything embarrassing.”

“Who do you think I am, you? No, you said that you knew something about what happened to Shinji, right?” Asuka elaborated, motioning with her head towards the Third Child. “Tell him all about it.”

“...That’s it?” Ace blinked, the mug not reaching her lips. “I was going to do that anyway, you know?”

“And that’s okay,” Asuka shrugged nonchalantly, the smugness in her words almost palpable. “To be honest, beating you at your own game was reward enough for me.”

“Yeah, yeah... Savour it while you can, you damn brat.”

Ace mumbled something in German, her irritated expression letting Shinji know that it was probably something that would make sailors blush, before the Pilot turned towards him.

“Okay, long story short, Third: as far as anyone knows, you’re in a weird coma after the attack of the Angel and no one has the slightest clue about whether you’re going to wake up or not.” Ace swiftly explained “Knowing what we know, though, we can be pretty sure that the latter’s going to be true for as long as you’re in here and not in your own body.”

Shinji remained silent for a few seconds after hearing the explanation, before his head sagged into a tired nod.

“...I see.”

And Ace raised an eyebrow at him, her annoyance leaving way to some surprise.

“...You’re... taking this quite a bit better than I thought you would.”

“I’ve had a lot of time to get used to the idea that something happened to me, and a coma beats a lot of the alternatives. At least it’s not like there’s an Angel inside of my body now, or something, like it’s a bad movie,” Shinji shrugged, chuckling tiredly. “Besides, I’m stuck inside Asuka’s head and been fighting giant monsters for months. The amount of weird I can accept by now is probably higher than most people’s.”

The Third Child then sighed in exhaustion, massaging the back of his head.

“Does anyone know how it happened?”

“Just that you getting in the way of the Angel’s attack probably had something to do with it, but that’s a conclusion most of us here had already reached,” Ace provided, leaning back in her chair to look at the ceiling. “The hard part is going to be getting you back to where you belong.”

“Right. Stupid question: can you do anything about that?”

“That is a stupid question,” the redhead agreed with a smirk. “But obviously, we can’t.”

“Of course. Can you… let Asuka know somehow, then? That I’m here?” the Third Child continued. “Maybe someone outside can help me get back, somehow, like Dr. Akagi?”

“That’s not such a stupid question, but the answer’s still no,” Ace shook her head, properly sitting back down to look at Shinji. “We don’t control Asuka’s actions, nor can we somehow influence her awareness. Our role as administrators is to pursue our agendas and propose ways of dealing with different situations, but that’s as far as our influence goes. The actual decision-making is out of our hands...”

Ace paused a second to throw a pointed look at Asuka.

“...So long as we don’t break the rules, that is.”

And the self-satisfied smile that had been stuck to Asuka’s face disappeared in a matter of seconds, being replaced with a forlorn look. A development that the Third Child missed, choosing that precise moment to stand up and begin a slow walk around the kitchen, looking down at the floor in thought.

“...So it’s back to square one.”

Ace refocused on Shinji, following the pacing young man with her eyes.

“Well, not necessarily. I mean, we can’t do it but that doesn’t mean that-”

“Huh?” Shinji drew to a halt, turning towards the girl that had fallen into silence. “Is something wrong?”

“...The hell is that?”

Shinji followed the plugsuited redhead’s pointing finger, quickly finding what it was that had caught her attention: in one of the kitchen’s corners now lay a familiar-looking red door.

“Oh, not again!” The Third Child groaned, remembering his last time with the strange object. He then blinked, picking up on a detail that was different. “...Wait, you can see it?!”

“That door right there? Red with orange trimmings? Emitting a mysterious light? ” Ace replied, pointing with a finger towards the object in question. “Of course I can see it, stupid! When did I give you the impression that I was blind?!”

“No, it’s just that…” Shinji instinctively swallowed in the face of the redhead’s fury, before he turned to regard a confused Asuka. “D-Do you see anything?”

“Uh…” Asuka looked to the point that the young man and the other redhead had indicated, intently staring at it for a few seconds before she slowly shook her head. “...No?”

“Oh,” Ace muttered, looking at the two and quickly catching on to what Shinji had meant. A moment later, the cocky smile that the Third Child was used to seeing came back in full force. “Don’t worry Third, that’s probably because she isn’t important around here anymore.”

“Hey!”

“What? You gonna tell me I’m not right?” Ace responded to her counterpart’s indignation by smirking even wider and standing up from her seat. She then grabbed the wrist of an unexpecting Shinji Ikari and dragged him off towards the crimson gate, ignoring his protests. “Let’s go. I think I know what’s going on.”

“Hey! Wait! Wait a minute!” Asuka called out, but her demands were disregarded as well. Then, before she could do anything else to stop her, the Pilot reached out towards something and, from her perspective, Shinji and Ace both vanished into thin air. “...And they’re gone.”

Asuka sank into her chair, pouting.

“...Why does she always have to be so mean? I am important…” the redhead muttered sadly, devoting a small part of her attention to confirming that, wherever her two guests had gone off to, it certainly wasn’t anywhere close. “I hope they’ll be alright...

“Oh well, nothing be gained by moping about it,” Asuka decided, before giving her face a light, two handed smack and jumping into a flurry of activity. “Gotta stay positive! They’ll be back, eventually! Gotta prepare some more tea!”


>-O]|[O-<​


“Hey… Is anyone there?”

Asuka’s voice was the first sound Shinji heard when he stepped through the door. She was sitting in the same chair she had been last time, and a quick look at his surroundings revealed everything else to also be exactly as he remembered, as well.

With an annoyed sigh, the Third Child quickly freed his wrist from the grip of the tyrant that had forced him in here against his will, throwing a dirty look her way.

“So this is within Unit-02, right?” Ace asked him, getting a good picture of the entire area before noticing his narrowed stare. “What’s with the suspicious look? I knew there was going to be a synch-test a little after I decided to wake you.”

Letting out another sigh at having his meaning misunderstood, Shinji accurately decided that calling Ace out on her actions was going to do very little good to him. Humouring her and rolling with the punches was probably the way to go.

He was going to end up doing whatever she wanted one way or another anyway, after all.

“How come you had the time to come meet us, then?”

“Well... it’s not really because I wanted to, but I couldn’t do a lot more than what I already have. My own influence has gone down quite a bit over the last few days,” Ace explained, her expression darkening for a short moment. “But I gotta say, a hall straight out of an European mansion wasn’t what I was expecting to see here. Is that…?”

Ace motioned with her head towards the sitting redhead.

“As far as I know,” Shinji replied. “I think Asuka’s taking the synch-test now. She was doing that the last time the door appeared, too.”

“Really?” Ace muttered under her breath, a smirk growing on her face. “Talk about golden opportunities, then.”

“Look, I already feel stupid enough doing this, so is there anyone there?” Asuka angrily cut into the conversation, bringing their attention back to her. Then, to Shinji’s shock, the sitting redhead’s tone turned begging. “...Please? I don’t want to lose my EVA...”

Puzzled, the Third child drew closer, Ace following close behind, and when they reached her, Asuka kept muttering and pleading, eyes shut and hands holding on to the armrests for dear life. By the time Asuka switched to German and Shinji couldn’t understand her, the girl’s words had stopped being necessary: she looked scared and frustrated in equal measures, but more than anything else the Second Child looked defeated, like she had given up on life.

Asuka’s blazing fire had become a frail flame in the wind, and Shinji didn’t like it.

‘Is this what the whole mask conversation was all about?’ the Third Child wondered, his right hand clenching and unclenching to a silent rhythm. ‘This is what Asuka is really like?’

Shinji’s eyes moved to the front of the room and the two other armchairs there, and he remembered his last stay in the room. He recalled the strange request of the two women, and how adamant they had been about talking to Asuka. About him helping them help Asuka.

He also noted how silent they had been this whole time, despite Asuka doing exactly what they had wanted her to.

It was then that Shinji’s hand finally formed into a tight fist and he stepped past Asuka’s chair.

“Hey!” he called out to the two women. “Asuka’s asking for you!”

“...”

“Hey! I’m talking to the both of you!” Shinji repeated when his first demand went unanswered. “Asuka is reaching out to you! Answer her! Didn’t you want this to happen?!”

“...Scared…”

“...What?”

“...I’m scared,” the woman to the left elaborated. “It’s so sudden...”

“...I’m scared,” her opposite continued. “It’s so abrupt...”

“She won’t listen.”

“She will remember.”

“She will reject us.”

“She will hate us.”

“What… What are you talking about?!” Shinji protested. “You’re the ones who wanted this! Aren’t you going to do anything?!”

“She will hate us,” the two women repeated, and Shinji could barely make out two pairs of hands going up to shield their ears. “...Shewillhateusshewillhateusshewillhateus…”

“STOP THAT!”

But Shinji’s demands went unanswered for a third time, the repeating mantra continuing to fill the entire hall. A second clenched fist joined the first one, and Shinji felt his temper flare as he took a step forward.

“You’re wasting your time, Third,” Ace stopped him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “They don’t sound like they’re going to change their mind.”

“Why do you say that?!” the Third Child sharply turned around. “Do you know them?!”

“Nope, I don’t have a clue about who they’re supposed to be. Didn’t even know there was something inside the EVA, as a matter of fact,” Ace shrugged, narrowing her eyes at the two women. “But it doesn’t look like you’re reaching them like that. And I bet that I can’t really do much on that front, either.”

Shinji glared back at the two chanting women, gauging his options for a second or two before he concluded that Ace was more than likely correct. Even if he could somehow convince them to synch with Asuka, chances were that with their current mindset it would have the opposite effect of what they wanted.

The young man let out a deep sigh, his whole body sagging as his anger left him.

“What now, then?”

“Well…” Ace trailed off, her eyes moving back to Asuka. “Why don’t you try talking to her?”

“...Eh?” Shinji blinked, the girl’s words not fully registering. Until they did. “EH?!”

“What’s with the shock? She’s asking someone to answer and you’re here, aren’t you?”

“W-Well… Yeah, but…” The Third Child followed Ace’s eyes towards the sitting redhead, the many past failed instances in which he had tried to reach out to her quickly filling his mind. He fiercely shook his head. “You do it!”

“I’m a fragment of her personality, doofus, that’s not going to work. Our influence is limited, remember?” Ace clicked her tongue and turned Shinji around by his shoulders, forcing him towards the sitting redhead. “Just man up and do it, already! What’s the worst that could happen?”

‘Yeah, well, finding out is the part I’m scared about…’

“Okay, okay, I get it! Stop pushing!” Shinji ultimately relented, fully aware of the inevitability of his situation. Satisfied with his words, Ace let go of him and backed off a little, quietly watching him with much interest.

The young man, for his part, took a bracing breath and did his best to settle his nerves, trying to think of the best way to handle his latest task.

It wasn’t long before an idea struck him.

“Hey, listen!” Shinji called out to the two women and, against his expectations, the both of them promptly fell silent. “Will the both of you synch with me?”

“...Why?”

“We did it before, right? On the Over the Rainbow. That’s why you said you remembered me. Synch with me, then I’ll try talking with Asuka,” Shinji glanced back at the redhead, his face darkening slightly at her ever-worsening disposition. “Maybe that will be enough for her EVA to work. If it works in the first place.”

Silence reigned within the hall for a few, long moments, the women likely debating the merits of his proposal and stretching the Third Child’s patience nearly to its breaking point. Ultimately, however, Shinji felt a probing sensation in the back of his mind.

“...Very well.”

It was strikingly different to what he was used to feeling from Unit-01, but not something that the Third Child couldn’t adapt to. With practiced ease, he closed his eyes for an instant and allowed the foreign presence to seep into himself, quickly achieving the synchronization he had sought. He then took a deep breath and stepped towards Asuka, leaning forward until he was a handspan away from her face...

...and then, stopped.

“O-Okay…” the young man sputtered, not really having planned that far. “...W-What now?”

“Oh, for the love of-”

And Shinji suddenly felt someone grab the back of his head.


>-O]|[O-<​


“OUCH!”

“Asuka-chan, is everything okay?”

“...Yeah,” the Second Child replied, rubbing her forehead. “Just... felt a weird pain in my head for a sec. It’s nothing.”

“...Alright, then focus back on the test, please.” Lieutenant Ibuki calmly instructed. She then hesitated for a second or two before pumping a fist in front of her face. “You… You can do it!”

And any other time, Asuka might have found the tech’s awkward cheering dorky enough to make her laugh, but not today.

“...Yeah, sure.”


>-O]|[O-<​


“What’s the big idea?!”

“What? You just needed a little push, is all,” Ace told the angry Third Child, grinning unrepentantly. “But more importantly: did it work?”

Shinji stopped rubbing at his aching forehead long enough to look back at the sitting redhead. As far as he could tell, there had been a definite reaction to his forced contact with the Second Child, but...

“...I don’t know,” the young man leaned forward, hesitating a second or two before he brought a shaking hand to the top of the girl’s head. “Asuka...?”

And all of a sudden a pair of blue eyes rose up to meet his.

“S-Shinji...?”


>-O]|[O-<​


“We’ve seen enough, end the test,” Ritsuko declared, finalising her work on one of the workstations before she stood up. “Classify the Second Child as unfit for duty and configure Unit-02 for a change of Pilot.”

At her behest, the gathered scientists complied and began the necessary preparations for the safe termination of the test. Many left the premises to focus on readying the tools that would be necessary to change Unit-02’s core, while others forewent their observation tasks in favour of uploading the latest results to the MAGI. Needless to say, the last seconds of the test itself became a point of very little worry for the vast majority of people gathered within the room.

But not for one Maya Ibuki.

“Umm... A-Akagi-senpai?”

“What is it, Maya?” the Head of Project-E replied distractedly.

“It’s the readings, Senpai, they’re... changing. Asuka’s...” Maya let out a sudden gasp. “Asuka’s synch-rate is spiking upwards!”

What?!

“I-... I don’t understand it either, Senpai!” Maya continued, showing the graphs on her terminal to the woman that had just flown to her side. “Fifty... Sixty... Seventy... It’s... It’s holding steady at eighty-seven percent! That’s a new record for her!”

“That’s... That’s impossible!” Ritsuko exclaimed, before she turned to address the other shocked faces in the testing grounds. “Extend the test! Make sure it’s not a fluctuation in the readings or a glitch in the system!”

“A glitch? But senpai, the MAGI-”

“I know, the MAGI don’t glitch,” Ritsuko hissed through clenched teeth. “But this doesn’t make any sense, either.”

Doctor Akagi’s commands turned the testing ground into a flurry of activity, busy hands hurrying to record and make sense of the sudden and unexpected development over the next few minutes, and, through her own work, Maya Ibuki kept a constant and confounded vigil over the head of Project-E. After all, her Senpai looked angry like Maya had seldom ever seen her, and it wasn’t difficult for anyone in Doctor Akagi’s immediate surroundings to piece together why that was, no matter how little sense it made to the young lieutenant.

Frowning, Maya brought her eyes back to the readings her terminal offered, finding no answer to the day’s questions in them. Save for some meaningless and commonplace background noise that could have been attributed to a thousand or more different reasons, the Second Child’s sudden spike seemed completely normal - or as normal as its suddenness could make it.

“Shouldn’t…” the young tech whispered to herself. “Shouldn’t we be happy for Asuka...?”
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Sun May 06, 2018 11:56 am

Update time! In which we continue exploring the aftermath of this chapter's synch-test. Enjoy! ^_^

Chapter 6-3  SPOILER: Show
“Did you hear that?! Eighty-seven percent! That’s awesome!”

Ace cheered loudly, running up and down the kitchen and almost bouncing off the walls in a surprising outburst of sheer enthusiasm. Shinji followed the celebrating redhead with his eyes, a small smile growing on his face while he watched the normally grumpy and sarcastic side of Asuka gleefully let loose.

“Someone’s happy.”

“Hell yeah I am! I mean, sure, I’d have preferred it to be a solo effort, but it’s way better than the alternative. From here, it’s only a matter of time before we get Asuka back into top shape!” Ace stepped forward and playfully thumped Shinji in the chest, making the young man take a step back. “And you were pretty cool back there, Third! Way to take control of the situation. You really showed those two who’s boss.”

“You…” Shinji scratched the back of his head, a light blush growing on his cheeks. “You think so...?”

“Yeah! Now we only need you to do that a hell of a lot more often! We might yet make an EVA Pilot out of you.” Ace grinned widely, but then her spirits seemed to dampen a little. “It’s too bad that you couldn’t talk to Asuka, though. That might have sped up the recovery process quite a bit.

“Oh well, there will be plenty more time for that,” the girl shrugged, before she turned around and disappeared through one of the doors out of the kitchen. “Now where the heck did the brat go? I’ve gotta brag to her about this!”

The Third Child watched her go, Ace’s words bringing his mind back to the last moments they had spent within the hall, shortly after Asuka had seemed to notice him. Shinji still remembered the beat his heart had skipped when Asuka had looked up at him, whispering his name, and the pang of disappointment that had followed when the young man had realised that his teammate wasn’t actually seeing him. At least, the way in which Asuka had brought a hand up to pat the part of her hair that he had touched proved that their communicative efforts had not been completely in vain, either.

‘But still, why did Asuka look so… hopeful? Is that even the right word for it?’ Shinji wondered, trying to put a name for the look that had flown by the redhead’s face. ‘...Was she happy to hear me?’

The Third Child considered the idea for a fleeting second before remembering how the real Asuka had made the fact that she didn’t need him or his help clear enough more than a few times in the past.

‘But then, why does she keep mentioning me? What’s with all the Shinjis that Ace and ‘Asuka’ talked about? Why did the two women in that room say that Asuka ‘thinks about me’? Should I take that at face value?’ Shinji rolled the latest thought around his head for a few moments before he slowly shook his head. ‘...Yeah, right.’

“...Why must that girl be so goddamn confusing?” the young man ultimately muttered with a deep sigh. He then sat on one of the kitchen’s chairs, suddenly feeling completely drained for some inscrutable reason.

Still, one thing was clear to Shinji through his confusion and contradiction laden exhaustion: being useful felt... nice. Knowing that he had managed to do something good for Asuka without screwing it up was a fair prize in its own right. And maybe he could take it even further during the next synch test!

‘...Maybe you’ll even get her to actually notice you.’

“...Weird, brat’s not around. I was sure betting on her jumping us the moment we came back.” Ace slowed to a halt when she re-entered the kitchen, regarding the pensive young man with curiosity. “What’s up, Third?”

“...I want to help.”

“Huh?”

“I want to help Asuka.” Shinji repeated, turning towards Ace with a serious sheen in his eyes.

“...Oookay,” Ace blinked a pair of times, before finally shifting into gear. “Colour me surprised on that one, too.”

“What?”

“Nothing. Just the shell-shock of seeing you be proactive for once, Third,” the redhead smirked, taking a seat herself. “I thought that you just wanted to get out of here as soon as possible?”

“Well, yeah...” Shinji shrugged awkwardly, feeling slightly on the spot. “But it just felt good being able to help her, and I guess I... want to keep doing it? Besides, Asuka is still the best chance I have of going back to my own body, right?”

“I see,” Asuka responded with a dark tone. “So it’s just for your own selfish reasons again. Typical Shinji Ikari.”

“Huh?”

The Third Child’s eyes quickly rose up towards the girl, stunned at the criticism that had come out of nowhere. But, much to his surprise, the plugsuited redhead wasn’t looking at him, but at a spot over and behind his head.

Swiftly, Shinji turned around. And just as swiftly, his chair clattered to the floor soon after.

“W-Who are you...?”

There was another Asuka before him. One clad in a simple, red woolen dress that went down to her knees, and one that was offering him a real nasty glare.

But the detail that caught Shinji’s eyes were neither the girl’s simple dressing or the sheer enmity that her entire being radiated. No, the Third Child’s full attention was taken by the right half of this Asuka Langley-Sohryu:

For it was made of cloth and yarn, from top to bottom. Where one hemisphere of her head was home to Asuka’s fiery mane, the other was made of red fleece. The opposite of the vibrant blue eye was a painted facsimile, which still seemed to somehow (and eerily) fill its function. Her entire right arm and hand, as well as her leg, were entirely fake too, the fabric not allowing for even the fingers to move individually.

But the most unnerving part of it all was how the two halves of Asuka’s face were stitched together, the sewing going down her neck and into her clothing.

‘She looks like a… like a doll?

“Oh, great. If it isn’t my co-worker and royal pain in the ass,” Ace scoffed, the familiarity of her usual character not enough to bring Shinji back to his senses. “I guess you’re the one who sent the brat on her way?”

“The ignorant infant would only have gotten in the way of our conversation.”

“Well... can’t really argue with that. Did you force her to walk all the way back, too?”

“Of course. Sending her away would have been pointless, otherwise.”

“I guess,” Ace shrugged, relaxing into her seat. “It’s going to be a while until we see her here again, then? Good! Nice to have some peace and quiet.

“Now why are you here? Is it about the synch results?” the redhead continued with a knowing tone. “It is, right? Now whose influence is going to be on the rise again, huh?”

“The fact that you believe our Pilot status to change anything proves just how naïve you are. This is but a small bump on the downward slope.”

“Bah, always the nihilist. Whatever, you’ll eat those words eventually,” Ace brought up a hand and motioned the other Asuka away with it. “But anyway, and if that’s everything you wanted to say, isn’t it about time that you left? We’re celebrating here, so shoo!”

But the doll-like redhead ignored her, turning her attention back to Shinji.

“I have no intention of leaving without hearing what the wimp here has to say.”

“A-About what...?” the Third Child replied, gulping loudly.

“You claimed that you wanted to ‘help Asuka’, didn’t you?” Asuka elaborated, boring holes into the young man. “But words are simple. Promises fickle. Asuka certainly has had her share of both. Why would yours be any different?”

The young man opened his mouth to respond, but no words would come out of it, his eyes still gaping while his mind tried to accept the wrongness of the Asuka before him.

“I await an answer, Shinji Ikari.” The Doll insisted, when Shinji’s reply didn’t appear forthcoming.

“Stop giving the kid a scare,” Ace cut in reproachfully, easing some of Shinji’s pressure off. “You’re not the prettiest thing to look at, remember?”

“I am what I am because of Asuka,” the Doll shot back, mirroring her tone. “If he can’t accept that much I don’t see why you would support him.”

“I didn’t say I supported him. But I am curious about what his plans are, yeah,” Ace smirked, leaning forward and resting her arms on the desk. “So, Shinji?”

“H-Huh?”

“Out with it. You can tell gorgeous me if the ugly puppet is too intimidating.”

Ace’s words were met with a narrowed glance from the Doll, but she refrained from saying anything in response. She shifted her attention towards Shinji, instead.

“I-I…” the Third Child began, still more than aware of Asuka’s intimidating presence. “I-I was thinking about f-finding… about finding a way of talking to her. T-Trying to cheer her up.”

“And then?”

“A-And then…” the young man struggled to continue. “...And then…”

But Shinji soon found that he had no answer to offer her. Slowly but surely, his eyes found their way to the tiled floor.

“...So that’s it?” Asuka eventually spoke, clearly unimpressed. “Lofty words with no actual substance?”

“...I’m sorry.”

And then a small, wooden chip suddenly struck the side of Shinji’s head. With a startled yelp, the Third Child turned towards the source only to find Ace giving him a disapproving look.

“What did I tell you about apologising?”

Rubbing his aching temple with his fingers, Shinji glared at the plugsuited redhead. A stare that the proud girl didn’t care much for, despite the young man’s unspoken thoughts being more than evident.

With a sigh, Ace leant further forward and rested her chin on her palms.

“I’ve gotta say, though, I was honestly hoping for a bit more myself, Third. I mean, she has a point, you know? If everything could be fixed with a smile and a hug there would be no problems in the world,” Ace reinforced the front against Shinji, scoffing shortly after. “Her insistence on that absurd and unfounded optimism is one of the reasons why the brat pisses me off.”

“Indeed. Unlike you, however, his empty words were all I expected,” Asuka agreed, a victorious smile spreading across her face. “But it is better like that. After all, you would just abandon her before long. Same as everyone else.”

“What?! She’s my friend!” Shinji protested, a hint of steel coming back to his eyes. “I wouldn’t do that!”

“Is that so?” the Doll’s words dripped with sarcasm and disbelief in equal measures. “You certainly are good at faking sincerity, Shinji Ikari.”

“But I’m not lying!”

“Then what happened before the Fourteenth’s attack, Third?” Ace cut in bitingly all of a sudden, catching the Third Child off-guard. “Didn’t you leave Asuka behind when things didn’t go your way with the Suzuhara fiasco? Or wasn’t she your ‘friend’ back then?”

“I-... I didn’t-... But I came back!”

“Only due to sheer coincidence,” Asuka countered, her lips and eyes curling into a scowl. “Would you have really returned if an Angel hadn’t happened to attack that day? Or would you have gone somewhere far away, instead, to continue your selfish and meaningless existence?”

Shinji instantly made to respond, but quickly found himself having nothing that he could offer as a rebuttal. As justified as he still believed his past actions to have been, it was undeniable that there were multiple ways to read the situation.

‘...They are right, aren’t they? I did almost abandon Asuka, Rei, Misato and everyone else,’ Shinji’s hands balled into tight fists. ‘But what was I supposed to do?! Just smile and let it go when Toji was almost killed?! Because of Father and NERV?!’

“...Such blatant lies, and such uncertainty,” the Doll spoke at last after a period of bitter silence, her voice somehow managing to sound even more condemning. “Do you honestly expect me to believe that this... schlappschwanz could bring about a positive change?”

“I don’t expect anything to get through that thick skull of yours. And I didn’t say I supported him, remember?” Ace let out a deep sigh, relaxing against the back of her chair once more. “But give the kid a break. He doesn’t have a clue, but he’s only just decided what he wanted to do. Besides, he’s stupid Shinji Ikari, you can’t expect him to have everything planned out from the get-go.”

The Doll raised a curious eyebrow at her other.

“Funny for you to defend him. Not that long ago you wouldn’t stop talking about how much that same ‘kid’ irked you.”

“He’s gotten a bit better since then,” Ace shrugged nonchalantly. “I just didn’t like how he reminded me of the Shinjis that couldn’t do anything other than cook and be doormats.”

“Of course. You would prefer them hot-blooded and with conflict resolving skills that don’t stray from ‘break as many things as possible’.”

“Hey, blowing shit up is cool.”

The Doll sighed and shook her head, implying that this wasn’t the first time exchanges like this one had transpired. She then threw one last, withering look at the pensive form of Shinji Ikari, before she turned and prepared to make her exit.

“This is a waste of time.”

“So you’re finally leaving, huh?” Ace taunted, shooing her away with her hand once more. “Don’t let the door hit you on your way-”

“W-Wait!”

The Pilot blinked, shifting her focus to the one that had interrupted her: the Third Child had decided to rejoin the conversation and, much to her surprise, he seemed to have something to say.

“What is it, Shinji Ikari?” Asuka slowly turned back around as well, glaring at the young man. “Looking for a dramatic last-second reveal?

“N-No, it’s just…” Shinji swallowed heavily, clearly forcing himself to look at her. “W-What should I c-call you...?”

The Doll blinked in surprise for a brief instant, probably the only moment in which Shinji had seen her not be furious, or hateful or any other synonyms of the word ‘angry’. As with everything Asuka-related, though, it wasn’t long before the Third Child found himself sweating under a nasty glare.

“...Excuse me?”

And then, as if it had been perfectly planned to defuse the situation, Ace began to laugh her ass off.

“Good one, Third, didn’t see it coming!” The redhead kept going for a good ten seconds before she managed to bring a hand up, still snickering from time to time. “L-Let me explain: I told him to call me Ace because of how confusing things were going to get if he kept calling all of us Asuka, and… well, it looks like he decided to pick it up from there.”

The Doll stared long and hard at Ace, before she looked long and hard at the both of them. A second later, she groaned in disgust.

“What a silly notion.”

“Oh, come on! Don’t be a stick in the mud!” Ace urged her with a roll of her eyes. “...Don’t be a bigger one, anyway.”

The Doll scowled at her double’s quip, but Ace merely showed the room again how good she was at not giving a damn until Asuka ultimately relented with a shake of head.

“...Fine,” she replied, looking at Shinji. “You can call me Maisie.”

‘Little Red Riding Hood’? Really?” the Pilot scoffed. “I get that Mom read us that story a lot when we were little but… wow. You’re almost as bad as the brat.”

“I didn’t ask for your-”

The sound of a ringing abruptly broke into the comeback, and both redheads looked at each other for a split second before they each took out a cellphone. Under Shinji’s mute scrutiny, the both of them brought the device to their ears and listened attentively to what they were told, the line promptly going dead a few moments later.

Without a word, the newly baptised Maisie tucked her phone into a fold of her dress and sent her other a meaningful stare, vanishing from sight shortly after.

“What?” the young man nervously questioned, turning towards the only person that was left. “What’s going on?”

“Sorry Third, gotta go,” Ace briefly replied, grinning confidently. “My invaluable input is needed over at HQ.”

“But why? Did something bad happen?!”

“Bad? No, not really. Not anymore, anyway,” Ace elaborated, her smirk growing even wider. “I’m looking forward to it, actually.”

“Then what?”

“Well, if you must know…” the Pilot continued, stretching her last word as much as the Third Child’s patience would allow. “A new face just showed up at NERV.”
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look

xanderkh
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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby xanderkh » Mon May 07, 2018 2:35 pm

The latest chapter you have Gryphon has a good balanced approach when it comes to the interactions between Shinji and Asuka (or rather aspects of Asuka).
And what I mean by that is that you portray them BOTH as flawed individuals, desperately trying to make some connection with each other, but because of their issues, they stumble about each other, BADLY.

Like how Maisie called out Shinji. Now, Asuka is no paragon, she's abrasive, volatile, heavily critical, and SOMETIMES can be a bit of a bitch....but in regards to her take on Shinji, she's not really wrong about him either. He is a bit of a coward, obstinate, and sometimes oblivious to the needs of others (not out of a malicious intent though, it's just that he doesn't genuinely belief he can help people or understand people).

That being said however, at least they're making the efforts to move forward and be better, such as Shinji actually trying to stand up to Maisie. Well done. :)
"You're na�ve, Cecil. Even knowing betrayal and despair, you would depend on the whims of others?" - Golbez
---------------------------------------
Sephiroth: "Do you miss the Light?"
Golbez: "Hmph...I merely have duties to fulfill."
Sephiroth: "Too close to the brightness, and you may get scorched."
Golbz:.............
Golbez: Your loss can strengthen you.

"NGE Shinji is broken, Manga Shinji is an asshole, Rebuild Shinji is an idiot. Which is best? Uh, can I get some other options? All of these really suck." -Bagheera

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Re: An Insider's Look

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Postby Gryphon117 » Mon May 07, 2018 2:44 pm

View Original Postxanderkh wrote:Well done. :)


Thanks, I'll strive to keep on pleasing! Any suspicions as to who might be showing up next part? :shifty:
Author of a few decent Eva stories, which can be found here.

Currently working on a new project: An Insider's Look


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